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Making Better Videos and Movies with Students

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 24 April, 2018 - 21:30

Joe Brennan on episode 297 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Digital filmmaking can successfully be integrated into any class. Learn practical tips and ideas from Joe Brennan for making movies in the classroom.

Advancement Courses has more than 200 graduate level online PD courses for K-12 teachers. Go to advancementcourses.com/coolcat and use the code COOL20 at checkout for 20% off any course. Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript Making Better Videos and Movies with Students

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e297

Date: April 24, 2018

Vicki: Let’s talk about making videos with kids!

Today we’re talking with an expert on the subject, Joe Brennan Creativity and Innovation Specialist. He is in Illinois.

Joe, where do we start, making videos with kids?

Where do you start?

Joe: Anywhere you want to.

I’m a big proponent of using it in any classroom, with any subject.

I teach a graduate class, and I challenge my teachers to do it, regardless of what they teach. The math teachers, the science teachers, the PE teachers complain that it just wouldn’t work in their discipline. After a couple of weeks they figure out, it can!

Vicki: Give me an example.

What would be an example of a video you’ve seen in math or in history?

Give us an example of a video in an unlikely subject

Joe: One of my favorite ones in math that a teacher did was the division sign as Eeyore. It starts out with lonely division sign perched on a chair, I guess.

And it says, [delivered in an Eeyore voice] “Nobody likes me. Every time a teacher says we’re going to divide, there’s a groan in the room.”

Vicki: (laughs)

Joe: Then he kind of becomes the division sign, and describes what you have to do when you divide, and how it’s the opposite of multiplication and things like that. It just kind of puts a human voice (not necessarily a face) on it. But he talks about the application.

So that was, I think, a fourth grade or fifth-grade math teacher.

Vicki: Think about it. I make videos in my classroom and digital film and… you know.

You want to have a purpose, though. So how does a teacher start off finding a purpose, and then helping their kids plan out their video?

How does a teacher begin to structure the purpose and the plan?

Joe: Well… Do they want to review? Do they want to introduce something?

It depends on what class it is.

I go right back to the writing process with this. Whichever model your school uses to teach kids how to write, I always boil it down to the “Tell ‘ems” method.

Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em.
Tell ‘em.

Tell ‘em what you told them.

You’ve got the introduction, body, and the conclusion sort of thing.

But you can do that visually, and it’s much more memorable for the kids when they kind of see it and hear it at the same time.

I downplay using music. It can really be a crutch. We don’t want to make music videos.

Vicki: Joe, take us through an example of how you’ve coached a teacher recently through this process of making videos with their class, and the objectives that you covered.

Give us an example of how you coached some video projects

Joe: We try to employ PBL tactics, whether we’re 100% PBL or not is up for discussion.

But I have a fifth-grade class that just finished that just finished reading Night of the Twisters.

They made videos on disaster preparedness — tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, you name it.

My favorite ones are the ones where the kids kind of do a newscast. They’re at a desk like you see on the nightly news, and then they go to a reporter on the street.

The use a little green screen.

They could be in an earthquake. They could be in a flood. They could be in a hurricane.

Then they talk about what people have in their preparedness kit.

I forget what else they pick up from the novel, but they employ all those things.

I guess there’s a little aspect of a book report in there. There’s a big aspect of current events, and kids making an argument, presenting themselves, public speaking.

Vicki: So, they’ve decided their topic.

How do you help them get ready to shoot?

Are you big on scripting? Storyboarding? How do you help them get ready to shoot?

Joe: The quickest, easiest thing to do is shoot and edit on the computer, iPad, whatever your device is going to be.

The big thing is preparing.

So it’s a pay me now, pay me later, or pay me much later sort of a thing.

We want a script. We want a storyboard.

Of course, you can edit things in post [production.]

But the more you can line up ahead of time, the more you know what’s coming, and what each team member’s part is going to be.

Kids take turns behind the camera or in front of the camera. Or they’re on the side doing some sort of coaching or moving props in.

But definitely, you want a storyboard. You want a script. Keep those separate.

I also like Jason Ohler’s storymap idea


You can almost simply that using the story spine sort of thing, “Once upon a time… Something happened… Because of that…. Then that…” And eventually, you come to the conclusion.

Vicki: You know, the scripting and the storyboarding is something the students really — I know in my classroom — they’ll fight me on it!. But it just HAS to be there. Otherwise, you just end up with a mess.

I don’t know why kids think that they’re just going to go to the next viral YouTube video.

Kids think they can just point and shoot without a plan

And it just doesn’t work that way, does it, Joe?

Joe: Exactly. It’s just like stream of consciousness writing.

Vicki: Yeah.

Joe: If you didn’t have an outline or do a first draft before you put pen to paper, or started typing… it shows.

Vicki: It does. It just turns into a mess!

I think it’s just when we start with video — and I made that mistake early on — I guess it’s kind of ignorance, in some ways. We just don’t know better. Once you know better, you guide your kids through the scripting, through the storyboarding, or use Jason Ohler’s storymap idea.

Hardware and software choices?

And then what do your students shoot on? My students shoot on — I have a Gimble, and they put their phones in it, and we usually rip off of their iPhones or their Droids and we pull it into something called Pinnacle Studio.

So what do you use with kids?

Joe: Oh, Pinnacle Studio. Nice!

We use iPads and iMovie.

Vicki: Awesome! And iMovie is incredible.

So actually shooting on the iPad, and then pulling it right into iMovie, huh?

Joe: Right, and they also have the Do Ink green screen program.

Green screen options

Vicki: Ohhhh! So where’s your green screen at your school?

Joe: Anywhere we want it to be.

Vicki: So is it moveable?

Joe: This was such a big hit with our five language arts teachers that they got their own green screen. I have a portable one I lend out from my center. I also have two green walls in my studio technology office area. They can shoot anywhere.

One of my favorite pictures is — we have an open balcony area, and we’ve got three green screens set up — and kids are using both sides of them at the same time.

Vicki: Wow! Well, how’s that for audio, though, huh?

Joe: Well, that’s a challenge!

Vicki: (laughs)

Tips for overcoming problems with background audio noise

Joe: They have also learned the trick that you don’t have to get the dialogue. You can do a great job with narration. Tell the first person’s story, and your character could be in the picture which your voice is coming sort of in retrospect.

If you watch young Sheldon, I kind of like the way the old Sheldon talks about what Sheldon is going on in the show.

Vicki: Yeah. When you do have actors and you do have audio, that tends to be the most difficult piece of what I do with my students, is capturing that audio. We actually invested in a road microphone set which is pretty expensive to be able to capture that. But it is so difficult to get good sound off your set, isn’t it?

Joe: It is. It is.

I’ve got some iRig mics that — when the kids do their news broadcast sort of thing, they can use. But the more I can get them to narrate their story, have live actors, or have pictures they borrowed from the internet with historical people… and then do a narration in post and use one of the nice microphones or at least get closer to their iPad in a more contained area where they don’t have a lot of the background noise…works much, much better.

And also it helps to make a shorter story.

Shorter is better, and concise is nice.

Really, you just don’t want kids to make something that’s more than three minutes.

And if they can do it in 60 or 90 seconds, that’s even better.

If you’re not fighting dialogue, and people working through their lines — if somebody’s doing it with a narration, you can get the same amount of information, or more information in that short time period.

Vicki: Joe, as we finish up, what’s the simplest way to start?

Simplest way to get up and running?

Joe: You just do it.

But you’ve got to prepare. You’ve got to get that script. You’ve got to get a storyboard, with an idea of what your pictures are going to be. If you’re going to borrow things from the internet or use still pictures or use something else besides live video, get all that stuff lined up first.

Vicki: OK, teachers! So making videos, making digital film is an incredible way to really enhance learning in every subject.

In my own classroom, it’s one of the most exciting things that we do. I’ve actually added another digital film project this spring, just because my students are really in to making digital videos.

It does take a little bit of work, though, and you do have to plan ahead.

Thanks, Joe, for this great advice to help us make better videos with our kids!

Joe: My pleasure!

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

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

After seeing how well video making worked for his Spanish students, Joe moved from the Spanish classroom to an AV/Media Coordinator position. He is an American Film Institute Screen Educator and an Apple Distinguished Educator. He is currently serving as the Creativity & Innovation Specialist at Meridian Middle School in Buffalo Grove, IL as well as teaching in the Wilkes University Instructional Media Program.

Blog: http://joebrennan.us/Digital_Storytelling/Handouts.html

Twitter: @joebjr

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 Making Better Videos and Movies with Students appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Customized, Practical PD for Teachers: Advancement Courses

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 24 April, 2018 - 09:12

Sponsored by Advancement Courses

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Now is the time to plan your professional development for this spring and summer. So, if you’re passionate about learning and want your courses to mean something, Advancement Courses could be a great fit for you.

Sponsored by Advancement Courses . For a limited time, the coupon code COOLCAT20 entered at checkout will give followers 20% off any course. With this coupon, a 3 grad credit course is only $359 total. What Kinds of Teacher Professional Development Courses Can You Take?

Advancement Courses has 200+ graduate-level, online professional development courses for K-12 teachers. Designed to be more engaging, meaningful, and enjoyable than some courses you may have had in the past, these courses include real feedback.

Because of the practical resources you’ll create, these professional development courses are relevant for your classroom right now. 

What Is the Time Frame for the Courses?

The courses are self-paced and not tied to a semester or physical classroom, so you can study anywhere. They’re relevant for your continuing education, salary advancement, and recertification needs.

Whatever you choose to study, your coursework will lead you through developing tangible products and resources. If you teach, you can use these in your classroom immediately.

Who Teaches the Professional Development Courses?

Experienced facilitators are on hand to guide you through each course. As you work through the course, they’ll answer your questions and give you detailed feedback on the assignments as you complete them.

What Are Some Examples of Courses Teachers Take?

While you can choose from a wide array of courses, here are some examples of current offerings from Advancement Courses:

More than 200 courses are available, so check them out. Remember to use the coupon code COOLCAT20 for 20% off any course!


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 that I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies that 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 Customized, Practical PD for Teachers: Advancement Courses appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Looking at educational data through a sharper lens

Bluyonder Greg Whitby - 23 April, 2018 - 20:47

Society is awash with data and so are schools and school systems. The good news is most of this data is available electronically. The gap in terms of our use of data in schools is we have never had an overarching framework which brings structure, clarity and flow to the analysis. While we may have had a good understanding of the inputs (e.g resourcing, professional learning), we haven’t been able to measure the outputs (i.e. is it actually improving the learning and teaching). An educational framework links the inputs and the outputs, the external (beyond school control) and the internal (within school control) factors so that any one of us can see where we need to allocate time, effort and resources. Half the game in improving educational outcomes is knowing whether it is beyond or within our locus of control. The end game of course is being able to allocate resources more strategically when we have a framework that gives us a) more data points to provide context and b) a granular focus.

