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Vicki Davis
Be a Better Teacher. Live a Meaningful Life.
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She Hired Me! Betty Shiver, the woman who convinced me to become a teacher

16 November, 2017 - 19:03

Betty Shiver on episode 194 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

In today’s show, Betty Shiver, my former curriculum director and the person who convinced me to become a teacher and I talk about teaching. We discuss hiring, inspiring, and having conversations that inspire people to change and improve their classrooms.

FlexPath – only at Capella University – lets teachers work at their own pace to earn their MEd in a competency-based learning format. This subscription-based tuition model doesn’t limit the number of courses you can complete during each 12-week period, enrolling in up to two courses at once, for one flat tuition rate. Go to coolcatteacher.com/flexpath to get your free FlexPath guide and see if Capella’s FlexPath option is right for you. Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure.For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript The Person Who Hired Me to Teach

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e194
Date: Thursday, November 16, 2017

Vicki: This week for the 10-Minute Teacher, we are running a couple of extended episodes. I wanted to talk to some people in my life for who I am really thankful for their presence.

Who is Betty Shiver?

Today, we have Ms. Betty Shiver. She was my curriculum director for many, many years. She also convinced me to go into teaching. If you want to know the secret behind who I am, it’s really because Ms. Betty has been there all these years. You would not see anything that I have on my blog without here. In fact, when I started blogging I went to her and said, “I’m doing this crazy thing called blogging. Will you read my blog?” She was kind of my accountability partner here on campus.

So, Ms. Betty, first of all… I was in the business world and you saw me and somehow you convinced me to try out teaching for a year. You’re kind of known for finding people who would make great teachers. I’m trying not to compliment myself, but there are other people that you’ve found who have just gone on to win all kinds of awards as well.

What do you look for to figure out who would make a great teacher?

Betty: Woooo. I guess I look for people with enthusiasm, people who like people (especially children), somebody intelligent, somebody who has energy and passion… Somebody who wants to do something and is excited… Somebody who is… I don’t know, it’s just that “something” and that gleam in the eye.

It’s not something you can put your finger on, but you can just see it — that “it” in people who want to do something special. They want to give. They want to effect.

And where in the world can you do more than teaching children? How can you effect the world more than in shaping the next generation? I don’t know. If you look at enough people, if you talk to them, you can just see it. You can just see it there.

Vicki: Now, you’ve been teaching for more than thirty years, and you love kids. But also, I just remember for example, when Flat Classroom happened. So many of the projects in my classroom happened because I went to you, and we had conversations.

You’re kind of famous for having conversations that spark change, and this is a difficult thing in many schools.

What’s your strategy for helping us teachers change and innovate?

I really don’t know how you do it. It’s kind of like I woke up one day and realized that all of the big things I’ve done have kind of come from a conversation with you. It’s like, What’s your secret? I want to know it, too!”

Betty: I guess it starts with listening to people. One of the things I do best is go to people and listen, “What are you doing? What do you want to do?”

“Well, if I can’t do that, why don’t we try something out…” And that’s where it starts.

Ideas. I got so many ideas from you. Then I just kind of took the ideas and ran with it.

It’s all in the approach with people. You approach, then you listen, then you suggest, and then you say, “Why don’t we try…” It’s kind of a gradual thing, that you get people to try new things or new ideas.

But the main thing is that you do it with them. You get them to buy in if YOU buy in. You become part of the process. If you do, then people will just about follow you anywhere if you’re with them. If you do it with them.

Vicki: So how do you make people feel like you’re with them? Because you know… I don’t know how you are where you are to have these conversations happen. (laughs)

DO you have habits? Do you like to walk the building? Do you like to pop in on people? How do you allow this, and nurture these conversations?

How do you nurture change-making conversations?

Betty: Yeah… Drop in whenever they’re free — before school, after school. You kind of become part of their personal lives in a way. “How’s your family? What’s going on with you?” You listen.

“What’s going on with your projects?” You know, what’s going on in their classroom. In so many ways, teachers are isolated. They like to talk about what they’re doing, and so sometimes you just listen.

When you listen and they know you’re interested and they’re open to what you have to say — because you’re’ open to what they have to say. So it’s kind of a two-way street.

Vicki: What do you think some of the biggest mistakes are that school leaders make? I mean it might be a curriculum leader. It might be whoever.

What are the biggest mistakes that people make in schools that make it hard to help teachers change?

Betty: Again, I think it’s (not) listening to them. I think the smartest people in our schools are the people in the classrooms, because they’re in the trenches.

I think sometimes big decisions — big sweeping decisions — are made that don’t concern the teachers, that don’t concern the children, and aren’t in the best welfare of the bottom line, (rather than) the children themselves. I think that’s a huge mistake.

When I think about why… “Why don’t kids read? Why can’t kids read?” That’s a big mystery to me. “Why do kids that can’t read come out of schools?”

We can teach children to read. It’s a lot of work. But I can’t understand WHY (laughs) those things don’t happen! They should.

Vicki: So, it’s listening. It’s really paying attention.

Betty: I think it is. I mean, there are a lot of good answers out there, if somebody’s willing to listen, and then try to make them happen.

Vicki: So, when you think back over thirty years, what do you think one of your biggest mistakes was? And you have to be careful, because we’re both at the same school, and we don’t name names, and all that. But just big picture, “I wish that I had done this differently.”

What are your biggest mistakes?

Betty: My biggest mistake was in my early years, when I just didn’t know any better.

I didn’t know anything about learning disabilities. I didn’t know that there were children that couldn’t learn normally. I mean, somewhere in the back of my mind, I had to have known something. But I look back and see the way that I treated some children, and… and… I hate it!

I feel so guilty about what I didn’t do for some children. I think that’s my biggest regret… the things that I didn’t know when I was younger, when I was in the classroom. Things I didn’t do.

Vicki: You know, learning differences or learning disabilities are just so hard, and that’s near and dear to your heart and my heart both. We’ve seen the kids who overcome and go on to do great things.

Do you have a moment that you think, “OK, this is one of my proud moments…” Like, “This is awesome. This is why I do this job.

What is a proud moment?

Betty: I think… maybe… when I got an email from a student who had left. She’d been gone 15 years. Oh, it was Facebook, and I got a message from her. She told me that she was getting her Masters Degree in Special Ed.

And she said, “Ms. Betty, I wanted you to know. I’ve been meaning to send this to you for years. You’re the reason that I’m in education. You’re the reason that I’m doing what I do.”

I taught her in middle school, and she was one of those kids… I always picked two children every year, wrote their names down, and I was going to give special attention to. She was one of my kids that year. I went to her ballgames, and I took her home because she had struggles at home.

But then when she graduated, she had troubles, she had lots of issues that I heard about through the grapevine. And then, you know, I wasn’t in touch with her.

And then out of the blue… that message came.

So I think, yeah. I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about being in education or being a teacher. You never know who you’ve touched, or how you’ve them.

And so, yeah. Those things kind of keep you going.

Vicki: So as we finish up, you said, “You give me so many quotes. And I quote you all of the time.” One of them is that, “Great teachers are repeaters.”

Betty: (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Because we just have to repeat ourselves so much and it’s ridiculous, but we do. We have to remind kids, “Why are you here? How do you act?” and that’s just one of the things that you do.

But what do you think makes a great teacher? What’s your word, to all the teachers listening, about, “OK. Do this. Because that makes you a great teacher.”

What makes a great teacher?

Betty: Respect for each child, regardless of their ability, regardless of their temperament. You respect them as a person.

Fairness. There are a lot of definitions of fairness. But you treat each child fairly.

I think if you can respect them and treat them fairly, you’ll get that back. And if you do that, then you can teach them.

Vicki: OK, I have to do one more question. This is already an extended episode.

What makes you furious?

Betty: When kids aren’t treated fairly. When their needs are not put first in the classroom. When teachers just don’t look at kids as people with feelings and needs and lives outside of school. They just don’t “see” them. I just think that’s so sad. And it hurts as much as it makes you angry. And there are some things that you just can’t fix… and that makes me furious.

Vicki: Yeah. Because life is a bear, and it’s tough. But you know, teaching’s worth it.

I really don’t know how you convinced me to become a teacher.

Betty: (laughs) I don’t either!

Vicki: (laughs) But I will go on the record and say that basically, what I remember is that you said, “I think that you would make a great high school teacher.”

I was teaching some college classes at the time, and I had my own business. It was totally not on my radar. But I will say that at the time, I knew that one of my three kids had a learning difference, and I knew that there was technology to learn. So I think that was a part of the equation.

What I remember is that Ms. Betty said, “Give it a year, and let’s see what you think.” (laughs)

That was 16 years ago. (laughs)

Betty: And I was desperate at the time, too! (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Yeah. She had kind of been left without a technology teacher at the last minute. I think it was about a month before school started or something. And we did a year. And we traveled the world together. We’ve been to Qatar and Mumbai…

Betty: And Dubai.

Vicki: And Dubai.

We’ve been a lot of places together. It’s been exciting.

One thing that we’ve done is this whole immersion thing… when we travel. The kids back home immerse. And I think that’s kind of been neat, hasn’t it?

Betty: It has.

Vicki: Yeah.

Betty: And we did the Flint River Project, which was a great curriculum project, maybe one of the best we’ve ever done.

Vicki: I think the Flint River Project is probably the single best project I’ve ever seen in my life.

Describe that for us a little bit.

What was the Flint River project?

Betty: We took the whole ninth grade and broke them up…

Vicki: Actually, it was the whole high school, wasn’t it?

Betty: Yeah. The whole high school. We broke them across class groupings into science and social studies and English and math, and…

Vicki: I had a technology group.

Betty: We had — what was it? Four days? And we did the science group who canoed the river, did water testing and biology. We tramped through the river.

We had the history group who did a dig.

The English group wrote poetry on the river and did photography.

And the math group… and the technology group… I don’t remember what all we did. They all had to blog, and they had to post pictures. Then everybody did presentations. Everybody participated. All of the teachers participated. Well, it was just a great project.

Vicki: Yeah. It was hard work.

But a lot of the kids from that time say it was one of the greatest projects.

Well, this week, as we talk about things that we’re thankful for, I am very thankful for Ms. Betty Shiver… and for her mentoring all of these years… and all that she’s done for students, because it’s all about the kids. She’s helped me adjust my thinking when I messed up. I have messed up a lot.

I just appreciate that — and this is for all of you school leaders out there — if you’re the kind of person that you can go to with your problem, and not feel condemned for having that problem? (If you can) actually feel like, “Let’s try this,” or “Let’s try to do that,” instead of just making you feel — I hate to say — like an idiot.

Ms. Betty has never made me feel like I was dumb or couldn’t do it. But she was a fellow traveler on the journey. I think that school leaders can learn a lot from her. Honestly, if you look at all of my stuff? Her fingerprints are everywhere, because she’s tried a lot of stuff with me, and she’s encouraged me, and helped me become a much better teacher.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey into someone I’m thankful for.

And I look forward to sharing other episodes.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Betty has been in education since 1968, first starting as a language arts teacher. She has been teaching at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia since 1980 and served as interim headmaster from 2001-2002. Betty Shiver has been the curriculum direct at Westwood Schools for many years. Although she recently “retired” from that job, she still teaches composition to ninth graders.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post She Hired Me! Betty Shiver, the woman who convinced me to become a teacher appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Brent Johnson: My student’s views on learning and teaching

15 November, 2017 - 19:03

Brent Johnson on episode 193 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Brent Johnson is a senior at Westwood Schools. He has taken my classes for the last four years. We have a frank conversation about technology and a win in the National 4H Competition as a result of some apps he made in my class. Brent has come a long way! I hope you find this conversation inspiring.

FlexPath – only at Capella University – lets teachers work at their own pace to earn their MEd in a competency-based learning format. This subscription-based tuition model doesn’t limit the number of courses you can complete during each 12-week period, enrolling in up to two courses at once, for one flat tuition rate. Go to coolcatteacher.com/flexpath to get your free FlexPath guide and see if Capella’s FlexPath option is right for you. Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript Brent Johnson: My student’s views on learning and teaching

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e193

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Vicki: This week on the 10-Minute Teacher, we’re talking with some people who I’m very thankful for in my life.

Today I wanted to bring one of my students – I have so many students I love, so many students that I admire throughout the years – but Brent is one of my students who has recently won an award for something he did in my class. He actually won this at 4-H.

How some app projects helped Brent win some awards from 4-H

Tell us about your 4-H project that has earned you the trip to the National Conference.

Brent: Well, I’ve been in 4-H for the past seven years, and I’ve actually been doing district project achievements for the last four.

In my District Project Achievement speech, I speak on the apps that I’ve made in Ms. Vicki’s classroom. I’ve made two apps, and those two apps have brought me so far. I’ve competed in district last fall. I placed first there. Then I went to state congress, and then I also placed first there. Now I get to go to national congress, which is a little bit later this year.

Using Humor to Hook Students into Learning

Vicki: But these apps… Some people could say, “Oh, all apps have to be serious.” But tell us about the topic for your apps. I’ll put the links in the Shownotes. One of them is just hilarious.

Brent: Well, funny enough, my first app was made a joke, really. It was just me and my friends just wanting to mess around. We made a recipe app for nachos, of all things that we could have made a recipe for. I mean, we could literally have done chicken, steak… But no. Nachos.

Vicki: And you have the funniest film shoot I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Brent: Yes…

Vicki: Tell us about it.

Brent: Well, we got a kiddie pool, about 20 bags of tortilla chips… And we took a bath in nachos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FkqFW-QSLo&t=4s

Vicki: (laughs) I literally was hurting so badly. My face was hurting. My ribs were hurting. I could hardly even breathe.

Brent: I was getting salt out of my pants for weeks.

Vicki: OK, that’s a little TMI. (laughs) I might take that one out.

I think the point is here. The first app was literally a joke.

Brent: A joke, yes.

How to Hook Students (without them knowing it – unless you tell them)

Vicki: Yeah, but OK. Let’s just travel through the mind of Ms. Vicki, and this is a part Brent has never seen. So I’m always looking for a hook. OK, I see these brilliant kids, really smart kids. And they might not be ready to save the world. They might just be ready to have a laugh, right?

So what you have to do is you have to say, “OK, what is going to interest them?” And I’m like, “What is it going to take?”

Brent and his friends are pretty smart. But in 9th grade? They weren’t ready to change the world.

Brent: No. (laughs)

Vicki: They weren’t ready to be serious about anything, were you?

Brent: No. (laughs) Definitely not. Not yet.

Vicki: And it was hilarious. And we laughed a lot.

Brent: Yes.

Vicki: But, you went on the next year, and what’s the app you made?

