I've moved the blog!

I've moved my blog to www.coolcatteacher.com as well as all of the posts from this blog. Learn more...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

7 Tips for Better Thanks Living All Year Long



Vicki Davis shares on Episode 196 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

You can have a more thankful, joyful year all of the time. In today’s show, I share seven secrets to live a more joyful, thankful life all year long.

Today’s Sponsor: Bloomz is the tool I chose for parent/teacher communication. To find out why read http://ift.tt/2f0btkq or go to bloomz.com to get started setting up your school or classroom now! December and January are great months to roll out Bloomz with your parents, so you can start 2018 strong.

Listen Now

 

 

 

 

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

***

Enhanced Transcript

7 Secrets for Better Thanks Living All Year Long

Link to show: http://ift.tt/2AphxMk
Date: Monday, November 20, 2017

Happy Motivational Monday!

So today I’m recording a special motivational episode for all of you out there with some tips for better ThanksLiving. Now Thankfulness — I cannot tell you how important it is for me, having my own attitude because of it, because teaching is SO HARD.

There are just a few things that I do that really help me a lot. I thought I would share these tips with you. Some are productivity tips, some are just thoughts, and some are kind of how you organize your life.

The Mud Puddle Principle

Now, the first one is what I call the “Mud Puddle Principle,” and I’ve blogged about this before. If you can think of a young little child on the edge of a mud puddle. You know how, when they get close to the edge of a mud puddle, they’re just going in!

Well, around my house I have yellow notepads, just the letter-sized ones. Then I have my favorite pens. I have them on my desk. I have them by my Prayer and Thinking Chair. I have them by my chair in the den. I have them right by my bed.

So, when I’m inspired, I just fall right in. When I sit down, and I have a thought, my pen’s there. My paper is there. I can jot it down. There are so many ideas for shows and other things that happen. Just writing and getting my thoughts out actually makes me a happier person.

Keeping a Journal

The second thing is keeping a journal. I read some time ago, that a treatment that some people have for depression — in addition to medication and other things that you do need — is that they will have people write down five things that they’re thankful for every morning.

I have done this practice for so many years, and although I don’t have every day, when I find my “thinking turning stinking,” I’ll actually start listing those positive things in my journal. The other amazing thing about journals, is that I’ve been keeping them since I was eight, and I can look back and have such incredible memories.

Not too long ago, I found my journal for the year that I started dating my husband, Kip. I pulled it out, and there was actually something I had written there that said, “Dear Kip, If I am reading this to you then what I think is going to happen is happening. We’ve gotten married.”

And it was like, “It’s been 24 years!” I got to read this beautiful thing to him that I had written. It really just reminded me all over again how this journey started, and how much I love my husband. So, journals just can speak to us in the future in so many different ways.

The Day One Journal

But I also — my third thing — is I use the Day One journal app on my phone and on my computer, and it synchronizes. SO you can have little mini-journals. I have one for poetry because I like to write poetry. I have a journal for answered prayers. I have a journal just for things — photos, memories.

Now that I’ve been going for a while, it’s kind of like Facebook because it will actually re-show me those journal entries later. And I like it because it’s surprising, because you know what? Not everything belongs on Facebook. I use Day One journal also, and I really love it.

Memory Markers

Now, the fourth thing is that I like to make Memory Markers. It kind of comes from I guess you could say the Bible, but other people have done this as well. When something historical or memorable happens, they would sort of make a marker. They would put up a monument.

Well, I have my office full of quotes. I’ll find a quote, or something that reminds me of an event. Then on the back, I will write in marker the date and the time and the circumstances of why that is my marker.

Sometimes these come from my students. I have a lovely sign right up above my desk that I’m looking at now. It says, “Be a voice, not an echo.” One of my students, Zach, gave it to me several years ago at Christmas, and it just reminded me that, you know, I have my own things that are on my heart to share with people.

I need to be brave and share those things, and not just feel like I have to be like anybody else. I can just be me, and you can be you also.

I have a lot more memory markers that are really treasures to me. One day when I’m gone, my children will take these things down. They’ll see on the back, even if they give it away, a very special memory marker for lots of major events in my life.

Sometimes I get those down off the wall to remind me about a decision and why I made that decision, so I can remember, “Oh yeah. That’s why I’m not going back to being friends with that person or working there.” Whatever.

Habit Places

So the next thing is having Habit Places. I have a Prayer and Thinking Chair. I think that Winnie the Pooh had a “Thoughtful Spot,” so I guess you could say it’s my thoughtful spot, but it’s a chair. I actually a Memory Marker over it, one of my very first, which is a cross stitch, my very first one. It says, “Thoughts.” I have always carried that with me through my life and put it wherever I think.

It may sound silly, but there are times when I just have to clear my mind and think about things. I can’t tell you about how many innovative thoughts or breakthroughs happen when I just sit there and think.

But I also have another sign that says, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” It’s right over that chair. So what I do, every morning when I get up, usually around 4:30 am or so, light the candles on the coffee table right in front of my Prayer and Thinking Chair. I have a little stool because I like to prop up my feet. I have all of my books and Bibles and things. I light a candle. I’ll get me a coffee and put it right by my Prayer and Thinking Chair.

Then I will read my Bible. I will pray. I will write in my journal. I’ll pull up my next tip, so I can have my prayers. I just really have a moment. I know that when I sit in that chair, it is a place where I’m not to going to take my cell phone. It’s just for reflection and thinking.

Tools to Organize Your Prayers

Now the next thing is really using tools to organize my prayer life. You could use this for people you want to think about, you could use it for a lot of purposes, but for me, I learned this from a fellow named Ronnie Floyd, who my pastor had mentioned from the pulpit. He had pulled out his iPad during the sermon once and showed my pastor, Michael Catt, that he was praying for him. He had a big long list of people that he prayed for every day.

One thing about life is that if you say it, do it. Don’t just say stuff and not do it. That’s really one of my pet peeves. I always told my students to say either yes or no. Don’t say, “I’ll try.” Say “I’ll do it.” Like Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.” People who say they’re going to try are usually saying, “I’m not going to do it. I’m just trying to be nice.” And I just can’t stand that, so now when I agree to pray for people, I have several different lists in my notes on my iPad.

I do use Evernote for other things, but for this I use Notes, and I actually share one of those with my husband, Kip, because he and I are adding people all the time. I’ll put the date that I add people on, and everyday I pray through that list. I write dates at the bottom. I’ll put “Answered Prayers,” and I’ll move it to the bottom.

So I sort of have a little system there of different things that I’m praying for. It really helps me to be focused and remember. Every so often — I try every morning to reach out to two or three different people on my list so that they know that I’m still here, I’m remembering them, I’m remembering their concerns, and I’m praying over those.

Walk Slowly Through the Crowd

That brings me to my next item. Something that my pastor says a lot is, “Walk slowly through the crowd.” Everybody has a problem. Everybody has a worry. Everybody has things.

As I am getting older, I am finding how many things that are burdening the heart — that I cannot and do not share on social media, because it’s just not all appropriate. Some things are private. You just don’t want to share those. Yet, they cause me tears. Some of these things I have tears over almost every single day in my quiet time.

So my walking slowly through the crowd is on Facebook. When I see somebody who posts something, and I see that they are having a hard time, I’ll usually try to Direct Message that person on Facebook. They know that I truly care, and I’ll say, “How are you doing? I care about you. I’m so sorry…” or whatever’s appropriate for that person. If it’s somebody who wants prayer, I’ll say, “How can I pray for you?”

