Library Post

For this week’s installment of Teachers of #sisrocks, we are pleased to have Bayside librarian Lauren Elliot. Lauren sat down to talk about the library being more than a physical space and how she uses lib guides to meet students where they are. Here are her responses to the questions regarding her lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you want your students to know or understand?

I think from a librarian’s perspective, I want student to know that a library is a place they can come to for answers and find information – so whether that’s the physical space of the library or accessing our online spaces, our databases or our subscriptions, I want them to know that that’s where they can find information. Also when I’m teaching in the library, I hope that the lessons show them not only how to find information but also to use it ethically and responsibly.

What skills did you want your students to gain?

Well, I want them to understand information and understand how to evaluate it and find good and reputable sources and use it responsibly.

How have libraries changed over the years? / What do you think a library should be?

I think that a library should be seen as a meeting place within the school. A place that kids come to during their free time … during break or lunch time, I want them to feel comfortable to come here to find books, to read, to be with their friends, to work collaboratively with other students or to even find a quiet spot to work on their own. I also want teachers to see it as a place where they can come and find answers or information or help.

How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

In addition to the physical space, I think a library can exist virtually and have a strong presence online. Also, as teachers, we have to meet kids where they are – so some kids love coming to the library and love being here while others might just find the library online. And so, lib guides are one of the ways I meet students online. I’ll prepare subject guides or class guides which I then link with various websites and/or our online subscriptions, for example. This not only directs student research traffic to those databases that we as a school are using and paying for., it also encourages students to use high quality resources.

Resources

http://sis-cn.libguides.com/

The best way is for teachers to support other teachers

Welcome to another edition of Teachers of SIS Rocks!

This week we want to highlight Rachael MacMillan, a Pre-K 2 teacher at Mountainside.

She was nominated by her peers for her leadership in fostering a strong grade level team.

In her words, “The best way is for teachers to support other teachers.”

1. What did you want your fellow teachers to know or understand?

We are a team, everyone has a place in a team.

It does not matter if you are a team leader or not, you can always help others.

I remember when I was new you always felt behind trying to balance all the daily things you had to complete. This is where a team can come in and help sort these things out.

This helps them get organized and settled as a teacher. Which in turn, allows them to focus on what is important…improving the student learning in the class. Additionally, this makes it easier for the new teacher to give back to the team.

2. What skills did you want your fellow teachers to gain?

Every new person brings something to the table. The more we are able to make them comfortable, the quicker they will be able to add their unique abilities to the students and to our team.

Essentially it is the idea to “pass the buck” or “pay it forward.”

When you are able to give, it will come back to you!

3. How did you lead in the past?

Well, for me it started out at a very young age.

First, there was babysitting. Then I worked as a manager at Dunkin Doughnuts. Through it all, I always was the person to teach and train new people.

Even when I go home for a break now, my mom waits for me to teach her about the newest technologies.

4. How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

I have always been an introspective person, but this has improved as I have gotten older. This growth came because I grew as an adult, which then impacted my leadership abilities.

Leadership centers around being open, asking questions, and making mistakes.

I am consistently asking myself,

How could I have done that better?

Or, collaborating with other teachers and asking,

How would you have handled that, what would you have done differently?

 These questioning coupled with my calm nature help me get to the root of the problem.

Also, I am not afraid to admit when I make a mistake, as this usually leads to a big learning.

Lastly, is the ability to see everyone as equals. Everybody is human.

I still remember what my mom told me when I was a young child,

 “ Who do you think you are.”

That still reminds me to see everyone eye to eye.

Resources:

Everyone needs a Smart Auntie (a role model who has had more experience, maybe an admin figure).

“I wanted them to explore how effective their model would be as a teaching tool”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello #SISRocks ! For this week’s installment of Teachers of SIS, we are pleased to have middle school Math/ Science teacher Riley Laird, here at our bayside campus. Riley walked me through the many ways her students are using models to demonstrate their understanding of human body systems. Here are her responses to the questions regarding her lesson.

