Does This Swivl Make My Tendons Look Big?

Tch Next Gen Science Squad

A few weeks ago, I made a stop at a local butcher’s shop and left with a cooler full of cow muscle, tendons, fat, and a kidney just for fun. I was prepping for a tissue engineering unit where students would research authentic tissues before tackling our big question: Can low-cost, synthetic tissues be engineered for use in under-resourced medical schools and research labs? This unit was based on the Tissue Engineering guide from Allen Distinguished Educators DIY Guides.

One of my goals is to increase peer observations and encourage a school culture where teachers open up their practice to others. This can be challenging, as teachers most often have to give up their own time with students to make these observations happen. So I fired up my Swivl, and decided to step out of my comfort zone to demonstrate another way to share our practice when time is short — through video! As part of my work with the Tch Next Gen Science Squad, I decided to focus on the implementation of engineering as described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

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Video Self-Reflection: A Close Read of My Classroom

Tch Next Gen Science Squad

A teacher can learn a lot by taking a close read of the classroom.

However, the pace of a typical school day doesn’t allow for much time to step back and take it all in. That’s why video is a great tool to help teachers understand what’s really happening in the classroom as students engage in learning activities.

In the videos I collected of students, I began to notice there was a pattern to their conversations. Based upon the task at hand, my role was to be a facilitator. As teachers embark into NGSS territory, it will become more obvious that students are highly engaged in their tasks. They’re excited and need help making sense of their thinking.

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Tch DIY: Learning Together Through Math Routines

Math Routines with Kristin Gray

I couldn’t be more excited about the launch of this Teaching Channel project — it’s so near and dear to my heart. Over the past five years, much of my work in the classroom and with teachers has centered around math routines that generate student discourse and help us learn more about our students’ understandings. All of this work has been inspired by books I’ve read, conversations with colleagues in person and on Twitter, and the amazing student mathematical discussions I’ve heard, sparked by these routines. With this project, I have the opportunity to share all of the hard work of my colleagues, showcase the safe culture they have established in their classrooms, and highlight all of the wonderful mathematical ideas of their students.

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Video Self-Reflection: Indoor Rockets

Tch Next Gen Science Squad

The National Board Certification process was one of the most effective exercises I’ve been involved in. The initial process, as well as my subsequent renewal, have proven to be invaluable to my development as an educator. The challenges presented to me have encouraged continued growth within this profession.

I found one of the most difficult aspects of the certification process to be the videotaped reflective piece. This component forced me to critically analyze virtually every aspect of my practice. Lessons learned through critical analysis of the recording have compelled me to find solutions to a wide variety of minor issues that were possibly hindering the success of my students. The videotaping has had such an impact on my classroom that I continue the practice to this day.

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Can You See What Your Students Are Thinking?

Teaching tips and instructional strategies flood teacher professional learning sites and blogs, responding to the continuous need to better engage students and improve instruction. There’s no doubt that teachers need many tools to take multiple approaches to get to a particular learning goal. But here’s something surprising: teachers are usually given very little time to dig deep and understand the impact of those strategies they spend so much time planning and implementing.

The core of our work at Mills Teacher Scholars is to focus teachers’ collaborative time on the question, “What is happening for students?” Teacher-led collaborative inquiry is the method that drives this question. While there are several components to inquiry work, perhaps the most overlooked is the effort to make student thinking and learning visible. Being able to “make student thinking visible” sounds easier than it is. Video is a fantastic tool for gathering this process data.

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Dial Up Your Formative Assessment Technique

In my role as assessment coach and consultant, I have had many conversations about the differences between formative assessment as a form of testing, and formative assessment strategies that become part of instructional pedagogy. A common misconception among educators is the use of formative assessment as a noun, when in fact the research frames formative assessment as a verb. Capturing the strategies that move learning forward can be tricky, but Teaching Channel has some great examples of practical ways that teachers can implement formative assessment.

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Daniel Pink To Host #APSCHATS: Tune In!

Best-selling author Daniel Pink will be hosting #APSCHATS, Arlington Public School’s county-wide Twitter chat, on March 1 at 8 pm ET.

Pink is the author of A Whole New Mind, Drive, and To Sell Is Human, and his research on motivation and the art of selling has had a significant impact on my approach to the design, implementation, and evaluation of professional learning models in public schools.

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Announcing Our Android App!

Teaching Channel is beyond excited to announce that all Teams customers can now upload their videos through our app! Our first version of the Android Tch Recorder app is now live on Google Play, and on Amazon for all of you Kindle users. We know those of you who aren’t on iOS devices are going to rock that user generated video content now that you can upload directly to your Teams sites, too!

tch-recorder-app-main tch-recorder-app


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Planning for Physical Education Success with Teams

Like many school districts around the country, Upland Unified faced staffing cutbacks in Physical Education in the past few years. We now have four teachers to cover our ten elementary schools, which has helped, but it has also required that we get creative in figuring out how to help our classroom teachers implement some of the PE requirements. That’s where Teaching Channel Teams comes in.


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[Archive] #TchLIVE: Redesigning Professional Learning with Video – Igniting District-wide Leadership & Learning

Did you know that Teaching Channel Teams offers webinars on product and content? Watch our most recent webinar recording for Learning with Video – Igniting District-Wide Leadership and Learning, featuring Upland Unified School District. After just one year on the Teams platform, Assistant Superintendent Ellen Lugo and crew have made incredible strides in building a system for implementing Teams from the district and teacher levels. Like what you see? Be sure to see featured teacher Jennifer Morris’ Big Tent blog on how she worked to engage teachers in her Math Tracks group. Or sign up for this week’s webinar on How Video is Being Used to Improve and Scale Instructional Coaching, featuring Michelle Rooks from the Teton County School District.   Read more