Brent: It’s called Overty. It’s a charity referral app, and it was a much more serious approach than the nacho app was.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB9GryRVdeI&feature=youtu.be

We went in and we found trusted charities that we had pre-researched. Not all charities are good charities, so we pre-vetted the ones that are good, and we put them in our app. We gave statistics, and we gave links to those websites, and it was overall a much more professional process than Nacho app ever was.

Vicki: Yeah. But of course you took the things you learned on the Nacho app to the Overty app.

Brent: Of course, of course.

How is Technology Changing Schools?

Vicki: Both of them ended up in the finals, so neither one was a laughing matter in the end.

OK, so there’s a piece of the 4-H presentation you did, where you talk about what you think education should be. Could you share some of that – what you remember – with us?

Brent: Well, the way I see it, education is definitely changing every day. Nothing’s the same as it was ten years ago, five years ago, maybe even two years ago.

Vicki: Yeah. You think that making apps should be part of what people learn, right?

Brent: Of course, of course.

Vicki: Why?

Brent: Well, I’ve learned a lot more through making apps than I have through some of my other classes, considering that with the app-making process you have to coordinate with people. And a big part of being in the workplace later in life is working with people.

You have to come together and make this big project using technology, work together as a group and make something that is successful. That’s not something that can just be taught in a classroom. That’s something that has to be done through experience.

Vicki: Right. So, as you think about… you know, it could be my class, it could be whatever, because as you know I don’t like to ever fish for compliments, that’s just not me. What do you think are the things that have taught you the most in your high school career?

Brent: Oh, that’s a hard one.

Collective hardships is probably the single most thing that has taught me more than anything else.

You make a really bad grade in a class for the first quarter, and then the second quarter you have to dig deep and find that side of you didn’t think was there before. You have to work much harder, stay up later at night, and that’s definitely one of the things that I’ve learned.

Vicki: And you’re a runner, too. So you know what it’s like to be running behind.

Brent: I am a runner. Definitely perseverance. That’s a good one. I’m actually in all honors classes and I’m in one AP class. I’m taking the hardest rigor at the school.

I was not always the best student, but my dreams of becoming a doctor have really pushed the initiative to work harder in school. And that’s another one with perseverance, too.

How he found his dream

Vicki: How did you find that dream?

Brent: I had a hernia operation about two years ago, and my cousin, who is actually a P.A. was there through all of it. And I saw the way that he deals with people, and the way that he has the drive for the medical field.

And I talked to him about it, because you know, you’re stuck in that room for about four hours before they actually put you on the table. We had long conversation about the medical field and how he likes it.

I just decided that that’s for me. I’m a people person, and I like helping people. That’s something that I’m really interested in.

Vicki: Brent is a great example to all you listeners of someone who really has taken the most out of my class. You know, some students come to class and they get SOME. And some students take advantage of a lot more than others. So I like sharing those students with the world, so you can kind of see, “OK, this is what the student turns out like.” And I can’t take all the credit for Brent, because he’s had many great teachers.

But Brent, what would you say – let’s just focus on computer science for a minute – are the things that you learned in computer science that you think you’ll take with you?

What will you take with you from Computer Science?

Brent: Graphic design is one really big thing for me. Like, just projects in high school and for some of my college classes have taken a lot of graphic design. And Ms. Vicki taught us graphic design in computer science.

Another big one would be just learning the ins and outs of computer programs. In general, just knowing how to use a program can save you a lot of time later.

Vicki: Now, you take a lot of online classes. Do you think our class – we use a blended classroom, where we have PowerSchool Learning as our LMS (Learning Management System). Do you think that that helps prepare you for these online classes that you take?

Brent: Oh, 100%. The operating system is almost the same through the way that we learned in Ms. Vicki’s class to the way that online college is set up.

So, in Ms. Vicki’s class, we would have all of our assignments on one pane, where to go to the assignment, how to turn in the assignment, and all that.

College – it’s not like Ms. Vicki’s class where if you’re stuck or something, you can go to Ms. Vicki. College professors aren’t the same way. They don’t have as much compassion for you, and if you mess up, they can — and will — fail you.

So learning all of the programs and the operating system – and getting my stuff done on time in Ms. Vicki’s class, on my own sometimes, has really taught me to do better in college.

Vicki: But I know that the hard part about it – and the reason that a lot of teachers say, “Oh, I don’t want to blend my classroom,” – is that there is some pushback. Because it is frustrating to learn that way, don’t you think?

Talking about Blending

Brent: Oh yeah. I guess some people don’t like the fact that there are videos that they have to sit through and watch. I guess they find those boring.

Vicki: But then they also don’t want a lecture, either.

Brent: Yeah. They just don’t like learning in general.

Vicki: Yeah! (laughs) You’ve got to pick, you know?

Brent: Some people would rather sit at home. You have to take the good with the bad, under some circumstances. Honestly, I learned a lot better through the system that we had in Ms. Vicki’s class, compared to just sitting there through lectures.

I feel the stimuli in your brain work better when you’re getting… I mean, Ms. Vicki does do lectures. She has hands-on work, online work. There’s everything. You really don’t miss a thing in Ms. Vicki’s class.

Vicki: Well. You’re sweet, but…

So, is there any advice that you have for teachers to be better teachers?

Brent: Compassion. Compassion is something that’s infectious, I would say, between teachers and students. If you walk into a classroom, and you don’t get a good vibe from the class, you definitely don’t learn as well then.

If you walk in there, and a teacher gives you a smile and a “How’s your day going?” then you are definitely going to feel a lot better. You’re definitely going to pay more attention in that class. You’re not going to want to fall asleep.

Another thing? Another big thing? Being interesting. Being an interesting person, in general, is a big thing. If you’re a bland person, as a teacher and you don’t care as much about the students, then it’s a little bit harder… definitely a lot harder for students to learn in your classroom.

Vicki: That’s a great thought about teachers.

Now, I do have a question about, like, to quote your generation. And we don’t generation bash, because every generation has its weaknesses. But you talk to a lot of friends who go to other schools and other places, right?

Brent: Yes, Ma’am.

Vicki: As we finish up, could you give us a 30-second pep talk on how to actually reach your generation, for teachers who may be struggling.

Brent: I have one word that I believe that totally encompasses it… and it’s ‘Positivity.”

I feel my generation has been stereotyped, from the get-go. I’ve always heard that my generation doesn’t pay as much attention, is more unruly, and has more stuck their heads in their phones than anything. But honestly, if you look at it, you could say the same for every generation before that.

I mean, there’s always been books, newspapers, and other forms of entertainment that have always been around. I think that’s something that is just done. It’s always going to be there.

But definitely positivity toward our generation is something that is huge.

Like the negativity that is thrown at our generation is wild. There’s way too much of it. If more people could just be more positive, it would make the world a better place in general, I believe.

Vicki: What do you think the stereotypes about your generation are that people say that you think are not true?

Brent: Well, I know that one of them is that… We live in our phones.

Vicki: (laughs) You’re all taking selfies? You’re all divas?

Brent: Oh, that’s definitely not true.

The people that aren’t always in their phones don’t really get noticed as much, I guess. They’re picking one person out of a crowd that they see as a diva, and then they’re totally characterizing our entire generation by that one person.

A lot of the people are actually not that crazy about being a diva. You always see all these people on YouTube that are just wild. But in reality, that’s less than 1% of our population.

Vicki: Yeah.

Well, OK.

Well, thank you for listening. I hope you’ve pulled some things out of what Brent has shared with us.

And I am thankful for my students.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford
kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Brent Johnson is a senior at Westwood Schools. He recently won his state 4H Congress and is going to nationals. Brent is hoping to attend the University of Georgia with a major in pre-med. After that, he plans to attend medical school. He has spent time his senior year shadowing in emergency rooms. He is a member of the National Honor Society and directed the class movie in last year’s film class.

The picture below was taking on a location shoot during the 2016-2017 digital filmmaking class where Brent served as director.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Brent Johnson: My student’s views on learning and teaching appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Flipsnack: A fun way to make interactive online magazines #edtech

14 November, 2017 - 19:03

Mandy Froehlich on episode 192 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Mandy Froehlich talks about a tool she uses in her classroom, Flipsnack. Learn how she uses this tool.

FlexPath – only at Capella University – lets teachers work at their own pace to earn their MEd in a competency-based learning format. This subscription-based tuition model doesn’t limit the number of courses you can complete during each 12-week period, enrolling in up to two courses at once, for one flat tuition rate. Go to coolcatteacher.com/flexpath to get your free FlexPath guide and see if Capella’s FlexPath option is right for you. Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down

***

Enhanced Transcript Flipsnack: A fun way to make interactive online magazines #edtech

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e192
From Audio File 182-Mandy-Froelich

Vicki: Happy EdTech Tool Tuesday. Today we are talking to Mandy Froelich about Flipsnack.

Mandy what is Flipsnack?

What is Flipsnack?

Mandy: So, Flipsnack is one of the lesser known tools that I love to introduce to people because people just take to it and they absolutely love it. It is an interactive flipbook creator. So, if you can imagine reading a book on Kindle, the finished product you can actually flip through like a book.

Only the … the difference between just a regular book and Flipsnack is that you can actually make the book interactive. So you can put in things like video, and the video can be videos taken from YouTube so the video can actually be created by somebody else. The students or the teachers or whatever. And you can put in images and voice recordings, and texts, and shapes, and you can really make the book more than just something that you read and make it interactive.

It’s just an absolutely fantastic tool from a student, content and also from a teacher standpoint. My recommendation is always to get the Flipsnack.edu version. You get most of the pro features for free but it is limited to a class of ten students.

And the one thing that Flipsnack cannot do it … it cannot be worked on simultaneously like Google docs where two students can work on it at once. But, one of the other benefits of Flipsnack is that you can create the books in something like Google Slides. So it is collaborative …download them and then upload them into Flipsnack and it will also create your book.

Vicki: Cool, so it’s … you’re actually downloading a pdf, right?

Mandy: Yeah, right. You’re downloading to pdf, so there are some limitations. Like your videos, you have to later go into Flipsnack and put your videos in but the basic content can be created in slides and then uploaded as a pdf to Flipsnack.

Ways it is being used

Vicki: What are the some of the coolest ways you see Flipsnack used?

Mandy: Well for teacher use, I’ve seen it used for fliplearning.

So, entire units being created in a FlipSnack book and then being given to students so that they can work through the content at their own pace.

And then all the content and the videos and the images and links, they’re all in one spot for the kids to access.

I personally have used FlipSnack as a way of creating more interesting workshops instead of a powerpoint or Google Slides. I’ve seen it used as curating ideas into one book and then releasing that book to people so everybody has those ideas.

Also, people have used it to create, like we’ve had a summer technology institute, and we’ve created our schedules for that institute within FlipSnack and then shared the FlipSnack book out. We’ve used it that way for teachers but of course I think our focus should always be on student content creation.

Student Lesson Plan Ideas

And, I have seen it used in some really awesome ways. I think my absolute favorite way that I have seen it used is to use to create a newspaper that would have been given out on a specific day in history.

For example, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. What would the newspaper the next day look like when it was released? And if you want to take it even further, what would a newscast have looked like … record that newscast and then put that into what would be the interactive newspapers as well.

Or a radio show or whatever it is. Because you can do just the voice as well. I think that’s probably the coolest way I’ve seen it used.

I’ve also seen it used kind of in the same way as a sports magazine, it was a sports literature course that was using it. The students were creating the sports…like an ESPN type magazine in FlipSnack.

Vicki: So have you ever seen any mistakes? You said it’s not collaborative. What are the common mistakes that educators make when they’re trying to use FlipSnack?

Mandy: You know, it’s such an easy tool to use that I haven’t seen … I haven’t had an educator come back to me and say,“Ah I hated FlipSnack. You know, I did have an educator say to me once I like to use it for student portfolios. I don’t think that it’s probably the best tool for student portfolios. I think there are so many awesome tools out there for that, that would be better.

But, I think you could try it, and see how it worked. But, I have never had an educator come back to me and say oh I didn’t like FlipSnack for this purpose. It’s such a great tool that people really, really like it with their kids. Students absolutely love it.

Vicki: Cool. Ok, what where you going to say just a minute ago?

More Ideas for Flipsnack

Mandy: I was just going to give a couple more ideas. I’ve also seen it used as presenting a business and marketing plan for everything from graphical advertisements and kids making commercials and embedding that information. And then also from an elementary standpoint, I had a teacher use it in lieu of … she used to have her students write personal narratives and then they would bind the book together as a classroom set and put it in the library. And all the kids would look at it once and then nobody ever looked at it again. Parents couldn’t really look at it unless they were in the library for parent-teacher conferences or whatever. So she had her kids actually log into a shared account and write theirs in one of the FlipSnack books. And then they were able to produce that book and share it with parents, and grandparents, and embed it in their classroom website. It was a more authentic way to showcase the student work than just having it one spot in the library. So that was a great way from an elementary standpoint to use FlipSnack.

Vicki: Well, how did you find out FlipSnack?

Mandy: I think that I was touring a school one time and one of the teachers were talking to us about their one to one and just brought up FlipSnack as one of the tools that they used. I looked at it and loved it right away. And so I use it for quite a bit of PD and things like that and introduce it to teachers a lot. So, it was from another teacher that I’m pretty sure I heard about it.

Vicki: Ok, so how can a teacher get started with FlipSnack without getting overwhelmed?

How to get started

Mandy: Ok, so again if a teacher goes to sign up for FlipSnack they need to make sure that they sign up for the edu account. The .edu account is a little bit buried in the website. It’s best if you scroll all the way down to the bottom and there’s an .edu option and that brings you right to that part of the website. So, sign up for the .edu account. The one thing that I’ve heard about signing up for the .edu account is that sometimes it takes twenty-four hours for some of the pro features to be free in the.edu account. I have run into some teachers where immediately they would contact me and say ah some of those features aren’t free. But it actually took a little while for the account to become that free pro account. So give it a day if it looks like some of those aren’t free. But, the user interface is very, very, user-friendly. It’s drag and drop. All of the options are across the top like a toolbar where you can access the videos and the tags and you have access to both a bank of video and images as well as Google images as well as things you want to upload. Along the bottom, it has all your pages and it looks like another other kind of presentation type software you have used. So it looks like Google slides where you can see each of the slides and then it takes it and puts it into a book. So once you get the account up and you create a book, everything that you do is drag and drop into what looks like any other kind of presentation. And then it puts it all together as a book. The most difficult thing is to remember that your pages, like your front pages are first, it’s a lone page. And every page after that is connected in the middle. So every two pages go together. Once you get …once you understand that you can get kids to understand that. Then they can visualize how the book is going together a little bit better. Otherwise, it’s very drag and drop; very simple to use.