The Six Lens Approach for School Systems (Varanasi, Fischetti & Smith, 2017), pictured below and outlined in detail in Data Leadership for K-12 Schools in a Time of Accountability  provides a framework and a context for educational change. This is not a panacea but it is a new lever for schools in a new age, allowing us to take a more proactive approach to understanding the variables that impact on education. In the past, we have borrowed frameworks from the higher education sector but as we know, universities are governed by different drivers and values.

Six-Lens Educational Analytics Framework

What we have in the Six Lens is a way that allows data to be consumed and understood by school staff. The emergence of interactive visualisations and dashboards means that data is on demand and can be used to inform discussions within (school level), between (school and home) and across schools (system level). As Ben Shneiderman noted in 1996, the value of visualisation is it not only opens up data to the masses but allow us to go deeper with it. The simple message is we are all data consumers and thus, data is everyone’s business. While technology is making it much easier to access the data, analytics in itself is not about providing the answers. We are living in an age where human judgment still lies at the heart of how we use data to bring about change.

By the time most schools adopt the framework, we will have entered the next iteration of education analytics – predictive models and AI. This will be a game-changer for schooling given we will be able to pro-actively identify and manage risks before they negatively impact on the learning. I hope to see this in less than 18 months!




Categories: Planet

The Diaries of Henry Osborne (Part I)

Darcy Moore's Blog - 23 April, 2018 - 10:45

“A sub-deputy’s job was to supervise the poppy growers in his district and make sure the crop was cultivated in the most efficient way. The government itself made cash advances to cultivators, purchased their product, carried on the manufacturing process and made the final sale of the poppy juice to the factories and exporters in Patna and Calcutta. The opium revenue, next to that from land and salt, was the largest single increment to the Indian treasury and generated sixteen percent of its total income.”   Jeffrey Meyers, Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation

Recently, while researching online, I stumbled across a collection of handwritten diaries from the late 19th century. There were 26 volumes, bound in original cloth, with several thousand pages of entries written legibly in ink. The diarist, Henry Osborne (1840-1905) served contemporaneously with George Orwell’s father, Richard Walmesley Blair (1857-1939), in the Opium Department, India Office, of the British Government in Bengal Province. His diaries detail the day-to-day life, work and subsequent retirement of a Sub-Deputy Opium Agent during the period 1876-1905. These diaries were of interest to me as relatively little is known about the work of Orwell’s father and it seemed likely much could be gleaned from Osborne’s life.

I purchased them.

When the box arrived, skilfully packaged by the bookseller, removing each diary from its protective wrapper was a joy. The oldest – Pettitt’s Octavo Diary – was a little worn being more than 140 years old. Henry’s other 25 diaries were (surprisingly) in magnificent, near fine condition. Most of his days in Bengal were recorded using “Letts’s Diary or Bills Due Book and Almanac” and when he retired, “T, J. & J. Smith’s Post Diary with an Almanack”.

I started reading.

In early 1876, Henry appears to be on leave – perhaps because of medical issues – in London. He goes ice-skating for the first time, attends the theatre to see a pantomime, visits friends and relatives. He takes “Julia” riding and walking at Blackheath several times. He has a cold. There is a pressing question on his mind and it unfolds that he does not have to worry about the answer.

“…the vital question of my life was settled and Julia promised to become my wife! We went soon after to the Westminster Aquarium and spent a happy afternoon together – the happiest in my life…”

There is a wedding to plan. Shortly after this “happy afternoon” Henry has a medical challenge and needs an operation on his neck. He explains:

“I was called into the operating room by myself, divested of my coat and upper clothes and then made to lie on my right side on a sofa. Gas of ether was then inhaled, and felt as if dying. Returned to consciousness in a few minutes when the operation all over. Woke up as from a happy dream and felt stupid afterwards and after reaching home spent a quiet day troubled with thoughts of Julia”

I really started to get into the swing of it.


My concern that the diaries would be boring, or difficult to read due to the 19th century handwriting did not prove to be problems. An LED-lit magnifier really assisted. I often paused to look-up places on the map and research what he was doing. Henry might not mention what the play was that he attended but it was easy enough to uncover that he saw Othello, starring Henry Irving or that the pantomime at The Drury Lane Theatre was Dick Whittington. It was particularly exciting when old envelopes and other slips of paper were found between the pages.

Henry and Julia are married on the 13th April, 1876 at St. Mark’s, Lewisham, London. The newlyweds sail from London Bridge to honeymoon in Brighton at Harrison’s Hotel. The scene is very recognisable: “We drove away in a shower of rice”. After Brighton they travel to Edinburgh and visit all the places so loved by travellers to the Athens of the North.


Henry’s leave seems to have been for about six months or so but it is hard to tell as the record of his life commences on January 1st 1876. Other research reveals that Osborne’s career as a colonial official commenced in April 1865. He was employed as a 5th Grade Sub-Deputy Opium Agent stationed at Ghazeepore (Ghazipur) in Bengal. The married couple alight from Southhampton on a steamer to India and one assumes he will be returning to this station with his wife. Julia is not going to like life on the sub-continent (I think to myself while reading these entries). On 15th June he writes “Julia seasick”, then, on the 17th, “Julia dangerously ill”. One can only wonder what the result of Julia eating breakfast the next day will be but there are no more entries for some time.

“Loaded ‘derringer’ & fired a couple of shots in the evening – reloaded and placed it under the mattress of our bed at night.”

Currently, I am almost finished the 1877 diary. Henry is sleeping with a “derringer” under his mattress. I will write more about what I have discovered about the work of managing the cultivation and distribution of the British Empire’s opium business in my next post.

Perhaps the only disappointment so far has been that Henry makes no entries in his diary on arrival in India. I had been really looking forward to this as my own arrival, admittedly by plane, in Calcutta (Kolkata) a century or more later, is a memory that will never fade.


Henry is often “depressed”. His gloomy countenance really surprised me as he emphasises the challenge of “feeling sad” very regularly and at strange times. Often he feels melancholy during times of celebration or holiday. It is unclear why Julia’s singing seems to make Henry feel depressed.

There are periods – in these first two years of the personal record – when a break from these feelings is evident. Henry “marches” around Bengal for months, living out of a tent, doing the work of running the British Empire’s opium business without once mentioning “sadness” or “depression”. He is just too busy perhaps to mention it OR too busy to feel depressed. The moment he returns ‘home’ (well to Dhawa anyway) and goes to a “dinner party” he feels himself “bordering on madness” and he leaves Julia, heading home by himself to a completely “sleepless night”. The next day he returns to his work routine.

Many people think of “depression” as a very 21st century affliction. It is so evidently a feature of Henry’s weekly life and I will pay close attention as the record unfolds.

The other very interesting and unexpected information is tucked away at the back of Henry’s 1876 diary. Why does Henry list the “Anglo-Oriental Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade – Canada Building, King St. Westminster SW”? The society had only been formed by Quaker businessmen in 1874 and one would have imagined that his employer, the British Government, or more specifically, the Opium Department of the India Office, would hardly be enamoured of this interest. Did Henry visit the office? Will Henry visit the office? It is a fascinating prospect to think that this particular sub-deputy opium agent (third class in 1876-77) had a social conscience.

The post The Diaries of Henry Osborne (Part I) appeared first on Darcy Moore's Blog.

Categories: Planet

The Myth of the “Laggard”

The Principal of Change George Couros - 22 April, 2018 - 23:54

A question I often get in workshops is how to deal with “laggards” or “resisters.” The first thing I wonder when I hear regarding this question is, do the people they are talking about seeing themselves in the same way? Perhaps, they see themselves as innovative in some elements of their practice, but resistant in others. Wouldn’t the majority of educators refer to themselves in that way if we are true to ourselves? There are things that I do in my workshops that I think are quite forward thinking, but I do love lecturing and believe that I do it in a way that is beneficial to participants.

The “Myth of the Laggard,” might be one that we need to address. Here are the questions that need to be addressed:

1. Is the practice in the classroom that we are complaining about hurting students in the present and future? (If it is hurting students, address it.)
2. Are they resistant to change because they hate change, or resistant because they are doing something they believe is beneficial for their students?
3. Most important question…Can you identify the change you want them to create in their practice, and articulate why it is so important?

The reason that the last question is so important is that a lot of administrators I hear from complain that people aren’t changing, but when I ask them what they should change to, they aren’t sure. If you can’t articulate it, how would they know what you are seeking?

Referring to someone as a “laggard” is putting that person in a hole immediately. Find what they are good at and identify that. I have said this a million times when people feel valued, they will go to the ends of the earth for you. When people think you are trying to fix them, they will fight you the whole way, especially if you don’t even know what you are trying to fix.

We have more in common than we think. The best practices in education are often somewhere in the middle, not on the outer extremes. Work together to find those.

(PS…I did a short video on this topic and wanted to go in depth in this post.)

Look for similarities with those you don’t agree with to get closer on your differences. pic.twitter.com/n8sRBMM2Eg

— George Couros (@gcouros) April 18, 2018

Categories: Planet

What To Do When Someone Hates You

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 22 April, 2018 - 23:30

You Can Overcome

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

“There is one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing. Say nothing. Be nothing.” says Aristotle. Criticism comes with breaking new ground. Criticism comes with putting yourself out there. But how do you respond when that criticism turns to hatred?

Listen to This Blog Post

Sponsored by Advancement Courses. Advancement Courses has more than 200 graduate level online professional development courses for K-12 teachers. You can take these courses for continuing education, salary advancement, or recertification. They are practical courses that have teachers developing tangible resources to use in their classrooms immediately. Go to advancementcourses.com/coolcat and use the code COOL20 at checkout to get 20% off any course. With this coupon, a 3 grad credit course is only $359.

Hatred is a hard thing to handle, particularly when you feel it is unjust. But I’m writing this for you today: DON’T LET IT STOP YOU.

Spread more love than hate

Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, Excerpt from the Speech “Citizenship in the Republic” given at the Sorbonne in Paris, France April 1910

We are all people of the arena. Every human has to cope with this question:

What to Do When Someone Hates You

Be you. But being you will often cause undeserved hate from others.

Hatred is a hard thing to handle. Humans usually possess a “me-centric” view of the world. We’ve all seen how two good people can have a vastly different opinions. It happens. No matter what you do, how kind you are, or anything else, I promise you this: In your human-ness, you will attract haters. No way around it.

Haters are an inevitable part of life if you’re accomplishing anything of worth. You can decide what to do about that.

It will also shock and surprise you just how long some people will nurse hatred. It can be years later and they’re still hanging onto something that you barely remember.

Don’t confuse criticism with hate.  People who care will give advice help you improve.

Tip 1: Not Every Criticism Is Motivated by Hate

A person giving you constructive criticism wants to help you improve and become better.

A hater wants to hurt you and wants you to die.

Determine if love or hate is the basis of the criticism by recognizing who criticized you and how they gave it. What was the intent? Help or harm?

Why Do We Notice the Negative?

You can be in a crowd of ten thousand and give an incredible speech. One critic blasts you on their blog or on Twitter, and what do you notice? You don’t see those hundred positive tweets — you see the one negative.

