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5 Ways to Help At Risk Children Succeed

18 August, 2017 - 19:37

Episode 130 with Basil Marin on the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Basil Marin @basil_marin takes us on a journey to help at risk children with these five steps. From the inspiring books to the essential mindsets, Basil will help us reach at risk kids because he speaks from experience.

 Owl Eyes: The Must-Get FREE Web-App for Classical Literature Teachers [Today’s Sponsor] Owl Eyes has hundreds of free ebooks — the Canterbury Tales, The Odyssey, and all of Shakespeare’s work. But Owl Eyes isn’t just an ebook reader. You can have a private ebook classroom and interact with your students inside their ebooks as they highlight, annotate, ask questions, and talk about the books they are reading inside their ebooks! Right now through August 31, 2017, they’re giving away 10 free 60-minute lesson plans for lit teachers – go to owleyes.org/teachers to sign up free and get your lesson plans now. Owl Eyes is a must-get for classical literature teachers. Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

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Transcript for Episode 130  5 Ways to Help At Risk Children Succeed

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e130
Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford
Friday, August 18, 2017

Download the PDF Transcript

1 – Believe in them

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Basil Marin @basil_marin about five ways to help at risk children succeed. What an important topic, Basil, and how do we start?

Basil: Right, so, thank you for having me here today. I think when we look at the five ways to help at risk kids – again, we must think about, “What is the best way to reach these kids?” These children grew up in different ways from you as a teacher, and they just need to know that you care. I love the quote, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” So, for me the five topics that I would like to cover today… first starting off with Belief. You know you have to believe in yourself, and also understand that other people are going to believe in you as well, and that will push you towards your destiny.

Vicki: We have a saying in our family, “You gotta believe to receive.” If you look at Hattie’s research, teacher expectations are right up there at the top of the list. Isn’t it hard, sometimes, though, to look at kids and adjust our belief about what we believe they can do? What are some things we should believe about them that can help us adjust that attitude?

Basil: Yes, absolutely. So, one of the first things is you have to understand that student’s interests. So sitting down and having a conversation with them about, you know, “What do you want to be when you grow up? What are some of your challenges? What are some of your areas that you’re really good at?” and just kind of learning the student first. You have to know where they are before you can take them to where they need to be. And so, just that belief, “I was also a struggling learner as well, we can work together.” That’s what really helped me in the classroom as a teacher, kind of bringing myself down from this pedestal, and saying, “Hey, I’m on the same level as you, and I just want to help you get to where you need to be successful.” So just having that belief and powerful, positive conversation.

2 – Build relationships

Vicki: What’s our second?

Basil: Alright. So the second is Relationships. Relationships are key, and again I think every educator should listen to the TED Talk by Rita Pierson. Relationships help form everything in the school, and then positive school culture and moving things forward.

Vicki: I say this all the time on the podcast, so all the listeners are probably tired of hearing it, but “You gotta relate before you can educate” don’t you?

Basil: There it is. That’s the main ingredient.

3 – Have a vision and set realistic goals

Vicki: OK, what’s our third?

Basil: Alright. So, the third is you must have a vision and set realistic goals. I think for me, you know, at a very young age I was always goal-oriented, and I knew where I wanted to go, and that just help me to propel through my career as an educator. We must then model that for our students and help them understand, “OK we want to get out of high school and then we want to graduate, and then are we going to go to a trade school or are we going to a college? What are your next steps?” But they also, the most important part is they have to be realistic.

Vicki: So, Basil, you know I’ve heard some educators say, “Well, THAT child, it’s not realistic for THAT child to go to college.” Now, is that what you mean by realistic, or what do you mean?”

Basil: When I say realistic, there’s kind of a different layer to it. We know if you’re a great teacher you will know your kids. So, for some kids we do understand that OK, them going to college might not be for them, so then that’s when you have to implore other ideas in terms of trade school, you know for our females they’re going to go to cosmetology school. You still have to give them a craft to be good at. And then some kids are your struggling learners like myself, to talk a little bit about my experience. I struggled in school, but I still had someone that believed in me. My goal was to go to college, I was a little hesitant, but they believed in me, and they helped me to get that extra cushion to get to college. So, you still have to go back to that first initial things I talked about, belief, and you have to believe in the kid and tell them, “You can do it, with the supports that are here, we can get you what you need.” So, it can go both ways, it can go both ways.

4- Grow as an educator through professional development

Vicki: OK, what’s our fourth?

Basil: The fourth one is professional development. I think it is very key to always be in a position of growth, always wanting to better yourself. You can do that by reading books, and I have three good books that I have read: From Good to Great from Jim Collins, Start With Why from Simon Sinek, and Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck. Those books will help you as an educator to take yourself to the next level. Also going back to school, earning a higher degree, or listening to podcasts like this. This helps you to understand and to formulate your sense of what it takes to be a good educator.

Vicki: Yes, and you know, all professional development is personal. My strategy is innovate like a turtle. Two to three times a week I take 15 minutes and learn something new, and a lot of times it is through podcasting because I’m really, really busy. But we have to decide we’re going to do that. We can’t wait for somebody to schedule our PD for us.

Basil: (agrees)

5 – Find a solid mentor

Vicki: So, what’s the fifth?

Basil: The fifth one is find a solid mentor. I think this another one of those key things that really helped me to achieve my success at such a young age. You want to find someone that is where you want to be and just glean and take from them as much as you can. Just be around them, go to conferences with them, sit down and have personal conversation – either informal or formal – and just kind of pick their brain about how did they get to where they were. If they a great mentor, they want to teach you everything they can to help you to get to where you need to be.

Vicki: The old saying goes, “Don’t wait for somebody to take you under their wing. Find somebody amazing and climb up under it yourself,” (laughs)

Basil: There it is. (laughs) There it is.

Vicki: So, all of these things, you know, are about helping at risk kids, but what about the challenges emotionally on a teacher? Because you know, at risk kids – hurting people hurt people – and sometimes it can be emotionally challenging for a teacher to work with kids who are at risk.

Basil: So, again part of that goes back to that personal development, so listening to podcasts like this would give you certain strategies to help these at risk students. Again, I think it all comes back to — you have to start with your “Why” as an educator. Why did you get into education in the first place? And the things i, for our student achievement, student development. So, those students who are in the rougher places and have more turmoil or emotional things they have to go through, that just means you have to develop a stronger relationship with that student and get to know the deep crevices of who they are so that you can bring them up out of those situations to help them to reach the general curriculum and to be successful academically.

Sometimes it just means that you have to hear that student out and practice active listening when they come in the door. They might tell you about what happened at home or what happened over the weekend. You just being a listening ear and building that relationship will help you be successful as a teacher.

Understanding the kids, I believe is the first step. I think the second step is that you have to model for those kids what it means to be a good person. You might be the first positive person they’ve seen and they want to be like and they want to emulate, but you have to show them how to do that. And then I think again, that going back to that belief and saying, “This is where you started from, this is where your mom and dad have come from, but you can pull yourself out of that and change your trajectory, change your future.”

But as we talked about earlier in the podcast, (saying) “That’s up to you, and you have to want to be that agent of change for yourself. But I’m here to help you as your teacher and as an educator in this room.”

Vicki: OK Basil, as we finish up, you say something in your work, “Failure is not a dead end.” Give us a 30-second pep talk as teachers about how failure can’t be a dead end for us or our students.

Basil: Yeah, so I think failure is just an opportunity to look at the situation again and do it again more brilliantly. And so as educators we have to understand that it is our job to reach all of our students in the classroom. So if a student is not getting what you’re teaching, again, you need to think about a different way to reteach that lesson, a different way to get it to the student. I want you all to understand that I am a product of a great teacher understanding that I needed some extra support and help, and they were able to help me to understand that, you know, “We’ll get this a different way. You’re not slow. You’re not dumb. I just need to teach to where you are.” So I want all educators to understand that all students are reachable. It takes time, patience, and relationships. If you’re able to do that, you’ll be able to reach those at risk kids, and one day the at risk kid will come back to you and say, “Mr. So-and-so, or Ms. So-and-so, thank you so much for what you did for me. Now I am, you know, the vice president of this company, I’m in college, I’m doing certain things.” And I had the pleasure to do that with my teacher in ninth grade. I was able to call her up the last week and say, “I’m a new assistant principal.” That was a product of what she did for me way back in ninth grade.

Vicki: I love it that you went back and you thanked her. That is remarkable. I think we as teachers need to go back and thank our previous teachers. I was actually just mentioned in a Georgia Tech magazine talking about my favorite professor, who’s now in his nineties, and you know just having that relationship and going back and saying, “Thank you for what you did!” That’s the kind of currency that we need to pay each other as teachers, because we are transformed when we have amazing teachers. And we transform kids every day!

Basil: (Agrees.) And that’s what we do again. That should be our mission and vision. Again, students are going to come to you and say, “I can’t do this.” As an educator, it is your job to say, “Hey, let’s remove that apostrophe, let’s remove that “t”. Let’s make it “I can.” That’s what you do as an educator. You help the student see it in a different way and have belief in them and let them know that anything’s possible through hard work and determination.

Full Bio As Submitted Basil Marin

Basil Marin earned his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Administration from Eastern Mennonite University and Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Special Education from Liberty University. He recently completed the Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Educational Leadership from Old Dominion University before joining the Ph.D. Educational Leadership Cohort 3. He is pleased to announce that he will be transitioning into a high school assistant principal role within Portsmouth Public Schools for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Basil is a humble and down to earth individual who is passionate about creating opportunities for all students to succeed educationally. He has a strong desire to work with at-risk youth. He firmly believes these students are our future and he is willing to provide the necessary support to see all students succeed. These students are regular human beings just like anyone else; however, these students have lower academic skill sets or untamed frustrations that often disrupt their learning process. He feels that God has given him the passion to work with at-risk youth and to show them that through education anything is possible.

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

The post 5 Ways to Help At Risk Children Succeed appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Ways to Reach Even Resistant Writers with Writer’s Workshop

17 August, 2017 - 19:31

Episode 129 with Angela Stockman on the 10-minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Angela Stockman @AngelaStockman gives our writing workshop a makeover. The author of Make Writing, Angela is passionate about creating writing workshop experiences that are relevant to today’s learners and accessible to even the most resistant writers.

 Owl Eyes: The Must-Get FREE Web-App for Classical Literature Teachers Owl Eyes has hundreds of free ebooks — the Canterbury Tales, The Odyssey, and all of Shakespeare’s work. But Owl Eyes isn’t just an ebook reader. You can have a private ebook classroom and interact with your students inside their ebooks as they highlight, annotate, ask questions, and talk about the books they are reading inside their ebooks! Right now through August 31, 2017, they’re giving away 10 free 60-minute lesson plans for lit teachers – go to owleyes.org/teachers to sign up free and get your lesson plans now. Owl Eyes is a must-get for classical literature teachers. Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Enter the Giveaway Contest for This Episode

Make Writing by Angela Stockman giveaway contest

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Transcript for Episode 129  5 Ways to Reach Even Resistant Writers with Writer’s Workshop

Shownotes:www.coolcatteacher.com/e129
Download the transcript:
Thursday, August 17, 2017

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

@AngelaStockman

Idea #1: Expand Your Definition of Writing

Vicki: Oh, teachers are getting so excited and geared up, and today with us we have Angela Stockman, and we’re going to talk about five ideas to amp up writing for the new year. Now we’re also going to do a giveaway of her book, Make Writing: Five Teaching Strategies That Turn Writer’s Workshop Into a Maker Space, where she has five more ideas. Angela, what is your first idea for amping up writing for this new school year?

Angela: I think one of the things we can do to get kids excited about writing, you know, especially to engage kids who resist it, is to start redefining what we mean by writing. I believe very strongly that words are way too important to be confined by print, and that if we can get kids involved in building and in using modalities other than print to communicate stories and to share their opinions and to even construct poems, you’re going to be able to engage quite a number of kids in the process who tend to tell us that they hate it. It also helps kids who love writing conceptualize the things that they’re writing about in a very different way, and it leads to better details.

Vicki: Do you mean they can voice dictate, or do you mean that they can do audio as writing?

Angela: I mean that they can build things and call that writing. So instead of dictating or audio recording a description of a character, I would like them to build their character using loose parts and materials. I’d like them to “make” that character. Once they make it, they’re often able to use their words to describe it either orally or in print. Sometimes kids will label different parts of the objects that they built and their creations, and it helps them come up with better words. But if I’m walking around the room as a writing teacher, and I want to know if kids are able to create a really complex character, sometimes putting building materials in their hands and loose parts enables them to conceptualize and create that character far better than beginning with words or beginning with print. The fact is that we often see things in images and in dimension before we are able to conceptualize the words that we want to use. So I like to go there first.

