Flipped Classroom at Byron High School

Besich, Lauren


Fulton, K.P. (2013). Byron’s flipped classrooms. Education Digest, 79(1), 22-26. Retreived from http://web.ebscohost.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=da1cd922-d43f-47a8-ae92-31beccca99e9%40sessionmgr113&hid=126

Summary- In essence, a flipped classroom assigns students to view video lectures and classroom lessons at home on their computers, and then complete their “homework” at school under teacher observation. 
In 2010, the Byron Independent School District 531 didn’t have money to fund new textbooks for the math department.  Working together, the high school math teachers suggested they ditch the textbook and write their own curriculum.  With the support of their administration and superintendent, they began creating their own videos and posting them on YouTube, and building class websites using Moodle.  The first year the flipped classroom technique was initiated, it wasn’t without a learning curve, but student enthusiasm and math performance encouraged the math teachers to improve their model.  

YouTube channel for Byron High School math teacher Troy Faulkner
The math teachers needed to convince the school board to unblock YouTube, and lift the cell phone ban at school to give students access to content online.  It was a challenge to change the mind set, but they were successful.  
Evaluation- This article is a great example of how a school implemented the flipped teaching model, the challenges they encountered, and how it changed their school culture.  It’s a motivating example for instigating change in our teaching practices.  

Common Core Standards: Transforming Teaching with Collaborative Technology

Dawn Hall


Tucker, C. (2012, October). Common core standards:Transforming teaching with collaborative technology. Teacher Librarian, 39(6), 30-37.

                This article discusses how the Common Core Standards require students to work collaboratively and how important having skills in this area is to their future learning and professional lives. Tucker points out that technology provides many great options to foster student collaboration. She describes how she uses the Collaborize Classroom platform in her teaching and how it has transformed her students’ engagement in learning. She also mentions the Google Docs suite as another useful tool for student collaboration and provides several great suggestions for how to use it in different subject areas.

Where Do TLs Fit in

Jennifer Brickey
Morris, R. (2012). Find where you fit in the common core, or the time I forgot about librarians and reading. Teacher Librarian, 39(5), 8-12. Retrieved from http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=5e332207-1bc6-4a7d-8ce1-01b678060ecf
Morris begins by reflecting on all the things she does as a teacher-librarian: technology leader, information specialist, program specialist, etc. During her reflection, she is surprised she forgot about her role as a reading advisor. In this article, Morris asks librarians to evaluate how reading fits into the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). She provides an overview of the CCSS being sure to address that media and research skills are integrated throughout the standards. For this reason, Morris believes that literacy, more than ever, will not only help students meet the expectations of CCSS, but also “the literacies required of 21st-century college programs and workforce training” (p.10). School libraries are central to school programs, however, by making reading central in curriculum development for the CCSS, librarians can support literacy across all disciplines.
ET—Educational Theory
CA—Curriculum Assessment

CCSS and Text Complexity

Jennifer Brickey
Hiebert, E. (2012). The common core state standards and text complexity. Teacher Librarian, 39(5), 13-19. Retreived from http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=5e332207-1bc6-4a7d-8ce1-01b678060ecf

In this article, Hiebert describes the role librarians should play in deciding text complexity. She explains Advantage—TASA Open Standard (ATOS) grade level and Lexile designations. The article elaborates on how the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are “the first standards document to identify a separate standard for text complexity,” (p.13) which will lead to an increased focus on text appropriateness and readability. Hiebert urges librarians not to rely on ATOS and Lexile designations alone since these measurements can be inconsistent especially when considering a text’s genre. Instead, she advocates that librarians look at language, vocabulary, sentence variation, and structure when choosing texts. By working with teachers and reading specialist, librarians will be another asset in meeting the CCSS ultimate goal: “to grow students’ capacity in learning from text” (p. 18).

CA–Curriculum Assessment

Collaboration Model Lesson with Web 2.0 Tools

Silva, Katherine

Cooke, M. & Cassidy, C. (2011). Generation linked. Teacher Librarian, 38(5), 27-30. Retrieved from http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=5ea63201-7ba8-4e7c-9914-33ae98b034c3



This article describes the successful collaboration between the media specialist and middle school language arts teacher.  Together they developed a project using Web 2.0 tools which prompted student excitement about learning, fuller participation in an online discussion, and improved student writing scores.  

