CCTI Newsletter:February/March 2020

Reflection, Rejuvination, and Renewal

Celebrating Continued Success and Forward Movement!

Welcome to our February/March Newsletter!

This edition focuses on teacher reflection, rejuvination, and renewal. In doing so, we will explore learner viewpoints, classrooom designe, and organization skills.

As you read, view, and listen, take inventory of your successes as a springboard into building both professional and learner growth.

Continue to be an explorer in your personal teaching journey; reflect as you move past the first half of the year into a new semester, or second half. This may translate into new students and/or curriulum changes for some, and still different elements of change for others. Remember, change creates opportunity.

Know, as you continue on this journey, we are proud of this milestone reached!

Please find resources with which to reflect, refine, or develop strategies in your partnerships with learners. Remember to keep using your teaching journals/logs as a reflection tool.

Here is our contact information:

Ms. Lisa Sonricker, Program Director, ; Durham Cohort

Ms. Dana Stutzman, Office & Communication Manager,

Ms. Kathy Saunders, Program Developer & Facilitator, ; Wake Cohort

Dr. Morghan Bosch, EC Program Develop & Facilitator,

Mr. Ryan Logelin. Facilitator; Johnston Cohort

Please let us know how we can support!

Lisa, Dana, Kathy, Morghan, and Ryan

Coming Soon: Lesson Plan Design, Planning, and Implementation

Thursday, Feb. 6th, 8:30am-3:30pm

7208 Falls of Neuse Road

Raleigh, NC

Please make arrangements now for a substitute.

Details to be provided.

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." Aesop

There are times when I wonder what students really want from their teachers. We assume it is knowledge; we hope for positive relationships. I have to wonder about the little things, or gestures...

I came across this TED Talk last year and it still resonates with me. We say things like, "An apple a day." Make quippy comments like, "You like them apples?" Additionally, some still repeat the old addage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Aesop's quote, no matter how familiar, requires another look from a teacher lens. After watching this TED Talk, you may never look at apples the same way again!

- Kathy Saunders

What makes a good teacher great? | Azul Terronez | TEDxSantoDomingo
Classroom Design Fosters Strong Relationships

Creating a community of learners takes time. A safe, welcoming classroom environment is a bridge to relationship-building and learning. As you welcome 2020, consider an update to engage the mind, hearts, and needs of your learners.

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Change Scenery to Create Better Learning- Starr Sackstein

The element of surprise is not lost on adolescents. Although consistency is tremendously important, sometimes a teacher has to throw a curve, just to spice things up.

Often, when things grow stagnant in a class, there are things a teacher can do to spark the chemistry. One of those things is rearranging the room to suit specific projects or accommodate different learning styles.

Teachers no longer have to adhere to rows of one-armed bandits, to maintain order and space. Learning should be done in an inspired, collaborative space and the way we arrange the room can often dictate the tone.

Like teachers, students can grow complacent when comfortable and therefore doing a little extra to keep kids on their toes is a good thing.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Change the configuration of desks. The one shown in the picture is a horseshoe. The room was arranged like this for about two weeks while we were conducting student-led discussions about a novel. Students sat along the perimeter in order to create an atmosphere where we could all see each other and speak on an equal plane. When a teacher's desk is at the front of the room, it communicates control subconsciously. Conversations shouldn't have one leader who is more important than anyone else, they should promote open ideas.

  • Change the groups. Try putting the names of students you placed on a post-it or cards like seating cards at a party. Let the kids find their seats when they come in. Of course, the groups should be selected intentionally.

  • Design a new bulletin board that celebrates student learning. Create a competition among the kids to design the bulletin board that shows off the amazing learning that is going on in the space.

  • Change the decorations in the room. Change the decor regularly. Have student work as well as other text-rich posters changing. So there is always something new to notice. Make the space about the kids. Let the room be evidence of their learning.

  • Get the kids involved. When it comes time to shift the space, ask the kids what they want from time to time. Where do they want to sit? Can they sit on the floor? Why not? Ask them the create posters for the walls. Give them space to design an area of the room to take ownership of.

Keep reading here:

14 Ways to Brighten Your Classroom During the Winter Months

1. Let your lights shine.

Credit: Jalen McKee-Rodriguez/Facebook

Teachers love string lights as classroom decorations! They add cheer to dim corners that the sun just can’t reach. Here are a few worth trying:

  • Color Changing Globe Lights: This set has 8 colors that can be changed with the click of a remote, setting a different mood in an instant.
  • Twinkle Star Lights: Up above the classroom so high, like little diamonds in the sky!
  • Photo String Lights: The light-up clips on this string will highlight the photos or star assignments you hang.

2. Fill the room with plants.

Outdoors, the leaves may be gone and the grass may be brown (or covered in snow). Indoors, you can have a thriving year-round garden! Check out the 5 Best Plants for Your Classroom, guaranteed to succeed even if you have a brown thumb. Still too much trouble? Pick up a cheap bouquet of flowers at the grocery store once a week and keep them on your desk.

Keep reading here:

How to Empower Students and Reduce Workload

"Why do I feel a need to control everything in our learning space? What is holding me back from allowing students to take responsibility for their own learning?" Often, we get in our own way, refusing to relinquish control in fear of...

“As professionals, it’s a good idea to have a working knowledge of the philosophies and best practices in other subject areas, and a lot of times learning about these things ends up informing our own work in ways we never expected.”-Jennifer Gonzales

How World Language Teaching Has Evolved

“I took French for three years, but I can’t speak any French.” Some version of this is expressed by so many of us who took a language class in school. The lack of connection between school-based language classes and actually learning how to speak that language seems to be something we’ve just accepted.

This is probably due to the way languages have traditionally been taught: Lots of vocabulary and book work, verb conjugations, occasional bite-sized “culture” studies, and scripted dialogues that don’t give students much real-life practice using the language in real situations.

But if you stopped by a world language class today, you might be surprised to find that a lot of those traditional practices are disappearing: Textbooks are being replaced with more authentic resources, culture is integrated in a more organic way across all activities, and there’s a much bigger emphasis on helping kids learn to actually communicate in the whole language, rather than just master parts of it.

I first became aware of these shifts when I met Rebecca Blouwolff, a French teacher in Boston who interviewed me for the We Teach Languages podcast this past spring. Getting to know Rebecca, I could see how excited she was about some of the changes she’d made to her practice in recent years, and she mentioned how different things were getting across the board in the world language teaching community.

Continue reading here:


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We See You!

Congratulations! You are moving into the rejuvination cycle and toward reflection.

Take the time to write in your journals so you can grow from your strengths and challenges in this important year in your career. Some of the best classroom moments come from the first year, as well as the meaningful lessons from which to grow.

Remember to embrace self-care, ask questions, and embrace the journey. Consider your ideas and strategies for lesson design. What worked and what didn't? Ask yourself if perhaps you need to give that good idea another try, or fine-tune with an adjustment to match the unique personality of your class, or specific learners.

Celebrate your accomplishments and set goals for the future. Make a list of what you learned this year and embrace a growth mindset.

Journal Suggestions:

1-Write out your six-word memoir for this year and set an annual tradition.

2-Scribe a moment that surprised you in a positive way.

3-Review a goal from earlier this year and track your progress toward it.

4-Consider how you learned from students this year.

Thank you for making the days count. Your impact is great, and yet unknown for some.

We see you!

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