Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life



Friday, January 30, 2015

GRIT


picture: salestrainingconnection.com

Today's Teach Thought prompt is: "Is Grit a valid noun"


To be honest I am not sure what the question or prompt means.


When I did a google search for GRIT here is what I got:

grit
ɡrit/
noun
  1. 1
    small, loose particles of stone or sand.
    "she had a bit of grit in her eye"
    synonyms:sanddustdirtMore
  2. 2
    courage and resolve; strength of character.
    "he displayed the true grit of the navy pilot"  (I edited the list of synonyms)
    synonyms:couragebravery,backbonespirit,
    strength of character, 
    strength of will, moral fiber,
    steelnervefortitude, toughness,
    resolveresolution,
     determinationtenacity,
    perseveranceendurance  




So to be honest I think we as educators, parents and just concerned citizens would we want the future generation to have a strong moral fiber, strength of character, perseverance, as well as courage and the other definitions.

To me the better question would be how can we instill "GRIT" and its expanded definition into our students.
Some food for thought as we end this challenge

Please share your comments and thoughts.

I am not sure with the Sabbath if I will have a chance to blog tomorrow but I wanted to thank the people at TeachThought for a great challenge

Thursday, January 29, 2015

WE TEACH PEOPLE NOT SUBJECTS



picture: www.pinterest.com




This is today's TeachThought Prompt: What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started teaching, and explain how you do it now.


I think for me and for many we become teachers and think that the teaching is the key and we focus on being prepared and knowing the material we are going to teach. That is important but it is only half the picture and the not most important part of picture. there is another side and that is LEARNING. The Learning is done by the student.
Therefore perhaps more important than the material itself is how we relate to our students the connections we make with our students so that we create a connection that will facilitate learning. As I have said many time we teach students not subjects and that needs to be the focus and perhaps the hardest for many teachers to understand. It is also true that your students will remember the connection you made far longer than the material you taught them.


I want to share the following story that I have mentioned before to illustrate some of these ideas. I attended a Principals conference and someone shared the following story.

A number of years ago there was a Jewish foundation in New York that was giving $10,000 gift to excellent teachers. They had to submit a video of their teaching as part of the process. So this teacher gave his tape to his mentor ( the person telling me the story), and asked for his feedback. The mentor looked at the video but want impressed and didn't now what to do. So he just forgot about and wouldn't deal with it until he was asked. Well a few weeks went by and the teacher asked for his feedback. In the conversation the teacher was saying did you see how I was moving around the room, ad how I was using different techniques etc.

At this point the mentor understood what was going on. When the teacher saw the video he was looking at himself and his teaching and when the mentor viewed it he was looking at the students what were they doing, was there learning going on?

That was the first time I was made aware of the important difference between teaching and learning.


I think we need to put the needs of our students first and you will be surprised how playing with them at recess or asking them how their day is going or attending one of their sporting events will go a long way to making those important connections showing them that you care about them as people and that will lead to more meaningful learning as well.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

INCORPORATING STEAM

Picture: psarts.org

I once heard the following quote" that any question that you could find the answer on google isn't worth asking"

Today our focus needs to be on critical thinking, innovation, creativity and the arts.


Incorporating the Arts and these other skills are important because as the quote  above suggests information is easily available it is these other skills that we need to be teaching.

The funny thing is that these skills come naturally to kids and can be easily found in kindergarten but for some reason tend to be less of a focus in older grades and that needs to change.

Also to meet the needs of all of our students, we need to focus on other "non academic"  areas to help them shine.

I am sure many of us have had students who don't do well in an academic setting but ask them to perform something or create something on the computer they shine.

Here is a short presentation I gave on STEAM




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ENGAGING OUR STUDENTS

Today's prompt for the TeachThought blog challenge is about engaging our students.  When we engage our students then by definition they will become more motivated.

This is a post I wrote in September but thought it would be appropriate to repost it as part of the TeachThought blog challenge

This post is based on this months Educational Leadership Magazine.

Picture from ASCD

I think we could all agree that today we want our students to be motivated and engaged in the learning process. Daniel Pink says "With engagement you're doing something because you truly want to do it, because you see the virtues of doing it. However Pink contrasts that with complaint behavior when do something because someone told to do it.

Many classroom by default are places that we see more complaint behavior than engaged behavior and in reality we need to shift this so that students are engaged and are given a sense of freedom.

