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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Helping Students Find Passion and Purpose: Barbara Bray



Barbara Bray on episode 174 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Barbara Bray talks about personalizing learning in the classroom. She teaches us strategies and helps us think about how to make our classrooms better. (Note: There were so many great quotes in this show, I’ve made some graphics for you to share. Enjoy!)

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Helping Students Find Passion and Purpose: Barbara Bray

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2yZw3du
From Audio File: 174 Barbara Bray

Vicki: So today we are talking with Barbara Bray about finding our passion and purpose. Now we’ll put it in the show notes Barbara has her own podcast,“Conversations on Learning“ and I want you to check that out.So Barbara, we as educators, you know, sometimes it easy to kind of go, Why am I doing this?

How do we find our passion and purpose again?

What happens when you wake up one day and realize you need to find your passion and purpose again?

Barbara: Well, teaching is hard and teachers aren’t valued. And we have to figure out a way, or they have to figure out a way to find that passion again because as soon as you start expressing what you love, something happens. The kids get excited because you are modeling that passion for them. And when I see teachers do that it’s so exciting.

What if you’re scripted?

Vicki: Well, what happens when a teacher says I’m scripted, I can’t put my passion into the classroom.

Barbara: Well, I do a lot of coaching and I work with different organizations and districts where what we need to do is figure out, is that really going the way that’s going to help your kids? And so, I’m actually working in Georgia. So there is a coaching group where they go in the classroom and they work with the teacher to see where the gaps are. And see what’s going on, why can’t they go off the script.

Barbara: Sometimes teachers need a little nudge or need someone to model it for them. Kids need you to go off the script.

Vicki: So this is just so tough. If I was scripted, I couldn’t teach. I just wouldn’t do it. Because me and a script, we just wouldn’t go together. I kinda write my own but I just talk to lots of teachers who said, ”Vicki, I would love to do what you do, but nobody will let me“. And I guess, how do we either help them break out of the straight jacket or feel some empowerment, even within a script, where they can bring their passion and purpose?

How to connect and go off script safely

Barbara: I think what you do is when…if you really want to go and try something, take one lesson. Just one lesson. And look at a way you can give your kids some voice. And sometimes the way to do that is to open the conversations with them. And tell them that a little bit about why you are doing that and your own experiences, so they see you are vulnerable but you also had to learn in different ways. And sometimes, if we just stick to the script we don’t take the time to build those relationships. Sometimes you need one on one supports.

When you’ve lost your purpose

Vicki: Ok so we talked a little bit about passion. How about those teachers who say, ”This is not the same profession I got into, I don’t know if I have a purpose.“

Barbara: Well I think it’s time to find the purpose. Because, if you’re going to school and you are going through the motions – the kids know it too. So we have to figure out what we can do to bring the passion back so we can find or discover your purpose. If your purpose, most teachers go into make a difference in a child’s life. So how can we do that? And sometimes, a way to do that is to stop, take some time, and to really breath and rethink what you’re doing with your life. And so this is more competent coaching that takes you into your personal life and your professional life. I call it personal professional learning. How can you tie what you love with what you do?

Vicki: I love that. You know sometimes, I even have to remember and reflect. Because it is so easy to look at today that you forget that special things do happen when you bring your best and your passion.

Building relationships matters

Barbara: And kids want to know you and get to know you. It’s about those relationships. If outside of school you’re a rock climber and you’re taking risks and the kids don’t know that. What if you bring that in and just tell about what you do in your life? And then get them to talk about what they do and what they’re excited about. The conversations change in the classroom, it’s just not rote, following the script. It’s starting to be some fun. It’s just about those relationships.

Why do we lose our passion and purpose in the classroom?

Vicki: So Barbara what do you think the mistake is that teachers make that causes us teachers to lose our passion and purpose?

Barbara: I don’t think it’s the teachers. I think it’s the system. I think that we’ve been taught to follow orders or to be compliant ourselves. And the system is changing all over because we have to. The problem is that we are kinda caught into that compliance mode because we’re scared, we’re not sure what’s going to happen. So we have to look at the ability to build relationships with administrators who hopefully give us a little bit leeway, so we can take those risks and not feel that we are going to get in trouble.

Vicki: Well you know, this is a hard topic, Barbara. Because I think most teachers want to be passionate and want to have a purpose. We do. It’s just so easy to like…ants are a little thing here in the South but you get a whole bunch of bites and you just go running. And I don’t think it’s a big, huge attack of a dragon.I think it’s a thousand tiny ant bites sometimes that get teachers to forget.

Barbara: Well, maybe we need to…how do I … That’s an interesting metaphor. I don’t know if I want to bite that or….

Vicki: Go bite back – go for it

How to regain your purpose

Barbara: Well, I mean the idea of how do you eat an elephant, it’s a bite at a time. If you look at things really big you’ll never be able to tackle it. But if you take one little lesson or one activity and give the kids voice. Move the chairs around, try to figure out some other strategies so you can just kind of test the waters. And all of a sudden, if it doesn’t work you can ask the kids, what would work, what would you like to do differently? Get them involved more so there is voice in it. It really changes the whole culture in the classroom. And I think that’s a problem unless they experience it they don’t know.

Vicki: Yes, you know I think there’s power in rebooting and saying, Ok we are rebooting the classroom, even alpha, and beta testing. Saying, hey kids we’re gonna test something new today. I mean, doesn’t that just spark something?

Ask the students

Barbara: Oh yeah, especially if you ask them. I mean, no one has ever asked them. How do you like to learn? What would you like to learn today? Hey, let’s take everything off the walls. What if we start all over? And you help me design the classroom? Wow. I did that in a 6th-grade classroom in Oakland. The kids every day they said what if we want to change it more often and I said go for it. I mean it’s amazing what the kids want to do if you give them the opportunity. And they own it.

Yes, yes. Like, let’s do this together, this is not me doing everything and you sitting here. Learning is not a passive activity.

Barbara: And all the research shows that. And we know that. But we can’t let go because we are supposed to cover instead of uncover the learning. And I want them to figure out if they can just open up and uncover some of those gems that are inside and even go outside. Look at learning in a different way. Just try one or two activities. Something maybe you love.

Vicki: So give us a thirty-second pep talk about finding our passion and purpose.

How to find your passion and purpose again

Barbara: “Go with your strengths to find your passions so you discover your purpose“ and that was a quote I wrote almost fifteen years ago. It kinda goes with this a little bit. And when I wrote it, there was a principal in Ohio that said,“Could I put this on my gym wall?“ So it’s up on a gym wall somewhere in Ohio.

