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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Lie of Giving 110%



Day 14 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

We cannot let how we feel determine how hard we work.

give it all

Famed basketball coach John Wooden always taught his players that there’s no such thing as 110%. If they didn’t give 100% in practice, it could never be gotten back later with some superhuman effort.

Therefore, a decision to do less than you can do is an irrevocable decision to settle for less than your best. You can’t get it back.

This post is day 14 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post The Lie of Giving 110% appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2mCtvcs
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Engaging Kindergartners with Technology: Augmented Reality, Ipads, QR Codes and More



Greg Smedley on episode 232 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Greg Smedley Warren @kindersmorgie shares his tips and tricks for using technology in kindergarten. It should be simple.

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

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

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Engaging Kindergartners with Technology: Augmented Reality, Ipads, QR Codes and More

Link to show: http://ift.tt/2EJr0wE4
Date:

Vicki: How can we engage kindergarteners with technology?

Today we have a kindergarten teacher from Nashville, Greg Smedley Warren @kindersmorgie, or as his students call him, “Mr. Greg.”

He does a lot of work on the Kindergarten Smorgasboard.

So, Greg… How do we engage kids in kindergarten with technology?

Keep it Simple in Kindergarten

Greg: Hi Vicki. Thanks for having me.

So, I’m all about keeping it simple. I’m always on the lookout for very simple ways that I can engage my kids with technology — ways that are easy for them, but also easy for me so I don’t spend a lot of time fumbling with technology trying to get it working and set up for the kids. So I’m always on the lookout for really simple ways that the kids can interact with technology.

Vicki: OK. Give us some of those ways.

Ipads and Augmented Reality

Greg: One way is iPads. Most of the kids are completely familiar with iPads and tablets and phones, so we have some iPads in the classroom with some folders. We have a reading folder and a math folder full of apps, so the kids know they can grab those iPads, open those folders, and use any of those apps.

We also use Augmented Reality in the classroom. We use a program called Learning Alive Plus from Alive Studios, which is an augmented reality software that works with letters, phonics, and word building. So we use that a lot. The kids actually use that during Center Time, so they’re working with that augmented reality to build words and sentences.

Vicki: Describe for us how that works, because I know there are a lot of people — even though we’ve had some shows — they might not know what augmented reality is.

Greg: Augmented reality is basically 3-D without the glasses. So when the kids are interacting with the software, the images are coming alive in 3D on the screen for the kids.

Vicki: It’s just floating in space, or somewhere in your classroom.

Greg: Yeah… it’s on the screen. So it’s on the monitor, or if you’re using a projector it’s projected on the screen or a SMARTboard. The best way to describe it — which I think everyone can relate to — is Pokemon Go. So if you’re kind of familiar with Pokemon Go, that’s augmented reality. That’s kind of what it looks like when the kids are using it in the classroom.

iPad Apps to Help Children Learn to Read

Vicki: What are some of your favorite “go-to”s for reading?

Greg: For reading as far as apps, we do Letter School, which is great for letter formation and letter recognition.

Montessori Words for Kids is my favorite, probably, of all for reading and literacy. It’s great for sound identification, segmenting sounds, word building, and decoding words. It’s very interactive. The kids love it. They work on their letters, and once they build a word, then they get 10 seconds to play and draw before they go onto the next word. So there’s almost that instant reward every time they build a word. The kids love that.

Ipad Apps for Math

For math, I’m a big fan of Monkey Math School, because it’s not just focused on one skill. It’s a constant review of all the kindergarten math skills that we work on.

My kids’ favorite math app is called Subitizing Tree, which works on that all-important math skill of subitizing, which is basically number fluency. The kids love that. I hear them all day long, jumping up and down and screaming and cheering because they were able to subitize with that app.

So those are some of my favorites.

Vicki: Cool! So you have iPads, you have all of these things, you’re doing Alive Plus, which is augmented reality.

What else?

QR Codes and Kindles

Greg: We also do a lot with QR Codes. We use Amazon Kindles with our QR Codes. I’ve found that the Kindles work great with the QR Reader. I’ve never been impressed with the KIndles as far as using a lot of apps, but they work great for QR Codes.

