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Friday, September 30, 2016

If Some High-Poverty Schools Do Well, Can All?



Dr. Anael Alston talks about what really turns schools around

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Today we’re talking to Dr. Anael Alston about specific issues with high-poverty schools. In a refreshing take on dramatic school change, Anael does not recommend that we assign blame. Instead, he recommends an approach that focuses on teacher expectations and several other things. As a turnaround principal himself, Anael has insights into how to help teachers change their attitude about how students can perform.

high poverty schools

I think his principles apply to all teachers, because we all have students who struggle. We all have students who need us to believe in them. I think perhaps the greatest challenge is what Anael tells teachers who just don’t believe the kids can do it. It’s actually genius. Take a listen.

(Oh, and there were so many great quotes, I’ve included them in graphics at the bottom for those listeners who love to pin great quotes to Pinterest!)

Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

Today’s Sponsor: Bloomz

Bloomz is your one-stop solution for parent-teacher communications. More than just connecting with their cell phones, you can send long or short messages. You can share pictures and links. You can even coordinate volunteer schedules, donations, and parent-teacher conferences. I’m using Bloomz in my classroom.

Get the Bloomz App


I reject that poverty is the reason for school failure

Show Notes:

  • How do you get started with change in high-needs schools?
  • What should principals do when teachers just don’t believe the kids can do it?
  • How do you help teachers reframe their expectations?
  • What kinds of things did Anael do to help teachers change their attitudes in the high-needs schools that he has helped turn around?
  • Why does the blame game accomplish nothing? What do you do instead?
  • What can teachers in high-needs, high-poverty schools do to adjust their own attitude when they feel like they’re not getting leadership from the top?

Who is Dr. Anael Alston?

Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn, Dr. Anael Alston @DrAAlston is the Superintendent of the Hamilton Central School District. Dr. Alston has written political commentary for Newsday, written nationally for EdWeek, has presented at national and statewide conferences on school change and curriculum reform, testified for Governor Cuomo’s Education reform Commission, and occasionally does radio as an education expert.

working with students in poverty

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post If Some High-Poverty Schools Do Well, Can All? appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Top Tips, Tools and Techniques for Easy Formative Assessment



a Talk with Tony Vincent

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

A secret to great teaching is to understand what students know. I’ve had times when one or two students begged me to move on because what I was teaching was “so easy” or they were “bored. When I did, I would discover that the rest of the class did not master the material and I had moved on too quickly! We all struggle to know what students know “in the moment” so we can adjust our teaching. We need them to master the material. We need to teach it. But how can we know what they know without depending on hand raising and verbal feedback from just a few students? Formative assessment is the answer. Formative assessment can supercharge your classroom learning. Technology can make formative assessment easier for you. Lesson flow.

formative assessment tips techniques and tools

Formative assessment gives us the ability to quiz every single student in the class. Every teacher should have one or two formative assessment tools that are part of their lesson flow. In today’s show, you’ll get lots of options. Find one or two that work for you and start using them.

I would go so far to say that formative assessment is one of the greatest gifts of education technology to the classroom. A teacher with a smartphone has amazing tools in hand. Used properly, they can save time and help you understand students better.

My question is why more teachers don’t use these tools. I guess they don’t realize the time savings. One of our biggest problems as teachers is not having enough time.

Here’s how I saved time using these tools. When I used to teach binary numbers, it used to take me 2-3 hours a night to grade the quizzes. (After all, binary numbers is all 1’s and 0’s. That is it. So, I also made mistakes.) Now, the moment a student hits a button on the last question, the quiz is graded, and I can go over what they missed with them! It is fantastic.

Let’s dive deeper into formative assessment in today’s show! I challenge you to find ONE tool and try it out. (Listen to the show and check out the links at the bottom of this post.)

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

Easy Grading

Gradecam – Today’s Sponsor

Formative assessment options can save you time. GradeCam is a quick grading tool for formative AND summative assessment. You get instant feedback on what students know. Gradecam lets you print out forms. You can take a quick picture of their answers. It grades in a snap using your smartphone.  If you are taking the grade for the quiz or test, you can send those grades to your Gradebook software in a snap.

If you visit Gradecam from this blog post, you can get a 60-day free trial. You can also listen to a bonus episode I recorded about the “Biggest Formative Assessment Mistake that People Make” with Tony Vincent. 

Show Notes:

  • What is formative assessment?
  • How can technology empower a teacher to ask the whole class a question and get their answer?
  • How does a formative assessment fit in the moment of teaching?
  • What are some examples of technology and formative assessment in the classroom?
  • What mistakes do many teachers make when they use Plickers in the classroom?
  • How can teachers collect open ended questions from students?
  • How can word clouds help you visualize data at the beginning of a unit of study?
  • How does formative assessment give every student voice?
  • How can students share using drawings and images?
  • How can we have evidence of learning in the moment?

Formative Assessment Tools and Blog Posts Mentioned in this Show:

Who is Tony Vincent?

