Results 1 - 20 of 118

118 Search Results for "Calico Rock"

  • Leah_Van_Tol

    • ASCD EDge Member
    • Points:250
    • Views: 32
    • Since: 6 days ago
    • Not yet rated
  • 15 of Our Favorite Brain Break 15 of Our Favorite Brain Breaks for Students

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      brain breaksIf you’re not familiar with them, brain breaks are short activities that offer students a reprieve from routine learning activities. Not only are brain breaks fun, they’re a simple way to refocus students’ energy and get them back on track.

      We shared a collection of brain breaks back in December, but thanks to Liz over at The Happy Teacher our list has grown considerably.

      1. Crab Walk around the Room: Put on a song and have students walk in the crab position around the room. At some point, have students go in reverse.

      2. Doodle Time: Give students some blank paper and markers and let them doodle and talk for five minutes.

      3. Dance Party: Turn on the radio and let students dance until the song ends.

      4. Tic-Tac-Toe: Give students some blank paper to play tic-tac-toe with a friend. It’s a simple game that won’t cause a mess or a distraction for your neighbors!

      5. 50 Jumping Jacks: Get students’ heart rates up with this quick physical exercise.

      6. Heads Up, 7-Up: Another classic that is easy and exciting for students!

      7. Stretching: Choose a student to come up and lead a minute of stretching.  Most students know various stretches from gym class and will enjoy leading their peers!

      8. Pantomime: Choose a student to act out an activity without talking.  The class must mimic the leader and then guess what the activity is (swimming, flying, sleeping, laughing, jogging, singing, etc.).

      9. Mirror-Mirror: Have students pair up and mirror the actions of their partner. Students will get a kick out of this activity!

      10. Thumb Wrestling: Have students choose a partner and participate in some old-fashioned thumb wrestling. Be sure to establish your expectations before this little brain break. 

      11. Rock, Paper, Scissors: Have students partner up for five rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winners get a high five from their partner.

      12. Sky Writing: Have students “sky write” their ABCs, sight words, spelling words, or a secret message to their friend. 

      13. Air Band:  Choose an "air" instrument and "rock out!"  Drums, guitar, and saxophone are my personal favorites.

      14.  Silent Yoga:  Strike a yoga pose and see how long your students can hold it. Google "Kid Yoga" for some easy examples.

      15. Desk Switch: Give your students 10 seconds to grab their materials and find another desk to sit in. They will remain in this desk until the end of the lesson. There are two reasons we do this: First, it gets them moving; second, being in a different location often helps them see the environment in a new way.

      Brag Tags


    • Blog post
    • 3 months ago
    • Views: 12680
  • EduEarthQuake EduEarthQuake

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:

      '080630-1010560' photo (c) 2008, Waifer X - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/



























      I’m sitting in the Detroit airport waiting for my final leg home. There’s so much to think about after an ASCD conference and so much that impacts my professional practice and my professional partnerships. I love that environment--so much growth and collegial conversation over the course of just a few short days. There’s nothing like it!

      I was part-serious and part-joking this morning about the EduEarthQuake. While I was jolted out of bed, my first thought was to tweet out with the #ASCD14 hashtag versus any emergency decision I might have made. I guess that’s the power of being a part of something so awesome that you believe it can rock the world.

      I love that the entire mood across the conference was one of hope, one of appreciating others’ perspectives, one of discovering the best of what we can do for our students.

      So I’m thinking now about aftershocks. How are you going to continue the quake when you get back home? How are you going to rock your students’ worlds? How are you going to be so EduAwesome that everybody around you feels it?

      I hope all of you are feeling as empowered as I am tonight. I loved my time with you and am setting my sights on Houston in 2015, with a detour to Orlando for the ASCD Fall Conference in October.

      Rock the world, folks. Be an EduEarthQuake when you return!


      @fisher1000 on Twitter

    • Blog post
    • 4 months ago
    • Views: 456
  • Digital Microstories Digital Microstories

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:
      Collaborative Blog Post written with friend and colleague Danielle Hardt of Starpoint Middle School in Lockport, NY. Danielle is a literacy rock star, a highly effective teacher, and a secret practical joke enthusiast (a skill I highly prize!).

      It has become the rage as of late to “Close Read” everything in American Common Core classrooms. Almost all of the states that are providing curriculum resources (including NY) and many of the vendors that are selling Common Core aligned products are focusing on Close Reading as an essential strategy in their materials, overusing an instructional methodology to the point of killing the love of reading. Our students are noticing this too, and ever since the beginning of education, the students are our largest sounding board as well as our biggest obligation. We need to listen to them.


      In an effort to bring a little love back to literacy (note the alliteration), we’d like to suggest a little brevity and levity and “webevity” to instructional processes with the use of digital microstories. This avenue provides a medium students are very comfortable with.  Using digital formats fosters engagement and efficiency and proficiency in the classroom, as many students either use these tools already or require limited explanation of their usage. In many modern classrooms, students are educating us as teachers in the easiest ways to utilize the technology. When this happens, the learning skyrockets! We are all partners in learning.


      Digital microstories are based on short fiction pieces that range from six words to 140 characters to a couple of sentences to a couple of paragraphs. The emphasis is on brevity, certainly, but also on a student’s ability to make connections and inferences based on the few words they read--then extending those connections and inferences to a visualization using a teacher- or student-selected web tool.


      Besides just sheer engagement, another attribute of this format is the instant gratification for students to complete and "turn in" an assignment in one class period or block. What middle schooler doesn't love to weave a tale about the hero/heroine that escapes a torturous conflict, barely rising to the top? Perhaps a midnight terror that shivers the spine? Maybe they’d delve into a short poem or riddle or other clever play on words. Any which way, digital microstory formats allow for these and many other options for the writers of the world to concisely demonstrate critical thinking, focusing on evaluation and synthesis without the rigmarole of days of analysis or the constant revisiting of text for the sake of answering what amounts to a bunch of comprehension questions.


      Allowing students the opportunity to choose dramatically-engaging topics in relationship to the visualization within these digital formats creates a natural connection to inferencing. A relationship with close reading happens organically, rather than through a need for direct instruction. This organic and authentic version of close reading hits the heart of the way we analyze details and extend the learning beyond anything we could have imagined in traditional ways of teaching. It also extends opportunities for further discussion and reflection.


      Getting back to the topic at hand though, access to resources around microfiction are numerous. You can “Google” search terms such as “Microstories,” “Microfiction,” “Microtext,” etc. and find a plethora of resources related to short fiction. Note that some of these resources might be inappropriate for sharing with kids, but would be great for sharing/generating ideas with teachers about how they might engage micro-literacy with their students.


      Here are some of our favorites:


      Six Word Stories:


      Visualizing Famous Quotes: Make a Web2.0 visualization of your favorite quote!