I’ve created several sets of QR Codes for math and literacy. The kids use the codes, they scan the codes, and an image of a document pops up. They might be doing sounds or counting or shapes or word building. The kids really love that they can use the QR codes around the room and interact with technology that way.

Vicki: It’s kind of like passing out digital papers. Is that how you would kind of summarize the QR Codes?

Greg: Pretty much. My kids use them during Center Time. A lot of teachers actually post them around the room, so the kids are walking around the room with their tablets, scanning the QR Codes and working on them that way.

Vicki: Yes. And I believe that QR Codes are now built into the iPAd iOS for Apple devices.

Greg: Awesome. Oh, that’s good to know.

Vicki: Yeah! New little tidbit. I just read it, like last night.

Greg: (laughs)

Vicki: OK. Lots of cool things. What else?

Interactive WhiteBoard Uses in Kindergarten

Greg: Like I said, I’m a big fan of keeping it simple. So that’s really what we use, as far as technology.

We do have an interactive whiteboard in the classroom as well that we use a lot for whole group instruction. The kids use the SMARTboard during centers, so they’ll be doing some word building and word writing, and those kinds of things.

One of the things that I use my SMARTboard for is a lot of teacher things. So like in the morning, we take attendance. As the kids come in each morning, their pictures are on the SMARTboard. They move their picture from home to school, to show that they are at school.

And then I have what I call my boombox, which is a PDF document that has clipart linked to songs and videos that we use on YouTube. Whenever I want to pull up a song for the kids to use, instead of typing in the name or something, or searching for it on YouTube, I’m able to just touch on that boombox, and it will immediately open that song or video. It just makes my life a little bit easier as a teacher and keeps things moving.

What Mistakes Do You Make Using Technology with Kindergarteners?

Vicki: Have you ever made a mistake when you started using technology with kindergarteners?

Greg: Oh gosh. All the time.

Of course there’s always that inevitable, “The technology fails.”

But my biggest issue is always with YouTube, it seems like. One minute YouTube works great, and the next minute nothing will load. Or you pull up a video and even though it is a kid-friendly video, a kindergarten video, the ad before it is something inappropriate, so you’re scrambling to try to turn if off or make it stop.

That’s really where I struggle with technology — just, “Is it going to work today, is the internet going to work today, and then something inappropriate popping up on YouTube which is unfortunately not a lot that we can control.

Vicki: So what, Greg, is advice that you have for kindergarten teachers who feel a little bit scared of using technology in their classroom?

Greg: I get it. It’s new. It kind of seems like it’s more to have to do. So I would just say start slowly. If you’re comfortable with a technology, try to bring that into your classroom. Kind of build on it from there.

I always tell teachers, “We expect our kids to show up every single day and take risks. As teachers, we need to be willing to do the same thing.”

If technology is an area that we’re kind of scared of, maybe that’s a risk we need to take. We need to bring in some more technology into the classroom.

I always just say, “Go for it!”

The worst that can happen is that it cannot work. It can fail. And we can have great conversations with our kids about how, even as adults, we fail. Now we can learn from that, and we can be better.

I’m all about taking risks, so I always just say, “Jump in and go for it!”

What To Do When Technology Fails?

Vicki: Oh, that’s so great!. I have to ask this. What do you do when the technology just crashes and doesn’t work? That strikes fear in the heart of teachers!

Greg: (laughs)

It really does. But you know, I think as our kids are getting so much more used to technology, they’re now used to technology not working.

I think it’s gotten a little bit easier, because the kids are like, “Oh, it’s not working.” Or they’ll immediately say, “Oh, the internet’s not working.” They just kind of roll with it, and we move on.

Of course, they’re going to be disappointed. But we just kind of move on to whatever’s next, try to keep going, and not let it completely derail the lesson or derail the whole day.

Vicki: Really, though… what percentage of the time does it actually not work?

Greg: Probably 5-10% or less.

It’s not a major everyday occurrence, but it does happen. And of course, it always happens when you’re being observed and evaluated by administration.

Vicki: (laughs)

Greg: Never fails.

Vicki: (laughs)

Oh my goodness! That is what happens, isn’t it?

My principal always seems to come in when I have the wildest, craziest things happening, and I’m just like, “I don’t even know how you’re going to evaluate me on this.”

