When I taught middle social studies from 2001-2009 I would start and finish the school year with a quote “no human is more human than another.” It was adapted from quotes that Maya Angelou and Romeo Dallaire made many years ago. The quote would come up time and again as we studied such things as the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, the Civil War and current events. I implored my students to learn from the past so that history does not repeat itself. And above all else treat others the way you would want to be treated even if you don’t see eye to eye with tgat other person on everything that comes up in life.
No doubt that if I was teaching in the year 2020 the current events that are playing out right in front of us would be tackled head on in class. Perspectives and insights shared, but above all else how can we learn from this and what can be done to make sure this sort of thing does not happen again?
Thank you to all the teachers out there who are having tough conversations with students. It’s good for students, makes students more well rounded citizens, and better equipped for when they enter adulthood.
10 remote learning resources
These past six weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. From preparing for the possible #COVID19 outbreak to being off for a few weeks while the virus turns rears its ugly head to now possibly having the physical school building closed for the remainder of the school year. Seems like each day the educational world is hit square in the face with another obstacle to overcome. Through all of this turmoil I have seen educators within my own district and from around the world band together and support one another during this trying time. Whether it was a simple phone call, email, text message, video call, or online group meetup, educators have stepped up to the plate and created a remote learning environment with very little time to prepare. Quite frankly, given the current circumstances, I have taken great joy in helping my fellow colleagues and global PLN with brainstorming ideas and creating best practice resources all in the name of promoting the success of all students. Over the past several weeks I have written guest blog posts, designed remote learning infographics, served as a panelist for a virtual town hall meeting, participated on a webinar, spoke to journalists and sat in on a podcast interview. It was great to share my stories, but more importantly the stories of other great educators who are stepping up to the plate during this pandemic and exhausting all options to provide a pedagogically sound remote learning environment. Browse below to access remote learning resources that you might find useful. Keep fighting the good fight my friends!
interview with vicki davis on remote learning
remote learning infographics
150 TWITTER TIPS FOR EDUCATORS
A few years ago Billy Krakower, Scott Rocco, and I wrote 140 Twitter Tips for Educators. At the time, it was a much needed guide for those who were looking to enhance their effectiveness as an educator or brand their classroom, school or district. Fast forward to the present, Twitter is still one of the go-to platforms for educators that are to share best practices or tell their stories. Thousands of copies of 140 Twitter Tips have been sold worldwide to educators from all walks of life. Recently, a group educators from South Carolina purchased 140 Twitter Tips for Educators in bulk and immediately put into place key strategies that not only elevated their own effectiveness but ultimately promoted the success of students.
Social media has impacted the educational world in so many wonderful ways over the past several years. Arguably, much has stayed the same, but there are some new twists that both veterans and new comers alike should take note of as it relates to staying connected and sharing on a platform like Twitter. Below you will find 10 new tips that we have added to the long list of 140. Feel free to leave other tips in the comment section of this blog post that you find useful and could potentially benefit our readers.
Tip #141 - Stay current with those that you follow and those that follow you. It’s important to know that a few bad apples do exist and are poor reflection of the educational community as a whole. Do your homework and don’t be afraid to unfollow, block, or disengage.
Tip #142 - Users now have 280 characters to get their points across, up from the 140 characters from a few years ago. People love brevity, so continue to keep your points short and to the point.
Tip #143 - Got something more to say? You can add a tweet to your original tweet by simply clicking the plus sign in the lower right hand corner of the compose box on the Twitter iPhone app.
Tip #144 - At this point in time, Twitter has put a pause on verifying (blue check mark) high profile accounts. Just be aware that there have been a number of instances where people were being verified and they probably should not of been in the first place. In fact, there are still some folks out there that are verified and for whatever ridiculous reason have not had the status revoked. Twitter could definitely do a better job of checking the verification status of some of its users.
Tip #145 - Share live video with great ease. When we first wrote this book apps like Periscope were the only way to blast out live footage from your Twitter account. Now for example, if you are on the iPhone app you can simply tap the compose button and then tap the camera icon. From there simply tap on “live” on the lower part of the screen and tap “ready to go live” to actually go live.
Tip #146 - Add Emojis to your Twitter profile through the Twitter app. Have a little fun and show your true colors. Simply tap on edit profile and tap on where you want to add the emoji.
Tip #147 - When presenting at a faculty meeting, district inservice, or at a conference make sure to include your Twitter handle and corresponding hashtag on the slides. Best practice would be to have these items located at the bottom of most slides so people can engage with you during or after the presentation.
Tip #148 - A cool little hack or app smash you can try out is to create a slide on the Google Slide app that contains an inspirational image and/or quote. Then take a screen shot, crop image and save to your camera roll. Then tweet out to your followers.