Vicki: So teachers, we need to find our passion and purpose. And you know to be fair, I’ve asked Barbara some hard questions. That’s just because you guys are asking me hard questions. And I feel those questions, but she’s totally right.

Take everything off the walls and reboot your classroom.

Let the kids be involved.

Talk to them about how they want to learn.

Try little things.

You don’t have to do huge big things.

But also, open yourself up and talk about your passions and what you’re doing on the weekend. Sometimes it really…believe it or not, it was a while before I talked to my students about what I did on Twitter and what I did outside the classroom. They think it’s kinda cool. And you’ve got some cool things too, so let’s really bring our passion and purpose back. And it starts with us bringing our passion and purpose as educators.

Bio as submitted


Barbara Bray is a creative learning strategist, author, writer, speaker, instructional designer, and coach who connects people and ideas around transforming education. She uses the design thinking process to facilitate moving to a culture of learning and redesigning learner-centered environments. Barbara is the co-author of Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning and co-founded Personalize Learning, LLC with Kathleen McClaskey. She is also the founder/owner of My eCoach (my-ecoach.com) that is based on a coaching platform for educators, and on her website Rethinking Learning (barbarabray.net), Barbara blogs and hosts her new podcast series Conversations on Learning with educators and change agents from around the world.

Blog:http://ift.tt/2yYv7WC

Twitter:https://twitter.com/bbray27

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Helping Students Find Passion and Purpose: Barbara Bray appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2yYJqul
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Teenage Bullying Story



Sarah Beeghley on episode 173 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Sarah Beeghley @the-geeky_girl has been called by a US Senator to tell her story as part of anti-bullying legislation. Hear her story or triumph and advice to teachers.

Today’s Sponsor: GradeCam lets you create assessments with formats including multiple choice, true/false, number grids, rubrics, and even handwritten numeric answers that can be read and scored by Aita – Gradecam’s Artificial Intelligence Teaching Assistant.Score assessments, generate reports, and transfer grades automatically. Work smarter instead of harder. Sign up for your 60-day free trial at http://ift.tt/2gzEf8G

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

A Teenage Bullying Story

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2yuUCvA
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vicki: Today we are talking to Sarah Beeghley about her battle against cyberbullying. And I do have to give a shout out to my good friend, Jim Beeghley, who works with my website and does so many amazing things to help the Cool Cat Teacher blog behind the scenes. But Sarah, I’ve interviewed you before, and we’ll certainly link to that. But tell us your most recent news about your work with Senator Casey.

Speaking about Anti-Bullying

Sarah: So, Senator Casey of Pennsylvania, is proposing an anti-bullying law. And I found out on Facebook actually, so I gave his office a call, saying like I’m supporting him, I’ve been bullied and cyber bullied before. And I get a call, last Monday saying that they want to use my stories and possibly use them for going to Congress and just all over Facebook and all over the internet.

Vicki: So, if you got called to Congress today, what would be the first story, if you only had one story to tell.

Sarah: If I could only tell one story, it would definitely be the story of when I was bullied and cyberbullied in middle school. This girl who I thought was my best friend, started calling me names behind my back. And next thing I know, it’s going online. And thankfully my parents got on my emails at that point, but she had posted a quiz. And this quiz had questions that were mainly directed towards me and all of them were really offensive and hurtful towards me and my integrity. And we had talked to the parents, and the parents didn’t really do anything. And then, we got the school involved because it didn’t stop, it continued. Name-calling online and name-calling when we were at school too. And she got three days of in school suspension and then she had to sit out for the basketball playoffs. That’s about her punishment.

We are Survivors, not Victims

Vicki: You know, it’s tough, and I know from being picked on. There were times, you know we didn’t really take about bullying back when I was in..that age. But it was very hurtful. There were times people would say things like,” You bring this on yourself. This is your fault.” Don’t you feel like that is still the case, sometimes people blame the person who is being bullied?

Sarah: I definitely feel as though that happens, but especially online. Because of what people post online, but it doesn’t always have to fall back on them, on the victim. It is the people who are bullying the victim that are the ones who are kind of putting it on the victim because they’re figuring out the worst.

Vicki: And I have a word that I would love for you to start using so…back when we had three tornados hit Camilla my hometown. And we were really struggling, and there were so many people impacted. We used the word tornado victims. And one of the people came in the psychologist and said,” Stop calling them victims. They’re tornado survivors.” Because that is…I think of empowerment. I’m not a victim. You’re not a victim. We have stood up for ourselves, and we have said this is just not something that is okay to do. Do you feel like you are a survivor or do you feel like you are still in victim mood and feel helpless?

Sarah: I definitely feel as though I am a survivor because I know how to get over situations. Different situations that don’t even involve bullying or cyberbullying, because of what I went through.

What mistakes did teachers make in Sarah’s situation?

Vicki: What are the mistakes that teachers make? That you can think of that teachers make when dealing with similar situations?

Sarah: The biggest one was that girls will be girls, and boys will be boys. And then turn the other cheek and don’t care. I didn’t have anybody to turn to. And I’m in college now and I’m going to be a teacher. One of the biggest things I’m gonna do for my future students is I want to be there for them. Because nobody was ever there for me. Like somebody could be going through this and they just need to have someone there for them.

Vicki: But honestly, your parents were there for you, and my parents were there for me. So, fortunately, we had parents. But we have to remember that not everybody has somebody. So, you think that if they had just listened and realized that you were serious.

Sarah: Yes. Things would have been….like punishments would have been a lot different but they didn’t realize that.

Vicki: But do you think punishments really help?

Sarah: I mean, the punishment that was given to the girl…like the worst part of my story…didn’t help her at all because she continued to do it. But now, at least in Pennsylvania, cyberbullying is a misdemeanor of the third degree. People can actually go to jail for it. And I read somewhere recently that the cyberbullying rates have dropped because of that law.

Research-based methods that work

Vicki: This is just a hard thing. So, Sarah, I’ll interject this here. The Olweus method of dealing with bullying, which is really empowering bystanders, is really the only research-based anti bullying method that I’ve seen. I’ve kinda been through that, but even then it basically teaches you that the best thing and the only thing that works is empowering bystanders. That’s so hard Sarah, don’t you think?

Sarah: Oh, it’s so hard because I know for a fact that my friends didn’t want to stand up or say anything because they were friends with the girl. And it’s almost like the bystanders have to pick and choose, and if they pick the wrong side they’re going to be called a snitch.

Vicki: Get called a snitch or feel like they’re next.

