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9 Ways to Plan Transformational Lessons: Planning the Best Curriculum Unit Ever

9 Ways to Plan Transformational Lessons: Planning the Best Curriculum Unit Ever
When instructors engage learners, develop ability and understanding, and amplify students' identities, we call them "transformational teachers" -- professionals who provide learners with disciplinary View-Masters so that kids can see the world in stereoscope. But how do they prepare? Do they just show up for class and spontaneously uncork the awesome? Obviously not. Behind the scenes, transformational teachers labor over curriculum plans that look simple and even elegant to classroom observers. How to Plan Transformational Lessons 1. For decades, many educators let a textbook's table of contents determine the scope and sequence of a course. Teaching strategies are approaches that teachers use to improve student learning. Balancing teaching strategies with learning strategies keeps instructors and students actively engaged and focused on the same purpose. 2. As teachers gain fluency in using Google Docs, collaborative planning is becoming second nature. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Related:  assessmentEducational ArticlesInstructional Coach

4 Big Things Transformational Teachers Do The key to transformational teaching is not reacting, but rather a grinding obsession with analysis and preparation. Lee Shulman, as reported by Marge Scherer, suggests that expert teachers -- despite enormous challenges --demonstrate: Cognitive understanding of how students learn; emotional preparation to relate to many students whose varied needs are not always evident; content knowledge from which to draw different ways to present a concept; and, finally, the ability to make teaching decisions quickly and act on them. So how do they do that? 1. Instructors tend to use one of two instructional orientations: Transmission: Where "the teacher's role is to prepare and transmit information to learners" and "the learners' role is to receive, store, and act upon this information." It is difficult to accomplish transformational teaching without understanding and implementing constructivist pedagogy -- facilitating hands-on experiences --where students construct meaning through active learning.

Nurturing Intrinsic Motivation and Growth Mindset in Writing It's the first writing conference, four weeks into the year, with this blond senior. He stiffly leans back from me as far as the metal desk will allow, exuding cynicism, too cool for meeting with teachers about his writing. I can see he doesn't trust me yet or know why we conference, and he's afraid. He says, "So, what is this meeting about then?" And we begin. The Power of Teacher Enthusiasm Conferencing and portfolios work for me. But I wish the research would point to these systems as consistent and universal means of student growth. Then, two years ago, I read Daniel Pink's Drive and Carol Dweck's Mindset, and I realized that a system of portfolios and conferences was not enough to change student engagement on its own. Intrinsic Motivation Pink’s Drive argues that employees -- and students -- after their basic needs are met, are motivated by autonomy, purpose, and mastery. But sometimes, I also got it right. Growth Mindset The Payoff: Engagement and Ownership

Nine Insights I Learned From National Leadership Forum 2016 Growing Leaders hosted our National Leadership Forum last week. Every year, I love the opportunity I get to meet leaders from all over the world and watch them connect with each other, as they learn, grow, and prepare for their next academic season. This year, we had perhaps our best experience yet. Our theme was: “Leaders at Every Level.” Conversations—both on and off stage—were about building a culture of leadership in our organizations. Culture works like a movie sound track. Every organization is telling a story, not unlike a movie: there is a script (our words) and acting (our behavior). When students are not winning, it’s the adults who need to change. Too often, when schools don’t perform well, we automatically blame the students: their apathy, conduct or lack of ambition. The key to academic success for many kids is social-emotional learning. The quickest way to influence your culture is to embody your values. Gene Smith spoke about the fundamentals of a healthy culture at OSU.

The Dos and Don'ts of Classroom Management: Your 25 Best Tips Posted 08/20/2014 1:55PM | Last Commented 03/29/2016 9:48AM Classroom management is a delicate balancing act often learned through experience and trial-and-error experimentation. Whether you're a new or experienced teacher, having strategies for effective classroom management is essential for creating positive, successful learning spaces (and staying sane!). In this presentation you’ll find 25 tips for managing your classroom. They were contributed by educators from Edutopia’s community in response to a discussion by blogger Larry Ferlazzo asking users to share their most valuable classroom management advice. Without further ado, here are the Dos and Don'ts of Classroom Management: Your 25 Best Tips: Each classroom is different, so please come back and share what you've learned and what works for you! NOTE: If you're having trouble viewing the presentation, click here to view it directly.

Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding What strategy can double student learning gains? According to 250 empirical studies, the answer is formative assessment, defined by Bill Younglove as "the frequent, interactive checking of student progress and understanding in order to identify learning needs and adjust teaching appropriately." Unlike summative assessment, which evaluates student learning according to a benchmark, formative assessment monitors student understanding so that kids are always aware of their academic strengths and learning gaps. Meanwhile, teachers can improve the effectiveness of their instruction, re-teaching if necessary. "When the cook tastes the soup," writes Robert E. Alternative formative assessment (AFA) strategies can be as simple (and important) as checking the oil in your car -- hence the name "dipsticks." In the sections below, we'll discuss things to consider when implementing AFAs. Observation: A Key Practice in Alternative Formative Assessment A fundamental element of most AFAs is observation.

3 Ways of Getting Student Feedback to Improve Your Teaching During the summer, you'll want to improve your teaching and lessons, but how do you decide where to start? Your students! I use these three ways to get feedback from my students on my lessons, activities, and what I can do to improve next year. Collecting Input First, I’m trying to identify my awful lessons or units so that I can rework them over the summer. For example, I set as a goal to take the most boring lesson or unit from one year and making it epic next year. Second, I want to understand firsthand what kids love and what they hate. 1. I end the year with students in a circle. I'm so proud of what you've done this year and how you've improved. First of all, what did we learn that you loved this year? What were the things we learned that you liked the least? So what is the most boring thing we did the whole year? Is there anything you wish we'd had more time to do? Was there anything you wish we'd done more of? How about ______? 2. 3. Just keep anonymous notes in perspective.