Pink says it best; We need leaders, both in organizations and in schools, who create an atmosphere in which people have a sufficient degree of freedom; can move toward mastery on something that matters;and know why they're do something, not just how to do it.........As parents, as teachers, as entire organization, our instinct it toward greater control. We think control is going to make something better. But people only have two reactions to control: They comply or defy. We don't want defiant kids but we also don't want compliant kids. We want kids who are engaged. If you truly want  to engage  kids, you have to pull back on the control, and create conditions in which they can tap into their own inner motivations." 

To have engaged students we need to give up on the control and allow the natural motivation to shine. All students are motivated the only question is what is their level of motivation. By giving up control and allowing the motivation to come through we will end up with more engaged students.

Jackson and Zmuda in their article "4 Keys to Student Engagement" also make the the distinction between Complaint and Engaged. They point out the following:
  "Real engagements not compliance. We can't pine for engaged learners when our policies and practices tend to focus on producing compliant learners. If we want to grow capacity in our students;unearth student talents, dreams, and aspirations; and instill perseverance through a focus on doing hard work, learning from mistakes and revising one's work,we need to design classroom practices around securing real engagement. 

To sort of wrap things up Cossett and Gilmore in their article "10 Standards for Motivation " give us a top 10 list:


  1.  The need for Active Learning
  2. Lessons incorporate student autonomy
  3. Learning is relevant
  4. Frequent opportunities for collaboration 
  5. Appropriate use of technology
  6. Multiple learning methods
  7. A balance of challenge and success the create independence. 
  8. Differentiate 
  9. Feedback and authentic assessment
  10. Inquiry that promotes a sense of curiosity and desire to learn
To sum up : Motivation + Autonomy= Engagement and Compliance and Control reduce motivation and therefore limit true engagement. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

MEETING THE NEEDS OF OUR DIVERSE LEARNERS


Below is a Presentation I gave on meeting the needs of Diverse Learners. Today more and more we are faced with a diverse student body and we as educators need to make sure we meet the needs of all of our students so that they are engaged in the learning process.
This is a topic that I am very passionate about. Please check out my Web site Star Educational Consulting 

Please let me know how I can help you or your school with your professional learning needs and helping insure that all of our students succeed.











Tuesday, January 20, 2015

TED TALKS - MY SHORT LIST

Today's prompt is about TED TALKS

Well I can't limit it to one Sorry!

The other day I shared a TED Talk about WHY so I won't be sharing that one again.

Here is Carol Dweck's on Mindset. Enough said




Another must watch is Sir Ken Robinson. Today we need to see creativity as an essential part of our curriculum the same way we once thought about Reading and Writing. Here is his play list

A TED playlist to watch: Ken Robinson: 10 talks on education http://www.ted.com/playlists/124/ken_robinson_10_talks_on_educ


I couldn't  put together a list of TED Talks without Angela Maiers  on  "You Matter" - What a powerful message  

b
This is a great way to end. This is just very inspirational

Monday, January 19, 2015

Keeping your Vision

picture: tvg-connect.com 


This post was written at the start of the school year two year ago. Notes made today are in italics. 


We started  our first full week of school and at the same time Jews across the world are preparing for the Start of Rosh Hashanah which begins Sunday night. I thought I would reflect on the start of the school year and the lessons I learned that will hopefully make me a better Leader and more importantly a better a person. 

By no means is this a complete list just some short reflections. 

The ideas and concepts mentioned are also important parts of a school vision. The examples given are good ways to  keep these ideas and the ideas of your vision fresh in your mind. 

·        Honesty- Being open and honest. Practicing what you preach., and being as Transparent as possible. ( I think these ideas speak for themselves) 
·        Take responsibility- Related to honesty one needs to admit when they did something wrong and Say I am sorry. As I have quoted often ‘Mistakes Happen It is hoe we come back from Mistakes that Matter”
·        Caring- Show people you care about them ( Self explanatory)
·        Listen first- One of the best ways we show people that they matter and that we care about them is to give them the time and respect to listen to them. 
·        Be Willing to Learn – No one is perfect and we need to be always willing to learn and take ideas from others 
·        Share- Both in the sense of shared responsibility but more importantly sharing of ideas and a culture of shared leadership. We vs I 
·        No Problems Just solutions- Meaning focus on the positive. Stay positive and don’t over react or get down, try to stay level headed. 

