Personalizing the Curriculum with the Learning Journey Model

Mark Engstrom, Episode 188 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Mark Engstrom shares a personalized model for learning that he calls the “Learning Journey Model.” After students accomplish a core competency, they personalize their learning journey much like the “game of LIFE” board game.

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.

The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to coolcatteacher.com/samsungsolve to learn more. Good luck!

Listen Now

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Improving the Curriculum with the Learning Journey Model

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e188
Date: November 8, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking to Mark Engstrom @markaengstrom Head of Middle School and Upper School at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas.

The Learning Journey Model

Mark, you are passionate about helping students have control over their learning. Give me an example. What do your students do?

Mark: So… my students know which components of my classes are foundational and what components are collaborative, what components they will have choice on and what they’ll get to choose from when it’s time for assessments.

I think of the Learning Journey more like the game of life and less like a traditional syllabus where teachers dictate what’s going to be taught, when it’s going to be taught, how you’ll be graded, how you’ll be penalized, the resources you have to use. I prefer to give kids a path, and let them choose from within that path what works best for them.

Vicki: OK, did you say that they get to choose their assessment?

Assessment in a Personalized Classroom

Mark: So they do get to choose. They have a variety of passion-based projects they get to pick from. Within the assessments, there are six questions, and they do three of them. They have five different chances to take the assessment, so the idea is that there’s choice within the assessment, and there’s choice about when they want to take the assessment.

Vicki: Okay, so are all the assessment tests, or do you assess other ways?

Mark: I assess in other ways as well. We’ve got MAP quizzes, we’ve got content-based knowledge assessments, so there are some other some other ways.

Vicki: OK, so there are some teachers sitting here saying, “OK, so you’re coming up with four different ways to assess? That sounds like a whole lot of work!”

Mark: It is! But once you get your kids trained to sort of think, “OK. I’m learning for learning’s sake. I’m going to be assessed in a whole bunch of different ways, and I will have choices,” then they are really feeling empowered.

It becomes less about “playing school” and more about, “How much can I learn? What more can I learn? What don’t I know? Who can help me? Where can I go online to get better? Who in the class can help me? What do I need to ask the teacher?” It makes them the agents of their own learning, and it is fantastic!

Vicki: Do you have a learning management system that helps you keep up with all this?

How does this relate to your Learning Management System?

Mark: We do. It’s called PowerSchool. The reality is that it’s a round-peg-square-hole kind of situation, because I don’t want to manage their learning. I want to inspire them, I want to spark inquiry, I want to answer their questions, I want to give them resources. So the whole idea of a learning management system? I just think it’s flawed. We shouldn’t be managing their learning, we should be sparking it.

Vicki: OK, but you use that to track it and hold it all together? I use PowerSchool Learning as well. I think I’d have to say that they do sponsor some of the work that I do, so I do have to say that.

So, OK. So what class in particular… You’re Head of School, but are you also teaching a class, or is this the model in all of the classrooms for your students?

Mark: So I’m the Head of our Middle and Upper School. We’ve got a Head of School who’s in charge of the kit and kaboodle of Pre-K through 12. So, in my two divisions, Middle and Upper School, we’ve got five classes that now use the Learning Journey model.

Vicki: OK. So is this something that you invented, or where’d you find it?

Mark: I went to some professional development that made me rethink the way we do school. And I kind of landed on the Game of Life that I wanted to use. So, yeah, I came up with it.

Vicki: OK. And we’ll share in the Shownotes , you’ve got some infographics about how you structure your syllabus. (See above.) You completely changed the syllabi for these courses, haven’t you?

Mark: Correct. Can I just talk a little bit about how the Learning Journey works, so it’s clear to people?

Vicki: Yeah! Help us

Mark: So, if you’re looking at the infographic, (see above) basically the top left is Goal Setting. You can follow the white arrows all the way down. It kind of forms maybe two “S”-shapes. Along the way, there’s Artifacts and Reflections and Goal Setting. Kids are always thinking about, “What did I do that’s awesome?” or “What did I do where I struggled?” or “What do I do when I want to do it better?”

And “What did I do that was collaborative? Where can I get an artifact that sort of encapsulates this segment of my learning?”

And then they write a little paragraph about it. I comment on that.

So it’s not just about the learning. I tell kids, “The hidden curriculum is YOU.”

We talk about geography, and I care about geography. But what I really care about is, “What are you learning about how you learn best?”

And so, the first part is foundational learning. That’s the blue part. In every class around the world, teachers could identify the non-negotiable pieces that lay the foundation for deeper thoughts. Those pieces are in my Foundational Learning segment.

Then there’s Collaborative Learning, which looks like what you would imagine it should look like for any collaborative project.

Then we move into a personal segment where they do a Passion-Based Learning Project.

The final segment of the class is getting ready for the assessments.

Vicki: Are all the kids operating at a different speed?

How the personalized approach works

Mark: We work on trimesters. The first trimester we kind of all go at the same pace. But then in the second and third, I really let them loose. Some kids really fly, and you realize that they’ve been shackled by the traditional methods of teaching and whole-class instruction. And it is awesome to see kids just take off on their learning.

Vicki: What happens, though, when you have some people who’ve covered a lot more material than others, and then you go back to this, “OK, these folks have class rank.”

Class Rank and Traditional Grading in this model

Is it fair if somebody covers eight more chapters than somebody else?

Mark: What do you mean by “class rank”?

Vicki: Well, in high school, do you have first, second, third, fourth in your class, or do you not do that at your school?

Mark: We have to do that for the state of Texas, because it affects admissions policies. But other than that, we don’t need to.

I mean, I see your point. There are kids who go above and beyond. But this isn’t a system that’s geared to satisfy other components of traditional education.

Vicki: Ahhhhhh….

Mark: I’m trying to drill down to what does research say about agency? Like if you look at Daniel Pink, Mastery, Autonomy, Purpose… the Learning Journey is full of autonomy and purpose options. That’s kind of the driving force.

Vicki: So… you… are just reinventing school!

Mark: That’s what we’re trying to do.

Vicki: Do you get any pushback?

What pushback do you get with the Learning Journey model?

Mark: I’ve presented this at conferences before, and I’ve written about this. Some people will write in and say, “Wow, that’s great!” But I get very few people who actually want to jump in. I think right now there aren’t enough incentives for teachers to take the time to overhaul their class. Whether their principal wouldn’t appreciate it, or they team teach with people who aren’t interested — I just think there aren’t enough incentives out there right now.

But I would say that any teacher out there, who’s really looking to get re-energized around student learning and the experiences that they’re offering their kids? They’re more than welcome to reach out to me. I’m on Twitter, and I’d be happy to talk through the first couple steps of the Learning Journey.

Vicki: Mark, the truth is that we’re going to end up where you are at some point. We can either aggressively go after it and become part of the change, or the change can be done to us.

You’re either a victim or a victor when you’re dealing with change.

This whole personalized learning approach is really where we’re moving. I mean, would you agree with that or disagree with that?

Mark: Amen. I think you’re spot on.

