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How Do Kids Learn and Remember? #motivationMonday

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 29 May, 2017 - 23:56

A conversation with Andrew Stadel on episode 86 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

How do kids learn and remember? Teacher Andrew Stadel, @mr_stadel founder of the popular site estimation180.com, talks about this pursuit of learning in the classroom. This topic is his summer research topic. As you plan your summer and ponder the classroom, look at what you’ll research this summer.

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  • The transcript will be uploaded and posted right here as soon as soon as it is available.

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In today’s show, Andrew Stadel talks about his look into learning:

  • Two books Andrew is reading this summer
  • How Andrew picked his topic to study this summer
  • What he’s learned so far about what we remember
  • What does work in the classroom
  • A pep talk about why we show up every day

I hope you enjoy this episode with Andrew Stadel!

Want to hear another episode on pursuing what we need to learn as teachers? Listen to David Geurin talk about Simple Ways to Find Your Teaching Blindspots in the Classroom.

Selected Links from this Episode

Full Bio As Submitted Andrew Stadel

Andrew Stadel is a Digital Learning Coach for Tustin Unified School District in California, working with secondary math teachers to use and implement technology in meaningful ways to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics. Andrew is the creator of Estimation 180, www.estimation180.com, a website designed to provide students and teachers with daily challenges to help improve their number sense.

Transcript for this episode

To be posted as soon as it is available. Check back soon!

The post How Do Kids Learn and Remember? #motivationMonday appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

3 Ways Schools Condition Students

The Principal of Change George Couros - 28 May, 2017 - 23:28

Several times a year, I will receive emails from parents about a post I wrote in 2010 titled, “The Impact of Awards”.  Often, they are reaching out because they are struggling to watch their own children have issues at school because of the culture of “school awards”.  I encourage you to take a look at the original post, but here is one of the major themes:

To this day, people still challenge me that this post is about being soft on kids, but to me, it is about understanding what we are focusing on.  Are we trying to develop students as deep and thoughtful learners, or do we inadvertently do things that have students focus more on awards or grades than learning?  If anything, once I stopped focusing on awards and grades as being a driver, my expectations for my students became higher, as it did for myself.  Helping students reach their fullest potential and help them achieve their dreams is a lot harder to do long-term, and will take a significant amount of dedication from both student and educator.

This doesn’t stop at adulthood.  I have seen educators focus incessantly on winning recognition, not for the content of their work, but how many RT’s or votes they can receive from others.  Does this short-term recognition do anything long term for individuals other than providing a nice recognition in their twitter bio?  I am not against awards, but I struggle when we lose focus on doing the hard work.

Here is the thing…Kindergarten students don’t walk into schools wondering what their grade is or why they didn’t get an award.  We condition them to that.  What seems innocent early on in school, can do damage later.  Many teachers at higher levels struggle with having students do something that requires deep thought in the process, and you might even hear, “Just give me the test so I can move on.”  This is learned behaviour through schools. Give me the assignment, I give it back, mark it, let’s move on.  

As kids go through the process of school, here are three things that inadvertently condition them (and sometimes parents) within the process of school.

1. Grades as a driver

As many schools are moving towards comprehensive reporting, sharing with students through thorough comments and assessments what they have learned, many students still ask, “What’s my grade?”, not worried about the comments.  Many parents do the same thing.

Understand this…Grades, no matter how scientific we believe them to be, they are subjective.  Yes, if a spelling test is given, I can tell exactly how many words are spelled wrong and spelled right.  But, how much do you weight that spelling test on a final grade?  If later in the year, a student can spell all of those same words correct, are you using an average or are you disregarding previous tests and giving what they know at the time.  If the job of teaching is to help students learn things they don’t know, why do we punish students later on in the year for learning the things they didn’t know through averages? 

What about languages?  What does an “A” look or sound like in teaching French?  One student could have the same ability in two different classes and get two different marks, yet if you want to really hear how a student has improved in French, why not use podcasts or videos to hear them speak French throughout the year?  This is so much more powerful than what any grade could provide to show growth.  Do you teach students to get an ‘A’, or do you focus on teaching them to be fluent?  Many kids can get an ‘A’ in French yet walk out of the classroom and not keep any of the language.

Kids do not walk into school asking for grades, but they do crave learning.  We need to do whatever we can to keep their focus on that instead of a number and a letter. I know that if people wanted to wreck blogging for me, grade my posts.  That would do the trick for me and I am afraid it doesn’t help students either.

2. Receiving Awards

Way too early, we teach students that our “best learners” need to be recognized for their achievements.  Yet, sometimes our best learners are not the ones winning the awards.  Sometimes it is our most compliant students, who have learned to play the game of school, as you can read in this speech from a valedictorian, Erica Goldson, that I shared in my book, “The Innovator’s Mindset“:

I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer—not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition, a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and becomea great test taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I’m scared.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special. Every human on this planet is so special, so aren’t we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation rather than memorization, for creativity rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

Many of our brightest students are not academically gifted.  Do we look for that brilliance?  Do we recognize it when we see it?  Think about this…how often do we go to a conference or have a PD day that is solely focused on getting better grades, as opposed to professional learning that is focused on finding genius in each one of our students.  There is not one program or procedure that can guarantee that all students will do well academically, but I guarantee you that if you looked for strengths in each one of the children you serve, you could find it.

Yet that genius is diminished based on how well a child does at school. One parent shared with me that an awards ceremony at their school, only students with a certain GPA were allowed to even attend.  I know there is always two sides to the story, but some of your hardest working students could miss these types of events because of factors outside of their control.

Let’s just get something clear here…I do not believe that you should give every student an award, and I am not into participation ribbons.  We tried to solve a problem that we seemed to create in education by moving from one side of the pendulum to the other.  But letting students know they are valued and appreciated for their gifts is something that I believe in deeply (as I do for adults…don’t you want your boss to see the same thing whether you win an award or not?).

Just a question to think about…if you were to start a school from scratch, would awards for “top student” be a part of this plan?  If not, then why do we continue with it in our current schools?  If so, why?

(For more reading on this, I highly recommend the book “Drive” by Dan Pink.  It changed my thinking significantly on the topic.)

3. Compliance good. Challenge bad.

I am guilty of saying this earlier in my career to the question, “Why do we have to learn this?”

“Because I said so.”

That’s it. No discussion. Do as I say because I am the adult.

But “challenge” is a good thing, and it should be encouraged.  Think of something as simple as providing a rubric for students.  Do we ask, “What do you like about it and what would you change?”, or do we not bother because we are the “expert”?

Do we encourage kids to share different worldviews of their own, or do we hope to convince them of what we believe?  Do we understand that a student’s experience is not the same as our own, and does that encourage us to try to empathize and learn about them, or condition them to us?

Iron sharpens iron.  We should not encourage students to only challenge their peers, but ourselves as educators.  This does not mean that they are disrespectful, but teaching students to challenge ideas and thoughts in powerful yet respectful ways is a great skill to be developed that makes us all better.

I have asked students to stay in my presentations to adults and give me feedback on what they liked and what they don’t.  They almost seem in shock that I would want them to challenge me, but if I am truly speaking to serve them, the only way I know I am on the right track for them is if I get their feedback.

When we remember that we serve the students and not the other way around, we see that challenge from our students is not only beneficial but crucial to growth to serve them.

Kids are curious when they walk into schools.  If we aren’t careful, they will lose that along the way becoming slowly lost in the process of “school”.  There are so many things that are going on in schools that are currently amazing. I have seen more of a significant change in education in the past five years than in my previous 15 as an educator.  That being said, this doesn’t mean we can’t challenge our traditions and norms and continuously ask, “Is there a better way?”

This question should never be off limits for anything we do in education.

Categories: Planet

The art of modern writing — The Learner's Way

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 28 May, 2017 - 19:39


  • Learning to write is one of the fundamental skills we gain from our time at school. Writing is one of the cornerstones of learning and we devote significant time and energy towards its mastery. Skilled writing is a mark of an educated individual and a skill required for academic success. But in the modern world what makes a skilled writer? What has changed about writing and what literary skills should we focus our attention on.  - Nigel Coutts

Tags: writing, learner, education, technology, teaching, collaboration

by: Nigel Coutts

Categories: International News

#UtopiaforRealists #review and my #reading in May

Darcy Moore's Blog - 28 May, 2017 - 13:12

Consider this: The word utopia means both “good place” and “no place.” What we need are alternative horizons that spark the imagination. And I do mean horizons in the plural; conflicting utopias are the lifeblood of democracy, after all.

…in the revolutionary year of 1968, when young demonstrators the world over were taking to the streets, five famous economists – John Kenneth Galbraith, Harold Watts, James Tobin, Paul Samuelson, and Robert Lampman – wrote an open letter to Congress. “The country will not have met its responsibility until everyone in the nation is assured an income no less than the officially recognised definition of poverty,” they said in an article published on the front page of the New York Times. According to the economists, the costs would be “substantial, but well within the nation’s economic and fiscal capacity.” The letter was signed by 1,200 fellow economists.

Eradicating poverty in the U.S. would cost only $175 billion, less than 1% of GDP.48 That’s roughly a quarter of U.S. military spending. Winning the war on poverty would be a bargain compared to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which a Harvard study estimated have cost us a staggering $4–$6 trillion. As a matter of fact, all the world’s developed countries had it within their means to wipe out poverty years ago.

 has generated considerable discussion across the political spectrum by advocating that citizens should be provided with a “basic income”. Most reviews and commentary about the ideas of this Dutch intellectual, most recently from his book, Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There (2017), focus on this advocacy but relatively little has been said about his analysis of the direction of our education systems and the importance of good teaching.

If you were to draw up a list of the most influential professions, teacher would likely rank among the highest. This isn’t because teachers accrue rewards like money, power, or status, but because teaching shapes something much bigger – the course of human history…take an ordinary elementary school teacher. Forty years at the head of a class of twenty-five children amounts to influencing the lives of 1,000 children. Moreover, that teacher is moulding pupils at an age when they’re at their most malleable. They’re still just children, after all. He or she not only equips them for the future, but in the process also has a direct hand in shaping that future. If there’s one place, then, where we can intervene in a way that will pay dividends for society down the road, it’s in the classroom.

Yet that’s barely happening. All the big debates in education are about format. About delivery. About didactics. Education is consistently presented as a means of adaptation – as a lubricant to help you glide more effortlessly through life. On the education conference circuit, an endless parade of trend watchers prophesy about the future and essential twenty-first-century skills, the buzzwords being “creative,” “adaptable,” and “flexible.” The focus, invariably, is on competencies, not values. On didactics, not ideals. On “problem-solving ability,” but not which problems need solving. Invariably, it all revolves around the question: Which knowledge and skills do today’s students need to get hired in tomorrow’s job market – the market of 2030?

