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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Avoid Squeaky Wheel Syndrome



Day 21 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

As I learned in one business in particular when I was just out of college, squeaky wheel syndrome can infect an organization. So, we’ve all heard the saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This means that the person who fusses or argues or pitches a fit is often the one that gets what they’re asking to receive. And certainly, there’s something to be said for asking for what you need and being persistent. Agreed.

avoid squeaky wheel syndrome

But there’s a difference between persistence and bad behavior, rudeness, or tantrums.

Pay Attention

When we are leaders (or parents or teachers), we must be very careful. There are people, by nature, who ask for what they need but they do not yell. They do not scream. They do not stomp their feet. They do not behave badly. They don’t squeak.

However, if these people who ask persistently without bad behavior exist in an environment that has “squeaky wheel syndrome,” they’ll be ignored.

Because organizations infected with squeaky wheel syndrome respond quickly to bad behavior but to little else.

Think about it.

When a person who never squeaks asks for something, you really should listen. I know when a student who never asks for anything makes a request, I try to stop everything and handle it. Not because they are more important than other kids with issues, but because they have so few issues – this one must be important. And if I can handle it quickly, they’re less likely to have to squeak to get me to handle it.

Then, consider this.

  • Do you really want to reward bad behavior?
  • Or do you want the kind of environment where people have civil conversations, listen to one another, and an open flow of communications?
  • Or do you want to embolden those who behave badly?

How people ask is important. How people work together is also important.

The wheels of business, schools, and families need to turn so we have progress. But why do they have to squeak? Why can’t they just work liked well-oiled machines, cooperating and communicating?

How Do You Respond to Squeaky Wheels?

As we pursue excellence, consider how you respond to “squeaky wheels.”

Do you excuse bad behavior?

Do you encourage people to treat each other poorly or do you encourage civil discourse?

Grease all the wheels. Encourage smooth cooperation. And sometimes wheels that only squeak and are dysfunctional might need to be replaced because some wheels will always squeak, no matter how much grease.

This post is day 21 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post Avoid Squeaky Wheel Syndrome appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/avoid-squeaky-wheel-syndrome/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Virtual Valentines: The Global Valentine Project Sharing Love and Learning



Micah Brown on episode 237 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Virtual Valentines are an incredible global project in February. If you want to join a group of teachers doing Virtual Valentines, you’ll want to listen to the show and sign up by February 2. Also, learn about other projects throughout the year and how teachers design these projects to meet standards. So much fun!

virtual valentines micah brown

PowerSchool is my SIS and LMS and is the sponsor of today’s show. On January 31, they have a free webinarPreparing Students for Success: Measuring What Matters. Jake Cotton, a superintendent from Virginia, will be sharing.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

Virtual Valentines: Get Ready for February!

Link to show: http://ift.tt/2Duc8BW
Date: January 23, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Micah Brown @mbrownedtech, an Instructional Technology Specialist in Kansas.

We’re going to talk about Virtual Valentines and lots of other ways that you can connect and collaborate with other classrooms.

So Micah, tell us. What are Virtual Valentines?

What are Virtual Valentines?

Micah: Virtual Valentines are an amazing way for you to get yourself and your students plugged in with other classrooms around the world.

Vicki: So what will classrooms be doing with the Virtual Valentines?

Micah: Well, the Virtual Valentine Project is run by me and some of my amazing and super teacher friends. We put a platform out there for you to get some ideas of how to make Virtual Valentines with your students.

We love digital tools like Buncee and Green Screen, Adobe Spark. You basically make a Valentine with your class. You can make it as a whole group. You can have your students make them individually. Just share that love on social media.

You can also go an extra step, which is my favorite step. That is connecting with another classroom via Skype. You can take that step and share your Valentine either live or with video messaging so that you can learn about each other’s community. It’s an awesome way to get connected.

Vicki: So what grade levels are going to be participating in the Virtual Valentines Project?

What grade levels can do this?

You and Dyane Smokorowski — we know her as @mrs_smoke and we’ve had her on the show before — and Darcy Grimes @DarcyGrimesNC. What grade levels are you guys working with?

Micah: That’s the really cool part about it. We are encouraging all grade levels, Pre-K through 12. We even had some pre-service teachers participating last year, with Jed (inaudible), it was fantastic! So all grade levels are most welcome.

One of the things I’m most excited about is that we’re adding a new section to this project. We’ll be adding the tool Flipgrid. So even if you’re not very comfortable with holding a live conference call via Skype or Google Hangouts, the cool thing about Flipgrid is that you can record video messages with your kids.

So maybe your students have created an amazing Valentine. You can record them saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” and have them tell a little bit about themselves and their communities.

One of the big things that we would like to know is how many miles away you are from different people, so we’ve got a little map going for social studies. There are all kinds of different content areas and ways that you can participate with your students.

Vicki: So they need to sign up by February 2nd, is that right?

Micah: Yes. It’s coming up!

Vicki: And we will put the link to that in the Shownotes for how to sign up.

So Micah, when you’re describing this, pretend that I’m a teacher getting ready to sign up. What are the things my students are going to learn by creating and sharing Virtual Valentines with other kids?

Micah: Absolutely! Well, it’s kind of twofold.

One of my jobs is to make teachers a little bit nerdy on the side. What we like to do is to put together some digital tools for them to create the Virtual Valentines, and at the same time do some research and create some geographical awareness and by connecting with other classrooms, either Skype or Google Hangouts or Flipgrid, create that cultural understanding.