As I was reflecting and putting my thoughts together  I also started reading  ‘Schools that Learn by Peter Senge

He has “Five Disciplines of Organizational Learning”
1.     Personal Mastery – To develop a clear personal vision 
2.     Shared Vision – the need to create strategies and principles  to get you there 
3.     Mental Models – a discipline based on reflection 
4.     Team Learning – to tap into the collective thinking and learning of a group and mobilize that energy to achieve common goals 
5.     Systems Thinking- to gain a broader and deeper understanding of the subjects they study and how they fit into a larger system. 

I have just started the book but  I thought some of Senge Disciplines spoke to me and to my ideas and wanted to share those with you. 

As we embark on a new school year and as I and other Jews prepare for the High Holidays  may this be a year filled with growth and learning. 

My Thoughts

Akevy 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Building a Community

Picture: aspenpitkin.com


THIS POST IS NOT PART OF THE TEACHTHOUGHT BLOG CHALLENGE BUT RATHER A QUESTION / IDEA I WOULD LIKE TO POSE 

In recent posts I have talk about the importance of being a connected education and developing a PLN. I have also written about the importance of digital learning and being involved on Twitter,  in Twitter chats and on Facebook groups. 

My question is does that create a community? and How do you define a community?

As A follow up if people are connected through Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus just to name a few is there still a need or a benefit to Wiki spaces and Ning sites.

What do those sites offer more than the others?

I would argue that since people are on Twitter and Facebook already isn't it easy to create our "community" there than asking people to post and open another page or site.

I would like your feedback and comments since I am questioning the need for Ning sites and Wiki given the number of Twitter chats and specifically focused Facebook groups.

Please share your thoughts and ideas. 

ASKING WHY

picture: amazon.com

Today's TeachThought Prompt:

If a young person told you they wanted to become a teacher, what would you tell her/him?

Honestly I wouldn't tell him or her anything. Rather I would ask WHY? 

Why do you want to become a teacher? 

As Simon Sinek says  in his Ted Talk:

"Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren't. Let me define the terms really quickly. Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by "why" I don't mean "to make a profit." That's a result. It's always a result. By "why," I mean: What's your purpose? What's your cause? What's your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? Well, as a result, the way we think, the way we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in. It's obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organizations -- regardless of their size, regardless of their industry -- all think, act and communicate from the inside out."

Truth be told I am not sure how many educators myself included could answer the question that Sinek poses as his definition of WHY. Nevertheless the WHY we do something is important both for us as new and veterans educators and for our students. 





Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Digital Learning

picture: http://www.edudemic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/icons.jpg

I wrote a post a while ago that one of the great things about Twitter is that it is Professional Learning 24/7 for me 24/6). However, if I had to pinpoint a key learning experience I would say the Twitter chats are one of the most powerful tools for learning. The downside it that there are so many and they can be very overwhelming.

I used to participate in a lot of chats. To name some:
#edchat
#cpchat
#leadfromwithin
#edtechbridge
#sunchat

Recently I have found it hard to participate in so many chats. Some of the chats mentioned above I no longer participate in, but as the prompt suggest I will try to be more involved.

Last night I lurked around #COLchat #hcsce and #edtechchat and I hope to start participating in the TeachThought chat.

One of the issues is that the early evening between 6-8 isn't always such a great time for me but I will try.

Another area of my digital learning that is important is my Zite feed. It keeps me up to date on certain articles and with Zite it is easy to share and post.

I have also renewed my blogging efforts and trying to comment on blog posts written by others is another area I hope to work on with regard to my digital learning.

Finally an area that is new to my digital learning has been Facebook and Facebook groups. At first Twitter was more for professional learning and Facebook was more social however lately there are more and more posts on FB and FB groups that it has truly expanded my digital learning.

Digital learning  is such an important part of being a lifelong  and connected educator.




Please comment and share your ideas

Monday, January 12, 2015

KEEPING CURRENT

Picture: www.collegenetwork.com


Here is today's prompt: How did your initial teacher training prepare you? What would you like Teacher Ed programs to provide now?


Truthfully I am not sure how to answer the question. 

Disclaimer what I am saying may be happening so this is not an indictment on any program 

To me the number one thing that Teacher Ed programs need to be doing is staying current. I have learned more and continued to learn more from twitter blog posts and other online newsletter. That's where the real learning takes place and while basic pedagogy is important, the students teachers are encountering today are different from the students of the past and therefore the training they receive needs to be different. 