Vicki: So, check the Shownotes, I’ll make sure to link to the .edu account. Mandy Froelich has really given us a fantastic tool for EdTechToolTuesday ! So, get out there, innovate like a turtle, and try something new this week. Try FlipSnack!

Transcribed by Lisa Durff

Bio as submitted

Mandy Froehlich is the Director of Innovation and Technology for the Ripon Area School District in Ripon, Wisconsin where she supports and encourages educators to create innovative change in their classrooms. In addition, Mandy supports professional learning as Director of the Collaborate, Inspire & Innovate Conference in Ripon, WI, as well as her Organizer and Public Relations Coordinator roles for edCamp Oshkosh in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She consults with school districts around the state in the effective use of technology to support great teaching, as a Google for Education Certified Trainer, and has presented on similar topics at conferences such as Midwest Google Summit, TIES in Minnesota, and ISTE. Currently, one of her favorite projects includes the NEW IT Alliance Committee which works with IT professionals in the public and private sectors to create a focus on future IT careers for students.

Blog: www.mandyfroehlich.com

Twitter: @froehlichm

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Flipsnack: A fun way to make interactive online magazines #edtech appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Amazing Grace Adkins – my 89 year old learning lab director and the most amazing woman I know

13 November, 2017 - 19:03

Grace Adkins on episode 191 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Mrs. Grace Adkins is a hero, mentor, and teacher to many. With a 56-year generation-spanning career as an educator, Mrs. Adkins approaches her 90th birthday still teaching, loving kids, and riding over 100 miles on her bike each week. Meet a truly remarkable woman and a personal mentor, Mrs. Grace Adkins.

FlexPath – only at Capella University – lets teachers work at their own pace to earn their MEd in a competency-based learning format. This subscription-based tuition model doesn’t limit the number of courses you can complete during each 12-week period, enrolling in up to two courses at once, for one flat tuition rate. Go to coolcatteacher.com/flexpath to get your free FlexPath guide and see if Capella’s FlexPath option is right for you. Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript Amazing Grace Adkins – my 89 year old learning lab director and the most amazing woman I know

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e191
Monday, November 13, 2017

Vicki: This week we’re airing some special episodes of interviews of people that I am particularly thankful for in my life.

Now, Ms. Grace Adkins was my fourth-grade teacher and an inspiration to me. She has been teaching for 56 years. She is our Learning Lab Director here at Westwood Schools. I can tell you, in my life, she’s probably the most amazing person that I know.

She inspires me every day. I want to be like her when I grow up. She is just an incredible person.

So, Ms. Adkins, you’ve taught for 56 years, so you’ve taught for quite some time, and you’re not even slowing down yet. You don’t look like it at all, and you’re getting close to that 90th birthday there.

What keeps you in education?

What keeps you in education?

Grace: There’s always another child to help. And you don’t give up on children.

Vicki: Now you have some amazing kids that people had given up on. Tell us some of the things that your students who struggle with learning differences are now doing.

Grace: Well, I have one that is a vascular surgeon. He wrote everything backwards, had ADHD, and we had an educational prescription that we filled – and his parents filled at home – and he didn’t give up. His family didn’t give up. And WE didn’t give up. And so there he is.

And of course, I have many others, too, that you wonder if they’re going to make it. But you keep on working with them every day. And… they make it. Big time! (laughs)

Vicki: Yeah. I mean, two of my children have learning differences. And you just always helped me coach.

What’s your secret for not giving up?

What’s your secret for not giving up?

Grace: Well, that gives me a reason to get up every morning! I get up at 3:00, ride my exercise bike 10 miles, drive 18 miles to school. So I’m inspired to meet whatever comes each day.

Vicki: So let’s talk about that routine, because actually, you have some family members who have ended up on the radio in Atlanta because nobody can believe your routine. Tell us your routine of what you do in a typical day.

Grace: Well, I just told you part of what I do, but I get up and I ride my bike 10 miles in the morning. And then I have my morning devotional.

I am the guidepost for a book of devotions that Mr. Woodruff funded. I didn’t know he did that until after he was dead.

And then I have another Bible study that I do every morning. And then I write down quotes that I want to go through the day with. You know, we’re never alone. We always have somebody with us. The Lord provides.

Vicki: Now you read more than anybody I know.

Grace: Oh, I read 30 or 40 books a year.

Vicki: When do you read?

Grace: Well, I read some this morning. I’m now reading another book by Pat Williams.

Vicki: Oh, we love Pat Williams! Ms. Adkins and I talk books all the time.

Who is this Mr. Woodruff?

Now, we want the listeners to know about who this amazing Mr. Woodruff is, that Ms. Adkins is talking about. Would you tell us what your husband did, and a little bit about Mr. Woodruff because he’s really instrumental in us even having a Learning Lab here at Westwood.

Grace: Well, my husband and I moved to the plantation when we were 27 years old.

Vicki: And we’re talking about Ichauway Plantation in Baker County.

Grace: Mr. R.W. Woodruff. He was one of the greatest men I ever knew. He wanted to help everybody and make a difference. He started his plantation in 1928. The year we were born, my husband and I. And then my husband was there from age 27 until he died at age 80. He was still a consultant for the plantation.

But Mr. Woodruff, when he bought the plantation, saw someone have what they call a “rigor.” And he asked what was wrong with that man. And they said, “Well, he has malaria.”

Vicki: That went on to become the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Of course, Mr. Woodruff’s claim to fame, I guess, is being the head of Coca-Cola. And I have to say that my husband, Kip, also works at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Center, which is on Ichauway Plantation now. So we do have quite a love of that.

Grace: There’s just no end to what he’s done.

Vicki: Yes. There are many, many books on Mr. Woodruff. I think the thing that’s amazing about Ms. Adkins is that so many of his habits – his habit of reading, his love of people, his desire to make a difference – are all part of who you are, too. You’ve kind of spread that to us, to me.

Let’s go back to learning differences. I know some people call them disabilities, but I just feel like everybody learns differently.

Pioneering Work With Learning Disabilities

So you were one of the pioneers in reaching kids with learning disabilities. Tell us what you did.

Grace: Well… the first year I taught was 1946. It was my mission from then on to find out why bright children did not always do well in school. I knew they were bright. From 1946 on, that was my mission to find out.

It took me 30 years, because I was in the Reading Department.

And your answers are not in reading.

I met a neuropsychologist after 30 years. So the way to reach these children is through neurology and psychology applied to education. That’s what we’ve done since 1976.

Vicki: That was Dr. Wagner, right?

Grace: (agrees) And then I met another neuropsychologist. I’d been all over the country to international conferences. This other neuropsychologist that I heard speak in Atlanta in 1981, again in 1983 in Washington D.C., and again in New York in 1986. Then I flew her down here.

Vicki: What was her name?

Grace: Dr. Rosa Hagin. The Center in New York Medical Center was named for her.

I flew her down from New York to Atlanta, and my daughter brought her here to try to help us at Westwood.

Now what I found in 1981 was an evaluation she and Dr. Archie Silver had developed at the Rosa Hagan Center. It was to identify pre-academic skills necessary for academic success.

So from that, I came back. A friend of mine Louise Stevenson. I said, “I found what I’ve been looking for – an evaluation to identify those children that don’t have the necessary skills to be in academics. We started using it, and she said, “Rosa Hagin, a college classmate, and was voted the most likely to succeed.”

Vicki: That’s the Search and Teach Program

Grace: (agrees)

Vicki: … Which is really the reason that all of our kids are reading… Pretty much most of our kids are reading at the end of K-4.

Grace: I found another evaluation, and I got the school psychologist up on it. She evaluates our 3-year-olds leaving – some of them are 4 by then, leaving that program. And we have an evaluation on them when they leave the 3-year program now.

Vicki: What’s the name of that program?

Grace: Well, it tells whether their social skills and all different types of skills that are necessary for success – whether they are in place or developing.

The Learning Lab Organization

Vicki: People all over the world, I guess, can understand. She always has guests coming in and watching what we’re doing in the Lab. So much of it is one-on-one personal attention, isn’t it, Ms. Adkins?

Grace: (agrees) It is. All of the work is done one-on-one in the Lab.

We have children in the elementary side through fifth grade. If they have a prescription, we bring them in. At first, we do the Search Screening and give them two weeks to get into their routine while we grade summer work. Then we start filling those Search prescriptions and they’re psychological. And that’s one-on-one.

Vicki: Now all these years that I’ve struggled having two of my three kids with learning differences, you’ve always encouraged me. What do you tell the parents who are listening who – they know their child is bright. They look in their eyes. They know they’re bright. But right now, they’re just not performing. What do you say to those parents?

Grace: I tell them, “Don’t give up.” We see possibilities in each child. And we don’t stop until we find out how they learn. We develop a program fitted to them.

Vicki: Yeah. But that can be done anywhere, right? Not everybody can come and be in your Lab. You’ve done – you know, there are some parents who know that their child is bright, and they can’t find anybody to help them.

Grace: Well, I’m having that all the time, from all over southwest Georgia and from the Florida panhandle and Orlando. All around, they’ve brought their children for me to evaluate.

Vicki: But you know, here’s the thing… Doesn’t it make you angry when kids aren’t able to get the help they need?

Grace: Well… I try not to let that happen if I meet them.

I saw a lady in the doctor’s office yesterday, Dr. Goldsmith. And I saw these two little boys smiling, and she was. When I sat down, of course, I spoke with them. They were looking so pleased. She said, “I know you. You taught my little boys. And I couldn’t bring them from Worth County, but I’m homeschooling him, doing what you told me to do.”

And I told the little boy – he’s sixth grade now – and I said, “I taught Dr. Goldsmith in sixth grade.”

Vicki: Ahhhh…

Grace: And that’s who he was seeing. So, the parent is feeling what we had set up.

Vicki: So, Ms. Adkins, have you ever made a mistake? What do you think your biggest mistake is that you might have ever made, somewhere in that teaching career?

Grace: Well… I don’t know. Every problem I saw, I tried to solve. And I didn’t stop until I found a solution. You can’t give up when it’s a child’s life.

Vicki: Yes.

Teaching the Whole Child

Grace: One of my students on the board told me the other day, “I know the ‘artist’ because you taught me in third grade and sixth grade.

Vicki: She always brought artists in and then checked them out from the library, and so we all know our artwork. It’s not just about reading and writing and arithmetic. It’s about living life.

Grace: You teach the whole child.

Vicki: Yes.

So as we finish up, I know that recently you got certified for Growing Leaders, so you’re still educating yourself often.

Organizing Finances

One time you told me something about how you organize your money. I don’t know if you remember the percentages.

Grace: I have a young lady who does houses, and she doesn’t do anybody’s but mine now, but she’s going to do mine. She’s gone into photography and made a lot of money going into photography. So she quit doing houses.

The first time she ??? on Phillip Phillips. She was the photographer. She came to my house on Saturday, and she walked in and said she was going to give her money to give her first 10% to the Lord. She’s going to give all that money.

I said, you’ve got to get on this 70-10-10-10 (plan). You live on the 70%. You put 10% on a passbook savings. You put 10% like if you need a new camera…

She said, “Oh I do need a new camera!”

And the other 10%…

Vicki: It’s your tithe, isn’t it?

Grace: Oh yes. Tithing. It’s 10% to tithe, 10% to passbook savings, 10% to buy new equipment. If you need a lawnmower, buy a lawnmower.

And she said, “Oh I do need…”

Vicki: You invest in yourself, and you invest in the things that you need.

Grace: That’s right.

Vicki: And it just makes so much sense.

So you’re big into motivational books and motivational quotes. You’re kind of one of the first people that really – besides my mom, who got me into reading.

Who are your favorite authors?

Who are your favorite authors?

Grace: Well, Pat WilliamsDr. Henry Cloud

Vicki: Love Henry Cloud…

Grace: Andy Andrews… and those are, in the last 10-20 years. But I’ve had some over the years, like Norman Vincent Peale.

Vicki: So Ms. Adkins, as we finish up this interview…

You have lived an amazing life. You still live an amazing life. You have more energy than almost anybody I know. You’re riding all these miles on your bike, and what do you think the secret is to living a great life?

What is the secret is to living a great life?

Grace: Well, first, you put the Lord first and do His will.

But then you have to do your part by eating right, exercising… and read. Keep your mind alert.

So I read good books, 30-40 a year, and I share them.

Vicki: So do you think that teaching and working with kids with learning differences for 56 years has been worth it?

Grace: Oh yes. And that’s what keeps me going, is my family and my connections with my children at school and my church.

Vicki: Well, Ms. Adkins is one who is remarkable. I talk all the time about being remarkable.

I hope that you can see that having her in my life, inspiring me to be more remarkable…

I don’t feel like I can even hold a candle to you, Ms. Adkins. You always inspire me.

I remember one time somebody said they went off with you to some professional development. Maybe it’s been 20-30 years ago. They woke up at 5:00 in the morning at you were jumping rope. (laughs)

I think you were in your fifties then. So you were a spring chicken, and you’re jumping rope. And you always exercised. You always worked hard to eat right.

And you are just amazing, and doing so well. And you’re still transforming lives. It’s just who you are.

Grace: Well, I couldn’t take my exercise bike with me, and my trampoline, so I have a mini-trampoline. I would jump rope, jump on the trampoline every morning before I came to school. And ride my bike. But now I can take my rope with me.

Vicki: That’s right. Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to meet Ms. Adkins. She’s an amazing woman. I love her very much, and I’m very grateful for her role in my life.

Honestly, I went to her my junior year. I didn’t have the SATs I needed to go to Georgia Tech, which was my dream college. And way back – this was in 1985-86, she actually had computer software to help me improve my SAT score. My score went up about 200 points with a lot of hard work.

I was able to go to Georgia Tech. Now I’m back here. So, you could say that I wouldn’t be anything at all, really, without Ms. Adkins believing in me and helping me and helping every day when I was a child.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford
kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Grace Adkins is the Learning Lab Director at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia. She earned her M.Ed. at Georgia Southwestern State University. She has been working at the school for decades and was Miss Vicki’s 4th-grade teacher. She is an avid reader and shares many of her books with the students at Westwood. She believes every child is a winner and it is her mission to help them become winners.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Amazing Grace Adkins – my 89 year old learning lab director and the most amazing woman I know appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Global Education Conference 2017 #globaled17

11 November, 2017 - 11:53

Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon on episode 190 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon, Global Education Conference co-chairs, talk about the Global Education Conference 2017 that runs from November 13-16. Go to globaleducationconference.com to join in. Today we talk about the conference, what people can expect from the conference and how to sign up.

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon for Global Education Conference

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e190
Date: Friday, November 10, 2017

Vicki: The Global Education Conference is here, November 13-16!

We have the two founders here with us today. My dear friends Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon are leading this conference.

