S01 Episode 7 Part 1: Shanna Peeples: 2015 National Teacher of the Year, Doctoral Candidate at Harvard, and Author

S01 Episode 7 Part 1: Shanna Peeples: 2015 National Teacher of the Year, Doctoral Candidate at Harvard, and Author

Our guests for our 2 part mini series of episode 7 is Shanna Peeples.

Shanna the 2015 National Teacher of the Year and is a former Secondary English teacher, department chair, and instructional coach at Amarillo ISD in Amarillo, Texas.  Currently she is a doctoral candidate for Education Leadership at Harvard!

She is the co-author of The Best Lesson Series: Literature: 15 Master Teachers Share What Works.

Coming in January of 2018, she will be publishing her first book: Think Like Socrates: Inviting Curiosity and Critical Thinking Into The Classroom.

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us” – Aristotle

In this episode we discuss:

  • Her journey into education
  • Why she became a teacher
  • Why it is important to connect on a personal level with your students
  • What is was like to teach English to ESL students – challenges and how she over came them!

Please share and comment!  Would love to get feedback and suggestions.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out to us!

 

S01 Episode 6 Part 3: Mike Lubelfeld and Nick Poylak: Superintendents, #suptchat hosts, and authors.

Episode 6 Part 3: Superintendents, #suptchat hosts, and authors.

Our guests for our 3 part mini series of episode 6 are Mike Lubelfeld and Nick Polyak.

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. currently serves as the superintendent of schools in the Deerfield, IL Public Schools (District 109). He is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter.

Nick Polyak, Ed.D. is the proud superintendent of the award-winning Leyden Community High School District 212. He is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter.

Both are co-authors of a book called The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s School Today

In this episode we discuss:

  • Characteristics of good leaders
  • How to unlearn things of the past
  • Preparing students for college, workforce, and how to be good citizens
  • Their Perspectives on Education

Please share and comment!  Would love to get feedback and suggestions.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out to us!

 

S01 Episode 6 Part 2: Mike Lubelfeld and Nick Poylak: Superintendents, #suptchat hosts, and authors.

Episode 6 Part 2: Superintendents, #suptchat hosts, and authors.

Our guests for our 3 part mini series of episode 6 are Mike Lubelfeld and Nick Polyak.

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. currently serves as the superintendent of schools in the Deerfield, IL Public Schools (District 109). He is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter.

Nick Polyak, Ed.D. is the proud superintendent of the award-winning Leyden Community High School District 212. He is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter.

Both are co-authors of a book called The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s School Today

In this episode we discuss:

  • The definition of an Unlearning Leader
  • Modeling – have to practice what you preach!
  • Ways to connect school to your community
  • College ready, career ready, and life ready
  • SUPT
    • Stop
    • Understand
    • Plan
    • Think

Please share and comment!  Would love to get feedback and suggestions.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out to us!

The Handshake: One Crucial Step in Social and Emotional Learning

 

When I was a teacher I was a big believer in relationships and life skills.  I take pride in being respectful, polite, and mannerly so I always encouraged my students to do so.  For me there is just something about holding a door for someone, walking a litter faster to grab the door for my wife, or a solid handshake that brings a sense of self pride.

Try this experiment: pick a random day during school and stand at your doorway and shake each students hand as they come in.  You could do this on the first day OR wait several weeks until you have a good pulse on your students.  Provide ZERO training on what a good/bad handshake is performed.

  • If you do it the first day make sure you have some sort of bell ringer/activity for the kids to come in a do right away because you will now have one too!  You need to quickly jot down how each student performed on this “quiz”.
  • If you wait and do it later in the year – see if their handshake matches what you perceive to be their self confidence, pride, or efficacy level.

Do they match?  Odds are that the results will be highly consistent!  Your believers will have a solid/great handshake and so on to those students who just are not self aware or confident who give you maybe the worst handshake ever.  This is a chance for you to make an impact and teach a life skill, do not miss it!

