This is a place for us to share ideas, about implementation ...what elements are we going to include to ensure there is buy-in and implementation?
The Ideal Participants are Leaders!
The ideal participants for our curriculum unit plan are leaders in the school system such as administrators and superintendents. The main reason why is because if there is buy-in from administrators, it really influences the implementation of the program at their school: "There is broad research evidence that principals, head persons and school management teams cannot change schools just on their own, but that they are the single most influential group of persons to make change processes fail" (Altrichter,2005, p.10). Thus, if we have administrators excited about implementing this program, it may lead to a ripple effect of them becoming accompaniment providers. They would then circulate this knowledge in their schools and create even more accompaniment providers! (Lafortune, 2009).
Starting the unit plan by clarifying the objectives and creating assessments.
We started off our unit plan by clarifying the key knowledge and skills we wanted to convey to the participants. Later, we added in assessments after learning that it is important to start with the goals of what is to be taught as well as what evidence we need to see that the participants have got it (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). While thinking of the assessments to use we thought about "What would we accept as evidence that students have attained the desired understandings and proficiencies"(Wiggins & McTighe, 1998, p. 2). In addition, used Anderson and Krathwohl’s Taxonomy (2001) to create the assessments that include tasks which are more simple mental functions to more complex. The tasks progressed from remembering to understanding and then to evaluating and finally creating. We have more performance related activities as they tend to show deeper understanding of the material (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). We also want to include elements of authentic assessment as it can increase their self-confidence especially if we give them feedback on what it working and how to improve (Wiggins, 1989).
The Importance of Modeling The Practices Being Discussed
We have tried to include a lot of modeling in our curriculum unit plan where either the accompaniment provider engages in the processes taught and also by showing videos of others doing the same. By using a video such as the one below titled Mindfulness in Schools participants not only raise their awareness about the importance of mindfulness (i.e., benefits of mindfulness in the classroom) but that they also see others who are similar to them living the practice.
Rationale: The accompaniment provider that is carrying out our unit plan can play this video as an example of modeling the breathing practice as an example of a self-regulation activity. The breathing exercise can actually be practiced in class and then used to promote discussion about the benefits received as Daniel states he was more focused and felt better. Fink (2003) states that it is a good practice to balance lessons with active learning which involves doing and observing and, in this case, they can do both! In addition, they can engage in reflective dialogue after trying out the exercise (Fink, 2003).
This video titled Basic of Life can be show by the accompaniment provider to model the practice of doing a breathing exercise for self-regulation and participants can see the benefits that are received after engaging in the practice.
Making Action Plans & Blogging To Show Daily Progress
Lafortune (2009) stresses that the way to get change is through taking action and that action plans help with this. I thought why not have the accompaniment providers model the process by first creating their own action plan and then sharing it with others to comment on. I created my own action plan and invited the team to comment (please see the link below). Also, I find that this blog can be a valuable way to collaboratively create a system to track evidence of actions taken as others can also blog as well (Lafortune, 2009). Thus, I thought it would be a great idea to use buffalo.io (a new blogging platform) to update my daily progress toward my goal. I updated my blog with a picture of the sights I see while running or a picture of me running. The time spent is captured on the blog, as well as sharing my feelings throughout the process. Also, I intend on sharing a screenshot of the app called Simple Goals which lets you check mark if you have reached your exercise goal.
Lafortune (2009) stresses the importance of planning to include chances for the participants to share their ideas & resources as well as seeing other view points and compare to trigger reflection and then hopefully leading them to create intentions to change. In addition she also emphasized the importance of allowing participants to show their prior knowledge, and their current thinking processes as well as their feelings. I think that the http://buffalo.io blog which we introduce in our lessons will be perfect for sparking reflection.
The accompaniment provider should also be willing to show and try out reflection if they expect the participants to do it too.
Please see the link below to the blog titled Starting My Habit of Running that I created to help show how being engaged in the development of this unit plan caused a change in my life and helped me not only reflect but also take action to model the practice of creating an action plan and tracking my actions.
The Importance of Credible Arguments
Lafortune (2009) proposed that for those that are resisting the change, it is beneficial to provide them with "credible arguments" (p. 45). The video below is an interview between Brian Johnson and Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson where Dr. Heidi explains goal-setting in depth so as to provide expert insight on the reasoning and practice of goal-setting to convince those who really want to deeply understand the the rationale for the change (Lafortune, 2009).
This video No Sweat is a summary of key ideas in Michelle Segar (Ph.D) book titled No Sweat which breaks down some ideas on building a healthy habit which would be great for accompaniment providers and those being accompanied to understand the process of being motivated to exercise and it also talks about a learning mind-set.
