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Friday, February 23, 2018

Dreams Are Your Precious Treasure



Day 47 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Sometimes we write things as teenagers that we need to remember as adults. This double form poem I wrote at Governor’s Honors when I was 17 is one such poem. Here’s the thing, I didn’t keep this because I liked it, I remember keeping this because of the note a 40-something-year-old teacher at GHP wrote on the poem.

Childhood dreaming

Transforms into adulthood goals

Those dreams are the things you must never lose track of

When everything flees and nothing remains, these dreams are always your

Precious Treasure.

And thus, sometimes we have to help children and teens understand what is important.

And likewise, sometimes, we get a smack from the past to remind us who we want to be.  We can remember that our dreams are a precious treasure. I have goals written at age twelve. One of them? To be an author and to write poetry.

Little did I know.

This post is day 47 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 Dreams Are Your Precious Treasure appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/dreams-precious-treasure/
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.

5 Ways to Promote Health and Happiness in Every Classroom



From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

I will never carry a gun into my classroom. However, I believe I have something far more helpful: compassion, caring, and a determination to change the world by reaching the hearts and minds of this generation. People are scared and rightly so. In one moment, a madman can destroy the lives of so many. And few people notice what is prevented by a great teacher, but I aim to be one who helps people become safer by reaching kids in the classroom.

This is a Cathy Rubin Global Search for Education Blog Post. Every month, I tackle her question along with other Top Global Teacher Bloggers. This month’s question is:
“How are you promoting well being, health, and happiness in your classroom?”

1.Look for the Lonely

In the recent Reader’s Digest article, One Teacher’s Brilliant Strategy to Stop Future School Shootings — And It’s Not About Guns advocates a strategy where the teacher looks for kids who are left out. It’s brilliant. I do it too.

I look for the lonely. No child should have to eat alone.

Recently, I interviewed Natalie Hampton, the teenager behind the Sit With Us app, an app where students can sign up to “be ambassadors.” A lunch table ambassador won’t turn away anyone who wants to eat with them. Her idea also advocates this.

Loneliness can be a sign of so many things. And while there are students who sometimes need to be alone sometimes and might just need some quiet, it is often a sign of something else going on when a child eats alone.

So, when I’m in the lunchroom, I notice if someone is eating alone. I talk to them. And then I sometimes talk to those kids who would be lunch table ambassadors like Natalie’s and encourage them to invite the other student into their group. It might take a few days, but encouraging kids to be kind to one another can fight loneliness and make the world a better place.

2. Understand the Why’s Behind the Eyes

As students come into my classroom, I call them by name and look at their eyes. When I see something amiss, I’ll find a way to talk to that child. Everything from home struggles to eating disorders and bullying can come out of these carefully crafted conversations.

Whether the issue is big or small, if it is enough to trouble the eyes of a child, it is enough for me to express that I care — even if they’re just tired.

3. Model Unconditional Love With Honest Accountability

Everyone needs unconditional love. Many years ago, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t walk into my classroom unless I could honestly say that I loved every single child. Twice in 16 years, I had to go to the teacher’s bathroom for a moment of prayer and attitude adjustment before I could walk in the room and keep this promise.

Unconditional love is like a commitment to workout. It’s easy to start off doing it, but when you get tired and life comes at you in full force, maintaining the practice can get harder.

But along with unconditional love, children also need honest accountability. When a child is caught cheating, I have to handle it according to National Honor Society rules. Even so, I express to them that I care but have to hold them accountable.

If someone treats another child with disrespect, I also have to handle the situation. However, I still love the child.

This is a balance, but you can have both. Love helps us relate. Accountability helps us learn.

4. Be Someone That Kids Trust and Admire

As the old adage goes,

More is caught than taught.

How we act is important. What we do when hard times come is critical. How we treat people when we disagree is vital. Students want to respect their teachers, but this generation seems particularly unforgiving when teachers act in ways that aren’t respectable or, even worse, when they disrespect their students.

Teachers have a higher standard of living, not in terms of paycheck, but in terms of our behavior, and we must strive to live up to it in the eyes of our students.

5. Be Honest About Your Own Struggles and Life Story

I understand what it’s like to be lonely. I was “that kid.” The one not invited to parties. The one people picked on and made fun of relentlessly. The kid who ran for every office and no one would elect. (until I got to high school.)

I share this story with my students but the story doesn’t end there. They particularly love how God transformed “Icky Vicki” into a beauty queen. How I ended up winning every election but one after the beginning of ninth grade and leading some very large campus organization as a college student at Georgia Tech.