Vicki: So is it kids all over the world?

Micah: Yes. Last year, we had over 27 countries participate, over 400 classrooms.

Over 27 countries participate

Vicki: Wow! That just seems like so much.

OK, so let’s say that I’m a teacher and I’m not super comfortable with technology. I mean, I’ve used Skype just a little bit, and Google Docs maybe a little bit. Is this something that I can do?

Micah: Absolutely! What we’ve done for this project is that we’ve actually created two levels. We would love for everyone to be able to connect with different classrooms via Skype, but some people just aren’t comfortable with that yet. And that’s OK. That’s why we’ve created two levels for you. We have Level 1 and Level 2.

Level 1 and Level 2

Level 1 gives your students the ability to create that Virtual Valentine with whatever digital tool that you’re most comfortable with, and then share with others via social media and Flipgrid. Those are two digital tools that you don’t have to feel the pressure of a live call.

What’s awesome about Flipgrid as well is that it’s really easy to use. Twitter is just as easy as posting a picture of your students’ Valentine. We have Level 1 for those people who aren’t quite comfortable yet, and that’s OK. We still want to feel your global Virtual Valentine love.

Then we have Level 2 for those people who are ready to take it up to the next level. If you’re a little nervous, that’s OK. Once you register for the project, we’re going to give you a link to our special Facebook group so that you will be linked up with other teachers and the project creators to give you that extra support that you might need. Maybe you’ve only used Skype once, maybe with your grandmother over the holidays.

We can take you through a test call. We can help make sure that your technology’s all set up and ready to go, so that you can show your students’ awesome creativity. So we’re really excited about the support in the Facebook group that we have going.

Vicki: Cool. So Micah, is it free?

Micah: Totally free! That’s in my price range as a teacher.

Vicki: Yeah. Now back in December you did the Gingerbread STEM Community in Maker Space. And then you got something else coming up in May. Tell us about some of the things going on all year long.

Micah: Sure thing!

Gingerbread STEM Community Challenge

Like you just mentioned, in December we did the Gingerbread STEM Community Challenge. This is a project near and dear to my heart. It started in my second grade classroom over five years ago.

I don’t know about you, Vicki, but there are just some units that I’m just tired of teaching. I have to teach to these standards, and if I’m bored with it I know my students are, too. And so I was just — not dreading, but yeah, dreading — teaching kids the Communities Unit five years ago.

So I was still in the classroom, and I (said to) my mentor, Dyane Smokorowski, “You know, I just really need some creative juice for my brain. What can we do to make this unit better?” And so together we dreamed up this project.

My first year, I had the students talk about goods and services and just really focus on our community. We wrote persuasive essays about what things should be included in our community, and then I let them know that we were building a gingerbread community.

So then they had to make blueprints that matched what their essay said, so that they could build it into our community. They became architects. This replaced my holiday party. We brought the parents in and my students built their gingerbread community. They had to become historians and write facts to share with others.

My students became architects and historians

The next part made me a little nervous. The kids were so into it. But you know, Mrs. Smoke, she pushes you to the next level. She said, “What if we had other classes do the same thing, and then let’s hold a Skype call to compare your communities.”

I was like, “Oooooo, that sounds amazing. Comparing and contrasting and working on our speaking and listening. But it just makes me really nervous!”

So she said, “Oh no, I’ll be there to hold your hand and get you through this.”

So with her help, my students were able to connect with classes representing the different types of communities — urban, rural, and suburban. We live in a suburban community. We actually got to Skype with — it was wonderful — my mom also taught second grade at the time, and she lives in an urban area.

With Mrs. Smoke’s help, my students were able to Skype with my mom’s second graders and compare our gingerbread communities. We took them on a little virtual tour, you know, panning the camera around. You could just hear the oooohs and ahhs.

The students were able to ask each other questions about their communities. That’s when the magic came alive. I saw my students glued to the screen and asking deeper questions than they had ever done. I could have never done this without the Skype experience. So it just really enhanced that learning.

Asking deeper questions

We also were able to speak with a rural community in Canada. You hear an accent, and the kids were like, (squeal)!

Vicki: (laughs)

Micah: It was amazing. So I just was so pleased with the idea, with those calls. The Skype really opened my eyes to the global collaboration type of opportunities can do for you and your students and what powerful learning can occur.

You know, I could have just said to my students, “My mom teaches second grade in an urban community, and what does that mean?” But what happens is what I call the Mobi Effect. Vicki, are you familiar with BrainPop?

Vicki: Well, yes, but go ahead and share.

The “Mobi” Effect

Micah: We loved BrainPop in my classroom, and you know, Mobi is awesome! He’s the robot there. I could teach about a concept over and over and over, but as soon as I showed them the little clip of Mobi, it was gospel.

And that’s how I feel about when student connect on Skype. They are hearing from an authentic source, and it means so much more to the, learning from that expert or that person in the community than I could have ever said.

Do they listen to what I say? Do they learn from me? Well, yes, that’s my job. But it makes a deeper impression on them. So we like to celebrate the Mobi Effect whenever we Skype.

Vicki: So teachers, there’s a lot that we can pull from this.

First of all, we are recording this in late December, and after she does Virtual Valentines, Micah will be feeling very ebullient about that as well. She just finished up the Gingerbread STEM Community, because that was a December project. These teachers have lots of projects that go on throughout the year. They are free.