Are you a believer in Social Emotional Learning (SEL)?  The handshake is an example of something that can have a huge impact on your students.  Whether you are or not you are a big believer in the impact of SEL, you have to read, “The Psychological Approach to Educating Kids” written by Victoria Clayton via The Atlantic,  is a top notch article with tons of fabulous resources that highlight SEL and the amazing effects that it is having on students and schools.  If you do not see the value in SEL, I am thinking this article and its resources will change that!

Here is an excerpt form the post made me smile and chuckle to myself…

“‘I won the handshake competition, and there’s an art to it,’ one student said. ‘You have to do webbing to webbing, that’s the trick.’ Shake firmly, but not too hard, look the person in the eye, smile. The student demonstrated and, indeed, his handshake was a winner.”

I definitely find myself playing this game in my head, do you?

I remember in high school one of my favorite teachers and I would do this head nod as we passed each other.  Way to say hi but also sign of respect.  When we first started I used to “nod” by moving my head up as I walked passed.  One day he asked me if my gesture was conveying anything to others that I maybe did not think about.  You see, while I moved my head up, Mr. Garry always nodded by moving his down.  I never thought anything about it until he asked me.  After thinking about it for a second, I felt that it was arrogant or cocky so from that day forward I would nod by dropping out head vs. raising it.  To this day I still do the same as I pass people that I know but am not able to talk for whatever reason and I still think of Mr. Garry.  This might sound insignificant to some but it is something that SO many young people in this world do not often think about.  How do my actions create represent who I really am as a person and do my actions match my heart.

Small deal but that becomes even bigger when it comes to something like a handshake.  The handshake is something that is a tell of how you perceive yourself.  I play the handshake game ALL the time still do this day in my head!  As adults we know the value of the handshake but think about those kids that have a mediocre to weak handshake.  This is a HUGE teaching moment that you cannot miss.    Taking a few minutes to explain and demonstrate the importance of the handshake might be something that they remember for the rest of their lives.

 

Your Teaching Career May Be Defined By Who You Hang With

I recently came across this quote from Chris Emdin and I could not agree more with this perspective.  It comes from his book “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education“.

Take a second to read the featured image again…

I cannot agree more with this view.  For me when I reflect on this quote I never had more fun teaching when I was working with a team who was invested, dedicated, and having a blast.  The positive energy that I felt, even through the tough times, kept us all strong and we never lost sight of the end goals.

Think about the time when you were on the other side.  You worked with that teacher who did their job, but teaching was just that… a JOB.  How about the colleague who is a BLAST to be around outside of work but when within the walls of the school they have a negative attitude, no patience for their students, and always seem to provide a negative comment about something that is happening in the school.  Another personality is someone else on the team loved teaching, kids, and was a solid educator but they resisted change and transforming their classroom.

This type of behavior is addicting.  At first you might roll your eyes, shake your head, laugh with them because they are being funny.  The danger here is that this is addictive and WORDS HAVE POWER.  More power than most of us will ever give them credit for and eventually you will go from shaking your head to participating in the act.

Once you start down the path of negativity it can be hard to control and maintain.  It is unfair to expect that we all can avoid tripping up and needing an opportunity to vent, share disappointments, and just clear our minds of frustration.  It is how you move forward form that moment that counts.  Does this becoming a daily occurrence?  Do you start to take your frustrations home with you?  Do you take some of these frustrations to social media?

Some of you might be reading this and thinking that the teachers you hang with do not influence your impact.  I can appreciate that, you want to defend the people you hang with.  If this is you then my first thought is that this quote might be more true for you than you think.  Maybe one or a couple of the teachers on your team have the potential to be cancerous to the entire group OR maybe you can just see and feel that this might be happening at your campus.  What do you do?  Well if your career depends on it, and according to the quote from Chris it might, please take a second to think and reflect on what is best for your mindset.  This is crucial because your mindset will directly effect your students mindset and being anything but positive, kind, and empathetic, to me, is unacceptable.  If you are not then you might just miss out on a chance to “Flip a Kid”.  

