How Do We Teach Politics to Kids During an R-rated election?

The US Presidential Election Can Be Taught: But How?

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

The fifteen thousand pound Statue of Freedom placed upon the US Capitol Building is dressed to defend her country. Oddly enough, she does not wear the red liberty cap, originally worn by freed Roman slaves, which was given to the French and Americans fighting in the Revolutionary Instead, she wears a helmet, ready to defend her land.

how-to-teach-politics-election-2016

During my summer in DC, I would squint into the bright light and try to see the Statue of Freedom a little more clearly. That summer, she captured me. Tears would stream down my face as the bright summer sun blazed into my eyes.

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

To me, she shines for our liberty. Our rights.

But we must never forget the difference in having the right  to do something and being right in doing it. We have lots of rights. But, does it feel like to you that there are very people people who seem to be doing right?

Abraham Lincoln once said,

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Right now in politics, policies are taking a back seat to scandal and slander — and it is pretty hard to tell which is which. What role do teachers play in all of this?

Listen to This Show

The Role of the Teacher in this Election.

Teachers, here are some of our challenges:

  • Can we promote civil discourse?
  • Can we promote a full examination of the issues?
  • Can we stand against indecency and lying even if politicians are caught doing both?
  • Can we discuss issues relating to how our political system works?
  • Can we model the kind of decency and civility that students need to see?
  • Can we encourage students to look at more than one side of an issue?
  • Can we help them debate and discuss without losing hope?
  • Can we remind people of the values and dreams of those who founded this country and the sacrifices we must make to carry them forward?
  • Can we be the kind of citizen that students will look up to in our own political involvement?

We are part of a history bigger than ourselves. One where people sacrificed and gave all they had for a country where they could be free. If we are to have a better tomorrow in this country, it will be because teachers took action today.

In today’s show, social students teacher Trent Ashcraft apologized publicly to his students for assigning the Presidential debate. Clearly, social students and government standards require that we teach students to be “good citizens.” Can we teach students to be good citizens without good role models in government? We can and must teach politics. Here’s how.

Bloomz: Today’s Sponsor

Bloomz is your one-stop solution for parent-teacher communications. More than just connecting with their cell phones, you can send long or short messages. You can share pictures and links. You can even coordinate volunteer schedules, donations, and parent-teacher conferences. I’m using Bloomz in my classroom.

Get the Bloomz App

As always, the views in the show are my own and not that of any sponsor.

Show Notes:

  • What happened when Trent assigned the debate as a homework assignment?
  • How can you teach kids about the election when you have R-rated topics as part of the election?
  • Is there a way to walk the tightrope of not endorsing a candidate but not endorsing behaviors that are not appropriate?
  • Can you teach civility and decency?
  • What about the bias in media? Is there a place for discussion of that topic?
  • How can we teach students to be wise consumers of media?
  • Why does the Facebook algorithm bias us towards our current views?
  • Do we need to help students examine the other side of a topic?
  • How do we help students feel comfortable expressing a different opinion than those held by the majority of their classmates?
  • How do we promote the ability to agree disagreeably?
  • Will we have long lasting ramifications?
  • What topics are great to discuss with this election? The electoral college, the two-party system
  • How we can help students ask questions in positive, constructive ways?
  • What should teachers do as they tackle this election in our classroom?

http://www.bamradionetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=embed&tmpl=component&id=4100&catid=91&Itemid=1181

Who is Trent Ashcraft?

Trent Ashcraft@dtrentashcraft is a Social Studies teacher at a private Christian school in Louisville, KY where he teaches AP US History, AP US Government, and Economics. He is married and has an awesome 2 year old son.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. If this show meant something to you, will you leave a review?button-itunes

The post How Do We Teach Politics to Kids During an R-rated election? 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/teach-politics-kids-r-rated-election/

Advertisements

140 Twitter Tips for Educators

Help for skeptical or curious teachers

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

The curious teacher opened up Twitter. In the teacher’s lounge this morning, an excited teacher was talking about a new tool she’d found on Twitter that had her students raving. Rather than ask anyone, the curious teacher opened up Twitter (there was less pressure that way.) Oh, my! She thought Twitter made no sense. She saw these #’s going by and didn’t know what they were. And she saw some things she didn’t like, too. As a result, she wondered if she could filter that stuff out. What was that teacher so excited about this morning? If you’re that curious teacher, let’s give you tips to make sense of Twitter.

