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July 21, 2020
Nathan Levenson, a former school superintendent, has consulted with hundreds of districts about ways to improve special education. But in March of 2020, the challenges surrounding special education became magnified by COVID-19. "Despite heroic efforts, by teachers and districts, kids with disabilities really did not thrive in any way shape or form and the gaps got bigger," says Levenson. Pandemic or not, Levenson believes that if educators are going to serve kids with disabilities well, general education has to be lead. "When we're in person, the goal is to have general ed teachers providing the vast majority of high-quality instruction to students." Admittedly, Levenson says that doesn't always happen, but when the pandemic came the split became even greater. "Everyone turned to the special education department and said what are you going to do for kids with special needs? And many of the things they do, don't translate at all to a remote setting." Levenson recently released a new book, "Six Shifts to Improve Special Education and Other Interventions" In it, Levenson explains why the vast majority of students in special education needs to be in the general education classroom most of the day. "The research is really clear," says Levenson. "The quality of the teacher is central, and if you're going to teach grade level material, kids have to be in the classroom to be taught that material." Levenson says studies show that students who struggle often get less instruction from a classroom teacher then if they didn't struggle. "I want to be really clear on this," says Levenson. "Imagine a second grader who struggles to read. They get less reading instruction from a certified reading teacher or a classroom teacher than a student who doesn't struggle." Levenson says we can't be shocked if the student falls behind. To learn more about Levenson's six shifts to improve special education, listen to Episode 159 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2020
July 7, 2020
Starting on the right foot On the first day or two of school, it can be tempting to want to lay the ground rules. You know, set the expectations about workload, go over the rules, and fill out the required forms. But Rick Wormeli wants to challenge educators to think differently. Wormeli, who is one of the first Nationally Board Certified Teachers in America, says that students want to know that you’re going to transcend their current condition and help them aspire to something more than they are. “And when all they [students] get is more rules and regulations they realize one more year where there’s nothing here for me.” Wormeli recommends laying a foundation of meaningful relationships with students by mixing in activities that allow you to get to know and understand where the students are coming from. Wormeli recently listed ways this can be accomplished in a recent article he penned for AMLE, and he elaborates on those ideas in Episode 158 of the Class Dismissed podcast. Wormeli’s beginning of the year ideas “The Best Way for You to Learn” Cards Using index cards, teachers can ask students to describe how they best learn that particular subject. “Kids are candid,” says Wormeli. “They will say things like, look if it’s really important, write it on the board.” Or he says some students may ask you not to assign online assignments because their sibling always hogs the computer. “I’ve got a stack that I rubber band and I look through that as I try to decide what I’m going to do next,” Wormeli says kids will say some really cool things and give him lots of examples. Letters to the Teacher from Students as their Parents When students write under a pseudonym, they feel much more free to speak their mind, says Wormeli. “When I get what they say about themselves, and then I get what they think their parents would say about themselves, I’m getting a really fleshed version of the child,” says Wormeli. “When someone is fully dimensionalized, you really care a heck of a lot more. Six-Word Memoirs “I love six-word memoirs!” says Wormeli. They really make kids come out of their shell and say profound things. The brilliance of six-word memoirs is the brevity, teachers can use six-word memoirs as their students examine the content. “It really reveals a lot more about what the student is thinking.” Wormeli says he often has students continue to send six-word memoirs after class about sports or pop culture. To hear more from Rick Wormeli, listen to Episode 158 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other Show Notes Why a pediatric group is pushing to reopen schools this fall
June 30, 2020
