34. Publication Final Draft & Compilation Post – Resources Digital Environments

The resources digital environments course provided me various opportunities to analyze digital resources and apply new learnings to my learning environment. Such a process was done in various collaborative environments but mainly through a Facebook group of 26 colleagues who craved for learning from each other. I truly believed that the main goals for the Resources Digital Environments course were met.

During the first two weeks, I dove into the ISTE standards and other articles that pushed my thinking. For example, the article Publishing: Can I really do that? provided the guidelines for exploring the idea of publishing what I do in my classroom. As an educator, I feel I undermine the work I do. However, this article really encouraged me to share what I do or implement in my room because it is valuable. This journey sent me to explore and evaluate digital resources through which I could share my teaching and learning experiences. I discovered that my innovation plan – How the station-rotation blended approach can increase engagement – has value and can support other educators that want to learn how to use technology to enhance learning.

The first step I took when I embarked on this journey was to develop a publication outline. This process allowed me to refine my ideas and think about the intended audience. I have to say that I struggled with this step. I believe I am a big idea person who most of the time think about details last. I had not thought about publishing my ideas before so it took me some time to come up with a coherent outline that had a clear direction. I researched some of the agencies that would publish posts from educators, like me, who wanted to share what had been implemented in their classrooms.

I pre-selected three sites where I planned on submitting my publication. This step helped me when writing my draft because I had a clear goal and audience.

  1. Edutopia: ​​In order to submit an article to Edutopia, I need to send them an email with a few sentences describing my proposed post and a high-level outline. I know that the finished outline should be around 750–850 words. In addition to that, I need to have a clear audience. In my case, the intended audience is all educators who want to implement the Blended Learning Approach in their classrooms. 
  2. We Are Teachers: In order to submit an article to We are Teachers, I need to resemble the tone and style of their blogs. Their blog posts run between 500–700 words.
  3. ACTFL Language Connects: I can submit my article to the In the Classroom Department as the article will be on a topic directly related to languages in the classroom.

Another piece that helped a lot was the class discussions regarding digital tools in digital environments and perusing and sharing publications. I realized that I was not the only one who felt vulnerable when sharing their work.

Example of Discussion Board Posts
Feedforward Vs. Feedback

Once the outline was created, I started developing my first draft. In order to refine my publication post, I engaged in a feedforward loop with three more educators – Jennifer Marlor, Angie Ariza, and Christine Glenn. All the communication and collaboration happened through a Facebook group. Each participant posted the rough draft and requested feedback using the assessment rubric. When I received the feedforward, I “listened” to it carefully. Writing is a process that never ends, which means that there is always something that can be changed. My main goal was for my peers to hear my “voice” and for the article to be coherent and meaningful to most educators. I have added an example of the interactions that took place on the Facebook group.

The feedforward allowed me to see different perspectives and adjust my writing piece to the intended audience. In addition to that, the course pushed me to step out of my comfort zone by creating a media pitch for my publication. I have to say that I see myself as an introvert. However, the media project gave me an opportunity to dig deeper into my WHY so that I could share it with others. I tried different tools to create the media pitch such as Doodly, Prezi, and Powtoon but I decided to use Canva and uploaded the video to my YouTube channel. The goal is to present my ideas to influence others in a positive way. The video showcases my “WHY” and “HOW” I want to bring about change in my classroom to increase engagement and student agency in my classroom.

Media Pitch Project

Media Pitch Project

Sharing my ideas in the digital community Publication Article

After the feedforward provided by my peers and the revision and editing process, I can say that I am ready to submit my article to Edutopia and/or We are Teachers. The article will be submitted in August with the main goal to share my ideas with other educators.

Throughout the Resources Digital Environments course, I engaged in a highly collaborative environment in which I felt out of my comfort zone. The different assignments allowed me to dig deeper into the implementation process of my innovation plan.