I’ll make a real connection because I just think sometimes that we pile on… We have this mob mentality. Everybody says, “Praying, praying, praying…” Or “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

But there is a real person on the other end of that status update. We have to walk slowly through the crowd. I do this even at school, but I’m really talking about my habits at the house. We’ll just focus on those for now.

Notecards in a Filebox

Another thing I do is have notecards in a file box. I got this idea from John Maxwell, because he keeps note boxes.

I really like to have quotes and inspiration. I type these up in Word and print them out.

But I have a special place that I put sermons and things that I’ve heard at conferences. I’ll take them out and put the most important things on file cards to file in my note box. Or I scan it into Evernote, and then usually I’ll throw those away but I’ll have a digital copy.

Here’s the thing. You can sit in a great session. You can sit in something wonderful. But if you never return to those things and pondered them, how are you going to act upon them and help your life be better?

So that’s actually something I do in my Prayer and Thinking Chair. I’ll read over sermons. I’ll read over things and pondered them. I’ll post about them. That’s really when I find that I grow.

I also like to keep a list of things that I’ve learned. I try to write this down every day. The end of the day is a great time to write down things that I’ve learned… and I also got that trick from John Maxwell.

Take a Sabbath

Now here is another very important thing — taking a digital and physical Sabbath. So Sundays are my day, pretty much, to be offline. But also, to take that phone and put it in airplane mode.

Because you know, some people work on Sundays, but I don’t.

Their workday will become my workday if I have my phone not in airplane mode.

So when I’m going to church, when I’m just taking a nap or whatever, I’m on Sabbath. I’m taking a break. I just don’t work, and I don’t apologize for it.

You know, there are hotels that are really expensive. They call them Black Hole Hotels, and people check their cell phones at the door so they have no connection to the outside world. People will pay a lot of money for that.

I’m not going to pay a lot of money for that! It’s called, “Take away my phone, or turn off my phone, or get away and just have a break. Don’t do so much. Be a human being and not just a human doing.”

Exercise Your Joy Muscle

Let’s finish up with a thought about our Joy Muscle. Sometimes I get upset at myself for this thought, because I like to see problems and difficulties and challenges as an opportunity to exercise my Joy Muscle.

If you’ve ever worked out, you know that you have to get heavier and heavier weights in order to get stronger and stronger. Well, I don’t know what it is about teaching, but somehow we think that life should get easier and easier as we teach. And it doesn’t.

We getter better and better at it, so we get bigger and bigger problems. The reward for good work is more work. That’s actually in the Bible. So the more you do, the more work you get. And I’m OK with that.

But sometimes it’s just real easy to fall into a rut, complaining or whining.

So today, I’m recording this and getting ready to go to Dubai tomorrow. And last period, I knew I needed that period to do so much. We had poinsettia sales, I had all this poinsettia stuff to deal with for National Honors Society, I had to get my lessons into PowerSchool Learning… I mean, I just had a lot of things to do. Progress reports are going out Monday. I mean, (laughs), I couldn’t imagine how much I had to do. It was just so much!

Well, in pile a bunch of kids. The librarian had locked the library, and so I got all the kids, and I didn’t know they were coming. My room ended up full. I think at one point, I had 21 chairs and 30 kids in there — plus everything else I was doing.

And I thought to myself, “Vicki! Dadgumit! Why did you come up with this Joy Muscle thing, because this is a great opportunity to exercise your Joy Muscle when you get better at having joy and being happy?””

And I kind of failed for a little while before I was able to buck up and get stronger and decide that I was going to have joy, even because it was completely insane and ridiculous and there was no reason for it.

But I was still going to have joy, so I really think it’s important that when we have difficulties in life, that we learn how to have joy.

Now, as a Christian, I’ve got certain things at my disposal that are secrets to joy that I do, certain ways of thinking. I can write more about that. I have a Christian blog. If some of you are interested, email me, and I’ll plan on trying to do that.

But all of us can realize that when we have greater difficulties, that’s our opportunity to become more joyful — to not complain, to not whine, to not fuss. Our lives are not going to get easier, because we’re teachers, and that’s who we are.

I hope some of these thoughts have been encouraging to you. I hope that this week as you have Thanksgiving here in the United States — I know around the world, many of you have Thanksgiving at a different time — but I hope you’ll think about ThanksLiving and what you can do in your life, the small things, to have a more thankful way of living every single day.

Trust me, there are ways to do this. I hope that over time we all get better at it and not worse.

Have such a happy week.

We’ll be feeding — I think this year it’s 80-something people — at our little oak shed out at the farm. That’ll be crazy, but I just love my family so many amazing people in my family that I love. They’re all good cooks, too. We’ll try not to pack on a few pounds, but it might happen.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and just because it’s Turkey Day doesn’t mean you have to act like a turkey. Some of you might have to exercise your Joy Muscles for Thanksgiving because some of you might have people who are turkeys that you have to deal with.

I hope you’ll find a way to laugh and enjoy your Thanksgiving week, and I hope these ideas will help.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Vicki Davis, the host of the 10-Minute Teacher shares this episode.

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 7 Tips for Better Thanks Living All Year Long appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2ipPWn9
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, November 29, 2017

4 Geeky Gifts for Teachers



Leslie Fisher on episode 198 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Leslie Fisher, a favorite geek of many teachers, has some cool gift ideas for teachers (or your favorite geek.) I hope you get some ideas for your favorite teacher-geek.

Today’s Sponsor: Bloomz is the tool I chose for parent/teacher communication. To find out why read http://ift.tt/2f0btkq or go to bloomz.com to get started setting up your school or classroom now! December and January are great months to roll out Bloomz with your parents, so you can start 2018 strong.

Listen Now

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

***

Enhanced Transcript

Four Geeky Gifts for Teachers

Link to show: http://ift.tt/2k8kISc
Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Vicki: What are some geeky cool gifts for teachers?

Today we have one of my favorite presenters, Leslie Fisher @lesliefisher.

Now, I started blogging eleven years ago, maybe it was more. We’re getting close to that twelve year mark because I started on December 3rd. But before I was blogging at all, I was attending sessions with Leslie Fisher.

She has really been one of my “go to” people at conferences — at the GAETC conference and at conferences around the world — for really, my whole ed tech career. I’m not saying that, Leslie, to make you feel older than you look (laughs) but it’s just to say that I appreciate how you keep up with all of this. I don’t know!

So thanks for being on the show. And what kind of geeky gifts should we get for teachers this Christmas?

Leslie: Well, first of all, thank you for your kind words. I wish you could see my smile, beaming from one edge of the room to the others, because I also want to say thank you for what you do. I think we’ve been bitten with a passion to try to help teachers and make their classrooms more fun and engaging, and make their time more fun, so… thank you for what you do as well. I appreciate it.

Idea #1: Osmo

Yeah! Gadgets? I absolutely love gadgets. I’m a gadget head. If they can make my life easier, make it more streamlined, wonderful. And if I can do that for an educator, that is great.

If you told me that I could only buy one gadget for an educator, I would say it would be an Osmo. I absolutely love the product. It uses an iPhone. That’s a new feature. So if people didn’t know that, there’s now an iPhone base. Or it uses an iPad. It’s tactile learning combined with technology.

So I might have an app — for example — one called Tangam, where you run the app. It displays something on the iPad, and then you use building blocks to recreate what you’re looking at on the iPad.

There’s a Words game where you see a picture and you have to try to figure out what that word is. You use little blocks. You sit there and you toss it around. The iPad is getting it’s content from a little device that you put on top of the iPad that has a mirror. That mirror then points straight down, and it recognizes whatever the heck is being placed on the table in front of the iPad.