Tip #149 - Gone are the days where there are only a few educational Twitter hashtags or chats. There are literally thousands now, which is a good thing and a not so good thing. Use the search box on Twitter to find content specific to your interests. #Satchat is still alive and strong after all these years. Come join us each Saturday morning from 7:30 - 8:30 AM EST and share your thoughts on the given topic of the day.
Tip #150 - Start a digital storytelling club or as an extension of yearbook club have students take pictures and tweet out from the club’s Twitter handle. I got this tip from Black River Middle School’s wonderful art teacher Sarah Smith. Students use a club issued iPhone that has the Buffer app downloaded so that they can compose tweet with accompanying picture but not actually tweet out. The next step has Mrs. Smith check over the tweet in the Buffer feed. Finally, once approved, the tweet is scheduled to be sent out. Definitely a neat way to students involved in the process of telling their school’s story.
100 ways to be future ready
The Chester School District in Chester, New Jersey is an amazing K-8 school district dedicated to providing all students with a well balanced education in both the physical and virtual worlds. Each day, students are engaged in meaningful and relevant learning experiences that not only provide a solid foundation in the present, but prepare them for what they will encounter in the future. Here are 100 ways the Chester School is #FutureReady...
As you can see the "future ready" list is quite comprehensive and could easily eclipse the 200 mark. We are really proud of the diverse and innovative experiences that students take part in on a daily basis here in the Chester School District. Our teachers take great pride in being "risk-takers" and exhausting all options to ensure that students have a great day every day.
Brad Currie is the Director of Planning, Research, and Evaluation for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. Reach out to Brad via email at email@example.com or connect with him on Twitter @thebradcurrie.
10 Things You Should Know About Instructional Coaches Through the Lens of an Administrator
Check out Brad’s new book titled Tech Request: A Guide to Coaching Educators in the Digital World. Found wherever books are sold.
that zero changed my life
Reflecting on an article I keep seeing on social media about the teacher getting fired for supposedly not abiding by the school’s grading policy. As a student, did I ever get a zero? Sure. Was it right? I guess. As a teacher, did some of my students receive zeros? Probably. Was it right? Probably not. As an instructional leader do I support the idea of students receiving zeros? In most cases, the answer is no. The bottom line is that we must exhaust all options to promote the success of each and every student regardless of how much they are driving us crazy or might seem too lazy to complete any work. I can remember as a teacher and team leader working with a small group of 7th grade students during my lunch. They had lost their way and learning was not a top top priority due to extenuating circumstances at home. They would come into my classroom and complete work that was way overdue in several of their classes. Over time they started to catch up and realized that we were not going to let them dig a deeper hole for themselves.
Often I think we as educators believe it’s easier to teach students a life lesson by giving them a zero because we need to prepare them for the real world. When in fact we need to think about building supportive and engaging learning environments that not only show students that we care about them but also holds everyone accountable. I can remember as a student sitting out the first half of a basketball game because I was not holding up my end of a bargain. You know what? I deserved it. In more recent years, both as a teacher and administrator, there were a few occasions where students were not being responsible and they needed to be held accountable. Did that mean I got a zero? No. Something that meant so much to me was taken away for short while. I still needed to make up the work and learn the material.
The whole zero thing is an easy way out for all parties involved. Now, if there is a point where all options have been exhausted and nothing has changed than we can have a discussion about who deserves what grade. The research is very clear in this area of education. John Hattie tells us that that a teachers estimate of student achievement has a 1.29 effect size. Additionally, Hattie tells us that teacher credibility has a .90 effect size. The research makes it abundantly clear that if teachers believe their students can achieve desired learning outcomes they will. On that same note, students know if you as a teacher are legit and subsequently will either rise to the occasion or not really care about learning. Students also know if you as an instructional leader are legit as it relates to keeping a pulse on what is or is not going on in school.
The important thing here is to keep having these sorts of conversations with your colleagues, school stakeholders, and most importantly students. Take a look at my friend Eric Sheninger’s blog post on a similar topic from back in 2013:
Keep fighting the good fight my friends!
Brad has been an educator for more than 18 years as a coach, teacher, and administrator. He currently serves as a Director of Planning, Research, and Evaluation for the Chester School District in Chester, New Jersey. Brad is the 2017 NASSP National Assistant Principal of the Year and part of the ASCD Emerging Leaders Class of 2014. He is the co-founder and co-moderator of a weekly Twitter discussion for educators called #satchat. Brad has authored five books including the newly released Tech Request: A Guide for Coaching Educators in the Digital World. He presents nationally on leadership, teaching, and learning in the digital era. Brad currently serves as an adjunct professor in Drew University's Graduate School of Education. He also is a Google Certified Trainer and supports districts in implementing Google Apps for Education. Connect with Brad by following him on Twitter @thebradcurrie or visiting his company website at www.evolvingeducators.com.