You can captivate your whole classroom except for one student who has decided to dislike you.  You don’t relish 29 joyful, happy, learning kids — you languish because one student (and usually their parents) doesn’t like you.  (I’ve been there — and goodness –, it’s hard when this happens!)

Tip 2: Reject Critics Math

Jon Acuff talks about this phenomenon in his book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters calls this “critics math.” Jon says:

1 insult + 1,000 compliments = 1 insult

He goes on to tell the story of Larry David, creator of the hit TV show Seinfeld. Larry went to New York and attended a ballgame. When the organizers spotted him in the crowd, they showed his picture on the big screen and played the Seinfeld theme song as the entire stadium stood and applauded.

After the game as Larry walked to his car, a stranger drove by, rolled down his window, and yelled,

“Larry, you suck!”

Which did Larry remember later? The one stranger who said that he sucked.

Are you kidding? One rude person can erase 49,999 giving you a standing ovation?

This math doesn’t make sense.

The first step in overcoming critics math is to realize that you’re doing it and refuse to go there.

Tip 3: Keep Perspective

I deal with the haters by admitting that there’s room enough in this big wide world for both of us.- Good people can dislike me. I can even dislike good people. Good and evil aren’t determined by whether people like you or me. This perspective helps.

I recall a professor in college who drew a little x at the corner of the board. Across the board he drew a cloud.

He points at the cloud and says, “This is the universe.” He walks across the front of the room to the tiny x and tells the class, “This is you.” Then, he says something profound. “Notice that you” (pointing at the x) “are not at the center of the universe” (pointing at the cloud.)

Love is a powerful response to hate.

Tip 4: Center Your Thoughts in Healthy Ways

Nope. I’m not the center of the universe, and neither are you. But we can choose to center our thoughts daily. When hate rears its ugly head — it hurts us. –  And yet centering our thoughts gets easier with time. Focus on your goals. We’ve got things to get done!

Tip 5: Focus on the Likers,  Not the Haters

Stop focusing on the futile: You probably can’t make the haters like you.

Instead, focus on the people who actually do like you. Spend time cultivating those relationships and perhaps they’ll come to love you (and you them).

Focus on helping and serving others and being kind. Choose to ignore those who may be speaking negatively about you — that can quickly become paranoia. Usually, it turns out that people aren’t even talking about you at all. I hate to tell you what I tell myself: You’re not that important. Keep perspective and keep to your task.

So, decide. We’ve already heard Theodore Roosevelt tell us clearly, “It is not the critic who counts” but why do we give such things power over us? Why should we let haters distract us from living an epic life?

Tip 6: Celebrate Good Times and Progress

My first boss sent a memo to his manager praising my performance. He brought the copy to my desk and I was so excited. I couldn’t believe it.  Then, he told me something I’ll never forget.

“Create an ‘atta girl’ folder for those hard days. They’ll come and you’ll need to remember who you are and who you can be. This is your first ‘atta girl.’ Keep it.”

I still have the folder and made one in Evernote so that I can always get to it. “Atta girl” has pulled me through dark days when I failed at something.

We all fall. I fail. You fail. It’s part of life.

Tip 7: Keep Moving Forward

Failure becomes permanent only if we stop trying.  It becomes success when we learn from it. It also helps to remember the good days when the bad days come.

But let’s be clear about the difference between failure and criticism. Criticism is not failure. Having a hater is not a failure. Being criticized and having a hater is part of being human.

Sweet Revenge.

Dr. Phil Adler, my favorite professor, always talked about racism and sexism and how to overcome the. He’d tell us that there were people who would not want us to be included in conversations because of our gender or race.

“Be so good that they can’t ignore you,” he said.
The best revenge is success and proving them wrong.”

Ever since that moment in class, I’ve repeated this thought when faced with a hater targeting me or my gender.

Tip 8: Be Excellent in Your Work.

Your best revenge against haters is proving them wrong. Succeed and work your best to do a fantastic job at whatever you’re called to do.

Some people want swift justice because their me-centered world demands it. Well, life is a marathon not a sprint. Be a turtle (as I share in Chapter 13 of Reinventing Writing).

Who Hating Really Hurts

Hating hurts the hater most of all.  I read a story of the freed slave Frederick Douglass riding a train through Pennsylvania. He was told to ride with the luggage,  and several white passengers came back to the luggage car to express how upset they were. Douglass responded by telling them that he was not degraded but that those who did this to him were degrading themselves for treating a fellow human being with disrespect. (Paraphrased from a story included in Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington.)

Tip 9: Commit Not To Hate

Hating is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Hating is like tying a dead body to your back — the body doesn’t care that it’s lashed to you, but you bear the burden.

Hating hurts the hater most of all.

When you are bothered by a person’s hate, it gives them power over you. They can rejoice because they ruined your day. Their purpose is wounding you and causing you pain, and they’d probably be happy only if you were dead. Since there’s nothing you can do to make them happy you have to learn to live with it!

Tip 10: Live Life!

And live with it you do! But do more than just live — thrive and succeed and enjoy your life. Fulfill your mission and spend time your loving the 99.9% of people who don’t have a problem with the fact you’re breathing air at this moment.

Life is too short to make a big deal about a small person. And hate does exactly that — it has a way of making the person on the receiving end feel smaller and less incapable of success.

So, my friends — forgive and move on. Do whatever it takes, but let go of hate. If someone hates you, sing the song from Frozen and  “let it go.”

Haters are gonna hate. The question is: what will you do about it?

The post What To Do When Someone Hates You appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Teacher Agency vs The Collective Voice — The Learner's Way

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 22 April, 2018 - 18:05


  • With good reason, much is made of learner agency but the concept of teacher agency is important too. If we hope to build a profession in which we are all self-navigating life-long learners, we must acknowledge the role that teacher agency plays.  - Nigel Coutts

Tags: teacher, agency, voice, learner, education, teaching, Learning

by: Nigel Coutts

Categories: International News

5 Ways to Bring Financial Literacy into Any School

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 20 April, 2018 - 20:09

Brian Page on episode 295 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Brian Page has ideas to bring financial literacy to every school. Whether you want games, curriculum, or to know what’s next in financial literacy, this is a must-listen podcast for anyone working with financial literacy in their school.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript 5 Ways to Bring Financial Literacy into Any School

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e295
Date: April 25, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with one of my favorite financial literacy gurus, Brian Page about five ways to bring financial literacy into the classroom.

Now Brian, what is our first way?

Brian: Thanks for having me. I am excited to be on.

So I have to start with NextGen Personal Finance. https://www.ngpf.org/

#1 – NextGen Personal Finance

NextGen Personal Finance and Tim Ranzetta, who is the founder, was just recognized earlier this week by Jumpstart https://www.jumpstartinc.org/#1 as really the leader in the industry.

He just received the pinnacle award, and that night, he announced that he would continue to give back and make the programming and the resources free. He dedicated 25 million more dollars over the next ten years to iensurethat he could do that.

The organization is full of up to date resources that include anything from lessons that are comprehensive, a turnkey semester class, a turnkey 9-week class, a turnkey trimester class to single activities that are interactive that teachers can use.

He has games that he’s developed. He has a blog post. He has podcasts to keep teachers current on evolving content.

He’s dedicated to providing training throughout the country. He just had a national conference in San Francisco that was entirely sponsored and had 110 teachers in to provide three days of training.

Over the summer, he’s posting all kinds of Fin Camps — one, two and three day Fin Camps in various states across the nation that teachers can attend for free.

The other thing that I love, beyond how comprehensive their curriculum is, is that he has a large full time staff who listens to teachers. They are constantly updating it, which is particularly necessary in the financial space, where it’s constantly evolving.

And the other thing that sticks out is that it’s primarily shared through Google Drive. So, many teachers are like me, where they like to take lessons or sources and “tweak” them, based on what’s best for their specific students. By having everything on Drive makes it really easy to go in and make small little subtle tweaks.

Vicki: Awesome!

Brian: So that’s… Yeah! Yeah, I’m excited about that one.

Vicki: Great! What’s our second?

Brian: Our second is a complete resource dump. There’s so much out there. I wanted to bring to light some other resources people can look into later.

#2 – Several Other Resources

NEFE https://www.nefe.org/ is a great resource for students in high school and in college. They have great lessons on their website as well. They have a terrific Life Values Quiz that I love to use.

The Counsel for Economic Education https://www.councilforeconed.org/ is terrific, not just for financial literacy teachers, but for teachers who teach economics.

Knowledge at Wharton High School http://kwhs.wharton.upenn.edu/ is an extensive website full of podcasts and articles and lessons. I was on a team that developed quite a few lessons that are downloadable. They’re free. Some other great rockstar teachers helped with that. Lisa Bender and Lois Stalljack.

Jumpstart, of course. https://www.jumpstartinc.org/ They have a clearinghouse that allows teachers to dive in and enter search criteria and filter out specific lessons for them — and then take charge today.

And finally, GFLEC http://gflec.org/ has micro-credentials. So if you Google Gfleck there are twenty micro credentials that I created along with other stand out people who really led the project. The thinking behind that is to attach teaching methodologies to specific topics. The methodologies that are coupled with the topics are evidence-based.

Vicki: Wow.

Brian: You can show that that methodology is effective for that topic.

So that’s my Number Two, and I know that that’s about fifty…

Vicki: Oh, but that’s fine. Teachers will love all of those links that we will put in the Shownotes, like we always do.

Brian: (laughs)

Vicki: OK. So what is our third?

Brian: The third is Time for Payback https://www.timeforpayback.com/

#3 – Time for Payback

It was created and it was funded by NextGen Personal Finance.

It was announced — or I should say it was released a few months ago, and then the New York Times did a really good article on them.

And essentially, the founder of NextGen Personal Finance saw that the game “Spent” — which is really popular for financial literacy teachers — was really effective. Teachers loved it for a number of reasons. So he hired the same company who developed that game to also develop this game.

The goal of the game is for students to experience the types of decisions that you have to make just prior to college and through college that you don’t necessarily think about.

We always think about, you know, how much to borrow, and interest rates, and on and on.

But he gets you to think about how to make the day to day decisions that are tough. Do you work and take time away from social life and enjoy college less? Or do you join a fraternity? Are you able to sign up for your classes on time?

So you’re constantly introduced to these little daily dilemmas that all of us face in college.

And then it scores you, based upon how you do.

Vicki: So is this a little simulation, or are others in it, or is it just kind of independent with you in it?

Brian: It is an independent simulation, and it takes anywhere from 20-40 minutes. It’s probably the best tool base that I’ve ever seen to help teach kids about college.

Vicki: WOW. That’s a great endorsement. Very cool.

OK, what’s our fourth?

Brian: Our fourth would be VISA’s Financial Football Game https://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/play/financial_football .

#4 VISA’s Financial Football Game

They are going to be very soon releasing a new iteration of it in the next couple of months.

