100% for New Mexico

Please take a moment to read this extraordinary article which details the 100% Community efforts around our state, including right here in Otero County. It is up to US to find solutions and end childhood trauma. 100% Community gives us the framework and tools to achieve this. Contact me at michelle@learnnewmexico.org to learn more and get involved!


Au Revoir EDLT 610

This is my final blog…for Dr. Woodley’s EDLT 610 course. Don’t worry, I have many more posts in the works. As you may know, I’m completing a PhD. I have had many wonderful courses so far, but EDLT 610 was one of the best! We were introduced to so many interesting concepts in this course, it’s hard to choose the most impactful.

However, there is this one guy I learned about: Yu-Kai Chou. His theories about gamification are incredibly intriguing. Let me explain “gamification” first. It’s simply the application of the elements of “game playing” to other activities as a way to improve engagement. Think of it as a way to make something more fun or meaningful. Yu-Kai Chou has this incredible theory about gamification called Octalysis. He believes there are 8 core drivers for engaging an audience: 1. Epic Meaning and Calling 2. Development and Accomplishment 3. Empowerment of Creativity 4. Ownership and Possession 5. Social Influence and Relatedness, 6. Scarcity and Impatience 7. Unpredictability and Curiosity 8. Loss and Avoidance. You can learn more about each of these drivers on his website: https://yukaichou.com/ He has written a book recently called Actionable Gamification. Chou believes that we can find correlative meaning in life through the lens of the octalysis. Here, at this Ted Talk, he discusses this further: https://youtu.be/v5Qjuegtiyc.

With the use of his octalysis, a developer, a teacher, a curriculum writer might be able to apply their scope and sequence to the model and discover if they have strengths and/or weaknesses in one of the 8 core drivers. It’s a way to look at something with a brand new and innovative lense. One could even think about their own life in the context of the octalysis. How much does social influence and relatedness mean to you versus development and accomplishment? This isn’t your standard Myers Briggs test here. It’s something way more interesting and playful!

I believe the reason this particular awakening to Chou and his gamification theory is most intriguing to me is because it forces me to think about teaching and learning very differently. Students have choice more than ever in their content and, more pervasively as of late, their time and setting for which they go about their learning. Learning is not confined to the four walls and linoleum floors of a classroom any longer. Teaching should not be either. We are dawning a revolution in teaching and learning theory right now amidst the greatest upheaval our society has seen in modern times. The Pandemic of 2020 will leave us forever changed as educators…I pray. As we meet the demand to think differently and wider about what we used to know to be true, we must leave plausibility for theories such as gamification and octalysis. As we begin to peer through these lenses to find ways to meet our students in their reality, I am hopeful that we will surprise ourselves about how far we can go toward a fitting education for our students.

Writing Learning Objectives is as Easy as ABCD

There are many ways professed by many experts on how to write a learning objective. It should be a simple process, but sometimes others make it seem like a formulated conundrum. My youngest is about to start his teaching career, and aside from our conversations around teaching practices and student engagement techniques, he is curious about lesson planning. (He’s entering the field with an alternative license, so he has forgone the formal lessons from Madeline Hunter and Harry Wong.)

So, lesson planning starts with backward planning. What do you want the students to know and to what level of mastery? A good objective comes next. A good learning objective can be as easy as ABCD.

A: Audience – Who is the objective for? Typically, it’s students, but like in show-business, you should always know your audience first. Be mindful of your students’ interests, culture, and background.

B: Behavior – What do you want your students to do exactly? Think taxonomy here. Do you want them to learn (most basic), compare (a little more cognitive demanding), or synthesize (very cognitive demanding)?

C: Condition – Under what circumstance do you want the objective met? By the end of the lesson, the week, or the semester? This helps you decide if your objective is a terminal or short-term objective.

D: Degree – To what level of mastery? Is this an introductory lesson, or a building complexity lesson. Do you need 100% mastery on this lesson for your students to grasp the next level of concepts, or do you need your students to have introductory awareness so that they may develop their mastery at their own style and rate.

