Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How my teaching has changed since Standards Based Grading...

When I first started teaching high school chemistry all I had was a textbook and a mentor. I was instructed to follow my mentor’s lesson plans and just do what he did. We used the textbook as gospel. We taught exactly what was in the textbook, in the exact order it was written, with very few exceptions. We labored the students with worksheets and problems from the textbook. Even our tests were copied straight from the resources provided. After a few years of textbook adoptions and curriculum changes as a result it became clear to me that the textbook was almighty and whatever it says, goes.

At the time I began teaching in Kirkwood I was enrolled in a class called Curriculum Analysis and Design. This is where I learned about “Backwards Design” by Wiggins and McTighe. This helped me begin to write learning goals for each of my units. These goals were my way of informing students of what they were going to learn, how they were going to learn it, and exactly how they were going to be evaluated. After many years of revising, our sixth-grade science curriculum is now sound, created through backwards design and supported by various textbooks and resources.

We use our GLEs to write learning goals and accompanying scoring guides. We evaluate students using these scoring guides in a standards based environment. We use the learning goals to write our assessments. Our assessments drove us to adopt resources and textbooks. These resources and textbooks led us to develop daily laboratories and activities to support student learning. The process of developing, revising, and communicating the curriculum never ends for us. With the support of our science facilitator and compassionate sixth grade science teachers we have created an excellent curriculum and have impacted student learning and achievement.

Every day I use the learning goals we created as a “look for” in my classroom. A look for is a guiding statement that focuses my attention on what students are learning each day. I carry a class roster with the unit’s learning goals at the top with me every day. I take diagnostic data on my students, give feedback, and document that information into an un-weighted category in my grade book. This way I can keep track of student progress, help students who need it, and challenge those who have already met the standard. I evaluate each student using the scoring guide designed for that goal. This allows me to ensure that each student is achieving the learning goals set forth by our curriculum and by the state of Missouri. Since this data correlates with the GLEs, we can also correlate performance to our end-of-unit exams, and further onto the MAP assessment.

As Stephen Covey wrote in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “to begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination.” The learning goals are my destination and my students know that. The design of the curriculum has made me a better teacher by allowing me to ensure that every day my lesson has a goal. Students are being evaluated and are receiving feedback every class based on their performance on a measurable objective. Learning goals are a great way to keep me organized and to keep students focused on achievement each day. I’m happy to say that the students in my classroom are better off today because of these changes and I’m excited about where we are headed as a 6th grade science department.

Check out my website to see what we do (http://www.kirkwoodschools.org/faculty/mcgeech/), and soon you can check out our 6th grade science Moodle page to see all of our curriculum materials.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Fred Factor

How do I sum up the Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn? Great book, quick read and inspiring. Fred is a postal worker that does a common job of delivering the mail in an uncommon way. He does it by caring for the individual making the best situation as possible and caring for not the customer but also treating them as their friends, possibly even better than friends, as family. A lot of today’s service industry have lost the need to actually service their customers. In education our customers are our students. Our efforts should be more about what can us as teachers do to help our students succeed and keep our parents plugged in to our school system. If I learned nothing from this book I learned that it’s not about how much time to have with a student, a parent or another person, it’s not about the time, its about the quality of the time you spend to help others. Taking the ordinary and making it extra ordinary. Check it out at www.fredfactor.com

1. Everyone makes a difference
• No unimportant jobs

2. Relationships matter
3. Create value in others…
• Outthink your competition
• The faster you try and solve a problem with money the less likely it will be the best solution
• We compete against our own potential every day

4. Reinvent yourself regularly p15

ch 3
Funny Fred - take risks and have fun
Generous Fred – you do the right thing, because it is the right thing

25 Becoming a FRED
29 a passion for significance
A living of making meaning
30 convert the job you have into the one you love not by doing a different job but by doing the one you have differently
People get ahead in life by learning something new
Success: having the most fun doing the best work

If you expect praise and recognition it will seldom come
Re establish the things you already
• Do the right thing for the right reason
• Possibilities are endless

34 Change the world every day
36 If you objective is to know more, notice more….
38 book vending machine
39 - 3 difference making strategies
• 1. Indentify when you can make a difference
• 2. Target people to whom you’; make a difference
• 3. Be the difference

42 - you add value to people when you value them – John C Maxwell

43 – all outcomes are created by and through relationships

45 – 7B’s of relationship building
• Be real
• Be interested
• Be empathetic
• Be helpful
• Be a better listener
• Be prompt

