5 Simple Ways to Improve Teacher Professional Development

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

A common cry from teachers across the world is for relevant professional development.

A 2014 Gates Foundation study shows only 29% of teachers satisfied with current teacher PD. Another 2015 study shows that only 30% of teachers improve substantially with PD. So, what we have doesn’t seem to be working.

So, what can we do to improve teacher professional development?

This is a contribution to Cathy Rubin’s Global Search for Education Top Global Teacher Blogger’s Column. This month’s question is about how to improve teacher professional development.

1 – Model What is Being Taught

In my own experience, I remember sitting through a class on differentiated instruction. The “teacher” had more than 200 slides. She read them to us.

To further make this point, let’s discuss what differentiation is. Think of it this way — Some students learn by seeing. Others learn by hearing. Others learn by doing. But no one learns one way. So, when you have many ways of teaching material, nearly every student learns better.

But during this class on differentiation, the teacher didn’t differentiate with us. She lectured. She showed slides. We didn’t act it out. We didn’t see a movie. We didn’t do any kinds of hands on activity. We didn’t talk about it with the person next to us. All the content on differentiation was delivered in a non-differentiated way.

So, if differentiation works – do it. If project based learning works – do it. Model teaching what you’re teaching if it works.

In my opinion, if you can’t teach me about game based learning by using games, you’re not qualified to teach game based learning.

Professional development should teach using the methods being taught.

2 – Commit to Personal Professional Development

Kaizen is a Japanese term for “continuous improvement.” Kaizen is a mindset. Organizations following Kaizen look at a system as a whole and make slow, small steps to improve.

My strategy of Kaizen innovation is that I “innovate like a turtle.”

Although I’ve been teaching in K12 for fifteen years, the last eleven have been transformational. Eleven years a go, I made a decision that changed my teaching. Coming back from GAETC 2015, I realized that I had been to the conference before but my classroom was unchanged. I had a list of fifty things and did none of them.

So, I decided to do two things:

A – List My Big 3. I would keep a list of the next three things I wanted to learn. Just three, no more. I would steadily learn about those things until I integrated them into my classroom. Sometimes, one of the three wasn’t suitable, and I’d abandon it for something else.

B – Turtle Time. I take 15 minutes 2-3 times a week during my morning break to learn something new.

I’m dedicated to Kaizen, but that term is not one that excites me. By calling it turtle time, I acknowledge my commitment to slow, steady improvement. Forward progress is progress.

3 – Understand and Use Micro Teaching Practices

In John Hattie’s updated ranking of effect sizes on student achievement, microteaching is near the top. Microteaching is

“a video recording of a lesson with a debriefing. The lesson is reviewed to improve the teaching and learning experience.”

Most teachers have a device that can record video. If we use our phones to record small portions of our lessons, we can use microteaching to improve. Certainly, there is a method of improving through microteaching.

Personally, I learn so much when I record my own teaching and watch it later. (I use a Swivl and my iPhone. The device follows and focuses on me around the room.)

4 – Use Student Feedback to Shape Learning with Just in Time Learning Strategies

Formative assessment can help teachers understand how students are learning. Formative assessment is a snapshot of how knowledge is forming in a student’s mind. Instead of asking one student what they know, you can ask the whole class.

The point that can make all the difference. But what does a teacher do when students aren’t learning? When a teacher realizes students aren’t learning is perhaps when the greatest professional development could happen. There are several strategies a teacher could use today, however, each of them has limitations and reasons teachers don’t. Perhaps if we understand these, we can work together to improve just-in-time learning strategies for teachers.

An Instructional Coach

The business world has “life coaches.” Education does have “instructional coaches.” Unfortunately, in some schools, these instructional coaches also have administrative responsibility.

To understand a common problem with instructional coaching, let’s look at the business world for a moment. For example, in the business community, a life coach is typically not someone in your chain of command. The person doesn’t have the ability to evaluate you. The “life coach’s” job is to help the person. Often a life coach doesn’t even work for the company of the person they are coaching.

In the education world, instructional coaches can be called by a teacher for help. However, if the coach is helping a teacher improve in an area, that needs to be confidential. If, however, the instructional coach makes a beeline to the principal, let’s see what could happen. Let’s say the coach told the principal,

“Mrs. Jones has me helping her with a classroom management problem.”

Now, suddenly the principal thinks Mrs. Jones has a huge problem.

In reality, however, every single teacher on staff has problems and areas to improve. Mrs. Jones is just the only one asking the instructional coach for help. Mrs. Jones may be one of the best teachers on staff, but she’s penalized for getting help to improve her teaching.

Until schools make it ok to admit struggles and get confidential help, teachers will keep their personal pd needs private. Teachers won’t ask for help even when student formative data shows they need it if their request for help is misunderstood or even worse – used against them.

Just In Time Resources

Many teachers use YouTube and other video services to search for help. For example, if they have a problem with Google Classroom, a video tutorial may do the trick.

However, with a few exceptions, edtech seems to dominate the teaching videos available on YouTube. It is hard to find answers for classroom problems like classroom management by searching YouTube.

Books, Videos, Courses, and Conferences

Teachers can find books, videos and courses to help them on an issue. However, typically curriculum directors or district officers determine how money is spent. Teachers have a difficult time getting money for individual opportunities. If they ask for it, they have to justify their need and may end up in the same situation they often have with some instructional coaches – they have to admit the problem they are trying to solve.

One problem with materials such as this is that classroom teaching is evolving so rapidly. So while a content creator may have a Ph.D., sometimes they may not be as relevant as a classroom teacher. Many teachers love Teachers Pay Teachers while others frown on the resources because they prefer traditional textbook companies.

Microcredits and Badges.

An emerging professional development “economy” of competency based micro credentials has teachers taking a new type of course. These small courses, for example, could have a teacher focusing on “checking for understanding.” They would take online instructional materials, but then involve peers and colleagues in a person submitting a demonstration of skill.

The fascinating aspect of micro-credentials is the melding of online and offline learning.

This area is evolving rapidly. So quickly, that the proliferation of badges has many calling for more rigor in the earning of badges. So, in this case, not all micro credentials or badges are created equal.

5 – Unconferences

If you’ve read this far, perhaps you can see why the teacher unconference is so popular. The most popular form of the unconference is the Edcamp, but many conferences are scheduling an “unconference” day with this same format.

At Edcamps across the world, teachers show up on a Saturday morning to an unconference location. It is free. Teachers self-organize into topics. If people want to learn something, they show up to the designated room. If a session doesn’t meet their needs, they can leave and go to another one. Teachers can model and create and innovate together. Sometimes they bring gadgets or share lesson ideas. Many teachers love this environment.