Bregman believes this is precisely the wrong question. In 2030, we will more likely to need “savvy accountants untroubled by a conscience” if the current trend continues where multinational companies dodge taxes and countries like “Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland become even bigger tax havens”. He posits that “egotism is set to be the quintessential twenty-first-century skill” unless we make sound, wise shifts in policy direction. Bregman has a much better question for educators and politicians to ask, “which knowledge and skills do we want our children to have in 2030?” 

It will be attractive to many educators and parents to hear that Bregman suggests we restructure education around values and ideals rather than merely following business and market trends. Instead of anticipating and adapting the focus must be on “steering and creating”. He suggests that the “job market will happily tag along” if there is more art, history, and philosophy in the school curriculum. This will lead to “a lift in demand for artists, historians, and philosophers.” I certainly would like to this this is true. Either way, education policy must reflect our larger human ideals rather than that of those to firmly in the thrall of marketplace thinking.

“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” a former math whiz at Facebook recently lamented

Back in 1964, Isaac Asimov was already predicting, “Mankind will … become largely a race of machine tenders.” But that turns out to have been a little optimistic. Now, robots are threatening even the jobs of the tenders. To quote a joke popular among economists: “The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”

Bregman is clearly advocating intelligent policy design. Education systems are fundamental levers for maintaining and extending civil society and must do more than merely adapt to changes in economic structures. Policy-makers currently do not have a large or long enough view and they themselves are adapting to trends rather than shaping what is best for young people and civil society. Values and ideology are the foundations and it is clear that educational and societal data is not really analysed but has become just another altar to pray/prey. 

Recently, an academic article on The cult of the guru: the neo-Taylorism of Hattie in School Leadership & Management,* argues “that the message of brand Hattie has been uncritically adopted and spread across Australian education systems in a previously unmatched scope and scale”  and that is “not only the latest fad or fashion, almost to the point of saturation, but reached a level where it can now be labelled the ‘Cult of Hattie’”. The author, Scott Eacott, would likely be nodding in agreement at much of Bregman’s analysis. Eacott states:

The pursuit of effectiveness and efficiency that which was central to Taylorism was once again popular. Hattie has provided the means through which scientific management can be achieved in educational leadership.

No one needs to read Bregman’s book to know that commercial needs and the business of making money is in the ascendant with government policy-making held hostage to the needs of the market. This is impacting on our children and there’s some very hard data to suggest change is desperately needed. There are more people suffering from obesity worldwide than from hunger and according to the World Health Organisation, depression has even become the biggest health problem among teens. Ironically, it is not just the processes but the ideology of the fast food industry that has permeated education in the last three decades making it very easy to understand the essentially correct nature of Bregman’s analysis. When we neglect our values and go with some of our more dubious societal trends in education, the impact is profoundly disturbing.

…the market and commercial interests are enjoying free rein. The food industry supplies us with cheap garbage loaded with salt, sugar, and fat, putting us on the fast track to the doctor and dietitian. Advancing technologies are laying waste to ever more jobs, sending us back again to the job coach. And the ad industry encourages us to spend money we don’t have on junk we don’t need in order to impress people we can’t stand. Then we can go cry on our therapist’s shoulder. That’s the dystopia we are living in today.

“Productivity is for robots. Humans excel at wasting time, experimenting, playing, creating, and exploring.”

Governing by numbers is the last resort of a country that no longer knows what it wants, a country with no vision of utopia.

My personal experience of seeing how universities now function makes it clear that education mirroring societal shifts that have an over-reliance on the market and making money are deeply troubling. It is hard not to be troubled by politicians, ministers and former state premier’s who hop quickly, after relatively brief careers in public service, into bank jobs and corporate careers on leaving parliament. It is hard not to notice how hard they pursued privatisation agendas that sell-off our shared heritage and huge swathes of state-owned resources, some of them educational, before they jumped – or were pushed. Bregman has many quotable quotes but one that really resounded is to do with our culture of learning that has been relegated to that of a market and the blind adherence to the prevailing -ism:

…see it in academia, where everybody is too busy writing to read, too busy publishing to debate. In fact, the twenty-first-century university resembles nothing so much as a factory, as do our hospitals, schools, and TV networks. What counts is achieving targets. Whether it’s the growth of the economy, audience shares, publications – slowly but surely, quality is being replaced by quantity.

Bregman will hearten many readers who understand how important education policy is to the future wellbeing of our civil society when he talks about a vision of progress that “begins with something no knowledge economy can produce: wisdom about what it means to live well…we have to direct our minds to the future. To stop consuming our own discontent through polls and the relentlessly bad-news media. To consider alternatives and form new collectives. To transcend this confining zeitgeist and recognise our shared idealism”.


When asked what she considered to be her greatest victory, Thatcher’s reply was “New Labour”: Under the leadership of neoliberal Tony Blair, even her social democratic rivals in the Labour Party had come around to her worldview.

To gain some understanding of how “far to the right” politics has lurched in Western countries during the last forty years considers Bregman’s analysis of how close the much-maligned American President Richard Nixon was to successfully instituting a basic income scheme in the late 1960s (before the bill foundered in the Senate):

President Nixon presented a bill providing for a modest basic income, calling it “the most significant piece of social legislation in our nation’s history.” According to Nixon, the baby boomers would do two things deemed impossible by earlier generations. Besides putting a man on the moon (which had happened the month before), their generation would also, finally, eradicate poverty…A White House poll found 90% of all newspapers enthusiastically receptive to the plan. The Chicago Sun-Times called it “A Giant Leap Forward,” the Los Angeles Times “A bold new blueprint.” The National Council of Churches was in favour, and so were the labor unions and even the corporate sector.

There was broad consensus among economists, unions, church groups and politicians, across the political spectrum in the late 1960s, that a basic income was sound policy and an idea whose time had come. Bregman explains how this came unstuck and Overton’s Window closed. It is difficult  to imagine any major party in Great Britain, Australia or the USA instituting such a scheme in our contemporary political environment.

Having said that, Bregman points our current context is also one one where robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI), the next iteration of mechanisation, will likely result in huge numbers of citizens not being able to find gainful employment. The rise of right wing populists and demagogues is a largely a result of rising unemployment and a disparity of opportunity evident to many who have lost out during the globalisation of recent times. Perhaps Overton’s Window will open again and more equitable distribution of wealth will become a political necessity. How the education system is structured will be an important aspect of how this change is managed if we are to maintain our civilisations.

“To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilisation.” Bertrand Russell (1872–1970)

Other exciting ideas

On the eve of World War I, borders existed mostly as lines on paper. Passports were rare and the countries that did issue them (like Russia and the Ottoman Empire) were seen as uncivilised. Besides, that wonder of nineteenth-century technology, the train, was poised to erase borders for good.

At a 1920 conference in Paris, the international community came to the first ever agreements on the use of passports. These days, anyone retracing Phileas Fogg’s journey would have to apply for dozens of visas, pass through hundreds of security checkpoints, and get frisked more times than you could count. In this era of “globalization,” only 3% of the world’s population lives outside their country of birth.

Bregman’s utopian ruminations about national borders and freedom are particularly appealing to many in an era that smacks of the nationalism precipitating the calamitous events of 1914-18. Internationally, the recent political rejections of globalism at the polls and the rise of nationalism is deeply troubling. The conception we have of national borders needs to be rethought with more than just profit in mind. This would truly be globalisation.

Utopia for Realists should be read by anyone who feels dissatisfied by the directions we are taking in education and societally. It is important that there is a future articulated by thinkers, politicians and educators that is realistically utopian. The idea that it is all too hard and change cannot be implemented to make a better world for all is a dangerous notion. We cannot afford to be indifferent. I leave the last word to Bregman:

I’m heartened by our dissatisfaction, because dissatisfaction is a world away from indifference.

*Scott Eacott (2017): School leadership and the cult of the guru: the neoTaylorism of Hattie, School Leadership & Management, DOI: 10.1080/13632434.2017.1327428

Other titles read during May

The Great Comet (2016) by Steven Suskin

Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice (2017) by Colum McCann

The Left Hand of Darkness (1968) by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

Facing Unpleasant Facts: 1937-1939 (The Complete Works of George Orwell, Vol. 11) 


Featured Image: “Utopia” flickr photo by Lucas Theis https://flickr.com/photos/lucastheis/3305410831 shared into the public domain using (CC0)

The post #UtopiaforRealists #review and my #reading in May appeared first on Darcy Moore's Blog.

Categories: Planet

Quick and Easy

The Principal of Change George Couros - 27 May, 2017 - 23:14

Heard often from educators…

“We need our students to be deep thinkers, have resiliency, and learn the importance of hard work!”

Also heard from educators…

“Why do you use that app?”

“Because it is quick and easy!”

If we want our students to have depth within their learning, we have to figure out when “quick and easy” overrides depth in our own.

Yes, there are some things that take a lot of work and resiliency to make happen for our own learning, but that process is part of the journey.  In education, the process is the product.  Remember that.

Quick and easy is not always best, and sometimes, does the exact opposite of what we hope for our students.

Categories: Planet

5 Fantastic Peer Feedback Strategies for Your Classroom

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 26 May, 2017 - 22:08

A conversation with Starr Sackstein on episode 85 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today, Starr Sackstein @mssackstein shares 5 feedback strategies to supercharge your writing instruction and classroom culture.  We are also hosting a giveaway contest with her book on assessment.

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Click the button for iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to this show



In today’s show, Starr Sackstein discusses 5 peer review strategies for the classroom including:

  • Having a class culture for positive peer feedback
  • Setting expectations
  • Feedback protocols
  • How to help kids practice and give recognition for feedback
  • How to empower kids to be experts

I hope you enjoy this episode with Starr Sackstein!

Want to hear another episode on peer feedback? Listen to Jennifer Burin talk about secrets for teaching great writing in the classroom by using peer feedback.

Selected Links from this Episode

The Giveaway Contest for Starr’s Book Peer Feedback in the Classroom: Empowering Students to be the Experts

Peer Feedback in the Classroom Book Giveaway

Some of the links are affiliate links. Full Bio As Submitted Starr Sackstein

Over 16 years ago, Starr Sackstein started her teaching career in Far Rockaway High School, eager to make a difference. Quickly learning to connect with students and develop rapport, she was able to recognize the most important part of teaching, relationships. Fostering relationships with students and peers, to encourage community growth and a deeper understanding of personal contribution through reflection, Sackstein has continued to elevate her students by putting them at the center of the learning.

Starr Sackstein currently works at Long Island City High School as a Teacher Center Teacher and ELA teacher. She spent nine years at World Journalism Preparatory School in Flushing, NY as a high school English and Journalism teacher where her students run a multi-media news outlet at WJPSnews.com. In 2011, the Dow Jones News Fund honored Sackstein as a Special Recognition Adviser and 2012 Education Updated recognized her as an outstanding educator.

Currently Sackstein has thrown out grades, teaching students that learning isn’t about numbers, but about the development of skills and ability to articulate that growth.

