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Friday, May 29, 2015

TUIT: Adam Hicks, Katrina Boone, Kari Patrick (Shelby County High School)

Today is the last day of school for students in Shelby County!  As the end of my tenth and final embedded school visit with Simpsonville Elementary comes to completion, I feel the inevitable wrapping up of Edtech Elixirs for 2014-2015 fast approaching.

As my last #ShelbyTUITshoutout for this school year, I want to highlight some previous work by three fine teachers at SCHS: Adam Hicks, Katrina Boone, and Kari Patrick.

(Quick plug: Adam is also our county's Teacher of the Year for 2014-2015!)

By reviewing their innovative work, we can also look ahead to what teaching may be like in our high school classrooms next year, as our 1:1 initiative begins.

Mr. Hicks, Ms. Boone and Ms. Patrick worked collaboratively on a new digital way of teaching, creating and revising writing in a blended learning digital environment. A few months ago, they discussed their "flipped writing" work at the 2015 KCTE/LA annual conference.  (Their presentation materials are on Mr. Hicks's website.)

First, as students begin writing their essays, Mr. Hicks has a series of tips pertinent to certain writing skills always accessible via his website.  (Here's an example on using text evidence.)

Next, after major writing assessments, student exemplars are chosen.  This honors excellent work and offers an authentic publishing opportunity.  However, as Mr. Hicks points out, the samples are not always from the same “good writers”; rather, a diversity of student work is showcased, since exemplars concentrate only on certain standards/skills, which exhibit the various strengths of each member of the classroom. Mr. Hicks considers this the most meaningful part of the flipped writing experience.

Lastly, students use digital remediation in a variety of ways: peer review, reflection, and revision.  The students create Google Blogs and Docs to share their thoughts and give commentary on work. (This is a great example to consider while training for GAFE next week!)

  • For Mr. Hicks's student directions on how to create a Remediation Blog, click here.
  • For examples of student blogs and Docs, scroll to the bottom of this page.
In addition, Ms. Boone and Ms. Patrick’s Hybrid Research Paper utilized a bank of videos, made by several 10th grade SCHS teachers, that gave pointers on certain writing standards and skills.  Students could access and revisit these videos “anytime, anywhere,” and the feedback from students on its impact has been positive.

These three outstanding teachers -- like so many of our #ShelbyTUITshoutout educators -- truly show the power of the digital conversion of learning, and how blended learning can be transformative for our district. May they be a model for the rest of us for how technology can help us aspire to heights we never thought possible.

Some last words for the hardworking teachers, admin, and staff in Shelby County Schools as they say goodbye to their students today: Cherish and celebrate! You have helped make academic growth, you have forged relationships, you have made a crucial difference in other people's lives. Education is never a final product, but always a process of becoming. Before you look forward to the summer ahead, look back and reflect on all your real accomplishments. I am proud and honored to be among you!

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