Strategy of the Week

Flexible Pacing: The Treadmill Metaphor

Flexible vs. traditional pacing: What’s the difference for students?

Flexible Pacing: The Treadmill Metaphor

As part of a personalized approach to education, flexible pacing is gaining recognition among educators. There are articles, interviews, and descriptions of its benefits over traditional pacing all over the Internet.

What you’ve probably never seen before is a group of students all running at the same time on a giant treadmill. Why in the world would they do that? And where’d they even get a giant treadmill anyway?

This 1:50 animated video illustrates the dramatic difference between flexible and traditional pacing.

Flexible Pacing: The Treadmill Metaphor

Share out: Does this metaphor ring true for you? Let us know by replying to this email.

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Personalized Strategies to Meet Individual Needs

If you gave students a microphone, what would they say about their school?

Innovations High School Salt Lake

At Innovations High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, there are teachers, students, and classrooms. Beyond that, its student-centered, personalized instructional model differs strikingly from more traditional school environments. In this 2:33 video, hear what teachers and students have to say about the variety of instruction and support offered there.

Bonus School Improvement Innovation Summit feature!

Ashley Innovations High School

This 5:09 video presents Ashley, an Innovations High School student addressing the 2014 School Improvement Innovation Summit in Salt Lake City. Ashley movingly describes the difference that her principal and teachers have made in her academic and personal life.

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Supporting Teachers – Students Perspective

Sharing Thoughts on Caring, Supportive Teachers

Building a supportive relationship with students can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task. So, to make those relationships more manageable, take little steps that can lead to great accomplishments. Sometimes a simple smile can start the relationship that makes a student feel more comfortable in class.

In this 5:34 long video from the 2014 School Improvement Innovation Summit, Maria Argueta, a high school student from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, shared her thoughts about the caring and supportive teachers who took those little steps by sharing personal interests and listening to questions.

Maria Argueta

Share out: How do communicate to your students that you care for them?

This video comes with a downloadable guidebook.

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Redirecting Student Behavior

Redirecting Student Behavior – A Classroom Management Segment

“Pay attention!” Don’t you wish you could have a dime for every time you’ve said that? Keeping students focused and on task might be the most common classroom management challenge.

akili academy

In this 2:04 minute video, teachers from Akili Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana, share some their strategies for redirecting student behavior in a respectful, non-confrontational manner without interrupting the flow of their lessons.

This video comes with a downloadable guidebook.

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Arranging Furniture to Facilitate A Flexible Classroom

As summer comes to an end, students flock back to the classroom with hopes and fears for the new school year: Will I make new friends? Will I get along with my teachers?

Will my classes be hard? Will my classroom’s layout and furniture be conducive to learning?

The last one’s facetious, of course – very few students have probably ever voiced that concern as the first day of school drew near. But classroom seating and working arrangements do impact a student’s sense of autonomy and purpose—and consequently their engagement. Watch this 3:59 video to see different ways of arranging furniture to facilitate a flexible classroom.

Share out: How do students exercise voice and choice in where they work in your school?

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Make Your School a Safe Space for LGBTQ—and All—Students

Make Your School a Safe Space for LGBTQ—and All—Students

Bullying in schools is tough to address because it’s so widespread. A recent federal survey* found that almost 1 in 10 of students age 12-18 were called a hate-related word at some point during the school year. If you’re an LGBTQ student, though, the odds jump to over 80%.*

What do LGBTQ students feel they can do about it? Not much. As of 2011, 60% of LGBTQ students who were harassed or assaulted didn’t report any incidents for fear that no action would be taken or that the situation would just become worse.*

These numbers are cause for concern. But let’s be honest: concern isn’t powerful enough of a motivator to create change. Behind the numbers are students in your school like Jada, Kane, Dannie, Dustin, Andrew, Matt, Liam, and Paulina. In this 12:13 video, these students – the 2013 GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) Student Ambassadors, relate their often painful, sometimes promising experiences with peers and teachers at school.

lgbtq-students

Listening to them can help convert concern into empathy and empathy into action. This video outlines six approaches that have successfully reduced school bullying of LGBTQ students—and their non-LGBTQ peers as well:

  1. Support a school-wide comprehensive anti-bullying policy.
  2. Establish and model an expectation of respect for all students.
  3. Respond effectively to anti-LGBTQ language.
  4. Support a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance).
  5. Designate your classroom as a safe space.
  6. Listen to your students.

*IES & BJS. (2012). Indicators of School Crime and Safety.

*GLSEN. (2011). National School Climate Survey.

Respond to this email: How are you addressing the bullying of LGBTQ and other students in your school?

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Improving Practice with Edivate Review

How to Hit a Home Run in the Classroom: Improving Practice with Edivate Review 

Teachers and athletes have a lot in common. Both work in teams, set goals, and have coaches. Athletes often receive feedback by studying video of their performance. Teachers can take a page out of their playbook by doing the same.

Educators in the Newton County School System in Covington, Georgia, use Edivate Review to study video footage of their practice in a safe and supportive way. Watch this 2:33 video to hear how both administrators and teachers use this valuable tool.

Edivate Review Newton County School

Share out: What does your school do to acknowledge good practice in the classroom?

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Becoming a School of Character: How Old Bridge Township Schools Helped Heal a Community

Becoming a School of Character: How Old Bridge Township Schools Helped Heal a Community

The community of Old Bridge Township, New Jersey was hurting. Two incidents of violence involving former Old Bridge students had people asking, “What are they teaching in our schools?” And then, Hurricane Sandy decimated neighborhoods and turned school gymnasiums into temporary shelters.

In this 6:47 video, you will learn how Superintendent David Cittadino and the educators of Old Bridge Township took it upon themselves to turn things around, starting with the schools, by focusing on professional development and school-wide character.

Old Bridge Township

Share out: What is being done in your school to emphasize and develop character?

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Shifting the Mindset of Teachers from Themselves to Students

 

Shifting the Mindset of Teachers from Themselves to Students

There are times when a student might “fall off the boat.” And when they do, what do you think is more productive: thinking about how the situation affects you or helping the student get back on the boat?

At Mont Harmon Middle School, one simple shift in mindset for administrators and teachers helped make it so that all students are “on deck.” Watch this 1:40 long video to hear their story.

Mont Harmon Middle School

Share out: How do you show students that they are an important part of the school?

How to Promote Best Teaching Practices

How to Promote Best Teaching Practices? Beware of Good and Better Ones

Is It Fun vs. Does It Work

Back in 2009, educational consultant Doug Reeves recorded this simple 4:02 video that conveys a powerful message about improving teacher performance.

“At the end of the day, a best practice is defined not by whether we like it,” Reeves says, “[but] whether or not it is effective.”

In 2016, how can educators avoid being distracted by the constant parade of tech gadgetry and apps in their field? “I’m not going to presume to judge what you ought to do,” Reeves says, “but I am going to strongly suggest that all of us need to start keeping a journal of our own practices. Being as honest about what doesn’t work as what does.”

How could teachers and principals use these journal entries to help improve their own and each others’ practice? Watch the video above to find out.

Share out: How do you keep focused on best practices rather than “good” ones?

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