30-second elevator pitch for the Learning Journey model

Vicki: But it’s just hard. I’m trying to get my arms around it. What do you think… If you were stuck in an elevator with someone who was in charge of the curriculum for one of the biggest districts in the country, and you had one minute to sell this approach of the Learning Journey model. What would you say?

Mark: I’d probably start by asking them, “What’s the number one thing they want to change about student learning in their school district?”

And, depending on their answer, I would chime in that there are different parts of learning journeys, or personalized learning, or digital tools that can accomplish what they’re hoping to accomplish.

And if I had a whiteboard or my infographic at the ready, I would kind of walk them through how the Game of Life — which allowed you to make choices about going to college, having a wife and family, investing in stocks — I mean, that same sort of board game path is applicable to giving students agency over what they want to learn and how they want to learn.

Vicki: So what’s your greatest, “AHA!” moment from this whole process?

Greatest Aha Moment

Mark: ASo I think the “AHA!” moment is that we don’t need to move students through the old industrial model of teaching. It’s easy to do flipped class learning and see how that works. It’s easy to do Project-Based Learning and see how that works. But all of those things feel to me like piecemeal or part of the answer. Whereas I hope the Learning Journey is more of a holistic approach to giving students control. I think that would be my “AHA!” moment.

Vicki: What do you think is the biggest mistake you’ve made in this journey?

Mistake in Personalizing Learning

Mark: The first step I made was to get rid of all content as a requirement. I gave kids too much choice to start. I got a lot of pushback from parents saying, “We don’t know what to study.”

I wish I hadn’t started there. I wish I had started smaller, and given kids choice and trimmed back the content instead of giving them total choice over what they study.

After the Foundational Learning piece of the journey, they really do have total control. So I’ll have some students who only do politics. Or only do environmental stuff. Or only do economics. And I didn’t do that well the first time.

Vicki: I love that you admit — I think that this is important for the transparency — saying, “This is what I did right, This is what I did wrong.”

Your Learning Journey model really is a journey, for you.

Educators, you’re definitely going to want to check the Shownotes for the infographics and the links to Mark’s site.

We love to feature brave, remarkable educators on the 10-Minute Teacher to really provoke your thinking. This is the direction that I think that we’re all going to be heading.

It sounds complicated. It sounds hard.

But I’ll tell you this — we cannot let the fact that something is challenging keep us from doing it, because we’re talking about lives here.

If it works, we need to consider it.

So let’s take a look at the Learning Journey model, and see what we can learn from it.

 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Mark Engstrom is an Educational Consultant, Blended Learning Designer and the Head of MS/US at Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas. He has presented on digital and personalized learning through Independent School Management, Association of American Schools in South America and Association of International Schools in Africa. He has also written for EdSurge, Getting Smart and Teachers Matter. He has helped teachers from all over the world make learning more engaging for their students. Feel free to connect through Twitter @markaengstrom

Twitter:@markaengstrom

Author of

Blending Alone- http://www.gettingsmart.com/2014/01/blending-alone-blend-non-blended-environment/

Redesigning the syllabus to reflect the learning journey- https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-09-10-redesigning-the-syllabus-to-reflect-the-learning-journey

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

The post Personalizing the Curriculum with the Learning Journey Model 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/e188/

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10 Ways to Personalize Learning for Students

sponsored by Texthelp

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Students, you can get help. No, I’m not talking about cheating, I’m talking about understanding the technology tools that can help you earn a better grade. Artificial intelligence is available in many forms. Here are some of the best helpers for you. This blog post also comes with an infographic (PDF) that you can print and use to figure out tools to help you in your studies.

This post is sponsored by Texthelp. All opinions are my own. To get links to all of these sites and information on installing Read&Write, download this handy infographic.

1. Pick a Digital Notebook


Taking notes is not what it used to be. You can still use a standard notebook, but digital notebooks make a lot of sense, too. You take pictures of your notes and what the teacher wrote on the board. You can even record in-class audio or video and then find it easily. (All those pictures on your smartphone’s camera roll just get lost.)

Here are three digital notebook choices. What you pick depends upon what your school uses. Here are my favorites:

  • Microsoft OneNote: You can take notes collaboratively on any device.
  • Google Keep: If you’re a Google school or have a Chromebook, this might be for you.
  • Evernote: This is a bit fancier but will work if you don’t need to write collaborative notes.

2. Learn to Voice Type


Voice typing means dictating into a device which turns your audio into text. You can use it on your Mac or PC as well as in Google Docs. However, you do have to learn how to speak your punctuation. So make sure you know understand voice typing before turning on this feature.

3. Read&Write


This “Swiss Army knife” artificial intelligence learning assistant can do so much. Here are a few features of Read&Write from TextHelp:

  • Its text-to-speech tool reads web pages, emails, and documents out loud.
  • It can highlight, research and collect notes.
  • It defines words and makes a personal word dictionary.
  • It includes a speech input feature for the web similar to Google’s Voice typing – it even works in Google forms (pro version).
Texthelp Read Write toolbar

Many of the graphics in this post are from a powerful infographic you can print for your classroom. Go to  to https://goo.gl/Cxd3f8 download this free infographic (and learn how to get the Read&Write toolbar while you are there.)

4. Editing Helpers


Get familiar with editing tools and select several “go to” tools. Grammarly is free in Chrome and will check basic spelling. If you want more advanced checks, Pro Writing Aid is free for documents of one thousand words or less. Hemingway Editor is one of the easiest-to-use apps for simplifying text. It will color the words for you and help you get rid of run-on sentences. Students should always spell check every document, discussion post, and communication with a teacher.

Grammarly Pro Writing Aid and Hemingway App

5. Rewordify


Have you read something online that was hard to understand? With Rewordify, you can reset a web page’s reading level so that it’s easier to understand. While this approach isn’t perfect, it can make reading comprehension easier. This is great for research so that you can easily understand what you need to explain in a paper or report.

Rewordify Student helper

Rewordify can simplify text that students are struggling to understand.

6. Build a Math Toolkit


Understand how to get help for your math classroom. First, students should know how to properly use Wolfram Alpha. Not only is this a handy site for facts and figures of all kinds (very helpful for history reports), but if you type in a math problem, it will show you step-by-step solutions for them.

EquatIO is a fantastic help for students writing formulae.

EquatIO® is a fantastic tool for writing math formulae digitally. You can type, dictate or handwrite your equations easily, and EquatIO will insert it into your document with a click. It even has a collaborative space, EquatIO mathspace, where you can work on math problems with others and show your thinking through freehand sketches and notes.  What’s more, it integrates with Read&Write so you can have math read back to you. If you’re struggling with a concept, Khan Academy has some excellent math tutorials.

student tools math helpers

7. Learn to Screencast


Teachers are asking students to make movies and screencast, but few of them teach you how. If you have a PC, the easiest screencasting tool is the free Office Mix download for PowerPoint. You can add videos, photos, screen recordings, text, and even animations like a regular PowerPoint. Additionally, the Mix button lets you record your voice and even draw on the screen. With one click, you can “save as movie” and then send it to your teacher.

If you want to add your voice to an already-made movie, try Edpuzzle. If you just want a simple screencast, Screencastify is a great tool. If you’re having a problem with a website, record a quick screencast and send it to your teacher.