In 2012, Sackstein tackled National Board Certification in an effort to reflect on her practice and grow as an educational English facilitator. After a year of closely looking at the her work with students, she achieved the honor. She is also a certified Master Journalism Educator through the Journalism Education Association (JEA). Sackstein also serves at the New York State Director to JEA to help serve advisers in New York better grow journalism programs.

Books Starr has authored:

She blogs on Education Week Teacher at “Work in Progress” where she discusses all aspects of being a teacher and education reform. Sackstein co-moderates #sunchat as well as contributes to #NYedChat. She has made the Bammy Awards finals for Secondary High School Educator in 2014 and for blogging in 2015. In speaking engagements, Sackstein speaks about blogging, journalism education, throwing out grades and BYOD, helping people see technology doesn’t have to be feared. Most recently, Sackstein was named one of ASCD’s Emerging leaders class of 2016, in addition to presenting a TedxTalk about throwing out grades.

Balancing a busy career of writing and teaching with being the mom to 10 year old Logan is a challenging adventure. Seeing the world through his eyes reminds her why education needs to change for every child.

Transcript for this episode

Download the PDF Transcript for this Episode

Show Notes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e85

[Recording starts 0:00:00]

Hello remarkable teachers, I’ll let you know at the end of the show how you can get my list of my 200-plus favorite Ed tech tools and sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter.

Today we’re talking about five fantastic peer feedback strategies for your classroom. This is episode 85.

The Ten-minute Teacher podcast with Vicki Davis. Every week day you’ll learn powerful practical ways to be a more remarkable teacher today.

VICKI:   Today we’re talking with Starr Sackstein @mssackstein

about five fantastic ways to build peer feedback into your classroom. So Starr, how do we get started?

STARR:        Well, peer feedback really does take a whole cultural approach. Kids need to feel like they’re in a trusting environment. So the first really important thing if you want peer feedback to work in your classroom is developing a classroom culture of trust and of student participation where student voice really matters.

VICKI:          But that sounds so hard.

STARR:        I think that if we build relationships with students and foster relationships between peer while we’re doing it, it’s not as hard as it might sound.

VICKI:          And I know in my experience we have to extra vigilant at the beginning when we kick off peer feedback, don’t we? Because [that’s when we set the ground rules].

STARR:        100%. And I think it really does matter when we model expectations, which is the second really important thing, making sure that we are setting up protocols and we’re modeling the actual expectations that we have on a regular basis. And then also being really explicit about what we’re modeling so that kids don’t have to guess.


                    So if we’re teaching a class and we’re using a feedback technique that we may want them to use later, actually calling their attention to what you’re doing so that they could see you doing it and start to connect the behavior with what they’ll be doing later. So, it’s a great way to start bringing it into the classroom before we allow kids to do it with each other.

VICKI:          Can you give me an example? I know in my classroom I have the complement sandwich and it’s so funny when they use that and it’s like, “Oh yeah, you learned something about how I want you to treat one another.” Could you give me an example of yours?

STARR:        Sure, absolutely. So, as a writing teacher, when I want kids to give positive feedback to grow on what’s going I always tell them that you can’t just say good job. What I really want them to do is draw on the language of the standards, what about it made it a good job. So, I would model – like, I think you gave a really great answer when we were talking about Pride and Prejudice because you were able to use evidence from the text and also added some of your own thoughts. So really being explicit with what skill we’re working on and then explaining why.

VICKI:          So your first is building a classroom culture, second is modeling the feedback expectations and third is teaching students appropriate feedback protocols. So are expectations and protocols kind of intertwined in some way?

STARR:        Yes and no. I think the expectations on some level is just what it’s going to look like and the protocol is maybe how they’re going to do it. So maybe with kids you start with certain stem depending on how old your students are. Make sure that they really understand the skills that they’re giving feedbacks on and start small. You can’t give them a whole piece and say, “Give your peer feedback on this.” Really focus on very small pieces at first.


                    So if we’re looking at introductory paragraphs, for example, and we want students to really zero in on the effectiveness of a thesis section, let’s say. And we’ve done a whole lesson on what a thesis section can look and what strong ones look like and what weaker ones look like and how to improve those. One protocol might be making sure that they have a strong stem in place where they could talk about the effectiveness of the thesis wand just being really clear about what the expectation is around it. So they’re using the protocol to meet the expectation.

VICKI:          Love that. What’s our fourth?

STARR:        The fourth one is allow students to practice giving feedback and then give them feedback on the feedback that they’re giving so that they know if they’re doing a good job in providing it. Because a lot of times when you’re doing peer feedback in the classroom you’ll notice that two or three kids end up becoming really good at it and then a lot of kids get lazy – at least that’s my experience at the high school level.

So it’s really important that kids know that you’re looking at the feedback that they’re providing and that you’re giving them feedback on that feedback. Because it’s really a learned skill, I don’t think that we’re necessarily great at giving feedback just naturally, I think our inclination is to say it’s good or it’s bad but not really know how to put that action.

VICKI:          That is so true. And I know when I have my students do peer feedback I don’t let them just check on the rubric, you know, perfect at everything. And I’m like, okay, who’s perfect? If you’re self-evaluating or if you’re evaluating somebody else you just can’t just turn in a sheet that says everything was perfect because in that sense there’s no room for growth.

STARR:        Right. Exactly. So even I there was – if say once in a blue moon you do get a kid who’s really done an exceptional job, there’s still a level of feedback that you could comment on that’s very specific, not just from the rubric, it’s identifying pieces in the writing so the feedback giver has a special task of having to be able to identify those specific areas and highlight them and talk about what makes them effective.


                    And that’s also a good way to help other kids see what effective looks like.

VICKI:          And I love telling kids, okay, this is excellent, let’s take it to epic. Like, are there some ways to make this epic? There’s always conversations that you can have with those kids who need a way to make more than a 100. And sometimes the teacher’s attention gives them that. What’s our 5th?

STARR:        Our 5th and final is empowering students to be the experts. So once they have the protocols and once they’ve practiced, we really need to give them the opportunity to take the lead. I’ve had expert groups in my class where they work on skills in small groups and then before the student could come to me for feedback I expect them to go to their peers.

When you have a classroom of 24 kids and people always ask how could you effectively give feedback to all your students all the time. You can’t.  But if you have students who are trained to give really good feedback and we allow them the space to do so and we trust them to do so. It takes some of the onus off of us in those really tough times when more kids than we could help at any given time need the feedback.

VICKI:          And that makes is so important because I don’t know any teacher that doesn’t sometimes end up with more kids than they think they can handle. But we still want to be excellent, we still want to give back feedback. So teachers, you have some remarkable ideas for building a classroom where peer feedback really helps students thrive. Starr, do you want to tell us real quickly about what we’re going to be giving away for our giveaway contest for this show?

STARR:        So I have a copy of my latest book with ASCD, Peer Feedback in the Classroom: Empowering Students to be the Experts. http://amzn.to/2qmmJZc  And I hope that if you guys follow me on Twitter you could get a copy of this book.  Have on to give away.


VICKI:          Cool. So check the show notes www.coolcatteacher.com/e85 and use our giveaway widget to enter the contest and follow Starr. Thanks for listening.

Hello remarkable teachers, I have a bi-weekly newsletter just for you. You’ll get lesson plans, ideas and lots of freebies I don’t share anywhere else. You can sign up by text message if you’re here in the United States by texting COOLCAT to 444999 and you’ll be put on my email list. Now, if you’re not in the U.S., you can go to coolcatteacher.com/newsletter. Now, when you sign up I have a super hand out of my 200-plus favorite Ed tech tools that you can download and start exploring.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at coolcatteacher.com/podcast. Never stop learning.

[End of Audio 0:09:06]


[Transcription created by tranzify.com. Some additional editing has been done to add grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Every attempt has been made to correct spelling. For permissions, please email lisa@coolcatteacher.com]


The post 5 Fantastic Peer Feedback Strategies for Your Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

How to Help Kids in Poverty Succeed in Life and Learning

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 25 May, 2017 - 21:37

A conversation with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach on episode 84 of the 10-minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach @snbeach talks about the best ways educators and schools can help children in poverty. From personal experience as both a child in poverty and a teacher who helps those in poverty, Sheryl shares what works.

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Click the button for iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to this show



In today’s show, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach discusses helping kids in poverty succeed and:

  • How we start helping kids in poverty
  • Challenges for kids in poverty besides poverty itself
  • The forms of poverty and challenges of each
  • Subtle bias of educators and how to address it
  • The importance of schools in the lives of kids in poverty

I hope you enjoy this episode with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach!

Want to hear another episode on helping kids in poverty? Listen to Dr. Anael Alston talk about poverty and the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Selected Links from this Episode

Giveaway Contest mentioned on the show

PLP Summer Learning 12 Course – Giveaway Contest

Full Bio As Submitted Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from across the United States and around the world to re-envision their learning cultures and communities. She also consults with governments, school districts and non-profits that are integrating online communities and networks into their professional learning initiatives.

Sheryl is a sought-after presenter at national and international events, speaking on topics of 21st Century reform, teacher and edtech leadership, community building, and educational issues impacting marginalized populations such as the homeless.

She currently serves on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Board of Directors and The National Science Foundation’s CS10K Board.

Sheryl lives near the Virginia shore and spends her spare time playing on the water with her four children, her grandsons Luke, Logan, Levi and Tanner and a trio of dachshunds. You can find out more on her blog and on Twitter @snbeach.

Transcript for this episode

Download a printable PDF of this transcript

[Recording starts 0:00:00]

Show Notes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e84

Today on Episode 84, we’re going to talk about how to help kids in poverty succeed.

The Ten-minute Teacher podcast with Vicki Davis. Every week day you’ll learn powerful practical ways to be a more remarkable teacher today.

VICKI:               Today we’re talking to Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach @snbeach

about future-proofing kids who live in poverty. So Sheryl, what do you even mean by that title?

SHERYL:      I think it’s really important to think about the circumstances that conspire against children and what they bring with them to the classroom. And I think that if we really want to create a bridge to that culture of despair or to the future of hope that kids have the secret sauce is going to be in what teachers do. And so by future-proofing children that are living in or impacted by poverty I’m hoping that educators will understand that they can be the difference in those kid’s lives

VICKI:          Bridge to the culture of despair and helping them into a future of promise. How can we be that bridge because so many teachers who work in high poverty situations are just worn out and they just feel like this is too much, I can’t do this?

SHERYL:      I think they really are. A lot of them com unprepared too, I don’t think that we spend the time really helping educators understand the types of things that are impacting these kids so that they can understand what they need to do and also helping them to think about their teaching practice. But I do believe that educators who will be passionate and not settle for mediocrity or maybe educators that are willing to just do what it takes to help a particular child succeed, and sometimes that’s what really, I think, wears people out.

