Challenge-Based Learning: Redefining School with Glarea Elevated Learning

In this edition of the Roundtable, host Tim Cavey connects with Rita Rai, Nadia Irshad, and Peter Anderson from Glarea Elevated Learning, a school that is charting a unique path to learning and instruction.

What is challenge-based learning, how does it help students, and how does it fit with inquiry and other approaches to instruction? You’re about to find out.

Select any of the timestamps listed below to jump to specific portions of the discussion. ⬇️

Questions and Timestamps from This Conversation

  • 0:29 – Who is Rita Rai?
  • 3:12 – Who is Nadia Irshad?
  • 5:15 – Who is Peter Anderson?
  • 9:22 – What is Glarea Elevated Learning? How is this school different?
  • 11:38 – What is the history of Glarea Elevated Learning? How, when, and why was it founded?
  • 17:28 – What is challenge-based learning? Why is an emphasis on challenge so important in education today?
  • 21:49 – What do you see as the current and future roles of technology in education?
  • 29:15 – Why is it so important to put BIPOC women in places of institutional leadership? What work remains to be done in this space?
  • 33:43 – How are children learning differently than they were 10-20 years ago? How can teachers and schools responsively to those needs?
  • 36:29 – What is the meaning of Glarea?
  • 41:29 – How can we connect with you and join your learning journeys?

Connect with Glarea Elevated Learning

Listen to the Audio-Only Podcast Episode on Spotify

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As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter at 8:00 a.m. Pacific/11:00 a.m. Eastern. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

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Shannon Schinkel: Drama, Equity, and Assessment

Who is Shannon Schinkel?

SHANNON SCHINKEL is an inclusive BC high school drama teacher, progressive assessment maker, part time actor, blogger, and reader. She is also the creator and administrator of two Facebook groups: Beyond Report Cards and Humanities Zone. You can follow Shannon on Twitter @DramaQueenBRC and on her blog at https://mygrowthmindset.home.blog.

Questions, Topics, and YouTube Timestamps

  • 1:20 – Who is Shannon Schinkel? Tell us a little bit more about your current CONTEXT and work in education.
  • 3:04 – Before we go any further, how are you doing these days? What has your headspace been like, and what does PANDEMIC LEARNING look like in your context?
  • 4:48 – It’s STORY TIME. Please share with us about a low moment or an experience of adversity that you’ve faced in your teaching or education career, and describe how you overcame it.
  • 11:25 – How can educators shift student thinking and language away FROM grades to be earned TOWARD learning and proficiency to be developed?
  • 17:27 – Is a PASS/FAIL model of assessment and reporting possible or even desirable in K-12 education?
  • 19:32 – Let’s talk about BEYOND REPORT CARDS, your legendary Facebook group that now boasts almost 1,400 passionate educators and continues to grow. What fuels your passion for the area of assessment in education today?
  • 23:58 – Josh Ogilvie (@JoshOgilvie4) on Twitter, a teacher in Burnaby, BC, asked this question: “How can we help teachers develop and use sound and ALIGNED assessment and grading practices?”
  • 33:08 – And here’s a question from our mutual friend and rock star in BC education, Rose Pillay (@RPillay1) on Twitter. She asks “How can teachers OUTSIDE of your district benefit from your work, words, wit & wisdom? Beyond the blog, beyond Twitter.”
  • 36:35 – We are living and working in an incredible time for the planet and for education. Do you feel like we are on the brink of an assessment REVOLUTION in North America?
  • 41:55 – As you look across your PLN and your own practice in the remote learning environment, what is setting you ON FIRE about education today?
  • 44:42 – How are you looking to GROW professionally and improve your practice right now? Can you share about a specific professional goal or project that you’re currently working on?
  • 51:07 – Outside of education, what’s another area of LEARNING for you? Tell us why this area interests you and why you enjoy it.
  • 53:55 – Share about an app, personal habit, or PRODUCTIVITY hack that contributes to your success and helps you do everything that you do.

Voices and Resources That Spark Shannon’s Thinking

Follow Shannon

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Song Track Credits

  • Sunrise Drive by South London Hifi*
  • Anthem by The Grand Affair*
  • Roots of Legend by Density & Time
  • Jane Fonda by The Grand Affair*
  • *tracks courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library

Listen to This Episode on YouTube

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Assessment Practices: Building Sustainability, Equity, and Literacy (featuring ACBC)

In this edition of the Roundtable, host Tim Cavey connects with five educators from the Assessment Consortium of BC. The purpose of ACBC is “To foster growth in assessment literacy for educators in British Columbia that will lead to sustainable and equitable practices, benefiting learners from K to post-secondary.” Whether you’re a British Columbian educator or not, if you’re interested in learning more about assessment practices in K-16, this conversation is for you.

