|Professional Development News|
A 3 step Fix for Demoralized Teachers and DeMotivated Students
A seed of pessimism can grow to cast a shadow across your whole year. I've been there. About 15 years ago when I was midway through my teaching career, I asked a fellow longtime Piedmont teacher, "The kids have changed, right?" I wanted so badly for him to say "yes" to validate my pessismism. But he didn't fall for it. "They haven't changed, you have." Ouch.
I know what it is to feel like the kids have changed, I've been teaching since 1988. They haven't. Not substantively. Sure, the classroom challenges we face are different year to year. Students are more stressed than they used to be (One Piedmont teacher told me she heard that average student stress levels now were considered pathological in the 50s.) Stakes are higher now and a pathway to success seems more daunting in a world where this generation is the first to be less financially stable than their parents.
Students may face different challenges and temptations than you had BUT this generation is not going to heck in a handbasket, despite how it may look on your bleakest moment. The good news from social science research is that each generation of humanity is actually less violent and more tolerant than it used to be.
That doesn't mean that we teachers aren't facing difficult challenges today in the classroom but it does mean that your students are not as disaffected as they may seem.
Here are three things the best educational research says to do to reach students and reinvigorate your teaching.
1 - Put RelationshiPs FiRst
2 - teach Students to OwN Their EDucations
Once you have a good relationship with your students, you're one third of the way there, but relationship is not enough.
Students should NOT do work because they like you or respect you or, sadly, fear you. Students should work because they want to grow their own skills. I've learned from working with online students that the physical presence of a teacher is important to making students want to work. Your job as a motivator is essential. The best way to motivate is to keep reminding students how this work will help them.
CMSPDL (Personalized Digital Learning department) recommends that students set their own learning goals with your help. Pretest each unit and share their scores with them. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses and keeping track of their own skills growth is essentail to feeling ownership. Without that they are just grade-chasing or teacher pleasing.
Of course, as children and all of us do, temptation to goof off is always there and that's why this third piece is essential, so read on...
3 - Offer EngagIng Tasks
Seymour Papert termed it "hard fun:" work that is engaging yet challenging.
Some folks call this rigor, but "rigor" should not be a synonym for drudgery. The work should be just a bit harder than students are used to but interesting enough that they also WANT to do it. That's your sweet spot.
The best way to find this kind of work and not be up all night planning is to use activities other teachers have created and found successful and then tweak them to make it your own. Get with your PLC and challenge each other to write your most engaging unit. Each of you take one standard and give it your all.
Be responsive to your students needs and interests. Make sure students who already know the topic can move ahead or compact out. Shout out to Ms. Winegardner for compacting her advanced orchestra students. See Ms. Gurthie if you'd like to learn more.
Learning from Elementary School
JV Washam PL Visit Takeaways
What a Personalized Classroom looks like
This morning I had the honor of being led on a PDL (personalized digital learning) tour by wonderful students at JV Washam who showed me their own classroom routines. (I can't recommend student-led tours enough!)
Each teacher I saw personalizes for their students according to their own teaching strengths as well as the needs of their students at that time. They model growth mindset for their students. One student pointed to the wall and said "my teacher hung those posters in the wrong order, but then when she realized her mistake we fixed it." I loved that the teacher modeled for her class that mistakes are part of learning and growing and involved them in fixing the mistake together.
To begin making the most of our digital devices to personalize learning at Piedmont, here is a procedure to follow, based on what I saw and learned:
Washam teachers all said that Switching to This method ELIMINATED many behavior problems in their classrooms.
Here are some photos with the takeaways geared toward things you can adapt for your classroom from how they do PDL at JV Washam.
Don't be put off by the elementary nature of some of these images. They can be adapted to appeal to older students easily.
Setting the stage: Atmosphere Plus Procedural,Social, and emotional learning
Social and emotional learning is essential and continuous. If students are to be trusted they must first be taught what to do and not do and agree to that. Students want more control and choice so it's an easy bargain for them.
Click on any image to expand it
Included are images of brain breaks, "morning meeting" requests, emotional self regulation, rules for sitting in a PL Choice classroom, etc.
Any time you spend on this you will get back in greater buy-in and more efficient class the rest of the year.
Tools of Personalizing Content- Playlists, Pathways, PLayways...
Below a student is creating a Flipgrid video to teach her classmates. This student's tablemate admitted that her friend was very nervous before recording so she was writing out her script first to make sure she told all she knew. Others in the class chose to show mastery with a dfferent task from a choice board.
Math: Mystery Picture is a self correcting activity. Students access it via the teacher's google classroom and as they work the 20 problems, pieces of the picture appear with each correct answer. The teacher bought it on TPT. The teachers say that highly engaging tasks, whether they be practice or creation are essential.
Below are images of the tools used to personalize: choice boards, Google Classrom instructions, hyperlinked google docs, handouts, slideshows, and such. Each classroom used different tools.
To relieve teacher stress, the admin did not do any walkthroughs first quarter, second quarter they ONLY gave compliments, and then third quarter they moved into coaching and feedback. That way teachers knew they had a whole quarter to make mistakes and tweak the experience.
One teacher said she felt a little bad like she was using the kids as guinea pigs but that she could not be happier with the results.
What I think is important to learn about that is that all growth and improvement has an element of risk. If you want to improve the learning experience, experimentation is unavoidable. Refusing to do it because of fear ends up hurting the students more than trying and needing to regroup.
