Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis
Be a Better Teacher. Live a Meaningful Life.
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Inside the Mind of a Teacher Who Reads Body Language

16 June, 2018 - 08:24

Microexpressions and Relationships Matter

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

No one ever said I was omnipotent. I can’t see into the minds of the children I teach nor can I understand them sometimes. But I can figure out how to make them laugh while they learn.

I read the thousand tiny microexpressions that reveal the little things that make a big difference in our bondedness of being teacher and student.

I don’t need to know why they didn’t sleep last night to know they are tired from it and might have trouble concentrating.

And therein lies my gift.

Some people read books. I read people.

And for better or worse when I bounce into a room, I open the book of your face and take the plunge.

A note to the reader: Microexpressions matter.

 First, microexpressions are an important part of reading body language. While you could watch some episodes of Lie to Me (warning not for kids, some episodes have adult topics), you can learn about microexpressions other ways. While I was at the Army War College last week, I met someone in security who recommended the book What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People.

(In case you’re wondering, the week at the Army War College National Security Summit is non-attribution. That means, I can say I learned something AT the War College but I’m not allowed to use names.)

Writing journey. 

Second, this summer as one of my personal learning curiosities, I’m going through The Write-Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubauer. It is full of 400 writing activities. The blog post above is one of those activities and it opened up something I’ve been wanting to talk about for some time — microexpressions. (See 5 Ideas to Help You Grow to help set up your personal growth plan this summer.)

Relationships matter. 

Finally, I do truly think that an ability to read people can be used for great good (and for harm.) However, as a teacher, I’ve found that learning about body language and reading books like Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities that Make Us Influential by John Neffinger give me things to consider in my mind to help me understand the relational aspect of life including the body language I observe and others see me do.

In another book I’m reading, Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Henry Cloud, Dr. Cloud shares that as we go through life that we leave a wake. That life wake consists of the tasks we accomplish and the relationships we form. Both are important.

Some people complete a lot of tasks but nobody wants to be around them. Other folks are really nice people but you’d never ask them to organize a birthday party or lead a transformation team. To be successful, we need to have both.

Happy summer! It is nice to clear my head and start thinking after living through the madness of May.

Side Note: I’m sending some of these topics related to excellence also to my 80 Days of Excellence mailing list. If you want to join, click below. I may have to rename the list now that the 80 days are done, but I got such great feedback from them.

The post Inside the Mind of a Teacher Who Reads Body Language appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

WHY KIDS CAN’T STOP MOVING: THE NEUROSCIENCE BEHIND A STUDENT’S NEED TO MOVE

16 June, 2018 - 02:45

Suzanne Cresswell in the Top 10-Minute Teacher Show of 2018 (so far)

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Students have reasons for how they behave, particularly if they have learning differences and learn in unique ways. Occupational and physical therapist, Suzanne Cresswell, helps us understand children and why some of them just can’t stop moving. We’re counting them down! This is the #1 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

 

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

The #1 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

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 WHY KIDS CAN’T STOP MOVING: THE NEUROSCIENCE BEHIND A STUDENT’S NEED TO MOVE appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Free Virtual Mentorship for Emerging Leaders #AspiringLeaders

14 June, 2018 - 21:30

Jodie Pierpoint in the #2 Episode of 2018

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Emerging administrator leaders and administrators are participating in an emerging leadership virtual mentorship program created by Jodie Pierpoint and many volunteers. Learn about this program, how you can join in, and how you can become a better mentor. We’re counting them down! This is the #2 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

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

The #2 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

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 Free Virtual Mentorship for Emerging Leaders #AspiringLeaders appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Free Tech Tools to Try in Your Social Studies Lessons (#3 Episode of Season 3)

13 June, 2018 - 21:30

Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Richard Byrne, author of Free Technology for Teachers, was a history teacher. It shows. In today’s show, he talks about top free tech tools to try in social studies lessons. This is one to share with your history department. We’re counting them down! This is the #3 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

Sponsor: Advancement Courses has more than 200 graduate level online professional development courses for K-12 teachers. You can take these courses for continuing education, salary advancement, or recertification. They are practical courses that have teachers developing tangible resources to use in their classrooms immediately.

Go to advancementcourses.com/coolcat and use the code COOL20 at checkout to get 20% off any course. With this coupon, a 3 grad credit course is only $359.

The #3 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

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 Free Tech Tools to Try in Your Social Studies Lessons (#3 Episode of Season 3) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Ideas for Writing with Technology (#4 episode of Season 3)

12 June, 2018 - 21:30

Jacqui Murray in the #4 episode of the year so far

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Jacqui Murray shares how we can encourage an improvement in writing using technology. These creative ways will help you think about how to help children, particularly those who struggle with handwriting and typing. We’re counting them down! This is the #4 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

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

The #4 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

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 Ideas for Writing with Technology (#4 episode of Season 3) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Formative Assessment Strategies to Help with Classroom Management

11 June, 2018 - 21:30

The #5 Show of Season 3 with Mike Roberts

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

We need more strategies than fist to five or thumbs up thumbs down. Teacher Mike Roberts give five strategies that can help us with formative assessment AND classroom management. We’re counting them down! This is the #5 Episode of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher.

