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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Things You Need to Know



Anne Collier on episode 169 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Anne Collier helps us understand the statistics on bullying and cyberbullying. We talk about targets, those who bully and how to respond when helping those embroiled in this situation. October is the month we work to take a stand against bullying, so this is a topic of emphasis this month for many of us.

stop bullying and cyberbullying (1)

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 http://ift.tt/2y91EpU

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Things You Need to Know

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2kMsFwn

From Audio File: 169 Anne Collier @annecollier
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with my friend, Anne Collier @annecollier, about how we can reduce cyberbullying.

So, Anne, how bad is cyberbullying now?

Anne Collier

Current bullying and cyberbullying statistics

Ann: Well, I think that it’s really important to be clear that it’s far from the epidemic that we sometimes hear about in the news media.

There was a major update from the National Academy last year that looked at what’s really going on here. We do know that it’s still less of a problem than in-person bullying, that the range that the National Academy found for in-person school-based bullying is 18-31% of U.S. young people have experienced it or (been) affected by it. And for cyberbullying, it’s 7-15%.

So they looked at a whole range of research – lots of different studies – and that was the range of kids who were affected by it, in both cases.

Vicki: That’s still too many. I mean it’s… roughly 3 in 10 in face-to-face…

Ann: Yes.

Vicki: And almost 2 in 10 cyberbullying.

How do we help kids who are targets?

Some educators tend to just flip out and say, “Take away the phone! Take away the phone! Turn it off!”

What do we do that’s rational – that works?

Ann: Yeah. Well, that’s such an important question!

And it really isn’t as much about technology as it is about humanity. Right?

It’s a behavioral thing, and what we see on devices and on screens is kind of just sort of the tip of the iceberg. It’s just a freeze frame of what’s going on in a peer relationship, right, or a peer group.

Vicki: Right.

Ann: And usually it involves school, right, because most of kids’ waking hours and most of their social lives revolve around school.

So it’s really important for us to think about what’s going on with the kids. Taking away devices is – gosh – not even a band-aid, really. It doesn’t even really change the symptom. So we’ve got to work on the relationships instead.

The biggest mistakes educators can make when dealing with bullying

Vicki: You’ve worked with all kinds of organizations to combat this problem of bullying and cyberbullying.

When an educator is trusted enough by a kid or a parent to find out what’s happening, what is the worst thing that can we can do?

Ann: Overreact… Or try to take matter entirely into their own hands.

Because bullying and cyberbullying are about a loss of dignity and a loss of control from the child.

Vicki: (agrees)

Ann: Adults can really aggravate the problem by just trying to fix things themselves.

Vicki: Yeah.

Ann: So the most important thing we can do is know that every situation or case is as unique as the people involved. You’ve kind of got to get to the bottom of what’s going on among those people. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Vicki: Right. You know, one of the things that you and I have talked about before is that they used to say, “Stop, Block, and Tell.”

But I always say, “Stop, Screenshot, Block, and Tell.” Getting those screenshots is so important!

And once you block, sometimes you lose all that data… so you can’t say and show what’s happening.

Ann: Yeah. It’s really important to have some evidence if a child needs a screenshot, or needs to take a picture of a screen with another device, or whatever. Yeah, it’s good to have evidence. And it is good to tell and help kids that that’s not tattling. It’s about seeking help. And that’s really important.

What really helps the targets of bullying

They also tell us in research done actually with victims of bullying is that what helps them the most is to be really heard, to be really listened to. Whether that’s a peer, like a bystander being an upstander, or just a friend being a friend, or it’s an adult that they turn to. (It’s) that we really listen and kind of understand that it’s a process, that there isn’t as I said before a “quick fix.”

Vicki: You know, I lived it for five years. I know this. I know it! I don’t know what I would have done if my parents hadn’t listened because sometimes you have to go through it to get to it. You have to go through it to get to the solution. It’s not something you can wave a magic wand and fix, you know?

Ann: Yeah, and really listening to them and going through the process with them – rather than taking matters into our own hands – helps them see that they matter. It helps them get to hope. They see that they’re not alone and that this will pass. If we can help them with that, that is really going far toward really resolving the situation.

Vicki: So you’ve talked about, “Let’s not overreact.”

Let’s not think we can have a cookie-cutter approach, that everything is the same.

And to really listen.

Do you think there are some challenges that educators have as we deal with cyberbullying – and even bullying?

Educators can deal with these issues because it isn’t as much about technology as most educators think

Ann: I do. I think that very often — those of us who didn’t grow up with these technologies and media — think that this is a technology issue.

So we think that we’re unfamiliar with what’s involved, we’re not trained for this. And that’s simply not true because it’s a human thing more than it’s a technological thing.

We are trained. We do know how to work with kids. We do understand child development. We can use those tools and skill and that knowledge that we have to help our children.

How do we help children in the middle of a mass attack?

Vicki: How can you help when a child is in the middle of the situation, and it really is a mass bullying type of attack going on, and it feels like it’s everywhere. Like it feels like it’s on every social media platform, everywhere they go at school, and they don’t feel like there is an escape. What can we do to kind of take a little bit of the pressure off in that circumstance so that we can get through it?

I’ve been there, and I know how hard it is. If I couldn’t have gone home and petted my dog and been away from it, I don’t know how I would have made it — with social media and not being able to get away from it.

Ann: Well, I think we do need to shut down the devices sometimes. I think we need to help children kind of cut through that FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). They don’t like the drama any more than we do. There are always kids… I run a social media helpline for schools now, and what we’ve found is that most of the cases that come to us through school administrators come to the school administrators through the students themselves.

So there are always students who get sick of this crap and want to fix it and want it to go away.

We need to work with our students to make that happen. We can do that by reporting abuse in apps and services, and we can use them as our allies. Especially student leaders. I think we need to remember that there’s a digital component now to leadership and citizenship. Those students want to help, and so we need to look at those resources that we have… and work with them.

Vicki: So here’s the flip side of the coin…

I understand the – I’m not going to say “victim”. Victim is not the right word to use. I like to say, “survivor.”

Ann: (agrees)

Vicki: You know, you made it through. You lived it.

Ann: Yep, you were a target.

Vicki: Yeah.