An example of a terminal objective: Students will create a short video that summarizes the 10 most pivotal moments of the Civil War, providing descriptions and reasons by the end of the week with no less than 80% mastery (this would allow a student to deviate 2 out of the 10 pivotal moments).

An example of a short term objective: By the end of the lesson, students will correctly add double digit numbers when asked to show and tell with their peers, no less than 2 out of 3 attempts.

Of course, you would share your objectives with your students at the beginning of each lesson and ask that they are mindful of the required results, but encourage them to aspire for 100% degree of mastery. Students typically like to “win big.” So frame it like that. If you find that 50% or more of your students are not meeting the mastery degree you set, it would indicate it’s time for a slowdown and need for a re-teach with another strategy.

This post is dedicated to Bo Perry and all aspiring young teachers.

Channeling Aldo Leopold

Since the beginning of the Pandemic of 2020, my husband and I have filled our free time with “getting back to nature.” We have always loved everything outdoors: hiking, boating, fishing, bird-watching, etc. so this period in our empty-nesting is delightful. Our most recent trip took us into the Aldo Leopold Wilderness. It’s part of the Gila National Forest, and it’s wonderful. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to find a spot off the grid, yet inside the boundary of the Land of Enchantment. (And forget about cell service! Another bonus!).

So, as I do when without the distraction of the internet, I began to think about our educational efforts (generally speaking) during this strange and challenging time. Aldo said, “Education I fear is learning to see one thing by going blind to another.” He’s right, especially in our most recent 20+ years in public education in the US. How does high-stakes accountability testing evolve our most precious resource, our children, into enlightenment and knowledge about the most important things in life? It doesn’t. Yet, up until this major interruption called Covid 19, that’s exactly where we put our educational efforts: making great test-takers. We have a chance now to re envision our nation’s educational efforts. Let’s make it a place where a child doesn’t have to go blind to the most important learning our world can offer so they may be adequately prepared to take an exam. Let’s help our children see the real beauty of this amazing world so they can make it a better place for justice and love.

Forest Friend
Happiness is hiking the Gila.

Grant Writing 101

The first thing to do when you plan to write a grant: understand your mission and purpose. You should find grant funding that meets YOUR vision, not the other way around. There are many ways to find grants, but a simple google search might possibly reveal an opportunity. If you are a church-based group, you might check with your affiliate organizations. If you are with a government-related agency, you might check Grants.gov. Once you find that perfect grant, the real work begins. Here’s a few steps to get you started:

  1. Be sure to address each prompt/question thoroughly. Use the exact descriptors and words from the prompt/question in phrasing your answers. For example: If the question prompt is: What is your organization’s strategic mission and how can it increase opportunities for workforce development? Your answer will start like this: XYZ enterprise’s mission is _____ and through this funding, opportunities for workforce development will occur by ______.
  2. Follow the template exactly. Don’t deviate and go rogue creating your own version of how you think your narrative should go. Answer each question in the order they are presented on the RFP (Request for Proposal), using their numbering system and format.
  3. Start working on your budget requests early. Budget is a VERY important area that will likely be revised multiple times as your plan develops. Don’t forget to add fringe rates for personnel and an Indirect Cost allocation if allowable.
  4. Do it with a team! Many hands make light work! Facilitate a team with planning and discussion sessions to capture buy-in and different opinions and insight. This team will be your extra eyes and hands for editing and re-editing.
  5. Ensure your proposed activities support the funding purposes and/or the funding agent’s mission.

