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Thursday, December 01, 2016

4 Key Factors for Fantastic Formative Assessment



Practical Advice from Research to Classroom

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Too many times the research is completely disconnected from the classroom. But in today’s show, we talk about some very practical issues for teachers. First of all, we talk about the characteristics that make effective formative assessment. This includes some important tips for adjusting your instruction based upon formative assessment. Secondly, we also discussed standards and why in most cases they don’t work. Today’s guest, Dr. Douglas Reeves, bridges the research with the everyday classroom in a helpful way.

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Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

So, if you want to be a better teacher tomorrow, these tips and ideas are practical ways that will work to make you a better teacher. I especially love the way he says to start class.

Formative assessment and a better understanding of the role of standards will help us all improve. Of course, we’re going to have to ask ourselves hard questions and prioritize what’s really important. In my opinion, when you try to choose to do everything you end up doing nothing very well. And that is the case in most schools which are plagued with too many standards and too many things to do.

Get a 60-day Free Trial of Gradecam

As a teacher, it is our job to focus on what’s important and to move our students forward and help them progress. We can do that. I believe you’ll find today very empowering, encouraging, and practical. So, let’s get started!

Gradecam: A Fantastic Tool for Assessment is 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. With this tool, you print out bubble sheets, use your smartphone, to take a picture of your students’ quizzes, and GradeCam will grade the quizzes for you! You can to quickly collect and assess student learning in the moment and adjust your lessons in real-time. GradeCam also works with laptops, desktops, tablets and any device that has a camera connected to wifi. GradeCam can also quickly transfer all of the scores into a grade book

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.”

Show Notes:

  • Many of us feel over tested. But we’re under assessed. Formative assessment is about informing teaching and learning.

  • Most of what is happening is “uninformative assessment.” He defines what poor assessment looks like and what good assessment looks like.

  • Good Assessment should be: Fair, Accurate, Specific, Timely

  • If you could wave your magic wand and fix formative assessment – what would you do?

  • “We have too many standards. The idea that we can wave our magic wand and assess them all is ridiculous. I’m an advocate of power standards… we should prioritize and assess the half dozen or so that are the most important to get students to the next level.”

  • We discuss standards alignment and the illusion that is caused by having too many standards.

  • Dr. Reeves recommends fewer standards that are higher in value.

  • How teachers can work in a situation where they have too many standards. Doug gives some practical examples of what can help.

  • Good formative assessment helps me be a better teacher tomorrow. What would that look like?

  • You can just have 5-10 items at the beginning of class – trading papers or grade immediately and right then you know how to adjust the classroom instruction for the day. Short, precise, assessments that are focused and inform my teaching immediately.

  • It must get everyone involved so I can see what the whole class is. Doesn’t have to be graded. Kids are more likely to respond to feedback than grades.

  • What we should look at when we evaluate a teacher’s ability to assess and give feedback.

Learn More About Good Formative Assessment

Check the other episodes in this formative assessment series: Top Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Formative Assessment that Works (Episode 1), Top Tips for Fast Formative Assessment (Episode 2) and this episode.

This 3-part series is designed to give every teacher something they can use in the classroom. I’ve found that formative assessment is an area that many teachers are lacking that can substantially improve classroom learning. We can do better than the old “show of hands” they were using in the 1980’s when I was in high school. Formative assessment took my classroom forward by leaps and bounds, so share these with your teachers. 

Who is Dr. Douglas Reeves?

Dr. Douglas Reeves is the founder of Creative Leadership Solutions. The author of more than 30 books and 80 articles on leadership and organizational effectiveness, Doug has twice been named to the Harvard University Distinguished Authors Series. He has worked in every state in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries. Blogs at CreativeLeadership.net.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. If this show meant something to you, will you leave a review?button-itunes

The post 4 Key Factors for Fantastic Formative Assessment appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How Do I Help My Substitute Teacher Make Progress with My Students?



Spotlight on Practical Everyday Teaching Problems

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

As a teacher, there are times many of us will substitute for our peers. Substitutes are fantastic professionals who do a tremendous service for schools. If you have some great substitute teachers, treat them well. But there are things you can do to help good substitute teachers be even better.

how-do-i-help-my-substitute-teacher-make-progress-with-my-students
Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

Some teachers just leave short notes. Remarkably, one of the best things I’ve done in a long time is to create my own substitute teacher manual. In addition to giving me peace of mind, it also helps my substitute do a better job of meeting the needs of students in my classroom. Furthermore, a great substitute teacher manual also helps kids make progress by helping the substitute see the big picture and more.

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Let’s talk about how. In today’s show I talk with Simon Youd, a teacher who has had quite a bit of experience as a substitute (relief) teacher. He compares a variety of experiences and shares what works and what doesn’t.