Well before COVID-19, school districts were facing a substitute teacher shortage. In fact, EdWeek Research Center recently teamed up with Kelly Education and found that districts can fill just 54% of the 250,000 absences each day. Now, coronavirus is set to exacerbate the challenge. In the Fall of 2020, educators will need to call in at the first sign of minor symptoms and they may need to quarantine for weeks at a time. So are there enough substitutes to fill the anticipated holes? Kelly Education Senior Vice President Nikki Soares says that a downturn in the economy typically leads to an uptick in available substitutes, but this time, things are different. "Usually in a recessionary period we have a lot of people gravitate towards being a substitute teacher, but obviously this is a bit of an anomaly," says Soares. So what are the solutions? Kelly Education says their research identified the top three solutions to grow the pipeline of substitutes: * higher substitute pay * professional development for substitutes * hiring/assigning substitutes with expertise in the field of the absent teacher. "Places like maybe in the state of Alabama a lot of our districts pay $65 a day," says Soares. So an eight hour day works out to just $8.12/hour. To hear our full interview with Soares, listen to Episode 157 of the Class Dismissed Podcast. You can listen to the latest Episode of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcasting app or iTunes. Other show notes Education Dept. Rule Limits How Schools Can Spend Vital Aid Money It looks like the beginning of the end of America’s obsession with student standardized tests All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2020              
June 24, 2020
Inequitable from the starting line When illustrating the need for systems of support in our schools', Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor Paul Reville uses an example close to his heart; his daughter. He's open about the list of advantages his daughter had when she showed up for her first day of kindergarten at an urban public school. * a stable two-parent family * adequate income * healthcare * stable housing * full nutrition * read to every night * well-traveled Reville says many of the children she sat next to in kindergarten had none of the advantages above. Plus, some of those children had already experienced various trauma on top of it. "If you think of it as a hundred-yard dash, she's [Reville's daughter] already on the 50-yard line," says Reville. The student she's sitting next to, who has all the disadvantages, is a hundred yards behind the starting line. "And we fire the starting gun and when they don't finish at the same time 13 years later at graduation, we act surprised," says Reville. Making change outside the school Our current system is not enough to make up for the profound differences outside of school. Reville says that we've always thought that schools would be the great equalizer, but that hasn't turned out to be true. This is because children learn a lot outside of school. So if you only fix the school and you treat everybody equally when they're in school. You're not going to get a closing of the gaps. "The access to opportunity outside of school is controlled by your financial and social capital," says Reville. "We live in a society now, that has been recently demonstrated quite vividly, that there are huge disparities in wealth, income, and opportunity." Reville is optimistic that many solutions can be created at the local level. He says he witnessed great progress with community programs like City Connects in Salem, Massachusetts. "The teacher connects with the student and the family. They develop a plan and they track progress against that plan," Reville says. Reville and his co-author Elaine Weiss, recently release a new book on the topic. Broader, Bolder, Better offers solutions on how schools and communities can work together to help students overcome the disadvantages of poverty. To hear our full discussion with Reville, listen to Episode 156 of Class Dismissed. You can listen to the latest Episode of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcasting app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2020
June 16, 2020
Higher Education's Return on Investment? We often think of higher education as being the place that preps us for our future career.  But is this the focus of colleges and universities? Are students finding work related to their degree right after graduation? Nancy Hoffman, the vice president at Jobs for the Future, says that at many elite colleges, professors are generally preparing their students to be what they are, historians, literary critics, and biologists, just to name a few. "I have a Ph.D. in comparative literature," says Hoffman. "I don't remember anyone ever talking to me about what I might do for work." Hoffman doesn't think professors wish students ill, but she says that most professors believe their goal is to teach their discipline. What the students do with that knowledge afterward is for students to figure out. For students lacking real-world connections to their desired career, this is a problem. We see over and over again many students are sold the notion, just get a college degree, take a loan if you need to and everything will be fine. And of course, it isn't. Especially if you can't get a well-paying job. It's part of the reason Hoffman recently co-authored Teaching Students About the World of Work - A Challenge to Postsecondary Educators. The advantage of social capital Hoffman argues that colleges, especially community colleges, should be focused on teaching students how social capital works and how students can build it. Hoffman says that there's a specific kind of social capital that is important in entering the labor market and that kind of social capital is very hard to come by in low-income communities. "There's research that shows that low-income communities have networks but those networks are quite closed. And you need to be able to access a network of higher status than your own." In Episode 155 of Class Dismissed, Hoffman offers guidance on how community colleges and universities can restructure to better prep students to gain employment. Spoiler alert, there's a lot more to it than having a career services office on campus. You can listen to the latest Episode of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcasting app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2020