It always bothered me ( even though I am guilty of it ) that at conferences and professional development sessions we "Teach"  or Present in a way that goes against what we preach. We tend to lecture and have very little "student" participation. 

Therefore Teacher Ed programs need to model the behaviors, techniques, and skills we want to see in the classroom. 

So these programs need to be differentiated as well as student centered with student participation and involvement. They also need to include creativity, innovation and critical thinking. 

Finally the assessments given need to be practical and real based on real examples. Project  or Problem based learning would be great to incorporate into these programs. 

Bottom Line  is many of us are learning and growing through social media and current trends presented  through Edcamps, newsletter and other conferences. So why reinvent the wheel and our Teacher Ed programs need to follow these trends and ideas. 


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Game Changers

Picture: www.pinterest.com

Well at first glance this is a no brainier The biggest game changer is TECHNOLOGY and all that it has brought no only to education but to our global society.

I then ask myself what must of have been going on when the printing press was invented and there was now paper and pencils and books to read. That must have been a real game changer.

What will be in 20 -30 years what new advances and new gadgets will be the game changer of the times.

Is technology itself a game changer or is just the advancement of time? For sure its a game changer but I think there may be a bigger one.

How many still use technology but teach like we are still in the 19th century?

How many use a smart board as a glorified projector to show videos?

To me the bigger question which leads me to my game changer is what do we do with the technology?

Therefore to me the biggest changer has been Science both Physical science and the Social sciences

Today with the advancement of Science and Brian research  and especially with regard to brain elasticity, new doors have opened up and this has  been a real game changer.

The idea of a Growth Mindset and the ability to change and grow has been another important area that has changed  the way we view learning

Finally the research into learning disabilities has also opened up new avenues and approaches.

So the bigger question and perhaps the bigger changer is OK I have technology now what?

Do I believe that  I and my students can learn and grow, and how will that effect my own learning and that of my students

What has the research on diversity taught me and how can I bring that into my classroom.

I am sure there are others

Maybe Technology has been and is the biggest game changing tool while science has been the biggest game changer with regard to pedagogy and how we view learning and the ability to learn. 

Just my thoughts



Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Importance of Being Connected

picture: www.aleddy.com

Today was my Sabbath so I am cheating a bit and reposting a Post I wrote in October for Connected Educators month

October is connected Educators month. I would consider myself a Connected Educator.

  • I am very active on Twitter 
  • I participates in Twitter chats and actually started one #jedchat 
  • I started a 30 blog day blog challenge and created a page on Facebook for others to join and share 
  • I actively blog and try to comment on blog posts
  • I have presented at conferences 
  • I have developed an amazing PLN and many of whom are actually very good friends
All of the above has made me a better educator, lifelong learner, friend, parent and spouse. I don't regret it for one second in fact I question at times where I would be without twitter and without my PLN.

However lets take a peak on the dark side. ( Again I am grateful to my PLN and my friends so this is not geared towards any individuals)

What if I wasn't as connected on line?

What if I only lurked on Twitter and blogged once in a while ?

Yes I have presented at conferences but have never given a keynote nor been able to work out a deal to publish ( yes some of that is my fault) 

 To be honest I have asked these questions 

Am I really connected and what would be different if I was a bit less connected? 

I think we need to view being connected a little differently. 

Being connected should not be measured by how many twitter followers you have, or by how many times you blog or by how many books you have published or by how many keynotes you give.

But rather how you connect with your peers and your students.


  • Do you connect so that you can learn more, or share ideas with others 
  • Do you connect so that you can grow as a educator and person 
  • Do you connect so that you can maximize your students potential 
  • When you connect do you make people feel that they matter 
I am sure there are other things we can and should measure but if you answered yes to the last set of ideas then I believe you are truly a connected educator 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Facing Challenges by Looking Ahead

Picture courtesy of lovethispic.com


Below you will find two posts which I wrote about a year ago. Just to give newer readers some context. I resigned for personal reason as a Head of School in August of 2013. I have been looking for a job and at the same time trying to build my consulting business Star Educational Consulting. Both have been challenging. These posts were written when honestly I was in a different place. I am still faced with the same challenges but through my own Blog challenge, this TeachThought challenge and many  friends I have renewed confidence and hope. I still have my bad days and a lot of stress  but overall things are better. These were and are my challenges and these posts reflect a little bit how I faced and am facing them.