Establishing supportive environments to help children thrive and to do that you have to really understand, okay, what does it mean to be a child that’s impacted by poverty?


                    This is really a passionate topic for me because I come at it from two sides of the coin. One, I’m something that has had an opportunity to work with marginalized children and their parents quite a bit, especially children that are homeless. One of the schools that I taught at, Cooke Elementary, had a 98% free and reduced lunch and served most of the kids in the city that were homeless because it was a school on the beach.

But I also come at this as somebody who grew up in poverty. I was a child impacted by poverty. And so for these kids it’s helping them – the best way to give them a future of hope is to help them create that future and I just believe that so much of that lies in the hands of educators. Do you agree?

VICKI:          I do. Actually, some of my work in college – I was a research assistant for a professor named [Dr. Danny Boston] who researched the underclass. And the thing that I struggled with about the underclass is there is a group of people that have had so any generations born in poverty that it is almost statistical impossible for that group to break out of poverty. And yet it happens. How can we be the end yet?

SHERYL:      Yeah, I think it has to do with understanding the impact that these kids are going through and then trying to overcome that. And you’re right, there are different kinds of poverty; there’s generational poverty, working class poverty, immigrant poverty and then situational poverty. Generational poverty is the toughest one to help kids come out of. I think the secret lies in building self-efficacy.

I think one of the things that is really lacking in these kids when they come is that not only are they lots of physical kids of things that you have to address but there’s socio-emotional sorts of things. These kids, especially in my case didn’t get a lot of schema building. It’s kind of like formatting the disk – when you format the brain. Because in pre-school we do books and we do colors and blocks and we take them to field trips and we do things like that. And these kids come to school where they don’t really have those connective tissues ready to absorb the kinds of learning that’s going to take place.


And so I think that it requires us as educators, if we really want to help kids break that cycle is to change our teaching strategies over all. Education, Vicki, I think is mostly set up like a deficit based model where we say this is where you are, this is where I want you to be and so I’m going to teach to the gap. And when you have children of poverty that you’re working with – and it’s not a poverty curriculum, it’s great for any child. You really want to do more of an appreciative-based approach where you look at what is it that these kids know how to do and do well and let’s build on that strength and then let them fly where they can fly and then fill in the gaps and kind of help them understand. So that you’re building that efficacy, you’re helping them to have confidence. And then that confidence and that success tends to feed more success, I think.

So for me I think it’s changing the teaching strategies.

VICKI:          I just love that because I’m all about building on kid’s strength. What do you think the biggest mistake is, Sheryl, that teachers make when teaching students that are poverty?

SHERYL:      I think it’s a couple of things. The biggest mistake I think, and I actually think it’s like educational malpractice is when we treat poverty as a deficit and not an external factor that could be corrected if just put resources in there. But somehow, it’s a personal flaw. I think that a lot of teachers, just because of the myths and the prejudices and the stereotypes – and we all have them. You have them, I have them, right?

VICKI:          Yes, absolutely.

SHERYL:      But because of that they have a tendency to think that these kids are going to have low outcomes, low IQ even because they come and – I mean, think about it. The kids are hungry a lot of times. Often children that are being impacted by poverty will – if they do get several meals a day, it’s usually the cheap food when you go to the grocery store.


                    Even with WIC Card, because the WIC doesn’t last. It’s only when the kids are little that they will get really non nutritional food. And a lot often, those kids are only getting on meal a day. And so that’s why it’s so important when they come to school that they get healthy food, really good food and good presentation. I think there’s so much that we could be doing to build a moral warehouse to help them to understand social etiquette and how to operate that we’re not doing.

I also think these kids are staying up late. A lot of times the parents are working several jobs –or parent. And so they’re exhausted, they’re taking care of siblings and then finally after the siblings are in bed that’s when they do their homework. So teachers don’t understand the kid’s falling asleep in class not because he’s turned off the school, the kid’s falling asleep in class because they’re exhausted and they’re undernourished.

In fact, for most children of poverty school is cool. You don’t think so because you think they have an attitude and all that. It’s an oasis. It’s a place where there’s no substance abuse, there’s food, it’s comfortable, there’s good temperature. I think probably the toughest part is that teachers just really need to be more knowledgeable about the impact that these kids are going through that they don’t understand the [TASC] curriculum, they don’t understand big picture kinds of concept.

And so by changing your classroom practice to where you can have lots of conversations and you can have kids that are heavily involved in not just differentiating the curriculum but have the authentic kids of curriculum where their co-owners and their co-teachers and you develop a community of learners. I think that’s what’s going to make a difference.

VICKI:          Now, we could talk about this forever, but you have this course as part of a larger set of courses. Tell us about it because we’re going to do a giveaway and this is a fantastic way for remarkable teachers to really learn from the best this summer. So Sheryl, tell us about this course and then the bundle of courses you have.


SHERYL:      Sure. So Powerful Learning Practice has put together a bundle of courses, two of them I’ve created. http://mailchi.mp/aimsmddc/summer-elearning-50-for-12-courses-2584586 One, this particular course on future-prepping kids that are living in poverty. Self-paced e-course, you can do it by the pool. The great thing about it is as you work through each one of the units there’s things like try this and think-abouts and there’s tons of valuable resources. At the end of this course you actually build a toolkit so that you have a changed classroom practice based on what you’re doing. You can put as much into the course as you want to get out of it – there’s videos. So it’s a really thick, very resource-rich course.

There’s also graduate credit available for the course for those that want to do that through The University of North Dakota. So if people are looking at license renewal points it’s part of a bundle of courses. There are 12 Google courses taught by a Google certified instructor. There’s courses about digital citizenship, connected learning. Looking at the whole teacher, you know, how we tend to look at the whole child. Looking at the whole teacher. So there’s actually a body-positive yoga course that’s involved. There’s a compassionate male educator course for male teachers really thinking about their role in the classroom.

So it’s 12 different courses. And typically there’s one by Kathy Cassidy that is connected from the start, that’s how to work with kindergarten through 2nd grade kids and help them be connected and really learn those strategies of [books] that goes with that. Normally the course is run anywhere from $25 to $49. And what we’re doing is we’re running a bundle of courses where you can get all 12 courses for $50.

VICKI:          Awesome. So remarkable teachers, you’ve gotten lots of ideas for summer but also ideas for how to reach students who are struggling and living in poverty. And I think it’s important for us to remember – I actually had a student the other day admit to me, “Ms. Vicki, I hate summer. I like school, I like to be around my friends. I like to be around my teachers.” And it’s hard to admit that there are students out there like that. So we need to realize that we are the safety for many of our students.

[End of Audio 0:10:30]


[Transcription created by tranzify.com. Some additional editing has been done to add grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Every attempt has been made to correct spelling. For permissions, please email lisa@coolcatteacher.com]


The post How to Help Kids in Poverty Succeed in Life and Learning appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

The Right Thing at the Wrong Time

The Principal of Change George Couros - 25 May, 2017 - 21:34

Listening to the audio version of  Tony Robbins’ book, “Unshakeable”, which talks about planning your financial future and investing (side note…do we have students reading and discussing these books in K-12? I sure could have benefitted from this a long time ago instead of racking up credit card debt! For another blog post…), he made the following statement (paraphrased):

The example he gave to accentuate his point was based on farming.  You can know all of the best techniques as a farmer, but if you plant seeds during the wrong season, nothing will grow.

Both the statement and analogy make a lot of sense when talking about school culture and moving forward.  Although we want schools to continuously get better, there are things that need to be done before seeds are planted.  If you are an administrator to a new school, do you come in and try to change everything, or make sure that you create a climate where new crop will grow?  Getting to know people, what their strengths are, understanding the norms and traditions of the culture, asking “why” a lot, and other things need to happen before you change anything.   If the “culture” is not there, no book or program will be successful with a staff.

If you are moving forward, what is the shared vision, and is your organization ready for it? If not, don’t ignore it, ask how you get people to that point?

Simple idea and analogy, that makes a lot of sense.

Categories: Planet

Interesting Links 24 May 2017

It’s been a while since I posted one of these collections. And I’ve been blogging a lot less lately. Call it a sort of blogging vacation. I just needed to prioritize other things for a while. We’ll see how things are going forward. In any case I felt like I had a lot of things I should share so here we go.

I know a lot of people are using Python these days and with summer coming you may be looking at projects for next year as I am. So I thought I should share this Collection of free Python lessons (Shakespearean Insult Generator, Magic 8 ball, Sorting hat, Mad Libs, and more) I’ve used similar projects with students in other programming languages and they work well with students.

Announcing Microsoft MakeCode for Circuit Playground Express – From Microsoft Education. The really cool thing about this online development tool is the variety of interesting and inexpensive hardware it can be used with. Combining programming with “making” opens some really interesting possibilities.

Speaking of making – this look at what Doug Bergman is doing with his students is really impressive. A spirited teacher reshapes the computer science classroom for 21st-century makers He has a very interesting computer lab with movable tables, lots of interesting hardware (think several kinds of robots plus Kinects) and really lets students get creative.

Researchers unveil new password meter   - security is getting more and more attention lately so this information about good passwords may be a good discussion starter. The source code for this password meter (it’s in JavaScript) is available.

The ACM Code of Ethics, Draft 2 is now available for comment. Deadline for Input Is June 5th, 2017. This update is designed to make sure that the code is current with the technology. I plan to have some discussions about ethics based around the final document with my AP CS Principles class. I will at least bring it up in the rest of my courses though. Ethics is VERY important and getting more important to teach all the time.

From the UK there is a new edition of Hello World magazine out *now*. Download via   Brought to you by Raspberry Pi, CAS and the BCS Academy. Lots of awesome in this edition. Things are really moving in CS education in the UK and the rest of us should take advantage of the resources.

Check out the Computational Thinking Interview Series from  CSTA “The CSTA's Professional Development Committee is gaining perspectives on computational thinking by meeting with leaders in the field. In this interview series, we are asking, ”What is computational thinking?””

Designing a Computer Science course with constraints  by Mike @zamansky is a good look at how teachers often have to deal with constraints outside of their control when designing a course.

Three Computer Games That Make Assembly Language Fun – They’re not free but they’re not all that expensive either. Some interesting possibilities for some classrooms I think.

Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition is one of two mixed reality headsets offered by the @MicrosoftStore Available in August when birthday comes. Seeing these inspired a blog post of mine. A post with some ideas and questions I am still looking for feedback on.

Using Virtual Reality for Teaching Computer Science

    Categories: Planet

    App Smashing with Kindergarteners #ipadchat

    Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 24 May, 2017 - 21:01

    A conversation with Carrie Willis on episode 83 of the 10-Minute Teacher

    From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

    Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

    Today Carrie Willis @carriewillis18 talks about how kindergarteners in her STEAM lab use their iPads. They use SeeSaw portfolios, green screen videos, and more. She also talks about what the students do and what the adults do.