140-twitter-tips-for-educators

This example with “curious teacher” is a common one. In fact, many teachers look at Twitter and just don’t get what they’re seeing. I would say it is because they don’t have a Twitter account. While lurking on the site is OK, creating a Twitter account lets you FILTER tweets in powerful ways (even if you never tweet yourself.)

First, when you set up your Twitter account, you can follow just those people you want to see. Second, it also even makes following the hashtags  (those things that start with the #) make a little bit more sense. Third, you can even message people privately when you have an account. All without having to post even one tweet.

But, as today’s guests show us, Twitter can do so much more for you and your classroom.

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

In today’s episode, we make Twitter simple with some cool Twitter tips. Brad Currie and Billy Krakower, two of the three authors of 140 Twitter Tips for Educators, share with us the basics of Twitter.  Specifically, they talk about how to get started and how Twitter is used in schools.

I know people who refuse to try anything new.

But as a 92-year-old precious “Miss Alice” said this past week in my Sunday school class,

“I’m so glad I haven’t learned yet. I’m still learning. Learning means you’ve got something new to learn, and you’re not done. Because when you’re done learning and you’ve learned it all, you’re done with living.”

In that case, Mrs. Alice gives the best introduction for why we should all try something new. Share today’s show with skeptics and curious teachers as a low-pressure way to see if Twitter might help them be better teachers.

Bloomz: Today’s Sponsor

Bloomz is your one-stop solution for parent-teacher communications. More than just connecting with their cell phones, you can send long or short messages. You can share pictures and links. You can even coordinate volunteer schedules, donations, and parent-teacher conferences. I’m using Bloomz in my classroom.

Get the Bloomz App

Show Notes:

  • Why should educators get on Twitter?
  • How do class in school and district Twitter accounts work?
  • How should you get started when you get on Twitter?
  • Is Twitter for every educator?
  • Are there some drawbacks and worries about being on Twitter?
  • How do you find the right Twitter chat for you?
  • Is it okay just to be a lurker on Twitter? And what is a lurker?
  • For some other resources for getting started with Twitter?
  • 140 Twitter Tips for Educators by Brad Currie, Billy Krakower, and Scott Rocco

Who are Brad Currie and Billy Krakower?

Brad Currie  @bradmcurrie is the co-founder of #satchat, a weekly Twitter discussion for current and emerging school leaders. Brad is a Vice Principal and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District in Chester, N.J. Billy Krakower is a co-moderator of a weekly Twitter discussion for current and emerging school leaders called #Satchat. He is one of the Lead Organizers of edcampNJ.

Billy Krakower@wkrakower   is currently a Computer & Resource Reading Room Teacher in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. Oh and if this show meant something to you, will you leave a review?button-itunes

The post 140 Twitter Tips for Educators 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/140-twitter-tips-educators/

Top Tips for Fast Formative Assessment that Works

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

You’re teaching your heart out. All of a sudden, you look in their eyes and wonder if they understand. But in due time, you decide enough of them know the material and it is time for a test. After they take the test, you start grading. In a moment, you realize that while one or two know the material, that you were hopelessly unaware that most of them needed some more teaching. I’ve been there and it is one of the worst feelings of teaching. When it happened to me, I felt like quitting. I felt like a failure. But no more.

fast formative assessment that works

Now, when I teach difficult concepts like binary numbers, I can teach them and know in the moment what they know. No more waiting. No more guessing. That’s because, formative assessment is in my toolkit and I’m empowered to poll the whole class with a click.

As shown above, we can do better than the old fashioned guess and stress mode of teaching and testing. Formative assessment is here.

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

Different from summative assessment, the goal of formative assessment is to know what they know as knowledge is forming in their minds. Equally important, the point of formative assessment is NOT to take another grade. While you might be tempted, DON’T DO IT! (Unless they all surprise you and make perfect scores!  Then, by all means take a grade and do a dance while you’re at it!)

As an illustration of the many ways you can assess formatively, Steven Anderson and I continue in the second episode of a three-part series on formative assessment. (See the first episode with Tony Vincent linked below.)

Given the points I’ve made already, I believe that formative assessment is one of the key tools for the 21st-century educator’s toolbox.