Select any of the timestamps listed below to jump to specific portions of the discussion. ⬇️

Questions and Timestamps from This Conversation

  • 0:30 – Who are you and what is your current context in education?
    • 0:38 – Who is Shannon Schinkel?
    • 1:44 – Who is Nina Pak Lui?
    • 2:14 – Who is Phil Stringer?
    • 3:06 – Who is Josh Ogilvie?
    • 4:00 – Who is Katie Marren?
  • 5:07 – What is the Assessment Consortium of BC? How and why did ACBC start?
  • 7:53 – Why do you call it a consortium? What do you see as ACBC’s mission?
  • 12:18 – What is your personal assessment story? What sorts of experiences have shaped your thinking around assessment today?
  • 31:53 – Who are the voices who have inspired you and influenced your assessment journey?
  • 41:33 – What are your hopes for the launch and learn EdCamp event?
  • 44:46 – What is next for ACBC? What are some of your long-term GOALS?
  • 47:48 – How can we connect with you and join your learning journey?

Follow These Educators and Founders of ACBC on Twitter

Assessment Authors and Speakers Recommended by the Panelists

  • Barbara Oakley
  • Benjamin Bloom
  • Brooke Moore
  • Carol Ann Tomlinson
  • Dustin Louie
  • Dylan Wiliam
  • Grant Wiggins
  • Henry Roediger III
  • Jan Chappuis
  • Jay McTighe
  • Jo Chrona
  • Jody Carrington
  • Judy Halbert
  • Katie White
  • Ken O’Connor
  • Leyton Schnellert
  • Linda Kaser
  • Mark A. McDaniel
  • Paige Fisher
  • Peter C. Brown
  • Peter Liljedahl
  • Rick Stiggins
  • Rick Wormeli
  • Shelley Moore
  • Starr Sackstein
  • Susan Brookhart
  • Thomas Guskey
  • Tom Schimmer

Listen to the Audio-Only Podcast Episode on Spotify

Catch the Next Teachers on Fire Roundtable LIVE

As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter at 8:00 a.m. Pacific/11:00 a.m. Eastern. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

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FISA Leaders Discuss Assessment, PLNs, Wins, and Self-Care

In this edition of the Roundtable, I joined Darren Spyskma, Brenda Ball, and Tom Williams to discuss changing assessment practices, the power of professional learning networks, recent wins for our learning communities, and self-care strategies. This is our conversation.

Questions That Guided Our Discussion

  • 1:30 – Who are you, and what is your current context in education?
  • 3:30 – What are your thoughts on assessment practices in K-12 education today? What, in your view, needs to change?
  • 13:06 – Despite the challenges of education in a pandemic, what is one win for learning that you are seeing right now?
  • 21:13 – Why is it more important than ever to be a connected educator?
  • 32:08 – How are you finding self-care during times of stress and uncertainty?

Thanks to the Guests Featured in This Roundtable

Catch the Next Teachers on Fire Roundtable LIVE

As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time/11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

Connect with the Teachers on Fire Podcast on Social Media

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Riley Dueck: Faith, Learning, and Creative Work

Meet Riley Dueck

RILEY DUECK is a sixth grade teacher in Surrey, BC, Canada. At the time of our recording, he was a second year educator, speaker, innovator, blogger, and the host of the Not Many of You Should Become Teachers podcast.

“NOOOOOOO!”

In his first year of teaching, Riley and his sixth grade colleagues were trying to address some negativity among their students. Even as they planned some fun events before spring break, the complaining from some corners didn’t seem to let up.

Peak frustration came one day for Riley as he was doing his best to hype one of these term-end activities with his class. As he was speaking, one student loudly interrupted him with an obnoxious “NOOOOO!

Shocked, Riley admits to returning some verbal fire and letting this student know in no uncertain terms that their interruption had been extremely rude. But later in the day, when Riley found some time to follow up privately with the student, he discovered that the interruptor had actually been excited about the events Riley described and in fact was crushed that a family vacation would take him away from school a day before these fun events.

Riley realized that the student hadn’t been frustrated with him or his plans at all – just frustrated that his family’s travels meant that he would miss out. Thankfully, Riley was able to completely restore the relationship, and by the time they parted ways for spring break, all was well again. The incident was another good reminder for Riley that student behavior is often not exactly what it seems. There’s often more to the story.

How Can Faith Integrate with Learning?

Riley works at an independent faith-based middle school, so I put to him the question: why does faith belong in K-12 contexts at all?

Riley explains that a faith-based school wasn’t actually his original plan. Fresh out of university, his plan was to teach in a public setting where he would be able to work with underserved children. Hiring didn’t go quite the way he envisioned it, however, and months of soul-searching about his core values and mission led him to reconsider the path forward.

When a last-minute opportunity to take a sixth grade teaching position appeared, his initial misgivings melted away, and he started to see the positive aspects of teaching in a faith community as a person of faith. He thought about the ways in which his beliefs, passions, giftings, and creativity could be used to inspire students and actually “teach in ways that are authentically Christian.”

Riley isn’t interested in the traditional trappings of religion or Christian culture; instead, he’s passionate about showing students what it means to experience a real relationship with their Creator and love the world as he does. Other factors included the chance to coach volleyball and participate in international service initiatives in Africa and around the world – two other core passions that align with his values.