    Listen Now

    Listen on iTunes

    Click the button for iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to this show



    In today’s show, Carrie Willis talks about the workflow in her kindergarten classroom with iPads:

    • How they use Seesaw
    • Making videos with green screen
    • What kindergarteners can do thsmselves
    • The challenges of kicking off an ipad lab
    • Workflow with kids

    I hope you enjoy this episode with Carrie Willis!

    Want to hear another episode on elementary portfolios with SeeSaw? Listen to Suzy Lolley talk about elementary portfolios with SeeSaw.

    Selected Links from this Episode

    Some of the links below are affiliate links. Full Bio As Submitted Carrie Willis

    Carrie Willis is the technology teacher and director at Valley Preparatory School in Redlands, Ca.

    Carrie is an Apple Teacher, Microsoft Innovative Educator, DEN STAR, Wonder Innovation Squad member, and all-around techie.

    She loves STEAM, PBL, coding, robotics, green screen, app smashing and more. You can follow her on Twitter @carriewillis18.

    Transcript for this episode

    Click to download the PDF transcript

    [Recording starts 0:00:00]

    Are you planning your summer like I am? Well I recommend that you get the free video series from my friend Angele Watson. Five summer secrets for a stress-free fall. Just go to coolcatteacher.com/summer.

    On the last episode we talked about iPads in kindergarten www.coolcatteacher.com/e82 . Well, today we’re talking about app smashing in kindergarten. This is Episode 83.

    The Ten-minute Teacher podcast with Vicki Davis. Every week day you’ll learn powerful practical ways to be a more remarkable teacher today.

    VICKI:              Carrie Willis @carriewillis18 from California has been app-smashing with her kindergarteners. Oh my goodness, Carrie, what have you done?

    CARRIE:       I’ve been having a lot of fun, we have a brand new STEAM lab at our school this year, so that’s science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. And we’ve had all of us students, grades pre-school through 8 come to our steam lab and just kind of partake in some amazing design projects, engineering projects, technology projects. So I’d like to talk about our kindergarteners today with you.

    VICKI:          Cool. Yeah, I think I saw you on Twitter and you were talking about how they were using Aurasma https://www.aurasma.com/ . Had done a show recently on Aurasma http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e52 . But tell us about this project, what did you do?

    CARRIE:       So our kindergarten students were taking part in in our international baccalaureate unit on sharing the planet and they had been studying insects and habitats and life cycles and kind of how insects share the plant with humans as well as other living things. So as part of our design and engineering unit in our STEAM lab we had the kindergarteners build different organisms and living things out of K’NEX http://amzn.to/2rPSWcC .


                        And we used a K’NEX for education kit called organisms and life cycles. http://amzn.to/2qViqF3   And each student was given a different – kind of like an instruction challenge card where they kind of followed the instructions and built their living things. And then after they were finished we studied food web that included all of these different living things they had built out of K’NEX. So it was like a poster that showed all the living things in the K’NEX kit and where they kind of fell in a food web, you know. You know, what they ate and what ate them.

    And the kindergarteners got to study this and do a little bit of research and tried to figure out if they had a caterpillar what does this show that the caterpillars eat and what eats the caterpillars. And then we talked about if this particular student had the caterpillar, what kind of habitat the caterpillars lived in. and they kind of wrote down some facts, some things that they learned from this poster, this bit of kindergarten research that didn’t involve any words but just kind of studying a picture.

    And then we used our green screen that we have in our classroom and we used the app, Green Screen by Do Ink https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/green-screen-by-do-ink/id730091131?mt=8   which we absolutely love. If you don’t already have that app downloaded on your iPad and you’re a teacher you need. And I don’t work for them, I just love it that much. And so we put the habitat of the particular organism that student had built in the background and the students sit in front of the green screen and explained kind of their organisms place in this food web or in a food chain and recorded a little video and then made the poster come to life by using Aurasma. https://www.aurasma.com/

    And if you’ve never used Aurasma before, it’s an app where you can take a video and overlay it on a still picture, like an actual physical picture. In this case a poster.


                        So we would overlay the video of the student with the caterpillar in front of the green screen on top of the caterpillar image on the poster. So when you hold your phone over the picture on the poster that picture would come to life as a video.

    VICKI:          So Carrie, I’m curious, you’ve already blown the minds of many people and you’re talking kindergarteners. How much of this work did you have to do and how much did they actually do?

    CARRIE:       So the students built their organism, their living thing from the K’NEX all on their own, most of them did not need any help at all. And then when they were finished building they would go over to this poster that we had and they would kind of study the poster and see if they could kind of track the food web and figure out what their organism ate and what eats it. And this wasn’t hard for them because they have been studying this sort of thing in their classroom already having to do with their insect unit that they had been working on. So they knew what he predators were and what insects have food sources.

    So they were able to easily kind of analyze this poster and follow it and then most of them had an easy time kind of being able to come up with what sort of habitat their particular living thing would live in. So these kind of range from – there was frogs, there was tadpoles, there was a bald eagle, there was a crab, fish, different insects, there was a mouse. So it was all different things. So they would say whether or not they thought that they lived in a pond or in the ocean.

    VICKI:          So they did a pretty good job with the building of the K’NEX and the describing on the green screen. Now, were they able to actually edit the video at all?

    CARRIE:       At this point no, they probably would be able to do that but for time sake we just pulled up and image and we did the filming in this case.


    VICKI:          Okay.

    CARRIE:       Our kindergarteners actually have done things with video, they’ve used See Saw and Book Creator to kind of record little journals of their caterpillars, fed them and watched their lifecycle as they turned into butterflies and released them. So they chronicled their lifecycle of their butterflies that they patched in their classroom and they did that themselves using SeeSaw https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/seesaw-the-learning-journal/id930565184?mt=8 and Book Creator https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/book-creator-for-ipad/id442378070?mt=8 to create little video journals of this.

    So they have done work with video, they just didn’t in this particular case with the green screen video.

    VICKI:          Cool. So you’ve just done this incredible app-smashing project and it sounds like a whole lot of technology but you know the question people always ask is did they learn about habitats and insects better with using the technology than they would have without?

    CARRIE:       I don’t know if they learned about it better but I feel like they definitely will remember it better because they will go back and they will watch these videos over and over again. I remember as a child different videos and projects that I did but definitely don’t remember worksheets that I did, I definitely don’t remember chapter reviews from my science book. But I definitely remember when I had to create this video as part of my science class on different parts of the body and different bones and muscles.

    I mean, I can recite that back because I remember creating this awesome project. So I think there’s a bit more retention when you do these kind of exciting projects with kids.

    VICKI:          So we talked with Carrie Willis about app-smashing in kindergarten, it can be done, you can do some really cool things. And I think that we need to give kids the chance and not be scared of these big long names and just let kids create and innovate using technology. We’ve got such a great example form Carrie today.

    CARRIE:       Thank you. And I think it’s important to introduce kids to this technology. We don’t have to expect them to be able to do it at this young age but introducing it to them now, they’ll remember that later when they’re a little bit older, when they are matured enough to be able to use it themselves to create great projects.

    VICKI:          If you follow my newsletter or blog you’ve probably heard me talk about Angela Watson’s 40-Hour Work Week. coolcatteacher.com/quiz  This program really helps you to be a better teacher, have better classroom management and more organized classroom and so many things. Now, Angela used to be a 5th grade teacher but I’ve actually found a lot of things applicable to my 8th grade and up classroom.

    So you can take a quiz to see if this program is right for you. Just go to coolcatteacher.com/quiz and learn more about Angela Watson’s 40-Hour Work Week.


    [End of Audio 0:09:18]


    [Transcription created by tranzify.com. Some additional editing has been done to add grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Every attempt has been made to correct spelling. For permissions, please email lisa@coolcatteacher.com]


    The post App Smashing with Kindergarteners #ipadchat appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

    Categories: Planet

    The Ability to Implement Feedback

    The Principal of Change George Couros - 24 May, 2017 - 07:23

    Through reffing basketball, I learned a lot of lessons that apply to my learning to this day.  The ability to be challenged in learning on something you believe is not as bad as being yelled at that you are wrong about something while you are running and sweating

    One lesson that I learned that was extremely valuable was not only about the importance of accepting feedback but the ability to implement that feedback quickly.

    Whenever I was being observed in a game, the evaluator would meet with the referees at half and give you feedback on your performance.  Even if they wanted to sugarcoat it, they couldn’t; there was no time over a ten to fifteen-minute break.  The evaluators were straightforward and to the point on what you needed to work on.  The referees that did the best didn’t sit and process the feedback forever; you could see that it was implemented in the second half.  This doesn’t mean that they would do it for the rest of their lives because sometimes the evaluator was wrong. That being said, they were open to being pushed and wanted to get better, quicker.  

    Listening to feedback is different than accepting, acknowledging, and implementing feedback.

    Have you ever met the person that says they need time to process, yet it is more of a stall tactic to delay pushing themselves? Some people say they want to be pushed yet their “processing” time can seemingly last an eternity.  There is nothing wrong with being thoughtful; we should all think deeply about why we do what we do.  But sometimes we can think too much and overanalyze, paralyzing us from moving forward, or event attempting to do so.  The only way you will know if feedback is beneficial is by putting it into action, not by leaving yourself on “processing mode” forever.

    As shared in this article, “Overthinking Will Destroy Your Happiness: 3 Tips to Keep Your Sanity“, “overthinking” can sometimes become the enemy of action:

    There are a lot of positive things about being analytical. Being analytical allows you to make better decisions, develop a deeper understanding of the world around you and become a more successful person.

    There is a fine line, however, between being analytical and overthinking everything.

    Overthinking is detrimental to a person’s happiness and almost never makes a situation turn out any better than it would have otherwise. It also leads to indecisiveness, which can prevent a person from taking action when action is needed the most.

    According to Amy Morin, “Whether they’re beating themselves up over a mistake they made yesterday, or they’re fretting about how they’re going to succeed tomorrow, over-thinkers are plagued by distressing thoughts. Their inability to get out of their own heads leaves them in a state of constant anguish.”

    It is okay to be thoughtful of your practice and take the time to process, but when we wait to get better in education, we do not only hold ourselves back, we hold those back that we serve. We can think about ideas and feedback all we want, but until we make it happen, we will never know if it will lead to something better in our practice.

    Categories: Planet

    Take the 21-day Productivity Challenge #makeitstick

    Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 23 May, 2017 - 20:45

    From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

    Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

    The end of the school year is so busy. Now is the time to get organized. In this blog post, I’ll give you my 1-2-3 steps to stress less and 5 productivity hacks. Many of them involve Post-it® Brand Products. I use them all the time, from storyboarding, to drafting articles, to accenting my DIY planner.