June 9, 2020
Connecting with your students CJ Reynolds admits that there are a lot of things that he has to focus on to be a better teacher. Some tasks are a struggle for him, like creating content, quickly responding to emails, and doing paperwork. But there is one thing that has always come naturally to him-- connecting with young people. As a teacher in West Philadelphia, Reynolds dials in on creating a meaningful relationship with his students. In fact, at the start of each school year, he delays handing out a syllabus and spends time telegraphing to students that he's interested in them. "On that first day, there's no talk of rules or policies or procedures," says Reynolds. "It is me trying to connect with students, and get them excited about the year." Reynolds really drills down with his students, "Where do you come from? What are you interested in? What kind of music do you like? What kind of movies do you like?" Reynolds believes that making an emotional deposit with students learning who you're teaching at the start of the year changes everything. If students start showing up in your class just to say goodbye at the end of the day or ask how your day was, then you're probably having some success. Inspiring colleagues Over the past few years, Reynolds has developed quite a following on YouTube. Over 45,000 subscribers tune in to see how he handles some challenging situations, like classroom management, trauma, and race. Now Reynolds is putting a lot of his thoughts in writing. In his new book, Teach Your Class Off, The Real Rap Guide to Teaching, Reynolds offers educators a way to hit the reset button and reconnect with what energizes them about teaching. Having difficult discussions In Episode 154 of the Class Dismissed Podcast, we ask Reynolds how educators should talk to students about George Floyd's homicide and the subsequent protest. Reynolds argues that these conversations should not be hard conversations to have. "When you create a community, within your classroom or within your school or amongst your faculty of having honest conversations no matter what. That when things come up you've already made the deposit into those students. They [students] already know that you care, they already that you're real," says Reynolds. To hear our full discussion with Reynolds listen to the latest Episode of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcasting app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2020
June 2, 2020
How can educators feel safe? Educators in Palo Alto, California, have created a list of demands to be met before they return to the classroom. I have to admit, when I first read the headline, "Palo Alto teachers list COVID-19 Safety Demands before returning to classrooms," I braced for a list of unreasonable requests. However, as I started reading through the specifics, it all makes sense. It's well thought out and should be at least discussed in all school districts throughout the country. This list which was proposed by the Palo Alto Educators Association includes but is not limited to * plexiglass face shields * disposable gloves * smocks * handwashing stations * COVID 19 testing or antibody testing * increased nursing staff * deep cleaning of classrooms * protocols on how students will line up, enter and exit classrooms * sick time remain untouched if educators must quarantine Motivating High School Students to Take Action and Create Change In our bright idea segment of Episode 153, we speak with Kyle Willkom. The youth speaker has connected with schools in 47 states, and he joined us to give us tips on how to empower High School Students to Think Positive, Take Action, and Create Change. Willkom says educators want to inspire and motivate an entire school. But a lot of times what we're hearing is that they can inspire and motivate the top 10 percent of students who already active in the school. "How do we really from the bottom up, from inside out, change the way young people think about becoming leaders or impacting their school culture or environment and then taking action on it," says Willkom. This is part of the inspiration for Willkom's upcoming book, Action-Packed Leadership - Empowering High School Students to Think Positive, Take Action, and Create Change. To hear more about how Willkom motivates high school students, listen to Episode 153 of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcasting app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2020    
May 27, 2020