Vicki: And our bodily kinesthetic learners and a lot of our ADD kids are really going to thrive with that approach.

Angela: They’re out of their seat!

Idea #2: Coach students to treat text like “loose parts”

Vicki: OK, what’s the second?

Angela: I think it’s really cool to coach kids once they start using words to treat text like loose parts. I believe in writing bit by bit, and so if we’re starting from the ground up with a text that they’re creating on their own, if you understand what the components of a story are. If we’re writing a story where somebody wants something but there’s a problem, so they try to intervene and correct that problem, and then there’s a solution, that’s five parts to a story. If kids can write those parts on index cards instead of on a single draft of paper or on the screen, they can start to mix, remix, and brainstorm different possibilities for each part, one small bit at a time. So when we treat text itself like it’s movable and mixable, that’s really engaging for kids. It’s also more manageable when we try to give feedback and have kids revise, because they’re not looking at redoing the entire piece, they’re able to revise just around the small bit that we’re giving them the feedback around. When we have students cut them apart, physically, so that we can isolate the pieces that we want to look at, it drops the noise around the text as a whole. We’re only zeroing in on that small piece. We also can mix and remix mentor text. It makes working with writing a far more experimental and creative process, but it also – when we shrink things down to their smallest bits – we’re able to engage with kids who struggle the most in a way that is least overwhelming for them. So I like treating text like loose parts, too.

Vicki: I love that because, you know, so often when I teach kids, I’ll give them some revisions for a paragraph, and because I teach in a computer lab, I can watch them edit. I can’t tell you how many kids will just erase the whole paragraph. And I’m like, “Nooooo, just move this one here and move this one there.” So many of them don’t realize that once they’ve drafted, they can move things around to really make it a better piece.

Angela: Yeah, I think that if we can make that a very physical experience, at least for some kids, they really make the connection even when they return to the screen. And I think it’s important to say these ideas aren’t things that we have to impose on kids, they’re just ideas that you might want to try with kids who prefer not to sit, or not to write on paper or a screen. Some kids thrive there, and I think you should leave them there, if that’s where they do best.

#3: Find evidence of learning while on our feet

Vicki: Great! What’s number three?

Angela: Number three is to stop relying our gradebooks so much and to start scooping up evidence of learning, on our feet while we’re teaching kids. There are so many opportunities with our cellphones in hand to take pictures, to audio record, to apps like Seesaw, to be able to use different kinds of evidence of learning to determine how close kids are getting to the targets that we’re helping them to reach. So instead of seeing data as numbers and something that we calculate off of things like tests or even final drafts of writing. Instead they have a target in mind. I want to know if my students are able to write a really forceful claim. Audio record them when you’re conferencing with them. Take photographs over their shoulders of their drafts in progress. Let them share their brainstorming with you, and capture images of that. Use that to determine how close you’re getting to your target. It saves a ton of time. People are not hauling tons of papers home and consuming their whole weekends with full drafts. If you assess along the way, in this way, on your feet, by the time kids turn in those final copies, the quality is that much better because you provided bits of feedback along the way.

#4: Make sure students are writing in a way that makes a difference

Vicki: I love that. Assess on your feet, not at midnight on your weekend. OK, what’s number four?

Angela: Making sure that kids are writing in real ways that make a real difference. This is especially true for primary teachers who often struggle to kind of conceptualize how kids who are that young might actually find real audiences. Thinking about the ways that a kindergartener or a first grader might actually make a contribution to a real audience, as well as our middle school and high school students. These are really important things. One of the most inspired things that I saw once was… we had first graders in a classroom that I coached in. Heather Becka in Lockport, New York, worked with her friend Molly Kelly, who’s a first grade teacher. Heather was bringing in chicks and they were going to be hatching. And she had the first graders from the previous year skype into the classroom and share informational pieces with the kindergarten students about what they could expect and how to take care of those chicks, based on their experiences the previous year. There are lots of opportunities for kindergarteners to write to local leaders and make recommendations about the state of their playground in the community, or to be able to make requests to the principal about the speakers that should be brought into the school. If you’re going to have a visiting author, it’s a great way to do persuasive writing with kindergarteners around the authors that they would like to see that PTAs bring into school, too. Be really creative but genuine about authentic writing for kids. I think is huge.

#5: Move from Celebration to Exhibition

Vicki: And we know authentic audience improves writing. What’s our fifth?

Angela: The fifth is to think a little bit about exhibition instead of just celebrating writing. We do a lot of this, particularly in elementary schools, where we have kids celebrate the writing that they’ve accomplished. I think it’s also really important on an almost daily basis, inside of writing workshops especially, to pay attention to what kids are doing that we didn’t expect them to do that is really cool. Then illuminating that for the rest of the class. So, if we’re in a sixth grade classroom or a fifth grade classroom or even in a high school classroom, and kids are starting to use dialogue in a way that’s pretty different from how other kids might use it. They’re doing something sophisticated or even trying, in kindergarten, I think it makes sense, at the end of the class period, not just to celebrate the effort of writing or what was produced but to put that kid up in the front of the room and say, “Teach the rest of the class what you were doing today so that we can learn from you.” Exhibition is a little bit different from celebration in that it showcases the learning, the strategy, so that other kids cans scoop it up and use it in their own writing. I think that’s incredibly important.

Vicki: Teachers, we have so many remarkable ideas to really take writing to the next level. I challenge you. How is your writing workshop going to be different? How are you going to engage all of your learners? How are you going to have them write on their feet and you assess on your feet? Angela’s given us so many great challenges.

 

Check out the show notes for the book giveaway, Make Writing: Five Teaching Strategies That Turn Writer’s Workshop Into a Maker Space.

So many great ideas! Thank you, Angela!

 

Full Bio As Submitted Angela Stockman

Angela Stockman facilitates professional learning experiences for K-12 literacy teachers within and beyond her home state of New York. The author of Make Writing, Angela is passionate about creating writing workshop experiences that are relevant to today’s learners and accessible to even the most resistant writers.

The post 5 Ways to Reach Even Resistant Writers with Writer’s Workshop appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Josh Stumpenhorst’s Learning Commons: Drones, Literature, and Creativity

16 August, 2017 - 20:57

Episode 128 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Josh Stumpenhorst @stumpteacher is directing a library revolution and evolution to Learning Commons at his school. And yes, they’ll be flying drones in the library! Let’s talk about the focus groups and critical questions driving this transformation from a place where students “have to go” to a place where they “want to be.” He also discusses the importance of literature and creativity in the library. Let’s do this!

Sponsor: Owl Eyes

Owl Eyes has hundreds of free ebooks — the Canterbury Tales, The Odyssey, and all of Shakespeare’s work. But Owl Eyes isn’t just an ebook reader. You can have a private ebook classroom and interact with your students inside their ebooks as they highlight, annotate, ask questions, and talk about the books they are reading inside their ebooks!

Right now through August 31, 2017, they’re giving away 10 free 60-minute lesson plans for lit teachers – go to owleyes.org/teachers to sign up free and get your lesson plans now. Owl Eyes is a must-get for classical literature teachers.

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

****

Transcript for Episode 128  Josh Stumpenhorst’s Learning Commons: Drones, Literature, and Creativity

Shownotes :www.coolcatteacher.com/e128
Download the Transcript
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Twitter: @stumpteacher

Why Reinvent the Library?

Vicki: Oh, I’m so excited! Today we have Josh Stumpenhorst with us, and he is just one of the most motivating, exciting teachers, and he has a new learning space in his library. So, Josh, tell us what excites you about what you’ve done.

Josh: Yeah, I’m super excited about the new space. I was in there the other day, and they had quite literally gutted the entire space and are re-doing everything from the flooring to the colors, the lighting, the furniture. I’m just beyond excited to be able to see what students are going to be able to do in this new space coming up in the fall here.

Vicki: So, what’s the purpose?

Josh: The purpose was… we ‘ve kind of as a district have been rebranding our libraries. In fact we’re not even calling them libraries, we’re calling them learning commons. And the goal here is to have these spaces be more flexible, more design thinking, more maker space kind of oriented so that literacy is still going to be such an important part for bringing all these other things in to really create a truly enriching space for kids and for teachers.

What Kinds of Changes are Happening in the Library?

Vicki: So what kind of things are you bringing in?

Josh: We’re going to be starting a coding academy, so we have a little space, a little creative lab where we’re going to have all of these different tiered activities for kids to work through to code, with the pinnacle being we’ve got these brand new Parrot Drones, which I’m super excited to get kids playing with. They’re going to fly drones through obstacle courses that they’ve coded. It’s just with Spheros, with drones. We’ve just got all these great activities that are going to allow kids to learn about coding, but also for some of our more sophisticated kids to really develop that skill set and that digital literacy.

Vicki: Josh, you’re going to be flying drones in what used to be called a library, but now is a Learning Commons? You’re literally going to be flying drones in there?

Josh: Yes. That is the honest to God truth, and I cannot wait. We had a couple. We got them the end of this last school year, and the kids… I was flying them through, just to tease them for this coming year, and they’re just, as you can imagine… the kids are beyond excited.

How Do Librarians Feel About These Changes?

Vicki: OK, some librarians listening to this are sick to their stomach right now. How do you tell them why you’re doing this?

Josh: Yeah, and I’ve already heard the bellyaching and the groaning, and the, “Why would you need a drone in the library?” And of course my initial reaction is, “Well, why NOT?” And it’s really taking these spaces and some people think, “Well, we need to get rid of the books.” And that’s not true. We need a combination of all of these things because we know that kids are going to go into a world or are living in a world where all of these things are there. And the way in which they interact with technology is going to be a huge part of their futures. And so anytime we can bring these kind of learning opportunities into the school, then we should. That’s what we’re doing. Any time that you can get kids excited about interacting with technology, to me that’s a huge win.

Josh’s “Stump Speech” About Why We Need Changes in the Library

Vicki: You’re known as “Stump Teacher.” I want you to give me your “Stump Speech.” Take us inside, for when you pitched this kind of thing to your administration. Why this shift? What do you tell people when you’re selling, or you’re trying to pitch this so you can have this in your library?

Josh: The nice thing is that I have a fantastic administrator who supports and pushes me to do these things. We had the conversation, and the end goal of this is that there are a lot of library spaces that are underutilized. They’re places where kids go to check out a book, and are yelled at if they talk too loud or make too much noise. Kids don’t generally WANT to be there. One of the first things I did when I took over this job was that I started having focus groups with kids, and I said, “Tell me what you love about this space, and tell me what you hate about this space.” And those conversations are what have driven our huge shift, in not only just the physical space, but also the pedagogical thought behind why we’re doing these things and making this space a place that kids want to be and are engaged in learning all the time, all the kids, and the teachers. That’s kind of the end goal, to make this a space that is useful, empowering, and – you know what – a little bit of fun, too.

The Results of Student Focus Groups About the Library

Vicki: So Josh, what shocked you the most about what the kids said in these focus groups?

Josh: What shocked me was how so many of the vast majority of them saw the library as a place they HAD to go. It was someplace they went with their English teacher when they needed to check out a novel. Or it was a place that they HAD to go with their history or science teacher when they needed to check out a nonfiction book for research. It wasn’t a place they WANTED to be, and I was kind of a little hurt by that, thinking, “Well, you know, why wouldn’t you want to be in the library?” But then, you know, as we started these conversations, they were asking me, “Well, why would we want to come here?” And I think that anytime you can take that question to heart as an educator, “Well, why would a kid want to be in your class, in your school, in your library?” If we don’t have a good answer to that, then we do need to relook at what we’re doing.

Why Would Students Want to Go to the New Learning Commons?

Vicki: So why do they want to come there? They’re obviously going to be driving drones, and you’ve got full color and lighting and that sort of thing. But what are your “why”s now?

Josh: Well the “why”s are that it’s going to be a space that’s all about learning and in the broadest sense of the word. And we’ve got these collaborative spaces for kids to work together when they’re working on their group projects. Yes, we have the technology and the cool toys they’re going to be able to play with. But it’s also a place where they can come and have a conversation about a book. One of my big things that I have been pushing is this whole idea of literacy growth – because it is still a library, and I believe in this day and age and our political and social landscape in this country – having those conversations around some really tough topics that literature can allow us to, is a great space. So just having kids want to come and have conversations about what they’re building, what they’re reading, what they’re doing, and what they’re learning – and just have them WANT to be there. That’s the goal.