The Top 10 Rules for Talking Like a Leader The Top 10 Rules for Talking Like a Leader It’s deadly to fall in love with your own voice, but the higher you go, the more you need to talk effectively. Brevity with clarity is gold in a frenetic world. The top 10 rules for talking like a leader: The only reason to open your mouth is to make something better. The power of brevity: 7 short questions to help others reflect: If you could? 4 short sentences to help others find solutions: What might work? 5 short sentences that ignite forward movement: What’s next? 3 short – life changing – sentences leaders avoid: I don’t know.I was wrong.Please forgive me. Powerful Leadership Wisdom in only three words: Behavior is destiny.Make things better.Eject energy vampires.Leverage your strengths.Find a coach.Learn from failure.Serve your team.Say something positive.Ask more questions.Build strong relationships. What one thing from this post could you implement today? What three word sentence could you add?

2 Awesome iPad Posters for your Students Are you using iPad with your younger grade students ? If yes, have you provided them a with guideline sheet on the acceptable use of this device in the classroom ? I am thinking you already did but Sandy has another smart idea.Knowing that she will go through a lot of shouting and headaches over the use of iPad with her elementary students, Sandy created an " acceptable Use Policy " poster and used it on her classroom rules board so students can refer back to it during the whole year. This poster features all the rules and guidelines her students need to abide by when using their iPad. Honestly, I am so much impressed by this idea and I liked how she planned her students use of iPad beforehand. Luckily, Sandy offers her poster for free (yay ) and those of you who are teaching in the elementary can use it as well. Click here to download the poster. Here is her second Poster. click here to download it

Powerful Formative Assessment Routine I spent the morning yesterday at a district instructional coach meeting, and one of our sessions was on formative assessment as a tool for differentiation. Do you get the connection between assessment and differentiation? Formative assessments are assessments that inform instruction (for learning), while summative assessments are assessments of learning. Only by knowing where each student is on their learning path can we truly differentiate their instruction. As a short side note, we had an interesting conversation as we tried to categorize a list of assessments as either formative or summative. Back on topic…they showed us a video from the Teaching Channel that is well worth the 6 minutes it will take you to watch it. The daily routine this teacher uses is called My Favorite No. One more quick comment before you grab a cold soda and enjoy the video. Okay, time for the video! Grades 6-8 / Math / Warm-Up

edutopia In my work in New Jersey schools, I discovered many of the most empowered and vibrant schools had been touched by Patrick Fennell's work. So I thought an interview with him might allow me to learn about and more widely share his magic. Edutopia: What do you mean by empowerment? Patrick Fennell: My definition of empowerment is "to lead others to lead themselves." Edutopia: How do we foster empowerment? Fennell: By creating a safe and supportive environment that facilitates students' being aware of consequences to make responsible decisions, enhance their skills and abilities, and widen their interests in order for them to act on their own behalf. Edutopia: Can you share a little bit of your compelling personal story and your approach to empowerment? Fennell: I was a very shy child. I began working with a bank in my junior year of college. The money that I was making was great, but I realized that there was something more that I could be doing. I founded Empowerment Solutions in 2004. 1. 2.

Leadership, Learning and Life | Come write with me…. Show What You Know! What keeps cooperative learning from becoming chaotic? Structure, equal participation, and individual accountability! When all students are actively engaged, there's no time for misbehavior and learning is multiplied! Individual dry erase boards are essential if you want to foster active engagement. If you are a fan of Kagan Cooperative Learning you've probably heard of Showdown, but you might not know that I invented it! Showdown Directions Seat students in teams of three to five and give each person a dry erase board, eraser, and marker. Stack the problem cards face down in the center of the team. Cooperation - Not Competition! Have you noticed that I don't refer to Showdown as a game? Tips for Using Showdown Showdown is a fast-paced, interactive, and fun way to review content and skills. Younger students may not be ready for the team Showdown directions above, but students of any age can participate in Class Showdown. Ready-to-Use Showdown Activities Suggest a Task Card Set!

Avoiding "Learned Helplessness" We all have students that just want to "get it right." We all have students that constantly seek the attention of the teacher. "Did I get this right?" "Is this what you want?" Similarly, we want students to be reflective, to ask themselves, "How do I know if I'm on the right track?" Curate and Create Learning Resources If we want to have students seek out other information from sources other than the teacher, then we must make sure those resources are available. Questions "For" (Not "About") Learning What do I mean by this? What else could you try? Questions are powerful tools for helping students own the process of learning. Stop Giving Answers Often, when a student fails or makes mistakes, we want to fly in like a superhero and give the answer. Allow for Failure I firmly believe that failure is a powerful learning tool, but we have to make sure that we create a culture where it is OK to fail forward.

10 Strategies to Improve Instructional Leadership I still vividly remember my early years as an assistant principal and principal. Instructional leadership was a routine part of the job along with the budget, master schedule, curriculum development, meetings, email, phone calls, and many other duties. With the evolution of social media yet another responsibility was added to my plate in the form of digital leadership. The position of school administrator really requires one to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. This is where many leaders fail to live up to the most important aspect of the position, which is instructional leadership. Even though I tried, the frequency of which I observed teachers rarely extended beyond the minimal expectation. Image credit: It is easy to just say how one should improve instructional leadership or anything else for that matter.