1. What did you want your students to know or understand?

There are all sorts of scientific practices with skills every scientist engages in regardless of discipline (biology, chemistry, etc…  ) And one of those skills is the use of models to represent the real world, which also relates back to the scientific process. We decided to explore models in grade six because its a really good way for students to show what they know, especially for those who don’t always have a way of articulating or providing the details around a topic. It’s also just another way to show your scientific understanding. Most people think of classic models like a skeleton but there are so many different types – they can be artistic, three dimensional, interactive, a mathematical model, a simulation..  So in grade six, students really work on that skill all year long and they try to do with as many different types of models.

So for this one, we’re learning about the human body systems and thats definitely tied in with all of these skills. The first system we studied was the musculoskeletal system and a really good way to represent that is with a scientific illustration.

2. What skills did you want your students to gain?

So, I wanted to expose the to the different ways of representing science. I also wanted to give them something creative (and artistic) to look at… and so this particular type of scientific model is called a scientific illustration. It’s meant to be used as an effective model – in other words it’s supposed to represent the real structures. There should be a real likeness and proportions should be accurate. It’s also about the fine details and textures but then there are also scientific skills and practices that come in play like the way the illustrations are labeled, which have to follow a particular format. There are also specific artistic techniques students are supposed to use that differs, say, from a diagram, which is another type of model. This was really sparked by former teacher Brittany Morgan, who had that entire class doing scientific illustrations. I have bunch of the work hanging in my classroom and I thought …what better way to kick off models in science.

So students are assessed on the artistic portion of it but also how effective their model is in a scientific context. Could someone who knows nothing about this part of the body and look at it, understand what it is, and see the different parts. Ultimately, I wanted them to explore how effective their model would be as a teaching tool or scientific model for someone else

3. How did you teach this lesson in the past?

The next type of model illustrates some of the changes that I’ve made to teach this lesson… For example, with modeling the respiratory system, I have some kids building theirs virtually in Minecraft – way more open and allows for creativity. I also added new parameters like there needing to be interactive element. It couldn’t be just a flat or static drawing. That said, some kids are still actually drawing but it’s more like a flip book where viewers can peel the layers away. Other kids are building with lego, some are using clay or making cakes and decorating them with icing to illustrate the functions specific. With these models, for example, they started outlining the general structures, which ties into the science because we’ve been learning about the levels of organization (cells, tissues, organs, system..)

4. How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

I guess wanting to go beyond the classics (the skeleton, the cell, etc…) led to expanding notions of what models can look like and providing my students with as many choices and ays of working – Really just opening it up (creatively) so that I could meet them where they are. So for the kids that didn’t really shine on this model, maybe they’re able to demonstrate  teh real world but do it in the own way.

SIS has been the most collaborative environment I have ever been a part of!

This week we highlight Jaime Bacigalupo and Ceci Gomez-Galvez from Bayside. They have been nominated for their cross-disciplinary and curricular work in bringing about SIS stories.

 

What is SIS stories you ask?

 

It is a platform where students are able to build community and connect with others through storytelling.

 

The inception started when Jaime attended a couple sessions of the famous “Shenzhen Stories” in 2016.

 

She was floored by the power of storytelling, so she spent the summer reflecting about how she could bring this theme into her 10th-grade class.

 

Below are there answers to this innovative student learning.

 

1. What did you want your students to know or understand?

 

Jaime: Largely the power of storytelling. Stories have the power to connect us on a human level and while also building empathy and compassion.

 

Ceci: Our students have been writing personal narratives since the third grade and we wanted them to understand writing and telling stories is more than academics. We wanted all students, especially the quiet ones, to understand this could be a vehicle to share their voice.

 

2. What skills did you want your students to gain? 

 

Jaime: In terms of the English there were two main components. Frist, the writers’ craft, which consisted of mentor texts, short memoirs, deep reading, and annotations. Also, Stylistic approaches used to reach readers.

 

Second, was how to express yourself orally. Different mediums require you to express yourself differently. For example, oral presentations are much more casual than formal presentations.

