We’re TchAUSL! How Can We Help You?

TchAUSL-mockupsThis year is our sixth school year with TchAUSL and I’m as pumped as ever to share exciting new practices from across our network to help you become the teacher that you want to be. TchAUSL was created to help our coaches capture and comment on practice, but I think we’ve grown into a place where every teacher can learn and grow.

What does our site have to offer you?

Our App Makes It Easy to Record, Share and Annotate Your Practice

We designed the site and our Tch Recorder app with an eye on making it simple to capture and share your practice. With just a few steps, you can record instruction, upload it to our invitation-only site, share it with others in a group or keep it private in your workspace. TchAUSL also allows annotation of video with timestamping to draw attention to specific points of your instruction. Want to learn more? This short clip will get you started and you can pick it up here if you have an Apple device or here if you’re an Android user. Read more

Welcome Back! Your Quick Guide to 4 NEW Features in TchAUSL

Last month marked the start of TchAUSL’s third year in providing a space for our members to share with and learn from the most amazing teachers in Chicago. I am excited and proud to host this space again for this school year and I hope that you consider TchAUSL an indispensable resource for inspiration and collaboration.

Our incredible partnership with Teaching Channel has brought on some terrific changes to the site for this school year. Here are four improvements that we hope will improve your experience. Read more

5 Ways to Get Better This Summer with TchAUSL

macbook-mockupLike you, I didn’t become a teacher to get summers off. I taught summer school for my first six years stopping only once I realized that there are a lot of benefits to the Restful Summer. Chief among those perks is the ability to get better at teaching at my own pace (and my own place!) Each summer I choose a new skill or two to learn and practice. When I was in the classroom, I read a lot about mathematics methods and lesson design and recently I have used the down time to work on my video editing. It’s completely unlike PD during the year when you’re too preoccupied with deadlines and lesson planning.

Now that summer is within reach, here are five ways that our site can help you become a better teacher, coach or administrator. Read more

Spring [Your Science Instruction] Forward: 5 Steps to Implementing MBI

Model-Based Inquiry (MBI) is an engaging, NGSS-aligned, research-based approach to scienceinstruction (Windschitl, Thompson, & Braaten, 2008).

There are 5 steps to implementing MBI:

  1. Plan your instructional units around meaningful real world phenomena
  2. Elicit and work from students initial ideas
  3. Engage students in ongoing and in-depth sense making
  4. Provide students with opportunities to revisit and revise their thinking
  5. Have students apply their learning to a new, related phenomenon

In the following video, we introduce you to Model-Based Inquiry and provide you with a peek into what it looks like in action (in our very own AUSL classrooms). After you watch the video, scroll down to read more about the 5 steps to implementing MBI, as well as 3 tips for improving your teaching practice immediately. Enjoy!

Welcome to MBI


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The Coach’s View: Immerse Your Students in Experiential Learning

Learning about WWI can be more engaging with a few planning adjustments.

Make learning about WWI more engaging with a few adjustments in planning.

As an AUSL coach, I have a great opportunity to see teaching and learning from both a bird’s and ant’s eye perspective.  Something special usually happens when the teaching and learning are in sync; not only can one see and hear learning happening but also feel it.  The inner history teacher in me is always seeking out that educational “sweet spot” where for 50 minutes the lesson just seems to take flight, and for me, more often than not it happened during an Experiential Exercise lesson. Read more

5 I Love: Essential Math Tools for the Overwhelmed


Your week doesn’t have to be like this.

Soon, we will roll out what was easily my favorite TchAUSL contest last year, the 5 I Love. For our Tch Talk blog this week, I want to share the love a little early with my list of 5 tools for you, the overwhelmed teacher.

Everyday Mathematics Virtual Learning Community

This VLC is maintained by the University of Chicago, the developers of the Everyday Mathematics curriculum. It’s free to sign up and once you’re in, you’ll find just about any resource you’ll need to be an EM Rock Star. The VLC has over 30,000 members who have shared videos of their EM practice, planning tools, manipulatives, student work examples and so much more. It’s all well organized around Common Core Standards and Standards of Mathematical Practice and includes tons of resources for English Language Learners. You can learn more about signing up here. Read more

Special EDition: SPE Cyber Monday “Deals” You Need Right Now

If you’re like me, you skipped Black Friday because you ate too much and it was cold and late and you figured that if you just wait until Monday, you can score that thing you’re so obsessed with from the comfort of your own warm home (or classroom!).  While I’m not going to advertise today’s deals at the Gap or Best Buy, I will share my list of a few incredible online “deals” that educators should access right now to help meet the needs of your diverse learners.

BookshareBookshare – Can’t say enough about this free resource that makes reading accessible for all.  Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Bookshare is the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities.  It is free for all qualified U.S. students (visual impairment, physical disability or severe learning disability) and features over 300,000 titles, including newspapers, k-12 textbooks, and popular fiction and non-fiction. Teachers can sign students up for an individual membership or they can serve as the student’s sponsor.

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TchAUSL Update: Threaded Discussions in Groups

If you have a keen eye and regularly visit your TchAUSL Groups, you may have noticed some changes in those groups. Here’s a before and after shot:Groups Update October 2014

Go ahead and open on your groups in another tab of your browser and I’ll give you a quick rundown of the changes. Choose a group with a lot of discussions (the highest number next to the balloon) to see the full effect. Read more

Special EDition: 5 Things Effective Teachers Do for Diverse Learners

Our students are more diverse than ever before – different experiences, needs, interests, and abilities. While diversity creates opportunities for students to learn with and from each other, it also means that teachers must intentionally adapt their instruction to meet various student needs. Here are five things effective teachers do to ensure that their lessons are optimal for all learners:

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Video Playlist: Your Favorite Clips of 2013-2014

Our final video playlist for this school year features the five most-viewed videos out of the 42 that we created for TchAUSL this school year. In no particular order, I present to you Your Favorite Clips:


First Two Weeks at a New Turnaround School

Chalmers School of Excellence science teacher Cherita Srirama opened up her classroom and her practice in this clip from September 2013. Cherita shares what she learned in those first months in a new turnaround in this Behind the Teaching clip.

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