The Biggest Mistake Librarians Make When Moving to the Learning Commons

Vicki: What do you think is the biggest mistake many librarians or Learning Commons leaders make these days?

Josh: I think one of the biggest problems they have is that people think that this shift to a Learning Commons is about innovation and creativity… and that’s true. But they still want to hold onto the old bard of compliance and the standardization of the space. When you do that you can’t have innovation and creativity if you’re still obsessing with compliance, you’re still obsessing with the rules of noise or the rules of managing the resources – which are a critical part of what we do — but sometimes our librarians focus so much on the management piece of the library that they miss out on the just incredibly powerful learning component and connections that you can make with kids in those spaces.

What About Keeping Up with the “Stuff?”

Vicki: But do you feel like some librarians feel overwhelmed? I mean, they’re supposed to keep track of everything, right? I mean, there’s all this STUFF… and now you’re adding more STUFF.  I mean, you’re adding little pieces of LEGOs and it’ just… For those talented librarians, and librarians are very talented, and do many things that I know I couldn’t do. But is it asking too much? Are they going to be overwhelmed? Can they do this?

Josh: I think, you know, it’s one of those questions where it’s a double-edged sword for sure. All of those things are important. It’s important that I keep track of my STUFF, as you put it. But I often say this to some of my colleagues, “It’s just a book. And if a kid doesn’t return a book, I’m not going to spend hours tracking a kid down, harassing the kid, and obsessing over it. We’re going to move on to the next day and the next activity, because it’s just a book.” And I don’t mean that to be any sort of negative thing, but I think sometimes we shift our focus, and it’s no different than a classroom teacher obsessing over missing work or missing papers when the real value of what a teacher does is making that connection with a kid. So as a librarian, yeah, it’s a lot of stuff. And I think that’s OK, because I don’t sit down very much. That’s what makes the job exciting and fun.

Libraries are Still About the Students

Vicki: I think the contrast is, “It’s just a book,” and again we’re not meaning that disrespectfully. But when you look at those kids… It’s a child.

Josh: Yeah, and you’re exactly right. And so I could spend my time running my reports of how many books I have out, how many fines I’ve got to find, you know, to track the kids down. But I’d rather go up and have a conversation with a kid about something they’re reading, or working them through the problem they’re trying to figure out with their Sphero and the maze on the ground, or something like that. To me, that’s going to pay dividends in that child’s life way more than tracking down a missing book.

30-second Pep Talk for Teacher-Leader-Librarians and Media Specialists

Vicki: OK. Josh, give us a 30-second pep talk on why we need to level up our libraries.

Josh: I think we need to level up our libraries because while a lot of us like to say that the library is the center of innovation and creativity, sometimes it’s just talk. We need to actually back that up with some action because the library should and can be and will be the hub of learning in a truly — to use a kind of a catchy term — the “future ready school.” The schools of the future and the hub of learning, of technology, of literacy, and personal growth. That’s where our libraries need to be. And I’m really, really excited about ours going there – and so many other ones that are already there.

Vicki: The biggest thing I want to come back to is, “Is your library a place that kids HAVE to go, or is it a place they WANT to be?” And that question really tells a lot about your library.

END

Some of the links in this transcript are affiliate links.

 

Full Bio As Submitted Josh Stumpenhorst

Josh is a junior high learning commons director in Naperville Community School District 203. He’s author of The New Teacher Revolution.

 

 

 

 

 

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

The post Josh Stumpenhorst’s Learning Commons: Drones, Literature, and Creativity appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Simple Virtual Reality in the Classroom with Google Streetview and Google Cardboard with Donnie Piercey

15 August, 2017 - 21:14

Episode 127 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Donnie Piercey @mrpiercey , co-author of the Google Cardboard Book, shows how we can add simple augmented reality to our classrooms.

Sponsor: Owl Eyes

Owl Eyes has hundreds of free ebooks — the Canterbury Tales, The Odyssey, and all of Shakespeare’s work. But Owl Eyes isn’t just an ebook reader. You can have a private ebook classroom and interact with your students inside their ebooks as they highlight, annotate, ask questions, and talk about the books they are reading inside their ebooks!

Right now through August 31, 2017, they’re giving away 10 free 60-minute lesson plans for lit teachers – go to owleyes.org/teachers to sign up free and get your lesson plans now. Owl Eyes is a must-get for classical literature teachers.

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. Donnie has sent photos and items to embed for you! Enjoy! For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

****

Transcript for Episode 127 

Link for this show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e127

Simple Virtual Reality in the Classroom with Google Streetview and Google Cardboard with Donnie Piercey

Download the transcript

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e127
From Audio File: 127-transcript-Piercey-Donnie
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How Donnie started using Virtual Reality in his classroom

Vicki: Happy Ed Tech Tool Tuesday! Yes, we CAN do virtual reality (VR) in our classrooms. Today we’re talking to Donnie Piercey, who’s doing it NOW. (Twitter handle is @mrpiercEydonniepiercey.com)

So, Donnie, how did your students do VR in your classroom?

Donnie: The original idea this past October… You know, I’d given them some geography questions to work on, as I’m a fifth grade social studies teacher. I always like to use Google Maps. I find that it’s one of the most up to date tools, it’s “real life,” kids use it every day, so when I’m giving them questions to answer in class, I like to use Google Maps. It tends to be something they like. The questions that I’d given them involved our community. I teach in a small rural community called Eminence, Kentucky. When they were kind of researching and looking around at some of the street view images, they noticed that a lot of the images had been really out of date. It almost looked like the Google Maps car had driven by once, ten years ago, and that was it.

Check out the embedded Google expedition that Donnie’s students made (embedded above.)

How to update Google Streetview Images

Donnie: So they said, “Mr. Piercey, is there anything we can do to kind of update this image?” We had recently got a new building and we were adding on to our school district. I kind of showed them this App called Google Street View https://www.google.com/streetview/  which is on iPhone and Android. What it allows the users to do is – first, to access any 360 image that’s on Google Maps, and view it. But what’s cool about it is that you can, either a 360 camera like the Ricoh Theta S, or you know Samsung has one as well now, or even your own camera on your iPhone or Android phone, you can actually create an upload your own 360 degree images to Google Maps.

You can contribute to the greater community, which is really neat. I showed it to my students, and they said, “Well, that’s really neat. That’s pretty cool. How does Google go and collect these street view images?” They were looking at some, and they realized, “I’m pretty sure that the Google Maps car can’t go onto this mountain here… or can’t go into this cave here…” The Google Maps team has these things called checker bags. They’re basically backpacks with the massive Google Street View cameras on the back of them, typically what’s on top of those cars. So they did some research and found out that buying one of those is a little bit out of our school budgets…

Vicki: (laughs)

Their Equipment

Donnie: So essentially what they ended up doing was they got a tripod. They took a 360 camera that we had recently purchased for about $300, put it on the tripod, put it in a backpack, and basically made their own. Right? So for a project that they did for class, they went and they basically paraded around town and the school district to capture and update Google Maps, just through this simple little 360 camera hack that they created. It was cool, though. You talk about the idea of virtual reality or even starting to transition to augmented reality by this point. Google Street View app allows you to view any 360 image on Google Maps in a virtual reality form. Right? If you have Google Cardboard (Google’s $15 viewer that’s kind of like the Viewmasters from the 1980s, 70s, 60s and all that), you can just click a button and view any 360 image on Google Maps, like you’re there.

Vicki: Wow!

Their Vision and Work

Donnie: Yeah! And so like my kids took these images that they collected inside and outside our building, and they actually presented and shared at the International Society for Technology (ISTE) this year, which is really neat. They got a poster session. They presented with Google Expedition’s team at the Google booth. They even spent some time with the Google Earth people, kind of just sharing a little bit of their new updates and how they can use Street View imagery. So it’s been kind of a neat experience for them, since they basically just stuck a 360 camera in a backpack and went for a walk.

Vicki: Oh, that’s so much fun! Now what did they learn as they did this, besides all of the incredible technology?

Donnie: What was really cool? They just said, “This could be fun. Let’s try to create something and go out for a walk.” But what I didn’t tell them is that the Street View, as people start to search for “Eminence, Kentucky,” or our new building that we recently constructed called the “Eminence Ed Hub”… If you go to Google Maps and search for “Eminence Ed Hub” those images that they collected as they did that is what pops up. And kind of like on YouTube, it actually creates a tally for you of how many times people have viewed those images. The images that they’ve update are in Google Maps and the new Google Earth so far have been viewed close to 90,000 times.

Vicki: Wow!

Donnie: Yeah! So you know how you always talk about, “What kind of impact are you making? How do you know that people are actually viewing your community, like these images that you put on there?” Well, there I can see through the app that this has been viewed X number of times, so there’s the proof right there. And for kids who, a lot of them have never left the city of Eminence before, or Henry County in Kentucky where Eminence is — for them to know that people from all over the world have been looking at their images — it’s a really unique way to kind of connect them to the larger world. And vice versa, too.

Vicki: Now you’ve authored the Google Cardboard book, so I’m assuming this is one of many examples. Can you use Google Cardboard? Can kids create things, besides just viewing?

Donnie: Yeah! So the book that I helped co-author – I wrote it with four or five other people – is called The Google Cardboard Book.

It’s all about 1) different ways that you can collect 360 imagery, but also, more importantly, how you can take this idea of virtual reality, where students can put their device into a viewer like Google Cardboard, for example, and feel like you’re actually in a place or view a 360 view on YouTube. You know, how can we as educators use this brand new technology to really kind of change the learning in our classroom? What’s the difference between, say, watching a 5-minute clip on YouTube as opposed to viewing, say, a 360 film that was filmed underwater as sharks are feeding around?

If you’ve had the opportunity to view anything in virtual reality, knowing and feeling like you’re ACTUALLY there is something which students – even my daughter who’s five, she’s starting kindergarten this year – she LOVES it. I do feel that if you can actually visit places — like you’ve got a great museum that’s in your town, or if your school district has the resources to take your students to Washington D.C. or a national park — definitely take that opportunity first, but you know school budgets are, you know, not always the (especially in a public school district like I teach) sometimes you’re kind of limited. The idea of virtual reality is something which can give students the next best thing.

Vicki: Now we’re going to be doing a giveaway with the The Google Cardboard Book, and I know you’re going to give us a link to the 360 camera that you got, right?

Donnie: Yep! The one that I like (and there’s several on the market now)… the most popular one that schools and students and educators are using is called the Ricoh Theta S,. There’s different models of it, and there’s supposedly a new one coming out. Maybe it will be out by the time this airs. I’m not sure yet, but the Ricoh Theta S runs for about $300-ish, depending upon where you’re looking.

Vicki: So this is approachable for all of us. And we can do this in our classrooms, and can do some really amazing things. Our students can CREATE virtual reality experiences and use Google Cardboard. This is so fantastic. If Donnie can do it with his fifth graders, why can’t we?

Donnie: And that’s the best part. I spent maybe five minutes just showing them how to use the app, and then they took it and ran with it from there. There were many weekends when I sent the camera home with them, and then they came back with like “Hey, I was at Disney over Spring Break,” or “I went caving this weeknd,” and here’s some images that I collected. Once you take a couple of minutes to frontload and show students how to use the tool, then you’d be amazed what they can do with it.

Vicki: Incredible.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Full Bio As Submitted Donnie Piercey

Donnie Piercey works in a hybrid role as a fifth grade teacher and district technology integration specialist for Eminence Independent Schools in Kentucky. He is always trying to find new and innovative ways to incorporate technology across the curriculum in order to increase student learning and engagement. You can always check and see what his students are up to by visiting his classroom website, http://www.mrpiercey.com.

Donnie has run a 1:1 iPad, Chromebook, and Macbook classroom over the course of his ten year teaching career. Donnie received a B.A. in Theology from Asbury University and got his Masters in Education from Auburn University (Montgomery). Donnie is also a Google for Education Certified Innovator, a Google for Education Certified Trainer, and the North American lead for Google Geo’s Education Trainer Network (GETN). He currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife and two children.

The post Simple Virtual Reality in the Classroom with Google Streetview and Google Cardboard with Donnie Piercey appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

A Terrible Thing Happened on Awards Day: Here’s What I’m Doing About It with Amber Teaman

14 August, 2017 - 21:14

Episode 126 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Amber Teaman @8amber8 , principal, shares something that happened at her school this year relating to awards day and what she and her team are doing about it. Her transparency, openness and leadership are a great thing to motivate us today!