However, some locations don’t give teachers professional development credit for these valuable sessions. Understandably, some teachers hesitate to give up personal time without continuing education “credit.” Others like things to be more organized.

But on the whole, many innovators I know like unconferences and prefer them over any other method of professional development.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Personalized learning is the conversation in student learning today. It should be for teachers as well.

We know professional development as it has always existed isn’t working. We also know that we must improve teacher knowledge and learning.

What many people don’t know is that teachers don’t have much time. I have had years with too many “duties.” Those are the years I didn’t innovate. You can’t innovate like a turtle when you’re working like a dog.

So, first, we need to make sure that teachers have time to learn. Let’s streamline paperwork. Let’s remove non-teaching duties. Let’s help teachers focus on teaching and learning about teaching.

Second, teachers must personally commit to learning. If we teachers are freed up to learn and use it to hang out in the teacher’s lounge and bash students, we aren’t innovating like a turtle – we’re becoming toxic waste. As a teacher, it is my professional duty to level up and learn continuously.

And third, I think we need to let teachers have a major role in vetting and determining how they’ll learn and what they’ll do with their PD. We should give teachers the financial resources and the time to go to professional learning opportunities. While teacher shortages are a problem in many places, we can’t shortchange teaching professionals and keep them from learning how to become better teachers. Effective professional development should be a priority.

If personalized learning works, perhaps it should start with teachers.

Let’s learn. Let’s become better teachers. And let’s be part of the evolution of teacher professional development. It’s about time.

The post 5 Simple Ways to Improve Teacher Professional Development 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/5-simple-ways-improve-teacher-professional-development/

Amazon Alexa in the Classroom

Episode 108 with Bill Selak

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Bill Selak @billselak shares how he’s using Amazon’s Alexa via the Echo and Dot in the classroom. He shares the ideal grades (in his opinion) and how the Echo is an “assistant” of sorts for his teachers. He also talks about how his school made an app for the Echo and about the biggest mistake they made in implementation.

amazon echo in the classroom


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Bio as Submitted by Guest

Bill Selak Bill Selakis the Director of Technology at Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, California. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator, ISTE 2014 Kay L. Bitter Vision Award recipient, ISTE 2013 Emerging Leader, and a Google Certified Innovator. Bill is currently obsessed with sharing his professional learning on Snapchat.



 [Recording starts 0:00:00]

About the Podcast

Starting the week of July 3rd, for three weeks, we’re going to be taking a well-needed summer break from the Ten-minute Teacher. But I wanted to take the chance today to thank those who have supported me on Patreon. You can go to patreon.com/coolcatteacher.

Thank You’s

And I want to give a shout out to Evelyn PV, Deborah Johnson and Gina Boyd. I also want to give a shout out to four people who have recently left iTunes reviews; William D. Parker, Diana Maher, Always Learning Admin, and Teacher Mike. I do appreciate those reviews, and it does really help other people find the show. I am so grateful for all of you listening to the Ten-minute Teacher and telling your friends.

For this first season, I also have to thank Lisa Durff, the most amazing research assistant, extraordinaire in the world. And also, my dear husband Kip, who has been an incredible producer. And I hope you guys will give him a shout out, because he’s really done a tremendous job editing the show. I had no idea we would be on such an adventure or so many of you would listen, and I’m really grateful. Thank you so much. And have a great summer. 

About This Episode

Episode 108. The Amazon Echo in the classroom. This is a special ISTE Episode. And I do want to warn you. After some discussion, we decided not to bleep out what we say to activate the Amazon Echo. So if you have one, you might want to listen on headphones or turn the Echo off so we don’t activate your Echo. Enjoy the show. And I hope all of you have enjoyed all the ISTE goodness.

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


How Bill Selak is Using the Amazon Echo in the Classroom

VICKI:          Happy Edtech tool Tuesday. Okay, so I have an Amazon Echo in my kitchen and I love it. But Bill Selak @billselak is using it in his classroom. Bill, how are you using the Amazon Echo?

Note from Vicki Davis: There is the Echo – http://amzn.to/2uz1KHp and the smaller, Echo Dot http://amzn.to/2tcp6PD. Technically, I have the Echo Dot hooked to speakers in my kitchen. Many people who have speakers in their classroom already are just using an echo Dot and hooking it into their class speakers.  

BILL:    Yeah. So that’s a great question, Vicki. We actually have it in all of our first and second-grade classrooms. I got the idea talking with Scott Bedley; @Scotteach he’s a fifth-grade teacher in Irvine. He applied for a grant and actually got four of them for his classroom, and put one in each corner. And just, he had kind of a hunch and was like, how might we use these as learning tools? Because he was feeling overwhelmed with students coming to him, what’s this and what’s that. You know, in fifth grade, the state report is a big thing in California.

So, like, you know, well, what’s the capital of Massachusetts; and he’s like, just look it up. So all those kind of low-level stuff, students were able to actually use the Echo to get the information from, which freed him up for the more interesting things that I think teachers would want to be doing, like looking really critically at some of these projects.

So I heard him talk about that about thought, wow, how might we use those at Hillbrook School? And so was just telling the story at lunch to Sarah Lee, one of our second-grade teachers, and she was like, “that’s amazing; I would love to have one of those in my classroom; imagine the things you could do.”

So at the lunch table, I just took out my iPhone, bought an Amazon Echo for her and put it in the second-grade classroom, and she was blown away. And so she got it. And we have two sections of second grade; so then the other second-grade teacher thought, well, that’s really cool, I hear students talk about it all the time. You know, they share students an awful lot. And so they would go into the other second-grade class and say, you know, where is the Echo? Or even better, sometimes they’re just…

Or even better, sometimes they’re just…

VICKI:          Where’s Alexa?

BILL:            They’re just like, hey, Alexa; what’s the – and nothing replied.

VICKI:          Oh. Talking to nothing. I guess she’s not in there.

BILL:            I know. And then first and second grade, all four of those classrooms, share one building. We call it a pod. And the first-grade teachers had a couple of Amazon Echos at home, and so they asked, how might we use these in first grade? And that seems to be the sweet spot.

Takeaway: First and second grade seems to be the ‘sweet spot’ for Amazon Echo devices according to Bill Selak and what he’s seen in his school.


Talking with the kindergarten teachers, and they weren’t particularly excited with the use of it. And we even tried it in a third-grade class, and third-graders got just so excited that no matter what, Alexa will always talk back at you. And so just kind of first and second grade for us, kind of for our culture to be the sweet spot for it. So we’re using it a lot for just really basic facts that are so super important as a first-grader and as a second-grader, so, like, how to spell things and double-checking math facts.

