Notes from AIMS Teachers Retreat 2016 #AIMSTeach @aimsmddc

I had the chance to attend & keynote the AIMS Teachers Retreat this year! I came away with so many ideas and new friends. If you’re in the MD/DC area, I really encourage you to check out this conference for the future. For now, I wanted to share some of the notes that I captured. By the nature of the conference, so much happened in the small discussions and conversations, which clearly I cannot capture here. But I hope you enjoy some of the resources and links, below!

Stacey Roshan’s Keynote: Oh The Relationships You’ll Build: Using Technology to Make Things More Personal

Links shared:

David Ghoogasian’s Keynote: Schools as Ecosystems

How are schools run & organized? Fill in the blank: “Schools are modeled like ________”

  • A corporation, a business
  • A family, a community
  • A pressure cooker
  • A circus
  • A factory

How is your school like a factory?

  • Quality control
  • You have a brand to sell
  • You are expected to be good at everything at the same time

Schools as ecosystems

  • Think of our schools as ecosystems – a complex network or interconnected system. We all work together & build off each other; each one of us rely on one another. Connections make connections, which make further connections.
  • We need one another to make the whole run. Even the smallest parts make a huge difference (i.e.: in human body, even the smallest bacteria imbalance can cause you to feel unwell)
  • School dynamics – if you have people who are toxic, the dynamics of the school revolve around that. If a new person comes in, they can be pushed into that dysfunctional role.
  • As teachers, we have to remember to *empower*, not overpower.

Our non verbal communication speaks loudly; there is an explicit & implicit message in what we say

  • What we do is as important, if not more important, than what we say
  • Ecosystems are interconnected & interdependent. If we cultivate relationships, when we fall somebody will come to pick us up.
  • Think: What nutrients do you provide to your ecosystem (where you work)?
  • What can I personally do to add nutrients to my ecosystem? What positive anticipated effect would it have?

Every type of positive growth involves & requires *risk*

We need to remember to be in the moment; too much focus in the past -> depression; too much focus in the future -> anxiety

Compliance is a very low bar. Often times, though, that is what we are actually looking for. Commitment is what we are actually looking for.

OK, So You’ve Decided to Flip the Classroom, Now What? Interdisciplinary Ideas for the Social Studies Classroom

Chris Lopez and Elizabeth Schiavone, Notre Dame Preparatory School
Present a series of paintings; ask students to “write the story” and order the paintings; students add titles and narratives to each slide

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 6.29.01 PM

In flipping the classroom: “I had to provide some narrative for the information I was giving them.”

Ideas for what to do once you’ve flipped the Social Studies Classroom

  • Analyze —
    • poetry
    • art work
    • cartoons
    • essays
  • Document-based lesson
  • Stanford history education group: Sheg
  • How do you get students to discover the lesson versus you telling them the lesson?
  • “Gallery walk” – view all of the documents that are posted on the walls and answer all of the guiding questions
    • forces movement and shifting of groups

Continuing Conversations with David Ghoogasian

  • Whodunnit video – the importance of giving an introduction to help students focus on what you want them to zone in on
  • Anchoring effect – what you are exposed to before affects your perception
    • To illustrate the anchoring effect, let’s say I ask you how old Mahatma Gandhi was when he died.
    • For half of you I’ll preface the question by saying: “Did he die before or after the age of 24?” For the other half I’ll say: “Did he die before or after the age of 124?”
  • The brain becomes what the brain does
  • Bad habits are hard to break; it’s harder to work with students who have incorrect prior knowledge
  • Stereotype life / stereotype threat
    • Asian females were given a questionnaire – group 1 = questions about being asian; group 2 = questions about being a girl; group 3 = neutral questions
    • All students then given a math test — the students in group 1 did best on the math test; the students in group 2 did the worst on the math test
  • Always think: If a visitor coming to my school only ran into me during their visit and didn’t talk to anyone else, what would they come away thinking about the school?

Teaching AP Art History and AP Studio Art in a Digital Word

Christine Plumer and Anne Walker, Notre Dame Preparatory School


Web Tools:


Digital Textbooks:

More — Virtual Travel around the World through Art Service Learning


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s