    This blog post is sponsored by Post-it® Brand

    What productivity type are you? Take the quiz

    21-Day Productivity Challenge So, as part of my work with Post-it® Brand, I’ve been asked to design a 21-day challenge to boost productivity. As a teacher, I’ve picked 3 simple things that I know will boost productivity (and my mood) and I’m going to do this for 21 days. I also watched the four videos from the Post-it® Brand productivity experts including chef Russell Jackson, Teacher of the Year Sia Kyriakakos, fitness artist and spiritual wellness expert, Nicole Winhoffer and health business owner, Anna Young to use their productivity ideas and tips. 1 – One thing at a time

    I keep my current “Big 1” task at the bottom left hand side of my monitor. This is my focal task. I do this at school and home. It helps me focus on just one thing at a time.

    Multitasking is a myth. Focus is necessary to get anything done. To keep on track, I am committing to focus on ONE thing at a time. Just one.

    To find out what kind of planner I am,  I took a quiz using the Post-it® Brand Productivity Tool. In their research, they found that there are four types of planners. As a “Mindful Maverick” I learned that I need visual cues.


    So, I write the current task on the bottom left-hand side of my computer monitor on Post-it® Super Sticky Notes. One task, one at a time. I’ve used Post-it® Notes for years in this way. Seeing the results of the productivity quiz, I now know why I’m always happier when I write down my most important task and keep it front and center. As a teacher, I live in a rushed environment and seeing one task on my computer redirects my attention back to my main task. According to a survey conducted by Post-it® Brand, more than 1 in 4 Americans feel completing everything on their weekly to-do list is harder than running a marathon.*   I think part of the problem is many of us put too much on our list. Another reason might be our lack of focus. Writing my current focal task on a Post-it® Note and keeping it on my computer monitor throughout the day helps me focus. Swapping it out for a new one gives me a sense of progress! 2 – Two kind notes a day

    I’m inspired by the wall of kindness that was started with one kind Post-it® Note in the girls bathroom at Principal Will Parker’s school.

    Part of my purpose as a teacher is to spread kindness and positivity to my students and colleagues. I was so inspired by what happened at Principal Will Parker’s school this year. One of his students posted a kind Post-it® Note in the girls bathroom. As other students joined in, it grew into hundreds of Post-it® Notes with kind messages. Kindness went viral! “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” -Scott Adams So, I’ve committed to write two kind Post-it® Notes a day and stick them somewhere in the school to encourage others to make others smile and encourage them to do the same. The teacher’s lounge. My room. The bathroom mirror. Yes, I’m doing this! There have been times I’ve wanted to encourage a colleague. I’d buy their favorite cola or snack and leave it on their desk with a quick anonymous Post-it® Note. It really does encourage people.  3 – Three most important things

    In my planner, I keep my “big 3” on Post-it® Super Sticky Notes to make sure they get done. I use the same system for home and work – 3 in each place!

    Don’t confuse quality with quantity. Yes, my master list has many things on it. (See below for how I brain dump my list to organize it.) However, this time of year, I just have so much to do that I list my three most important things. No matter what else gets done, these are a must. I’ll admit. I have three things for home and three things for school. The research commissioned by Post-it® Brand found that 61% of Americans believe they would be more productive if they used the same organizational system at home that they do at work.* As a busy teacherpreneur, I work hard to have a flexible but VISUAL system that works for me in both places.  In Summary. The 21-Day Challenge I’m taking is: 1 – I will do one thing at a time 2 – I will leave two kind Post-it® Notes a day to others 3 – I will list three things each day that I have to do at home and at school. That’s it. 5 Productivity Hacks and Tips to Help Get Organized So, now on to some tips/ hacks that I’m using for the organizational system that I use. Note that I’m in the DIY-planning family. (I released a book on it last summer.) DIY means that I make my own planners. 1- Do a Brain Dump

    As I worked on my DIY Planning system for the end of school, I got everything out and on Post-it® Notes. Also, I color coded my thoughts, as this helped me figure out the categories for the back of my planner and the unique ways I’m going to use my planner this month.

    When I brainstorm, I take each idea and put it on one note and put it on my desk. (see the picture) I like to color code by topic or idea for patterns to emerge. (I do this when outlining the books I write too.)

    The productivity quiz from Post-it® Brand I took earlier says that  I need to keep my mind clear by doing a brain dump of all the items on my list. I also need to make sure my to-do items are showing on my calendar. Finally, I need to focus on one thing at a time. This fits with what I already know about myself.

    So, as I was working on my planning system for the last two months of school, I put all of the ideas and issues with my planner onto individual notes (pictured to the right.) Then, as I worked on my planner, I used the ideas to make sure my end of school system will support what I need to make it through the end of the school year.

    Declutter your mind by doing a brain dump of all that you have to do. Just use Post-it® Notes to make it easy.  2 – Customize Your System Based on Your Location

    My home “brain dump” of work for the week is on a top door of my desk. I don’t share my desk at home, so I can do this. At school, I use a brain dump page in the back of my planner for the notes. That way, I can close it and it is private. I don’t want students (who often sit at my desk) playing with or bothering my personal task list.

    At home, I brain dump my list on Post-it® Super-Sticky Notes. I have a door on the top of a cabinet that I can use to keep these. That way, I can grab what I’m working on and stick it on my computer monitor.

    At school, however, I use a page in my planner designated for “brain dumps.” That is because students sometimes sit at my desk to scan pictures or use my computer and I don’t want them bothering my notes or reading them.

    So, as a school teacher, some things need to be adapted to home and school.

    Intentionally think about organizing your home and work. You’ll need slightly different systems for both.  3 – Know Your Style

    As a “Mindful Maverick,” I’m a visual person. Out of sight, out of mind.

    That is why, although I’ve used the Reminders app on my phone some, I have to get it on paper on ONE list. But before I write it down, if I do my brain dump on Post-it® Notes, then I can organize it.

    Knowing your style of organizing will help you select the best tools for you. Each person is unique. Each person remembers in a different way. For this reason, I believe that everyone’s system of planning is truly do it yourself.

    Do it yourself. Customize. Use colors. Decide what works for you. 4 – Quickly Access Notes

    I organize my frequently used items in the back of my planner using Post-it® Tabs. I can move the tabs around or from page to page and color code them as well.

    My goal is to be able to access anything within three seconds. Why? Well, my frustration kicks in if I can’t find it before. I admit – this time of year it is hard.

    Use Post-it® Tabs to organize the back of your binder so you can put your hands on important items quickly.  5 – Make Things That Change Quickly Easy to Move Around

    Also, I use a Kanban board approach which literally has me moving my Post-it® Super Sticky Notes around. (I got lots of ideas for this use from Sia Kyriakakos, 2016 Teacher of the Year for Baltimore City Schools, and art teacher from Maryland.)


    When I have things that are fluid I will use smaller 3×3 Post-it® Notes. For example, with my podcast, sometimes events or things that happen cause me to move shows around. So, instead of using dry erase markers, I now use Post-it® Notes. They stick and re-stick so I can easily move them.

    I write the guest name and then moving around the calendar as I see fit to determine who’s going to be up at different times.

    I also use this method at school. This year, I’m teaching Digital Filmmaking. We have to plan our shooting schedule between two film crews. For the movie projects I’m working on, we write each shot on a Post-it® Note.

    We list screenshots for our movie on Post-it® Notes. This makes it easy to grab a photo and go shoot.

    Then, students can come in and grab a shot and go do it. Then, they put the shot on a board so the editors know the film is ready to edit.

    For projects that are dynamic, you need to use Post-it® Super Sticky notes which will stick and re-stick.   What’s next?

    I hope you’ll take the productivity quiz using the Post-it® Brand Productivity Tool on Post-it.com to find what your planner style is.

    I also hope that you will get organized for the end of the school year using some of these techniques of brainstorming organizing and just putting everything together.

    And I challenge you to either take this 21-day productivity challenge or, create your own challenge.  Share your own planner type and your goal progress on your social channels using #makeitstick.

    This is a great time of year to focus on some simple productivity techniques that will give us peace of mind and help us make it to the end of the school year without being so exhausted and stressed. We can do this!

    *The 3M Productivity Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,021 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+, between March 30th and April 5th, 2017, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population 18 and older. 


    Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. 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.) Please also note that all opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of any sponsor or employer.

    The post Take the 21-day Productivity Challenge #makeitstick appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

    Categories: Planet

    iPads in Kindergarten: Creating, Innovating and Learning

    Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 23 May, 2017 - 20:41

    A conversation with Caitlin Arakawa on episode 82 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

    From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

    Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

    Today Caitlin Arakawa @caitlin_arakawa shares what she learned in her first year with iPads in kindergarten.  Tools. A DIY Soundbooth. Mistakes. Benefits. She shares it all.

    Listen Now

    Listen on iTunes

    • Stream by clicking here.
    • The transcript will be uploaded and posted right here as soon as soon as it is available.

    Click the button for iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to this show



    In today’s show, Caitlin Arakawa talks about iPads in kindergarten and shares:

    • Her favorite apps
    • A cool teacher hack to make sound proof booths
    • The best thing about iPads
    • Her biggest mistake
    • Her assessment of the classroom improvements

    I hope you enjoy this episode with Caitlin Arakawa!

    Want to hear another episode on iPads in the classroom? Listen to Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen talk about awesome iPad apps for the elementary classroom.

    Selected Links from this Episode

    Full Bio As Submitted Caitlin Arakawa

    Caitlin Arakawa is a 2nd year kindergarten teacher in Redlands, California. She teaches at an IB PYP school that has a focus in STEAM.

    Transcript for this episode

    To be posted as soon as it is available. Check back soon!

    The post iPads in Kindergarten: Creating, Innovating and Learning appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

    Categories: Planet

    Learning First, Technology Second #motivationmonday

    Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 22 May, 2017 - 21:09

    A conversation with Liz Kolb on episode 81 of the 10-Minute Teacher

    From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

    Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

    Today Liz Kolb @lkolb talks about how we can put learning first and a very important reason technology should be second. We’re also hosting a giveaway of her new book on this show.

    Listen Now

    Listen on iTunes

    Click the button for iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to this show



    In today’s show, Liz Kolb talks about the role of learning and technology:

    • What is the role of technology in learning
    • When technology is a distraction
    • The 3 E framework Liz teaches
    • How we can make technology improve learning and not distract from it
    • A fantastic collaborative idea with parents and students

    I hope you enjoy this episode with Liz Kolb!

    Want to hear another episode on improving learning with technology? Listen to Eric Sheninger talk about digital pedagogy that improves learning.

    Selected Links from this Episode

    Enter the giveway

    Learning First, Technology Second Book Giveaway Contest

    Some of the links are affiliate links. Full Bio As Submitted Liz Kolb

    Liz is a clinical assistant professor in education technologies at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. She authored Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education (published by ISTE in 2008), Cell Phones in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for the K-12 Educator (published by ISTE in 2011), Help Your Child Learn With Their Cell Phone and Web 2.0 (published by ISTE in 2013), Learning First, Technology Second (published by ISTE in 2017).