The other thing that I love, Micah, is how you said that Mrs. Smoke just kind of held your hand and took you through it, encouraged you, and said, “I’ll be right here with you.” And that is really how change happens. We can’t push somebody up the ladder, but we can hold their hand and be with them and try stuff together. That’s what makes a great educational change and transformative teaching, as well as we learn how to use technology in a nonthreatening way.

Micah: Absolutely!

Vicki: That was fantastic.

Micah: Yes. It can be scary, and I think sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to ask for help, and also for permission for things not going right. You know that awful word, failure. It’s OK, and sometimes we need to model that for our students in a safe environment in a safe way.

When you find your teacher superfriend, hold onto them and don’t be afraid to ask for help. They’re happy to help.

Vicki: OK, so sign up for the Virtual Valentine Project. Do check the Shownotes for this. Get out there and be remarkable. Remember that the modern 21st Century teacher is a connector. We connect our classroom with the world.

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Greetings from Wichita, Kansas! My name is Micah Brown. I graduated from Wichita State University (Go Shocks!) with a B.S.E. in Elementary Education. I earned my Master’s degree from Emporia State University. I am a lifelong learner, Skype Master Teacher, Osmo Ambassador, Seesaw Ambassador, and currently an Instructional Technology Specialist for USD #385 in Andover, Kansas. I have also taught 1st and 2nd grade. I am passionate about engaging and inspiring students through global collaboration and hands-on opportunities.

Twitter: @mbrownedtech

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 Virtual Valentines: The Global Valentine Project Sharing Love and Learning appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e237/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Monday, January 22, 2018

It is OK to be Childlike but not Childish



Day 19 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

I looked across my classroom today with childlike wonder. My students were doing something difficult. But, they deftly added binary numbers with ease. Although the subject is advanced, they say it is “easy.” Their ability fills me with joy. A big part of that joy is my perspective —  stepping back in childlike wonder and seeing my students perform, know, and create. Teaching is so exciting when I look at my job in childlike wonder realizing that I’m part of that accomplishment.

The age of our heart is young if a sunset can still take our breath away or a baby’s cry can make our eyes sparkle and arms reach. If we can lick an ice cream cone slowly in enjoyment or breathe deeply in the spring to smell the jasmine, then perhaps we still have childlike wonder. Childlike is awesome. Childlike is young.

When someone has a childlike wonder about the world, they can still see things as if for the first time. Childlike excitement causes us to squeal in joy when we hook a fish or to take time to help a stray puppy find her owner.

Childlike is fine. Childish is not.

However, a deep chasm divides child-like and child-ish. A CEO can have childlike wonder as she speaks to her stockholders.

“What joy! I get to do this!,” she thinks in wonder.

Childish is when someone stomps out of a room when they don’t get their way. Or when someone cannot take criticism. A childish person is immature in their reactions to the world, especially adversity.

Children and teenagers are pretty selfish. We expect that. But when a 45-year old is just as selfish as a 14-year old — that is sad. You’d like to think that over time people would appreciate others and want to serve them. And yet, immature, childish people of all ages are everywhere.

And yet, people full of childlike wonder are everywhere as well.

As we pursue excellence, consider the last time you felt childlike wonder. Have you taken the time to observe and notice the beauty of the world and others?

And also consider if you’ve acted childish in some way recently.

Have a conversation (like we did at the supper table tonight) with your family about the difference between childlike and childish and which belongs in the life of an excellent person.

What do you think?

This post is day 19 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post It is OK to be Childlike but not Childish appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/ok-childlike-not-childish/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Educating Kids for Life not for Tests



Pam Moran on episode 236 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Pam Moran, superintendent in Albemarle County in Virginia, shares about some cool virtual reality in Virginia, some challenges with helping new teachers get started, and how she thinks education is entering a new Renaissance of creativity and innovation. Get motivated today listening to Pam. This is part 2 in our series with Pam.

Pam Moran - episode 236 edreform

PowerSchool is my SIS and LMS and is the sponsor of today’s show. On January 31, they have a free webinarPreparing Students for Success: Measuring What Matters. Jake Cotton, a superintendent from Virginia, will be sharing.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

Educating Kids for Life Not for Tests

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e236

Date: January 22, 2018

Overview of Today’s Show

Vicki Davis: This is part 2 of the conversation I had recently with Pam Moran in Virginia. Now, last time in episode 231, we discussed education reform in Virginia and how they have been moving away from overtesting. But today we have four big and very interesting points:

First of all, the challenge of helping teachers who grew up in the multiple-choice testing environment.

Secondly, four examples of virtual reality programming in the classroom.

Third, why creativity is important and a little bit of an upsetting story from one of her middle school teachers about what testing was actually doing to harm students in his classroom.

And finally, why Pam believes a new Renaissance in education is upon us. Enjoy!

The Challenges of Educating New Teachers Who Grew Up with a Multiple Choice Education

Pam Moran: But I do think that one of the things that we also have that’s a real challenge — as some states are starting to emerge from the “test them until you drop” mentality that we lived in for two decades — that is that we have a whole generation of educators that are now entering our classrooms as first and second year teachers. That’s the world they knew as students.

Vicki: (agrees) Oh yeah.