OK, so Anne, let’s take a different approach for just a moment.

We’ve talked about the person who’s the target.

How do we help the parents of kids who are bullying understand?

Let’s talk about the kids who are doing this, and helping the parents of the children who are participating in this behavior to understand and handle it.

You know, a lot of times parents will make excuses and say, “Oh, kids are kids. This happened when I was (young). Bullying has been around forever. But they’re not really bullying. This is just what kids do.”

How do we help the children? The statistics of those who bully are actually scarier than being a target. If I had to pick, I would pick to be the target. Those who bully tend to really have some bad things happen in their lives.

But how do we help the parents of those who are participating in this behavior understand how to help their children not do this?

Ann: I don’t know if there’s a clear answer to that when the parents involved are determined to believe that their children are great, that their children don’t have a problem.

I think we see examples sometimes of parents who are bullying, themselves. They’re modeling that behavior for their kids. So they’re in denial about anybody victimizing anybody.

I don’t think there’s a clear answer or a blanket answer to that question. We’ve got to try to work with those parents as best we can, to the extent that they’re open to understanding what’s going on and the impacts on some of the kids – generalizing the situation a little bit, rather than blaming.

If we ourselves stay away from targeted blaming, then generally the conversation can open up a little bit. But we’ve got to test the waters, right? We have to understand where the parents are coming from, first, before we can have a calm, rational conversation.

Vicki: Yeah. And it’s tough.

So as we finish up, Anne, could you give us sort of a 30-second platform speech about the importance of actively working with this all year long?

We can’t just talk about bullying once a year: it is a year-long thing

I mean, October is Anti-Bullying Month. But we can’t pick up the mantle one month out of the year. It is something we have to live.

So could you kind of inspire us to help lead the charge with helping us focus on this topic all year long?

Ann: This really is something that we have to live. It’s about human relations. It is all year long and all life long, I think.

The research shows that the real solution — especially at the high school level when we really don’t know how to make bullying prevention work in grades 9-12 – that what the real solution really is positive school climate.

That’s a community-wide thing. That starts with helping teachers feel safe to keep classrooms safe places for students to learn and collaborate. So the whole school community has to be involved – not really just in bullying prevention, but in creating a school culture where everybody can thrive.

Vicki: And that’s so important.

So, educators, I do think it’s good for us to research this topic deeply, bring it back to the forefront of our mind – at least once a year so that we can read the latest research, read the latest information.

But we do also have to know that 3 in 10 kids? That’s unacceptable.

Almost 2 in 10? That’s unacceptable.

It is so many children in our schools. I just ask for you to please be part of the solution.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


Anne Collier is the founder and executive director of The Net Safety Collaborative, the national nonprofit organization that runs iCanHelpline.org, the U.S.’s new social media helpline for schools.

A youth advocate with more than 20 years’ experience researching, writing and speaking about young digital media users, Anne has served on three national task forces on Internet safety and currently serves on the Trust & Safety advisory boards of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Based with her family in the Seattle area, she blogs at NetFamilyNews.org.

Blog: http://ift.tt/1Edlhxg

Twitter: @annecollier

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 Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Things You Need to Know appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2hEmWDE
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Google Masters For Kids of All Ages: Badges, Skills and More



Lee Ann Yonker on episode 168 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Lee Ann Yonker helped start the #MiniGoogleMasters movement in her school in K-3rd grade, demonstrating littles can be tech-savvy too! Now having moved to 5th grade, Mrs. Yonker is continuing her tech encouragement with the #MakingGoogleMasters. We talk about what students of all ages can do. She also shares her micro-credential badging approach that has her fifth graders excited to learn.

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 http://ift.tt/2y91EpU

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Google Masters for Kids of All Ages

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2yExKgb
From Audio File: 168 Lee Ann Yonker @leeannyonker

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Lee Ann Yonker @leeannyonker. Now, she has taught Google from first grade up through fifth grade, and has a really fantastic program that she created. On Twitter it’s #MiniGoogleMasters for the younger kids and #MakingGoogleMasters for the older kids.

And we’re actually going to talk about what is realistic to expect that kids can do in Google, by age.

What can K-2 students be expected to do in Google Tools?

So, Lee Ann, let’s start with your #MiniGoogleMasters. What are the things that kids can master in G-suite, let’s say from kindergarten through second grade?

Using Google Tools to Help Improve Behavior and Increase Engagement

Lee Ann: Well, when we started this last year, it was started out of a place of necessity. I had a special education classroom, and I was the Gen Ed teacher. My co-teacher and I really needed something to help curb some of the behaviors that we were seeing.

We knew that engagement had to increase, and so in came our G-suite tools. We were inspired by Christine Pinto and the work that she had done with the #GAfEforLittles. We just started very slowly introducing our first graders to the G-suite apps. We started with Google Sheets, and it was right around this time of year.

  • Check out the interview with Christine Pinto on episode 142

Using Pixel Art in Google Sheets

We created a pixel art in Google Sheets and gave them an outline of a pumpkin. We showed them how to use the paint can tool to put color in the cells, and we told them to create a jack-o’-lantern. We just wanted them to get familiar with using those tools because we knew that we wanted to implement those into our math instruction and things like that later. And they took off! The things that they did just with that simple pumpkin was so amazing and impressive.

So, from there, we had our pixel art. For math we had kind of translated over into our hundreds chart pictures. You know the cool hundreds charts that you can color in and create those mysterious pictures. We transferred those over into Google Sheets as well.

So once we had our feet wet a little bit, and we got a taste of how that was curbing some of the behaviors in our classroom, we just started branching out and giving them more tastes of the G-suite apps.

Voice Typing in Google Docs

Working in Google Docs, the kids thought it was amazing to be able to see how they could type with their voice, using the Voice Typing tool. They could say what they wanted to type, and they would have a model so they could type it themselves. The independence level went through the roof.

Compound Words in Google Slides

We did the same thing in Google Slides. We were working in compound words, and one slide would have two pictures that would create a compound word. But they didn’t know how to spell the compound word. We showed them how to use the Voice Notes in the Speaker Notes to type the word. So, they could create their answer because it provided them that model for them.