      Very short stories:


      Extremely Short Stories:


      “Tweet the gist:”
      • Tweet the plot of a favorite movie.
      • Tweet the central idea of a favorite song.
      • Tweet the main idea of a favorite poem.
      • (Note that these tweets might be physical, in-class experiences, rather than an online tweet. Just keep them to 140 characters!)
      • Then, “Instagram” the tweet: What visual would enhance the tweeted message?
      There are several important task-specific functions that go along with Digital Microstories, primary among them are analysis of text and students eventually writing their own versions rather than always analyzing someone else’s writing. Both of these are aligned to Common Core standards for Key Ideas and Details (Anchor standards 1-3) in all grade levels in the reading standards and the first six writing standards around text types and production of writing. Additionally, because students are adding a visual component, they are also engaging reading standard 7 around the integration and evaluation of diverse media formats.


      Now that we’ve defined the “What,” let’s take a look at the “How.”


      There are many web tools available for creating visualizations of text, merging multiple types of media, and developing digital representations of thinking. For this particular instructional activity scenario, we’re looking for tools that engage the brevity factor. Those tools that let us create short, quick media productions will be the most useful for digital microstories and thus our opportunities for instant classroom gratification and analysis...and assessment...and engagement.


      Here is a sampling of tools, both Web 2.0 and Device Applications, that we think would be extremely useful for digital microstorytelling:



      With a vast variety of tools online and apps on devices/tablets, this short list is just the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below! Additionally, these photo and image resources may help:  Stock ExchangePixabayFlickr's Creative Commons


      Using some of these web tools, we created some examples here, with Ernest Hemingway’s original Six Word Story, “For sale, baby shoes. Never worn.”:



      Six Word Stories: Hemingway  





      Note how our choices of associated media in the different web tools creates opportunities for divergent discussions, perhaps even comparative analysis of several visualizations of the same short text. How awesome would that be to explore in class?


      Since these digital microstories are dependent on both text and other media, if you need help with images to create your own visualization, check out the photo and image resources in Mike’s Diigo account: https://www.diigo.com/user/mikefisher821/photos While many of these resources include free content, we would urge you to remember and model that attribution is still important and students should give credit where credit is due.


      Here are a couple of useful sites to assist in providing that credit:



      Some of the web tools include content that students can use without attribution because they are an embedded component of the web tool or application.


      So what’s the point of all this?


      Learning and engagement are extremely powerful together. High levels of both help students remember more and evaluate better. Giving students opportunities to investigate short fiction forms and create them on their own opens up a plethora of avenues to creative development and ownership of learning.


      Digital microstories offer students many opportunities for creativity, textual analysis, discernment, evaluation, engagement, and choices. How powerful is that? If we’re really going to work toward college and career readiness, shouldn’t we give our students authentic tasks and tools? We think so. And we think Digital Microstories are a great way to get there!

      Originally posted at Curriculum21.com/blog

      Follow Mike on Twitter: @fisher1000

      Digital Learning Strategies now available from the ASCD Store

    • Blog post
    • 4 months ago
    • Views: 717
  • 99 Problems but a Mentor Ain't 99 Problems but a Mentor Ain't One

    • From: Barry_Saide
    • Description:

      I was having a great week. I had returned from ECET2, a convening celebrating effective teachers and teaching. It was hosted by the Gates Foundation (@gatesed), and all 350 attendees were nominated from major educational organizations. From that experience, I gained new friendships and possible opportunities for future collaboration. Our NJASCD North Region had a successful weekday PD event with Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal) on Digital Learning and Leading. Eric even stayed 45 minutes after his presentation ended to ask me, and my North Region Co-Director, Billy J. Krakower (@wkrakower), how we were doing personally and professionally. Life was good. But all I could think about was some offhand comment someone had made to me a few days earlier.

      It was an innocuous comment made to me by someone I don’t know. And, it’s so silly it doesn’t even bear repeating. Yet, I stayed in my car for almost ten minutes before reversing my car out of my parking spot.

      In prior posts I’ve written about the importance of treating each other well and modeling it daily, the importance of honesty in our relationships with students, parents, and peers,  and staying true to our core values as educators. I pride myself in finding the good in others, in our field, and myself, which is why as I reflected on this moment, I wondered where my unwavering positivity went. Why would I let someone I don’t know, who doesn’t know me and will never see me again, have a lasting effect on me? Why would I allow someone to take away my excellence?

      Eric Bernstein (@bernsteinusc), in his race to write more than I do, wrote a beautiful piece about the importance of understanding who students are as people, and where they are as learners. (http://edge.ascd.org/_Lessons-From-the-Fonz-Part-1/blog/6562962/127586.html). His belief (and mine, too) is: the better we know our students, the more successful we can educate them. I think we can extend this concept: the better we know and are honest with ourselves, the better we can educate our students because we will be in a better place, too. And, it’s important for us to be honest with ourselves, acknowledge what irks us (like a throwaway comment by a stranger), and have a support system in place to assist us when we hear the negative whispers after a comment like that which feeds into our insecurities.

      With the hope that this post supports other educators who hear and sometimes can’t block out the negative whispers, here is my advice to keep the faith:

      1. Get Some Ed Therapy: Twitter has salvaged my day more than I like to admit. When I’m down, drained, or dejected, I click on my Tweetdeck shortcut and connect with my edufriends. They have become an extended family, one I share my thoughts, questions, concerns, and ruminations about life in and outside of education. I know they will always be my rock when I need them, and hope they know the same is true for me. My #ASCDL2L, #satchat, #njed, #arkedchat, #iaedchat, #edchat, and #ECET2 crew, I love you all. (Hashtag that).

      2. Find Your Matt Hall: every person in education needs one person in their district who believes in them and shares of themselves, so we become better by learning from their experiences, instead of having to go through them ourselves. Matt Hall (@MHall_MST), the Science and Technology Supervisor in my district, is that person for me. Because he’s paid his dues, knows my driven nature and my end goals, listens to me when I speak, and guides me when my thinking needs redirection. And, he’s a vault. What goes on with Matt Hall, stays with Matt Hall.

      3. Have a Phone Call with Someone from Iowa (or North Carolina, Minnesota, or New York): it was one year ago when I was at a crossroads professionally. I wasn’t sure where my path was leading, or if I could go further. Jimmy Casas (Casas_Jimmy), who I’d known briefly from a couple Twitter interactions, called me and spoke with me for an hour. We discussed me: who I was, who I wanted to be, what my long-term goals were, and why. Jimmy reminded me I couldn’t change my current situation, but I could change my mindset. And it was that conversation, followed by conversations with Steven Weber (@curriculumblog), Kimberly A. Hurd (@khurdhorst), and Maureen Connolly (http://goo.gl/RPN7DH) that prompted me to e-mail Marie Adair (@todayadair), the Executive Director of NJASCD, and ask what I could do to help the organization. Her response: “Whatever you are comfortable with. We’re just happy to have you join us.”