Pam: And so, for them, the multiple choice test is the “test du jour” because that’s what they were accustomed to in terms of test prep and state testing. One of the things that we really spend a lot of time doing is trying to help people “unlearn” some of what I think that we built into the system over time that people just came to accept. The goal, the end in mind was educate kids for tests.

Vicki: (agrees)

Pam: My perspective is that we should be educating kids for life — and that’s life in the here and now, and it’s life in the future. You don’t do that by putting all of your time and energy into educating kids for tests.

4 Virtual Reality Examples in Virginia

Recently, Vicki, I watched a young woman in one of our high schools. We’ve been putting some Virtual Reality spaces into a sort of test bed. What does Virtual Reality have to offer to the learning process?

And you know, I’m kind of technology agnostic in some ways. I like technology. I was a science educator, so I’m pretty comfortable and confident using technologies of all kinds, although the kids have really surpassed me when we start to get some of the newer tools that their using, particularly as part of their Maker Work.

But I’m not uncomfortable around it. It doesn’t scare me.

But what I saw recently were three kids that were using VR technology, and the stories are a little different.

Example #1: An autistic student using VR

One young man who is autistic, is on the spectrum, was taking us for a tour of favorite places in the world that he had visited and telling us why. It’s my understanding that his communicative skills, as a result of immersion in VR really have accelerated.

Vicki: Wow.

Pam: So I thought that was pretty interesting. So he was there that day. They were doing kind of an Open House to share how different kids were using technology.

Example #2: VR and Beowulf

Another young woman had actually created inside VR sort of a story around Beowulf. You can’t get much more traditional in terms of English canon than Beowulf in the high school. But she had turned it into something that was pretty fascinating.

Example #3: A student designing fashion in VR

A third kid was using a VR technology that allowed her to design clothes. She has a real interest in fashion, would love to be in the fashion industry. She’s in there. She’s got a mannequin, and she’s doing this amazing almost ballet-like series of motions, and we were able to watch her on a screen where it was being projected. What she was building, the process of building a dress on this mannequin, and I was just like, “Oh, wow. This is just beyond anything I can imagine.”

Example #4: Pam’s experience in VR with Field Trips

Then they put the headset on me, and they sent me into the underworld of the Great Barrier Reef, and I felt like I had left the world and entered this sort of marine space where I was seeing anything and everything that you might find there swimming by.

And I was thinking to myself, “Kids can get an immersive experience that takes them places that you could never envision in a 2-D movie or in images in a slideshow or a PowerPoint or any way shape or form, or book. They truly become a part of the environment.

Where does this technology fit? How they are discussing VR now

So one of the things that we’re trying to figure out is, “Where does that technology fit?” That’s not something that when you’re in a testing world, it’s hard for school districts to really take the risk to say, “We’re going to try out some things. We’re going to prototype.

We’re going to try a test bed, and figure out where this fits, because it’s not something that’s going to be tested. The fact that Virginia’s really backing off of state testing in high school?

I think it’s going to open doors for teachers to explore learning in ways that we haven’t seen since probably the late 70’s or 80’s in the United States, where there was a lot more freedom on the part of teachers to be able to be the creatives that they are.

Encouraging Risk in our Schools is Important

You know, you are that. You’re a risk taker. But that’s not something that we’ve really reinforced inside the education world. But boy, I tell ya. It’s something that, if we want our kids to be prepared for life in the 21st century after high school, if we don’t help them really maintain that sense of curiosity and flexibility and that sense of, “I can learn anything I need to learn to be successful in life.”

If our kids don’t leave us with that, then we’ve done an incredible disservice. I think that we’ve had really almost two decades in Virginia where our kids have been held in thrall. And our teachers, in terms of being able to exercise that creative juice, that it lets them really explore learning in a way that gets at passions of teachers.

Not every teacher is passionate about every aspect of some of the things that they teach in history, or every book that’s on the list in English. But if teachers can find spaces to be able to bring that passion and that curiosity and that love of learning — that I think most teachers have, deep down — it turns kids on, and then when they can release the kids to be able to explore as well.

A Sad Story from a Middle School Teacher During the Days of “OverTesting”

One of the saddest stories I have from a few years ago was when I had a teacher say to me — that taught middle school — it used to be that our kids took a 6th-grade history test, a 7th-grade history test, an 8th-grade history test. Sixth-grade history was the history of the United States up through the Civil War.

Seventh-grade history was Reconstruction through current times. Eighth-grade history was Civics and Economics.

They took tests every year, multiple choice tests.

This teacher said to me, “You know, Pam, one of the toughest things I had, knowing the pace of coverage that I have to move through to get kids prepared to take a test that gets labeled as either Failed or Proficient, is when I had kids say to me, “Gee, we want to stop. Can we talk more about why people fought the Civil War?”

And he said, “All I could think in my head was, ‘Do I have time to stop and have that conversation?’”

Vicki: Oh…

Pam: And now, because the state has gifted the time back to teachers to not have to be responsible for teaching to a test in 6th grade and 7th grade in history? Our kids are getting some time back, as our teachers are, to be able to explore learning and to take a side road, not just stay on the main highway. I kind of like that.

Vicki: So Pam, you actually sound excited.

Pam is Getting Ready to “Retire” but Still Excited about Education

Pam: I do get excited. It’s kind of wild because as you’ve heard, this is going to be my last year in the superintendency. Primarily one of the things that’s a real driver for me is that I have a husband who’s fully handicapped, and I’ve got to kind of re-evaluate priorities in my life in terms of needs in terms of family time.