The level of independence, and the kids being able to dig around and find tools. We had our little keywords, “Use your ‘mountain’ to insert pictures,” and “Use your ‘T’ if you want to type,” and things like that. Just fostering that independence and letting them go with it.

Telling them, “There’s nothing that you can break. You can’t do anything that we can’t go back and fix for you using our magic Undo button and our versioning histories of course.”

And the kids just blossomed with it, and we noticed that our behavior problems started to decrease because engagement was so much higher with them when they were using the G-Suite tools.

Words to use to teach younger students about G Suite

Vicki: So you’ve given us some words that you use because sometimes the challenge when we’re teaching –especially with younger kids – is the word. I like the magic Undo button.

Lee Ann: (laughs)

Vicki: And the “mountain” picture, and the “T” for typing. Are there any other words that you can give us for the younger kids before we move on?

Lee Ann: Of course all of those were keystones in our classroom. Of course, we talked about our line tool, how you can use that to create shapes and things like that. Just having those icons up there at the top of the toolbar as places for them to reference. They know that they can go there and kind of dig around, even if they weren’t really sure what they were looking for, they could go hunt in those places.

The day that they learned to copy and paste (laughs) was a magical day because they were able to use that Ctrl-C and the Ctrl-V. Even now, even in my fifth-grade class, I have that as an anchor chart in my classroom. It’s such a handy tool that even some adults don’t utilize to its full potential. Just having those shortcuts for them was super helpful.

What can third through sixth graders do with Gsuite?

Vicki: OK, so let’s look at third through sixth grades, #MakingGoogleMasters.

What are the things that this grade level can start doing that maybe the younger kids couldn’t?

Lee Ann: Moving from first grade last year to fifth grade this year, I knew that Google was going to be a cornerstone in my classroom. I was inspired this summer. I was at a conference, actually with my husband, and he is in the hotel business. Something sparked me. There were these bags that we had been given, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be so cool for the kids to earn pins or badges?” And I thought, you know I could buy pins, and give them little pins if they achieve a certain task or whatever in a G-suite tool. And then I thought, “No! How cool would it be for kids to have digital badges, the same way that we have (some) that are attached to our e-mails and things like that, for when we achieve our Google Certified Educators and things like that.

I went on the hunt, and I created – just using Google Drawings and Canva – these #MakingGoogleMaster badges. They’re very simple. They just have the G-suite icon, and it says “Sheets” and it has our hashtag at the bottom.

I was so inspired! “I have these great digital badges. Now what do I do with them?”

How Lee Ann creates and awards the badges in her Google Classroom

Well, I want my kids to become masters of these G-suite tools because we’re going to be using them in our classroom. The more familiar they are with them, the (more) higher order thinking we’re going to be able to do in class.

So what I decided was that I needed a way to track these. I found that Flippity.net plays beautifully with Sheets. I saw that they have a Badge Tracker, and I thought, “This is great!”

Then I also noticed that in their Badge Tracker they had this disclaimer that you can only use images from the internet. And I was like, “No! I have these great badges.”

So – simple fix? I went into my Google Drive. I filed and published it to the web so it was instantly a picture on the web, and then I was able add those into my Flippity.

So I created one for each of my fifth grade classrooms, and they know that in the About section of our Google Classroom, I have posted for them — in a sheet – links to all these different tasks.

Independent learning about Gsuite

So for early finishers, and I’ve even had kids work on this from home that’s how excited they are about it – they can go into the About section of our Google Classroom. They can access these different assessments (tasks for them to do) in each G-suite, and they can complete that.

They send me a notification (tag me in a comment or whatever within that document or slide or whatever it may be), and I can go approve that they’ve done the task or not. If they have, then I just go back to my Flippity sheet and I check them off that they have earned that badge.

And then, of course, we take a picture, and we Tweet it out, and they’re recognized in their Morning Meeting, and things like that.

lee ann yonkers google masters

So really just being able to develop familiarity with all of the G-suite tools, and then learning different tips and tricks… and the beauty of this is that they have the task, but no directions. They may have to go into a doc and create a table and format it a certain way, but I don’t tell them how to do it.

And so, so many different kids have completed this task, but there’s more than one avenue to get to something. Especially in the G-suite tools, they might know keyboard shortcuts, or they might find it in their toolbars.

Just them learning how to use all these G-suite apps has opened the door for us to do so many more things in our classroom because they have that knowledge of the apps and how they work and shortcuts and things that they can do within them.

Vicki: This is really almost micro-credentials in some ways.

Mistakes Lee Ann says not to make when implementing Google Classroom

So, Lee Ann, is there any mistake that you have made that you would love to warn everybody about so that they don’t make it?

Lee Ann: In our classroom, we talk a lot about growth mindset, and how you’re not there yet.

Tip 1: make sure To have a Buddy System

And even some of my fifth graders now, some of them don’t come from technology-rich environments, so they might become frustrated or overwhelmed, and so I think offering the ability to have a buddy (is a good idea). I know that was huge with our first graders as well.

Tip 2: Don’t Stereotype children

And please do not stereotype your kids as, “You are a high academic performing child. You’re probably going to be very tech-savvy.” The highest technology-savvy kid we had was one of our lowest academic performing students. So don’t have that misconception that just because it’s one of the kids who might be really high in academics, they may struggle with technology. But provide them with the support system, a buddy in class that they can rely on.

Vicki: So much great advice!

So you’ll definitely want to check the Shownotes for this, and we’ll also give you links to Lee Ann’s work so you can learn more about it.

Take a look at #MiniGoogleMasters and #MakingGoogleMasters. Look at all the resources and things they’re doing.

These are some fantastic ideas. I love this idea of micro-credentials and having kids explore and learn on their own, so that you can focus on the content teaching as well, as they explore and learn more about the tools.

So, fantastic ideas, Lee Ann. Very remarkable!

Lee Ann: Thank you!

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


As an elementary teacher, Lee Ann has a passion for teaching kids not only about content, but life lessons as well. Previously Mrs. Yonker has spent the past 5 years in first grade where she and her co-teacher began the #MiniGoogleMasters movement, demonstrating littles can be tech savvy too! Now having moved to 5th grade, Mrs. Yonker is continuing her tech encouragement with the #MakingGoogleMasters to empower her older students to master G Suite tools, much like the Google Certified Educator Task for Level 1 & 2 certification. Mrs. Yonker teaches in South Central Kentucky, and is a 2016 KY Teacher of the year nominee.