They have I think eight different games that are out, and they’re learning games. They’re fantastic, and it’s good quality stuff. So if you told me I had to get one thing for a classroom, I would say Osmo. Then the teacher could easily buy eight or nine things within that space.

Even me — with my wine friends when I’m having a wine dinner — we’ll always end up playing some sort of Osmo game because they can be a lot of fun. So… Osmo.

Vicki: Yeah. That can be used for any age. OK, what else?

Idea #2: QBall

Leslie: The other one I’m really excited about is the QBall. This has been out and available for a year. That is a throwable microphone.

What’s so neat about this is, that I first thought about it in an auditorium setting. Imagine in an auditorium where usually you would have to pass a microphone around, or the kids would have to get up in line, you know, in front of a mike to ask a question.

This is a throwable dodgeball, almost like, that has a microphone in it. It can work in anything from classroom speakers all the way up to P.A. systems. You can have more than one in an auditorium.

What’s really neat is that Shane Cox, the creator of the QBall, was just on Shark Tank. He actually got funded by three Sharks, which I thought was great. But the one thing he said — and I always love getting educated. It’s one thing to teach, but it’s another thing to love to learn. He was going into the report of a lot of times students don’t like to speak up, even in a classroom.

What he’s finding with the QBall is that that one kid — who might have that little voice and is scared to speak up — can now use that QBall to speak, and it goes through the teacher’s speakers on their computer. That kid has a loud voice within that class. I just think that’s absolutely awesome.

Vicki: It’s so fantastic. I’ve never even heard of it. I’m actually looking it up as we’re recording this. All of these things will be in the Shownotes because I can’t even imagine all the things that we could do with this. That’s what we need!

Leslie: It’s interesting. You should go and watch this episode of Shark Tank. I don’t usually watch Shark Tank — sorry, Sharks — but someone said that a lot of times they don’t fund educational items because their knowledge is not in education. I get that.

In the beginning, they were kind of poo-pooing until one of the Sharks said, “Hold on. Could I use this with my intercom system?”

And Shane’s like, “Of course you can.”

“Hold on. So instead of me shuffling around in the meeting room, I can just toss this ball, and someone can talk.?”

And he’s like, “Yeah.”

And then all of them started jumping in on this. So you’re right. The uses that this thing has is great.

The other thing is that Shane used to be a classroom teacher. So he is coming at it from the idea of knowing what it’s like to be in a classroom, and kind of like what we were talking about in the beginning, he’s dedicated to educators. He just wants to see educators thrive, and then hence the students that they teach thrive.

How can you not be smitten with that?

Vicki: How fun! Two great ideas! You got any more?

Leslie: Oh! Of course I do!

Vicki: (laughs)

Idea #3: LiveScribe Pen

Leslie: The other thing that I would say — and this is one that would be more for a teacher, or maybe for high school students.

I’ve been showing this a lot in the past few weeks, and I think one of the things that we tend to do is we tend to look at a technology that we’ve been using for a few years and assume that everyone knows about it. I’m trying to do a better job of going back and revisiting certain technologies that I use all the time, and maybe a teacher or student doesn’t know.

I use a pen called the Livescribe Pen. There are two versions. On is Bluetooth-based and app-based, and the other one is not. But it is a pen — if you use the Bluetooth version — that will automatically hook into your iOS or Android device.

You use their paper. Their paper is almost on par price with regular paper. When you start writing with the pen, it automatically then downloads that note to your iOS or Android device.

Even cooler — and the big reason I use it — is that you can synchronize recording audio to the notes you write.

So for someone like me who’s a fast talker, you could record me. Then all of a sudden, if I started getting ahead of your note-taking, you could put maybe a little asterisk or something? And it saves as a pencast. And it changes the color of the note on the iPad.

Then all you have to do is type on those words, and you will hear exactly what was being said when that person was saying something. So you never miss a word.

Vicki: That is so important for kids. I recommend this for a lot of kids who have special needs, who struggle with taking notes, but they need to have something.

And to put that symbol, like you said, or that item of “The teacher says this is important.” Write a little star, or write the letter “I” and then record. And then you can play those back when you’re studying.

Leslie: Right. And then I don’t know if you know about this feature. This thing’s pretty cool. This isn’t a gadget in terms of buying anything, but it’s a free gadget, and when I discovered it, my jaw dropped.

Google Keep got a big old update this summer, and one of the things the update got in the mobile version, is if you click on the microphone and start talking, Google Keep will do Voice Dictation.

Not only will it do Voice Dictation, it will then save the audio file. So even if it heard something incorrectly, you still have the exact words as they were being said in that meeting or that classroom.

And of course you have a camera feature so you could always take a picture of the whiteboard or the SMARTboard. This thing is awesome. I keep using it when I need to capture something or whatnot.

I wouldn’t say it should replace notes, because I’m sure you’ve talked many times about how writing notes will add to the retention of what you learn. But man, what a great thing that if you’re caught, having those notes be transcribed.

I was doing professional development yesterday, and a teacher mentioned how great this would be for their English as a Second Language, where that student could record, and then even stick that in Google Translate, see the recording, and then hear the audio file, so they could hear how those words were pronounced versus not. I just think it’s awesome.

Vicki: This is part of a term called “transliteracy,” which is to be literate in multiple media and to be able to move from a variety of media.

OK. We have time for one more, Leslie.

Leslie: (laughs)

Idea #4: A Home Assistant like Google Home or Amazon Alexa

Well, if I can put kind of a … well, it’s part education, part non-education. I would say some sort of home assistant. They could even be used in the classroom. For example, looking at getting a Google Home, or an Amazon Alexa.

You know, Adam Bellow, who’s a friend of both of ours, tells a really great story about his son, who will go up to the Alexa and just ask the most random questions of it, and get answers. One of the things the Alexa does is let you review what has been asked of it. He says he gets great joy and curiosity in going into his Alexa app and seeing what the heck his son asked it.

I keep thinking for a classroom, how fun would that be to have a virtual assistant to see how that assistant does? You know, when we get down to it, education is education. When we get down to it, we know those things aren’t always right. That’s just a perfect place for that educator to shine.

Vicki: I will link to some shows we’ve done. First and second and third grade teachers are going crazy over having the Echo Dot in the classroom, because if you can imagine instead of the kids saying, “Ms. Fisher, what’s 1 + 3?” or “How do you spell ‘citizen’?” You ask Alexa.

Leslie: Yep.

Vicki: You can even change Alexa’s name. There is a setting that lets you do that in case you have an Alexa. So she can keep her name, and the Echo Dot can get a new one.

(laughs)

Leslie: That’s awesome. You see? Here’s what I love. You just taught me something new, because I’ve only had that in my life. I’ve only had my Amazon Alexa for maybe a month or so, so I’m learning as well. I love that feature, and I love hearing that.

One of the sessions I’m thinking about adding to my offerings is, you know, the difference between the Echo, the Google Home, what’s going to be the Home Pod in Siri. How do they differ? How can they work in the classroom?

I really think, once again, this is where we’re heading. We’re heading to these assistants, these digital assistants. If we can get our students more used to it, it gets to what I would say my goal is — to make all of this a glorified pencil. When we don’t call it technology, when it’s just simply the process. I think we’ve all made people’s lives a little bit easier and better.

Vicki: We all have a way to add Artificial Intelligence to be our assistant. I have a way to automate things and let them be my teacher’s assistant.

Leslie: Yep.

Vicki: And students have a way to automate things and make them learning assistants for them. I think our intelligence is in finding these devices and using them.

We’ve got a lot of great devices here, so thank you, Leslie, and we’ll link to all these in the Shownotes. Such great ideas!

Leslie: My pleasure.