 

Ceci: We wanted them to show some vulnerability by telling their own story. This, in turn, would allow them to be brave, resilient, and take risks. All things that will help them prepare for their performance tasks in IB Diploma Programme.

 

3. How did you teach this lesson in the past?

 

Jaime: There was NO oral piece, it was only written. Additionally, there was no theme to the lesson, it was really quite open.

 

Essentially it was a narrative snapshot. Although it gave them a lot of flexibility, there was no foundational piece which ran through all of it where we could see same theme branch out in so many different contexts.

 

Lastly, I was the audience. There was no one else!

 

4. How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

 

Jaime: One word…collaboration. Not just simply talking about things, but building strong relationships to create systems to improve student learning.

 

SIS has been the only school where this level of flexibility and autonomy are provided, which make it such a fertile environment for collaboration.

 

SIS has been the most collaborative environment I have ever been a part of!

 

Teachers are allotted the time and the flexibility to cultivate this environment. I do not know what I would do if I did not have these elements, it would be like not having air to breathe.

 

This strong collaboration is a vehicle which has enhanced my teaching more than it has for many years combined.

 

Furthermore, the collaboration opened up connections even outside of the classroom. Attending Shenzhen Stories had me thinking how I could bring in Trey, founder of Shenzhen Stories.

 

He came in a ran a workshop and gave strategies on the idea surrounding “page and stage.” Additionally, we created a setting which fostered a sense of community; snacks, signs, and furniture.

 

Ceci: Yeah, exactly. For me, it was true co-teaching. That Ying to Yang relationship.

 

Jaime had ideas and I had other ideas and questions. I would ask

 

How can we make the learning better for our students?

How can we make it more interesting?

How can we share it on a bigger stage?

How….

 

These questions led us to create SIS stories. Where we combine the power of storytelling, Voice, and interdisciplinary connections.

 

We already mentioned Trey, but Peter reached out to see how we could incorporate the services to his STEAM students. We started chatting and made the connection that we could use a motherboard which connected letters in the alphabet with buttons that triggered something when touched.

 

We would record each student’s’ golden lines and take professional pictures. Then we would be able to create posters with sensors where buttons will trigger audio files of the golden lines of the students.

 

Jaime: It was awesome!

 

Since the inception of SIS stories, everything has grown organically.

 

And it keeps growing and everything is falling into place.

 

We are actually going to collaborate with 5th graders and take our students over to Parkside to mentor them on the experience.

 

Ceci: What is awesome is the task we started with was for each student had to get up and talk for 5-10 minutes.

 

That is it!

 

However, now it has grown into this amazing thing called SIS stories

 

To think it started with a provocation and text (Persepolis: the story of a childhood) then it connected to the power of storytelling, next student voice, next STEAM, and it continues to grow.

 

Lastly, I want to mention there are many vehicles for empowerment.

 

Vulnerability and modeling what you want your students to create are powerful.

 

Jaime wrote a story herself and told it in front of the students.

This gave them a different perspective and automatically built a sense of community. Students’ were eager to share and also hear the stories of others. It was awesome!

 

A much different result from reading a mentor text published by an author you do not know or have a relationship with.

Students knew right from the beginning they would have an opportunity to share with an authentic audience of their peers and teachers.

 

Both: (Sit back and sigh)…Can’t wait to see where this goes next year!

 

Resources:

 

Peters STEAM class: They are looking for new clients to build products for. Contact them if you need anything in terms of design which requires any STEAM elements. 

“Challenging ourselves to making these concepts more meaningful to the kids.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello! For this week’s installment of Teachers of SIS, we are pleased to have math teacher Jacob Scott, here at our bayside campus. Jacob walked me through his exponential growth and exponential decay unit, how he and the science teachers collaborated together to integrate a skill set that spanned both math and the sciences.

Here are his responses to the questions regarding his lesson.

What did you want your students to know or understand?