    In addition, Liz has published numerous articles and book chapters on new technologies and education in prominent publications such as Education Leadership, School Administrator Magazine, Scholastic, Edutopia, ISTE’s Edtekhub, and Learning and Leading with Technology. Liz has done consulting work and has been a featured and keynote speaker at conferences all over the United States and Canada.

    Liz is currently co-chairing an auxiliary committee for the U.S. Office of Education Technology on sustainable professional development in teacher education. She is a MACUL board member and a member of the COSN advisory board for mobile learning and emerging technologies. She is passionate about engaging students in education and leveraging learning opportunity through digital technologies. Liz is also the creator and coordinator of the Triple E Framework, which is an open-source framework for K-12 teachers and administrators to use to assess the effectiveness of technology in lesson plans. Her blog is at http://cellphonesinlearning.com

    Transcript for this episode

    Click to download the PDF copy of the transcript

    [Recording starts 0:00:00]

    Learning first, technology second. This is episode 81.

    The Ten-minute Teacher podcast with Vicki Davis. Every week day you’ll learn powerful practical ways to be a more remarkable teacher today.

    VICKI:   Happy Motivational Monday. Liz Kolb @lkolb

    is with us today talking about how we can put learning first and technology second. So Liz, this is the title of your book http://amzn.to/2q8Y9KY  that has just come out. How do we put leaning first and technology second because there’s so many toys and things we can play with out there? Isn’t it easy to get distracted?

    LIZ:              It’s very easy to get distracted. And I absolutely am guilty of being distracted by the technology which is why this book came about. Over the last couple of years many teachers and administrators had come to me saying we now have a one-to-one program, we now have a lot of technology in our school through difference funding sources but now we’re worried about whether or not the technology is actually effective for the learning. We’re using it a lot but we feel as though maybe we’re using it because it is shiny and it looks good and it feels good but we’re not actually impacting learning in a way that is meaningful.

    I spent six years looking through the research on what’s effective and ineffective when using technology and learning and I found that there are a lot of things that we know about goof effective instructional strategies with learning that we were leaving out when we were integrating technology. So, things like when we look at engagement, no just looking at whether not the student is using a device individually but making sure that they are having some kind of human-to-human contact co-engaging or what we call joint media engagement and working together with the screens.


    This framework came about because of much of this research that I looked at and I originally developed this triple E framework http://tripleeframework.com/

    which is what the book focuses on for my student teachers. They found it to be incredibly helpful, so then I have kind of decided to put it together into this book. The reason why it’s called Learning First, Technology Second is because the framework focuses on the learning goals and the end in mind and thinking about the ways that we leverage technology in order to meet those learning goals rather than focusing on the technology first and the wow of the technology.

    VICKI:          So what is the triple E framework? Are you able to give us a quick summary because we’ll, of course, want to point everybody to the book?

    LIZ:              Yes. So the E stands for engagement and learning goals, enhancement of learning goals and extension of learning goals. And all three of those were again, informed by the research that engagement does not necessarily mean looking at the device but it actually means what we call high attention as well as high comprehension. So they are not just focusing on the device but they’re actually focusing on the learning goals through the device in some way. And then enhancement looks at how we leverage the learning through technology, how we’re adding scaffolds in support. So is it differentiating learning? Or are we helping students get to those higher order of thinking skills. What is the value added beyond something we would do with traditional tools? There’s no value added, then we should question why we’re using it.

    And then the third level is extension which talks about how technology can reach students in their everyday lives and extend learning to the authentic everyday world and make those connections for students. Kind of situating their learning in what they’re seeing in the outside world.


    VICKI:          So really we don’t use technology for technology sake, technology has to actually improve learning, right?

    LIZ:              That’s our hope. I am somebody who the first time I learned PowerPoint I turned all my lectures into PowerPoint thinking that was the magic snake oil that we needed to have students learn. And what I found was that while they were engaged, they weren’t actually learning more. My few students were still few students. My students who did well still did well. And so, I realized that there’s a lot of ways we use technology because it looks good and it’s kind of shiny, but if we want to look beneath the surface we really want to look at how it’s actually meeting and helping us get to the learning outcomes that we help our students get to.

    VICKI:          So, Liz, this is Motivational Monday and I have all of this worry. Like, “oh my goodness.” What does work? Can you point us and motivate us, help us to point towards things that actually do work in the classroom?

    LIZ:              Yea, there’s a lot of great things that work with technology. First of all, co-use is very important as I mentioned earlier. Working together on a screen is how students begin to reflect on what they’re doing on a screen. So rather than having students all working individually with headphones on and their own iPads in the classroom, pair them up, have them work together. That can make a large difference in their ability to comprehend what they’re seeing and doing in the classroom.

    VICKI:          Also the other thing that we want to think about is how are we able to use technology to connect to everyday experiences. So rather than having them isolated in a piece of technology think about how we can use things like Skype http://www.skype.com  to connect to other classrooms or something like the Google Expeditions https://edu.google.com/expeditions/  to experience what it might be like in the artic if we can’t actually get there. So thinking about how we’re using technology to help students experience things that they couldn’t experience and work together.


                        That co-engagement is so key and it’s just a small change that you can make. Pair students up or choose a software like Google Docs http://docs.google.com that allow students to work with other people through the tool itself in a synchronous way.

    VICKI:          So collaboration and working together and co-creation is widely important?

    LIZ:              Yes, it is. So skills, those higher order critical thinking skills that we continue to talk about – I know many people talk about the C’s and making sure that that’s actually happening with the technology and it’s not so isolated.

    VICKI:          And Liz, you know, you’re speaking my language when you talk co-creation because when we create and we help kids create things that are more than they would have been as individuals that’s when the magic happens, isn’t it?

    LIZ:              It is. And it’s so amazing because the other things we do in the classroom, we often have students paired up and working together or we’re working with the students and helping them work through ideas and build knowledge together. Sometimes we put technology in front of them we forget they still need to do that, they still need to have those conversations.

    VICKI:          They do. I’m just really excited to hear you talk about co-creation because it’s just not something people talk a lot about. I mean, I think people forget the greatest software every invented is the human brain. And when we truly unleash that collaboration and co-creation is when we see things that we couldn’t do without technology.

    LIZ:              Absolutely. And very rarely are the greatest inventions and things we’ve seen in society individually created. There’s always a group of people working together to make that happen. So even if I can give a quick example; in my daughter’s classroom they use Google Docs to write their stories and work on editing. And the teacher actually shares with the parents when they’re going to be working on it so we can log in at the same time that they’re working on it.

    And the teacher gives us some scaffolds as supports of what we should ask and how we should ask it and what we should be looking for.


                        So we’re having these conversations to help them build their writing and as a parent I’m also learning how to learn them, so we’re both learning at the same time.

    VICKI:          Now, that’s a genius teacher. I hope after the show you’ll introduce me because you have blown my mind. I mean, I know we have helicopter parents and that’s not necessarily a good thing. However, that really is unleashing the power of parenting and partnering with teachers and parents and students, isn’t it?

    LIZ:              Absolutely. And parents want to know how to help their children learn. And many times they just don’t know how to do it. So they’ll often just plug their child in front of an app or a computer to do it but in reality if the teachers can get them online at the same time and give them some support and how them how to do it the parents are really excited to do that. And I can’t tell you how excited my 4th grader is to see me logged on at the same time. And all of a sudden she’s really interested in the different forms of grammar and the detail in her writing. And it has exponentially improved her writing and my ability to see those things as well.

    VICKI:          My mind is just running and there’s so many ideas with what we’ve discussed. And thinking about co-creating with parents as well as peers is very powerful. So listeners, Remarkable Teachers, we’re going to be hosting a giveaway for Learning First, Technology Second so do check the show notes www.coolcatteacher.com/e81 and enter  to win and take a look at this book. Liz has done so many great things, she’s one of the first people that I read when I really got in to using cell phones in the classroom. She has so many resources for us. But let’s really think about Learning First, Technology second. But also when we’re learning how we can be co-creating ad collaborating. I’m so excited.

    Hello Remarkable Teachers, would you please help me do something? I’m trying to help more people find out about the Ten Minute Teacher Show. To do that, if you just could take some time to go to iTunes or to Stitcher or to leave a review. It really does help. Thank you so much.


    Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at coolcatteacher.com/podcast. Never stop learning.


    [End of Audio 0:10:23]


    [Transcription created by tranzify.com. Some additional editing has been done to add grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. Every attempt has been made to correct spelling. For permissions, please email lisa@coolcatteacher.com]


    The post Learning First, Technology Second #motivationmonday appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

    Categories: Planet

    Empowered or Entitled?

    The Principal of Change George Couros - 22 May, 2017 - 00:09

    I am writing to understand my learning…Hopefully, I can work this out through a blog post…

    In a recent workshop, I was asked an interesting question that gave me pause.

    “Where is the line between a student being empowered or being entitled?”

    I could see where there is a perception of this line.  Talking about encouraging students to follow their passions, might also be seen as avoiding some of the “hard work” of school.  In my opinion, there has to be a balance of tapping into students passions in school but also helping them develop skills for later that they might not see as beneficial now.  In some ways, I wished that I would have been pushed to stick with playing piano as a child or learning to speak Greek.  That being said, I do not believe that these things should be taught to every child, hence the reason teaching is such a complicated profession.

    Yet here was an example of a fine line that I struggle with in teaching a child to be “entitled”, as opposed to “empowered”. Think about what we are saying to students when we ask for money through “GoFundMe” or something similar for our classrooms or ask for others to retweet something so that our class can win a competition?  This borders on modeling entitlement.  “Give me something because I’ve asked for it.”

    Now if you have ever asked for money for your classroom to give your students opportunities that may not exist without that funding, I can fully understand why you would do that.  Every great teacher wants to provide every opportunity they can for their students.

    But as I have written before, what if we created something of value to earn that money?  If we asked students, “What would you create to earn this money? What would you sell for?  How would you get the word out to others?”  This is actually quite hard work, but what if you earned furniture through this process? There is ownership over the creation process while entrepreneurial skills are being developed.

    I get the question and why it was asked, and to be honest, why it is important to make a distinction.  With all of the talk of “this generation” being entitled, can we add to that inadvertently through some of the things that we do or focus on in schools?

    There is a fine line that we need to be aware of. Teaching students the importance of hard work, resiliency, and that even through these things, you may not get what you want, is part of the learning of life, that can help students not only develop as learners but as people.