The project’s essential question was “Who Owns History?” and was inspired by a History Channel special on Dr. Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.  The two collaborators used two Web 2.0 tools to structure and support their lessons: SCAN and Livebinder. SCAN is an online learning tool which promotes critical thinking, considering different points of view, and collaborative decision making.  The media specialist also found non-fiction articles of varying levels of ability to support the different learners in the classroom.  In the children’s self-reflections, students described a high interest in the lesson.  They enjoyed the SCAN online site because they felt their “voice was important and would be read and considered by every other student” (p. 29). TregoED, the creators of SCAN, have created templates designed to help students discuss an issue from multiple (four) points of view.  Teachers or librarians can insert text to describe each point of view and allow students to select “who” they want to be for the discussion.  Students can type their responses to the issue, and also click to see how their classmates in their roles responded.  Teachers have access and editing privileges throughout.  

Here are the resources used:

SCAN: http://tregoed.org/teachers/about-scan.html

LiveBinder: http://livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit/63928


This collaborative lesson sounds like a great idea, and it would not take much to make this interdisciplinary by bringing in Social Studies and Science.  I appreciated that the authors shared that they conducted their collaboration virtually as well, utilizing email, Skype and voice messages, and Google Docs. I have heard of LiveBinder, but I have never explored the program.  It definitely looks like a great tool that a librarian could use to support and integrate with the classroom.  SCAN also looks like an exciting interactive tool.  I was only able to test out the program a little.  I registered for the free site, and that is the main drawback I see with this tool.  It is a subscription model at either $45 for one year for an individual teacher or $500 per year for a school site license.  Given that you may use the tool only a limited number of times a year (to prevent decreasing student interest), teachers and librarians would need to weigh that against the cost.

Overall, this was a great sample lesson that could be adapted to many different issues, topics, and classes.  Although the SCAN site is paid, it does offer some unique tools for aiding in developing point of view, critical thinking, writing skills, and participation.

CO-Collaboration Strategies

CO-Collaboration Tools
IL-Critical Thinking

Academic Standards and School Library Programs

Misistia, Jacqueline


LANCE, K., & KACHEL, D. (2013). Achieving Academic Standards through the School Library Program. Teacher Librarian, 40(5), 8-13.

This article focused on a state-wide study in Pennsylvania during 2011-2012. The study surveyed approximately three hundred school administrators and asked them about their own opinions on of the school library programs in their building and how they impact student achievement. There were two phases of this study. Phase one looked at student achievement on the writing and reading portion of the PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) and phase two focused on surveying school administrators by assessing their value of key library practices. This phase also looked at how teachers and librarians in the building surveyed collaborated with each other.  The findings from the study show that there is a link between teaching the AASL/ CC standards and administrators assessing their school library program with high marks.
I found this article interesting in terms of how further research could help keep school libraries relevant in the wake of Common Core and standardized assessments. This article shows how school libraries and their programs are a crucial part of preparing 21st Century learners.