Post #1

It has been a while since I posted something on my blog. The last few months have been difficult for me and my family and I didn't have the drive and honestly desire to blog. I got into a rut and was (truthful still am) feeling a bit sorry for myself. I have looked on websites, sent out tweets, made proposal submitted resumes and I still find myself without a job.
Perhaps finally writing about it will give me the energy to move forward and start looking towards the future. I know G-D has a plan and that I didn't devote my life to education (mainly Jewish Education) to stop now.
I have created a short check list to help me and maybe others move forward during this difficult time. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas as well.

Short Term

  • Do something productive/ constructive daily
  • Share thoughts and ideas, at least 3 times week via blog, twitter, Facebook etc.
  • Keep up on the latest ideas in Education by reading blogs, books and tweets each day
  • Continue looking for a  job and promoting my own consulting business and website at www.star-educational-consulting.com
A bit harder 
Stay positive and focus on the future not the past

Long term goal 
Come with an idea and start writing a book of my own

There is no silver bullet and I know this is all easier said than done, but I am hoping as we enter 2014 I too can now look forward to a brighter and better future. 

I would like to thank my family and friends, which includes my PLN for their  constant support and help 

Here's to a brighter and better future 



Post #2

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I have been in a rut and honestly, I think I lost some of my focus and motivation. I just finished reading "Causes and Cures in the Classroom" by Margaret Searle.

The book ends with the following; "The dream most of us went into teaching with was to make a significant difference for our students. The way to do that has nothing to do with quick fixes or canned programs. It has to do with teachers who genuinely care and are always looking for better ways to help students help themselves." 

This really spoke to me both about education and about life. Too often we get caught up with what is the latest trend or am I using the most cutting edge tools and technology available. While that is important and we need to be current we can't lose focus on what really counts and why we are educators.
At the end of the day the bottom line as Margaret and others have said is that we need to show students that we care about and as my friend Angela Maiers says we need to show them that they MATTER

I would say that  "Not Losing Focus" is one of those things that is easier said than done and perhaps as I outlined in yesterday's post "Moving Forward" we need to create a checklist.
These ideas are noting new and many of them, I have gleaned from all of you.


  • Making SMART goals
  • Showing our students and others that We care and that "You Matter"
  • Applaud the Effort 
  • Don't label, but rather guide and support
  • Do something positive every day 
  • Take time for yourself 
The list can go on. Please add your own thoughts 



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Assessments Should Focus on Learning and Growth

picture: www.linkedin.com

Once again the team at TeachThought came up with another great prompt about assessment. And once again the topic is complex with many different layers and sub topics.

I am not going to discuss the importance of formative assessments and summertime assessments, even though that is a worthy discussion. Nor am I going to discuss the issue of grading which is often linked to assessments. Just to let you know I  am a card carrying member of the Teachers Throwing Out Grades group, if that helps you at all.

But Rather I want to focus on what we should be assessing and what is the purpose.

Here is a post I wrote in 2010 and admittedly a lot has changed since I wrote it

"I had the chance on the day before Thanksgiving to Skype with two colleagues on the topic of assessment. Books have been written on this topic and I maybe one day I will write one about assessment and grading. However for the purpose of this blog I would just like to mention some Assessment Do’s and Don’ts. By no means is this a complete list and I encourage you to comment and add to the list. 

Assessment Do’s

*Assessments need to incorporate Critical thinking skills and other higher order skills
*Assessments needs to demonstrate understanding and how to apply it - I often have my students right a guidebook about something as a way of demonstrating understanding 
*Assessments should be tools that inform Student learning 
*Assessments need to assess the lifelong skills we want our students to learn

Assessment Don’ts

*Assessments should be more than just fill in the blanks which test memory and not skills 
*The purpose of Assessments should not be for the purpose of “Got You” 
*Assessments need to match what skills were taught in class not the other way around (We should not teach to the test) 

Again there is a lot more and the issue of assessments is very much related to the issue of grades which I as well as others have written about.

Bottom line the assessments need to be a tool to measure learning and growth and not as a way that set students up for failure. Assessments need to be used by the teacher as well as the student to guide student learning. Assessments are a tool not an end to themselves "

One thing that I didn't mention in my list is that assessments need to measure and show effort. A student who tries but has some challenges should be recognized for that effort.