8. Flashcard Makers


Memorization is still part of what you do as a student, so flashcard makers like Quizlet or Quizziz can be a big help. Sometimes your flashcards are already made, although you’ll often learn better if you make them yourself. These apps also quiz you in different formats. They often let you make your own practice quizzes and take them. Use the app on your phone to review anywhere and any time instead of waiting to cram the night before a test.

smartphone student personal secretary

9. Your Smartphone


Your smartphone should be your personal secretary. Some essential things to learn how to do on your smartphone are:

  • How to add reminders (with your voice if possible)
  • How to add calendar events with reminders
  • The school grade book app (set up notifications for when new grades are posted)
  • Your school email
  • Your digital notebook (See #1)
  • Digital flashcards (See #8)

10. Learn to Block Out Distractions


Despite what you might think, multitasking is a myth. Many students struggle with distractions. If you’re not using your smartphone for studying or if you just can’t get off Snapchat, put your phone up. If you’re trying to focus on a massive project, consider deleting Snapchat (don’t worry, you won’t lose your friends!) or whichever app is a problem for you.

If you’re using the computer, StayFocusd will help block out distractions. If you feel like you’re wasting time, RescueTime not only blocks unnecessary sites but also tells you how you’re using your time on the computer.

To get links to all of these sites and information on this blog, download this handy infographic https://goo.gl/Cxd3f8.

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

The post 10 Ways to Personalize Learning 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/10-ways-to-personalize-learning-for-students/

Hyperdocs: How to’s and Tips for Teachers

Lisa Scumpieru on episode 187 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Lisa Scumpieru, 10th-grade Literature Teacher, gives us a crash course in Hyperdocs. She shares lesson plans, ideas, and tips for getting started quickly without hassle

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to coolcatteacher.com/samsungsolve to learn more. Good luck!

Listen Now

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Hyperdocs: How to and Success Tips for Teachers

Vicki: Today we have Lisa Scumpieru @LScumpieru, who’s a first grade English teacher from Maryland, and we’re talking Hyperdocs.

What are Hyperdocs?

Lisa: Hyperdocs are normally a doc or slide that you build for the students. They give an ability for the students to work collaboratively. They can then work through the topic or problem at their own pace and you can give them choices within it so that they can evolve around that central question or concept or problem.

Vicki: Okay so how is this different from just a normal doc? Is it that you’re giving them an assignment? Is it an activity? Are you making templates for them? Do they each have their own personal copy? What’s it like?

Lisa: Well, usually what they do is when somebody builds one, you have the introduction for the students. It gives him some background information. When I used to teach it, I used to almost do the same thing I do in a Hyperdoc in a lesson. I would give them some background information. Sometimes in the Hyperdoc then, you can do like a flipped classroom type of thing, where they can access the Hyperdoc. They watch something prior to coming to class, and then they can do something with it.

They can reflect on it. They can prepare some questions for the actual class. Then when the teacher has them go through the Hyperdoc, they’re basically walking them through the learning process, so that students…

For my type of teaching now, I don’t do a lot of “sage on the stage,” talking the entire time. I walk around and I make sure that they’re not confused, that they don’t have questions. But I’m more of a facilitator, making sure that they understand what’s going on. That Hyperdoc helps them through it, because it goes from where they’re just beginning to be introduced to the topic. Then they delve into the topic. And we even have things at the end of Hyperdocs, usually, that are extensions.

Vicki: OK, so is it like… I learned to use a learning management system. And i’ll have these long pages. So is it almost like somebody’s in Google Classroom, and the doc is like a page or a webpage you would have in your LMS? Or are kids actually editing and writing on the page?

How Do HyperDocs compare to a Learning Management System

Lisa: They can edit and write on the page. Now, what I do is in Google Classroom, I will give them the Hyperdoc, and then I will make a copy for each student. Then they’re able to access the material that I want them to. Maybe, let’s say on the left. Then on the right, they have an opportunity to either take notes or reflect, or with a Hyperdoc what’s nice is that they have the things hyperlinked for the students.

So they’re only going to one doc, but everything is hyperlinked the videos, the other activities they have to do, the choices that they have — whether they do an iMovie or a FlipGrid or they go to a GoFormative — everything is in one. They see the process and where it’s leading to, and they see the end before they get to it, so they feel a little more confident about what they’re doing.

Vicki: Can you give me an example of a recent Hyperdoc lesson?

A recent Hyperdoc Lesson in Lisa’s Classroom

Lisa: Yeah. So today I teach tenth graders, and they had a narrative that they’re writing. I made a Hyperdoc for them to make it easier for them. I told them that we were going to “Mad Man Write,” which is just writing really quickly something down for 15 minutes and seeing if that’s going to be your narrative.

I have the link for them to know what a Mad Man Writing was, and I had what dialogue looked like. I also had the rubric that I was going to use, but I showed them today and tomorrow they’re writing. On Monday, they’re going to peer edit. I showed them the entire thing and told them, “If you want to go in and see what the peer editing looks like, so that you know where you’re going to go with your writing… Nothing is a mystery. Everything is there for you to look at and see where you want to go with this.

One Click to Find Everything

Vicki: I totally agree with this. One click. Everything should be right there. Kids should never have to hunt for it. They shouldn’t have to navigate for it. It should all be right there.

Now you’re excited about how Hyperdocs and this interactivity is being built into other tools. Give me an example.

Hyperdocs interactivity is being built into other sites

Lisa: I use it in docs and slides, but I also use it in Google Sites. I’ve done it for a digital breakout with kids. I had them read a story that was a mystery, and then they had to crack codes and figure out everything. It was fun!

I’m building one right now on a Google site for students where each page is going to be something that they can go to if they choose. There’s going to be choices, so if they choose to go to the next part of the adventure, they’ll go to that page. So it will sort of build out on that Google site.

Also FlipGrid is evolving so that teachers when they create their grid, they can embed docs in there. I’ve embedded entire Hyperdocs in there, so the kids can access the Hyperdocs as they are on FlipGrid. You can embed video. You can also embed images, or even like a prompt in there so kids are being steered in the right direction.

So you just don’t have to have everything on your board. I used to have kids take a picture with their phone or with their iPad of the board of what they were supposed to do for FlipGrid that night, and they’d then have to access that at home. Now when they go home to do their FlipGrid, they have all of the directions right there.

Vicki: So, Lisa, is there a mistake that many educators make when they start using Hyperdocs?

Lisa: When I started making Hyperdocs, my mistake was that I tried to do it from scratch. I didn’t really look at any. I looked at some and said, “OK, I think I get the basic premise. Let me start from scratch.”

When I made my first one, it was for The Great Gatsby. I did it with my students, maybe two-and-a-half years ago. I remember that they were looking at me like, “Wow. This is a lot to do. We did it for two days. They were very impressed with it, but then they also said, “This was a lot for us to do.” They gave me some suggestions.

Then, what I did the next time was I started looking at some. Lisa Highfill @lhighfill has a wonderful Hyperdocs site. I also used my Google Keep, and anything that is shared out on Twitter with Hyperdocs — there’s Padlets and all kinds of stuff — I put it in my Keep. I look through them, and I’ll sometimes make a copy of them, strip them from what they have, and work from there — because I like the layout, or I like how it looks.