Sarah: Yeah.

Vicki: Being bullied is a very lonely thing. I just remember in my case, I lost all my friends, I had two and a fella in our class had a skiing party and he invited everybody but me. Those two friends went to him and said, “Oh, you need to invite Vicki” and said, “Well you can choose. You can either come to the party or be Vicki’s friend” and they chose the party. But I will tell you, I used to tell the good Lord I wouldn’t thank Him for it, but now I thank Him for it every day because it’s being used for great good. Even talking to you and understanding, you know, because Sarah, you will never forget, will you?

Sarah: No, because after this entire situation I’ve learned to trust in the Lord. I’ve learned to just be a bigger person. I’ve learned how to overcome different situations from the skills I’ve gained through being bullied.

Vicki: So, Sarah, how do you think about the fact that you may end up in Congress about this? Does that scare you?

Sarah: It scares me a little bit, but like I’m so excited. Because somebody is actually taking initiative for it. And it’s not just the state of Pennsylvania either. It’s across the United States.

Vicki: People care. So you find that really encouraging.

Sarah: Yes. Like I’m sitting here and I’m so excited.

Vicki: Well, you know, I’ll be following you because we have a backchannel, we connect all the time. Teachers, I just want you to hear Sarah’s view because this is a view from a student whose feelings are still pretty raw in feeling all of this. There are things that are being done. Take it seriously. It’s not boys will be boys or girls will be girls. And I will just tell you this. Just know that it’s a lonely thing. We used to call it being picked on. When you’re being picked on, it’s a lonely path even if you have your parents on your side. It’s hard. I cried everyday for five years. I don’t wish that on anybody. No child deserves that. None.

Bio as submitted


Sarah Beeghley, a college sophomore, has experienced cyberbullying her entire life. Now she is advocating for it in many different ways.

Blog: http://ift.tt/2gJpa2Q

Twitter: @the-geeky_girl

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post A Teenage Bullying Story appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2ywRY8S
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

K-6 Educational Music Videos: Selecting the Right Videos for Learning



Joanna and Matt Pace on episode 172 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Joanna and Matt Pace write videos on a popular YouTube channel, Hopscotch. Joanna is an elementary teacher and Matt is a songwriter from Las Vegas. Their 7 Continents song has almost 300K views. Today they talk about what makes a great learning video and how to select good videos on YouTube for K-6 students.

Today’s Sponsor: GradeCam lets you create assessments with formats including multiple choice, true/false, number grids, rubrics, and even handwritten numeric answers that can be read and scored by Aita – Gradecam’s Artificial Intelligence Teaching Assistant.Score assessments, generate reports, and transfer grades automatically. Work smarter instead of harder. Sign up for your 60-day free trial at http://ift.tt/2gzEf8G

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

K-6 Educational Music Videos: Selecting the Right Videos for Learning

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2xJOq0Y
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vicki: Today we are talking to Joanna and Matt Pace. So this is really a unique couple – they have a great YouTube channel for K-6 – lots of free resources. Now Joanna, you are a 2nd-grade teacher. And I’m guessing that part of this is your desire to help kids remember. How do we help kids that age remember things?

How do we help kids remember?

Joanna: Well, that’s a great question. I think that most kids learn in different ways. And in my classroom, we try a lot of different things. And some of those include movement and repetition. Music is a great way to take both of those – as they are repeating things over and over and attitude. So, for different kids, some are more powerful than others, but we have noticed (at least in our classroom and my experience with my team members) music helps almost all kids to learn and remember things.

How did you get started?

Vicki: So, what happened Joanna? Did you go home and say, “Write me some music, Matt because you’re the composer?” What happened?

Joanna: That’s exactly what happened! I will look online, I look in stories to see what I can find to help teach concepts that my students are struggling with. And at the end of the day, sometimes I really can’t find things that meet our needs. So, I say, “Matt, you’re awesome at writing a song! Can you please take your skills and make up for what I lack in teaching sometimes?”

Vicki: So, Matt, I was looking at your Continent song. And we’ll post that in the show notes. You’ve got over a hundred thousand people who have seen that particular one. How do you write an engaging song about the continents?

How they wrote the 7 Continent Song

Matt: Well, that one we started off just talking about the key points – what we wanted the kids to get out of the song. And so after we had figured all of that out, then I had to work my songwriter magic to make it rhyme, to make it have an appealing melody. One of the big aspects of a song that we want to keep, is keeping it really short. Because then you can repeat it and then you can remember it. The longer you go the less attention you have because and so trying to say that idea in as concise a way as you possibly can and still make it melodic and singable and rememberable.

Vicki: Matt, are you surprised with the response you are getting to your videos?

Matt: On one side, yes. I didn’t expect our third song that we released on YouTube to have that much of a response. But on the other side, we had seen lots of videos on YouTube that have .. were about similar subjects. Similar type things that were song animation that had so many views. We didn’t know why they had that many views. So people must have been in need of that content. No matter how high or low the quality of the video was, they were getting millions of views. So we figured, if we put something out there that is good quality, that’s educationally sound as well as musically sound then hopefully we’ll get the same response.

Vicki: Yes, because you know YouTube has a lot of great resources. But some things are just are being viewed that are not being made by educators, and I guess that’s the difference. You’ve kind of got a partnership of music and education. So Joanna, what’s the response of your own students to this music, knowing that you are involved?

Joanna: They love the fact that they can put a name to the music. But on the other hand they will beg to listen to it over and over again. They always ask for Mr. Pace to write them another song. Can Mr. Pace write us a song about this? So, it’s fun to see they are understanding the way that they are learning. And that they appreciate music as a learning tool.

Thoughts on memorization

Vicki: Does it bother you that we have so much memorization? I guess that just has to be part of it in the elementary grades?

Joanna: It’s a great question. There’s a lot of different parts going into learning. We hope with all memorization that students have a conceptual understanding before memorization takes place. For example, addition facts. We want them to understand what 1 + 2 means before they memorize it. But at a certain point, as they get further along in their academic careers, or their academic experience, we want automaticity so they can apply those concepts to 2 and 3 and 4 digit addition, subtraction, and eventually multiplication. So, I don’t know that every subject matter needs a song. But I certainly feel like it helps, especially with those students that are on the fringes. That maybe don’t have the same parental support or maybe struggle with some learning disabilities, or autism, or other social disabilities. So I feel like music has a place in the classroom and it is definitely underutilized.

How do we pick effective videos to help kids learn?