 

S01 Episode 6 Part 1: Mike Lubelfeld and Nick Poylak: Superintendents, #suptchat hosts, and authors.

Episode 6 Part 1: Superintendents, #suptchat hosts, and authors.

Our guests for our 3 part mini series of episode 6 are Mike Lubelfeld and Nick Polyak.

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. currently serves as the superintendent of schools in the Deerfield, IL Public Schools (District 109). He is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter.

Nick Polyak, Ed.D. is the proud superintendent of the award-winning Leyden Community High School District 212. He is the co-moderator of #suptchat – the superintendent educational chat on Twitter.

Both are co-authors of a book called The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s School Today

In this episode we discuss:

  • Social Media
  • Creation of #suptchat
  • Getting started with social media
  • Tips/tricks for those already utilizing social media

Please share and comment!  Would love to get feedback and suggestions.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out to us!

Perspectives In Education Podcast Episode 5: Monica Burns: Educator, EdTech Consultant and Classroom Technology Advocate

Episode 5: Educator, EdTech Consultant and Classroom Technology Advocate

Our guest for episode 5 is Monica Burns.

Dr. Monica Burns is a Curriculum and EdTech Consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator and Founder of ClassTechTips.com.  As an educator, Monica was part of her school’s Federal Magnet Funding leadership team and was a vocal advocate for bringing 1:1 technology into her 5th grade classroom. During her tenure as a classroom teacher, Monica used iPads to create engaging, differentiated learning experience to meet the unique needs of her students. Realizing the power of tech tools in the classroom, Monica started ClassTechTips.com to provide a resource for educators and administrators on implementing EdTech in the classroom.

In this episode we discuss:

Please share and comment!  Would love to get feedback and suggestions.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out to us!

Building Leaders

The National Association of Elementary School Principals recently published a great post from Sandra A. Trach on building leaders and investing in leadership.

The article, “Building Leaders“, highlights the role of the assistant principal and does a great job discussing how much they support the principal, staff, and the overall foundation of the school.  I love this quote that they highlighted:

“Assistant principals “lead from the middle” of the school, which allows them to work at a meaningful intersection of administration and leadership, and among faculty, staff, students, and parents. Assistant principals are key relationship-builders, becoming a bridge between the principal and faculty and staff, and aiding in the trust and transparency necessary for a successful school culture.” – Christopher Colwell in Impact: How Assistant Principals Can Be High Performing Leaders.

This is so true!  Often in this process I believe then their skill sets may not continue to grow in order for them to make the shift from the Assistant Principal to the Principal.  The post goes on to highlight the right strategy to bring principals along, tools for growth,  and highlights why investing in assistant principals is definitely worth it!

Reading this article I just LOVE the emphasis on leadership and investing in our people.  So much in education revolves around investing in our students (which obviously is a worthwhile investment) we also have to think about everyone else on the campus.  Investing in our staff to ensure that their voice is heard, they are supported, satisfied, have the resources that they need to be successful are all part of establishing strong school culture.

If your not sure, put out a survey to assess your leadership.  One of my favorite people to follow on twitter in the blogging world, Amber Teamann, did and was surprised by the results. (“MyBad” Podcast by Jon Harper has the story here)  Now she had two options, you know what they are, but she took the high road and now she has transformed her leadership.

So what if you are feeling like you do not do the best job?  I would instantly turn my attention to Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf.  Not only is it a fun themed book that can easily transfer to your school, they provide real life examples of how to turn your school around.  You will be able to take lessons form their book and instantly start insert them into your leadership tomorrow.  They also joined my podcast Perspectives in Education (listen here) to discuss leadership and their book.  “We want to create schools where kids are knocking down the doors to get in but we also need to create schools where staff are knocking down the doors to get in.” – Shelley Burgess.

