Prepared to be amazed: Course 5 projects

I was incredibly lucky to have an amazing group of teachers, educators and thinkers in my sub-cohort of COETAIL Online 5. It was a real privilege and honor to learn with this group of people over the past five courses. I will miss reading their posts, chatting in emails, and getting peeks into their classrooms. Like all COETAIL grads, they should be so incredibly proud of what they have accomplished. noun_14997_cc


Joel’s  amazing Traveling Tales project was probably a favorite of everyone in our cohort. This amazing global storytelling project shows the power of a PLN, how visible thinking and technology can (and should be) integrated, and the amazing creativity of our young students. I know he hopes that more people get involved so check out all of the thoughtful work he has put into the project. If interested here is   noun_78156_cc


Chris, who has always been one of our most thoughtful bloggers, did some amazing work investigating and trying formative assessment tools. His reflection on using GoFormative in his middle school math classroom is incredibly powerful: “Much like peering into the working minds of my students, it is the closest that I have ever come in 20 years of teaching to being able to instantaneously observe, analyze, and compare an entire class of students’ thinking and problem solving strategies” and really speaks to the power of formative assessment”

Stephanie asked her middle school science kids “Did you eat dinosaur toenail for breakfast?” And with that fantastic provocation, her kids jumped into creating a digital story that tells the story of carbon. Taking the place of a traditional lab report, Stephanie (and her co-teacher)noun_553445_cc took risks, tried new things, and saw kids really engage in their work. And in her really honest reflection,  she states:  “ It [the final project]  also reaffirmed my belief that we need to give students opportunities to create and make something authentic – something they couldn’t just google the answer to.”

Megan K.s global book club had teachers from all over the world reading, thinking, and discussing Tony Wagner’s book Creating Innovators. The project  was an amazing  re-mix of a lot of the ideas of COETAIL, includingnoun_180313_cc global collaboration, innovation, visual note-taking, and much, much more. And as Megan reflects, “This project has and the group members I learned with have inspired me to find little ways to look for innovation in each day, as well as push the norms of traditional teaching.”

Magali showed how genius hour can work in her grade 5 language class. I never would have thought of genius hour in a foreign language acquisition class, but of course that is how so many of us learn other languages…curiosity and need to learn how to communicate. You can really sense thnoun_447303_cce kids enthusiasm and Magali’s excitement at the things they are learning. And I love how perfectly 5th grade their topics are (Madame PacMan made me laugh!) It’s clear they were learning the language and were feeling pretty geeked about it

Valdir, also a French teacher, shows in his video how changing both a physical space in a classroom noun_205565_ccand by blending learning, kids will engage in their learning  in all sorts of authentic ways (even when there is “apparent chaos” 🙂 The use of timelapse video really shows how important our phsycial spaces are, in addition to our virtual learning environments.


Iain’s Stranger Things-inspired video shows how and games can be an amazing starting point for conversations about creative thinking and collaboration.noun_663745_cc

While I love Danelle’s final project on creating videos in middle school science, what I really love about her video is her tenacity, flexibility, and high levels of reflection. With a lot of life-changes, including a move to a new school, Danelle really showed how the journey is a huge part of learning in COETAIL.noun_691094_cc

Nadine also moved before she could launch her final project and her final video showed  her continuing enthusiasm and energy, even in the madness of the moving and changing schools. Nadine also  showed the power of the PLN for international teachers who are always on the move and finding them teaching in new places and teaching new things.


So many people are engaging with Seesaw (a digital portfolio). Shaza showed how she used Seesaw to help with an unit on “How do we express ourselves?”. Paul showed how how easy it is to use and discussed some of the ways he is helping parents engage with the online portfolio.noun_712 Lauren shows how to blend analog work with reflections and commenting on Seesaw. And as Joy states in her reflection about using Seesaw with a club, “for genuine student reflection to happen, students have got to be given sufficient support and opportunity to reflect on and upload work on a frequent and regular basis, and for a proportion of the uploads to be shared with and reflected on by the class”


Community Engagement:noun_739666_cc

There is no doubt that the community built by Online 5 and the risks people took in builiding an online PLN has been incredibly impressive. Some fantastic posts on what community engagement can look like in Course 5 can be found here: 


Wendy talks about an amazing group of people who supported her in introducing badges to her library and shows how community can make a good idea even better!


Yolanda deserves a huge “woot woot” for developing a strong and vibrant PLN! I have continually been impressed with Yo’s enthusiasm and positive attitude towards building an online community.
Tanya (and the whole ISLux crew) shows the power of focused collaboration. I am amazed at the changes I have seen through the COETAILers at ISLux. And I’m pretty sure people felt free to take risks because they felt they had the support of others at their school. If you are interested in joining COETAIL with a group of people from your school, this post will show the power of school-based collaboration and learning. 


I am going to miss my COETAIL crew a ton. I am can’t wait to see what they do next!

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