Blog: http://ift.tt/2yEaI9n

Twitter: @leeannyonker

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 Google Masters For Kids of All Ages: Badges, Skills and More appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2hBvoUw
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

6 Tech Treasures for Special Ed Teachers (K-6)



Melissa Mann on episode 167 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Special ed teacher Melissa Mann shares six of her favorite edtech tools for the special education classroom. From collecting data to parent communications to taking care of yourself, Melissa has something for every classroom (as well as a pretty cool pep talk!)

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 http://ift.tt/2y91EpU

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Six Tech Treasures for Special Ed Teachers (K-6)

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2yBPf0v
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with K-6 Special Ed Teacher Melissa Mann @mnmann, and we’re going to have some Tech Treasures for special ed teachers.

So, Melissa, where do we start?

Melissa: Well, the tech tools I’ve pulled out right now are a mixture of tech tools that teachers can use for data collection and also for students.

Special Ed Treasure #1: Google Keep

So we’ll just start with one for the teachers. My new favorite right now is Google Keep.

I’m still learning some of what Google Keep can do, but a lot of times teachers were in and out of other teachers’ classrooms. Nobody really wants to carry the Chromebook or a laptop with you. Google Keep is an app that works off of a phone. For your Google account, you can take pictures of maybe a work sample of something you need to store for a student.

You can add To-Do Lists; maybe you notice something behavior issue that maybe you need to share with somebody, and keep data collection on with that and keep everything organized into one.

It’s also one to show the students as they start to organize researching. Maybe our students that can’t write down a website that they found something at, but they can go and add it to their Google Keep if you’re a Google school, and start building their research that they can go back and look at later. So it’s also an organization tool for the older students that may need some organizational help that they can use.

Vicki: Fantastic. We did a whole Ed Tech Tool Tuesday some time ago, so I will include that in the Shownotes.

OK, what’s your next one, Melissa?

Special Ed Treasure #2: Remind

Melissa: The next one I have is Remind. When Remind first came out, it was just about sending out things to parents, using for like an announcement type thing.

But then about three years ago, they added a chat option. What I like about the chat option is that teachers don’t want to give out a cell phone number to parents or anything, but you can build a Remind group, and parents will have access to text you to have a conversation. It works really good for reminding parents about meetings that we have.

You know, a lot of times a kid with an exceptionality has a lot of, “I had a bad morning,” and the teacher needs to know about it. Well, the general ed teacher may not have a chance to check an e-mail or that kind of thing, but the parent can send something to the collaborative teacher, the special ed educator, through the Remind on the chat option, and we can go check on that student right then.

Vicki: Love that.

Melissa: You know, it’s a good way to keep in contact, especially about doctor’s appointments that they may have, things like that. It’s a record of the conversation. So I like that for the data.

Vicki: I love that, too. I use one called Bloomz, which does something very similar, so having that private way to chat but not use the cell phone is just a lifesaver, isn’t it?

Melissa: Yes, it is. These parents are with their kids for seven or eight hours of a day at least. We have them more awake than they do. This is a way for them to know that they can get a hold of us if they need to. I’ve just found a lot of times that it eases the minds of the special ed parent… because you know they know their child better than we do. When you have that open line of communication, it just opens up that way. There’s that trust that’s building.

Special Ed Treasure #3: Google Voice Typing

Vicki: Yeah. So important. OK, what’s our third?

Melissa: Google Docs has added a voice typing in there now. It’s something that any student can pull up. It’s up in the toolbar.

I have found a lot of times some of our kids have trouble with typing, or it may take them a while. It’s that processing thing, and they can’t sit there. They know what they want to say, but trying to get it out on paper is difficult. If you have mic capability or a headset, they can be able to write their paper using the voice typing option.

A lot of our students with physical handicaps – CP or something like that – may have trouble with the typing. But they can speak and tell you what they want to say. So this is an option for them to still be able to participate in the general ed curriculum and not feel like they’re not getting to have full access to everything.

Special Ed Treasure #4: Seesaw

Vicki: It’s so empowering when you teach kids how to voice type. OK, what’s our fourth?

Melissa: Seesaw is another one I’ve learned about over the last year or so, and it’s an online portfolio.

That’s for like our self-contained teachers that deal with the more sever exceptionalities. They have to deal with a lot of times portfolio things. They may have to take videos or look at snapshots and things like that.

The great thing about Seesaw is that it works on multiple devices for the student to add to it. So your paraprofessional could be working on a skill. Say the child makes it and does accuracy, she can add stuff into the Seesaw. It’s a good way to keep up with the data, the videos of things all in one location and have multiple people adding to it.

Vicki: Such collaboration happens when you’re focusing. It just makes life easier.

Melissa: Yes.

Special Ed Treasure #5: Read and Write for Google Chrome

Vicki: OK, what’s our next?

Melissa: Read and Write for Google Chrome. That’s one that I feel like that’s one that some teachers know about, but they don’t realize that teachers get it for free.

If you go through the tech tips… A lot of times I’ll Google “Read and Write for Google Chrome for Teachers,” and there’s a way for teachers to register for that extension for free. So they full access, they get the full toolbar when they’re in their Google account.

  • So that gives you a voice typing option in there.
  • There’s the playback fluency option, so the student can be recording themselves reading and then send you the recording.
  • There’s highlighting options.
  • There’s a vocabulary builder that’s included in that. The vocabulary builder will also pull things from a document you’ve created, and it will add the picture to go with it as well as a study note. I like that for those students who may not be at the point where they can just do the abstract with just the words, and they still need a concrete picture or visual of what it is that you are asking them to do. So it gives a lot of different options for that.

Vicki: Melissa, I totally agree with you on that one. That’s actually one of my Top 15 Google Chrome Extensions, and I’ll include a link to that. That is such an incredible tool to help with all students. Oh, but especially with those with special needs.

Special Ed Treasure #6: Twitter and #spedEDchat

OK, do you have any others for us?

