Posts Tagged ‘Teachers’

common sense

 

COMMON SENSE — using good sense and sound judgement in practical matters

Good Sense!   Sound Judgement!   Practical Matters!

All it takes is to think a little bit before doing something that questions whether you have any common sense at all.

Think!  Just a little!

I know some really smart people who lately have have shown a real lack of common sense and I am somewhat at a loss for words as to why they do what they do.  It is a shame because there are so many people who have such a strong distaste for education, educators, and schools today.  You are just adding fuel to their fire.  There are many reasons why people feel this way, but I’m not here to get into that debate.  However, what I can do is give you just one reason why.  It is simply because for some reason something was said or done that defies all logic and shows such a lack of common sense. And because of this, all the good that we’re trying to do in our schools becomes overshadowed by the negativity that comes from lacking common sense.

I’m not here to offer any psychological answers as to why this is.  What I am here to do, however, is to issue a challenge:  THINK !!!!!

  • Think about how your actions will affect your students.
  • Think about how your actions will affect your colleagues.
  • Think about how it will affect how people will think about our schools.
  • Think about the example that you should be setting.

Please!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Super Heroes

Posted: July 6, 2014 in Teachers
Tags: , ,

When I was a kid, it wasn’t like it is today …  I only had 3 channels on the TV (not over 500) and we had an antenna outside that we could turn to a certain spot and MAYBE get the 4th channel.  Cartoons only came on Saturday mornings and were only on only for a little while.  Today there are on entire channels, and they are on 24 hours a day.  And today there are so many different cartoon characters whereas back in the day it was Mickey Mouse and his friends, Bugs Bunny and his friends, Scooby Doo and his friends, and then there were the Super Friends … Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman & Robin, and Aquaman.

Super Hero -- All 4 together

They were a part of the Justice League that had its headquarters in the Hall of Justice.  If there was an emergency the Super Friends came to the rescue.  They all had very different powers, and they used their different powers toward the common goal.  They would always save the day.  They were able to resolve whatever conflict came there way.  They were individuals but they could work together.  They fought for the good and they won!

There are superheroes in every school, and they all have different powers and work toward the common goal.  They are teachers.    In every school in every city in every state, they use their super powers to help save the world.   They work hard everyday to make sure that the students have the knowledge and ability to think and solve problems.   They fight to save the day.   They haven’t won yet, but they are winning.

Each of our super heroes … the cartoon super heroes and the real super heroes in our schools … even though they all have different powers, there is still one super power they all have in common — COURAGE.

  • Courage to fight the fight!
  • Courage to face each day with its monumental obstacles and sometimes insurmountable odds!
  • Courage to accept the challenge!
  • Courage to win!

 

 

Super Hero -- Teacher

 

Aren’t we all lucky to have super heroes !!  

What do you think?  Leave a comment and let us know.

 

Fundamental Change witht he Fundamental 5

 

This is a review of my notes from my final session from this summer’s TASSP Summer Workshop in Austin. In this particular session, Sean Cain, one of the authors of The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction, gives some practical advice to administrators and teachers about how to increase student achievement by following each of the components he outlines in his book.  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  It is an easy read with straight-forward, easy to follow and implement strategies.  This will not be a summary of the book only a summary of my notes from this particular session.  Notes that I took that will help me in my school as we work to increase student achievement.

I am not an advocate of teaching to the test, or CONSTANTLY verbalizing the importance of raising our scores.  My teachers know that we are judged by our scores and they don’t need to be constantly hounded about getting them up.  This is not to say that we “bury our heads in the sand” and do not talk about it.  What we do is work to improve instruction in every classroom every day.  When students know what they will be learning each day, when they exposed to higher-level instructional practices, and they are engaged daily, then our test scores will improve.

 

LESSON FRAME:

We will discuss how the Fundamental 5 transforms classroom instruction.  I will describe the relationship between the Fundamental 5 and improved student performance.

 

What does instruction look like now?  Mostly it is at the COMPREHENSION level.  There is lecture, students are taking notes, and they have homework .  Students are doing something.  Teachers are still teaching like they were back in the 1990’s.   At the best campuses, typical instruction is just under the APPLICATION level.

LOW-YIELD INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES

  • whole group instruction
  • lecture
  • worksheets

HIGH-YIELD TEACHER PRACTICES

  • teacher to student feedback
  • questions, cues, and organizers
  • reinforce effort

HIGH-YIELD STUDENT PRACTICES

  • written summarization
  • non-linguistic
  • generalize and test hypothesis
  • cooperative learning
  • student-to-student feedback
  • discussion groups

WRITE CRITICALLY = written similarities and differences, written summarization, note taking

SMALL GROUP, PURPOSEFUL TALK = cooperative learning, student-to-student feedback, discussion groups

If teachers teach the way they always have taught but recognize and reinforce (authentically) they can get up to a 30% increase in student performance.  This is a big increase just by doing this one thing.  It only make sense that when students are doing the right thing, they need to know.

If students are engaged in an academic task and if the teacher monitors and supports this by being in the Power Zone, student performance can also increase.  Teachers can now more easily recognize and reinforce.  All they have to do is start talking to their students.

