Archive for the ‘Weekly Learning Links’ Category

Weekly Learning Links 4.23.12

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

The most recent edition of Inside Trinity is in your mailboxes. Kudos to Liz Ball, Trinity’s Director of Communications, for another excellent publication. And cheers to Brandi, Eugene, and Jan for their impressive cover photo! This Inside Trinity issue is certainly one that focuses on 21st century pedagogy and technology. But what resonates most (for me) is that Trinity has been, is currently, and will always be a school which focuses on the child and his or her learning and growth as an individual. I hope you’ll take time to read the articles at some point. You’ll learn a lot about the school and your colleagues…and you’ll be proud as well.

Here are the Weekly Learning Links for the week of April 23rd:

  • Flattening the School Walls by Liana Heitin (shared by Pat Kerner) — An inspiring article about an outside-of-the-box school in Oregon. As Trinity moves toward a greater focus on project/challenge-based learning, “Horn describes project-based learning as working down Bloom’s taxonomy instead of up. The students are given a task that requires higher-order thinking skills—often to create something—and they must learn and practice lower-level skills along the way. Whether or not students realize it, the standards are embedded into the projects from the start. Horn and his teachers map out each project on a matrix, with the content subjects on the horizontal and phases of the project on the vertical.” How might we incorporate our Enviroscape more purposefully?
  • The Importance of Frustration in the Creative Process, Animated by Maria Popova — Stories of creativity often leave out the negative emotions and experiences associated with them. This short animated video provides an excellent support to the idea that “before we can find the answer — before we can even know the question — we must be immersed in disappointment.”
  • Behind Instagram’s Success, Networking the Old Way — A few weeks ago, Instagram (the popular social photography app) was bought by Facebook for 1 billion dollars. This NYT article, though it’s lengthy, examines the twenty-something founders’ story of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Educators can learn from the focus on risk-taking and relationships…two central aspects to the success story.

And speaking of flattening school walls, the creative process, risk-taking, and relationships, check out the 10 minute story of nine-year-old Caine Monroy and his arcade made entirely of old, discarded cardboard boxes.

Weekly Learning Links 2.26.12

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Jedd Austin, PE Teacher and Trinity TV Extraordinaire, is utilizing his strengths and interests in a unique way with his students. Our very own AWAC occasionally turns into a physical education lab, complete with self-reflection, videoed assessment, and a personalized approach to improving fitness. The picture provides a visual of the students’ self-assessment and the short video (embedded below) is an example of how Coach Austin uses technology to record student learning to aid in better, more objective self-assessments.  In this video, you will see students working in pairs to record and analyze their personal fitness growth (sit-ups in this video). If the video isn’t embedded below, click on this link.

Trinity’s P.E. team widely recognized as leaders and learners in Atlanta and beyond. This year, they will host the third annual Keeping Kids in Motion P.E. Conference at Trinity School which attracts public and private school educators across the state of Georgia. Way to go, P.E. Team!

Here are the Weekly Learning Links for the week of February 26th:

  • How My Teaching Has Changed by Chris Kennedy — This is a beautiful and balanced blog post reflecting on the shifts in education and the changing role of the teacher. Kennedy writes, “It is simplistic to think one method of teaching can replace another, and it is disrespectful to conclude there haven’t been wonderful real-real examples in our schools for hundreds of years.  But the move to personalized learning, the focus on “the 7 C’s”, and the power of technology to allow us to do things not possible before, have really changed the dynamics.”
  • Parenting Hi-Tech Children by Tim Rylands — This comprehensive overview of a presentation by Larry Rosen, an expert in the psychology of technology, is interesting and thought-provoking. Rosen was a keynote speaker at the 2011 Learning and the Brain Conference and this post shares much of the recent research (links included) about children and their use of technology. This post presents a host of information on multi-tasking, social media, and student’s growing need for constant connectedness.
  • Your Reputation is Your Résumé by Ted Greenwald — An interesting article, from Technology Review (published by MIT), about how young people, who are more and more networked, are shining in job interviews and job searches because of their strong online presence. What might educators do to model this participation in networked learning and participate in these places…for our own good and for the good of our students?

Weekly Learning Links 2.5.12

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

We are halfway through the Green Cup Challenge and thanks to Suzanne Edwards and her team of Fifth Grade Watt Watchers, all of us at Trinity have been educated about energy usage. In the first two weeks of the challenge, we have significantly reduced our energy usage (12% in week one and 13% in week two). The Fifth Grade Watt Watchers are taking their jobs seriously and a few students chose to create a PSA about their watt-watching at Trinity. According to Suzanne, these students “wrote, directed, filmed, and edited the video independently” and it certainly meets the guidelines for the Challenge, as all “videos should be student written and directed for presentation to the school community and the public, creating awareness, excitement and motivation about the Green Cup Challenge.” Way to go, Fifth Grade Watt Watchers! If you want to vote on their video or see other schools’ videos, click here!