The superintendent job is a job that’s 24-7. But one of the things that I’ve said to people is that I would love to be able to work in education for another thirty years.

My mom, who is down in South Carolina, is 96 years old and can still touch her toes and carry on a conversation about every golfer that’s in the top ten in the world. She stays up with the news, and we can argue politics and everything else. So I sometimes think, “Well, maybe I’ll gthose kindsind of years, if I got her X chromosome.”

Vicki: Yeah.

Predicting a new Renaissance in Education

Pam: But the reality is that I think that education is about to hit a new Renaissance. And I’d love to be able to spend another 30 years watching the next phase unfold. I think that technologies are certainly a part of it. But Vicki, I also think that one f the things that’s really critical in my mind is that, if you had talked to me maybe around 2007, 2008,

I can’t remember when Clayton Christensen wrote the book (Disrupting Class) about how, you know, we were going to see this flip to kids walking out of schools and becoming virtual learners and staying at home and doing everything kind of virtually in terms of learning… And you know, it looked like, “Oh wow. That could really happen.”

But as I started spending more time talking to high school students about what they really value, what I heard from them is that when high school kids have a teacher or teachers with whom they have really great relationships, who they value, respect, regard, who they engage with, they love that.

Vicki: (agrees)

How Education Will (And Won’t) Change

Pam: They love time with peers, and I think that despite the fact that technologies are going to change and evolve, and what kids will be using in ten years will work really different than anything we maybe have today, the reality is that humans, at the core of who we are, we are people who are parts of a social community people.

I think we like to learn together. I think we like to socialize together. I like to think that, as teachers evolve practice, and sustain and maybe even enhance and deepen their understanding of how important it is to build relationships with young people that are authentic and real, and kids have experience working on work with peers that’s really important to them, that schools may become even stronger and more powerful as spaces of learning than they ever have been in history.

I’m pretty optimistic about the future of education, and I’m optimistic about the young teachers I see and the young leaders that I see. You know I feel like that, as I’m the expert exiting out, and as other who are kind of in my age span are out, we’re going to be leaving education in really good hands with this younger generation.

The millennials are now — you know, they’re not so young anymore — and they’re not in our schools anymore. I think they’re going to be great leaders. They’re going to be very much focused on social good, on collaboration, on understanding that experience is really, really important for them, and it’s important for kids.

It’s not the resources that make the biggest difference, it’s the relationship. And I really love that.

Stay tuned next week for the next episode with Pam on Motivational Monday!

Contact us about the show: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Dr. Pamela R. Moran has served as the Superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools since January 2006. She oversees a division with an annual operating budget of $180.5 million; a self-sustaining budget of $19.2 million and a five-year capital budget of $86.9 million. The division includes more than 1,200 teachers educating 13,700 students in 25 schools.

During Dr. Moran’s tenure, Albemarle County Public Schools has become one of the top performing school divisions for students in the state with an on-time graduation rate of 95 percent. Two out of every three high school seniors graduate with an Advanced Studies Diploma, 30 percent higher than the state average for all school divisions. In 2014, Albemarle County students had the second highest SAT scores among 133 school divisions in Virginia in critical reading and the third highest SAT scores for writing and math.

In 2015, a national survey organization ranked Albemarle County Public Schools in the top five of all school divisions in Virginia and among the top two percent of all school divisions in the county.

Among the school division’s flagship programs are its Learning Commons, AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) and M-Cubed. Both the Learning Commons and M-Cubed have received the National School Board Association’s Magna Award, given annually to the school division in the nation with the most innovative and effective program. The school division is the only one in the history of the Magna Award to twice receive the association’s highest performance honor. The school’s Learning Commons, which is a multi-disciplined, technology-infused learning center, has attracted visits by MIT, Harvard, the Universities of Virginia and North Carolina and from the Smithsonian Museum and the New York Hall of Science. M-Cubed is a program that supports black middle school males in year-round advanced math studies to improve their high school academic performance. The division’s Jack Jouett Middle School is in the top three percent of all schools in the world for the success of its AVID college and career readiness program.

A key component of the division’s project-based instructional model is its maker curriculum, which has been the subject of presentations by division educators around the country, including at the White House. In 2015, in partnership with two other school divisions and the University of Virginia, Albemarle County Public Schools was one of three public school divisions in the nation to receive an Investing in Innovation demonstration grant. The $3.4 million federal grant is being used to develop advanced manufacturing and engineering programs in division middle schools and is in addition to a $20,000 state planning grant to develop a “school-of-the-future” model.

The division has three centers of excellence. Students in the Math, Engineering and Science Academy earn an average of $24,000 per student in academic scholarships; the Health and Medical Sciences Academy became a Governor’s Regional Health Academy in 2013 and in 2015, a new Environmental Studies Academy began operations.

The division also is home to one of the first CoderDojo Academies in a public school division in the country, teaching computer coding and science skills to students. Other notable new programs include a high school Arts & Letters Pathwayand a summer Fine Arts Academy.

Dr. Moran is a leading advocate of an educational model that prepares students for “success in their century, not mine.” She emphasizes the value of student-led research, project-based learning and contemporary learning spaces that promote collaboration, creativity, analytical problem-solving, critical thinking, and communications competencies among all students.

