Why Thinking About Design in Education is Vital Part 2 #coffeechugPLN

#coffeechugpln

I scribbled a bit on one of the interview titles and share this on Instagram a few weeks back, but I think it raises a very valid point.

How do we get students to take the leap of faith? I should add to this How do we get TEACHERS to take the leap of faith? We need to challenge the boundaries of how things are currently being done. It scares people. There is comfort with staying the course. This is needed to a certain extent, but we have many students and kids that we are losing because they are pushing the envelope and we are losing ground more and more every year.

The first thing that has to happen is to “engender trust”(page 94). This is nothing new, but we have to connect to the emotions of people(students and teachers) and bridge in a quality product(lesson or project). As we push the boundaries we have cannot lose sight of keeping things simple and the focus of the goal. It is easy to fall off the course and make things more complicated than what it needs to be.

As we try out new ideas and push the boundaries we cannot be so narrow in our vision. We must look big picture and figure out how all the “different pieces of the experience need to be fused into a cohesive whole?”(page 97) With this thought I think of staffing. Each educator brings some unique and different to the landscape of education. Not every teacher can be the same. Educators need to make up several different roles. We must learn and figure out how to blend these educators into “Design Teams” that create an experience for each student to gain maximum learning opportunities.

You can read Part 1 here

Part 3 drops tomorrow.

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What Coffeechug thinks of the book Think Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess

Book Description

Based on Dave Burgess’s popular “Outrageous Teaching” and “Teach Like a PIRATE” seminars, this book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. You’ll learn how to: • Tap into and dramatically increase your passion as a teacher • Develop outrageously engaging lessons that draw students in like a magnet • Establish rapport and a sense of camaraderie in your classroom • Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity. Once you learn the Teach Like a PIRATE system, you’ll never look at your role as an educator the same again.

Coffeechug Thoughts

This is not going to be so much of an review of a book, but more of how I have applied the principles to my life. This is a MUST READ. If you have not read this book then you are missing out. This book is taking off like a pirate ship at sea going 50 knots. The buzz online via the #tlap hashtag on Twitter and the countless book clubs based on this book is insane. I am planning a book club in August and I feel like I won’t have much of an audience because every teacher will have read the book already.

Here is why the book works. First, he is a teacher. He is not removed from the classroom and speaks to teachers. There is no talking down and there is none of the typical ideas that sound great on paper, but fail miserably in the classrooms of 30+ students. The ideas are classroom tested and student approved.

Second, he is not stuffy. He writes normal and at a level that makes sense. It is practical. I would not say that anything is particularly earth shattering in the book(this is not a slam), but the ideas are ones that any teacher at any level could use or modify to make their own. I did not need a dictionary pulled up to define every other word while reading.

Third, I was excited to mark in my book. I am reader who hates marked books. This book I highlighted everywhere and wrote notes in the margins. Great little taglines and thoughts to reinforce what many of us already do. As I was reading his examples and stories I was able to relate to projects I have done or stories of my own as a teacher. I was able to connect and we all know how important connections are when it comes to teaching and learning.

Last, it was just the right read at the right time. The material helped to reignite some excitement to teaching. As stated before his ideas are great and wonderful, but are nothing that we couldn’t all do. The keys are his three ideas of passion for teaching. He loves what he does. Passion has been my big summer topic and therefore when I read the book and could feel his passion I knew it was going to be some great stuff.

This is a must read for any teacher. One of the better education books I have read. It has motivated me to create a poster with one of his sayings which you can see here that allowed me to connect with new educators I never worked with before and added augmented reality. It has inspired me to get ready to buy a bulk of these books to hopefully have a school book club to share and discuss as well as online on Twitter. It has allowed me through #tlap to meet so many amazing educators who have a passion for what they do. The book has gone beyond just reading, but impacting my PLN and what I continue to learn beyond the reading. When that happens you know have something special and that is what Dave Burgess has been able to create. If he can do that with a book, then I can only imagine what he does with the minds of his students.

Here is his link on Twitter: https://twitter.com/burgessdave
Join and follow the hashtag #tlap
And here is his website: http://www.daveburgess.com/

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Who else wants to be a Purple Cow for Education? #coffeechugPLN

This post started out as a book review for Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow, but morphed into something much more. If you have read Purple Cow, then this post will resonate. If you have not read Purple Cow, then read this post and then go read the book.