I wanted my kids to understand exponential growth and exponential decay function work in the real world and how they correlate over into, say… science classes where they are going to use them, where they need to have that basic foundation in mathematics to be able to apply it to scientific research that they’ll be doing in there science classes. 

What skills did you want your students to gain?

Kids at this age level can have a hard time seeing how math relates to the real world and those those connection to the outside, across subject as well. Really getting them to see that it’s not just a problem on the board or on the page but as something that scientists, engineers use it to solve everyday problems.  Specifically with that skill, they needed to know it in class if they’re going to look at ecosystems or looking at endangered animals and how that is affected by populations growth or  decline – so, again, how can they apply something that looks like math formula with a function in class but be a real-world problem.

How did you teach this lesson in the past?

In the past, it wasn’t in the curriculum so one thing after collaborating with the science teachers, we felt that it needed to be added in the mathematics curriculum and not just as a stand-alone unit where students might plot some numbers on graph paper but means nothing to them – so really bringing it in and challenging ourselves to making these concepts more meaningful to the kids. So right now they’re getting the foundation in Math and applying it in science because that is where that connection will be made. With grade eight, for example, we looked at other units to find other areas of overlap – what are things he (Peter) needs to teach physics or chemistry that will require a mathematical foundation.

How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

As teachers, we had to be flexible to see where those areas of overlap would be…Everyone always thinks that math and science just go right together but they don’t always. Although they are very different, their skills are used across the curriculum. In other words, we had to look and shift unit so that I could help provide background knowledge that would be accessed later in Peter’s class for example.

I wanted them to have the power to take charge of their own learning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome back to another installment of TOS Rocks!

This week we have the pleasure of highlight Gina Ballesteros, who is a Learning Support teacher for the Grade 3 team at Parkside.

She found a way to empower students to practice basic skills independent by incorporating QR codes which provided customized tasks.

1. What did you want your students to know or understand?

I wanted to give students agency so they could learn how to practice on their own. Additionally, my goal was for them to build their confidence through this independent practice.

2. What skills did you want your students to gain?

Independence is the main skill I wanted them to gain.

Not to just wait for a teacher to walk them through the process, but having the power to take charge of their own learning.

As a team, we created two system which allowed them to do this.

First, we provided customized tasks where the skills could be tracked. For example, we tracked multiplication skills in mathematics.

Second, we provided tasks just for enrichment, as we found they need to be able to explore on their own as well.

3. How did you teach this lesson in the past?

Physical tools or manipulatives like flashcards and board games were used in the past.

4. How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

Due to the nature of my role as a Learning Support teacher, I am only able to see a specific group of students two to three times a week.

This makes it challenging to track, identify, and support a large number of students.

Thus I asked,

“How can I best use my strengths to support the needs of language learners to access content in all areas?”

and

“How can I come in as a Learning Support teacher and produce a greater impact on all student learning?”

I am a firm believer in learning efficacy, or the ability to pool the knowledge of a group or team to maximize the output. In our case, we worked as a team and used our strengths so we could help all students learn basic skills independently

Thus, that is what I set out to do. Knowing we (Teachers, TAs, and myself) were all busy and did not have enough time to create physical manipulatives, I searched for other ways we could do this.

We live in the country of QR codes, thus I researched, tinkered, and taught myself how to use QR codes to connect websites, apps, and games to provide customized tasks.

This allowed me to organize and group all the digital resources we had organized as a team. Then, I added a QR code to specific groups of tasks, which then made it super simple for students to scan and work independently.

It has been powerful and the systems we are building are providing support to a greater number of students.

Let me know if you are interested in collaborating and learning about what we are doing, I am more than willing to share.

Resources:

Book: “Visible Learning” by John Hattie

Dives into what has the best effect on learning.

“I really wanted kids to get a better understanding of how the process of science is a human endeavor. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you want your students to know or understand?

I can talk to the … scientists who discovered the atom green screening project and putting them into that…

I really wanted kids to get a better understanding of how the process of science is a human endeavor. Often we teach science devoid of any personal narrative or story as part of it – when the people that made discovery in science are some of the most fascinating and weirdest people that have ever lived.