Melissa: Twitter’s one that I really use. It’s not something that I’m looking into as a student tool. But a lot of times, even though special ed teachers collaborate all day, we talk to the general ed teachers… we are the only ones that really know what we do.

And there’s an incredible Tuesday Nights #spedEDchat that takes place. Just connecting with other special ed teachers across the country kind of gives you that sense of – especially during paperwork season when you’ve got everything coming down on top of you – just knowing that somebody else feels that way too, sometimes, outside of your own building, kinds of helps you go, “OK. We can do this. We can get through this again.” And so just reaching out and having that PLN, having those connections that you can do.

Maybe you need a tech tool for something, and you haven’t been able to find it yet. Putting that out on Twitter so that somebody else that may know about it, they can go, “Hey, try this.” And that’s a kind of way to get just another resource as well.

Selecting Apps Depends on Your Student’s Needs

Vicki: So, Melissa, you’ve given us lots of tools. Do you think that there’s just one that just shines out above all of the rest? Like it completely transformed everything for you?

Melissa: You have to know the students. You have to see their abilities to exactly know what the tech tool is that you need to do.

That’s why it makes it such a treasure box of things because what works for this student may not work for this student. This app may be what unlocks the thing that this student needs, and then you’ve got to find another app that this student can use.

And there are so many tools out there. There are so many different things. And my LiveBinder that I have to all of my… some Symbaloos I’ve created and things that I’ve done when I do webinars for Simple K-12… where we’ve looked at different interactive resources, more of like just websites and links and things. So that’s an option to check out too, because I didn’t just want to give websites out today.

Vicki: So we have certainly gotten a treasure box from Melissa today. We have gotten these tech treasures for special ed teachers.

Encouragement for Special Education Teachers

Melissa, could you give us a 30-second pep talk for special ed teachers and how technology can help them?

Melissa: Technology’s going to make your life easier because of the paperwork load that we have to do, but one thing …. It’s also going to help you with aself-caree technique. From reaching out to you. From Twitter, from staying organized, from communicating with parents.

It’s also something that’s going to help empower you as a teacher. The biggest thing to keep in mind, of just as a pep talk in general, to special ed teachers are… You are that voice for that student. Even though they may not tell the general ed teacher what’s going on, you’re the one that can read their face. You’re the one that knows what’s going on.

As Angela Maiers always says, “You’re the one reminding them that they matter, that they have something to contribute.” So every student is in that school for a reason. Every student has a piece to the puzzle.

Technology is wonderful. It’s great. But you, the special ed teacher, are the greatest resource for those kids. As one of my favorite TED Talks from Rita Pierson says, “Every child deserves a champion.” So use what you have and be that champion for the students.

And then connect with others to find the resources that you need, through the podcasts like you’re listening to today, or Twitter chats, or just reaching out, you know connecting within your own school or your own school system. Just knowing that you’re making a difference.

Vicki: Teachers, you are so important.

There is a precious special needs boy at my church. I went up to him. He doesn’t really have good eye contact, but I went up to him the other night and I patted him on the back.

He didn’t look at me, but he called my name.

And I cried.

Because you are that voice. You are so important.

And when you make that connection, that is truly priceless. And I’m just so proud of all of you for listening and trying to improve.

You know, that’s who teachers are. That’s who we are.

This has been such a great topic, and I hope that you’ll take some of these tools and take it to heart and really be the voice for those kids.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


Melissa Mann is a special education teacher with the Madison County School System. She has taught both self-contained and collaborative students in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade. Melissa is dual certified in Elementary Education and Special Education. She also has a Master’s in School Counseling and is a certified school counselor.

Melissa presented at ISTE in 2015, and she has presented for the past eight years at Alabama’s state technology conference and at various local conferences. Melissa is also a trainer with Simple K-12. Her portfolio can be found at : http://www.bit.ly/TechTreasures

Twitter: @mnmann

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 6 Tech Treasures for Special Ed Teachers (K-6) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Monday, October 09, 2017

How to Make Your Teaching Something Special



Rushton Hurley on episode 166 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Rushton Hurley, author of Making Your Teaching Something Special: 50 Ways to Become a Better Teacher, gives us ideas to build rapport, review for tests, and improve our teaching that will help us be better 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 http://ift.tt/2y91EpU

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

­­­­Making Your Teaching Something Special

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2wJiVUY
Monday, October 9, 2017

Vicki: Happy Motivational Monday! How Well, we have the author of the book, Making Your Teaching Something Special, with us Rushton Hurley @rushtonh.

So, Rushton, how can we make our teaching something special? Because you know, it’s Monday morning, and a lot of us – we’re just tired. We’re not really thinking about being special, but kind of deep down, I think we want to be.

Rushton: Ahhh, well, I think a lot of it comes down to that tension between how we use time, and the wild coolness that is our jobs that we don’t always focus on because of how we spend our time. (laughs)

Vicki: Yeah!

Rushton: So I think that there are certain things we can focus on that can save us time, that can allow us to make connections that we haven’t made before, those kinds of things get us more excited about what we do. Once we’re more excited about who we are personally and professionally in the classroom, then you know suddenly we’re in a very different space as teachers.

And I believe that that’s not rocket science. It’s not like, “Go and spend six months on the top of a mountain with a guru…”

Vicki: (laughs)

Rushton: “… you know, figuring out how to cross the river just in your mind.” Whatever.

You know, it’s much more about, “What are the little things?” Right? And so the book that I wrote earlier this year called , Making Your Teaching Something Special, is really about that.

There are five areas, and within those five areas a total of fifty pieces of advice in very short chapters. So that’s kind of my hope is that this would be something that allows a lot of teachers to reconnect with the most interesting and the most fun pieces of what they do personally and professionally.

Vicki: OK, so since it’s Monday Motivation, give us some things we should be doing. Just give us a little taste of it.

Tips to Build Rapport with Students

Rushton: Ahhh, sure! So the very first area in the book is about rapport with students. Right? It includes things like “Build a Sense of Community.” Now how do you do that?

So we go into a lot of detail on, “How do you connect with kids, such that they identify themselves as a group and with you in that room in a really powerful way?” And there are lots of little ways.