Here are the Weekly Learning Links for the week of February 5th:

  • On Assessing Creativity: Yes, You Can & Yes, You Should by Grant Wiggins — It seems like many of us are looking for ways to make the notion of 21st century skills as concrete as skills related to the 3Rs. Is it possible to measure the 3Cs (creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration)? Wiggins argues in this blog post (full of excellent links!), that yes, assessing 21st century skills can happen and focusing on impact is essential. I love this quote:  “This idea of focusing on impact is actually key to student autonomy, reflected in self-assessment and self-adjustment. The more we focus on impact – did you achieve the goal of such a performance? – instead of such abstract things as “focus” and “organization” or such indicators such as “eye contact” in speaking (which should not be criteria that are mandatory but indicators of the more general and appropriate criterion of “engaging the audience”), the more students can practice, get feedback, and self-assess and self-adjust on their own.”
  • Interesting Books You Should Read by Madeline — Want to know what some of our oldest students are reading? Check out Madeline’s blog (Madeline also publishes “The Trinity Times” every month in paper format) and read her most recent post about the books she (and others) enjoy reading.
  • Whale Fall: Poetic Cut-Paper Animation inspired by RadioLab (shared by Maria Popova) — This “stop-motion animation” and its accompanying soundtrack is fascinating and tells many stories, not just the one about “how when a whale dies, its body can sustain an entire microcosm of an ecosystem for up to seven years.” Stop-motion video is being attempted by many elementary school students across the country…is this something some of your students would be interested in learning?
  • The Upside of Dyslexia by Annie Murphy Paul — An interesting NYT piece in the Sunday Review section about dyslexia. The last paragraph reflects much of Trinity’s work with strengths-chasing for all students: “Glib talk about appreciating dyslexia as a “gift” is unhelpful at best and patronizing at worst. But identifying the distinctive aptitudes of those with dyslexia will permit us to understand this condition more completely, and perhaps orient their education in a direction that not only remediates weaknesses, but builds on strengths.”

Weekly Learning Links 1.29.12

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

“I think every teacher desires to truly understand their students. Discovering passions and encouraging talents is part of the excitement of working with young children.

Julia Kuipers, Trinity’s Fifth and Sixth Grade World Languages teacher, beautifully describes her role as a teacher and the powerful connection that she shared over lunch with one of her students. The World Languages team maintains a blog, updated regularly, and it serves as an excellent point of reference for our families and other educators who are interested in our different approach to elementary language instruction. All of you have similar experiences to share … and that’s what makes Trinity such a wonderful place.

Here are the Weekly Learning Links for the week of January 29th:

  • Doodle for Google 2012: If I Could Travel in Time shared by Free Technology for Teachers — Every year, Google invites “students in the United States to use their artistic talents to think big and redesign Google’s homepage logo for millions to see.” Submissions are due March 23 and more information about the contest can be found here.
  • Inside Maurice Sendak’s Infinitely Creative, Idiosyncratic Mind by Maria Popova — An interesting five minute mini-documentary, produced by the Tate Modern, which reveals “the creatively restless and lovably grumpy workings of [Sendak's] heart and mind.”
  • Every Child is a Scientist by Jonah Lehrer — Young children are “naturals” at almost everything. In this WIRED Magazine article, Lehrer explores how not knowing and questioning is often more important than knowing.
  • A New [Year's] Challenge: Start with Small Steps by Shelley Wright — What does an inquiry-driven, project-based, tech-embedded classroom look like? Shelley Wright’s four pieces of advice about creating more of a student-centered classroom are both thoughtful and detailed.

Weekly Learning Links 1.8.12

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Check out what a wonderful job Trinity faculty member Justin Cahill did at the second Admissions Open House. His talk is followed by touching and heartfelt reflections by Third Grader Sarah and Sixth Grader Jillian. Kudos to Justin, Sarah, and Jillian!