Reflection: The videos and readings of the course allowed me to push my thinking. As an educator, I have learned how to share what I do in my classroom with informal posts via Twitter or comments via Facebook groups and discussion boards in the course. I truly feel that I have grown tremendously in this area (discussion posts). The readings and videos gave me the context to make connections and share my thinking with my peers about the variety of ways technology can enhance learning, how my learning environment is changing and how I can share the changes I am making in my classroom. These discussions gave me the tools and experience to step out of my comfort zone and share what I do with a wider learning community. I blogged about all the contributions to my learning in one of my most recent posts: Contributions to My Learning Community.

The reflection process and collaboration I engaged in this course also helped me grow as an educator. My next step is to publish the article. I will submit it in August to We Are Teachers.

Self-Assessment Marking: 92

Final Draft

33. Media Project

Sharing what I do in my classroom is new to me. It was only until I started the ADL program that I found it important to create a space like my e-portfolio to share my ideas with others. It was not an easy process though because I truly believe that whatever is out there for the public has to be meaningful and relevant to the intended audience. When I started the ADL program, I created an innovation plan based on the needs of my students. The problem I found was that my students were not engaged during my classes, which was a problem also shared by other teachers in my learning context. I dug deeper into the content and found an extensive number of researchers who had discussed the benefits of blended learning, which was my viable solution to the problem I had identified. The literature review allowed me to select a specific blended learning model I wanted to implement in my classroom: Station-Rotation.

Creating a significant learning environment was of utmost importance. I was able to identify fixed mindsets and prepare to overcome those obstacles before and during the implementation of the station-rotation approach.

It is now time to make my innovation plan known. I feel it is my duty to contribute to the field and support other educators. I took knowledge from lots of educators and it is my time to give back by sharing what I have implemented in my classroom. I created a media pitch project and wrote an article that was reviewed by three educators. Their feedforward was key in refining the writing piece before I submit it to We Are Teachers or Edutopia in August 2022.

Media Pitch Project

Sharing my ideas in the digital community Publication Article

After the feedforward provided by my peers and the revision and editing process, I can say that I am ready to submit my article to Edutopia and/or We are Teachers. The article will be submitted in August with the main goal to share my ideas with other educators.

32. Publication Rough Draft

Peer Assessment – The rough draft linked below was assessed by my core peer group. They used the following guidelines and provided the points listed below:

  1. PURPOSE AND AUDIENCE: 10 points
    • The written text effectively expresses the writer’s purpose and effectively addresses audience concerns.
  2. ORGANIZATION/LOGIC: 8 points
    • The written text demonstrates a logical arrangement of paragraphs, logical use of transitions between paragraphs, and a logical organization of ideas within paragraphs. The organizational logic enhances a reader’s understanding of the text’s ideas
  3. DEVELOPMENT: 8 points
    •  The written text effectively employs reasons and evidence—i.e., all reasons support the text’s purpose, and specific evidence supports all reasons.
  4. INTEGRATION OF KNOWLEDGE: 10 points
    • The writer’s voice in the text demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the content and a personal engagement with the content (via the writer’s ideas, values, beliefs, and experiences). Readers perceive this textual voice as trustworthy.
  5. PUBLICATION GUIDELINES: 9 points
    • The written text contains few or no errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, or sentence structure. Style is effective. Documentation is thorough and effective. The article follows all of the publication guidelines.

Total points: 45

The feedforward provided by my colleagues – Jennifer Lynn Marlor, Angie Ariza, and Christine Glenn – allowed me to work on gaps and expand my ideas when necessary. I know I get all into the topic of blended learning and I sometimes forget that others – in this case, my audience – might need additional details to understand where I am at in the process and where I am going to accomplish my goal.

Where do you plan to submit it? I am planning on submitting my article to:
a. Edutopia
b. We Are Teachers
c. ACTFL Language Connects

31. Innovation Plan Update

The educational field has been changing constantly in an attempt to meet the needs of students. Blended learning has the potential to shift traditional instruction to a more sophisticated way of learning that provides students with the opportunity to have more control over their learning (Maxwell, 2016, paras. 1-2). The flexibility the approach provides through the different blended learning models serves as the medium for students to become more self-directed learners. I started working on my innovation plan in 2021 and the initiative continued during the 2021-2022 school year. As an educator, I want to challenge my students as I meet their cognitive and socio-emotional needs in my Spanish classes.  