So things that students want to know they got right, so it’s not like a way to cheat, which is a great thing about the Echo. If you’re doing like two-digit addition, if you shout across the room, hey, what’s 24 plus 36, everyone is going to know that actually the Amazon Echo is giving you the answer. But if you’re doing a little bit of work on your own, you can just walk over quietly and say, what’s 24 plus 36; you get the answer and go, cool, I’m right.

So it’s enabled us, in first and second grade, for students to have way more control over their learning and in double-checking things, and it’s freed the teacher from that bottleneck of, how do you spell this, how do you spell this, considering writing time; the teachers are able to work on the more interesting things like story, and let’s try and get a really good hook, and the students write the spelling, which, again, is a really important part of second grade; to be able to spell correctly, it empowers the students to take ownership over their own spelling. So it’s been really cool.

How the Amazon Echo Works

VICKI:          You’re blowing my mind. But I have a couple of questions. So those of you who have not had an Amazon Echo, the way that you activate, it’s kind of like “OK Siri”, and now probably all the devices on my desk are going to go crazy. And I’m actually hoping that Alexa doesn’t hear me from the kitchen. You say Alexa, and then you tell Alexa what to do, and then she’ll do a variety of things, whether it’s, you know, play Jimmy Buffet or set a timer or what’s the news; there’s just so many things you can do. Now, do you have more than one Echo in a classroom?


BILL:            We have not tried that. We’re just putting one in every classroom.

VICKI:          See, I’m afraid to do that. Because I would be afraid that she would hear the different places. Now, here’s the next thing; does the school actually have the Amazon account?

BILL:            Yes. So that’s how we did that.

VICKI:          Okay. But you turned off purchasing, obviously. Because if you turn on purchasing at the house, you can say, you know, Amazon, deliver some dog food, and she’ll do it.

BILL:            Yeah, exactly. We have one account right now. And I’ve heard that Amazon is looking at ways of schoolifying these to make them so that a school can own it and it feels a little bit less like, “hey, buy some more fruit loops,” and you’re able to use it. Like, the interface becomes more education-facing.

VICKI:          Yeah. The thing I love is that you can actually look back and see all the things that have been searched on Alexa. So you can monitor it. It’s not like she’s being asked all kinds of things without you knowing what they are; you can actually look and see what those are.

BILL:            Exactly. That’s so powerful, actually, for the teacher to get the analytics on what are students wanting to double-check spelling on.

VICKI:          You know, when I heard, I saw it on Facebook, and you all were talking about using the Echo in a classroom. And I’m like, why didn’t I think of that? I use it all the time. And I’m calling her her, and it’s a thing. What are your teachers thinking about this?

Teacher Response to the Echo in the Classroom

BILL:            It’s great. They actually don’t talk that much about it, which I think is one of the greatest things you can have with technology, is that it just becomes another tool. Like, our teachers aren’t talking about scissors; oh my gosh, we have these new scissors, can I show you how great the scissors are? You might do that like the first day, and then it’s another tool. So Amazon Echo has really just become that pretty quickly.

We went from one classroom to four classrooms in just two years, and it’s another tool; it’s another great thing they can do. We also have TVs, Apple TVs hooked up; beginning of the day, had some kind of mellow, chill music as students come in.


And that used to be on the TV. And I’ve seen, depending on, I guess, their mood, sometimes they’ll just be playing on the Echo, just having some nice music in the background.

VICKI:          You can just say, you know, Alexa, play some calm music or play some piano music. I mean, you can just say whatever and it just plays it.

BILL:            Exactly.

The Biggest Mistake Made While Implementing the Amazon Echo

VICKI:          So as we finish up, now, we have to say that this is actually part of your whole school life movement to more flexible classroom. And we are going to do an upcoming episode on that, because that’s really the big picture. This is just a tool that’s part of this student-customized environment. But, Bill, what do you think the biggest mistake that you made with the Echo when you first got it?

BILL:            I think the biggest mistake was not setting expectations with students. If you introduce it and say, this is the coolest thing, you can ask it anything, and all you need to say is, hey, Alexa; if that’s how you tee it up, then every human, I would imagine, is going to go, hey, Alexa. But if you talk about, hey, there’s this amazing tool that will help us check math facts, help us check spelling, will give us all kinds of facts, will actually tell jokes also; that’s a big part of the culture at Hillbrook School, is telling jokes. We do that school-wide every Monday. And so, you know, Alexa will even tell us jokes. But saying, here is what we’re going to be using it for so that students see it immediately as an educational tool in the classroom and not just, oh, I can ask it any random question, and be silly around it. And that’s so important. And that’s just, you would do that classroom management-wise with any new thing.

We do that school-wide every Monday. And so, you know, Alexa will even tell us jokes. But saying, here is what we’re going to be using it for so that students see it immediately as an educational tool in the classroom and not just, oh, I can ask it any random question, and be silly around it. And that’s so important. And that’s just, you would do that classroom management-wise with any new thing.

Amazon Alexa Skills

VICKI:          Yes. And they can be silly because you can tell Alexa to talk like a pirate, can’t you?

BILL:            Yes, you can. You can also – you might not know this one. One of our parents actually built a skill – that’s what these little apps are called on Amazon Echos – a skill called the Hillbrook bear, so you can download that skill and say, hey, Alexa, ask Hillbrook bear, and the Hillbrook bear will give you, like, what letter day it is and what school-wide events they are.

Note: A Skill is an app for the Amazon Echo devices. See how to create an Amazon Echo Skill in 6 steps


                    So we’ve actually used that as part of kind of our morning meeting each morning to find out what’s happening schoolwide. So that’s been a really cool thing also. It’s more than just talking like a pirate.

VICKI:          Yeah. Because skills are something you can add features and functionality. So we have 30 seconds left. What are the – you’ve already talked about math, you’ve talked about spelling, and now you’ve talked about a special app just for your school. Is there anything else cool that people need to know about the Amazon Echo will do in the classroom?

BILL:            So I love just the inquiry that second-graders do around it. When they got it, it was just, what questions do you have. And the second-grade class shared that with me, and it was just 100 Post-it notes. And they went through, like, what’s a question that a database can answer and that can’t answer, and talked about opinions and facts. And it led into so many amazing authentic discussions.

Teaching Tip: Classrooms using Amazon Echos might want to have a discussion about fact versus opinion. Bill’s suggestion here is a great tip for teaching. 

Instead of just saying, today, we’re talking about fact and opinion; you can frame it around, so Alexa didn’t answer this question because it’s an opinion, let’s talk about that. So it became just really authentic learning that was much more student-driven than it otherwise would have been.

Is Alexa an Artificial Intelligence App?

VICKI:          Would you call Alexa AI, artificial intelligence, or not?