When you start looking at the discovery of the atom it is really neat because all of the stories intertwine – so all of the people knew each other – either like it was a professor at a university and the next person who made a major discovery was their student… others were mean or subversive – trying to keep everybody else discoveries out of things.

Student don’t generally get that kind of an interesting story. Why not look at major scientific context through the lens of storytelling.

What skills did you want your students to gain?

So …I wanted to give my kids some tech skills in terms of how to do green screening, how to do filming, how to develop a monologue and techniques like using the iPad along with some choice apps. to hold and slowly scroll through your script so that you can continue to maintain eye contact with the camera. I also wanted them to get the chance to play with lighting and then I wanted them to work on there research skills and to go out and find actual data facts and information in order to build this story around a particular scientist.

How did you teach this lesson in the past?

I always looked at this lesson – the history of the atomic structure – in a creative way because like I said, it’s a fun story. So in the past, I’ve had kids look at the whole history of the development of the atomic theory and do it like a graphic novel where they went out and researched. I found it better when the students focused on one person and then talk about how their discovery changed the whole idea. I felt like that gave students a better understanding of the process of science and how it looked like in reality.

Traditionally science teachers looked at communication in science as a lab report because that was the more academic preferred way to communicate. Now there are so many new ways and style people can articulate (scientific) information to the general public. We need to arm them with a new array of skills like how to present themselves in front of a camera. Someone like Neil De Grass Tyson is a great example of someone who has a deep understanding but also the ability communicate that understanding in an engaging way. He marries both of those important aspects of communication.

How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

I borrowed a lot from other people who are really good at things that they do. I use a program called the night lab timeline that I was introduced to by the IT team from UWC Singapore when they came to visit to do a thirty minute presentation. And that was one of the tools that they showed. It wasn’t until I realized that the app could also be used to harvest videos from youtube that it became integral to this project.

In short, I problem solved by reaching out to other people who had used the tools I was trying to use, I looked online for tutorial  and then talked to the students about what would make this easier or better for them.

“really trying to get to the idea that art doesn’t just happen in the art classroom … art is available to everyone and all can participate”

For today’s installment of Teacher of SIS, we are pleased to have the Bayside art department: Amy Atkinson and Alli Denson. Here are their responses to the questions regarding their project.

What did you want your students to know or understand? / Why did you do the photo exhibition

(Amy) So, uhh basically it’s not just for our students, its for everyone – teachers, the wider community… really trying to get to the idea that art doesn’t just happen in the art classroom and that art is available to everyone and all can participate – That was one of the main reasons.

(Ally) And that art is all around us. With photography specifically, we all have that at our fingertips with our smart phones. So the idea of accessibility was something we were interested in.

(Amy) And its subjective. Because the topic is very loose, students are encouraged to submit work however they interpret it. We also display the work anonymously and people vote, which reinforces the idea that it is subjective. Its not really about the “best” photo … I mean, how would we ever decide which one is the best photo.

(Ally) It’s really about why did you look twice at it. And again opening it up to wider audience.

What skills did you want your students to gain?

(Amy) The really cool thing about the contest is that opens students’ eyes to the possibility of their surrounding and what they see and how they see things so … I’ll submit a photo, you’ll submit a photo, we’ll all submit a photo of the same subject and as the contest progresses , the students will start to see subtleties, and new ideas and get the gears turning around that awareness of your surroundings.

(Ally) allowing students to reflect…I didn’t even think of that as architecture.

How did you teach this lesson in the past?

(Amy) This is our first one – I’ve been talking to some of the students and have a sense that although many are submitting, this is the type of thing that doesn’t really pick up until the third or fourth installment . It also depends on our subject choices so we will see how it goes.

How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

(Amy) So, we’re becoming more creative – so first of all we split it up. Ally does the middle school- I do the high school . And then Peter has suggested new ways for us to collect images. So we’re looking to find ways to better manage that process.