My Innovation Plan is now in phase 5. In this phase, the teachers who implemented the program and I will present the final findings to the administration team. However, I will adjust my innovation plan by adding two more phases:

Phase 6: This phase will be implemented in September 2022. I will collect feedback from the admin team and adjust the implementation process of my innovation plan. The feedback will be collected through a survey and a debrief session. I will also share some additional resources (see videos below) that were key while I was learning about the blended learning approach.

How and why to integrate station rotation into your classroom

Phase 7: This phase will be implemented in October 2022. I will present the findings to all staff. The purpose of this phase is for them to enable them to use this type of process to reflect upon their own teaching and adjust it if necessary. 

During the month of August, the data will include the following topics:

  1. Why? I will discuss why I changed the way I taught my students and what I tried to accomplish. 
  2. Review of data: The two teachers who implemented the components of blended learning will showcase the results of their surveys to determine if student engagement increased. 
  3. What went well? What roadblocks did we experience? Teachers will present qualitative data showing what worked for students. I will also explain the growth and impact the innovation plan had on student learning and my personal growth. 
  4. Student samples: By showing teachers the different e-portfolios students developed as evidence of learning and engagement in the classroom. This work engaged and energized my students through authentic learning experiences giving them choice, ownership and voice. Teachers guided students to collect all the academic work that learners implemented through the steps in my innovation plan. Here are some examples of the students’ work:
  1. Student 1    https://bit.ly/3d3vTDP
  2. Student 2    https://bit.ly/2ZDt2hT
  3. Student 3       https://bit.ly/2ZDt2hT
  4. Student 4  https://bit.ly/3xDdd7c
  5. Stuident 5   https://bit.ly/3xZxpCN
  6. Student 6    https://bit.ly/3xVzw8A
  7. Student 7 https://bit.ly/3G5tvsE
  8. Student 8     https://bit.ly/31hgCgy
  9. Student 9     https://bit.ly/3peSXFm

What worked during the planning/implementation of the innovation plan? All the different collaboration opportunities that have been provided throughout the program. The fact that I was challenged to think outside of the box to meet the needs of my students, who are facing changes. Throughout this learning, I have learned that I am not alone. Other educators want and are willing to take risks, but it takes collaboration to move forward and support each other. This is one of the lessons that I learned and something I need to do better. I did not reach out to everyone due to the magnitude of the project – from my perspective – but it is definitely something I want to do for my future innovation project. Expanding the initiative will allow teachers to support each other and reflect upon their teaching process. I took a huge risk with my innovation plan by going almost solo. I realized it is necessary to have more people in the team who are invested in growing themselves and their students, which is my goal for my next innovation plan.

29. Publication Outline

Due to the rapid changes in the ways students learn, it is of utmost importance for educators to share what they do in their classrooms to encourage others to take risks in an attempt to support students and meet their needs.

Link to document in Google Doc format – HERE

28. Connecting and Communicating Your Ideas

Part A – Detailed Action Research Plan

Part B – Module assignments

As an educator, I did not think that I could carry out research in my learning environment. After reading about action research, I created an action research outline that included the main components of the research. This allowed me to identify a need in my classroom and narrow down the topic to a research question. The next step was reading and learning more about blended learning and the different models that could be used in a classroom. The body of literature allowed me to dig deeper into the content and identify how this research will add to the educational field.

27. Literature Review

Classrooms across the globe are changing constantly due to the needs students have. In my classroom, I have noticed students are not engaged. There is a huge need for them to have voice and often choice in how they learn. Classroom action research will allow me to reflect upon how to meet the needs of my 9th-grade students in a Spanish class.

Link to document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1371sqdWbCpElTOjFrlydzasaFflqrgNrVq7jLOg5ihE/edit

23. IMPLEMENTATION – ONLINE COURSE

ONLINE COURSE – This course is created in Schoology which is the Learning Management System used in my school context. Let me show you the course roadmap so that you get familiarized with the learning environment. 