GradeCam: Today’s Sponsor is a Formative Assessment Wonder

Formative assessment options can save you time. GradeCam is a quick grading tool for formative AND summative assessment. You get instant feedback on what students know. GradeCam lets you print out bubble sheets, use your smartphone, to take a picture of your students’ quizzes, and GradeCam will grade the quizzes for you! GradeCam allows you to quickly collect and assess student learning in the moment and adjust your lessons in real-time. GradeCam also works with laptops, desktops, tablets and any device that has a camera connected to wifi. GradeCam can also quickly transfer all of the scores into a grade book

If you visit Gradecam from this blog post, you can get a 60-day free trial. You can also listen to a bonus episode I recorded about the “Biggest Formative Assessment Mistake that People Make” with Tony Vincent. 

Easy Grading with Gradecam

Show Notes:

  • What story can you use to introduce formative assessment to teachers?
  • Is there a trap teachers fall into of thinking they have to grade everything?
  • What is the central purpose of formative assessment?
  • How can teachers use formative assessment to self-assess their own teaching?
  • Are there some fast easy ways to use formative assessment?
  • What are Steven’s favorite formative assessment tools?
  • Episode 1 in this Formative Assessment Series

http://www.bamradionetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=embed&tmpl=component&id=4094&catid=91&Itemid=1181

Who is Steven Anderson?

Steven W. Anderson @web20classroom is the director of instructional technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC. He also regularly travels the country talking to schools and districts about the use of social media in the classroom. He has been the recipient of the Twitterer of the Year Award, and in 2012 he was named an ASCD Emerging Leader, which recognizes young, talented, educational leaders in their field.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post Top Tips for Fast Formative Assessment that Works 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/fast-formative-assessment/

Free Masterclass: 15 Best G Suite Tools for Schools

Note: G Suite is the new name for Google Drive

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

If you only used 15 tools in Google Docs and Apps, what would they be? Don’t be overwhelmed with all the choices.  I can help. In this free masterclass, I’m going to share my 15 Best G suite tools for Schools and how to use them in the classroom. Join me on October 25 at 4pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time(EDT). You’re invited.

15 best tools for Gsuite Users

Register Now! (It’s free.)

Back when Google Add-ons came out, I wrote my 15 Best Google Add-ons for Education. So, when one of the original add-on makers that I mentioned in the first article (Texthelp – now called Read&Write) reached out, I told them I’d love to update the list. We’ll make the announcement live in the webinar of my favorite 15 G Suite Tools for Schools! Fun!

This will be a one-time-only webinar. I won’t be selling this one in any of my stores. You get one chance. You’ll want to come.

You can register here to join us.

15 Best Tools for G Suite Users

When: October 25, 4pm EDT

Where: Webinar Link

Who: Vicki Davis will present for 50 minutes with a 10 minute Q&A.

What will happen in the session?

During this masterclass, I’ll overview each tool, how it is used in the classroom, and give you some basic features. We’ll answer questions at the end.

Who might not like this masterclass?

  • This webinar is not for those who want to know how to administrate Google Apps for Education. (I recommend joining one of the Google+ groups for admins to get that kind of content. )
  • If you’re not in the education industry, you’ll also not be a good fit for this masterclass.
  • If you want step-by-step instructions for every tool, we don’t have time for that. But if you like a tool, I know you’ll want to go there. So, we’ve prepared a handout for you at the end with links to give you that information.

Who will get a lot out of this masterclass?

  • This webinar will benefit any educator using G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education) and wants to use it successfully in the classroom.
  • Literacy Coaches
  • IT Coaches or Integrators
  • Those who help students with special needs
  • Math teachers
  • Reading or Writing Teachers
  • Curriculum Directors
  • Educators who want to know what they can do with G Suite.

This webinar and blog post are sponsored by Texthelp. They are the creators of Read&Write, Fluency Tutor, and Speech Stream. I have recommended the Read&Write Tool for Google Chrome for quite some time and am excited to talk about these tools in addition to other #GAFE tools I can’t live without.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) 

The post Free Masterclass: 15 Best G Suite Tools for Schools 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/free-masterclass-15-best-g-suite-tools-schools/

Staples and Katy Perry Impact 1072 classrooms and 98,609 students!

