Category: Course 1

Course 1 Final Projects

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Thanks to all our COETAIL Online 13 cohort who submitted their Course 1 Final Project and blog posts sharing a variety of revised or developed learning plans that showcased their expertise as an educator and the application of their learning from Course 1 (Ourselves as Learners).

Unit Plan: Flavors: A Cultural Connection
“The knowledge gained through creating this new unit plan for our World Language department gives me a sense of refreshment. I will be able to share my new technological understanding of Google tools I was not aware of before this course: Google Scholar for cultural facts, Google chats for student curiosity questions and inquiries, Google MyMaps and Google Maps for virtual visits and creation on student personalized visits to a city or country as a whole, Google Docs, Slides, and/or YouTube for documentation of gained knowledge.”

Unit Plan: Who Runs the World? Girls! (Sharing the Planet unit of inquiry)
“Social justice and gender equality is something that is very important to me and my teaching. When I first started thinking about this end of course project, I reached out to my next year’s school to ask a bit about what their curriculum looked like. It will be my first year teaching at a PYP school and I was curious about the units of inquiry and how I could incorporate my passion for social justice into that. I found that I would be able to work it into “Sharing the Planet” as my class would be learning about women from all over the world and their contributions to society.”

Unit Plan: Endangered Animals
“I revamped the previously created learning experience to focus more on the research students conducted to inform their presentation. The ISTE Standards for Students helped me think about the learning experience I wanted to provide students when using technology. I was reminded of the half-life of knowledge and also the overwhelming amount of information available. After seeing the standards for “Knowledge Constructor”, I knew that I wanted to develop students’ research and thinking skills so that they would be able to make use of the information and make reasonable evaluations.”

Unit Plan: The Silk Road
“As I redesigned this unit I wanted to provide my students with a variety of opportunities to explore the content. A friend of mine who is a previous COETAILER, always says the best way to help students access the curriculum is to offer the content to them in a lot of different ways. So as I laid out the unit, I included shared readings, videos, games, art, and stations. My goal is to have my students become historians of the Silk Road.”

Professional Development Plan: Exploring The Impact Of Implicit Bias
“A huge difference for this professional development engagement from others I have designed and presented is that it has been designed to meet the needs of a remote environment.  I am used to developing PD that is face to face, often with a strong community building element woven throughout.  Remote learning makes the element of relationship building and maintaining more difficult, yet an environment of safety and trust is vital for this topic.”

Unit Plan: Habitats and Humanity: Finding Out What a Sustainable Settlement Is
“I want the students to better understand that future improvements to cities need to be focused on the environment. I want the students to be able to take ideas from one context, appreciate the benefits of the idea, and be able to apply them to a new context. If students are able to see how one city is becoming more sustainable, hopefully they can understand how their home cities can be more sustainable.”

Unit Plan: Sharing the Planet Inquiry
“I feel like our units always keep getting better – the learning provocations in course one were certainly that extra fuel to think a little bit deeper as to how to make it that much better. Sometimes we are all creatures of habit that look for the path of least resistance. Teachers have to “step out of their comfort zone”, too!”

Unit Plan: Our Beliefs and Social-Emotional Wellbeing
“Creating this unit has allowed me to push my thinking around making content relevant and purposefully integrating technology. I am proud that through this unit I moved from augmentation in the learning stages of Exploration and Finding Pathways to modification in stage three, Experiencing. I provided learners with the opinion of how they would publish their summative piece, asking them to create an authentic product that combined audio, video, and text.”

Unit Plan: Where We Are in Place and Time
“Throughout the planning process, I have realized how my thinking and planning are gradually changing to include various newly discovered ideas and methodologies. I have mixed and matched various formats and ideas in the process of discovering the perfect fit for me and my current school. With ideas from the Course 1 materials and ideas and sources shared by COETAILers, I was able to start creating a unit planner from the scratch, integrating IT and an interdisciplinary approach.”

Unit Plan: Social Justice Heroes
“The integration of #edtech tools is stronger in the new unit than in the old one. The final product for the Humanities unit was an analog book, whereas the revamped unit asks students to create a digital book using Book Creator. Book Creator allows for the students to easily see each other’s work. The publish link on Book Creator also makes the work readily shared with a wider audience – the completed narratives will be sent to the school librarian to publish on the library website.  In the revised unit, the students will record their stories and upload the recordings to a youtube playlist.”