Vicki: But not all music is going to be educational or worthwhile. So, either of you can answer this question. When educators are selecting videos for their classrooms, do you think there is a common mistake that educators make when they pick those videos and maybe it doesn’t have the results they want?

Joanna: I would definitely say in my experience, because of the level of desperation and low-funding for educators a lot of times they will go with the cheapest option, not necessarily the best option. And sometimes, at least in our experiences, if we do our research before creating a song, we will – we’ll see a song that repeats the same melody over and over again, but with different lyrics. Which kind of waters down the effectiveness, because the kids get confused on what goes where. If they hear the same melody with different lyrics, I guess it is either…I don’t know if Matt could better explain that. But it definitely confuses them.

Vicki: Well, and Matt, aren’t there some copyright issues with what some people are posting because they are actually not original. You’re making original music, right?

Matt: Well, it depends on the song they are using. We’re going to try to do most of ours original music. One we have done so far was to an old tune that’s now in the public domain. So, people can use that tune however they want for commercial or noncommercial purposes. And that’s totally fine. It just depends on how long the song is. Or how long it’s been since the song was published or how long since the song’s author has died. A lot of the tunes use old folk tunes, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”, things like that. That’s totally fair game to use a melody for a learning song. Hopefully it is used well.

What mistakes do people make when writing videos for kids to learn?

Vicki: So Matt, a lot of educators are getting into writing music for learning. Do you think there is a common mistake that educators may make as they are creating music for learning?

Matt: Well, there are a lot of things that go into writing a song, and especially with such a specific purpose as we’re trying to do. I think one it has to be fun for the kids. If they are going to be engaged, if they’re going to want to use that as part of their learning it has to be a fun song. And the other thing, as I mentioned, concise, short and sweet, and obviously you want it to be correct.

Joanna: We also noticed some are just terrible to listen to. So having some quality in there doesn’t hurt.

Vicki: Well, we’ve gotten so many great tips. I know you want to check the show notes and you definitely want to check their [YouTube] channel, because they have lots more to come in this collaboration because it’s important to select the right videos for learning. I’m so excited, Joanna and Matt, to see you working together because I think that when educators and musicians collaborate that we are going to continue to see an increase in the quality of the videos we are using in our classrooms.

Matt: Absolutely

Bio as submitted


Joanna grew up as a military child overseas mainly in Europe. She studied Elementary and Early Childhood Education at BYU, and this will be her fifth year teaching. She married Matthew Pace, a songwriter from Las Vegas, in 2010. They love working together on various projects, including raising their baby boy whom they adopted last year.

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgM7EYFFz_dba0OIZs5L9kg

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post K-6 Educational Music Videos: Selecting the Right Videos for Learning appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2yu2qzI
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Things You Need to Know



Anne Collier on episode 169 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Anne Collier helps us understand the statistics on bullying and cyberbullying. We talk about targets, those who bully and how to respond when helping those embroiled in this situation. October is the month we work to take a stand against bullying, so this is a topic of emphasis this month for many of us.

stop bullying and cyberbullying (1)

Today’s Sponsor: WriQ from Texthelp is a new FREE Add-on for Google Docs that helps teachers easily assess student writing and track progress over time by automatically scoring students’ spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It also incorporates rubrics so teachers can provide meaningful, qualitative feedback to encourage the writing journey.
This handy free Google Docs add-on tracks things like: time spent writing, spelling-grammar-and punctuation error rates and pulls it into a clear graphical view in your teacher dashboard. To learn more about Wriq go to http://ift.tt/2y91EpU

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Things You Need to Know

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2kMsFwn

From Audio File: 169 Anne Collier @annecollier
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with my friend, Anne Collier @annecollier, about how we can reduce cyberbullying.

So, Anne, how bad is cyberbullying now?

Anne Collier

Current bullying and cyberbullying statistics

Ann: Well, I think that it’s really important to be clear that it’s far from the epidemic that we sometimes hear about in the news media.

There was a major update from the National Academy last year that looked at what’s really going on here. We do know that it’s still less of a problem than in-person bullying, that the range that the National Academy found for in-person school-based bullying is 18-31% of U.S. young people have experienced it or (been) affected by it. And for cyberbullying, it’s 7-15%.

So they looked at a whole range of research – lots of different studies – and that was the range of kids who were affected by it, in both cases.

Vicki: That’s still too many. I mean it’s… roughly 3 in 10 in face-to-face…

Ann: Yes.

Vicki: And almost 2 in 10 cyberbullying.

How do we help kids who are targets?

Some educators tend to just flip out and say, “Take away the phone! Take away the phone! Turn it off!”

What do we do that’s rational – that works?

Ann: Yeah. Well, that’s such an important question!

And it really isn’t as much about technology as it is about humanity. Right?

It’s a behavioral thing, and what we see on devices and on screens is kind of just sort of the tip of the iceberg. It’s just a freeze frame of what’s going on in a peer relationship, right, or a peer group.

Vicki: Right.

Ann: And usually it involves school, right, because most of kids’ waking hours and most of their social lives revolve around school.

So it’s really important for us to think about what’s going on with the kids. Taking away devices is – gosh – not even a band-aid, really. It doesn’t even really change the symptom. So we’ve got to work on the relationships instead.

The biggest mistakes educators can make when dealing with bullying

Vicki: You’ve worked with all kinds of organizations to combat this problem of bullying and cyberbullying.

When an educator is trusted enough by a kid or a parent to find out what’s happening, what is the worst thing that can we can do?

Ann: Overreact… Or try to take matter entirely into their own hands.

Because bullying and cyberbullying are about a loss of dignity and a loss of control from the child.

Vicki: (agrees)

Ann: Adults can really aggravate the problem by just trying to fix things themselves.

Vicki: Yeah.

Ann: So the most important thing we can do is know that every situation or case is as unique as the people involved. You’ve kind of got to get to the bottom of what’s going on among those people. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Vicki: Right. You know, one of the things that you and I have talked about before is that they used to say, “Stop, Block, and Tell.”

But I always say, “Stop, Screenshot, Block, and Tell.” Getting those screenshots is so important!

And once you block, sometimes you lose all that data… so you can’t say and show what’s happening.

Ann: Yeah. It’s really important to have some evidence if a child needs a screenshot, or needs to take a picture of a screen with another device, or whatever. Yeah, it’s good to have evidence. And it is good to tell and help kids that that’s not tattling. It’s about seeking help. And that’s really important.

What really helps the targets of bullying

They also tell us in research done actually with victims of bullying is that what helps them the most is to be really heard, to be really listened to. Whether that’s a peer, like a bystander being an upstander, or just a friend being a friend, or it’s an adult that they turn to. (It’s) that we really listen and kind of understand that it’s a process, that there isn’t as I said before a “quick fix.”