Well how do we do that?  I love this quote from Beth Houf that came from the podcast,  “We throw around the phrase whats best for kids a lot, we (Shelley and I) feel like our influence on doing whats best for kids relies solely on how we inspire and motivate and support the adults in our buildings.  If we do that, then the teachers and other educators can truly make an impact.”  She hits the nail on the head.

So back to my question from before, do you support your staff, encourage them, listen to their needs, and provide them all the resources they need to grow?

Rethinking the Lesson Plan

Rethinking the Lesson Plan comes from one of my favorite ed minds, Katie Martin.  If you have not had a chance to follow her on Twitter, read her blog, or see her TEDTalk I would highly recommend her.  She does a wonderful job sharing her views, connecting them to research, and inspires her followers to be better educators.

For me just listening to her TEDTalk sold me on who she is as a person and educator because you can just feel her passion.  I also participated in IMMOOC with her and George Couros and wow do they do a great job covering, highlighting, and discussing The Innovators Mindset.  I would highly recommend you participate if they ever collaborate on Season 3!

So I am out in left field so back to this post from Katie!  This post is great because I believe that highlights what most of us feel about the lesson plan.  Some may think that a well thought out, document plan is fantastic but for me, quite honestly, it is a waste of time!  You can perform a well thought out, planned lesson without dedicating 30 minutes to an hour typing it all out, spell check, grammar check, all just to submit to an administrator (who probably does not review it) to verify that you are “prepared”.

My view is that we, as teachers, have SO many other things that we have to do each day so when planning a lesson, documenting EVERY step can be a waste of time.  If we simply step back, review the principals that Katie outlines in her post, and put our mind to what is best for our students vs. writing great lesson plans I believe you will make improvements as an educator.

One of my biggest take away’s is the discussion over engagement vs. empowerment.  As Katie references, it is talked about several times in The Innovators Mindset but if you sit back and think about how you learn doesn’t it make SO MUCH SENSE!?  I am engaged DAILY at work, doing my job, completing tasks on time, but I am never has happy as I am when I am empowered to do something different.  I can explore my passions and then maybe even find ways to bring it back to my work.  What if you find that your passions NEVER connect to your work, maybe a career change would also improve your lifestyle?  All of these questions and more can be discovered and answered just by taking time to be empowered vs. engaged.  Can’t we also do this for our kids while they learn?  Imagine what they could learn about themselves while also learning math, history, science, and english!

Katie discusses how we can potentially shift the gears and change this discussion.  You need to read her post for all the details but here are the highlights of the areas that she discusses:

  • From Engagement to Empowerment

  • From Standardization to Personalization

  • From Scaffolds to Agency

  • From Skills to Application

  • From classroom management to classroom community

  • Experimenting or Evolving?

Enjoy the read – you will not be disappointed and I hope that it opens your mind to potentially investigating other ways to do things while still getting a similar result!

Featured image was borrowed from her post which was borrowed from http://HomeschoolingInDetroit.com!

S01 Episode 5: Monica Burns: Educator, EdTech Consultant and Classroom Technology Advocate

Episode 5: Educator, EdTech Consultant and Classroom Technology Advocate

Our guest for episode 5 is Monica Burns.

Dr. Monica Burns is a Curriculum and EdTech Consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator and Founder of ClassTechTips.com.  As an educator, Monica was part of her school’s Federal Magnet Funding leadership team and was a vocal advocate for bringing 1:1 technology into her 5th grade classroom. During her tenure as a classroom teacher, Monica used iPads to create engaging, differentiated learning experience to meet the unique needs of her students. Realizing the power of tech tools in the classroom, Monica started ClassTechTips.com to provide a resource for educators and administrators on implementing EdTech in the classroom.

In this episode we discuss:

Please share and comment!  Would love to get feedback and suggestions.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please reach out to us!