This book is over 10 years old and yet it still speaks to me on many levels. Like all the other marketing business books I have read this summer I read the material through the lens of education. Instead of worrying about how to make money, I read these books to figure out how to appeal to students and improve education.

This book is spot on. The book discusses the markets of companies. I feel that the market for students is no different. Society today has over-saturated the minds of our youth. They have so many outlets, apps, people, communities, etc. pulling for their attention that it is almost beyond absurd. Reading this book about being a purple cow made me think even more about how teachers brand themselves. I hate to say it, but we are in the market of our students. We are fighting for their attention. What will we do as teachers to stand out for their time?

The frustrating thing is how many teachers don’t feel this is their obligation. They don’t think they should have to appeal to students. It is not their job to entertain or grab their interest. They believe the students should conform to them. I know it is not professional to say, but I want to ask them what planet do they live on? When we were kids we did not conform either. We might not have gotten into trouble, but it was not that long ago that we were young and begging to get out of school. It is our duty to be a game changer. It is what we do. It is our job. Why else would you be in the occupation if not for the kids. You want your own children to have teachers who go above and beyond so make sure you do the same.

Teachers today have to connect with students. We have to be better than very good. As Seth states in the book, “The opposite of remarkable is very good. Very good is an everyday occurrence and hardly worth mentioning.” Teachers today have to go above and beyond. Stand out. Make your teaching brand known. Not only do we have to stand out among the buzz of society, but even among the teachers in the building we teach in.

I cannot help but think of several years ago when I was one of four teachers in the district who received a SMARTboard. It was mind blowing to students. Everyone wanted to be part of the action. Teachers wanted one and students were so excited to be part of the journey. Now every classroom has a SMARTboard and nobody cares. Following the leader only leads to very good. You have to create your own niche. The SMARTboard is now a chalkboard of today. Not one kid cares about the technology. What are you doing to separate yourself?

I have typed up my notes to Evernote which you can view here. I have taken the context of the material and tried to rewrite it to fit education. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Despite the book being a decade old, the material is still fresh. Yes, his examples of the the digital camera no longer work as they have been replaced by smart phones, but the ideas are as strong as ever. We are in an age where we have to stand out. Safety is in the risk taking.

Working on my own teaching and craft this summer I am really trying to brand myself. I want to be “me” aka Coffeechug. I don’t want Coffeechug to look like anyone else. Would I love the following of Dave Burgess and #TLAP? Yes, he is everywhere right now. I am learning from him and his community like no other, but I cannot be just another person. I have to apply, adapt, modify, and make things my own. Coffeechug has to be a Purple Cow in education.

Last, in order for this to happen I have to shake things up. Schools need to quit being factory mode learning institutions. I know we have preached that for years, but very little has changed. Desks are still in rows and we still expect students to fill in worksheets perfectly to our standard. Let your uniqueness as a teacher spill over to students. Let them be unique. Let them chart their own path with your guidelines. We are not linear by nature and our classrooms should not either. It is time schools become a Purple Cow and move beyond very good to remarkable.

Thank you Seth Godin for giving me more fuel to my fire to pursue my passion of being a remarkable educator. This is a must read if you have not already read this book.

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How Coffeechug Uses Evernote: Part 1

If you have thought about using Evernote, then this post may provide you one example of the benefits to this amazing piece of software/web tool/app. I started to use Evernote as an experiment towards the end of the school year last year. Since then I have fallen completely in love with it and will never go back to the old ways.

I am far from a pro and have much to learn about the best ways to use this tool, but I want to share the many ways that I find benefits to Evernote so far.

The first way I use Evernote is as a digital portfolio for my own children. My school district currently does not have a digital portfolio system in place for students. It drives me nuts. I am hoping to create a grassroots movement by having my students create one this year and spread the word. (mischievous grin while typing!)

Without going into how to set up everything because I am sure there is a much simpler way than the way I do things I basically have a stack set up for each of my three children. Within each stack is the school grade they are part of as seen in the picture to the right.

