Coaching Corner

Volume 2 / Issue 2: Learner

The 21st Century Educator

This year I will be focusing on the 10 essential characteristics of a 21st Century Educator (thank you, George Couros).

For this Coaching Corner we will be focusing on being a Learner.

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We need to critically think about them, and ask questions to move forward, but we need to model the same openness to learning and change that we expect from our students. - George Couros


By: George Couros

The only constant that we can count on education is change. We know that this is true. You could have been an amazing educator 10 years ago, but if you have changed nothing since then, you could become irrelevant. As the world continuously moves forward, if you stand still, you are ultimately falling behind. This doesn’t mean that some things in education don’t stay true forever. We do not have to change everything, but we need to continuously evaluate our practices and the impact on students to grow and get better. New resources and initiatives will always be part of education, and we need to critically think about them, and ask questions to move forward, but we need to model the same openness to learning and change that we expect from our students.

Taken from: The Principal of Change by George Couros

Learner: Social Media

As we go throughout our day, it is really hard to find new ways to stay fresh and current with education. I am constantly trying to find new ways to innovate and refine. I often jump on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for new ideas.

Twitter: Lately I have been enjoying #weareTUSD. I get inspired by other teachers in our district. When I see something I want to try I can tweet them or look it up myself.

Facebook: I follow The Reading and Writing Strategies Book Community. Here you can gain insight from Jennifer Serravallo herself, ask questions, or learn from the many educators a part of the community.

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Learner in Science: Flipgrid, Laura the Explorer

Part of being a 21st Century learner is connecting to students all throughout the world. One easy way to do this is by doing Flipgrid discussions. Have your students participate in this Flipgrid on Nature.

Our first Flipgrid Explorer, Laura the Explorer, is back! But, instead of chilling out down in Antarctica, Laura is heating things up in Panama! During this explorer series, Laura will guide your students on an exploration of nature and the world around us!

Head over to Laura's Grid now and have your students join the Pre-Discussion Topic: What's something that confuses you about nature? Then, join us Monday, November 6th, and send your students off on an adventure. In addition to sharing exciting observations from her research in Panama, Laura will help your students design and execute an individual experiment to share with their fellow peers on the Grid. Over the course of this two-week Explorer Series, we'll have five Topics for you and your students:

  • Pre-Discussion, October 30: What's something that confuses you about nature?
  • Laura's Adventure Journal, November 6-17: Here Laura will share her exploration around Panama!
  • Research Hypothesis, November 6-10: If you haven't heard of a "hypothesis" check out Laura's intro video! Then, when you're ready, share a hypothesis that you want to test next week.
  • Exploration Discovery, November 13-17: This week, find a time to test your hypothesis by exploring the nature in your backyard. Once you're done, share your discovery here!
  • Q & A, November 6-17: Share your questions with Laura! She'll have intermittent connection but will try to answer as many questions as she can!

Please email and let us know if you plan on participating!

Join the discussion now:

About Laura the Explorer:

Laura is a Candidate for Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology at Northeastern University. She first got on the Grid last fall while studying in Antarctica. She just left Friday Harbor and is now is studying down in Panama. In addition to being a Flipgrid Explorer, Laura is a STEMinistas Mentor (a science club for girls) who inspires middle school girls with coaching and experiments.

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Learner in ELD: Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way for students to listen rather than watch a video. This is a great way for students to practice their listening.

Check out Common Sense Media's: 20 Podcasts for Kids

Use a Google Form to share the link to the podcast and then record what they learned about the podcast. This hits both Listening and Speaking in ELD.

Click here to make a copy of the Google Form below.

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Learner in Math: 3 Act Math Tasks

Foster a love for learning in math by implementing 3 Act Math Tasks. Dan Meyer's video above really brings home why today's math class needs a makeover.

Check out these resources to get started with 3 Act Math Tasks

Dan Meyer: Three Acts of a Mathematical Story

Build Mathematical Mindsets: Rick Mathematical Tasks

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Learner in Writers Workshop: Digital Storytelling

By: Kristy Andre

Digital Storytelling is a great way for students to bring their stories to life.

For two years, I taught in Cape Town, South Africa. My students, who were from townships right outside Cape Flats, had the opportunity to attend a boarding academy, which was a safer environment than other nearby schools. Most of them had not been exposed to much technology, and because their first language was Xhosa, English was often a struggle. But I wanted to get them excited about writing. Enter digital storytelling.

Using digital media, such as audio, images and video, to tell a story was an exciting learning process for both my students and me. We had only eight computers for 36 kids, and it was messy. It took about a month to really do it right. But along the way, my students became completely engaged in the process as they used skills high on Bloom’s Taxonomy, learned some valuable tech tips and discovered a lot about themselves.

The theme for our first project was finding treasure. I brought in a treasure box with fake gold coins and necklaces and asked them to write a story about looking for it, which they would then turn into a movie.

Click here for the full article on ISTE.

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MindShift: Five Ways to Bring Innovation Into the Classroom

By Tina Barseghian

Click here for the Full Article on MindShift.

For many schools across the country, today marks the first day of a new year. In addition to thinking about tools that help boost educators’ teaching practice, this moment might be a good time to pull back and think about some big-picture ideals, too. Here are a few to consider.


Nine Tenets of Passion-Based Learning. Educators who focus on integrating kids’ own interests and passions into the curriculum will see them flourish as learners. Educators can think about integrating such practices as showing relevance of what students are studying to life outside school, connecting with parents, and using digital media as a way to spark interests and spreading ideas.


Jumping Into the 21st Century. For both veteran educators and newbies, the temptation to stick to what’s acceptable and what’s been done is hard to overcome. Educator Shelley Wright talks about how she took the plunge and redesigned the entire structure of her teaching practice. Her goal? “Changing to a student-centered, skill-based, technology embedded classroom,” she says.


The Flip: Why I love It, How I Use It. Educator Shelley Wright shares why she’s decided to flip her classroom. “I don’t believe in assigning videos every night as a substitute for my own lecturing. To me, that’s simply the traditional classroom rearranged, not flipped. I use the flip when my students need to absorb a few chunks of new information to continue learning. I don’t use it to front-load information at the beginning of a unit. I think that can rob students of the experience of authentically building knowledge and skills as they encounter new concepts. I use flip time to create curiosity in my students.”

Keepin' It Real

Three-year-olds are innate learners. Micah is in the heart of the "why" stage and his current obsession is volcanos, well, lava. He daily says, "Mama, tell me about the lava again." Everything he does is a learning opportunity. At what age do we feel like this ends? And should it?

Kristy Andre

Kristy Andre, Ed.D. is an ISTE Emerging Leader (Class of 2014), Google for Education Certified Trainer, Apple Teacher, Tech Nerd, Instructional Coach.