BILL:            I don’t know. I think the jury is out on that one. I think that it’s a specific thing; you could make a case either way.

VICKI:          Yeah. Because, really, it’s almost like the semantic web; it’s just accessing the web with your voice, right?

BILL:            Yeah. I think it’s more of just that and other specific things. It can search and query and give you the results of. I don’t think that it really learns in the way that we think of as artificial intelligence.

VICKI:          Yeah. Okay, so we’ve hopefully given you an exciting new tool to consider for your classroom, the Amazon Echo. Happy Edtech Tool Tuesday.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at coolcatteacher.com/podcast. Never stop learning.

[End of Audio 0:11:51]

[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 Amazon Alexa in the Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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10 Ways to Tackle Back to School Like a Pro

Engage and Organize from Day 1

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Great teaching starts on the first day. Right now, a little information on trends and classroom organization will help you improve your school year. So here, you’ll learn about some hot back to school trends and get some tips on using them in your classroom. Let’s get ready!

back to school like a pro

This blog post is sponsored by Staples. All content and opinions are my own.

1 – Emoji is Hot!

Emojis are everywhere. Walking through my local Staples, these cute faces are on pencil bags, boxes, backpacks and even charging cables.

Pro Classroom Tips

Writing. Some teachers are using emojis in their writing prompts. Students draw or are given an emoji. They write about a situation where that emoji would be appropriate.

Emojis are images that express emotion. They are very cool for back to school. Use them in classroom activities.

Emojis are images that express emotion. They are very cool for back to school. Use them in classroom activities.

Math. Some algebra teachers are using the emoji insert feature in Google Docs to replace the x or y in Algebra with an emoji. It helps kids understand the purpose of a variable.

Mood. Some teachers have kids draw or select their emoji as they come into class. This gives a quick attitude check with the students.

Figure out ways to bring trends “in” to your classroom. (See fidget spinner ideas below.) 
Staples has great limited time deals going on now. Plus, their 110% price match guarantee means if you find it less somewhere else within fourteen days, you can come back to Staples and they'll refund you the difference, plus take 10% off the price.

Staples has great limited time deals going on now. Plus, their 110% price match guarantee means if you find it less somewhere else within fourteen days, you can come back to Staples and they’ll refund you the difference, plus take 10% off the price.

2 – Shop Early

While Staples guarantees everyday low prices and has products in-stock all season long, shopping early means you get what you want. With all of the colors and choices, the “popular” colors can go first. (Or emojis as in the case of item 2 below!)

3 – Personalized Ways to Write and Create

back to school crayons

Unique ways to color and draw mean that every child can pick something that suits their hand size and writing style.

When many of us were kids, Crayons came in one style. Now, there are twist crayons and a wide variety. As a Mom of two children who struggle to write, I’m thankful for the new choices.

Pro Back to School Tips

Parents. To better understand your child’s needs, take him or her shopping with you. Let them pick out their supplies. They’ll usually take better care of them.

Teachers. As a teacher, pick out a variety of writing tools. Make them available so you can see what your students like. Some hands are better for larger sized writing tools. Others prefer smaller ones.

Teaching Venn Diagrams. Have students create Venn diagrams or graphic organizers to compare various writing tools. This helps them become familiar with the tools you have and comparing and contrasting things.

Learning is personal so creating should be too. Have an assortment of tools to spark creativity. 

4 – Customize Your Planning System

Customize your planning system. The Staples Arc Customizable planning system is a great start to making your own planner. (I’ve been using it for the last several years and it is featured in my Do What Matters productivity book.) 

This year, Staples has these cool stickers and colored project forms!

Customize your planning system using Post-it® Brand and Arc by Staples

Customize your planning system using Post-it® Brand and Arc by Staples

Pro Organizing Tips

Invest in a paper punch. Whatever type of planner you use, make sure you have a “punch” and some of the same sized paper so that you can easily add to the planner. The Staples Arc Punch works for me with standard sized paper.

Use sticky notes. Put your top three things to do at school each day on one colored note. Put your top three home items on another colored note. Then, when you transition between home and school, just change the order of the notes. You can even move important things from day to day.

5 – Motivate with Quotes

Use journals, notepads, and supplies with motivational quotes.

Use journals, notepads, and supplies with motivational quotes.

Send positive messages. Choose notepads, planners, and supplies with a positive message.

Pro Teacher or Parent Tip

Make your own quotes. Purchase sticker paper. Make your own quotes. Stick them on commonly used items for quick encouragement at a glance.

Choose wisely. We become what we think about most of the time. Choose positive messages that fit with your values.

6 – Get the Perfect Stylus for your Tablet

Sketchnoting and drawing on tablets are becoming very popular. Get a great stylus. (Staples has a Youth Stylus for students, available in-store only.)

Sketchnoting and drawing on tablets are becoming very popular. Get a great stylus. (Staples has a Youth Stylus for students, available in-store only.)

Whether you need an Apple pen or want to use one of the student styluses, Staples can get you ready to draw and sketch on your iPad, Surface, or another tablet device.

Pro Tip

Stylus ends are everywhere.  Some pens and pencils are now coming with a stylus on the end. If you want to always have a stylus handy, you might want to invest in one of these types of pens or pencils.

Check the box. Check to see the recommended tablet device for a stylus before you buy it.

Stock your maker space with a variety of tapes, coloring books, and art supplies.

Stock your maker space with a variety of tapes, coloring books, and art supplies.

7 – Stock Your Maker Space

Colored tape, paints, coloring books  and more. Stock your Maker Space with a variety of craft and artistic items.

MakerSpace Pro Tip

Tape. Duct or craft tape with patterns are so useful in a maker space. Not only can they be used to decorate things, but if you’re making robots, they can decorate and reinforce them. Buy five or six rolls of several types of patterns. Select complimentary colors so that students can mix and match.

Coloring books and mindfulness. Adults are enjoying the coloring pages as a relaxation technique. Students can do this as well. Staples has a wide variety of the Mancala color pages. Stock them for an activity students can do or even help them calm.

8 – Make Sure Your Home Computer Backup Is Working

Can you afford to replace your computer? How about all of the data on your computer? Fall is a great time to make sure your backup is working. If you need a backup, the options are easier to use than ever. Purchase a backup device for your home computer and take time to set it up.

Fall is a great time to buy a backup hard drive for your home computer. If you have one, now is the time to check to make sure it is working.

Fall is a great time to buy a backup hard drive for your home computer. If you have one, now is the time to check to make sure it is working.

 Home Backup Pro Tip

You need two hard disks for your home computer backup system.

Full backup. You should have a backup drive. This type of backup will make it so you can restore your computer with the click of a button. If you don’t want to have to take the time to re-set up your computer if it has issues, you’ll want to have a backup.

