Changing Course to Remote Learning

Three weeks ago, who could have guessed we’d be here? Everyone is in the same boat. I had plans to be preparing a baseball team for the state playoff push… It’s a different world. It’s overwhelming, we have to acknowledge that. My strategies tend to come down to lists of steps that I can check off, so here is a six-step protocol to working your way to online teaching: Don’t get overwhelmed: I know, easier said than done, and there are so many tools out there. You are experienced, and you have a peer or two who is experienced. Rely on the tools that you are already comfortably and confidently using to disseminate information. This isn’t the best time to learn the newest, it’s a time to perfect the known-est.

Utilize the online management system that your school or district embraces: This stems from Step 1. You’ve been using something to stay in touch with kids at home all year, keep it up. Even if it starts with Remind, that’s a fantastic way to guide students through your class. This is…

Connecting Maker Ed to Classroom Content

Hey Coach,

I’ve heard that Maker Ed is a great way for kids to develop creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration skills. How can I incorporate making into my classroom with what I’m already doing instead of as something extra?

Sincerely, Maker Curious Dear Maker Curious,

You’re right! Maker Ed is definitely a great way for kids of all ages to develop creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration skills. Many teachers want to integrate making into the content kids are already learning, but don’t know where to start or how to secure the resources they need. I hope this post helps you and others discover some ways to start small and take off on your Maker Ed journey.
Make Writing Angela Stockman, author of Make Writing: 5 Teaching Strategies That Turn Writer’s Workshop Into a Maker Space and Hacking the Writing Workshop: Redesign with Making in Mind, encourages teachers to use making to motivate, engage, and inspire student writers. She suggests starting a writing workshop with a …

The Benefits of Breakout Education

Hey Coach, 
I’ve heard so much about breakout education, but I have never used a breakout game in the classroom. How can they benefit my students?

Inquiring Mind

Dear Inquiring Mind,

It’s so awesome to hear that you are interested in breakout education! This is one of my favorite classroom strategies and is loved by students of all ages!

First, a little background information for those who are not yet familiar with breakout games in the classroom: Breakout games require students to work together to solve a series of clues and challenges before a time limit expires. These games can be played with physical containers that must be unlocked (available for purchase from BreakoutEDU), or they can be digital breakouts that are played on any device that connects to the Internet (Check out some ready-made digital breakouts on Tom’s Digital Breakouts or in the BreakoutEDU Digital Sandbox… or, create your own!)

In Gamification in Education: What How, Why Bother? (Lee & Hammer, 2011), we…

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…