What Questions Do You Ask Yourself Every Day?

Day 16 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Experience is not the best teacher. As John Maxwell says,

what questions do you ask yourself every day

“Reflective experience is the best teacher.”

I could touch a hot stove a thousand times. And unless, I figure out the stove is burning me and I shouldn’t touch it, I’ll get burned again and again.

What have you learned?

Kip, my husband, has a well-known saying around our house. After anyone makes a mistake, he’ll look at them before addressing the mistake and say,

“What have you learned?”

So, whether it was my son shooting out the back window of the Durango with the beebee gun or me getting my feelings hurt because I trusted someone again who had not proven themselves trustworthy. “What have you learned?” Is our family saying when we make a mistake.

Craft Your Questions Based On Your “To Be” List

So, that is a great start. However, I’ve come to the point where I intentionally craft my questions based upon the person I want to become.

I first learned from my friend Angela Maiers to make my “to be” list before making my “to do” list. Admittedly, my questions often come from the Bible.

You’ll have your own questions. I hope those of you who do not share the same faith as I do will understand that these are mine and will challenge yourself to create your own. I do believe in being truthful in who I am. So, here we go.

My Current Questions as Part of 80 Days of Excellence

But right now, I ask myself a few questions. The questions are first. the italicized items are just to clarify a question for you.

  • Am I seeking first the kingdom of God? (What is God telling me to do?)
  • How do I need to seek His righteousness? (What are my flaws that I am convicted I need to work on right now?)
  • What things are being added unto me? (This is my gratitude list of things I’ve really seen and am excited about.)
  • How am I seeking Kononia with others? (See 8 Great Ways to Develop Great Relationships where I explain this type of fellowship.)
  • What Kairos moments are opportunities that I must seize today? (See Make Time County By Understanding the Two Kinds of Time — Kairos is a moment in time opportunity.)
  • Personal Goal Questions. The next three questions are based on my personal 12 week goals for this period of the year.
    • How am I progressing on building a healthy body?
    • How am I progressing on building healthy finances?
    • How am I progressing on learning about excellence and building a healthy mind?

Then, at the end of the day, I’m asking myself one question. (Hat tip to Kip.)

  • What did I learn today?

Sometimes I write myself an answer that isn’t something I learned but a question I still have or am grappling with now.

For example, today I interviewed a neuroscientist who was explaining the difference between empathy and compassion.

And while I don’t want to steal the thunder of that upcoming podcast episode, I’m grappling with what this means for me and how I live my life. So, sometimes in addition to writing what I learned, I’ll write the questions I have. These jog my memory as I seek wise counsel from my husband or talk to friends.

Grow Brave by Reflection

Leonardo da Vinci said,

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. (emphasis mine)

Many days, the morning questions completely transform my day. As part of the 80 days of excellence, I’m reflecting on these questions for 80 straight days (not counting Sunday.)

I’m also writing here about excellence.

These eighty days have been a challenge for me as there are times that I feel like I’m writing only for myself and wonder if it is helping anyone else. However, I’ve learned that to not only reflect privately in my journal, but to write for an audience helps me understand more clearly what I think and who I am. It helps me become brave by reflection.

Challenge: Design Your Questions

So, your challenge today is to examine the questions you’re asking yourself now. When can you ask yourself those questions for maximum impact?

Don’t make them too long or too fancy.

Don’t spend too long answering them, but do spend time asking yourself good questions based on your personal goals.

Why not?

This post is day 16 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 What Questions Do You Ask Yourself Every Day? appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/questions-ask-every-day/

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SEL & Classroom Safety: 3 Lessons from Sandy Hook Every Educator Should Know

Scarlett Lewis on episode 234 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Scarlett Lewis, mother of a 6-year-old murder victim of the Sandy Hook shooting, has turned her heartbreak into a passion to prevent school violence. In this show, she shares research-based practical information to promote social-emotional learning and what we should all be doing to help kids become healthy. In addition to making schools safer, the research shows these things also improve learning and help kids become healthier adults.

Listen Now

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***

Enhanced Transcript

Preventing School Shootings: SEL and 3 Lessons from Sandy Hook

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e234
Date: Thursday, January 18, 2018

Vicki: We’re handling so many difficult things in schools today, and Scarlett Lewis @JesseLewisLove is with us today to talk about one of those very difficult issues.

Now Scarlett, tell us a little bit about your son Jesse… and his story… and what you’re doing as a result.

Scarlett: Thanks, Vicki. I’m so happy to be on your show, speaking with educators — who are my heroes, by the way, because they have the most important job in the world, and that’s the ability to transform and even save lives on a daily basis.

