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My Educational Journey

Education…the key to knowing

First blog post – About me

My name is Randi Hayashida, aka mom, Mrs. Hayashida, Ms., Ms. Randizzle, and H-dawg. Teaching consumes the majority of my time and I’m grateful to have found a profession where I feel my time is well spent.  I currently teach students in the 10th and 12th grade and it is my continued hope that I am teaching them the skills they need to be successful in life, not just within the four walls of a classroom.  One of the ways that I am trying to provide these skills for my students has been to return to school myself and earn my Master’s Degree in Curriculum Studies with a Secondary & Middle Level Emphasis.  This blog will trace my journey as a teacher and student.

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Final Reflections

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What a journey this has been!  Taking the EDCS 480 course as my last class in completing the MSLMED program could not have been more fitting.  This class was a solid reminder in why I became an educator and how a simple shift in mindset can re-shape education beyond the walls of my classroom.

Reading The Innovator’s Mindset encouraged me to be a better teacher.  Being open to innovation, change, and a growth mindset can move mountains in a sometimes stagnant school system.  “Change is an opportunity to do something amazing” (G. Couros, 2015) is a quote that continues to resonate with me whenever I am hesitant to try something new.  It encourages me to take a leap of faith in breaking from the norm in order to do better.  It is also the advice I find myself telling my students when change is at their doorstep.  Simply put, change must occur in order for change to happen.

Another positive take away from this course was being able to collaborate with my peers through venues such as blogs and twitter.  This provided me with different perspectives that I would not have experienced otherwise.  A blog posted by one of my peers caused me to have a transformational shift in my thinking concerning how and what I teach.  She asked several “what if” questions and it lit a fire under me.  To give voice to what I had been feeling for so long was freeing.  The possibilities seemed endless and it my profession as a teacher encouraging again.

Taking these “what if” questions and mixing it with the Improvement Science project was all I needed in trying something new in my classroom.  What an awesome and successful process!  I probably would never have taken this upon myself had it not been for this class. My Improvement Science project in providing students with choice in what and how they learned the content we covered in class resulted in student ownership of learning, engagement, and a definite growth in learning.

As a result, I will continue to infuse change into my teaching practices.  Providing student choice has now been a constant in my classroom.  I am still in the process of finding balance between student choice and what I am required to cover.  However, I am confident that that will come with time and more experience.  I have also been sharing my experiences with my administration and fellow teachers.

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As I finish my time in the MSLMED program, I completely realize that my journey as teacher, in some ways, starts a anew.  I intend on continuing to conduct research and learn more about my craft.  To continue to use what I have learned in my courses and use them effectively in my classes.  To continue to change so that something amazing can occur.

Improvement Science: Part 4-Reflection and Next Steps

 

Overall, I would conduct my Improvement Science Project in my classes and intend to do so.  I strongly feel that students were able make their learning more concrete because they were able to select and create their own assessment from start to finish.  The process was engaging, fun, and easy to do.  Test results improved and I was able to save some time and collect valuable data in what I needed reteach.

I am planning on having students participate more in their assessments.  I do want to provide freedom of choice and promote student engagement with all of my classes.  However, I do need to find balance in the types of choices I provide to them.  For example, while Kahoot! was a success, it is not necessarily the right type of assessment for each topic that we will be covering in class.  I do want students to be able to effectively learn in a variety of ways other than a multiple choice test.

Creating rubrics is something that I would like students to have more control over in the near future.  Oftentimes they will glance at a rubric and not have a firm understanding of what is being asked of them in order for them to earn any particular grade.  I also need to find balance here as well.  I need to be sure that students are writing a rubric that reflects deep student learning rather than surface learning.

From this experience, I would also like to have students participate more in what they learn and how they will learn it concerning what is being covered in class.  I was able to do this during my WWI unit and students thoroughly enjoyed it.  Students were able to choose one thing that they wanted to learn about concerning WWI, even if it was not a part of my benchmarks or standards.  While this did take time away from my curriculum map, it was definitely worth it.  Student engagement was higher and the learning became more enjoyable all because of the were given the opportunity to choose.