Greg: Exactly.

Vicki: And then you’re so scared about what they’re going to think.

Greg: Right.

Vicki: OK. So Mr. Greg has just shared lots of great ideas for our kindergarten classrooms. But here’s the thing. If he can do it in kindergarten, you know you can do it with any age.

It’s part of being a remarkable teacher. We’ve had so many fantastic ideas.

Get out there and try some of them today.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford KymberliMulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


I am Mr. Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard. My real name is Greg Smedley-Warren. I have been teaching for 12 years. I spent a year teaching fifth grade, two years in second grade and am now in my 8th year in Kindergarten. Kindergarten is my passion and my calling but honestly, that wasn’t how it started. When I was moved to Kindergarten (not voluntarily!) I called my mommy and cried. But on the first day, I fell in love and knew that Kindergarten is where I belonged. I have remained in Kindergarten ever since. I plan to never leave the classroom as the kids are what drive me to continue my growth as a teacher and person.

I received my bachelors degree from Indiana University and received my ELL certification from David Lipscomb University. At the beginning of my career I spent two summers teaching in Ecuador which only helped to fan the flames of my passion for teaching. In 2015 I was selected as Teacher Of The Year by my peers. I have a monthly broadcast on YouTube called Submission for Smorgie LIVE. I enjoy blogging, creating curriculum and resources for my classroom and conducting professional development sessions to help teachers around the world make their classrooms a more fun, effective and interactive place to teach.

When I’m not in the classroom, blogging and doing all things teach, I enjoy spending time with my family. I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband (known as The Mister on my blog) and our dogs, Butters and LuLu.

Blog: The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

Twitter: @kindersmorgie

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 Engaging Kindergartners with Technology: Augmented Reality, Ipads, QR Codes and More appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2B3S87n
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Monday, January 15, 2018

How to Keep Disappointment from Derailing Our Dreams



Day 13 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Disappointment comes to us all. We believe in someone and are betrayed. Or we apply for a job and it doesn’t happen. Someone makes a promise and they break that promise. We try to achieve something – we fall short. It happens to everyone.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. whose birthday and legacy we celebrate today said,

We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.

But how can we do this?

Who Do You Feed?

I think that we can prevent bitterness the same way we prevent scrub oaks from growing in the flower bed: we pull them up when they are small.

However, we shouldn’t continue to revisit the hurt and focus and dwell on it. Instead, we must learn to redirect, forgive, and move on.

Perhaps the best explanation can be found in an old tale from the Cherokee Indians, the Legend of Two Wolves, that goes like this,

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

We cannot help being disappointed. Disappointment is a normal part of life. Inevitably it comes to us all.

Decide What To Do with Your Disappointment

However, when we’re disappointed, we can help what we do with it. Will we feed our anger? Do we feed our self-pity? Shall we feed our resentment?

If we do, bitterness will grow. It has too.

If you live long enough, you’ll meet someone consumed by their anger, self-pity, and resentment. They have fed all their disappointment to the angry wolf. He crowds out the good.

But if you live long enough, you’ll also meet someone who should be angry but is not. Who should pity herself, but does not. Who should be resentful but is full of kindness and joy and peace.

You can’t pick your pain. However, you can pick your wolf.

Today, as you pursue excellence, think of your most recent pain. Are you processing that pain in healthy ways? Or are you revisiting it to feed your anger, self-pity, and resentment?

The wolf you choose to feed makes all the difference in who you become.

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

The post How to Keep Disappointment from Derailing Our Dreams appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2DzZFxx
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

From Testing to Transformational Change with Pam Moran



Pam Moran on episode 231 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Pam Moran has been a leader in education reform in Virginia over the past several years as the state moved from testing to transformation. In today’s episode, she talks about the transformation, why they needed change, and implementing successful change. This multi-part series will run over the next several Mondays.

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

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

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

From Testing to Triumphant Learning with Pam Moran

Link to show: http://ift.tt/2FBFn7g

Date: January 15, 2018

Vicki: Pam Moran is a superintendent and leader in Virginia and someone who inspires me. Once I was speaking in Virginia and some teachers told me I had to meet Pam, that she was a “teacher’s and student’s superintendent.” I admire her so much so we are doing a multi part series with her.