There is not a lot in the folders as one of my summer projects is to add all the paper copies of school work from years past. I would like to organize the contents within each grade level.

Within each grade level I have added materials to the folders since I started using Evernote. This is such a great benefit. I can take pictures using the Evernote App and add to the proper folders. Below you can see a small example of my daughter. There is no reason to keep all the paper copies. It just creates clutter. So I quickly snap a picture and dispose of the work. At first my children were super bummed that I kept tossing things until they realized what I was doing. It finally made sense to them that I was keeping it all in digital form. Some things we do keep, but the day to day stuff can go. However, what this allows us to do is see their growth. I kept a little story Addy wrote at the beginning of kindergarten and compared it to the end of the year and it was amazing. This learning journey is more valuable than a data on a report card.

One of my favorite features is being able to record audio to the images and documents. Below is a story Addy wrote about our trip to Wisconsin Dells. I cannot read what she wrote, but she could read it clear as day. I recorded her reading the story. This is so powerful! I did the same months later and it was amazing to hear the growth. I will be doing this at the beginning of the upcoming school year and throughout. I think it is good for my kids to hear themselves and actually see and hear their growth. They are kids and don’t always think they are learning.

I will continue to do this for my kids. I need to improve with using tags and organizing but it is a start and one that I find to be powerful for all of us to document their journey. Being my own children I have added elements outside of school. I continue to find many uses.
I will be using Evernote this year for my TA students as we create our journey with Habitudes and learning about ourselves. This will be an interesting experiment with using Evernote with students. It will be a big learning curve for us all, but one that I think will jump start the conversation about doing this for all students in our district.
If I was still in gifted education this was going to be our ongoing project to document our students and where they ended up after we were done with them. Now that I am an instructional coach I am going bigger and thinking all students.
I hope you enjoyed this. Please let me know if you found this worthwhile. If so, then I will continue to share the many other ways I use Evernote. It plays a role in everything I do now.

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Teach Like A Pirate Poster + Augment Reality = Awesome Classroom Poster FINAL VERSION

A few days ago I shared a poster I created with the help of some online #coffeechugPLN peeps. I have since tweaked the poster as I realized the missing ingredient was not in the poster.

I have also added a new AR element which will be the video I use for the Back to School night and the first few weeks of school.

I have big plans for this poster. Adding mysteries, clues, scavenger hunts, etc. I look forward to this being a great addition to my classroom this year. My goal will be to have many people involved beyond students. I think it will be a load of fun.

Here is the poster

In case you need a larger version I uploaded the poster to Flickr as well as on my wiki where I share my classroom tools(it will be loaded up shortly).

Go ahead and use Aurasma and zoom in on the poster. Let me know what you think. I hope it accomplishes the goal of my classroom and what to be prepared for which is…… you never quite know!

Feedback is always welcome. I will be printing this out next week and planning my mysteries to go along with this poster. Let the fun begin!

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Passion Starts With The Eyes: Don’t Lose Your Students!

Deep in thought in the mind of a child

This morning it dawned on me that passion emits from us directly from our eyes. This is the essential signal sender that tells people in a split second whether you are passionate and alive. Before you even speak people can tell whether you are 100% genuine or not. It happens so fast. You can completely lose your audience or have them captivated before you do even begin to teach your lesson or interact with others.

It starts with your eyes. Don’t believe me? Look into the eyes of a 2 year old or really any child and try to disagree! They will burn a hole into you with their passion for life. This passion can be excitement or the temper tantrum that they throw, but regardless their passion for what they are doing shines through their eyes.

My daughter woke up early this morning and I put her in bed with me to see if she would fall asleep. As we laid there looking at each other I could just feel her burning desire for life. Her eyes were intense with a passion for life and exploration.

It made me think about myself – Do my eyes emit the same passion as I looked back at her? Or do I need time to warm up, drink coffee, and get ready? Even more important, what message do I send with my eyes when I am in my classroom? Am I groggy? Am I sending the wrong signals? Or am I just bursting with passion? The more I think about it the more I realize that my body signals and passion in my eyes really determines the lesson at hand whether in the classroom or with my own children. Students will know right away before the bell rings or soon thereafter how good of a lesson the day will be before you even start. They will know whether the class will suck or not and will make that determination in a split second. You might have a great lesson planned, but if you don’t show it as you enter the room or while standing outside the room, the lesson is over.