They love to hear that, although kids taunted me and said that no one would ever love me, my husband and I have been madly in love for 25 years and I still consider him my boyfriend.

And that the kid who everyone said had “no common sense” has been blessed with lots of people reading and listening to her work every day.

The mean taunts of children don’t have to become your future – or anyone’s future. Our past may shape us, but it doesn’t have to define us. We can be more. We can do more. And we can always rise above.

As I share my personal story, it gives kids hope but it also shows them that I’m not perfect, which is something that I believe kids need to understand about adults.

The first three years of teaching were so hard for me. But I think it was because I tried to compartmentalize my life. I never let any of my personal interests, life story, or quirky humor stick out from under my business suit and silky scarves.

But once I brought myself into my classroom, I developed real relationships with the kids and strategies number 1-4 in this article became possible.

You have to relate before you educate.

You have to relate if you want to innovate.

And we must relate if we want to have any hope of causing the violence to dissipate.

I’m fighting school violence by loving one child at a time in meaningful ways that make a difference as I teach them. I’m not perfect nor will I ever reach all of these children, but I’m enough of an idealist and student-fan to give everything I have and keep trying.

The post 5 Ways to Promote Health and Happiness in Every Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/5-ways-to-promote-health-and-happiness-in-every-classroom/
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.

5 Teacher Myths and How to Dispel Them: The Truth About Teaching in America



Aaron Pribble on episode 260 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Teachers are not all saints, nor are they all slackers. — These are just two of the myths that social studies teacher Aaron Pribble tackles in this motivating, uplifting talk about what it is really like to be a teacher in America today. Aaron Pribble is the author of Teacherland: Inside the Myth of the American Educator.

Check out Jennifer Gonzalez’ 2018 Teacher’s Guide to Technology for more than 200 tools with special tips, videos, and screenshots to get you started.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

5 Teacher Myths and How to Dispel them

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e260

Date: February 23, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Aaron Pribble @aaronpribble, author of Teacherland: Inside the Myth of the American Educator. He is a high school social studies teacher in California.

So Aaron, as we talk about Five Teacher Myths and How to Dispel Them, what is the first teacher myth?

Aaron: Well, I’m going to say that the first teacher myth is all teachers are saints.

Myth #1 – All teachers are saints.

By saints, I mean that every single teacher’s going to win Teacher of the Year. People have seen movies like Stand and Deliver with Jaime Escalante, or Dead Poets Society with Robin WIlliams — that THAT’S what it means to be a teacher in America today.

Vicki: And that’s a myth. How do we dispel it, because… you know, that is a myth in my classroom. I’m certainly not a saint.

Aaron: Right? And you know, I hope that I think that we all aspire to sainthood, or at least to be Teacher of the Year if not a saint.

I think that one way we dispel it is by painting a realistic picture of what it’s actually like in the classroom — the embarrassing moments when we try to improvise and be human, some of the hardening moments. I think if more and more teachers tell their story, and we get to see a more realistic picture of what it’s like, then maybe some of those myths will start to slip away.

And if I could kind of foresee the second myth, if I could transition into the second one, I’m going to say that the other side of that coin is that if teachers aren’t all saints, then they must be slouches.

Myth #2 – All teachers are slouches

People probably remember that famous New Yorker article or essay about the rumors that the best parts of teaching are June/July/August, that teachers are hard to fire, and that teachers take advantage of their time. I think that that’s equally a myth as well.

A great way to dispel that myth, that teachers are really either saints or slouches, is by highlighting the good work that we do. One of the things that I love about your podcasts so much is that it’s practical, it’s quick, and it showcases a variety of teachers across the country doing really interesting things dayin and day out.

Vicki: Well, and you know, teachers aren’t slouches. We work 99% of the hours of every other profession — except we do it in ten months!

Aaron: (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Aaron: That’s so true! That’s so true!

Vicki: You know, I always say in the summer, “No, I’m not resting. I’m healing.” Because that’s what it takes!

Aaron: You know, a related point, if I can just add on, is like what it means to grade. The notion that teachers can get all their grading done, you know, within the day. It’s just unrealistic. It’s not true.

So if you think about grading an essay, and an essay takes five minutes to grade because you want to give some feedback. You don’t want to just slap a grade on it. That’s five minutes per paper. One class you’ve got 25-30 papers. You’ve got five classes of that. That’s a whole day’s work right there!

So when are you going to do it? You’re going to do it in and around and in between and on weekends and at night and stuff like that. That’s just the way it goes.