A past gubernatorial appointee to the State Council on Higher Education for Virginia, Dr. Moran was selected by her peers across the Commonwealth as Virginia’s 2016 Superintendent of the Year. She subsequently was one of four statewide superintendents of the year to be selected as a finalist for 2016 National Superintendent of the Year.

In 2016, Dr. Moran was selected to serve on the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development.

She is a member of the MakerEdorg advisory committee and has delivered several TED Talks on the impact of creating a contemporary learning environment for students, one shaped around a student-centered project-based instructional model. Under her guidance, Albemarle County Public Schools was selected in 2015 for membership in the League of Innovative Schools., a nonprofit organization authorized by the U.S. Congress to accelerate innovation in education.

Dr. Moran has appeared on the cover of Education Week’s Digital Directions magazine as a “National Mover and Shaker” for her advocacy of a curricular digital integration model, which will be featured in an upcoming profile by Edutopia. She also was selected by eSchool Media as one of its national Tech-Savvy Superintendents of the Year and under her leadership, the school division received the Virginia Governor’s Tech Innovation Award.

Dr. Moran is a past President of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Women Educational Leaders of Virginia and the Virginia Association of Science Supervisors. She holds leadership positions with the regional Chamber of Commerce, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Education Fund, and the University of Virginia-Public Schools Educational Partnership.

Dr. Moran’s career in public education began as a high school science teacher. She subsequently served as a central office science coordinator and staff developer, elementary school principal, director of instruction, assistant superintendent for instruction, and adjunct instructor in educational leadership for the University of Virginia’s Curry School and the School of Continuing Education. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Furman University and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia. Dr. Moran also is an alumnus of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Executive Educators Leadership Institute.

https://spacesforlearning.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/the-phygitals-have-arrived%e2%80%8a-%e2%80%8aa-generation-for-this-century/

 

View story at Medium.com

Blog: spacesforlearning.wordpress.com

Twitter: @pammoran

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 Educating Kids for Life not for Tests appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e236/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Poverty of Overcommitment: You Have to Say No So You Can Say Yes Sometimes



Day 18 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

This past Monday, Kip and I sat down with my calendar. After we added up the time for commitments, we had a heart to heart about what I could do and was called to do versus what I wanted to do. As a result, I had to say “no” to three very important things to me. I had to disappoint some people who I care about. It was hard. But one thing those who seek excellence forget — saying yes to everything will impoverish you of your time. You’ll have no more time to give to important things because you never said “no.”

poverty of overcommitment

You have to say no a lot if you want to be able to say yes sometimes. Life is full of choices. We have to make hard choices in order to focus on what is best.

Learning to Say No Can Be Hard for Some People

Many years ago, when Kip and I were first married, Kip realized that I had a huge problem. I like to please people. Too much sometimes, in fact. So, after I was overcommitted for one weekend yet again, we were on the couch talking and Kip said,

“Vicki, I want you to practice something.”

And I looked at him and said “what?”

“I want you to look at me and tell me no ten times. I want you to practice saying no.”

Well, at first, I admit, that it was hard. Of course, we were married because I’d said yes to him in the first place, so saying no to him was hard.

After I was done, he said,

“Now, how hard was that? To say no.”

I admitted it was kind of hard. So, then, he said,

“Now, go and start saying no sometimes or we’ll never see each other ever and that will be very bad. You have to remember that when you say yes all weekend to everyone else, that you will be saying no to me — and we’re married! So say yes to me on Saturdays and no to everyone else.”

Since then, I’ve had to learn to say no to several things and people I cared about deeply. However, many times it was necessary so I could say yes to my family.

Yes to my church.

Yes to the deepest callings of my life and yearnings of my soul.

Yes to the greatest accomplishments of my life so far.

To be excellent you have to say no many times if you’ll have the time to say yes.

How Do We Decide?

Admittedly, there are those selfish souls who never say yes to anyone for anything. However, I’ve found that the most successful among us aren’t stingy with their time. In fact, they’re in huge demand because they are so excellent. So, they have to learn to be stingy with their yeses to the important things and generous with their no’s to non-priorities.

Notice, I didn’t say “important people” or “big jobs.” Don’t mistakenly think that someone has to have a title or power to be worthy of your time.

My assistant, Dr. Lisa Durff, knows that I want to read every single classroom teacher’s email that is sent to me. That is who I serve.

At church and at school, I want to spend time with the children. I always have time for hugs from little kids and conversations with older ones. These are the gems that make life glisten that are often overlooked when my calendar is too full and the list is too long with things that really don’t need to be there.

We can’t make more time. We can’t manage it. We can only use the scarce time we have in the best way possible.

Today’s Time Challenge

For today’s challenge. Ask yourself if you’re overcommitted. Is there anything you know you need to go say no to right now before you get into it too far?

And if you’re a Christian, remember John 15:5  and make sure you’re called to something.

The Poverty of Overcommitment

by Vicki A. Davis

Wouldn’t it be sad

to see the life you could have had

if you’d just learned to say “no”?

Instead of galloping ahead, to say “whoa”?

You’d have had more success

if you’d had time to say “yes”

to your greatest few deeds

instead of a thousand minor needs.

This post is day 18 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post The Poverty of Overcommitment: You Have to Say No So You Can Say Yes Sometimes appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/saying-no-means-saying-yes-matters/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Setting Appropriate Expectations for Success



Day 17 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Some people don’t have realistic expectations for life. Kip sent me this joke today that fits what I’m talking about…

Your productivity system is only as good as your habits.

