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Kristen Ahlers

  • Self-reflection.

    I make my kids do it.

    I try to do it.

    I sometimes postpone it.

    I sometimes don’t do it.

    I sometimes revisit reflections I’ve done.

    My position in this program, as I mentioned […]

  • Kristen Ahlers wrote a new post, End scene., on the site From Here. 9 months, 1 week ago

    The end of a course is always bittersweet.  The timing of this is really incredible as well.  It is the end of a school year.  In the international circuit, the amount of goodbyes said, or the more optimistic se […]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Hello, Steve.

    What an interesting way to begin a ToK project – I am sure that the material provides many opportunities for deeper thought and reflection. I would be curious to see how it turns out.

    As for the post – I am not sure Brooke Fox is on target either, but it is a conversation starter. Often things are blown out of proportion. I…[Read more]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 9 months, 2 weeks ago

    Thanks, Cary.

    Perhaps on some level it is a confidence issue for me. I do think that there is great knowledge to be taken from lurking, and I pass things along when I feel they will be beneficial to others.

    One day I hope to transition into a creator. For now, I will lay low.

    Thanks,

    Kristen

  • You know, this is the part I find the most difficult of this entire COETAIL experience.  At the end of the day, I am a lurker.  A borrower.  A silent observer and admirer.  Personality is an interesting thi […]

    • Hi Kristen,

      I enjoyed your post and the wide range of readings you recommend and share.

      A lot of my grade 11 students are watching 13 Ways. One of them has chosen it as the starting point for his assessed ToK presentation and is engaging in many interested conversations with the others. These students are amongst my most thoughtful and academic. I didn’t find their comments sensationalist nor irresponsible.

      I haven’t seen the programme and the topic makes me wary as I am aware of the esteem issues many of our teenagers face. The fact that it has made the kids talk and reflect, however, makes me doubt whether Brooke Fox in the article you posted has the right idea.

      It is often our instinct as parents to protect our kids from challenging material and furthermore, like Fox, to justify our reluctance by criticizing the way the topic is approached. I am aware that many of the media my parents sought to protect me from remain some of the most powerful cultural experiences of my life.

      Difficult as it can be, we must trust young people to take the right messages away from challenging material. There are limits (and I don’t know what they are), but it is more important to instil critical skills than it is to withhold difficult topics and controversial approaches to them.

      • Hello, Steve.

        What an interesting way to begin a ToK project – I am sure that the material provides many opportunities for deeper thought and reflection. I would be curious to see how it turns out.

        As for the post – I am not sure Brooke Fox is on target either, but it is a conversation starter. Often things are blown out of proportion. I also believe in trusting our students to make wise choices as they evaluate more difficult themes, and I do have a bit of a concern about the age difference between grade 7 and grade 11, which is why I invited the discussion into my middle school classroom. There is seldom danger in starting a conversation. I shared a story about a family friend who took his own life, and how, 20 years later, we still miss him terribly.

        Thanks for your feedback,

        Kristen

    • Kristen, I can sympathise. I am a bit of a lurker as well. I think that might be because I feel connected to colleagues at school. But online I retweet, reshare, pass on things but don’t usually create.

      I think as well it is because I feel that I am listened to where I am so I feel as though I am passing on my knowledge gained from lurking. Maybe that is the same for you.

      Nice post by the way, full of great resources!

      • Thanks, Cary.

        Perhaps on some level it is a confidence issue for me. I do think that there is great knowledge to be taken from lurking, and I pass things along when I feel they will be beneficial to others.

        One day I hope to transition into a creator. For now, I will lay low.

        Thanks,

        Kristen

  • This project started with grand plans.  Bringing technology into the 1300s.  Sounds great.

    Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite texts to teach, and if I am being honest, it’s one that I can do pretty off […]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 1 month ago

    Thank you so much for the feedback, Jen.

    The Gchat idea is a good one. I’ll have to see how I can work that in. I used to do a lot of that when I taught in Taiwan, as in-class conversation was sometimes a struggle. We would have real-time conversations projected on the board. It was interesting, and nice to have a digital legacy of student…[Read more]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Hello, Jon.

    My husband uses it as an open forum in his classroom to learn more about anything his kids wonder about. When he gets a random question in the middle of the class he can just say wonder jar and the student can write it down. Sometimes he will have moments where kids write down things they wonder about. However the questions arrive,…[Read more]

  • Methinks the kids will struggle to see / That this story pulled from history / Still has themes that ring so true / In present day for all of them too.

    A poet I’m not but the bard is the best—there’ll be love, […]

    • Hi Kristen,

      I really enjoyed reading about your project idea! Your enthusiasm for teaching Shakespeare has really come through in this post, and I’m sure that will have a great buy-in effect with your students. I love the Edmondo project idea and having the kids get into character. Are you going to have them modernize the story elements or have them stay in Elizabethan character?