A Big Thank You to Staples for their Support of Teachers and Students

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Almost one hundred thousand students (98,609 to be exact) were impacted by the $1 million donation that Staples made to DonorsChoose.org this past June. As I blogged this past June, Staples partnered with Katy Perry to help classrooms across the country. They made a one million dollar donation this past April and have been giving it away since then! It is now time for an update on what happened!

staples-katy-perry-and-donors-choose-help-98009-students

See the full press release

Here are the results:

  • 1,072 classroom projects funded
  • 787 teachers in 402 schools
  • 98,600 students
  • $1 million donation from Staples

In addition to this, Staples customers donated more than $330,000 to DonorsChoose.org in-store and at StaplesforStudents.com. (These numbers don’t even include all the Staples and DonorsChoose.org cards we gave away on our Back to School Twitter chat in August.)

Katy Perry Scholarship Results

Global superstar Katy Perry and Staples for Students Sweepstakes grand prize winner Patricia O’Keefe and her son Matthew and William Durling of Staples, attend the sweepstakes Winners VIP Celebration on Thurs., Oct. 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. The sweepstakes grand prize included a $50,000 scholarship and a trip to Los Angeles with a guest to meet Katy Perry. In April, as part of the Staples for Students program, Staples partnered with Perry to announce a $1 million donation to DonorsChoose.org. As a result, Staples fulfilled 1,072 classroom projects on DonorsChoose.org, providing 787 teachers and impacting 98,609 students across the country. Additionally, Staples customers donated more than $330,000 to DonorsChoose.org at Staples stores and at www.StaplesForStudents.com throughout the back-to-school season. (Casey Rodgers/AP Images for Staples)

Global superstar Katy Perry and Staples for Students Sweepstakes grand prize winner Patricia O’Keefe and her son Matthew and William Durling of Staples, attend the sweepstakes Winners VIP Celebration on Thurs., Oct. 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. The sweepstakes grand prize included a $50,000 scholarship and a trip to Los Angeles with a guest to meet Katy Perry. In April, as part of the Staples for Students program, Staples partnered with Perry to announce a $1 million donation to DonorsChoose.org. As a result, Staples fulfilled 1,072 classroom projects on DonorsChoose.org, providing 787 teachers and impacting 98,609 students across the country. Additionally, Staples customers donated more than $330,000 to DonorsChoose.org at Staples stores and at www.StaplesForStudents.com throughout the back-to-school season. (Casey Rodgers/AP Images for Staples)

Katy Perry presented the grand prize winner of the Staples for Students Sweepstakes, Patricia O’Keefe and her son Matthew, Deep River, Conn., with a $50,000 scholarship at a Winners VIP Celebration in Los Angeles on October 13th . Matthew is a senior in high school and is currently applying to colleges for enrollment in fall 2017. Four lucky first prize winners and one guest each also joined the celebration and met Katy Perry. (See picture.)

What did teachers do with this money?

Some teachers haven’t applied for grants because they don’t know where to start. This is one of my favorite grants received as part of this project:

For example, Mr. Shull at Quincy Upper School will receive core school supplies like pencils, erasers, highlighters, folders and more in addition to a MacBook Pro for his Speech Therapy students. His students will use the MacBook Pro to shoot and edit films like “How to Ace a Job Interview” and to write journalism articles. Projects like these will help his students develop language, content, writing skills and advance their computer skills at the same time.

See Surprise Donation of More than 435,000 funds local school projects. (Staples funded every project in Boston and Metrowest)

Take a look at the full press release.

I’ve been honored to work with Staples since 2015 to support their back to school initiatives. It is my go-to store for Back to School. I also appreciate how they donate so much to help teachers and students who need it. I like to work with companies who support teachers. We need all the encouragement and help we can get!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) 

 

 

The post Staples and Katy Perry Impact 1072 classrooms and 98,609 students! 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/staples-supports-teachers/

5 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Everybody in Your School

Five stories to help us remember some important things about working with children

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Jasmine walked into the room with her feet shuffling. At this instant, she was tired. In addition to cross country, she’d been going to cheer practice and One Act Play. Furthermore, it was also the end of the first grading period and all of her teachers wanted everything YESTERDAY. Last week, her team was eliminated from the state softball playoff and Jasmine was still upset about several plays where she knew she didn’t do her best. On top of that, one of her favorite teachers just died of cancer and the funeral was on Monday. Tired and heart-weary, Jasmine walks into my room and says,

5 Ways to Bring out the Best in Everybody in Your School

“Mrs. Vicki, I’ve never asked this before, but all I want to do for about 10 minutes is just put my head down for a moment.”

