Starting off the school year

Summer is rapidly coming to an end which means let’s start the back to school work. Time to take all that summer learning from books, blogs, twitter, planning with co-workers, professional learning, vacation, and etc, and put it into practice. How do you start off your school year? Prep your classroom, make some lesson plans, get those bulletin boards and seating charts ready, etc?  What about the syllabus, class rules, and class expectations? That was something that was at the top of my priority list my first few years of teaching. I felt it paramount to cover every bit of…

Strengths

Do you know what your strengths are? What about your weaknesses? Is that something you think about or talk about often? And speaking of weaknesses–I dislike that in an interview question. Do you like it? It is a tough one to answer when attempting to persuade someone to hire you based on your skill set, but then have to explain to them where you have deficiencies. My husband is currently working on his masters (to gain administrator certification). One of his first assignments was to complete a Kiersey Temperament Survey. It was interesting to read his results as they fit…

#IMMOOC–The Innovative Educator

Innovation is more than just inventing something new. Innovation is creative and messy. It is about creating a space for experimentation, failures, change for the better. Critical questions to ask when looking for innovation: Is it new? Is it better? How can you use innovation in teaching? How can students use it to learn?  We have to create an environment of uncertainty and unpredictability.  If you know every day when you show up to class EXACTLY what is going to happen (think about it from the lens of a student–I’m going to come in, sit down, do my warm up, listen…

A message of kindness

I posted about Mrs. Eva Mozes Kor last October: One of the amazing things that Eva does is spreading her message at conferences, in schools, and around the world.  A program that she hosts through the museum allows you to spend $500 and you will receive 30 copies of her book plus an hour long virtual session with her.  Of course, I jumped at this opportunity for the students at my campus.  I put in the PO, ordered the books, and got started! We started our meetings in January and these students read the book on their own time and…

The Land of the Book Study

In my previous district, we occasionally talked about what we were reading. I read a lot of fiction for fun, aligned my reading to a host of Young Adult books so I could share insights and hear insights from my students in my classes and in my homeroom class.  I had a group of  big readers in my homeroom and loved it!  But for professional learning books–we really didn’t do a lot.  I followed blogs, keeps up with an rss feed in google reader (before they discontinued it) and occasionally checked out a book about teaching social studies.  Fast forward…

T-Tess and What is good teaching anyhow?

In our return to school today we spent time learning more about T-Tess–the new appraisal system for teachers in Texas (replacing PDAS).  I’m actually pretty excited about it.  It really lends itself to more of a coaching model within schools, and hey…this instructional coach here is happy about it! It is divided into 4 Domains: Planning, Instruction, Learning Environment, and Professional Practices and Responsibilities.  Read more about it here: https://teachfortexas.org/ The training was heavy on information, but had a few activities built in: Small group talk about what makes a lesson an effective lesson. Teachers wrote down their thoughts individually…

Review time!

Can you believe it is already December?  Many educators are scrambling to finish their curriculum and have time to review before semester exams. What are your favorite review games? There are so many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down. Tech involved games that we use a lot: Kahoot Quizizz Quizlet Live SuperTeacherTools (to make games) Non-tech games: DominKNOWS (a new favorite of mine) Hot Seat Heads up Cards ZipZapZop reviewing Bazinga (learned about it from the English Instructional Coach, it’s pretty cute) Snowball fight ABC posters And many more! I need to organize all of these with…

More Life Lessons from Eva Kor

I posted last about attending TCSS in Corpus and having the opportunity to meet Eva Kor, a survivor of Auschwitz.  Since then, I have submitted the paperwork and have 30 students signed up to participate in a book study over her book and a SKYPE session with her! I’m am very excited about this.  We had over 30 students sign up, but the museum only allows 30 so we had to go based on time stamp of registering online. I’ve talked to a few students already and they are very excited to get started. So on to her next life…

Research, Better Conversations, and Relationships!

Recently, I had a discussion with some educational leaders on my campus about what is effective in education. Some of those leaders had attended a day long presentation on Visible Learning. I was interested in the book and the research, but also very questioning of it all.  I think it is hard to find research for education that is irrefutable. I’m curious as to what others think on this as well. I guess I’m sort of a skeptic on buying into educational research without doing some research of my own first. Ha! I believe that teaching is an art. It has…

TCSS in Corpus–Edutaining!

So I’m a bit behind in the #IMMOOC. It has been a busy time at work and at home. I’ve been keeping up as best I can with twitter and the facebook groups. My plan is to read some updated blogs and comment this evening. Today, I’m heading to Corpus Christi to attend and present at the Texas Council for Social Studies conference. I’m excited to attend and to present. I’m presenting with a fellow coworker on ways to “Edutain” learners in a social studies classroom. Are we presenting anything innovative?  I think so, using the whole “Is it New,…

EduBlogs…..who uses them?

I’m a little behind on posting for the #IMMOOC.  My plan is to watch the google hangout from Saturday either today or tomorrow and then post some reflections after that. Plus a meme (like the one of my daughter, below). I’ve been keeping up with the Voxer group and it is so great. There are some wonderful ideas being shared. If you haven’t joined, it’s not too late. But between the hangouts, facebook, twitter, and blog postings–there are so many new ideas out there! That has been the beauty of the MOOC, right?? So Edublogs…does anyone use them and not…

Shifting Culture

Shifting Culture: a reflection on being an instructional coach and week 1 of the #IMMOOC How do you create an innovative environment in your school? As an Instructional Coach, this is something I think about often. How can I help teachers try new things, reflect on their teaching, experience new professional learning, and grow in their craft?? Everyday is an opportunity to get better. Don’t waste it! And of course, a favorite quote from George Couros, Chapter 1 of The Innovator’s Mindset: Change is difficult and sometimes when we are looking for change, we expect it to happen all at…