Before you step out the door perhaps you should look in the mirror and do a Passion Double Check to be sure you are ready to start your day! As students enter your building you better be ready. Don’t sell yourself short because you are not bringing your A game.

With passion you can begin to persuade those students who are on the fence about school to slowly change their thinking. Don’t let one moment ruin the joy of learning and the power of your classroom.

What are some techniques or tricks you use to make sure you are ready when the kids enter the class?

Now if only I could wake up and instantly be ready to go like my two year old I would be set! Thank goodness for my coffee.

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All this talk about giving students as many chances as it takes, yet it does not…….

work in the real world. I am sorry. Argue with me. Tell me I am wrong.

BUT, the way schools operate you cannot continue to give them chance after chance after chance. Yes, I know the real world gives us many chances. I agree. 100%

But we can only have so many chances. At what point is enough, enough?

I don’t know that there is a magical number to the number of chances a person should get, but I think you lay out the final deadline ahead of time. Make it very clear this is it. Within that that window of time students and work and resubmit as often as they like. However, you don’t budge on that deadline. You cannot make a statement and then not live up to it.

Overhearing a conversation between two students yesterday with no idea that I was listening because they are not in my class, but we were in the library.

This students said, “Yeah, I know right? He just lets us do the work as many times as we want. He does not care about us. He doesn’t care.”

Interesting perspective. I don’t think this is true, but an interesting observation by a quality student.

What are your thoughts on give students as many chances as it takes?

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Are you using Google Research Tool in Google Drive?

I have crafted a short video showing the power of the Research Tool within Google Drive. This is something that needs to be explored more by teachers and utilized by students. A major time saver and also a key tool when collaborating and conducting research.
Let me know how you use this in your classroom. I am looking to make this a staple in all of my classes from here on out. 

I have made a video tutorial with some ideas on how it all works. The link is below.

Here’s how it works!


1.     Go to your Google Docs/Drive page
 

2.     Choose “Create” and then select “Document.”

3.     Start by writing your information whether a research paper, script, debate, etc. 

4.     When you get to a word that you need some guidance and help with or it is a place where more research is needed go ahead go to the toolbar. 

5.     Click on “Tools” and then find “Research.” You can see below that I highlighted Twitter in my document and Research already has Twitter researched for me.

6.     You can click the little down arrows underneath your search box in the Research panel to select the options you want

Citing the sources

Web Results:


When you have the resource that you want to use you will get three options to choose from. They are Preview, Insert Link, and Cite

Preview will give you a preview box of the website before you click on it to open it up to see if it is worth your time.

Insert Link will take the highlighted text in your document and make it a hyperlink to that site if that is what you need. In image below you see Twitter as a hyperlink.


Cite will then site the article/website for you and make it a footer.





Images


When searching images all you do is drag the picture and it will site it automatically.
What I like best is the option to find images that are not copyrighted!

These are the two major uses I see with the Research tool in Google Drive. Don’t forget you have many more options within this tool


As stated above I would love to connect with fellow educators who are using this tool to see examples of it in action and to enhance my own knowledge. I think it would be foolish to not use this if your school has Google Drive.

I would love to hear from others who use this, how they use this tool, and any other advice, tips, or ideas.
























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auditory point of view websites for students

A few useful sites to give students a different perspective from an auditory point of view:
Aural History (cool excerpts, recorded interviews / speeches, audio segments from movies, etc.)
Science Radio (radio stations from around the world)
Free Old Time Radio Shows (the serials are fun to listen to. Great sound effects and acting.)
Live Radio Stations of the World (fabulous site!! even has police scanners!)
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Help Crowdsource Resources for Parents with Gifted Children

I am sharing and creating a document where anyone who has something to share something valuable is free to help out. We are trying to gather resources for parents who have gifted children. We have the document broke up into several categories. Feel free to edit/modify and tweak as necessary.

Here is the link – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Jf8H3AD1dasbRh_oFQhiAjc1ElXN5GNyl8yRaDqeL7k/edit?usp=sharing

We hope you consider helping build up a great resource tool for parents.

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