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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top Tech Tools for Kids Who Struggle to Read and Write



Brian Friedlander on episode 157 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dr. Brian Friedlander discusses the top tech tools for kids who struggle to read and write. From voice dictation to word suggestion and more, this podcast talks about the practical tools that will help kids empower themselves to learn.

FREE WEBINAR ON INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING

Today’s sponsor is Kids Discover Online. They’re doing awesome things to drive inquiry-based learning. Join me, Richard Byrne and Monica Burns next Tuesday, October 3 for a special webinar on 10 Ideas for Excellent Inquiry-Based Learning

The Kids Discover online platform lets students explore 150 different science and social studies units for elementary and middle school learners at three different lexiles. It is a perfect inquiry-based tool you can use in your classroom and with your students.

Go to http://ift.tt/2v6Yj8m and get started for free. They support single sign-on with Google and Clever.

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

Top Tech Tools for Kids Who Struggle to Read and Write

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2htliZh
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Vicki: You know when you struggle, sometimes it’s knowing about the right tools.

Today we have Dr. Brian Friedlander @assistivetek with us, and we’re going to be talking to those of you out there who do struggle.

So Brian, when someone is struggling, and you’re trying to use technology… Let’s talk about some of your favorite tools.

So what’s the first one you recommend?

Tool #1: Read and Write for Google Docs

Brian: Usually the students that I work with tend to have difficulty or challenges in reading. I always like to look at various text-to-speech tools. With today’s technology, everything we’re working with is being done in the browser – usually the Chrome browser – and so there are some really great tools. Things like Read and Write for Google Docs.

Whether you have the premium or the free version, you always have the text-to-speech tools, and these are tools that can be used by students when they’re editing their written work in Google Docs, as well as whether they’re reading something on the web.

I find that – even as students progress in their reading skills, typically students with reading challenges tend to read much more lowly. They really need these tools as an efficiency tool, and they’re just so ubiquitous. Whether you’re using something like Read and Write, or Snap and Read, these are some great tools that can be used to access text in Google Docs or on the web.

Vicki: OK, so tell us. What will they get, for example, with Read and Write?

Brian: What they’ll get is a tool that will highlight the sentence in one color and highlight each individual word as it’s reading it, using a high-quality text-to-speech engine. Students can vary the speed at which the engine is reading the text.

I find, too, that these are really efficiency tools. Students may start out at one speed, but over time they’re going to be able to push that speed up so that could accomplish the reading task in the same time frame as their peers. It’s a great efficiency tool for students.

I was actually working today with a student. I was explaining to this high school student that’s involved in lots of other activities, and if he uses these tools, he’ll have more time to be a member of the club, or be on the sports team. Reading just takes him so much longer to do.

Vicki: Yeah, so they can have the web read to them, and they can highlight things. It can read to them. There are so many great things it can do.

Tool #2: Voice Typing

OK, what else are you giving to that student so that they can free up more time for having a life outside of school?

Brian: Probably one of the more powerful technologies that I’ve seen in the last year has been – they call it Voice Typing – but for years we called it speech recognition. Years ago, you’d have to install a dedicated application.

Now within the Chrome browser, whether a Mac or Windows or Chromebook, you can use voice typing that’s built into Google Docs. The students can write using their voice. It’s very accurate.

I tell students about the whole concept of the machine “learning” and artificial intelligence. Because Google has been collecting all these keyword searches for so many years, it’s able to contextualize what we’re saying. So, it’s very accurate, and it’s very empowering.

A lot of kids that I work with – where they have dysgraphia, where they have difficulties getting their ideas down, or their ideas come to them faster than they can write or type – this is just an incredible technology. Really, there’s a very low bar to just get into it, especially if you have a laptop.

Just go to the tools menu in Google Docs. Select Voice Typing, and give your microphone permission to access it. Start talking. This is really exciting! No training is needed.

And actually, Microsoft just released Microsoft Dictation, which is an add-in to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint and Outlook, that does the same thing. Regardless of the platform, you can have tools that allow you to do speech recognition on the fly – which is really exciting!

Tips for Successful Voice Typing

Vicki: So, give us a tip on Voice Typing. You have to say the punctuation, right? What do you tell kids about how you Voice Type successfully?

Brian: I like to start out with students using Voice Typing to answer a homework question, kind of structured. It is a little more challenging when you have to write a research paper with your voice. So, certainly, things like doing a Mind Map or doing an outline if you’re doing a more extensive writing with your voice. That’s going to be important.

But I think that short answer responses, just to get used to it and comfortable with it, is important. The other part, too, is that you can always go back and edit.

For kids that have not been as productive as they can in writing, it’s just a great tool for them to do a “brain dump.” They go back and work with the teacher in terms of structuring it or editing it.

Using this technology, students are able to really show what they are capable of doing, get their ideas down, and give the student and the teacher something to work with, to kind of craft and sculpt their writing.

In the past, they would be very unproductive, and there would be nothing on the page.

I think this is really exciting. And like I said, the bar of entry is very low. Just give it a try. It’s really exciting and it works well.

I think students need to understand that it’s not going to be perfect or 100%, but you get 95%? That’s pretty amazing.

Vicki: Yep. I had a student cry when I showed her how to Voice Type. She said, “Ms. Vicki, usually I can type in an hour, I can usually type 30 words.”

And she got out 300 words by Voice Typing.

Brian: I know!

Vicki: It’s so amazing.

Tool #3 Word Prediction

OK, what else?

Brian: What else… Well, I think it’s exciting for me too. One of the other tools that we use is word prediction.

I’ve always been a big proponent of using something like CoWriter which is now available within Google Docs, as well as Read and Write has that built in as a premium feature.

For some students who can’t (because of the environment) use VoiceType, as a fall-back they can use word prediction to help them. Especially those kids who spell very phonetically. CoWriter is really fantastic for those kids who spell phonetically.

And it also has a feature called Topic Dictionaries, so that if you know you’re writing about a particular topic, you can load that Topic Dictionary. So if you know you’re writing about ecology, it will load all of those technical words so that when you start to spell maybe the word “biome,” you type “b” and “i” and it’s going to complete it with the word “biome” because you’ve loaded that specialized dictionary.

Again, it’s another technology. It’s been around for awhile, but for certain students it works really well in helping them to spell.

Why we show kids tools and empower them to choose

Vicki: So Brian, as we finish up, would you give a 30-second pep talk to those who are either working with those who struggle, or those a person who is just struggling with reading and writing. They want to use technology, but it just makes them feel so dumb!

Brian: That is an issue. Vicki, but I think it’s so empowering when students can do things independently.

I think these tools are really important for building independence and confidence. So I think, as teachers, we need to reinforce for our students that they use these tools, because they’re not going to always be in our charge. Try it.

Teachers need to reinforce, and also problem solve. I mean, these tools are not perfect, but I think that students need to understand that by using these tools they can be more independent and more productive – and also have more time and satisfaction in learning. I think that’s important as well. Many of the students I’ve worked with were frustrated, and this kind of removes the frustration level and allows students to really show what they’re capable of doing.

Vicki: And that’s what it’s about, teachers. It’s about empowering those students who are frustrated. It’s about just giving them a little bit of extra help.

I know, for example, when I taught my student Voice Typing, she cried. It changed her life. You know, that meant so much to me. That’s why I do this.

So, we’ll have links to all of these in our enhanced Shownotes. So check out the blog and the Shownotes.