Pam, what is an update on what has happened with education reform in Virginia since we last talked?

Update on Testing Reform in Virginia

Pam: One of the things that’s pretty interesting since the last time we talked, Vicki, is that I was part of a group originally in 2010 that started lobbying of superintendents. There were several of us. We were called the DaVinci Design Team.

We started really pushing the State Board of Education to think about changes in the state testing requirements in Virginia.

We then worked as president of the superintendents’ association in Virginia, and we actually came up with a blueprint for sort of strategic focus that we thought should occur at the highest level of the state — which would be lobbying the governor, the general assembly, and the state board of education.

So we now have, over the last three years, been reducing state tests that are required. The latest is that we’ve reduced the high school requirement. It used to be that our kids — if you took Chemistry, if you took Biology, if you took Earth Science — all those had a state test. World History I, World History II, American History, Government all had state tests. English, Reading and Writing, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry.

So our kids in high school, you know, if you were taking a full complement of coursework, you could take — in addition to things like AP tests and SATs and all those things — you also had up to eleven or twelve state tests. The state’s just reduced that to a requirement of one science, one social studies, one math, and a reading and writing assessment. So, that’s kind of cool.

New Profile of Graduate Model Based on 5 C’s

And the thing for us here in Albemarle, is that one of the things that the state has done, the general assembly also have basically developed direction to the state board of education — through its channels of bills that became a law — to move in the direction of reducing state testing with the idea that we would be building out a profile of a graduate model that would be based upon what the general assembly labeled as the five C’s, which were the four that most people are used to — Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity, and Communication — and they added a fifth of Citizenship.

They said, “This is what we want you to work on in terms of the competencies that our kids will graduate from when they leave us after high school. That really changes the game for the state, not just in terms of the state assessments, but also how curriculum and standards, opportunities for multidisciplinary learning, for the localities in Virginia to be able to really take some risk that it’s been difficult to take under No Child Left Behind as it’s evolved into where we are today.

So, I think that Virginia’s feeling like a real breath of fresh air is rolling through the state in terms of really looking at things like more opportunities for kids to get out of school, particularly their junior and senior year, to be able to do internships or work experiences or independent studies or community-based project work.

Just really looking at a very different model that’s far more transitional to adulthood than walking out of a traditional high school and then being expected to go to college or into the workforce or gap years or whatever kids do, and be ready to do that. So that’s kind of cool.

Vicki: Yeah. So Pam, what are the challenges that you see, or obstacles that you see to fully implementing this vision?

Obstacles to Implementing the Vision in Virginia

Pam: I think that one of the things that particularly — in states like Virginia where the resources that localities have access to can be wildly different. We have districts that have all the resources in the world, and we have districts that are really challenged.

So you wouldn’t find, for example, with technology — Albemarle has been in a one-to-one environment for a number of years now, as has Charlottesville City. You know, Charlottesville is the center of Albemarle County. You go to Henrico County? They flipped to one-to-one sometime around 2002.

So all around the state you have school division, as we call them in Virginia, that have had strong commitments to professional development, to implementing technologies, to really providing resources for teachers to be able to do whatever the work is of the moment.

So if it was implementing state standards with the intention of kids passing tests, then people in some divisions had a lot of resources, people in other divisions far less.

How to Get Buy-in For Transformational Change from Teachers

So I think that’s probably the biggest challenge — taking a look at, “What does it take to really create the kind of transformative change that would go with something like the profile of a graduate work?

What’s the buy-in from the beginning point of the resources that are needed to building the investment among educators as to why transformative change is really critical?” I was just talking with some teachers a few minutes ago, and I said, “You can modernize spaces. You can create more transparency in environments.

You can change the dominant pedagogy from teaching at the teaching wall to more project based work or activity based and inquiry focused learning.

But if educators don’t have a sense of what’s the intentional purpose of doing this? How will kids benefit? How will I even as a professional gain something from this process? What you end up with are people who perhaps are implementing it as we educators often do because we’re pretty compliant people, but it doesn’t make sense.

So to me, one of the biggest challenges we have as leaders is how do you help make sense? Not everybody is going to make sense of it in the first day of a change, or the hundredth day of a change or maybe even two years of change.