Awesome! And then before we end, remember, it’s IFTTT.com is a great way to take all of these intelligent assistants and make them even smarter.

Vicki: Love it!

 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Leslie Fisher: Bio as submitted


Leslie Fisher has been keynoting, feature speaking and providing professional development solutions for educators all over the world for 20+ years. Leslie specializes in easy to use, effective and affordable technology that can be utilized in your classroom right away.

Blog: Leslie Fisher

Twitter: @lesliefisher

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 4 Geeky Gifts for Teachers appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2AfZRT2
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, November 28, 2017

8 Great Gifts for Administrators



Dr. Frank Buck on episode 197 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dr. Frank Buck, author of Get Organized: Time Management for School Leaders, talks about what to get administrators (and what not to give them.) We have an entertaining chat about all the ideas to make this holiday season very special for your administrator.

Today’s Sponsor: Bloomz is the tool I chose for parent/teacher communication. To find out why read http://ift.tt/2f0btkq or go to bloomz.com to get started setting up your school or classroom now! December and January are great months to roll out Bloomz with your parents, so you can start 2018 strong.

Listen Now

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

Giveaway Contest

Task Clone Give Away

***

Enhanced Transcript

8 Great Gifts for Administrators

Link to show: http://ift.tt/2zLTlo1

Vicki: Today we’re talking with my dear friend Dr. Frank Buck. @DrFrankBuck

We’ve had productivity shows. We’ve had shows where we have talked about all kinds of tools and tips. But today, we’re going to talk about EIGHT GREAT GIFTS for Admins.

And one not-so-great gift.

So, Frank… Where do we start in getting a gift for our administrator?

Frank: Well, let’s start with the not-so-great gift.

No: Ties

PLEASE don’t give the principal another Christmas tie. As an elementary principal, I could wear a different Christmas tie every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas and not get them all worn.

Vicki, I’d actually have to start on Labor Day in order to get them all in. So, no Christmas ties.

Vicki: (laughs)

Yes: Children’s Writing and Artwork

Frank: But let me start with my first “DO GIVE,” and this was something given by the kids in second grade one year. Every child wrote their own chapter book.

Now, it was about the school, and all of the chapters were standardized, but the children wrote their story, they illustrated the story, and Chapter 8 was called the “The Man in Charge.” That was me.

And unbeknownst to me, before they bound the books, the teachers took everybody’s Chapter 8, made a good clear color copy, had the children autograph it, bound it in a book, and gave it to me.

Vicki: Awwwwww….

Frank: Right now, those children are about to graduate from high school. But I still have that bound book right in the entranceway.

So, number one… something that the kids made.

Vicki: I love that! That is so touching! Isn’t it?

Frank: Yeah. Yeah. That’s my favorite.

Vicki: Yeah.

Yes: (Delayed) Homemade Baked Goods

Frank: And number two… to kind of keep in the spirit of things that are made rather than things that are bought… BAKED GOODS!

A lot of our listeners are great bakers. Pies and cakes.

But give the principal a certificate for one. Don’t give them a cake now, because you and I both know what schools are like in December. There’s food EVERYWHERE! The problem is that there’s not enough flat surfaces to put out all of the food.

But if you go back in March and April, and the cupboards are BARE. So give the certificate, which the principal can then exchange in March or April, for that cake. They’ll love every morsel of it!

Vicki: They will. And if they give it to you anyway… (laughs)

Yes: A Subscription to a Cool Tech Tool

Frank: So number three… (laughs)… absolutely, absolutely.

Number three… If you’re talking to me, we’re going to talk about tech at some point. So number three is a gift of a Premium Evernote Subscription. I can’t talk enough about Evernote. I used the free one for a long time, but it makes all the difference in the world, getting the premium version. It’s around $70 a year. Maybe we can put a little link in the Shownotes that a teacher can go to to really get the information on how to give a gift subscription of Evernote.

Vicki: Love that. Well…

Yes: Task Clone to Link Evernote and their Calendar

Frank: Number four… If the principal maybe already uses Evernote and uses a digital task list, like ToodleDo or Asana or Todoist… any of the major ones.

There is a wonderful service that not enough people know about yet. It’s called Task Clone. It lets Evernote work together with that digital task list, and it’s only like $15.00 a year. It’s wonderful!

And the developer e-mailed me yesterday, and said he’s willing to give five free gift subscriptions. So we can talk about maybe how we can award those to five lucky people, and put that in the Shownotes. But it is a wonderful, wonderful service.

Vicki: We will do that give-away! What a way to celebrate!

OK, what’s our fifth?

Frank: OK. Number five. I would just hope we’d call this, “Better Tools.”

Yes: Better (Tool) Accessories

Think about your principal and what they sort of carry around with them all the time.

Like if there’s that laptop that they always have under their arm, but the sleeve that it’s in is sort of ratty. What about a nice leather sleeve that they would really be proud of?

Or if they use a paper journal, but it’s sort of like a spiral notebook that’s really ratty? Maybe invest in a nice paper journal, so that when they pull it out, it really looks professional.

And then other people say, “Where did you get that?” And they can say, “My faculty gave that to me.”

Vicki: Just noticing what they love, you know?

Frank: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Yes: Hobby Helpers

And then number six… Think about a hobby that the administrator has. Absolutely nothing to do with school. Give them something related to that hobby.

So you might need to call somebody who’s kind of in that arena to ask them, “What’s the latest and greatest thing that’s come out that the administrator might not yet have. And then get them that.

So that’s my number six tip.

Vicki: Great! OK, what’s next?

Yes: Autographed Book by a Favorite Author

Frank: Number seven.

Who is your administrator’s favorite author? Who is that person that they’re always talking about. Get a book by that person, and get the author to not only autograph it, but write a really nice message that makes it sound like they know your principal. It maybe includes a couple of things that are near and dear to your principal’s heart.

Now I think that the easiest way to do that is… Most of these people speak at conventions. So somehow be able to grab a book from the bookstore, grab the speaker in the hall, and say, “Hey… would you consider autographing the book…” And have something written out for them so that in just a minute or so, they can do that. Your principal would love it.

And by the way, I would be delighted — not because I am the greatest author in the world, but I’d be delighted to kick you in a copy of my book, autograph it and write a message just like I’ve said, for some lucky listener.

Vicki: And the book is a great book for helping administrators get organized. And sometimes, authors will, on their website, give you the opportunity to order signed books there, if they’re still living. So that’s another place to check.

Yes: Leave a Legacy

OK, what’s our eighth?

Frank: The eighth and final tip… If your administrator has as much grey hair as I have, and they’re toward the end of their career, and they have just about everything, then think about a gift that is going to help that principal leave a legacy.

It might be… if there’ a brick project out there, where you can buy a brick that’s going to have that principal’s name and the dates that they were principal… That’s a good one.

Maybe commission a portrait that’s going to hang in the school for the rest of eternity.

Name something in the principal’s honor. Something that, when that principal is no longer the principal of that school, that’s going to let the teachers and the parents and the students for decades to come still remember that person.

So that’s number eight.

Vicki: My headmaster, that I loved dearly, Graham Lowe… We named the gym after him my senior year, when I was on student government. We surprised them! How do you hang a cement thing on the wall and surprise them?

Frank: (laughs)

Vicki: But I remember it too.

When you honor people you care about, it’s a great memory for both of you. What a fitting way to really give a gift.

Name an award after them. Do something special that helps them live on in people’s minds and hearts, and celebrate who they are, and what they’ve done.

Frank: (agrees) It helps them leave that legacy.

Vicki: I love it.

Frank: I hope that this gives your listeners some ideas so that we can give a gift that’s really going to matter.

And it’s not going to be another Christmas tie.