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

The #5 Show of Season 3 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

This week we’re counting down the top shows of the season! Enjoy!

Want to know how to make your own podcast? Check out Podcasting Equipment Setup and Software I use on the 10-Minute Teacher for help!

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 Formative Assessment Strategies to Help with Classroom Management appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Awesome Things for Teachers to Do This Summer

10 June, 2018 - 05:59

Listen or read this post

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Summer is an important time for educators. While some people debate what educators should or shouldn’t do over the summer, ultimately it is YOUR summer and YOUR plans. Here are five things to consider as you plan your summer.

Now, there are so many different ways you can spend your summer. If you’re not intentional about it, summer will just be gone in a flash just like everything else.

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

#1: Rest Up

First of all, I think one of the most important things that we can do is to rest up. Did you know that lack of sleep can reduce your pain tolerance and causes to perceive events as more stressful than we would otherwise?

Now, there are not a lot of studies on how often teachers sleep because I’ve looked. A 2008 Ball State University study found that 43% of teachers said they slept an average of 6 hours or less per night. About a fourth said their teaching skills were significantly diminished due to lack of sleep.

You may not know this, but scientists say sleep deprivation will kill you faster than food deprivation. If we sleep badly, we often crave a high-carbohydrate diet which can make us overweight.

Most of us teachers start the summer with what researchers call a “sleep debt”. A sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get.

Generally, experts recommend around eight hours of sleep per night, but you can’t just have a marathon and sleep for three or four straight days, although that does sound nice, it’s just not possible for most of us.

So if you’re chronically sleep-deprived, what experts say is that you just need an extra hour or two a night.

In a quote from Scientific American from their article, “Can you catch up on lost sleep?

“Go to bed when you are tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning (no alarm clock allowed). You may find yourself catatonic in the beginning of the recovery cycle: Expect to bank upward of ten hours shut-eye per night. As the days pass, however, the amount of time sleeping will gradually decrease.”

Now I know some of you will want to stay up late, but listen to your body clock and determine your individual sleeping pattern.

For example, every morning at 5:30, I am going to be awake. There’s just nothing I can do about it, but I have found that I can catch a quick nap sometimes at 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon, so I try to do that as much as possible and not have guilt, even though that’s very hard for a farmer’s daughter like me who really had the importance of work ethics stressed.

This is your only time, teachers, to get caught up, and you really need to do that so that you’ll feel less stressed in the fall.

#2 Disconnect

Secondly, we need to disconnect and hang it up. You know, a Louisiana second-grader’s homework recently went viral. The girl said,

“I don’t like the phone because my parents are on the phone every day. I hate my mom’s phone and wish she never had one.”

Social media addiction can also be associated with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and ADHD.

Our summertime is an excellent time to break that social media addiction if you think you might have one.

Give Yourself a Digital Detox

Honestly, I think all of us can do with a digital detox for a week or two. Now, I know that sounds like a long time to be off Facebook, but you can start in small ways.

First of all, refuse to let phones sit down with you at the table. Enjoy your food in the company of the people there.

When my pastor goes on vacation, he has a smartphone basket, and when everybody enters the door to go on vacation, they put their phones into the basket, and then when they leave from vacation, they pick them up. I think that is a fantastic way to do it.

The Awesome (and Often Ignored Feature) of EVERY Smartphone

I also want to introduce you to a fancy awesome feature of your smartphone – yes, you have an off button. Take that button, push it, turn it off, and leave it off for a period of time.

Honestly, that peace of mind that you get from a period of time of disconnection is awesome.

Truthfully, when we go on vacation and I totally go offline, it takes me 2 or 3 days to stop wondering what’s happening on Facebook, stop wondering what’s happening on Twitter, and truthfully just focus on the people right in front of me, but I feel so good and recentered and remembering what is important when I have that digital detox or just go off the grid and get offline.

I think all of us really, really need to do it, even when we’re just at home, take the phone away from yourself. Sometimes, if I can’t trust myself to take the phone away from myself, I will get my husband Kip to take the phone away from me, and I’ll say, “Here, Kip, take it, don’t give it back to me for a period of time.”

#3 Laugh It Up

Now, the next thing, #3, is to laugh it up.

Laughter decreases stress hormones, increases oxygen in your blood, strengthens your immune system, releases endorphins, and so much more.

How can we laugh more?

Make funny friends. First of all, make a decision that you are going to spend more time laughing. One way is to have crazy friends who make you laugh. I love awesome people who make me laugh.

When I go to a conference, I like to hang with people like Jerry Blumengarten – I mean, the guy wears a cape.