 

I want my students to understand .. how to curate / discern what is news worthy and what is noise and also how media has evolved.

For today’s installment of Teachers of SIS, we are pleased to have Chinese instructor, Denise Wang sharing how she links language skills (listening speaking reading writing) with media literacy. Here are her responses to the questions regarding her student’s newscast project.

What did you want your students to know or understand?

I want my students to understand what news is, how to curate / discern what is news worthy and what is noise and also how media has evolved. For example the shifts from black and white newspapers, to radio and tv, and now with the internet.

Ultimately to better understand our world through the lens of news and media.

As a language instructor, I also obviously want to link language (listening speaking reading writing) but also that media literacy component that sometimes can be difficult to integrate in a language learning setting.

What skills did you want your students to gain?

Listening speaking reading writing … but in the framework of news production and broadcasting. There are also soft skills like interviewing people, transcribing that to a news report, and curation.

How did you teach this lesson in the past?

I used to organize a sabbatical course called tv news production – a week long course where students were exposed to anything from learning the essential elements of news production to the more technical aspects like shooting, editing and using visuals to better communicate a message.

How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

A lot more scaffolding and practicing simple tasks like voice projection and how to pick news stories. I discovered that they do not watch /listen to the news, so finding creative ways to get them engaged and thinking of news as relevant and not just something over there.

I wanted them to understand they could reach an audience greater than just their peers in class.

Welcome back to Teacher of SIS rocks!

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Sherri Banner, a third-grade teacher at Parkside.

She started using the student-driven portfolio app Seesaw to turn simple math station reflections into an empowering activity where her students share their learnings to the broader SIS community and the world.

What did you want your students to know or understand?

I wanted them to understand they could reach an audience greater than just their peers in class.

The world is so connected today, and I wanted them to realize the work they create can be shared globally. With one click a person in Mongolia or NY can view and learn from the products of they share.

I wanted them to know that world is large, yet, at the same time, small enough to make educational connections anywhere. Especially, with the technology tools, we have at our disposal.

What skills did you want your students to gain? 

I wanted to highlight three main skills.

First, presentation. I wanted to give all students, especially the shy ones with low voices, an avenue to share their learning.

Second, voice. Both in identifying feeling in a text when reading and also speaking with it in mind.

Third, confidence. I wanted them to be able to share their understanding with their peers, who then could appreciate the insights they came up with. This, in turn, would help them gain confidence in presenting more in other public situations.

How did you teach this lesson in the past?

In the past, I used Kidblogs (taught in first grade).

Although there were pains using it (get to that later) it was a good platform for the students to reflect and share their work. Additionally, it was a way to create transparency with the parents surrounding their child’s work, which I would also show them during conferences.

How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?

It started from using Kidblog. Like I mentioned above there were a lot of pains and friction points for both students and teachers to get on and make a post.

So what do you do…research.

I wanted to a tool that would give my students more agency, while at the same time, provide them with a greater audience than their peers.

Thus, when I saw all the reviews about Seesaw, I knew I found something I could use.

Actually, It seemed too good to be true as everyone said how user-friendly it was, how it could be used iPads, and how it eliminated frictions points of other portfolio tools out there.

I actually started using it as a math center to highlight what they learned that week, but it has transformed into so much more.

Students are now able to take a picture of a piece of work (math, reading, writing…) and then voice over with narration or draw on top of the image to show their understanding in real time with three clicks on an iPad.

It has morphed into a powerful reflection tool for my students and it houses their learning journey.

The students have become quite adept using the tool (along with others). This being paired with my attendance at the Shekou EdTech Summit conference led me to start my own SIT (Student Innovation Team). They are becoming student innovation coaches…watch out MR. K!

The SIT team will help in rolling out new apps to their peers in both our class, but also other third grade classes as well.

Thus, if you want some student innovation team to come to your room to roll out an app, let me know.

Sherri

Resources

Seesaw.me

Educreations – interactive whiteboard where kids can show their learning. Multiple pages and can link within Seesaw