So Steve, let’s start with you. What is the Global Education Conference?

What is the Global Education Conference?

Steve: Well it’s this massive online peer-to-peer opportunity for teachers, educators, administrators, and students to share with each other what they’re doing in terms of globally connecting and global education.

It started eight years ago. The first year was 2010. We just created this venue for anybody to come on and present — and for anybody else around the world 24 hours a day for several days — to watch those presentations. It’s just been a thrill since then.

Vicki: So Steve, people from all over the world can participate and join in, right?

The Global Education Conference hosts live conversations about global education with people around the world. All sessions are recorded so you can access later. Join in!

Steve: Yeah, we have about 25,000 members in our Global Education Conference network, not all of whom will attend each year, but we have members from 170+ countries.

We have this really cool system for people to schedule their own session times based on what’s good for them, where they are in the world. So we have sessions around the clock, and they all get recorded because people can’t always watch at the same time that someone can present.

This year, we’ll have over a hundred presentations.

Vicki: It’s such a fabulous resource for those of us who want to collaborate globally.

And here’s the thing, teachers… There’s always something going on when you have time, and it’s the Global Education Conference, so there’s really no excuse when it comes down to schedule because there’s always something going on.

So, Lucy, give us some of the highlights from this year.

Highlights From This Year

Lucy: I’m really excited because we have about seventeen different keynotes that are addressing the conference from around the world, including one that’s going to be partially in English and partially in French. Another one will probably be in Spanish and maybe some English. I’m not sure yet.

So we’re trying to accommodate more languages, and I’m really excited about those, in particular.

I’m also thrilled about one particular presenter that I have come across who happens to be the creator and genius behind the “Carmen San Diego” PBS series from a number of years ago. He has worked as a technology entrepreneur in a variety of different fields related to children’s media. He has an organization that he’s looking to network with people about in terms of global education.

I had a conversation with him today, and I thought he was really interesting. His name is Howard Blumenthal.

All of the sessions are really top notch this year. Lots of different professionals from all over the Global Education space. There’s something for everyone.

Vicki: I love it, Lucy. I don’t know how y’all do it. But you are always digging out — like you said, new people that everybody hasn’t heard of — but you’re always digging out new amazing educators who are just doing great work every single day in their classrooms.

Lucy: Yes, we are.

One story that I can think of from the past that exemplifies this…

People Met Here and Become Partners

We had two people meet in our rooms a few years ago — Will Piper, who is at the University School of Milwaukee, and Pedro Aparicio, who is a teacher in Mexico City.

They started collaborating and they do all sorts of projects and are very good friends now. They keynoted for us a few years ago. But they originally met in our rooms. And I think really good global collaborations happen when you have a relationship with another person professionally.

Our conference gives you opportunities to meet those kinds of people, and hopefully, serendipity will take over and something will happen for the people who attend our conference as well.

Vicki: Lucy, that is really exciting. You’ve given us one example of things that happen. But what are some of the things that people who participate in the conference say about participating?

Lucy: One thing that I remember from the past was when we had Howard Gardner as a keynote, and his son Andrew (who is a friend of ours) interviewed him. People felt like they were up close and personal with Howard and his son. They felt like they had a front-row audience with experts that they would not normally have access to,

So it’s going to give you… It’s free, first of all. It’s online, so you don’t have to go anywhere, and you can attend in your pajamas if you want to, and it’s all recorded so that you can access it at any time afterward.

You’re going to find experts at the level of Howard Gardner, but you’re also going to find classroom teachers who are talking about projects and who are looking for partners in their projects as well.

You also will hear from organizations who have lots of global education programming and support for schools out there.

Obstacles that Educators are Trying to Overcome Now

Vicki: So either of you can answer this one. As you’re planning the conference, what are some of the biggest obstacles and challenges that educators are trying to overcome right now in global education?

Steve: Lucy’s really the expert here. Lucy’s got the gift both with the keynote presenters and sort of the “feel” of the global event. For sure we hear from people that they have trouble finding someone else to collaborate with.

While you’re definitely there to hear the interesting presentations and the keynote speakers, a lot of the collaboration takes place in the Chat Room during sessions. So there’s this enormous amount of back-and-forth between people who are all over the world who are watching a session and then collaborating with each other. And that’s kind of the magic of it.

If you go up one tier level, the people who’ve been for several years and get kind of comfortable, they become volunteers and they help to moderate and coordinate. They have the best experience of all because here they are from all around the world working together to help make sure the conference goes well.

The answer to your question, what I hear is that people are looking for someone, and they need someone to collaborate with.

Lucy, do you want to expand on that?

We Have an Amazing Community

Lucy: Yeah. I’ll say that I think we have a really nice community. We have people who come back year after year to volunteer and moderate sessions, or to attend, or to do both. I think that there’s been more collegiality between people as a result, if it’s possible to do that virtually. I think there’s more awareness of the different organizations and resources that are out there.

You know, originally when we started this, I felt like the space was a little segmented. The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing in terms of organizations and that sort of thing. Here, we provide an umbrella for these people and these organizations to network and to learn from each other.

The other thing I want to add, too, which is somewhat related is, we’re ed tech people first… and the global collaboration piece second. There are other people who have been working in the global education space much longer that we have. This movement is nothing new. It’s interesting to us, like, “How do we push the conversation further?” We think that technology helps that happen, and that’s what our event does.

But we’re also perplexed by why this isn’t more of a priority in schools. So there will be a panel with a bunch of these people who’ve been in this space for a while, on Monday afternoon of the conference, discussing what are some of the issues that keep schools from making it a priority to develop global competence in their students.

How Do People Join or Sign Up?

Vicki: How do people join in? How do they sign up?

Steve: You go to globaleducationconference.com You can join the network there. To participate in the actual conference, we also have you register through an Eventbrite link that’s on the front of the website. But again, everything is free and there’s lots of good information.

If anything, there’s too much information, too many good things going on. But just look for the registration link on the front page. Then you’ll get an email from us that has the schedule.

The fun of it is that the schedule pulls in 28 time zones; there are actually 36 or 37 time zones, but we only track a certain number of them. But you click into your own time zone. You’ll see the sessions that are running. You’ll see the session rooms, and it’s really a lot of fun.

Vicki: Is there a hashtag for it?

Steve: Lucy’s our social media guru…

Lucy: Yes there is. It’s hashtag is #globaled17. We use that year-round for this event and the other events that we run at globaledevents.com. Our handle for Twitter is @globaledcon.

Why Should Educators Start Connecting Globally?

Vicki: So let’s finish up. If each of you could give a quick 20-30 second pep talk on why educators should start connecting globally. Lucy, you want to start?

Lucy: Sure. I think it’s really important to connect and collaborate globally for a number of reasons.

On a practical side, the ISTE Standards that have been recently revised for students and teachers call for this. So we’ve provided venue for you to kind of find those people to collaborate with and develop those kind of relationships that are necessary for it.

From an educational standpoint, I think there has never been a greater need to develop empathy and understanding of the world in order to solve problems across borders.

So that’s why I think it’s really important for teachers to foster this kind of mentality in their students so that they’re curious about the world and want to be active global citizens.

Vicki: Steve?

Steve: Lucy addressed the practical and the educational. For me, it’s a deep passion belief in the value of and the importance of global in our own personal learning. I lived in Brazil for a year as an exchange student, and I can’t imagine my life without that experience of seeing the world through others’ eyes — and then a lifetime of connecting in other ways. If we really think about learning, and the core learning that we do, especially in this era, it’s hard to imagine us being good learners without an understanding of how other people think and act.

Vicki: That is so true. Here’s the thing — we can talk all day about other places. But when students connect, they live it. They understand it.

How can you change a worldview when students can’t travel? You can take them and travel digitally to other places.

So many powerful ideas. Register at globaleducationconference.com, and join in! Bring these remarkable experiences to your classroom!

Bio as submitted

Currently an education consultant advising a variety of organizations, Lucy Gray previously taught elementary grade levels in Chicago Public Schools and middle school computer science at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She also has worked at the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute and the Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education. In 2007, Lucy founded the Global Education Collaborative, a network for educators interested in collaboration which has been expanded into the Global Education Conference Network. In her consulting life, she has led CoSN’s Leadership for Mobile Learning initiative, developed strategic plans and content for companies, provided professional development coaching to school districts, and presented at numerous conferences. Lucy also has received the distinctions of Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Innovator.

Twitter: @elemenous

Professional Information: I am the founder and director of the Learning Revolution Project, the host of the Future of Education interview series, and founded and chair or co-chair of a number of annual worldwide virtual events, including the Global Education Conference and Library 2.0.

I pioneered the use of live, virtual (and peer-to-peer) education conferences, popularized the idea of education “unconferences,” built one of the first modern social networks for teachers in 2007 (Classroom 2.0), and developed the “conditions of learning” exercise for local change. I supported and encouraged the development of thousands of other education networks, particularly for professional development. For the last ten years, I’ve run a large annual ed-tech unconference, now called Hack Education (previously EduBloggerCon). I blog, speak, and consult on educational technology, and my virtual and physical events build community and connections in education, with 550,000 members.

My newest project is an online summit on Tiny Houses. I host a local tiny house group with over 2,000 members, and my son and his wife and I (mostly them) have been building a skoolie.

I have been the Emerging Technologies Chair for ISTE, a regular co-host of the annual Edublog Awards, the author of “Educational Networking: The Important Role Web 2.0 Will Play in Education,” and the recipient of the 2010 Technology in Learning Leadership Award (CUE). I have done contract work, consulted, or served on advisory boards for Acer, Adobe, Blackboard, CoSN, Horizon Project / New Media Consortium (NMC), Instructure, Intel, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, MERLOT, Microsoft, Mightybell, Ning, PBS, Promethean, Speak Up / Project Tomorrow, U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. State Department, and others typically focusing on educational technology and social networking. A number of corporations and organizations support my events, and you can see a list and more details of my projects at Web 2.0 Labs.

Personal Information: I was a foreign-exchange student through AFS to Brazil for a year in high school, and organized and led group tours for several years as my first job after college for Stanford’s Alumni Association. I spent 2013 traveling around the world talking to people about education. I have the skin disorder Vitiligo and created the world’s largest social network for those with Vitiligo at VitiligoFriends.org as well as the UniquelyBeautiful.net site. I also run a network for members of the extended Hargadon family–Hargadon is an Irish name, and all Hargadons come from Sligo. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), and a student of different cultures, religions, and beliefs. I co-founded Asheville Interfaith and an annual exhibit of Nativity sets from around the world.

Blog: http://www.stevehargadon.com/

Twitter: @stevehargadon

The post Global Education Conference 2017 #globaled17 appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Book Creator for Chrome: Product Review, Tips and Tricks for Teachers

10 November, 2017 - 23:11

Sponsored by Book Creator, All Opinions My Own

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Book Creator has long been a favorite app on the iPad, and now it’s available for Google Chrome. Students who use Chromebooks, PCs, Macs, iPads, or any other device can now create books with this versatile, easy-to-use app.

Post sponsored by Book Creator. All opinions my own.

Right now, my students are creating books about their heroes. We’ve been using Joseph Campbell’s model of “the hero’s journey” in our class, and each of my students will be creating a six-page book on his or her hero. They’ll be adding photographs, videos, audio and text about their hero.

Standards: I’m using this project as a summary of all the graphic design lessons that I’ve taught my students, everything from color to fonts. I’m expecting them to use these principles in their books, but I’m also hoping that they’ll create a great keepsake commemorating why their hero is so special to them. Many of my students have chosen to write about their parents or grandparents, so the results could (and should) be outstanding.

Students are loving writing their own books for the world with book creator. So excited!

Interactivity: Book Creator is different from many other tools because you can actually record your voice with it, as well as linking to videos in these fully interactive books. Kids can create them in a snap and use them as portfolios of their work.

Collaboration: With a click of a button, we can combine the books and publish them as a class. So when this project is over, each of my students can proudly point to their work in a combined book called The Book of Heroes.

Audience: Remember that audience improves student learning—nobody wants to do wastebasket work. Students will be able to download their books as PDFs and print them. They can also send them as eBooks that people can read on their mobile devices or computers. They’ll be able to do this with their individual books as well as with the class hero anthology.

Book Creator Features

Some of my favorite features include:

  • Many different book sizes
  • A range of styles from traditional books to comic books
  • Each classroom gets 40 free books
  • Customizable font, colors, shapes, and background images
  • Ability to add video and audio (Note: these won’t be interactive when you print, but they’re powerful additions to the 21st-century book.)

How Does Book Creator Work?

I made the above tutorial to show you how to set up Book Creator, but honestly, you don’t really need it. All you have to do is go to the Book Creator landing page and click the “I am a teacher” button. They’ll set you up with a free teacher account, and you’ll be ready to go! You’ll have your 40 free books, and you’ll also get a demo book that will guide you through using Book Creator. Just follow the instructions in the book, and you’ll know what to do.

The demo book is a great place to practice—you can’t hurt anything, and everyone gets their own individual little practice book. Call this a sandbox, and let them play there to learn about all of Book Creator’s features.

Possibly the best way to introduce students to this tool is by having them understand that they can put their best work on display for people to look at. Kids want an audience, and Book Creator for Chrome gives us that. This fantastic addition to your class lets students create audience-facing works for authentic assessment that can also be keepsakes from their year in your classroom.

Here’s a class library for an elementary classroom. Book Creator is an awesome tool for classrooms of all ages. From my high school classroom to this elementary classroom.

Vint Cerf, one of the “fathers” of the internet, often talks about something called “bit rot.” We put so much online yet we’re not really making an effort to preserve it.

Well, Book Creator is a great way to preserve student work because you can print these books to create an archive. However, you can still keep them in easy digital reach on your phones, digital ebook reader, or any electronic device. This tool is the best of both worlds.

Who Can Use Book Creator?

Book Creator is perfect for kids of all ages. I’ve seen books made by kindergarteners, college students, and special needs kids. I’ve mentioned it in many of my podcasts, and I’m excited that such a useful, versatile app is coming to Chrome.

Get started. So set up your Book Creator for Chrome today, and tweet me a link to your books when you get them done.

Privacy Settings. Remember that the privacy settings can be adjusted. You can have the students see just their own book and share them only with you. But after you’re done with the project, it’s possible to share these books with others—and even publicly if you choose.

As the teacher, I can publish the books I choose to share and that have parent permission.

Let your students’ imagination and expertise run wild. Give them a chance to proudly own their work. See what they can create when they know their work truly matters.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post Book Creator for Chrome: Product Review, Tips and Tricks for Teachers appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Different Schools for a Different World

9 November, 2017 - 23:11

Dr. Scott McLeod on episode 189 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dr. Scott McLeod, co-author of Different Schools for a Different World, has a frank conversation about the change that needs to happen, how long it will take to happen, and the next steps for promoting creativity in schools.