Once you open the course you will see a START HERE folder. The first document you will see is the goals of the course. This is the WHY I created this course and what participants will be able to achieve when they complete each module. 

The next section has a short description of the instructor. For accessibility purposes, I included a video in addition to the written description. 

The next section has the syllabus. This is a very important document because it has the full course description, what the participants will achieve – or learning outcomes, the materials that will be used (which are included in each module). 

This is a self-paced online course with synchronous zoom meetings held at the end of each module so that participants can reflect upon the content being targeted and problem-solve some of the stumbling blocks teachers encounter along the way.

Some other sections that I include in the syllabus are:

  1. How participants can communicate with me and other participants. For example, they can send me an email and I will respond to them in less than 24 hours. Participants will also have the opportunity to use the discussion boards created in the course to communicate with other teachers. I will also share different apps that participants can use to collaborate in a closed environment with others – for example GroupMe or Slack. An additional way for the participants to communicate with me and others is through the Zoom meetings held in each module. 
  2. Technology requirements: Teachers will need a computer and access to schoology. 
  3. Technical support: If participants need technical assistance they can reach out to the HelpDesk at school. They can solve problems with access to schoology, uploading / downloading documents. If participants need support with the content, they can reach out to me or any other team member via email, or any other collaboration app they may be using.
  4. How discussion boards will be held and the expectations for each assignment. Participants are expected to respond to other participants’ comments so that the discussion stays alive.
  5. Most of the content will be delivered online. 80% will be done asynchronously and 20% synchronously.
  6. The course schedule is included in a PDF file which has links to all resources being used throughout the course.

The content involves small, focused segments of learning that are designed for the participants to meet a specific learning outcome. In other words, the learning is chunked so that the cognitive load keeps the participants engaged in learning, giving them time to absorb, recall and implement what they have learned. 

The learning theory that is behind this course is the Online Collaborative learning theory which derives from social constructivism since students are encouraged to collaboratively solve problems through discourse and where the I, the teacher, play the role of facilitator as well as learning community member. Another role that I play is that of an active facilitator of knowledge building. 

 I truly believe that  instruction is not simply about learning content or a skill but also supports students socially and emotionally, which is how constructivists view teaching and learning as inherently social activities.

This is shown in the course through the various discussions strategically placed in each module as well as the Zoom meetings which will be held at the end of each module to reflect and build upon each other’s ideas. Therefore, I can say that this is a student-centered course. 

Each participant will have access to the information and will work on the implementation of one of the blended learning models in their specific context. Such personalization of content will be accompanied with active collaboration amongst the teachers through discussion boards. I will encourage participants to also collaborate outside the learning environment by using apps such as Slack or GroupMe.

The first module targets what blended learning is and why it should be incorporated. For this module, participants will be provided the background of blended learning by watching a couple of videos and reflecting upon the testimony of a 6th grade teacher. I like to provide choices so another activity that I added was a list of articles that target the same content in different ways. The goal is for the participants to read ONE article and discuss how their initial thinking about blended learning has changed or what hesitations they still have about implementing Blended Learning. Their perspectives will be also shared during the ZOOM meeting scheduled at the end of the module.

The second module explores relevant research literature to help participants construct a new understanding of blended learning. Most of the assignments included in this module ask participants to record themselves (video or/and audio) reflecting upon the content they reviewed. By including video recording, teachers will experience the benefit of some of the tools that can be used when they implement Blended Learning. My goal as the facilitator of learning is to provide feedback to their responses in the same format (via video).

Module 3 addresses the learning blending modules, module 4 targets the planning of the lesson plan or model and module 5 is all about the implementation of the lesson or model. Each module has embedded assessments that provoke discussion, reflection and in which participants need to complete small projects that are essential pieces of the final product in module 5.

21. Contributions to my learning & my learning community

This course has provided strategies for me to dig deep into my innovation plan and be strategic at planning its implementation. For the Leading Organization Change class, I rate myself 90/100. The weekly discussions worked for me as it gave me an opportunity to discuss my thinking and hear other perspectives.