And Dr. Brian Friedlander has lots of resources, so you’ll want to check the Shownotes, too, to find out about all of the books and all of the things that he has to help us help those kids who struggle.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


Dr. Friedlander is a school psychologist with expertise in assistive technology. Dr. Friedlander is an Associate Professor of Education at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, N.J., where he coordinates Graduate Programs in Special Education and teaches graduate courses in assistive technology. He maintains a consulting and private practice in the area of assistive technology working with schools and parents to find innovative solutions to support student learning.

Dr. Friedlander is the co-author of the following assistive technology reference guides which are available from National Professional Resources, Inc. : Chromebooks in the Classroom: Changing the Landscape of Education & Co-Teaching & Technology: Enhancing Communication, Assistive Technology: What Every Educator Needs to Know, Co-Teaching and Technology:Enhancing Communication & Collaboration, iPad™: Enhancing Learning & Communication for Students with Special Needs (Updated), and Autism and the iPad™:Strengthening Communication and Behavior, (Updated). You can find him on his blog at assistivetek.blogspot.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @assistivetek. You can find Dr. Friedlander’s educational technology info-graphics on Twitter to help teachers quickly understand how technology can be used in the classroom to support 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.)

The post Top Tech Tools for Kids Who Struggle to Read and Write appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2jZ9Oxt
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, September 25, 2017

Why I Use Edpuzzle: An Edpuzzle Review



Sponsored by Edpuzzle

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Edpuzzle solves so many of my flipped classroom problems. During the last four years of using flipped classroom techniques, I’ve come to rely on what is called the “in-flip” — I show the videos in class and interact with students to help them do in-class activities with what they’ve learned.

Why I Use Edpuzzle

This blog post is sponsored by Edpuzzle. All opinions are my own. If you use my link to sign up for Edpuzzle, you’ll gain access to a curated library of 50,000 free videos to use with your school.

But I’ve had several big problems with flipped classroom techniques:

  • Just as some students “tune out” a teacher, some would fast forward or skip parts of the videos.
  • Even though I’d ask, students wouldn’t pause the video to do something.
  • I’d like to use videos made by others, but I’d also like to add a few elements of my own.
  • I couldn’t check for understanding during the video.

All of these problems have been solved with Edpuzzle. (And let me add that I was so excited when Edpuzzle contacted me about reviewing their product because I was already a fan!)

Get Edpuzzle and access to the 50,000 video curriculum library

How Does Edpuzzle Work?


1. Import any video.

First, with Edpuzzle, you can import any video. In the resume example shown below, you can see that I pulled in a video from the web. Then, I added voice comments and some quizzes. Try it for yourself.

My Resume Video

I didn’t make this video but used one from YouTube and added my voice and questions.

I upload my videos to YouTube and import them into Edpuzzle. Sometimes I use videos that I find on YouTube as well. However, you can also upload videos directly to Edpuzzle. In a very cool twist, you can have students make their own Edpuzzle. They are, in effect, creating a video just like you would do as a teacher. These videos can be used to teach or instruct others, or to show understanding in a project.

The Start Screen in Edpuzzle

When you start, there are several options. You can add a new video from a source like YouTube, upload it directly to Edpuzzle, or you can create a student project where they create Edpuzzle videos.

 

Search for videos.

Edpuzzle has made it easy to search for videos from some curated channels. For example, I’d never heard of the CrashCourse channel on YouTube, but it’s become a go-to for many awesome videos that I use in my Computer Science classes.

For purposes of this article, I’m going to work on a binary number video. I could “copy it”, which means that if it’s an Edpuzzle, I can use everything that someone else has set up. I could also “use it”, which means that I’m going to customize everything myself. (I typically customize everything because I want students to hear my voice.)

2. Crop your video.

After you bring in the video by clicking either “new video” or “upload video”, you can clip off the beginning or ending of the video. You don’t have to use it all. Remember that, in minutes, the best length for a video is typically the student’s age + 1.

I prefer shorter videos because if a student doesn’t finish it in a class period, they’ll have to come back to it. While coming back to the video is certainly an option, it really is easier to have them finish in one period.

3. Overlay your voice.

If you want, you can remove the entire audio track of the video and record your voice explaining everything students are watching. I don’t typically do this because I’d rather interject my own voice in just a few spots instead of completely replacing what’s already there. The note-taking example below shows what I usually do — I make the whole video myself using Office Mix, adding pauses, instructions, and quizzes whenever necessary.

But if you find the perfect video and you want to do this, it’s an option with Edpuzzle.

4. Add audio notes.

As you can see in the resume video above, I love using Audio Notes. This feature lets you pause the video and add a quick audio instruction with your voice. Personally, I think adding the teacher’s voice to the audio is an important way to make a connection with your students as you use flipped classroom techniques. I also use this because I want to interject the terminology I’ll be using in class.

5. Add “quizzes”, notes, and more.

My favorite part of Edupuzzle is the ability to add “quizzes” to the video. However, the term “quizzes” is really a misnomer. You can pause the video and add any of the following:

Add a comment.

As shown in this video, I can add a comment into the video. Sometimes I want students to pause and think about what they’ve just heard. I can do this by typing in a comment of my own.

Here’s the screen showing where I’m pausing and adding a comment. Just click the ? to add comments, quizzes, or an open-ended question.

In this example, I’ve paused the video and added a comment about the numbering system that my students already know. I think that pausing the video and adding a short comment can help students process what they’ve just heard, especially when it’s a complex idea. You can also add audio notes with your voice, but sometimes I want to include a definition or detail. Usually I use this technique for things that I want added to their notes.

Add a multiple-choice question.

You can add one or several multiple-choice questions. Just make sure that each of these questions has only one answer, as two correct answers will automatically be marked wrong. As you can see in the Introduction to Digital Note-Taking assignment, I’ve added multiple-choice questions at several locations. Also note that I’ve set this video to prevent students from skipping.

Add open-ended questions.

Open-ended questions are my favorite. Students can reflect. They can even ask questions for you to answer later. I usually just read the answers as I’m grading and check them off, but I can also respond back to the student via a comment. I love that two-way communication is a possibility here.

6. Assess the video.

You might want to just use the statistics in the dashboard to see how students are watching and what they’ve done, but I love that it tells me how many questions I have to assess or grade.

You can see if a student has finished the video. Some of these grades look artificially low because I haven’t graded the open-ended questions yet. The aqua colored button in the top right corner shows that I have 32 questions to grade. (The name of this video is Preso Basic computer skills if you’re wondering. It is cut off to hide student names.)

As you click “grade”, Edpuzzle shows you the items you need to grade. You can add a comment, quickly check, or give partial credit. I like how this feature groups common questions together, making it easier and faster for me to grade.

Why Edpuzzle Is an Essential Classroom Tool


If you’re like me, you know that videos are a fantastic way of bringing content into the classroom. However, as teachers, we must check for understanding. Every opportunity that we have for interacting with a student is a time when we can enhance his or her learning experience. Our videos must be that way, too!

Edpuzzle adds the essential interactive feature. I already had this tool on my list from ISTE this year, and I started working with it when I came home from the conference. I love how Edpuzzle makes videos interactive to really ensure that students are learning the content. Teaching can be a challenge, and as we explore each new tool, we often need to find ways of adapting it to our own practice. If you’re using videos (or if you’ve held off on using them because of the problems I stated at the beginning of this blog), now is the time to start using Edpuzzle. And because it links with Google Classroom, just creating an embed code for a video can enroll someone in your class easily. I embed the videos in my LMS and students participate — and we’re good to go!

Add Edpuzzle to your toolkit today. You can get started by clicking this link and you’ll get access to the 50,000 curated videos in their library.