So following my personal tragedy, where my 6-year-old son was shot in his first-grade classroom, alongside 19 of his classmates and 6 educators in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

Of course, this was perpetrated by a former student of that school, also a Sandy Hook resident.

Following that personal devastation, I made the decision that I wanted to be part of the solution.

Actually, I was heartened to find that there IS a solution., and it’s called social and emotional learning.

In fact, there was a report that came out following the shooting called the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission Report.

This was a commission of professionals that were given unprecedented access to all of the records, and they were asked to find out how something like this could happen and what could be done to prevent it from happening again.

What Can Be Done to Prevent This?

They came up with three things, in no particular order:

  • Gun Safety
  • More Access to Mental Health, and
  • Social Emotional Learning

In fact, the report says actually that if there had been social emotional learning (in place), the tragedy might not have happened. I had already been saying for two years before the report came out that the tragedy absolutely would not have happened with social emotional learning (in place).

I’ve really made it my life mission to make sure that every child has access to what we know is in the best interest of children for their entire lifetime.

Vicki: Now you’ve actually related social-emotional learning to neuroscience.

Now, there are a lot of folks who label social-emotional learning for all kinds of things, right?

Help us understand what actually works.

You’re also going to tell us about your free program.

Scarlett: Sure. Absolutely!

Our Free Program

What I did was look at what we’re currently teaching in schools, and the programming that is effective (statistically) and the programming that isn’t effective (statistically).

I really took the best of the best. It’s not only social-emotional learning, but it’s emotional intelligence. It’s positive psychology. It’s character education. It’s mindfulness. It’s neuroscience. I took all of the best of the best of them and put it into one program, a comprehensive PreK – 12th grade. And I made it free, so that every child can have access.

It’s based on CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic Social-Emotional Learning https://casel.org/ five core social-emotional competencies.

It’s based on CASEL

We made it easy to teach and easy to learn. I actually worked with educators to create this program, so it’s written by educators for educators. I think it’s the only program that is.

Vicki: So this is the Choose to Love enrichment program, right?

Scarlett: It’s the Choose Love enrichment program, and it’s available for free on the Jesse Lewis Movement website.

Vicki: OK, so give us an example of an activity or something that should be taught in this category of social-emotional learning that works.

Scarlett: Absolutely. So our program is based on a powerful formula for choosing love in any situation or circumstance. The formula that I use every single day — and I know it works in all situations — is this:

Courage (because everything starts with courage)

+ Gratitude (the great mindshifter*)

+ Forgiveness (the number one way to have healthy relationships**)

+ Compassion in Action ***

*Out of the 60,000-80,000 thoughts that we all have every day, going through our head one at a time, so you can’t have a grateful thought and an angry or depressed thought at once, so it’s the great mindshifter

**Harvard University did a 75-year longitudinal study that showed that the secret to happiness is positive relationships and meaningful connections. Forgiveness is the #1 way to have that.

***Not only identifying a need/suffering in someone, but actively doing something to help ease that pain***

So that formula:
Courage + Gratitude + Forgiveness + Compassion in Action = Choosing Love
(with all of the different elements falling under that formula)

It’s been profoundly impactful, not only for students but for educators as well. The educators get the opportunity to learn right alongside the students. There is no training required. We actually do have training available. I always like to go speak to the staff to launch the program when possible. But in reality, the teacher learns right alongside the student. The best feedback that I’ve received is that the educator gets as much benefit as the student.

Vicki: I love how you say, “We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond.”

But you live it every day. Isn’t it hard?

Scarlett: I absolutely live that.

Therefore I know that it’s true.

That’s where our freedom and our growth lie.

We can’t always choose what happens to us. Sometimes a chapter in our life has been started for us, right? But we can always choose how we respond.

When we thoughtfully respond, we can always choose love. That means even if your chapter was started for you, you can write the ending.

And that’s where your power lies.

A lot of times, I think — especially with everything that’s going on in our world today, we feel like all this stuff is happening around us and we have no control.

But I’ll tell you what. We have control of how we respond — how we perceive the things that are happening, and how we respond.

That alone is an incredibly empowering concept.

Vicki: You gave me a statistic before we started recording… about just how many school shootings there are now.

How frequent is it here in the United States?

How Frequent are School Shootings?

Scarlett: Well… since Sandy Hook Elementary, which happened 5 years ago, we have had over 220 school-related shootings.

So we have an average of one school-related shooting per week in our country.

And of course we don’t always read about them. Thankfully, they don’t always result in death.

But the fact of the matter is, it seems like it’s becoming our new normal.