Lesson Plan: Make A Face (photography)
What results do you hope to see when students complete this learning experience / unit?
“Joy, interest, questions, creativity, ambition, great photos & presentations, openness. When in the end every child takes something away for themselves and continues to work, I am happy… The children reacted great. We were very interested and had a lot of fun. Each child had different skills and, accordingly, questions. They exchanged and helped one another.”


Week 6: Finishing Up Course 1

(by Diana Beabout)

One of the benefits of the cohort model we use for COETAIL is the variety of experiences, perspectives, and voices all of our participants bring. And although you are all addressing the same “big idea” and exploring and working through some of the same resources, you all make connections, analyze and synthesize ideas and information, and reflect on and apply your learning in unique ways. 

Image by ptra from Pixabay

Online 13 Blog Posts: Planning for Tech-Rich Learning

For the unit on Planning for Tech-Rich Learning regarding planning for authentic, purposeful learning experiences, we again gain more insight into each others’ experiences and the impact their current context plays in addressing the use of technology for teaching and learning. 

In her post Planning for Tech-Rich Learning in Early Childhood, Amy asks “How can I effectively, practically, and authentically embed technology into my program in a developmentally appropriate way with 3-5-year-olds?” Acknowledging the research on screen time for young children, she uses four guiding principles to reflect on how she is using technology authentically with her young learners (and their parents). 

Kimberly shares how she has seen herself as an Old School Augmenting Relic in her recent post and her consideration of moving her use of mentor text and picture books into the digital world. Her realization is that “With blended learning models, Zoom and the inconsistency of face to face instruction, leaning on my core beliefs is no longer an option. I have to find a way to engage learners and provide agency through integrating technology.” She explains how she is now ready to transform an inquiry and literacy unit using technology. 

Reflecting how her view of the use of technology in education has changed over the past year, Coleton shares her learning and goals for Moving Past Using Technology as a Substitution. Coleton shares how she plans to refocus and refine how her students use technology in an upcoming unit. She concludes, “by providing my students with more choice and a real audience for their work, I can make their use of technology, and their learning, in general, more authentic.”

Comments and Connections

I’ve been really impressed with the amount of interaction that has been taking place via comments on your blog posts. Within the first few weeks, you were sharing your connections, insight, experiences, advice, wonderings, etc. with each other and building those relationships that are core to the COETAIL experience. Tara and I are looking to set up some other opportunities for community building during Course 2 via Flipgrid and online meetings. Stay tuned for more information! 

Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay

Finishing up Course 1 

A reminder of our timeline for the next few weeks. Course 1 officially ends April 4 which gives you approximately two weeks to complete your coursework (blog posts and comments) including your Course 1 Final Project and accompanying blog post. (More details in this week’s email) 

We know there’s been a lot going on with starting COETAIL and adjusting to the weekly blog posts and commenting in addition to everything else going on professionally and personally, but hope you can look at how much you’ve already accomplished these past weeks. Tara and I will be assessing your final projects and look forward to seeing how you apply your learning and expertise in transforming a unit to share.


Week 5: From Theory into Practice

(by Diana Beabout)

Image by Alexandra from Pixabay

This Week: From Theory into Practice

Big Idea: Evolving research impacts teaching & learning.

Since Plato, many theories of learning have been developed, researched, applied, and modified, each one with a different take on how students learn. Learning theories describe “how students absorb, process, and retain knowledge during learning.” The number of different theories can be a bit overwhelming but we’re going to focus on a few of them, especially in relation to learning in the ‘digital age’ (If you’d like to see the expanse of learning theories over time, check out this graphic created by Richard Millwood from his blog)

Today there are new ideas, remixed ideas, old ideas that have been re-packaged or tweaked to address learning, particularly in this ‘digital age’. This week our focus turns to some of these learning theories as we reflect on the question “How might we utilize learning theories to engage and motivate our students and colleagues?”

Resources on Learning Theories
Some of the resources for this week on learning theories are academic research papers that are important to educational research but can be a bit dense and lengthy. Here are some supplemental resources you can explore including videos and articles…

Image by athree23 from Pixabay

Online 13 Blog Posts: Connected Learning

This unit prompted reflection and discussion on personal learning experiences. A few perspectives from our Online 13 cohort…

Justin: “Connected learning”
Justin questions Josh Kaufman’s theory of 20 hours to get “good enough” at anything relating his own learning experiences. Justin shares, “When I think about three of my passions (tennis, climbing and photography)…and have spent well over 20 dedicated hours, “good enough” would not be even close to a label/level of comfort I would be satisfied with. All three are lifelong and enduring. They continually challenge me, empower me to persevere and have enough varying degrees of challenge…Essentially, all three continually ask me to step out of my comfort zone.”