But you’ve got to have something in place that really allows teachers with parents with even the students that we serve to make sense of the why. It’s what I call the why curriculum. And if you don’t have that built in — and I think there’s probably no district in the country that would say, “We have 100% success stories in terms of implementing change.”

But if you don’t have some sense of why you purposefully are doing what you do, then it just becomes, “We’re doing this because somebody said to do it.” And that’s not going to get you the rich, authentic, contextual learning for either adults or kids that I think that you need to really have fully transformative change.

Please stay tuned for future episodes in this series.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

http://ift.tt/2EHFOM0

Blog: spacesforlearning.wordpress.com

Twitter: @pammoran

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

The post From Testing to Transformational Change with Pam Moran appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2FCQxJd
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

To the Woods



Day 12 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

As soon as we got home, we threw our shoes into our closets, put on our cutoff bluejean shorts and halter tops and ran out the back door, the screen door slamming behind us. We were headed for the ditch.

To the woods

The ditch in the woods about a half a mile behind our house was an incredible place that changed with the seasons. Dad dug it to drain off a field as he put in a bright silver irrigation system that gleamed in the hot South Georgia sun.

As we ran through the backfield of wheat or rye or soybeans – whatever was the crop of the moment – we would sometimes stop to roll. We would roll out whole rooms and play in our flattened rye mansions. Perhaps Dad could have thought these were crop circles of the 70’s but he knew better — we were children.

As we got to the edge of the leafy, buzz buzz buzzing woods full of crickets, bugs, and even snakes, we’d all pick up a stick. The stick was to deal with those snakes or to poke at whatever critter or odd thing we found on the path that day.

We made our way through the woods to “the ditch.” We’d hold onto one another as we’d attempt to get near the ditch to squish our toes in the grey clay at the bottom of the ditch.

My Favorite Place

But my favorite place was the opening of the ditch right next to the main road. Sometimes little crawdads would grow there. I never really would hurt or catch them, but I would watch them flitting around the rocks. If I squished my toes there, they’d come near eating whatever goodies I was kicking up with my toe. But they made me afraid because they could pinch!

Whether we were running in the woods, rolling out hay in the fields, or poking at something unrecognizable in the road, our video game was nature. We ran free.

My favorite time of day was sunset which was often when Mom and Dad and my sister and I would “drive the farm” to make sure everything was ok for the night. Every sunset was different. How could one place have so many different colors each night!

What Nature Can Do

I do not tell this story to reminisce or say anything about the modern generation, for my own children played in these ditches too, although not quite as frequently since we live in town.

But as I think about as recently as this fall and a trip Kip and I made to a lovely lake to fish, I realize that nature is a place where my mood often soars

and I remember who I am.

I didn’t really think about it much until I posted this picture to the right on Facebook during that last trip. The next Sunday, my pastor stopped me and said,

“You need to have that look on your face more often.”

Wise Encouragement to Get Into Nature

And I realized that I have fallen victim to Robert Frost’s conundrum when he said,

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.”

Albert Einstein said,

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

British Statesman John Lubbock said,

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers,the mountain and sea, are excellent school masters and teach some of us more than we could ever learn from books.”

King David says in Psalm 121

“I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My helpl cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

There’s an old John Denver song called Rhymes and Reasons where he sings of

“the music of the mountains and the colours of the rainbow” and “the graceful way of flowers in the wind.”

A Walk in the Woods and the Couch in the Den Can’t Compare

When I get out into nature, I dream again. I breathe. I am reminded of my Maker. And I am restored in ways that just don’t happen sitting on the couch.

I see things. Like this mushroom in a field in Dillard Georgia where I lay on the ground with my camera to shoot up at its beautiful canopy from underneath. It is a truly beautiful moment and memory captured on film. I can still feel the dew on my back as I stood up with grass in my hair and laughter on my lips.

Get Outside

So, this is a reminder to all of us to get out there and inhale fresh air. Take a walk in the woods. Lay on the grass and watch the clouds go by. Inhale the scent of fresh air and feel the breeze. In some cases, it is cold right now, but if we cannot remember the last time we’ve been outside to just enjoy the outdoors, then it has been too long.