I was thrilled to be on the team that did some of the question revisions. It’s a really fun way to introduce financial literacy quiz questions, like Quiz Bowl format, questions in classrooms, anywhere from elementary to high school students.

They also have Financial Soccer.

They have a big announcement coming in the next couple of months on a story-based game. I unfortunately can’t go into any detail, but I was thrilled to be on the team for that. I can assure you that it’s something that people have never seen before. It’s an engaging way for students to experience the type of personal finance decisions you have to make on a daily basis. Then, based on their choices, they’re sent in different directions.

So, this whole story is riddled with financial landmines that are tough to face. The challenge is, can teens face those, and then end up winning the game?

Vicki: Oh, very cool.

OK, what’s our last one?

Brian: The last is a challenge to the listeners.

#5 – A Challenge to You

So I was able to partner with United Way and bring United Way in to file tax returns with my students.

So my students brought their W-2s and any other paperwork that was needed, and United Way volunteers sat with my students throughout each of the bells that I teach, and they filed their tax returns with them.

A lot of people forget that teens oftentimes have earned income. I saw a statistic once that only 3% of teens file a return, yet 25% of teens have earned income. So you have all of these teens out there working, and we know the standard deduction next year is $12,000 — meaning they’re going to get every penny back that they paid in federal taxes, assuming that they didn’t put themselves as exempt.

So the conclusion of the day? My students received $6,500 in tax refunds.

It’s something any teacher can do.

Vicki: Wow. Of course, you’ll have to check with the parents and see who’s being claimed where.

Brian: Oh yeah!

Vicki: That’s awesome!

OK, so we have all of these different resources.

Let’s finish up with this. Brian, do you think there are schools that are still not covering financial literacy? I can’t imagine how, but is it doable.

Brian: (laughs)

I KNOW there are!

If you go to NextGen Personal Finance’s website, they have up in the upper right hand corner a #finhero, and it was an extensive project where not only did somebody survey 85% of high schools in the United States, but they build out all of these advocacy tools that teachers could use if they wanted to advocate for financial literacy.

So what they found in the process was that only 1 in 6 students are receiving financial education in the United States.

Vicki: (groans)

Brian: So, just think about how detrimental it is for an 18 year old whose single decisions are compounding through their entire life.

If they miss a payment, they don’t know that it’s on the credit report for 7 years.

If they misuse a credit card, they don’t understand how it affects their credit score.

If they don’t start investing for retirement when they’re young, they miss out on compounding and will never have the opportunity to retire.

You can go on and on about all of these adult-like decisions we’re asking students to make before they even graduate high school, and we’re never giving them the tools to make those decisions.

Vicki: You know what? If a school claims that it’s “future ready” and they’re not giving every student access to financial literacy, they can just stop pretending that they’re future ready.

Brian: Totally.

Because if you’re not ready to manage money, you’re not ready for your future.

Brian: Very well said.

Vicki: Yeah.

So teachers, advocate for it.

We’ve given you lots of resources. There will be lots included on the blog post accompanying this.

Financial literacy is just something that we all have to do. We all have ideas for what we can do.

Brian Page is a fantastic resource, as you can tell. He’s got a lot of impact happening with financial literacy programs around the country.

Let’s do this!

Brian: Sounds great! Please, others, get on board.

Let’s make this happen. Let’s make change happen.

Let’s get personal finance skills in every classroom!

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

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Financial Literacy Resources

1. NGPF: http://kwhs.wharton.upenn.edu/

2. Other great resources include:

– NEFE https://www.nefe.org/

– Council for Economic Education https://www.councilforeconed.org/

– Knowledge @ Wharton HS http://kwhs.wharton.upenn.edu/

– Jump$tart https://www.jumpstart.org/

– Take Charge Today https://takechargetoday.arizona.edu/

– GFLEC Microcredentials http://gflec.org/education/financial-literacy-micro-credentials/

3. Payback (College Game): https://www.timeforpayback.com/

4. VISA games financial football: https://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/play/financial_football

5. Tax Filing day

Bio as submitted

Brian Page loves to teach personal finance at Reading Community City Schools in Ohio, where he was named the ’11 Milken National Educator Recipient and CNN Money Hero. He served on the Working Group for President Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. He is happily married with three children and has the world’s best dog.


Twitter: @FinEdchat

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 Ways to Bring Financial Literacy into Any School appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

The Best PD for Math Teachers (and How to Use It) #mtbos #iteachmath

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 20 April, 2018 - 10:53

David Petro on episode 294 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

David Petro has been using Twitter for his math PD for more than eight years. Learn about the current trends in hashtag learning and the popular techniques for harvesting learning from this social network.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript The Best PD for Math Teachers (and How to Use It)

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e294
Date: April 19, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with David Petro a math and science consultant from Ontario, Canada.

Now, David, you have a real belief about the best PD that you have ever had. What is it?

David: I’d like to say the best PDs I’ve had — and have been using for almost eight or nine years now — has been, Twitter, in fact.

To me, Twitter is more than a place that celebrities and politicians can share their thoughts. It turns out it’s actually a great place that educators meet and share what they’re doing in their classrooms.

Vicki: Now, all of us, me included, have gotten frustrated with Twitter because it’s not quite what it used to be. I could go in the airport and tweet out, “Hey, I’m in the Atlanta Airport, and then other friends would see it immediately, and we could meet up, and chat and have lunch.

It used to just be chronological, and you’d see everything. And now, we’re not seeing everything quite as much as we used to.

How are you getting around that problem?

Twitter is now different. How are you working around that?

David: I guess I kind of use Twitter differently.

I don’t use it, as a communication tool between people, at least not at first.

I use it to look for things that relate to education, and to do that I actually really focus more on hashtags instead of people. So I’m less worried about people following me or me following people. I instead worry about following hashtags.

So when I’m using Twitter, I’m using an app like Tweetdeck, and I’ve got my different hashtags lined up. I’m looking at what people are sending using those hashtags.

Vicki: OK, so what are your favorite hashtags, David?

What are your favorite hashtags?

David: Everyone has favorite hashtags, right?

Vicki: (agrees)

David: (laughs)

So, I guess when I first started using Twitter, I thought #math would be a really great Twitter hashtag to follow, but it turns out there are a lot of people that don’t like math…

Vicki: (laughs)

David: (laughs)

They’re happy to talk about it, and say lots of bad things about math on Twitter.

There’s a little bit of trial and error involved

But I eventually found out that #mathchat is actually a really great hashtag. Usually when people use that hashtag, they’re basically saying, “Here is something that is related to math.” There’s usually a picture, and there’s usually a link to something related to math — and usually related to math education.

That’s actually quite useful. That means that tweet has really got some meat to it.

It turns out there are lots of “chat” hashtags — #scichat and #edchat and #elemchat (elementary).

When people use those hashtags, they’re basically saying, “Hey! This tweet is about something to do with this thing. You might find it useful.”

Vicki: So do you have another favorite besides #mathchat?

So you named #elemchat and #scichat. What else?

David: You said we only have about 8-10 minutes…

Vicki: (laughs) Give us some, and tell us what they’re about.

David: I usually use “math” as the main focus of my Twitter presence, so some of the hashtags that I use besides #mathchat…

One of the most recent ones that has actually become quite popular is — and it’s kind of funny to say it — is #mtbos. Some people pronounce it #mtbos and that actually stands for the Math Twitter Blogosphere.

The Math Twitter Blogosphere is at #mtbos

What that really means is that this is a community of teachers from around the world that have basically started using Twitter to communicate with each other to share their math journey, a look inside their classrooms, and at the same time have started blogging about what they have done.

So it’s a combination of looking at blogs and reading Twitter, and they’ve all sort of created this community of math teachers. You can pretty much be sure that if it has the #mtbos, there’s something about teaching math in that Twitter post.

More recently, there was a little bit of a brouhaha because — it’s a very cryptic hashtag, #mtbos. I think it might have been Dan Meyer @ddmeyer –I know he’s been on your show — who suggested changing the hashtag to #iteachmath.

Vicki: Huh!

David: And so that seems like a much more reasonable hashtag use. So #mtbos or #iteachmath are really also great hashtags to follow.

Another great hashtag is #iteachmath

Vicki: You know, the one thing about using a cryptic hashtag is that sometimes it does keep the spammers away, doesn’t it?

David: It does… It does.

Vicki: But it can also keep people — who might want to find it useful — away, too!

David: That’s right. It’s a double-edged sword.

Vicki: Yeah.

So that’s great, the conversations that you’re having.

Now are there any other ones that you recommend, that you find really useful?

David: In terms of hashtags, you have to really try stuff out.

I like using #scichat as well, because that one is related to science education. As a science consultant, I’m looking for that. There are all kinds of variants on hashtags. So even our people in the UK, they will use “maths” with an “s”…

Vicki: (agrees)

Try variants of names of hashtags

David: So you just have to sort of try with variants.

It really does depend on what you are looking for.

Because I’m mostly dealing with math — that’s kind of where my focus has been — but you can actually just search on that thing called Google for educational hashtags. You wouldn’t believe the list that you’ll come up with.

Vicki: We’ll put a link in. Jerry Blumengarten, @Cybraryman1 has lots of great links.

So David, tell us a story.

I’ll tell you this. I’ve trained teachers on Twitter, and then they go and delete your Twitter account right then. And I’m like, “Oh my goodness! There are so many useful things!”

Tell us a story about something that’s happened that you found out about on Twitter, and it improved the classroom.

David: The perfect — if I can go back to the #mtbos — this is a grassroots group of teachers who actually started to create their own conference in the summer. They called it the Twitter Math Camp.

If you use Twitter, you might have heard the phrase a “tweetup”?

Vicki: (agrees)

David: Do you know what a tweetup is?

Vicki: Oh, yes.

David: That’s when you physically meet the people you know on Twitter.

The Twitter Math Camp and associated tweetup

So they’ve developed this huge tweetup where they meet at someplace in North America every summer for four days, and they talk about math. They have a regular conference, only it’s super grassroots.

It’s interesting, because last year I actually went to my first Twitter Math Camp, and I presented a topic with a teacher whom I’d never met before from California, only on Twitter. We actually presented a workshop together, and it was a really interesting experience to present with somebody cold that you’d actually never physically talked to before.

Vicki: Awesome!

And so what did you take away from that, from Twitter Math Camp?

DId you get a lot of resources, a lot of ideas, or how do you compare it to the more formal math conferences you go to?

David: It was interesting, because I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. It turned out to be one of the best conferences I had ever been to, for myself. I think because those people who — it sounds kind of accusational, “those people” — are all just as geeked about math as I am.

So the depth with which we talked about topics went right into the night. It was a really, really great community to be a part of.

Vicki: Let’s finish up. A 30-second pep talk to math teachers on jumping in to Twitter for learning about math.

David: Don’t write Twitter off. It’s a great place to find stuff.

Don’t write Twitter off. It’s a great place to find stuff.

As long as you’re not looking for anything too specific, that feed is a really great place to find ideas that you’ve never thought of before, to teach math and to bring math alive for your kids everyday.