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.

The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to coolcatteacher.com/samsungsolve to learn more. Good luck!

Listen Now

 

 

 

 

 

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript Improving Schools By Killing Boredom and Promoting Deeper Learning

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e189
Date: November 9, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking to my friend, Dr. Scott McLeod @mcleod about his new book, Different Schools for Different Worlds, that he co-authored with Dean Shareski.

Now, Scott, what are some of the things that you think are preventing kids from learning?

What is preventing kids from learning?

Scott: I think they’re bored out of their minds, most of the time. I think that we see that manifest physically, in terms of those kids who are chronically absent, tardy, those who drop out, etc.

But then there’s the ones who are compliant and show up, but they’re mentally checked out. I think that’s probably our biggest failure to powerful learning right now.

Vicki: But there are some people who would say, “Kids have been bored forever. I was bored when I was a kid, and it didn’t hurt me.” Well, what do you say to that?

Scott: (laughs) Well, again they’re compliant, but I don’t know if they’re learning much. If you ask most of those people how much they remember, or what kind of powerful learning they experienced when they were in school, they often struggle to articulate what that looked like.

Vicki: OK, so what do we do to tackle this problem?

Scott: So, I think we can do a couple things. Obviously, schools as systemic structures need to change quite a bit.

4 Big Shifts in Schools

I’ve been trying to talk to schools about four big shifts:

  1. The shift from low-level recall and regurgitation to deeper learning,
  2. The shift from teacher-directed to greater student agency,
  3. The shift from isolated-disconnected classroom work to more real-world authentic work,
  4. And then finally, using technology in robust ways to facilitate those first three.

Those four shifts seem to resonate with folks because they have seen the power of those, at least in small doses within their systems.

Vicki: They do resonate. They make sense. Why is it so hard to make those shifts?

Scott: (laughs) Because schools have incredible inertia, and they were set up for a different time. Right? So Lauren Resnick, who did this wonderful study for the federal government, said that our schools were never designed to prepare large numbers of critical thinkers and problem solvers — which is exactly what we need now.

They were designed to prepare a large number of compliant people who would go into the basically automatable-type manufacturing jobs and office jobs, where they were basically a replaceable cog in the wheel.

Now, all of a sudden, for a variety of reasons, we need kids who can do that higher level, complex, analytical, interpersonal work.

Schools were never designed to do that, so we basically have this massive paradigm shift that we’ve got to figure out how to go through. Right now, we’re in that transition period.

Vicki: We are. Now we have of course the ESSA Act here in the US that lets states have different measures. So we’re talking about wanting to scale creativity. If lawmakers or policymakers ask us, how do we measure that?

How can we adopt creativity standards that are scalable and translate between schools?

We know, for example, say we did portfolios. You know, it’s really hard to have a standard measure of portfolios between schools. How can we measure and encourage and create an environment where we have creativity?

 

Scott: Right. Well, we went down this road before, right? We saw some movement in the 80’s and 90’s around portfolio development, around performance assessment, and other sorts of indicators of authentic work. We were figuring out ways to scale that up at the state level.

And then, when No Child Left Behind came along, it kind of cut all that off at the knees.

We’re sort of returning to that loop now, rediscovering what we had started to make progress on before, figuring out to make that happen.

You know we have a number of states, particularly in the New England, that are figuring out some kind of competency-based student exhibition or portfolio requirements as necessary for graduation.

One of the more interesting initiatives that we’re seeing is coming out of New York, a consortium of schools called the New York Performance Assessment Consortium. That’s gotten some waivers from the state department, where they’re trying to figure out what common performance assessments look like across districts. These could be used for assessment purposes.

So, there are lots of sort of interesting things happening.

Vicki: In other words, we’re just not there yet.

The Frustration of Transition

Scott: No, no, no. We’re in this massive, messy, transition period that’s going to take much longer than you and I want it to. It will probably be a decade or two or more before it all shakes out.

Vicki: But what about all these kids now? Doesn’t every child deserve to have the opportunity to be more creative and innovative and — to invent and to make and to have deeper learning?

Scott: Absolutely. You and I feel and urgency around that. Other folks either don’t feel that urgency, or at least have some inkling that that’s the direction we need to go, but they don’t have any ideas of how to accomplish that.

Vicki: Oh… but I don’t want to feel hopeless, Scott.

Scott: I’m not hopeless. I’m just trying to feel more patient. (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs) Good luck with that! You know, these children are just here. They’re now. I just think that we can do better.

How many years do we have to wait, with people saying, “But they have to take the test.” I mean, really. How long do we have to live this?

Scott: Well, until we gain critical mindset with our communities… and our educators and our policymakers… we’re going to have to wait a while.

Unfortunately, systems change slowly.

It’s easy to change at the individual level, right? You and I can make a mental shift, garner some resources, and go. But getting while systems to move is a whole ‘nother matter.

So, yes, I feel that urgency like you do. I battle it every day, and I try to find ways to “infect” people with different kinds of urgencies and mindsets. But the reality is that it’s going to take some time.

Vicki: OK, so let’s look at this one about student agency. Do you have some best practices and thoughts for really helping improve student agency in their own education?

Scott: Yes. My colleague Julie Graber @jgraber and I created a technology integration protocol. It has this horrible name called Trudacot. But it has a set of questions around agency that we’ve been having a lot of success with, with classroom teachers. Basically, the idea is that if the teacher has the interest or goal of increasing student agency in the day-to-day work, or maybe for a particular lesson or unit, there’s a set of questions that you can ask yourself about how you’re doing that or accomplishing that purpose. And it’s basic questions, like:

  • Who gets to decide what is learned?
  • Who gets to decide how it’s learned?
  • Who gets to decide what the work product is, and how it’s assessed?
  • Who gets to pick the technology?
  • Who’s the primary user of the technology?
  • Do students have the ability to be entrepreneurial, self-directed, and go beyond?

Questions like that, right?

  • Read about Trudacot and use it to evaluate your classroom

And so if your answers are always, “Teacher, teacher, teacher,” then what we’re doing is we’re using those same questions as pivot points for redesign.

So we’re saying to teachers, “OK, so you have this goal of student agency, and you have this unit in mind. Right now, your answers are primarily, ‘Teacher, teacher, teacher…” or “No, no, no, whatever…”

What if we took this question around, “Who gets to decide what the student work product looks like?” What if you wanted the answer to be “Student” instead? How would you redesign this to get there?

What if you wanted to take that question around, “Do students have the opportunity to be self-directed and go beyond?” Right now the answer is “No.” What would the lens look like where the answer was “Yes.” How would you redesign this to get there?

And we’re having great conversations with teachers around what seemed like fairly basic questions, but it’s the structured process of it that I think really moves them in desired directions.

How do we make to the change to deeper learning?

Vicki: So one more. We don’t have time to go deep into all of these, but “Deeper Learning…” How do we make that shift? And I know you can’t give that answer in a minute, but just point us in a direction.

Scott: Sure. I think we’re starting to make some movements in this direction. We’re just not there yet.

We’re looking at,

  • What kind of questions are we asking?
  • Are they of greater cognitive complexity?
  • Are we asking students to do meaningful, real-world tasks that require students to apply what they’re learning in new directions and at new depths?

Anything that gets us beyond the regurgitative multiple-choice item or fill-in-the-blank item — is all good.

Vicki: Yes, beyond regurgitative multiple choice, because you know many years ago… I can’t remember who it was that was on Facebook. I think it was Alec Couros. He asked, “What did you used to think about education that you found is not true?

Pretending that test measure learning

When I first got in, I thought that the tests actually meant something — until I realized that the kids actually forgot it the day after. Then I started doing projects. Years later, even now that they’re in their twenties and dare I say some are in their thirties, they come back to me and talk to me about these projects and concepts that they’ve applied in their real life.

And I’m like, “Oh yeah. That was teaching. Right?”

Scott: Yeah. I continue to be baffled by the game playing that we all engage in where we pretend that students care about and remember the thing we covered four weeks ago.

Vicki: And I would say that that is somewhat of a game. And do they understand it, or do they just memorize it?

Scott: Yeah. And they don’t even hang onto it for very long. Right? Nut in this pressure to cover stuff, we know in our hearts that they don’t remember and hang onto this, but we continue to proceed as if they do.

Vicki: Yeah. So I think that Scott’s blog — every time I talk to hi, I’m like, “Yep. His blog’s named well, ‘Dangerously Relevant’ because he is an instigator, a question asker. I hope that we all feel a little unsettled and dissatisfied because we can never be complacent.

I think the enemy is complacency and stagnancy. We need to make progress for these children. How can we scale creativity? I mean, that is what we need to have in our world today, particularly in more developed countries. We need that creativity.

This has been a fantastic conversation. I hope that you’ll take a look at the Shownotes and follow the links.

I’m definitely going to be asking some of these agency questions, Scott!

Scott: Cool. Thanks, Vicki. I’ll get you a copy of the whole protocol. Maybe you can share that, too.

 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

An Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Colorado Denver, Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on P-12 school technology leadership issues. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only university center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators.

Blog: dangerously ! irrelevant

Twitter: @mcleod

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Different Schools for a Different World appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Personalizing the Curriculum with the Learning Journey Model

9 November, 2017 - 14:23

Mark Engstrom, Episode 188 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Mark Engstrom shares a personalized model for learning that he calls the “Learning Journey Model.” After students accomplish a core competency, they personalize their learning journey much like the “game of LIFE” board game.

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.

The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to coolcatteacher.com/samsungsolve to learn more. Good luck!

Listen Now  

 

 

 

 

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript Improving the Curriculum with the Learning Journey Model

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e188
Date: November 8, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking to Mark Engstrom @markaengstrom Head of Middle School and Upper School at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas.

The Learning Journey Model

Mark, you are passionate about helping students have control over their learning. Give me an example. What do your students do?

Mark: So… my students know which components of my classes are foundational and what components are collaborative, what components they will have choice on and what they’ll get to choose from when it’s time for assessments.

I think of the Learning Journey more like the game of life and less like a traditional syllabus where teachers dictate what’s going to be taught, when it’s going to be taught, how you’ll be graded, how you’ll be penalized, the resources you have to use. I prefer to give kids a path, and let them choose from within that path what works best for them.

Vicki: OK, did you say that they get to choose their assessment?

Assessment in a Personalized Classroom

Mark: So they do get to choose. They have a variety of passion-based projects they get to pick from. Within the assessments, there are six questions, and they do three of them. They have five different chances to take the assessment, so the idea is that there’s choice within the assessment, and there’s choice about when they want to take the assessment.

Vicki: Okay, so are all the assessment tests, or do you assess other ways?

Mark: I assess in other ways as well. We’ve got MAP quizzes, we’ve got content-based knowledge assessments, so there are some other some other ways.

Vicki: OK, so there are some teachers sitting here saying, “OK, so you’re coming up with four different ways to assess? That sounds like a whole lot of work!”

Mark: It is! But once you get your kids trained to sort of think, “OK. I’m learning for learning’s sake. I’m going to be assessed in a whole bunch of different ways, and I will have choices,” then they are really feeling empowered.

It becomes less about “playing school” and more about, “How much can I learn? What more can I learn? What don’t I know? Who can help me? Where can I go online to get better? Who in the class can help me? What do I need to ask the teacher?” It makes them the agents of their own learning, and it is fantastic!

Vicki: Do you have a learning management system that helps you keep up with all this?

How does this relate to your Learning Management System?

Mark: We do. It’s called PowerSchool. The reality is that it’s a round-peg-square-hole kind of situation, because I don’t want to manage their learning. I want to inspire them, I want to spark inquiry, I want to answer their questions, I want to give them resources. So the whole idea of a learning management system? I just think it’s flawed. We shouldn’t be managing their learning, we should be sparking it.

Vicki: OK, but you use that to track it and hold it all together? I use PowerSchool Learning as well. I think I’d have to say that they do sponsor some of the work that I do, so I do have to say that.

So, OK. So what class in particular… You’re Head of School, but are you also teaching a class, or is this the model in all of the classrooms for your students?

Mark: So I’m the Head of our Middle and Upper School. We’ve got a Head of School who’s in charge of the kit and kaboodle of Pre-K through 12. So, in my two divisions, Middle and Upper School, we’ve got five classes that now use the Learning Journey model.

Vicki: OK. So is this something that you invented, or where’d you find it?

Mark: I went to some professional development that made me rethink the way we do school. And I kind of landed on the Game of Life that I wanted to use. So, yeah, I came up with it.

Vicki: OK. And we’ll share in the Shownotes , you’ve got some infographics about how you structure your syllabus. (See above.) You completely changed the syllabi for these courses, haven’t you?

Mark: Correct. Can I just talk a little bit about how the Learning Journey works, so it’s clear to people?

Vicki: Yeah! Help us

Mark: So, if you’re looking at the infographic, (see above) basically the top left is Goal Setting. You can follow the white arrows all the way down. It kind of forms maybe two “S”-shapes. Along the way, there’s Artifacts and Reflections and Goal Setting. Kids are always thinking about, “What did I do that’s awesome?” or “What did I do where I struggled?” or “What do I do when I want to do it better?”

And “What did I do that was collaborative? Where can I get an artifact that sort of encapsulates this segment of my learning?”

And then they write a little paragraph about it. I comment on that.

So it’s not just about the learning. I tell kids, “The hidden curriculum is YOU.”

We talk about geography, and I care about geography. But what I really care about is, “What are you learning about how you learn best?”

And so, the first part is foundational learning. That’s the blue part. In every class around the world, teachers could identify the non-negotiable pieces that lay the foundation for deeper thoughts. Those pieces are in my Foundational Learning segment.

Then there’s Collaborative Learning, which looks like what you would imagine it should look like for any collaborative project.

Then we move into a personal segment where they do a Passion-Based Learning Project.

The final segment of the class is getting ready for the assessments.

Vicki: Are all the kids operating at a different speed?

How the personalized approach works

Mark: We work on trimesters. The first trimester we kind of all go at the same pace. But then in the second and third, I really let them loose. Some kids really fly, and you realize that they’ve been shackled by the traditional methods of teaching and whole-class instruction. And it is awesome to see kids just take off on their learning.

Vicki: What happens, though, when you have some people who’ve covered a lot more material than others, and then you go back to this, “OK, these folks have class rank.”

Class Rank and Traditional Grading in this model

Is it fair if somebody covers eight more chapters than somebody else?

Mark: What do you mean by “class rank”?

Vicki: Well, in high school, do you have first, second, third, fourth in your class, or do you not do that at your school?

Mark: We have to do that for the state of Texas, because it affects admissions policies. But other than that, we don’t need to.