The bottom line still sums it up. We all need standards and benchmarks. We all need feedback and know that we are on the right track. We all need to feel good about ourselves and see that there is a greater good or goal.

There is a lot more to say but that to me should be the focus and the goal of Assessments.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Growing and Learning

picture: pinterest.com

This will be the seventh post as part of the TeachThought blog challenge. I want to take a moment and just thank those at TeachThought for putting together these amazing prompts. it has been a truly great learning experience and I am happy that I became connected to this amazing group.

I am also amazed how so many ideas, and topics come back to similar themes. It seems  like I am repeating myself by when reinvent the wheel or why fix it if its not broken.

When I think of professional development I would rather call it professionally learning. So when I think of professional learning a few common ideas ( which I have mentioned a number of times already) come to mind

Those ideas are

  • Lifelong learning 
  • Collaborating
  • Social media 
  • Reading 
Below are two blog posts about these topics and I think it was worthy to re post them here as it relates to this topic. 



 Reposted from Archives:

The name of my blog is Views of a Lifelong Learner. Well what is it to be lifelong learner? Today I came across the following article.

"Six Ways to Be a Lifelong Learner " Here are the six points  the author makes


  • Read daily.
  • Seek out experts
  • Make connections
  • Turn off the TV
  • Find the time
  • Invest in yourself
I highly recommend reading the entire article as the author expands on each of the six points. 
I will like to add my own and in some cases agree with the ones listed above with my own commentary. 



  1. YES! READ READ and READ One needs to be current on the latest trend in what ever field they are in and they need to be gaining more knowledge all the time. Imagine if the skill set you are using now was the same one you used in high  school. 
  2. Develop a PLN - This is similar to the second and third points above. No one person can know it all and they need to rely on others for help. Why reinvent the wheel when you don't have to. It says in "Ethics of Our Fathers"; "who is truly wise, one who is willing to learn from anyone 
  3. Related to number two is that we need to try new things and take risks. We don't know everything and the only way we can learn is by trial and error. 
  4. Be willing to adapt to change. To learn means to grow and change and we need to willing to embrace that. 
  5. Be a lifelong learner is journey it never ends. It is the ultimate marathon. So you need to ready for the long haul. 

Originally written in Jan 2012

This past Wednesday night's #JEDCHAT was devoted to takeaways from the recent #NAJDS Conference. 
One of main ideas shared was the importance of meeting people sharing ideas and seeing what is done in other schools and just networking with other educators. 
While nothing can replace face to face interaction but i believe the sharing of ideas, learning from others and just developing a Network or in other words a PLN could be developed through ones interactions and use of Twitter. 
Recently Lyn Hilt, an amazing Educational leader and a personal inspiration to me wrote the following blog post;Battling skepticism.At the end she asked the following question;"So what I’m looking for in the comments section below are ways that administrators who are new to social media and professional learning networks can get started. Help their fears subside… help them battle the skepticism and preconceived notions they may have about the tools and the connections made.

Here is an part of the comment I left on the blog; 
"Lyn,
Another great post!
Yes I am fairly new to Twitter. This summer will be two years. I never imagined myself on twitter let alone blogging and starting a Chat for Jewish educators. I think people need to “dip their toe in the water” and try it. Take it slow and at first just lurk follow the #edchat and #cpchat streams using TweetDeck or Hootsuite. Follow some blogs and then once the water is right jump in.
One thing that I have personally found is that Twitter is a very safe environment and people want to hear what you have to say. Otherwise how do explain an Orthodox Rabbi from Memphis TN. with over 2200 followers.
My only regret is that I have only met a handful of my amazing PLN in person.
Lyn, Thanks again for sharing and for being an inspiration to me."
My point is that we all want to connect and learn form others and that is often what is the highlight of any conference. So when the question is how can we keep that feeling we got at the conference going or how can we build on it and sustain it through out the year? My answer is develop a PLN, join twitter follow #edchat, #cpchat and of course #jedchat. Twitter is that 24/7 365 Conference.
Akevy 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WHAT SKILLS ARE NEEDED

picture: www.wildapricot.com

Today's prompt is on what advice would I give to new teachers?

