Author Archives: rippie77

Freedom to Learn — User Generated Education

I was painfully bored during my K-12 education. I looked forward to college anticipating that it would be different – more engaging, more interesting, more innovative. I was wrong. My undergraduate education, except for a few bright spots, was just an extension of my K-12 education including more grill and drill with sages on the […]

via Freedom to Learn — User Generated Education

Below are just a couple of quotes from the blog post that I truly appreciate. I’m not interested in reading this book. Carl Rogers, Freedom to Learn.

Much significant learning is acquired through doing. “Placing the student in direct experiential confrontation with practical problems, social problems, ethical and philosophical problems, personal issues, and research problems, is one of the most effective modes of promoting learning” (p. 162).

One cannot measure the difference in attitude, the increased interest, the growing pride in self-improvement, but one is aware that they exist. (Rogers, 1969, p. 19)

Part II “5 Summer Secrets…”

5 Summer Secrets to a stress- free fall

This is a continuation from the previous post.

5 summer stress free secrets include tools to help you make a plan to complete tasks during the summer that will make your year less stressful. An example, the first question the challenge or plan asks is “What do you want your life to like when school starts again? So, what do I want my life to look like when school starts again? Good question. Well stress free of course.  I wanted to have first quarter ready to go, or my plans completed. I want to be prepared. When we get back to school I always feel like I’m not prepared for school.

So to keep up with this vision and Ms. Watson’s challenge for the summer, I signed up for email notifications. Her 5 Summer Secrets started with number one “Eliminate unintentional breaks”. This is common sense, meaning be to be more productive you must task manage. By straying from your work, you create an environment that wastes time and you don’t complete your tasks. Sounds familiar, yep sounds like the kids. Keep them on task. Well what about the teachers? I  find myself doing this especially during the school day.  I start one project and end up straying from that task, going down a rabbit hole as they say. Eventually that project takes me a lot longer.  According Angela Watson we take unintentional breaks. So, she talks about how you need set a break later and work for a good amount time doing one thing. An example is I’ve decided that I should work through my planning period grading  and not go off on a tangent doing something else. Hopefully this will give me some solid time to complete some tasks.

Second  “secret” is avoid “task-Switching”.  Work ahead and avoid task-switching, which I’ve caught myself doing many times. You need to batch together similar tasks and stay on task. Don’t allow yourself to stray from those tasks. Again, sound familiar. I find there are times where I’m working on something, I’ll stray away and go on to something else. So, what happens I’m unproductive and end up not getting what I need done. Seems all commons sense right? well then why do we end up not following that common sense. Got me, but I tried to correct that this summer.

The third “secret”, use scheduling to create your boundaries around time. I found this to be very helpful. I scheduled different tasks I needed to get done during the summer on certain days and hours. When I did this, and followed the plan I got a ton of stuff done. For example, on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings I would work on lesson plans. When I kept to the plan it worked and I got a lot things done. Once I strayed from the plan, well let’s just say very little got done.

Number Four on the list is “Figure out the main thing and do it first”. So, what is the most important or main thing you need to get done this summer. Or, which is the most urgent and an overwhelmingly large task that you need to do.  My main task would be my lesson plans and activities. I know, summer is almost over, but this does work during the year also. The most important tasks need to be done first. Make a list, put the most important at the top of the list.

The last secret is to look “for innovative ways to relax any standards that create unnecessary work”. Look for ways to make things easier on yourself this year. Relax and say no to unnecessary work. Look for activities or assignments from another teacher. Adapt them to your class but don’t reinvent the wheel. If something didn’t work last year, then change it to suit your class, or don’t do the assignment. With this one I have a tendency to create an assignment that is a lot more intricate then has to be. More work for me. Simplify things, let the students take control of their learning. This is where Blended Learning and Flipped Learning comes in. Collaborate with another teacher to make things a bit easier on yourself. All good advice, that I sometimes must admit I forget.

When I followed this advice, I felt good about the beginning of the year. I still do even though I strayed a bit. This is great advice and does work. Try it. I know the summer is coming to an end, but some of this can still be done during the year. I would advise you subscribe to Ms. Watson’s newsletter and podcasts, she really does have some great advice.

Anglea Watson The Cornerstone for teachers

What if my students don’t like me and we don’t connect? Overcoming the back-to-school teacher jitters –

Are you having back to school nightmares? I always did, every year I was in the classroom. It was awful during my first few years–I barely slept in the weeks leading up to the first day. And the year I transferred from PreK to third grade I thought I had insomnia, it was so bad. […]

Source: What if my students don’t like me and we don’t connect? Overcoming the back-to-school teacher jitters –

How many of us feel this way sometimes? Especially at the beginning of the year. This is a must for first year teachers. Ms. Watson does a great job in putting it all in perspective.