      Like Eric Bernstein’s post, I tried to focus on three main points. Additionally, Eric mentioned his desire to keep his message short, but acknowledged the challenges inherent in that. With that being said, I wanted to list the 99 people who have mentored me on the anniversary of my mindset changing conversations. I am not a better person, father, husband, or teacher without them in my life. I have listed Eric Sheninger, Billy Krakower, Eric Bernstein, Matt Hall, Jimmy Casas, Steven Weber, Kim Hurd, Maureen Connolly, and Marie Adair already, so I will start at the number ten, in no order. Each one of them has helped shape and mold me in some way. To acknowledge that, I have included their Twitter handles if they have them. All are worthy of a follow, and will reciprocate sharing ideas with the goal that we all go further together. We may have 99 problems, but a mentor should not be one:

      10. David Culberhouse (@dculberhouse)

      11. Daisy Dyer-Duerr (@daisydyerduerr)

      12. Scott Rocco (@scottrrocco)

      13. Brad Currie (@bcurrie5)

      14. John Fritzky (@johnfritzky)

      15. Jay Eitner (@isupereit)

      16. Anthony Fitzpatrick (@antfitz)

      17. Diane Jacobs

      18. Pam Lester (@njpam)

      19. Mariann Helfant

      20. MaryJean DiRoberto

      21. Tom Tramaglini (@tomtramaglini)

      22. Matt Mingle (@mmingle1)

      23. Alina Davis (@alinadavis)

      24. Fred Ende (@fredende)

      25. Becki Kelly (@bekcikelly)

      26. Kevin Kelly (@emammuskevink)

      27. Tony Sinanis (@tonysinanis)

      28. Ross LeBrun (@MrLeBrun)

      29. Darren Vanishkian (@mrvteaches)

      30. Glenn Robbins (@glennr1809)

      31. Rebecca McLelland-Crawley

      32. Bruce Arcurio (@principalarc)

      33. Scott Totten (@4bettereducatio)

      34. Kevin Connell (@WHS_Principal)

      35. Krista Rundell (@klrundell)

      36. Cory Radisch (@MAMS_Principal)

      37. Meg (Simpson) Cohen (@megkcohen)

      38. Tina Byland

      39. Klea Scharberg

      40. Suzy Brooks (@simplysuzy)

      41. Eric Russo (@erusso78)

      42. Walter McKenzie (@walterindc)

      43. Kristen Olsen (@kristenbolsen)

      44. Kevin Parr

      45. Robert Zywicki (@zywickir)

      46. Chris Giordano (@giordanohistory)

      47. Jim Cordery (@jcordery)

      48. Drew Frank (@ugafrank)

      49. Jasper Fox, Sr. (@jsprfox)

      50. Kate Baker (@ktbkr4)

      51. Megan Stamer (@meganstamer)

      52. John Falino (@johnfalino1)

      53. Jon Harper (@johnharper70bd)

      54. Grant Wiggins (@grantwiggins)

      55. Kirsten Wilson (@teachkiwi)

      56. Dan P. Butler (@danpbutler)

      57. Tim Ito (@timito4)

      58. Andre Meadows (@andre_meadows)

      59. Tom Whitford (@twhitford)

      60. Matt Renwick (@readbyexample)

      61. Chris Bronke (@mrbronke)

      62. Daniel Ryder (@wickeddecentlearning)

      63. Emily Land (@eland1682)

      64. Jessica (J-Wright) Wright (@jessicampitts)

      65. Phil Griffins (@philgriffins)

      66. Jennifer Orr (@jenorr)

      67. Sophia Weissenborn (@srweissenborn)

      68. Kristie Martorelli (@azstoykristie)

      69. Michelle Lampinen (@michlampinen)

      70. Manan Shah (@shahlock)

      71. Tom Murray (@thomascmurray)

      72. Rich Kiker (@rkiker)

      73. Irvin Scott (@iscott4)

      74. Vivett Hymens (@lotyssblossym)

      75. Jon Spencer (@jonspencer4)

      76. Jozette Martinez (jozi_is_awesome)

      77. Peggy Stewart (@myglobalside)

      78. Michael J. Dunlea (@michaeljdunlea)

      79. Karen Arnold (@sanford475)

      80. Ashleigh Ferguson (@ferg_ashleigh)

      81. Jill Thompson (@edu_thompson)

      82. Rick Hess (@rickhess99)

      83. Maddie Fennell (@maddief)

      84. Todd Whitaker (@toddwhitaker)

      85. Jeff Zoul (@jeff_zoul)

      86. Jen Audley (@jen_audley)

      87. Kevin Scott (@edu_kevin_)

      88. Kathryn Suk (@ksukeduc)

      89. Baruti Kafele (@principalkafele)

      90. Peter DeWitt (@petermdewitt)

      91. Anthony McMichael (@a_mcmichael)

      92. Natalie Franzi (@nataliefranzi)

      93. Paul Bogush (@paulbogush)

      94. Sam Morra (@sammorra)

      95. Spike C. Cook (@drspokecook)

      96. Colin Wikan (@colinwikan)

      97. George Courous (@gcouros)

      98. Scott Taylor (@tayloredlead)

      99. Dave Burgess (@burgessdave)

    • Blog post
    • 4 months ago
    • Views: 1439
  • 20 Ways to Adapt a Science Lab 20 Ways to Adapt a Science Lab

    • From: Jason_Flom
    • Description:

      "This article is from the website of Dr. Paula Kluth. It, along with many others on inclusive schooling, differentiated instruction, and literacy can be found at www.PaulaKluth.com. Visit now to read her Tip of the Day, read dozens of free articles, and learn more about supporting diverse learners in K-12 classrooms."


      Too often, students with disabilities, especially those with more moderate and significant disabilities, are excluded from the rich and complex experience of the science lab. This is unfortunate as many a teacher would argue that if students are not engaged in hands-on science, then they are not really “doing” science. In other words, science is about learning ideas and concepts, studying vocabulary, and understanding theories, but it is also about observation, exploration, and discovery.


      Another reason to give all students access to lab work is to pique their interest and enhance their learning. It is widely accepted that students who participate in labs and other hands-on science activities will remember the material better and be able to transfer the learning across situations and lessons. Students who have learning difficulties or differences are often more on task during hands-on activities because there are typically a wide variety of ways to participate and the active and social nature of the science lab keeps students engaged. Finally, lab work helps all students hone social and communication skills, making it ideal for learners with disabilities who may need help with asking and answering questions, taking turns in a conversation, or knowing how to enter a discussion.


      Having shared all of these benefits, many learners will need adaptations or modifications in order to be successful in a lab situation. Twenty ideas that can help you support diverse learners in your science classroom are offered here:

      1.Be explicit about what you want students to know and do in each lesson and model what you want to see (e.g., language, behaviors, techniques) in the lab.

      2.Post expected lab behavior on a poster or chart that is clear for all to see- (emphasizing safety guidelines). Draw students’ attention to this information every time they work in the lab.

      3.Organize your lab around “big questions” that all students can answer in some way. For instance, the question, “What is a rock?”, can be answered on many different levels. One learner will be able to show or give an example of a rock while other learners will learn that it is “consolidated mineral matter”.

      4.Be sure to create very clear step-by-step directions for the lab. If needed, provide a checklist or even an illustrated checklist of steps.

      5.Instead of pairing students alphabetically or randomly, think about individual needs to determine best partnerships. You might also give students a questionnaire to find out not who they want to work with but who they think they can work effectively with. Get suggestions from them but make the final decisions based on your observations. Some learners might have difficulty working with new or unfamiliar people. You may want to pair these students with a familiar peer.

