Teaching strategies is a topic I give a lot of thought to. Hattie’s Visible Learning and effect size is getting much of my attention as of late. The FIT teaching approach as a framework for growth and leadership piques my curiosity. Carol Dwerks’s Mindsets make mind sense. And, the teachers throwing out grades (#ttog) movement has me focused on feedback versus letter grades.
I know the I have been negligent in keeping up with my blog, but (you knew a but had to be coming) I have been spending the time with my family, my students, and my curriculum. Some of you may have even wondered, where did he disappear to?
While at my son’s baseball game last night, I was able to jump on Twitter and interact a bit and to look through my Flipboard aggregator. I had to step back from Twitter chats for a while because, well, I was buying too many books and trying to filter through and process too many great ideas. Gamifying classrooms, eXPlore Like a Pirate, blended learning, Ditch Textbook, Learn Like a Pirate, grading, not grading, feedback, badges, personalized learning, embedded assessment, formative assessment, summative assessment, project based learning, innovation, HyperDocs, and mindsets in the classroom are all ideas I am trying to wrap my mind around. Oh, and let’s not forget that I also teach high school theology, college and careers, computer science principals, and junior high religion!
Quite a while back I began Shelly Sanchez Terrell‘s The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform your Teaching (I carry the book with me everywhere Shelly). I have been so busy that I tend to look at the cover and sigh, saying, “I will get back around to you one of these days.” Well today is the day! And I am going to Blog about it. My posts might not be real lengthy, but I hope to cause you, dear reader, to pause and think. Think about how we can become the best darn teachers in the world for the world’s best kids.
As part of exercise 2, I am creating goals and my teaching manifesto. I’m not sure of being at the manifesto part yet, but I do have goals. I used a tool called Buncee to create the stunning visual below. I also have a copy posted in my classroom for all to see. What are your goals for this school year?
Back in college we didn’t really have any textbooks that I can recall ever buying or reading that really focused on how people learn. I recently came upon the following articles in my Flipboard feed;
The Internet Makes Us Stupid and Here’s Why, We Need to Rewrite the Textbook on How to Teach Teachers, and How Has Google Affected the Way Students Learn? These all helped to lead me to the following documents:
- Deans for Impact (2015). The Science of Learning. Austin, TX: Deans for Impact.
- National Council on Teacher Quality (2016). Learning About Learning: What Every New Teacher Needs to Know.
- Behnke, Rachel. The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction: A Guide for Administrators. TCEC Conference.
It’s a good thing that I took a break from social media for a month. There were so many things that I did with my family and moving two households into one place was just the most recent event. Yes, I have bruises from carrying boxes and household items and I have muscles screaming that I didn’t even know I had, but the move is over. Finally, after two years, my wife and kids and I are living in one place, in Iowa.
What was being off social media for a month like? At first it was freeing. I felt like I had more time, which I didn’t have because I’ve been taking two online classes, one that ends this week and one that ends the day school starts on August 24th. I found that I couldn’t keep away from my Flipboard account which is where I get most of my news and where I curate information into a dozen magazines. I didn’t turn my notifications off so I did notice the constant stream of my Twitter feed popping up on my iPhone. I read a lot for pleasure, tried out some new iPhone games (including one called Ingress which is location based and entails getting outside and capturing virtual portals), and I colored. Yes, that last one was coloring. I bought an adult coloring book Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book, a set of colored pencils, and spent some time coloring. No, I’m not trying to reclaim my lost childhood, I have read a number of articles about coloring helping keep stress levels low so I gave it a try. I find that when I color I am so focused on staying inside the lines and preoccupied with my color selection that my mind does not wander to the daily stressors of my life!
My daughter has been running with other kids from her cross country team this past week so I was at school from 7 AM until 8:30 or 9 AM all last week. This week she begins two a days that start at 6 AM and 6 PM and we’ll throw in a drama camp at 3 PM. It will feel like being at school full-time.