External file storage. Purchase a second hard drive to archive old files. If you make movies or take a lot of photos, organize them on an external hard drive if you’re not using them. At the beginning of the school year, try to have 20-35% of your hard drive space free so you won’t have to stop working to free up space.

9 – Fidget Spinners

Like emojis, fidget spinners are another hot item.

Fidget spinners are another hot trend in the classroom and with students. Check your school policies before buying them for your child to take them to school. Smart teachers will figure out how to use them in class.

Fidget spinners are another hot trend in the classroom and with students. Check your school policies before buying them for your child to take them to school. Smart teachers will figure out how to use them in class.

Pro Teacher Tip.

Math. For timed math tests, have students time themselves by spinning their fidget spinner. Let them try to finish before it stops spinning.

Science. Ask students to figure out why the fidget spinner spins.

10 – Label and Color Code Your Classroom

Print neat labels to be able to see items from a distance.

Printed labels and color codes for your classes and subjects will help workflow more easily in your classroom.

Printed labels and color codes for your classes and subjects will help workflow more easily in your classroom.

Think about the colors you use and make life easier by grouping tasks, subjects, or activities by color.

Organizing Pro Tips

Color Your Classes. Each class or subject should have a color. The time savings when I did this was amazing. I use the same color dry erase marker, folders, sticky notes – everything for one class is one color. Student notebooks even match the color code for the class.

Labeling. Think about the size of the surface before you print labels. Create and print one or two before typing all of the names of your students before you find they don’t fit. Get a child or student volunteer to help you label once you’ve decided how you’ll do it.

Visit www.staples.com/back-to-school  for more information and great deals!

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 10 Ways to Tackle Back to School Like a Pro 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/10-ways-to-tackle-back-to-school-like-a-pro/

10 Great Summer Festivals in Vancouver

A wonderful way to explore different parts of the city while embracing different cultures is attending festivals. They not only offer entertainment but are also a great way to meet people who share the same interests as you!

Check out these 10 festivals happening this summer in Vancouver, and get ready to have a blast!

1.- Anime Revolution

See your favourite characters come to life at Anime Revolution, Vancouver’s biggest anime celebration. Featuring a series of events, you’ll be immersed in Japan’s pop and animation culture while meeting special guests and participating in fun activities. Get your tickets here before they run out! 

WHEN: August 4 to 6, 2017

WHERE: Vancouver Convention Centre

2.- Honda Celebration of Light

Blue, red, green…a colorful festival that matches the fireworks! On top of being British Columbia’s largest live event, it’s recognized as the longest running offshore fireworks festival in the world. The astonishing lights and colours will definitely amaze you. Book your spot here to gaze at the fireworks. 

WHEN: July 29 / August 2 / August 5, 2017

WHERE: At different locations! Check here to choose your spot

3.- International Jazz Festival

Heads up Jazz lovers, it’s your time to shine! This musical genre emerged at the beginning of the 20th century, and now we get to celebrate it. Get your music fix and let yourself into another world with artists such as Rumba Calzada, Joe Williamson, and Raincity Blue.

By the way, the coastal jazz iPhone App is now available. Ready, set, download!

WHEN: From June 22 to July 2, 2017

WHERE: All around the city. Check here to know which artists to see 

4.- FVDED in the Park


Outdoor concerts are a must-do in the summer. This year, you’ll have the chance to dance to the songs of The Chainsmokers, the well-known Wiz Khalifa, DJ Dillon Francis and many other wonderful artists all at FVDED In The Park. Feel good, feel free, and feel alive! See you there!

WHEN: July 7 and 8, 2017

WHERE: Holland Park, 13428 Old Yale Rd, Surrey

5.- The 4th Thai Festival

Travel to Southeast Asia without leaving Vancouver! Embrace the culture of Thailand at the 4th Thai Festival in the city, with traditional foods, music, dances, arts, performances and more. This festival promises to teach you something new while keeping you entertained all day long!

WHEN: July 22 and 23, 2017

WHERE: North Plaza – Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby St.

6.- Watch & Learn

Don’t miss out on this showcase of Vancouver’s artists! It is a unique occasion to improve your knowledge on Canadian culture and arts. Interact with amazing local artists, makers, performers, designers, and creatives. A lot of activities are on the program such as live mural paintings, musical performances, and curated art shows. We are pretty sure you will love it!

You can buy a Day Pass for $7 or a Weekend Pass for $10 here.

WHEN: August 19 to 20, 2017 from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM

WHERE: Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, 650 Hamilton St, Vancouver

7.- A Foodie Bike Tour

Eating and burning calories at the same time, what a crazy wonderful idea! Vancouver’s annual Food Bike Tours are a superb way to discover the city; rich with festivals, amazing markets, local restaurants, chocolatiers, historical buildings, and breweries.

We already imagine you biking from one delicious destination to another. Purchase your new tasting experience here. 

WHEN: August 19, 2017, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

WHERE: All around the city

8.- Summer Arts Festival

This year the Summer Arts Festival brings outdoor painting competitions, over 20 artisans, children’s art workshops, musical performances, entertainment, exhibitions and demos of Vancouver’s Sketch Club, and more! Feed your artistic side and take a unique art piece home from the Artisan Market. Why not a glass blower, a natural soap bar, first nation’s jewelry or a handcrafted pair of socks? The finest artist and designer items are waiting for you. Admission is free!

WHEN: July 8, 2017, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

WHERE: 6584 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby

9.- Carnaval del Sol

Latin American Festival 2011, Granville St.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Vamos! The biggest Latin festival in the Pacific Northwest is almost here. Embrace the heat of Latin American culture for 2 days. How? With live music, art, dance, sports, and poetry in celebration of this rich culture will make you believe you are on the other side of the continent!

WHEN: July 8 and 9, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM

WHERE: 88 Pacific Blvd, Vancouver

10.- Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival

Top dramatic performances are happening at Bard on the Beach, the Canadian West Coast’s leading non-profit Shakespeare Festival. The BMO Centre will become the stage for Shakespeare plays, associated dramas and a number of special events.

This year’s festival features plays such as “Much Ado About Nothing”, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, “Shylock”, and more.

For information on tickets and performances, click here.

WHEN: June 1 to September 23, 2017

WHERE: The BMO Centre, 1695 Whyte Ave, Vancouver

Written By Gabriela Garcia and Marine Gas.