I mean, I see your point. There are kids who go above and beyond. But this isn’t a system that’s geared to satisfy other components of traditional education.

Vicki: Ahhhhhh….

Mark: I’m trying to drill down to what does research say about agency? Like if you look at Daniel Pink, Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose… the Learning Journey is full of autonomy and purpose options. That’s kind of the driving force.

Vicki: So… you… are just reinventing school!

Mark: That’s what we’re trying to do.

Vicki: Do you get any pushback?

What pushback do you get with the Learning Journey model?

Mark: I’ve presented this at conferences before, and I’ve written about this. Some people will write in and say, “Wow, that’s great!” But I get very few people who actually want to jump in. I think right now there aren’t enough incentives for teachers to take the time to overhaul their class. Whether their principal wouldn’t appreciate it, or they team teach with people who aren’t interested — I just think there aren’t enough incentives out there right now.

But I would say that any teacher out there, who’s really looking to get re-energized around student learning and the experiences that they’re offering their kids? They’re more than welcome to reach out to me. I’m on Twitter, and I’d be happy to talk through the first couple steps of the Learning Journey.

Vicki: Mark, the truth is that we’re going to end up where you are at some point. We can either aggressively go after it and become part of the change, or the change can be done to us.

You’re either a victim or a victor when you’re dealing with change.

This whole personalized learning approach is really where we’re moving. I mean, would you agree with that or disagree with that?

Mark: Amen. I think you’re spot on.

30-second elevator pitch for the Learning Journey model

Vicki: But it’s just hard. I’m trying to get my arms around it. What do you think… If you were stuck in an elevator with someone who was in charge of the curriculum for one of the biggest districts in the country, and you had one minute to sell this approach of the Learning Journey model. What would you say?

Mark: I’d probably start by asking them, “What’s the number one thing they want to change about student learning in their school district?”

And, depending on their answer, I would chime in that there are different parts of learning journeys, or personalized learning, or digital tools that can accomplish what they’re hoping to accomplish.

And if I had a whiteboard or my infographic at the ready, I would kind of walk them through how the Game of Life — which allowed you to make choices about going to college, having a wife and family, investing in stocks — I mean, that same sort of board game path is applicable to giving students agency over what they want to learn and how they want to learn.

Vicki: So what’s your greatest, “AHA!” moment from this whole process?

Greatest Aha Moment

Mark: ASo I think the “AHA!” moment is that we don’t need to move students through the old industrial model of teaching. It’s easy to do flipped class learning and see how that works. It’s easy to do Project-Based Learning and see how that works. But all of those things feel to me like piecemeal or part of the answer. Whereas I hope the Learning Journey is more of a holistic approach to giving students control. I think that would be my “AHA!” moment.

Vicki: What do you think is the biggest mistake you’ve made in this journey?

Mistake in Personalizing Learning

Mark: The first step I made was to get rid of all content as a requirement. I gave kids too much choice to start. I got a lot of pushback from parents saying, “We don’t know what to study.”

I wish I hadn’t started there. I wish I had started smaller, and given kids choice and trimmed back the content instead of giving them total choice over what they study.

After the Foundational Learning piece of the journey, they really do have total control. So I’ll have some students who only do politics. Or only do environmental stuff. Or only do economics. And I didn’t do that well the first time.

Vicki: I love that you admit — I think that this is important for the transparency — saying, “This is what I did right, This is what I did wrong.”

Your Learning Journey model really is a journey, for you.

Educators, you’re definitely going to want to check the Shownotes for the infographics and the links to Mark’s site.

We love to feature brave, remarkable educators on the 10-Minute Teacher to really provoke your thinking. This is the direction that I think that we’re all going to be heading.

It sounds complicated. It sounds hard.

But I’ll tell you this — we cannot let the fact that something is challenging keep us from doing it, because we’re talking about lives here.

If it works, we need to consider it.

So let’s take a look at the Learning Journey model, and see what we can learn from it.

 

 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Mark Engstrom is an Educational Consultant, Blended Learning Designer and the Head of MS/US at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas. He has presented on digital and personalized learning through Independent School Management, Association of American Schools in South America and Association of International Schools in Africa. He has also written for EdSurge, Getting Smart and Teachers Matter. He has helped teachers from all over the world make learning more engaging for their students. Feel free to connect through Twitter @markaengstrom

Twitter:@markaengstrom

Author of

Blending Alone- http://www.gettingsmart.com/2014/01/blending-alone-blend-non-blended-environment/

Redesigning the syllabus to reflect the learning journey- https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-09-10-redesigning-the-syllabus-to-reflect-the-learning-journey

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Personalizing the Curriculum with the Learning Journey Model appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

10 Ways to Personalize Learning for Students

9 November, 2017 - 01:07

sponsored by Texthelp

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Students, you can get help. No, I’m not talking about cheating, I’m talking about understanding the technology tools that can help you earn a better grade. Artificial intelligence is available in many forms. Here are some of the best helpers for you. This blog post also comes with an infographic (PDF) that you can print and use to figure out tools to help you in your studies.

This post is sponsored by Texthelp. All opinions are my own. To get links to all of these sites and information on installing Read&Write, download this handy infographic. 1. Pick a Digital Notebook

Taking notes is not what it used to be. You can still use a standard notebook, but digital notebooks make a lot of sense, too. You take pictures of your notes and what the teacher wrote on the board. You can even record in-class audio or video and then find it easily. (All those pictures on your smartphone’s camera roll just get lost.)

Here are three digital notebook choices. What you pick depends upon what your school uses. Here are my favorites:

  • Microsoft OneNote: You can take notes collaboratively on any device.
  • Google Keep: If you’re a Google school or have a Chromebook, this might be for you.
  • Evernote: This is a bit fancier but will work if you don’t need to write collaborative notes.
2. Learn to Voice Type

Voice typing means dictating into a device which turns your audio into text. You can use it on your Mac or PC as well as in Google Docs. However, you do have to learn how to speak your punctuation. So make sure you know understand voice typing before turning on this feature.

 

3. Read&Write

This “Swiss Army knife” artificial intelligence learning assistant can do so much. Here are a few features of Read&Write from TextHelp:

  • Its text-to-speech tool reads web pages, emails, and documents out loud.
  • It can highlight, research and collect notes.
  • It defines words and makes a personal word dictionary.
  • It includes a speech input feature for the web similar to Google’s Voice typing – it even works in Google forms (pro version).

Many of the graphics in this post are from a powerful infographic you can print for your classroom. Go to  to https://goo.gl/Cxd3f8 download this free infographic (and learn how to get the Read&Write toolbar while you are there.)

4. Editing Helpers

Get familiar with editing tools and select several “go to” tools. Grammarly is free in Chrome and will check basic spelling. If you want more advanced checks, Pro Writing Aid is free for documents of one thousand words or less. Hemingway Editor is one of the easiest-to-use apps for simplifying text. It will color the words for you and help you get rid of run-on sentences. Students should always spell check every document, discussion post, and communication with a teacher.

5. Rewordify

Have you read something online that was hard to understand? With Rewordify, you can reset a web page’s reading level so that it’s easier to understand. While this approach isn’t perfect, it can make reading comprehension easier. This is great for research so that you can easily understand what you need to explain in a paper or report.

Rewordify can simplify text that students are struggling to understand.

6. Build a Math Toolkit

Understand how to get help for your math classroom. First, students should know how to properly use Wolfram Alpha. Not only is this a handy site for facts and figures of all kinds (very helpful for history reports), but if you type in a math problem, it will show you step-by-step solutions for them.

EquatIO is a fantastic help for students writing formulae.

EquatIO® is a fantastic tool for writing math formulae digitally. You can type, dictate or handwrite your equations easily, and EquatIO will insert it into your document with a click. It even has a collaborative space, EquatIO mathspace, where you can work on math problems with others and show your thinking through freehand sketches and notes.  What’s more, it integrates with Read&Write so you can have math read back to you. If you’re struggling with a concept, Khan Academy has some excellent math tutorials.

7. Learn to Screencast

Teachers are asking students to make movies and screencast, but few of them teach you how. If you have a PC, the easiest screencasting tool is the free Office Mix download for PowerPoint. You can add videos, photos, screen recordings, text, and even animations like a regular PowerPoint. Additionally, the Mix button lets you record your voice and even draw on the screen. With one click, you can “save as movie” and then send it to your teacher.

If you want to add your voice to an already-made movie, try Edpuzzle. If you just want a simple screencast, Screencastify is a great tool. If you’re having a problem with a website, record a quick screencast and send it to your teacher.

8. Flashcard Makers

Memorization is still part of what you do as a student, so flashcard makers like Quizlet or Quizziz can be a big help. Sometimes your flashcards are already made, although you’ll often learn better if you make them yourself. These apps also quiz you in different formats. They often let you make your own practice quizzes and take them. Use the app on your phone to review anywhere and any time instead of waiting to cram the night before a test.

9. Your Smartphone

Your smartphone should be your personal secretary. Some essential things to learn how to do on your smartphone are:

  • How to add reminders (with your voice if possible)
  • How to add calendar events with reminders
  • The school grade book app (set up notifications for when new grades are posted)
  • Your school email
  • Your digital notebook (See #1)
  • Digital flashcards (See #8)
10. Learn to Block Out Distractions

Despite what you might think, multitasking is a myth. Many students struggle with distractions. If you’re not using your smartphone for studying or if you just can’t get off Snapchat, put your phone up. If you’re trying to focus on a massive project, consider deleting Snapchat (don’t worry, you won’t lose your friends!) or whichever app is a problem for you.

If you’re using the computer, StayFocusd will help block out distractions. If you feel like you’re wasting time, RescueTime not only blocks unnecessary sites but also tells you how you’re using your time on the computer.

To get links to all of these sites and information on this blog, download this handy infographic https://goo.gl/Cxd3f8.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The post 10 Ways to Personalize Learning for Students appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Hyperdocs: How to’s and Tips for Teachers

8 November, 2017 - 14:45

Lisa Scumpieru on episode 187 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Lisa Scumpieru, 10th-grade Literature Teacher, gives us a crash course in Hyperdocs. She shares lesson plans, ideas, and tips for getting started quickly without hassle

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to coolcatteacher.com/samsungsolve to learn more. Good luck!

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript Hyperdocs: How to and Success Tips for Teachers

Vicki: Today we have Lisa Scumpieru @LScumpieru, who’s a first grade English teacher from Maryland, and we’re talking Hyperdocs.

What are Hyperdocs?

Lisa: Hyperdocs are normally a doc or slide that you build for the students. They give an ability for the students to work collaboratively. They can then work through the topic or problem at their own pace and you can give them choices within it so that they can evolve around that central question or concept or problem.

Vicki: Okay so how is this different from just a normal doc? Is it that you’re giving them an assignment? Is it an activity? Are you making templates for them? Do they each have their own personal copy? What’s it like?

Lisa: Well, usually what they do is when somebody builds one, you have the introduction for the students. It gives him some background information. When I used to teach it, I used to almost do the same thing I do in a Hyperdoc in a lesson. I would give them some background information. Sometimes in the Hyperdoc then, you can do like a flipped classroom type of thing, where they can access the Hyperdoc. They watch something prior to coming to class, and then they can do something with it.

They can reflect on it. They can prepare some questions for the actual class. Then when the teacher has them go through the Hyperdoc, they’re basically walking them through the learning process, so that students…

For my type of teaching now, I don’t do a lot of “sage on the stage,” talking the entire time. I walk around and I make sure that they’re not confused, that they don’t have questions. But I’m more of a facilitator, making sure that they understand what’s going on. That Hyperdoc helps them through it, because it goes from where they’re just beginning to be introduced to the topic. Then they delve into the topic. And we even have things at the end of Hyperdocs, usually, that are extensions.

Vicki: OK, so is it like… I learned to use a learning management system. And i’ll have these long pages. So is it almost like somebody’s in Google Classroom, and the doc is like a page or a webpage you would have in your LMS? Or are kids actually editing and writing on the page?

How Do HyperDocs compare to a Learning Management System

Lisa: They can edit and write on the page. Now, what I do is in Google Classroom, I will give them the Hyperdoc, and then I will make a copy for each student. Then they’re able to access the material that I want them to. Maybe, let’s say on the left. Then on the right, they have an opportunity to either take notes or reflect, or with a Hyperdoc what’s nice is that they have the things hyperlinked for the students.

So they’re only going to one doc, but everything is hyperlinked the videos, the other activities they have to do, the choices that they have — whether they do an iMovie or a FlipGrid or they go to a GoFormative — everything is in one. They see the process and where it’s leading to, and they see the end before they get to it, so they feel a little more confident about what they’re doing.

Vicki: Can you give me an example of a recent Hyperdoc lesson?

A recent Hyperdoc Lesson in Lisa’s Classroom

Lisa: Yeah. So today I teach tenth graders, and they had a narrative that they’re writing. I made a Hyperdoc for them to make it easier for them. I told them that we were going to “Mad Man Write,” which is just writing really quickly something down for 15 minutes and seeing if that’s going to be your narrative.

I have the link for them to know what a Mad Man Writing was, and I had what dialogue looked like. I also had the rubric that I was going to use, but I showed them today and tomorrow they’re writing. On Monday, they’re going to peer edit. I showed them the entire thing and told them, “If you want to go in and see what the peer editing looks like, so that you know where you’re going to go with your writing… Nothing is a mystery. Everything is there for you to look at and see where you want to go with this.

One Click to Find Everything

Vicki: I totally agree with this. One click. Everything should be right there. Kids should never have to hunt for it. They shouldn’t have to navigate for it. It should all be right there.

Now you’re excited about how Hyperdocs and this interactivity is being built into other tools. Give me an example.

Hyperdocs interactivity is being built into other sites

Lisa: I use it in docs and slides, but I also use it in Google Sites. I’ve done it for a digital breakout with kids. I had them read a story that was a mystery, and then they had to crack codes and figure out everything. It was fun!

I’m building one right now on a Google site for students where each page is going to be something that they can go to if they choose. There’s going to be choices, so if they choose to go to the next part of the adventure, they’ll go to that page. So it will sort of build out on that Google site.

Also FlipGrid is evolving so that teachers when they create their grid, they can embed docs in there. I’ve embedded entire Hyperdocs in there, so the kids can access the Hyperdocs as they are on FlipGrid. You can embed video. You can also embed images, or even like a prompt in there so kids are being steered in the right direction.

So you just don’t have to have everything on your board. I used to have kids take a picture with their phone or with their iPad of the board of what they were supposed to do for FlipGrid that night, and they’d then have to access that at home. Now when they go home to do their FlipGrid, they have all of the directions right there.

Vicki: So, Lisa, is there a mistake that many educators make when they start using Hyperdocs?