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

The post Why I Use Edpuzzle: An Edpuzzle Review appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2xFJfm9
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.

Powerful Leadership, Vision, and Problem Solving for Districts



Dr. Baron Davis on episode 156 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dr. Baron Davis believes in building partnerships with parents, businesses, and the community. Today we talk about partnerships but we also discuss casting a vision, solving problems, and how district leaders can handle the stress. Baron is the superintendent of Richland School District 2 in South Carolina. This is a show you’ll want to share with anyone in district leadership.

FREE WEBINAR ON INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING

Today’s sponsor is Kids Discover Online. They’re doing awesome things to drive inquiry-based learning. Join me, Richard Byrne and Monica Burns next Tuesday, October 3 for a special webinar on 10 Ideas for Excellent Inquiry-Based Learning

The Kids Discover online platform lets students explore 150 different science and social studies units for elementary and middle school learners at three different lexiles. It is a perfect inquiry-based tool you can use in your classroom and with your students.

Go to http://ift.tt/2v6Yj8m and get started for free. They support single sign-on with Google and Clever.

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

Powerful Leadership, Vision, and Problem Solving for Districts

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2xqQD55
Monday, September 25, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Dr. Baron Davis @DrBaronDavis, a superintendent in South Carolina about really casting a vision.

Now, Baron, you and I have talked. You really like to bring a lot of people to the table to help them understand their role in really helping our schools be excellent.

How do you cast a vision? What do you say?

How do you cast this vision, and what are the kind of things that you say?

Baron: Well, first of all, thank you for having me on this show.

I think that that’s a very good question, and it really starts with the development of a vision and getting key people involved as you’re crafting the vision as a school leader.

Our vision of Richland School District 2 in Columbia, South Carolina, is to be the premier school district – a learning and working environment where all partners are committed to creating, sustaining and investing in a culture and a climate of excellence.

And where everyone’s afforded an opportunity to get some talents as they pursue their pathways to purpose.

I think having a vision like that was so easy for folk to galvanize or be attracted to. Everybody has a gift and a talent. Everybody wants to be committed to excellence.

To get them to see their part in that, and to see that they have not only a role to play, but also the vision is about them as well.

Who do you consider partners of your district?

Vicki: So, when you say “them”… who are you reaching? Your audience is not just students and teachers. It’s more, isn’t it? Who is it?

Baron: Right. It is very broad. It is students and their parents. They’re considered partners.

We talk about partners. We have three components to our partners:

  1. There are our students and their parents.
  2. There are employees who are partners.
  3. Then we talk about our community.

When we look at our community, we’re talking about the business community, the faith-based community, the support systems of our students – their grandparents, maybe any individual that has a connection to the community that surrounds our school district. All of them have an important role in the partnership of working together to provide a premier educational experience for all of our students.

What do you ask the partner organizations to do?

Vicki: Now there are some schools that just want businesses and faith-based organizations and parents to give their money — and leave the educating to the school.

Baron: (agrees)

Vicki: What are the things that you ask these group to do, as they work with you to improve your school?

Baron: Each one of them can play a specific role.

You know, when we’re talking to our business community, for example, our business community has a very important role to play when it comes to the education of students in our state. Where our schools are funded in the state of South Carolina, our businesses shoulder the majority of the tax revenue that goes to funds for schools in the state.

So it’s important that we can continue to produce or help have a great product when it comes to the performance of our students. That, in turn, impacts the businesses, because it impacts people coming to our community and wanting to enroll their students in our school district.

So they have to see their connection to that. And they also have an influence when it comes to meeting with legislators and other individuals that make policies.

So it is helping them see that they have that part. It’s not simply just kind of saying, “Hey, we’ve done our part, and that’s it.”

And it’s the same thing with our parents and the same thing with faith-based organizations. We do a lot of what we call parent advisory councils. We have faith-based organization advisory councils. We have business advisory councils. We meet with them on a monthly basis, and we try to give them as much information as we can about what’s going on in our schools so they can serve as ambassadors in the community about the things that have taken place in our district.

Vicki: So… that’s a lot of meetings to have!

Baron: (agrees)

How do you make time for meetings with these groups?

Vicki: How do you take those things and put them into action? Because, you know, some superintendents aren’t so eager to meet with parents and business people because they kind of feel like they get “bashed” a lot.

Baron: It is difficult. It’s a lot of time that’s involved. But what we do have our strategic plan that we have in place, and we use our strategic plan as our North Star on how we operate in the district. And within that strategic plan, there are components and times that are set aside to meet with those individual groups.

But the superintendent doesn’t shoulder that responsibility all by himself. I have various people within the school district that of course help with getting that message out — and of course meeting and listening to the concerns of our parents.

And it’s not all parents. Our parent advisory council consists of typically the SIC presidents from the various schools in our district. We meet once a month, and they bring issues to the table and we have an opportunity to discuss those issues. We share information with them to go back out and communicate to the individual parent groups at their schools.

But it’s important to have that opportunity, and not get bogged down in information and forget about communication. That’s something that we really want to work on here in our district – to practice more of communicating and relying less on providing a bunch of information.

What are the biggest mistakes districts often make with community partners?

Vicki: Yeah. So Baron, let’s say a new superintendent was starting his or her job today. If they came to you for advice, and said, “What are the biggest mistakes that I need to avoid when working with the parents, and the community, and the faith-based organizations and grandparents. What mistakes should I avoid?”

What would you tell them?

Baron: I would say, avoid the perception that those parents or individuals are not committed to the success of their students. That commitment and that support to the success of their students looks different for different people. The only way that you can get any kind of idea of what it looks like is to interact with them.

So finding opportunities to immerse yourself in the community in an informal way will kind of give you a better idea of what that looks like for that particular family or that particular group of individuals.

So that’s something that I would recommend to a new superintendent – to try to remove some of the formal barriers between themselves and the community that their school serves.

How do you cope with the worst days as superintendent?

Vicki: So Baron, how do you handle your worst days? Because, you know, you’re in a hard job. You’re in a job that wears people down and burns people out. When you have one of “those days,” how do you deal with it? How do you cope?

Baron: That’s a good question. I’m probably still working on figuring out the best coping mechanisms. (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Baron: My coping strategies as a new superintendent, and as a fairly young superintendent… I think one of the ways that I definitely cope is that I have a strong faith. I try not to show too much of those difficult issues that come up, where I let them wear me down. It’s a part of the job. It’s a part of the role. So I embrace it.

But I try to spend time, of course, with my family where I’m not focused necessarily on some of those bigger issues that have just come up.

And I try to address concerns as quickly as possible so they don’t fester and become bigger.

Vicki: Yeah.

Baron: I think that’s a really big, really great strategy. If you see something that eventually turns into something big – address it immediately or as quickly as you can. You’ll save yourself some stress down the road if you do that.

Vicki: Today’s headache is tomorrow’s hospital visit. (laughs)

Baron: (laughs)

Vicki: I mean, how else can you put it? That’s what happens in schools. If you ignore problems, they just grow, don’t they?

Baron: Exactly. They just grow… and they collect. They get added, and so the problem gets bigger and it adds to the other big problem that you have, and now there’s a new big problem. So I try to address them as quickly as possible — or make sure someone’s addressing them, should I say, as quickly as possible.

30 Second Pep Talk to Education Leaders to Unleash Excitement

Vicki: So Baron, as we finish up, could you give us a 30-second pep talk as if you were talking to those leaders. What do you say to unleash the excitement about your schools?

Baron: That’s a great question.