Vicki: No more Christmas ties!

Thank you, Frank!

 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

 

Dr. Frank Buck: Bio as submitted


Frank Buck is a veteran school administrator, public speaker, productivity coach, and author of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders. He has spoken to audiences throughout the United States and internationally to help busy professionals achieve total control over their time and the peace of mind that nothing is falling through the cracks.

Blog: Frank Buck Consulting

Twitter: @DrFrankBuck

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 8 Great Gifts for Administrators appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2AciO9o
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, November 27, 2017

How Parents and Teachers Can Teach Empathy and Empowerment in the Aftermath of Tragedy



Joe Mazza on episode 201 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Joe Mazza shares how parents can help students have empathy and become empowered changemakers in the face of tragedy. In this special show, we give tips to parents and teachers about things they can do this season to help kids serve others affected by a tragedy.

Today’s Sponsor: Bloomz is the tool I chose for parent/teacher communication. To find out why read http://ift.tt/2f0btkq or go to bloomz.com to get started setting up your school or classroom now! December and January are great months to roll out Bloomz with your parents, so you can start 2018 strong.

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

How Parents Can Teach Empathy, Innovation, and Empowerment in the Aftermath of Tragedy

Link to show: http://ift.tt/2zs0CoI
Date: Monday, November 27, 2017

Note to reader: This episode is a special episode. The portion with Joe Mazza has been transcribed below. The podcast has an additional 3 minutes from Vicki Davis with recommendations about how you can help children know how to help others affected by the tragedies of 2017 during the holiday season.

Vicki: So, Joe, you know, your child is going to remember many years from now, whenever facing another natural disaster, what you told her now. What do think that parents need to be telling their children now that matters and makes a difference for a lifetime?

Joe: I think Mr. Rogers’ words still ring true today, even though I’m in my forties, and I heard him speak when I was — you know, my son’s age. “Look for the helpers.” Identify where the help is coming from, how people are becoming heroes — not because of the fame and being recognized, but everyday common people can step up.

It doesn’t mean you have to have a disposable income to contribute here. Just writing a letter, just sending… I know that we’ve got tons of diapers left from when our babies were infants. I know diapers are a big need down there, so we’re boxing those up.

I think there’s also opportunities to say, “Hey, if a kid is like super high-tech and they’re really interested in — let’s say for example, drones — there’s a huge drone usage down in Houston, so they can identify where people might be stranded.

So I think we’re using lots of different technologies. I think Zello has been an app, and it’s a lot like Voxer. It’s a lot like a walkie-talkie, and people who have been looking for folks have been using that.

But I think that there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit for us to have conversations with kids and really center it in empathy, innovation, and empowerment. We really want to be empowering them to do something about it, whether that’s by themselves or with a friend or neighbor next door, with their class, with their school.

I just saw a master list of principals connecting with other principals in and around the Houston area to the rest of the country. So get out there, adopt a school in that area for the year, and make this more than just a one-shot deal.

How do you really invest in empathizing with a particular school or group of kids down south? Be with them, write them letters, help them recover from this as a team.

Vicki: We’ll include those links in the show notes, and i think the biggest thing I would urge, having been through it, is to remember. Don’t have the memory span of the media. (laughs) The media will move on long before those who were in this disaster.

Joe: Yeah! That’s a good point! I think we hit these really, really hard the second it happens, and then a couple months later you’re wondering, “I wonder how everything’s going out there?” Set reminders in your calendar — next week, next month, two months from now — to check back in. Keep those alive.

Vicki: Yeah. When we got hit with tornadoes, the disaster agency said, “Enjoy this two weeks, because everybody will forget about you then. It’ll be a new cycle.”

We just can’t forget, when people go through these things. They’re going to be living this for another year or two, and even longer, for the rest of their lives. We just have to encourage and be there for them, and help our kids remember that they have to remember.

Joe: Absolutely.

Vicki: So, teachers, this is a time to teach. Parents, it’s a time to teach, and it’s a time to talk. Kids need to talk, and we need to have these conversations and make that time.

Please don’t let the rush and the busy of your life cause you to forget these important conversations, and that kids are hurting and have questions, too. It’s just something that we need to take time to do.

Joe: If you’re a mom or a dad or a grandparent, any female or male role model for kids, if you’re saying things, if you’re donating, if you’re participating in some way, bring your kids with you. They need to see you in that element. Don’t just save it for when the kids are napping or when they’re at school. Make it a point to do things together as a family.

Let them see you role modeling. Your own response is hugely important. They see and soak up like a sponge everything we do. This is one of those really important life experiences where a lot of learning can happen, especially in the area of empathy at a young age.

Vicki: It sure can. I remember my oldest son, who’s now 22, helped me make sandwiches after some tornadoes hit my town. And he still remembers that, that we immediately sprung into action and made sandwiches for those who were hit.

So, we’ve had some wise advice from Joe Mazza. We’ll include information in the show notes so that you can follow him and all of the work that he does, helping all of us be better educators

Joe: Thanks, Vicki! It was great to talk to you today.

Listen to podcast episode for additional recommendations for how to help your students encourage others during this holiday season.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Joe Mazza, Bio as submitted


Former school principal, teacher, bilingual administrator, Dr. Joe Mazza spurs innovation across faculty, students, and alumni of the UPenn Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. He is a frequent speaker, blogger, and podcaster both in the U.S. and internationally on family and community engagement, and brain-based online learning for students and adults. Mazza is a strong relationship builder committed to on-demand and online learning and ensuring students and adults at home and at school understand and harness the power of networks for learning. Mazza’s innovative work has been written about in fifteen books since 2005.

Blog: Dr. Joe Mazza

Twitter:@joe_mazza

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 Parents and Teachers Can Teach Empathy and Empowerment in the Aftermath of Tragedy appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2iUiClr
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, November 26, 2017

5 Ideas for Fantastic Professional Development



Dyane Smokorowski on episode 195 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dyane Smokorowski, “Mrs. Smoke” talks about what makes excellent professional development. We talked at NNSTOY about training that inspires and helps teachers change.

FlexPath – only at Capella University – lets teachers work at their own pace to earn their MEd in a competency-based learning format. This subscription-based tuition model doesn’t limit the number of courses you can complete during each 12-week period, enrolling in up to two courses at once, for one flat tuition rate. Go to http://ift.tt/2yvlhYC to get your free FlexPath guide and see if Capella’s FlexPath option is right for you.

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

5 Ideas for Fantastic Professional Development

Vicki: So I’m at the NNSTOY Conference nnstoy.org

We’ve recorded quite a few episodes here at the conference.

Today we’re talking with Dyane Smokorowski @Mrs_Smoke, Kansas State Teacher of the Year 2013. She has lots of passions. She does Skype and Global Collaboration.

But we really wanted to talk about teachers for a minute.

We want to talk about exciting professional development for teachers.

Oh my goodness. I bet people all over the world are yelling and screaming and clapping in their cars.

How can we have exciting PD for teachers?

How on earth can we have exciting PD for teachers?

Dyane: It’s a great question! Right?

How often do we sit in professional learning that is Unexciting?

Vicki: (Telling us not to be boring!)

Dyane: Oh my…

Vicki: And they’re boring us! They’re reading to us. Or whatever!

Dyane: Could they tell us EXACTLY not to do things, and yet they perform the acts that we would never be allowed to do in the classroom.

Vicki: RIGHT! Totally!

Dyane: So, my passion really is to see how we can create professional learning that engages teachers. NO SIT & GET. Let’s get up and learn… and dialogue and actually make magic happen for teachers!

Vicki: How?