Only one Weekly Learning Link for the week of January 8th.  It’s a video about “spontanteous and relentless compassion” and how one fourth grade teacher radically altered his students’ thinking based on a geo-political game he created for his public school students in 1978. John Hunter and his World Peace Game is an inspiration, and his 20 minute TED Talk (embedded below) is worth watching. Additionally, the following two links will take you to other sites to learn about Hunter and his work:

Weekly Learning Links 1.4.12

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Happy 2012 and welcome back to school, faculty and staff! While everyone enjoyed the time away from school, students’ return to the hallways and classrooms in January always brings a certain excitement and energy. On December 23, Fifth Grader Melissa K. even wrote (unprompted) about how grateful she was for Trinity on her blog:

Hello! I’m having the best time ever! I am so glad it’s Christmas break! It’s great to be away from school, but I miss my friends and my teachers also. I know it sounds crazy, but I miss school almost! If you think about it school is very fun sometimes and we are very lucky to go to a school like Trinity. Trinity is a great place and we should appreciate it. Without it, where would we be?

Additionally, many people in our community graciously wrote letters to troops serving overseas as a part of the Bert Show’s Big Thank You initiative back in October. Over Christmas Break, Mary Riddick Stallworth received an email from a solider serving at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. His email to her was short (“Please ensure this message is given to the kids who sent us wonderful Christmas letters.  We distributed the letters amongst the troops.  A special hello to Jane and Natalie, I have your letters.”), but he attached a lengthy letter that your students would find interesting. It’s an excellent thing to share with your families!

Here are the Weekly Learning Links for the week of January 4th:

  • Animated Adaption of The Giving Tree Narrated by Shel Silverstein by Maria Popova — The 1973 YouTube video of an animated reading of The Giving Tree, read by Shel Silverstein himself, is a rare gem indeed. Or as Popova describes, “a priceless memento of one of our era’s most wholehearted creators.”
  • 100 Things to Watch in 2012 by JWT Intelligence — An interesting list (in powerpoint form) that serves as a reminder of how incredible creative human beings are. Have you heard of floating yoga (24), hydration stations (34),  smart clothing (70), or Wii U (95)? Check it out!
  • New Years Wish: Let Kids Wander by Ross Peters — A beautifully written blog post about carving out precious, unstructured time for wandering and aimlessness…not only for children but for adults as well. How might we use our learning spaces at Trinity in pursuit of this goal — especially since so many children do not have easy access to woods, trees, and creeks like so many of us did when we were growing up?

And the New Year always brings LOTS of lists and articles about resolutions. Interestingly, there are a number of reads about “unresolutions” or “stop doing lists.” Here are three that I found most interesting.

  • Mindful Parenting: My Unresolution by Betsy Brown Braun (shared by Kristi Story) — “Mindful parenting starts with keeping your eyes wide open. It’s like the flower’s growth revealed by time-lapse photography… your children blossom before your eyes every day, but only if you pay attention.”
  • Best New Year’s Resolution? A Stop Doing List by Jim Collins — “…The “stop doing” list became an enduring cornerstone of my annual New Year resolutions — a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time.”
  • 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself by Marc and Angel — “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you. As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.”

Weekly Learning Links 11.28.11

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Dawn’s “Giving Thanks” Basket and Bulletin Board in the ELD, the 481 letters to troops serving overseas that arrived in time for Thanksgiving from Trinity students, parents, and faculty/staff, and the many displays and celebrations of Thanksgiving in ELD and ULD classrooms serve as such wonderful reminders of the power of expressing gratitude…in small and large ways. During the Thanksgiving Program, Julia S. shared her reflections about her nine years at the School and how “I can’t tell who I will be ten years from now, but I know that what I have learned at Trinity will always be an important part of who I turn out to be.”  She is certainly grateful for Trinity School.

An additional testament to the gratefulness of our community came from a  blog post I read last week. The fact that Sarah Grace B., a Fifth Grade student, took time to write a blog post about her gratitude to the teachers at Trinity during her vacation is worth sharing:

Does anyone besides me know how amazing trinity school is? Imagine you getting up at about 5:45 every morning and driving to school to work! The teachers even stay after we get out! Then, they go home and do more work! Don’t you think that 8 hours is a lot? Well, imagine like 9 and a half! These teachers work so hard to make a fun and educational day for us! Campbell was about as good as Mrs. Carter at making one subject, that took up a lot of her recesses. It turns out the teacher have to do at least triple that work every day! The teachers are so nice, and everyone should be thankful for them! However, I think if I had all that work, I would need my students to be perfect. I wouldn’t need more of a mess to clean up! So, I thought that over the next part of the year, us students should really work hard on making our awesome teachers life more easy by cleaning up the room perfectly before we leave, have great manners,( like saying yes ma’am or no sir), listening without having to hold up our heads in our hands, and thinking about how these magnificent teachers feel! Thank you so much to the amazing teachers of  Trinity School!