      6.Give different students different roles based on their strengths. For example, a student who is a strong writer might take notes for the group, while a student who enjoys public speaking might present the group’s findings to the class. You can also assign roles based on student needs. For instance, an individual who needs more practice with social skills might be asked to serve as the group facilitator.

      7.Some students may be better served by working across groups instead of within a group. For instance, if measurement is a skill you are targeting for a particular student, you might have him visit each group to measure and pour liquids. If calculations are a target skill, perhaps he can help each group check and re-check their work.

      8. If the experiment or lab requires procedures that are complicated or has directions that are easily misunderstood, be sure to clearly demonstrate these pieces in front of the students.

      9. If reading the supporting materials will be a challenge for one or more learners, consider simplifying the directions, highlighting key words, or adding icons, tables, or photos to the text.

      10. If you work with students who struggle with the writing requirements of labs, allow all or some to use portable word processors or to speak observations and findings into a tape recorder or digital voice recorder.

      11. Add additional roles or tasks for students who are working on individual goals that would not typically be addressed during lab. If a student is learning to use a new communication device, for instance, you might ask her group to allow her to direct or, at least, introduce the activity with pre-programmed messages on the device.

      12. Look for a range of materials that diverse learners can access to understand the key concepts or ideas being explored in the lab. For a lab on dissecting frogs, for instance, you might have a plastic model of a dissected frog, books on frogs, and an on-line virtual dissection available to learners who need extra support.

      13. Provide more durable materials, if needed. Plastic beakers might be a better choice than glass ones for some learners, for instance.

      14. When necessary, incorporate adapted materials that help students with sensory differences (e.g., talking thermometers, laboratory glassware with raised numbers).

      15. Use technology as a support for diverse learners. For example, digital cameras can help students record steps of an experiment. An iPad can be used as a tool for collaboratively recording data.

      16. For those who need repeated practice or extra materials for review, you might record experiements and give them to certain learners to view. Or you can post parts of your labs on a classroom website or on a site such as TeacherTube.com.

      17. Reduce the writing component of the lab work. Instead of asking for the purpose, materials, procedure, and the conclusion, you might have some students responsible for writing only the conclusions. Or you might prepare a set of guided notes (a map or outline of the lab notes) for some learners;; these individuals would only need to fill in the blanks where content is missing or finish diagrams or charts that have been partially completed.

      18. Allow students to report their findings in a variety of ways. They might choose from writing a description, drawing a diagram, or explaining findings to a peer.

      19. If a particular student needs supplemental activities or supports, he or she might spend some class time away from the lab gathering information that can be brought back to the whole group. For example, a student might explore websites for visuals that can be presented to the whole group.

      20. To challenge some or all learners, ask them to design a new lab or experiment.

    • Blog post
    • 5 months ago
    • Views: 1467
  • Be Excellent to Each Other! Be Excellent to Each Other!

    • From: Barry_Saide
    • Description:

      This post is a part of the ASCD Forum conversation “how do cultivate and support teacher leaders?” To learn more about the ASCD Forum, go to www.ascd.org/ascdforum.

      One of my favorite movies during my high school years was ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.’ The movie focused on two lovable, sweet, but nowhere near valedictorian high school seniors who need to pass a history report in order to graduate. With the help of a time machine, and some luck, they pass their class, meet the girls of their dreams, and are able to start their own rock band.


      At one point in the movie, Bill and Ted are transported to the very distant future, where they meet three people, aptly named ‘The Three Most Important People in the World.’ These three people recognize Bill and Ted, and seem to revere them. The men are speechless, waiting to see what Bill and Ted will do:


      Ted: Bill, I think they want us to say something.

      Bill: What should I say?

      Ted: (shrugs) Make something up.

      Bill: Be excellent to each other.


      After BIll’s comment, the three men nod appreciatively, as if this is the wisest thing the two transported teens could say. And, when thinking about teacher leadership, I don’t think Bill or Ted is that far off when they say we should be excellent to each other.


      Being excellent to one another is really what’s at the core of teacher leadership, for me. Excellence begins in the way we interact with each other, as professionals. We greet the secretaries in the main office. Even if their heads are down, it’s important to acknowledge them, and validate the important role they play as the first line of communication (or defense) in our buildings.


      Interacting with excellence includes saying hello to each other in the hallway, even if we’ve just seen each other, or don’t know one another. We respect each other’s role in the school, and each one of us helps make our school community function positively. That quick greeting we gave may be the one that perks someone up. Or, it may be the first positive interaction that person has had all day. We’re not always cognizant of our role and effect on others, and we should be, because we’re in-tune with how others affect us.


      Our students see the interactions we have with our peers and co-workers. Students see if we greet each other with a smile. They also hear our sarcasm, and see us if we use negative non-verbal communication, like turning our backs, ignoring comments from peers, or averting eye contact. Students then internalize our mannerisms. After all, we are their teacher. Aren’t students supposed to do what their teacher says to do? Don’t actions speak louder than words?


      At some point, students will replicate us: either in how they talk to the peers or co-workers we spoke to (or one of similar status), or in how they speak to their own classmates. We have an opportunity to model excellence in leadership without ever leaving our classroom by ‘being excellent to each other.’ Perhaps the ‘Three Most Important People in the World’ understood that. And, perhaps Bill and Ted had a little more social intelligence than we gave them credit for in that movie. Because, creating an excellent environment depends on the consistency in which we carry our excellence with us.


      Now, go be excellent to each other. See how that feels. Chances are, you’ll enjoy it.


      Then, take that feeling and party on, dude. (couldn’t resist).

    • Blog post
    • 5 months ago
    • Views: 1975
  • What distinguishes teachers fr What distinguishes teachers from heroic teachers?

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      heroic teachersAfter two years and hundreds of hours of interviews with teachers from public and charter schools across the nation, Katrina Fried distilled her conclusions about what she calls “heroic” teachers in a book called American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom.

      Her conclusion: Heroic teachers—that is, teachers whose students exhibit high test scores, high graduation rates, and high levels of engagement—are diverse in their teaching styles, yet they also share a common set of beliefs that other teachers don’t.

      Below you’ll find five of the twelve distinguishing features of heroic teachers Fried describes in her book. If you would like to read the other seven, blogger Dana Truby has posted them here.

      What distinguishes teachers from heroic teachers?

      Heroic teachers follow one major rule—but they also know when to break it
      Heroic teachers consistently follow one major rule: Be prepared. Yet heroic teachers are also flexible and willing to modify or even scrap plans and start from scratch. As Fried puts it, “Great teachers are human barometers—attuned to the shifting moods of their students and amorphous qualities of their surroundings.” Because of this, heroic teachers know when to throw out the rule book and follow their instinct.

      Heroic teachers place essential human needs at the forefront of everything they do
      Great teachers know that taking the time to foster a classroom culture that’s built on mutual respect and tolerance sets the stage for authentic learning.

      Creating a vibrant classroom culture means that there must be, as one of Fried’s interviewees puts it, a “synergy in the room…a familial atmosphere” that places essential human needs at the forefront of everything students and teachers do. 