Idea #1: Take Teachers on “field trips”

Dyane: First off, I believe in teacher field trips.

Vicki: Wow…

Dyane: Teachers should have the opportunity on a professional learning day, either to go visit another school to observe and dialogue with another teacher, go partner with a museum or a zoo (and go work with some of those employees), have an opportunity to hang out at a National Park for a day…

These things don’t cost money. They just give teachers an opportunity to connect in places that they are passionate about!

They’ll find out about things that are partnerships that they can use in their schools. They can see new ways to take content area and make it more real-world connections. They’ll come back more energized and ready to put those things in the classroom.

Vicki: And with better relationships with their colleagues, because don’t we all need that?

Dyane: Yes Ma’am.

Vicki: What else can we do?

#2 Connect with other teachers in your subject area in other schools

Dyane: Secondly, I think we need to have opportunities where you could actually have professional learning, Skyping, peer-to-peer…

For example, let’s say I’m a high school art teacher.

What if I were to connect with another high school art teacher — in France? In Canada? In California?

And we actually do a PLC across two different communities.

“What are you doing in your school? What am I doing in mine? What can we do to — ahhh — collaborate together?”

That could be another magical moment.

Vicki: Well, there’s no reason to be an island anymore, for goodness sakes.

Dyane: Right! We do it on Twitter. Why not do it in Skype and have a deeper conversation? And maybe bounce some ideas back and forth?

Vicki: I love it! What else can we do?

Idea #3: Include active learning in teacher professional development

Dyane: Number three. We could definitely create opportunities where professional learning is “Get up and talk with…”

You know, for example, we do the Think-Pair-Share too many times over. “Here’s an article. Let’s talk about it. Here’s something… hmmmmm.”

Why don’t we just get up and do some of those strategies that we do with active learning for kids? But do those IN the professional learning experiences in the building?

So if you’re asking teachers to create opportunities where kids may have to do four corners… I mean, some of these have been done over and over again. But one of my favorite ones that I do right now is that I pull up and animated GIF on the screen.

And it might be — there’s a great one with Sean Penn — and he’s Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And he’s in this GIF saying, “Dude! That’s really awesome!”

What if we gave something like the traverse lines, where you have two rows of teachers standing up for those kinds of speed-dating moments? One minute and then shift to another partner, and so forth?

But the first conversation you have to talk about is Spicoli.

Vicki: (laughs)

Dyane: And then maybe we throw something else up there, that is kind of off-beat and silly, but you’ll giggle. You’ll build community. And yet you’ll still have great conversations that goes along with it. It keeps that energy going while the conversations begin.

Vicki: And sometimes I think we need to take ourselves a little less seriously. Because honestly, when kids see a frowning teacher, they think, “What am I going to learn from them?”

I mean… what’s wrong with us? We do need to smile and laugh, don’t we?

Dyane: I don’t know very many classrooms where kids are engaged where the energy is not moving at a level where you FEEL like you want to be there!

Vicki: Yeah.

Dyane: So let’s make professional learning energetic as well!

Vicki: Ohhh. Such great advice. And teachers are going, “Oh, I want this!”

What else can we do?

Idea #4: Go Outside with teachers: make a walking PLC

Dyane: Let’s go outside.

You know, one of my greatest experiences happening for brainstorming…

Because often professional learning says, “Take an idea, and how would you use it in the classroom?”

Or, “Tell me something that you’re using in your class.”

Teachers look at each other with that awkward pause…

And it’s, you know, “Who’s going to be the first person to throw an idea out? And they’re all saying, ‘Not me! Not me!’…”

What if we went for a walkabout outside?

We get some fresh air. You are partnered up with someone. Let’s lap the building. Just take a walk around the building, and say, “You know what? You’re going to share one idea, and you’re going to share with another.”

You get the walking. You get the talking. And you’ll get creativity happening just because they’re thinking and moving.

That’s brain research!

Vicki: And there are a million reasons that a walking PLC is a fantastic idea.

I mean, I know that there have been sometimes when I have been asked to walk.

I’m not sure why we as teachers feel like we have to ask permission to be able to take a walk.

Dyane: (agrees)

Vicki: You know, but I think a lot of us feel that way!

Dyane: Well, and then… you look forward to it, right???

Vicki: Yeah.

Dyane: Let’s brainstorm. Let’s get those wheels moving. I’d do the same thing with students. Let’s get out and have some fun with these teachers!

Vicki: I love it. What else can we do?

Idea #5: Create teacher scavenger hunts

Dyane: My last idea would be Scavenger Hunts!

SO, we’ve seen classrooms where they’ll say, “Students, I want you to spend this time taking photographs of right angles.” Some sort of a math piece.

But what if you put in challenges?

As in, “I would like to have this small group of teachers take a photo of teamwork in the library. And you also must demonstrate collaboration.”

Let’s throw something — a little bit higher end– to those teachers have to interpret that and then take a photograph of that, showing them together. So now they have a conversation of, “What is teamwork? What does it look like? What does collaboration look like?”

Let’s capture that. We can put it into some sort of tool — like you use it in Flipgrid, you could use it in Goosechase, whatever you choose. And see if we can run some conversations of, “Wow, Team 1? You got a photo of great collaboration. But the other one? You don’t look like folks are ‘all in’… in this photograph. How can we move that to be more collaborative?”

Vicki: I love that. What does it look like? There are so many questions that we can ask ourselves about, you know, what do certain things look like?

Now, what do you think the biggest mistake is that people make with teacher PD?

Dyane: I think the biggest mistake is where the one person stands in front of the room and reads 100 PowerPoint slides. And nobody cares.

We turn professional learning opportunities into glorified faculty meetings.

I think that’s the biggest mistake.

Send those things that we know are just check-off lists through an email, and let’s build opportunities — where teachers can feel like they are energized, where they cannot wait to go back and do something.

Not a “sit & git” and not a “talk to me” but a Talk WITH Me.

Vicki: And if you’re teaching something, model it and have them teach with it!

I mean, if it works, I can use it to teach you. Because kids do what we do, not what we say. Teachers do the same thing, don’t they?

Dyane: Exactly!

You know what I think’s really interesting… ?

The same truths for 6-year-olds are the same truths for 36-year-olds.

We want to be engaged.

We want to be up and moving.

And we don’t want to sit any longer than about 10 minutes on atopic before we move again.

Use those same things that we know work great for students, and put it in the BIG, adult kids, as well.

Vicki: Well, teachers, I think this is something we need to share with our administrators and lots of those doing PD. Because here’s the thing…

Our professional development money is scarce.

We have to use it well. We cannot afford to waste our PD.

Great PD can make us a better teacher. It makes me a better teacher. It makes all of us better teachers. We have to be lifelong learners just like we want our students to be.

So let’s have great PD!

Go follow Ms. Smoke. She has lots of cool things she does, and I want her to come and do PD at my school!

Dyane: (laughs) Let’s play!

Vicki: (laughs)

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford
kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Dyane Smokorowski – Bio as submitted


Smokorowski is the 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year and is currently serving as an Instructional Technology Coach in the Andover Public schools. Mrs. Smoke, as she’s known to her students, believes in a project-based, student-centered classroom that helps students build skills in communication, planning, research and project implementation. She wants her students to develop a love for literature, communication, and technology, but also to understand how to use that love and passion to advance their own future, as well as that of their community.

Twitter: @Mrs_Smoke

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 Ideas for Fantastic Professional Development appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2n5T6y6
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, November 21, 2017

Get a Self-Paced, Competency-Based Master’s in Education With FlexPath



From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

As teachers, we value education, and we want to improve what we know. But the problem for so many of us is that we have busy lives, with careers and children. While we want to improve our lives with education, we’re not ready to put everything on hold to do this.