Teaching/Learning Activities: Including a balance of Information & Ideas + Active Learning (Fink, 2003)
Fink (2003) states that when planning out your unit of learning, try to ensure that there is a balance in the activities that you are asking students to perform. An example of one of those elements is when you are requiring your students to read information and discuss the ideas presented. We will require participants in our unit plan to look at and discuss information and ideas such as the following:
Information & Ideas For Learners (Passive)
Poster on a meditation practice
As Fink (2003) states it is important to give information and ideas. This is a video titled Priorities of Life that can be a viewed between classes. Participants learn about the importance of scheduling specific time to develop good habits in life. This video can also be used to elicit discussion as Lafortune (2009) stresses is an important part of learning.
Active Learning Components (Fink, 2003) :
These websites contains activities you can teach in the sessions. They add that experiential component that Fink (2003) mentioned as important.
Tracking your practice with Practice Diary App
Below you will find two screen shots from the Practice Diary app.
This is an app that can be used to track actual practice time spent in reaching your goal: It lets you break down your goal. For example if your goal is running, you can break it into its component parts such as Aerobic Capacity, Cardio, Muscular Strength. Then, under each component, you can add specific exercises that you can log and track. For example under Cardio, I added in Jumping Jacks. Next, under Endurance I added the exercise of running for 15 minutes. After an exercise is done you can enter the amount of time spent and a space is there for each entry to write a note where you can share strategies, tips, and how you are feeling as well.
The link above is an example of what you can do during a goal's session. We would show this video and then participants would see and understand how to create a goal card. At the end of the video is a prompt to work together and create goal cards. First, rationale is given for the reason the goal card is being created in the way it is. Lafortune (2009) stresses that it is important to explain the rationale for the change and the fundamentals as well. Second, this is an example of the modelling process. Third, as Fink (2003) suggested, it is important to combine the receiving of ideas and information with actually taking action. Therefore, to create a similar lesson include two components of active learning where they watch the video and then create goal cards.
Performance Assessment Focus
Using the Anderson and Krathwohl’s Taxonomy 2001 to help with the assessments.
Lafortune's Frame of Reference
and Lesson Planning
Lafortune describes eight professional competencies that have an impact on development and change. The plan clarifies the goal and expectations that provides the direction for change and learning. The lesson, that is included in our curriculum document, on "Mindfuless and Breathing Exercises" highlights how to use Lafortune's competencies in lesson planning.
Lafortune, L. (2009). Professional competencies for accompanying change: A frame of reference. Boisbraind, QC: Prologue.
Using slack.com to share experiences, track evidence of action and give feedback
Slack.com can be used to model how to create an action plan and document your goals into your schedule. This program can also be used to share comments about your experiences and successes. Slack.com also allows you to send private messages to provide personalized feedback.
1. Explain the rationale and goal setting & meditation using these videos to show during the sessions or have learners view between sessions.
Mindfulness Exercise - Try it!
As part of the preparation for long distance running, it is important that we exercise to prepare our bodies both physical and mentally. Mindfulness exercises will help you prepare. It teaches you how to pay attention to your body on purpose. Pay attention to what? You need to be aware of how your thoughts are influencing how you are feeling at the moment. Mindful exercises help you to calm your mind and be aware of your body. It helps you to be in a wiser relationship with yourself and what is happening in your life. It gives you control! Try this exercise to learn how to become mindful. Mindfulness exercises helps you to move from "sparkling" awareness to assimilation. (Lafortune, 2009)
Freire (1978) and Lafortune (2009) discuss the importance of reflective and interactive collaboration. The article "The Four Dimensions of Reflecting" looks at four levels of reflective practices that encourage meaningful dialogue. The first level is "Thinking Back" which Freire states is one of his indicators of a strong collaborative partnership between the teacher and student. The teacher and the student need to bring their life experiences to the discussion as prior learning does impact next steps. The second level is "Thinking Forward" and what the student thinks will be the impact on their learning. Lafortune sees this level as moving from awareness to engagement if the accompanied finds the program has meaning for them. The third level "Thinking Inward" is similar to Lafortune's socioconstructivist construct as feelings and emotions about the change are discussed and analyzed. The fourth level is "Thinking Outward" as you consider other people's point of view. Freire was extremely involved in his work involving all four stages as critical thinking" was his passion for teaching and learning more about it. Reflective practice and a way to capture your thoughts is an important stage in learning and positive change. Find a tool that works best for you and enjoy the process.
FREE YOUR MIND!
Let's talk about the wild elephant in the room.
In the article "Set Your Mind Free" Deepak states that in India, they compare the restless mind to the wild elephant. Dr. Deepak Chopra is an advocator for spirituality and mind-body relationships. His mindfulness approach looks at how consciousness creates your reality. Deepak Chopra discusses the steps for successful meditation in his article. As in Freire's (1978) theory, the gathering of knowledge and life experiences are to be shared with each other. Deepak highlights some of the skills that are important to share with the students who you are mentoring, especially in meditative reflection. The creation of a meditative state takes planning and practice. You need a teacher beside you to share the tools and skills necessary to experience internal calmness (Lafortune, 2009; Freire, 1978; Rogers, 2006). Deepak explains how you can reap the rewards of achievement, effort and success through an accompanied exercise in mindfulness..