      Heroic teachers bring their passions into the classroom
      Your passion for rock and roll, Shakespeare and post-modern art may not be a part of your curriculum, but heroic teachers find creative ways to bring their passions into the classroom, regardless of what they are.

      Why? Because they know that teaching what they love has the power to influence the culture of a school. Take Daryl Bilandzija, one of the teachers Fried interviewed for her book: His commitment to environmental stewardship moved him to turn a half-acre of his school’s campus into an Edible Learning Garden, which has transformed the identity of Odyssey Charter School in Altadena, California, and “put it on the map.”

      Heroic teachers never teach to the test
      Teachers’ assessments may be directly tied to their students’ performance on state-issued exams, yet there is not an educator among the fifty profiled in Fried’s book who approaches his or her curriculum with the primary end goal of achieving high scores.

      Heroic teachers know they can’t do it alone
      The vast majority of classroom heroes profiled in Fried’s book know that mentorship and collaboration are integral parts of becoming the best teachers they can be. As one of Fried’s interviewees puts it, “Success does not occur in isolation.”

      Teachers often make the mistake of thinking that they have to do it all on their own, but heroic teachers know—and are not too proud—to tap into the expertise of their colleagues and mentors. 

      You may not know this, but Marygrove's MAT program offers a course dedicated solely to the topic of Teacher as Everyday Hero. To learn more about our program offerings, click here. 

      Download our Free Classroom Management G

    • Blog post
    • 6 months ago
    • Views: 1714
  • Good Better Best In Work, Rela Good Better Best In Work, Relationships...The Similarities

    • From: Kimberly_Horst
    • Description:


      Good, Better, Best...In Work and Relationships, the Similarities

      I like you are most likely involved in some type of observation plan. I like you find it tedious and hard work. I like you get hung up on jargon and I like you initially wondered why we really all have to do this in the first place, I confess.

      It takes time for the pieces of the puzzle to fit and I look desperately around me for how they are supposed to by making connections to what I already know and tag this to it. So, as I was sitting in a great and helpful meeting about iObservation (based on the Marazano Framework) the most interesting thoughts came to mind which made me smile. Working hard at our job, especially as an education professional is VERY similar to working hard on being married.

      If you are reading this, you are most likely married. My guess is that if you have been married more than 7 years...or more than 14 years or if you are like my parents and inching to the 50 year mark, you intentionally spend time cultivating habits that create a strong, healthy and thriving marriage. Without doing so your marriage will die. Also, it is important that two people are together working on themselves individually as well as working on the combination of themselves that make a marriage. A strong healthy self will bring the best of themselves to the marriage. One person cannot carry a marriage to make it strong. When that is done, a great divide happens and the ramifications of that divide create a survival mode..not a thriving mode..and sometimes, surviving only lasts for a little bit.

      If you are reading this, you are most likely in the same field as I am, education. I find that this process of iObservation or using a framework of some kind for teacher evaluations important. It is vital to reflect on, or take a pulse of yourself in your profession. I ask the students to do it in the classroom and it is only fair that I do so myself. When I stop and think about how am I doing and try to be honest, I am setting myself up for greater successes long term. I am able to create new goals and make a plan to achieve them. A goal with no plan is just a wish and that won't get you far. Why should I not critique myself? Why should I not be critiqued by others as well as my boss?

      So I looked up some lists and organized them below...of what makes a successful marriage and what makes a successful teacher. You will smile at the similarities and hopefully find yourself in them.

      But be honest. Okay, I will. I am NOT perfect nor do I pretend to be..or want to be..because that is not a growth mindset. I know where I fail...and it is okay with me when others in kindness to help me grow as a teacher do too. So I can approach this list and think..where do I need to grow?

      Mark Goulston, M.D. Ten Habits of Happy Couples. 

      25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently by the  Teach Thought Staff.

      So briefly, here are some similarities between the two articles that can make your work as a professional educator OR as a person in a marriage or significant relationships moving forward reach the ROCK STAR level, and remember, it is a JOURNEY not a DESTINATION!

      • Keep it all interesting in your profession / relationship.
      • Walk side by side..not in front of not behind...stay together! Leave no one behind!
      • Make trust and forgivenessfocus on the positive.

      • Greet each other in kindness as well as bring positive closure to conversation.
      • Take a pulse of your relationships...do you need to tune things up? Don't be a zombie!!! 
      • Honor and respect one another.

      • Have clear objectives...what are your goals for your professional situation / relationship?
      • Have a sense of purpose. Post a mission statement for yourself / relationship. 
      • Learning, relationships, and education are a messy... much like planting. It takes time, and some dirt, to grow. (This is why my blog has the title it does.)

      • Have a positive attitude! That changes everything every where you go and with each life you touch. 
      • Expect success!
      • Have fun together and laughter is so good for work / relationships!!! 

      • Be a risk taker. Do you need to step out of the box in your profession /relationship? Do it. Be Brave! Break out of the box! 
      • Reflect on your profession / relationship...adjust the sails. 
      • Seek out mentors for your profession on your own as well as mentors for your relationship. Spend time gleaning information and help along the way. It is important! Never stop learning! 

      • Adapt and welcome change in your profession / relationship andexplore new avenues to take together!
      • Be a student of your students as well as a student of your spouse or significant other.There is always something to learn! Always.

      In closing, status quo does not work. It won't get you anywhere you want to be not in your profession and not in your relationships. So, that is why I don't fret or balk at the process that we are now doing at work...in fact, with a growth mindset, it is rather interesting and fun and I am learning a great deal about myself!!! 
    • Blog post
    • 7 months ago
    • Views: 188
    • Not yet rated
  • Rachel D'Avino Rachel D'Avino

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:


      Guest post by a fellow colleague Linda Daniel, who teaches Foreign Language at Starpoint Middle School in Lockport, New York.


      One year ago today our hearts were filled with darkness and unanswerable questions.  Humanity at its worst had confronted humanity at its best.  At first glance it appeared that evil clearly won.  As the layers of a horrendous act were peeled away, we found light, beauty and hope in the lives of those who were unimaginably taken away from the people that loved them, needed them and wanted them.

      This light, beauty and hope shined down on a world in mourning.  We were blessed to get a glimpse of the beautiful souls taken away from us.  As I learned about Miss Rachel Marie D’Avino all I could think about was how brave and strong she was in those last moments.  Day after day I wondered, how did Rachel have the strength to keep calm, stand her ground and be the rock her students needed?  She was able to do all of these things because of who she was, a smart, determined, hardworking and compassionate lady.

      Rachel continues to teach and inspire me.   I would like to encourage all the readers, especially teachers, to embrace Rachel’s legacy.  It is never too late for anything! It’s never too late to start smiling, to start a new sport, to become involved in a charity, to go back to school, to have compassion with those suffering from a mental illness, or to start being the teacher your students need you to be. We can learn how to be our best by following Rachel’s example.  When a day goes bad, as they sometimes do don’t hesitate to fix the problem.  Listen to your inner-voice to make a change.

