When I logged into iGoogle this Saturday morning, I was greeted by this image:
Achievement is certainly preceded by action. Yesterday, on Friday, I was inspired by the ACTION a sizeable handfull of teachers took when they embarked on the “20 minute experiment.” Explained more fully in the permalink above, Jill Gough encouraged a number of us to engage in an experiment that would synthesize: 1) some of David Souza’s brain research on primacy and recency, 2) formative assessment, and 3) tweeting as a means of forum discussion. Among several others, a ninth-grade physics teacher agreed to participate and became immediately involved. He provides a summary of how he implemented the experiment at Quantum Progress. Throughout the day, participating teachers would take a brief “commercial break” 20 minutes into class and ask students to summarize what they had learned so far. Together the class would craft a 140-character tweet to summarize their learning, and they would post to the teacher’s Twitter account with the hashtag #20minwms. As the tweets appeared, we could all see what was being learned in the participating classes. We even received a spirited and curious inquiry about what we were doing from a Director of Teaching and Learning at a neighboring school. As the day progressed, the number of involved teachers grew – a snow ball was born!
Can you imagine the potential of this process to serve as formative assessment for teachers and students? To connect the learning that occurs between and among classes? To break down the walls that exist between classes? To serve as a window into learning for parents? To archive an essence of what was happening during a day of school? To…
It is about learning, isn’t it?! It takes action, it requires some risk taking, and it certainly is fun when we do it together!
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Thanks Bo. I am excited to continue next week too. I collected data (Synergy 8, you know). By the end of the day on Friday, 9 teachers had tweeted about learning in more than 30 tweets. Between 4:00 pm on Friday and 11:00 am on Saturday, 3 more teachers tweeted using the #20minwms hashtag. As of 10:00 pm Saturday night, 4 more faculty members created accounts on Twitter.
All fun, exciting bright spots! Thank you for documenting more.
I’ve been contemplating Bob’s comment.
What would his message would say if we applied the art of questioning to his comment? Was I intrigued enough to take action?
Sounds like a successful experiment. I was observing a class when it was taking place. Handled well! Wouldn’t it be great if all students had Twitter accounts and all were able to post what they were learning at the 20 minute point? In my class, the teacher randomly picked one to post. It was a good one, but so were the other 14. Some were, I hadn’t learned anything yet. Would it be better if the kids could tweet to record these comments? Would it help this teacher know who needs additional attention? So the experiment has begun and is off to a good start. What can we do to improve it for all learners? How can I help?
To quote Grant Lichtman, “Questions are the waypoints on the path to wisdom.”
Bob Ryshke says, “So the experiment has begun and is off to a good start. Now we should improve upon it.”
Knowing the JH teachers as I do, I have every confidence that they will improve upon it. Certainly, for those involved in the experiment thus far, they all possess a commitment to kaizen (continuous improvement). However, after just the first day of conducting the experiment as a “practice” or “scrimmage,” I would prefer to point out the following (instead of any implementation short falls):
1. After an email sent by a colleague late Thursday, by Friday morning, during the first period of the day (P3), a Bible teacher was already involved in the experiment.
2. Also on Friday, a chorus/drama teacher became involved.
3. They both paused class, conducted an informal formative assessment, and posted to Twitter. Now we could all read and follow along. The walls of the egg crate culture had just become even more semi-permeable. SUCCESS!
3.5 Hashtags were revised to get us all on the same page – common language and shared knowledge were building!
4. During 4th period PLC (JH math and science teachers), we paused to conduct the experiment. WE are LEARNING, too. “Students” is a term that should apply to every adult in the building, as well. Interest was created, curiosity was peeked, and a “need-to-know” was established. Souza and the CFT brain cohort were quoted – colleagues were ASKING for research and connections to other colleague work!
5. During other 4th period classes (just second meeting time of the day), other teachers were participating in the experiment. We were learning to “ride a bike” by actually riding the bike! Not concentrating on the falling, but the pedaling and balancing happening!
6. As assembly was starting during the third meeting time of the day, two teachers asked me if they could be excused to work together with two PLC facilitators to get set up on Twitter so they could participate. They had never heard of Twitter, they were skeptical at best, but they ASKED to participate. A learning session happened for a small cohort of teachers who asked to get in on the ACTION for formative assessment, brain-based learning, social media for good use, etc. WOW!
7. At 5th period Spanish PLT, we again participated in the 20 min project as adult students. Another group of educators became intrigued. During that 20 min commercial break, the Director of Teaching and Learning at Trinity tweeted with curiosity about #20minwms. Now, we teachers had evidence that what we were doing was “interesting” to other master teachers and ecucators and schools.
I could continue with 8.-28. probably. Lunch involved conversation about the 20 min project. Emails, tweets, and texts were exchanging as people wanted to buy in and get involved. Cross-divisional excitement was happening. Through ADULT PBL (project-based learning), a draw had been established. Now people were asking for copies of the article/chapter by Souza. Now people were making “aha” moments about Monday’s keynote about formative assessment not always being pencil and paper. Now teachers were rallying around a common lesson study for improved knowledge of student learning!
A teacher from the “old school” may want to mark our proverbial paper with a red pen and show us where our mistakes are. But this was DAY ONE. This was the brainstorm. This was the divergent thinking crossroad with the convergent thinking. This is a time to recognize positives, successes, reasons to continue, and things to continue.
“You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.” Instead of trying to push or pull that strong head to the water, let’s “salt his oats.” Let’s make him thirsty for the water. Let’s inspire the horse to drink with encouragement.
I am so excited to continue on Monday or Tuesday (if Monday sees us snowed in at home!) Kudos to the JH and HS and Elem teachers who got involved on Friday!
Sounds like a successful experiment. I was observing a class when it was taking place. Handled well! I think it could have improved if all students had Twitter accounts and all were able to post what they were learning at the 20 minute point. In my class, the teacher randomly picked one to post. It was a good one, but so were the other 14. Some were, I hadn’t learned anything yet. What do we do with that tweet? So the experiment has begun and is off to a good start. Now we should improve upon it.
I’m so interested in why you didn’t participate if you were in class.
I think that the first step is to participate. I believe that we will improve as we learn.
I believe that we are motivated to improve by bright spot comments, encouraging us to grow as learners together.
I do not believe that we are motivated to improve when obstacles are put in our path.
We are clearing a path, together. We are learning together.
Respectfully, we ask that you participate with us before you try to improve us.
I might have taken the first obvious action, but our collaboration was the catalyst for the experiment. Your great questions Thursday after the History PLT meeting prompted the synthesis of ideas and action.
We had so much fun with this experiment yesterday. The learning continues this morning for our colleagues. More have created Twitter accounts and are practicing for Monday’s official launch.
@jenlalley requests that we continue for a second week because she is going to be out of town at a conference this week. The same is true for @scootgocats.
@sirwhitm78 says “#20minwms students want to present what they’ve learned in groups. YAY! Student designed presentation rubrics on Mon…. stay tuned!” Student presentations are Monday at 9:15 if we want to see it live.
I enjoyed observing @occam98’s class and implementation of this experiment. It was great to see his interpretation first hand, and I learned too!
Here’s to more great teamwork. It is about learning and growth, teamwork and fun.