Where do I stand as of today? I have about 400 Voxer group messages, I have been peeking at my Twitter feed and occasionally favoriting tweets and even retweeting the past couple of days. I have to learn my routine again which means setting aside time for things like blogging and participating in chats. It was really difficult to stay away from chats. I looked at my notifications about every third day just to make sure I wan’t getting trolls into my feed.
I miss my friends. As many of you may know, I don’t have a lot of friends IRL, so being away from my friends on Twitter and Voxer was really trying on me. I’m an introvert at heart, but I love all the friends I have made via social media. I saw quite a few items come across yesterday from Shelly Sanchez (@ShellTerrell), Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler), Robert Schuetz (@robert_schuetz), Andrea Kornowski (@andreakornowski), Aaron Maurer (@coffeechugbooks), Mark Barnes (@markbarnes19), Darin Johnston (@AnIowaTeacher), and the always early riser Joy Kirr (@JoyKirr) and I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic that I would be joining in their conversations again and tapping into their expertise.
Now, do I try to get through all those Voxer messages or do I mark them them all read and begin anew?
Excellent list of education blogs. By our colleague Ross Cooper. Blogs I Follow.
Looking to up your game, keep up to date with current trends and research, or develop professionally? Well, look no further because these 25 books are on fire. Quick reads with a plethora of opportunities to step out of your comfort zone into a world of meaningful learning. All of these authors practice what they preach and every one of them is personally approachable and helpful.
Don’t wait for the beginning of next school year! Add some personalized PD to your summer months. You cannot go wrong with these 😎 Please add your summer books to the list in the comments!
Anderson, Mark, and Jackie Beere. Perfect ICT Every Lesson. New York: Crown House, 2013. Print. Save to EasyBib
Barnes, Mark. Assessment 3.0: Throw out Your Grade Book and Inspire Learning. Print. Save to EasyBib
Barnes, Mark. Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-centered Classroom. Print.
Bender, William N. Project-based Learning: Differentiating Instruction for the 21st Century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2012. Print.
Bonk, Curtis Jay. The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Print.
Clarke, John H. Personalized Learning: Student-designed Pathways to High School Graduation. Print.
Davis, Vicki A. Reinventing Writing. the 9 Tools That Are Changing Writing, Learning, and Living. New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Dueck, Myron. Grading Smarter, Not Harder: Assessment Strategies That Motivate Kids and Help Them Learn. Print.
Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success:. New York: Ballantine, 2008. Print.
Ferlazzo, Larry. Building a Community of Self-motivated Learners: Strategies to Help Students Thrive in School and beyond. Print.
Gee, James Paul. The Anti-education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning. Print.
Grant, Peggy. Personalized Learning: A Guide for Engaging Students with Technology. Print.
Gray, David, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo. Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly, 2010. Print.
Hirumi, Atsusi. Online and Hybrid Learning Trends and Technologies. Print.
Horn, Michael B., Heather Staker, and Clayton M. Christensen. Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools. Print.
Keeler, Alice and Miller, Libbi. 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom. Print.
Miller, Matt. Ditch That Textbook: Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom. Print.
Meloy, Judith M. Writing the Qualitative Dissertation: Understanding by Doing. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002. Print.
Ricci, Mary Cay. Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools. Print.
Solarz, Paul. Learn like a Pirate: Empower Your Students to Collaborate, Lead, and Succeed. Print.
Stumpenhorst, Josh. The New Teacher Revolution: Changing Education for a New Generation of Learners. Print.
Terrell, Shelly Sanchez. The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching. Print.
Tucker, Catlin R. Blended Learning in Grades 4-12: Leveraging the Power of Technology to Create Student-centered Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2012. Print.
Wettrick, Don. Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level. Print
Please add your summer books to the list in the comments!
You have probably seen the teacher countdowns to the end of the school year. You may have seen or discussed plans for summer vacations. Now taking a break in the form of a vacation is important, but recognize that teachers don’t get the summer off!