DO YOU HAVE GRIT?
"Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, you're probably right."
Grit is the ability to persevere to achieve your goal. It is about picking yourself up and dusting yourself off if you fall. Do you have the ability, tenacity, and integrity to continue when faced with obstacles? This is an area many educators are studying as they recognize the characteristics of being a "gritty" person are skills that are required to achieve long-term goals. As an accompanied provider and the accompanied, having "grit" means showing determination to strive for the successful achievement of the end goal. Psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Angela Duckworth, coined the word and believes that "grit" is more important that IQ. This theory of the importance of perseverance and tenacity to implement positive change was studied throughout our course.
Showing tweets like this is an example of modeling. Educators can see fellow educators showing and sharing how they are using self-regulation in their classroom (Lafortune, 2009).
Reflective - Interactive Dialogue
Lafortune's competency 4 looks at reflective-interactive communication. The accompanied provider needs to interact with the accompanied to ensure that mutual understanding and communication occurs. This process needs to be monitored as check-ins will provide the accompanied provider information of where the accompanied are in their progress toward implementation. The accompanied provider also needs to monitor their growth in the process so they can update their practices. Teachers and students need to check in to keep track or their progress. There are many different tools to support the reflective-interactive process and make sure to use the tool that works for you. How do I start? What do I write about in a journal entry? The article "How to Keep a Journal" gives advice on how to prepare for the reflective process. If you enjoy interactive reflection start a blog to connect with people who are reflecting (blogging) on similar topics.
Making the program adaptive
Altrichter (2005) shared how the adaptive evolutionary approach allows the team to modify and adapt the program to their needs. Even though our original intention was to share how to work your way up to running 10km, and thus help your students do the same, we feel that based on the team members you are working with, you can adjust our hypotheses presented.
The team who is implementing our unit plan can adapt the program in the following ways... 1) Choose the exercise they want to implement (I chose running as I love to run and have been doing it as a child. I was in the cross-country club as an elementary school student). 2) Choose the amount of time and frequency of the exercise (I chose 5 minutes because I was convinced by this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-l-arnold/how-five-minutes-a-day-ca_b_5632933.html) and I believe that we should start small and work our way up gradually to build good habits).
This website has a variety of workouts to choose from that fit your needs: http://darebee.com/workout-cards.html
The Prezi below discusses the complexity of running and highlights the physical elements that educators must focus on to aid their students in becoming great runners. To "actively participate in moderate to vigorous activity each day" is an expectation outlined in the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum. As such, learning to run and implementing our running curriculum is a means to meeting several expectations that teachers are already accountable for teaching.
The Complexity of Running
Creating Sociocognitive Conflict
Around the five minute mark, Brian shares that "Exercising is as effective as Zoloft in reducing depression." This quote can be used to ask open ended questions to find out what people believe about the impact of exercise. Lafortune (2009) proposes that sociocognitive conflict is an important aspect of creating change in a group. This video and the statements in it are provocative in that it might be a surprise to some people to find out that exercise can uplift the mood so greatly it can help some people experiencing depression!
Meditation for all Types of Learners
Meditation is not an easy thing to learn how to do and often leaves students feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. It is a skill that requires practice and for young children having a guide to help them practice is necessary. In this way the teacher acts as the accompaniment provider for the student and guides the student through their learning journey. Below is a guide that provides examples of different types of guided meditation that the teacher can do with the student. The type used will depend on the learner, their interests, their needs and their desires.
Running can be FUN !
When we are not good at something, rarely do we find it fun. However, if we do not find something fun, we are unlikely to want to do it or practice it. Running is a skill that requires persistence and practice and it is up to educators to create fun and engaging ways for students to want to learn to run. The following article discusses ways in which educators can make running fun for their students.
The article above is one that I had published in Voice Magazine that discusses how the positive relationships that teachers create with their students not only helps to develop positive self-esteem but also provides student with the motivation and determination to succeed. How we develop those relationships is by getting to know our students, recognizing their needs, and by understanding the personal challenges they face each and every day. By sharing with my students a little bit of who I am and by inviting them to share my passion for running inspires them to believe in themselves.
Setting Goals to Inspire Student Engagement and Turn Them Into "Self-Actualizers"
In recent years there has been a shift towards student-centred teaching and learning and a large focus on making student learning self-directed. Setting goals allows students to take ownership over what they want to achieve with the assistance of the teacher who is there to guide them and accompany them on their journey.