What's the right move? A few school districts around the country are giving us a glimpse of what school may look like come August and September of 2020. West Bloomfield school district in Michigan announced its plans to have a mix of in-person and remote learning. Students would be split into two groups and each group would attend school in-person just two days a week. One group would physically show up for learning on Monday and Tuesday while the other group would learn remotely. The groups would swap roles on Thursday and Friday. All students would work remotely on Wednesdays and the schools would be disinfected on Wednesdays and the Weekends. Meanwhile, in Lousiana, Tangipahoa Parish announced their intentions to allow parents to choose if their children will learn remotely or attend in person. “I began to think about it and we’re going to have some families, no question, who are going to be fearful of sending their children to school in August for fear they could catch something and bring it home,” Superintendent Melissa Stilley told the Advocate. “Maybe a student has asthma or diabetes or an immune system issue and I think there will be a small population (of parents) who may be working at home and can have their children there doing full virtual learning.” No matter which decision school districts make going into the fall, it's becoming clear that there are no great options. In Episode 152 of Class Dismissed, we discuss the choices and reflect on the CDC's guidelines for reopening schools in the fall. Inquiry-Based​ Learning We also talk with Inquiry-Based Learning expert Trevor MacKenzie. MacKenzie has authored two books on the topic and just returned from an Australian Tour in which he was spreading the word about Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL). For MacKenzie, IBL is all about getting the students to have a more active roll in the class and exploring students' questions and curiosities as entry points into the curriculum. “Sometimes that teacher is in the front of the room and leading the way so to speak,” says MacKenzie. “Sometimes that teacher is that guide along the ride. Someone who facilitating and supporting learnings.” Makenzie, who trains educators around the globe on how to implement IBL says they’re trying to do is give the classroom experience over to the students. He says students should be able to take ownership of what they’re learning. Where does an educator begin? Makenzie pushes for a gradual release of responsibility from the teacher to the student. “I always start my unit design with a big overarching ‘Un-Googleable’ question and I make that question front and center in my classroom,” says MacKenzie. He’s even built an infographic where he models IBL like a swim coach teaching someone to swim. He even hangs the picture in the classroom for his students to see and he encourages teachers to download and print the picture for their own classrooms. MacKenzie is also really big on provocation. He shows students a lot of videos tied to their curriculum to spark interest and curiosity,
May 19, 2020
"If you don't understand how to reach a child, your intellect and your content knowledge will mean nothing." As an educator, it's sometimes difficult to know the challenges their students face outside of the classroom. Some students have a parent that's incarcerated or parents that are rarely home. Some students show up to school hungry and malnourished. Some students are effectively left to act as a head-of-the-household for their siblings. For years, Mississippi principal, Kristina Pollard, has worked with students facing unimaginable hurdles at home and she's learned that her students' social-emotional issues can manifest into inappropriate behavior. Equally as important, she knows that some of her teachers may begin at her school without a clear perspective on the challenges her students face. Pollard says that there are some things they do, to try to help with that. "Like taking our teachers on a bus ride at the beginning of the year so they can actually see where their children are living," says Pollard. She says some of her teachers are at a loss of words after the ride and there are other teachers who come from similar backgrounds that are not shocked. But either way, the goal is to formulate ideas on how to connect with those children. "If you don't understand how to reach a child, your intellect and your content knowledge will mean nothing." Pollard says you might be living check to check as a teacher. But you know where your next meal is coming from and you have gas in your car and you can go do your laundry. Pollard says, "We have children that are sleeping on the floor, that don't have windows, there's plywood up. And we don't know what they're eating. They don't have a regular meal, dinner time at 5:00, and homework at 6:00." Those little things we take for granted are missing for a lot of children. Using Restorative Practices Disciplining children that are facing trauma at home can be difficult for administrators. Teachers typically handle the initial discipline, but when the child is referred to the principal the administrator needs to use restorative practices. "Sometimes we issue consequences or none at all and that is infuriating and upsetting to teachers," says Pollard. But Pollard says she gets to talk to the students and get to the root of the issue. "If they can't read. If they're embarrassed to talk because they have a speech impediment. If their parents or mom and boyfriend have been physically fighting all night," says Pollard. We have to make decisions that are best for children, not always what the policy says. To hear our full interview with Pollard and learn how she uses Restorative Practices when working with students. Listen to Episode 151 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other Show Notes CDC Reopening Guidelines for Schools Maryland's COVID-19 Recover Plan for Education If you have a great idea about learning during coronavirus, please contact us info@classdismissedpodcast.com All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