In fact, Jasmine is a compilation of several students I know right now but this really did happen. Fortunately, I knew what was going on in Jasmine’s life (name changed 😉 In addition to this, Jasmine had kept up in her work and was slightly ahead.

We had a talk about my expectations for hard work when she took a moment. I said something like,

“Jasmine, you’re a fantastic student and work very hard. You’ve never asked anything like this. I know you’re having a rough time. You know this is not something we usually do in my classroom, but I think right now, it is the right thing for me to do. Set your timer and take ten.”

For just a moment, I let her put her head down to gather herself together. She resumed work ten minutes later with a smile on her face and with a precious thank you.

“Mrs. Vicki. Thank you for understanding and seeing all the times I’ve given you everything. I just needed a second. Thank you for giving it to me.”

I think I made the right decision this time.

When I Made a Mistake

However, I could have made the mistake I made early in my career when I had said no. The young man looked broken hearted that I said no, he couldn’t close his eyes a moment. To my horror, I found out later that the young man had been up all night with his Mom at the hospital. At 4 am, he had become a big brother!  And at 8 am, I had become a clueless teacher who wasn’t clued into his life.

As I looked back on this mistake, I had not taken into consideration that this young man had never asked for me anything and had always done his work! When children suddenly change behavior – there’s always a reason!

Consequently, I’ve learned to always be in tune with every student’s story and know what is happening in their lives. 

But these are just two examples of how burnout, exhaustion, and high-emotion moments can start looking like disrespect, laziness, and apathy. It isn’t just students, teachers have these things happening too. Especially in October, the monsters of de-motivation come out to play in our schools. If we’re not careful, we — the teachers — will become the freak show.

Let’s tackle an important topic for October from Cathy Rubin’s Global Search for Education:

How do we better engender a healthy, happy, and productive school environment where both teachers and students can flourish?

1. Live One Grateful Day at a Time

I died last week. Not literally. I have a teacher friend named Vickie Davis who went home to glory after a fight with cancer last week.  There’s nothing like seeing your name on a program and having some people think you’re dead to consider your own legacy.

That same night, a precious co-worker who has taught for 39 years also lost her battle with cancer. Today at her funeral, they had every teacher and student take a flower and fill two huge vases with flowers. The flowers were put into vases with trembling hands and watered by our tears. The vases overflowed.

My heart aches for them and their families.

Both women taught students until they had to stop teaching so they could fight cancer. They went from one fight to another.

In one moment their biggest worry was that naughty boy in the corner who didn’t want to learn math or parts of speech. Suddenly, they were fighting for their lives and remembering all the great things about teaching. To demonstrate my point, I was told that the hardest thing about the illness for one of them was missing her students.

A point often overlooked in the busy days of teaching is that working with children is a gift. Let’s live one grateful day at a time. Teaching is a gift and we don’t get to do it forever.

2. Choose to Improve

Dr. Kristy Cooper-Stein is an upcoming guest on my show, Every Classroom Matters. (Stay tuned, it will air soon.)  Notably, I was fascinated by her research that showed that those teachers who believe they have a direct impact on student engagement have more engaged students. In particular, the teachers who believe that they can directly impact student engagement, are always looking for engaging ways to teach. Not surprisingly, they become the better teachers.

Conversely, she said that those teachers who blame the students and think there’s nothing they can do, have students who aren’t engaged and have no improvement.

I haven’t learned. I’m learning.

This past Sunday, a 90+ year old precious woman in my Sunday School class says,

“I’m so glad I haven’t learned everything I need to know. I’m learn-ing. Learning means that I am learning now and still have more to learn in the future. Learning means I’m not done living.‘”

This is clearly a growth mindset! If you look at Carol Dweck’s research (see video) you can see that those who believe they can grow and learn — DO! Those who think that their skills talents and abilities are FIXED or that they’ve already LEARNED everything they need to know — don’t improve.

To put it differently, Henry Ford said,

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

https://embed.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.
We can all grown and learn — that especially includes us teachers who should understand the dangers of refusing to learn.

3. Serve and Love Others

My mentor and friend Mrs. Grace Adkins (she’s 86 or so) was asked the other day in church, “what makes you most thankful?”  She replied,

“I have the ability to serve others.”