And that is absolutely no OK with me.

Our schools must be a safe haven for our children and our educators. Absolutely. It’s the only way that they can learn!

We know how to do that. That’s by implementing a social-emotional learning program.

Social-emotional learning is the #1 way to have a safe learning environment.

Social-emotional learning is the #1 way to have a safe learning environment.

That’s why we offer this program for free. Really, this is so important that it cannot be priced out of the market for children and educators.

Vicki: Well, and educators, we can put in security systems, but we also have to have secure and safe thinking going on in our minds.

This is a difficult, hard thing.

We cannot just teach content and not teach healthy thinking — things like courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion in action.

These are all ways of thinking, ways of approaching the world. They’re things that we need to be discussing in our classrooms.

I hope you’ll follow and take a look at the resources.

Scarlett, I just want you to know that I appreciate you.

I appreciate what you’re doing and the struggle that you have and live every day, and how you’re turning that struggle into good for the world.

The Science Behind the Benefits of Social-Emotional Learning Says…

Scarlett: There’s so much science behind the benefits of social-emotional learning — so children that have access to social-emotional learning not only:

  • get better grades and test scores,
  • have higher graduation rates,
  • have less stress, anxiety and less bullying (because it proactively prevents it before it starts)

But there are long term studies now that have followed kids from kindergarten all the way into adulthood. They have found that those now-adults that had social-emotional learning in school had:

  • less substance abuse
  • less mental health issues of all kinds
  • less violence
  • less incarceration
  • even less divorce rates

It makes sense because we are teaching kids skills, tools, and attitudes that help them get along and have meaningful connections with others.

By the way, these skills and tools aren’t innate. We’re not born with them.

We must be taught them, and if we aren’t we don’t necessarily have them.

These Skills and Tools Are Not Innate. They Must Be Taught.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Scarlett Lewis founded the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™ after her son was murdered during the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012. Scarlett works to promote the Choose Love Enrichment Program™, a free, comprehensive, evidence-based SEL program that empowers educators and their students to choose love for themselves and others. While we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can choose how we respond. This program teaches children how to handle adversity, have courageous conversations, and to respond with love

Blog: www.jesselewischooselove.org

Twitter: @JesseLewisLove

The post SEL & Classroom Safety: 3 Lessons from Sandy Hook Every Educator Should Know appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/sel-classroom-safety-3-lessons-sandy-hook-every-educator-know/

Are you a Leaner or a Lifter?

Day 15 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

As my students and I were watching a John Maxwell video yesterday, he quoted this poem which hit me between the eyes. I’m asking myself: do I intentionally lift or do I lean.

Do you lift or do you lean_

Now, admittedly, we all lean sometimes. That is the nature of being human. However, lifting, as Maxwell says, is intentional. You have to decide to lift up others.

Which Are You?

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

There are two kinds of people on earth today;

Just two kinds of people, no more I say,

Not the sinner and saint, for it’s well understood,

That the good are half-bad and the bad half-good.

Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man’s wealth,

You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life’s little span,

Who puts on vain airs, is not counted a man.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years

Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,

Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go, you will find the earth’s masses,

Are always divided in just these two classes.

And oddly enough, you will find too, I wean,

There’s only one lifter to twenty who lean.

So, today, as we ponder excellence yet again, let’s ask ourselves: do we lift or do we lean?

This post is day 15 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 Are you a Leaner or a Lifter? appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/are-you-a-leaner-or-a-lifter/

Books to Africa and A Personal Transformation to a Global Educator

Julie Hembree on episode 233 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Julie Hembree and her students are sending Books to Africa. But that’s not all. She’s also started the Cultivate World Literacy Project and more. Learn about her transformation into a global educator because her students got excited and led the way. This is a pattern we can all emulate. Connect your students and join.

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

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

Listen Now

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***

Enhanced Transcript

Books to Africa and My Personal Transformation to a Global Educator

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e233
Date: January 17, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with my friend Julie Hembree @mrs_hembree. She is in Seattle, Washington, and she and I have actually spent some time together when I was out there at an event.

Julie, you have kind of traveled some, and you’re doing a lot with literacy. But tell us a little about where your journey to connect to the world has taken you.

Julie: Well, I am very passionate about the fact that I think that all children should have equal access to education.

All Children Should Have Equal Access To Education

Through traveling to South Africa now twice, I have had the opportunity to bear witness to the inequities that I’ve seen in different places in the world. Some children have access to quality education, and some children don’t.

This bothers me because the UN is working on the sustainable development goals, and their belief and work toward making sure that all children have inclusive and quality education. I think that my students can be part of that, so I’m working toward that.