The post 10 Great Summer Festivals in Vancouver appeared first on ILAC.

from Blog – ILAC http://www.ilac.com/10-great-summer-festivals-in-vancouver/

5 Ways to Maximize Your Summer

A conversation with Angela Watson on episode 100 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Angela Watson teaches us how to maximize our summer. If you like her ideas, take this quiz  to see if her 40-hour workweek program is right for you.

maximize summer

Listen Now


Listen on iTunes

Join the 40-Hour Workweek Club

Today’s show is sponsored by Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Workweek Club. I’m an affiliate. You can join until Friday, July 7.

And remember that most of us set our goal for higher than 40 hours, although some people set and make that goal. I reduced my time from 60-70 hours a week to 50-60 hours a week — and saved about 10 hours a week! That is worth it to me to join!

Learn about the 40-Hour Workweek Club

Full Bio As Submitted

Angela Watson is National Board Certified Teacher currently working as an instructional coach and educational consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She has published four books for teachers and has maintained The Cornerstone For Teachers blog since 2003. Angela is the creator of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club , an online professional development program that has supported teachers with productivity in over 10,000 schools. Her Sunday podcast called Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers is entering its 6th season, providing motivation and encouragement to teachers on a weekly basis.Angela Watson
National Board Certified Teacher


Transcript for this episode


Download the transcript for this episode

[Recording starts 0:00:00]

At the end of the show, I’ll tell you about a resource that will help you join Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Workweek Club at no cost to you. https://40htw.com/join/club/ref/coolcat/

This is five ways to maximize your summer. And I am so excited. We have reached Episode 100.

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:          Happy Five Idea Friday. This is our last episode of season one. And we’re talking with Angela Watson about five ways to maximize your summer. I also want you to check out the show notes because we’ll have a link to her 40 Hour Workweek Club that is opening up, that I recommend it will help you so much. So, Angela, how do we maximize our summer?

ANGELA:     I’m so excited to talk about this topic with you, Vicki. I mean, I think every teacher struggles with this. We think have this, like, endless summer ahead of time, and we put up all the tasks until break, thinking, oh, I’ll do that in summer; oh, I’ll do that in summer. And then what happens every time is it flies by so quickly. It’s gone before you know it.

VICKI:          It is.

ANGELA:     So the first thing that you want to do, if you really want to maximize your summer, is to have a really clear vision for what you want your life to look like when summer is over. So, a lot of times, when we start talking about these kinds of things, people want to skip right to the actionable steps. But we can’t do that until you have a good vision in place, because your vision is what keeps you pushing through even when you feel like being busy or you have interruptions and obstacles and other things keeping you from accomplishing your goals. If all you have is this mile-long to-do list of things that you have to get done over the summer, there’s nothing that’s going to motivate you to press through. So you have to be clear on your vision, on your why, before you start to take action.


So set your vision. And be really realistic about how much you can accomplish in just a few short weeks with your current energy levels, and with your current commitments.

VICKI:          And you have to also know, who do I want to be before I make my to-dos, because your to-be should really impact your to-dos.

ANGELA:     Oh, I love that so much. Yes. Yes, exactly. What kind of person do I want to be at the end of the summer? That’s so good. And remember; it’s always better to under-plan and feel good about achieving above and beyond your goal than it is to over-plan, because then you’re going to feel like you weren’t successful. So think about those to-bes. I love that. Think about your to-bes. Think about your what. What is it that you want to have done this summer? You need to have devoted an entire week to not even thinking about work so you can totally reset your mind, right?

VICKI:          Yeah, for sure. Okay, what’s your second one?

ANGELA:     So get clear on your vision, and then list out your priorities. Rather than creating a mile-long to-do list, section off your list by high, medium and low priorities. So the high priority goals are the things that are going to make that end-of-summer vision a reality. These are the things that must get done before school starts, and that you are committed to doing no matter. And don’t add to many here, because remember you have a limited amount of time. So get those high priority things on your list first, and then add on other things that you have planned or that you would like to do in the lower priority sections. So medium priority items are the things that you want to get done before school starts, and low priority things are the things that you would like to get done if you have time. And then you can keep adding to that list whenever you think of new things throughout the summer, and that includes family time, rest, relaxation, if there’s a book you’ve been wanting to read; anything that is important to you, not just work-related task. Because we all know; if we don’t write it down and schedule it, it’s not going to get done. So if it’s important to you, if you want to have that experience, that fun experience or that family time this summer, write it down on your priory list.

VICKI:          For sure. And I even go on Sundays and say, oh, I am on a vacation at home today, even if I’m not travelling.


Like, no point if it’s no nothing. Okay, what’s our third?

ANGELA:     Love it. So once you have your priorities listed out, then you’re going to write the non-negotiable dates on your calendar. In that way, you can see your busy times at a glance. So any trips or appointments or any kind of set-in-stone event should be written on a calendar. And that’s going to prevent you from realizing on the last of summer break that you never got around to something that was very important. It’s also going to keep you from being overwhelmed because you scheduled too many time-consuming tasks too close together. So the calendar will help with those things. And it will help you ensure that you have that time for rest and relaxation in-between your most demanding productive days. You want to be able to see it all at a glance; what are my big commitments this summer, when am I going to be out of town, what’s going on. So you have that big picture.

VICKI:          And when do I need to cancel things, which is my problem. Okay, what’s our fourth?

ANGELA:     So once you have that done, you’re going to choose a theme or a focus for each week of summer. And that’s going to be based on your higher summer priorities. So if you know that you’re taking a trip to visit extended family, let’s say, July 12th to 15th, why not just take that whole week off, why not just make that a family time, where that’s just your focus for the whole week? You’re taking a true break from work and errands and all that kind of stuff, and just enjoy your time with family, just enjoy your summer that week. Similarly, if you have a doctor’s appointment; let’s say, there’s a doctor’s appointment on July 27th, and you have the garage door replacement scheduled for July 28th, why not make that your focus for the week? Just do all your appointment and repairs that week. You’re going to feel such a sense of accomplishment instead of feeling like you’re constantly having contractors down and running all around. Try to batch those things. Make that your theme week, and try to schedule similar tasks in there. So you can have more than one focus each week if you need to. The idea is just batching similar tasks so that you can get yourself in that appropriate mindset and focus on them without feeling like you need to be doing 100 different things.

VICKI:          And that feeling of drowning and feeling like you have too much to do is not good to have all summer.


And it can happen. Okay, what’s our last one?

ANGELA:     So that’s the only thing that you need to do in advance. And then what you’ll do at the start of each week in the summer is you’ll just look at your focus. You’ll think about your vision, look at those long-term priority list, look at that calendar; and that’s when you’ll create your to-do list for the week ahead. So if your focus for the upcoming week is, let’s say, back-to-school prep, then break that large project down into actionable steps. Decide what you’re going to do each day so that you’re not taking on too much at once. Write those tasks and your to-do list for the week ahead. That way, they’re scheduled into specific slots. Monday, I’m going to do this; Tuesday, this; Wednesday, this. And be looking at that list of summer priorities to make sure you’re moving yourself toward that end-of-summer vision.