Tip #1:Take and use pictures of the class and activities

I mean, like I used to take pictures of the entire class, have them blown up like a 11″x17″, print it out on physical paper. It was amazing. And then to laminate those things so that they just went on the wall. Over time, kids would come into the class and they would say, “Oh yeah, I remember that guy,” and, “Oh, that’s my sister,” and that kind of thing. There are lots of little things like that.

Tip #2: Don’t use sarcasm

Some of it is much more focused on how we work with students, so things like, “Use little to no sarcasm.” Because for every one student that understands the sophisticated humor that is sarcasm, there are any number who don’t quite get it. You’ve confused them, or you’ve created a barrier with them that you weren’t intending, of course, to do. There are lots of potholes that we can avoid stepping in when we really kind of look at them more clearly.

Vicki: So, you’ve given us something not to do. No sarcasm. And I’ll tell you, when I’ve had the problems with kids, it’s when I made a sarcastic remark. You learn to kind of steer away from that, don’t you?

Rushton: You do. It’s certainly important for kids to learn about sarcasm, but that can happen within the study of literature. There’s lots of ways to do that without that being a part of what happens in the classroom. Just understanding that you have some number of kids in that room who are in so many different places in terms of their use of language, their understanding of nuance. There are easy ways to avoid potholes that are kind of in that realm.

Vicki: So you said something at the beginning – that how we use time can help us connect with the “wild coolness” of who we are. OK, please give me something… (laughs) … because sometimes I don’t feel wild and cool! (laughs)

Rushton: Well, I will say that having talked with you any number of times, you have loads of wild coolness, so…

Vicki: (laughs) Sometimes… (laughs)… lots of coffee!

Rushton: Caffeine helps.

Making review of class material more interesting

So, the third area in the book is about delivery. One of those chapters is titled, “Review Well By Not Saying Too Much.”

Tip #3: Don’t start class like this

So, you know, saving time… One of the things that a lot of teachers do is start class with, “Alright everybody. Settle down. Alright, you know, we have a lot of important things to cover.”

Vicki: (laughs)

Rushton: “I will now review the key pieces from yesterday’s class.”

And here’s the thing. You say that, “I will now review the key pieces from yesterday’s class,” and you’ve given two messages.

1) “You don’t need to do any heavy lifting. I’ll do it for you.”

Vicki: Hmmmmm…

2) “You really don’t need to listen that hard today, because I’ll just tell you again tomorrow what it is we’re about to cover.”

Vicki: (disbelief, shock)

Tip #4: Start with a picture and have students recall what you did in class yesterday

Rushton: And neither of those are intended messages, of course, right? But imagine starting class where you’ve put some picture up on the screen that has nothing to do with anything. At least it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anything. And you say, “Hi Everybody. Take a quick look. Alright. With your partner, I want you to connect this picture to what we talked about yesterday. GO!”

Vicki: (laughs)

Rushton: They start looking at each other, and they’re like, “What did we talk about yesterday?” And then they have to talk through that, and “Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah…”

And then once they start making these connections – for which, by the way, there is no correct answer since there’s not obvious connection – they lose that sense of, “I don’t want to say what might be wrong.” Because there’s nothing that’s wrong.

I mean, you know, it’s more about can we pull out of ourselves those really important pieces so that the teacher can only jump in with anything missed.

If it’s coming from other voices, that’s just more powerful for what’s happening in the classroom.

Vicki: What a creative, novel idea! So how do you come up with these ideas, Rushton?

Where Rushton finds ideas (and why we should be sharing our successes)

Rushton: Ummmmm…(laughs)

There’s a lot of reasons I’m a lucky guy. I married way up, for example.

But also, I get to go to places around the world and talk to teachers about cool things that they’ve got going. I talk to school leaders about better ways to bring the staff into a professional place where they’re much more excited about the work they do together. I get to do that.

In doing that, I get to hear a lot of cool stuff. In any given school, there’s all kinds of cool stuff going on, but it may not be part of the culture. This is unfortunately true for lots and lots of schools – that not everybody talks about these kinds of successes, because they seem like bragging, and people are now upset about someone bragging, and blah-blah-blah.

Tip #5: Sharing success isn’t bragging!

What we need to do is say, “Hey, this amazing thing happened in class today, and I’m really excited about what this kid seemed to connect with.”

“Oh, that kid… I had no idea that that kid was interested in that. Tell me more.”

“Oh, you know, I tried that thing you mentioned last week? And it went really well, but we changed it in this way.”

Those kinds of conversations make for a far better environment for teachers. And once you’re in that space where teachers really feel comfortable getting excited talking about ideas together? Then everybody starts thinking not just, “My classroom’s getting better,” but we start thinking about the school becoming a better place.

We all want to work in a place where at the end of the day we go home and we go, “That’s a cool place where I work.”

Vicki: Yeah. You also have another book, Making Your School Something Special. I think as teachers, we want to work somewhere special, where we really get along with those colleagues.

So, Rushton, as we finish up, could you give us a 30-second pep talk as teachers to get us motivated to go in there and really do something special in our classrooms today?

Pep Talk to Make our School and Classroom Something Special

Rushton: So, the first thing you need to know is that this thing that you’ve been wanting to try? If it doesn’t work out, nobody really cares.

Vicki: (laughs)

Rushton: So give it a shot. This is just like, give it a shot, and see where it goes. And if it doesn’t go as cool as you had hoped it would go, turn to the kids and say, “Hey guys, we just tried this. It wasn’t quite as cool as I’d imagined, but do any of you guys have ideas on how we could make it cooler or make it better for your learning?”

They’ll come up with ideas, and in the process they’re learning that you’re someone who listens to them. There are so many cool opportunities when we communicate with kids about possibilities in class. We just need to open those doors.

Vicki: Love that. So let’s get out there. Let’s be remarkable. We’ve gotten some fantastic ideas to build rapport with students, to really connect with kids.

  • Blow up those pictures and put them on the wall. I love that one.
  • Review well by not saying too much, which is really cool.
  • But also, I think this whole challenge of “Let’s start celebrating each other’s success more, and start competing with each other as teachers less,” so that we can not only have remarkable classrooms, but have remarkable schools.