      On this Newton Remembrance day, I vow to allow Rachel to shine through me.  I will smile to those who never smile back at me. I will make a student laugh. I will make a charitable donation. I will donate my time and talents I will exercise my mind, my body and my spirit. I will force myself to be a hard worker the entire day.  I invite all of you to do the same.

      Rachel, you shared gifts with the world that were priceless.  Those gifts will never stop giving.  Your inspiration will never stop inspiring.  Your smile lives on day after day and memory after memory in those that knew and loved you.  As they enter new chapters of their lives your spirit is there, as well.  I feel you shining down and blessing us with a positive light and ray of hope that tomorrow will be brighter for everyone. Thank you for inspiring us.  Thank you for your selfish sacrifices. Thank you for being you.  You will never be forgotten.



    • Blog post
    • 7 months ago
    • Views: 419
    • Not yet rated
  • 15 More Ways Real Teachers Rec 15 More Ways Real Teachers Recover From a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      new teacherWe love our job, but that doesn’t mean that teaching is easy. There will be bad days and classes that don’t go the way we planned them—there may even be days when things go so wrong that we question whether or not we are in the right profession.

      We want to remind you that you are not alone. 

      To help you put things into perspective, we reached out to fellow teachers and asked them to share words of encouragement and their best pieces of advice for recovering from a disastrous day.

      15 More Ways Real Teachers Recover From a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

       “Tomorrow is another day. I remember that even the best rock star teachers have disastrous classes, disastrous days, and even disastrous weeks and semesters! I know that I'll examine the class to figure out what went wrong and take steps to remedy the situation, whatever it was.”
      -Mrs. Heckert

       “I remind myself why I'm doing this in the first place and that there are going to be bad days...they are part of life. AND prayer...definitely.”
      -Ms. Penning

      “Take a deep breath.......realize that those students are gone (and you won't have to deal with them the rest of the day!), that a new set is coming in and they need you to be at your best.

      “Quickly do a run through in your head and see if you need to make any adjustments to your presentation/teaching so that the next class won't go down the same rotten path. And keep in mind that they are just kids; we don't know what kind of home life they are coming from. We have to be adult and the bigger person.”
      -Mrs. Barnes

      “I keep letters from former students that were given to me in years past. When I have one of those days, I will read some of the letters and remind myself that what I'm doing does matter and is touching lives.”
      -Ms. Hagaman

      “You will have good days, great days, and bad days. Remember, you are there for the students, to teach them not only academics, but how to be good people. The students that are the worst need your help, love, and kindness the most. Don't take it personal.”
      -Mr. Spencer

      “I think back to some of the positive things parents and students have told me that helps reassure me I am doing the right thing. This allows me to refocus, step back up to the line and get ready for the next period.”
      -Mr. Shannon

       “A prayer for patience—and remember that tomorrow is a new start for both you and the students.”
      -Mrs. Gonzalez

      “I find positive things that happened in the same class period. I call home about these positive tidbits. It goes a long way with the students that actually do what they are supposed to and helps me realize my small victories. I always feel tons better after bragging on students.”
      -Mrs. Leone

      “Do your best, put your heart into it, but don't take it personally when the kids let you down. You won't actually reach all of them, but work like you can.
      -Mr. Barrows

      “Do not take it personally. Reflect on how you can change the lesson or dynamics so that the students will learn. Remember, it is not about you, it is about the students' learning. Chocolate helps too, though. J”
      -Mr. Prestwood

      “I try to figure out what went wrong and why, and then take action so the same thing won't go wrong the same way. And in the meantime, a deep breath and laughing with other teachers helps.”
      -Mrs. Korfmann

      “It is so easy to focus on the disaster and forget about the good things. Remember that you teach students, not a subject. Don't tear yourself up. We are all human. Laugh it off. Reflect, and move on. Think of it as a memorable experience and embrace the next adventure. It can only get better.”
      -Mrs. Eker

      “They need you! Just keep plugging!”
      - Mrs. Oliver 

      “I am honest with myself and the students. Today for example, class went horrific. They were talking too much, not grasping the material, and not 100 percent focused (mainly because I have them before and after lunch). So I stopped class and told them to put their notes away. I told them that we will try again tomorrow because the cold weather has frozen our brains. We reviewed another topic and they did another activity.

      I try not to force it when class is going downhill. Chances are I will have to reteach the topic again tomorrow anyway because of how the class went. So instead of everyone being frustrated or me rolling my frustration to the next class, I change up the lesson.”
      -Ms. Emerson


                                                  15 Classroom Management Apps for Educators

    • Blog post
    • 8 months ago
    • Views: 3001
  • 10 Ways Real Teachers Recover 10 Ways Real Teachers Recover From a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Class

    • From: Ryan_Thomas1
    • Description:

      teacherWe don’t have to tell you this, but teachers are not superhuman—at least not all the time. We doubt ourselves. We struggle to reach our students and, despite our exhaustion, we often lie awake at night replaying the day, wondering how in the world things could have possibly gone so wrong.

      But there’s good news: You aren’t alone.

      To help you put things into perspective and find constructive ways to recover from what one of our favorite authors would call a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day,” we reached out to fellow teachers and asked them to share their best recovery strategies. The response was overwhelming and for that reason, this blog is going to be divided up into two parts.

      Without further ado, here is part one of 10 Ways Real Teachers Recover From a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Class.

      • “Rescue Remedy herbal drops under the tongue. Breathe.”
        -Mrs. Rutledge

      • “Several years ago, I started putting student notes, parent thank yous, administrative accolades and the like in a notebook. On those REALLY bad days, I take it out and remember all of the wonderful students and experiences I have had along the way. It's not a cure-all, but it does help me regain perspective and remember why I do what I do.”
        -Ms. Millinor 

      • “I always try to learn from it. I look at the lesson and the kids. I've had lessons and units that one class might love and the other classes just hate. So I may tweak it a bit or decide the class was just not a good fit with that lesson.”
        -Ms. Harrington 

      • “Remember that everyone has an off day, you are a good teacher and you tried your best. Also, always try something new; it does not always work but at least you tried.”
        -Mrs. Pirc 

      • “I find positive things that happened in the same class period. I call home about these positive tidbits. It goes a long way with the students that actually do what they are supposed to and helps me realize my small victories. I always feel tons better after bragging on students.”
        -Mrs. Leone 

      • “Often, I have to remind my students that I'm a human being and make mistakes. If I've been a disastrous teacher, I find open apology actually earns the teacher some serious cred. If I've bolloxed-up a lesson, I make it right by re-explaining. But it is a reflective process. Look at it as a chance to reflect on your practice.