I would say that every student, every teacher, every employee, every parent, every person in your community has a gift and a talent. It is our job as educators to help them discover what that gift and what that talent is, and then give them a platform to demonstrate that gift and talent so that they can find their passions.

If they can find their passions and put those passions into actions, then that will help lead them to their purpose. Once they’re working within their purpose, they will find the joy in the work. They will continue to do it, and continue to impact others.

Our job is to help build citizens for tomorrow, so those citizens can lead and excel in whatever pathway they decide to take.

Vicki: Oh, I’m fired up, and I want to come visit your school tomorrow. (laughs)

Baron: (laughs)

Vicki: So teachers and principals and superintendents, we have a really Motivating Monday topic for us today.

You know what? I might just replay that last little piece several times and get it in my own mind – this whole philosophy of helping people put their passions and their strengths into action in finding their purpose.

I mean, talk about a great thing for us educators to do. I’m more motivated myself!

Baron: Awwww, sounds great. I’m always pumped up and motivated to do that! (laughs)

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Dr. Baron R. Davis – Bio as Submitted


An educator for almost 20 years, Dr. Baron R. Davis is Richland School District Two’s Superintendent. Davis served as one of the district’s assistant superintendents prior to his transition year as superintendent-elect. As an assistant superintendent, he supported overall educational excellence in the schools by providing leadership, administrative direction, supervision and technical support.

Davis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from Francis Marion University. From the University of South Carolina, he earned master’s degrees in school counseling and educational administration, and Educational Specialist and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in educational counseling. He holds superintendent, school counseling, secondary principal and secondary supervision certifications. In addition to his formal educational training, Davis has participated and completed numerous educational leadership programs offered through the South Carolina Department of Education including the Tapping Executive Educators Program, the School Leadership Executive Institute, and the South Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program, and the Riley Institute at Furman University Diversity Leaders Initiative.

During his educational career, Davis has served as a successful school leader in rural, urban and suburban school systems where his schools were recognized for closing the achievement gap, increasing graduation rates and increasing Advanced Placement participation rates. While principal of Spring Valley, the school was recognized by the Washington Post as one of America’s Most Challenging High Schools and by Newsweek as one of America’s Top High Schools.

In the role of assistant superintendent, Davis helped to establish the Richland Two Assistant Principal Academy, the Administrators Development Series, the Training Administrators Program and the Administrators Mentoring Program. Under his guidance, all five of the district’s high schools were accepted to TransformSC’s network of innovative schools in May 2016. He also provided overall supervision for the opening of R2i2; which included the selection, development, and implementation of academic areas of focus, course development, the establishment of partnerships, selection of personnel, development of organizational structure, building supervision, and day-to-day operations.

Davis’s support of education and his community extends beyond Richland Two. He has served as a principal mentor and coach for induction principals participating in the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of School Leadership Principal Induction Program. Currently, he serves on the Francis Marion University Alumni Board, the University of South Carolina Trio Programs Advisory Board, the South Carolina Male Achievement Conference Planning Committee, Rotary International (Spring Valley Club, Columbia S.C.), national and state associations of school administrators, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Omicron Phi Chapter). He participates in the City of Columbia’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. Davis was inducted into the Columbia Housing Authority’s Wall of Fame in 2015 and in past years has given service to the University of South Carolina’s Department of Counselor Education Advisory Council and the SCASA Institute of Innovation Planning Committee. Most recently, Davis was selected as the 2017 Administrator of the Year for both the Richland County Education Office Professionals and the National Association of Educational Office Professionals.

Davis, a Columbia native, is a member of Brookland Baptist Church. He and his wife, Pamela, have three daughters, all of whom attend school in Richland Two.

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.)

The post Powerful Leadership, Vision, and Problem Solving for Districts appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2jVdyAe
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.

Friday, September 22, 2017

5 Ways to Flip Your Classroom



Hip Hughes on episode 155 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

History teacher Keith “Hip” Hughes has a massive following on his YouTube channel.Today, he shares his technique for flipping the classroom in engaging, powerful ways.

Today’s Sponsor: Edpuzzle is my new favorite flipped classroom tool. You can take your videos or those from YouTube and:

  • Clip the video
  • Record your own voice over
  • Pause the video and add your voice just in certain spots
  • Add comments, multiple choice or open-ended questions.

And if you click http://ift.tt/2wocZod, Edpuzzle will give your school access to the 50,000 best lessons from Edpuzzle, organized in folders and ready to be used by teachers. Once click and you have everything you need for the year!

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

Five Ways to Flip Your Classroom

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2hnAKm3
Friday, September 22, 2017

Vicki: So today we’re talking with Keith “Hip” Hughes @hiphughes of www.hiphughes.com and also creator of the “HipHughes History” YouTube channel.

And Keith, today we’re going to talk about “Five Ways to Flip Your Class.”

You should know all about this because you make these awesome videos. So how do we start?

#1 Define the kind of teacher you want to be

Keith: Sure! And first, thanks for having me on the program. It’s so good to talk about a subject that I love so much – the craft of teaching!

So basically, flipping your classroom – and I guess this is the first kind of tip is explaining it.

I always explain to people that I’d rather be called a FOLE than a teacher. A FOLE is a Facilitator Of Learning Experiences, and I think we can all kind of understand that analogy. We want to be “conductors” of our classroom. But I wanted more time for my kids to “compose.”

I have a saying. It’s maybe not the most graceful analogy. “Content consumption without content creation may lead to learning constipation.”

Vicki: Oh wow! (laughs)

Keith: I know, it’s not graceful. But I think it gets the point across. It’s basically shifting that content to the homework piece so you can have kids do more real things in your classroom.

#2 Understand what flipping the classroom is (and isn’t)

Vicki: Absolutely. You talk a little bit about flipping the classroom, but not everybody may understand real clearly what it is. Do you want to give us a simple definition?

Keith: The basic idea is to try to reduce the amount of time you’re talking to kids from the front of the room. I think sometimes we have this illusion that the kids are learning in the space between our mouths and their ears, and I’m not sure how much that might be happening.

So “flipping” is saying, “Let’s have the kids get the content somewhere other than the classroom.” Many times, that could be a reader, but many times it could be a really great video that explains a concept that you would normally be explaining in front of the room. You’re probably still going to have to review it. But the idea is to free up time in your class so kids that are working through skill-based activities that might in the past have been done as homework. Now (those) can be doing that in class with your facilitation.

The next step is designing projects and really having kids doing authentic inquiry-based awesome stuff in your classroom, using the content.

So that’s the basic idea of flipping your class.

Vicki: Yes! And you know, I do this. I have to do the in-flip, which means I do the videos sometimes in class, and use tools like “EdPuzzle” to kind of insert that formative assessment and that sort of thing. But we do want to shift to these authentic projects.

#3: Move to product-based learning

What’s our third way to flip our classroom?

Keith: I think it’s really to think about what you want to do with that time. If you’re going to have – let’s say 50% more time where kids are actively engaged and doing things in your class – I think we can shift to think about not just Project Based Learning but Product Based Learning.

I think it’s so important that our kids have time to use content to create new meaning – not only to achieve curricular goals, but also to start using that to form a sense of their own identity about who they are – not only in the real world, but in the online world.

Vicki: So how would you define Product Based Learning?

Keith: Product, to me, is something that exists after the activity, that can live on and have meaning outside of the classroom.