Todd Nesloney, the Principal Who Served Lunch

As an illustration, let’s look at what Principal Todd Nesloney did last week. Recently, Todd got food safety certified. When his students came into the lunchroom last week, they had a new server — their principal, Mr. Nesloney! (see picture)

Principal Todd Nesloney gets food safety certified and serves a meal to his students in the cafeteria. That is servant leadership!

Principal Todd Nesloney gets food safety certified and serves a meal to his students in the cafeteria. That is servant leadership!

Just last week, someone left some trash on a table in our lunchroom. Rather than leave it for the janitor to clean, I approached the table and mentioned it to some students that it needed to be picked up — to which several students shook their heads and said,

“It’s not mine.”

My response was,

“OK, so it was wrong for the person to leave their trash. I get that. But servant leaders live their lives by serving others. And when not one person is willing to pick up the trash for a forgetful classmate, you also did wrong. I’ll clean it up. Anyone want to help me?”

So, I and several students picked it up. Then, I thanked them. (And watched the next day to catch the person who DID leave it!)

People Who Love Other People

They smile. Furthermore, these people know everyone’s names and their life stories. As they pass through the school, they ask about people’s children and hobbies and vacations. These people are often the glue that help hold good schools together. And if you can nurture that kind of mutual love, respect, and interest – you can end up in a dream.

I’m going to pick on Todd again! I was looking for the photo of him serving food and I found a picture of him going outside and SWINGING WITH THE KIDS! I’m not kidding.

Todd Nesloney swings with his students.

Todd Nesloney swings with his students. Look at those smiles!!

The best schools are full of servant leaders at all levels.

  • We can pick up trash.
  • We can help the janitors if we see something.
  • We can say thank you to others.
  • We can pick up the lunch plates of other teachers when they are done.
  • We can just go hang around and be around our students or faculty.

If you aren’t familiar with this kind of leadership, read The Servant. You’ll be glad you did.

ATTENTION POWERFUL PEOPLE WITH BIG JOBS. If you think servant leadership is unimportant, listen to the Harvard Business Review podcast Power Corrupts, But It Doesn’t Have To and you’ll learn that empathy, listening, and serving others are antidotes to the corruption and disconnectedness that ruins people who used to be great leaders.

 We can all be servant leaders who are genuinely interested in others.

4. Set Realistic Expectations for Competence

Many of us have watched babies grow. One moment they are creeping along the floor. Then, often just a few days later, it seems, the baby is pushing up on their knees and rocking. Then, they start crawling. Eventually, they pull up on wobbly legs and stand by either holding onto a table or your index fingers with the proudest look on their face. They can stand! And finally, the big day happens. Everyone knows it is going to happen soon and wants to be there. And suddenly, one slow step at a time, the baby takes a step or two towards a person or pet or something they love, only to plop down on a puffy diaper.

Could you imagine what a nightmare it would be if we brought home children and had to immediately chase them around the yard? There’s a developmental progression from being a baby who cannot flip from back to front to becoming someone who can run.

Competence doesn’t just “happen.”

Too many people want their child to start before they are ready. They want their child to progress without having to pay a price. Just as students walk before they run, they also have to make progress in other areas of life from academics to sports.

In his book, Coaching Your Kids to Be Leaders, Pat Williams shares five key aspects of competence:

  • Knowledge — competent and committed to learning
  • Experience — hands on real-life know-how
  • Confidence — assurance and calm under pressure
  • Commitment to Excellence — never tolerating shoddy or second-rate effort
  • Competitiveness — Hate to lose. Play to win

To pretend that life can be easy and you won’t have to work for success is a lie. When we give students credit for things that they haven’t earned, we are not educators. We have become pretenders. We are liars of the worst kind. We give children a false impression of their competence that doesn’t match up with the reality.

Correct and Become More Competent

For example, I like students to correct and complete work that was not done correctly the first time. If every student makes a 100 per cent, it means my course (and I) am useless. So, I want to note what needs to be improved and help students become competent. Students should be encouraged to become more competent and praised for hard work and learning.

Students Need Consequences for Poor Choices

On the other hand, students also need to have consequences for poor choices. The world stood in shock at the claim of Ethan Crouch’s father. Ethan had killed four people when driving drunk in 2013 with a total of nine being injured. But instead of serving prison time, his father and attorneys claimed Ethan had “affluenza” or

“an inability to understand the consequences of one’s actions because of financial privilege.”