Capella University is sponsoring this post. However, all opinions are my own.

Capella FlexPath Competency Based
Get your free FlexPath Guide from Capella University

Recently, I became familiar with a fascinating new online learning format called FlexPath from Capella University.

In this post, I’ll give you an example. Todd is a full-time teacher and dad. He is using FlexPath to truly personalize his Master of Education program in Teaching and Learning (M Ed). Because FlexPath is self-paced, it lets you fit school into your life – not the other way around.

I’ll also explain some of the aspects of this program, which I find really exciting.

Teachers No Longer Need to Struggle With Earning A Master’s

Maybe you’ve imagined an ideal master’s degree program for in-service teachers. In this fantasy program, there would be times when you could work a lot. (Say, during your spring break, holiday break, or summer break.) However, during busy times (like the first week of school or the end of the grading period), you step back. And even though your pace wouldn’t always be steady, you’d still make progress on your master’s.

But that’s all just a nice dream, isn’t it?

Well, that is exactly what Capella University is offering through FlexPath.

Capella’s Master of Education in Teaching and Learning degree program is available in two learning formats: a more structured format called GuidedPath, and the self-paced FlexPath format.

Capella’s Master of Education in Teaching and Learning FlexPath option is self-paced and completely competency-based. So this means, with FlexPath, you can earn your Master of Education in 12 months and under $9,500.*

Masters in Education Cost and Time Capella

In FlexPath, you pay for 12 weeks of class, and then you can complete as many classes as you want during that 12-week period. Depending on your life schedule and commitments, you can work at whatever pace is best for you.

As long as you’re not enrolling in more than two courses at once, there’s no limit to the number of courses you can complete for the cost of your flat 12-week tuition fee.

While you have some required foundational courses in the Master of Education Program, you can also personalize your learning. You can choose from a wide range of courses in teaching that focus on what you think is most relevant to your role and your goals as a teacher.

For example, someone who wants to become a curriculum director might take different courses than someone who wants to move into instructional technology.

Get your free FlexPath Guide from Capella University

Todd: A Teacher Earning his MEd through FlexPath

As I was investigating Capella’s MEd program, I wanted to look at some examples. I’ve embedded a video of Todd Boyer. Todd is a high school teacher who is earning his Master’s through FlexPath. He talks about how the program is working for him.

* Actual FlexPath Student who is compensated for appearing in this blog.

Todd is a great example of how teachers can truly earn their master’s degree on their time and on their budget. Follow more of Todd’s story here.

Personalizing Learning

FlexPath is a groundbreaking way to bring personalized learning to a whole new level. Yes, it’s different from the traditional learning format where you log in for coursework every week. Even though you’re working online, you still have a contact at Capella who will be available to you as you go through the program.

For anyone who is very busy — teachers, people with families, professionals with demanding schedules — this ability to personalize your learning, leverage your teaching experience in the classroom, and move at your own pace while paying a flat tuition rate is a fantastic way to get your master’s degree.

I hope you’ll take a look at FlexPath from Capella University. To learn more about it, click here to get your free FlexPath guide.

Get your free FlexPath Guide from Capella University

Todd is a busy father who is finding success in the Flexpath program.

Todd is a busy father who is finding success in the FlexPath program from Capella University.

* Based on fastest 10 per cent of students. Your program length and cost will vary by transfer credits, the per-session cost, and how quickly you complete courses. Books, supplies, and other fees may vary. The FlexPath option for this program is not currently eligible for V.A. benefits. Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is not available for FlexPath.

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 Get a Self-Paced, Competency-Based Master’s in Education With FlexPath appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2z7dnol
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, November 16, 2017

She Hired Me! Betty Shiver, the woman who convinced me to become a teacher



Betty Shiver on episode 194 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

In today’s show, Betty Shiver, my former curriculum director and the person who convinced me to become a teacher and I talk about teaching. We discuss hiring, inspiring, and having conversations that inspire people to change and improve their classrooms.

FlexPath – only at Capella University – lets teachers work at their own pace to earn their MEd in a competency-based learning format. This subscription-based tuition model doesn’t limit the number of courses you can complete during each 12-week period, enrolling in up to two courses at once, for one flat tuition rate. Go to http://ift.tt/2yvlhYC to get your free FlexPath guide and see if Capella’s FlexPath option is right for you.

Listen Now

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

***

Enhanced Transcript

The Person Who Hired Me to Teach

Link to show: http://ift.tt/2z5j5ez
Date: Thursday, November 16, 2017

Vicki: This week for the 10-Minute Teacher, we are running a couple of extended episodes. I wanted to talk to some people in my life for who I am really thankful for their presence.

Who is Betty Shiver?

Today, we have Ms. Betty Shiver. She was my curriculum director for many, many years. She also convinced me to go into teaching. If you want to know the secret behind who I am, it’s really because Ms. Betty has been there all these years. You would not see anything that I have on my blog without here. In fact, when I started blogging I went to her and said, “I’m doing this crazy thing called blogging. Will you read my blog?” She was kind of my accountability partner here on campus.

So, Ms. Betty, first of all… I was in the business world and you saw me and somehow you convinced me to try out teaching for a year. You’re kind of known for finding people who would make great teachers. I’m trying not to compliment myself, but there are other people that you’ve found who have just gone on to win all kinds of awards as well.

What do you look for to figure out who would make a great teacher?

Betty: Woooo. I guess I look for people with enthusiasm, people who like people (especially children), somebody intelligent, somebody who has energy and passion… Somebody who wants to do something and is excited… Somebody who is… I don’t know, it’s just that “something” and that gleam in the eye.

It’s not something you can put your finger on, but you can just see it — that “it” in people who want to do something special. They want to give. They want to effect.

And where in the world can you do more than teaching children? How can you effect the world more than in shaping the next generation? I don’t know. If you look at enough people, if you talk to them, you can just see it. You can just see it there.

Vicki: Now, you’ve been teaching for more than thirty years, and you love kids. But also, I just remember for example, when Flat Classroom happened. So many of the projects in my classroom happened because I went to you, and we had conversations.

You’re kind of famous for having conversations that spark change, and this is a difficult thing in many schools.

What’s your strategy for helping us teachers change and innovate?

I really don’t know how you do it. It’s kind of like I woke up one day and realized that all of the big things I’ve done have kind of come from a conversation with you. It’s like, What’s your secret? I want to know it, too!”

Betty: I guess it starts with listening to people. One of the things I do best is go to people and listen, “What are you doing? What do you want to do?”

“Well, if I can’t do that, why don’t we try something out…” And that’s where it starts.

Ideas. I got so many ideas from you. Then I just kind of took the ideas and ran with it.

It’s all in the approach with people. You approach, then you listen, then you suggest, and then you say, “Why don’t we try…” It’s kind of a gradual thing, that you get people to try new things or new ideas.

But the main thing is that you do it with them. You get them to buy in if YOU buy in. You become part of the process. If you do, then people will just about follow you anywhere if you’re with them. If you do it with them.

Vicki: So how do you make people feel like you’re with them? Because you know… I don’t know how you are where you are to have these conversations happen. (laughs)

DO you have habits? Do you like to walk the building? Do you like to pop in on people? How do you allow this, and nurture these conversations?

How do you nurture change-making conversations?

Betty: Yeah… Drop in whenever they’re free — before school, after school. You kind of become part of their personal lives in a way. “How’s your family? What’s going on with you?” You listen.

“What’s going on with your projects?” You know, what’s going on in their classroom. In so many ways, teachers are isolated. They like to talk about what they’re doing, and so sometimes you just listen.

