Posts

Getting Started with Global Connections in the Classroom

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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…

Tapping into Classroom Talent with Student Tech Teams

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Hey Coach,

A lot of teachers at my school are hesitant to utilize technology in their daily lessons because they get inundated with student tech problems like dead batteries, computers not connecting to the internet, or other commonly occurring issues. The lesson goes off the rails as the teacher addresses these problems. As a result, teachers feel like technology is an additional thing rather than a tool they can use to quickly and easily personalize learning. How can I help teachers at my school overcome these struggles?
Sincerely,
Tired of Tech Troubles
Dear Tired of Tech Troubles,

You are right! Using technology in the classroom can be challenging and oftentimes a daunting task for any teacher. Let's face it, in the personalized classroom, a great deal of teacher's time is spent co-planning, guiding, and facilitating learning experiences. It can feel overwhelming for teachers to also monitor and manage issues with technology as they arise! Well, one answer lies within the st…

Technology-Enhanced Learning Experiences in Early Education

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Hey Coach,

I work with early learners, and I’m worried about their abilities to manage technology-based learning experiences. How can I prepare my young students for the digital world?



Sincerely,
On Edge in Early Ed



Dear On Edge in Early Ed,
As a former kindergarten teacher, I can relate to your concern! When I first found out we had access to devices, I was very hesitant to use them. I was worried about proper handling, exposure to inappropriate material, and I didn’t think my kids would know how to operate the device. However, I was wrong! Look around you; kids of all ages are using technology. It is everywhere! I have even seen toddlers navigate the PBS Kids website in order to watch their favorite characters.
Clearly our students are using technology - It remains our job as educators to lead their technology use in productive ways that support our teaching and students’ learning. We can prepare students for this digital world in many different ways! To begin with, we can structure …

Tips for Managing Successful Station Rotations

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Hey Coach,

I love using stations, voice, and choice in my classroom, but I am having trouble managing behavior. Do you have any suggestions?

Sincerely,
Struggling with Stations
Dear Struggling with Stations,

Kudos to you for giving your students voice and choice in how they learn! Managing behavior is a common issue teachers face when implementing stations, so know that you are not alone.

Keep in mind that all behavior is a form of communication, so it’s important to reflect on why students are exhibiting a specific action. Figuring out why the behavior is occurring will help you determine how to address it. We know that’s hard to do in the moment, but we can train ourselves to be better at this. Some common messages your students might communicate during your stations are:
I’m confused about this task.This is too hard/easy for me.I’m having a hard time working with my partner/group.I’m frustrated.I don’t know how to use this tool. Teaching executive function skills could be the answer.…

A Deeper Understanding of Personalized Learning

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Hey Coach,

I’ve heard a lot about personalized learning, but what is it? Is personalized learning just another educational initiative?

Sincerely,
Not Another One

Dear Not Another One,

If you have been in education for more than a minute you’ve seen half a dozen educational initiatives come and go, so your question isn’t without merit. I want to give you a straightforward answer, but it gets a little tricky.

If you haven’t already, check out the Personalized Learning white paper by Dr. Anissa Lokey-Vega and Stephanee Stephens. It explains personalized learning and breaks down the essential conditions for a personalized learning environment. Also important to note, as the authors do, the white paper is subject to iteration as research and experiences inform pedagogy and the vision of personalized learning becomes refined.

Personalized learning has some core tenets that set it apart from the traditional educational model. You can see an overview of these tenets on our Essential Conditions…

Using Individual Paths to Increase Achievement

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Hey Coach, 
I read a recent post on the iTeach blog about fostering risk-taking in the classroom, and it got me thinking about some of my unit projects. My students pride themselves on getting good grades, but this causes them to play it safe by letting the rubric completely dictate what they create. I worry that giving them a rubric limits what they could accomplish if they weren’t so concerned about exactly what they have to do to earn an A. I want my students to attempt new and challenging tasks as they dig deep and explore the subject of the project, but if I don’t provide a detailed rubric, my students and their parents panic! What can I do?
Sincerely, 
Rubric Regrets
Dear Rubric Regrets,
Grading challenges are not an easy issue to deal with. Panic often sets in when students (and their parents) feel like there is not an explicit set of directions to get to that "A."  The great news is that these challenges offer an excellent opportunity to drive our teaching practice forw…

Fostering Risk-Taking and Perseverance

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Hey Coach,
I have noticed a trend in my classroom - my students shy away from challenging tasks that require them to step out of their comfort zone! I want to create an environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and are willing to persevere through difficulties. What can I do to foster these skills in my students right from the start of the school year?
Sincerely,
Ready for Risk-Taking


Dear Ready for Risk-Taking,
Way to go! I like that you are thinking about how you can support your students as they build these important executive functioning skills! As you know, covering content and standards is just part of the equation. Building executive functioning skills like perseverance and risk-taking are a critical piece of academic success. Research shows that grit, or the ability to persevere when faced with obstacles, is one of the key principles that influence student learning and predict student success (Duckworth & Peterson, 2007).
Design challenges offer students excell…