You can take the girl out of the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the girl.

But somehow deep down, I think that the land is a restorative place and more of us need to put down our phones, put on our sunscreen, and look at the sunset, watch the bees dance among the roses, and wiggle our toes in the dirt. It won’t hurt us. It might actually do us a whole lot of good.

Here’s your challenge. Schedule a time outside this week. Even better, schedule an hour. Sit and observe. (And if it cold, bundle up!)

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

The post To the Woods appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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Friday, January 12, 2018

Take a Rest



Day 11 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Sometimes you must rest to be your best. Get some.

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

The post Take a Rest appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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Middle School STEAM: 5 Ways to Amp it Up!



Pauline Roberts on episode 230 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Exciting STEAM projects can ignite and excite any middle school. Today, Pauline Roberts gives us five important ingredients for amping up STEAM in middle school.

pauline roberts steam

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Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

Middle School STEAM: 5 Ways to Amp it Up!

Vicki: Today we’re talking with my friend, Pauline Roberts @Pr05bps. She’s an Instructional Specialist in Michigan, working with grades 3 – 8.

But Pauline, today you have for us five ways to amp up STEM in middle school.

What’s our first way?

Pauline: I think the first thing to consider is how you can collaborate with your science, engineering or math teaching colleagues.

Tip 1: Connect and Collaborate

At the middle school level, teachers tend to become more isolated as content experts, and in order to make your STEM activities more powerful and engaging, I would highly recommend that you connect in any way possible with those expert colleagues.

Explore the curriculum, look for natural connections, plan together, develop a common language and rubrics together. Try and observe each other teach, and use those opportunities to team teach.

Taking the time to develop a coherent approach to STEM in your building will help to develop STEM experiences for students and have a much greater impact on learning.

Vicki: Absolutely. And you know, change and innovation is all about relationships, isn’t it?

Pauline: Absolutely. Yes.

Vicki: OK, what’s our second, Pauline?

Pauline: I think the second thing to do is to provide an authentic, real-world context for your STEM projects by challenging students to generate creative solutions to real-world problems.

Tip 2: Provide an Authentic Context

The level of enthusiasm and engagement just soars as students learn to ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences… and to describe or explain and articulate their thoughts about the world around them.

In the process of solving real-world authentic problems, they begin to see themselves as true innovators who can make a positive difference in the world.

Vicki: I love that! Do you have any examples for us of something you’ve done at your school?

Pauline: Oh, we’ve got lots of real-world problems going on at the moment in my building.

We have fifth and sixth-grade students in a middle school setting who are working on how to save the bees.

They’ve learned all about the science behind the bee population, the reasons why it could possibly be declining, and they’ve contacted local experts.

They’ve worked very diligently to build their own beehives offsite, and they collect data and manage that data to try and learn how they can help save bees and spread what they’ve learned to the wider community.

Vicki: Oh, how exciting! I’ll bet they love it!

Pauline: They do! They love going out there in their full beehive outfits and then harvesting honey. They harvest the honey, and they sell that honey within the local community as part of an educational process and to raise funds to fund things they need to continue the project.

Vicki: Wow, We could just go forever on that one. (laughs)

Pauline: I know. (laughs)

Vicki: OK, what’s our third?

Pauline: I kind of just touched base on that. I would just say tap into experts within your community.

Tip 3: Tap into Experts within your Community

We frequently survey our community members about their careers and their passions in order to include them in the learning process. We often have family members come into the classroom to present or work alongside students as they work on their projects.

We look at local businesses or organizations who have expertise in a subject area that we need. We can go visit them onsite to gather knowledge firsthand, or for experts who are further afield, we interview them by phone or by video conferencing.

Connecting students with experts in the field really increases their level of understanding and results in deeper thinking for them.

Vicki: Awesome. Can you think of a recent expert that your students connected with?

Pauline: Oh, we have students in our fourth-grade classrooms who have been working on hydroponic gardening. They had a local expert called Pauline who is a 70-year-old hydroponic expert in our community.

She brought her hydroponic garden to our school and taught the students about how she manages it, how she increases the productivity, how to make sure it runs and functions smoothly, and the things that she does with her harvest afterward.