One summer, I went with my son and husband and then Kevin Honeycutt and Angela Maiers– two of the funniest people I know – to the Blue Man Group concert in Orlando. It was just something we planned and said,

“Hey, you know, we’re all going to be in the same place at the same time, let’s do it.”

I still laugh thinking about that night.

Play with your pets. Now, if you don’t have a funny friend, we all have funny little friends – we have children, we have dogs, we have pets. Honestly, I love my cats, but my cats are not funny unless they’re a kitten, and then they’re just kind of annoying.

So dogs are funny, there are just so many things that are funny. Do find funny beings to hang out with.

Honestly, decide to be the kind of person who sees things as funny and laughs at yourself.

I think that’s the easiest way to laugh more.

Go with old standbys. If I’m really looking for a laugh, I’ll just look up old Tim Conway shticks on YouTube, and I am going to laugh hilariously – especially there is one where he is on a budget airline, and it cracks me up and I can’t stop laughing. I love seeing that one, or when Tim Conway numbs his leg at the dentist. Those are two instant laughs, or, you know, just Young Frankenstein or something like that – although, honestly, I find more fun in laughing at people that I know than I do people on TV shows.

#4 Schedule Checkups

So #4 is not so much fun as the last one: it is having a checkup.

Now those of us who have been putting off our eye exams or all that preventative healthcare now is the time to do it.

I have read that only half of checkups have preventative healthcare. If you just get a regular old checkup, it doesn’t really do much good.

It’s when you do the preventative healthcare that it really makes a difference. So do go ahead, and if you’re behind on that, get that off your mind, because here’s the thing that happens: if we’re overdue for our checkup, we will remind ourselves a thousand times during the next school year, and every time we do, we feel guilty and it’s a downer. Don’t do that.

Go ahead and get the checkup and be done with it. Then schedule a reward for yourself afterward, like a night at the movies, or do something with a friend.

#5 Level Up

The fifth one is, after you’ve rested up, after you’ve laughed it up, and checked it up, and you’ve hung it up and had your digital detox, do take a little time to level it up.

Now, I choose to stay out of the drama, there was a drama dust-up recently on Twitter where people were talking about what’s a good teacher and what they should be doing in the summer.

Honestly, I’ve got enough drama in my real life than to worry about drama in online life. I mean, be kind, be respectful, I think teachers are just tired and some are just fussy and they choose to fuss about things that are truly not that important and really lower the nobility of our profession.

I just prefer to try to level up and say, “Okay, how can I improve my thinking?” Now, I always keep something I call the Big Three: what are the three things that I want to improve next?

Performance art and room design, these are two big things that I’m looking at.

So right now, I’ve tweeted it out, I’ve asked on Facebook, and I’ll ask be asking in my newsletter:

If you have an awesome computer lab you’d like to show off, would you please tweet me a picture, especially if you have a Mac lab or if you have digital film with a Chroma key, I’ve tried to decide, you know, “Should I have a Chromakey curtain? Should I have a Chromakey stand? What should I ask for as we plan the next several years in the new computer lab where I’m going to be working at my new school?”

I also am fascinated by some of the ideas we’ve had this year: the episodes with Wade and Hope King about their performance art.

Anyway, so that’s one thing I’m looking at, but remember this:

Innovate like a turtle. You want to have slow, steady progress forward.

I’ve still got to do work on 3D printing, honestly, I struggle with that 3D printer although it’s awesome.

I’ve got to study up on that some. I need to level up again in my digital filmmaking – in particular, how I teach three-point lighting, I want to improve that and how I teach the capture of sound.

That’s another thing that I need to improve and level up on this summer.

So what are your Big Three? List those and kind of take some time to investigate and do that.

I also want to learn more about how to help others improve and use technology in their own classroom — especially really, really busy, stressed-out teachers, because I think that’s pretty much all of us.

I’ve given you five ways to take yourself up

So I’ve given you five ways to take yourself up so that you’ll be up when you start school in the fall. Remember, this time will just zip by if you’re not intentional.

Think about what you want to do.

  • Do read some of those books you love.
  • Do get some of those things done.
  • Do get that closet cleaned out and some of those things that you want to do.

But remember: you’ve got to be a human being sometimes and not just a human doing.

We teachers, we work so hard – it’s so easy to just be human doings and not human beings. So I hope you have some time this summer, remarkable educators, to be a human being and so you can be a more remarkable you this fall.

You are awesome, thank you so much for listening, and I appreciate all of you remarkable educators out there who give me lots of encouragement when I wonder, “What on earth am I doing, teaching all day and going home and recording a podcast at night?”

Thanks for your encouragement. Get out there and be remarkable, and will you have a remarkable summer? I hope you do!

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 Awesome Things for Teachers to Do This Summer appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

IT Coaches Leading Change in the Classroom

7 June, 2018 - 21:19

Deb Ramm on episode 329 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Instructional Technology Coaches can be helpful advisors for teachers if they learn strategies of encouragement and empowerment. Deb Ramm helps us learn the techniques to help powerful improvement happen in classrooms.