So many times, I’m a techie guy, so I talk technology but it doesn’t necessarily have to be technology. But I’m thinking about students designing websites, creating their own podcasts, making videos, doing community action projects, collaborating with classes around the world tackling problems. Doing real things that real adults do. But the idea is that we can insert our learning. So all the layers of literacy that go into these projects…

Vicki: I love it. So global audience. And we know that global audience does improve our performance, both as teachers and as students.

#4 Understand how students are interacting with your videos

OK, what’s our fourth, Keith?

Keith: So you mentioned it before, and I’m so glad you did. Using these types of things like EdPuzzle or PlayPosit, where you’re using video. And the partial flip or the in class flip. I’ve done that before. You kow, we haven’t closed that digital divide quite yet. So we have to consider that, as to whether we can do a full flip or not.

But if we are showing videos in the classroom, or you’re assigning them – you want to make sure that you’re the one that’s holding the flashlight on that video.

We can talk about what makes a great video, making sure they’re engaging, hitting your objectives. But using EdPuzzle or PlayPosit, I can pause that video, insert that exam question or reflective thought idea, or send them to a website, or give differentiation by offering a different resource.

  • Edpuzzle is a sponsor of this episode. Our sponsors have no impact on the content of the show. However, if you want to sign up for Edpuzzle, use this link as it will give your school access to the 50,000 curated video library on Edpuzzle. (Something you can get by using this link they gave for my listeners and readers.)

But I also can track that data. I can use that information to gauge how I’m using videos in the classroom. And believe it or not, some kids will do it because they know you’re watching.

Vicki: Yeah. And I love it because I can insert my voice. It will pause the video. I can insert my voice! So I don’t have to remake everything. And that’s been such a relief for me, letting them hear my voice but I don’t have to remake it all.

#5 Create content that is exciting

OK, what’s our fifth?

Keith: So I want to talk about content creation, because sometimes – and I think it depends on our personality and our time that we have in the classroom – you know, we want to “be the face” for those kids. Human relationships are so important in our classroom. If we can carry that over, and if we have the time and the enthusiasm to do it – WHY. NOT.

So, you know, I would say, “Jump in!”

That’s my tip. Don’t worry about detail. Don’t worry about how to do it. Just film yourself. Talk to that camera like you have your kids’ attention and no one’s going to interrupt you.

Flipped classroom mistakes

Vicki: OK. What do you think the biggest mistake is, Keith, that people make when they start trying to flip their classroom?

Keith: I think it’s their choice of video, to be quite honest. I think if we’re choosing videos – I don’t want to call them textbook videos, but I’m going to call them textbook videos. (These are) videos that are just primarily concerned with the content. They might have a dry voiceover wit very direct literal imagery. I think those videos need to walk in those students’ world a little bit. Not only with the language that we use – it doesn’t mean you have to be a goofball – you can be an academic. But in the visuals we choose, the music we choose, the pace of it? I think voice is really important because it emotes emotion. And I think if you’re comfortable on camera, a face can make a difference as well.

How to make exciting videos that students will want to watch

Vicki: It can! You know, it’s funny! My students like it when I make them laugh. So I try to put unexpected things in there. It makes them watch it, you know?

Keith: Include those mistakes! If you make a little mistake, do a jump cut. The kids will laugh, and I think that laughter is, in a sense, a little magnet of attention. You can draw them back in.

Vicki: Totally. So you’ve been doing this for a while, Keith, and you know a lot about making exciting videos. Of course, we could do a whole other 10-Minute Teacher on videos.

But as we finish up, could you give us a pep talk about how to make exciting video that kids want to watch?

Keith: Sure, and let’s not talk about the technology. You can go watch a different tutorial. I think Number One is – you need to relax. You need to be yourself. Kids can smell authenticity. So don’t try to pretend.

And if you can do it, try to read off of a script. I know that’s difficult for some people. But you’re allowed to make mistakes. And it’s so important to look at that camera, or use your voice to connect with those kids.

And don’t always be so literal. Sometimes some imagery that draws kids in and makes them laugh a little bit is important.

And use different modes of literacy. You know, there’s nothing wrong with a little “Sanford and Son” with a title in the middle of the video– not only to divide concepts, but again, to make them laugh, draw them in.

Vicki: So teachers…

Flipping that classroom – or in-flipping the classroom, where you show the videos in your classroom — is such an important part of my own classroom.

Remember, we have the bricks (which is the face-to-face classroom) and we have the clicks (which is the online classroom). And the best classrooms these days are blended.

So making those videos and flipping that classroom? That’s kind of what so many of us need to be doing today to be remarkable.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


Keith Hughes is an educator,

YouTuber and innovator in the field of technology and education. A 16 year veteran of the Buffalo Public Schools and adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo, he has spent his career engaging students as well as fellow educators.

As the producer of HipHughes History, he was recognized in 2012 by YouTube and Khan Academy with a YouTube Edu Guru Award. Keith has also appeared on the History Channel’s United Stuff of America and AHC’s America’s Most Badass.

Currently, Keith is employed as an Instruction Technology Coach by the Buffalo Public Schools and engages with other educators and schools across the world through professional development presentations.

http://hiphughes.com
http://youtube.com/hiphughes
http://ift.tt/1J4O7Mw
http://ift.tt/2hnAL9B

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.)

The post 5 Ways to Flip Your Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2hlaBId
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.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Not “Just” a Teacher: Finding Your Voice as a Teacher



Brianna Hodges on episode 154 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Do you ever feel like you’re “just” a teacher? Do you feel like that person up on the stage never could be you? But you have a passion. You have a fire and a message – but what do you do with it? Brianna Hodges shares her journey from small-town teacher to the stage, state legislature, and nation’s capital. As she transparently shares her story, I believe that thousands of educators will also find the encouragement to speak up and speak out.

For, dear teachers, there is no such thing as “just” a teacher. You have a voice. Your words are important. And we need hundreds of thousands of passionate educators to help make this world a better place for our students.

So, don’t just sit there – get up and get started. Find your voice!

Today’s Sponsor: Edpuzzle is my new favorite flipped classroom tool. You can take your videos or those from YouTube and:

  • Clip the video
  • Record your own voice over
  • Pause the video and add your voice just in certain spots
  • Add comments, multiple choice or open ended questions.

And if you click http://ift.tt/2wocZod, Edpuzzle will give your school access to the 50,000 best lessons from Edpuzzle, organized in folders and ready to be used by teachers. Once click and you have everything you need for the year!

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

Not “Just” a Teacher: Finding Your Voice as a Teacher

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2fd6UjC
Thursday, September 21, 2017

Brianna’s story begins: from winning an award to the state legislature

Vicki: Today we’re thinking about finding our voice, but helping our students find their voice, and also finding our voice as educators. We have somebody uniquely qualified. We have Brianna Hodges @edutechtastic. She’s the 2017 Texas Instructional Technologist of the Year.

One day, Bri, you woke up and you were getting ready to testify in front of, I believe, the Texas State Legislature, right?

Brianna: Hah!!! Yes.

Vicki: And you had a friend who pushed you to help find your voice, and you’ve ended up in D.C., right?

Brianna: I have! I am very honored to serve as one of the two national advisors for Future Ready Schools, representing the Instructional Coach strand. And so, yes, I’ve kind of started very quickly after accepting the award for Instructional Technologist of the Year, then TCEA – as many of our state affiliates has a strong advocacy arm for educational opportunities here in Texas. And so, they reached out to myself and Carl Hooker, another one of our proud Texans, and asked if the two of us would go and testify in front of the Senate, in front of the legislature, on educational technology and Open Education Resources and instructional materials.