David: “Scared of Learning”
David provides honest and reflective insight into his own challenges with learning, specifically learning Icelandic. He then applies this to student learning sharing, “So, how can I ensure moving forward that students are not as afraid of making a mistake when they start to learn a new skill? This is where the idea of connected learning comes in, both digitally and face-to-face. Connected learning is the intersection of a student’s interests, school work, and life at home. If students are given dedicated time to work on their own interest, such as with Genius Hour,and time to work on a skill, they can gain practice at the 20 hour rule brought up by Kaufman.”

Brandon: “Learning: Do You See the Connection?”
Brandon explores an action plan framework to learn more about self-paced learning to implement in his classroom. Brandon shares his inspiration, “Now that I am a teacher and help to facilitate the learning of tiny individuals, I give a lot more thought to what it means to be a learner and someone who actively seeks out new information and tries new things. …I  recently read a book titled Atomic Habits by James Clear and it has really transformed my life. In the book, Clear states that in order to make anything a practice, we must have a plan in place. He also states that by “stacking habits” we can create a whole slew of healthy habits that become second nature to us. It also changes the way that we think about ourselves and how we identify.”

Reminder: The Course 1 Project

Each course has a final project that is posted as your week 6 blog post (with a project reflection). For course one, you will be uploading a unit plan that incorporates the essential understandings from this course. Ideally, you will be either designing a new unit that you hope to use soon or perhaps tweaking a unit you recently finished so that it’s ready to go for next year. You can find the details, examples, and templates needed here. Feel free to use whatever unit planner layout that you use in your school (just be sure it includes the same key elements in some shape or form). Please note that you will provide two pieces to be assessed: the unit planner and a reflective blog post. If you have any questions, please ask.


Week 4: Planning for Tech-Rich Learning

(by Diana Beabout)

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

Online 13 Blog Posts: Research 

Week 2 topic on research led to interesting connections between research (beyond finding resources for an assignment) and learning (inquiry/independent learning) for teachers and students in addressing the essential question: What role does research play in my daily practice as an educator?

“Adult educators must empower children by giving them the skills to research and evaluate their findings in order to benefit from the normal richness of the internet….Therefore, in my practice, this has challenged me to think about whether I teach dependent or independent learners”
Abigail, in her post Becoming a Researcher

“I began sharing how I was learning [with my students], instead of what I was learning.  When asked a question, I would take it as an opportunity to share a strategy on how to find the answer instead of just give the answer.  I started to openly share my journey as a learner: the failures, the frustrations, the iterations, the successes, the whole part and parcel.”
Danielle, in her post Going from Sage on the Stage to Active Co-Learner

“Educators are the coaches and facilitators that guide students to have agency in their learning. Educators are there to help students hone their skills so that they can guide their own learning journey. This is why I believe research and digital citizenship skills are so important. I want students to be able to have the agency to navigate any resource they need with confidence to find the information they need.”
-Megan, in her post Research & Experiential Learning

Upcoming: The Course 1 Project

Already?! Not quite as it’s still a few weeks out and not due until April 4, but we want you to be aware of what’s coming up. This also gives you time to ask questions and get clarification. Each course has a final project that is posted as your week 6 blog post (with a project reflection). For Course 1, you will be uploading a unit plan that incorporates the essential understandings from this course. Ideally, you will be either designing a new unit that you hope to use soon or perhaps tweaking a unit you recently finished so that it’s ready to go for next year. You can find the details, examples, and templates needed here. We will have more information and support over the next few weeks as needed. 

This Week: Technology to support meaningful learning

Technology has the ability to transform the learning experiences in our classrooms and schools so that it redefines the learning that takes place. But, how do we plan for tech-rich learning to take place? How do we make the tech-rich learning authentic and purposeful? How can we embed technology seamlessly into our curricular areas?

When we choose to use technology as part of the learning experience then there are implications in the classroom and we need to support our thinking & understanding about how we can responsibly and authentically embed technology within our curriculum. With the extenuating circumstances of the past year with the pandemic and the move for many of us to distance and hybrid learning, many educators have had to adjust their teaching to use more technology –  with a variety of successes and challenges. And many in the education community are reflecting on and assessing how the accelerated use of technology could be harnessed to purposefully use technology so that it deepens the learning. 