Vicki: You know, I lived it for five years. I know this. I know it! I don’t know what I would have done if my parents hadn’t listened because sometimes you have to go through it to get to it. You have to go through it to get to the solution. It’s not something you can wave a magic wand and fix, you know?

Ann: Yeah, and really listening to them and going through the process with them – rather than taking matters into our own hands – helps them see that they matter. It helps them get to hope. They see that they’re not alone and that this will pass. If we can help them with that, that is really going far toward really resolving the situation.

Vicki: So you’ve talked about, “Let’s not overreact.”

Let’s not think we can have a cookie-cutter approach, that everything is the same.

And to really listen.

Do you think there are some challenges that educators have as we deal with cyberbullying – and even bullying?

Educators can deal with these issues because it isn’t as much about technology as most educators think

Ann: I do. I think that very often — those of us who didn’t grow up with these technologies and media — think that this is a technology issue.

So we think that we’re unfamiliar with what’s involved, we’re not trained for this. And that’s simply not true because it’s a human thing more than it’s a technological thing.

We are trained. We do know how to work with kids. We do understand child development. We can use those tools and skill and that knowledge that we have to help our children.

How do we help children in the middle of a mass attack?

Vicki: How can you help when a child is in the middle of the situation, and it really is a mass bullying type of attack going on, and it feels like it’s everywhere. Like it feels like it’s on every social media platform, everywhere they go at school, and they don’t feel like there is an escape. What can we do to kind of take a little bit of the pressure off in that circumstance so that we can get through it?

I’ve been there, and I know how hard it is. If I couldn’t have gone home and petted my dog and been away from it, I don’t know how I would have made it — with social media and not being able to get away from it.

Ann: Well, I think we do need to shut down the devices sometimes. I think we need to help children kind of cut through that FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). They don’t like the drama any more than we do. There are always kids… I run a social media helpline for schools now, and what we’ve found is that most of the cases that come to us through school administrators come to the school administrators through the students themselves.

So there are always students who get sick of this crap and want to fix it and want it to go away.

We need to work with our students to make that happen. We can do that by reporting abuse in apps and services, and we can use them as our allies. Especially student leaders. I think we need to remember that there’s a digital component now to leadership and citizenship. Those students want to help, and so we need to look at those resources that we have… and work with them.

Vicki: So here’s the flip side of the coin…

I understand the – I’m not going to say “victim”. Victim is not the right word to use. I like to say, “survivor.”

Ann: (agrees)

Vicki: You know, you made it through. You lived it.

Ann: Yep, you were a target.

Vicki: Yeah.

OK, so Anne, let’s take a different approach for just a moment.

We’ve talked about the person who’s the target.

How do we help the parents of kids who are bullying understand?

Let’s talk about the kids who are doing this, and helping the parents of the children who are participating in this behavior to understand and handle it.

You know, a lot of times parents will make excuses and say, “Oh, kids are kids. This happened when I was (young). Bullying has been around forever. But they’re not really bullying. This is just what kids do.”

How do we help the children? The statistics of those who bully are actually scarier than being a target. If I had to pick, I would pick to be the target. Those who bully tend to really have some bad things happen in their lives.

But how do we help the parents of those who are participating in this behavior understand how to help their children not do this?

Ann: I don’t know if there’s a clear answer to that when the parents involved are determined to believe that their children are great, that their children don’t have a problem.

I think we see examples sometimes of parents who are bullying, themselves. They’re modeling that behavior for their kids. So they’re in denial about anybody victimizing anybody.

I don’t think there’s a clear answer or a blanket answer to that question. We’ve got to try to work with those parents as best we can, to the extent that they’re open to understanding what’s going on and the impacts on some of the kids – generalizing the situation a little bit, rather than blaming.

If we ourselves stay away from targeted blaming, then generally the conversation can open up a little bit. But we’ve got to test the waters, right? We have to understand where the parents are coming from, first, before we can have a calm, rational conversation.

Vicki: Yeah. And it’s tough.

So as we finish up, Anne, could you give us sort of a 30-second platform speech about the importance of actively working with this all year long?

We can’t just talk about bullying once a year: it is a year-long thing

I mean, October is Anti-Bullying Month. But we can’t pick up the mantle one month out of the year. It is something we have to live.

So could you kind of inspire us to help lead the charge with helping us focus on this topic all year long?

Ann: This really is something that we have to live. It’s about human relations. It is all year long and all life long, I think.

The research shows that the real solution — especially at the high school level when we really don’t know how to make bullying prevention work in grades 9-12 – that what the real solution really is positive school climate.

That’s a community-wide thing. That starts with helping teachers feel safe to keep classrooms safe places for students to learn and collaborate. So the whole school community has to be involved – not really just in bullying prevention, but in creating a school culture where everybody can thrive.

Vicki: And that’s so important.

So, educators, I do think it’s good for us to research this topic deeply, bring it back to the forefront of our mind – at least once a year so that we can read the latest research, read the latest information.

But we do also have to know that 3 in 10 kids? That’s unacceptable.

Almost 2 in 10? That’s unacceptable.

It is so many children in our schools. I just ask for you to please be part of the solution.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


Anne Collier is the founder and executive director of The Net Safety Collaborative, the national nonprofit organization that runs iCanHelpline.org, the U.S.’s new social media helpline for schools.

A youth advocate with more than 20 years’ experience researching, writing and speaking about young digital media users, Anne has served on three national task forces on Internet safety and currently serves on the Trust & Safety advisory boards of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Based with her family in the Seattle area, she blogs at NetFamilyNews.org.

Blog: http://ift.tt/1Edlhxg

Twitter: @annecollier

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Bullying and Cyberbullying: The Things You Need to Know appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2hEmWDE
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Google Masters For Kids of All Ages: Badges, Skills and More



Lee Ann Yonker on episode 168 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Lee Ann Yonker helped start the #MiniGoogleMasters movement in her school in K-3rd grade, demonstrating littles can be tech-savvy too! Now having moved to 5th grade, Mrs. Yonker is continuing her tech encouragement with the #MakingGoogleMasters. We talk about what students of all ages can do. She also shares her micro-credential badging approach that has her fifth graders excited to learn.