Vicki: So what are you and your students doing to help students in other places have a better education?

Julie: Well, at this point it’s threefold.

  1. I have had a Books to Africa program going since 2012. Every year my students do a coin drive, and they raise money to pay for the shipping of books. We shipped gently used or new books to teachers that I have met personally in Africa — South Africa, Lesotho, Nigeria, Zambia — I think that’s all the countries we’ve been sending to.
  1. The other project we’ve started this year is we’ve joined the WeSchool Movement, so we are also collecting books to bring to children who are in the local hospitals during the holidays who don’t have access to books there.
  1. The third thing that I’m trying to do is bring focus to illiteracy. I’m working with a teacher, Tammy Dunbar in California, and we’ve developed a program called Cultivate World Literacy that’s going to go live in January. It’s a global collaboration project, where teachers can sign up and be part of a 5-week project, meet with one another via Skype, and investigate the whole idea of literacy/illiteracy and how that is different around the world.

Editor’s note: I received this note from Julie about the project. The website is www.cultivateworldliteracy.com and the hashtag is #cultivateworldliteracy

Vicki: That sounds like so much!

Do you feel like your students are really passionate about literacy? Are they feeding off your passion? Are they becoming advocates for this?

What’s that looking like?

Students are Becoming Advocates for This Cause

Julie: Yes, I think they’re feeding off it, because I have kids coming in (saying), “And when are you starting Books to Africa?”

I love it when they come up to me and are asking about it. We always start this in January with the New Year. It works out better for our schedule.

To see the kids coming in and asking me (about it), wanting to know, bringing books ahead of time, or asking “Do you think this would be good for us to send overseas?”

I love seeing that energy coming from the students!

Parents give me feedback as well. They’re emailing me and wanting to know when we’re going to start.

I think we’re really trying to have a culture of literacy at our school, and sharing what we have with those less fortunate.

Vicki: I love that! So it really is becoming part of what they think.

Julie: Yes! Most definitely. They love it.

They like to be involved, and when we Skype with students, and they can see the other students on the other side and really realize, “They’re just the same. The difference really is that they live in a different country. So they are kids inside. They might not have the same opportunities, but inside? They’re kids. They love to play. They love to have fun. They play games. We eat different food, but the differences are few. The things that are similar are great.”

Vicki: What is the most remarkable thing your students have learned as a part of this process?

Julie: That they can make a difference.

My Students Have Learned That They Can Make a Difference

You know, when they see pictures, and I come back with stories about the books that they have sent — seeing pictures and stories from overseas — they really grasp the idea that the work that they are doing is just not going “out into the atmosphere” somewhere.

This person is holding a book on camera with us and saying, “Hey, I read this book.” They’re talking back and forth about it. That’s exciting!

They really begin understanding that they have the ability to make a difference in another person’s life.

Vicki: So if I had talked to you eight or nine years ago, before this transformation happened, would you have believed that you would be where you are now?

Julie: Absolutely not. (laughs) Absolutely not.

If you had asked me ten years ago if I would be doing this, I wouldn’t have.

It’s been a real huge transformation for me, and it’s been a wonderful way for me to find my passion because I’ve always been passionate about education and reading, but I’ve kind of found my global focus.

Yeah. It makes me feel good inside. It’s very rewarding.

Vicki: So Julie, what started this transformation? What was the decision that has taken you in this direction?

Julie: Well, the funny story was that we found some books. When I went to the kids and said, “What do you want to do with it?” They said,, “Hey, we want to do this.”

It was turning the power over to students.

Every time I’ve turned the power to kids and said, “What do you think? What do you want to do?” they take it me on a ride that has been absolutely amazing.

So when I take myself out of it and let them drive, great things happen.

When We Turn the Power Over to Students, Great Things Happen

That’s been the transformation — listening to them, and going forward, and not giving up when times have been difficult, and just letting them see what they can do, and going along for the ride, I guess.

Vicki: So when you said, “What do you want to do with these books?” what did they say they wanted to do?

Julie: They said that they wanted to give them to some children that needed help.

They did some research. They found out where the most need was.

At that time, they found out it was Africa. So I met up with teachers through the Microsoft Educator Program.

My students had made a video, and kind of made an advertisement.

I took it to these teachers and said, “Hey, there are what my kids would like to do. Are you interested?”

And they were.

Now, we’ve had one person that we’ve been connecting with since the very beginning. He lives in Lesotho, and our student have been connecting for the last five years. So it’s really a long term project that’s had a lot of rewards.

Vicki: And you probably have some of those students now who are getting a little older, don’t you?

