When was the last time you asked your students, “What makes you really mad?”
It’s a question that many teachers in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) ask their students.
Classroom management is hard enough; why would any teacher want to give their students a reason to get angry?
Anger is a powerful emotion that activates us and gets us on our feet. Students need practice examining the issues that make them angry and channeling that energy in productive ways. I’m not suggesting that teachers become therapists for their students, but civic engagement is a constructive way for them to redirect their feelings of anger.
When we think of assessment, we often think about tests. But good assessment is much more than tests — it’s a chance to discover what our students understand so that we can help them learn and grow.
Just like with everything else, assessment looks a little different for young students. Our squirrelliest little ones are not likely to sit down for many formal assessments, so the majority of them may be informal. Most of the time, students’ learning can be assessed without them even realizing it. But getting students engaged in the assessment process can be powerful as well.
In case you missed any of the great ideas we explored this month on Tchers’ Voice, let’s recap our jam-packed January lineup, filled with great ideas from passionate educators just like you!
Six New Videos
Tch Talks Podcasts
What are the questions that your students carry inside of them but rarely ever discuss?
2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples wanted to find out. What started as a small idea or strategy to help students build empathy transformed into nearly 15 years of work helping children — and adults — voice the questions they carry inside them. On this episode of Tch Talks, Shanna talks about why it’s important for both students and teachers to “Think Like Socrates,” to allow students to take ownership of their own learning through authentic questions, and to leverage student questions as learning experiences that develop critical thinking.
For Shanna, curiosity is key, and allowing students to own their learning through creating questions is the most fundamental change a teacher can make in their teaching practice. Listen in to find out more.
Do you plan to use the State of the Union address this week as a text in your classroom?
Whether you plan to view the address with your class, highlight clips, or simply discuss the main points after the fact, this yearly speech can be an excellent teaching tool.
Creative Ideas to Incorporate SOTU 2018 into Your Lessons
Analyze with a Word Cloud: When I was in the classroom, one of my favorite ways to teach with the annual State of the Union address was to analyze the text of the speech with a word cloud.
President Barack Obama’s 2016 SOTU Address
There are many different ways to use this strategy, and we’ve got a few ideas to get you started:
- Identify keywords or themes in the address.
- Determine which issues are important in the world today, based on the text of the speech (Tip: Create the word cloud so that words used more frequently appear larger).
- Compare and contrast the SOTU address with the response from the opposition party.
- Compare and contrast the speech of the current president with those of past presidents.
- Compare the themes present in SOTU speeches across a presidential term.
- Watch the STOU address as a class and ask each student to describe the speech with 3-6 words.
Check out these resources for a look at the SOTU as a word cloud or to create your own. Read more
It was the 11th school shooting in the United States this year — and it happened on January 23rd.
Pundits and politicians alike suggest that we, as a nation, are becoming numb to school shooting incidents — that we have become desensitized. However, nothing could be further from the truth for educators, their students, and school communities — tragedies like these are personal.
Although this most recent school shooting has been notably overshadowed by continuously breaking news, and it’s not a trending topic on Twitter, the tragic events at Marshall County High School in Kentucky this week are front and center in the minds of teachers, students, and parents across the nation.
Earlier this school year we published a post in the aftermath of the California wildfires that touched upon what teachers can do to support their students in times of tragedy. While the tragedy differs in type and scope, many of the tips for teaching in times of tragedy can help in the aftermath of gun violence — whether it happens in your own school or your community is feeling the anxiety that follows watching an event, like the one that played out in Kentucky, from afar.
But when it comes to something so important, teachers can never have too many resources to help them help students with resilience and, most importantly, healing.
When teachers solve problems, they inspire their students to solve problems, too. How can teachers use their best strategies as a launching pad for deeper learning and professional growth? And how can curiosity, co-creation, and collaboration before a lesson idea is formed be a game-changer for classroom practice?
On this episode of Tch Talks, Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, Instructional Specialist and Deeper Learning Coach for Fern Creek High School in Louisville, Kentucky and 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, joins us to talk about her work with School Startup. This pilot program is where three cohorts of Teacher-Founders are engaged in the design process to rethink and redesign deeper learning in their classrooms and professional learning communities.
She also shares her recent adventures as founder and CEO of Curio Learning, an app that helps teachers discover new ideas and curate them in a personalized way. The app also facilitates collaboration with other educators in order for them to grow as professionals and find the ways to best help their students.
Ashley believes that if every teacher woke up to the awesome influence he or she has, there would be a drastic overhaul of the system and that — bottom line — it takes a teacher to transform learning.
We all want our students to work together. But how do we do it? True collaboration is much more than just having students work with each other. As teacher David Olio points out in this video, students often learn most deeply from their peers. Spending time teaching students how to collaborate will positively impact students’ learning.
But just as there is no one way to collaborate, there is no one way to teach collaboration. Use these tips to try out new ways to encourage students to work together!
What is Critical Creativity?
To Dan Ryder and Amy Burval, critical creativity is “students using creative expression to demonstrate deeper thinking and the nuances of understanding content.” It’s a portmanteau of sorts, which has the potential to turn ideas into action and push your students toward deeper learning and meaningful understanding.
Dan and Amy believe that, “When students make connections, transform knowledge, and articulate the reasons behind their creative choices, learning becomes more sticky, meaningful, and authentic.” Articulation of creative reasoning is key, because as students learn the power of explanation, rationale, and intentionality, they shift from passive pupils along for the ride to active drivers of their own learning. And the best part of this shift is that it occurs in the midst of purposeful play.
On this episode of Tch Talks, Dan Ryder, Education Director of the Success and Innovation Center at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, Maine, joins us to talk about his and Amy’s new book, Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom, and how a little rigorous whimsy can help you transform learning in your classroom right now.
In October, Tch Next Gen Squadster Meg Richard was recognized with SmartBrief Education’s monthly Editor’s Choice Content Award for her creative post on how to engage students and STEAM through Halloween with 13 fun and creative lesson ideas.
Listen to Meg talk about her work with Larry Jacobs on Education Talk Radio.
Check out Meg’s Happy Hallow-STEAM post and more:
And be sure to check out the NGSS Deep Dive for more great ideas!