Today’s Sponsor: WriQ from Texthelp is a new FREE Add-on for Google Docs that helps teachers easily assess student writing and track progress over time by automatically scoring students’ spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It also incorporates rubrics so teachers can provide meaningful, qualitative feedback to encourage the writing journey.
This handy free Google Docs add-on tracks things like: time spent writing, spelling-grammar-and punctuation error rates and pulls it into a clear graphical view in your teacher dashboard. To learn more about Wriq go to http://ift.tt/2y91EpU

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Google Masters for Kids of All Ages

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2yExKgb
From Audio File: 168 Lee Ann Yonker @leeannyonker

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Lee Ann Yonker @leeannyonker. Now, she has taught Google from first grade up through fifth grade, and has a really fantastic program that she created. On Twitter it’s #MiniGoogleMasters for the younger kids and #MakingGoogleMasters for the older kids.

And we’re actually going to talk about what is realistic to expect that kids can do in Google, by age.

What can K-2 students be expected to do in Google Tools?

So, Lee Ann, let’s start with your #MiniGoogleMasters. What are the things that kids can master in G-suite, let’s say from kindergarten through second grade?

Using Google Tools to Help Improve Behavior and Increase Engagement

Lee Ann: Well, when we started this last year, it was started out of a place of necessity. I had a special education classroom, and I was the Gen Ed teacher. My co-teacher and I really needed something to help curb some of the behaviors that we were seeing.

We knew that engagement had to increase, and so in came our G-suite tools. We were inspired by Christine Pinto and the work that she had done with the #GAfEforLittles. We just started very slowly introducing our first graders to the G-suite apps. We started with Google Sheets, and it was right around this time of year.

  • Check out the interview with Christine Pinto on episode 142

Using Pixel Art in Google Sheets

We created a pixel art in Google Sheets and gave them an outline of a pumpkin. We showed them how to use the paint can tool to put color in the cells, and we told them to create a jack-o’-lantern. We just wanted them to get familiar with using those tools because we knew that we wanted to implement those into our math instruction and things like that later. And they took off! The things that they did just with that simple pumpkin was so amazing and impressive.

So, from there, we had our pixel art. For math we had kind of translated over into our hundreds chart pictures. You know the cool hundreds charts that you can color in and create those mysterious pictures. We transferred those over into Google Sheets as well.

So once we had our feet wet a little bit, and we got a taste of how that was curbing some of the behaviors in our classroom, we just started branching out and giving them more tastes of the G-suite apps.

Voice Typing in Google Docs

Working in Google Docs, the kids thought it was amazing to be able to see how they could type with their voice, using the Voice Typing tool. They could say what they wanted to type, and they would have a model so they could type it themselves. The independence level went through the roof.

Compound Words in Google Slides

We did the same thing in Google Slides. We were working in compound words, and one slide would have two pictures that would create a compound word. But they didn’t know how to spell the compound word. We showed them how to use the Voice Notes in the Speaker Notes to type the word. So, they could create their answer because it provided them that model for them.

The level of independence, and the kids being able to dig around and find tools. We had our little keywords, “Use your ‘mountain’ to insert pictures,” and “Use your ‘T’ if you want to type,” and things like that. Just fostering that independence and letting them go with it.

Telling them, “There’s nothing that you can break. You can’t do anything that we can’t go back and fix for you using our magic Undo button and our versioning histories of course.”

And the kids just blossomed with it, and we noticed that our behavior problems started to decrease because engagement was so much higher with them when they were using the G-Suite tools.

Words to use to teach younger students about G Suite

Vicki: So you’ve given us some words that you use because sometimes the challenge when we’re teaching –especially with younger kids – is the word. I like the magic Undo button.

Lee Ann: (laughs)

Vicki: And the “mountain” picture, and the “T” for typing. Are there any other words that you can give us for the younger kids before we move on?

Lee Ann: Of course all of those were keystones in our classroom. Of course, we talked about our line tool, how you can use that to create shapes and things like that. Just having those icons up there at the top of the toolbar as places for them to reference. They know that they can go there and kind of dig around, even if they weren’t really sure what they were looking for, they could go hunt in those places.

The day that they learned to copy and paste (laughs) was a magical day because they were able to use that Ctrl-C and the Ctrl-V. Even now, even in my fifth-grade class, I have that as an anchor chart in my classroom. It’s such a handy tool that even some adults don’t utilize to its full potential. Just having those shortcuts for them was super helpful.

What can third through sixth graders do with Gsuite?

Vicki: OK, so let’s look at third through sixth grades, #MakingGoogleMasters.

What are the things that this grade level can start doing that maybe the younger kids couldn’t?

Lee Ann: Moving from first grade last year to fifth grade this year, I knew that Google was going to be a cornerstone in my classroom. I was inspired this summer. I was at a conference, actually with my husband, and he is in the hotel business. Something sparked me. There were these bags that we had been given, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be so cool for the kids to earn pins or badges?” And I thought, you know I could buy pins, and give them little pins if they achieve a certain task or whatever in a G-suite tool. And then I thought, “No! How cool would it be for kids to have digital badges, the same way that we have (some) that are attached to our e-mails and things like that, for when we achieve our Google Certified Educators and things like that.

I went on the hunt, and I created – just using Google Drawings and Canva – these #MakingGoogleMaster badges. They’re very simple. They just have the G-suite icon, and it says “Sheets” and it has our hashtag at the bottom.

I was so inspired! “I have these great digital badges. Now what do I do with them?”

How Lee Ann creates and awards the badges in her Google Classroom

Well, I want my kids to become masters of these G-suite tools because we’re going to be using them in our classroom. The more familiar they are with them, the (more) higher order thinking we’re going to be able to do in class.

So what I decided was that I needed a way to track these. I found that Flippity.net plays beautifully with Sheets. I saw that they have a Badge Tracker, and I thought, “This is great!”

Then I also noticed that in their Badge Tracker they had this disclaimer that you can only use images from the internet. And I was like, “No! I have these great badges.”

So – simple fix? I went into my Google Drive. I filed and published it to the web so it was instantly a picture on the web, and then I was able add those into my Flippity.

So I created one for each of my fifth grade classrooms, and they know that in the About section of our Google Classroom, I have posted for them — in a sheet – links to all these different tasks.

Independent learning about Gsuite

So for early finishers, and I’ve even had kids work on this from home that’s how excited they are about it – they can go into the About section of our Google Classroom. They can access these different assessments (tasks for them to do) in each G-suite, and they can complete that.

They send me a notification (tag me in a comment or whatever within that document or slide or whatever it may be), and I can go approve that they’ve done the task or not. If they have, then I just go back to my Flippity sheet and I check them off that they have earned that badge.