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

***

Enhanced Transcript IT Coaches Leading Change in the Classroom

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e329
Date: June 7, 2018

Vicki: So today we’re talking with Deb Ramm from Rhode Island about leading change.

Now, Deb, you work with implementing lighthouse classrooms, but you’ve also recently moved into instructional technology.

What kind of things did you have to do to shift from classroom teacher to instructional technology leader? How did that work for you?

Ramm: I think the change happened pretty organically. Being in a classroom for the past twenty years teaching the same grade gave me the comfort to really explore a lot of the ed-tech tools and have the liberty to really explore that with my students and then just start to share that with colleagues.

I think becoming a leader was one of the things that I worked at probably through doing a lot of the external pieces like being a ??? Fellow. We have this amazing fellowship in Rhode Island with the Highlander Institute that really works to develop leaders.

Working with that group, I really found my tribe, and I really worked to explore and expand myself in a leadership role and helping other teachers in other districts build their own blended-learning capacities. So I think I developed myself as a leader through some of my external pieces.

Vicki: But how do you keep your classroom focused? I’m sure you’ve seen it, sometimes, when people leave the classroom, they forget what it really feels like to be in the classroom. It’s hard to be relevant teachers in that way.

Ramm: For sure. In the past couple of years, I’ve been in my brand-new role. I think one amazing thing that I’ve started to work on with teachers since I’ve left the classroom is to really help manage complex change and to also help them to build their growth mindset around really just working for this change.

Really, we’re changing the landscape of education in our classrooms, and so we’re moving from being teachers in a classroom to really moving toward that blended environment – what does it look like?

I think helping teachers to understand the vision and helping them to develop their skills and their competence and providing them with some incentives and resources along with an action plan really helps to build in how they can manage that change and also how I can remain relevant in their classroom.

For them, what I do much of the time is to really model lessons for them or to work directly with their students and even offer them some kind of embedded supports within their classroom.

That helps me to see at a consistent level what they’re doing in their classrooms and then how I can support them in that work so that I’m constantly having a leg into what’s happening in the classrooms on a daily basis.

Vicki: Now do you find that you need conversations around these? When you do a model lesson, are you going to spend time ahead of time talking to the teacher about what they’re trying to do? Is there a time when you hand over the lesson to them? How does that work?

Ramm: Yes, it’s a very scaffolded approach.

I really do build classroom cohort so that we meet outside of the classroom as groups where we can really collaborate together and plan together.

Then there’s a lot of time where I can sit with each individual teacher and really build a more personalized coaching experience for them, so that I can kind of elevate what they’re doing in the classroom and celebrate what’s happening with their students and then just really challenge them to the next level so that they can see what’s working really well and then consider that problem of practice and how they can kind of push themselves up from that point forward using blended learning and personalization within their own classrooms.

Vicki: Deb, have you ever made a mistake in trying to help someone change and thought, “That was a disaster, I’m never going to do that again?” What was it?

Ramm: Yeah, and I think that’s the really great learning piece of all of this. I think there’s no one-size-fits-all for the teachers that we work with.

I think really appreciating them for who they are and what they have to offer and helping them to see that they do have something to offer regardless of their desire to change.

I think that teachers are pretty amazing people, and we are resilient as a group, but I think when teachers are trying something new, we constantly see ourselves as being that sage on the stage and reaching out for help and trying to get support from other people is sometimes an awkward thing.

I think letting my own guard down and kind of letting people know that I don’t have all the answers, either, and let’s learn this together, and kind of build this together. I think that’s really important.

I think there’s much to be said about a nod and a smile when you’re working with someone, to really just be a listener and hear how they’re doing something in the classroom and really engage them in developing and searching out their problem of practice so that, when they’re exploring a solution, it becomes something that they’re buying into and not something that I’ve just sold them. I think that’s a really important piece.

Vicki: What do you think about this statement, agree or disagree: “The greatest software for innovation in the world is the human brain.”

Ramm: Completely agree. Nothing can happen without real thoughtful consideration of everything that we do.

I think a lot of teachers nowadays, when they’re thinking about using technology in their classrooms, will consider that technology as the end-all and be-all. Quite honestly, as much as I’m helping people to bring blended into their classrooms, there are just certain times where using a computer and pulling in that technology is not the best way.

I think that’s the most empowering piece, to show teachers how technology can make something better, and when doing something with paper and pencil, or just a regular book, or a board game is just the most empowering way to do it.

I think, when people see that there really, truly is a blend, an empowerment, of how we can utilize our resources – that’s when they’re going to make that change: when they see it working for them and know that it’s not everything that you’re pushing for and you’re celebrating what they’re doing on a daily basis regardless of where it’s going in the classroom.

Vicki: So, Deb, I’ve given you a statement that I think and you agreed with it. Why don’t you give me one that you believe about helping teachers change?

Ramm: Oh, boy. I think, when we’re helping teachers to change, I think the most empowering thing we can do to them, and I know I’ve said it, is simply help them to find their tribe.