CA- Common Core Assessments

How Brain Science and Technology Will Transform Schools

Chambers, Julia
Davidson, C.N. (2011). Now you see it: How technology and brain science will transform schools and business for the 21st century. New York: Penguin Books.
Professor at Duke University and Co-chair of the Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge, Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It makes a strong argument for transforming the way students are taught in the 21st century. She leans heavily on recent findings in brain research to suggest that current teaching practices (which reward linear thinking and rote memorization) continue to prepare students for industry jobs, not for work in the digital age.
I found two points in her book particularly insightful as they relate to Educational Practices:
1)      Distraction is key to learning: Pointing to current brain research, Davidson writes that in infancy, neural pathways form and fuse to create automatic responses for repeated tasks like walking, running, eating with a fork, etc. — tasks we don’t pay attention to. Davidson calls this “attention blindness.” She argues that the key to learning is to keep our brains away from repetition so we are forced to pay attention. This is one reason why many educators advocate gaming as a learning system. If learning tasks are exciting and/or require multiple levels of thinking at once, they awaken our attention and we’re more likely to remember and incorporate this new experience or knowledge into our frame of recognition. She argues that technology is not the source of distraction, as many pundits argue. The brain is naturally distracted – and that’s a good thing because it’s how we discover new patterns, new ideas. She advocates teaching practices that keep the brain distracted, precisely because this distraction promotes a different kind of thinking that’s based on association, pattern-recognition, interconnectivity. Using teaching techniques and tools that promote distraction may cause the brain to develop new neural pathways (new ways of thinking) throughout life.
2)      Current classrooms promote attention blindness: Davidson writes that most classrooms in the U.S. haven’t changed in physical appearance or practice in over 100 years and therefore don’t serve 21st century students. She provides a nice overview of how our national educational system developed:
a)      Horace Mann championed national educational reform in the early 1800s and was key to creating “common schools” that served the population. The 1840s to early 1900s saw the beginnings of public education.
b)      By the late 1800s public education was becoming mandatory and directly linked to industrialization (school was the best way to cultivate workers by teaching them how to pay attention, how to be timely, how to focus on one single task at a time). This was the beginning of standardized curriculum and the focus was on elementary school level. Prior models of education were abandoned, and this included the Socratic method (question/answer teaching); the Agrarian method (problem-solving focused); and the Apprenticeship (imitating the skills of a master).
c)      1900 – 1950s state and regional schools replaced local schoolhouse upstarts. School became mandatory and the focus had shifted from preparing students for industry to creating leaders and filling the country with high school graduates.
d)     1950s ushered in the golden age of education in the U.S., triggered by Sputnik. Focus was on higher education, science, math. Progressive education and innovative approaches began to flourish.
e)      No Child Left Behind put an end to widespread educational innovation. Success was measured by test scores.
Davidson highlights several schools around the country that are trying innovative approaches to learning, including Manhattan’s Quest2Learn, in which classes are taught through gaming principles, and Voyager Academy, which uses the flipped classroom model and has students work on collaborative projects during class time.
Overall, Davison’s book makes a strong argument for innovative, differentiated teaching based on recent research on how the brain learns and through examples of schools that are doing this with great success. Her overall thesis makes a strong argument that cultivating associative, collaborative thinking and practices is critical for student success in the digital age.

ET-Brain Research

ET-New Trends

Apps Supporting Common Core State Standards

Chambers, Julia

Cohen, S. (2012). Apps meet the Common Core State Standards in writing. Teacher Librarian, 40(2), 32-39. Retrieved from http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=f50f51d4-ce9b-4584-8a0a-68b19c3eb9e7
In this article, Media Specialist Sydnye Cohen looks at seven of the new Common Core State Standards for writing and discusses how teacher librarians can introduce tools and collaborate with teachers to help teach and assess student’s learning along the way. The following outline identifies a particular CC Standard and then supplies the author’s suggested online tools that can aid students in mastering the standard.

Writing Standard 1: Write arguments using valid reasoning and relevant evidence.
  • Subtext: an app for online reading, great for collaborative reading, sharing annotations, and providing opportunities for students to synthesis directly following the text)
  • Gale Access My Library (AML): an app that uses Gale databases to find vetted, relevant evidence
  • Diigo: social bookmarking app useful for gathering resources with annotation capabilities
Writing Standard 5: Develop and strengthen writing by planning, revising, editing, and rewriting
  • Lino: graphic outlining that enables student to see linear and non-linear connection between ideas
  • iBrainstorm: outlining that allows students to type in text and draw
  • Popplet: outlining/organizing using text and images
  • Noodletools: a subscription writing/researching tool for taking notes, creating an outline, and citing sources in the correct format
Writing Standard 6: Use technology to collaborate, produce, and publish writing online
  • Google Docs: collaborative editing/publishing
  • Voice-thread: students combine still and moving images with voice and text to create online stories
  • Pen.io: publish text and images; saves to the Web
  • Paperport: publish text, images, voice, and handwriting and save as a PDF or share in Dropbox
  • Visual Poet: pairs images with works for 3poanel poetry
Writing Standard 7: Research to build and present knowledge
  • Pearltrees: students vet websites and curate the web for better access to what they need
  • Google Scholar: offers opportunities to evaluate information on the Internet
  • Diigo: gives students opportunity to categorize information, highlight and annotate it for meaning.
Writing Standard 8: Gather information from a variety of print/digital sources, assess credibility and integrate information while avoiding plagerism.
  • TED: always credible with multi-module formats
  • iTunes U: resources created by educators
  • Noodletools: (see above) allows teachers/librarians to assess students at every stage of research and writing
Writing Standard 9: Draw evidence from text to support analysis, reflection and research
  • Diigo (see above)
  • Evernote: allows annotation of texts online
  • Subtext: best app for reading online
Additional Common Core State Standard for History, Science and Technology: Ability for students to see conflicting viewpoints, introduce differing claims about a topic, organize reasoning for an argument logically.
            Apps to distinguish opposing claims:

  • News 360: students can search for a topic and see multiple viewpoints; can customize to see news from the left vs. news from the right
  • Flipboard: students search by topic, then use higher order thinking to sort into pros, cons, and unbiased views.
I found Cohen’s outline of CC State Standards for writing to be very helpful, as well as the corresponding app suggestions. Because several apps supported more than one standard, I was most curious to further investigate those as a starting point.