So she was an amazing expert for our students to learn from.

Vicki: Incredible. OK, what’s our fourth?

Pauline: Oh, I would say teach skills, not just content.

Tip 4: Teach Skills, Not Just Content

If you want students to collaborate, you really need to spend time explicitly teaching them how to communicate, how to be politely critical, how to reach consensus, how to ask questions and synthesize information.

If we want them to learn about high productivity, we need to provide them with challenges and deadlines and teach students the skills they need to hit those deadlines.

I would ask students to conduct a personal skills inventory and ask them to use those inventories to determine who will play specific roles in a team project.

For example, who would be the best project manager? Who would be the best lead engineer or technology manager, etc?

The STEM classroom can often be a noisy and chaotic environment, and by teaching students the skills and asking them to assume specific roles, we empower them to manage themselves.

Vicki: Oh, where did you get your personal skills inventory?

Pauline: We just created it at school. It’s basically just a list of skills broken down by what digital skills have you got, what organizational skills have you got?

Students kind of check on a continuum, on a scale of 1 – 5:

  • I have great organizational skills.
  • I have great communication skills.
  • I am a great problem solver with technology.
  • I spend a lot of time with technology.

And they use these personal skills inventories to kind of struggle amongst themselves when they’re allocated to a team. They kind of interview each other, based on those personal skills inventories to determine who will get each role in the team.

At the end of a project, they will sit and reflect upon those skills and see in which areas they grew, which areas they still need to work on, and use this information to keep improving on becoming a better team member.

Vicki: Fantastic. What’s our fifth?

Pauline: I would say teach empathy.

Tip 5: Teach Empathy

If we want students to generate solutions to problems, we need them to be able to walk in the shoes of others, in order to fully understand the problem and to develop effective solutions.

I would take time to develop empathetic habits, like cultivating curiosity about others, encouraging kindness. I would teach students about emotions and how to manage them and teach active listening skills. By providing opportunities that help students to become other-focused, then they can become the caring, responsible, global citizens that we want them to be.

Vicki: Oh, that is challenging!

Pauline, as we finish up, can you give us an activity or something you’ve encouraged teachers to do to help build empathy?

Pauline: One of the key skills of empathy, one of the first skills that is outlined by Michele Borba in her book, Unselfie, is to recognize and name emotions.

So we created various quizzes for students, depending on grade level from third through eighth. We created quick quizzes and activities for students to be able to look at images.

So, for example, in third grade, we used different emoticons and asked students to name the emotion that’s portrayed by the emoji.

And all the way through to eighth grade, we showed students photos of just eyes of people and asked them to name the emotion that they thought the picture of the eyes was conveying.

Just by being able to name emotions and accurately be able to give it an actual name, students are way more able to manage their own emotions.

Vicki: This actually hits home a very important topic. A lot of people don’t discuss, which is Non-Verbal Learning Disorders.

I have personal experiences with this. With a child with a Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, one of the things that you teach them is how to recognize emotions. Sometimes they can’t recognize emotions, and it can easily make them a target for both bullying, as well as just feeling misunderstood because they are also giving out mixed signals.

I love that you’re doing that, Pauline. That’s fantastic!

Pauline: Thank you.

Vicki: So teachers, we have five excellent ways to amp up STEM in the middle school.

I love how empathy and some of these things that are in here are not necessarily what some people would call STEM, but they’re a very important part of what we do in STEM.

Please check the Shownotes for all of the links and the resources that we will be sharing, as well as how to connect with Pauline Roberts. She’s a fantastic go-to.

I have no idea, Pauline, how long you and I have known or followed each other’s work, but it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Pauline: It has. And I learn from you every day. Thank you, Vicki,

Vicki: Oh, you’re so sweet. It’s just nice to connect. You know, we all have friends that we kind of connect with, and Pauline is one of those for me.

So let’s amp up STEM in middle school, and I think we can also apply this to other grade levels.

 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Pauline Roberts – Bio as submitted


Pauline Roberts is originally from Liverpool, England and has been an educator for nearly three decades. She is currently an Instructional Specialist in Birmingham Public Schools, Michigan.

Twitter: @Pr05bps

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 Middle School STEAM: 5 Ways to Amp it Up! appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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