48 – careful on your balance of transactional interactions vs. relationship interactions

53 – How to be valuable
• Tell the truth
• Practice personality power – make average situations extraordinary
• Attract though artistry: add your own touch and creativity
• Meet the needs in advance don’t wait for the needs to arise
• Add good stuff
o Enjoyment
o Enthusiasm
o Humor
• Subtract Bad Stuff
o Waiting
o Enthusiasm
o Mistakes
o Irritation and frustration
o Misinformation
******* Work to solve a problem you didn’t create**********

• Simplify
• Improve
o HJ Heinz: To do the common thing uncommonly well
• Surprise others
• Entertain others

*******We pay more attention, learn faster and are more engaged when we’re entertained.

61 – All it takes to be a Fred is the ordinary ingredients of the hours and minutes of your day. The worth of those minutes is determines by how you use them…

62 the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth

Reinvent yourself regularly
63 grow yourself, grow your value – be a sponge of ideas

**** You increase in stature as you increase your mental, spiritual and physical capabilities.

65 Increase your IQ: Implementation Quotient
Do one extra ordinary thing a day
67 compete with yourself not others
69 – Bob Briner – former president of ProServe always asked, “How can I serve you?

71 have a Fred like employees at every level of your organization
Use the acronym FRED
F - Find
R - Reward
E - Educate
D – Demonstrate

FIND – how to find freds
• 1. Let them find you (read Dale Dauten – “The Gifted Boss”
• 2. Discover dormant freds
o Give people time to reveal their talents
o Someone who is inclined to make them
• 3. Hire Freds
81 – No man can become rich without himself enriching others – Andrew Carnegie

Simply acknowledge of worth raised his opinion of himself
When you don’t see much meaning in what you do you wont’ bring value to what you do.
85 – Reward strategy
• Make sure everyone knows their contribution is important
• Be specific on impact
• Make positive feedback a rule not and exception
• Create an award
• Get the leader on board

85 – Recognize, Reinforce, Repeat

1. Fins examples everywhere
a. Your interests focus your awareness
b. Make a Fred file of Fred like situations
2. Dissect and debrief
a. Identify specific god
b. Adapt the idea
c. Look for ways to improve
d. Identify opportunities to apply it
3. Teach miracle working
a. Practice daily miracle working, don’t wait for a crisis
4. Pull don’t push
a. Invite don’t demand
b. John Maxwell – You teach what you know you reproduce who you are.

94 - How do I demonstrate?
1. Inspire but don’t intimidate be the ordinary person doing something extraordinary
2. Involve: get a team
3. Initiate: don’t be afraid to be the first
a. Don’t do it for recognition do it to create participation
4. Improvise: the situation does not determine the outcome

Spread Fred
1. Recognize freds
2. Acknowledging freds (Nominate Freds at Fredfactor.com)
3. Pay freds back

1. Do good and you’ll feel good
2. Best never rest
3. Treat customers as friends
4. The impact you have on others I the reward
5. Live the golden rule
6. Fear nothing except to waste the moment

105 – whom do we remember?
o Live to serve others
o We are not impressed and affected not be what people have but by what they give, not by what the conquer but what they contribute

106 – have the love to do things for others have generosity of spirit to give of yourself

109 – Are you a Fred?
• Be aware: Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s blind
• Have an agenda of building relationships
• Attitude: have the attitude of why? Because I want to
• Take action
• Reflect: What did you accomplish?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Same old, Same old exciting presenatations

Being the Presenter or Coach:

Standing in front of a group and disseminating information is a part of life. Either you get the luxury (or pain) of being the person standing up front, or you are attending a function where someone else is speaking. Being a teacher and coach myself, I am constantly evaluating the speaker and developing new ways to give out information. I want to make the experience as memorable as possible. If I'm speaking, I want to make sure that what I'm saying is remembered by those in attendance. If I attend a workshop, I want to remember what I'm taught. Since I probably suffer from some attentional issues I need every presentation to be exciting, interesting, and memorable as possible. I try and do that every day in my classroom by introducing as many ways to deliver content as possible. Here are some cool tools I've found, comment on any you have found to add to this list:

Understanding the personality types of attendees as determined by the Myers Briggs Assessment: http://www.personalitypage.com/high-level.html

Understanding learning styles and Multiple intelligences: http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm

Using exciting tools like:

Interactive whiteboards: SMART
Streaming videos

What else have you used???

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Getting started..

Hey all,

I'm hoping to start this new blog on strategies linked to sports and successful teaching in and out of the classroom. Comment away, let's get it started!