Vicki: It is! It takes forever!

OK, what’s our third myth?

Aaron: Alright. Well, related to grading papers, I suppose, the third myth is going to be that teachers only teach their curriculum.

Myth #3 – Teachers only teach their curriculum

When we talk about teaching, we talk about perhaps standardized tests, or proficiency scales, or standards, at least. And that’s true. I’m a social studies teacher, so if I teach a law elective and U.S. History, the units and the curriculum really matters. But I think it’s also really important to teach the whole child.

You know, this notion in education of in loco parentis, which is Latin literally for “in place of the parent.” We are kids’ parents — guardians at least — when they come to school.

It’s really important to know that when they walk through the doors, it’s not just about the content. It’s not just about their minds. But it’s about their hearts. The whole child. It’s really important for us to keep that in mind, I think.

Vicki: Little things like, “How do you get along with the person sitting next to you?” and “How do you respect others?” and “Do you pick up after yourself?” I mean, these are all things that help you be more successful in life.

Aaron: Just to tell you one quick story on that… I had a kid who I really liked. Really promising, star of the football team, but you know, really quiet and really shy. His nickname was Smiley. All the kids called him Smiley. So I started to form a relationship with him through sports, and he’d stick around after class, after this law elective.

And then he kind of peeks his head in one day and asks me to help him write a letter to the judge because his dad was about to be sent to San Quentin State Penitentiary.

My heart was at once both full and broken for this kid. Here is is, trying to learn the curriculum, the stuff that’s going on in the classroom, and he has to worry about his dad being sent away to prison. It just reminded me that we are about helping young people succeed in life. There’s a lot that goes into that.

Vicki: Wow.

OK, what’s our fourth?

Aaron: Our fourth one is that teachers don’t always just teach in the classroom. It’s not just about the curriculum. It’s also that things happen outside of the classroom that I don’t think a lot of people understand as well.

Teachers need supervision points. We chaperone on dances. (What the heck is it like to chaperone a dance?) Or a spring concert, or a choir concert or something like that.

Myth #4 – Teachers only just teach in the classroom

There are a lot of facets of our job, especially when it comes to teaching, that happen outside of the four walls. Perhaps it’s an exchange trip, like taking kids to France or Dubai, for example, or maybe just down the road. But that sort of experiential learning is part and parcel of what we do every day.

Vicki: Some of the greatest teaching moments have been hosting Special Olympics Bocce Ball at my school, where the kids are the officials. Or you know, taking kids on trips overseas. Or you know, sometimes on a field trip. I mean, there’s so many opportunities to teach.

OK, what’s our fifth?

Aaron: I alluded to it earlier. Our fifth and final myth is that the best parts of teaching are not, in fact, June/July/August. Those are not the three best parts of teaching. It’s wonderful to have summers off, but it’s a truly meaningful and remarkable profession. We work hard, but I think we get back much more than we put in.

Myth #5 – The best part of teaching is not the time off, but we do need it

I had a wise mentor teacher a while ago say that, “If you don’t take a Saturday, and you don’t take a Sunday, you’re going to be no good on Monday.”

And I think the same thing is true for summers. It’s a time to rejuvenate, and also to reflect on our practice. You know, the school year’s like a season. And at the end of that season, win-lose-or-draw, you celebrate. Then you reflect on your performance over that past season.

Then you’re refreshed and ready to hit the ground running. But I tell you, for all of the breaks that we have, the breaks are nice, but they would not nearly be enough if you didn’t love what you’re doing.

It’s a real honor to be a teacher in the classroom, and I hope that people will understand what it’s really like in the classroom — to paint a fuller picture so that we can appreciate the jobs that we do.

Vicki: Dude… Aaron, I’m going to tell you what I told my pastor this Sunday. “You are a toe stepper!”

“If you don’t have a Saturday, and you don’t take a Sunday, you’re going to be no good on Monday.”

Oh. My. Goodness.

And all of these myths, I think, are important to talk about and have conversations so that we understand the reality of what our profession is.

You know, our profession is beautiful. Our profession is wonderful.

But our profession is tough. Wouldn’t you agree?

Aaron: Yep. It absolutely is. It’s tough but rewarding. The turnover rate in education is actually quite high.

It’s something approximating a third to a fourth of the teachers drop out within their first five years.

It’s not, believe it or not, because of the long hours. Teachers are willing to do that. It’s not because of the kids that they don’t get along with.

It’s because of loneliness and isolation.

You know, a lot of times, it’s one adult and 20-30 kids in the classroom.

I think that one of the things that we can do to really improve our profession is to increase the collegiality and the collaboration to get teachers working together, so that more people will stay in the profession, and more people will continue in this great profession throughout their career.

Vicki: Such great words because I know beginning teachers who feel very alone.

And I know more experienced teachers who feel alone.

I’m not sure why sometimes it seems difficult to build bridges with other teachers — whether it’s just the profession, or whether we are all kind of like king and queen of our little domain, or what.

Aaron: Right?

Vicki: But you know, Aaron, we have to do better.

Aaron: I agree.

Vicki: We have to be better friends, better colleagues. We have to be more encouraging.

I think you have really shared some powerful things about the profession of teaching.

All of you listening, teachers, I’m proud of you.

Thank you for teaching. Thank you for giving your life to this incredible profession. Thank you for doing all of the things that people notice — and all of the things that people don’t notice — for these kids.

It is worth it. They are worth it. This is an incredible, fantastic, remarkable profession.

 

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

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Aaron Pribble is the author of Teacherland: Inside the Myth of the American Educator. An award-winning instructor whose work also includes Pitching in the Promised Land: A Story of the First and Only Season in the Israel Baseball League, Aaron teaches high school social studies in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Twitter: @aaronpribble

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

The post 5 Teacher Myths and How to Dispel Them: The Truth About Teaching in America appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e260/
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.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Change Your Habits, Change Your Life: How Streak Tracking Makes All the Difference



Day 46 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Set your goals and select habits to go with those goals. For to make a change or accomplish anything, you need steady progress. And sustained growth comes from repetition. And something that repeats consistently is a habit.

But changing habits is so hard!

And accomplishing goals is as well.

I track my habits on a one-pager that also has my goals listed at the top. (shown above)

And while I usually start off with one or two habits that are easy to build, sometimes the others take time.

But I’ll say this. By having a habit “streak tracker” where I look at it daily and reading my goals daily, I have to do some hard searching and examining. For example, my top goal is working out 20 minutes a day six days a week. That is a start. I have to get back to working out every day. I’ll improve from there. And while I started off not doing it so much, I’m getting it done more and more.

Additionally, the goals I have are 12-week goals. (Read The 12 Week Year.) So, I have a few goals for 12 weeks that I do. The habit of habit tracking holds my feet to the fire because I can’t look to some point way off in the hazy future — I have to look at a date at the end of March.

So, as you consider excellence and goal setting (which go hand in hand) consider tracking the habits you want to be part of your goal accomplishment. Don’t pick too many habits — three or four at most, I recommend. But track them and work towards doing them every day.

I can tell you that having my goals typed on cardstock paper in a simple format and tracking my habits do more to help me accomplish goals than anything else.

Oh, and the bottom set of habits is “excellence creations.” That is you, and those are these posts — the 80 Days of excellence where I write for six days a week about excellence.

It isn’t easy to do this, but it isn’t just about checking the box. Bigger picture, it has been about getting me OUTSIDE the box. Forcing myself to think about excellence is helping me focus on an excellence lesson I’ll be teaching to a ladies Bible study on April 3 and 4. And writing about excellence has me thinking about excellence, reading about excellence, and at least three or four times a week it is the topic at the supper table.

Of course, I’m often saying — “what have you learned about excellence this week because I need ideas for what I’m going to write!” However, it is still getting us to talk.

Habits shape us. We are what eat. We are what we think about most of the time. And we indeed are what we do most of the time too.

Choose your habits because, in the end, they will choose who you become tomorrow.

This post is day 46 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 Change Your Habits, Change Your Life: How Streak Tracking Makes All the Difference appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/change-habits-change-life-streak-tracking-makes-difference/
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.

Creating a Vision for Your School and Getting Buy In from Stakeholders



Lynn Fuini-Hetten on episode 259 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Strategic planning for your school or district can take a variety of forms. In today’s show, learn how one successful district has tackled this process and how they are getting buy in from teachers on the vision during the second year of implementation.

Check out Jennifer Gonzalez’ 2018 Teacher’s Guide to Technology for more than 200 tools with special tips, videos, and screenshots to get you started.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

Creating a Vision for Your School and Getting Buy In from Stakeholders

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher/e259
Date: February 22, 2018

Vicki: Today, we’re talking to Lynn Fuini-Hetten @lfuinihetten, Assistant Superintendent from the Salisbury Township in Pennsylvania.

Her district has done a lot of work with one-to-one teaching and learning. It has been a leader for quite some time, in excellence and implementation of using technology to teach.

But Lynn, right now, you’re excited about what you’re calling TL 2020. Tell us what that is.

Lynn: Good morning, Vicki. Glad to be here with you this morning, and having this opportunity to share with your listeners.

What is TL 2020?

TL 2020 is our teaching and learning initiative in Salisbury Township School District. We spent quite a bit of time visioning for TL 2020, and continuing to evolve our vision.

Most recently we have developed a profile of a graduate, which articulates knowledge, skills, and dispositions we want our learners to have when they leave Salisbury Township School District.

If we want our learners to have that — the knowledge, the skills, the dispositions — we know that we need to transform our classrooms. We also have adopted a set of learning beliefs to help us better articulate what we want our classrooms to look like in the future as we approach 2020.

Vicki: So Lynn, I know that we can’t go into it all here on the podcast, and we will certainly link to the resources, but tell us a little bit about the knowledge, the skills, the dispositions.

I am uniquely intrigued by the word “disposition,” because usually we talk about knowledge, often we talk about skills. But “disposition” is kind of a new concept for what we want in our graduates. So explain that a little bit.

Explain how “disposition” fit into this

Lynn: Sure, so “disposition” is really a different idea, and something we think is really important as we consider the whole child.

We spent a lot of time visioning, and we asked which dispositions were important, which ones our community values. We actually talked to all of our staff, parents, school leaders, students, community members. We shadowed students, and we asked them, “What do want this whole child to look like when they leave us?”

So in addition to the knowledge (core curriculum and digital literacy and financial literacy and some other ideas), and in addition to the skills (creativity, creating bravely, collaboration, critical thinking, communication) — we want these dispositions:

  • We want our learners to be curious.
  • We want them to be risk takers.
  • We want them to be compassionate and caring.
  • We want them to take risks and keep trying, so be persistent and be resilient, and to work toward their goals, whatever their individual and personal goals might be.

So we’ve created this pretty comprehensive profile of a graduate.

Vicki: Wow. You have learning beliefs. Tell us about some of those learning beliefs, about what you want your classrooms to look like.

Tell us about your learning beliefs

Lynn: Sure. So we actually learned through Education Reimagined. We read their white paper for transforming teaching and Learning. We’ve adopted some of their core beliefs. We identified five learning beliefs for us:

  1. We want learning to be competency based
  2. We want learning to be personalized and relevant and contextualized, so that might mean designing learning around passion for kids, making it authentic, making sure that they have purpose.
  3. We want our learners to experience agency, both our young learners and our adult learners (those teachers and leaders). And we characterize that through choice and voice in their learning, in their pathways.
  4. We want our learning to be socially embedded. We want our learners and their peers and educators and community members and family members to create relationships so that we can make learning a richer experience.
  5. Through that, with open walled learning, we can engage experts and technology and resources so that the learning goes beyond the classroom walls.

One way that we can exercise that is through our one-to-one initiative. All of our learners have a device. K-1 students have access to an iPad, 2-12 students have access to MacBook Airs.

That device is a vehicle for helping us realize our learning beliefs and making sure that we are transforming classrooms so that the learning is competency based and relevant and we can engage a lot of agency.

Vicki: OK. Lynn. This sounds like a lot!

Lynn: (laughs) It is!

Vicki: How recently did you adopt this, and where did you start? Because, you know, when you’re classroom teacher — and you’ve been a classroom teacher, you know what it’s like — we’re so focused on our day-to-day, and “I’ve got to teach this tomorrow,” that making these kinds of shifts can be challenging!

So first of all, when did you pass this, and then second, where did you start?

This is a lot to take on, so where did you start?

Lynn: Sure, so we spent 2015-2016 really doing the research.

We ran two parallel activities to do that research — the first one was sort of a comprehensive planning and strategic planning where any stakeholder who wanted to give input could.

The second one is what we called, “Innovate Salisbury Professional Learning.” We invited teachers to uncover the uncommon dots in education.

So we brought a team of about 15 teachers together. We created opportunities for teachers to use mentor texts — so anything related to Genius Hour, MakerSpace, gamification — a lot of most recently published texts through practitioners and facilitators in the education world right now.

Teachers looked at those texts, tried some projects, reported out, and some of that also shaped the vision, which was then delivered to our staff, in actually 2016-2017.

So, last school year, we spent a full year building a shared understanding of this vision. We had another professional learning cohort called “Leading Your Salisbury.”

And at the end of that year, we did some assessment, and we realized that we needed some more time to build this vision.

People need to understand, “What does this look like? What can it look like in an elementary classroom? What does agency look like in a high school classroom? How can we implement socially embedded lessons and activities? How can we open up our walls so learners can have personalized and contextualized experiences?”

So we’re actually in the second year of this vision, and we’re really spending significant time right now building a shared understanding of our vision.

Vicki: So, Lynn, tell me a story about something you’ve seen as a result of this, that you go, “OK, this is what it’s about! This is why we created this vision!”

An example

Lynn: Sure, so I can give you lots of examples, although I also want to be really transparent in saying that we are very, very early on in this journey. We have a lot of heavy lifting to do. You’re right, our teachers have a lot on their plates. I think we are dipping our toes to move forward.

One example: We have a learner centered media station, and we have a series of courses that students can take. We produce our own cable television show. This year, we have added two internships, where high school seniors are getting credit for actually running this TV station.

So that’s pretty exciting, that these students will have the opportunity to collaborate with outside cable experts and also produce their work, along with the work of their cable TV team and their Salisbury (Falcon?) Network Team and their advisor. They’ll produce it for an authentic audience of community members.

Vicki: So Lynn, as we finish up, you’re speaking to administrators who are trying to cast a vision and get people on board with it. What is the most important thing you have learned in this process, about being successful with a vision and getting buy in from stakeholders?

What is the most important thing about being successful with a vision?

Lynn: Sure. I think we have to build that shared understanding, and we have to provide a lot of opportunities for conversation — both about the possibilities and also about the challenges and how to mitigate those challenges. Everyone has a voice, and we need to engage everyone’s voice so that we can all move forward together.

Vicki: Do you have one mistake that you hope people won’t make?

Lynn: Hmmmm. (laughs) I’m sure we’ve made a lot of mistakes.

I think we have to make sure that we value each individual and each role in this. We have to make sure that we really listen to our learners, that we really listen to our leaders, that we really listen to our teachers as we move forward so that everyone’s voice is valued.

Vicki: So, administrators and teachers, casting a vision for your school. Knowing “What do we want our graduates to look like. What do we want our classrooms to look like? What kind of environment do we want to have.?”

I think also this conversation about disposition is a fascinating one. I know that we’ve had it in many forms. When I was a child, they called it character education.

Lynn: (laughs)

Vicki: I don’t know if it was, “We want you to be this,” as much as it was, “This is what good character looks like.”

Lynn: (agrees)

Vicki: But we do need to have visions. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you’ll always hit it. (laughs)

You want to be very careful, and aim for the excellence. Aim for the place you want your school to go, because complacency is really a sign of decay. We’re either getting better, or we’re getting worse. There’s really no in between there. We can’t be complacent. We have to strive for excellence. We have to cast a vision.

I think Lynn has given us a lot of ideas for doing that, so thanks, Lynn!

Lynn: Thank you very much. My pleasure.

Contact us about the show: http://ift.tt/1jailTy

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Lynn Fuini-Hetten is the Assistant Superintendent in the Salisbury Township School District. Prior to her work in this position, Lynn served as Supervisor of Instructional Practice, middle school teacher, instructional coach, instructional support teacher and assistant principal in the district. In her current role, Lynn is responsible for professional learning for all staff, supporting curriculum development, supervising the district’s virtual learning academy (VAST), and managing federal programs. Lynn has been an integral part in the success of Salisbury’s 1:1 teaching and learning initiative – Teaching and Learning 2020 (TL2020). As a result of her work in the area of professional development, Salisbury Township School District was recently recognized nationally as a Project RED Signature District and an Apple Distinguished Program. Lynn was recognized in 2013-14 with a mini-grant from Learning Forward PA to provide professional development focused on leading the implementation of PA Core Standards for the administrative team. Lynn received a BS and an MS in elementary education from Kutztown University, principal certification from Penn State University, instructional technology certification from Kutztown University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from Wilkes University. Lynn has taught undergraduate course at DeSales University. In May 2014 Lynn received the Wanda McDaniel Award from the Women’s Caucus of PASA (Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators.)

Blog: sharetolearn.org

Twitter: @lfuinihetten

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 Creating a Vision for Your School and Getting Buy In from Stakeholders appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e259/
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.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Secrets of Living an Epic Life Full of Meaning



Day 45 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Out beyond complacency and comfort lies a land of opportunity. It requires that you no longer comform to the comfortable. You can’t “phone it in.”

You have to work.

You have to dream.

You can’t settle.

Everyone wants success – well, most do anyway. And most people say the same thing. Everybody is shooting for grandiose goals and their speech often turns to braggadocio about what they’re GOING to do. Get out of the way, all that hot air can burn you.

But most people would rather talk than walk.

They’d rather complain and make excuses than make plans and cooperate with others aiming towards a vision.

We’re afraid to dream. We’re afraid because we might be disappointed.

But the saddest among us not only don’t dream, they lie helpless in a cage of their own making that keeps them imprisoned in a world of their own design.

Before you can win a ballgame in the physical world, you have to win it in your mind.

Before you can be married to the love of your life, you have to have the guts to ask him or her out on a first date.

Before you can experience awesome new things, you have to let go of the mediocre old ones.

If life were a house, some people would keep the same couch and carpet for 80+ years. Never changing. Never experiencing anything new.

Not only is that couch no longer new, it is probably nasty.

And that is what we often do in life. We stay in “that job” too long. We never have the conversation with “that friend” who isn’t really acting like a friend. We worry too much about making “that person” angry at us so we go places and do things that aren’t really what we want to do at all.

If we’d just start living our own lives instead of living the life others wish we would live, we might just realize that we have enough life, excitement and joy for one person – us. And that to attempt to please, cajole, and suck up to some angry people is as hopeless as trying to use an umbrella to keep dry during Noah’s flood.

This is your life. Start living it.

Or you can be among the many who as they come to the end of their life, wish they had lived their own life and not someone else’s wish for it.

Fulfilling your life’s purpose and a reason for being here is part of living an epic life.

And you’re not going to get there by chasing some else’s dream.

Be brave. Be true. Be you.

This post is day 45 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 Secrets of Living an Epic Life Full of Meaning appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/secrets-living-epic-life-full-meaning/
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.

Iditarod Teacher: How to Connect and Learn from the Iditarod Race



Heidi Sloan on episode 258 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Heidi Sloan is the Iditarod teacher for this year. It starts on March 3 – 18. Get free lesson plans, connect with a musher and get your kids excited.

Check out Jennifer Gonzalez’ 2018 Teacher’s Guide to Technology for more than 200 tools with special tips, videos, and screenshots to get you started.

Listen Now

***

Enhanced Transcript

Iditarod Teacher: How to Connect and Learn from the Iditarod Race

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e258
Date: February 21, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Heidi Sloan, a Virginia 5th grade teacher who has the privilege of reporting on the Iditarod this year, February 19-22, 2018.

So Heidi, tell us about this opportunity and what you’re going to be doing.

Heidi: The Iditarod is a dog sled race across Alaska commemorating the Iditarod trail and the sled dog tradition of Alaska. Every year I have incorporated the race into my classroom for a long time, and it just builds engagement and motivation with the kids.

They have a whole education department but they choose one teacher a year to go on the race. It’s been a dream of mine for years.

This has been a dream of mine for years

I applied, and I was chosen last April to be the 2018 teacher on the trail. I will be going out and speaking to schools and actually flying by bush plane to all that the mushers have to … and I’ll write that lesson plan, and what’s going on each day from Alaska.

Vicki: So how will people be able to follow these lesson plans and let their students follow along?

How can we follow along?

Heidi: If you go to Iditarod.com, and then click on the Education tab, there’s just a boatload of wonderful lesson plans for every subject. Then my tab once your on the trail. I’ve been posting week for months. I have a lot of ideas and lesson plans for teachers, too. I just put one on. If you’re new to the Iditarod, just getting started, it’s a really good checklist of ways to just jump in with all that you need, just to start. So I would recommend that, too, if you’re new to it.

  • Go to: http://ift.tt/2ofkiIG

Vicki: What do your students think about this opportunity?

How are your students feeling about you going?

Heidi: They’re very excited. They’re a little apprehensive that I’ll be gone for five weeks, because it’s actually March 22nd that I get back.

Vicki: Ohhhhh! So it’s February 19 through MARCH 22nd? Sorry, so they’re going to be following this for a while!

Heidi: The race actually begins on March 3rd. That will be the weekend to be watching, but they’re excited. They love learning about the Iditarod. It’s so new to kids, especially in the south. They just have no concept of the cold and snow and all the neat things that go into mushing dogs. They do get excited, and it really helps them want to read the articles and do the math problems and make the — that have to do with it. It just wraps rather easily into our curriculum.

Vicki: Heidi, what are some of the best things to teach, using the Iditarod as kind of a backdrop?

How does the Iditarod fit in with a regular curriculum?

Heidi: There’s a lot of character education that you can pull out of it — determination, loyalty, leadership, all that kind of stuff definitely can be pulled in. I do a lot with that.

Even in geometry, you can work with the dogs’ harnesses and measure the angles. There are a lot of fun things to do with math.

I do a STEM project where the kids have to come up with a little dog house that has a certain amount of volume in it, using crackers and frosting. There are just all kinds of neat things you can do with that.

There are a lot of articles that the mushers write at the EDU of Iditarod does. You can have your kids read the articles.

There are just so many fun things.

How can people reach you while you are there?

Vicki: So Heidi, will people be able to tweet you? Will classrooms be able to tweet you questions?

Heidi: My internet is sort of spotty, because I’ll be in the interior of Alaska…

Vicki: Ohhhh…

Heidi: Probably the best way to reach me would be emailtheteacher@Iditarod.com and I will be able to email back sometimes and possibly even send a little Skype video or something to teachers. So if they want to see the dogs, or see what’s going on, I’ll do my best.

When and how can teachers apply to be able to do what you are doing?

Vicki: So when do applications open to apply for 2019? That’s going to be the first question that some folks ask after they take a look at all your lesson plans.

Heidi: They have actually selected some finalists for 2019, so the next up would be 2020. So they are due December 1st.

If you click on the “Teacher on the Trail” tab, it tells about how you can apply as well and what the requirements are. It’s the thrill of a lifetime, so if anybody is interested, I would just say, “Go for it!”

Vicki: And Alaska is just such a beautiful state. I’ve been there and spoken at their conference. So many beautiful, wonderful educators there. And it’s just… just… the beauty is tremendous.

Heidi: Yes, yes it is. It’s just pristine. I’ve been getting a lesson ready for the Alaskan schools, comparing Virginia kids to Alaskan kids. Things that Virginia kids never see, like snow machines or moose.

Vicki: Well, until this winter, right? (laughs)

Heidi: (laughs) That’s right!

Vicki: This winter’s been wild.

Where would teachers begin if they have no experience teaching this?

OK, so how does a teacher get started? You said you have posted a lesson plan on getting started with teaching about the Iditarod. But tell us again where to go and how you think that we should start.

Heidi: Go to Iditarod.com and click on the “Teacher on the Trail” tab along the side. On there is “New to the Iditarod” is what I think I titled the post.

Basically, it gives some book ideas for read-alouds to get started and getting your kids familiar with the race.

It’s got some math activities. It’s got activities on researching the rules, which is good reading research practice, and that helps them understand.

I’ve got a packet in there that helps them find a musher that they can follow and cheer for, and what they can look for on the website once the race starts.

I’ve got ideas on graphing the temperature and things like that all along the race, and doing activities with the checkpoints. Those are some of the things that you can just get started, and then you can build from it as time goes on.

I always say, “Start small, and you can always add to it later.”

Vicki: So what is the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about the Iditarod?

What has surprised you the most?

Heidi: Hmmmm. I love the Alaskan people. A lot of the mushers are from Alaska or foreign countries like Norway and Sweden. I like their adventurous spirit.

I love how difficult the Iditarod is. People don’t realize. You’re going down mountain cliffs. You’re going over frozen rivers that sometimes have water on them.

Just the bitter cold and the “Do it yourself” type of attitude. I just love that, and how the mushers help each other along the trail.

All that has been a wonderful learning experience for me.

Vicki: So, the Iditarod is coming up, March 3 through March 22.

We will have all the resources for you. We can follow Heidi.

Heidi, thank you for coming on, so that we can have a voice and of course your picture that we

can include this exciting opportunity for teachers to be able to take some fun lesson plans and kind of get to know exactly what’s going on. This is just a great teaching opportunity.

And I love how this event has actually having a teacher to really engage teachers and students. I think it’s a fantastic model I hope a lot of events will follow this model.

Heidi: Thank you so much, Vicki, for the opportunity to share.

Contact us about the show: http://ift.tt/1jailTy

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


I am a 5th grade teacher who loves to motivate and engage my students in February and March by using the Alaskan Iditarod sled dog race as a tool to help teach math, reading, science, writing, and geography. I want to make learning relevant and make sure my students learn something new each day. This year I was selected to be Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™, the one teacher who gets to actually go on the race to be a reporter of sorts for teachers and students around the world. I love sharing motivating ideas with teachers!

Blog: https://iditarod.com/edu/category/teacher-on-the-trail/

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 Iditarod Teacher: How to Connect and Learn from the Iditarod Race appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e258/
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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