Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Eating my Humble Pie! and loving it! #GoOpen #OER vetting process for me...

For those looking for a lesson, I will post when I am done, this is the process I went through to get my lesson vetted to publish with creative common license for all to take and use, modify, remix, whatever.  It addresses standard RI4.6 and dives well into both Smarter Balanced performance standards as well as Depths Of Knowledge...  Or it will when it is done.  One of the biggest quesitons asked of #OER is "how is it vetted for quality?"  I went straight to my district instructional coaches to make sure this was quality?  What are you going to do?

Here is the current lesson, but will not be completed until April 17th, 2016.  It is about 50% done right now and very unfinished product, but I wanted to blog about the vetting process today as it is fresh in my mind.   

Background:  Over spring break I decided I wanted to create a lesson from scratch with no help, call it a blended lesson, start with a standard, have an assessment, check points, try to incorporate time, place, path, and pace as much as possible, yada, yada, yada!

So I did, spent 6-8 hours working on it. Probably another 2 hours figuring out how to use a Google Site to house it (which I had never used) and here is what I came up with.  Here's my original blog post with the explanation of how I created the lesson.  I like to give concrete examples, as too much on Social Media is just the same regurgitation of stuff you have already seen.  Passing messages without example does not allow for feedback or vetting.  It only allows for pats on the back... So I chose and choose, examples and real stories over "realistic fiction" or what "might happen" approach to explaining things.

I did this not because I had to do it, but because I was starting to feel morally obligated by the fact that I ask my staff to do this every day, and yet I have never, from a standard, created a lesson start to finish on my own in a blended way.  I did wait about a year and a half to do this, for which I am somewhat ashamed.

I have issues with authenticity, and I really feel a need to do what I ask others to do.  If I don't it eats at me, and eats at me, and then I can't sleep at night.  My motto, I don't want to talk about what I have not done.  So I did it, it was, in my opinion not a terrible lesson, but honestly probably not what I had envisioned when I set out to create something "super special".

I know I can coach, assist, contribute, and have a vision of what a really good blended lesson should and does look like.
  • But is that really enough?  
  • Should I not at least once struggle through the process of planning this out start to finish by myself?
Don't I owe it to my staff and myself to experience the struggles of finding content, making links work, problems with videos not recording correctly, messing up, etc.?  I think so, and then it was late night...

I must not have been thinking properly because I tweeted out my blog with the links to my lesson to my district ELA instructional coaches and supervisor.  I also followed up with an email, really wanting to engage in a conversation around what I had come up with.  And they responded! It was awesome! Well, my initial thought was $^#&^@@! "Oh Boy"

Now I really put my large foot in my mouth!  But I really did want to talk it out and get some more insight.  I love giving feedback and have grown to almost love getting it.  Here is blog on feedback.

I went into this lesson so excited, I just knew because of what I have observed from my staff, meetings I had been in, things I had read, people I had met, that I was going to be able to create the greatest lesson ever!

As soon as I hit publish and especially after I tweeted, emailed, and reviewed it again, I realized I had not created the greatest lesson ever!  It was not horrible, but, on a unofficial (Doug Timm) scale of quality it was like a 5.  I have seen 10's and I have seen 1's, so I felt my self reflection was pretty accurate.

Here is why:  My analogy warning: I started to make my humble pie.  I had gathered the ingredients, mixed it together, put it in the oven, waited, brought it out, tested it, and was about to serve it to my company.  Knowing full well I was missing some very important ingredients.  I thought, maybe some of the greatest "taste testers" in the business might not notice... WELL I WAS WRONG!!! HAHA  They knew right away that I was missing an egg, some sugar, proper crust, and few other things.  

So today, we sat for an hour and a half, probably could have been easily three hours as we only got through half of it, and I have homework!  We used the basis of the lesson, but added so much more, deleted so much, and really came up with something that is not only a lesson that I am super proud of now (at least 50% of it at the current moment) but it is fun, engaging, and to some extent allows the learner (student) to live the standard and experience it, which was the one thing I was going to make sure to include.  It includes a really creative way to use emojis with a first hand account of the moon landing from Neil Armstrong's perspective, is that not enticing enough for you to want to see it...?

Once it is done I will blog the whole thing with links, but I needed to spit out my humble pie, throw the rest of the mess away, and acknowledge that @pam_pdnolte and @rbautman came, met with me as I requested and brought their A game!  I knew they would, and I gotta say, I was rubbing my head, breathing heavy, and was mentally exhausted at 10:30 am this morning.  At the same time I was excited, enlightened, and felt really good about the feedback and direction of "my lesson".

Analogy warning:  This was my baby and I put "him" out there.  There was a slight cringe at the site of "him" at first, probably all my mix matched color schemes, and that fake guitar tattoo I put on his wrist, but we redressed him and rubbed the tattoo off.  Then we gave him some boots (with metal toes, just in case) and pretty soon, he is going to face the world. He is only a few weeks old, but he will be ready to take more hits and get feedback.  He is #GoOpen (R.I 4.6)

So to wrap it up I want to thank Pam Nolte, Rachel Autman, Jess Hoban, and Steph Jones for giving me feedback.  Not being scared to be honest, telling me things did not work, and helping me see the "light" of content in the process of addressing standards.

One thing I forgot.  This lesson also flipped Bloom's on it's head!  There was definitely students experiencing, reflecting, creating feelings about the standard before they every read a first or second hand account of the same event and were asked to compare them (that is basics of standard RI 4.6).  The students are actually writing and reflecting about it before they ever read anything.  I am mostly proud and happy to be able to keep that as part of what will be the finished product.

So for any Principal that thinks creating a lesson plan is not "their" work, I urge you to rethink.  You don't and can't create lessons every day like a teacher, as that is not our job.  Just do it once, find some people that are knowledgeable and not afraid to give feedback to hash it out.  I will be honest, I had some "feelings" when we met today, but that is good!  I love my "baby" and my "humble pie", but I also know that if this lesson is ever given to students it will be good (I hope).  More importantly for me, I am better for "our kids" after going through this.  You should do the same.... There is no reason not too!  What is the downside, pride, effort, time spent planning something you will never use?  The process start to finish is something you can not fake or replicate. Just saying... I really want to finish it and get feedback and then do it again... Just not right away!!! haha

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