And so it’s really interesting. I actually have a background in politics and have worked with a lot of those people in a far different life, but to kind of come back into that area and then kind of have to speak on behalf of your profession, knowing that everything is recorded and that it can be highly contentious. It’s very intimidating, and to be looked at as that authority it was really interesting. I owe Carl a great big thank you for instilling that confidence that you’re asked for a specific reason… and that if you speak the truth in you, you speak it with your passion and your voice, then people want to listen to you and they believe in the ideas if you can paint that picture for them.

“I don’t see myself as ‘that’ person.”

Vicki: Now before you went up, though, he asked you a question. What was it?

Brianna: So Carl is also the godfather of iPad Palooza. Some of you might know about this. He had talked me into serving as one of the mini-keynotes for this learning festival. So iPad Palooza does – in place of having a single headline keynote event at the beginning of the festival – have a series of mini-keynotes. It’s pretty intimidating, honestly, for someone like me to see who all has graced that stage. But he has a way of believing in you and helping you see that could do it too.

So I agreed to it. So he asked me at that point, “OK what are you going to talk about?”

And I told him, “I don’t know. I don’t even know why you want me to do this!’ And I just started laughing because I am from a pretty small town, and I just don’t see myself as that person who gets asked to go and do all of these big (things). I just don’t see myself as that person who has that big name.

You know, he gave me some time. This was in April, and the learning festival, iPad Palooza is not until June, and so he was like, “Well, you’ve got some time. Don’t worry about it.” And we just kind of laughed that off.

Fast forward to a few weeks, and Carl also serves on Future Ready Schools as one of the advisors for the IT strand. So we both found ourselves in D.C. again. He asked again what I was going to speak on, and I said, “I really don’t know.”

He “pushed” me at that point, and he said, “Yes, you do. I asked you for a reason. And yes, you do.”

And I said, “OK, I really don’t know.”

And he said, “What would you tell your kids? What would you tell your teachers? Talk about what it is that you are passionate about.”

And he got me kind of riled up. I’ve known Carl for a number of years. So basically, I said, “OK! Fine. Yes. I would love to talk about how teachers are change agents, and what it means to actually change, and how do we create change. We create that change through using our voice and finding the thing that speaks loudest to us, and then taking that voice and sharing that with others.”

From that, he was really happy to know – and he said, “See, I told you. You knew that you had it in you.”

So fast forward to the actual keynote. Here I was. It’s a very intimidating process. You walk into this auditorium and there are all these video cameras on you. You see who all is going to be up there, and I drew the lucky straw of being the second person.

Anyway, my presentation… I kind of built it around, “What We’re Meant to Be.” We’re meant to be so much more than what we limit ourselves to, based upon our fear.

And so I talked about how, in my current role I spend my days in an instructional coaching role working with teachers. And they are faced with an immense amount of change as we go through this integration of technology, and individualization of learning, and all these different pedagogical changes that are coming rapid fire, it seems like in education.

That’s really unnerving, especially for teachers who have been really competent at what they have always done. Now all of a sudden to have that change come in. And then you take into consideration the amount of social media and just this world wide web, where everything is so connected and your ideas are shared instantly. That’s both a blessing and a curse.

So I really wanted to talk about how these same tactics that we use with our students – to help them understand that they matter – that we have to do the same things with our colleagues, as teachers.

A lot of the time, there’s a lot of influence and attention that’s put on the “school leaders” of principals and superintendents and administration. Sometimes teachers get lost in that, and we forget to value that they’re the ones who are actually changing the lives of so many children day in and day out. They’re the very people that often those kids can come to school for.

So I basically created a mantra that I talked about, how when we are in these situatons when we are asked to become these change agents, often our very first response is, “Well, I’m just a teacher.”

Don’t limit yourself through your fear

Vicki: (agrees)

Brianna: I was just super guilty of that with Carl, you know, and that was the very first thing I told him. “I’m just not good at this.” I found myself saying everything that my students would tell me.

Vicki: (laughs)

Brianna: And I was saying everything that my teachers would tell me. “I’m just not ready. I’m just not sure about it. I’m just a teacher. I’m just a mom. I’m just from a small town.” All of these different things. So after a lot of careful thought, when I was coming up with all of the things that I wanted to say, I decided on this mantra of just what all would we tell people.

My basic idea was that I needed my children – I have two kiddos, a five-year-old and an eight-year old – to be more than “just” a kid. I don’t want their fear to limit them.

I didn’t want my students to limit themselves through their fear.

I don’t want my teachers to limit themselves through their fear.

And so what I do tell them every day is that they are champions for learning. They are a stabilizing force for their students. They are fierce promoters of creativity and curiosity for their content. They are the game changers and the rally makers and the courageous crusaders. They are the spark and the voice and the change that our educational system needs. They are the very model of what our change agent looks like, sounds like, and acts like.

And I basically wrapped it all up by talking about that’s what we are meant to be. If we believe in ourselves and then we share that vision with each other, then that’s how we actually become the true change agents that we are challenged with.

Vicki: Wow. I love that. And there’s so much here. Really what you said stands on its own. But what I love, Bri, is your transparency of realizing that you and your students and your teachers are running along parallel tracks.

I can’t tell you how many incredible teachers I’ve seen at conferences, and I’ve gone up to them after sitting in on their session. I’ve said, “You should be speaking in more places. You should be sharing this story. Please blog. Please tweet. Please share what you’re doing.”

And their (response is), “Well, I’m just a teacher. I’m just not a big deal. I’m not THAT person.”

And they don’t understand that sometimes, we don’t choose the platform. The platform chooses us.

Brianna: (laughs)

Vicki: This is fantastic. I hope you’ll just keep using your voice to help us all find our voices.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as Submitted


Brianna Hodges, Director of Digital Learning, Stephenville Independent School District, Texas
Brianna Hodges is a passionate change agent, mother of two, a true CrAZy One and iCHAMPION Evangelist. She believes that technology enhances learning experiences in every facet of life by allowing for true personalization.

Recognized as the 2017 Texas Instructional Technologist of the Year, Brianna serves as the Director of Digital Learning for Stephenville ISD and is a national advisor for Future Ready Schools and Certified Google Trainer and Flipgrid Ambassador.

Noted for her work in branding and social media, Brianna’s research has been published in several academic journals including the Journal of School Public Relations and the Journal for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

She is believes in the power of coaching and inspires teachers and students to find their passions, embrace the challenges that life brings, and utilize their creativity to find ways to go bigger and grow brighter every day.

Catch up with Brianna on social media https://twitter.com/edutechtastic and online http://ift.tt/2fd6VUI to see how you can help #BEEtheChaNGe!


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.)

The post Not “Just” a Teacher: Finding Your Voice as a Teacher appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2fcZvkp
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, September 20, 2017

The Storm of Poverty Hits Us All



Why We Must Dare to Care

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

As we follow the changing maps of tropical storms Harvey, Irma, Jose, and now Maria, many of us have been looking at what meteorologists are calling the “cone of possibility.” Before you think that is a good thing – it isn’t. The cone of possibility means it is the area where a hurricane may possibly pass. You don’t want to be there. So, understandably, we get anxious when we see our hometown or our family inside that cone of possibility. We know that’s where lives change, homes are destroyed, and hunger grows.

Cathy Rubin in her Global Search for Education is tackling poverty this month.This article is part of that series.

We get upset and nervous as the storm draws closer. We run to the store. We talk to friends. We might even talk to our neighbors (for a change).

Until…

Until we find out that the hurricane is going somewhere else. While we may worry for those being hit by the storm, deep down, the truth be told, we breathe a sigh of relief.