Vicki: So you’ve given us the suggestion to look at other examples. What is the most wildly helpful suggestion you have for teachers who want to use Hyperdocs?

Tips for Getting Started

Lisa: I would say, “Make sure when you use Hyperdocs that you are OK with failing forward, because the kids might need a little bit of help. This year what I did, prior to even doing anything within Hyperdocs with them, is we did a Hyperdoc together.

I said, “What do you think this thing that’s underlined in blue is?”

And they’re like, “A link?”

For some classes it was dead air, and I was like, “This is a link…”

And we actually did a Hyperdoc together, and that gave the students the comfort level that they needed.

So I would say, make sure the kids are comfortable. Don’t expect that it’s going to be perfect the first couple times, because they’re getting accustomed to it. But eventually, they’ll appreciate the extra effort that you’re making.

Vicki: Last question, Lisa. Some people have to go to their administrators or curriculum directors and convince them that it is worth trying something new. What is the elevator pitch for why educators should be using Hyperdocs?

Lisa: I think educators need to use Hyperdocs because the whole thing in our building is the UBD, the design planning with the end in mind. I’ve even Hyperdoc’d all of my units. I make sure that I know where I’m going with everything. I Hyperdoc all of the ancillary materials I’m going to use during that unit. It just helps me see the end in mind, plan for a purpose, and be able to see where I’m going with the students.

Vicki: Well, educators, we have something new to try for this Ed Tech Tool Tuesday. Hyperdocs! Check the Shownotes and take a look. Tweet out your Hyperdocs, so that we can all share!

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


I have taught for 23 years at North Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, Md. I am originally from north of Pittsburgh. I have always looked at myself as a life-long learner and Twitter has helped me strengthen my PLN and my teaching. I am a Google Certified Trainer, Flipgrid Ambassador, Formative Educator, and CommonLit Advisory Board Member. Our school is 1:1 with I-pads and I am incorporating a lot of project-based learning, hyperdocs, and diverse seating. I am a fan of not teaching the entire book, but giving students the meat of the text and reading Shakespeare from the middle. My inspirations are: Matt Miller’s “Ditch the Textbook”, Dave Burgess’ “Teach Like a Pirate”, and Joy Kirr’s “Shift This”. I love to share my work and help others improve their teaching.

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

The post Hyperdocs: How to’s and Tips for Teachers 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/e187/

10 Keys of Purpose Driven Learning

Michael Matera on episode 186 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Michael Matera @mrmatera, author of Explore Like a Pirate, talks about Purpose Driven Learning in the classroom.

Got 5 minutes? That is all it takes to enter the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. If you’re a US public school teacher of grades 6-12, you and your students just need to come up with a STEAM idea that can help your community. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll win technology and prizes to help your STEAM project come to reality.

The entry period ends this week – Thursday, November 9 is the last day! Go to coolcatteacher.com/samsungsolve to learn more. Good luck!

Listen Now

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

10 Keys to Purpose Driven Learning

Vicki: Michael Matera @mrmatera is my favorite game-based learning guru, but today we’re going to talk about keys to purpose-driven learning.

Now, Michael or Mr. Matera as he’s known everywhere (Twitter, YouTube, and everywhere) teaches history in a sixth-grade classroom.

So, Michael, what are the keys to purpose-driven learning?

Michael: Well, first of all, thanks, Vicki for having me on the show. I’m super excited to be here.

What Are the Keys to Purpose Driven Learning?

The keys to purpose-driven learning are these ten sort of intentional words that I choose, a language which I use with my students — whether it’s in their quarter comments, their work when I’m conferencing one-on-one with them. They’re action-oriented words because I felt like over the years, just talking to students about grades wasn’t really functional. Also, talking to kids in general platitudes, like, “You should just do better.” (laughs) Like, that’s not very helpful!

Vicki: (agrees)

10 Elements of Purpose Driven Learning

Michael: So, a colleague of mine and I sat down and drilled down on what we thought were words for ten key elements that some of the successful people in our world have. These leaders — whether they’re leaders in industry, leaders in the arts, leaders in military or politics — tend to demonstrate these traits.

Vicki: OK. What are they?

Michael: So, in no particular order, the keys are:

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Effort
  3. Confidence
  4. Focus
  5. Resilience
  6. Dependability
  7. Initiative
  8. Creativity
  9. Curiosity
  10. Empathy

Vicki: Wow, and so you really try to use these words because you want to build it in your students?

Michael: Yeah! So we’re really trying to say, as our school now uses a lot of these words, and we’re really trying to build up students like, “We want YOU to be a leader,” in whatever, again — the arts, industry — it doesn’t matter. But we want you to be a leader, and so let’s be intentional at pointing toward these successful words. Let’s cultivate these, as opposed to talking about, “I have an A-… or a B+.”

Let’s talk about “What are you bringing to your class? What did you bring to your homework last night? How do you interact with the material? Are you bringing your enthusiasm? Do you display confidence? Are you taking the initiative to go above and beyond on a particular project or subject? Are you applying your creativity? Are you empathetic with the people in your class or your group?”

Vicki: So Michael, what’s the most mind-blowing thing that has happened since you started using these words?

What is the impact of using these words?

Michael: Well, it takes a while, but eventually there is a de-emphasis on grades. Kids start to adopt this language and take it on their own. For me, that’s the mind-blowing thing, when kids start to apply purpose-driven learning in their own responses, without that being required of them. When they start talking, in a student reflection, about how they’ve seen over the course that they’ve developed their own confidence in themselves and in their talents. They see that it’s about applying themselves, it’s about putting focused effort toward a goal. It’s about being dependable and bringing their best to class every day. I think that’s just mind blowing, when students use this language, and it’s become internalized for them.

Vicki: And you can imagine them in ten or fifteen or twenty years using these same words, and you’re like, “Yes! I taught you how to live life.”

Michael: (laughs) Yeah! It’s just really cool. Again, I teach sixth grade. It’s really fun to see the students own their learning. That’s something that we all talk about in schools — that we want students to embrace the sense of empowerment, that learning is equitable. We all can learn. We can all do it. It’s just about taking the time. All of these point to that. All of these point to, “You can be what you want to be, if you’re intentional if you’re willing to pay the price, if you’re willing to step up.”

It changes the nature and dynamics of any community where it gets applied.

Vicki: Have you made any mistakes as you’ve implemented purpose-driven learning?

Mistakes Michael Made When Implementing Purpose Driven Learning

Michael: Good question. I think at first, I didn’t keep it up. The first year I rolled it out, it was like, “Yeah!” I’m going to use this!” and then I fell back into some of my old language. I didn’t infuse the language into my responses with students, and like anything, a level of intentionality produces such great results.

So, if any of you want to try to use purpose-driven learning, which I strongly recommend, know that it’s a commitment. Make sure that you’re going to try to use these in your written responses to students, in your one-on-one collaborations with them. Ask them to reflect and use these words. “Tell me one of the words that you brought to this project. Tell me one of the words that you still need to work on.” Make sure that’ you’re intentional with it.