I know when I first was an early adopter of bringing technology into my classroom I really felt alone. I felt as if I was a silo.

When you’re practicing something and you’re all alone and doing that, it is very hard to find people to share your ideas with so that they can question you in a valuable way and spur you on when you need to be uplifted.

We all know that using technology, we’re going to have lots of instances where we fail. For some people, failing is really a let-down. For others, and the science-minded person in me says, “Failing is that first attempt in learning. We really need to see failure as just a way to find the good in something, switch the bad, and tweak it a little bit.

I think when you find your tribe, when you find the group of people that are going to celebrate the things in you that have challenged yourself with, when you find that group of people who’s willing to support you and give you some of that helpful hints or little suggestions, that’s how you’re going to excel.

So I say to people, “Come out of your silo, find the people that you can work with and that can push you on, and find the people that are going to elevate and celebrate what you’re doing in and out of the classroom, because doing it alone is never going to push you or anything else forward. In order to scale and replicate this, you need to share it and share it with people who are like-minded and can be your thought partners in this.”

Vicki: Oh, we need thought-partners. What a great way to finish up a Thought Leader Thursday, just to challenge all of us: do you have a thought partner, and how do you exchange ideas? How do you discuss ideas, and are you willing to change and level up? Thanks, Deb!

Ramm: Thanks so much!

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

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Debra Turchetti-Ramm is a 1992 graduate of Rhode Island College. She had been a fourth grade teacher for the Johnston Public School System in Rhode Island since 1997, though now serves as the JPS Instructional Technology Coordinator. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who has done a significant amount of professional development in the areas of science, math, and technology. She is President of the RI Association for Supervision, Curriculum Development and also serves as their Communications Coordinator.

In 2014, she became a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science and was recently recognized as a National PAEMST Finalist for Science. She created a STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math) program for her fourth grade students, has presented at RI Science Teachers Association, and attended several summer institutes including the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, the American Geoscience Institute, and the Honeywell Space Academy.

In 2015 Deb was selected as a PBS Lead Digital Innovator and in 2018 she was selected as a PBS All Star. She has been both a participant and trainer for Rhode Island Teachers and Technology Initiative since 1998. Deb transformed her classroom into a blended learning environment using her class website as a launchpad, as well as laptops and iPads with her students daily. Her work with students enabled her classroom to be recognized as a Blended Learning Lighthouse Classroom, which provided personalized instruction for her students. She has presented digital storytelling and creation workshops highlighting the work of her students (often with her students) at various local forums, including the Learning First Alliance, RI Department of Education’s Innovation Powered by Technology, and the Highlander’s Blended Learning Conferences. She continues to share her technology expertise at local and national conference.

In 2016, Debra was Johnston’s District Teacher of the Year, and was a finalist for state Teacher of the Year for Rhode Island. Her new role as Instructional Technology Coordinator has her working with K-12 teachers to support the blended learning initiative within the district. Her primary focus is establishing Lighthouse Classrooms to increase the quality of teaching and learning for kindergarten through grade five classrooms. Her work was recently acknowledged in a Getting Smart podcast entitled “Network Effects Fuels Personalized Learning in Rhode Island.”

Debra is a founding member of EdUnderground, a hands-on laboratory where teachers can discover, explore, create and experiment with technology integration strategies, blended learning models, and other innovative tactics using hardware platforms and software programs to support the diverse needs of students. She is a Fuse RI Fellow, working to collaborate with the state’s districts to assess readiness, analyze data, and help disseminate best blended learning practices based on each district’s specific needs. She continues to provide support for the state’s educators as a Coach/Consultant for Highlander Institute.

Deb has appeared as a guest on the Meet Education Project Podcast and in a segment for PBS RI Classrooms. She is an advocate for personalization through blended learning, has opened her doors as a lighthouse classroom and continues to showcase JPS teachers and students as lighthouse classrooms for districts throughout the state. You can follow Deb on Twitter @Deb_Ramm.

http://jpsinstructionaltechnology.weebly.com/

http://www.pbs.org/education/digitalinnovators

http://www.johnstonschools.org/Schools/Kudos-to-JPS/Teacher-of-the-Year/index.html

Current

https://www.paemst.org/finalist_profile/4537

https://riascd.weebly.com/

Blog: http://jpsinstructionaltechnology.weebly.com/

Twitter: @Deb_Ramm

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

The post IT Coaches Leading Change in the Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Helping Kids Cope with Tragedy: A Story from a Middle School Jazz Band

6 June, 2018 - 21:30

Meredith O'Brien on episode 328 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

One middle school had to cope with the tragic death of a classmate. This story features how one remarkable teacher and his jazz band helped a whole school cope. Author Meredith O’Brien tells the story behind her book, Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears, and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room, a finalist for the Foreword INDIES book competition.