Deep down, we’re glad that it isn’t our family. We’re relieved that it isn’t our neighborhood, because…

Our children won’t go hungry. Our house won’t lose electricity. We’ll be OK. It isn’t us.

Then, we tune into the news, and it looks like just another reality TV show. From the comfort of our homes, we watch the storms blow, while children and families we’ve never met are playing out the worst days of their lives for the world to see. We might offer a prayer, but deep down, we’re glad — glad that it isn’t us.

Feel the Fear

This time, I ask you to try something different. Take the fear that you felt about losing power, losing access to food, losing the ability to get to your job or even drive your car. Try living with the fear that death might touch your family, that you won’t have a safe place to shelter from terrible things happening outside your door.

I know that feeling. I struggled with it as I crouched in my closet while Hurricane Irma blew and I prayed that the leaning pine tree in my front yard wouldn’t take that moment to fall over and crush my house. My sixteen-year-old was sleeping in his closet. We wanted him safe, but even so, we weren’t sure that he would be. There are no guarantees when the storm hits. This time, it could be us.

So yes, take that fear and really feel it. Because, friends, we’re not overreacting when we get all worked up about a storm. Horrific weather events like this kill, cause hunger, and deprive people of basic necessities. We have telethons and raise money. And we should. These storms are horrible.

It Is Our House!

Daniel Simmons, an African-American pastor in the nearby town of Albany, Georgia, leads a congregation in one of the poorest cities in America. He told a similar story this past week, pointed a finger at us, and said:

“We won’t be able to make this place a better place until we realize that our neighbor’s house is our house. It is our house!”

And this, my friends, is poverty. We get upset by a storm because storms don’t play favorites. Old, young, rich, poor — all can be harmed by a storm. All become similar in their want and poverty. When the storm comes, we all suffer.

But this is the problem we have today in America and around the world: We refuse to claim our neighbor’s house as our own.

Sure, a crying two-year-old is found wandering down the street at night in Albany, Georgia. But it isn’t our child. (This happened just this week.) Sure, kids are hungry, but it isn’t our child. Kids don’t come to school because they lay awake last night scared of the gunshots on their street. But it isn’t our street.

Caring, Owning, and Acting

People who don’t care don’t dare.

People who don’t care don’t dare work to raise money for more library books. They don’t dare hold fundraisers to earn money to send kids on a special field trip. They don’t dare fight to feed the hungry in their neighborhood. Somebody needs to do those things, but so many people won’t because they refuse to own the problem. Sure, they’re sorry that someone else has a problem. Sure, they’re sad when they hear about suffering. But the only time that we’ll act is when we care enough to dare do something.

What makes you furious? What makes you angry? What gets you upset?

Until we as human beings can take ownership and realize that the poor in our neighbors are our family, our children, our neighbors — until we can feel that these problems are truly ours, I agree with Pastor Simmons that we likely won’t care enough to actually do something about it.

Poverty Is Within Everyone’s Cone of Possibility

If the hurricanes are doing anything, they’re waking people to the realization that poverty is within anyone’s cone of possibility. And while we can be upset about actual hurricanes blowing in from the Caribbean, we should also be upset that some children live in figurative hurricanes every single day. They live wondering if they’ll keep electricity, if they’ll have food, if their home can keep them safe from the storm that rages in their neighborhood.

I will admit that I haven’t felt the pain and anguish that I should feel for children and families living in poverty. That must change. It will change. I cannot stay the same after tasting the fear of poverty as we considered Irma’s hit on our hometown. I’ve been complacent because I haven’t owned it.

As long as we excuse the tragedy of poverty in our world by saying, “It doesn’t impact me,” we set ourselves up for an even bigger shock on the day that it will impact us.

When enough people in society are hopeless and enough other people in a society are heartless, that society is in danger of a storm for which there is no cone of possibility of escape for anyone within its borders.

We must fight poverty with as much force and frantic pursuit as we prepare for the storms that blow into our lives during this most terrible hurricane season. For truly, the storm of poverty is always with us and destroys lives every day. And we as educators must be part of the shelter and solution.

These are our children. These are our families. This is our neighborhood. And this is our time. We will not be heartless. We will help the hopeless. And we’ll stop sitting in our comfy homes and classrooms patting ourselves on the back because “it isn’t me.”

Poverty anywhere impacts people everywhere — for we have one big home called Planet Earth, and winds from which no one can escape are blowing stronger each year.

May we all awaken to a different level of caring about the problems of our communities, our neighbors, and our world, because we are far more interconnected than any of us can imagine or understand.

So, if I have a call to action for all of you reading this, it is to wake up and realize that many of us might not getting involved because it is someone else. We can’t do that any more. We have to realize these are our schools, our countries, our cities.

When the storm of poverty hits anyone in our community, it hits us all. And we, as educators, must be passionate and purposeful about providing shelter from the storm for the children in its path.

The post The Storm of Poverty Hits Us All appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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Integrating the Arts into Every Subject



Catherine Davis-Hayes on episode 153 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

The graphic, performing, and theater arts are powerful allies for math, writing, and every subject you teach. As 2007 State Teacher of the Year in Rhode Island, Catherine Davis-Hayes is passionate about helping every teacher use the arts in their classroom. Today she shares techniques for teaching geometry and writing – but also a remarkable school-wide project.

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Steve Jobs said in his final Apple keynote introducing the iPad 2,

“It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.”

This past week, I had students modeling processors, hardware, and software using play-dough. Something so simple ignited their excitement and learning. Catherine’s lesson for us today is worth sharing with curriculum directors, superintendents, principals, and teachers who are serious about improving learning.

Former secretary of education, William Bennett, says,

“An elementary school that treats the arts as the province of a few gifted children, or views them only as recreation and entertainment, is a school that needs an infusion of soul. That arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic.”

 We all need arts in every classroom, in every subject, in what we do as educators. Not only is it fun but it

Aids

Retention and makes

Teaching

Stick

Work to integrate arts into your lesson this week. (And I especially love the whole school “star trek” episodes they filmed. That project is FANTASTIC! Some of you will love doing it!)

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

Arts in Every Subject: How to Make It Happen

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2fbcBhO
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Introducing Catherine Davis-Hayes and her philosophy of arts in education

Vicki: So we’re here at the NNSTOY conference (nnstoy.org) and we’re talking with Catherine Davis-Hayes @cdhayes13, 2007 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year.

Now Catherine, you’re really passionate about having the arts in everything in a school. What’s your philosophy of that?

Catherine: Well, I think that any content area is more accessible to students and helps them to really understand that content if it’s used in real-world situations. And so, although I do see the benefit and also obviously the importance of teaching skills and processes and materials in my art room, I feel like the students are going to benefit in a greater way by applying it and actually using it to maybe demonstrate their understanding in other content areas.

So, for example, if there’s a math concept and you can bring in geometry shapes, creating artwork that uses the concepts, fractions, all the time observing proportions, and point out how much math they’re using in art, just by making the art. Not just necessarily make the project about math, but just point out, “Look at all the math you’re using as you’re creating your art.”

Or, exploring areas of social studies with the arts is a very, very easy way. And also, even though I’m a visual art teacher, I have become amazingly aware of the power of the performing arts. So I am not a dancer, and I am not a theater actor at all, but I have seen incredible connections made — through movement art and theater specifically – that have helped kids make connections to other content areas.

How does her school use the arts in everything?

Vicki: So does your school follow this whole philosophy of art in everything?

Catherine: We try. Things come and go over time. Funding comes and goes over time. We have had many of our teachers trained in arts integration. We had an amazing opportunity, going back ten years, to have professional development during the summer for as many of our teachers who were able.