Rushton: Yes.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


Rushton Hurley has worked and studied on three continents as a high school Japanese language teacher, principal of an online high school, a teacher trainer, and a speaker. He founded and is executive director of the educational nonprofit Next Vista for Learning, which houses a free library of videos by and for teachers and students at NextVista.org. He is heavily involved in service efforts in his community and holds masters degrees in Education and East Asian Studies from Stanford University.

Rushton regularly keynotes at conferences and has trained and worked with teachers and school leaders around the world His fun and thoughtful talks center on inspiration and creativity; the connection between engaging learning and useful, affordable technology; the power of digital media; and the professional perspectives and experiences of teachers at all levels. His first book, Making Your School Something Special, was released by EdTechTeam Press in January of 2017. His second book, Making Your Teaching Something Special, was released in June, 2017.

Blog: http://ift.tt/MwJVzL

Twitter: @rushtonh

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 Make Your Teaching Something Special appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2yU9eDR
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

5 Ideas for Teaching Fire Prevention and Safety



Sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

October is National Fire Prevention Month, with Fire Prevention Week happening October 8-14. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has fantastic resources to help educate children on preventing fires. In addition to fire prevention week materials, they are also launching a brand new safety app for kids. In this blog post, I’ll share all of the resources that you can use for educating children how to prevent fires.

This is a post sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and SparkySchoolhouse.org.

Understanding Fire Danger

The single most practical fire safety strategy for families is having parents and children agree on a place outside the house where they would meet in case of a fire. For this and other helpful information use the how-to template available in the 2017 Sparky Schoolhouse Fire Prevention resources.

Here you can find a selection of videos for preschool through grade five. Just pick the grade level and you’ve got a video you can use. These videos include many cross-disciplinary resources including a history of the Great Chicago Fire and a downloadable ebook (in all formats) to reinforce safety messages, reading, science, math, and social studies.

In Sparky's Schoolhouse, you'll find grade-level videos and activities for core subject areas.

In Sparky’s Schoolhouse, you’ll find grade-level videos and activities for core subject areas.

Take some time to incorporate a fire safety message in your lesson plans for next week!

5 Ideas for Teaching Fire Prevention and Safety This Week

  1. Teach students about a home fire escape plan and holding a drill
  2. Teach children home safety tips including smoke detectors, quick release security bars that everyone can open
  3. Consider asking your local fire department to do a presentation on security bars, home escape, and fire prevention and safety
  4. Send a flyer home. The NFPA has many flyers and handouts (and even a cool quiz) that your students could distribute throughout neighborhoods as a service project. (See the teacher resources page for these.)
  5. Reinforce the message. Use videos in a variety of subjects – history, math, language arts – to emphasize the fire prevention and safety theme of this week. (They are on the 2017 fire prevention resources page.)

Helpful Links and Resources

Teacher Fire Prevention Resources

Student Fire Prevention Resources

  • Sparky.org is a student-friendly site for children’s education.
  • Sparky’s Fun House game is a web-based activity to help students learn about fire safety. This could be a great use of their in-class technology time during the week of October 8-14.
    • Sparky the Fire Dog® was hanging out at a carnival funhouse when he heard the beep, beep, beep of a fire alarm! Help him find a safe way out so he can get to the outside meeting place.
    • Once you help Sparky get safely outside, you’ll unlock three fun minigames including a math and a spelling game.
    • Standards-aligned math problems included in the Bot Blaster minigame get more difficult as children progress through the levels, giving kids quick exposure to addition facts ideal for K-2 students.
    • On the Word Coaster mini-game, students will be exposed to common spelling words given in grades K-2, with an increasing challenge level as students spell words correctly.

The National Fire Prevention Association has given all of us teachers the resources we need for every subject. We can teach fire safety and fire prevention. Let’s do this.

5 Ideas for Teaching Fire Prevention and Safety

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 that I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies that 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 5 Ideas for Teaching Fire Prevention and Safety appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2fY9TwK
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

5 Things That Happen When We Empower Students



A.J. Juliani on episode 165 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

AJ Juliani, author of Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning talks about the empowerment of students. How teachers can be the “guide on the ride” and help students find their passions. We can do this!

Book Creator for Chrome. Previously on the 10-Minute Teacher, guests have mentioned Book Creator as one of their top apps for the iPad. Well, now we can all use Book Creator in our classrooms using the Chrome web browser. Make books, send the link to parents and even include audio and video
As a teacher, you can get started with a library of 40 books as part of their free version – go to http://ift.tt/2y2OTLZ to get started now. This is great news! Now we can all use Book Creator in our classrooms, on any device, using the Chrome web browser.

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

Check back here for the link to the book giveaway.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Five Things That Happen When We Empower Students

Show notes: http://ift.tt/2y3wKBE
Friday, October 6, 2017

Vicki: So excited to talk to AJ Juliani @ajjuliani, author of Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning.

We’re going to talk about five things that happen when we empower students. AJ, what is the first thing?

1. Students fall in love with learning

AJ: Well, when you empower students the first thing that happens is that they fall in love with learning. They find joy in pursuing their passions and their interests. In the process, they learn how to research, curate, and communicate.

A lot of times, we talk about engaging students. And engaging students is getting students about our content, our curriculum, our interests. But as Bill Ferriter puts it, “Empowering students is about giving kids the skills and knowledge to get excited about their passions, their future, and their interests.”

So the first thing that happens is that they fall in love with learning.

Vicki: Oh, and it’s so exciting when it happens. I know you write about it a lot in your book and on your blog, and there’s nothing like it in the world.

OK, what’s our second?

2. Students become self-starters

AJ: The second thing is that they become self-starters. Right? So they begin to explore new frontiers. They ask hard questions. They try new things.

So not every kid’s going to become, say, a future entrepreneur. But they will need to think like entrepreneurs in an uncertain world that we live in.

As my co-author, John Spencer, “The corporate ladder is gone. In its place is a complex maze. Self-starters are the ones who are going to navigate that maze and figure out how to build something new along the way.”

Vicki: Oh, I love it. And this just sounds like such an ideal world. I know at the end we’re going to talk about how you get kids there, because it’s like, “Oh, everybody wants this, don’t we?”

AJ: (laughs) Yeah!

Vicki: OK, what’s the third?

