Overview of Conversation facilitated by Ben Hazzard and Zoe Branigan-Pipe

Our Goal?
We want participants of the conversation to leave this session with a bank of lesson/teaching ideas that are focused on themes with 21st Century relevance. We want participants to be engaged in creating an authentic task for students, whether it be a diagnostic assessment that will guide a lesson focus, or a culminating activity that is rich and engaging. Participants will help create a resource that can be used when they return to their classroom, or department. Participants will discuss the importance of focusing Big Ideas and will look at the vast amount of tools that students can use to communicate and collaborate. The session will also engage a discussion about data-driven instruction and how this fits within your teaching practice.

Big Idea
This conversation will engage participants to discuss how we can provide our students with deeper learning connections and how we as educators can develop new thinking to deal with the challenges of a changing society so that our teaching methods are aligned with the needs of 21st Century Learners.

Participants will walk through, discuss, and create a Teaching and Learning Critical Pathway (Inspired by the book entitled Breakthrough by Michael Fullen and through The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, Ministry of Education, Ontario) based on a current Grade Six (Canadian) curriculum (participants will chose the curriculum relevant to them). Example of the learning pathway includes the use of several methods of teaching/learning in a Universally Designed Classroom that aligns teaching practice with the needs of 21st Century Learners and uses a variety of learning tools and open source programs that facilitate community and collaboration between students, teachers, and a global educational community.

Through whole group collaboration and discussion, participants WILL:
1) Choose a Big Idea: based on a series of curriculum expectations that are cross-curricular (Examples of “Big idea - overcoming prejudice, being an agent of change, poverty, empathy, biodiversity and environment). Since State and Country standards vary, participants will be encouraged to find the common themes within the standards.

-The Big Ideas will be posted using chart paper around the room, allowing for participants to do a walk about and add suggestions for high-yield teaching methods that align with the Big Idea. As a whole group, the big idea’s and high yield strategies will then be collaborated using a Wikispace.

- As a large group, we will identify the current teaching methods and strategies that are most widely accepted and prevalent within the classroom/school and then will engage in an activity that will align each traditional method with a more current and collaborative approach to learning (ie: student blogging, student VC between classrooms, use of web20 tools for self reflection). This will lead to a discussion about safety concerns, infrastructure issues, system polices.

-Now that the Big Ideas (learning and teaching) have been posted, the participants will identify Rich Culminating tasks that, connect to the world beyond the classroom, lead to outcomes of substantial and CURRENT educational value, engage students, involve more than one curricular area and require higher-order and critical thinking skills. Participants will collaborate either through whole group walk about to provide suggestions, edits and changes to the culminating task (ensuring that it relates well to the Big Idea).

-Last, the participants will identify and discuss methods of assessment, pre and post as well as differentiated methods. Participants will discuss what does or doesn’t our student evidence tell us about student learning and where/how the evidence can lead our teaching as well as what we do for our students that are not being met with success. It will be useful in this discussion to share the types of assessment strategies that are being used and accepted.