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Redefining Reading

November 24, 2014
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As I sit down to reflect on COETAIL in general and my final project in particular, I’m having a much easier time thinking about how I tailored the courses and projects to my needs than how I followed the specific instructions students were given.

When reviewing the guidelines Kim posted for our projects, I find that even though I started early and thought I was doing a great job documenting the process, I skipped documenting some steps that, according to the directions for our assignment, were important indicators of our progress.

What I’m saying here is that I can’t produce the exact documents that the creators of the course would like me to. I have no UbD template completed. I have no outlines, nothing formally written down how the process I used fit the educational objectives of the curriculum, etc…

What I do have is a handful of google docs with notes on them. They started off with quite general brainstorming ideas. They included screenshots and passages from Rubicon Atlas as well as lots and lots of documentation from the IB about what MYP Physical Education and Health should be like.

From those general ideas, I have a list of much more specific ideas. Initially my idea was to collaborate with our PE teacher to create a unit in which our sixth graders used wearable fitness tracking devices. It was an idea just a bit ahead of its time. Though I still would have loved to have done it, I think that it was reaching for this particular group of sixth graders and with a teacher working his way through the curriculum for the first time. The idea will go on the “to do” list, not for this year, but for the future.

From those ideas came a plan to have a more project-based unit in which the students were to audition for the tv show Survivor and part of their audition was to document their fitness plan. Time got short, reality again set in, and the plan had to be scaled back.

Never let it be said I’m at a loss for creative ideas. If I wrote a book, I should probably call it 1001 Lesson Ideas Ahead of Their Time.

Finally Mr. Evans and I came around to the iBook idea. And with that idea, we “redefined reading,” though at the time we did not think of it quite that way. We were searching for a way in which he would not have to lecture, and since he did not have textbooks, we needed a method of delivering information. We struck gold as we settled on iBooks and made GSIS history – “First Teacher Created iBook used in Class.”

But back to my missing UbD template. I do greatly apologize. I can play within the rules when it’s strictly necessary. I have a passport that I show whenever I enter or exit a country. I do my best to follow the speed limit. I stay within the realm of my job description, but I march to the beat of a different drummer.

I realize there are many ways to accomplish the final project for COETAIL. I also have understood through my progression of courses that the main goal is to acquire skills and knowledge that will help me to help learners. For me, that is best done when I have the freedom to explore new ideas in my own way.

As educators we often speak of personalization or differentiation out of one side of our mouth only to set out a long list of requirements for our students out of the other side. Whenever possible, we should give our students the freedom to determine their own course, as I believe I have done in putting together my final COETAIL project.

I hope that the quality and ideas expressed in the final project do justice to my slightly unorthodox method.

~Signing off from COETAIL, blogging for myself from here on out –

Robin 🙂


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One Response to Redefining Reading

  1. Beth on December 3, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Congrats on your final project and video. I love the idea of redefining reading by using multi-touch iBooks. Your video is great inspiration for other teachers. I think you were too hard on yourself in your written reflection, as you did so many things right. 🙂


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