Three Critical Mind Shifts for Successful Student Conferencing

Hey Coach,

I’ve been reading a lot about the power of individual student conferencing. This is a strategy I want to use in my classroom, but I’m feeling a major time crunch! How can I find the time to conference with every student?

Out of Time Teacher

Dear Out of Time Teacher,
Good for you! It sounds like you recognize the importance of individual student conferencing. When it comes to building relationships with students and collecting specific information about their progress, nothing beats a 1:1 conference.
Not only that, but student conferencing is an integral part of the dynamic communication that takes place within a personalized learning environment. As Stephanee Stephens and Anisa Lokey-Vega explain in the white paper, A Vision for Personalized Learning, these conferences offer important opportunities for learners to voice their needs, preferences, and interests to plan and drive their education.

Yet, teachers are often hesitant to implement classroom conferencing. With…

New Year: Intentions Over Goals

Hey there, readers! We are trying something new on the iTeach Blog this year. In addition to answering your questions every month, we will periodically feature posts written by guest bloggers. This week, iTeach Director Stephanee Stephens is sharing insight about setting your intentions for the new year.

“New year, New you!”
“It’s time for a Glow-Up!”

“Out with the old and in with the new!”
I could keep listing out catchphrases, but you get the point! This time of year, everyone is keen to set new goals, clean up their surroundings, and begin a new year (or semester) with fresh energy. I, for one, am happy folks are happy - Any chance we have in education to celebrate, reset, and be happy, we can’t afford to miss!

I have been thinking and studying intention a lot over the last year. I sure do wish I had stumbled upon setting intentions earlier in my career. Goals are specific achievements focused on the future, while intentions represent an awareness of who, what, or how we want to b…

iTeach Resolutions for a New Year

Hey Coach,

I’m ready to set goals for the new year and I’m looking for some inspiration! Professionally speaking, what are your New Year’s resolutions for 2020?

Resolution Ready

Dear Resolution Ready,
Great question! Self-improvement is the name of the game, and we are always looking for ways to become even better educators, coaches, employees, and colleagues. Working in education, we are well-versed in setting goals at the beginning of each school year and creating a plan to achieve those goals. But still, there’s something about that fresh January feeling that motivates us to reflect on our progress, revisit those goals, and set some new ones!
To answer your question, I turned to the great minds on our iTeach team, who shared their own resolutions for 2020. Each resolution is followed by resources and links to prompt your thinking if you are interested in setting a similar goal for your own professional practice.
While you read about our goals for the new year, remember that…

Four Tips to Get Teachers on Board with Tech

Hey Coach,

I am a technology coach and have just started working with a group of awesome educators; however, they are hesitant to use technology and are a little skeptical about working with a coach. What’s the best way to support these teachers?

Curious Coach

Dear Curious Coach,
First of all, know that this is a common stage of the coaching cycle and that their resistance is not about you. Most coaches can relate to teachers feeling overwhelmed with the challenges of teaching. Also, the many tasks teachers must complete every day often leaves them feeling void of the capacity to learn a new technology. But there is hope! Here are four easy ways to engage with your teachers, build trust, and encourage buy-in.

1. Meet teachers where they are. This concept may seem pretty obvious, but it is frequently overlooked. Take time to get to know teachers so you can understand how they run their classroom and how they are currently using technology. As Jim Knight describes with his Partn…

Reframing Thinking for Growth Mindset Reflection

Dear Coach, 

I feel like a deflated balloon! Last week I planned a phenomenal activity for my students. I put a lot of energy into planning the lesson and I was so excited about it... but the lesson went completely off the rails! It seemed like each group had a problem that I hadn’t anticipated. My awesome plan flew out the window, and I was flustered and disappointed in myself. What can I do when this happens? I don’t know if it’s worth doing this type of activity again.

Deflated and Disappointed

Dear Deflated and Disappointed, 
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt! Any teacher who has been in the classroom for more than a week probably owns the t-shirt, too. It is so important to remember that mistakes and challenges are inevitable in the classroom, even for seasoned educators. Experiencing these setbacks is a sign that we are doing something worthwhile by pushing the boundaries of our teaching practice and challenging ourselves to try new things. 
We know that a growth …

Strategies to Support Meaningful Peer Feedback

Hey Coach,

I often use tools like Flipgrid, Google Classroom, Seesaw, and blogging so my students can give peer feedback through comments on each other’s work. The problem is, their feedback is not very meaningful - the comments lack detail and specificity to support their peer’s learning, and instead are full of exclamation points, emojis, and vague compliments. How can I teach my students to provide meaningful peer feedback in a digital space?

Frustrated with Peer Feedback
Dear Frustrated with Peer Feedback,
First, let’s take a moment to celebrate what’s going well. It sounds like you recognize the importance of peer feedback in the classroom, and you’re already utilizing tools that enable students to share and discuss their work. Researchers John Hattie and Helen Timperley (2007) explain that when utilized effectively, feedback is one of the most powerful influences on student learning, so you are on the right track! But what does effective feedback look like? According to H…

Getting Started with Global Connections in the Classroom

Hey Coach,
I want my students to be aware of the world outside of our classroom by learning with individuals from different countries and cultures. How can I connect with educators around the world who would be willing to partner with my students?
Sincerely, Craving Global Connections

Dear Craving Global Connections,

I applaud you for working to flatten the walls of your classroom! Global collaboration offers many benefits to students, including developing communication skills, building empathy and a sense of interconnectedness, teaching students to overcome barriers and form bridges to other cultures, and preparing students for increasingly globalized workplaces.

In 2018, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Center for Global Education at Asia Society released a publication entitled Teaching for Global Competence in a Rapidly Changing World. It provides guidance to educators as they work to integrate global competence into their teaching. Within the…