So my biggest mistake was that.

Vicki: So, tell me how you’ve used one of these words this week.

An Example of How He’s Used the Words This Week

Michael: Oh, man! Confidence for me is big. I’m really trying to get my sixth graders to shake off that… I don’t know… So many kids will say, I think I failed the test,” when really, I have a room full of B+ and A- students. “You wouldn’t fail the test. You might not have gotten what you wanted. But you didn’t fail it.”

So, we’ve been working as a class on confidence. One of the things we’ve done is, when they give a response in class — and this is going to sound really old school, but it’s cool to see — when I call on a student right now, working on confidence, they have to stand up, they have to answer in a complete sentence. I tell you, it’s so cool, Vicki, the person standing up — you can just see a physical change. They have the right posture. Their diaphragm’s engaged. The rest of the students respond to that student in a different way because they become a focal point in the room.

We’ve been doing this now for a couple weeks. Just this week I asked, “How do you feel this affects your confidence?” And all of them have said, “We respond more articulately.” They apply the vocab in our units — as opposed to being slouched in the chair, mumbling and answer. It gives them time to compose themselves as they get up and give their answer. It’s been wonderful.

A Favorite Word

Vicki: Do you have a favorite word?

Michael: The word I use probably the most in my classroom is focus. I really think that that unlocks the rest of these words. But to be honest, I use a lot of them on a daily basis. But focus is the one I probably use the most.

Vicki: Is there any way that you help kids learn to focus, besides just saying, “focus”?

Michael: Sure! I build in some intentional tasks. You know I do a gamified class, which I obviously love. (laughs)

Vicki: (agrees and laughs)

A Challenging (and Perhaps Controversial) Way to Teach Resilience

Michael: At the beginning of the year, I do a training camp so they understand my rules in the class, they understand the subject matter, and they also understand my gamified classroom. What I did in that training camp was build in activities that tested them on these words so that we could apply them, and then we could debrief and talk about these words.

My favorite story was about the word “resilience.” In the training camp, they had to use these Kapla blocks to build these ever-growing structures. Halfway through build time, there’s a giant clock on the wall, and it’s ticking down. They’ve got to do this, they’ve got to meet this requirement. I took out a golf club and went around and I knocked down everybody’s builds.

Vicki: (laughs)

Michael: These blocks don’t snap together. It’s like Jenga blocks. They were like, “What are you doing?!??!”

And I just leaned in, and I said, “What’s the goal here?”

And they were like, “Resilience!”

And they got back to it. And when we debriefed it, a lot of the kids used other words, too. They said, “WHile this was teaching us resilience, we wanted to be frustrated that we got knocked back down to Square One, it required us to apply our best efforts to be extra focused because we only had half the time to meet the build requirements!”

Vicki: (agrees)

Right? And it was just awesome to see them live through that and learn from that and grow from that and feel what it feels like to reset, but still have all the same pressures of the due date requirements.

Vicki: It kind of blows their mind to have a teacher do that, because yeah, we want to be supportive and encouraging. But the simple fact that you knocked their blocks down — “OK, he’s here to teach us something.” Sometimes it may be hard or frustrating, huh?

Michael: Yeah, they did not see that one coming. And at the end of that lesson, I always have to tell them, “I’m never going to do that again.”

Vicki: (laughs)

Michael: I have group build challenges throughout the year, and the next two build challenges they sort of hover over their building as if I’m going to knock it over.

Vicki: They’re looking for the golf club, huh?

Michael: They are. “Aww, man! He’s going in his closet. Watch out!”

Vicki: So teachers, we’ve talked about keys to purpose-driven learning. Michael Matera is a “must follow.” I remember when I first learned about his realm of nobles and how he’s completely gamified his whole classroom. I do this completely in my keyboarding. I am the Game Master in that particular class, and it’s so powerful and it’s so exciting.

But this… Being intentional… Intentionally choosing your words… I’ve even seen some research on the importance with SEL (social-emotional learning) of schoolwide, selecting the same choices of words, and the power it has when you’re consistent in reinforcing the kinds of things that we really believe are very important for student to learn.

Thank you, Michael, for being with us!

Michael: No problem! It’s my pleasure, Vicki. Anytime. Happy to share.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Michael Matera is a middle school teacher, author of Explore Like a Pirate and Speaker


. As a gamification guru and moonshot thinker, Michael transforms the traditional classroom into a high-energy environment where active student engagement is paramount. Helping educators learn about the power of a gamified immersive learning environment is Michael’s passion. Learn more and connect with Michael to come to your school or event on Explorelikeapirate.com

Blog: Explore Like A Pirate

Twitter: @mrmatera

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

The post 10 Keys of Purpose Driven Learning 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/e186/

5 Reasons to Try a Whole Novel Approach in Your Classroom

Ariel Sacks on episode 185 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Ariel Sacks, author of Whole Novels for the Whole Class, shares five reasons to try a whole novel approach. She also explains how this approach works and some advantages for teachers.

Today’s Sponsor: WriQ from Texthelp is a new FREE Add-on for Google Docs that helps teachers easily assess student writing and track progress over time by automatically scoring students’ spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It also incorporates rubrics so teachers can provide meaningful, qualitative feedback to encourage the writing journey.
This handy free Google Docs add-on tracks things like: time spent writing, spelling-grammar-and punctuation error rates and pulls it into a clear graphical view in your teacher dashboard. To learn more about Wriq go to www.texthelp.com/wriq

Listen Now

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

5 Reasons to Try a Whole Novel Approach in Your Classroom

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e185
From Audio File 185-Ariel-Sacks

Vicki: Today we are talking to Ariel Sacks about Five Reasons to Try a Whole Novel Approach in the Classroom.

Now she does have a book on this topic, and I know that you’ll probably find it intriguing. So Ariel, help us understand — what is a whole novel approach?

What is a Whole Novel Approach?

Ariel: Ok, so the whole novel approach is really kind of like a workshop approach to a whole class novel study.

Instead of the teacher leading the students through all of the novels, bit by bit, students receive the novel, they receive the schedule, and then they receive a lot of individualized support to actually read the book independently. Or partners or small groups, kind of depending on the needs of the students.

So some students will finish way ahead of the deadline and some students will really use every moment of it, perhaps listening to it on audio.

Then when students finish at the deadline… We meet up, and we come together for student-driven discussion, where the students decide what we talk about.

We go back into the text. We re-read sections together. We investigate it and get to a deeper meaning, in all the ways that are wonderful about class discussions and whole class novel study. But it is really different because the teacher moves into a facilitator roll.

How do You Motivate Students to Read with This Approach?

Vicki: So what do you say to those who say, “They won’t read a chapter! How are they going to read a whole novel?”

Ariel: Right. So, I do get that question a lot.

Once you switch the focus to the students-supporting-students reading process, and really conferencing with them and being very open about where each student is a reader, and giving them the support that they need… They do read!

And they read much more than when the teacher is front and center. And the students can rely on the teacher to do the reading and interpreting for them. But those supports are really key to making sure that students do their reading.