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

***

Enhanced Transcript Helping Kids Cope with Tragedy

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e328
Date: Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Vicki: So today we’re talking with Meredith O’Brien, author of Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears, and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room.

Now, Meredith, in this book you actually tackle a little bit of a difficult issue. What is the difficult topic that you’re addressing in this book?

What is the difficult topic that you’re addressing in this book?

Meredith: The difficult topic is the loss of a classmate, of a student, unexpectedly and how a school and a teacher deal with that. Unfortunately, this is something that schools have to deal with really sadly often. They have someone pass away and their students react in various ways.

In this particular case, I followed a small-town Massachusetts music teacher in the year after one of the band members in the jazz band passed away in his sleep. He had an undiagnosed heart ailment that they didn’t know was there until after he had passed away, so it’s about how the school, how a risk-taking teacher, how they helped these kids get through a difficult time of grief.

Vicki: Is this a true story?

So it’s a true story.

Meredith: It is. It is. Actually, my son was a friend of the boy, Eric Green, who passed away when my son was in seventh grade, and I followed his band, his jazz band, for my son’s eighth grade year and it’s in my hometown. It’s a true story and I spent a year shadowing these middle-school kids during their rehearsals and all their performances.

Vicki: So obviously, this is a book that could be used if a school was struggling with this?

So this could be used as a resource for other schools?

Meredith: Yes, I think so. The story of Mr. Clarke, the name of the book, focuses on this one band director. It’s where he takes tremendous emotional risks with his kids, and throughout the year, he struggled with how to get the students to not just open up and get past survivor’s guilt, but also kind of feel comfortable enough with their feelings to play their music enough in an authentic way.

It was a difficult trick for him to try to get these students through and be able to access their emotions at the same time. By the end of the year, the students told me they felt ready to go on. They still were sad about the loss of their friend, but they were ready to go on to high school, go on to their next milestone — as opposed to just feeling being bereft with survivor’s guilt, which they had had beforehand.

Vicki: You know, it’s just so difficult because some folks say “Oh, let’s just bring in counselors, it’s a once-and-done thing.”

It’s not a once-and-done thing. It is a long process, isn’t it?

Meredith: It is. It takes obviously every child… Every student is different, but for this community in particular, it took a long time. In fact, students are still coping with this loss.

Every student is different, and so is their grief.

The students who are featured in this book just finished their freshman year of college. They still get teary-eyed when we talk about the book or talk about Eric, but now at least it’s tinged with fond memories as opposed to just the pure grief that it was.

Vicki: Do you think that teachers who read this book will find strategies and advice of what works and what doesn’t?

Meredith: Absolutely. Not only did Mr. Clarke go out on a limb by, for example, letting his students see his grief, letting his students see his anger at the senseless loss of a child, but the principal of the school allowed the students to grieve in ways that maybe he didn’t feel comfortable with, but he felt that they needed.

He once told me, “If you give your students what they need, you’re never going to fail.”

“If you give your students what they need, you’re never going to fail.”

Vicki: Wow. But even educators sometimes, I think, want to pretend like things don’t happen, don’t they?

Meredith: Yeah, it’s easier that way to focus on the assignments, but the students are still in a different emotional space.

Middle school itself is an emotional roller coaster of a ride anyway, but when they’re trying to cope with grief, it just adds another layer of complexity to the whole experience.

Vicki: So, Meredith, what do you hope to accomplish with this book? I mean, it’s obviously been painful and difficult for all those you interviewed. Do you feel like it was sort of cathartic or helpful as they processed these emotions?

Was this process cathartic?

Meredith: Absolutely. I think that this is a ringing endorsement of the power of teachers who really, really care about their kids and really want to help them in any way the kids need to be helped.

I also think that, prior to this project — I still don’t play any instruments, I’m not a musician — but I learned by watching these students about the camaraderie in a band room and how much being a team member helped these particular students feel as though they were in it together.

They were in it as a team, almost like a football team or a soccer team, but they were a team of musicians. They were doing it, getting the win for their friend when they were performing this piece in honor of their friend.

Vicki: Meredith, I’m sure as people read this book they’re reaching out to you and telling you their stories. Is there anything that Mr. Clarke and those in this book do right that you wish more students would understand and do perhaps better in these circumstances? I’m sure you’re getting all types of stories of things that have gone well and maybe not so well.

Meredith: I think being honest with the students and that seems very basic, but a lot of schools and a lot of teachers are afraid to be honest just about what’s happening, what’s actually happening.

In the absence of real information, the students fill in the gaps with rumors and inaccuracies that might make them even more anxious.

In the absence of real information, students fill in the gaps
with rumors and inaccuracies

I think that listening to them and telling them the truth about what’s happening, about what the school can and cannot let them do, really just being honest and being true to them, and with them, has done wonders for these kids to get through a difficult period of time.

Vicki: Could you just give a thirty-second piece of encouragement to educators who may be dealing with this issue now or have dealt with it recently?