 (Check out the YouTube Live series Silver Lining for Learning: Conversations on the Future of Learning)

This week’s readings will help you dive a little deeper into the topic and reflect on your own practices in the classroom. As you delve deeper into this concept you may find other articles, blogs, links, and videos that interest you and that you want to read and share. Please do! 

Here are a few others to consider..

Consider our essential question for the week: How can we effectively, practically, and authentically embed technology within our curricular areas?

Look forward to reading about your learning, connections, experiences, and ‘a-ha’ moments on this topic!


Week 3: Connected Learning

(by Diana Beabout)

Week 1: Blog Posts and Comments

Image by Werner Moser from Pixabay

I still remember the first blog post I wrote for COETAIL nine years ago (we didn’t have the orientation unit and I had no experience ‘blogging’) and how I labored over it and wondered if what I had to say was even relevant and interesting. I was quite nervous hitting that “publish” button but then within a few days I had some comments from other cohort participants and as I left comments on others’ posts and replied to comments on my own posts, meaningful interactions grew. 

I was encouraged to see many of you engage in sharing and discussions through comments and replies on the orientation unit and Week 1 blog posts. You’re already building community! 

Week 1 focused on moving from Lurker (lots of comments about this term!) to Connector and many of you shared your journeys using social media. In her blog post “From Lurker to Connector”, Megan reflects on role as a consumer of information and poses questions about who is creating the content she consumes and how she and her students can become creators of their own content. In Amy’s  “My Journey from Lurker to Connector”, she notes how her engagement online has shifted as she’s moved to a different teaching role and considers her next steps. Coleton reflects on how her engagement online has fluctuated along the “lurker” to “connector” continuum in “If you’re a lurker and you know it, clap your hands!” She also reflects how the past year, with the move to online learning, has impacted her need to connect with other educators and pushed her to reflect on her use of social media. 

Week 3: What I can learn when connected with others?

This week we will be focusing on how connections can strengthen and deepen our thinking and understanding. We will also uncover ways in which the connections that we create can support new learning opportunities. Connected learning “combines personal interests, supportive relationships, and opportunities. It is learning in an age of abundant access to information and social connection that embraces the diverse backgrounds and interests of all young people.” And this is a major component of the COETAIL program and community. I have personally shared the impact of how my connections through COETAIL and my PLN continue to impact my work with teachers and students and have enriched my learning and perspectives professionally and personally. I’m looking forward to watching how your own professional life is enriched as you connect with other educators and professionals and the impact it has on you and your approach to how you work and interact with your students and school community.

Blogging Tips

Widgets: Everyone has their blogs up and running and we encourage you to develop and personalize your blog over time. You can try out different themes and look at adding widgets. (widgets are tools or content that can be added, arranged, or removed from the sidebar(s) of a blog)

Large Files: There is a limit on what you can directly upload to your WordPress blog. Large file-sized video/audio files should always be hosted elsewhere (like YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive) and should never be uploaded directly to your blog site. Once uploaded to an external site you can embed your video/audio in a blog post pasting a link (YouTube), using an embed block, OR hyperlink to the external video.

Embedding videos into a blog post is a great way to share content. A video or document that is embedded (instead of just linked) makes it easier for the reader to view the content. See below for a simple video about embedding a YouTube video into WordPress posts.

Hyperlinking in a comment:
A great way to keep a conversation going and share resources. The trick is you need to use an HTML code to do this in the comments. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be a programmer to do this! You will need this line of code <a href=”URL HERE”>Highlighted anchor text here</a> and you can add your link in the “URL HERE” space. Just insert in with your comment text and your link should work. 

Add a question or two at the end of your blog post to encourage interaction from visitors to your blog. See an example of this at the end of Justin’s blog post “Research musings”. 

Headings can add interest and organization to your post by making it more readable and serving as visual cues that help communicate the essence of your ideas. Before beginning a new section of your post, think of a heading that will apply. Check out David’s blog post “Learning not to Lurk” and his use of headings. 

Checklist for the week

  • Check-in with the My Courses page to see your readings for the week.
  • Write a reflective blog post on this week’s content and comment on at least one of your cohort members’ posts. (You are encouraged to comment on as many of your peer’s posts as you like as this contributes to the discussions and sharing among our community)
  • Add the URLs for your blog post and one of your comments to your grade sheet.
  • Consider sharing your blog post on social media with the #COETAIL hashtags so your peers can see when you post.
  • G.E.T. participants: This week, work through Unit 8 of Google for Education’s Advanced Training: Teach Beyond the Four Walls of Your Classroom.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay