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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Promoting Academic Discourse in the ESL Classroom

A conversation with Greetzel Mojica on episode 88 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Greetzel Mojica @Mojica_CJUSD talks about how she teaches academic discourse in her sixth-grade classroom. Using a recent project on volcanoes as a backdrop, we do a deep dive into how Greetzel empowers her students to give effective feedback using academic language that they are learning in school. This is not the language used at home, so it presents challenges.

promoting academic discourse (1)

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

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

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

10-Minute Teacher Show Stitcher



In today’s show, Greetzel Mojica discusses promoting peer review and academic discourse in her ESL classroom:

  • A recent project Greetzel’s sixth graders did with volcanoes
  • How her students provided peer feedback
  • A technique to level up academic language from students who may not hear it at home
  • How Greetzel is working to get better at this skill (innovate like a turtle!)
  • Challenges she faces with connecting with her students

I hope you enjoy this episode with Greetzel Mojica!

Want to hear another episode on peer review? Listen to Starr Sackstein talk about 5 peer review strategies for your classroom.

Selected Links from this Episode

Full Bio As Submitted

Greetzel MojicaGreetzel Mojica

I am a 6th-grade teacher at Crestmore Elementary school in the Colton Joint Unified School District, in Southern California. I have been teaching for about 6 years. I feel that it is important to always be reflective in your practice and to remember that there is always room for improvement. I firmly believe that with every year of teaching that passes is an opportunity for us as teachers, to refine and learn new skills and strategies that will lead us to become more productive teachers in the following school year.

Her students working on this project

Students are presenting their volcanoes to one another and providing feedback based on the rubric. Their peer feedback is used to understand whether they understand the concepts taught in this course of study.

Students work together in teams to present and to evaluate the accuracy of each other’s understanding of the types of volcanoes. They are using academic discourse strategies that Greetzel learned from Kate Kinsella’s work.

Transcript for this episode


[Recording starts 0:00:00]

Here’s a shout out to two reviewers on iTunes. Mr. Jiminez from Iowa. Your story is endearing, and I’m so glad you and your students are falling in love with learning and that you’re so excited. And remember, being remarkable starts with you. And theteachermike72, I also appreciate your feedback.

Now, at the end of the show, I’m going to tell you about something new I’m doing that I actually learned about on yesterday’s show. You can go to http://ift.tt/2qAC2S9  to learn more or I’ll give you some details at the end of the show.

Promoting academic discourse in the English as a second language classroom. This is episode 88.

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

VICKI:          Today, for Wonderful Classroom Wednesday, we are travelling into Greetzel Mojica’s @Mojica_CJUSD classroom in California. And with her sixth-graders, she recently did a project where she had them present about volcanoes and uploaded the video to Twitter, (see https://twitter.com/Mojica_CJUSD/status/865414547468713984 ) and it kind of intrigued us. So Greetzel, tell us a little bit about this project and what you were trying to accomplish with the assignment.

GREETZEL:  So the whole goal of the students is to see whether they actually understood the different types of volcanoes that they were researching. And I just felt like the best way to understand something and know if you actually know the information is to be able to actually explain it to someone else. When I had this idea for them to do the project, it was hands-on. It got the students discussing and working together, collaborating. And then in addition to that, it just gave me a great assessment tool to be able to assess whether they had actually mastered the type of volcano that they each had researched.

VICKI:          Now, how is this different from the typical volcano assignment, because didn’t you have some peer review going on?


GREETZEL:  Students then, toward the end of the project when they were done, they gave oral presentations in small groups, and they were able to discuss the actual facts behind what they built. And the students then evaluated whether their information went along with what their model showed. I mean, when you give a normal assessment, whether they know composite volcanoes or shield volcanoes, you could just give a clear paper test and they could either write and fill it out. But, for me, the explanation behind it is so much more powerful to actually know that they remembered it versus them just filling out something by hand.

VICKI:          Now, I’m intrigued by how you wanted the students to give peer feedback, because you didn’t want them to just give basic feedback. What were your goals for their type of feedback they gave each other?

GREETZEL:  I actually wanted it to be thoughtful. And in order for that to actually happen, I needed to have a rubric for them to actually see. And prior to them actually giving their presentations, I explained to them what each numbers stood for. So for example, our rubric was based off of a number system, so 4 being the highest; so 4, 3, 2 and 1. And 1, with the students, when they were presenting, like they didn’t even know facts about their volcano or they didn’t really make a lot of eye contact. The students were able to see the rubric. And I wanted it to be based off of that, versus them just saying like, “Oh, I really liked your presentation,” which was what I used to get last year. But with the new rubric being posted up and then being already used to presenting in that manner and using that, it just made it, I guess, more academic.

VICKI:          You said you’ve been learning about discourse when we were talking before the show. What do you mean?

GREETZEL:  Yes. Our district is moving toward this – well, I don’t think it’s a big movement, but it’s just starting to emphasize the importance of discourse in the classroom.


                    I think a lot of us as teachers, we’re used to having the students just collaborate and think per share, but it’s never really purposeful. So I think starting to really think about the common core state standards and how we want the students to actually master and show mastery through oral language. Especially being that our school is widely ELL learners’ population, the vocabulary part for them is such a big part in order for them to be proficient English learners at our school. So them being able to speak academically, using academic vocabulary that they don’t get at home, only here at school, they need to practice it. And the only way to do that is through oral discussion.

VICKI:          So Greetzel, give me some examples of some academic vocabulary that you want to hear from your sixth-graders.

GREETZEL:  Oh, my sixth-graders actually have a handout. It’s a research that I got from my training. And it’s by Kate Kinsella. And it’s called Language Strategies for Academic Interactions. (Here’s the handout – http://ift.tt/2rkFKfW ) And on there, it pretty much has sentence frames. And when their expressing an opinion, it has different sentence starters. The one that they like to use is “in my opinion” or “I think”, “I believe that”, and then they finish the sentence with whatever subject we’re teaching or learning from. If it’s math or science, they start with whatever, the question I propose, and they find what it fits. So if they’re agreeing with something a partner says, they have the sentence starter that says, “I agree with that person” or “I share your point of view”, and then continue on.

VICKI:          So Greetzel, what is the biggest mistake you made when you started this approach of trying to help kids learn academic language as they give each other feedback?

GREETZEL:  I think my biggest mistake when I first started was not having a rubric up of what I wanted them to see. When I was having a conversation with my colleagues, I realized that students do grade harder than teachers. Just letting my students focus on the actual rubric on the content that I wanted them to get from their peers versus them liking something off of their personal opinion, I think that was the most difficult part.


VICKI:          What’s the best advantage of using this? I mean, have you seen any improvement in your classroom or engagement? Or what have you seen?

GREETZEL:  Oh my gosh, yes. I think having them speak academically, they’re just more confident. They’re able to find their voice in what they’re trying to explain. They’re not embarrassed anymore; they don’t mind, I think, because they have something in front of them. And even some of my higher students, my English only students, they were able to express their opinions and stopped using the sentence frame starters that they have. Some of them even put it away because they didn’t need it anymore. They’re just more confident and comfortable with public speaking. And I think it’s so important because that’s something that’s going to continue throughout their whole life.

VICKI:          Now, one thing that you really believe in, in the bio that you turned in, is the importance for us teachers to keep advancing and learning in our craft. What’s next for you?

GREETZEL:  You know what; I just feel like whenever something comes up or starts to change, in 21st century learning, it’s an opportunity for me to learn something different. So right now, I think what’s next is just becoming an expert more in discourse and trying to master that more purposefully, versus having me just sit and listen to students. Having my students actually learn to listen purposefully as well. So I think my thing next is being able to empower my students more versus myself.

VICKI:          I love that – purposeful listening. I had somebody almost share it recently; Dean Jim Ryan from Harvard (http://ift.tt/2rkltHc ) . And in his book, he talks about generous listening. And, you know, purposeful and generous listening, that’s hard, isn’t it?

GREETZEL:  It is so hard. They recently sent me to a coaching training. So that way, when we collaborate as teachers, I think that’s our biggest mistake. It’s that we always have something to say. We’re always quick to give feedback even though the feedback wasn’t necessary. It’s more to help the other person reflect on their own craft and process.


                    And I think we’re so vocal, depending on our type of personality. Like I’m someone that wants to fix something; I’m a fixer. Listening with intent was super hard to learn.

VICKI:          It is. And that’s so much part of discourse, isn’t it?


VICKI:          Greetzel, I have one more question for you. Do you have any special challenges because of the students that you serve that you think are different than most classrooms have?

GREETZEL:  I think the biggest challenge is still learning more about the social background of students from our area. I think there’s differences between economic status and differences between family lives and styles. I’m still processing and learning different ways to approach students from different social backgrounds. I mean, myself, I grew up in a home that was very different from most affluent families. So I think just still learning more about understanding poverty and understanding the mindset of students who come from different types of backgrounds, pretty much.

VICKI:          Yeah. That’s a challenge for so many of us, because we do want to – you know, we have to  relate before we can innovate, and we really do need to know those students. So, remarkable teachers, we’ve gotten so many great ideas from Greetzel. And I hope that you’ll apply those in your classroom and really think about discourse and feedback.

Okay, I have to admit that the show notes for yesterday’s show, well, it went up a little late. Because I started experimenting with one of the websites I learned about on the show Patreon, http://ift.tt/2qAC2S9. And here’s how it works. This gives away for you to support your favorite shows and bloggers. And here’s what you get. You know how a lot of us, like me, sell things or pay teachers or own little store, that sort of thing. Well, I’m able to just package those in at different subscription levels. Right now, everybody who supports it at $10 or more will get the Do What Matters productivity book, http://ift.tt/2acX6m7  which is my 72-page eBook, plus 108 Excel and 108 PDF planning templates.


                    And that’s worth $9.99 right there. You’re already getting that. At the $5 level, you’ve got the three digital citizenship lesson plans in my substitute teacher manual. And that substitute teacher manual costs $5. Well, the person who gets the $10 package gets everything at the $5 and the $10. And then there’s the $1, and I’ve got lots of things there too. You also get special private podcasts and polls and other goodies through Patreon. Now, I’m experimenting with it. And I look forward to learning about another way to give you remarkable value.

Hope you’ll go over there, learn a little bit about it. And thanks for supporting the show and for listening and telling your friends.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at http://ift.tt/2quX4Nu. Never stop learning.


[End of Audio 0:10:59]


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



The post Promoting Academic Discourse in the ESL Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

From http://ift.tt/2rokMPe
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.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

3 Teacher Money Making Opportunities Using Technology

A conversation with Jessica Gordon on episode 87 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Jessica Gordon @1337teach shares three ways teachers can use technology to make money this summer (or anytime.) We talk about some ethical considerations and opportunities.

teacher money making opportunities

Listen Now


Listen on iTunes

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

10-Minute Teacher Show Stitcher



In today’s show, Jessica Gordon talks about three ways she makes money as a teacher during the summer:

  • Teachers Pay Teachers
  • A new way ELL teachers can tutor language online
  • The new service many are discussing
  • How to get started
  • Deciding what to do first

I hope you enjoy this episode with Jessica Gordon!

Want to hear another episode on technology tools to try? Listen to Jennifer Gonzalez talk about 5 Tech tools to try in 2017.

Selected Links from this Episode

3 Sites We Discussed Where Teachers Can Make Money

So, today, she taught us about Teachers Pay Teachers, Patreon, and 51Talk, so I’ve signed up for Patreon this afternoon. (This is one reason this blog post was late!)

Full Bio As Submitted

Jessica GordonJessica Ratliff-Gordon - YmP7_fGu_400x400 (1)

Jessica Ratliff-Gordon is an elementary educator, author, and doctoral student at Northcentral University. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she began her teaching career at Buder Elementary within the St. Louis Public School District. Currently, she serves as a sixth-grade geography teacher for the Poplar Bluff School District as well as a Project Manager for Hilton Publishing.

For more information about the author and her current publications follow her on Twitter @1337teach, Goodreads, or search for seller “1337 Teacher” on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Transcript for this episode


[Recording starts 0:00:00]

At the end of the show, I’ll give you a discount code to use on the Coolcat Teacher store.

Three teacher money-making opportunities using technology. Episode 87.

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

VICKI:          So teachers in the Northern hemisphere, we’re getting close to summer and you know some teacher might want to earn some money on the side or use that as a time to kind of look at some other opportunities. Now, I do have to add one caveat, I know that my friend Lisa Neilsen @InnovativeEdu and I were talking about this one time and she said, you know, “Teachers can work as a bartender in New York, but they can’t do Teachers Pay Teachers.”

And that makes no sense to me [Vicki] at all. But you have to follow the laws and the rules of your district and your school to make sure you check this out for anything that you do.

So we have Jessica Ratliff-Gordon @1337teach

with us and she has done a previous episode with us on game-based learning that was awesome. But Jessica, you’ve got three different ways that you have tried out that you’re investigating to kind of have opportunities on the side to teach. Tell us about your first way.

JESSICA:      Like me, or at times, there are ways that teachers want to supplement their income. The first way that I’ve looked into doing that is through Teacher Pay Teachers. http://ift.tt/2rC9WpS (note: this is my referral link, if you sign up, I will receive a small commission. If you do not wish to support the podcast in this way, just go to the site directly.)

Teachers Pay Teachers is an awesome way for teachers to make additional funds. They are things you do all the time. You know, innovative lesson plans, task cards that you’ve created to gear towards your student’s interests that could be something that another teacher would really love to have.

So I have a lot of your task cards and things online that sell pretty well. So over time, it’s pretty steady so that you might make a certain amount of money each month. And a lot of times you can have sales that increase your sales or over the summer – a lot of time people over the summer are buying more resources for the upcoming school year.


                    So summer is a great time to add new things to Teachers Pay Teachers store because that’s when everybody is when everybody is looking for things, looking for things to revamp their curriculum going into the next school year.

VICKI:          Now, last summer was when I got started on Teachers Pay Teachers. My friend Angela Watson https://twitter.com/Angela_Watson and my friend Laura Candler https://twitter.com/LauraCandler told me about it. And they have so many beginner’s resources for getting started. And believe or not, you can buy some thoughts, and you can use PowerPoint to make a lot of the handouts. I know for me, I just kind of make it at home and not as much at school so that I don’t get in trouble, okay, this is something I made in my classroom. But again, follow your guidelines. So, Jessica, what’s your next idea?

JESSICA:      My next idea is something new that I’ve just started and that s online ESL tutoring. And there’s different companies that partner with U.S companies; they partner with Chinese companies or companies overseas. Currently, I’m with 51Talk http://ift.tt/2sbjzJ6, and then there’s other companies lie VAIP Student. And what they do is it’s just like using Skype, if you know how to use Skype and you are familiar with using things like smart boards you would be great at it. And you make your own hours, they hook you up with students that are Chinese students wanting to learn English, and it could be kids that are in pre-school age all the way up through – sometimes even adults or high school students that are needing help.

Some lessons, you know, you’re walking them through common core live lessons and then other times they just sign up to talk to you, they just want somebody to practice having conversational English with them. And so that’s something that you could do pretty easily. Companies are really looking – especially 51Talk, they have a big push for people to sign up.

VICKI:          So you don’t have to know Chinese to do this.

JESSICA:      No. In fact, they tell you when you start that if you know Chinese, not to use it because when kids know that you know Chinese, it’s less of an immersive thing. They want you to only use a lot of whole brain teaching; they call it TPR.


                    Use a lot of whole brain strategies. So you’re using only English and whole brain strategies so there’s a lot of emotions, a lot of facial expressions, pointing, using symbols to get across to them what certain words mean. And the kids really enjoy it. In fact, most students are going to be Chinese students – students that are from places where education is really highly valued, and they appreciate you, they will beg for another lesson. And you have a really good feeling after you’ve thought those lessons because kids are really excited to work with you.

VICKI:          Okay. So this third one is one I’ve been considering this summer and even doing with the podcast. So tell us about your third idea.

JESSICA:      My third idea – I actually have a friend who’s a doctor, and he told me about Patreon. http://ift.tt/2rC9WWU  Patreon is an online service, it is free to sign up, and it’s a way for you to offer things that you’ve created that other people might like, but in a way, that’s different than Teachers Pay Teachers. So for instance, on Teachers Pay Teachers, if I put products on there, I price them all individually, people buy what they want, it’s kind of a cafeteria type thing. On Patreon, I would have a page. So on your page, you could post task cards you make, lesson plans you make. And if somebody becomes a patron of you, they could then access all of those downloads or all of those posts that you make.

So if I were posting new resources every week and someone wanted to say, pay a dollar a month to be a patron me then that means they would get access to every single thing that I ever put on Patreon. If you signed up for it for just a couple of months, you could download everything that I have on my page, and that’s going to come out to be a lot cheaper than buying even a couple of other things from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  It seems like it’s a really good deal, it’s a newer thing, and so I’m hoping it really catches on because I think a lot of teachers, especially teachers that have really quality things are on sites like Teachers Pay Teachers could benefit from Patreon.


VICKI:          I know. And I’ve seen it a lot in podcast where people have a podcast and they have Patreon supports but they have a few extra bonus shows and things, and so I’m actually debating doing that because sometimes I have longer content, maybe longer than 10 minutes – 10 minutes is so fast – that I could put. So I’ve really been debating, and I’m intrigued.

Now, Jessica, you know there’s some teachers who think it’s a terrible thing for teachers to be making money on the side. But the again they complain that teachers don’t make enough. So I don’t really know that I understand the thought that teachers shouldn’t take advantage of these opportunities. What are your thoughts?

JESSICA:      Right. And I’ve heard that debate, in fact, I heard on the news the other day where in some places it’s that idea of intellectual property. If I make something because I had an idea at school or if I make something based off something I’m teaching, does that not belong to the school? The only argument I have to that is if people weren’t wanting teachers to make extra money through things like Patreon or Teachers Pay Teachers then we really need to look at how we are compensating our teachers and see what resources they are and compensate them adequately.

Because I feel like if teachers earned the amount of money based on what they were creating and the innovation that they were coming up with I really think they probably wouldn’t need Teachers Pay Teachers or Patreaon. So I just think because we’re in a country where teachers aren’t paid very well we have to – you know, teachers are very resourceful. We have to think of ways to help ourselves especially for people that have growing families that need additional support that teaching doesn’t always give you.

VICKI:          Yeah. Well, the way I view it is if I can do something to create– I’m a better classroom teacher because I’m a teacherpreneur who does podcasting and blogging. When I started teaching, I told them I’d have to keep my business, and I did website hosting and computer fixing. But once I figured out teaching can be my hobby and I could help pay for the kids to go to college, it’s like I’m such a better teacher because of it.


                    And I guess in some ways – I know some people think capitalism is a bad word but I think that if you give people incentive, they’re going to be better in-classroom teachers. Now there is a line that you can’t cross. Like, you can use your students to sell stuff – you know, there’s lines, there are ethical lines that we need to talk about.  But personally, I think that saying, “teachers don’t make enough” but then saying “teachers, you belong to us, we own you” is like talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Jessica, how should somebody get started, real quick?

JESSICA:      I would start with Teachers Pay Teachers. What did last summer is I sat down, and on Teachers Pay Teachers you can actually look through the top sellers and I looked at what is selling the most, what are people wanting, what are things people are dying to have and then I also wanted to make something that even nobody wants what I put out there, something that I could use for my classroom.

So the things I make tend to be a mixture of things that are marketable and things that I would use in a social studies lesson. And so really if you work on that this summer you’ll be making things that; one, are going to revamp your curriculum and give yourself more resources that you’ve made and then also have things sitting there just accumulating additional income for you over the years. Because once you put it on Teachers Pay Teachers, it’s there forever. So I could still be making a few dollars off these task cards every month till people don’t want task cards anymore.

VICKI:          Be a remarkable teacher, and if this is an option for you we’ve just given you three ideas from Jessica Ratliff-Gordon that you can use to perhaps earn some money on the side as a teacher. Thank you so much for listening and get out there and be remarkable.

Check out my store at store.coolcatteacher.com. If you use the code remarkable, you can a 20% discount on my productivity books and forms, substitute teacher manual, lesson plans, video tutorials and all the things that I have on there. Or you could also check out my store on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at http://ift.tt/2quX4Nu. Never stop learning.


[End of Audio 0:10:23]


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


The post 3 Teacher Money Making Opportunities Using Technology appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

From http://ift.tt/2qDC06Z
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, May 29, 2017

How Do Kids Learn and Remember? #motivationMonday

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

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

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

what helps kids learn and remember (1)

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

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

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

10-Minute Teacher Show Stitcher



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

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

I hope you enjoy this episode with Andrew Stadel!

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

Selected Links from this Episode

Full Bio As Submitted

Andrew StadelAndrew Stadel

Andrew Stadel is a Digital Learning Coach for Tustin Unified School District in California, working with secondary math teachers to use and implement technology in meaningful ways to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics. Andrew is the creator of Estimation 180, http://ift.tt/1dVJzbZ, a website designed to provide students and teachers with daily challenges to help improve their number sense.

Transcript for this episode

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

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

From http://ift.tt/2quP5Am
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.

Friday, May 26, 2017

5 Fantastic Peer Feedback Strategies for Your Classroom

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

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

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

peer feedback strategies for your classroom (1)

Listen Now

Listen on iTunes

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

10-Minute Teacher Show Stitcher



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

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

I hope you enjoy this episode with Starr Sackstein!

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

Selected Links from this Episode

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

Peer Feedback in the Classroom Book Giveaway

Some of the links are affiliate links.

Full Bio As Submitted

Starr SacksteinStarr Sackstein

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

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

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

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

Books Starr has authored:

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

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

Transcript for this episode

Download the PDF Transcript for this Episode

Show Notes: http://ift.tt/2qmXfea

[Recording starts 0:00:00]

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

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

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

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

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

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

VICKI:          But that sounds so hard.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

VICKI:          Love that. What’s our fourth?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


VICKI:          Cool. So check the show notes http://ift.tt/2qmXfea and use our giveaway widget to enter the contest and follow Starr. Thanks for listening.

Hello remarkable teachers, I have a bi-weekly newsletter just for you. You’ll get lesson plans, ideas and lots of freebies I don’t share anywhere else. You can sign up by text message if you’re here in the United States by texting COOLCAT to 444999 and you’ll be put on my email list. Now, if you’re not in the U.S., you can go to http://ift.tt/2pO3DhX. Now, when you sign up I have a super hand out of my 200-plus favorite Ed tech tools that you can download and start exploring.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at http://ift.tt/2quX4Nu. Never stop learning.

[End of Audio 0:09:06]


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


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

From http://ift.tt/2rXUFwo
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, May 25, 2017

How to Help Kids in Poverty Succeed in Life and Learning

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

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

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

how to help kids in poverty succeed

how to help kids in poverty succeed

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

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

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

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

Selected Links from this Episode

Giveaway Contest mentioned on the show

PLP Summer Learning 12 Course – Giveaway Contest

Full Bio As Submitted

Sheryl Nussbaum-BeachSheryl Nussbaum-Beach

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

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

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

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

Transcript for this episode

Download a printable PDF of this transcript

[Recording starts 0:00:00]

Show Notes: http://ift.tt/2qZtEIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

VICKI:          Yes, absolutely.

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


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

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

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

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

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


SHERYL:      Sure. So Powerful Learning Practice has put together a bundle of courses, two of them I’ve created. http://ift.tt/2qZtD7H One, this particular course on future-prepping kids that are living in poverty. Self-paced e-course, you can do it by the pool. The great thing about it is as you work through each one of the units there’s things like try this and think-abouts and there’s tons of valuable resources. At the end of this course you actually build a toolkit so that you have a changed classroom practice based on what you’re doing. You can put as much into the course as you want to get out of it – there’s videos. So it’s a really thick, very resource-rich course.

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

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

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

[End of Audio 0:10:30]


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


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

From http://ift.tt/2qSlEe5
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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