Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Revolutionizing Education through NPR

Over break I'm taking some time to Build capacity.  To find ways to plant seeds of ideas so that when I return to the educational system I can find ways to improve our systems.

I had a chance to listen to the TED Radio hour.  This is a new show on NPR that takes a TED talk and combines it with dialog and conversation.

This radio show with Sir Ken Robinson is where he gets a chance to expand on his famous TED talk on how Schools are killing creativity.  Awesome stuff!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What am I to do?

In the wake of the Newtown shootings I've been in a state of unrest.  Much like the rest of the educators in the world I'm sure.  

Today's homily at my church (link coming soon) gave me focus.  The topic being, "What is mine to do?"

In light of the recent upheaval I feel it's time to think, reflect and refocus.  What am I to do in light of such a horrific tragedy?

I am to:

  • cherish every moment with ever student. Especially the tough moments.

  • care deeply about ever student. Go beyond the surface.

  • provide the best opportunity, using the talents I am given, to learn, grow, and share.

  • provide safety and security at all times.

  • provide a shoulder to lean on when a student or colleague needs it.

  • leave every day having done everything I can for every person I meet.

  • meet every day with a "YES!" and provide that same answer when asked if I can help.

  • build strong relationships with students.

  • build strong relationships with parents.

  • realize the curriculum is important, but more important is the time I spend with each of my students and colleagues.

  • ensure that my classroom is a place where teachers/students can take risks, learn from mistakes, and develop their passion.

  • share my passion with my students and colleagues.

  • approach life with love, everyday.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Check Yo'Self Before You Wreck Yourself!

Our district is continuing it's look at Marzano's Art and Science of Teaching.  This post is a look at Chapter 7 entitled:  What will I do to recognize and acknowledge adherence and lack of adherence to classroom rules and procedures?

The more schools I walk through the more I see "respect," "honesty," and "perseverance" posters and hallways.  I always laugh at these posters simply because what do they really do?  Do students look at them and think: "You know what, I was going to give up, but now that I saw that poster.  I'm going to try my best."  No, that never happens.  The posters the PBIS programs, all those things don't mean near as much as effective classroom management and supervision.

All of the suggestions given in Marzano's chapter 7 depend on one thing.  They depend on the teacher's ability to build strong, lasting relationships with students.  If students know you care about them, then the following strategies will work for your room.  If you don't care about them, none of these will work.

The BEST thing in this chapter is the very last action step:

Design an Overall Plan for Disciplinary Problems.

This action step asks teachers to design a predetermined plan for how you will deal with typical classroom behaviors, both when there is a disruption and when every things goes as planned.  WHat will you do?!

Plan for it, as the saying goes:
"If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail."

Here are the rest of the takeaways from the chapter:

  • Students adherence to classroom rules should be recognized and acknowledged
  • Reinforcement - straight positive consequences
  • Punishment - negative consequences
  • no immediate consequences - as it says
  • punishment and reinforcement - combination of consequences both positive and negative
  • Data shows that interventions reduce disruptive behavior work in public schools
  • Teachers should seek a healthy balance in rewards and punishment
  • Don't reward people for doing the things they are suppose to do
  • Don't let students focus on the reward
  • Rewards and punishment should BOTH enhance student learning.
  • Token economies are a way to rate and reward positive behavior
  • Teacher reaction can be an intervention
  • "Withitness" is used to describe the teacher that knows what's happening in ALL parts of the room.
  • Notes to Parents that can include email or phone calls work to celebrate success and to redirect poor behavior
  • Drastic situations and interventions can include a teacher and parent conversation.  
    • Consider taking it to their house at night.  
    • That'll redirect the behavior or give you, the teacher, a better perspective on why a behavior is happening.
  • Tangible recognition is any recognition of student adherence to rules and procedures
  • Color coding behavior is typical in elementary schools.  Use a card on the desk to note student performance.
  • Be Proactive - know if something is going on and head situations off before they happen
  • Occupy the Room - Walk around, make eye contact, get to every student, every day!
  • Notice potential problems - Like being proactive, head them off before they happen.
  • Use a series of gradual actions
    • Notice the problem
    • Look at the students
    • Move closer
    • speak directly to/at them
  • Use group contingency - "We're all in this together"
  • Recognize when a student is out of control
    • Step back
    • Calm yourself
    • Listen actively
    • Calm student
    • Repeat simple requests
    • isolate the student from the room