I’m finding myself stepping more outside of the typical classroom box and learn alongside my students in promoting student engagement.   While I know that the freedom of choosing an assessment is not the only way to get students engaged, it was a good way to start the process to determine if it would work.

I hope that my decision in going with depth instead of breadth does not reflect poorly in my teaching practices.  My school does have certain expectations and one of them is the state mandated Student Learner Outcomes (SLO).  My SLO focuses on students being to successfully analyze primary and secondary sources, which was partly chosen due to the state’s Smarter Balance assessment results.  One of my next steps is to some how find a way to meld student engagement and choice with my SLO.  This may prove to be a tough challenge, but it is a necessary one in order to keep students involved with their learning.

 

Improvement Science: Part 3-Collect & Analyze

The results of my Improvement Science Project were interesting.  In providing my students with the opportunity of choice in choosing and creating their WWI assessment, my main goal was for students to be engaged and involved with their learning.  I really wanted them to take ownership of not only what they learned, but also how they learned it.

Three U.S. History classes with a total of sixty students participated in my Improvement Science Project.  The student-chosen and created assessment was a Kahoot! test.  For each class, students created ten questions while I created the other ten.  The student created questions  and answers were posted on Padlet and I did a test review for my part.

The average score for all classes was a mid C.  However, comparing these results with previous teacher-created tests, a mid C is an improvement.  What was a nice surprise was my class that tends to struggle with focus and completion had a high C average.  In addition, one of my students who was close to failing the course, scored in the top five of his class!

Overall, student feedback was positive.  Students stated that they liked:

  • being able to talk
  • the quick pace of the quiz
  • engagement
  • fun
  • fast results
  • competition

When asked what they did not like, they responded with the following:

  • not having the option to go back and change an answer
  • the quick pace of the quiz

It is interesting to note that pace was something that students liked and did not like at the same time.  When asked for clarification, students shared that they enjoyed the speed of the test in terms of competition, but did not like the speed for questions that required time to think things through.

 

In terms of time, doing an assessment with active student participation was easier for me as a teacher.  While I did have to type in three different tests into Kahoot!, I only had to come up with half of the questions and answers for each test.  I was also able to save time in correcting each test since Kahoot! did it for me.  Kahoot! also provided me with data that I could use in pinpointing what students learned and what they were still struggling with.  This type of data is invaluable and not something I could collect had this assessment been done on paper.  Cheating was less of a factor since each class had different questions.  In addition, while students did have the ability to talk, no one cheated since this type of assessment promoted friendly competition and the majority of students were in it to win it.

Improvement Science: Part 2-The Do

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The quote above is so true.  Having taught for almost ten years now, I have never heard any student rave about the awesomeness of a worksheet, nor have I ever felt that way as a student myself.  My Improvement Science Change Idea is to incorporate a student-led assessment for my 10th grade U.S. History classes for World War I.  The hope is that my students will walk away saying “That was an awesome assessment.”

I proposed my change idea to my students and the reactions were mixed.  Some were excited and some were confused.  When asked about the confusion, students couldn’t quite grasp the idea that I was allowing them to not only choose their assessment, but that they would be creating it as well.  I had to reassure them that this was no trick.  I informed them that the goal was to deepen student learning, engagement, and participation.

With all on board, I began the process.  From the research I read about, I knew it was important to provide guidelines for a student-led assessment.  Students were informed at the beginning that the assessment had to reflect what they learned about WWI.  Something like watching a documentary and taking notes on it would not be allowed since it would not show what they had learned about WWI as a whole.

Using Padlet, students listed their top three assessment choices.  After determining the top three class choices, all students were given the opportunity to vote on their type of assessment.  The top three choices varied from class to class.  Among the top choices were small group projects, an essay, poetry, reenactments, and Kahoot!.I explained what each choice would entail and allowed students to cast their vote after.  What was surprising was that Kahoot! was listed as the top three in all classes and chosen as the form of student-led assessment as well.