3. Students become problem-solvers and design thinkers

AJ: The third thing is that they become problem solvers and design thinkers. It might not seem like a big deal in the moment, but when students kind of own their actual process, they figure out how to solve problems in the actual moment.

We know as adults, that’s what we do all day long. We make choices. We come up with decisions. We problem solve. So when students are empowered, they learn how to navigate multiple systems and build even more efficient systems for themselves and for the people that they’re serving.

Vicki: And we want them to solve problems because it’s especially awesome when we have them solve real-world problems in their life or in their school, isn’t it?

AJ: Yes. I mean, that’s really kind of what it’s all about. It’s about that authentic piece where they’re doing something not just for a teacher, but for a classmate or for a real audience.

Vicki: Yeah. OK, what’s our fourth?

4. They challenge “the system”

AJ: Alright, so fourth is that they challenge the system. So a lot of times you have students who are kind have gone through the system, and they’re being very compliant, being rewarded for being compliant. Right? It’s the kid in the class who raises their hand, is quiet, does everything the teacher asks them. Students learn how to play this game of school very early on.

My daughter’s in second grade, Vicki. She already knows the game of school. It’s basically, “If you make the adult in front of you at school happy, the adults at home are happy.” Right? She understands that game of school.

But when you empower kids, they challenge the system. They kind of go outside the bounds and rewrite the rules. It’s the notion that student ownership is kind of subversive a little bit. It challenges the status quo.

And really, what we want students to be is people who go out into the world, and don’t just fall in line, but really kind of challenge the status quo. That’s what empowering students does.

Does this “system challenging” behavior scare people?

Vicki: Doesn’t that scare some people, AJ?

AJ: I think it does. A lot of times, we have this traditional setting for education, where students come in, they do what they’re told, they follow rubrics, and they go through.

But the more and more teachers I talk to, and the more and more work I see in my own school district, what we find is that the students that are most successful aren’t the ones that just fall in line.

They’re the ones that are trying to work on something that they actually care about, something that interests them. In order to do that, they’re going to have to go outside the lines every once in awhile.

Vicki: Yeah. And there is a way to help kids rebel against the right things. I mean, I think it’s perfectly fine to rebel against the status quo. In fact, we should do that.

OK, what’s our fifth?

5. Students become architects of their own learning

AJ: Right. So, the fifth one is that they become architects of their own learning. And this is really important because, for the rest of their life, they are going to be learners.

We know that the successful people in the world today and in the future are going to be learners. Things are just changing too quickly. Change is really the only constant. In order for people to be successful, while they’re in school and well beyond school, they have to be learners.

They have to be the ones that can find their own resources, that can find mentors, that can reach out to people. If we want students to become those lifelong learners, that involves student ownership.

I think the shift that I want to be very clear about is that – I think that for a long time, we believed that our job is to prepare students for something. That something might be a job, college, career, any of those different types of things.

But right now, our job is to help students prepare themselves for anything. And that’s what happens when you empower them.

Vicki: So, as we finish up – because you’ve given us five awesome things that happen when we empower students – but now, I mean, as I’m listening to this – and I feel like I have empowered students in my classroom. But it’s a constant struggle to shift that empowerment away from the natural “leader of the classroom, the teacher” to who really needs to lead the classroom, our students.

How do we do that? Give us a pep talk.

30-Second Pep talk with 2 important tips for teachers

AJ: So I think really it comes down to two things.

1) You have to be the guide on the ride.

For a long time in education, we talked about the sage on the stage, the person that’s just kind of in front of the classroom, speaking, lecturing students. We wanted to move away from that to a guide on the side, right? The teacher that facilitates learning, that help students along the process.

But going a step further than a guide on the side is the guide on the ride. That’s a teacher that’s excited and on the journey with their students of what they’re learning. They’re attacking new things as well. They’re learning new things as well. They become a kind of learning partner and mentor.

Think about Yoda. Think about Obi Wan. Think about Gandalf. Think about Miss Frizzle. These guides are along for the ride, are along for the journey, helping their students succeed.

So that’s kind of the first thing – kind of changing the practice to be the guide on the ride.

2) The second thing is something you can do very quickly – giving students choice.

Now a lot of times, we think choice is just choice in content. It can be choice in content, and they can still hit skills and standards-based the content that they choose.

But, it can be choice in their learning path.

  • It can be choice in how they demonstrate understanding.
  • It can be choice in their assessment.
  • It can be choice in the timeframe.

When you give students choice, they get to own some of that process. As a teacher, you then allow them to be empowered.

Why teachers are “the guide on the ride”

Vicki: Oh! I like the guide on the ride!

AJ: (laughs)

Vicki: Because, really, if you think about it, it’s a journey, and we’re learning as we walk. We’re not really learning (by) sitting down talking around a table. As we go on this journey of whatever we’re trying to accomplish, (that’s) where we do our teaching.

AJ: That’s right! And we’re active participants in it. Right? We’re not just giving them a roadmap and getting out of the way. We’re with them.

Vicki: Totally!

AJ: We’re pointing out things. We’re having conversations. We are along for that journey.

Vicki: Yeah. It’s really a multiplying effect. We both become more because we’re actively engaged in the whole process of learning. And in a lot of ways the teachers are learning just as much as the kids, aren’t we?

AJ: That’s right. It may not be learning about the content matter, but we’re learning about a whole lot of other things.

Every time I’ve done a project with my students, I’m learning not just new things about whatever content we’re covering, I’m learning about the technology we’re using. I’m learning about the marketing that my kids are doing when they’re sending stuff out into the world. I’m learning about the kids. And they’re learning about me as well.

Vicki: Well, teachers, let’s empower our students!

Check the show notes to enter the competition to win the book, Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning. I think this is something that we can all agree that we want in our remarkable classrooms!

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


A.J. Juliani is the Director of Technology and Innovation for Centennial School District. As a former English teacher, football coach, and K-12 Technology Staff Developer, A.J. has worked towards innovative learning experiences for students in various roles. A.J. is also an award-winning blogger, speaker, and author of multiple books including the best-selling LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring out the Maker in Every Student and the newly released Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning.

 

 

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 Things That Happen When We Empower Students appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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