Vicki: So what’s your first reason to try a whole novel approach in your classroom?

Reason #1 to Try a Whole Novel Approach: You’re Tired of the Traditional Model of Teaching Literature

Ariel: My first reason is just maybe you’re just sick of that traditional whole class novel study.

There’s so much wonderful work being done out there with choice reading, genius hour, project based learning.

And then, maybe you love whole class novels because there are really amazing things that can happen when a group of students reads together.

But you go back to teaching a whole class novel and it’s back to the traditional. And you find yourself bored. So you want to try something different.

Vicki: It’s a new way, so we can try something different and see how it works!

Reason #2: You Are Struggling to Have Enough Time for All of Your Novels

Okay, what’s the second reason?

Ariel: The second reason is time.

One of the big pitfalls of the traditional whole class novel study is that eat an entire marking period.

When teachers feel that students need to grasp every point that they see in the novel, and the teachers need to oversee that and help them through that bit by bit. It takes forever!

So that can lead to burnout, and when I say “burnout.” I mean getting burned out on that particular book.

So by the time it is finished, you never want to look at it again. But also, you’re not reading enough books throughout the year. You get the feeling that kids are stagnating.

Then when students finish at the deadline… Okay, so you can go faster. What else?

Reason #3: You Want More “Real” Reading

Ariel: Well, my next reason is you want more real reading.

So we kind of touched on this before, but I do think in the traditional model there is a lot of “fake reading” that happens.

Students will look for the answers to the teacher’s questions in the text, but they’re not actually reading through the text. They’re not actually experiencing it.

Another thing that happens — even for the student that is reading along and doing exactly what the teacher is asking for — sometimes the experience gets really chopped up. So it’s taking way too long, and it’s almost (I’ve actually had students tell me this) — It almost becomes hard to pay attention to the story, because they’re doing so much, in addition to actually reading. With the whole novel process, they’re really privileging that story experience. And trying to support that.

Vicki: That makes sense! I remember reading Jane Eyre in high school. Fantastic teacher, but I got so into it that I read it in three days. And then it was (discussed for) another eight weeks. It almost made me not like the book — except I liked it so much.

What’s next?

Reason #4: To Bring in More Student Voice and Agency

Ariel: So, next is student voice, for teachers who want a classroom that really welcomes student voice and gives students a lot of agency in their learning.

Students have voice in how they respond to the novel. They decide what’s important in the text. We do this through a very open forum of annotating during the reading process.

And then when it comes to those discussions which happen after all the students finished the reading, those are entirely student-driven so I do put on a facilitator role. It’s not a Socratic seminar where I sit back and just watch it unfold. But they’re deciding what we’re going to talk about. It’s really powerful.

Vicki: So you’re there, deciding what you’re going to talk about?

How Do We Direct the Conversation to Cover the Content When Students Are Leading?

So let’s say you’re an AP teacher, and you know that certain things are going to be on the AP test.

How do you direct the conversation, when you know there are certain things that need to be covered? Or do you let them have the conversation, and then redirect them?

Ariel: I definitely start by letting them have the conversation.

I think it’s really important for them to feel what happens when they have that power.

Nine times out of ten, let’s say I’m doing several discussions with different classes throughout a day. So every discussion begins in a different place.

But nine times out of ten, because of the power of the book itself and the literature, they will find themselves going to some of the same places in a natural way.

And if they don’t — if there are things that I know are really key — I do have tricks to have them pay attention to something. But (I do this) without really taking away from them — without jumping right into it and without taking away that experience.

Vicki: Ok, what’s our fifth?

Reason #5: to Have Fun

Ariel: The fifth is fun. It’s not boring. I can actually read the same text with students many years in a row, with many different classes. And every time different things come out of it.

Even though I said the literature will lead students in certain directions, the shape of those discussions are unique every single time.

Also, who kind of “comes out of the woodwork” in those discussions is really interesting.

We do it in half groups, so every student gets a more intimate experience.

So it’s a task for class, and every student gets more talking time. And the students that were empowered by the actual, authentic reading experience and come prepared for the discussion will speak way more than they may normally speak in class.

And they will share ideas with their classmates and amazing connections and moments come out of that. So it’s stays fresh. And that is because of the students.

Vicki: Ariel, tell us the title of your book.

Ariel: The title of the book is Whole Novels for the Whole Class: A Student Centered Approach.

Vicki: Okay, and we’ll link to it in the show notes because there are lots more ideas about how to do that.

You know, it’s hard to cover in ten minutes, but there are tricks and tips for facilitating conversations for helping kids read.

And if all you do is the traditional version, why not try the whole novel approach?

You might be surprised.

Bio as submitted


Ariel Sacks (arielsacks.com) has thirteen years of experience as a teacher of English Language Arts in New York City public schools in grades seven through nine. She writes about teaching and education issues on her blog at Education Week (http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/whole_story/), and supports teachers around the world to implement student-centered methods, most notably the whole novels approach. She is the author of Whole Novels For the Whole Class: A Student Centered Approach (arielsacks.com/book). She is a co-author of Teaching 2030: What We Must Do For Our Public Schools–Now and in the Future, and was featured in the book Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead Without Leaving.

She studied progressive pedagogy at Bank Street College of Education, where her mentor and longtime collaborator, Madeleine Ray, first introduced her to the whole novel concept. She is a member of the CTQ Collaboratory (www.teachingquality.org) and an advocate for teacher voice in education and leadership of the profession.

Blog: arielsacks.com

Twitter: @arielsacks

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

The post 5 Reasons to Try a Whole Novel Approach in Your Classroom 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/e185/

How to Build Great Teachers

Dan Brown on episode 184 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dan Brown talks about practical things we can do to help build great teachers. From best practices to policy, Dan shares what works (and some of what doesn’t.) If you’re in preservice education or work with teacher professional development, this podcast episode has some fantastic tips.

Today’s Sponsor: WriQ from Texthelp is a new FREE Add-on for Google Docs that helps teachers easily assess student writing and track progress over time by automatically scoring students’ spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It also incorporates rubrics so teachers can provide meaningful, qualitative feedback to encourage the writing journey.
This handy free Google Docs add-on tracks things like: time spent writing, spelling-grammar-and punctuation error rates and pulls it into a clear graphical view in your teacher dashboard. To learn more about Wriq go to www.texthelp.com/wriq

Listen Now

//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5901904/height/90/theme/custom/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/2d568f/

 

 

 

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

How to Build Great Teachers

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e184

Vicki: How do we build great teachers? Today we are talking with thought leader Dan Brown about this topic. Dan, how do we build great teachers?

How do we build great teachers?

Dan: Building a great teacher takes a village. And it takes a lot of time. I think any kind of instant remedies or quick fixes or “three steps to being great teacher” type of guidance is kind of dangerous.

Teaching is such a complex job; it is really professional work. It requires a really serious body of crafts, knowledge, and skills. Starting early with educators helping high school students explore teaching — I think is really valuable, but anyone at any point when they are starting their journey should really be grounding their practice.

(They need to be) getting a lot of clinical hands-on experience, being grounded in best research, and really taking a seriously that it is a long journey before you are able to be that exemplary teacher that you’ve always dreamed to be.