In keeping with provided guidelines, students were informed that they would be creating half the test while I created the other half.  Students were assigned categories of WWI to create questions on.  Each student had to create a minimum of three questions for their assigned category and provide the answer on Padlet.  This provided students with a study guide that they could access at anytime and required students to know the content well enough in order to create a question and provide the proper answer.  Because students would not know what questions I would be selecting for the test, students were more inclined to study the questions created by their peers.  As for my half of the test, I created and went over a test review for WWI that students were required to take notes on.  I wanted to be sure that students were getting the material necessary in order to be successful on my half of the test and to reinforce the content we covered for WWI.

For the most part, this worked well in my classes and positively promoted student engagement and participation in terms of this assessment.

Questions:

  1. How do I better prepare students to write appropriate and well-rounded test questions?
  2. What I can do for students who do not like working on computers?
  3. How do I ensure that students actually study?

25-Hour Learning Challenge Part 5

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It has been quite a journey in experiencing my 25-hour learning challenge in learning how to ride at bike at my age.

Your achievements:

My success was learning how to ride a bike by myself.  However, I am not riding as confidently or with as much ease as I would like to.  What surprised me most was learning how to ride in under fifteen minutes.  If I knew it would have taken me that short amount of time to learn how to ride, I would have made it a point to learn much sooner.

Your experience as a learner:

What was encouraging during this process was learning that I was not alone.  It was comforting to know that more people don’t know how to ride a bike at my age than I had originally thought.  Buying my own bike that was the right fit for me was encouraging and motivating.  If I was going to purchase something that cost as much as my bike, I better put it to good use.  What was also motivating was seeing my kids ride bikes more often since I was learning how to ride.

Doing something that I did not know how to do was frustrating and uncomfortable.  I had to go outside of my comfort zone in order to successfully complete this project.  I have to admit, I probably would not have learned how to ride a bike if it hadn’t been for this challenge.

Your process as a learner:

Watching youtube videos was the most useful resource that I tapped into for this challenge.  While I did collaborate with my husband and kids, watching youtube videos gave me insight into what to expect and what to do for first time learners compared to those who already knew how to ride.

Implications for instructional practice:

This challenge provided me with a glimpse of what my students may experience in learning something new.  The process can be frustrating and appear pointless until the goal has been reached.  Actually seeing the process done from start to finish can help my students learn better.  Understanding the “why” can help to overcome learning obstacles.

Improvement Science-10/31

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Improvement Science Resources

Brooke, G., & Andrade, H. (2014). Student-centered Assessment Guide: Self-assessment.Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.studentsatthecenter.org/resources/student-centered-assessment-guide-self-assessment

     This website provided information on what is and is not student self-assessment.  The website also provided information on how to implement student self-assessment in the classroom.  This provided me with a better understanding of student self-assessment and ways that I can implement it in my classroom.

Garrison, C., & Ehringhaus, M. (n.d.). Formative and Summative Assessments in the Classroom.  Retrieved October 29, 2016, from https://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/WhatsNew/WNDet/TabId/270/ArtMID/888/ArticleID/286/Formative-and-Summative-Assessments-in-the-Classroom.aspx

     This website provided helpful information about the difference between formative and summative assessments.  It also stressed that true formative assessments include student input and participation.  While I have been teaching for many years now, the information I gathered here was a good refresher in being reminded about the difference of a formative and summative assessment.  It also helped in knowing that formative assessments should be student-led.

Involving Students in Creating Assessment. (2015). Retrieved November 11, 2016, from http://inquiry.galileo.org/ch3/involving-students-in-creating-assessment/
     Information about involving students in the creation of a rubric and how to do it was provided in this website.  One of the acknowledgements from this website was the importance of time.  If a teacher doesn’t have the time needed in order for students to fully create a rubric, it is to the benefit of all involved for the teacher to fill in certain parts of the rubric that can be used to guide students in a timely matter.  This website was helpful in providing tips on how to guide students through the process of writing rubrics.

Kelly, Rob. “Have Students Generate Content to Improve Learning.” Faculty Focus Higher Ed Teaching Learning. Faculty Focus, 03 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2016. <http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/have-students-generate-content-to-improve-learning/&gt;.