Here are the Weekly Learning Links for the week of November 28th:

  • Teaching Creativity: The Answers Aren’t in the Back of the Book by Brian Cohen — This short Huff Post article begins with the following, “When a student asks me, an art teacher, how to do something, I often don’t answer. It’s not that I’m especially possessive of my acquired knowledge; to the contrary, I don’t think knowledge belongs to anyone; it should be shared, or better yet, discovered.” A well-written commentary on developing creativity and how much we all can learn from searching for answers.
  • Throwaway Lessons by Tony Baldasaro — An honest reflection on assigned projects and the power of student-generated learning experiences. How can we infuse more problem-based learning experiences at Trinity…and problems and projects that our students truly care about?
  • Learning about Blogs for Students (Part II) Writing by Silvia Tolisano — This second post about blogging (the first one is here) provides some helpful advice and resources for teachers who are blogging, have students blogging, or are interested in exploring this new way of writing.
  • Most Kids Way Ahead of Us as Digital Learners, for Better and Worse by Julia Steiny — “Adults need to encourage kids to use the promise of technology to tackle tough problems — just like an adult would” argues Julia Steiny in this blog post.

Weekly Learning Links 11.14.11

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

With Trinity’s celebration of Veteran’s Day on Friday, the most recent TTT Assembly which focused on the faculty trip to Zimbabwe last summer, and the many conversations about Thanksgiving and “Giving Thanks” happening in ELD and ULD classrooms, I am reminded of how so many members of our community devote an incredible amount of time to making Trinity’s Mission Statement a reality:

The Mission of Trinity School is to create a community of learners in which each child can acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to achieve his or her unique potential and become a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of the expanding global community.

That last bit, the part about helping each child “become a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of the expanding global community” struck me this week as I peeked into a Threes classroom while they were talking about their community service project (Pajama Project) and then read the Threes website updates this weekend which clearly focus on how much service matters in their classrooms.

The Butterflies loved welcoming Miss Kristin into their classroom to read a book and talk about their favorite kind of PJs (warm and fuzzy!). They also talked about the importance of giving to others and that they would have a chance to give warm, fuzzy pajamas to children in need as a part of their service project.

The Teddy Bears update focused on service to the country and the importance of valuing all of the gifts we have (freedom being one). Mary writes,

“I emphasized how much we in the United States of America and in our Teddy Bear classroom need to be thankful for our freedom and the men and women who have and continue to defend those freedoms. I approached the subject by telling them they could only go to one center and they had to stay there for the entire time. They could not choose which center they could go to or where to sit. Then we talked about how that felt and wondered what it would be like if every day was structured like that. I got replies such as, “I would not like that!” “I would be bored.” “I would not want to come to school.” “That would make me mad.” Even in their small world, the freedom to make their own choices at school is very important to them. We then talked about the flag, they painted their own and we thanked Mr. Val and Mr. Johnny for their service in the Navy and Army.”

And finally, students in the Frogs Class are thinking creatively about how they will replace the “pirate” bulletin board with an idea based on The Giving Tree and the PJ community service project:

“When Ms. Samantha brought back a small group of children after reading them the book The Giving Tree one child asked what was going to be on the board next. Samantha asked them what THEY thought it should be and they answered that it should be a Christmas tree and the presents underneath could be pajamas and Pillow Pets. So…..stay tuned and be sure to look at the board in progress the next time you visit us in the classroom.”

What a wonderful testament to how students in our youngest class are being encouraged in real, tangible ways to “become a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of the expanding global community.”

Here are the Weekly Learning Links for November 14th:

  • Should We Be Writing…For Our Own Wellness? by Jen Bilik (shared by Linda Nichols) — A thoughtful post about finding balance in the ways we create words…on screens and on paper. Bilik writes, “All too infrequently I remember to break myself away and turn back to pen and paper. The touch of paper and the scratch of the pen make me feel like I’m working with my hands, crafting.”
  • Global Education Conference (About) and Global Education Conference (Schedule) — Last year, this online conference drew over 15,000 participants from 62 countries. Alan November is a great speaker and is keynoting at 11:00am on Monday. Ewan McIntosh is also interesting and he is keynoting on Tuesday at 2:00pm. There are a plethora of sessions that would be of interest to many of you; each session is one hour and may be counted as a TLC.
  • Murmuration Video by Sophie Windsor Clive (shared by Meredith Burris). Take two minutes to watch this video (with the volume turned on so you can hear the music). You will be inspired by our natural world


Weekly Learning Links 10.31.11

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Friday, every Trinity Sixth Grader will be a tour guide for a group of prospective parents…and with over 225 registered guests, they’ll probably have large groups. After each Open House, a prospective parent always says, “I want one of those!” Translation: I want my child to  grow up and be as ______________ (confident, polite, engaging, you fill in the blank) as my Sixth Grade tour guide.

