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Kimberly Pope reflects on Innovation by Design workshop hosted at Harvard University

August 27, 2012

Kimberly Pope, Social Studies teacher at CMS North, received a CGA summer scholarship for CISD educators.  She attended the Innovation by Design conference with Learning and the Brain hosted at Harvard University from July 17-20, 2012.  Please read on for her reflections of this conference.

1)    List the conference/workshops you attended.

Innovation by Design with Learning and the Brain in Cambridge, MA. Hosted at Harvard University.  (Taught by) David Dockerman, Professor at Harvard University and Presenter with Learning and the Brain.

2)    Provide a brief summary of the part of the session that you found particularly helpful in your current role working with gifted students.

Many amazing things happened during the week of the conference. What I think will stay with me during my year of challenging and teaching GT students will be how to implement technology into your lesson structure. Focusing on lesson objectives and instructional goals first and then placing in the technology best suited for those skills – you allow the lesson to be driven by instructional goals and objectives instead of the newest technology available. We know that kids for the most part really love working and learning with technology. We also know that there are many new technology applications for education. However, at this conference we focused on correct placement of those technology applications and evaluating the question of “Will this lesson truly be enhanced by the use of technology?” Many times teachers want to challenge GT students with new technology applications and miss the instructional goals and objectives. This training reminded me to pull out, lie out, and assess those instructional goals first, then add those technology applications next only if they enhance those goals.

3)    Describe an experience learned at the conference that you will be able to share with other members of the faculty.

I would like to share that idea about using 4 Action Themes during the course of a lesson.

  1. Set learners up for earnest effort. Put in place lessons that encourage critical thinking and connections to their life so that engages students and they want to do the activity.
  2. Natural Progression through lesson – creating mastery environments to sustain efforts. An easy way to accomplish this is with chucking lessons into small segments and to allow students to master progress points to feel a sense of accomplishment and progression through the lesson.
  3. Choice – giving a sense of personal power and autonomy. This can be accomplished with giving students more than one way to complete an assignment. The student then has the option to choose the way they want (personal preference) and they style that would work best for them (understanding and acknowledging their own learning style).
  4. Status – showing off accomplishments. Students want others to see what they have done. They are proud of their work and want others (especially the teacher) to know how fantastic they are! This can be accomplished by doing peer evaluation sheets that only focus on the positive aspects of that project.

Kimberly Pope
7th and 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Coppell Middle School North

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