Lisa: When I started making Hyperdocs, my mistake was that I tried to do it from scratch. I didn’t really look at any. I looked at some and said, “OK, I think I get the basic premise. Let me start from scratch.”

When I made my first one, it was for The Great Gatsby. I did it with my students, maybe two-and-a-half years ago. I remember that they were looking at me like, “Wow. This is a lot to do. We did it for two days. They were very impressed with it, but then they also said, “This was a lot for us to do.” They gave me some suggestions.

Then, what I did the next time was I started looking at some. Lisa Highfill @lhighfill has a wonderful Hyperdocs site. I also used my Google Keep, and anything that is shared out on Twitter with Hyperdocs — there’s Padlets and all kinds of stuff — I put it in my Keep. I look through them, and I’ll sometimes make a copy of them, strip them from what they have, and work from there — because I like the layout, or I like how it looks.

Vicki: So you’ve given us the suggestion to look at other examples. What is the most wildly helpful suggestion you have for teachers who want to use Hyperdocs?

Tips for Getting Started

Lisa: I would say, “Make sure when you use Hyperdocs that you are OK with failing forward, because the kids might need a little bit of help. This year what I did, prior to even doing anything within Hyperdocs with them, is we did a Hyperdoc together.

I said, “What do you think this thing that’s underlined in blue is?”

And they’re like, “A link?”

For some classes it was dead air, and I was like, “This is a link…”

And we actually did a Hyperdoc together, and that gave the students the comfort level that they needed.

So I would say, make sure the kids are comfortable. Don’t expect that it’s going to be perfect the first couple times, because they’re getting accustomed to it. But eventually, they’ll appreciate the extra effort that you’re making.

Vicki: Last question, Lisa. Some people have to go to their administrators or curriculum directors and convince them that it is worth trying something new. What is the elevator pitch for why educators should be using Hyperdocs?

Lisa: I think educators need to use Hyperdocs because the whole thing in our building is the UBD, the design planning with the end in mind. I’ve even Hyperdoc’d all of my units. I make sure that I know where I’m going with everything. I Hyperdoc all of the ancillary materials I’m going to use during that unit. It just helps me see the end in mind, plan for a purpose, and be able to see where I’m going with the students.

Vicki: Well, educators, we have something new to try for this Ed Tech Tool Tuesday. Hyperdocs! Check the Shownotes and take a look. Tweet out your Hyperdocs, so that we can all share!

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

I have taught for 23 years at North Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, Md. I am originally from north of Pittsburgh. I have always looked at myself as a life-long learner and Twitter has helped me strengthen my PLN and my teaching. I am a Google Certified Trainer, Flipgrid Ambassador, Formative Educator, and CommonLit Advisory Board Member. Our school is 1:1 with I-pads and I am incorporating a lot of project-based learning, hyperdocs, and diverse seating. I am a fan of not teaching the entire book, but giving students the meat of the text and reading Shakespeare from the middle. My inspirations are: Matt Miller’s “Ditch the Textbook”, Dave Burgess’ “Teach Like a Pirate”, and Joy Kirr’s “Shift This”. I love to share my work and help others improve their teaching.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Hyperdocs: How to’s and Tips for Teachers appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

10 Keys of Purpose Driven Learning

7 November, 2017 - 13:36

Michael Matera on episode 186 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Michael Matera @mrmatera, author of Explore Like a Pirate, talks about Purpose Driven Learning in the classroom.

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.

The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to coolcatteacher.com/samsungsolve to learn more. Good luck!

Listen Now  

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript 10 Keys to Purpose Driven Learning

Vicki: Michael Matera @mrmatera is my favorite game-based learning guru, but today we’re going to talk about keys to purpose-driven learning.

Now, Michael or Mr. Matera as he’s known everywhere (Twitter, YouTube, and everywhere) teaches history in a sixth-grade classroom.

So, Michael, what are the keys to purpose-driven learning?

Michael: Well, first of all, thanks, Vicki for having me on the show. I’m super excited to be here.

What Are the Keys to Purpose Driven Learning?

The keys to purpose-driven learning are these ten sort of intentional words that I choose, a language which I use with my students — whether it’s in their quarter comments, their work when I’m conferencing one-on-one with them. They’re action-oriented words because I felt like over the years, just talking to students about grades wasn’t really functional. Also, talking to kids in general platitudes, like, “You should just do better.” (laughs) Like, that’s not very helpful!

Vicki: (agrees)

10 Elements of Purpose Driven Learning

Michael: So, a colleague of mine and I sat down and drilled down on what we thought were words for ten key elements that some of the successful people in our world have. These leaders — whether they’re leaders in industry, leaders in the arts, leaders in military or politics — tend to demonstrate these traits.

Vicki: OK. What are they?

Michael: So, in no particular order, the keys are:

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Effort
  3. Confidence
  4. Focus
  5. Resilience
  6. Dependability
  7. Initiative
  8. Creativity
  9. Curiosity
  10. Empathy

Vicki: Wow, and so you really try to use these words because you want to build it in your students?

Michael: Yeah! So we’re really trying to say, as our school now uses a lot of these words, and we’re really trying to build up students like, “We want YOU to be a leader,” in whatever, again — the arts, industry — it doesn’t matter. But we want you to be a leader, and so let’s be intentional at pointing toward these successful words. Let’s cultivate these, as opposed to talking about, “I have an A-… or a B+.”

Let’s talk about “What are you bringing to your class? What did you bring to your homework last night? How do you interact with the material? Are you bringing your enthusiasm? Do you display confidence? Are you taking the initiative to go above and beyond on a particular project or subject? Are you applying your creativity? Are you empathetic with the people in your class or your group?”

Vicki: So Michael, what’s the most mind-blowing thing that has happened since you started using these words?

What is the impact of using these words?

Michael: Well, it takes a while, but eventually there is a de-emphasis on grades. Kids start to adopt this language and take it on their own. For me, that’s the mind-blowing thing, when kids start to apply purpose-driven learning in their own responses, without that being required of them. When they start talking, in a student reflection, about how they’ve seen over the course that they’ve developed their own confidence in themselves and in their talents. They see that it’s about applying themselves, it’s about putting focused effort toward a goal. It’s about being dependable and bringing their best to class every day. I think that’s just mind blowing, when students use this language, and it’s become internalized for them.

Vicki: And you can imagine them in ten or fifteen or twenty years using these same words, and you’re like, “Yes! I taught you how to live life.”

Michael: (laughs) Yeah! It’s just really cool. Again, I teach sixth grade. It’s really fun to see the students own their learning. That’s something that we all talk about in schools — that we want students to embrace the sense of empowerment, that learning is equitable. We all can learn. We can all do it. It’s just about taking the time. All of these point to that. All of these point to, “You can be what you want to be, if you’re intentional if you’re willing to pay the price, if you’re willing to step up.”

It changes the nature and dynamics of any community where it gets applied.

Vicki: Have you made any mistakes as you’ve implemented purpose-driven learning?

Mistakes Michael Made When Implementing Purpose Driven Learning

Michael: Good question. I think at first, I didn’t keep it up. The first year I rolled it out, it was like, “Yeah!” I’m going to use this!” and then I fell back into some of my old language. I didn’t infuse the language into my responses with students, and like anything, a level of intentionality produces such great results.

So, if any of you want to try to use purpose-driven learning, which I strongly recommend, know that it’s a commitment. Make sure that you’re going to try to use these in your written responses to students, in your one-on-one collaborations with them. Ask them to reflect and use these words. “Tell me one of the words that you brought to this project. Tell me one of the words that you still need to work on.” Make sure that’ you’re intentional with it.

So my biggest mistake was that.

Vicki: So, tell me how you’ve used one of these words this week.

An Example of How He’s Used the Words This Week

Michael: Oh, man! Confidence for me is big. I’m really trying to get my sixth graders to shake off that… I don’t know… So many kids will say, I think I failed the test,” when really, I have a room full of B+ and A- students. “You wouldn’t fail the test. You might not have gotten what you wanted. But you didn’t fail it.”

So, we’ve been working as a class on confidence. One of the things we’ve done is, when they give a response in class — and this is going to sound really old school, but it’s cool to see — when I call on a student right now, working on confidence, they have to stand up, they have to answer in a complete sentence. I tell you, it’s so cool, Vicki, the person standing up — you can just see a physical change. They have the right posture. Their diaphragm’s engaged. The rest of the students respond to that student in a different way because they become a focal point in the room.

We’ve been doing this now for a couple weeks. Just this week I asked, “How do you feel this affects your confidence?” And all of them have said, “We respond more articulately.” They apply the vocab in our units — as opposed to being slouched in the chair, mumbling and answer. It gives them time to compose themselves as they get up and give their answer. It’s been wonderful.

A Favorite Word

Vicki: Do you have a favorite word?

Michael: The word I use probably the most in my classroom is focus. I really think that that unlocks the rest of these words. But to be honest, I use a lot of them on a daily basis. But focus is the one I probably use the most.

Vicki: Is there any way that you help kids learn to focus, besides just saying, “focus”?

Michael: Sure! I build in some intentional tasks. You know I do a gamified class, which I obviously love. (laughs)

Vicki: (agrees and laughs)

A Challenging (and Perhaps Controversial) Way to Teach Resilience

Michael: At the beginning of the year, I do a training camp so they understand my rules in the class, they understand the subject matter, and they also understand my gamified classroom. What I did in that training camp was build in activities that tested them on these words so that we could apply them, and then we could debrief and talk about these words.

My favorite story was about the word “resilience.” In the training camp, they had to use these Kapla blocks to build these ever-growing structures. Halfway through build time, there’s a giant clock on the wall, and it’s ticking down. They’ve got to do this, they’ve got to meet this requirement. I took out a golf club and went around and I knocked down everybody’s builds.

Vicki: (laughs)

Michael: These blocks don’t snap together. It’s like Jenga blocks. They were like, “What are you doing?!??!”

And I just leaned in, and I said, “What’s the goal here?”

And they were like, “Resilience!”

And they got back to it. And when we debriefed it, a lot of the kids used other words, too. They said, “WHile this was teaching us resilience, we wanted to be frustrated that we got knocked back down to Square One, it required us to apply our best efforts to be extra focused because we only had half the time to meet the build requirements!”

Vicki: (agrees)

Right? And it was just awesome to see them live through that and learn from that and grow from that and feel what it feels like to reset, but still have all the same pressures of the due date requirements.

Vicki: It kind of blows their mind to have a teacher do that, because yeah, we want to be supportive and encouraging. But the simple fact that you knocked their blocks down — “OK, he’s here to teach us something.” Sometimes it may be hard or frustrating, huh?

Michael: Yeah, they did not see that one coming. And at the end of that lesson, I always have to tell them, “I’m never going to do that again.”

Vicki: (laughs)

Michael: I have group build challenges throughout the year, and the next two build challenges they sort of hover over their building as if I’m going to knock it over.

Vicki: They’re looking for the golf club, huh?

Michael: They are. “Aww, man! He’s going in his closet. Watch out!”

Vicki: So teachers, we’ve talked about keys to purpose-driven learning. Michael Matera is a “must follow.” I remember when I first learned about his realm of nobles and how he’s completely gamified his whole classroom. I do this completely in my keyboarding. I am the Game Master in that particular class, and it’s so powerful and it’s so exciting.

But this… Being intentional… Intentionally choosing your words… I’ve even seen some research on the importance with SEL (social-emotional learning) of schoolwide, selecting the same choices of words, and the power it has when you’re consistent in reinforcing the kinds of things that we really believe are very important for student to learn.

Thank you, Michael, for being with us!

Michael: No problem! It’s my pleasure, Vicki. Anytime. Happy to share.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Michael Matera is a middle school teacher, author of Explore Like a Pirate and Speaker


. As a gamification guru and moonshot thinker, Michael transforms the traditional classroom into a high-energy environment where active student engagement is paramount. Helping educators learn about the power of a gamified immersive learning environment is Michael’s passion. Learn more and connect with Michael to come to your school or event on Explorelikeapirate.com

Blog: Explore Like A Pirate

Twitter: @mrmatera

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

 

The post 10 Keys of Purpose Driven Learning appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Reasons to Try a Whole Novel Approach in Your Classroom

7 November, 2017 - 13:01

Ariel Sacks on episode 185 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Ariel Sacks, author of Whole Novels for the Whole Class, shares five reasons to try a whole novel approach. She also explains how this approach works and some advantages for teachers.

Today’s Sponsor: WriQ from Texthelp is a new FREE Add-on for Google Docs that helps teachers easily assess student writing and track progress over time by automatically scoring students’ spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It also incorporates rubrics so teachers can provide meaningful, qualitative feedback to encourage the writing journey. This handy free Google Docs add-on tracks things like: time spent writing, spelling-grammar-and punctuation error rates and pulls it into a clear graphical view in your teacher dashboard. To learn more about Wriq go to www.texthelp.com/wriq Listen Now  

 

 

 

 

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript 5 Reasons to Try a Whole Novel Approach in Your Classroom

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e185
From Audio File 185-Ariel-Sacks

Vicki: Today we are talking to Ariel Sacks about Five Reasons to Try a Whole Novel Approach in the Classroom.

Now she does have a book on this topic, and I know that you’ll probably find it intriguing. So Ariel, help us understand — what is a whole novel approach?

What is a Whole Novel Approach?

Ariel: Ok, so the whole novel approach is really kind of like a workshop approach to a whole class novel study.

Instead of the teacher leading the students through all of the novels, bit by bit, students receive the novel, they receive the schedule, and then they receive a lot of individualized support to actually read the book independently. Or partners or small groups, kind of depending on the needs of the students.

So some students will finish way ahead of the deadline and some students will really use every moment of it, perhaps listening to it on audio.

Then when students finish at the deadline… We meet up, and we come together for student-driven discussion, where the students decide what we talk about.

We go back into the text. We re-read sections together. We investigate it and get to a deeper meaning, in all the ways that are wonderful about class discussions and whole class novel study. But it is really different because the teacher moves into a facilitator roll.

How do You Motivate Students to Read with This Approach?

Vicki: So what do you say to those who say, “They won’t read a chapter! How are they going to read a whole novel?”

Ariel: Right. So, I do get that question a lot.

Once you switch the focus to the students-supporting-students reading process, and really conferencing with them and being very open about where each student is a reader, and giving them the support that they need… They do read!

And they read much more than when the teacher is front and center. And the students can rely on the teacher to do the reading and interpreting for them. But those supports are really key to making sure that students do their reading.

Vicki: So what’s your first reason to try a whole novel approach in your classroom?

Reason #1 to Try a Whole Novel Approach: You’re Tired of the Traditional Model of Teaching Literature

Ariel: My first reason is just maybe you’re just sick of that traditional whole class novel study.