But this didn’t work. Although Ethan Couch got off on probation, he went missing and was the subject of a manhunt. Eventually, he was found in Mexico with his mother and served two years in prison.

Tough love is rare. So, instead of letting children bear the reality of small mistakes with small consequences, some adults step in to prevent “harm” and in the end, ruin the child’s ability to function in the world as a successful adult. That, my friends, ends up having big consequences.

To expect great achievement without sacrifice and hard work sets kids up for future failure. We can love every student but when we give disingenuous praise or recognition, we become liars in the eyes of our students who know better. When we refuse to allow consequences for anything, we set students up to have a problem with everything.

5. Play to People’s Strengths and Talents

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins shares this story,

“You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you.

Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: organizational leaders)  immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.

In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.”

General Richard B. Myers says,

“Everyone has leadership potential. The secret is to identify each individual’s unique strong suits and interests, then encourage active involvement in those activities.”

More school controversy is caused by a good person who is a bad fit for their job. When you’re dealing with a bad fit, you have to look past how much you like  someone. Lots of good people are a bad fit.

Think of a person who fits my description in #3 as a likeable person who is in human resources and likes people too much to discipline them. This person may be a great person and love your organization, but they might be in the wrong seat on the bus. Or, think of me being asked to proofread a 150-page strategic plan!! Not a good fit! 😉

We must fight the monsters of incompetence by helping our faculty and staff find their best place of service in the world. It might or might not be in their current school or current position. Schools need staff in positions of competence. 

So, here are our five principles that can make any place better:

  1. Live One Grateful Day at a Time
  2. Choose to Improve
  3. Serve and Love Others
  4. Set Realistic Expectations for Competence
  5. Play to People’s Strengths

These five things are not easy. You’ll need courage, wisdom, and the willingness to ruffle feathers in the short term to get to a better place in the long term. But when you get there, the people who benefit the most are the students.

The post 5 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Everybody in Your School 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/bring-out-the-best-everybody-school/

6 Riveting Ways to Make Reading and Writing Fun for Students

Creative Literacy Lessons with Kids

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Therapy dogs. Lunch bunch. Reading groups. These are just of a few ideas you can use to excite students about reading and writing. Writing can be fun. So can reading. Let’s discuss lots of creative ideas that work.

riveting ways to make reading and writing

In today’s show, librarian Margo Janzi has a wealth of ideas. Additionally, she also talks about getting out of her comfort zone. Not only can you use robots, green screens, and iPads to excite kids, but you can use some more traditional ideas in new ways. Remember that there’s no match for the creative librarian and teacher. In conclusion, it is our job to inspire and encourage reading and writing. This inspiring show will get you started.

Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

Today’s Sponsor: Write the World

Write the World is a fantastic free tool to encourage writing in your classroom. Not only can teachers run writing contests but they can also assign classroom writing prompts. Also, students can join the monthly contests and global writing prompts with other students around the world. Furthermore, Write the World has a schedule of their writing prompts for the year. So, when you’re planning, include these cool contests.

Write the World is a powerful, fun community for writing. Even more importantly, the site is easy it is to use.

Make writing exciting this year in your classroom. There’s no cost for teachers to join with their classrooms.

Writing Competitions

Given all these benefits, I recommend this site for writing teachers of students aged 13-18. So, join Write the World and get kids excited to write!

Show Notes:

  • Can therapy dogs be used in reading programs?
  • What is the format of a successful “lunch bunch?”
  • How does Margo target students who may not love reading to get them excited?
  • What is a book trailer?
  • How does Margo help kids make book trailers?
    • Doink app
    • Publishing: Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo
  • Do robots have a place in a library? (And how did she use them to celebrate Beverly Cleary’s birthday?)
  • How does Margo get students excited about writing?
  • What happened when they published books?

http://www.bamradionetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=embed&tmpl=component&id=4085&catid=91&Itemid=1181

Who is Margo Jantzi?

Margo Jantzi is a teacher librarian at a Title I school with 630 students in PreK-Gd. 5. Her passion is to inspire students to read widely, think deeply and act kindly.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post 6 Riveting Ways to Make Reading and Writing Fun for Students 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/6-riveting-ways-to-make-reading-and-writing-fun-for-students/