Vicki: Teachers, sign up for Twitter and use something like Tweetdeck. I use something called HootSuite.

Yes, the algorithms have changed. Lots of us who’ve been around for a long time have complained about it. But you know what? There is still a lot of usefulness in Twitter. I still find it useful, even if it has changed from the “good old days” when I could actually meet a friend in the airport because I tweeted it out and they saw it on Twitter. (laughs)

Things do change on us, but we can still use these tools for awesome professional development.


David: No problem.

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

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

David is a Math & Science consultant at the Windsor-Essex Catholic DSB. He is a big advocate of sharing resources (and getting free stuff), online PLCs and maximizing the power of the hashtag. He a contributing author of several secondary math textbooks and the president-elect of the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME). He can be found sharing the math resources he finds weekly at http://ontariomath.blogspot.ca/, sharing the data sets he likes at http://found-data.blogspot.ca/ and sharing the activities he’s created at http://engaging-math.blogspot.ca/. When he’s not sharing he’s either swimming, biking or running to get ready for his next Ironman triathlon.

Blogs: http://ontariomath.blogspot.ca/



Twitter: @davidpetro314

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 The Best PD for Math Teachers (and How to Use It) #mtbos #iteachmath appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Supercharge Student (and Teacher) Financial Literacy With #PowerofEcon Day on April 26

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 19 April, 2018 - 08:23

Subtitle: Sponsored by Discovery Education and CME Group

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Managing money can be a challenge for many adults. It’s not always easy for people to keep debt down, pay bills, and manage finances effectively. Consequently, many schools are implementing financial literacy programs. If you haven’t done this yet, or even if your school already has such a program, your teachers and classes will want to join #PowerofEcon Day on April 26. These free activities and a power-packed Twitter chat will energize and provide support for your financial literacy discussions. The Twitter chat will be live at noon Eastern Time using #PowerofEcon. To prepare, help your students create questions to pose to the featured economist. As a result of this celebration, we hope these resources will help teachers and students get excited about economics.

Celebrate the Power of Economics with the #PowerofEcon chat on April 26. Your students can ask questions of an economist and more. Use Twitter to connect to other classes tackling financial literacy education.

April is Financial Literacy Month

The power of economics is in play everywhere, and April is the month to embrace it. Think of #PowerofEcon Day for finance and economics as what Pi Day is to Math class.  This is our day to celebrate and discuss financial literacy.

Sponsored by Econ Essentials from Discovery Education and CME Group

On Thursday, April 26th, celebrate Financial Literacy Month by boosting your students’ understanding of personal finance on #PowerOfEcon Day.  With this in mind, Econ Essentials is providing free, standards-aligned resources for your use.

Created by CME Group and Discovery Education, Econ Essentials is designed to help high school students learn economic principles through the use of real-world examples.

Join the #PowerofEcon Events on April 26

Get ready for an action-packed day of economic discussion with classrooms across the country on Twitter @DiscoveryEd with the #PowerofEcon hashtag:

  • 10AM: The Power of People examines the three-part mini-documentary series from Seeker Stories. This series features people shaping the impact of economics on the world as we know it. As an illustration of the importance of financial literacy, Seeker is a global showcase of people who are making a difference in the places where they live. Teaching Tip: You’ll want to bookmark these videos and use them in your courses to make every day a #PowerOfEcon Day.
  • 12PM: The Power of Possibility features an interactive live chat with CME Group’s Chief Economist, Bluford Putnam. Notably, your students can pose their economic questions for him to answer. I look forward to joining in the conversation as well. Teaching Tip: Just use the hashtag #PowerofEcon at noon ET on that day. Have your finance classes create and pose questions during this time as well.
  • 2PM: The Power of Content dives into interactive learning modules on finance, fuel, and the food system. Econ Essentials has some excellent units to help students understand these concepts. Teaching Tip: If you’re in a 1:1 environment, split the videos up and let students discuss, share, and compare highlights.
  • 4PM: The Power of Futures takes your economic learning to the next level by exploring investment concepts. This more advanced course from Econ Essentials helps students understand investing, hedging, and speculating. It includes quizzes, a game, and some infographics for you to use and explore as you teach about investment. If you play a “stock market game” or do any other investment-related activities, this module is for you. Teaching Tip: If you’ve already had some investment experience, have students explore and share the infographics or check out the quizzes in your classroom.
How You Can Participate in #PowerofEcon

Using #PowerofEcon, you and your students can tweet out what you’re doing to learn about financial literacy and the power of economics. Be sure to include #giveaway for a chance to win a gift card.*

And get your finance and financial literacy classes to join the Twitter chat at noon. Even if you’re not in class, students can give you questions to ask the economist. This will be a fun, exciting opportunity for classes to connect about financial literacy and understand how Twitter chats work!

Join the Twitter chat at noon ET on April 26 and all day long for free financial literacy resources.

How Econ Essentials Can Help Your Students All Year Long

Econ Essentials has interactive learning modules that help students understand real-world economic principles in action. The videos by Seeker Stories are a fantastic tool for illustrating the principles of real-world finance. The Power of Futures will help your students understand investment. So, even though we’re sharing this content on April 26, these incredible resources are available to you all year long.

Let’s celebrate economics, finance, and investing on April 26. I’ll see you on the #PowerofEcon hashtag on April 26 and at the Twitter chat at noon that day!

Information on Bluford Putnam, the Economist in the Twitter Chat

If you want to share the bio of Bluford Putnam, the economist who is the expert for the #PowerofEcon Twitter chat, here’s the bio to share with your students.

Bluford (Blu) Putnam has served as Managing Director and Chief Economist of CME Group since May 2011. He is responsible for leading economic analysis on global financial markets by identifying emerging trends, evaluating economic factors and forecasting their impact on CME Group and the company’s business strategy. He also serves as CME Group’s spokesperson on global economic conditions and manages external research initiatives.

Prior to joining CME Group, Putnam gained more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry with concentrations in central banking, investment research and portfolio management. He most recently served as Managing Partner for Bayesian Edge Technology & Solutions, Ltd., a financial risk management and portfolio advisory service he founded in 2000. He also has served as President of CDC Investment Management Corporation and Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer for Equities and Asset Allocation at the Bankers Trust Company in New York. His background also includes economist positions with Kleinwort Benson, Ltd., Morgan Stanley & Company, Chase Manhattan Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Putnam holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Florida Presbyterian College (later renamed Eckerd College) and a Ph.D.in economics from Tulane University. He has authored five books on international finance, as well as many articles that have been published in academic journals and business publications.


* Recipient shall not accept this gift card if accepting such gift card is prohibited by any policies or procedures with which such recipient or recipient’s employer is required to comply.

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 that 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 Supercharge Student (and Teacher) Financial Literacy With #PowerofEcon Day on April 26 appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Wonder, Explore, Lead

The Principal of Change George Couros - 19 April, 2018 - 08:04

I tweeted this quote from my book, “The Innovator’s Mindset“:

“Our responsibility isn’t solely to teach memorization or
mechanics of a task but to spark a curiosity that empowers students to learn on their own. To wonder. To explore. To become leaders.

…if students leave school less curious than when they
started, we have failed them.”

— George Couros (@gcouros) April 17, 2018

As I look at it, I think more about what our learning experiences look like for our staff. Do they have the opportunity to “wonder, explore, lead,” or is this something we save for our students only?

The best way to create the culture you want for your students is to build it for the adults. There are so many constraints placed on schools from government mandates, but do we add to these constraints ourselves? I know that people complain about the state of testing in the US, but I also know that many districts add a multitude of their testing in pursuit of doing better on the state tests. Ask in your organization what you control and what you don’t. Then when you figure out what you control, make those conditions better.


The learners in your organization should have their curiosity stoked. Their ability to explore their learning. When you limit staff, you restrict students.

Find a way for your staff to “wonder, explore, and lead”, and they will most likely do the same for their students.

Categories: Planet

Arrays, Loops, and Racing Horses

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 19 April, 2018 - 03:36

One of the things I like about using Visual Studio and C# (and Visual Basic for that matter) is the ability to easily create some fun graphical projects. I’ve been using variations of the horse race program for years now. I though it might be fun to share my latest use.

Students sometimes have trouble seeing the benefits of arrays because they are used to small projects that can get by without them. I want them to see how the combination of loops and arrays make expanding programs easier.

My students were given a mostly empty project with the objects you see in the image above already part of the project. I don’t want them to get lost in setting up the GUI. There is a “Race” button, a “Reset” button, four picture boxes, and the finish line (a nicely formatted label.) No code though. We’ll create that as a class.

The first thing we do is allocate an array of three picture boxes. Next we assign the value of the existing picture boxes to the array. We talk about how the picture boxes now have two names or two ways of addressing them. This is related to people’s names – formal name, nickname, etc.

public Form1()
     Horses[0] = picHorse0;
     Horses[1] = picHorse1;
     Horses[2] = picHorse2


The naming I use (I hope) drives home how identifiers that differ only by a number at the end leads one naturally to thinking about arrays.

We write code to move the “horses” random distances each time a timer fires. Using timers is not absolutely necessary and I have used while loops but timers open some ideas for interesting projects. The “Race” button enables the timer and the horses start moving by changing the Left properties by random numbers of pixels..

for (int index = 0; index < Horses.Length; index++)
     Horses[index].Left += r.Next(3, 8);

Next we add the code to check to see if the Left property plus the width of the box crosses past the left property of the finish line.

Students are asked to figure out the Reset button on their own and most do so easily. At this point we’ve had a lot of discussion about the code we’ve written so far. Next I ask them to add more horses to the problem. They soon discover that this is a fairly trivial task because of the way we have designed the program.

Since we get to work with interesting arrays and see how setting up loops we cover some important topics. Best of all, students seem to like this project.

There is room for student creativity as well. Some add only a few horses, some add many. Some get fancy with reporting winners. Some explore other images from what I provide. Others decided they wanted that last place horse to disappear before the next race. That involved a lot more work then they expected but they were motivated to try things. But no one, including me, get bored.

Categories: Planet

Bringing Literature to Life in Open Sim

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 19 April, 2018 - 01:57

Mary Howard on episode 293 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Mary Howard’s students build and learn in Open Sim, a virtual world like Second Life. From building architectural constructs to understanding the Diary of Anne Frank, literature comes alive in this virtual world.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript Bringing Literature to Life in Open Sim

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e293
Date: April 18, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Mary Howard sixth grade teacher in New York State. She was a finalist for New York State Teacher of the Year for this year, 2018.

Mary, you are bringing literature to life in Open Sim.

You and I were actually talking before the show. I used to do some work at Open SIm, and people really pushed me toward Unity. I found it to be really hard.

What is Open Sim? It sounds like there are still people using it, huh?

What is Open Sim, and is anyone still using it?

Mary: Yeah, there’s still quite a few educators, especially out in the trenches, using Open Sim.

Sometimes it’s a hard concept to describe. It’s a virtual environment.