So recently there was a Facebook conversation on the JEDLAB group page. Here was the question

A brand new teacher, fresh out of grad school, wants a good, practical, no nonsense, less abstract, more concrete, list of strategies book (or books) that will help her be a more effective teacher. (Cant get more loaded then that!) Suggestions? Tikvah Wiener Matt Williams Jon Mitzmacher Eliezer JonesPearl Mattenson Maccabee Avishur Shira Leibowitz Shira HochheimerNancy Levine Siegel Naomi Weiss Akevy Greenblatt Aaron Ross Aliza Chanales and the rest of JEDlab

There was such a lively discussion that a Google Doc was created to compile all the different answers. 

As many have mentioned before putting this into a short post with one or two ideas and skills is very hard. 

However  I would have to say two come to mind as being crucial. 

The first is  being a lifelong learner. Teachers need to be learning and growing all the time and they need to model this behavior for their students. The analogy I like the best is that some would not go to a doctor who attended medical school 20 years ago and is not current with he latest trends in the medical profession. Why would we and should we expect anything less from our educators and they  to need to be update on the latest trends in education. 

The second is developing a growth mindset. That to me probably should have been first. A growth mind set allows a person to grow and not be stuck where they are. It encourages risk taking, and being open to feedback and constructive criticism. So a growth mindset  includes many other important skills. 


picture : 
msaprilshowers.com

Monday, January 5, 2015

INSTILLING MOTIVATION





Picture from ASCD


Yesterdays prompt was about our own growth and motivation and today the topic is how can we instill that in our students. Well obviously if we are positive and motivated then that should come across to our students. One of the most powerful tools we have is the ability to be role models and without even saying a word we could effect the lives of our students. Honestly powerful but scary.


Below is a post I wrote in September about motivation and I am reposting here for this blog challenge.


I think we could all agree that today we want our students to be motivated and engaged in the learning process. Daniel Pink says "With engagement you're doing something because you truly want to do it, because you see the virtues of doing it. However Pink contrasts that with complaint behavior when do something because someone told to do it.


Many classroom by default are places that we see more complaint behavior than engaged behavior and in reality we need to shift this so that students are engaged and are given a sense of freedom.


Pink says it best; We need leaders, both in organizations and in schools, who create an atmosphere in which people have a sufficient degree of freedom; can move toward mastery on something that matters;and know why they're do something, not just how to do it.........As parents, as teachers, as entire organization, our instinct it toward greater control. We think control is going to make something better. But people only have two reactions to control: They comply or defy. We don't want defiant kids but we also don't want compliant kids. We want kids who are engaged. If you truly want to engage kids, you have to pull back on the control, and create conditions in which they can tap into their own inner motivations."


To have engaged students we need to give up on the control and allow the natural motivation to shine. All students are motivated the only question is what is their level of motivation. By giving up control and allowing the motivation to come through we will end up with more engaged students.


Jackson and Zmuda in their article "4 Keys to Student Engagement" also make the the distinction between Complaint and Engaged. They point out the following:

"Real engagements not compliance. We can't pine for engaged learners when our policies and practices tend to focus on producing compliant learners. If we want to grow capacity in our students;unearth student talents, dreams, and aspirations; and instill perseverance through a focus on doing hard work, learning from mistakes and revising one's work,we need to design classroom practices around securing real engagement.


To sort of wrap things up Cossett and Gilmore in their article "10 Standards for Motivation " give us a top 10 list:


The need for Active Learning
Lessons incorporate student autonomy
Learning is relevant
Frequent opportunities for collaboration
Appropriate use of technology
Multiple learning methods
A balance of challenge and success the create independence.
Differentiate
Feedback and authentic assessment
Inquiry that promotes a sense of curiosity and desire to learn


To sum up : Motivation + Autonomy= Engagement and Compliance and Control reduce motivation and therefore limit true engagement.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Developing and Growing

So here is today's prompt/ question from TeachThought

"What is one area of my learning and teaching I want to develop this year?" 

So I am no longer teacher but as a professed lifelong learner I am always learning something. 

My passion is in meeting students needs given our diverse student population and using technology, creativity and the arts to help meet those needs. So I am always looking for good material about those subjects. 

I also have a passion towards leadership and like to read books about on that subject as well 

Just to give a sense of what I am talking about here are two pictures from my kindle on my iPad 




These were taken in August I have updated it a bit since then 

On a more personal note I would like to develop my writing skills so that I can make this dream of publishing a book a reality and work on my marketing skills and web design so that my  consulting business can take off in a real way.