I encourage you to reflect on today’s show and take some time to create a substitute teacher manual including some emergency lesson plans for those days when you’re not well or just have to be out unexpectedly. There are also many other items you need to leave behind: allergy information, seating charts, forms, and commonly asked questions.

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.

Show Notes:

  • Leave messages for your relief teacher helping them understand how does this lesson fits into the theme and what is coming up next? By knowing this information, it helps you and the students connect to what they are doing
  • If there is a relief folder you could leave that could help understand you class….these are things we don’t know about your class.

Who is Simon Youd?

Simon Youd is a husband and father of 6, currently a relief teacher, looking for permanent work, living in Port Sorell Tasmania, Australia. He has taught PE, grade 5/6, high school math, and science. Simon is interested in the purposeful integration of technology, personalising learning for teachers and students, and podcasting.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. If this show meant something to you, will you leave a review?button-itunes

The post How Do I Help My Substitute Teacher Make Progress with My Students? 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.

How to Understand Cyberbullying: From a Teen’s Experience



Are You a Teacher Kids Can Tell?

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

When bad things happen – do kids have someone they trust? Are you that someone? It breaks my heart when today’s brave teenager Sarah Beeghley speaks out about her bouts with bullying. Now a high school senior, Sarah talks about the heartbreaking journey she experienced. For this reason, I’m asking that you listen and discuss — she’s using her pain to help improve the world.

what cyberbullying looks like from a teen's perspective
Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

I hope that we’ll all understand what it is like to be bullied so we can better help those who struggle. Sure, there are two sides to the story. But I lived this for five years. I know what it is like to be made fun of the moment you walk on campus. I cannot imagine the terror and heartache I would have lived if my taunters could have gotten to me at home or in my private time. It took me time away from school just to get up the strength to go back.

It is tough to empathize unless you, your child, or your grandchild or someone you love dearly has experienced this sort of thing. But there are times we can get a glimpse. Today’s show is one of those glimpses into the life of someone who struggled and is coming out for the better.

Children are petty and hurtful. I don’t see everything, but I can be like Gandalf the wizard and put my staff in the ground and say, “you shall not pass” to bullying behavior. My room is a safe place. No bullying. No “picking on.” No unkind words. Now, will I miss stuff? Of course. Like when I sift flour to make biscuits – somehow unsifted pieces make through. No matter how hard I try, there will be things I am oblivious to and miss. However, I will not let the impossibility of the task keep me from clearly stating what my class will be. My class will be safe. Students can come to me and trust me.

May we all be more sensitive. Is there a “Sarah Beeghley” that you know? Is there a child struggling? Take the time to have a conversation. Trust your gut instinct on this. Just show you care today. Please.

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

Show Notes:

  • I didn’t trust my teachers enough to go to them because I knew they would laugh it off.
  • It got to the point where I didn’t want to go to school anymore.
  • [The school had] no policy on bullying or cyberbullying at the time.
  • Through  @The_Geeky_Girl , I’m making teachers, parents, and students aware of cyberbullying and bullying that’s happening in the classroom.
Show notes by Lisa Durff.

Who is Sarah Beeghley?

Sarah Beeghley@the_geeky_girl is a high school senior looking to educate teachers, parents, and students on the effects of cyberbullying inside and outside the classroom.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. If this show meant something to you, will you leave a review?button-itunes

The post How to Understand Cyberbullying: From a Teen’s Experience 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, November 29, 2016

How Do We Teach Kids to Use Smartphones Safely?



Digital Citizenship Spotlight

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Most students use smartphones with unfiltered access to the Internet. Even worse, many students have no filter when they consider what they should share. Schools and parents need to get smart about how they talk to kids about smartphones.

how-do-we-teach-kids-to-use-smartphones-safely-1
Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

In today’s show, we talk with digital citizenship pioneer, Dr. Mike Ribble, about a cutting-edge issue: student smartphone use. How should we talk about them with kids? How do we open lines of communication? Let’s focus on smartphones and get educated about what we should do to help keep kids safe from the world and from their own childish irresponsibility.

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.

Learn More About Bloomz

Show Notes:

  • A lot of times teachers become one of the last ones that know what is really going on.
  • As teachers, we should really talk about what is appropriate, what should we be doing, how should we be doing it, and if there are problems — how do we talk about that?
  • We need to show them….we want you to do this in the right way
  • Respecting others….there are private things we don’t need to share about other people.
  • We need to help kids know that what they do online can hurt people in the real world.
Show notes by Lisa Durff.

Who is Mike Ribble?

Dr. Mike Ribble @digcitizen , author of the books Digital Citizenship in Schools (3rd Ed.) and Raising a Digital Child, has worked within the education field his entire career. He serves as a Technology Director for a school district in Kansas. Mike is also the co-chair of the ISTE Digital Citizenship PLN.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. If this show meant something to you, will you leave a review?button-itunes

The post How Do We Teach Kids to Use Smartphones Safely? 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.