The benefits of student learning through involvement of assessments and content were discussed in this website.  Providing student choice in what they learn and how they learn promotes student engagement and deeper learning.  This website is a reassurance to not only incorporate student involvement, but to promote it in order to improve student learning.

McCarthy, J. (2015). Student-Centered Learning: It Starts With the Teacher. Retrieved October 29, 2016, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/student-centered-learning-starts-with-teacher-john-mccarthy

     This website stressed the importance of student participation from beginning to end in terms of their learning.  It also explained what a student-centered classroom looks like and how to implement it.  This website was a reassurance in letting students lead in what and how they want to learn.

Zubrzycki, J. (2016, May 10). Students ’self-assess’ their way to learning. Education Week. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/11/11/students-self-assess-their-way-to-learning.html

The positive impact for both the teacher and students when given the opportunity for students to have a hands-on approach in their assessments were described in this website.  Allowing students to self-assess allowed the teacher to know what students considered to be important and areas to address while also allowing students to challenge their own learning.

Take Aways:

The resources above were a positive reassurance about student-centered learning.  I have been wanting to incorporate this type of learning in my classroom for some time now and it is good know how it benefits the students.

Questions:

What are the best practices in incorporating student-led assessments?  What type of assessments are appropriate and most effective in student-led assessments?  How much more work will I need to do in doing student-led assessments?  When is it most effective to do a student-led assessment compared to a teacher-led one?

Change Idea:

To successfully incorporate a student-led assessment for my 10th grade U.S. History classes focusing on World War I.

IMMOOC – Concluding Thoughts

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How might we measure the impact of innovative practices in education?

This by far is no easy feat.  Measuring the impact of innovative practices in education cannot be done by taking a test or collecting data from a survey.  This type of measurement is not tangible.  Engagement, active participation, ownership of learning, and passion are some of the results of innovative practices in education.  A starting point would be the questions mentioned in The Innovator’s Mindset.  Schools could ask students the following questions:  1. Do you consider yourself as a successful, contributing member of society?  2.  Why did you give the answer above?  3.  What impact do you think the school had on your answers?  This a promising start to determine if and how what was taught in school made an impact.  It also provides information on how schools could improve their current practices.  However, finding students once they leave school and ensuring that they answer these questions can be difficult.

What are you most significant takeaways from the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC?

Some of my significant takeaways from IMMOOC are allowing my students’ need to drive what and how I teach them.  Narrowing my focus and promoting engagement in student learning is another takeaway.  My third significant takeaway is addressing and teaching within my school rather than just doing so within the confines of my classroom.

What will you do as a result?

From my most significant takeaways I plan to get more student feedback and use that feedback to make the necessary adjustments to better what and how I teach.  I have also started to ask students what they would like to do for their final assessments for the units that we have been covering.  It is completely up to them in deciding how they will be assessed.  Although I have been doing this for only a short time, student engagement and interest has increased by this simple adjustment.  I also plan to have students help create rubrics where necessary.

Students have also been given the opportunity to share what they want to learn.  For example, we are currently covering World War I and I have given students more participation in their learning by letting them decide the focus of exactly what we will be covering concerning World War I.  This has been somewhat of a challenge for me in making sure that I am following our state standards and benchmarks while allowing students to have more say in their own learning.  However, student engagement has been on the rise when they are given this opportunity to steer their learning.

In terms of teaching to the whole school, I would like to start small.  Something simple as hanging banners that promote academics, college and career readiness, and awareness, such as suicide prevention and anti0bullying is where I would like to start.  I have also been wanting to hang positive praise signs in our student bathrooms to build a culture of positivity and respect at the school level.

How will you hold yourself accountable?

I will hold myself accountable in continuing to do what I am doing now and seeking feedback from my students.  I will also be sure to share my successes and challenges within my department and administration.

How are you telling your story, sharing your learning (making great learning go viral), and innovating “inside the box” to make an impact in your community?

I am sharing my story with my colleagues and through blogging.  I haven’t quite figured out just yet how to get our community involved but will continue to look further into this area.

IMMOOC Part 3

What examples of strengths-based leadership from the Innovator’s Mindset resonate with you? How might you focus on strengths to unleash talent and foster innovation in your own context?

