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Communication, collaboration, creative and critical thinking, and cultural competency are all part of the foundation for learning that makes a difference.
At this morning's Learning Lab, a new session format unveiled at ASCD Empower17, those of us in attendance had the chance to build a lesson that hit those 5Cs—from scratch.
Through a design similar to that of the popular Food Network show, Chopped, I had the opportunity to work with Arielle Garcia, a middle school principal from Tennessee, and Lisa Ynigues, a district-level leader from Hawaii, as we opened our "pantry" and took out our "ingredients." Different groups received different boxes, based on grade-level standards. Ours featured videos, an ELA standard, and a student profile.
Then the clock started, and we got to work. On Chopped, chefs have a set time to work with their ingredients to make unique dishes that impress the judges. We had the benefit of working in teams. Just like in the show, we had to begin our collaboration by studying our ingredients. What were we familiar with? What was new to us? How would we use what was in our box? How would we combine all the materials—you have to use everything, no excuses—into a lesson or template for a unit of study?
We also had to determine roles, and quickly. Who was going to collect resources? Who was going to chart a path, always beginning with the end in mind? And who was going to ask those questions that push and stretch us further?
With the 5Cs as the rallying point, we put together a really intriguing lesson template, and successfully used all of our resources—and added a few in for good measure. (Here is the template. I’m curious to know what you think about how it turned out.)
Arielle, Lisa, and I agreed that the experience was incredibly empowering, showcasing both how focusing on the 5Cs can allow us to craft powerful learning experiences, and also showing that there a plethora of great resources are always at our fingertips, regardless of where we live, who we work with, or what our roles are.
"The power of a remixed lesson design challenge is that it promotes power in collaboration between educators of varied roles," said facilitator Gabriel Benn, "and it uses the 5Cs to force us all to remember that we can be 'resource rich' if we realize that resources can come from everywhere and everyone."
I don’t want to give away too many of the details about the collaboration; you really should experience that for yourself—and you can because it repeats on Sunday. I will say that it was a great reminder about the need for us to think creatively when it comes to professional development design and to see further evidence that learning only happens when we "just do it."
Find LL3, "Chop't: A Culturally Responsive Instructional Design Challenge" on Sunday at 8:00 a.m. in the Pacific Ballroom of the Hilton Anaheim (across from the convention center).
Fred Ende is the assistant director of curriculum and instructional services for Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, one of New York’s 37 regional education service agencies. He is also the author of Professional Development That Sticks from ASCD, which explores redesigning PD to make a difference for educators. You can reach him (and give feedback on his lesson template) on Twitter at @fredende. Find Ende in his session, "Knock, Knock: Exploring Laughter to Empower Leadership and Learning," on Monday at 1:00 p.m. (ACC, Level 2, Room 201C).
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