We hear a lot of talk now in Ed Tech circles about how we can get these students engaged and speak a language that they’re speaking. Really an Open Sim (simulator) is a great way to do that.

We bring these students into a virtual world. They have an avatar, and the avatar walks around this virtual world. Then I incorporate my curriculum through the virtual environment. It’s really exciting stuff!

Vicki: So educators, think about (how) some people host their own Minecraft servers. This is in some ways like Second Life. It looks a little bit more realistic than the pixelated Minecraft types. A lot of really cool things you can do in Open Sim, even though some people have pushed toward Unity.

So what are you doing with Anne Frank and teaching literature in you Open Sim world, Mary?

Mary: Yes! Well, the students have this world that they go into. The platform is held at a server with our local district.

Like you described, just to give people a little more of a background, it’s really great for middle schoolers, because by the time they’ve hit sixth and seventh grade, a lot of them have moved on beyond Minecraft, or they really can’t get their heads around the fact that a teacher is using Minecraft.

I always say to the students, “It’s like Minecraft on steroids. We’ve gone away from the pixelation, yet we still have the power of the building and construction,” which really speaks to students’ creativity.

Open Sim is like Minecraft on steroids

So in the program that I use, the Anne Frank house was actually re-designed in the virtual environment for the students to visit. So they go into a reconstructed Anne Frank house.

They read, of course, the companion novel that goes along with it, and they’re able to sort of “see” and visualize what’s going on in the novel.

Yet they’re also able to build and construct their own reflective pieces within the virtual environment. In one case, a student actually built a World War II bomber and placed that in the Anne Frank Museum that’s in the virtual world.

So, there are just so many ways to be more hhands-onwith the novel when you’re using a virtual environment.

Vicki: What are some of the things that students are really taking away, that you couldn’t get from just a class discussion about Anne Frank?

Mary: Well, it’s really an engagement practice.

The virtual environment group that I work with — this Open Sim group — I actually don’t do the Anne Frank house.

I do an extension off of that, which came from the initial project. It was a three-year project. Several teachers began the Anne Frank that’s actually in our seventh and eighth grade curriculum in our building.

But then I began the project in this Open Sim environment with “An Era of the King.”

So you sort of have to imagine the Middle Ages and Medieval Times, which is the curriculum that I teach.

Teaching the Middle Ages in a virtual environment

It’s great to teach the Middle Ages to begin with — you have your knights and kings and queens and castles — but it’s even better when you can bring them there!

So I had thirty kids in the computer lab. They’re all in there as an avatar, wearing Middle Ages clothing, walking around a Middle Ages village.

Then of course, the curriculum is gamified, so they have different levels of challenges that they have to engage in — which are knowledge based — in order to learn the curriculum, but also succeed in the virtual world.

So when you asks questions about what do the students get out of it? It’s just this whole package of things. It’s taking curriculum, making it engaging and exciting. and putting it at a level where the students are genuinely coming from nowadays

Vicki: So you’ve been using this for a while. Are there any mistakes you’ve made in the past?

Are there any mistakes we can avoid?

Mary: Oh goodness, yes! (laughs)

That conversation could even be longer than the successes. (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Mary: I think that just comes with technology. People ask me, “How do you do all this tech stuff?”

And the first words I say are, “Be fearless.” You have to just be willing to let it go and be willing to understand that mistakes and accidents will happen.

Our first experience, the very first time… I was so excited to get these students in the Open SImulator. We sat there on laptops in a classroom, and I tried to get all 25 students online at the exact same time.

We overloaded our system. No one could get on. Everybody was raising their hands and kind of whining, “It’s not working. It won’t let me in.”

It was just one of those high stress moments like, “Oh no. This is an absolute disaster.”

And those are going to happen.

As you know as a tech person, you really have to be fearless and just understand, it’s going to happen. But you can’t break the children.

Vicki: (laughs)

Mary: (laughs) They’re going to be fine.

Vicki: And, it’s a learning process. I remember one thing I had learned is to try to get the kids in ahead of time to create their avatars, just because that tends to put some strain on things, and you know, it just takes time to learn this stuff.

So what have you done right, Mary? What’s one of the big things that you’re like, “Yes, this has made a huge difference.

What is your favorite project, where you knew you totally got this right?

Mary: Oh, I love that question!

Well, I think my favorite project was that we did in the virtual environments is a project combined with our local community. We have a Darwin Martin house, which is a Frank Lloyd Wright build here in Buffalo. There’s a huge Frank Lloyd Wright connection in Buffalo

I worked with a local BOCES person to set up an opportunity for the students to actually build in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright.

We gave (the students) (virtual) land, and we gave them an opportunity to learn about the architectural principles behind Frank Lloyd Wright.

Then we took them on a field trip to the Darwin Martin house.

As we were walking around the Darwin Martin house after spending a couple of weeks discussing the architectural principles and researching Frank Lloyd Wright and what he does, seeing and hearing ten year olds say things like, “Look at that abstract design,” or “See how he incorporated this central hearth in this home.”

Hearing that language manifest itself right on site, but then going back to the virtual environment when we got back to school, and seeing the excitement that the students had, designing and creating homes in the Frank Lloyd Wright form…

It was just the most magnificent and rewarding project that I think I’ve ever done with students. It’s just a really exciting thing to see what the students could build and design when you let them go, and let their creativity blossom.

Vicki: OK, Mary, to all the teachers listening to you… Give them some encouragement to try something virtual.

I mean, there are so many ways you can do this. There’s Open Sim, of course there’s Minecraft.

Some people are doing the Google Expeditions, and that’s great. But we need to understand here the differences. They can actually build. They can sandbox. They can create.

Mary: Yeah…

Vicki: There is a difference between experiencing something and creating something.

So, what’s your pep talk to teachers for utilizing this type of immersive technology?

Why should teachers try something like Open Sim?

Mary: I think we spend a lot of time saying that our equipment can’t handle it, or our tech department can’t handle it, or our filters won’t allow that to happen.

And I also say, “Be that rogue teacher.”

You know, be the lady in the corner of the building that has all the cats, because if you are that person, you take the lead.

Your tech department will find a way to make these things happen. And once it happens, the explosion in creativity is so worth it.

We spend a lot of time gnashing our teeth over using technology as, “Oh, I have to INSERT that into my curriculum. Or I have to add that onto my curriculum.”

And it’s really a paradigm shift.

You have to realize that it IS the curriculum.

It is going to generate all of that critical thinking, and all of that inferring, and all of those (things like) “tolerating ambiguity” and all of those buzzwords that we have that we want our students to do.

This one element happens.

If you get out there and explore and make it happen, all of that other stuff that you’ve been worried about with your students?

It falls into place.

Vicki: That is great advice for us, remarkable teachers!

Now get out there it make it happen!

Mary: Yeah! (laughs)


Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford: kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Mary Howard is a sixth grade teacher in Western New York State and was a finalist for the New York State Teacher of the Year for 2018. She considers herself a FEARLESS educator and an early adopter of many EdTech initiatives. Mary attempts to create a culture of inquiry in her classroom and hopes to build future innovators Her blog, http://www.yoursmarticles.blogspot.com features many of her EdTech pursuits including an Augmented Reality Sandbox that she uses in her classroom, makerspaces, coding as well as the use of Virtual Reality/Virtual Environments in her classroom. Mary is also a specialist in engagement, and uses digital tools to engage students and ignite their learning. She has presented throughout New York State and numerous other conferences including MACUL (Michigan) and at ISTE Philadelphia, Denver and San Antonio.

Blog: http://www.yoursmarticles.blogspot.com

Twitter: @mrshoward118

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 Bringing Literature to Life in Open Sim appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Training The Next Generation of Computer Science Teachers

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 18 April, 2018 - 09:11

The biggest problem in computer science education is training the teachers we need. That seems to be the big thing on my social media in the last few days.

This past week was a major document release in New York of "Priming the Computer Science Teacher Pump: Integrating CS Education into Schools of Ed”. Mark Guzdial wrote about it here. You can also download the actual report here.  Mark also shared the slide deck from the event on Slideshare here. If you don’t have time for the whole report the slides make interesting reading as a sort of summary.

It has been clear to many of us in CS education for a while that we really need schools of education to step up and prepare CS teachers. This report addresses what is needed with some solid recommendations. This being computer science education, others are tossing in their opinions.

Mike Zamansky, who was at the release event, gave some of his thoughts on his blog at - Math For Math Teachers - watering down CS Ed before we even start. Mike comes from a heavy CS background and many years teaching at a highly rated, entrance exam, public high school in New York City. That gives him a particular perspective.

Garth Flint, who teaches as a smaller private Catholic K-12 school in Montana, wrote a blog post on the subject - CS Ed – to water or not to water, that is the question which really covered the situation for a lot of teachers especially those in rural areas and other smaller schools. 

It’s a different perspective from Mike’s. One is not better than another – they’re just different. In a sense those two posts show some of the diversity of educational environments we’re seeing in computer science education.

Preparing teachers for this wide range of needs is definitely going to be part of the challenge. I can’t see a one size fits all CS teacher preparation scheme working. There is really going to have to be some local variation as well as consideration as to different age level preparation. I’m not sure one can easily prepare for the full range of Kindergarten though Advanced Placement Computer Science. Content is one thing but the how to teach is another.

OK, now there is something of a roadmap. Will schools of education move into this space the way we need them to do? We’ll see I guess but I hope so.

Categories: Planet

Open Badges in Elementary School

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 17 April, 2018 - 21:30

Amy Cooper on episode 292 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Some elementary classrooms are using self-directed badges for competency acquisition by students. In today’s show, Amy Cooper talks about how this is done, the advantages, and insights on student motivation.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript Open Badges in Elementary School

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e292
Date: April 17, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Amy Cooper, who’s at an elementary school in Minnesota.

And Amy, you’re working with digital badges or open badges in elementary school. Help us understand. What are open badges, and how does this work with elementary kids?

What is a digital badge and how do students earn one?

Amy: Yes! So a digital badge is a visual representation, such as you would see a Girl or Boy Scout badge, except it carries metadata with it. So you would see who issued the badge, the date the badge was achieved, artifacts related to the badge — that might be a student’s visual representation, voice interaction (the student could talk about their achievements), or pictures to show a hard or soft skill learned in school.

Vicki: So how do they earn these badges?

Amy: Badges can be earned as a complement to what’s currently happening in the classroom, or to replace grading, so there are a variety of ways to use badges in the classroom.

What are you finding out about using badges?

My research focuses on how badges can be used to attain foundational skills, such as in reading, and how the badges can move the students forward intrinsically.

The teacher will look at the goals or standards they have for their state or their school, and they’ll partner with the student to see where the student is and where they’d like to go. The teacher uses the badges according to where the student is.

Let’s say in kindergarten, the student was trying to learn Letter Sounds. The student and teacher would meet and work to gain the skills on the letter sounds and then could show their knowledge with that metadata that’s attached to the badge.