Vicki: It really is a journey. So when you have that teaching certificate, and when you graduate – you do not necessarily have the great teacher standpoint yet, do you?

The disservice schools do to rookie teachers

Dan: Definitely not.

It can be tricky because in a lot of schools, rookie teachers are given the exact same workload or course load as a 30-year veteran. So they may feel like they have to perform at that level of an accomplished, experienced teacher.

And of course, their toolbox of skills and knowledge and experience is just starting to be built. No, there should be a quest as a lifelong learner, and a willingness to seek out constructive criticism and to build a network of critical friends and to really seek to be transparent about your own practice, and (to find out) how you can get better.

And celebrate your successes!

Vicki: But you know Dan, in a lot of schools, the rookie teachers actually get the worst classes.

Sink or swim is not a good way to orient new teachers

Dan: Yeah, that’s a real kind of pervasive, unfortunate “trial by fire” concept that is out there where rookie teachers maybe kind of looked at as “sink or swim” or “meat to the grinder”… Pick your idiom of not really being valued out of the gate as prized community assets.

And it is a challenge! That’s why when folks are looking for their first teaching job, it’s essential to scout the principal. Make sure you’re going into a functional environment where you have a principal to really help nurture your development and not push you into the toughest possible context when you’re the least experienced.

Vicki: Ah, we could talk about that forever — because how do you tell if there’s a functional environment? Because sometimes some people talk a good game.

How can you tell if a school is a good environment?

Dan: It’s true, it’s true. It’s hard to tell from the internet how a school’s environment and culture really is. You have to ask really probing questions. You have to try to get candid opinions from folks that work at the school — or who have worked at the school, maybe outside of the formal interview process.

And then, really trust your instincts when you do meet with that school leader. If your radar is pinging that something is really kind of off here, don’t look past it.

Vicki: How can we help teachers? Because when you build a great teacher, aren’t you constantly building and rebuilding yourself?

Do we have options so great teachers don’t have to leave the classroom?

Dan: Yes, definitely. And teaching needs to have more sort of ladders and lattices within the profession so that teachers can lead without leaving.

I mean a lot of times, the only opportunity for a promotion from being a classroom teacher is to leave classroom teaching altogether.

So this is where the Center for Teaching Quality has done great work on teacher leadership, advancing the concept of “teacherpreneurs,” and hybrid roles.

There are more and more states and districts that are looking at how to divvy up teachers‘ time and responsibilities so that they’re not every single year loaded up with the exact same course load, same number of preps.

Because absolutely people burn out.

There’s research about how that career arc can really plateau five-plus years in — unless you give people the opportunity to really activate their passion and spread their instructional expertise and their skills.

Vicki: So let’s back up. We’ve talked about the fact that we need to keep learning. We’ve talked about when you get out of college, you’re not quite there yet and you need to be in the classroom. But how can colleges do a better job of preparing successful teachers?

How can colleges prepare better teachers?

Dan: This is controversial, but I really support the EdTPA, which is a performance-based assessment.

It’s like a mini National Board Certification portfolio that a number of states are requiring students to use to demonstrate their competence on where they can demonstrate evidence — videos of yourself during student teaching.

And it’s scored by accomplished assessors. It’s kind of like a bar exam for teaching.

I think as colleges of teacher education can embrace this concept of the profession having an independent verifier of, “Yes you’re ready.” I think that may help raise the bar for ensuring that instruction that happens at the college of teacher education is really practical, relevant, and clinical based.

Vicki: Why do you think this is so controversial? Is it because college professors don’t want anybody looking over their shoulder? They don’t want the accountability that the teachers in the classroom have right now also?

Why is EdTPA so controversial?

Dan: Yeah, I think for a long time colleges and universities have been fiefdoms of deciding who is going forward into the teaching profession. So this would be an outside arbiter, which infringes on turf issues and can be threatening to some.

And there’s expense. Becoming a licensed teacher? There’s a lot of cost for licensure exams and this also costs money. In some places, it is underwritten by third parties, but it’s tough for young people that want to be teachers to be taking on debt.

There are policy solutions to that. I don’t think aspiring public servants should have to pay out of pocket. Certainly, in high achieving countries outside of the US, aspiring teachers don’t have to have to take on debt. Their education is subsidized but EdTPA; there is a cost to do it which invites pushback.

Vicki: Well, and you know (something that) we teachers are talking about all the time is that you can’t really measure knowledge from a test.

I would argue you really can’t measure whether somebody can teach — from a test. Would you?

Dan: Not a paper test, no.

And I mean, and EdTPA is one instrument, but this is a portfolio-based assessment where you’re submitting lesson plans, videos or tapes of yourself teaching, reflective commentary, artifacts that you’ve cultivated from your student teaching, scored against a really rigorous professional rubric.

Yeah, one assessment would never be holistic enough to encompass all of what teaching involves. But I think it is one key piece of raising the bar for the profession — helping to grow teachers that have that baseline of competence on Day One. I think this is one part of that puzzle.

Vicki: Yeah. The whole point is that it’s not just a test, it’s performance-based, right?

Ben: Precisely.

Vicki: As we finish up, Dan, we’ve covered a lot of bases here on how to build great teachers.

Could you give a 30-second or one-minute pep talk to those whose job it is — whether they’re curriculum director or principal at a school who’s trying to help teachers become better, or a college professor who is really trying to help teachers become better… What do they need to be doing to help great amazing teachers?

How to help new teachers stay in teaching

Ben: Sure. Overwhelmingly, there’s really compelling market research that what young people in early career professionals want most out of their job is impact. Of course, teaching supplies that.

And then there’s NEA research that says that the number one reason that people join teaching — and the number one reason they stay in teaching year after year — is to work with young people.

So that craving to have an impact and to work closely with young people is at the core of what fires up people who want to teach.

So we have to ensure that those opportunities are facilitated when preservice and early service teachers, that they get to have moments of success. They want to do a good job.

They may feel overwhelmed by the work, but to be able to facilitate and celebrate successful early moments — no matter how small. This creates rocket fuel for those young, developing teachers.

It can be a real grind being a new teacher! You feel overwhelmed. You feel like a failure. So anything that veterans and nurturers of the village can do to help those early career teachers really “see” and “dissect and understand” their moments of success and promise and potential, I think, will fire them up to believe in their ability to earn that impact and go forward and be great for the long term.

Vicki: And that’s so very true because I think back on my first day of teaching.

I didn’t come to teaching from the teaching side, I came from the business world, but my mom and my sister were teachers.

At the end of my first day, they brought me prizes. It was like a card and some other goodies to celebrate.

It was like, “You made it through the end of your first day! We’re so excited for you!”

And it was like … I felt like doing the touchdown sign because they made me feel victorious that I had done something that was very hard and very overwhelming. But they celebrated that!

I love the idea, “Celebrate the small wins with new teachers.” I think that this is something that all of us at our schools should ask ourselves. “Are we helping our new teachers celebrate those small wins?”

Dan: Precisely. And that celebration that they provided for you your first day you remember all these years later! It made a big difference!