And then, of course, we take a picture, and we Tweet it out, and they’re recognized in their Morning Meeting, and things like that.

lee ann yonkers google masters

So really just being able to develop familiarity with all of the G-suite tools, and then learning different tips and tricks… and the beauty of this is that they have the task, but no directions. They may have to go into a doc and create a table and format it a certain way, but I don’t tell them how to do it.

And so, so many different kids have completed this task, but there’s more than one avenue to get to something. Especially in the G-suite tools, they might know keyboard shortcuts, or they might find it in their toolbars.

Just them learning how to use all these G-suite apps has opened the door for us to do so many more things in our classroom because they have that knowledge of the apps and how they work and shortcuts and things that they can do within them.

Vicki: This is really almost micro-credentials in some ways.

Mistakes Lee Ann says not to make when implementing Google Classroom

So, Lee Ann, is there any mistake that you have made that you would love to warn everybody about so that they don’t make it?

Lee Ann: In our classroom, we talk a lot about growth mindset, and how you’re not there yet.

Tip 1: make sure To have a Buddy System

And even some of my fifth graders now, some of them don’t come from technology-rich environments, so they might become frustrated or overwhelmed, and so I think offering the ability to have a buddy (is a good idea). I know that was huge with our first graders as well.

Tip 2: Don’t Stereotype children

And please do not stereotype your kids as, “You are a high academic performing child. You’re probably going to be very tech-savvy.” The highest technology-savvy kid we had was one of our lowest academic performing students. So don’t have that misconception that just because it’s one of the kids who might be really high in academics, they may struggle with technology. But provide them with the support system, a buddy in class that they can rely on.

Vicki: So much great advice!

So you’ll definitely want to check the Shownotes for this, and we’ll also give you links to Lee Ann’s work so you can learn more about it.

Take a look at #MiniGoogleMasters and #MakingGoogleMasters. Look at all the resources and things they’re doing.

These are some fantastic ideas. I love this idea of micro-credentials and having kids explore and learn on their own, so that you can focus on the content teaching as well, as they explore and learn more about the tools.

So, fantastic ideas, Lee Ann. Very remarkable!

Lee Ann: Thank you!

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


As an elementary teacher, Lee Ann has a passion for teaching kids not only about content, but life lessons as well. Previously Mrs. Yonker has spent the past 5 years in first grade where she and her co-teacher began the #MiniGoogleMasters movement, demonstrating littles can be tech savvy too! Now having moved to 5th grade, Mrs. Yonker is continuing her tech encouragement with the #MakingGoogleMasters to empower her older students to master G Suite tools, much like the Google Certified Educator Task for Level 1 & 2 certification. Mrs. Yonker teaches in South Central Kentucky, and is a 2016 KY Teacher of the year nominee.

Blog: http://ift.tt/2yEaI9n

Twitter: @leeannyonker

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Google Masters For Kids of All Ages: Badges, Skills and More appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



From http://ift.tt/2hBvoUw
via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

6 Tech Treasures for Special Ed Teachers (K-6)



Melissa Mann on episode 167 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Special ed teacher Melissa Mann shares six of her favorite edtech tools for the special education classroom. From collecting data to parent communications to taking care of yourself, Melissa has something for every classroom (as well as a pretty cool pep talk!)

Today’s Sponsor: WriQ from Texthelp is a new FREE Add-on for Google Docs that helps teachers easily assess student writing and track progress over time by automatically scoring students’ spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It also incorporates rubrics so teachers can provide meaningful, qualitative feedback to encourage the writing journey.
This handy free Google Docs add-on tracks things like: time spent writing, spelling-grammar-and punctuation error rates and pulls it into a clear graphical view in your teacher dashboard. To learn more about Wriq go to http://ift.tt/2y91EpU

Listen Now

Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Six Tech Treasures for Special Ed Teachers (K-6)

Shownotes: http://ift.tt/2yBPf0v
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with K-6 Special Ed Teacher Melissa Mann @mnmann, and we’re going to have some Tech Treasures for special ed teachers.

So, Melissa, where do we start?

Melissa: Well, the tech tools I’ve pulled out right now are a mixture of tech tools that teachers can use for data collection and also for students.

Special Ed Treasure #1: Google Keep

So we’ll just start with one for the teachers. My new favorite right now is Google Keep.

I’m still learning some of what Google Keep can do, but a lot of times teachers were in and out of other teachers’ classrooms. Nobody really wants to carry the Chromebook or a laptop with you. Google Keep is an app that works off of a phone. For your Google account, you can take pictures of maybe a work sample of something you need to store for a student.

You can add To-Do Lists; maybe you notice something behavior issue that maybe you need to share with somebody, and keep data collection on with that and keep everything organized into one.

It’s also one to show the students as they start to organize researching. Maybe our students that can’t write down a website that they found something at, but they can go and add it to their Google Keep if you’re a Google school, and start building their research that they can go back and look at later. So it’s also an organization tool for the older students that may need some organizational help that they can use.

Vicki: Fantastic. We did a whole Ed Tech Tool Tuesday some time ago, so I will include that in the Shownotes.

OK, what’s your next one, Melissa?

Special Ed Treasure #2: Remind

Melissa: The next one I have is Remind. When Remind first came out, it was just about sending out things to parents, using for like an announcement type thing.

But then about three years ago, they added a chat option. What I like about the chat option is that teachers don’t want to give out a cell phone number to parents or anything, but you can build a Remind group, and parents will have access to text you to have a conversation. It works really good for reminding parents about meetings that we have.

You know, a lot of times a kid with an exceptionality has a lot of, “I had a bad morning,” and the teacher needs to know about it. Well, the general ed teacher may not have a chance to check an e-mail or that kind of thing, but the parent can send something to the collaborative teacher, the special ed educator, through the Remind on the chat option, and we can go check on that student right then.

Vicki: Love that.

Melissa: You know, it’s a good way to keep in contact, especially about doctor’s appointments that they may have, things like that. It’s a record of the conversation. So I like that for the data.

Vicki: I love that, too. I use one called Bloomz, which does something very similar, so having that private way to chat but not use the cell phone is just a lifesaver, isn’t it?

Melissa: Yes, it is. These parents are with their kids for seven or eight hours of a day at least. We have them more awake than they do. This is a way for them to know that they can get a hold of us if they need to. I’ve just found a lot of times that it eases the minds of the special ed parent… because you know they know their child better than we do. When you have that open line of communication, it just opens up that way. There’s that trust that’s building.

Special Ed Treasure #3: Google Voice Typing

Vicki: Yeah. So important. OK, what’s our third?