Of course, these students in our Leadership Class, some of our strongest public speakers, had a solid foundation in their early years. This week, Miss Connie, Miss Lucy, and Miss Katie’s Pre-K class presented their four Halloween poems with confidence and pride. Five Little Pumpkins, Five Little Witches, Five Little Ghosts, and Five Little Bats were the poems and each child prepared by making puppets and practicing reciting his or her line. It’s important to remember that Trinity’s 21st Century Competencies (“strong written and oral communication” is one of these) starts very early in students’ educational careers. Our Very Early Learning Department (VELD) plays a very (!) important role in building solid foundations so Trinity students in ELD and ULD can be confident, powerful speakers who, as Emerson reminds us in the quote at the top of this post, can persuade, convert, and compel.

Here are the Weekly Learning Links for October 31st:

  • Learn — Unlearn — Relearn by Stephen Kennedy — If you missed this Trinity This Week post, it’s a good read. In the comments of this post, Pat Bassett (President of NAIS) writes that this is “an astute observation about the change agenda for schools and the professionals within them, and for the inherent anxiety of parents regarding the changes that are necessary. I think we should remind parents that schools must change because we are preparing students for their futures, not for the parents’ past.”
  • Calling an Audible on the Play: Problem-Based Learning by Anna Moore (Trinity Parent) — A reflection on a high school science class that did not go as planned. The description of the children’s reaction to the dead (or almost dead) plants and their problem-based, experiential, and inquired-inspired learning is a reminder of how well-thought out lesson plans don’t always lead to the kinds of learning experience which matter most.
  • Learning about Blogs FOR your Students (Part I: Reading) by Silvia Tolisano — Since more and more Trinity students and teachers are blogging, this is a great post about a key piece of preparation for blogging that is often overlooked (reading quality blogs). Tolisano also shares a number of quality blogs (in various subject areas) for teachers to explore. If you want to access the active Trinity School blogs, please visit:
  • Make it Stop. Please. by Will Richardson — A reflection on traditional testing (not standardized testing but classroom tests) in schools. Good food for thought for us at Trinity as we continue to think about personalized learning and personalized, formative assessment.

Weekly Learning Links 10.24.11

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Marsha Harris recently shared a blog post she wrote about her Fifth Grade Tech Lab classes…she writes honestly about the changes she is making to ensure that these classes are more appropriate for Fifth Grade students and the kind of student-directed learning they must experience at this age…especially related to their use of technology. In the post (entitled “Giving Up Control”), Marsha writes:

As I think about Teaching and Learning, 21st Century Skills, Child at the Center and Student Directed Learning, it all encompasses around one key factor…ME, Giving Up Control…Letting Go! I would consider myself a type A personality. I like things to be orderly, I tend to be a list-maker and a time-keeper, a planner and I definitely do things with a vision of an end result or product. I guess I get that from my father, who is the master of organization, habit and list-making. While planning for my 5th grade lessons over the next several rotations, I’m making it my goal to give up control and allow the students to hone in on those 21st Century skills that we always talk about. Creativity, problem solving, collaboration and initiative are just a few of the capacities that the students display while in tech lab. So, here’s the plan…and “generally” I tend to teach step-by-step…but for 5th grade, I’m letting go!

Here are the Weekly Learning Links for October 24th:

  • Why I Do What I Do by John Burk — shared by Dawn Pile. This short blog post (with a poignant self-assessment and reflection from one of his students) is a great piece about the role and value of teachers in personalized, 21st century teaching environments. The comments section of this post is thought-provoking as well and highlights that not everyone agrees with this new approach to teaching.
  • My Dream by Melissa (Fifth Grader) — This Trinity student has a dream to be an “adventurest.” And she’s gaining confidence to share this dream (and other feelings and reflections) with her classmates, teachers, and with the world through her Trinity blog.
  • Global Conversations in Literacy Research Webinars — shared by Mary Jacob Rankin. These free, one hour webinars, aim to promote conversations about literacy in the 21st century. You will hear from “leading scholars in the field of literacy whose focus includes early childhood literacy, critical literacy, assessment, discourse analysis, and family literacy.”
  • The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Adicehe — This 18 minute TED Talk is truly breathtaking. “Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.” For classes studying prejudice, stereotypes, and issues of race and identity, this talk is accessible for students in our older grades.