Strategy of the Week

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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Classroom Management: Assume the Best

Classroom Management: Assume the Best

As educators prepare to return to the hallowed halls of learning, they’re taking inventory—mentally and physically—and considering the best ways to create safe and productive learning environments.

This 3:30 video encapsulates a piece of advice from classroom management guru Rick Smith that may have a greater impact on your classroom than anything else. The guidebook for this video is available here.

You can learn more about Conscious Classroom Management, the LumiBook authored by Rick Smith, here.

Assume the Best - Classroom Management Rick Smith

Share out: What are some of your greatest concerns and successes about classroom management?

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School Turnaround Using A Vision of Culture and Consistency

Griffin High School’s Transformation

Schools that lack a unified culture can drastically affect students and teachers in a negative way. Without a structured and caring environment, students feel lost and unwanted. Without committed support, teachers can feel that they alone bear the burden of poor student achievement.

Keith Simmons faced these problems when he became principal of Griffin High School in Griffin, Georgia, in 2009. Watch this 5:44 video to see how, with a vision and culture of structure and consistency, students and staff at Griffin High School worked together to achieve a remarkable turnaround.

School Turnaround Keith Simmons Griffin High School Georgia

Share out: How has your school vision positively impacted students? Do you have any specific examples you would like to share?

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Personalized Learning in Action

Personalized Learning in Action

As you know, there’s a lot of conversation in the Edworld about implementing personalized learning. This 4:45 video from Charleston, South Carolina, is worth a thousand words. The guidebook for the video is available here.

Personalized Learning Students

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Share out: What are your expectations and hesitations with implementing personalized learning?

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Classroom Video and Review Tools

Magic Engagement: Classroom Video and Review Tools

Schools and districts around the country are discovering that personalized learning helps increase their students’ engagement and achievement. So how does personalized learning work for teachers and their PD?

In Georgia’s Newton County Schools, one technology tool is making a big difference. Teachers film themselves teaching and upload the video to the Edivate Review tool. Their colleagues around the district—in particular, those teaching the same course at their own schools—can then write feedback about specific moments in the video.

Edivate Review works, according to district leaders, because teachers get prompt, specific feedback from colleagues, and also because the teachers themselves are driving it (their participation is voluntary). In the words of one administrator,

It’s really a good thing when teachers latch on to ideas like this and they grow it themselves. So you have teachers telling other teachers about how great this tool is. It’s not…the district office coming down from on high to tell them that they must do something.

Watch this 6:38 video above to learn more.

Share out: Would this technology solution increase your teachers’ engagement with their PD? If not, how could it be adapted to meet their needs preferences?

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Thinking Hats for Teaching Critical Thinking Skills

Is This the Holy Grail of Student Facial Expressions?

Thinking Tools for “A-ha” Moments

For educators, is there a more anticipated and rewarding moment than this?

the aha moment

This girl attends a school in the UK that has adopted the Thinking Schools program. (Learn more about Thinking Schools here.)

One of the central strategies that Thinking Schools use to promote higher-order thinking is a technique called “Thinking Hats.” Our 4:51 video above explains how the Thinking Hats technique helps students analyze situations using a range of cognitive and emotional skills, such as gathering information, identifying pros and cons, reporting feelings, and seeking creative explanations.

Students who practice discussing issues from the perspective of various Thinking Hats develop critical thinking strategies that can serve them in the classroom—as evident in the pictures above—and for the rest of their lives.

Download the guidebook for the video here.

 

Teach us: How do you challenge students to reframe their perspectives on the problems they encounter? Add your thoughts in the comments section below.

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End the Year with Project-Based Learning

End the Year with Project-Based Learning

With state tests over, assessment work all turned in, and the sun shining, it’s hard for students to stay in the classroom for the last couple weeks of school.

End-of-year projects can help. They offer students a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment than videos and word searches, but they too run the risk of being disengagingly fluffy. Creating a scavenger hunt or building an obstacle course might not feed students’ hunger for new experiences or prime them to keep exploring and learning over the break.

Fortify your end-of-year activities with project-based learning (PBL). This PBL overview video outlines what is needed for a great project. Even if you don’t have the same resources as the schools highlighted in the video, you can still enhance any project by applying PBL principles.

Download the guidebook for this video here.

Teach us: What activities do your students enjoy most at the end of the school year?

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Supporting the Challenge of Growth

Supporting the Challenge of Growth

Thank you, teachers, for another school year. Thanks for challenging your students, watching over them as they struggled, and encouraging them to keep at it until they reached success.

As you probably know, your students watched as you struggled. They observed you keenly as a role model for how they should face their own challenges and setbacks.

This video is only 1:40, but it’s a powerful tribute to teachers who nail the big life lessons their students need: You will struggle, but you can do this. I’m behind you, and so are your peers. The brief conversation between these two students says it all.

You can download the guidebook for this video here.

Teach us: What rituals or final lessons do you end the school year with in your classroom?

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Classroom Meetings Eight Building Blocks for Success

Classroom Meetings Eight Building Blocks for Success

Classroom meetings have been around for a long time—as you can tell by this video above!

So the question is: how relevant are they in today’s schools?

Educational approaches come and go, especially those associated with the “traditional” model. Which strategies stand both the test of time and the shift from schooling in an industrial-based to a knowledge-based economy?

As more teachers and schools create increasingly personalized, learner-centered environments, the need for student self-management and responsibility increases. Can a classroom democratized by choice and voice regarding curriculum, pacing, and even workspaces be governed by a teacher-centric approach?

Classroom meetings may well be more relevant today than when this video was filmed. (Anyone want to try guessing the year?)

Apart from its entertainment value and throwback to 4:3 aspect ratio, the video outlines eight “building blocks” of effective class meetings. If you’ve never done a class meeting before, the end of the school year might be the perfect opportunity to take half an hour and give one a try. More information can be found in the guidebook to this segment.

Teach us: What old-school, tried-and-true learning do you stand by? Let us know by commenting.

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