How to Teach Students Who Struggle with Self Control



Research Spotlight

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Misbehavior happens in the classroom. From time to time, it happens to every teacher or principal. You can get angry, or you can make progress.

how to teach students who struggle with self control

With this in mind, Dr. Reggie Melrose explains a reason for some of the most difficult behavior. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, emotional dysregulation occurs in around 5% of students in the United States. Furthermore, 8% of kids with emotional dysregulation are from lower income or disadvantaged homes.

Emotional dysregulation impacts not only the child and you as the teacher. If you don’t know how to respond, it can negatively affect your entire classroom. We must remember that when we interact with students, our entire class watches.

Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes

Dr. Reggie points out that many times we teachers just focus only on changing student behavior. Understandably, we just try to relieve the problem. If we’re going to make progress, however, we must move past just changing behavior.

For example, instead of focusing on the “to do” list with misbehaving students, we have to concentrate on the “to be” list. This tip is one of many pointers that Dr. Reggie Melrose gives in today’s show. If you’re struggling with behavior in your classroom, today’s show can help.

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.

Check out the Bloomz App

Show Notes:

  • We are meant to develop a capacity to regulate emotional state. For some children this eludes them.
  • The nervous system that is dysregulated does need space and time
  • When [children] are experiencing stress and trauma, they need more space and time, they need our compassion, much more than they need our punishment
  • Rather than being a perfect storm, it is a perfect opportunity for Brain Charge
  • It only takes 60 seconds of space and time at the beginning of each day
  • We recognize that we are living in a very stressful time
  • We teach the brain how to regulate itself by taking 60 seconds each day.
Show notes by Lisa Durff. 

Who is Dr. Reggie Melrose?

Psychologist Dr. Reggie Melrose @drmelrose is the best-selling author of The 60 Seconds Fix and creator of Brain Charge™: The K-12 Curriculum. She has authored several other noteworthy resources including the groundbreaking books, You Can Heal Your Child and Why Students Underachieve. She is a well-known international speaker and consultant specializing in the application of current neuroscience to educational practice and parenting.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. If this show meant something to you, will you leave a review?button-itunes

The post How to Teach Students Who Struggle with Self Control 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, November 28, 2016

What Does Supportive Teacher Centered Professional Development Look Like?



Research Spotlight with Dr. Matthew Kraft

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

When a teacher first starts teaching, we know that their learning improves dramatically. Learning to be a good teacher will happen in just about any school during those first few years. But, over time there are schools where teachers keep learning. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in most schools. In this episode, we will study some important research that shows us the type of schools where teachers continue to learn how to be a better teacher. This is a very important show for curriculum directors, professional developers, and especially principals.

what-does-supportive-teacher-centered-professional-development-look-like-1
Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

However, don’t think that teachers have no control. When we teachers begin to think differently and connect with other teachers who have a can-do attitude, we can change things. Remember, teachers, you can decide to learn. Just by banding together and supporting each other, we can make a huge difference, as you’ll learn.

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

Show Notes: Dr. Matthew Kraft

  • Put simply, the research found that teachers improve at much faster rates when they work in school that provide supportive professional environments.
  • 6 dimensions of strong professional work environments
    1. Schools that had orderly and clear discipline rules
    2. Schools that had frequent and high quality peer collaboration
    3. Schools that had supportive and responsive school leadership
    4. Schools were there were sustained and context specific professional development opportunities
    5. Schools that had strong cultures characterized by mutual trust and respect
    6. Schools where evaluations provided meaningful feedback that teachers could use to improvie their practice
  • Not only do individual teachers matter, but the school context in which those teachers work also matters … for student learning.
  • Without these supportive professional environments, teachers are not able to deliver the most effective instruction and improve on the job as well as they might be able to otherwise.
Today’s notes were compiled by my research assistant, Lisa Durff. Thank you, Lisa!

Who is Matthew Kraft?

Matthew Kraft @MatthewAKraftis an Assistant Professor of Education and Economics at Brown University. He studies human capital policies in education with a focus on teacher effectiveness and organizational change in K-12 urban public schools.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. If this show meant something to you, will you leave a review?button-itunes

The post What Does Supportive Teacher Centered Professional Development Look Like? 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.

FREE WEBINAR: Best Practices for a Top-Notch Blended Learning Classroom



From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Blended Learning is a method of learning where online classrooms blend with the face to face classroom. During this month's free webinar I'll be taking you inside my blended learning classroom with a practical view on what works.  Register nowFREE Blended Learning Best Practices Webinar Wednesday, November 30, 20164:30 pm - 5:30 pm EST​ / […]

The post FREE WEBINAR: Best Practices for a Top-Notch Blended Learning Classroom appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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