Reaching the end of his job interview, the HR manager asks the fresh young engineer, “what starting salary are you looking for?”
The recruit replies, “$125,000 and a full benefits package”
The HR rep replies, “how about 5 weeks vacation, 15 paid holidays, full medical and dental, 50% match on retirement, and a company car.”
The engineer says, “wow, are you kidding?”
The HR rep says, “yeah, but you started it…”

One advantage teens have when they work is understanding what things cost.

However, I often think that many of us forget what things cost:

  • Relationships take time to develop
  • Schools take time to build a legacy
  • It takes time to build a reputation
  • A tree takes time to grow

In today’s world of instant this and instant that, people want a “just add water” success formula. Guess what? It doesn’t exist.

Success can take time – even if it looks fast, it typically takes time. Practice. Hard work. Sacrifice.

Sometimes we expect things to be easy and they’re not.

Decisions to Pursue Excellence Always Cost Something

Even now. I’m exhausted. I had a tiring day at school and had gate duty tonight. I came home exhausted. Kip fired up an old movie and I’m ready to watch.

However, I made a commitment to write once every day for 80 days and only to take off Sundays.  You might wonder why I’d do that – well, it was the result of praying, but honestly, I’ve been blogging so much about my podcast, that I had gotten out of the habit of just writing.

And it seems to me that I can’t write about excellence to you if I’m not willing to consistently work at it myself.

So, today’s challenge is this: Ask yourself what you’re taking time to build? Your health? What relationships? What dreams?

You are what you do consistently over time. So, examine one area where you are eagerly pursuing success and look at the habits you’re doing to help build that success. And then, expect that those habits will cost you something and prepare to pay the price.

Excellence has a price. Make sure the type of excellence you’re pursuing is worth it. And make sure that you expect that it won’t be easy. In fact, succeeding is often very hard.

The post Setting Appropriate Expectations for Success appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/setting-appropriate-expectations-success/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

5 Ideas for Writing with Technology



Jacqui Murray on episode 235 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Jacqui Murray shares how we can encourage an improvement in writing using technology. These creative ways will help you think about how to help children, particularly those who struggle with handwriting and typing.

Screencastify is the screencasting tool I recommend for Google Chrome and Chromebooks. Built for Chromebooks, it saves all of your recordings directly to Google Drive.

Screencastify is an essential tool for making flipped lessons, student videos and creative formative assessments. I use this tool when students are making Scratch video games for them to record their games and explain their scripts. If you want to go for unlimited editing, request a quote for your school and mention Cool Cat Teacher for a Discount.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

5 Ideas for Writing with Technology

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e235
Date: Friday, January 19, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Jacqui Murray @askatechteacher about writing with technology.

Now we will include in the Shownotes the K-8 Curriculum, which has a lot of the tips.

But, Jacqui, how do we teach writing with technology?

Jacqui: I think what happens to a lot of teachers is that they confuse the idea of teaching writing — when they are talking about technology — with teaching handwriting or keyboarding.

But I try not to do that.

I try to focus in on the standards of the writing curriculum I’m using — augmented with Common Core or whatever other standards I’m using — and focus on those, rather than sitting there with a paper and pencil and doing it that way.

I think that there’s handwriting without tears. Obviously, a lot of kids have a lot of trouble with handwriting and keyboarding.

Tip #1: Focus on What You’re Trying to Get Students to Do without Letting Mechanics Get in the Way

So if I remove that feature from it, then I can focus on the things that writing teaches kids, like my national standards for writing:

  • Provide evidence and support of opinions,
  • Examine complex ideas and information clearly and accurately
  • Communicate in a way that is appropriate to task, audience, and purpose

You see, that never mentions what tool to use to do that. It just says that’s what kids should get out of writing.

Tech Options to Accomplish the Same Goals, But Without the Pain

So that’s what I think.

Vicki: So you let them write whichever way they’re more comfortable with — handwriting, typing? How do you do that?

Jacqui: I do it even more than that. I focus on what I want them to get out of the writing — which is examining ideas or providing evidence — and then I might do it through Minecraft.

Example of Tip #1 Use Minecraft to Scaffold Story Writing

I might take a Minecraft and then pose questions to them, saying, “What is the story behind what you’re building? Who are the characters in your made up world? What is the setting?”

I’ll have a series of (these questions) that applies specifically to their grade level appropriate writing standards.

But they do it through something like Minecraft, or I can do it with art, or an audio program that they talk it, rather than get caught up in handwriting or keyboarding.

Do you see where i’m going with that?

Vicki: Yeah. So you’ve got the writing standard, but they may actually meet the standard without written expression?

Jacqui: Yes!

Now obviously I do want them to write also, because lots of kids are very good at writing, and they love it.

So I’m making it available to the kids who are kind of afraid of handwriting or writing — putting their thoughts on paper — and giving them these options that accomplish the same goals I want them to accomplish without the pain that goes along with it.

Tip #2: Use Audio or Voice Dictation

Vicki: Well, I teach my students voice dictation. You know, there are some student who are far better at voice dictation than they are at typing or handwriting.

Then they go back and edit. I mean, they still have to edit.

Jacqui: Correct.

Vicki: But you’re just saying that as long as we end up getting “there,” that kids may go multiple pathways to get to that final destination of a written piece?

Jacqui: Yes.