I truly believe that the school and the stakeholders are key players in promoting educational success. But the complexity of the socio-educational processes and the current scope of school failure highlight the need to promote the interaction and initiatives of other educational agents in the school environment. These agents can contribute to school and relevant educational actions, adding value to other professionals and volunteers from the local community. In my context, the school has been working hard on creating committees in which teachers share their perspectives and build strong processes so that everyone is on the same page. Last year, teachers met to discuss different ways in which the remote learning environment could be implemented at school. The discussion was long but worth it. Each person had a different perspective on this matter and it felt good to have a streamline view of what was expected of teachers and from students.

But, what is NOT working? This year has brought lots of whirlwinds: changes in administration, new systems, new initiatives, impact on student learning due to COVID amongst others are huge stressors in my context. Yes, change is challenging but I cannot forget about my focus and end goal.

During this course, I was able to collaborate with the following colleagues at school:

Mr. Mejia – Spanish (LOTE)

Miss White – Science Team Leader

Miss Makil – ESL Team Leader

Mr. Thomas – Math Team Leader

My new partner, Mr. Mejia, had a completely different experience in his classroom from mine.  The discussion we had centered on how teachers influence teachers. This was the perfect segway to share with them my post on Influencing Change. One of my roles as an educator is  to inspire and support change so that the school can move from where it is to where it needs to be to ensure the best outcomes for all its students. Change is always challenging but when necessary change takes place, it responds to the needs of students leading to changed practice and improved student outcomes. How am I inspiring others? I usually share new tools I use and strategies that engage my students in learning Spanish. I had a chance to share the goal of my Innovation Plan. My new partner shared the experience he had at his previous school. In our second conversation, I shared the 4DX framework. We came to the conclusion that most of the time teachers have little input into the planning and even implementation stages of initiatives. This allowed me to think about how to approach crucial conversations at school. I have been one of those who try to avoid conversations that are challenging in nature. Learning how to address conversations through which I share my passion for blended learning helps me to grow as a professional. I am not saying that after reading about Crucial Conversations and putting a plan in place I am an expert. What I am really saying is that I am willing to take the risk to be more open to face crucial conversations that will lead to organizational change.

Every course has provided me the opportunity to push myself and share what I have learned with others. I tend to work in isolation but such a fixed mindset has shifted this year. Collaboration needs to be at the center of everything I do at school because it allows me to learn from others and become a better educator. All the contributions to the course were made (assignments, posts, collaborative team) in a timely manner. The videos and readings allowed me to reflect upon my own practice and motivated me to continue shifting towards a growth mindset.

20. Self-differentiated Leadership and Crucial Conversations.

Leaders in school are everywhere. From my point of view, teachers may assume lots of roles at school with the ultimate goal to support student success. In my organization, one of the goals that is shared informally is building capacity in others with the sole purpose of being better educators each day. With that being said, I cannot do that without being a learner. I am always willing to explore new strategies. My hope is that such enthusiasm and passion encourages others in using those same strategies or approaches to have a positive impact on student learning.

Being a teacher leader does not come easily. I am a passionate educator that has unique opinions about what student learning should look like, and sound like in the classroom. In order to build capacity in others, I have the responsibility to be vulnerable and showcase what I do in my classroom. I am not perfect but I am looking for excellence in what I do.

The key factors for me to become a self-differentiated leader are to turn negative comments into negative, have a growth mindset, be vulnerable and have grit. Change is not easy. Every year educators hear about new initiatives that are in place. Some teachers have lost trust in their leaders and comply with the implementation of the initiatives. However, such compliance takes school leaders to unsuccessful results and mistrust in organizational change.

As a self-directed leader, one who is invested in being vulnerable and taking risks, I need to be ready to manage conversations that will promote change and create a mindshift in others. Such conversations will make me revisit “WHY” I do what I do as an educator. I used to avoid crucial conversations, but everything I do is with the solely purpose of making a positive impact in student learning, which encourages me to continue taking risks. The book “Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high” shares a 7-step primer on managing crucial conversations strategy which I will use to encourage others in implementing Blended Learning in my context.