Meredith: The first few months are wrenching

I didn’t even start following this group of students until almost nine months after the boy passed away. The first months were just wrenching. You just have to let it be that way.

Lesson plans are going to get interrupted. Things are not going to go the way you want them to. The students may not read the assigned pages in To Kill A Mockingbird because they’re off in their own mental space thinking about their friend or thinking about the impact of this loss.

Lesson plans are going to get interrupted

Just being gentle and allowing them to feel their feelings instead of just saying, “Ope! We’re done with that,” or “Let’s fill up the student’s locker with something.”

In this particular school they allowed students to put pictures on the locker. They put up a big piece of paper where the students could write notes to him. Students were allowed to also write notes and put them in the locker, that went on for a year. So that’s a process.

I think letting the process happen organically really is a helpful thing for students going through loss.

Vicki: Well, this is a difficult topic, remarkable educators, but it is something — a lot of us included — have had to deal with. And it’s difficult.

But it is important that we realize that, as I often say, we have to relate before we educate. It’s all about that relationship.

We’re not just learning together, we’re living life together. As we live life together, tragedies do happen. It is part of teaching and part of learning and part of living, and dying is part of living.

We’re not just learning together, we’re living life together.

It’s something that we do have to help kids process and grieve and work through. So, to those of you who are struggling with this, you are loved. You’re not alone. Others have gone through it.

Again, thank you, Meredith, for coming on. The book is Mr. Clarke’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears, and Jazz in A Middle School Band Room. I very much appreciate that Mr. Clarke and all the kids were willing to be transparent and share the journey to try to help others.

Thanks, Meredith.

Meredith: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

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

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Meredith O’Brien is a Boston area writer and author of three books, the latest of which is Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room. The book — which won an Independent Publishers Book Award and is a finalist for the Foreword INDIES book competition — follows a real-life Massachusetts middle school jazz band in the year after one of the students unexpectedly passed away. Throughout the school year, the risk-taking and heart-on-his-sleeve band director, Mr. Clark, guides his students, including the author’s son, to the other side of their grief.

Mr. Clark’s Big Band has been called “endearing and inspiring” and “a timeless story, one that underlines in gold the power of the unsung heroes all around us.”

O’Brien, a former journalist and blogger, teaches journalism at Northeastern University in Boston.

Blog: mereditheobrien.com

Twitter: @MeredithOBrien

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

The post Helping Kids Cope with Tragedy: A Story from a Middle School Jazz Band appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

The Facebook Scandal: What Can We Learn as Educators

6 June, 2018 - 10:16

Britt Watwood on episode 327 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Professor Britt Watwood has moved his college classes off Facebook. Today he reflects on the implications for educators and how he’s talking about the Cambridge Analytica scandal with other educators.

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

***

Enhanced Transcript The Facebook Scandal: What Can We Learn as Educators

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e326
Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Vicki: The Facebook scandal with Cambridge Analytica and more. What can we, as K-12 teachers, learn about it?

Today, Britt Watwood is going to tackle this topic. So, first of all, Britt, how would you explain, in simple terms, what happened on Facebook and why so many people are wanting to #deletefacebook?

What happened on Facebook?

Britt: It’s a great question, Vicki.

Let me first say I am not a Facebook expert or a privacy expert.

I am a college teacher, but I have been using Facebook in my classes for about the last six years. I got concerned when the privacy scandal broke last March.

In a nutshell, Cambridge Analytica, was a corporation that used Facebook data and had permission to look at about a quarter million accounts, but because of the way Facebook sets itself up, whenever you give permission to Facebook, you’re also basically giving permission for Facebook to look at your friends.

Cambridge Analytica was able to take that quarter million accounts that it had permission to look at from Facebook and mine fifty million accounts to look at trends and how people thought about politics and then potentially use that to move the 2016 election in different ways.

Obviously those 50 million people did not know their data was being used.

Vicki: Yeah.

Britt: So it became a real public relations nightmare for Facebook, but it also raised troubling questions about, “What do we know about our data?”

Vicki: Yeah. So, Britt, did you delete your Facebook, or not?

Did you delete your Facebook, or not?

Britt: Great question. The quick answer is yes and no. I deleted using Facebook in teaching, but I still have a Facebook account.

I think the reason is the same reason a lot of people looked at Facebook. We got so used to using it to connect with family and friends, there wasn’t a good alternative.

Vicki: What are using instead of Facebook for your classes?

Britt: In my classes, I’m using strictly a Blackboard LMS and I’m using Twitter, which I felt was a less onerous use of social media for classroom conversations. People kind of understood that anything you tweet is out there.

When I set up the Facebook closed group, I was under the assumption that people could use Facebook for communication in our class, and nobody outside the group could see it.

But just by requiring my students to have a Facebook account to do that, I was potentially setting them up to have their data mined. That bothered me.

Vicki: Okay, so you’ve moved off of the private group. What else? What can we learn from this?

I think you’ve got a pretty cool acronym that you once shared that we need to consider when we are using Facebook today. What is that?