Sponsor: Owl Eyes

Owl Eyes has hundreds of free ebooks — the Canterbury Tales, The Odyssey, and all of Shakespeare’s work. But Owl Eyes isn’t just an ebook reader. You can have a private ebook classroom and interact with your students inside their ebooks as they highlight, annotate, ask questions, and talk about the books they are reading inside their ebooks!

Right now through August 31, 2017, they’re giving away 10 free 60-minute lesson plans for lit teachers – go to owleyes.org/teachers to sign up free and get your lesson plans now. Owl Eyes is a must-get for classical literature teachers.

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

****

Transcript for Episode 126  A Terrible Thing Happened on Awards Day: Here’s What I’m Doing About It

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e126
Monday, August 14, 2017

Download the transcript

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Amber Teaman. Amber is a principal, and I have to give a shoutout to my friend Kasey Bell @ShakeUpLearning because she told me about Amber. Today for Motivational Monday, you have a fantastic very transparent story that you told about awards. Would you tell us that story?

Amber: After the end of the school year, you know, you have a couple of weeks “downtime” where you just kind of get to clean out your office and process. My teachers are gone. My kids are gone. So I just highly enjoy this time to purge and reflect, right? And I had a mom e-mail and ask if she could come meet with me to talk about just a couple of different things about her daughter.

Honestly, Vicki, I was like, “OK. Sure. I WOULD love to meet with you.” But of course my head wasn’t there. My heart wasn’t there. But of course I scheduled the meeting. She comes in, and she’s coming to talk about (and really brag on) the teacher that her daughter had had the previous year, and some things that she had done to make her feel good about herself. The student struggled a little bit, had some initial tutoring that she was doing outside of school, and really, the entire meeting was phrased to make me feel proud of my teacher — and hopefully, make sure that her daughter landed in a place in fourth grade with a teacher just as supportive, just as reassuring.

In the context of that conversation, she mentioned to me that… You know, she said, “We struggled this year. Our student celebrations are difficult. My daughter didn’t receive an award the entire year. And that got to be a struggle for our family. And her self-esteem really struggled from that.”

What Amber Did When the Realization Hit

Amber: That wasn’t the point of her conversation. That was just an aside that she mentioned. I had to pause, and I had to ask her, “OK. Wait. What? She didn’t receive an award? The whole year?”

And she said, “No. In fact she actually asked me not to come the last day of awards because she was so embarrassed and so ashamed that she knew she wasn’t going to get to walk up to the front of the cafeteria. She just would rather have not had me there.”

And oh my gosh, I mean, my eyes filled up with tears. I just had to close my notebook, where I was trying to take diligent notes, like a good principal. And I had to apologize to this mama that I had allowed her daughter to have struggled, who had had – ultimately, a very successful year – and that we had just failed to recognize her for anything the entire school year. And it just broke my mama heart. It broke my principal heart. It was a very humbling moment for me.

What were they celebrating at Awards Day?

Vicki: So give us some context. What kinds of things are you recognizing at student celebrations?

Amber: Well, my first year when I came in, I’d just left Chris Wejr, who has written about the impact of awards and how very dangerous they can be. Anyway, so when I came in, I had asked that we change the words from “student awards” to “student celebrations”. So I’m just trying to reframe the context for my people – of what it looks like, of what it could be about, ____ and that kind of thing. So this was last year’s awards.

So we have kind of “saved out” a lot of the awards and we’re trying to focus them more on our character development program. Here at Wiley, we call it the “Wiley Way” and every nine weeks, we focus on some particular character traits like “Have Respect and Responsibility” in celebration.

So third grade – they do A and B Honor Roll, A Honor Roll, a program like an extra math program looking at automaticity in math facts. And that’s really all that they do, and then they’ll do some character awards. In their classrooms. So on one hand, I was so proud of myself because I’ve gotten rid of gratuitous social studies awards, or gratuitous reading awards, that it was just levels of achievement. But I still managed to miss that that still isn’t celebrating everyone.

Vicki: Of course there’s a pushback that – you know, it’s obvious that this child had tenacity. This child had persistence. There’s obviously some character traits that this child has.

Amber: (agrees)

Should kids get awards when they don’t deserve them?

Vicki: But you know, it’s also so harmful to lie, and give somebody and award when they don’t deserve it. I mean, how do you handle this tension here, because there’s an honest, genuine tension with this whole thing.

Amber: Absolutely, and I think that I live and breathe in this academically successful environment that my kids here THRIVE in. And honestly, our culture WANTS that. And so to personally disagree is difficult, and so what I’ve learned (in my two whole years as an experienced principal now) is that and this is bad, right? I can ask questions. And I say, “How are we celebrating each learner? How are we celebrating each student? In what ways can that student be celebrated?” We have kids who struggle. If there’s a math program that is gauging the quickness that you answer a math fact, then if you have any sort of learning disability or a processing (strength), you don’t react as quickly. And so it just doesn’t seem fair sometimes that you also don’t get an opportunity to be celebrated for those things.

But on the flip side, I am not, by all means, the queen of “everyone gets a cookie” and thinking that we should hand out shiny trophies to everyone. Bu again, going back to that mindset, you can’t tell me that that baby girl did not do something, all year long, that she didn’t deserve to be recognized.

How are they working to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

Vicki: So what are you going to do differently with this?

Amber: I already have a meeting with leadership. My teachers come back in just a week and a half, and I have some time set aside for my leadership meeting. Instead, again, of coming down and trying to make it the “Amber Team and Way” and the” Amber Team and School” that reflect the way that I think. I’m just going to tell them the story. I’m going to say, “What can we do? Help me, guys. Help me, you team of leaders on my campus, you veteran and amazing hardworking teachers, who I know do not in any way or intention mean to hurt children. What can we do to help celebrate babies that don’t necessarily perform in this standardized version of what we call education?”

And I’m really hoping that we’re going to (do something). Other schools are doing it. I know that they are. I’ve reached out to Chris Wejr and we’ve kind of gone back and forth on some different things. But looking at ways to genuinely celebrate.

My kinder teams have gone away from awards completely, and they just do a portfolio-based recognition. So the parents just go to the classroom, and they get to sit down with their kid. Their kid’s folder is “I learned my FAT words, and “I counted this high,” and “I did X tasks.” It’s personalized, and they’re still some celebration there. But it’s individual.

So it may be that we move to a portfolio-based system campus wide. I don’t know if we’re ready for that. But it’s definitely a conversation that I want my teachers in. Again, this is not just a random story that I am telling from the internet. This is so-and-so’s kid, in such-and-such’s class. They GO here.

Why is Amber so transparent on this issue?

Vicki: And you know, this is an important conversation. You’re obviously moving forward to a much broader conversation by being transparent. But you know, there are a lot of principals who are listening to you thinking, “I would never admit that I screwed up.” Because, ultimately, right, “Harry Truman: The buck stops here.” Right? You’re shouldering responsibility, and that’s what’s beautiful about this story, because things happen. We can’t control everything. Is it hard for you to admit that this happened?

Amber: Oh my goodness. No. And yes. I am the queen of only making a mistake one time. I will only make the mistakes once. And in my entire first year as a principal, full of missteps and rethinks and wishing I could take situations back. I’m so lucky that I have a graceful staff who loved me through it – and had no problems telling me where I had stepped off the path. I should have rethought some things, and they were very clear in some of that feedback, which I have written about on my blog. But the end result is that I’m much better. I’m stronger. I’m stronger professionally. Our relationships are stronger personally. And that’s the only way that I know how to learn. If I didn’t have amazing people — like Kasey Bell @ShakeUpLearning, like George Couros @gcouros – people that I can call and talk to and say, “Oh my gosh. I messed this up. Help me fix it.” Or “How have you done this? Can you talk me through this?” There’s no manual with my position. There was no, “Here’s How to Be a Great Principal.” You just kind of walk in and hope that you can figure it out. I’m lucky enough to be connected to some incredible people that I can call and say, “Alright. This is what I did this week. Help me figure this out.” But I think that also endears me to my teachers – for them to see, “I’m not perfect. I don’t expect you to be perfect. I make mistakes, and I have bad days. I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m a friend. I also have “down” times. I don’t expect you not have those things either.” So, hopefully, that transparency lends itself to that.

Vicki: I think your transparency is just tremendous.

I also am thinking of three “C’s”.

I think that first of all, you’re being Courageous. You are putting yourself out there, and moving the conversation forward, both at your school and broader.

You’re being Coachable. This is a hard one for principals, because you actually have this relationship with your staff where you’re learning from them. And you know there are a lot of principals out there – this would be a whole other show that I wish that I could talk about – that two-way street that really needs to be there when you’re a successful principal. Everybody telling you what to do. The buck does stop with you.

But that listening – just listening – and the Cooperative. I love it that you are not saying, “I have the answers.” What you’re saying is, “I have a great staff, and I know that we’ll figure out the answer together.”

Amber: Absolutely. And again, I do have incredible people who are supportive and who are open to me, too. I don’t come to the table without a skill set. I do have things to offer and things to share. If you are open and willing to listen and learn, then I also am willing to listen and learn. And that’s just how I want the culture on our campus to be, from kids to secretaries to teachers.

Vicki: So, remarkable teachers, this is a Motivating Monday. So get out there and apply what you’ve learned.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Full Bio As Submitted Amber Teaman

Amber Teamann is the proud principal of Whitt Elementary in Wylie ISD in Wylie, Texas. During her educational career, Amber’s comprehensive understanding of student learning has resulted in a successful blend of technology and teaching.

From a 4th grade teacher at a public school technology center, to her role as a Title I Technology Facilitator responsible for 17 campuses, Amber has helped students and staff navigate their digital abilities and responsibilities. She transformed the way information is shared in one of the largest school districts in Texas by piloting a communication initiative that launched Twitter, and led to 100-percent campus participation.

Through her campus level leadership, she has helped initiate classroom change district wide, empowering teachers at all levels. In addition to blogging for Connected Principals  , she is a firm believer in modeling a digital footprint. Her educational philosophy and digital portfolio can be found at Love, Learn, Lead  or on twitter, @8amber8.

The post A Terrible Thing Happened on Awards Day: Here’s What I’m Doing About It with Amber Teaman appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Owl Eyes: The Must-Get Web-App for Classical Literature Teachers

14 August, 2017 - 06:01

Edtech Apps that work

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Owl Eyes is a new, simple-but-powerful, and FREE web-app for reading classic books with your students. Literature teachers are sure to be excited! Track student progress and interact as they read and annotate. You can embed questions and quizzes into the text while they’re reading. In this post, I’ll share about the features of Owl Eyes. Then, we’ll look at their 10 free lesson plans for literature teachers. Finally, I’ll help you get started signing up. This product is worth a look because it works on any device — and it’s free!

This is a sponsored post.

What Does Owl Eyes Do?

Owl Eyes does several things for reading literature:

  • You can create a classroom and invite students.
  • Students can log in with their Google ID or set up an account.
  • You can assign texts for students to read.
  • As students read, teachers can track their progress.
  • Expert annotations help students with reading comprehension.
  • Students can make annotations and ask questions inside the text.
  • Teachers can answer student questions and embed quizzes in the text
  • Discussions happen inside the book, so as you discuss, you’re literally “all on the same page.”

Click to see Owl Eyes

A Quick Tour of Owl Eyes

 

What Books Are Included?

Browse or search the Owl Eyes library to see if your upcoming book is included. Many great authors are included, like Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and more.

How Do Annotations Work?

Expert annotations are included in the text, and students can make their own annotations as well. As they read, they can highlight text and add notes. They can also ask questions. As the teacher, you can see and reply to their annotations within their book!

 

How Do Teachers Assign In-Text Quizzes?

As students read, you can assign questions to check for comprehension and point out important items. Just highlight a place in the chapter or book where you’d like to add a quiz. Now, as students read, they can find and answer those questions.

 

How to Use Owl Eyes
  1. Teaching. I think every classical literature teacher should have an Owl Eyes account just to access the annotations and lesson plans.
  2. Create a classroom with your students. This is the ultimate goal. Your students can read on their device, you can be on the same page, and they don’t have to lug their books to class. If you’re in a 1-to-1 classroom with iPads, Chromebooks, or any other device, this free tool is a MUST-USE. No doubt about it!
  3. Collaborate. If you’re co-planning with other teachers, Owl Eyes will make it easier to share and discuss the texts you’re covering.
Sign Up Before September 1, 2017 and Get Free Lesson Plans

If you sign up now (August 2017) for Owl Eyes, they’ll send you 10 free 60-minute lesson plans. (Make sure you do this before September 1, 2017 – this is only for August so tell everyone you know now!)