        Another suggestion: Go for a hike (even if it's a local park) and sit and read some Emerson. Look at the trees and rock formations that have been here so much longer than we have and realize that your problems really aren't problems in the grand scheme of things. Keep your chin up!”
        - Mr. Hamlin 

      • “I am usually willing to admit my mistakes. I have a frank conversation with the class and say, ‘Hey, I messed up!’ It allows the students to see you're human and that we all make mistakes.
      • I also talk to them about their responsibility in the debacle. What did they do to compound the situation? A disastrous class is rarely just one party’s fault. Sometimes a written reflection helps: as the students write theirs, you write one of your own.”
        -Mrs. Carberry  
      • “I straight up, tell my next class(es) that I'm having an ‘off’ day—and I sometimes explain why. If I'm short tempered for any reason, I also tell them that ‘it's not them, it's me.’ I ask them if they can think of anything to make me smile (usually they do), I paste on a smile and move along with the lesson. But then when I get home, I go for a super long run: outside and with music playing loudly. Very loudly.”
        -Mrs. Kane 

      • “I'm pretty frank with my middle school classes. I just let them know that I, too, realize that what we just did didn't work and we will try again tomorrow. They are pretty understanding and appreciate the honesty. We are teachers who work hard to do what's best for our kiddos. We are nowhere near perfect and can't beat ourselves up over a bad lesson. Learn from it and move on.”
        -Mrs. Borth 

      • “Keep a ‘Why I Do This’ folder, virtually and physically. Inside, place any positive and supportive item you’ve ever received from a student, parent, or colleague, and pull it out on days like that.”
        -Mr. Beat 

      We’d like to thank all of our friends on Edmodo for their willingness and enthusiasm for sharing their experiences with us. Be sure to check back Thursday week for part two!


                                                    Thanksgiving Craft Guide

    • Blog post
    • 8 months ago
    • Views: 5714
  • Barbara_Rock

    • ASCD EDge Member
    • Points:250
    • Views: 97
    • Since: 11 months ago
    • Not yet rated
  • Caroline_Taylor

    • ASCD EDge Member
    • Points:250
    • Views: 211
    • Since: 1 year ago
    • Not yet rated
  • A Rock Star, not by choice. A Rock Star, not by choice.

    • From: Tom_Whitby
    • Description:

      Rock Star is a term attributed not only to Rock and Roll luminaries, but also to anyone who is an exceptional standout in a profession or a skill area. One cannot claim Rock Star status. Usually, others proclaim it, for you. One needs to be recognized by others in order to attain Rock Star status. It is more fan recognition of accomplishment than any real certified proclamation.


      Recently, there have been a number of posts dealing with this pop culture adoration of educators at national and local conferences. As long as I can remember we have always had such people at conferences without the Rock Star label, but certainly with all the attention that would accompany it. I remember one statewide conference where Guy Kawasaki was to speak and the line to get in formed an hour ahead of time for a standing room only crowd. That was pure star power. Back then books, magazines, and journals determined the who’s who of the profession, leaning toward the authors, who were tagged as the conference stars. Adding fans to their readership never hurt an author’s standing.

      That was then and this is now. What is different? Social Media should be blaring in your head about now. Print media has far less of an impact on our society today, while Social Media however, is having a profound effect. The education thought leaders, who use social media as their conduit to transmit their ideas and opinions to followers, have no control over who or how many followers they have. The only control they have is over the ideas and opinions they put out. If the ideas and opinions are good the following grows.

      The first time I encountered my own popularity in social media was when I did a session in an Edcamp in NYC.  I expressed to my session that I wished we had a few more people. A woman in the back in a sincere voice said that her friend wanted to come to my session, but I was too famous. At first I thought the woman was just making a joke, but she underscored her sincerity. Frankly, I did not get it, but that has never been my issue. I will generally talk with anyone.

      I think we all have people we look up to in our profession. At one time we were limited to physical meetings but now with technology tools of collaboration we are exposed to many times more thought leaders than ever before. We can have several people to admire and look up to. Part of the fun at Education Conferences is to see these people in real life. This is just human nature. I am still impressed with most of the people I held in the highest regard when I started out in social media lo those many years ago.

      Where things go awry is when followers look onto their Rock Stars as unapproachable. This is not good for anyone. Most of the rock stars are uncomfortable with that, and the followers miss an opportunity to talk and exchange ideas. Whenever I am called a Rock Star, I feel a deeper sense of responsibility. I feel I need to think more before I speak and have something meaningful to say while I am out in public at these conferences.

      Of course the other extreme would be the people who want to fault the Rock Stars for having attitude problems, flawed ideas, no sense of humility, and a million other personality blemishes just to diminish their accomplishments.

      This pattern of behavior is not going to go away, so let’s get it out there and deal with it. The term today is Rock Star. Next year it could be something else, but there will still be thought leaders and luminaries in the profession, and they will be called something. Some people will look up to them, and others may look for faults. I am just glad that we are in a profession where these people exist. They make us think, react, understand, collaborate, and learn.

      I chose what I wanted to do as an educator, and as a user of social media. I have no choice in how people view me, or label me. I have grown to have fun with the recognition. I can also get somewhat of a feel for the social media influence on an education conference by people’s responses to me at the conference. I have several Education groups on LinkedIn, The Educator’s PLN, and #Edchat on Twitter. I also host The #Edchat Radio Show, as well as Blog on My Island View. On top of all of that I am a contributing Editor to SmartBlog on Education for SmartBrief. For this I am often recognized and thought of by some as a Rock Star. Yesterday I was introduced as the “Godfather of Twitter”. (Not my words) I am also thrilled when my wife, who is an education Tech executive, refers to me as her husband @tomwhitby. People get it. Most have a sense of humor. We can’t take ourselves too seriously, or we won’t have as much fun. It is time to get over it. I can say this because I am @tomwhitby Damn It!

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 163
  • Teachers Have Style Too! Teachers Have Style Too!

    • From: Tiffany_Della_Vedova
    • Description:



      Something has been nagging me for a few months, specifically since returning from the ASCD conference in Chicago this past March. I’d tell you the whole story of what caused me to pause and reflect, but I’d probably be banned from presenting again. It’s not really something one should share on a public forum like a blog. On the other hand, I likely won’t have the funds to travel there anyway this year, so what the heck, right? Also at this point, I’d feel a little guilty about leading you on only to let you down. Perhaps what we could do is have you email me, and if you email me (off the record), we can have a private exchange (encrypted of course). Sound good?

      I’m sure if you’ve made it this far into the post (thank you), you might be feeling a little cheated by that proposition, but I’m here to share that that, my friends, is the “taboo hook”, a presentation hook shared with me when I attended the ASCD session of Dave Burgess, a.k.a. “Teach Like a Pirate” original pirate, author, and presenter. The taboo hook is intended to snag learners, drawing them into the content or experience by making them believe it is forbidden. Essentially, you are sharing a secret...and because it is a secret, it is by nature juicy, forbidden--and highly desirable.


      I met Dave the night before my 8 AM presentation when I realized I had forgotten my dongle, an essential tool for presenting. With no hope of hitting an Apple store at 11:30 PM, I frantically tweeted out an S.O.S. and Dave, being the true kind pirate he is, offered up his booty and even attended my session. Of course I wanted to support him, but even more, I wanted to know what “Teach Like a Pirate” meant, so later that afternoon, I found myself sneaking past the “session full” sign into a standing-room only “Pirate” presentation. What Dave did during his presentation was essentially turn teaching into performance art. He went through the ABCs of Pirating a class’s attention--Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask & Analyze, Transformation & Enthusiasm--and then he shared some “stand and deliver” style hooks. As a one-time rebel, the taboo one was my favorite.