  1. Start with heart. When I ask myself what I really want and what’s at stake, I come to the same conclusion. I am committed to be a better educator everyday so that I can provide the best education possible to each one of my students because they are the future of the current society. The world is changing rapidly and I feel I am stagnant in the way I teach my students. Technology advancements, and changes in society brought by COVID-19 have made a huge impact in the way students are taught and the tools that are available to do so. When talking to my colleagues, they agree on such changes; however, no action is being taken and that’s what starts crucial conversations.
  2. Learn to look. This is a step I have to get better at as I get defensive when colleagues start making comments against what I do or the way I do blended learning in my room. The mindshift I have to make is channeling that energy into leading the conversation with dialogue. When talking to my colleagues, I want to be on the lookout for a lack of mutual purpose. Not all people are ready to have a conversation that encourages them to initiate change. But when finding teachers who have a mutual purpose (being a learner) I need to be able to remember WHY I want to implement blended learning. The least I want to do is to force ideas into anyone. I want to showcase how I implement Blended Learning (BL) and the results I have gotten so far.
  3. Make it safe. Implementing Blended Learning might sound a huge change to teachers. However, what they have not realized yet is that BL has been around for years. In addition to that, COVID-19 forced teachers and stakeholders to speed up the implementation of certain components and models. How does this fit in this step? When having crucial conversations with teachers, I can take the time to listen to the experiences they had when implementing remote learning, using devices in the classrooms, having students off-campus and face-to-face. Why is this important? These are situations and events that teachers have in common and is a safe place to show interest in the experience they had.
  4. Master your story. When sharing what I do in my classroom and how Blended Learning has impacted student learning, I need to be prepared to respond with passion without being defensive. Grace . Not everyone has the same experiences; however, most of the teachers I work with have a passion for learning and willing to become better educators. From my perspective, I need to act with grace focusing on what teachers have experienced, rather than focusing on what has happened to me. In other words, if I want to promote change, I am to take ownership of myself and my emotions and be able to respond to others with my story and why I do what I do without diminishing what other in what other educators believe.
  5. State your path. The most effective way for me to state my path is by showcasing what I do in my classroom. The evidence of implementing Blended Learning will help me talk about my successes and failures. Why are failures important in this step? In order to grow, I need failure. When this happens, I go into a process of rethinking and reconsidering the steps I am taking when implementing Blended Learning. Successes are expected to be shared but most teachers focus on how I have tackled the struggles I have had throughout the process. These are some of the things I can do to state my path:
    • In weekly PLCs, I will showcase student work that highlights one component of Blended Learning. Instead of doing a different component every week, I will focus on one component a month. By doing this I can lead the path for other teachers who want to do Blended Learning in their classrooms.
    • I will create a website to start telling my story. This will allow teachers to have a place of guidance available to them at any time.
  6. Explore others’ paths. When having a crucial conversation about Blended Learning (BL) in the weekly PLCs, I need to know where other teachers are coming from before I am able to respond to their comments or questions. My goal is not to force anyone in doing BL in their rooms. My ultimate goal is to inspire others to impact student learning, increase engagement and support students in their quest to become productive citizens. Something I have realized is that most teachers went into education because they want kids to have a successful future. But this entails providing them the tools to be able to be successful on their own. Finding a place in which both educators agree on will allow for some dialogue when navigating the crucial conversation.  
  7. Move to action. Crucial conversations cannot be left open. When having these conversations in PLC, roles need to be assigned so that action steps can be documented. It is important to know who, what, when steps are happening. By doing this, the team of teachers will hold themselves accountable. Writing goals as action steps will allow the team to achieve bite-size goals so that successes can be celebrated and help them feel more confident and comfortable with change.

As a self-directed leader, one who is passionate about student learning, I need to learn how to navigate crucial conversations. Having a growth mindset will help me achieve this goal by giving me the courage to be vulnerable and share not only my successes but also my failures.

References

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2002). Crucial conversations. McGraw-Hill Contemporary.