There’s so much wonderful work being done out there with choice reading, genius hour, project based learning.

And then, maybe you love whole class novels because there are really amazing things that can happen when a group of students reads together.

But you go back to teaching a whole class novel and it’s back to the traditional. And you find yourself bored. So you want to try something different.

Vicki: It’s a new way, so we can try something different and see how it works!

Reason #2: You Are Struggling to Have Enough Time for All of Your Novels

Okay, what’s the second reason?

Ariel: The second reason is time.

One of the big pitfalls of the traditional whole class novel study is that eat an entire marking period.

When teachers feel that students need to grasp every point that they see in the novel, and the teachers need to oversee that and help them through that bit by bit. It takes forever!

So that can lead to burnout, and when I say “burnout.” I mean getting burned out on that particular book.

So by the time it is finished, you never want to look at it again. But also, you’re not reading enough books throughout the year. You get the feeling that kids are stagnating.

Then when students finish at the deadline… Okay, so you can go faster. What else?

Reason #3: You Want More “Real” Reading

Ariel: Well, my next reason is you want more real reading.

So we kind of touched on this before, but I do think in the traditional model there is a lot of “fake reading” that happens.

Students will look for the answers to the teacher’s questions in the text, but they’re not actually reading through the text. They’re not actually experiencing it.

Another thing that happens — even for the student that is reading along and doing exactly what the teacher is asking for — sometimes the experience gets really chopped up. So it’s taking way too long, and it’s almost (I’ve actually had students tell me this) — It almost becomes hard to pay attention to the story, because they’re doing so much, in addition to actually reading. With the whole novel process, they’re really privileging that story experience. And trying to support that.

Vicki: That makes sense! I remember reading Jane Eyre in high school. Fantastic teacher, but I got so into it that I read it in three days. And then it was (discussed for) another eight weeks. It almost made me not like the book — except I liked it so much.

What’s next?

Reason #4: To Bring in More Student Voice and Agency

Ariel: So, next is student voice, for teachers who want a classroom that really welcomes student voice and gives students a lot of agency in their learning.

Students have voice in how they respond to the novel. They decide what’s important in the text. We do this through a very open forum of annotating during the reading process.

And then when it comes to those discussions which happen after all the students finished the reading, those are entirely student-driven so I do put on a facilitator role. It’s not a Socratic seminar where I sit back and just watch it unfold. But they’re deciding what we’re going to talk about. It’s really powerful.

Vicki: So you’re there, deciding what you’re going to talk about?

How Do We Direct the Conversation to Cover the Content When Students Are Leading?

So let’s say you’re an AP teacher, and you know that certain things are going to be on the AP test.

How do you direct the conversation, when you know there are certain things that need to be covered? Or do you let them have the conversation, and then redirect them?

Ariel: I definitely start by letting them have the conversation.

I think it’s really important for them to feel what happens when they have that power.

Nine times out of ten, let’s say I’m doing several discussions with different classes throughout a day. So every discussion begins in a different place.

But nine times out of ten, because of the power of the book itself and the literature, they will find themselves going to some of the same places in a natural way.

And if they don’t — if there are things that I know are really key — I do have tricks to have them pay attention to something. But (I do this) without really taking away from them — without jumping right into it and without taking away that experience.

Vicki: Ok, what’s our fifth?

Reason #5: to Have Fun

Ariel: The fifth is fun. It’s not boring. I can actually read the same text with students many years in a row, with many different classes. And every time different things come out of it.

Even though I said the literature will lead students in certain directions, the shape of those discussions are unique every single time.

Also, who kind of “comes out of the woodwork” in those discussions is really interesting.

We do it in half groups, so every student gets a more intimate experience.

So it’s a task for class, and every student gets more talking time. And the students that were empowered by the actual, authentic reading experience and come prepared for the discussion will speak way more than they may normally speak in class.

And they will share ideas with their classmates and amazing connections and moments come out of that. So it’s stays fresh. And that is because of the students.

Vicki: Ariel, tell us the title of your book.

Ariel: The title of the book is Whole Novels for the Whole Class: A Student Centered Approach.

Vicki: Okay, and we’ll link to it in the show notes because there are lots more ideas about how to do that.

You know, it’s hard to cover in ten minutes, but there are tricks and tips for facilitating conversations for helping kids read.

And if all you do is the traditional version, why not try the whole novel approach?

You might be surprised.

Bio as submitted

Ariel Sacks (arielsacks.com) has thirteen years of experience as a teacher of English Language Arts in New York City public schools in grades seven through nine. She writes about teaching and education issues on her blog at Education Week (http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/whole_story/), and supports teachers around the world to implement student-centered methods, most notably the whole novels approach. She is the author of Whole Novels For the Whole Class: A Student Centered Approach (arielsacks.com/book). She is a co-author of Teaching 2030: What We Must Do For Our Public Schools–Now and in the Future, and was featured in the book Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead Without Leaving.

She studied progressive pedagogy at Bank Street College of Education, where her mentor and longtime collaborator, Madeleine Ray, first introduced her to the whole novel concept. She is a member of the CTQ Collaboratory (www.teachingquality.org) and an advocate for teacher voice in education and leadership of the profession.

Blog: arielsacks.com

Twitter: @arielsacks

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post 5 Reasons to Try a Whole Novel Approach in Your Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

How to Build Great Teachers

6 November, 2017 - 13:47

Dan Brown on episode 184 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dan Brown talks about practical things we can do to help build great teachers. From best practices to policy, Dan shares what works (and some of what doesn’t.) If you’re in preservice education or work with teacher professional development, this podcast episode has some fantastic tips.

Today’s Sponsor: WriQ from Texthelp is a new FREE Add-on for Google Docs that helps teachers easily assess student writing and track progress over time by automatically scoring students’ spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It also incorporates rubrics so teachers can provide meaningful, qualitative feedback to encourage the writing journey. This handy free Google Docs add-on tracks things like: time spent writing, spelling-grammar-and punctuation error rates and pulls it into a clear graphical view in your teacher dashboard. To learn more about Wriq go to www.texthelp.com/wriq

Listen Now

 

 

 

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript How to Build Great Teachers

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e184

Vicki: How do we build great teachers? Today we are talking with thought leader Dan Brown about this topic. Dan, how do we build great teachers?

How do we build great teachers?

Dan: Building a great teacher takes a village. And it takes a lot of time. I think any kind of instant remedies or quick fixes or “three steps to being great teacher” type of guidance is kind of dangerous.

Teaching is such a complex job; it is really professional work. It requires a really serious body of crafts, knowledge, and skills. Starting early with educators helping high school students explore teaching — I think is really valuable, but anyone at any point when they are starting their journey should really be grounding their practice.

(They need to be) getting a lot of clinical hands-on experience, being grounded in best research, and really taking a seriously that it is a long journey before you are able to be that exemplary teacher that you’ve always dreamed to be.

Vicki: It really is a journey. So when you have that teaching certificate, and when you graduate – you do not necessarily have the great teacher standpoint yet, do you?

The disservice schools do to rookie teachers

Dan: Definitely not.

It can be tricky because in a lot of schools, rookie teachers are given the exact same workload or course load as a 30-year veteran. So they may feel like they have to perform at that level of an accomplished, experienced teacher.

And of course, their toolbox of skills and knowledge and experience is just starting to be built. No, there should be a quest as a lifelong learner, and a willingness to seek out constructive criticism and to build a network of critical friends and to really seek to be transparent about your own practice, and (to find out) how you can get better.

And celebrate your successes!

Vicki: But you know Dan, in a lot of schools, the rookie teachers actually get the worst classes.

Sink or swim is not a good way to orient new teachers

Dan: Yeah, that’s a real kind of pervasive, unfortunate “trial by fire” concept that is out there where rookie teachers maybe kind of looked at as “sink or swim” or “meat to the grinder”… Pick your idiom of not really being valued out of the gate as prized community assets.

And it is a challenge! That’s why when folks are looking for their first teaching job, it’s essential to scout the principal. Make sure you’re going into a functional environment where you have a principal to really help nurture your development and not push you into the toughest possible context when you’re the least experienced.

Vicki: Ah, we could talk about that forever — because how do you tell if there’s a functional environment? Because sometimes some people talk a good game.

How can you tell if a school is a good environment?

Dan: It’s true, it’s true. It’s hard to tell from the internet how a school’s environment and culture really is. You have to ask really probing questions. You have to try to get candid opinions from folks that work at the school — or who have worked at the school, maybe outside of the formal interview process.

And then, really trust your instincts when you do meet with that school leader. If your radar is pinging that something is really kind of off here, don’t look past it.

Vicki: How can we help teachers? Because when you build a great teacher, aren’t you constantly building and rebuilding yourself?

Do we have options so great teachers don’t have to leave the classroom?

Dan: Yes, definitely. And teaching needs to have more sort of ladders and lattices within the profession so that teachers can lead without leaving.

I mean a lot of times, the only opportunity for a promotion from being a classroom teacher is to leave classroom teaching altogether.

So this is where the Center for Teaching Quality has done great work on teacher leadership, advancing the concept of “teacherpreneurs,” and hybrid roles.

  • https://www.teachingquality.org/

There are more and more states and districts that are looking at how to divvy up teachers‘ time and responsibilities so that they’re not every single year loaded up with the exact same course load, same number of preps.

Because absolutely people burn out.

There’s research about how that career arc can really plateau five-plus years in — unless you give people the opportunity to really activate their passion and spread their instructional expertise and their skills.

Vicki: So let’s back up. We’ve talked about the fact that we need to keep learning. We’ve talked about when you get out of college, you’re not quite there yet and you need to be in the classroom. But how can colleges do a better job of preparing successful teachers?

How can colleges prepare better teachers?

Dan: This is controversial, but I really support the EdTPA, which is a performance-based assessment.

It’s like a mini National Board Certification portfolio that a number of states are requiring students to use to demonstrate their competence on where they can demonstrate evidence — videos of yourself during student teaching.

And it’s scored by accomplished assessors. It’s kind of like a bar exam for teaching.

I think as colleges of teacher education can embrace this concept of the profession having an independent verifier of, “Yes you’re ready.” I think that may help raise the bar for ensuring that instruction that happens at the college of teacher education is really practical, relevant, and clinical based.

Vicki: Why do you think this is so controversial? Is it because college professors don’t want anybody looking over their shoulder? They don’t want the accountability that the teachers in the classroom have right now also?

Why is EdTPA so controversial?

Dan: Yeah, I think for a long time colleges and universities have been fiefdoms of deciding who is going forward into the teaching profession. So this would be an outside arbiter, which infringes on turf issues and can be threatening to some.

And there’s expense. Becoming a licensed teacher? There’s a lot of cost for licensure exams and this also costs money. In some places, it is underwritten by third parties, but it’s tough for young people that want to be teachers to be taking on debt.

There are policy solutions to that. I don’t think aspiring public servants should have to pay out of pocket. Certainly, in high achieving countries outside of the US, aspiring teachers don’t have to have to take on debt. Their education is subsidized but EdTPA; there is a cost to do it which invites pushback.

Vicki: Well, and you know (something that) we teachers are talking about all the time is that you can’t really measure knowledge from a test.

I would argue you really can’t measure whether somebody can teach — from a test. Would you?

Dan: Not a paper test, no.

And I mean, and EdTPA is one instrument, but this is a portfolio-based assessment where you’re submitting lesson plans, videos or tapes of yourself teaching, reflective commentary, artifacts that you’ve cultivated from your student teaching, scored against a really rigorous professional rubric.

Yeah, one assessment would never be holistic enough to encompass all of what teaching involves. But I think it is one key piece of raising the bar for the profession — helping to grow teachers that have that baseline of competence on Day One. I think this is one part of that puzzle.

Vicki: Yeah. The whole point is that it’s not just a test, it’s performance-based, right?

Ben: Precisely.

Vicki: As we finish up, Dan, we’ve covered a lot of bases here on how to build great teachers.

Could you give a 30-second or one-minute pep talk to those whose job it is — whether they’re curriculum director or principal at a school who’s trying to help teachers become better, or a college professor who is really trying to help teachers become better… What do they need to be doing to help great amazing teachers?

How to help new teachers stay in teaching

Ben: Sure. Overwhelmingly, there’s really compelling market research that what young people in early career professionals want most out of their job is impact. Of course, teaching supplies that.

And then there’s NEA research that says that the number one reason that people join teaching — and the number one reason they stay in teaching year after year — is to work with young people.

So that craving to have an impact and to work closely with young people is at the core of what fires up people who want to teach.

So we have to ensure that those opportunities are facilitated when preservice and early service teachers, that they get to have moments of success. They want to do a good job.

They may feel overwhelmed by the work, but to be able to facilitate and celebrate successful early moments — no matter how small. This creates rocket fuel for those young, developing teachers.

It can be a real grind being a new teacher! You feel overwhelmed. You feel like a failure. So anything that veterans and nurturers of the village can do to help those early career teachers really “see” and “dissect and understand” their moments of success and promise and potential, I think, will fire them up to believe in their ability to earn that impact and go forward and be great for the long term.

Vicki: And that’s so very true because I think back on my first day of teaching.

I didn’t come to teaching from the teaching side, I came from the business world, but my mom and my sister were teachers.

At the end of my first day, they brought me prizes. It was like a card and some other goodies to celebrate.

It was like, “You made it through the end of your first day! We’re so excited for you!”

And it was like … I felt like doing the touchdown sign because they made me feel victorious that I had done something that was very hard and very overwhelming. But they celebrated that!

I love the idea, “Celebrate the small wins with new teachers.” I think that this is something that all of us at our schools should ask ourselves. “Are we helping our new teachers celebrate those small wins?”

Dan: Precisely. And that celebration that they provided for you your first day you remember all these years later! It made a big difference!

Vicki: Fifteen years later. In fact, I don’t know if I would have stayed if I hadn’t had all that encouragement the first year because I think that every mistake in the book? I made it. (And even some not in the book that I will not admit to.)

Dan: There’s a great report from TNTP from four or five years ago called “The Irreplaceables.”

  • https://tntp.org/publications/view/the-irreplaceables-understanding-the-real-retention-crisis

It’s about how just even a small gesture to give a “thumbs up” to a hard working teacher can be the difference between their leaving and staying.

Vicki: Love that. So teachers, we have encouragement to help build great teachers. All of us can help build great teachers — because we can all encourage other teachers. And that is remarkable!

Bio as submitted

Dan Brown is Co-Director of Educators Rising and a National Board Certified Teacher. He lives in Maryland and serves as Vice President of his local public school’s PTA.

Blog: Educators Rising

Twitter: @DanBrownTeacher

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post How to Build Great Teachers appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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