VICKI:          Angela, as I’m listening to all of this, what do you think the biggest mistake teachers make with their summers?

ANGELA:     Probably overscheduling. Assuming that you will have more energy in the summer just because you’re not working, so you can just cram everything in. And for some reason, it just doesn’t work that way. You have to leave margins so that you don’t get stressed out when the unexpected happens. Because just like we have things crop up during the school year that throw us off schedule, the same thing is going to happen in the summer. So we don’t want to have too much planned; we want to have that margin, that little bit of buffer time in there, so that when the unexpected does come up, we can handle it and it doesn’t completely throw us off track.

VICKI:          Yes. And, you know, I think that for me in the summers, I’m healing in some way. I mean, we don’t tell people who have a baby, I hope you enjoyed your vacation. They’re not taking a vacation; they’re healing. And we just had a school year. And to me, having a school year is as difficult as having a baby. It’s hard, and we accomplished a lot. But we have to heal or else we just won’t be able to make it in the fall, you know.

ANGELA:     Yes. Vicki, that is so good. You had a school year. You need to have time to rest and heal from that. I love that.

VICKI:          So, teachers, I just hope that you get so much out of your summer. You’ve gotten so many great ideas. And I’m sitting here just taking notes of, oh, I need to do that, I need to do that, I need to do this.


And, very soon, the 40 Hour Workweek will be opening up. coolcatteacher.com/join  So I do hope you’ll follow the links. And follow what Angela does. She’s really helped me be more productive and, believe it or not, work less but get more done. And for me, that says a lot. Because, honestly, we won’t even be doing this podcast if I hadn’t been a part of the 40 Hour Workweek, because I would just be at school all the time and I couldn’t even record the show. So there you go. I hope you have a great summer.

Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Workweek Club has helped me become more productive as a teacher. Now, there are only two times a year that you can sing up. But today, I’m going to give you a link that will give you some ideas for how you can join the 40 Hour Workweek Club completely free to you. Just go to coolcatteacher.com/join for information on some options for you and so you can take an interactive quiz to make sure that the 40 Hour Workweek Club is right for you. That is, coolcatteacher.com/join. Have an awesome summer. And stay tuned for some special encore episodes of some of the most popular of the first season of the Ten-Minute Teacher. And also, I’ll have some bonus summer episodes from ISTE, the International Society of Technology Educators. I’ll be going. I hope to see you there.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at coolcatteacher.com/podcast. Never stop learning.

[End of Audio 0:09:42]

[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 Ways to Maximize Your Summer 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/5-ways-maximize-summer/

How to Create a Summer Writing Notebook #flaneur

A conversation with Angela Stockman in episode 99 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Angela Stockman @AngelaStockman challenges teachers and students to create a summer writing notebook with the #flaneur challenge. This is going to be fun! Let’s do this.

create a summer writing notebook

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  • 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


Selected Links from this Episode

Full Bio As Submitted

Angela StockmanAngela Stockman

Angela Stockman facilitates professional learning experiences for K-12 literacy teachers within and beyond her home state of New York. The author of Make Writing, Angela is passionate about creating writing workshop experiences that are relevant to today’s learners and accessible to even the most resistant writers.

Transcript for this episode


 [Recording starts 0:00:00]

Stay tuned to the end of the show to learn how to figure out if my friend Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Workweek Club is right for you. www.coolcatteacher.com/quiz

Episode 99. Creating a summer writing notebook. And this is also the Flaneur Challenge. Take a listen.

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:          So many of us teachers here in North America, we’re getting ready for our summer. Some of us, it’s already started. Well, today, we have Angela Stockman with us. She’s the author of Make Writing: 5 Teaching Strategies That Turn Writers Workshop Into a Maker Space. http://amzn.to/2tDk8ijAnd, Angela, you have a challenge for us as teachers to create a summer writing notebook or summer writing journal. Tell us about your challenge for us.

ANGELA:     That’s right. I get to work every day with teachers on the ground, face to face, and a lot of them are starting to put writing workshop in place. Some of them have been doing it for a very long time. Others are working in makerspaces or studios or art classrooms. And everyone that I’m talking to at this time of year, really, they’re already projecting into the fall. One of the greatest challenges that they’re facing is they’re really eager to write and make and create beside their students, but they either lack confidence or they haven’t really had the time to kind of produce their own stuff while they’re trying to teach. So summer is a great time for that. And we’re starting small by doing something called a flaneur challenge. A flaneur is someone who wanders about, and they kind of walk aimlessly with the intention to observe things that they didn’t expect to. So it’s kind of an unscheduled wandering. And I’m challenging teachers to do that every day, wherever they’re inspired to.


And to kind of take a camera or a notebook with them and capture something unexpected that they saw just once a day; something small, kind of like a photo 365, if people are familiar with that challenge, which has gone on for a long time now. It’s very much like that; only the intention is to gather content for our notebooks that we can write about.

VICKI:          So we’re just going to stroll and we’re going to observe, maybe take photos and write. Is that what you want us to do?

ANGELA:     Yeah. Absolutely; in small bits. And I think that that’s what can make it manageable for people. Just to capture one small thing a day that they didn’t expect to see, that brought them joy or comfort or made them laugh, or just was really interesting or compelling to them; some small moment of their day that they can write about in a small way. And I think that if they can commit to doing this every day, and maybe even sharing it on Instagram with the rest of us who might be doing this, by the end of the summer, they’ll have a lot of content that they can build off of and write about in workshop next year.

VICKI:          So what’s our hashtag?

ANGELA:     It’s #flaneur, https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/flaneur/  F-L-A-N-E-U-R. And I’m going to start doing this today on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/angelastockman/and I invite teachers to join us at any time.

VICKI:          And what are we going to accomplish with this? I even hate to ask that, because I’m such a country girl and I like to lay on the grass and look at clouds. And to me, that is well-spent time. But there are those who say, okay, what am I getting out of it, so we might as well ask it.

ANGELA:     Like you said; the greatest accomplish is to maybe disconnect a little bit and get out in nature. Because I find that so many good ideas come from nature, or even from just spending time reflecting a little bit and kind of wandering. But if you post on Instagram every day or you make an entry in your journal or notebook every day, by the end of the summer, you should have a good 60 entries or so that you can pull from and turn into bigger writing pieces.


And some people might actually start teasing some of those pieces out over the summer as well.

VICKI:          As we adopt this, do you think this is going to make us better teachers have a writing workshop in the fall and how?