For all of you new teachers or pre-service teachers, let’s hope you aren’t joining the profession for June, July, and August. I will give you a little insight into this teacher’s plans for summer. A little backstory here, I have taught off and on since 1995 and my background is in the social sciences. I was hired this past school year to teach theology, religion, college and careers, and mobile computer science principals (MCSP).
Every content area was new to me, the building and staff were new, and the culture/traditions were new. Needless to say, it has been just like being a new teacher again.
At my school we have finals next week and the school year officially ends May 28th. Woo Hoo! Schools out for summer……. Not really.
I have already been researching and planning differently for next year. One of the online summer courses I’m taking is already running with assignments due NEXT WEEK! I also have a six week online course to help me prepare for the mobile computer science principals class. There goes 1/2 of June and all of July. If that isn’t enough, I will spend another four weeks online from the last week of July until mid August. So that’s six credits over the summer and I will get a stipend instead of credits for MCSP.
What time is left? Time for moving my family to the area, setting up accounts, and maybe a day or two at a water park. I’m not complaining either, I just want people (especially people outside of education) to know that all summer is NOT a huge vacation in the life of a teacher!
What should we do to make even the small moments of time we have left with our students meaningful? How can we re-charge and motivate ourselves and our students to end the school year strong? I feel as though I have been flying by the seat of my pants all year and now I want to end strong.
This is my first full-year back in the classroom after a five year hiatus and I want to end the year with excitement for me and my students. They don’t want to read any more, they don’t want to do vocabulary or discuss religion any more. It seems as though the kids’ heads are already in summer vacation mode. It feels like pulling teeth just waiting for them to respond.
What will motivate us for the next three weeks so that we can end the school year strong?
What would happen to society if all our electronic devices failed? I’m not talking about just for a few hours or days but what if it was months or years? What if our electronic infrastructure was attacked, or began to fail as rapidly as it arose? No, I’m not a defeatist or a doomsayer. I genuinely wonder what would happen?
I’ve talked to more than a few teachers recently who have used this argument as justification for supporting the argument that kids need to know some basic information in areas like history, English, math, and science? What happens if we throw out the textbooks and we put our faith in web based or cloud based materials?
I think that these are reasonable questions and I confess that I don’t have a good answer to them. I also remember an old saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
I’ve been trying to get people to join in a new Twitter chat that I started a few weeks ago and I have heard all kinds of excuses.
Here’s another, “You want to get together and talk, let’s pick a night and do that instead of banging some keys and staring at screens.”
And another, “here comes that techno geek who doesn’t even know what’s going on in the world.”
Because I use technology to try and become a better teacher and person, I have to put up with quite a few snide remarks from colleagues that have it all figured out. Sometimes I wish I had it all figured out. Sometimes I wish I had no knowledge of the impact that technology can have on teaching, learning, and connecting myself and my students to a global audience.
I have even been told to just be myself, to forget what other teachers are doing in their classrooms. Quit reading “Teach Like a Pirate.” Quit reading blog posts. Quit Tweeting, Googleing, and all that social media stuff. Just quit trying to be someone you’re not.
The thing is, I’m not trying to be someone else, I’m trying to become a better teacher and person by learning from others successes and failures. And I’m trying to transcend mediocrity. I feel that if I’m not learning then I’m not improving. If I’m not engaged with what’s happening in the field of education then I will have to work harder to catch up in a few years.
What would happen if I just closed my classroom door, assigned textbook readings, lectured, and then threw in a quiz here and a test there? What if I closed my classroom door and did whatever I wanted because, “unless parents or students are complaining you can do whatever you want.”
What if I bought into the philosophy that I’m going to do what’s best for me because the students and parents are ungrateful toward teachers and I don’t get paid enough to put up with this crap?
Would anyone really care as long as I kept out of their hair and didn’t ruffle any feathers?<p/>
I would care.
What would we do if the lights went out?