Melissa: Google Docs has added a voice typing in there now. It’s something that any student can pull up. It’s up in the toolbar.

I have found a lot of times some of our kids have trouble with typing, or it may take them a while. It’s that processing thing, and they can’t sit there. They know what they want to say, but trying to get it out on paper is difficult. If you have mic capability or a headset, they can be able to write their paper using the voice typing option.

A lot of our students with physical handicaps – CP or something like that – may have trouble with the typing. But they can speak and tell you what they want to say. So this is an option for them to still be able to participate in the general ed curriculum and not feel like they’re not getting to have full access to everything.

Special Ed Treasure #4: Seesaw

Vicki: It’s so empowering when you teach kids how to voice type. OK, what’s our fourth?

Melissa: Seesaw is another one I’ve learned about over the last year or so, and it’s an online portfolio.

That’s for like our self-contained teachers that deal with the more sever exceptionalities. They have to deal with a lot of times portfolio things. They may have to take videos or look at snapshots and things like that.

The great thing about Seesaw is that it works on multiple devices for the student to add to it. So your paraprofessional could be working on a skill. Say the child makes it and does accuracy, she can add stuff into the Seesaw. It’s a good way to keep up with the data, the videos of things all in one location and have multiple people adding to it.

Vicki: Such collaboration happens when you’re focusing. It just makes life easier.

Melissa: Yes.

Special Ed Treasure #5: Read and Write for Google Chrome

Vicki: OK, what’s our next?

Melissa: Read and Write for Google Chrome. That’s one that I feel like that’s one that some teachers know about, but they don’t realize that teachers get it for free.

If you go through the tech tips… A lot of times I’ll Google “Read and Write for Google Chrome for Teachers,” and there’s a way for teachers to register for that extension for free. So they full access, they get the full toolbar when they’re in their Google account.

  • So that gives you a voice typing option in there.
  • There’s the playback fluency option, so the student can be recording themselves reading and then send you the recording.
  • There’s highlighting options.
  • There’s a vocabulary builder that’s included in that. The vocabulary builder will also pull things from a document you’ve created, and it will add the picture to go with it as well as a study note. I like that for those students who may not be at the point where they can just do the abstract with just the words, and they still need a concrete picture or visual of what it is that you are asking them to do. So it gives a lot of different options for that.

Vicki: Melissa, I totally agree with you on that one. That’s actually one of my Top 15 Google Chrome Extensions, and I’ll include a link to that. That is such an incredible tool to help with all students. Oh, but especially with those with special needs.

Special Ed Treasure #6: Twitter and #spedEDchat

OK, do you have any others for us?

Melissa: Twitter’s one that I really use. It’s not something that I’m looking into as a student tool. But a lot of times, even though special ed teachers collaborate all day, we talk to the general ed teachers… we are the only ones that really know what we do.

And there’s an incredible Tuesday Nights #spedEDchat that takes place. Just connecting with other special ed teachers across the country kind of gives you that sense of – especially during paperwork season when you’ve got everything coming down on top of you – just knowing that somebody else feels that way too, sometimes, outside of your own building, kinds of helps you go, “OK. We can do this. We can get through this again.” And so just reaching out and having that PLN, having those connections that you can do.

Maybe you need a tech tool for something, and you haven’t been able to find it yet. Putting that out on Twitter so that somebody else that may know about it, they can go, “Hey, try this.” And that’s a kind of way to get just another resource as well.

Selecting Apps Depends on Your Student’s Needs

Vicki: So, Melissa, you’ve given us lots of tools. Do you think that there’s just one that just shines out above all of the rest? Like it completely transformed everything for you?

Melissa: You have to know the students. You have to see their abilities to exactly know what the tech tool is that you need to do.

That’s why it makes it such a treasure box of things because what works for this student may not work for this student. This app may be what unlocks the thing that this student needs, and then you’ve got to find another app that this student can use.

And there are so many tools out there. There are so many different things. And my LiveBinder that I have to all of my… some Symbaloos I’ve created and things that I’ve done when I do webinars for Simple K-12… where we’ve looked at different interactive resources, more of like just websites and links and things. So that’s an option to check out too, because I didn’t just want to give websites out today.

Vicki: So we have certainly gotten a treasure box from Melissa today. We have gotten these tech treasures for special ed teachers.

Encouragement for Special Education Teachers

Melissa, could you give us a 30-second pep talk for special ed teachers and how technology can help them?

Melissa: Technology’s going to make your life easier because of the paperwork load that we have to do, but one thing …. It’s also going to help you with aself-caree technique. From reaching out to you. From Twitter, from staying organized, from communicating with parents.

It’s also something that’s going to help empower you as a teacher. The biggest thing to keep in mind, of just as a pep talk in general, to special ed teachers are… You are that voice for that student. Even though they may not tell the general ed teacher what’s going on, you’re the one that can read their face. You’re the one that knows what’s going on.

As Angela Maiers always says, “You’re the one reminding them that they matter, that they have something to contribute.” So every student is in that school for a reason. Every student has a piece to the puzzle.

Technology is wonderful. It’s great. But you, the special ed teacher, are the greatest resource for those kids. As one of my favorite TED Talks from Rita Pierson says, “Every child deserves a champion.” So use what you have and be that champion for the students.

And then connect with others to find the resources that you need, through the podcasts like you’re listening to today, or Twitter chats, or just reaching out, you know connecting within your own school or your own school system. Just knowing that you’re making a difference.

Vicki: Teachers, you are so important.

There is a precious special needs boy at my church. I went up to him. He doesn’t really have good eye contact, but I went up to him the other night and I patted him on the back.

He didn’t look at me, but he called my name.

And I cried.

Because you are that voice. You are so important.

And when you make that connection, that is truly priceless. And I’m just so proud of all of you for listening and trying to improve.

You know, that’s who teachers are. That’s who we are.

This has been such a great topic, and I hope that you’ll take some of these tools and take it to heart and really be the voice for those kids.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


Melissa Mann is a special education teacher with the Madison County School System. She has taught both self-contained and collaborative students in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade. Melissa is dual certified in Elementary Education and Special Education. She also has a Master’s in School Counseling and is a certified school counselor.

Melissa presented at ISTE in 2015, and she has presented for the past eight years at Alabama’s state technology conference and at various local conferences. Melissa is also a trainer with Simple K-12. Her portfolio can be found at : http://www.bit.ly/TechTreasures

Twitter: @mnmann

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post 6 Tech Treasures for Special Ed Teachers (K-6) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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