The Depth and Complexity Icons from Sandra Kaplan are a wonderful way to encourage learners to go beyond surface level thinking and dive deep in order to truly understand a concept, idea, or strategy. I used the icons in my own classroom and have shared them with teachers as a way to encourage deep understanding in their own classrooms. If you want to know more about each icon and how to use them, check out Why I Love Depth and Complexity and You Should Too from Gifted Guru or Introducing Depth and Complexity from Ian Byrd.
There were many times in my classroom that I wanted students to use the icons to think about something that we were learning, discussing, or reading. I would often just draw out of a bucket so that they knew which icon I was going to ask them to use. I wanted them to experience all of the icons and while sometimes I was intentional about weaving in specific icons, I also loved the idea of randomizing the icons. I recently began to think about how convenient it might be to have the icons connected to a randomized QR code. So, I did some research, learned a ton from Tony Vincent about how to create randomized QR codes, and made it happen. I wanted to share with you guys so that you can use this in your classroom to help your learners dive deep as they move beyond surface level to move toward deep understanding.
In my last post about thought partners in the classroom, I shared that a thought partner is someone who...
I couldn't help but begin to consider what this might look like in a classroom that prioritizes life ready skills or the 4Cs + 1R (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Reflection).
So, I received some very exciting news this morning from Wonderopolis and I couldn't wait to share. Immersive Reader is now available with every wonder, making Wonderopolis even more accessible for today's learners.
Thinking before doing is not a strength of mine. I like to try new things, take risks, and jump in with both feet. Innovation is often my first thought and details tend to come later. Because of this, I'm a big fan of the thought partner concept. My thought partner, Kari Espin, often changes my perspective, helps me reflect in order to improve, and encourages me to take things to the next level by thinking beyond my comfort zone. I was recently thinking about how beneficial this is for me and how much more beneficial it might be in the classroom. Kari talks often about how much she enjoys being a thought partner and she is passionate about helping others take their thoughts, ideas, and even their careers to another level.
Make no mistake, innovative learning experiences like Genius Hour are not always unicorns and rainbows. In fact, this type of learning can get really messy and feel uncomfortable for both teachers and students. You see, passion-based learning requires everyone to assume different roles in the classroom and the reality is that that is much easier said than done. Teachers must become facilitators and give learners the opportunity to learn by doing, experience real struggle, and figure things out on their own. Learners must be willing to drive their own learning, ask questions, and push through their struggle in order to figure things out on their own.
I was super stoked to hear that Flipgrid has made augmented reality available on their platform! Yes, you heard me correctly...FlipgridAR is a thing and I can't stop thinking of ways that this will enhance the learning experience for so many students!
In order to use FlipgridAR, you just need to make sure that you have updated the app and that you are using a device that supports augmented reality.
I'm sure that you can think of so many ways that this can work in your classroom but just in case you need a few ideas to get started, here ya go...
Okay, obviously I'm obsessed with Book Creator right now. Today I sat down to create a Book of Wonders.
I often recommend Wonderopolis for educators that need something for early finishers or those that have already mastered what is being learned. I've also suggested that they implement Wonder Wednesdays and give students an opportunity to explore Wonderopolis and learn based on their curiosity.
If you haven't seen Wonderopolis before, let me introduce you. I am such a fan of their work and used it in my own classroom almost every single day. I love that students can learn new vocabulary, practice comprehension, and dive deep into a topic of their choice all on this one platform.
After coming home from ISTE, I was looking through several of my notes and realized that I hadn't spent much time in Book Creator. Sure, I share it sometimes with educators and talk about how it can be used as a product creation tool for students, but I hadn't considered how it might be used for students to document their experience throughout Genius Hour.
Then, I was tagged in a tweet in which Krystle Bassett shared her ISTE takeaways. She used Book Creator to share her thoughts and I LOVED it. I couldn't help but begin to think about how this amazing resource could be used to organize and document the 6 Ps of Genius Hour, so I got to work right away.
80% of the world's oceans are unexplored. We have no idea what exists, what's possible, and what might be beneath the surface of the unexplored waters. Because of the difficulty, risk, and cost associated with exploration, we are unaware of the potential that lies beneath.
What if the same is true for student learning? What if we have only scratched the surface of our learners' potential because of our unwillingness to be uncomfortable, fear of taking risks, and inability to see what's possible?
If you haven't heard of Waco, Texas, you might not be a fan of Fixer Upper on HGTV. Chip and Joanna Gaines have created quite the stir in our little town and have created an experience unlike any other. They are a local couple that take older homes and remodel, redesign them into beautiful living spaces that people are going crazy for right now. They also own Magnolia Market, a place for others to find home decor similar to that used on the show.
As I drove by the Silos (a shopping experience created by Magnolia) the other day and saw people walking around with smiles on their faces, excited to be part of the Magnolia experience, I couldn't help but wonder what we need to do to make school a similar experience. What if our students came into school looking forward to what would happen, wondering what they might see, and willing to spend time exploring, investing, and ultimately learning?
© 2018 Andi McNair