CA-Common Core Assessments
IL-Media Literacy

Graphic Inquiry and Differentiation

Lauren Besich

ET- Differentiation

Johnson, L. & Lamb, A. (2012). Graphic inquiry: dyniamic differentiation and digital age learning.  Teacher Librarain, 39(4), 61-67. Retrieved from http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=8cd67d4c-5f33-4525-91db-9287de63151b
This article discusses how teacher librarians can incorporate different types of graphics to help differentiate instruction when working with teachers to meet the needs of all students.  Graphic inquiry gives students a chance to further explore information and content standards through the use of various visual technologies.  Authors Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson outlined six types of graphic teacher librarians can use for differentiation: data sets, illustrations, infographics, maps, organizers, and photos.  Multiple Web resources are provided in the articles for each graphic type. 
Data sets, or collections of facts, help students understand data, and give them an opportunity to visually report their work.   Graphs, charts, surveys, and inventories are data set examples discussed in the article. 
Illustrations support students’ visualizations of concepts taught in class.  Through analyzing others’ illustrations or creating their own, student thinking is challenged.  The authors suggest various sources where teacher librarians can find illustration for students to use, and Web tools that allow them to create their own illustrations and comics. 
Infographics are visual forms of information, and are becoming pretty trendy.  They can be used to jump start learning through evaluation of the information, or they can be used as a synthesis of new information they have learned.  If using infographics in the classroom is a new concept for teacher librarians, they can read the article series about teaching with infographics presented by The Learning Network at the New York Times.  Articles cover using infographics in the Social Studies, English, and Science and Health content areas.
Maps help students identify information about a geographical area.  They can analyze a specific location, make predictions based on the information in the map, or create their own maps.
Organizers help students visually organize information as an alternative to writing activities, or as a guide for writing.  Different graphic organizers include timelines, Venn Diagrams, comparison charts, and many others.  The authors suggest organizers reduces plagiarism by requiring the students to share what they visualize, not what they copied and pasted. 
Photos can be used to document a process and opposed to writing about a process.  Much like illustrations, students can analyze photos, and also how the use of photo editing tools affects the message of a photo. 
This article is a rich resource for teacher librarians and teachers who want to incorporate graphic inquiry into their curriculum.  The ideas and examples they outline provide a good starting point to those new to graphic inquiry. 

Open Source Learning

Anna Taylor
Troutner, Joanne, (2011). Open source learning. Teacher Librarian, 38(4), 48-50. Retrieved http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=642c1289-bd2b-4778-946a-e2233627efca
What is “open curriculum”? Troutner’s article explains that this innovative way of teaching is basically “a curriculum based on open educational resources”. With this teaching structure, both the student and teacher roles change. Students are now more in charge of their learning. Just as in this class, (LIBR 250), students are encouraged to find information that they want to learn. This forces students to be more involved with their learning while also creating more responsibility for them. The role of the teacher changes because they are now a “gatherer” of information rather than a giver. Just as students become more informed on their subject, so much the teacher. Both teacher and student are learning together with the teacher as a guider. 
If you are interested in learning more about open source learning, Troutner gives some great open educational resources to explore with your students. Most of these sites are free while others are very affordable:
  • Khan Academy- Over 1,800 free videos on math, science, social studies, etc. 
  • WatchKnow.org- Over 22,000 free and educational panel approved video clips in over 3,000 categories
  • Open Culture- Find textbooks, ebooks, films, online courses, audio books, and language classes.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare- Free online course for college students are explored through notes, exams, videos and even complete courses.
  • iTunesU- Find recordings and videos of college course and  K-12 lessons from all over the world.
  • JFK Library- Find audio speeches, digital images, speech texts, etc for social studies. 
  • Wikispaces- Search for other classroom’s open source curriculum for ideas of your own.
  • Take 2 Videos- For $75, students are able to create their own documentary with the help of National Geographic 

All in all, I believe open source learning is a great idea. While it may not be for all students or teachers, it is a process that should be encouraged for all classrooms. Those who may be skeptical could take one unit and test it out to see the outcome. The article also suggests to discuss your learning progress among other staff members at lunch and faculty meetings. With multiple classrooms using this way of teaching, the entire school can becomes involved with one another’s learning.