There are many elements to a great grant proposal that will get it noticed above others. Remember, grant writing is typically a competitive effort, and you will want to submit a PERFECT proposal to the funding agency. Of course there’s always people to help your organization such as Learn New Mexico. I have a stellar record of obtaining grant funding, and I would love to help you achieve your dream! learnnewmexico.com michelle@learnnewmexico.com

Shrinking Pains

You may have heard of growing pains, but let me share with you about my experience this afternoon with shrinking pains, more specifically, budget reduction. I tuned in today to the “town hall” with NMSU administration, and the cards were laid out in full view. (I attend a PhD program at NMSU.) Here’s the news: The budget reduction that will occur at NMSU in the very near future is $14.2 MILLION. Once that was revealed, the rest of the meeting involved discourse around HOW. Fear and worry are real now, as jobs are likely part of that reduction. NMSU is not the only higher education institute in our country facing this very uncomfortable reality. “Last month, employment in state government education dropped by 49,000 jobs and employment in private education fell by 69,000 jobs, according to employment data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.” Read more about the effects of the budget crisis affecting our country’s colleges and universities here New Round of Budget Cuts Hitting Personnel in Inside Higher Ed. This will be a difficult time for many of our fellow New Mexicans and our beloved Aggies.

Community Action Calls! Learn While Doing

BE the Change!

I’m actively involved with an organized effort to bring vital services to families and their children. In the county where I live in Southern NM, there is an extraordinary rate of poverty. Poverty is the result of multiple effects, and is often a companion to many needs such as food, transportation, health care, and quality education.

What can be done to help families in need? What can you do? What can any of us do? Start by visiting this website: https://annaageeight.org. Here you will find information about a state-wide effort to identify gaps in services that are necessary for thriving, such as parent supports and job training, and the services that are necessary for survival, such as medical & behavioral health care and housing. The building blocks toward this effort is from a book called, 100% Community by Dr. Katherine Otero Courtney and Dominic Cappello. Also, read the authors’ first book, Anna, Age Eight, an account of Anna, a young girl whose tragic story began the journey for this initiative.

Dr. Otero Courtney and Mr. Cappello have continued their efforts for multiple years to bring sustainable change to NM through a framework that helps NM counties develop and implement their own action plan toward a healthier and trauma-free community. Part of that framework requires leaders to address challenges and roadblocks that often come in the form of a “three-headed hydra.” You’ll have to also read their most recent book Attack of the Three Headed Hydra. This is a relevant and timely account of efforts necessary to solve our most difficult insecurity issues among our most marginalized citizens, especially in these precarious pandemic times.

It only takes one visit, one click of the mouse, and you too can get involved. There is a solution, and you are part of it.

AI in Chinese Classrooms; Would this ever fly in the US?!

I just watched a shocking video from the Wall Street Journal about some government-funded research that is being conducted in Chinese classrooms around the use of AI for student performance. Take a look: https://youtu.be/JMLsHI8aV0g! Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Would this ever fly in the US?!

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha is a presentation delivered using 20 slides, with high-quality images, which are shown for only 20 seconds each. The presenter speaks as the slides run automatically. It is an excellent way to deliver an engaging speech.

I am hosting my Pecha Kucha right here in preparation for my presentation (along with my colleague from NMSU-A, our Division Leader Cathy Aguilar-Morgan). Cathy was a member of the team who developed the 2020 HSI Title V Proposal. I led the group and wrote the proposal. We learned in September of this year that NMSU-A was the only campus within the institution who was awarded $300,000. In addition, the proposal was given a perfect score by the US Department of Education. We are excited to get this proposal underway. We will be sharing this presentation on November 12, 2020 at the NMSU Graduate Research Fair. Please click here to find my Pecha Kucha: NMSU-A HSI Title V Presentation

UPDATE: click here for the live presentation of this pecha kucha on November 12, at 4:30 mtd.

The Danielson Framework for REMOTE teaching

As a public educator in the state of NM for a VERY long time, I am extremely familiar with the Danielson Framework. Basically, it was THE teacher evaluation tool in our state since 2013 (maybe before). I tuned in today to a webinar on the newly released Framework for REMOTE teaching. I was pleasantly surprised. Here is the link to the tools that were covered in today’s event: https://danielsongroup.org/resources If you have limited time, download and take at least the self-assessment on Creating Environments of Respect and Rapport. Even in virtual learning, we know and understand the power of relationships in our classrooms. I have to say this feels like a more gentle and supportive observation protocol compared to what I knew from years gone by. Let me know what you think!

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