When you listen and they know you’re interested and they’re open to what you have to say — because you’re’ open to what they have to say. So it’s kind of a two-way street.

Vicki: What do you think some of the biggest mistakes are that school leaders make? I mean it might be a curriculum leader. It might be whoever.

What are the biggest mistakes that people make in schools that make it hard to help teachers change?

Betty: Again, I think it’s (not) listening to them. I think the smartest people in our schools are the people in the classrooms, because they’re in the trenches.

I think sometimes big decisions — big sweeping decisions — are made that don’t concern the teachers, that don’t concern the children, and aren’t in the best welfare of the bottom line, (rather than) the children themselves. I think that’s a huge mistake.

When I think about why… “Why don’t kids read? Why can’t kids read?” That’s a big mystery to me. “Why do kids that can’t read come out of schools?”

We can teach children to read. It’s a lot of work. But I can’t understand WHY (laughs) those things don’t happen! They should.

Vicki: So, it’s listening. It’s really paying attention.

Betty: I think it is. I mean, there are a lot of good answers out there, if somebody’s willing to listen, and then try to make them happen.

Vicki: So, when you think back over thirty years, what do you think one of your biggest mistakes was? And you have to be careful, because we’re both at the same school, and we don’t name names, and all that. But just big picture, “I wish that I had done this differently.”

What are your biggest mistakes?

Betty: My biggest mistake was in my early years, when I just didn’t know any better.

I didn’t know anything about learning disabilities. I didn’t know that there were children that couldn’t learn normally. I mean, somewhere in the back of my mind, I had to have known something. But I look back and see the way that I treated some children, and… and… I hate it!

I feel so guilty about what I didn’t do for some children. I think that’s my biggest regret… the things that I didn’t know when I was younger, when I was in the classroom. Things I didn’t do.

Vicki: You know, learning differences or learning disabilities are just so hard, and that’s near and dear to your heart and my heart both. We’ve seen the kids who overcome and go on to do great things.

Do you have a moment that you think, “OK, this is one of my proud moments…” Like, “This is awesome. This is why I do this job.

What is a proud moment?

Betty: I think… maybe… when I got an email from a student who had left. She’d been gone 15 years. Oh, it was Facebook, and I got a message from her. She told me that she was getting her Masters Degree in Special Ed.

And she said, “Ms. Betty, I wanted you to know. I’ve been meaning to send this to you for years. You’re the reason that I’m in education. You’re the reason that I’m doing what I do.”

I taught her in middle school, and she was one of those kids… I always picked two children every year, wrote their names down, and I was going to give special attention to. She was one of my kids that year. I went to her ballgames, and I took her home because she had struggles at home.

But then when she graduated, she had troubles, she had lots of issues that I heard about through the grapevine. And then, you know, I wasn’t in touch with her.

And then out of the blue… that message came.

So I think, yeah. I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about being in education or being a teacher. You never know who you’ve touched, or how you’ve them.

And so, yeah. Those things kind of keep you going.

Vicki: So as we finish up, you said, “You give me so many quotes. And I quote you all of the time.” One of them is that, “Great teachers are repeaters.”

Betty: (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Because we just have to repeat ourselves so much and it’s ridiculous, but we do. We have to remind kids, “Why are you here? How do you act?” and that’s just one of the things that you do.

But what do you think makes a great teacher? What’s your word, to all the teachers listening, about, “OK. Do this. Because that makes you a great teacher.”

What makes a great teacher?

Betty: Respect for each child, regardless of their ability, regardless of their temperament. You respect them as a person.

Fairness. There are a lot of definitions of fairness. But you treat each child fairly.

I think if you can respect them and treat them fairly, you’ll get that back. And if you do that, then you can teach them.

Vicki: OK, I have to do one more question. This is already an extended episode.

What makes you furious?

Betty: When kids aren’t treated fairly. When their needs are not put first in the classroom. When teachers just don’t look at kids as people with feelings and needs and lives outside of school. They just don’t “see” them. I just think that’s so sad. And it hurts as much as it makes you angry. And there are some things that you just can’t fix… and that makes me furious.

Vicki: Yeah. Because life is a bear, and it’s tough. But you know, teaching’s worth it.

I really don’t know how you convinced me to become a teacher.

Betty: (laughs) I don’t either!

Vicki: (laughs) But I will go on the record and say that basically, what I remember is that you said, “I think that you would make a great high school teacher.”

I was teaching some college classes at the time, and I had my own business. It was totally not on my radar. But I will say that at the time, I knew that one of my three kids had a learning difference, and I knew that there was technology to learn. So I think that was a part of the equation.

What I remember is that Ms. Betty said, “Give it a year, and let’s see what you think.” (laughs)

That was 16 years ago. (laughs)

Betty: And I was desperate at the time, too! (laughs)

Vicki: (laughs)

Yeah. She had kind of been left without a technology teacher at the last minute. I think it was about a month before school started or something. And we did a year. And we traveled the world together. We’ve been to Qatar and Mumbai…

Betty: And Dubai.

Vicki: And Dubai.

We’ve been a lot of places together. It’s been exciting.

One thing that we’ve done is this whole immersion thing… when we travel. The kids back home immerse. And I think that’s kind of been neat, hasn’t it?

Betty: It has.

Vicki: Yeah.

Betty: And we did the Flint River Project, which was a great curriculum project, maybe one of the best we’ve ever done.

Vicki: I think the Flint River Project is probably the single best project I’ve ever seen in my life.

Describe that for us a little bit.

What was the Flint River project?

Betty: We took the whole ninth grade and broke them up…

Vicki: Actually, it was the whole high school, wasn’t it?

Betty: Yeah. The whole high school. We broke them across class groupings into science and social studies and English and math, and…

Vicki: I had a technology group.

Betty: We had — what was it? Four days? And we did the science group who canoed the river, did water testing and biology. We tramped through the river.

We had the history group who did a dig.

The English group wrote poetry on the river and did photography.

And the math group… and the technology group… I don’t remember what all we did. They all had to blog, and they had to post pictures. Then everybody did presentations. Everybody participated. All of the teachers participated. Well, it was just a great project.

Vicki: Yeah. It was hard work.

But a lot of the kids from that time say it was one of the greatest projects.

Well, this week, as we talk about things that we’re thankful for, I am very thankful for Ms. Betty Shiver… and for her mentoring all of these years… and all that she’s done for students, because it’s all about the kids. She’s helped me adjust my thinking when I messed up. I have messed up a lot.

I just appreciate that — and this is for all of you school leaders out there — if you’re the kind of person that you can go to with your problem, and not feel condemned for having that problem? (If you can) actually feel like, “Let’s try this,” or “Let’s try to do that,” instead of just making you feel — I hate to say — like an idiot.

Ms. Betty has never made me feel like I was dumb or couldn’t do it. But she was a fellow traveler on the journey. I think that school leaders can learn a lot from her. Honestly, if you look at all of my stuff? Her fingerprints are everywhere, because she’s tried a lot of stuff with me, and she’s encouraged me, and helped me become a much better teacher.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey into someone I’m thankful for.

And I look forward to sharing other episodes.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

kymberlimulford@gmail.com

Bio as submitted


Betty has been in education since 1968, first starting as a language arts teacher. She has been teaching at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia since 1980 and served as interim headmaster from 2001-2002. Betty Shiver has been the curriculum direct at Westwood Schools for many years. Although she recently “retired” from that job, she still teaches composition to ninth graders.

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 She Hired Me! Betty Shiver, the woman who convinced me to become a teacher appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2AKbIWm
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.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Disqus Comments for Cool Cat Teacher Blog