You’ve got a pretty cool acronym. What is it?

Britt: The acronym is P.R.O.V.E. You have to prove to me that it’s worth using Facebook, or any social media, for that matter.

P is for Privacy. We’ve got to do a better job as educators understanding our own privacy by helping our students understand how to set up THEIR privacy. There are some good websites out there – I’ll share some links at the end, here with you on setting up your privacy.

The R is for Respect. There are multiple viewpoints online. In this age of very partisan bickering online, we need to do better jobs of respect.

O is Observe. That means that, anytime you see something on the web, you need to think about it before you jump in. I like to think about the fact that good citizens pause before they like, comment, or share, and kind of ask “What does this say about me?”

V is for Validate. Before you share something, you should make sure that it’s valid.

Finally, E is for Engage, because I do not think that banning and deleting Facebook or staying off of social media is the answer.

We just need to do a better job of educating ourselves as teachers and educating our students on being good digital citizens.

Vicki: I think that it’s important for us educators to remember that nothing is free.

Nothing is free.

Basically, the commodity is we have agreed to allow ourselves to be surveilled. That’s what we said. You could watch me, you could stalk me, you can see all of my purchasing habits, what I’m doing, and, in return, I will use your service for free – but at what cost?

Do you think people are just starting to understand that their privacy is worth something?

Britt: Well, I think they are starting to understand it better. This is one of those evolving phases. It’s interesting to watch in the last month how Facebook has basically started a public relations campaign to say, “Hey! Come back! You joined me for a valid reason, and that was to connect with people.”

All true, but at the same time, those connections allow Facebook to advertise and share their accounts with other advertisers. I think that it’s a great point. It’s not a free world out there, and we’ve got to do a better job of educating ourselves on what we’re willing to give up to make these connections.

Vicki: Another thing is, if you look at algorithms, they are dividing us.

Algorithms are dividing us.

This is about YouTube: I talked to a teacher who taught kids who came out of Syria, and he was in Jordan.

He said, “Vicki, how do I get them out of the warzone?”

“What happens is they come in, they log into their Google accounts, they’re on YouTube, and they’re getting more and more extreme things. I have seven-year-olds who are being shown videos of beheadings on YouTube because it wants to engage them and show them more and more extreme things.”

Really, Facebook is giving us more of what what we like, and that has always been the big issue that I have, because there is no “Dislike” button – we can’t say, “You know what, person? You are crazy. You just posted something really ridiculous.”

There’s only a “Like” button, and it makes everybody think that their ideas are great and then it gives them more of those ideas. There may be only three people in the world who agree with them, but somehow, they’re going to feel like it’s the majority.

Britt: Right. You and I have both been in social media now for a decade. In the early days, it was a community. We kind of all enjoyed talking with one another.

In the early days, it was a community. But things have changed.

I think what’s changed in the past couple of years is 1) the community has gotten much larger, but 2) artificial intelligence has begun joining the conversation in ways we never expected.

That’s part of the Validate piece of my P.R.O.V.E. acronym – make sure that you’re talking to a person first instead of some Russian robot that’s out there.

Vicki: Oh, and the bots and the A.I. (artificial intelligence) are getting so good.

So, Britt, as we finish up, do you just have an encouragement or a word to educators as we all make up our minds and shape the conversation around what social media should become?

Britt: I think I saw a term earlier today on the web that I really like. It’s our “connectedness intelligence.”

“Connectedness intelligence.”

I think we need to think about the fact that social media’s going to be with us in the future in ways that we really might not comprehend right now.

The important thing is for us to stay connected, stay talking to each other, and work together to educate our students.

This is something that should start in elementary school looking at your basic ideas of digital literacy, and then move into middle school and into high school and into college and beyond, so we continually retool ourselves as to what’s going on with the web and stay vigilant.

This is going to continue to evolve, and we need to evolve with it.

Vicki: So, educators, as we have this conversation, this is an important topic, and maybe one you might want to listen and want to talk to about – but terms like “filter bubble” and “privacy” and realizing what it means to be surveilled by the social media companies and the ads they send us and also the not-so-positive side of things.

There are a lot of conversations we can have around this topic.

Britt, I appreciate you coming in and reflecting what a professor thinks of this sort of thing and what your teachers that you’re teaching think.

This definitely is going to shape the future of education, just because so many of us educators connect on Facebook as well as other social media as well.

Educators, let us know what you think. Tweet us, both of our handles will be in the show notes, let us know what you think about Facebook and if you’re deleting Facebook or Twitter or not. Thanks!

Britt: Thank you.

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

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted

Dr. Britt Watwood is a retired faculty consultant who has taught (and still teaches) online for 23 years. His tagline on Twitter is that he is one of the world’s oldest digital natives! He resides in the Richmond VA area.

Blog: http://bwatwood.edublogs.org

Twitter: @bwatwood

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

The post The Facebook Scandal: What Can We Learn as Educators appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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