Vicki: Fifteen years later. In fact, I don’t know if I would have stayed if I hadn’t had all that encouragement the first year because I think that every mistake in the book? I made it. (And even some not in the book that I will not admit to.)

Dan: There’s a great report from TNTP from four or five years ago called “The Irreplaceables.”

It’s about how just even a small gesture to give a “thumbs up” to a hard working teacher can be the difference between their leaving and staying.

Vicki: Love that. So teachers, we have encouragement to help build great teachers. All of us can help build great teachers — because we can all encourage other teachers. And that is remarkable!

Bio as submitted


Dan Brown is Co-Director of Educators Rising and a National Board Certified Teacher. He lives in Maryland and serves as Vice President of his local public school’s PTA.

Blog: Educators Rising

Twitter: @DanBrownTeacher

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

The post How to Build Great Teachers 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/e184/

Grit in the Classroom

Laila Sanguras on episode 183 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Laila Sanguras, author of Grit in the Classroom, defines grit, shares the misinformation about grit, and talks about developing it in our students.

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

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Enhanced Transcript

Grit in the Classroom

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e183

From Audio 183-Laila-Sangura

Vicki: Today we are talking with Laila Sanguras about Grit in the Classroom.She has a book by the same name and subtitled Building Perseverance for Excellence in today’s classroom. Now, Laila, grit is a term that is used a lot. And some might say it’s overused. But how do you define grit?

The Definition of Grit

Laila: So grit is a combination of passion and perseverance. Most of the time when we think about grit we think about stick-to-it-ness. So, someone sticks to a certain thing, they don’t give up, they just keep working and pushing. Which is definitely the perseverance part.

But what is also really important to keep in mind is the passion. If you think about facing an obstacle it’s the passion that gets you to recognize and then overcome that obstacle. Without the passion or the why behind the direction you are likely to give up. So the two are really important to keep in mind and to focus on in the classroom.

Vicki: And I’ve lived and know this. I remember my first day at Georgia Tech somebody accused me of being at Georgia Tech to get my MRS degree. And it made me very angry. And my motto became, ”I may not be smarter but I can work harder.“ And I guess in some ways would that be grit?

Laila: Yes. Cause you have the determination to prove people wrong. So that was your passion and your why. And really one of the great things Angela Duckworth is a psychologist who has made Grit much more of a well-known term.

And she has done a lot of research and has found that effort counts twice in someone’s success. So, if you think about, you have your ability, your natural talents, that we all come to the table with but it’s the effort that if you think about an equation – effort is squared in that equation with the outcome being achievement or success. So, one of the great and powerful things about grit is that if we’re focusing on the effort, the passion and perseverance, then we can really have a great impact on our students‘ achievement and success and the outcome. We can’t control how they come to us but we can absolutely control what they do when they get into our classrooms. Motivate them so they continue to set high goals for themselves.

Vicki: Have you ever seen the term grit misused and it kinda made you groan?

Is the term grit misused?

Laila: Yes, well actually I’ve seen I think what it’s troublesome about it is that people want a magic key or some solution that’s going to solve all of our problems. And that doesn’t exist. Teaching is a very complicated endeavor. So, the critiques that I’ve seen about grit are that it doesn’t solve the problem.

So what happens when you have a student who really comes from a difficult home and comes to us with all these challenges. We can’t just use this method of instilling passion and perseverance in that child to help them be successful. Really, we can, it’s just going to take some other things in addition to that, just like we would normally. I think my main problem with the critiques of grit are that they are too narrowly focused on that this is going to fix everything. If we just do these things then everything’s gonna be okay. But it is much more complicated than that.

How do we build perseverance in our classrooms?

Vicki: So, how do we build perseverance in the classroom? How can we use the language to help kids who struggle because sometimes in the Google Generation, if they can’t find it in one quick search some kids want to give up.

Laila: Right. It really comes from purposeful practice. So, creating and it also comes from celebrating and looking at failure as a data point rather than a descriptor of yourself. For example, I work with a lot of students who really struggle with their identities. If they were always seen as the girl who was really good at math and then all of a sudden she struggles. She didn’t really know who she was anymore. And so, by thinking and teaching her that her identity isn’t wrapped up in just this ability or this test score, it really is more about what you do when you struggle and you fail and you overcome that obstacle. She’s going to be more successful. I think if we can get our students to see that and also parents will see that.

We don’t want to celebrate failure and talk about it like a good thing. But it is what it is. You accomplish this, which may be short of the goal. But we are going to now figure out and problem solve to get you to the next level. It’s sort of this constant moving system of towards the highest level of achievement that a student can reach.

Vicki: Life is full of problems and sometimes when you have a great big problem, you have a great big opportunity to write an amazing story with your life. Because we all have problems, right?

This definition of grit by a student of mine is a great one.

How to view problems

Laila: Right. And I think in my experience schools understand the necessity for perseverance. And this need for designing learning experiences that challenge students. We support and scaffold them to be successful. But I think we have fallen short on the passion side somewhat because we need to spend more time really focusing on curiosity and interest so that we can get students to get closer to that why.

For example, you may not think that … I did not like science. I went through most of my schooling thinking science was just about me checking off these boxes and getting through the class so I wouldn’t have to take that class anymore. I would have been better served if my teachers had at least piqued my curiosity in some way. I think if we can design our classrooms where we are constantly curious. T

hinking like three and four-year-olds, how they just have tons and tons of questions about everything. We sorta of teach that out of our students as they get older. Combine that with technology .. and if they’re not doing something on their phones and getting friends to respond to a text or a Snapchat then they think they are bored. Their minds shut down until they wait for the next prompt. We have to reteach them to notice … to explore the wonder in the world. So they can make those connections between themselves and content they don’t necessarily like all that much.

Vicki: As we finish up, Laila, could you give us a thirty-second pep talk to motivate us to really help build grit in our students?

How we can get motivated to promote grit in our students

Laila: Yes. So our students, we want to set high expectations for them. And we can …they will do whatever we ask of them as long as we do two things. We show them that we know what we’re doing and we do. And if we don’t, we will research and we’ll study and we’ll learn before they do.

And then the other thing is that we care about them. And we care about them being successful. We want them to achieve and do great things beyond our classroom walls. I think it comes down to those two things. Knowing what we’re doing and visibly caring about our students and instilling hope in them.

Vicki: And grit is a tricky thing. You can’t say just have grit. You have to …First of all as a teacher, you have to have it yourself. If you’re impatiently saying, have grit, then you might not be having it yourself as a teacher. This is not an easy topic … this is not a quick fix. But it is an indicator of success to learn how to persevere.

Especially because we all have those days we struggle, we all have those days where we feel like we want to quit whether we’re a teacher or we’re a student. The book is Grit in the Classroom and the author is Laila Sanguras. We’ll link to it in the show notes. As you think about your week, think about teaching that persistence and that passion.

Bio as submitted


The author of Grit in the Classroom: Building Perseverance for Excellence in Today’s Students, Laila is driven to inspire, energize, and empower teachers.

Blog: And Still We Teach

Twitter: @LailaSanguras

 

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

The post Grit in the Classroom 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/e183/