Sunday, December 17, 2017

Retrieval Practice Presentation 17 Dec. 2017

I bought the digital download.

Flash cards help! As long as they are used repeatedly.

Calling on one student is ineffective.

Friday, December 15, 2017

15 December 2017 Air Quality School Closure with High Tech High Visit

Ditch Summit started today and I got a review of ideas I use in my classroom. I'd like to get the book, Make It Stick by Peter C. Brown. It felt great to be validated on my use of Socratic, but I also feel I could use it more effectively.
While out and about in San Diego, I found myself close to High Tech High. We drove to the schools and I asked if I could visit and was told, sure! I visited High Tech High, High Tech Middle, and the newest Elementary School. The High School and Middle School had just finished an Open House for presenting projects and were cleaning up and getting ready for Winter Break. I was able to see some amazing projects. I learned about the structure of the middle school and how students are chosen via lottery to attend.  Teachers shared information about some of their PBL projects. One was about Cells and Cancer, another was choosing a classroom library that reflected the cultures of the students



Carrie Lawrence

At the Elementary 
School, I met a parent of a GATE student and a Special Ed student at the Elementary School. She is thrilled with the progress of both children and how the PBL works with the two different styles. 

I also saw 10 new bird species in San Diego County, including an incredibly good look at a Short-eared Owl!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Creative Arts Charter School Visit - Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Creative Arts is a public Charter School in San Francisco.

Their fall exhibition of learning is this Thursday evening, so we witnessed a TON of creative preparation as we toured the school. It's called Makers and Thinkers Night.

Some projects we saw during our visit:
  • 3rd grade researched local San Francisco movers and shakers and did projects based on their work. They also raise money for the various causes espoused by those people.
  • 2nd grade had cyanotypes on display and were organizing portfolios of various connected projects done so far this year.  
  • Kindergarteners were sharing their cardboard playground and practicing the fine art of feedback. Most students were impressed with the moving parts on the swing, seesaw, zipline, and spinner.
  • 6th grade human body study students are making prosthetic limbs. The teacher is an amputee and actually tries them out.


  • 7th grade math/science researching trips and making brochures (art connection was impressive)
Some Important points:
  • Students voices are heard- classroom libraries are full of books requested by the learners. If a book isn't there, it's ordered. 
  • Discretionary funds are very important for keeping projects on a forward momentum. 
  • Autonomy with how to teach the standards. 
  • It's good to have a box, so you have something with which to think outside. 
  • Know what it is that makes your school community unique. Have a common language. 
  • Create a yearlong school-wide flow chart with each grade level's theme/goal/guidance system.

Other notes: The strong phonics base in lower elementary students has built the foundation for good readers as evidenced by the SBAC test scores. Bridges has recently been adopted to raise math scores. 
Lucy Calkins
Project Zero
Visible Thinking

Monday, December 11, 2017

California STEAM Symposium Day 2

The first sesson of the day was excellent. We are really looking forward to our visit on Wednesday.


The results from our group. Divergent thinking in action.

The afternoon General Session was very inspirational. Three diverse speakers shared ideas on ways their work as made a change in the world.

I would like to read the book by Adam Grant. 

For the last session of the day, I connected with some amazing educators from Double Peak School. They shared their journey. Here are some notes and links.

Have an Innovation Drive. Ask for parent volunteers to help organize donations of cardboard etc.

In the 7th grade literature study of Outsiders by S.E. Hinton the students observed the playground and evaluated what they saw!

Their Makerspace is open before school an it's amazing to see what students come up with when they don't have a curriculum or teacher to guide them. 

One tool they use is: Engineering is Elementary Curriculum

Another is MakeyMakey

For the last hour each Friday students get Genius hour.

Rio STEAM Academy representatives: Tony Ostrowski, Michael Connelly, and Michelle Townsley