Tony Vincent likes to learn, teach, and make things. Since 1998 Tony been a pioneer in digital learning, and he continues to help educators use technology for teaching and learning. @tonyvincent

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post Top Tips, Tools and Techniques for Easy Formative Assessment appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Making Math Meaningful with Virtual Math Manipulatives



Use technology to help you teach math

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Use the real world to teach without the mess of physical manipulatives. In brief, virtual math manipulatives are powerful tools for math teachers everywhere. On the whole, many teachers don’t understand how to use them. So, today, you’ll get a simple tour of virtual math manipulatives from expert David Wees.

virtual math manipulatives

In light of the fact that NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) and other organizations highly recommend manipulatives in the math classroom, today’s topic is essential for math teachers. At this point, pretty much every standard out there has math manipulatives you can use to teach it. Despite what some may think, virtual math manipulatives AREN’T videos — they are tools that allow students to interact and manipulate objects as they learn.

 

Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes

Today’s Sponsor Matific

Virtual math manipulatives are awesome. However, finding the perfect manipulative takes time. Matific does the work for you. To simplify the process for teachers, they’ve aligned their virtual math manipulatives to Common Core and State Standards. You can even look up popular math textbooks and it will give you the manipulatives that will work for you (by chapter and page!)

You can assign students different manipulatives to use. Moreover, if you have ELL students, they have 27 languages you can assign to students. So, you can set the “primary language” for a student and they’ll receive instruction in that language. (You can print out parent reports in their native language too.) I took a tour of Matific and came away excited to see the future of math education. It saves time for teachers and makes math instruction easier. Check out Matific, take a tour, and play with the manipulatives that align with your textbook today.

In summary, Matific lets you use math manipulatives without the work of finding just the right one for your unit of study.

See Matific in Action

Show Notes on Virtual Math Manipulatives

  • What are virtual manipulatives?
  • How can I use them in a math classroom to teach math?
  • What are examples of how teachers might use virtual manipulatives to teach math concepts?
  • Can virtual manipulatives be used as formative assessment tools?
  • How do students learn math?
  • Can a teacher’s expert bias can cause teachers to make a mistake when using virtual manipulatives?
  • Research on Math Manipulatives as mentioned in the show.
  • What mistakes did David make in the early years of teaching math?
  • The mistakes teachers make when students struggle that can cause gaps in learning.

Places to Find and Use  Virtual Math Manipulatives for your Math Classroom

Who is David Wees?

David Wees is currently a Formative Assessment and Instructional Specialist for New Visions for Public Schools in New York City. He has worked as a mathematics and science teacher in New York City, London, Bangkok, and Vancouver. Twitter id: @davidwees

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post Making Math Meaningful with Virtual Math Manipulatives appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

300 Ways to Help Students Love Writing



Ideas from the "The Reading Strategies Book"

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Do you want to help students love writing? In this segment, we talk about a new book including 300 strategies to get students excited about writing. So, if you’re struggling to teach writing and get students engaged, listen to Jennifer Seravallo’s ideas. From peer review across the entire process to engaging students in writing, Jennifer is full of high-impact ideas to improve classroom writing.

help students love writing
Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher

Today’s Sponsor, Write the World

Write the World is a fantastic free tool to encourage writing in your classroom. Not only can teachers run writing contests but they can also assign classroom writing prompts. Also, students can join the monthly contests and global writing prompts with other students around the world. Furthermore, Write the World has a schedule of their writing prompts for the year. So, when you’re planning, include these cool contests.

Targeted to students aged 13-18, Write the World is a powerful, fun community for writing. Even more importantly, the site is easy it is to use.

Make writing exciting this year in your classroom. There’s no cost for teachers to join with their classrooms.

Given all these benefits, I recommend this site for writing teachers of students aged 13-18. So, join Write the World and get kids excited to write!

Look at Write the World

Help Students Love Writing: Show Notes

  • Can we help students learn to write and love it?
  • How can students set writing goals in motivating ways?
  • What are secrets to encourage peer review among writers?
  • Can we have writing partners throughout the writing process? (And not just during the editing phase.)
  • What are ways that students can write together?
  • What is a writing club? How is it structured?
  • If students are groaning when you ask them to write, how can you turn it around?

Who is Jennifer Serravallo?

Jennifer Serravallo is a literacy consultant, speaker, and the author 11 books and resources including The Reading Strategies Book and the two-time award-winning Independent Reading Assessment Series.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post 300 Ways to Help Students Love Writing appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Tips for Teaching the Classics Without Boring Your Students to Death



Level Up to Teach Classic Literature Like a Pro

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Classic literature can be exciting. You can teach classic literature like a pro with today’s insight from Starr Sackstein. What do Rodney Dangerfield, Alfred Hitchcock, and Harry Potter have to do with teaching students about classical literature? You’ll have to listen to find out. 😉 (I can’t believe all of them came up in one episode!) This wide-ranging conversation hits at the heart of teaching literature. Just because a piece was written hundreds of years ago doesn’t mean that it be irrelevant to the students who read the text.