ANGELA:     One of the things that can help all writers is the notion of getting disciplined. But discipline sounds like such a rigid and cold and uninspiring term. If we can get disciplined about doing something that is really rewarding and fun and relaxing, and a little bit unpredictable in terms of what we’re going to see, but just make a commitment to doing that every day, I think that you win half the battle when it comes to writing. And this is something that we want to coach our students to do, too. Just take a little bit of time every day to do some kind of writing, and to not be necessarily perfectionists but to have ideas and to keep them in a container, like a notebook or Instagram account, where we can come back to them and turn them into bigger and better pieces as time goes by. I think that’s a really important disposition to train in our kids, is this notion of becoming disciplined. But that discipline doesn’t have to be punishing; discipline is really something that isn’t hard to do when we’re excited about what we’re showing up for every day.

VICKI:          And what you’re saying is so true with what I know about writing in my own life. There’s the great book; Do the Work. http://amzn.to/2ujnODsAnd it’s basically, show up every day and write, whether you feel like it or not. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first, you know. But having that discipline of saying, okay, now, it’s my writing time; I’m going to sit down and write; I’m going to sit down and create, it’s incredible the things that come out of your brain when you really don’t expect it, when you just do it.

ANGELA:     Yeah, exactly. And I think that summer is a perfect time to kind of step away from the lesson and unit structure of school and the bells and the time frames that we work with, and the constraints that, for sure, can produce great writing. But I think that if we can help kids connect to it on their own time, and especially teachers, it makes our lives a little bit richer.


It helps us to redefine what it looks like to be a disciplined writer.

VICKI:          Talking to teachers, Angela; issue our fantastic flaneur challenge. What is it that you’re challenging us to do? And get us excited.

ANGELA:     So I’m super excited to challenge all teachers and to challenge students as well to spend some time wandering about an uninspired place this summer; every single day, commit to it. It doesn’t matter what time you go; it doesn’t matter even where you go, but wander about. Don’t necessarily schedule this work, and don’t necessarily define the path before you start taking it, but be a flaneur. Wander about, pay attention to your surroundings, and try to document at least one interesting thing that you saw on that walk by taking a picture of it or by writing about it in a notebook, or both. If you have an Instagram account, you can follow me there; I’m Angela Stockman. And there’s also a hashtag, which is #flaneur, F-L-A-N-E-U-R. If you tag your photos with that particular hashtag, all of us will be able to see them and like them, and support and celebrate the efforts that we’re making to wander about and use our noticings to do great writing this summer.

VICKI:          Teachers, I will challenge you. Even if you’re a math teacher, even if you’re a history teacher, this does not get you off the hook. If you’re a math teacher, you could be observing and looking for really cool ways to bring math into everyday life that you observe, and history. There’s so many things that you can document about, every single type of teaching. Even if you’re not going to sit down, like I do, and write a poem, you can write and you can create. And it just kind of turns you loose. I think that our fantastic flaneur challenge is awesome. I’m going to participate. And, Angela, thank you for bringing this challenge to us.

ANGELA:     Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. And I’m really grateful for the invitation, Vicki.


VICKI:          This month, Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Workweek Club will open up for membership. And she only has two open [indiscernible 0:08:08] a year. Now, I’ve been participating for a year and I have learned so much about classroom efficiency. But, it’s not for everybody. So I’ve got a link for you to a quick quiz that will help you understand if the 40 Hour Workweek Club would be right for you. Just go to www.coolcatteacher.com/quiz and take the quiz to see if the 40 Hour Workweek is right for you.

Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at coolcatteacher.com/podcast. Never stop learning.

[End of Audio 0:09:14]

[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 Create a Summer Writing Notebook #flaneur 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/create-summer-writing-notebook-flaneur/

#iste17 trends: Google, Touch Screen Chromebooks and More

An interview with Kasey Bell in episode 107 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today Kasey Bell @shakeuplearning sits down to talk about the hot trends at ISTE 2017 including lots of Google stuff, new AR news, Google Keep, touch Screen Chromebooks, and more news.

hot #iste17 trends everybody's talking about

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.

This episode is sponsored by Powerschool. I am so excited to be at ISTE with PowerSchool! Here’s the schedule.

I will be leading a panel discussion on 5 Key Trends Transforming Teaching Today  at ISTE 2017 on Monday June 26, 2017 at 4pm in room 225 A and B.

Come by PowerSchool’s Classroom of the Future in 207A where they will be giving away Apple Watches, Microsoft Surfaces and Amazon Echos.1

Come by the PowerSchool booth 2918 — I’ll be there some on Monday. For those of you are not at ISTE check out the Unified Classroom at PowerSchool.com/solutions/unified-classroom

In today’s show, Kasey Bell discusses the hot trends at ISTE 2017:

  • Touch screen ChromeBooks
  • Google classroom
  • Google Keep
  • Augmented reality news
  • other hot topics

I hope you enjoy this episode with Kasey Bell!

Selected Links from this Episode

Full Bio As Submitted

Kasey Bell

Kasey Bell is part sparkling smile, part witty personality and a whole heap of passion as big as a Texas–go big or go home, y’all! She is a disruptor of the boring. An engaging, innovative, from the heart sharer who inspires educators while transforming their teaching with original, timely and use-tomorrow ideas for student choice, differentiation, and technology integration. Whether it is learning from home through online courses, professional development, conference workshops or as a keynote speaker Kasey is a relentless innovator of ideas and a devoted transformer of classrooms and teaching. Through teacher empowering publications and award-winning educational resources at ShakeUpLearning.com, learner-driven workshops and presentations and co-hosting Google Teacher Tribe weekly podcast, Kasey proves why we should never settle for the boring when it comes to bringing out the very best in our students, and we should always strive to Shake Up Learning!

Co-host of The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast
Author of The Teacher’s Guide to Google Classroom
Google Certified Innovator
Google Certified Trainer
Amazon Education Thought Leader
Digital Innovation in Learning Award Winner in “Sharing is Caring”
One of 20 TrustED Educational Thought Leaders
#3 EdTech Blog
#3 EdTech and E-Learning Influencer on Twitter
Must Read EdTech Blog
Edublog Awards Finalist

ShakeUpLearning.com provides teachers and educators with easy to understand, use tomorrow resources for Google and G Suite for Education, mobile learning and classroom technology integration through digital learning resources, technology tips and tricks, in-depth e-courses, books, resources, cheat sheets, blog publications. and podcasts.

Google Certified Educator Academies: http://googlecertifiededucator.com/
Teacher’s Guide to Google Classroom eBook: http://www.shakeuplearning.com/google-classroom-ebook

Transcript for this episode

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

The post #iste17 trends: Google, Touch Screen Chromebooks and More 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/iste17-trends-google-touch-screen-chromebooks/