Friday, June 7, 2013

Transitions

Dear Readers,

The school year and my time at Alexandria Country Day School (ACDS) has ended. I started this blog a year and a half ago to communicate examples of effective instructional strategies to our parents. Over time, through Google analytics, it became evident that the readers were not just our parents. We began to have hits to the blog from across the US and from around the world. I am guessing that the greater learning community of educators began to hear about the practices of our teachers through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

ACDS will have a new website this summer that will include the option to host blogs. As I am moving on to Washington International School (WIS), I am hoping that my replacement will start a blog at the new site as this will be the last post for the Innovative Practices at ACDS blog.

My transition to Washington International School means new learning opportunities for myself and the readers of Innovative Practices at ACDS, if you choose to follow me. The educators at Washington International School are known for their leadership in many areas of teaching and curriculum.

Here are a few:

I will soon be sharing about each of these topics via my Lessons Learned professional blog and the EdTech Co-Op podcast that I co-host with Dr. Mark Hofer of the College of William & Mary. Another topic that I often write and podcast about is the Information and Communications Literacies (ICL) combined library and instructional technology approach to "skilling" our students for an information rich world. Fortunately the instructional technologists and librarians of Washington International School have a strong ICL curriculum in place. It will be a wonderful opportunity for my professional growth to learn from my new teammates and to then share via my blog and podcast.


I would like to share my thanks to the ACDS teachers who shared their lessons with me and to you the readers for following this blog. I am very excited starting in September to be in the position to continue to share with you how fantastic teachers adapt and innovate their lessons to reach all their learners. Please look to join me as we continue this learning journey together.

-David Carpenter

Instructional Technologist
Twitter: davidcarp

Friday, May 17, 2013

Art Immersion in the Library


The library has a new look! 


Any visitor to Alexandria Country Day School is welcomed by beautiful art throughout the school. With the students often creating art around themes, it became clear to our art teacher, Ms. Tacktill, that we should try to put the artwork created around the alphabet together in a collection.


Much like the Barnes Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, Ms. Tacktill decided to exhibit the art to cover the walls at one end of the library.


It is quite stunning to see the new collection from the entrance to the library to then follow one's curiosity to get the full close up experience of being immersed in art as one is at the Barnes. Bravo Ms. Tacktill!




Thursday, May 16, 2013


With summer soon upon us, the students and staff of ACDS will continue their learning by participating in the annual summer reading and writing program. Several students will be sharing their reflections this year via personal blogs. Ms. Lockwood also is building community through a blog dedicated to sharing book recommendations. Whether you are a member of the ACDS community or an educator from around the world, do look to go through the Reading and Response Journals site to learn about this wonderful learning adventure that Ms. Lockwood coordinates each summer. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reflection and Transfer in Physical Education


Ms. Zaleski challenged her Middle School students to think about their learning in PE from this school year. She wanted them to reflect about sportsmanship, skills, healthy habits and game playing. The students were to think about why we play games and how we play games.

To share their learning, the students worked in teams to design, create  and communicate how to play a game. This transfer task drawing on their learning from the year included the following criteria for the game creation:

  • Purpose
  • Equipment
  • Space Needed
  • How to Play
  • Rules

The assessment took the form of a communication and a performance project. The communication was through a three minute demonstration video. The performance occurred when the designers taught the game and had the other students play the game.

Do look to view a student created video by Ellie and Caroline where they share their "A Journey to the Center of the Elements" game.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Student Videographers

The previous post features a well produced mini documentary by four Seventh Graders. Here are two more that our Seventh Grade students created for the recent "Go Green" school assembly.





Monday, April 29, 2013

7th Graders Lead ACDS Green Initiative


Ms. Stein's 7th Grade science students ran the assembly this morning where they shared several presentations about their follow up efforts to the global warming themed Festival of Learning. Tomorrow will be the kickoff day for the following efforts:

  • Continued work in the community garden
  • Using containers for bringing lunch to school instead of plastic bags
  • Composting fruit and vegetables from lunch that are usually thrown away
  • Renewed efforts by students and teachers to recycle while in and out of school
  • Hypersensitivity to turning off lights and using water

Look to view the very thoughtful and well-designed video on global warming that Colin, Sam, Drew and Alex produced. 

Student-Led Conferences in the 5th Grade

The students in the Alexandria Country Day Middle School met with their parents last week to review their learning from the year. In preparation for the conferences, the 5th Grade students were given the following set of questions centered upon our Portrait of a Graduate dispositions. The students spent time thinking about their learning and responding to the questions. Their teachers, Ms. Cook and Ms. Weaver, arranged sessions for each student to practice with an adult in preparation for meeting with their parents. This was a nice way to build on the scaffolding they already had in place with the questions listed below. The students typed up their responses to the questions and met with their teachers for feedback as they prepared for the conferences.

______________________________

Independent Learner: Use three pieces of evidence from your work this year to describe how you have grown as an independent learner.

You should think about the following:
  • How did you solve problems or figure things out on your own?
  • How did you advocate for yourself if you needed something?
  • How did you organize yourself?
  • How did you motivate yourself?
Your response should include: At least one full paragraph. You might want to use three (one for each piece of evidence.) Work from more than one class. Work from more than one trimester. Look to reflect further about of your strengths, weaknesses and growth in this area.

Communicator: Use three pieces of evidence from your work this year to describe how you have grown as a communicator.You should think about the following:
  • How have you communicated your learning this year?
  • How do you prefer to communicate your learning?
  • How was your message received?
Your response should include: At least one full paragraph. You might want to use three (one for each piece of evidence.)
  • Work from more than one class.
  • Work from more than one trimester.
  • Work showing more than one type of communication (writing, speaking, VoiceThread, iMovie, Keynote, ScreenChomp or other tools)
Look to reflect further about of your strengths, weaknesses and growth in this area.

Community Minded: Use three pieces of evidence from your work or activities this year to describe how you have grown as a community minded individual?

You should think about the following:
  • What have you learned about your community (school, town, country, world) this year?
  • How did you act on this learning?
  • How would you like to act on it in the future?
Your response should include: At least one full paragraph. You might want to use three (one for each piece of evidence.)
  • Work from more than one class or activity.
  • Work from more than one trimester.
  • Look to reflect further about of your strengths, weaknesses and growth in this area.

Balanced: Use three pieces of evidence from your work or activities this year to describe your work/life balance.

You should think about the following:
  • How do you balance your time between things you have to do and things you want to do?
  • Was there a time this year you felt your balance was not right? How did feel?
  • How is your current balance?
  • What strategies do you have to be balanced in the future?

Your response should include:
  • At least one full paragraph. You might want to use three (one for each piece of evidence.)
  • Work from more than one class or activity.
  • Work from more than one trimester.
Look to reflect further about of your strengths, weaknesses and growth in this area.