Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Just Kwahlax.

Baring a major power outage in the Lancaster County area, this blog should receive its 30,000 hit sometime on Thursday, June 25th. (My assumption is that most of my regular readers dwell within a 10 mile radius of my school district.)   Given that the inception was September 1st, I'm marginally excited at the idea of this milestone.   I sort of wish that I could actually identify who the 30,000 visitor actually is so that I could toss confetti -- or, at the very least, interview that individual about their motivation for reading this at all.  (With my luck, it would be someone visiting for the first time, which would offer no fodder or inspiration for another blog topic...)

I continue to ask myself my magical reflection questions:

WHAT?               SO WHAT?           NOW WHAT?

Yes, I did just speak of this topic less than eight weeks ago -- May 4th, to be exact.  I've always been a groaner of K-W-L charts, and W/SW/NW accomplishes the same sort of reflection, but on a higher level.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered my friend in New Zealand talking about the 21st Century KWL -- and doing so with excitement.  Honestly, Justine is a smart lady, and has yet to steer me wrong, so I spent some time studying the proposed chart for consideration.  Truth be told, it was actually something that Justine tweeted, that was actually the work of Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, and she's obviously been thinking about this for a while now.  Her 2011 version was a KWHL chart, adding "HOW" to the "KNOW, WANT TO KNOW, LEARNED" columns that we all know and loathe.  The "HOW" offered a chance to consider the 21st century concept of Information Literacy, as students approached the task of learning.

But Silvia didn't stop there.  Instead, she's given us a tool worthy of reflective praise.  (And, heck, I'm reflecting on it AND praising it right here in my own blog, so I guess it's working with at least one educator -- two, if you also count Justine...).

Now it's a very simple K-W-H-L-A-Q.

If I can find a pronunciation for this acronym, my poor mother may actually stop reading this blog.  But hear me out.  (Or, rather, hear Silvia out...)

"The new visual (posted at the top of the blog entry) is intended to give teachers and students more choices of make their thinking and learning visible using the following platforms, activities, tools, Visible Thinking Routines as an option or starting off point. The suggestions include tools and platforms that are specifically suited to connect, collaborate, communicate and create, 21st century style, one's process and make it easier to amplify and to document4learning. The framework is based on:

REFLECTION being an integral part of the learning process
the understanding that through technology tools our access to INFORMATION has exponentially expanded as well
our ability to take ACTION beyond affecting people we are able to reach face to face
that technology tools allow us to express and communicate in OTHER FORMS of media beyond words and text"

Did you catch the key words?  Admittedly, there is a lot of good stuff there, but the "Visible Thinking Routines" are the focus of my passion for the new KWHLAQ.  That's got ME written all over it.

So, I say, "Kwahlax and think about what you're doing."  (See what I did there?  Kwahlax is the new KWHLAQ.  Now it's a verb.  And verbs are very good things, because I know that I am not the only one in ACTION in my classroom!)