Click to get free lesson plans from Owl Eyes

Here are the topics included:

  • Themes in The Canterbury Tales / “The Canterbury Tales: The Role of Fate and Free Will in ‘The Knight’s Tale’”
  • Literary Devices in “The Cask of Amontillado” / “‘The Cask of Amontillado’: Characters Revealed Through Irony”
  • Literary Devices in Macbeth / “Macbeth: Character Revealed Through Literary Motifs”
  • Character Analysis in Macbeth / “Macbeth as a Dynamic Character (Act II, Scene i)”
  • Literary Devices in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” / “‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’: Poetry Devices that Convey the Mariner’s Tale”
  • Themes in “Ozymandias” / “‘Ozymandias’: Theme Revealed through Characterization”
  • Themes in Pride and Prejudice / “Pride and Prejudice: Themes Related to Social Class Developed Through Characterization”
  • Character Analysis in Romeo and Juliet / “Romeo and Juliet: Mercutio and the Death of the Festive Clown in Act III, Scene i”
  • Vocabulary in The Scarlet Letter / “The Scarlet Letter: Creating Atmosphere Through Diction”
  • Themes in “The Devil and Tom Walker” / “‘The Devil and Tom Walker’: Moral Decay Revealed through Motifs and Symbols”

So, tell every classical literature teacher that you know about Owl Eyes. They’ll thank you!

 

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

The post Owl Eyes: The Must-Get Web-App for Classical Literature Teachers appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Ways to Transform Your Classroom into a Voyage of Discovery with Sarah Reed

11 August, 2017 - 20:21

Episode 125 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Sarah Reed @KYTOY15  had her students going on a pirate voyage before Teaching Like a Pirate became the fad. From dressing like a bumblebee to class entry routines, this Kentucky State Teacher of the year, Sarah Reed, has ideas for us.

Show Sponsor: PowerSchool This summer, PowerSchool announced the Unified Classroom. The Unified Classroom brings together the teacher’s grade book, learning management system, student information system, and assessment in one powerful platform with just one log in. Take a look at the unified classroom from PowerSchool at coolcatteacher.com/powerschool.

Learn about the Unified Classroom

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

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Transcript for Episode 125  #125 5 Ways to Transform Your Classroom into a Voyage of Discovery

Link for this show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e125

Thank you, Sarah, for submitting the pictures that so elegantly illustrate what you’ve shared with us teachers.

Introduction

00:06 Vicki: I’m here at the NNSTOY Conference, National Network of State Teachers of the Year, with Sarah Reed. http://www.nnstoy.org/  She was Kentucky State Teacher of the Year for 2015 and she’s a STREAM teacher. Will you tell us real quickly just what STREAM stands for before we get into our five ideas?

00:25 Karen: Yeah. STREAM, the S stands for Science, the T stands for Technology, the R stands for Reading, because I’m national board certified on literacy, the E stands for Engineering, the A stands for Art, and the M stands for Mathematics. And so, we intertwined all those things and the kids are working simultaneously in order to create and engineer science projects.

Idea #1: Create a “Magical” Way to Enter Class

00:49 Vicki: We have today five ideas to transform your classroom into a voyage, which sounds exciting. Okay, so what’s our first idea?

00:58 Karen: Well, okay. The first idea is you have a classroom and it’s open and bare. If you can theme it, you can create a magical world for kids to go in. It’s not your normal classroom. And my classroom is a pirate classroom. What I have for students to go into the classroom is I have a board, that is the plank. And so, kids get to trip trap over the plank and into the classroom. And when they come in, I go, “Ahoy there, mateys!” And they go, “Aye, aye, Captain!” And that creates, when kids come in, they’re not always… They’ve come from home. They may have had an issue on the bus. They may have had something happen at home, so if you can create that spirit for them to come into the classroom any way that you can, that handshake, I do the plank, the “Aye, aye, Captain,” it’s gonna get kids hooked into learning.

Sarah has been using the pirate theme for many years. She is a Dave Burgess fan (author of Teach Like a Pirate) but has been doing this for many years. Students walk the plank to enter class.

Idea #2 Dress Up and Become Part of the Learning

01:54 Vicki: Love that. Okay, what’s your second idea?

01:56 Karen: Well, the second idea is to dress up.

[laughter]

02:00 Karen: You’re never too old to dress up. We’re doing a project, the third graders are. I was reading the newspaper and I opened it up to the neighborhood section for World News and I noticed, I read this, the rusty patched bumble bee is the first bee to go on the endangered species list. And I was like, oh, that just hit me to my core and my heart. So, I went to the costume store with my 13-year-old who did not like to go.

[laughter]

02:29 Karen: And I’m searching for a bumble bee costume. I get the bumble bee costume and I put it on and I put a sign on myself that says, “Help, I’m endangered.” And I come in, and I drag a suitcase, and I come into the school crying.

02:45 Vicki: Aww…

02:46 Karen: And looking behind me, and I’m in monologue now, because I’m Rusty, and I’m trying to hide from humans. I’m not Ms. Reed teaching in the STREAM lab. I come down the hall and the kids are like, “Why are you crying? What’s wrong, Miss Bumble Bee?” They see me as a bumble bee, and that really sets the stage what we’re gonna be learning and what we’re gonna be trying to answer, is the rusty patch bumble bee we’re saving. But see, I want students to have empathy for the subject. I could have set up a realia table and put the bumble bee and different artifacts and honeycomb and so forth, and then went from that angle for inquiry. But I decided to be Rusty, so that the kids can really associate with Rusty and all Rusty’s problems.

Sarah dresses up to help kids want to save the Rusty Patch Bumblebee.

03:38 Vicki: I love that. You really had them curious…

03:41 Karen: Oh, from the get go.

03:42 Vicki: Before school started, yeah.

03:44 Karen: Oh yeah. Now, the fifth graders thought I was crazy, but the fourth graders, they were like, so and it’s an ESL school, so the kids were like, “Oh my gosh, why is she crying? What’s happening?” And it was really kinda cool because the ESL interpreters, they went in, they were like, “Why is it that you’re hiding here?” And I was like, “I’m hiding because I can only live in 13 states. I used to live in 28, but now, I’m hiding here trying to go north.” And so, I’m able to bring out that content in a way that a child’s gonna remember and they’re gonna be able when I give them difficult reading material or difficult videos to navigate, they’ve already got some background experience.

04:31 Vicki: Yeah.

04:32 Karen: And they’re like, we’re gonna figure out who Rusty is and why Rusty is hiding at Hazelwood Elementary.

04:39 Vicki: I love the dressing up and I’ve done it before but I have to admit, I try to hide from people but one time, I hid outside my door and some kids were walking by and they’re like, “What is that? Throw a rock at it!” And I turn around and like, “Don’t throw a rock at it, it’s Ms. Vicki dressed up!” And I’m embarrassed ’cause sometimes, colleagues will look at you with a raised eyebrow ’cause you dressed up. [chuckle]

04:57 Karen: Oh, they do. Oh my gosh!

05:00 Vicki: But you know, we’re teachers. We’re gonna do what it takes.

05:01 Karen: I know, and then there’s really the power of the classroom. I’m gonna be a little eccentric because I’m not really there for the adults, I’m there for the kids.

Idea #3: Add Play to Your Classroom

05:09 Vicki: Okay. What’s our third?

05:10 Karen: The third one is to play. Students need to play with things before they go in and before they go into the seriousness of understanding that content. Play means, if you’re gonna have the kids go in and watch a video using the computer, they’re gonna have to go in there and they’re gonna have to play because you’re gonna ask them to get to that URL, you’re gonna have multiple steps to go here or there. They have to really go in and sit with a partner and they have to play. If you’re gonna ask them to make a bee, a model of the rusty patch bumble bee with clay, you’re gonna have to expect them to play, feel the clay and know how to make it into a ball, and how to make those antennas. They really have to have time, as much content as you have to get through, you still have to give them time to play and manipulate those materials.

The boys are playing with cars as they learn. Karen works to bring play into the classroom in many ways.

Idea #4: Use Technology (and Learn to Find Answers on YouTube)

06:10 Vicki: Okay, next.

06:11 Karen: The next one is use technology. Now, I’m an old dog meaning I’m 22 years into the profession. And so, when I learned to teach, technology for me was like the blackboard, and then it went to the overhead projector, and then it went to the smart board. Now it’s like Google Classroom. I’m like, I’m usually in professional development sessions and the younger generation of teachers are going so quick. “Yeah, I got a Google classroom, I can do this.” And I’m like, “Wait!” This is so new to me. I’ve gotta figure it out. And the one way that I’ve figured out how to use technology, ’cause I have a Google Classroom and people come to me in order to solve technology problems or learn different programs, I use YouTube. That’s my little trick of the trade.

[laughter]

06:58 Karen: I go into YouTube. How to make a class list in Google Classroom, YouTube. How to teach kids how to insert pictures and documents, YouTube. That’s my little trick of the trade. Also when you’re using technology in the classroom, kids are really engaged. You’re using their medium that they’re used to learn and so I think as teachers, we have to always use that technology or use those things in the classroom that students are most comfortable with.

Girls are investigating. Sarah has been teaching for some time but is bringing new technology into her classroom.

Idea #5: Set the Stage (Build Anticipation as They Enter)

07:31 Vicki: Okay, what’s our fifth?

07:32 Karen: The fifth is set the stage. That kinda goes along with dressing up. You’re gonna take that outside doorway and you’re gonna leave little footprints of what students are gonna be learning. And I, with Rusty, the bumble bee, I left bee pollen as print that was coming up, and little flowers that had been cut and a little lawn mower. And when we did Biomes, the students had to come up from downstairs, up this long hallway, and I put a rainforest up there and I put a Tundra in there and then I put a pond long before we went in to interact with that. And that just created such curiosity, especially in the ESL School. They can be deficient in vocabulary and language so this just created another learning opportunity for the ESL teachers to talk with the students, to preset them with that vocabulary so when they come in, they’re just… I mean, they are pumped to learn when they come in. They are so excited, they cannot contain themselves.

Sarah builds relationships of joy and excitement with her students. She takes them on a voyage of discovery!

How can you use these ideas without it taking so much time?

08:36 Vicki: I love these ideas to transform our classroom into a voyage but real quickly as we finish up, Sarah, I’m sitting here thinking about, do you sleep? Does this take forever or do you have tricks so that this doesn’t take so long to do? ‘Cause this seems like a whole lot of work.

08:51 Karen: Well, I guess it does. It could be, but if you work together as a team, and you work with your PLC, let’s say you have three teachers, so you can divide and conquer. It doesn’t take me a whole lot to do it because once I make it, I put it into tubs and and then I save it for later on and I’m reusing things as well. But for myself, I work really hard and really fast so it does not take extra time for myself because I guess I’m so passionate about it. But if I were a Reg Ed teacher, it would look like it would be a lot of work so I would divide and conquer by getting other members to help me.

09:31 Vicki: Yeah. Get out there and apply these five ideas to transform your classroom into a voyage. It sounds like so much fun. Get out there and be remarkable.

 

Full Bio As Submitted Sarah Reed

Sarah Reed is a passionate educator with a quest to support students’ learning, engagement, and of of course create POWER in the classroom. Sarah has led a variety of presentations for all levels of teachers including the Keynote at the Let’s Talk KEA Conference and the Jefferson County New Teacher Mentor Program. Sarah offers professional learning at the Louisville Writing Project, Kentucky Council for Teachers of English, and the Jefferson County Public Schools Deeper Learning Conference.

She has been an educator for 21 years with Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, and has worked in a number of positions from being a self-contained classroom teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, eSchool Resource Teacher, Demonstration Site Teacher, Instructional Coach, and Redesign Resource Teacher. Sarah’s expertise is creating engaging curriculum, taking risks to incorporate newer ways of doing things, and infusing as much technology to spur student’s independence and creativity.

Currently, she is a Hybrid Teacher at Hazelwood Elementary, a predominately ESL and small class sized school located in the southern part of Louisville. In this role she spends part of her time in a S.T.R.E.A.M. lab and the other half coaching, planning integrated lesson units, co-teaching with teachers, and having memorable experiences with students in grades K-5.

