Collaboration Corner

Encouraging growth through reflective practices (Feb. '16)

Twenty Ways in Twenty Days

February can be a tough month to stay motivated: the kids are getting cabin-fever, the sky is usually grey and filled with clouds, more rounds of testing occur, and spring break is just out of reach.

I think everyone can use a little bit of encouragement, motivation, and inspiration this time of year. It's hard to teach with that same passion you had in August (or last year, or a few years ago...). But how can you summon the energy to teach with passion when there are so.many.distractions from what really matters?

In her new book Unshakeable, Angela Watson identifies 20 strategies to enjoy teaching on a daily basis. During the month of February, I'll be sharing one strategy a day with all of you through my Google Classroom page. My hope is that it's a little something each day to help remind you what makes teaching inherently rewarding and enjoy your work every matter what.

Instructional Tip

In last month's newsletter, I shared some strategies for increasing your students' reading stamina. I want to continue that theme this month by sharing a "Stamina Checklist" you can use to help students become more self-aware of their stamina in any independent work. It uses goal-setting, prioritizing, self-regulation, and strategies...focus on one strategy on the list at a time!

Stamina Checklist

When students are halfway through independent work, have them self-assess using criteria such as these:

  • Yesterday I focused for ____ minutes, and today I can focus for ____minutes. (goal setting)
  • Before reaching out for help, I have tried to figure out what is confusing me. (strategy)
  • I created a "daily planner" for the work I need to accomplish today. (goal setting)
  • I did the most difficult part of the work first. (prioritizing)
  • I identified when I started daydreaming and brought myself back on task. (regulation self-talks)
  • I focused on the work despite distractions. (self-regulation)
  • If I got tired, I worked on a different part of the task to give myself a break. (strategy)

Plickers, Cont'd

Many of you have heard of and/or used the technology tool called Plickers. For those of you who haven't, a summary is below (read the entire article here

But for those of you who HAVE, there's a new twist: Plickers made even easier with task cards! Until recently, the biggest problem with Plickers was that you had to manually enter every question you wanted to use. Now, they have added a feature that lets you upload a photo...and that includes task cards! Follow the link below to access a document that will take you step-by-step in how to do it!

Plickers is a free, totally innovative, web-based tool that combines the best of response clickers and QR codes. The program makes it easy for a teacher to get student feedback almost instantly, and the only technology needed is a single classroom computer and a single mobile device. Kids love it, too!

How Plickers Works
Plickers works somewhat like traditional handheld clicker systems. Students respond to multiple choice questions by clicking the letter of the correct answer, and the resulting data is immediately displayed for the teacher. But here's where Plickers is different. Plickers eliminates the need for expensive clickers by using paper clickers, or “Plickers,” that work like QR codes. Each student is assigned a Plickers card with a unique pattern, and he or she uses the same personal response card all year to answer questions posed by the teacher. After a question is presented, the students respond by holding up their cards, and the teacher scans the cards with a mobile device. The results appear instantly for the teacher to view.

Tech Tip

TeenTribune, TweenTribune, and TTJunior (hereinafter collectively referred to as "TTribune") is a free online educational service offered by the Smithsonian for use by K-12 grade Teachers and students. TTribune consists of daily news sites for kids, tweens, and teens, and includes text, photos, graphics, and audio and/or video materials prepared by the Smithsonian and others about current events, history, art, culture and science. TTribune also includes lessons, instructional and assessment tools, and opportunities for the registered users to communicate with other participants. TTribune is a moderated comment sharing community where registered Teachers can assign educational content (like news stories) to students and the students using a screen name have the ability to create comments which, if approved by their Teacher, are then published either to the other students within the Teacher's TTribune classroom page, or publicly on TTribune.

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Where's the Coach?

February 1-4: WRE

February 5-11: MME

February 12-18: WRE

February 19-25: MME

Need the Coach?

...simply shoot me an email or grab me in the hallway! :-) There is not an official "coaching calendar" to request a session. Just let me know a few good days and times, and I'll get something scheduled! *NEW* I have added a calendar of my weekly scheduled appointments to the Google Classroom page, so you can see what times I have available!

Also, if your grade-level team would ever like to meet with me during a technology or grade-level IIB time, let me know as well!

If you need resources or support for your EDG goals, please let me know!

Contact Me

Feel free to call or email anytime, even if I'm not in the building! :-)

ext. 1731 (MME)

ext. 1525 (WRE)