May 12, 2020
Half-time high school? Back in March, when schools closed their doors and began aggressive distance learning, there was a belief that life would return to normal in just a few months. But now it's mid-May, and our risks to coronavirus have hardly improved. Educators are now brainstorming on how they can approach learning in the 2020-2021 school. Districts are considering delaying the start of the school, modifying attendance policies, reducing class size, and staggering schedules. However, Michael Petrilli recently penned an opinion piece for Bloomberg that highlighted what he considered a silver lining to the COVID crisis. Petrilli raises an obvious question: Why can’t our high schools look more like college? Does every high school course really need to meet in person every day, given the technology available to us? What if kids could choose an every-other-day schedule, where they attend class in person on even days and stay home (or work from the school library or computer lab or do an apprenticeship) on odd days? Or they select a morning or afternoon schedule rather than attending all day long? Does Petrilli have a point? Is the high school model out of date and due for a change? We discuss on Episode 150 of the Class Dismissed Podcast. Bright Idea Segment - Understanding Texts and Readers Best selling author Jennifer Serravallo is already a rock star in the education community. Her previous books, “The Writing Strategies Book” and “The Reading Strategies Book,”  have helped thousands of educators offer strategies for reading and writing.  Now, Serravallo is out with a new guide designed to help teachers make sense of reading comprehension. “Understanding Texts & Readers” offers the tools for an educator to identify if a student is comprehending a book, even if an educator is not familiar with the book the student is reading. Are They “Getting It”? Serravallo says her goal is to make sense of something that is sometimes hard to make sense of. There are many different viewpoints on what it even means to understand comprehension. Ranging from the Rosenblatt Reader-Response Theory to a Proficient Reader Research, it can get murky for educators. “SOMETIMES THE CLASSROOM TEACHER IS LEFT THINKING, WHAT AM I REALLY LOOKING FOR? WHAT DOES COMPREHENSION LOOK LIKE? Credit: jenniferserravallo.com Serravallo says, “Sometimes the classroom teacher is left thinking, what am I really looking for? What does comprehension look like? What does it look like when a kid really gets it?” With stories, charts, and examples, “Understanding Texts & Readers” quickly helps educators determine if their students are “getting it.” In the book, Serravallo offers a quality of response mechanism, so teachers can look at a student's response and identify if the student needs some support. “If we know that a plot in a “level R” text is likely to have a flashback, then if a child is reading a “level R” text then we ask them to retell. If they’re only telling us in sequence, we can know that they might be missing something in the text,” says Serravallo. The ultimate goal is to make reading fun and create lifelong readers. “If you are not comprehending, then what fun is reading?
May 5, 2020
A teacher's passion. A musician's voice. A family's journey. Special education teacher Konrad Wert was a great teacher. In fact, he was awarded Teacher of the Year for his district in 2012. But like many educators, he was struggling with the workload. He was putting in 50-60 hours of work, and his family life was suffering. So Wert decided to take a break from teaching. He had another passion. Wert, a part-time musician, was known by the stage name of Possessed by Paul James. So in 2015, he and his family decided to roll the dice. Wert quit his job as a teacher, and he, his partner Jenny, their two kids, and their dog went on tour. The traveled from state-to-state in 26 foot RV playing shows and spreading a message about the overwhelming strain on teachers in the United States. But Wert and his family had company. Also in that RV was filmmaker Todd Tue. Tue shoehorned himself and his camera gear into the RV with Wert and his family. "Intimate is a very polite word for it," said Tue laughingly. Along for the ride, Tue was able to capture the meaningful conversations Wert was having with fellow educators. He documented Wert as he engaged with teachers, parents, and audiences in a discussion about the current state of Special Education and the epidemic of Teacher Burnout. On May 4th, Tue releases his documentary titled When it Breaks. In it, Wert must decide how his service is most effective. As an advocating artist or as a teacher in the classroom? In Episode 149 of Class Dismissed, we interview Todd Tue about why he felt so strongly about telling Wert's story. You can find Class Dismissed in your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. To watch When it Breaks visit whenitbreaks.com If you have a great idea about learning during coronavirus please contact us info@classdismissedpodcast.com Other Show Notes Did closing schools helps stop the Coronavirus? All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
April 28, 2020