Students need to write.  There is noting more powerful than writing critically.  This does not mean that students need to write research papers all the time.  They need to write in small to mid sized chunks.  They need to talk & write and write & talk.  If it doesn’t involve talking and writing, it is not a good instructional practice.  This purposeful talk can easily be managed by the teacher being in the power zone.

When the teachers don’t frame their lesson, they haven’t planned enough to know when and where to talk and write.

Here’s a simple solution to increased and improved student achievement:  Expose students to better instruction.  When students are exposed to better instruction, they will  out perform students who are not exposed to better instruction.

Math teachers can easily have students work at the application level if they “solve” problems BUT only if they are solving what they don’t already know.  Otherwise it is only “review”, which is only at the knowledge level.

If the teacher is talking it is only at the Knowledge level.

Fine Arts classes and science labs are at the Application level.  Most of the time the core classes are not at this level.

In order to get to the Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation levels, students must write and students must talk. (write critically, small group, purposeful talk).  The prompt is important and the teacher being in the power zone is vital for them to see and hear what is going on.

No matter how hard the teacher works, if the students are not talking purposefully and writing critically, their instruction will never be above the knowledge, comprehension, and application levels.

Rigor in the classroom is not driven by how hard the teacher works or talks.  Rigor only increases when students talk with a purpose and when they write critically.  They must Talk & Write, and Write & Talk.

The Good Ole Days are now and the Great Days are ahead of us.

 

The Fundamental 5

 

Relationships 3

 

Do relationships matter?  What do they have to do with the climate in your classroom or school?

Here are some reflective questions for you (and me, too) …

  1. What do students SEE in your classroom or school?  Why?
  2. What do students HEAR in your classroom or school?  Why?
  3. How do the students FEEL in your classroom or school?  Why?
  4. What do the students EXPERIENCE in your classroom or school?  Why?
  5. What is the CLIMATE of your classroom or school?  Why?

 

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Learning is Fun

Posted: June 10, 2014 in choice, Learning
Tags: , ,

Learnign is fun

 

 

I had two teachers today email and text me numerous times with excitement about what they were doing.  They were learning and were fired up about it!   They chose their own professional development and will get more from what they learned about today because it was something they wanted to do.  There were no mandates.  There were no directives.  There were no state-required trainings.  Today was all about choice.  For these two teachers, today was all about learning!

For me, today was also fun.  Getting the emails and texts with their excitement was fun.  I could tell that they were having fun today as well.

What about you…..did you have fun learning today?

 

 

summer

 

Technically the first day of summer for 2014 will be on June 21st at 7:51 CST (according to www.Almanac.com); however, for me and my teachers at Ore City High School, it began on June 5th.  This was the first day without students…the first day without following the bell schedule…the first day without all of the teachers at school.  This was also the first day for the 2014-2015 school year.  Contrary to popular belief, summer does NOT mean teachers and administrators do nothing.  Once one school year is completed, the next one begins … immediately.

7:55 am on August 25, 2014 (the 1st day of school for OCHS) will be here before you know it !!

Enjoy your summer.   Relax.   Swim.   Have fun.   Go on a vacation.   Read more.   See new places.

Also …

Learn new things.   Get professional development.   Get connected.   Get on Twitter more.   Make yourself a better teacher or administrator.

 

Texas Graduation

 

When they enter high school next school year, all current 8th graders in Texas will be under a new graduation plan called The Foundation Plan.  In addition, each student will have to choose an Endorsement (students may be able to get multiple endorsements) from the following areas:

  1. Business & Industry
  2. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
  3. Arts & Humanities
  4. Multidisciplinary
  5. Public Services

All students will take the required courses from The Foundation Plan along with certain courses that will satisfy the requirements for the Endorsements and they will graduate with at least 26 credits.  Students, along with their parents/guardians, are required to meet with the high school counselors and determine in writing which endorsement they want to get.  It is also important to note that this choice of endorsements is not set in stone and can be changed by the students and parents.

We have been working with the Texas Education Agency, various Education Service Centers, and other school districts to put together a plan for what we will be able to offer at Ore City High School.   We are now ready to present to the parents and to the students so they can make informed decisions about their future.   We will set a date in the very near future to have a series of meetings with parents and students to discuss this new graduation plan and each endorsement that we will be offering at Ore City High School.

The following information is what I will be using when we have our meetings. Click on this link –>  Ore City High School Foundation Plan with Endorsements

I am including it in this post so you will be able to look it over and get a preview of the new information for The Foundation Plan and each Endorsement for Ore City High School.  IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS INFORMATION IS SPECIFIC TO ORE CITY HIGH SCHOOL.  Each school has to determine what it will be able to offer, and not all schools will offer the same endorsements and the same pathways to get the endorsement.

I am fully aware that this will be somewhat confusing and you will have many questions, especially for those of you who have students in high school now or had students already go through our high school.   Please do not hesitate to ask any questions.  My goal is to make this as easy of a transition as possible for both the students and the parents.

Although this is a completely new graduation plan, I really believe that it is good for all students.  As you know, all students are different and have different interests and this gives them choices and flexibility.  I am excited about the opportunities this new graduation plan offers.