In 2012 she was awarded the prestigious Gheens Creativity and Entrepreneurship Award and in 2015 Mrs. Reed was awarded Kentucky Teacher of the Year. She holds a NBCT in Early and Middle Childhood/Literacy, with a focus on Reading/Language Arts, an honor she received having gone back to the classroom. Currently, Mrs. Reed serves as a mentor with JCPS’s New Teacher Collegial Mentor Program, is a Kentucky ELA Core Advocate with Student Achievement Partners, and is co-founder of KYREADS, a teacher led initiative to support Dyslexia awareness in the state. She serves on several committees including the Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Committee, the Kentucky Teacher of the Year Committee, and the KY NBCT Network Committee. Mrs. Reed is a proud member of her teacher’s union, JCTA and the Kentucky Reading Project.

She is married with two children, and is currently pursuing her administrator’s certificate with University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky.

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

The post 5 Ways to Transform Your Classroom into a Voyage of Discovery with Sarah Reed appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Digital Leadership with Students and Social Media featuring Jennifer Casa-Todd

10 August, 2017 - 19:25

Episode 124 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Jennifer Casa-Todd @JCasaTodd opens our minds to social media leadership with students. She argues that we’re limiting students when we don’t let them lead using social media. Jennifer is the author of Social LEADia. Enter the giveaway contest.

Show Sponsor: PowerSchool This summer, PowerSchool announced the Unified Classroom. The Unified Classroom brings together the teacher’s grade book, learning management system, student information system, and assessment in one powerful platform with just one log in. Take a look at the unified classroom from PowerSchool at coolcatteacher.com/powerschool.

Learn about the Unified Classroom

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Social LEADia Book Contest with Jennifer Casa-Todd

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Transcript for Episode 124  Digital Leadership with Students and Social Media featuring Jennifer Casa-Todd

Link for this show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e124

Download the PDF

 

 

10-Minute Teacher Podcast Episode 124:

Digital Leadership with Students and Social Media featuring Jennifer Casa-Todd

www.coolcatteacher.com/e124

Introduction

VICKI: Today we are thinking about digital leadership. No, not as educators necessarily, but really helping our kids move from digital citizenship to digital leadership, with the author of the book Social LEADia. We have Jennifer Casa-Todd @JCasaTodd with us today.

What is digital leadershp?

VICKI: So Jennifer, how are we supposed to move from digital citizenship to digital leadership? Because, I mean, social media in schools and the kids Instagramming or Snapchatting or whatever, kind of scares people. JENNIFER: Yes. It really does. But digital leadership is such a positive way of looking at it, and I got the definition from a good friend of mine and mentor, George Couros.  And he talks about using technology and social media to improve the lives, well-being, and circumstances of others. And that is so counter cultural, right?

And he started to talk about kids who are doing this. And so what I’ve done, is I’ve realized that so many kids are engaged in this already. They are learning, and sharing their learning, they are standing up for important causes and they’re being a positive influence on others. So really, I think it’s about changing our lens. Moving away from a fear narrative towards this more positive stance, and then looking at using social media in the context of our classrooms and digital leadership at a younger age through class accounts. Examples of Digital Leadership

VICKI: So give me an example. You like class accounts. We’ve had people on the show like Karen Lirenman (Listen to: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/01-ipads-elementary-lirenman-wideen/ )and lots of teachers who have class accounts. So give us some examples of what you think is, “Okay. This is digital leadership with kids.” JENNIFER: Okay. So Kayla Delzer http://www.topdogteaching.com/for example. Her third grade class, they have the Tweeter of the day, the Instagrammer of the day, and the Snapchatter of the day. And I’m not suggesting you need to do all three of them. But there’s a grade three class where they are looking at opportunities to work and behave online, and then the teacher can have conversations about, “What does it mean to keep something private? When do we share it publicly? How can we be a positive influence on others?”

Another teacher doing this is Rob Cannone @mr_robcannone And one of the really neat things about what I’ve seen with his class, he’s in the same district I’m in, is that as a result of the kinds of activities the classes are engaged in. So just reaching out to others, and including a young girl with a tumor rather, Monica So as a result of engaging in these activities where they are trying to be a more positive influence on others, their own social media accounts have been really positive testaments to what can happen when we model this effectively. Parents and Digital Leadership in Students

VICKI: Does this scare parents? JENNIFER: Yes and no. I think that parents right now are scared because of all of the negative media around kids and social media use. I mean it’s everywhere, right? It’s very much sensationalized, but in the examples that I bring up, not just in the book, but if you think of all the people that are using social media to reach out, to connect to other classes, to transform learning experiences, parents are completely on board, because it changes conversations, right? So you’re not saying, “What did you do in school today?” and get the monosyllabic, “Whatever.” You’re saying, “Wow. Tell me more about this activity that you just did.” Or, “I noticed that you did this. What was that like?”

So it really changes conversations. Certainly, it’s a communication thing with parents. This other kindergarten class, Stephanie Baveros, (editor’s note: have not been able to locate this teacher will will add to the show notes as soon as possible.) where she started to engage her parents in an Instagram account, and having her four-year-old decide on what needs to be shared and what needs to be private, her parents were so intrigued by it that she actually had workshops for them. So it became this beautiful symbiotic relationship between the parents and the teacher. And the communication was only strengthened by their use of social media. Impact of Digital Leadership on Students

VICKI: Well, I know in my student genius projects, I encourage them to use social media. And one of my students, she’s graduated now so I can say her full name and she’ll talk about it publicly, her name is Morgan Singleton, and when she was in tenth grade she had a Twitter account called Apps for Autism. https://twitter.com/apps_for_autism?lang=en  And she would research apps for autistic kids. And do you know she got a direct message from a parent who she had done some work for? The parent said, “My child is reading because of you.” And it was just so beautiful. And that exchange just couldn’t have happened outside of social media, you know? JENNIFER: Wow. I love it. Absolutely. And there are so many more examples of that positive and transformational experience than we actually know about. Which is why, in the book, I really do bring in the voices of students and their experiences. And there are tons of kids that are absolutely changing the world today. In small and impactfully big ways too. The Biggest Mistake with Social Media in Schools

VICKI: So Jennifer, what do you think the biggest mistake that administrators and teachers make when thinking about social media and the students in their school? JENNIFER: I think that administrators truly believe that if we ban and block, all will be well. And I don’t think that that’s the case. Henry Jenkins, Mizuko Ito and Dana Boyd  talk about increasing risks for kids. I think embracing social media in a school, engaging in conversations alongside teachers and students, not just using social media to celebrate the students, but also to have them engage and respond in social media, so that we’re actually modeling what this positive effective use can be. Those are things that I think we need to start to think about today. Can students handle trolls?

Editor’s Note: A troll is a person who likes to harass or sometimes just bother another person online. 

VICKI: Is it okay to teach kids how to handle trolls? JENNIFER Absolutely. It’s necessary. Olivia, a wonderful nine-year-old at the has a really awesome little video about that, and how important it is for her to work with her mom, in her case her mom, to navigate some of these murky waters. I think that educators can be these caring adults. With the class account, we can– and I don’t think we’re really putting our kids at risk. I think though, that it’s just an amazing, fertile opportunity for teaching moments together in a supportive and guided environment that when kids are out on their own, they’ll be able to take those skills and transfer them. Why Teachers Should Consider Social Media in their Classrooms

VICKI: So Jennifer, our last 30 seconds. Give a pitch to teachers about why they should consider social media in their classroom. JENNIFER: Kids are already using social media in greater and greater numbers on their own. And some parents absolutely help mentor their children. Some don’t. To me, it’s an equity issue. But not only that, we can completely change the trajectory of where social media’s going today. Because we can ensure that it’s a more positive place for everybody. And that’s the kind of world I want to live in. VICKI: You know social media just belongs in our classroom. We should use it for our projects, we should use to share with the world. It really just belongs there. It’s just another way to communicate. We will have a give away for this book, Social LEADia. Check the show notes, engage with Jennifer, she’s got so many fantastic ideas for us.

 

Full Bio As Submitted Jennifer Casa-Todd

I am a wife and mom of two teens and currently a Teacher-Librarian in Aurora, Ontario Canada. I am also the author of Social LEADia, published by Dave Burgess Consulting. Before this, I spent six years at the District level as a Program Resource Teacher for Literacy and Literacy Consultant, respectively.

In my district-level role, I have had the honour of working with teachers from Kindergarten to grade twelve in practically every subject area to integrate technology in the classroom, to support literacy, assessment and differentiation, and to promote twenty-first century competencies. I have also had the privilege to write curriculum for the Ministry of Education of Ontario’s 21st Century Learning office as well as the Catholic Curriculum Corporation.

I am a life-long learner currently studying at the University of Ontario, Institute of Technology with a focus on social media in education and Digital Citizenship.

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

The post Digital Leadership with Students and Social Media featuring Jennifer Casa-Todd appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Fake News Lesson Plan Ideas with Jennifer Carey

9 August, 2017 - 19:35

Episode 123 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Jennifer Carey @TeacherJenCarey gives us ways to teach information literacy. She gives us tips for developing savvy in our students. She also talks about the “term” fake news and if we should be using it at all.

Show Sponsor: PowerSchool This summer, PowerSchool announced the Unified Classroom. The Unified Classroom brings together the teacher’s grade book, learning management system, student information system, and assessment in one powerful platform with just one log in. Take a look at the unified classroom from PowerSchool at coolcatteacher.com/powerschool.

Check out the Unified Classroom

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

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Transcript for Episode 123  Fake News Lesson Plan Ideas with Jennifer Carey

Link for this show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e123

Introduction VICKI: 00:00 “That’s fake news.” I hear my students saying it all the time. Today, we’re talking with Jennifer Carey who’s going to help us understand how can we teach students to truly understand what is fake and what is true. And how about some us adults need to know it too, huh Jennifer? JENNIFER:  00:18 Oh absolutely, I can’t say– any day I log on to Facebook, I see something that’s been showed or shared with other people that’s absolutely false news. VICKI: 00:28 I know it. And just this morning on Facebook, somebody was warning me about not taking the car to the gas station because it might have this certain drug on it and that somebody could attack me. And I went straight on Snopes and it’s fake, and it’s been around for the last seven years. And I’m like, “Why do people not understand the basic idea of looking something up to verify it?” JENNIFER:  00:47 I honestly think it’s the proliferation of social media. It happened so quickly and we’ve had such a rapid transition away from print media that we haven’t had the time and the experience to really develop the skill set of analyzing media content. VICKI: 01:03 How do We Help Students Know What is Fake?

So how do we start off by helping our students understand what’s fake? JENNIFER:  01:07 Okay. That’s a great question. And I’ll say that I got very interested in this when I read– it was a study published at Stanford that stated that most students cannot identify fake news sources and it was pretty alarming.

And a lot of adults can’t identify fake news sources as you said. What I like to do is start with my students.

What “Fake News” is NOT

One, I want to be clear. I’m not talking about critically analyzing up ed pieces or a news article, but really identifying that proliferation of fake information that’s disseminated through, sometimes, outright false news sites or that just might be shared online. We all see that Facebook status update or Twitter tweet. That’s what I’m really focusing on here. And I always try to make that clear to people because the term fake news is also thrown around when people disagree with what a news story is saying. VICKI: 02:05 That is true. JENNIFER:  02:06 So we’re not talking about that. VICKI: 02:07 Yeah. So we’re really trying to help people understand and do some research because there are sites that masquerade as news sites that aren’t. JENNIFER:  02:17 Exactly. And sometimes, especially politically partisan websites will pick up news stories from those masquerading news sites and share them, which then just exacerbates that problem. VICKI: 02:31 First Step: Understand Traditional Media

Okay. So how do you help kids? JENNIFER:  02:33 So the first thing that we do is we start going over traditional news media. Now, my school has many student subscriptions to three or four online newspapers: The New York Times, Washington Post, The Herald, as well as a couple of others that teachers can access. So the first thing that we do is we start looking at traditional news media outlets. And so that’ll be everything from the print media, which is now digitized, to television news. Including hyper-partisan new sites like MSNBC, or Fox News, in addition to CNN or BBC.

And we talk about what is it that you could identify on here that makes this a legitimate news resource. So for example, that the name is recognized. We’ve all heard of Fox News. We’ve all heard of The New York Times.

Having authors listed.

Sometimes even things just as basic that they proofread their news stories.