044: A Teacher’s Summer Playlist: Taylor Swift… Ignore the Naysayers! | Teachonomy

In this episode, I will be focusing on a message that Taylor Swift often sends to her millions of fans in order to uplift and inspire them

Source: 044: A Teacher’s Summer Playlist: Taylor Swift… Ignore the Naysayers! | Teachonomy

Very cool podcast, never thought about Taylor Swifts lyrics. Guess you find something new out every day. Enjoy!

Demolishing the Myth of the Grumpy, Crusty, Burned-Out Veteran Teacher – Education Week Teacher

Veteran teachers should be valued for their expertise, not stereotyped and pushed out of the classroom, argues Justin Minkel.

Source: Demolishing the Myth of the Grumpy, Crusty, Burned-Out Veteran Teacher – Education Week Teacher

 

Why Stickers, Pizza Parties, and Tickets Didn’t Work in My Classroom – A.J. JULIANI

It was towards the middle of my first year teaching (8th grade) when it hit me: My class was spinning out of control, and it was all my fault. I was an eager first-year teacher, with

Source: Why Stickers, Pizza Parties, and Tickets Didn’t Work in My Classroom – A.J. JULIANI

Some really good points made about rewards in the classroom, or for that matter in any work environment. A couple of books were mentioned that I added to my wish list. Food for thought for this upcoming school year. Of at the end A.J. Juliani discusses the Genius Hour project. Which I try to do every year. But the other points, I think, really hit the mark about rewards. Again Thank You Mr. Juliani for making me think about my classroom and how it works.

Punished by Rewards Quotes

Classroom of Choice by Jonathan C. Erwin

Hermione: 3 Spells to Cast as a Leader | Teachonomy

Hermione wields the wand of change.  By casting her spell through her adventures, she changes the narrative and gives us the realization of a female hero that girls look up to and boys revere. As leaders, we can learn a lot through taking a closer look at Hermione.  She demonstrates so many qualities that are […]

Source: Hermione: 3 Spells to Cast as a Leader | Teachonomy

 Sometimes the slightest act of kindness brings about the largest impact in the long run.  ” Love this quote from the article. Sometimes we forget as teachers that we need to slow down and listen. This is part of becoming a good leader in the classroom. Love this article and think the 3 spells are great advice. 

Riding Light on Vimeo

This is a really cool video. Its 45 minutes long but you could use parts of it to show students the speed of light. I think I would use it during our Solar System unit and for each planet show the section in the video that corresponds. By the time we finish they would have seen the whole video. Just a thought!

Integrating technology in class for great results: 6 tips from an expert – Microsoft EDU

New tools should not only engage students and fit seamlessly into lessons, but also add value without taking away from the many “musts” on every teacher’s list.

Source: Integrating technology in class for great results: 6 tips from an expert – Microsoft EDU

I like number two and it fits in well with Blended Learning classroom. And how many different technology tools do you use? In today’s world we have tons of choices, but I finally figured out pick the favorites and stick with them. My reflection always includes a survey to my students asking them for their thoughts on the assignment or technology we used.

Does it work..Less connectivity

This is the start of a series of blogs that will discuss Angela Watson’s “5 Summer Secrets for a stress-free fall”. 5 stress-free ways for a less stressful fall? Is that realistic? After listening to Ms. Watson’s podcast and downloading all her resources, I started to take her advice and use her resources to begin my journey. And I became aware that it is possible. I did this is because every summer I feel like I don’t get what I need to get done. This year I’d like to be ready for school. I always feel like the summer goes by and I haven’t completed any of the tasks I wanted to get done.

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Less of this, means more time to complete other tasks.

 

How do you do this? Using Ms. Watson’s suggestions there’s 5 ways to attack this problem. First teachers are always stressing because they don’t get what they need to get done. How do you attack this problem? You start with connectivity and decrease social media use (this wasn’t part of the 5 Summer Secrets). You don’t always have to look at your phone for everything. You don’t always have to look at email or social media right away in the morning. That’s the first challenge, I did from Ms. Watson’s website/newsletter. It works, I started to do this, sometimes I fall back into my old ways where I look at social media. But that’s okay, I’m working on changing this habit. Email in the morning, doesn’t work. When I do this stuff, I find I go down those rabbit holes and it wastes my time. I’m wasting time in the morning and I can have a more fruitful morning by reading and doing other things. So I started off with this challenge to help me create better plan to conquer my tasks this summer. I’m learning how to deal with those bad habits, and hoping I can maintain this type of task management for the summer. This challenge was separate from the “5 Summer Secrets”, but it peaked my interest and now I started to use her “5 Summer Secrets to a stress- free fall”. If you sign up for her newsletter you can also receive other tips like the “8 things you can do now to make BTS less stressful” another great resource full of tips.

I know some people are saying this is a way for her to get teachers to join her “40 hour Week Teacher workweek Club” course, but quite honestly she is a great Coach! I’ve been listening to her podcasts and reading her blog. And the resources and advice she gives is very good. Go to her website “The Cornerstone for Teachers” see for yourself.  I’m beginning to think about joining her club next spring. Next entry for me will be about my start of the 5 Summer Secrets…

One last thing..Thank You Angela Watson