Activity Guide

The Power of Observation

Have you:

  • Observed a family of four texting throughout the meal at a restaurant?
  • Observed a group of teenagers sitting together silently texting?
  • Observed a young child trying to get the attention of a texting parent?
  • Observed a baby cry to get a parent’s cell phone or tablet?
  • How can we reclaim personalization in the digital age?



Faculty Group Discussion

  1. As much as possible, ask participants to sit in instructional or grade-level teams, or with content-area groups. Those without a team or department may choose to sit with a team or group that has relevance to their professional area.
  2. Distribute the reading or the link. Allow time for participants to read closely and highlight important passages.
  3. Small group discussion:Have someone in the group read the four opening observations.
    • How have you observed young people in social interactions recently?
    • How do your students interact in the classroom when given opportunities for communication?
  4. Continue the conversation with the Discussion Prompts.

Extend and Apply

  • Have each department chair or grade-level team leader schedule a meeting time for his or her group.
  • If participants would like to review the five-part Breaking Ranks definition of “personalization” before the meeting, refer them to Module 8, Activity 3: Personalization Consensus.

Meeting Preparation

  • Prior to this meeting, each staff member should reread the article and develop at least three specific strategies or ideas that he/she can apply to their instructional practices with students to raise the level of oral and written communication. Review the building blocks for blended learning tips and consider how these tips might improve the integration of online and in-class experiences for completing student projects.

Team or Department Meeting Discussion Topics

  • Review the strategies/ideas each member selected in preparation for the meeting.
  • Reach consensus on what classroom protocols can be adopted by every member to improve student interactions and communication.
  • Focus on frequency, short and long term projects, and collaborative assignments that will provide real-world interactions in the classroom. How can these assignments provide opportunities for writing and oral communication across content areas?
  • Reach consensus and identify one or two project assignments that reinforce oral and written skills development and teaming skills. How can the proper use of technology be integrated into these assignments?
  • What support or professional development will be needed to ensure successful implementation of these strategies?
  • As a group, use the Discussion Guide Planning Templates to write a successful action plan.