      When I left his presentation, however, I was stumped. Surely, I had just witnessed great teaching. On the other hand, all I did was stand, listen, and watch. I didn’t engage in a problem-solving initiative, collaborate, discuss, or do any hands-on learning. BUT...I learned! What Dave did for me in that session was not just share information which stuck but also inspire me to learn more about how to “teach like a pirate”.


      As I learned more, though, I wasn’t sure I was cut out to be a pirate. I find that the best learning in my class takes place when I’m not presenting, or at least through a combination of teacher-centered discussion and student-centered experiences. I’m also not a great performer. I have terrible timing in my delivery, I’m not funny, and I don’t come across as particularly rebellious. If I tried to be a pirate, I believe my students would force me to walk the plank until the real Mrs. D returned.


      This has had me pondering teacher style and whether we are allowing for each teacher to rock his or her best in the class or whether we are forcing all teachers to believe there is one “best” style of teaching. We all see how students thrive when allowed to play in their style of learning, so why wouldn’t the same logic apply to teacher presentation style?


      Recently, Edutopia shared via Facebook a post by Principal Ben Johnson entitled
      “Great Teachers Don’t Teach”. In it, Johnson proposed that “great teachers engineer learning experiences that maneuver the students into the driver’s seat and then the teachers get out of the way.” As an educator whose style is aligned with this sentiment, I read it and said, “Yes, I completely agree!” Then, however, I thought of Dave, and I thought back to my own high school experiences and whom I would consider my best teacher, Mr. Craft.


      Mr. Craft was charged with teaching us either honors World History or U. S. History, I really can’t recall, because all he did teach us conspiracy theory, and particularly the history and conspiracies surrounding the Kennedy family. As a teacher, I would argue that by the book, Mr. Craft was a terrible teacher. We did not learn the prescribed curriculum, we never engaged in collaboration, formal assessment, project-based learning, hands-on learning, writing across the curriculum, experiential learning. In fact, I would say we only ever engaged in auditory learning and discussion through debate. But Mr. Craft did something no other teacher in my K-12 educational experience did...he captivated my curiosity completely and inspired me to learn outside his class. I did all of my projects for every class that year on something Kennedy related (even my physics project), and my friend Ryan and I were the only people under forty when the JFK and Ruby movies premiered as we finished high school.


      Mr. Craft was a great teacher because he was great at how he taught. He could not have been any other style of teacher--when he tried, he failed miserably and we were similarly miserable. When I shared Edutopia’s link and asked my Facebook friends to reflect on what made their “best teachers” great, they all made very different points. Not surprisingly, one of my friends also cited Mr. Craft.


      Maybe there is room for differentiated style in teaching and a place for balance in the classroom. Instead of measuring a teacher’s presentation method against today’s “best practices”, perhaps we should be measuring it against student indicators of best learning. And, to be clear, by best learning, I don’t mean standardized assessment. Like many things in life, the best learning can be measured in the love it produces, the spark it ignites, the relevant connections it builds. I would argue that great teaching happens not when a particular method of teaching is employed but rather when great learning is achieved.


    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 749
  • Virtual Summer Camp for Teache Virtual Summer Camp for Teachers 2013

    • From: Michael_Fisher
    • Description:




      It’s Finally Here!

      I’m pleased to announce the Virtual Summer Camp for 2013, the 5th Anniversary of the original!

      This year’s Virtual Summer Camp was created with Weebly, a web tool that lets the user create their own website from a variety of templates. In the past, I’ve used different web tools that included Blogger, LiveBinders, Scoop.it, and Learni.st, always looking for different ways to visualize the camp.

      Access to all previous camps is included here as well as an array of brand new offerings. The offerings this year are broken into three areas: New Web 2.0 Apps, new Mobile Apps, and a Campfire section that is specific to professional development and global connectivity.

      All of the Web 2.0 Apps and Mobile Apps are geared toward Multi-Mediating your professional practice, enhancing singular media content and looking for opportunities to invite multiple versions of content into the learning process.

      I purposefully limited the offerings this year for two reasons...24 opportunities are still a lot to investigate AND you have access to previous years Summer Camps that open up multiple opportunities for further resources if you choose to explore them.

      I encourage you to not only investigate the offerings in the Virtual Summer Camp but also to investigate Weebly as a Web 2.0 tool. It’s easy to create a website and the drag and drop interface is so easy to use. While it took me awhile to find the individual resources for the camp; it took a minimal amount of time to actually create the Weebly page to house them. This alone could be awesome for students as a demonstration of their learning, allowing them to show and share what they know in a free platform.

      I wish you the best of summers! Teachers are amazing, especially in the wake of all the media attention around evaluations and value added measures. I know that you do what you do because you love kids and you value the system of instruction and preparation to move kids to a desired destination. You are rock stars and I am humbled by your efforts, regardless of the bureaucracy and political issues. You do what’s best for kids and I wholeheartedly support that! I hope that you find some useful resources in what I’ve put together for this year’s summer camp.

      I look forward to conversing with you and enhancing the offerings as the summer heats up. Keep up the good work and know that you are valued, awesome, and integral to the growth of our country and citizens! You are amazing, and I’m so honored to share this Virtual Summer Camp with you!

      Have a great Summer 2013!


      Note: The new site is optimized for Mobile Devices too, so you can camp on the go!

      Follow Mike on Twitter

      Upgrade Your Curriculum now available in the ASCD store

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 857
  • "Teacher"- the ringmaster "Teacher"- the ringmaster

    • From: Megan_Albrecht
    • Description:

      Warning: I just saw Billy Collins speak, so I apologize if I try to be too poetic.

      I'm learning that teaching is a dynamic and personal profession.  Every day has solidified that I found myself doing exactly what I should be doing.  It is upbeat, energetic, and significant.  What I have noticed about myself as a new teacher, however, is that I am still a rookie at managing the circus.  It's not just about teaching; I'm pretty good at planning a lesson.  It's not about being in front of the class; subbing has definitely prepared me for that.  It's about the 1,000 decisions you make daily: when can this student use the bathroom, should the students be allowed to use their notes on the activity, should that child really be working that partner, just to name a few.  This is one aspect of the dynamic nature of teaching.

      The optimistic part of this is that I think these decisions get easier once you start answering them frequently, and seeing how they play out... in other words "experience."  And I know we already read about and discussed these things in class, but I'm going to rock the boat and say that it's completely different than when you're in the line of fire.  It's the difference between theory and practice (which I intend to have a full blog about later).  But you can have a set of automatic classroom management answers, and this will surely help.  But the practice of entering a classroom and thinking on your feet is what is most needed to help you become a better ringmaster of the circus.

    • Blog post
    • 1 year ago
    • Views: 767
    • Not yet rated
  • A_B

    • ASCD EDge Member
    • Points:250
    • Views: 117
    • Since: 1 year ago
    • Not yet rated
  • Kelly_Costner

    • ASCD EDge Member
    • Points:250
    • Views: 157
    • Since: 1 year ago
    • Not yet rated
Results 1 - 20 of 118

Terms of Service