Teach classic literature without boring your students to death

From making annotations to making the book relevant, to finding the “right answer,” Starr talks about the pitfalls and successful strategies she has used to teach kids about classical literature.

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher

Today’s Sponsor, Owl Eyes

If you teach classical literature, you’ll want to check out Owl Eyes! Owl Eyes has a free library with lots of free exemplar texts like Beowulf, Hamlet, and others. Teachers can include their annotations in the book before students download them. As students read, teachers can see student annotations as they’re making them. You can even embed quizzes in the text. (No more waiting — the moment students finish a section, you can check for understanding.)

Sign Up for Free

Owl Eyes is a game changer for people who teach classic literature. Take time to download Owl Eyes now and see if they have the books your teaching this year in their library. It can save you a lot of time and give you the ability to do things you never could before.

Show Notes on how to Teach Classic Literature:

  • How do you encourage students to find evidence for their conclusions?
  • What if their evidence or conclusions don’t align with those of “experts”?
  • How do you make literature relate to students who may not be interested in that book? (I like the example of how Starr relates Pride and Prejudice to some of the male readers in her class who don’t care for the book.) 
  • How do you use annotations and close reading techniques to help students read more deeply?
  • What mistakes did Starr make in her earlier years and how did she change to level up her teaching?

Who is Starr Sackstein?

Starr Sackstein teaches writing and journalism in New York City. She is a National Board-certified teacher and the New York director for the Journalism Education Association. Sackstein is also the author of the book Teaching Mythology. @mssackstein. Starr also appeared in Episode 125.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post Tips for Teaching the Classics Without Boring Your Students to Death appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2cB0Phq
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Monday, September 05, 2016

FREE CLASS: 8 Steps to Global Collaboration in Every Classroom



Tuesday, September 6, 2016 7pm EDT

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

I’m continuing the Education Technology Series that I’ve been running this fall. Tomorrow night, Tuesday, September 6 at 7pm, EDT I’ll host 8 Steps to Global Collaboration in Every Classroom.

8 Steps Global Collaboration WORKBOOK

In this 1-hour and 15-minute class I’ll share:

  • 5 reasons most teachers fail to consistently bring global collaboration into their classroom
  • How to connect and build projects that transform learning and thinking.
  • The top 4 reasons to connect your students globally.
  • The 8 simple steps to creating and continuing engaging global collaborative experiences for your classroom.

Register now

You’ll receive a workbook for notetaking once you register and some free materials if you attend the class.

If you cannot attend, you can pre-order this class at the Cool Cat Teacher Store. You’ll get the workbook, PDF copies of the slides, and a link to download the video.

8 Steps Global Collaboration

 

The post FREE CLASS: 8 Steps to Global Collaboration in Every Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2cuOuv9
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, August 31, 2016

3 Ways Teachers Can Say to Parents, “We Want To Be On the Same Team”



Setting Up Your Classroom to Win From Day One

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

As a teacher, I want to have a great relationship with my students and their parents. But there are things I can unknowingly do to sabotage (or improve) that relationship. In today’s show, we’re talking with Mike Hall about how to have the best start of the school year ever with our parents.

parent-teacher communication

Parents and teachers should be partners in student progress. At the end of the day it comes back to communication. Communicate early. Communicate often. Communicate in ways that are convenient for parents. Give the parents and students respect that you also want to receive from them.

Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher

Today’s Sponsor: Bloomz

Upgrade to Bloomz (It is free!)


Bloomz is a powerful, easy to use (AND FREE) parent-teacher communication app. It gives parents a choice of how they want to receive communications: email, notifications, the app or the website. This app also has photo sharing, calendars, messaging, behavior management, and student portfolios.

I use Bloomz. Here’s the thing I love about it: once I invite a parent via email — they are IN! Even if they don’t join, they still get my classroom announcements. Bloomz is free and definitely an upgrade to my previous parent communications method.

Show Notes:

  • Why should you make a positive phone call early in the year?
  • Why is hosting your own parent night for your classroom a good idea?
  • What are the things we need to use to communicate with parents?
  • What are some fantastic ways to communicate with parents? (I love his tip of giving parents questions to ask kids about what is going on in class!)
  • Why is scheduling parent messages a good idea?
  • What are some ways teachers sabotage their relationship with parents?
  • What is one of the most common gripes parents have about teachers? (How can you prevent it from happening to you?)


Who is Mike Hall?

J. Michael Hall@strongfathers, M.Ed. is an educator, speaker and founder of Strong Fathers-Strong Families, he has presented to more than 165,000 fathers at local schools, Head Starts, as well as regional and national conferences. For his pioneering work over the past twelve years in education and the fatherhood field he was honored as a 2012 White House Champion of Change.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post 3 Ways Teachers Can Say to Parents, “We Want To Be On the Same Team” appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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