A personalized classroom contains 3 main courses which can be achieved via various ingredients below-each one component of how that can look in a classroom.
Which of these would you like try adding to YOUR classroom recipe? Check the bulleted list out below and try adding 1 at a time as you feel comfortable. (Don't try to add everything to your recipe at once!)
Some of these you are already doing, some may seem intriguing (try those first!) some may seem daunting (don't try them yet) and some may seem impossible (they're not!)
ALL of them will increase student motivation and learning in your room. printable list below if you want to check a few off and see how it goes.
The 3 Main Courses
WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE...
WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE...
LOOKS LIKE ...
Global Maker Day is October 23rd
Fits with IB Design Cycle, design thinking, college and career readiness, builds student critical and creative thinking, and is very "Piedmont" in that you already do a lot of making in class via hands on projects (PBL)
How to celebrate?
Before October 23rd, register here (all peolpe who register get a free digital copy of the book: Makers in Schools, Entering the 4th Industrial Revolution) then choose one or all of these three ways to take part:
updated. originally published 2-7-2018
Do you use any of these tools or another not mentioned here? If you are a Piedmont teacher, please add your name to our list here
Personalize a map for your class or have students do so. Here's how
Map different battles and put descriptions of each battle and find an image to represent it
Is your favorite tool missing? Add it in the comments or email me.
Update: easiest way to access-no log in required- is to go to the link below and click on your grade level
Follow these instructions to deliver the required lesson to your students:
First, Join course at link Course Name: Title IX Harassment and Bullying Lesson Training for Teachers
You will be prompted to sign in to Canvas
Use your NCEdCloud to log in to Canvas (its your 10 digit id) Click forgot password if you don't know the password
Next, Deliver the lesson to your class:
Below are the Direct Lesson LINKS( for your convenience if you have any trouble logging into Canvas or navigating the course) These Lesson plans are a google drive link-To see them, sign in to Google Drive using your cms email. Lesson slides are a link to the canvas course - sign in with NCedcloud)
Note that unlike some other grade levels, middle school lessons do not have any additional resources, you just use the slides and lesson plan.
See Gurthie if you have any questions or problems. Notify a counselor if a child has an issue. Send Ms. Gurthie the names of any absent students so she can deliver the makeup lesson starting 9/12
Using NCwiseowl for instructional materials
Encyclopedia Britannica- Here is a short scavenger hunt of some resources we learned today
NCWISEOWL is automatically logged in from school.
Can use elem
Go to AZ list
Literary reference center
Gothic using twitter to explore characterization
Science reference center
Quicksearch and look
Science experiments even lexile level
Novelist -Quicklinks- Extenders
Copy and paste
This PD post was inspired by an example created by two students compacting out of Mr. Kollar's 6th grade math unit. They chose the topic "Content Curator" from this Curriculum Compactin Contract and created a math EOG review website to help them and their fellow 6th graders prepare for end of grade testing. They chose to make this site because they did not know of one like it and they wished for it themselves.
Their product can be used as a model for any teacher who wants to use digital tools to more effectively serve their students. Here is the workflow of a student visitor using their site.
(Take the test and submit your answers then view results to see for yourself.)
This sleek 5 step online, self-paced, self-correcting review system is a great way to use Google Drive and Weebly, Google Sites, a Google Classroom, Canvas, or whatever website you wish.
Students: click the button below to visit a site that explains compacting. It was made especially for students by a Piedmont compacting student
Teachers:Read on to learn how to implement curriculum compacting in your classroom!
What is compacting?
Curriculum Compacting is one way to help your gifted high fliers. It can even help underperforming students who may be underperforming due to boredom.
Who should compact?
Students in your class who have already mastered the material as determined by you via:
Some students who do not know the material at the time of introduction are still good candidates for compacting if they are fast learners on their own. Those students may wish to compact out of the practice and reinforcement lesssons their classmates do.
Additionally, students who have mastered some of your content can compact out of the parts they already know once they prove mastery.
How do I determine mastery?
The easiest way to do this is to begin with the end in mind. List the skills you want all students to know at the end of your unit and how each can be assessed. Offer to test those whose test scores or performance (very high or oddly low) indicate they may be a match for compacting.
Where can I find help?
Ms Gurthie in the makerspace can help with compacting independent studies!
Students can come to my office to work on an assignment you chose , but the latest research says that gifted student should be allowed to work on the project they wish. To that end I wrote this Compacting Contract. Feel free to contact me if you would like to try this.
Sign up in MyTalent to receive 1 CEU Literacy credit for participating in Ms. Barone's Faculty meeting PDs this school year.
That's it! Happy learning! See Lisa Gurthie or email her if you have any trouble registering.
418792 LIT 497 Professional Development Readings Discussion Groups
Piedmont teachers will meet monthly on Wednesdays to discuss PD topic research reading assignments. Students arrive with completed readings and written annotations, ready to discuss each professional development topic aligned with the multi-year ILT strategies of close reading, writing, text-based Academic Conversations, and text- dependent questions (TDQ). Resources and materials will be ILT aligned professional development readings, group members, and note-taking and annotation supplies including Google Drive and other web tools. Credit will be issued upon completion and submission of assignments, group meeting notes which include written growth reflections and knowledge gleaned from the wrap up presentations.
This blog is a compendium of District and Piedmont -specific PD opportunities, trainings, and notes.