You’ll go to those fake news sites and they don’t bother to proofread. Sometimes it’s clear that they’ve been run through a translator. So, different things like that. JENNIFER:  03:46 We talk about, “How do we authenticate a traditional new site?” We even talk about things like, “How does it look? Is it a clean version? Are there weird ads? What type of ads are on CNN versus a fake news site?”

Second Step: Look at Fake News Sites

And then we’ll take a look at some fake news sites that are out there that we know exist. And those change all the time because there has been a more aggressive campaign against them. And we’ll point out the odd spelling errors and grammatical errors that we’ve never heard of this organization, that there’s no listed author, that the ads on there are really bizarre. So we’ll start talking about those different types of things. And fake news sites have different levels of sophistication as well. VICKI: 04:29 Third Step: Learn About Common Deceptive Tricks of Fake News SItes

Yes. And sometimes, they’ll have a name that’s close to the name of a legitimate newspaper, so you’ll almost have to know how to look up the legitimate names of newspapers, don’t you? JENNIFER:  04:38 Absolutely. I’ve seen stuff even like CNN.SI, so it looks like it’s coming from CNN, or Fox News Reporting, it’s not from Fox News. So we talk about that. Now, I teach high school kids and

Lesson Plan Idea: Gamify Fake News by Having Students Try to “Fake Each Other Out”

I have an exercise that we do in class, that the kids actually really love, where we gamify the process a little bit. Once we go through this overall, “How do we identify fake news sources? How do we vet information?” I then divide them up into teams and I have them bring me five news stories. Three of them are going to be fake that they’ve created and two of them are going to be legitimate news stories.

So they can pick whatever they want. And they create the news article and they try to trick their classmates. So they try to make the more sophisticated ones. So every time they correctly identify fake news or real news, their team gets a point. And anytime they trick their classmates into their fake news story, their team also gets a point. VICKI: 05:43 Love that. JENNIFER:  05:44 Yeah, they get really into learning. “Okay, how can we make this look like CNN?” Or they’ll bring in a news article and The Times that sounds ridiculous but is actually a true story. And it gets them delving a little more deeply into what’s going on right now in the American news networks. VICKI: 06:03 Lesson Plan Idea: Truth or Fiction Bell Ringers

Fantastic. I love that. I do something called truth or fiction where I do  Bell Ringers and my students have to determine is it true or not. (See 3 Fast, Free Fake News Lesson PlansScroll to the bottom of this post to get these.  )

I love the idea of having students kind of do it to each other because they’re kind of one of the tricks of the trade of the– you hate to say it, but the scummy people out there who are profiting from ignorance. JENNIFER:  06:24 Why it is Important for us to educate ourselves to know truth and fiction in the news

Absolutely. And while Facebook and Google have been working very hard to start tackling this issue, they’re never going to stay ahead of it. And it’s really important that students and really adults understand what to look for and that they always question what’s being posted. VICKI: 06:41 Yes. And when we abdicate our own truth finding to someone else, I feel that’s when we get in danger. JENNIFER:  06:49 I completely agree and that’s just part of that bigger critical thinking, critical assessment component that we want all of our students to have. VICKI: 06:57 What is the biggest mistake teachers make when teaching information literacy?

So, what do you think the biggest mistake teachers make when they’re addressing this topic of fake news? JENNIFER:  07:01 One is I think they sometimes get into the weeds and part of that’s the political climate. We do see people criticizing New York Times or CNN or Fox News by using terms like “fake news” and that is a misnomer and I think that confuses the issue.

And I think they get worried about being political because most fake news stories are political news stories. Also sometimes, I think teachers aren’t confident in their own ability.

There’s a reason we’re teachers. We love learning, we’re great at learning new things and disseminating information. So I think going out there and learning more about media literacy or getting some of this information under your own belt can make you feel more confident teaching it to students. VICKI: 07:45 Yes. And you know some things we come across are inflammatory and could be misunderstood. JENNIFER:  07:49 Absolutely. VICKI: 07:50 Yeah. JENNIFER:  07:50 Prevent Problems by Involving Your Administrators

Absolutely. Absolutely. And so I also think it’s great to get your administration involved if you’re concerned that something might get misread at home. In an exercise like this, you could talk to your administration in advance, let them know what you’re doing. That way, if they get a call saying, “Hey, my student said that Hillary Clinton killed 14 people,” they know the context already that this was in. VICKI: 08:13 Educators, as we start back the school this fall, we are the front lines of information literacy and helping people learn to understand what the truth is. And this is not something that we can hide. We have to be out there and we have to explore it.

So I love this option Jennifer has given us for helping kids explore truth or fiction in our news and also this nuance of fake news as almost a political slur against mainstream media. So I think these are important conversations to have with our students and a fantastic way for us to really start touching on information literacy. JENNIFER:  08:50 Thank you so much Vicki for letting me come on and talk about this.

 

Full Bio As Submitted Jennifer Carey

Jennifer Carey has been an educator for nearly two decades. She is the Director of Educational Technology at Ransom Everglades School in Miami, Florida; an Executive Board Member of ATLIS, and the Chair of the Executive Board of the Independent School Educator’s Network at ISTE.

 

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

The post Fake News Lesson Plan Ideas with Jennifer Carey appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

3 Ways to Hack Classroom Presentations with James Sturtevant

8 August, 2017 - 19:35

Episode 122 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today James Sturtevant @jamessturtevant helps us hack our classroom presentations. So, whether they are flipped or in person, you can have more engagement with these tools and ideas. We’re also giving away a copy of his book to a lucky winner, Hacking Engagement Again. Awesome!

Show Sponsor: PowerSchool This summer, PowerSchool announced the Unified Classroom. The Unified Classroom brings together the teacher’s grade book, learning management system, student information system, and assessment in one powerful platform with just one log in. Take a look at the unified classroom from PowerSchool at coolcatteacher.com/powerschool.

Check out the Unified Classroom

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Hacking Engagement Again Book Giveaway Contest

****

Transcript for Episode 122  3 Ways to Hack Classroom Presentations with James Sturtevant

Link for this show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e122

Download the PDF Transcript

VICKI: Today’s show is sponsored by Powerschool. I use their student information system and learning management system but do you know they have brought it together in one unified classroom? Stay tuned at the end of the show for more information.

Episode 122 – 3 Ways to hack presentations

Introduction

00:39

VICKI: Today we’re talking to James Sturtevant. He has a book coming out, Hacking Engagement Again. This is 50 more hacks to improve engagement and we will be doing a book giveaway. But today for edtech tool Tuesday we’re talking about three ways to present to 21st century students, so we are hacking those lame, boring presentations that some of us, yes, even me, I have given. So, James, what can we do to be better presenters?

JAMES: Here’s one thing that I’m really excited about. This is year 33 in education for me coming up. And I can’t retire because I’m having a lot of fun. One thing that’s happened to me over the last five years is I have totally evolved the way I present to students.

Now, one thing that I’m very bullish in is education is changing. We’re moving to more a self-directed model. We’re moving to more personalization and all those things are good. But there are occasionally times when you still have to go up and be the sage on the stage. There are times when you have to get in front of those kids and engage them.

But you can’t do it the old fashioned way. So, I remember being a college student and sitting in lecture halls for 50 minutes in this very passive method of instruction. And so what I’ve done over the last five years is revolutionize that. And I’m going to talk about three ways that I did that.

01:59

Idea #1: Use Presentation Zen Techniques from Garr Reynolds

VICKI: OK, let’s get started, what’s your first?

JAMES: Well, I read this book about four years a go that changed everything about the way I present. It’s called Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. And the whole…

VICKI: Great book.

JAMES: Oh, you’ve read it.

VICKI: Oh yeah, it changed mine too. And I changed how I taught presentations!

JAMES: Once you’ve read this book every presentation you go to and you look at a slide that is filled with bullet points. You just want to take the person aside and give them the book so they’ll stop doing that. So what Garr is all about is he wants image rich slides populated by very few bullet points, a sentence tops.

Or maybe, a title. And when I started doing this, I did a little research and I found out that the typical sentence is roughly 15 words long. And so I gave myself that limit. And then I tried to populate my slides with just incredibly compelling images. And, Vicki, I couldn’t get over the difference. My students were no longer having to multi task. They didn’t have to listen to me try to read the bullet point, try to take notes all simultaneously. They just relaxed and started to listen to me.

So that was a relatively old school fix to a problem of student engagement during presentations. And one other thing, the big change I made in that regard is [that] I shortened the length of the presentation. I was inspired to do that just by watching TED talks and then reading some of the research behind the length of TEd talks.

So, I try to populate my slides with compelling images. Hold myself to 15 words or less. And not go over 10 minutes on a presentation. That’s adjustment number one.

VICKI: Yes. And that’s great advice for all of us.

03:43

VICKI: I know some teachers are saying, “I wish somebody would tell so-and-so that.”

JAMES: laughter

Idea #2: Use PearDeck to Engage Students in Live Presentations

VICKI: OK, what’s our second?

JAMES: Here’s the other thing that happens with presentations is I don’t care how compelling your images are or how neat your explanations are. A lot of times you’re still just having a handful of kids participate by asking questions or answering questions or throwing up observations. And you have five kids doing that and twenty kids just sitting there passively. So, I was searching for some tech tools that will pull those 20 wallflowers in by the virtual lapels just pull them into the presentation. And what I found is called, Pear Deck. Have you used Peardeck?

VICKI: I haven’t. I’ve heard all about it. And, tell me.

JAMES:  Here’s the thing. If you do your presentations on Google Slides or PowerPoint, it’s just simple to upload them to PearDeck. And, Vicki, I teach in a class. I imagine you teach in a similar situation where I have a projector in the front of the room. LIke a SmartBoard.

VICKI: Yes, I have a big old massive touch screen TV type thing.

JAMES: Yes, but here’s the thing. I have students that are twenty and twenty-five feet away from that board. In my room on a sunny day all of a sudden that board just isn’t quite as crisp as it is in a dark room. So, the first thing that PearDeck does is it instantly places your presentation on their device. So, its inches from their face. And all of a sudden it’s very clear and these compelling images are right there in front of them. You, then, control the pace of the presentation.

But here’s what makes it so cool. Is then you insert prompts into the presentation that the kids respond to. And then their responses come anonymously on your smartboard. It is one heck of a way to insert a hook at the beginning of a lesson. And if you have 25 kids it says 25 responses there. So those kids that were the wallflowers, those kids who were introverted who were reluctant, maybe, to put their hand up during a class discussion are participating.

06:00

VICKI: Love that, what’s our third?

Idea #3: Use Edpuzzle to Increase Engagement in Your Videos

JAMES: I’m a huge proponent of flipped presentations. I probably flip about 75% of my presentations. I did that because just in observing students in my class during their downtime, they are constantly on their phones watching absurd videos.

So, I thought, when in Rome, you just got to do like the Romans. So, I started flipping my presentations five years a go. And I was so pleased to hear those unsolicited compliments. That’s when you know you’re striking gold with kids. They’re like, we like this better. We watch at our own pace. We can watch parts of it and take a break. We can multi task like kids do and still watch a presentation. But, Vicki, there was something missing. I didn’t know for certain whether they were watching. And I also felt a little disconnect when they were watching my video at home.

VICKI: Yes.

JAMES: So, the key to me was Edpuzzle. Have you used Edpuzzle?

VICKI: I know about it. But tell us.

JAMES: So, Edpuzzle was the way, just like PearDeck, that you insert prompts into a video. And this is what’s beautiful, Vicki, its like on demand programming. The kids cannot fast forward through the video. They have to watch it in real time. They can pause it. And they can rewind. But they can’t fast forward. So, all of a sudden it’s like you are there with them wherever they are watching it. You’re asking them a question. They are responding. You can comment back to their responses. You can see the responses on your dashboard. And what’s also cool, this gives kids an incredible accountability factor as well because you can see what time they watched. You can see what percent they watched. So, gone is the concern that these kids just copied the notes off someone else and they didn’t even watch.

08:04

VICKI: I love that! Thank you! I’m sitting here and like “Oh wow.” I’ve been recording interviews all day and this amazing PD and you’ve just given me two great tools. And then, now, I understand Edpuzzle and appreciate that explanation in understanding it.

JAMES: And let me just say one more thing. With Edpuzzle and PearDeck if you teach in a Google School in particular, Edupuzzle, those kids just bam, they’re in. They sign in with Google and “Pow” they’re in, there’s nothing to it.