One of the examples of strengths-based leadership from the Innovator’s Mindset that really resonated with me was about finding mentors who push us to elevate and challenge our thinking and broaden our abilities.  I also appreciated the idea that we already have what we need, we just need to tap into it.  In reflecting on my teaching practices, I noticed that I was successful in building upon the ideas of others.  All I needed was a blueprint of an idea and I could run with it and create a lesson plan that was successful for my students.  My hurdle was in beating myself up for not coming up with the original idea myself.  It took some time and I still struggle with it, but the realization that the tools I needed were already at my school was powerful.  It is an awesome domino effect.  All it takes is for one teacher to share what they are doing in their classroom and the room lights up with all the teacher light bulbs going off.  I would like to see this happen across curricula.  Talking to other content area teachers in discussing what they are doing and taking those ideas to help support their content with mine will be powerful for all of our students.

 

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What elements of the 8 Things to Look For in Today’s Classrooms” exist in your professional learning? What elements are lacking?

In my professional learning, I would say that voice, choice, time for reflection, critical thinkers, and problem solvers/finders are present.  The areas that are lacking are opportunities for innovation, connected learning, and self-assessment.  These are areas that I would like to address in order to improve my professional learning.

 

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Choose one of the “foundations for innovation” above…Talk about how you are furthering that in your own settings.  Give concrete examples that others can use.

Less is more is one of the “foundations for innovation” that I have been trying to establish within my classroom.  Having Dr. Martin share on this past week’s IMMOOC that you can’t do it all, focus on depth, and taking things off the platter was a breath of fresh air.  It was so reassuring to know that it is okay for me, as a teacher, to focus on depth.  This is a topic that I consistently bring up during department and faculty meetings.  I find myself asking the same question over and over again…”do we want to teach our students breadth or depth?”  It is a question I struggle with throughout the school year.  This year I decided to take a different approach.  I have edited the question to “what do my really students need to know?”  Once I can answer that, my next question is “what are the most effective, and fun, ways for them to learn it?”  This has been successful for me so far during the first quarter of the school year.  For the second quarter, I plan to actually ask my students what they would like to learn about concerning the content we will be covering in class.  I never once asked what they wanted to learn about topics such as World War I or the Great Depression.  I’m looking forward to establishing student ownership of learning within my classroom.

25-Learning Challenge Part 3

Week 3: Continue developing your target activity/skill. Pay particular attention to the collaboration involved in your learning.

  • How do each of these collaborations influence your learning? What challenges do these collaborations pose?

I have chosen my husband and my daughters as my bike riding mentors.  I decided to have my husband and all three of daughters to be parts of my mentoring team as they all bring something unique to help me learn how to ride a bike.

My husband is my go-to person for any and all questions or concerns I may have about bikes and learning how to ride one.  However, his style of teaching needs some work.  “Just get on and go” is the extent of his teaching method.

My three daughters have different levels of bike riding.  My oldest daughter has been riding the longest but looses interest, and patience, in the blink of an eye.  While she has provided me with solid advice, she would rather be spending her time doing something else.  My middle daughter has proven to have patience and longevity in actually teaching me how to ride and my youngest daughter has shown the most compassion and understanding since she’s a brand new bike rider herself.

  • What happens when you are given conflicting advice or when your mentor isn’t immediately available? Does the collaboration inspire divergent thinking or does it restrict your creativity?

Actually getting on a bike and having four people give four different types of instruction/direction is a bit confusing and distracting.  I have learned that it is more productive to have one person give me directions while I am on the bike and then get feedback from all who are present.  The advice has varied at times and I have relied on the advice that I have read about from experts who actually teach adults how to ride.  This has definitely provided me with clarity and reliable instruction.

  • Is collaboration a net positive or a net loss in supporting your learning process?

I would say that collaboration with my mentors have been positive in supporting my learning process.  I have not joined a group in learning how to ride a bike, but have talked to many people who ride and that has been helpful in my bike riding journey.  In addition, just having the opportunity to talk about my process with family and friends has also helped in reflecting in what I have accomplished and what still needs to be done.biking_family_stick_decal

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