Through a program called SmART Schools (http://ift.tt/2w6pgte), teachers were able to come in and learn how to they could use the arts inside their classrooms. So, it’s not always about the professional arts educator going in to a classroom. We taught really accessible tools that everyday classroom teachers could use in their classroom, and so that would be one level of arts integration and using the arts as a part of their toolkit to teach in the class.

And then, at sort of a deeper, larger scale level you could also team up with an art specialist – a music teacher, art teacher, and in our case we were super lucky to bring in a theater artist in residence – and then really put things on fire.

What is the common mistake people make integrating arts?

Vicki: Do you think there’s a common mistake that many educators have when they think about the arts in schools?

Catherine: I do. I sometimes think that when you mention, “Oh, let’s integrate the arts,” there’s always this vision of the movie or that TV show Fame where…

Vicki: (laughs)

Catherine: … suddenly everyone’s going to, like everything has to be a big huge production, that it means putting on a play or putting on a big production. And I think they get intimidated.

I also think that a lot of teachers don’t understand their own creativity. They assume, “Oh, I can’t draw a straight line, even with a ruler,” you know, that famous saying.

Vicki: (laughs)

Catherine: But they miss how creative they are every day in their classroom, and they miss that even the little things just doodling on a piece of paper, having kids sketch an idea first, getting kids up and moving to demonstrate a math concept.

“Let’s line up by height,” or you know, it doesn’t have to be smaller visual, music, auditory tools that help students connect.

Some easy ways to start with the arts in any classroom

Vicki: So if you could give us an “easy win” or two. You know, you’re talking to teachers of all kinds. “OK, here’s an easy way to integrate arts into your classroom.” What would you give us as an idea?

Catherine: I was reading the book Swimmy by Leo Lionni.

To have the kids really understand the concept of you can be a little piece and change the world… we had the kids get up and move around and act like that collection of little fish that formed the big fish.

Vicki: Oh…

Catherine: So, you know, just getting up out of your seat and mirroring an activity or solving a problem. You can do that in any classroom.

In the visual arts, having students illustrate the pictures of a story before they write it… Sometimes the pictures to tell the story come easier than the words. There are a lot of reluctant writers. If you have younger kids, just say “OK, here are five (places for) pictures. You have to have the beginning, the end, and then three pictures in between that bring you from that beginning to the end.” I don’t know of a kid who couldn’t sketch out a simple story.

And then have them write. And the writing goes deeper, because they’re not writing a story, they’re describing their art. And they can talk about art forever. They can tell you all about their art. Just one picture. But now they have maybe five simple pictures, and their story is going to be rich and descriptive and have all the detail that classroom teachers are hoping that their little writers could have.

Your proudest moments

Vicki: Catherine, describe on of your proudest moments at your school where you’re like, “OK. We’re ‘getting’ this!”

Catherine: (laughs)

So even though I just talked about doing little projects that are accessible, we’ve also done some pretty crazy big things, too.

One year, we did a project that was complete arts integration for grades 3, 4, 5, and 6. The grade level classrooms took on a concept. The whole idea was to support what classroom teachers were doing in their classroom, and the bigger standards and the bigger content areas. Also, (we wanted to) teach about art and design.

asking the classroom teachers, “What is it that you want us to support you?” They might come up with a language arts content area, or a math concept, or a science concept. In this case, we asked teachers to specifically choose math or science because we wanted to do a STEM-to-STEAM arts integration.

So each grade level, each classroom at each grade level, picked a content area. Our theater artist in residence went in and created a planet – a fictional planet based on their concepts.

So for example, we had a third grade class with a Planet of the Shapes, because they were learning shapes in geometry. Another third grade class was Food Chain in the Ocean, and so they created an entire planet that was an ocean-based planet, and all of the interactions between all of the species were based on, “Eat or Be Eaten!” These are third graders.

We had a fourth grade planet that was based on magnetism. They were studying magnets in science.

And all the way up. And meanwhile the sixth graders had a health unit where they had to learn about body systems, how a disease or an issue could attack the body, and what you could do – either medically or the body would do to defeat that health system.

So they wrote episodes for Star Trek, and those sixth graders had to use the other planets on “away missions” to solve their problems.

At the end of the year, we actually filmed three Star Trek episodes where the sixth graders were the Star Fleet. And every piece of their learning could be seen in these episodes.

Vicki: Wow.

Catherine: They’re very low tech, but…

Vicki: Where did you air them? Did you air them on YouTube, or..?

Catherine: I have a blog on WordPress

Vicki: Ohhhhh… so you’ll give us a link? So we can share them! How exciting!

Catherine: They are there. Yeah!

And so the crowning achievement – You asked, “What was the proud moment?”

The proud moment was when I was driving in my car the summer after this had happened, and I was listening to NPR, and they had a physicist from Harvard talking about – a roboticist, I think.

Anyway, so he was talking about designing these little robots that were about the size of a quarter, and how they were designed.

Because when you go to Mars, you can’t bring all the tools that you might need. And they were talking about designing these little robots that – when they’re moving around they look like little spiders, and they can actually interconnect and become larger tools.

In one of our episodes, the Planet of the Shapes, the third graders’… That was what their shapes could do.

Their shapes were these cute little shapes that liked to dance. And then they would “freeze dance,” so when they froze, they would come together and make tools.

And so the Starship went to the Planet of the Shapes because they needed tools to fix their Starship.

Vicki: Wow.

Catherine: And… I’m driving, three months later, hearing that they made robots like this.

You know, they don’t go to Mars yet, but the idea was, “How are you going to solve the problem of bringing more tools than we have the ability to carry on a space mission?”

And my third graders were thinking in terms of, “What can geometric shapes do? They can be put together to make bigger shapes.”

Vicki: Wow. What happened when they found out? Did you tell them?

Catherine: I did. I showed them the podcast when we got back in the fall.

And they were… they were really excited about that, just to think… “You know, the whole idea is that we don’t know what’s going to exist twenty years from now. But you kids actually thought of an idea that Harvard robotics scientists are thinking about now.”

Vicki: And that is what happens when we pull art into everything.

Catherine: And it was student driven. That was the cool thing, was that the students chose the content. They didn’t need a teacher telling them, “You will make a planet about this concept.” They chose the concepts.

Vicki: Awesome.

So we’ve had a Wonderful Classroom Wednesday with Catherine Davis-Hayes. Check the Shownotes for links to these Star Trek episodes. I’m very fascinated to see what those look like.

And just remember, the power of the arts is really that the arts are everywhere.

  • You can read about this project and watch the episodes on Catherine’s Blog: STEAM Trek
  • I’ve embedded videos below.

Catherine: Thank you, Vicki.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Episode 1


Episode 2


Episode 3


Biography as Submitted


Cathy Davis Hayes is an elementary art teacher at Oakland Beach Elementary School in Warwick. When she was recognized as Rhode Island Teacher of the Year, she had been teaching in her position for 11 years. Cathy originally started as a commercial artist, but was motivated to become a teacher after volunteering at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf.

Cathy believes in the power of the arts to help students make connections between ideas from throughout all their areas of study, and she is passionate about enriching her students’ lives every day.

She was central to Oakland Beach Elementary’s classification as a SmART School, where arts are given a heavy focus in the curriculum. Cathy earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She was Rhode Island’s 2007 State Teacher of the Year.

Twitter: @cdhayes13

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.)

The post Integrating the Arts into Every Subject appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2wxedxu
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.
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