08:34

VICKI: So, the name of the book is Hacking Engagement Again, you can get lots more information from James Sturtevant. Please go to the show notes so you can enter to win because we all need more ideas to hack engagement and this is 50 more. Of course he has his first book, Hacking Engagement. And now we have fifty more Hacking Engagement again. And, you’ve just hacked our presentations in such a great way, James.

JAMES: Thank you.

09:05

Thank You to our Sponsor, PowerSchool, and their Unified Classroom Product

VICKI: This summer, Powerschool announced their Unified Classroom. The Unified Classroom brings together the teacher’s gradebook, Learning Management System, Student Information System, and assessment in one powerful platform with just one login. Take a look at the Unified Classroom from PowerSchool at coolcatteacher.com/powerschool.

Full Bio As Submitted James Sturtevant

In August, I’ll begin my 33rd year teaching high school social studies. I’ve been married for 26 years to the lovely Penny. I have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. I live on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio.

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

The post 3 Ways to Hack Classroom Presentations with James Sturtevant appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

What 41 Years of Teaching Taught Me with Karen Van Duyn

7 August, 2017 - 19:35

Episode 121 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Karen Van Duyn @ksvanduyn Karen Van Duyn has taught for 41 years. From the timeless lessons about students to what she did when a principal thought she didn’t know how to teach – Karen has an open honest discussion. She even shares her thoughts on when it is time to retire. As a 1999 finalist for Indiana State Teacher of the Year, we recorded this conference at the recent NNSTOY conference in Washington, DC.

Show Sponsor: PowerSchool This summer, PowerSchool announced the Unified Classroom. The Unified Classroom brings together the teacher’s grade book, learning management system, student information system, and assessment in one powerful platform with just one log in. Take a look at the unified classroom from PowerSchool at coolcatteacher.com/powerschool.

Check out the Unified Classroom

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

Below is a transcript modified for your reading pleasure. For information on the guests and items mentioned in this show, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

****

Transcript for Episode 121  What I learned after 41 years of teaching with Karen Van Duyn

Download the PDF Transcript

Link for this show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e121

Introduction

VICKI: Today’s show is sponsored by Powerschool. I use their student information system and learning management system but do you know they have brought it together in one unified classroom? Stay tuned at the end of the show for more information.

Hello remarkable teachers, today is a very special episode honoring Karen Van Duyn who has spent 41 years teaching. I really debated on cutting the show down because you know we like to keep the show right around 10-minutes. But you know what? She’s been teaching 41 years. I think we can add 3 extra minutes to the podcast today. Episode 121, what I learned from teaching for 41 years.

00:48

VICKI; Today we’re at the NNSTOY conference, go to nnstoy.org  and we’re talking to Karen Van Duyn. She was 1999 Indiana State Teacher of the year. But she’s been teaching for 41 years. And today is going to be sharing wisdom with all of us about what she’s seen in teaching.

Is it harder than ever to teach today?

VICKI: Karen, now I’ve heard some teachers who say, “It’s harder than ever to teach.” We’ve never had these problems before. Almost kind of like a pity party approach to how hard it is today. Do you agree or disagree?

KAREN: Ah, both.

I agree that teaching is a real tough profession. I was recently talking with some of my fellow staff members. And I just told them, teaching is hard. You can use that as an excuse or you can use that as a challenge. I’ve always chosen to use it as a challenge.

It’s interesting that throughout my 41 years, I can say that some of the behaviors may have changed in my students. But when you get down to basic needs, it’s been consistent with young adults all through my teaching career. Trying to look into my classroom and say “this student isn’t doing his homework” and trying to figure out why comes down to basic level needs – maybe Maslow’s, I don’t know. The basic level needs that all human beings have.

So, he’s acting out because he really needs attention because he’s not getting any anywhere else. It might boil down to the student who is trying so hard to be perfect that they stress themselves out. So, there’s been a real consistency which is really encouraging to teachers because you can know that whatever you’re establishing now for your ways of dealing with those types of students can last you at least 41 years.

03:03

How do you stay positive?

VICKI: So, how do you keep a positive attitude? Because you know that’s a struggle. There are a lot of people who swim in toxic waste and when we get toxic, it is a waste. We waste all of our energy on being negative.

KAREN: Right, and sometimes being a teacher-leader, you get involved with all kinds of the outside elements. But the glory of being a teacher-leader is that you’re still a teacher. And when you walk into that room,  you can see the faces, you can talk to them before or after class on the way in and out, you know what’s important, and then you know that whether they tell you or not that you are important to them. So that’s a great way to stay positive.

Having fun with your students is just, of course, the best way to stay positive. And knowing that they will return that favor to you.

Many times in my career I thought I’m just giving and giving and giving. But as I get to this point in my career I have lots of kids giving back. Whether I have students who have graduated, alumni contacting me and saying “thank you.” Because teaching is a profession of delayed reward.

VICKI: Totally. (laughter)

KAREN: You know, they hate you while you’re grading their papers. A couple of years later, they’re saying “thank you.” But, even the kids that I have now offer me so many things. “Do you need help with this?” or whatever. And it’s just gratifying and hard not to say positive.

04:37

Her biggest mistake? Listening to administrators who thought she didn’t know how to do her job.

VICKi: So, Karen, what do you think the biggest mistake when you look back that you’ve made some point in your career?

KAREN: Listening to administrators that thought I didn’t know how to do my job.

VICKI: Really?

KAREN: Yes.

VICKI: You’ve had people who thought you didn’t do a good job?

KAREN: Definitely. Definitely. And that led to my … because I’m reflective in nature. What am I doing to cause this? What am I doing? And not realizing that it was really their issue. Not mine. And it was probably the best experience I could have had teaching because it reminds me to stay true to what I know in my heart what I need to be doing for my kids. And if they don’t see that as correct, maybe they will come to that.

VICKI: So was this before or after you won state teacher of the year?

KAREN: After.

VICKI: After! So, after you won one of the best teachers in the whole country someone thought that you were not a great teacher?

KAREN: It’s interesting because then sometimes you’re a threat to administrators. And that is what we’re working with now at NNSTOY is trying to create a system of advancement for teachers and teacher-leaders so that they can be perceived as not a threat to the current organization of education but a help. And so, in just the meeting a little bit a go, strong administrators will work with teacher leaders and weaker administrators will be threatened by them.

VICKI: Yes.

KAREN: So, and I can’t guarantee that’s all it was. I can’t guarantee that I was not doing something that triggered that criticism. But, to my mind after serious reflection, I could not so I decided I have to stay true to what I know I need to do.

06:27

What would you say to yourself as a first-year teacher?

VICKI: If you could travel back in time and talk to yourself that first year, Karen, what would you say?

KAREN: As a first-year teacher?

VICKI: Yes.

KAREN: When I was a first-year teacher, there were two options for women and careers. It was a teacher or a nurse. There were only two girls in my small rural graduating class who even went to college. So, I was thinking, you know, this is my option if I want to be a career person. However, I don’t think I’ve ever not wanted to do the job. So, maybe I would tell myself, “It’s going to be a long haul but when you get to the end you’re going to have just a treasure trove of experiences and relationships and a right-hand drawer” – which is where I kept all my thank you notes.

My top right-hand drawer overflowing and being refilled. Emptied out. And refilled.

So, when I talk to student teachers as a keynote address, I actually took the top right-hand drawer out of my desk and brought it and set it down on the table next to the lectern and I said, “I brought my right-hand desk drawer here to show you that you need one as you teach and to remind yourself of the good things that you’ve done” and also to drive my sub crazy because she’s going to wonder which kid took my drawer.

07:53

What encouragement can you give to teachers to help them keep going?

VICKI: laughter So, as we finish up, what kind of encouragement would you give to a teacher who is listening to the show today and they love the kids. And really, they love teaching. But there are just other things that have them down right now. And they’re just wondering if it’s worth it. What do you say?

KAREN: Ah, to the young teachers on my staff right now, I’m telling them all the extra things floating around in this universe about teachers will change and it will get better. Because soon there aren’t going to be teachers because of the situation. The shortage is going to have to hit bottom. And things will turn around. Respect will grow. Salaries will grow. Because I have to tell them that they might have to make more money than this as a teacher someday.

Your own pride and that sense of respect will really be there. So, I ask them to love what you’re doing in that room. And if you do, you have to stick with it. Because everything swings. And if it’s swinging downward now, it will swing upward. And if not, I know there are large numbers of organizations like NNSTOY that are working hard to make that happen.

09:12

When is it time to retire?

VICKI: So as we finish up. I’m curious. You’re obviously right still at the height of your teaching ability.

KAREN: laughter I hope so.

VICKI: It’s obvious. Have you ever known anybody that maybe should have retired a few years a go. And when is the point that you know, OK, I need to find another way to encourage teachers besides being in the classroom. When is that point?

KAREN: Well, it’s probably pretty timely because I just made that decision for myself.

VICKI: gasp. No!

KAREN: Yes. I just retired June 1st after 41 years, I thought, “that’s enough.” But, I’m looking for ways. I would love to mentor new teachers. And I would love to find new position to do things like that. But…

VICKI: How did you know it was time?

KAREN: I’m not sure it is.

VICKI: You’re not sure?

KAREN: My heart is still there. I was five years a go thinking I’m stuck in this rut. And then our school went one to one. And then I thought, “here’s a brand new challenge for me. I can learn a totally new way of teaching online.” We don’t have snow days anymore, we have e-learning days. And I can talk to my kids in my pajamas.  And, it was you know, a whole new way to refresh things.

But I do think there’s a point where your energy starts to fade. Just because of age. And I did not want to have one day in the classroom that I was not doing the very best job. Because kids don’t deserve even one day of that.

And so, when I saw that — OK, I’m getting all the papers graded but it’s taking me longer or it’s taking me … I’m unable to get to the ball games because I’m grading the papers and it’s taking me longer and I want to support them out of the classroom as well. Some things like that. And so, I just thought… I don’t want to decline.

And the other teachers I saw decline should have gone earlier. And I said the only thing that would make me leave is my concern about the quality of what I’m giving the kids. And I don’t think it has hit a bad quality yet, that’s why I want to go now.

11:34

VICKI: Oh, what a hard decision.

KAREN: I know.

VICKI: We’re both tearing up because we both love the kids so much. And we just want to do it forever but there is a time you have to say, I’m done.

Our need to celebrate teachers

KAREN: The kids were so good. They surprised me the last day with a big celebration with a big celebration of my last day. They brought my friends because I ride a Harley…

VICKI: You ride a Harley?

KAREN: My friends that brought my Harley down and drove it around the school. And cheering. And bringing the Harley in on the stage. And cause that is something they identify with.

But, to have them give back. Those types of ways. To know that you’ve made that difference. And when a teacher lasts too long, that’s not the way. I think that I felt weird about the celebration. But as I pondered on it, I think that too many times we don’t have situations where kids see teachers celebrated.

VICKI: Oh really? Yes. Because if they’ve hung on too long, everybody’s kind of like — we’re celebrating that you’re gone.

KAREN: Exactly. And teachers should be honored as difficult and uncomfortable as it is. Kids should see that service was valued and that other people thought they’d done something for those kids.

VICKI: Yes. And that teaching is a great profession.

KAREN: It’s a wonderful profession. It certainly is.

VICKI: OK, this is one time I wish that we renamed the show, the 30-minute teacher because I could go forever and talk to Karen Van Duyn. I’ll be sharing her information in the show notes. Forty-one years, Karen, thank you for all that you’ve done and all that you’re still doing because many times after we leave the classroom we still — you’re still doing it because you’re encouraging all of us teachers who are in the classroom. And, it is all about the kids. It’s really not about us. It’s about them. And when we’re unselfish and we love them, we have to step back and look at ourselves and ask ourselves “are we best for our children?”

KAREN: And that will be our gift as well.

Thank you PowerSchool for sponsoring today’s show

VICKI: This summer, PowerSchool announced the Unified Classroom. The Unified Classroom brings together the teacher’s grade book, learning management system, student information system, and assessment in one powerful platform with just one log in. Take a look at the unified classroom from PowerSchool at coolcatteacher.com/powerschool.

Full Bio As Submitted Karen Van Duyn

BIO
Karen Van Duyn is a 1999 finalist for Indiana State Teacher of the Year and an NNSTOY member. She has been teaching English for 40 years, the last 37 at South Newton Schools in Kentland, Indiana.

 

 

 

 

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

The post What 41 Years of Teaching Taught Me with Karen Van Duyn appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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