Julie: Yes! Some of them are now in middle school and high school. I hear back from time to time.

But we’re also expanding.

The Project Has Expanded Beyond Books

Last spring, we sent over some instruments because we found out that the school didn’t have any kind of instruments.

Our music teacher and P.E. Teacher — we all wanted to work together. So he found some old recorders that weren’t being used anymore. We packed them up and shipped them over to the school.

Tomorrow on their last day of the school year, they’re playing, “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” on the recorders that we sent over.

So it’s kind of fun to see — to bring literacy and music together — and let kids know! Look what they can do, when they have access to quality things.

Vicki: Do you ever get criticized for this?

Julie: Not so far, but… you know, it could happen.

Vicki: I know sometimes people will say, “Well, what are they learning? Are they taking the tests?”

I mean, how could you even say that? This is such a great project.

Julie: Well, I’ll tell you what the kids are learning.

They’re learning how to be global citizens.

You can’t be a citizen in this world without learning how to get along with others.

And so I think that what we’re doing — can’t be done on a test.

These are the soft skills that students need to learn so that they can be future citizens, so that they can be citizens that work well with other people around the world.

Vicki: Well, I’ll put the link in to the project, because this should be airing and going live in January 2018.

Julie Hembree is definitely somebody you want to follow. I find her very exciting. It’s also very exciting to get lost in Seattle with her. (laughs)

Julie: (laughs)

Vicki: She showed me Seattle, and it was so amazing and so memorable. She is just a charming, hospitable person who is changing the world with her passion for literacy.

I would just encourage you remarkable teachers to do two big things:

  1. She is handing over a lot of the drive and energy to her students, and going where they want to go. That’s one of my own secrets to transformation – really empowering my students. When you empower your students, you don’t just change your students’ lives, you change your own life!
  1. And then just connecting with the world, and being the connector. I think that’s a big job for teachers in the modern era. We’re kind of those connectors. We’re kind of that glue to the world, an introducer to the world.

So, this is just very exciting, Julie! Well done!

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Julie Hembree is a teacher-librarian at Cougar Ridge Elementary School near Seattle, WA. This is her 29th year of teaching. Prior to landing her librarian dream job, she was both a secondary and primary classroom teacher.

Julie believes that we need to use technology to lower the walls of learning. Together with her students, she started the Books to Africa program in 2012. They have sent over 7500 books to disadvantaged schools in Ghana, Lesotho, South Africa and Zambia .She has traveled twice to South Africa and volunteered as a teacher there.

She has been a Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator since 2012 and traveled with Team USA to the Global Forums in Prague, Barcelona and Budapest. She also hosts the Bulldog Reader blog and writes about books, lessons, technology and all things library.

Julie is always looking for more book partners to help with the Books to Africa Program. Let’s connect.

Bulldog Reader Blog http://bellbulldogreaders.edublogs.org/

Books to Africa Partnership http://bellbulldogreaders.edublogs.org/

Blog: Bulldog Reader Blog

Twitter: @mrs_hembree

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 Books to Africa and A Personal Transformation to a Global Educator appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e233/

The Lie of Giving 110%

Day 14 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

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

give it all

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

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

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

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


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/lie-giving-110/

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

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

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

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

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

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

Listen Now

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

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Enhanced Transcript

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

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e204
Date:

Vicki: How can we engage kindergarteners with technology?

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

He does a lot of work on the Kindergarten Smorgasboard.

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

Keep it Simple in Kindergarten

Greg: Hi Vicki. Thanks for having me.

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

Vicki: OK. Give us some of those ways.

Ipads and Augmented Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

iPad Apps to Help Children Learn to Read

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

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

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

Ipad Apps for Math

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

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

So those are some of my favorites.

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

What else?

QR Codes and Kindles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greg: (laughs)

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

Interactive WhiteBoard Uses in Kindergarten

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

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

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

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

What Mistakes Do You Make Using Technology with Kindergarteners?

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

Greg: Oh gosh. All the time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I always just say, “Go for it!”

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

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

What To Do When Technology Fails?

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

Greg: (laughs)

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

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

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

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

Greg: Probably 5-10% or less.

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

Vicki: (laughs)

Greg: Never fails.

Vicki: (laughs)

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

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

Greg: Exactly.

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

Greg: Right.

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

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

Get out there and try some of them today.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford KymberliMulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


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

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

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

Blog: The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

Twitter: @kindersmorgie

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

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


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How to Keep Disappointment from Derailing Our Dreams

Day 13 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

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

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

We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.

But how can we do this?

Who Do You Feed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decide What To Do with Your Disappointment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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