Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Taking a Step Back before Taking FLIGHT!

British film maker and author, Danny Wallace once said "Sometimes the little things that FLY at us each day can have the greatest impact."

When I used to coach youth basketball, I told my team, "One thing at a time, one possession at a time, one basket at a time, it's all about the little things." When everyone works with a common cause, with similar objectives and targets, positivity and success ensue. 

As I visited Horning Middle School's FLIGHT Academy, (Facilitating Learning through Innovation, Guidance, High expectations & Technology) I was amazed at the students all working toward common goals, advancing their learning at their own pace. Student engagement, by utilizing resources around them as well as digital resources, optimal learning environments through a commons, studio, and quiet lounge, and innovative uses of iPads and media! I chatted with students about how they like the Academy, and they loved it - from moving around the room as a plus, to having iPad accessibility through the Academy, they worked motivated on assignments to ensure they would be able to get stickers on a big sticker chart. One student assured me that while he was missing a sticker, he had on his iPad his next steps to do to finish a project that "really will be awesome with how much I learned." Truly a collaborative environment among students and adults, with awareness for assignments and personalized learning, of which students, and advisors, Jeff Allen & Krista Krauter can be proud!

As I took a step back from it, I reflected with our Dean of Academics/Effectiveness Coach, Brad Christensen, about how learning happens and the influence we have as we work to engage our students. The greatest take away from the FLIGHT Academy visit is students' awareness of learning targetsAs I have found often with innovation practices and personalized learning, when students know the learning targets and objectives up front, they have increased buy in to the learning material to process through the learning material, and demonstrate their own understanding with their furthered engagement and motivation. Students "get it" and make it real and understandable for themselves and thereby are able to help their peers and dig deeper into new connections and reflections.

I smiled to myself as I left the FLIGHT Academy - how much educators work to enhance our students' learning, and how they process through learning with our I Can statements in hand. While sometimes, it's a sticker, more often, it's the excitement and motivation our students have to show their learning, a little thing to remember so we can have the greatest impact for positivity and success. It's remembering that it's okay to take a step back and reflect. The little things come together, and together, with our students, we can take FLIGHT!!!

Tracy's Tuesday Tech Tip: Go to our Scholar Sites Page for More Info!

App Spotlight: Not really an app, but somewhat of an unknown resource, Wisconsin Media Lab is a great starting point for various digital resources. With various subject hubs, such as the great resource Into the Book, it's a nice place to find iPad friend web tools.

Highlighting our Symbaloo: We all know the general idea between iMovie, but what scholars are displaying in their work has been awesome - sharing their learning with photos, captions and audio explaining their knowledge in new and heightened ways!

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