Finally, after taking the time to consider all angles, he decided to accept the offer to teach sixth grade in a faith-based school, and it’s been a fantastic journey so far. Every day, Riley is grateful for the opportunity to use learning experiences to lean into the life and love and restorative work of God in the world.

Not Many of You Should Become Teachers: the Podcast

Riley shares a passion for content creation. For years, most of his creative energies were directed to YouTube, but in recent years those energies have moved into podcasting. The podcast medium has become his medium of choice for discussions of faith and learning, and he enjoys doing exactly that with co-host Dave MacFarland, another former guest of Teachers on Fire.

The Not Many of You Should Become Teachers podcast takes its title from a warning found in the Bible’s book of James, where the author describes the critical importance of education. It’s an activity not to be taken lightly, the ancient writer implied. On the podcast, Riley and Dave maintain that spirit by exploring the field of teaching as a high calling and grand responsibility.

The podcast is also meant to start and continue discussions around Christian education today. What is its role and place in modern society? What should its mission be? What should a holistic study of the integrations between faith and learning include? In Riley’s view, the podcast fills a need for more critical conversations in these spaces. Although the hosts speak from the context of a faith-based school, Riley feels like public school teachers who have an interest in the intersections between faith and learning will enjoy their content as well.

How Does Content Creation Lead to Learning?

Riley looks back at his high school media classes as the catalyst for his current passions and activities around content creation. As an enneagram 7, the fun of trying new things, creating, sharing, and starting conversations easily overcomes the fear of creation and hitting the publish button that many wrestle with. Learning opportunities simply become more fun and engaging when we’re creating.

Riley’s also a believer in the growth mindset and the power of learning from mistakes; it’s when we step out of the comfort zone and take risks that we’re likely to grow the most. The people who have made the biggest impact in the world are generally those who have taken the greatest risks and overcome fears of failure, and this applies to relationships and community-building as much as it does to technology and communication. 

Another Source of Fire in His Practice: Teaching Math

Something else that is setting Riley on fire in his practice at the moment is teaching Math. He regards Robert Kaplinsky as one of his key mentors in this area. “He’s a Math-teaching genius,” says Riley. “Anything that can be made problem-based in my Math class has become problem-based.”

From Kaplinsky, Riley has learned how to offer lower floors (easier on-ramps) for engagement and learning while also offering higher ceilings and opportunities for further growth and extended learning.

A Professional Goal: More Indigenous Integrations

Riley has a couple of professional goals on the go. One of them is to do a better job of integrating First Nations content and pedagogy throughout his teaching practice. He sees a natural congruence between the Christian value of reconciliation and curricular mandates to recognize indigenous cultural values and ways of knowing. 

Learning from Travel

“I love travel and tourism and the leadership opportunities that come with that,” Riley says. He’s worked with AirBnB to offer tour experiences in downtown Vancouver, and he’s the sort of traveler that carefully researches every aspect of future trips in order to absolutely maximize his time and take advantage of every opportunity in foreign destinations.

Essentialism: Doing Less to Do More

“I have a love-hate relationship with productivity and self-help,” Riley laughs. He points to Gregory McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less as a book that shaped his thinking in a profound way in terms of narrowing his focus and avoiding overwhelm. Contrary to conventional thought, we can actually be more effective and productive by doing less, McKeown argues.

Voices and Resources That Spark Riley’s Thinking

On Twitter, Riley recommends following @TobyATravis. He’s the superintendent of Village Christian Academy in Fayetteville, NC, and he’s got a grounded vision for what Christian education can be. He also points to his podcasting co-host, @MrMcFTeaches, as someone who tweets a lot of valuable insights around teaching, current events, social studies, faith and learning, and more.

When asked for an edtech tool pick, Riley shouts out Google Classroom. He’s continually impressed by the ways that Classroom improves and continues to serve educators and students well. Follow Google Classroom on Twitter @GoogleForEdu

When it comes to reading, Riley spends most of his time in two genres: kids’ lit and theology. For the former, he’s recommending Restart and anything else by Gordon Korman. In the area of theology, he suggests The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion by N. T. Wright.

As a podcast creator, you know Riley’s a listener. Once he’s caught up on Teachers on Fire, Riley enjoys This Cultural Moment and Ask NT Wright Anything

On YouTube, Riley still enjoys the legendary PewDiePie. PewDiePie is a reader, a thinker, and an excellent commentator on what is going on in the world. He uses clever memes to communicate his message, and he’s simply entertaining. 

At the time of this recording, Riley had cancelled his Netflix subscription. His entertainment choices were skewing old school with Survivor Season 40

As we said our goodbyes, Riley gave us the best ways to reach out and connect. See below for details.

Follow Riley

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Song Track Credits

  • Sunrise Drive by South London Hifi*
  • Anthem by The Grand Affair*
  • Coupe by The Grand Affair
  • Species by Diamond Ortiz
  • *tracks courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library

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