    Categories: Planet

    Creativity is a beautiful, messy chaotic thing — The Learner's Way

    Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 21 May, 2017 - 17:23


    • Creativity is often said to be the key to the future. The essentially human attribute that will ensure our utility in a world dominated by automation. It is said to be an essential ingredient in education but it will not be truly learned unless we provide students with opportunities to dive fully into its waters.  - Nigel Coutts

    Tags: creativity, learner, education, collaboration, teaching, learning

    by: Nigel Coutts

    Categories: International News

    Asia Education Foundation: Australia-India #BRIDGEprogram2017

    Darcy Moore's Blog - 21 May, 2017 - 10:27

    Cultural exchange is a very important value for the school I serve. “A Wider World View” is encouraged through hosting guests, especially from our region of Asia, as well as travelling overseas. This year we have students and educators from Indonesia, Korea and India involved in exchange projects.

    This week the Australia–India BRIDGE School Partnerships Project flowered in the gorgeous autumnal weather Sydney is currently experiencing. Earlier in the year Australian educators enjoyed the hospitality of our Indian colleagues and now we have the opportunity to reciprocate. The program was conducted at the Sydney Opera House and we had the opportunity to reconnect with exchange partners and the larger group of educators building connections between our two countries.

    . Learning

    The program included a healthy focus on creativity, design thinking and learning about the digital programs on offer at the Sydney Opera House and National Museum of Australia. The Indian teachers learnt how a #TeachMeet operates in Australia to share pedagogical ideas and to present concisely. There was much sharing of our school projects, planning and progress made so far. We enjoyed some great presenters and workshop facilitators.

    Lilly Blue is a visual artist and educator with a background in physical performance, installation and community arts. She is a Creative Learning Consultant with Sydney Opera House and The Red Room Company and you should check out her Big Kids Magazine. The Indian teachers particularly loved Lily’s flexible, organic approach to constructing poems and exploring what creativity means. Lily has worked several times with students at Dapto High so I already knew how successfully she engages, with genuine care and creativity, her workshop participants.


    Chris Harte ran a Design Sprint that culminated in presentations of only one minute. These brief pitches were designed to focus us on the design process. The energy created was inspiring for all. Chris has a wonderful manner and everyone really enjoyed his approach.


    We learnt from Robert Bunzli, the effervescent digital programs coordinator, about robotics tours at the National Museum of Australia. There was considerable opportunity to explore other personal/professional areas of interest and identify resources from the NMA for collaboration. Robert answered questions thoughtfully and in great detail.


    The most interesting aspect of the exchange experience is our deepening professional relationships and knowledge of the context in which we all live, learn and work. The conversations over lunch, dinner and strolls around Sydney really helped forge these deeper levels as trust grows and flowers into a more sophisticated understanding of the challenge and opportunity to grow and connect our communities. For example, a group of us attended a performance of Talk at the Opera House which led to some interesting conversations about Australian and Indian society, politics and the mediascape. Here is a synopsis of the play:

    John Behan (John Waters) is a radio talkback host with a city in the palm of his hand. He fills Sydney’s airwaves with biting wit and easy answers, hard facts be damned. Yesterday, he overstepped the mark. Today, the police have come knocking and a trial-by-media threatens to get out of control. Locking himself in his studio and broadcasting live, Twitter explodes. The court of public opinion seems firmly on his side. He has control of the airwaves and ratings are through the roof. Fuelled by the controversy, newsrooms all over town are chasing this sensational story. Will they reveal the truth? Perhaps. Or will they toe the line for the sake of their jobs? More likely. In this brand new Australian play, writer and director Jonathan Biggins (The Wharf Revue) sets his eyes squarely on modern journalism, social media and the 24-hour news cycle.

    . Our Project

    Mrs Sonia Chhabra, Headmistress at Bal Bharati Public School (Pitampura), a campus for students aged 3 – 18 years of age and one of many funded and operated by the Child Education Society, is my exchange partner. We have been making good progress since January with connecting our communities. Our “Ambassadors” have already been chosen, volunteered to participate in exchange and connected via Edmodo and Adobe Connect. These introductory sessions went well; two of our ambassadors share a passion for astrophysics across continents and are now connected.

    We are particularly excited at the chance to help students understand and perform Nukkad Natak  – traditional Indian street theatre – at our school. I witnessed a performance by students at Bal Bharati Public School that stunned me earlier in the year. The quality of the ideas, script and theatrical skills of the young performers was exceptionally high. This exciting, ancient theatrical form will be a vehicle for our students to explore social issues of mutual interest.

    Sonia will conduct masterclasses next week that will involve our school ambassadors and drama students. The ideas and scripts will be developed online to be performed – when Indian students visit in May next year – live in our local community. Our students have had extraordinary opportunities to work on their video-editing skills at Adobe HQ and have been trained in using Premiere Pro so we hope to share the performances widely. Our Indian colleagues are also connected to Adobe now and similar opportunities will emerge. We also had Documentary Australia Foundation workshopping with our students. It will be great to have Sonia working with our staff and students this week on street performance.

    This is all coming together nicely!

    Sonia, her family, students and colleagues were so generous to me last January we are hoping she has just as wonderful an experience in our community. It is wonderful that Sonia is at my home and my family has been delighted to meet her. We look forward to the next week of sharing our lives and learning. 

    You can follow the Bridge Project and Asia Education Foundation on Twitter. Here is the hashtag #BRIDGEprogram2017.


    The post Asia Education Foundation: Australia-India #BRIDGEprogram2017 appeared first on Darcy Moore's Blog.

    Categories: Planet

    5 Ways to Teach How the Brain Learns

    Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 19 May, 2017 - 20:55

    A conversation with Ramona Persaud on episode 80 of the 10-Minute Teacher

    From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

    Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

    Today Ramona Persaud @ramonap director of the film, Grey Matters, talks about how we can teach kids the way the brain learns.

    Listen Now

    Listen on iTunes

    Click the button for iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to this show

    In today’s show, Ramona Persaud gives five tips directly related to how the brain learns:

    • Understanding stress and the brain
    • Relating knowledge to prior knowledge
    • How the brain changes
    • Thoughts on teaching for mastery
    • The proper place of memorization

    I hope you enjoy this episode with Ramona Persaud!

    Want to hear another episode on brain-friendly classrooms? Listen to Rob Donatelli talk about 5 Easy Brain Breaks for your classroom.

    Selected Links from this Episode

    Full Bio As Submitted Ramona Persaud

    Ramona Persaud is an independent documentary filmmaker and founder of Change the Lens Productions. Change the Lens Productions specializes in social issue documentaries that are both entertaining and thought-provoking, nudging viewers to examine their life, their perspective, and their overall world view in the context of the stories they’ve just viewed.

    GREY MATTERS is Persaud’s second film; the first, IT’S A DIFFERENT WORLD, explores the world of autism through the eyes of three autistic children.

    The documentary Grey Matters is based on the book “The Brain Targeted Teaching Model for 21st Century Schools” by Dr. Mariale Hardiman. The documentary offers practical, “use right now” information for teachers, that are based on research.

    Transcript for this episode

    To be posted as soon as it is available. Check back soon!

    The post 5 Ways to Teach How the Brain Learns appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

    Categories: Planet

    It’s Okay To Be a “Boss”

    The Principal of Change George Couros - 19 May, 2017 - 07:52

    In Kim Scott’s book, “Radical Candor”, she states the following:

    In an effort to create a positive, stress-free environment, I sidestepped the difficult but necessary part of being a boss: telling people clearly and directly when their work wasn’t good enough. I failed to create a climate in which people who weren’t getting the job done were told so in time to fix it.

    Later, she follows with:

    As you probably know, for every piece of subpar work you accept, for every missed deadline you let slip, you begin to feel resentment and then anger. You no longer just think the work is bad: you think the person is bad. This makes it harder to have an even-keeled conversation. You start to avoid talking to the person at all.

    In all of the talk about “being a leader”, or “don’t be a manager!”, sometimes we forget that it is important to simply be a boss.  It is not all awesome, and sometimes you have to do some tough things in a position of leadership.  If someone is performing in a way that is not helping them move forward, saying something and being honest with them is not a sign of disliking them; in fact, it is the opposite.  It is because you care.  I do not believe any educator or student wakes up in the morning wanting to do poorly, yet sometimes to spare their feelings, we let them continue on a path that may be detrimental.

    People sometimes do not like hearing those truths, but you do not want to get into a situation where it is too late and they say, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

    Personally, I am against the “positive sandwich”; we say one positive thing, follow it up with our criticism, and then end with a positive.  When this was happening to me, I would simply say, “Tell me what you need me to fix.” I could care less about the positives at the beginning.  A sandwich is named by the filling in the middle, so if it is “crap”, the delicious bread on the outside ain’t helping.  I prefer being direct and to the point while ensuring that people know you are guiding them out of a place of caring and putting them in a place where they can be successful, not allowing the opposite.

    I remember working with a student teacher and they weren’t up to the level of what I had expected.  No one had said anything prior, but I could not put my name on an evaluation and say they did a good job going on the path they were headed.  We had a tough conversation, they were upset, I gave them guidance on how they could get better, and they were so proud of how far they had come, that they were thankful I stepped in.  Imagine if I would have waited until the evaluation?  There is not much coming back from that.

    As long as people know that you are both on the same page (that you want them to be successful), they will accept the feedback. For some, it is harder than others, but when they know it is because you want them to be better, it is a much easier pill to swallow.  Leadership is not always an easy position, but the most effective leaders are willing to do the stuff that others are scared to do, for the sake of helping all the people they serve in their organization.

    Categories: Planet

    Building Your School and Personal Brand

    Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 18 May, 2017 - 21:04

    A conversation with Trish Rubin on episode 79 of the 10-minute Teacher Podcast

    From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

    Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

    Today Trish Rubin @trishrubin teaches us the basics of building your school and personal brand. Enter the book giveaway to win a copy of the book, BrandED, that she co-authored with Eric Sheninger.


    Listen Now

    Listen on iTunes

    • Stream by clicking here.
    • The transcript will be uploaded and posted right here at soon as soon as it is available.

    Click the button for iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe to this show


    In today’s show, Trish Rubin discusses what you need to know about school and personal branding:

    • Defining brand as it relates to education
    • The risks of brand myopia in schools
    • The reason we need to change how we communicate
    • The aspects of building a brand
    • Individual teacher brand

    I hope you enjoy this episode with Trish Rubin!

    Want to hear another episode on digital schools and learning? Listen to Eric Sheninger talk about digital pedagogy that actually improves learning.

    Selected Links from this Episode

    Enter the book giveaway contest

    BrandED Giveaway Contest

    Full Bio As Submitted Trish Rubin

    Trish Rubin is an lifetime educator and a “second act” entrepreneur who consults education and business organizations in improved brand communication. She teaches Marketing and Brand Management at CUNY/Baruch College in NYC and consults in K-16 educational professional development and across business, agencies and nonprofit organizations.

    With Eric Sheninger, she has co-authored the first complete guide to using brand/marketing as tools for empowering schools in a digital/ social media age.

    Transcript for this episode

    To be posted as soon as it is available. Check back soon!

    The post Building Your School and Personal Brand appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

    Categories: Planet
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