It really serves as a very motivating, transparent goal path. The student is able to see what they’ve achieved, what they’ve mastered, and where they’re going and what they’d like to achieve.

Vicki: I guess the part that intrigues me — of course extrinsic motivation is a motivation that comes from outside of you, and intrinsic is the holy grail of motivation because that comes from within us — but a badge is obviously an extrinsic reward. It’s something they are given by someone else.

Extrinsic or intrinsic motivation?

Are you saying that if you use badges for a while, eventually they can go away, and they’re more motivated to still read, even when the badges go away, or not?

Amy: Yeah, well we look at badges from kind of the seminal work of Dweck and people like Vygotsky and Piaget, in how we look at learning. We look at badges as not just a sticker, or a representation of something. It’s more about, “How can we use the badges to scaffold learning, to have the student self-regulate their learning, and self-guage where they are, where they need to go, and what they’d like to learn.” So the badge kind of helps push that in and implement that continuum of learning for the student.

Vicki: OK. So it’s helping them learn, but are you noticing a change in intrinsic motivation as a result?

Amy: Yes. We’re noticing that the students are saying, “Oh! This is my goal. This is what I want to go after. I want to learn…” The students will explain, “I want to level up. I want to move to the next level.”

They’re able to just get a grasp on that, rather than your typical grading and assessment that happens where the teacher says, “Well, you need to get here.”

The student is able to say, “I’m here. And now I want to reach this goal.”

That does become what we have seen is very intrinsically motivating fo the student.

Vicki: So choosing the different goals they want to meet next, out of say, twenty or thirty opportunities to level up.

Amy: Yes.

Can you provide an example?

Vicki: So give me an example of what they might choose. I mean, are they, like the kindergarten kids. “OK, I’ve got the letter A badge, and now I want the letter B badge.” Is that kind of what they’re doing?

Amy: They might go for a greater goal, or they might say, “Now I know these sight words. I would like to be able to read this book.”

Or they’re choosing specific letter sounds. Or maybe for them, that doesn’t feel right, right now, and they want — perhaps they just go for a cooperating with their peers badge, if that’s where they’re at. And how can they use cooperation or different aspects to pull that into reading.

So, it’s kind of a more of a holistic view, but taking whatever it is that they are working on or feel strong enough about to reach those foundational skills.

Vicki: So what tool are you using to assign and track the awards?

What tool are you using?

Amy: Credly Online creates an option to create badges and attach all of the data to those badges that they’re earning.

So a teacher can easily say, “This is your letter sound badge, along with that, here’s a picture of…” The student was working on this specific task, or the student to show their learning through a video enhancement. Or maybe it is some sort of a graphic organizer or some type of picture they want to display on there.

But that can all be created through programs like Credly or Mozilla. There are a number of free programs online that teachers are able to access to do that.

Vicki: OK. So you’re tracking on Credly.

Can you think of, Amy, an example of a student — of course no names — that this has really changed and improved their ability to read?

Has this made an impact on any particular student?

Amy: Mmm-hmm. I have one student in particular that struggled with comprehending in second grade nonfiction text. So, it just… wasn’t very motivating to the student.

So we began pulling in… I said, “Well, is there a specific badge you would like to use, based on a fictional character, because that’s the genre that you’re really interested in right now?”

And so the character was based on a series of bears. At one point, we said, “Well, is there any part of this where you badge on top of the fiction books and create a nonfiction meaning.”

So the child began making that selection and was able to really strengthen their area in nonfiction reading because they wanted to move to the next level. They had mastered fictional reading opportunities, and wanted to move to nonfiction.

Where might a teacher begin?

Vicki: Hmm. OK. So Amy, if a school or teacher is looking at using badges, how do they start?

Amy: They might start by just saying, “This is one skill I’d love for my students to master. I’m going to focus on this one specific skill,” whatever that might be.

And then they can go on Credly. It’s a free signup. And you would go in there and say, “OK, we’re working on this skill.”

Let’s say you’re doing an animal project. The student would choose a specific animal or area the student is interested in, and the teacher could assign begin creating badges that meet each student’s specific need for that project or whatever skill of mastery or opportunity they feel they would like to open for their class.

Vicki: Amy, are there any resources that will help a teacher kind of understand the 1-2-3s of getting started?

Amy: Sure. Mozilla has a great amount of resources on there. You could just do a Google search for “open badging in Mozilla” and it will bring up how to start issuing a badge, how earners receive a badge.

  • Open Badging: https://openbadges.org/

Mozilla takes the teacher through a very sequential process of how to go about starting the badge process.

Vicki: Excellent. We’ll put those in the Shownotes.

Teacher, open badges and using badges in the classroom are something that a lot of teachers are really getting some interesting and awesome results with. You need to take a look at some of the best practices that are out there –it has been around for a little while — of the right way to do this.

Amy, thank you for sharing with us. We will include some information in the Shownotes so that our listeners can learn more.


Amy: Great. Thank you so much.

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

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Amy Cooper received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota. She earned her Master’s degree in Language Arts from the University of Minnesota. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Professional Leadership Inquiry at Concordia University, Portland, Oregon.

Her dissertation seeks to understand how digital badges positively impact intrinsic motivation in the area of reading at the elementary level. Amy has fourteen years of experience working as an elementary educator.

Twitter: @amycooper100

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 Open Badges in Elementary School appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Points To Get Across in a Teaching Interview

The Principal of Change George Couros - 16 April, 2018 - 23:30

I applied for a job at a historical park when I was in university, and I was excited about the opportunity to be a tour guide and share some of the history with visitors. Eager to get the opportunity, I went through the interview and thought I was doing well.  Then they asked me this question and I will never forget it.  The interviewer held up a pencil and said, “Pretend you are telling the history of this pencil to a group.  Go!”  Right away I shared that I didn’t know anything about the history of the pencil, and the interviewer said, “Make it up then!”

I stumbled along making stuff up that was utterly incoherent and had a Billy Madison debate moment where nothing I made any sense and everyone in the room was dumber for listening to what I had shared.

To this day, I still think the question was stupid and more of a “gotcha” moment. It was not something that was helpful for the interviewers to determine if I was a good fit for the job because I would hope that any of the history that I would have shared at the park would have been accurate, not something I made up on the spot.

As I have seen interviews in education, I have seen some of this disconnect as well.  Asking teachers to “teach a lesson” to a panel, when we are looking for more collaborative learning in classrooms, or panels that don’t talk to applicants and have conversations, but shoot rapid-fire questions their way.  If you are going to get the best educator for your school, you have to do your best to see how they are in an environment that is most like your school, or the school you want to create.

As someone who is being interviewed, you don’t ask the questions but that doesn’t mean you can’t guide the conversations though.  Some of people I have interviewed and some that have interviewed me, keep coming back to specific themes, no matter the questions.  When working with educators that are about to have interviews or newer teachers, I encourage them to have some focus points for interviews that they will come back to throughout the questions.  Here are five key points that I would suggest you look at:

  1. Relationships (staff and students) – One of my favorite principals in the world stated that if you were exceptional with relationships but weak with content, you could last a longer in education than if the reverse is true.  Of course we want educators with both, but focusing on the relationship piece is paramount, this goes beyond students as well. I know some very gifted educators, who are great with children but struggle with other adults.  The focus is finding school teachers, educators that are focused on the benefit of every child in the school, not only ones they teach directly. If the word relationships does not come up in your interview, I would be concerned.
  2. Have a willingness to grow and learn. –  Whatever you know now, should be less than what you know in a year. Somehow in the interview, it is important to give examples of times that you grew through your career as a teacher and learner. You could have been an amazing teacher ten years ago, but if nothing has changed, you can now be irrelevant.  Growth is necessary as individuals, or will not happen at the organizational level.
  3. You have access to knowledge outside of yourself. – Collaboration is key in education, so if you are limited to your own thoughts and ideas, so is your classroom.  Face-to-face collaboration is crucial, but how can you learn outside of your local community? For this post, I asked people for thoughts that I could share for this post:
  4. If you were interviewing a teacher for your school, what things would you like to hear from them? Would love to know your thoughts.

  5. — George Couros (@gcouros) April 15, 2018

  6. If you read the responses, you will see that there are so many great ideas that go beyond this post.  If you want to provide a “world class” education, you have to take advantage of access across the world.
  7. Passionate about the content they teach. – Obviously, content knowledge is crucial to any teaching position, but if you are in education, we all know the teacher that knows their content inside out but is unable to share that knowledge with their classroom. Having a passion for what you teach though, can become contagious.  If kids see you love your subject, it is probable; it will become contagious.
  8. Education is a calling, not a career. – Why did you become a teacher? The prevailing sentiment is that teachers do not get into it for the money, but I also think about the mental tax teachers pay and how much we feel alongside our students.  This doesn’t mean that a teacher should only care about teaching; they should have outside interests as well. But if you don’t LOVE the job, the job will eat you alive or wear you down.

Obviously, the five above are vital points that I think are important to get across in an interview, no matter the question, but are a personal preference.  What would be some of the ideas that you would want to ensure you were to get across in a teaching interview?

Categories: Planet

Infographics in Education with Eileen Lennon

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 16 April, 2018 - 21:30

Eileen Lennon on episode 291 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Infographics are powerful communication tools. Today, infographic pro, Eileen Lennon, shares how she uses infographics, creates them, and why they’re such a powerful tool.

On April 26, celebrate PowerofEcon on Twitter with Discovery Education, CME Group, and their Econ Essentials Program. We’ll have free resources available for downloading. To join the celebration, tune into the Twitter chat with me, fellow teachers, and the CME Group’s chief economist on April 26th at noon Eastern Time, using #PowerofEcon.

Visit www.coolcatteacher.com/econ for more information and remember to tweet out your pics about how you teach your students using #PowerofEcon.

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Enhanced Transcript Infographics in Education with Eileen Lennon

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e278
Date: April 19, 2018

Vicki: So I was talking to my friend, Lisa Nielsen, about her blog, and she has this amazing woman, Eileen Lennon who creates these infographics that get shared like crazy!

So Eileen is on the show with us today, to talk about these powerful infographics and how she uses them to communicate.

So Eileen, how did you get started using infographics to communicate?

How did you get started with infographics?

Eileen: Actually, it was Lisa. She had spoken to a bunch of the students in the city system and asked what would speak to them, what they would want as material to learn about digital citizenship. And they said actually, infographics was what they respond to the best. They don’t want to read books or brochures. They wanted to look at things.

So she started with infographics, and she asked me to help her. So I started with her, creating the social media guidelines for the New York City Department of Education.

Vicki: OK. So, how do you create these infographics?

How do you create your infographics?

Eileen: The website I use is Piktochart. They have a lot of templates, lots and lots of templates, and I get an inspiration from one of them, and I go from there.

In my head, I have an idea that I want this to look like something, and then I just find a template that is close enough to that, and I go from there.

So they give you a starting point — someplace to start from.

Vicki: Now you’ve got to have great content, though, right?

I mean, doesn’t it take a lot of time to research to get the good content for these infographics?