Yes, that is the way I teach it.

Now I teach online classes. I teach grad school classes for teachers. So this is an alternative I propose to them when they have students really struggling with writing.

(These students) have the ideas in their head. They know exactly what they want to do, but they can’t get it down on paper. So we do it that way instead. It just gives them options.

Vicki: Well, and it doesn’t make the child say, “I hate writing!”

Some of the most creative writers actually struggle with the mechanics of writing.

Jacqui: Exactly. Exactly.

Another one I really like is this 140-character novel in Twitter.

Tip #3: Twitter Novels

Kids love Twitter. They just — they love it!

So to write whole novel in a 140 characters? You start by saying, “It’s impossible!”

But you remind the kids of how you tell a story and the requirements of that.

You have them write the story. Now they can do 280 characters, but synthesize it down to a Twitter post.

If you search 140 character novel on the internet, you’ll find a ton of very good ones. They grab you instantly. You can just get caught up in them, even though you think, “Who could do that, with 140 characters?”

So that’s a very fun one that takes the focus off of the writing, but reminds them of what they’re supposed to do with writing. They’re still writing, because it’s Twitter. But it’s not a lot. And they love Twitter!

Vicki: And of course, if Ernest Hemingway can do it, we can do it too, right?

Jacqui: (laughs) Yes, exactly!

Vicki: (laughs) He wrote a very short one.

OK, so you talked about alternate ways of getting to the written word.

You talked about 140-character novels, or 280-character novels.

What are some other strategies?

Jacqui: You know, a really fun activity I do for older students? Once they have the basics of writing — say middle school or high school — is to take the class and write an eBook.

Tip #4: Authoring eBooks

It could be fiction or nonfiction. But they do all of the steps you would normally take in writing a book.

  • You write it.
  • You meet with your critique group to go over it, and you can do that virtually on Google Hangouts or Skype.
  • Review the writing.
  • Edit it and refine it.

At the end of the probably year-long — I don’t have a too many people who do it in a semester class — they have a book they can publish.

Vicki: (agrees)

Jacqui: So it’s very fun for them to come out of that. First, to go into a writing class with this wonderful goal, and then come out of it with something in their hands.

Vicki: Absolutely. And I’ll link to some. My students did eBooks this semester. Some of them did it on Google Docs and then pulled it over to Book Creator.

When they have an audience, when it’s an actual book they can open on their iPad or they can print a PDF, it’s just such a powerful piece to have in your portfolio. But also, it so great to know that THEY created it.

Jacqui: Yes! Excellent.

Vicki: Awesome.

Jacqui: Very nice.

Vicki: OK, so what other idea do you have for us?

Jacqui: You know, I’m a real fan of blogging.

Tip #5: Blogging

I think blogging accomplishes so much of what we want kids to do now, which is

  • collaborate with each other,
  • share their ideas,
  • Task-Audience Purpose (write for the task at hand, the audience that’s reading it, and the purpose they have)

Blogging does all of that. I’m a real fan of that for any subject, for any purpose. It could be expository or fiction or nonfiction or essay — whatever it is. The allow students to share it with each other and comment.

So I like that one a lot, too.

Vicki: Oh, blogging is wonderful.

So, Jacqui… you’ve given us five great ideas for writing with technology.

Is there anything that you think that teachers may make as a common mistake?

Jacqui: In using these?

Vicki: Yes, in writing with technology, specifically.

Jacqui: I do.

And I’m glad you brought that up. I do.

Mistakes Made in Teaching Writing with Technology

A lot of people, when they think of writing with technology, they think of (things like) http://ift.tt/2rlqh2L. Or something like that comes to mind.

Not to pick on them, I don’t mean it that way, but they think of — if you know the SAMR model (Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition), then you know that the spellingvocabulary.com website is at the Substitution, maybe the Augmentation level.

But technology is very effective in Modification and Redefinition — which are the ones I’ve mentioned, with Minecraft and Twitter Novels and blogging a little bit.

So, yes, I think they make the mistake of thinking they have to do it like, “OK, I’ve taught writing. Now I’m going to use technology to practice their vocabulary and spelling, rather than Modify and Redefine.”

Vicki: Just not taking it to that higher level of thinking and problem solving that we need to get to, so that our students can be critical thinkers and creators.

Jacqui: Exactly. Exactly.

Vicki: Excellent.

So we have gotten today five ideas for writing with technology from Jacqui Murray.

We have lots of links in the Shownotes to her curriculum, her K-8 Tech Curriculum, Keyboarding Curriculum… All kinds of material. (Note from editor: Scroll down to Jacqui’s bio below.)

She’s a fantastic resource. She’s been teaching K-8 for 20 years, so she has a lot of experience, a lot of different grade levels.

I love these ideas, and I hope that — if you teach writing, it’s so important to engage students in the process of writing. Sometimes that means NOT getting too hung up in the mechanics before you get them excited about writing itself.

So thanks for listening, and get out there and be remarkable!

 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 20 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum (http://ift.tt/2FRc94u), K-8 keyboard curriculum (http://ift.tt/2rl3ILs), K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum (http://ift.tt/2FUCdMj). She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning (https://structuredlearning.net). Read Jacqui’s tech thriller series, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days (available on Kindle).

Blog: https://askatechteacher.com

Twitter: @askatechteacher

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 Ideas for Writing with Technology appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/5-ideas-writing-technology/
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.
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