      You were pondering whether there were enough shifts in pedagogy. It sounds like you will sort out some of these shifts as you get through the planning, but I immediately thought of one thing you could do. Have you tried google chat as a writing tool? Maybe the kids could chat with each other in character surrounding some of the events in the story. A few teachers in my school have used this format with interesting results. Do you know of teachers in other schools who will be teaching a similar unit at the same time? Perhaps you can have the kids connect somehow via twitter or another format, as you mentioned. Maybe the other class you find will be working with a different Shakespearean play and the kids can write to each other in characters from the two plays, or play with/modernize Elizabethan the language, or…something like that. Is there also a way they can connect the play to problems teenagers face today and get involved with an organization that can help? I’m thinking of the obvious problems of suicide, parental and societal pressures…but I am sure there are more.

      Not that I know much at all about teaching Shakespeare…I am just inspired by your project and enthusiasm! I’m looking forward to reading about how it all unfolds.

      Thanks and have fun!

      Jen

    • Thank you so much for the feedback, Jen.

      The Gchat idea is a good one. I’ll have to see how I can work that in. I used to do a lot of that when I taught in Taiwan, as in-class conversation was sometimes a struggle. We would have real-time conversations projected on the board. It was interesting, and nice to have a digital legacy of student ideas.

      I hope you had a great holiday.

      Take care,

      Kristen

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Thanks, Ben.

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Hello, Jennifer.

    You have prepared a very well organized and comprehensive overview of both game based learning and the flipped classroom. Your first picture is striking; it’s a fun play on flipped.

    As an English teacher, I can’t help but notice the amount of material available for Math teachers and flipping the classroom. As an English…[Read more]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Hello, Matt.

    You’re brave. This is a bold choice—but incredible. I love your first two understandings, that learning can happen anywhere, and that there is more to a lesson than fits into class. This is true for so many lessons, and it’s great that you are building it into your UbD. I like the autonomy you are affording learners.

    I don…[Read more]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Hello, Jon.

    I always enjoy reading your posts—you are very articulate and make our learning accessible. I am sure this is a quality that serves you well as an educator.

    I am struck by an early comment you make in this post. “To give students the chance to achieve and perceive this achievement of mastery, I need to create opportunities for s…[Read more]

    • Hi Kristen,

      Thank you so much for your comment! Hmmm…wonder jars…I looked them up and found this. I love the idea! Sounds like a great idea to encourage creative thinking and more importantly QUESTIONING (which you know from an EAL perspective is a huge learning behavior we need to encourage). I’m just wondering…do you give the kids prompts…[Read more]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Hello, Christopher.

    What an exciting position to be in. I love those jumpstart moments where the big ideas come flying. It sounds like your new class will be a lot of rewarding hard work. I am intrigued by the open-ended nature of the course. How interesting it will be to have classmates simultaneously creating a documentary film and sorting…[Read more]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Hello, Christopher.

    I also began my teaching career in a school with little technology, and few resources at all for that matter, which resulted in my own solicitation of materials. I spent a lot of my own money on supplies in those days. Thankfully we are past the days of signing out the AV card and pushing it through the halls. This is…[Read more]

  • All of my students have laptops.  Those who forget, or have tech issues, or forget a charger, or (insert miscellaneous excuse here) are able to check one out of the library for the day.  It’s a system that wor […]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Hello, Layla.

    Thanks for your response.

    I also have students prepare notes for essays at home, and come in for on-demand pieces. With my younger students, the 7s, I will have a multiple draft crafted piece that occurs each quarter focusing on a different genre of writing, and then an in-class on-demand piece. I feel like this is a more…[Read more]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Thanks for the feedback, Andrew.

    The Princess Bride is a childhood favorite.

    I appreciate the votes of confidence. We all try our best, and the reflective educator in me recognizes that I could also do more. This year I am teaching grade 7, grade 9, and grade 10 English. I embrace the need to build foundations, and I also feel like it…[Read more]

  • Will education change?

    Yes.

    It has to. It’s already changing.

    Times have changed.  The kids of today are not the same as the kids of my generation.  I was so different from my parents generation.  Pe […]

  • Kristen Ahlers posted a new activity comment 1 year, 2 months ago

    Hello, all.

    I’ve switched to Grade 9 this year, which means I have a unit on Romeo and Juliet coming up shortly.

    I find Shakespeare fun the way that math teachers seem to do algebra for fun—I love the puzzle, the language, and the challenge of it. It is satisfying, as an educator, to get students (particularly a high number of multilingual n…[Read more]

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