Where do you get your content?

Eileen: That’s where Lisa comes in. She writes incredible articles and blog posts, and then she sends me the blog post. Then I cut as I need to out of it so that it makes an interesting infographic.

Vicki: How do the students respond to these infographics?

Eileen: They love looking around in a classroom at something that’s relevant and visually appealing.

It’s not the teacher’s handwriting plastered all over the walls. It’s something aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and if you’re sitting there staring at a wall for 45 minutes, it’s kind of nice to be staring at something a little more prettier than that.

Vicki: You’ve also gotten an incredible response from educators, because didn’t you make a graphic for some things that George Couros has done? It’s gotten an incredible response. Tell us about that one.

#InnovatorsMindset was such a good book, I had to make an infographic about it. Thanks @gcouros! pic.twitter.com/yLIfzLWrFW

— Eileen Lennon (@eileen_lennon) February 6, 2018

Tell us about your most popular infographic to date

Eileen: (laughs)

Yes. I read his book, as most people have. I was very impressed. It was a profound change in how I was thinking about things. So I realized that if I was going to keep that in front of me, I needed to have it in front of me as an infographic.

I created the infographic really for myself, but I did want to put it on my blog and things like that. I reached out to George and said, “Is it OK if I do this?”

And he said, “Oh, absolutely! I’m going to use it now, too!”

So he pushed it out even more than I did, and now I’m getting people all over the country “liking” that infographic since then.

It’s even gone past that, that he wrote a blog post about how I did ask permission, and I didn’t steal his material, because that had happened to him very often.

So that I asked permission, I cite my source, and took it and recycled it to something that I could use on my wall. So now I come into my room every day and I see almost a little book report I did for that book, reminding me what I need to do in my classroom every day.

Vicki: You know, Eileen, you remind me of what Sylvia Duckworth has done.

Eileen: Yes!

Vicki: I kind of feel like you are to infographics what Sylvia is to Sketchnotes. What do you think about that comparison?

Eileen: Absolutely. I don’t want to step on her toes. She does amazing stuff.

I’m trying to stay in my lane.

Vicki: (laughs)… which is infographics.

But here’s the thing. We all have ways to share visually, don’t we?

Eileen: Yes. Yes, we do.

And I just found that… I have an art background, so this was helping me “scratch that itch” too.

I was able to be a designer and spread my thoughts about teaching a little further.

Vicki: If a teacher wants to start using infographics, either themself or with their students, how do they start?

Where might a teacher start with designing infographics?

Eileen: I would think that even just going into Google Slides or PowerPoint and just facing a small slide first would be easiest and the least intimidating way to go. Take a quote, take an image, and put it all together on a page so that it looks good.

When you start feeling comfortable about the type being this size, and relating it to the picture, then you’re starting to get a sense of design.

So that’s one piece. Then you add another slide to that, and keep working toward a bigger and bigger piece.

Then you can move over to the infographic courses that are online. Piktochart is one of them. Easely is another one, and also Canva. You can choose any of those, and then they have templates so that you wouldn’t feel so intimidated to use from that point on.

But I would say, start with just a slideshow kind of almost index card image to play with, and then grow from there.

Vicki: It’s really easy to end up with a tacky infographic.

Eileen: (laughs)

What pitfalls would you avoid?

Vicki: Do you have any design tips, since you have a design background?

Eileen: (laughs) Yes.

I call it the Ransom Note School of Design.

Vicki: (laughs)

Eileen: Keep your typefaces to about three. You have your heading typeface, an accent or like a caption, and your body text. You don’t need any more than that.

And also colors. It’s not a coloring book. You’re trying to send a message out, and it’s not supposed to hurt the eyes. So keep it to a uniform color so people can recognize the blue is always the headline, or the green is always the captions. You want to give them some visual clues about the information you’re giving to them.

And, don’t cram it all into a menu design. Give the eye a little space to move around. Have one basic focal point as your “catch” and then let the eye drift around the page to find the other information in order of importance.

Vicki: Now just because you use pictures and have text on there doesn’t mean it’s an infographic.

Eileen: (laughs)

Vicki: What’s the purpose of an infographic? (laughs)

Pictures and text alone do not make an infographic. What does?

Eileen: An infographic is to convey a message. Either doing that with actual graphics or with type depends on what you’re trying to say.

But a graphic is always really important on an infographic. It lends some professionalism to it, and you can cram a lot of information into a little graph. So it always helps to have an actual graph on your infographic.

Vicki: You have been doing this for a while. What are some of the top mistakes that you think that educators or or their students make when creating infographics?

What are the top mistakes that new designers make with infographics?

Eileen: They try to cover too much. They put a lot of type on a page.

It’s supposed to be a piece of art, a design. Don’t put paragraphs. Bullet points are really the only way you should go.

And trying to get everything to scream at the same volume is also a big one. Let one thing be what catches your eye, and then as your eye wanders, let each thing be a little bit less important, so that the eye almost knows goes where to go next.

Vicki: Obviously, you’re proud of the infographic that you did for George’s book, Innovator’s Mindset.

Do you have another infographic that you think, “OK, I’m really proud of this…” ?

Do you have another infographic that you are really proud of?

Eileen: Lisa’s blog post recently about school safety. She had gone into a church and reflected on all the things the church was doing to make people feel welcome, and wanted to take some of those ideas and concepts and make schools do the same thing.

So I was thinking of an infographic I could make with a church theme to it. I was thinking of stained glass, and one of the templates on Piktochart had a stained glass feel to it.

That one spoke to me immediately, and it has a peaceful… It got the mood that I was looking for, and not just the information I wanted out. I really like that one.

Vicki: As we finish up, are there any resources that you go to for ideas for your infographics?

What resources would you share for new designers to get inspiration?

Eileen: Like I said, the templates in all three of those websites are really where you can begin and end with inspiration. They have templates for every — education, business, Sweet 16s. They have different categories that you can scour, but they really do provide quite a bit of resources on the sites themselves.

Vicki: Eileen Lennon is an expert on infographics. We are going to be linking to a lot of her resources. Of course Lisa Nielsen does share a lot of these on her blog as well, and we’ll link to that as well.

But I think it’s and important message for us to remember that — people like to say a picture’s worth a thousand words — and you know, an infographic may be worth even more, because it has so much content.

But we are more likely to read things that are more graphically appealing, in today’s modern era.

So if we want to get our message out there, we need to be able to create infographics or Sketchnotes, as we’ve had Sylvia on the show before.

We need to make it appealing and get that message out there. So check out these infographics, and I hope you’ll try it out in your classroom.

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

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Eileen Lennon is part of the team that developed the social media guidelines and resources for the NYC Board of Education. She is Microsoft, Google, and CommonSense certified and moderates the monthly #NYCSchoolsTechChat. Eileen has also guest moderated national Twitter chats such as #EdTechChat, #growthmindset, and #connectedTL. She has presented at various technology conferences, including the NYCDOE Tech Summit, EduCon, and the Tech & Learning Summit. Ms. Lennon was awarded the NYCDOE Excellence in School Technology Award at the annual NYCDOE Tech Summit in July 2016 and the Most Innovative Use of Social Media Awarded at NYC Technology Forum in November 2017. She teaches technology at the Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside, Queens.

Blog: http://mslennonblog.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @eileen_lennon

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 Infographics in Education with Eileen Lennon appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

We've always done it that way — The Learner's Way

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 15 April, 2018 - 18:54


  • Experience shapes our understanding of the world and our responses to it. Our past influences our decision making and constrains our imaginations of what is and is not possible. Understanding this is a crucial step towards change; a first step towards discovering a better way to do things. Until we understand how our experience is limiting our imaginations we will continue to be restrained by the way things have always been done.  - Nigel Coutts

Tags: education, Learning, teaching, why, purpose, understanding

by: Nigel Coutts

Categories: International News

Every “Best Practice” in Education Was Once an Innovation

The Principal of Change George Couros - 14 April, 2018 - 07:49

Adam Grant recently tweeted this article, focusing on the importance of theory and delving into the unknown for science. It is a fascinating read, and the end quote stuck out to me:

Some of the most interesting scientific work gets done when scientists develop bizarre theories in the face of something new or unexplained. Madcap ideas must find a way of relating to the world – but demanding falsifiability or observability, without any sort of subtlety, will hold science back. It’s impossible to develop successful new theories under such rigid restrictions.

In Grant’s original tweet regarding the article (read the replies; there is some interesting back and forth), he states:

Demanding proof stalls creativity. New ideas need room to breathe, and a good imagination will always be ahead of the best evidence.

So what does this mean for education?

When I read this, I first thought of people always demanding that everything is done in classrooms in schools has to be “best practice”.  Ultimately, that means nothing new can come into education, because if it is unproven, then it can’t be best practice. Here’s the thing though…

Everything we have ever deemed as “best practice” in education was once an innovation.

Someone saw things weren’t working the way they should, and they did something better.  I have shared what I believe this process continuously looks like in education.

But these ideas did not come out of thin air. People have based it on their own experience, understanding the students in front of them, while looking at the future in front of them.  There is a balance of learning from what we know and how things could get better.  If we only did what we know, where does “learning” come into the fray?

Not every new idea works.

But not every “best practice” works either for every child.

The focus is not holding onto the past or being solely focused on the future. The focus is on learners and creating betters schools and classrooms.

To do that, we will have to focus on continuous growth, not only what we know.

Categories: Planet

Teachers For Now or Teachers Forever?

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 14 April, 2018 - 04:10

One really can get a lot out of following Twitter hashtags from conferences and other events. Today I saw the following Tweet:

This in a nutshell is the concern with a lot of current efforts to prepare computer science teachers in a hurry. Yes, you can teach a teacher to teach a specific course and you can give them a lot of scaffolding and tools to get by. They may even see great results. But what happens when things change?

My school has something like 20 different courses in the Math department. Can you imagine hiring a teacher who could only teach one of them? Even one that is a soft of default course? Seems like a long shot. We want our Math teachers to be able to teach a range of courses. We want that not just so they can be moved around as needs change or to give them diversity during the day but because we want teachers who know where their course fits into the whole curriculum stream.

Shouldn’t we want that for computer science teachers. The #Home4CS event, from what I can tell from Twitter, was about preparing pre-service computer science teachers in university schools of education. One can easily find Masters degree programs in teaching English or teaching Math or teaching other sciences. A MS is Teaching Computer Science? That’s a bit harder to find. That’s really going to be essential if computer science education is going to grow and mature the way we really need it to develop.

Content knowledge is absolutely critical for teachers to be able to continue as computer science changes. It’s necessary but not sufficient though. Teachers need to know how to teach computer science. It’s not the same as other subjects. Yes, people with deep content knowledge can learn to be good teachers. And teachers can pick up content knowledge and develop into good CS teachers. Learning content AND how to deliver it before starting in the classroom would be a huge advantage. It would be better for teacher and students alike.

It is not going to happen until schools of education start making a home for computer science educators.

Categories: Planet
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