Staggered Schedules, Looping, more Social Emotional Learning? School districts around the globe reacted with lightning speed to modify learning during the onset of COVID-19, but they're now turning their focus to how they can safely reopen in the Fall of 2020. In Episode 148 of Class Dismissed we discuss some of the ideas being floated, including staggered starts, and setting aside time at the start of the year for remediation. There's also a push for bringing teachers out of retirement to help with substitute teacher and tutoring. One idea that many K- 4 classes may want to consider is looping. In an opinion piece published by Education Drive, Mike Rogers makes a compelling argument. He says that with looping, teachers hit the ground running in the fall by saving the time normally spent learning names and family information and establishing classroom routines. NPR also published a highly circulated story titled, 9 Ways Schools Will Look Different When (And If) They Reopen. In it, they discuss, modifying attendance policies, reducing class sizes, and increased focus on social-emotional learning. Listen to Episode 148 for a list of ideas being considered by districts. The argument​ for gaming with your kids In the "Bright Idea" segment of Episode 148, Jordan Shapiro makes an argument for gaming with your kids. The unknown surrounding new technologies often cause concern. In the case of iPhones and Xboxes, parents worry their kids are over-engaged. But  Shapiro is offering a different perspective. In his book, “The New Childhood” Shapiro argues that everyone needs to stop worrying about our children’s device usage and instead harness that usage for good. Shapiro, who teaches the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University, says the reactions to smartphones and video games today are not much different than the way society acted to new technologies in the past. For example, when the printing press was invented and books were bound for people to take home there was an uproar that stories would become too isolated of an activity. “Because stories had always been told communally, whether that’s around a campfire or at church,” says Shapiro. While we forget that trains were once a new technology, Shapiro says physicians and neuroscientists were once worried about kids staring out the window of moving trains. “Because the images go by so fast and the human brain is not capable of taking in things at that speed,” Shapiro says back then the physicians were concerned about brain damage. Play video games with your kids Several years ago Shapiro was going through a transition in his life. He and his wife were separated, and he was worried about his kids. “They were little, and it was hard enough on me, I couldn’t imagine how hard it would be on them to go through such a giant shift in their life.” Shapiro wanted to find a way to spend time and bond with his kids. So he tried sitting on the couch and playing video games with them. “And that gave me the opportunity to talk about so many other things cause we were just sort of sitting next to each other playing,” said Shapiro. But he also believes he was helping his kids create narratives about their digital life. “I was both using the digital world to help them make sense of their none digital life, and I was also preparing them to have a much more stable and healthy digital world...
April 22, 2020
Heidi Mesmer is challenging educators to think big when it comes to reading comprehension. Mesmer, a professor of literacy at the Virginia Tech School of Education, says there are many foundational reading skills. Such as print concepts, fluency, and phonological awareness. In a recently published article in EDWeek, Mesmer questioned why we only talk about phonics? Mesmer says, "the foundational skills are an integrated whole, and they have to be taught together." She wants to be clear, phonics is important, but the focus in classrooms is so heavy on phonics, she believes it's isolated from the other important reading skills. "Phonological awareness is not phonics," says Mesmer. "Phonological awareness is actually the ability to orally identify and manipulate units of sounds or to hear those differences. So it's just the sound part." Mesmer says that the skill to hear words and break them apart is crucial to learning phonics. She points out that phonics is putting a sound with a symbol or letter. "But if you don't first have an insight or recognition that words actually have these smaller constituent parts, the whole system makes no sense to you." If you're not sure how phonics fits within your daily instruction, or crave a more effective process for teaching phonics, Messmer recently wrote a book on the topic. "Letter Lessons and First Words" provides a research-based vision of what lively, engaging phonics instruction can look like, along with practical, classroom-tested tools to make it happen in your classroom. To hear our full interview with Mesmer, listen to Episode 147 of the Class Dismissed Podcast. You can find the latest episode of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. If you have a great idea about learning during coronavirus please contact us info@classdismissedpodcast.com All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
April 14, 2020
Teachers, professors, educators, and instructors are suddenly in a place where they need to teach from home to their students. Actor and Voice talent, David Lawrence XVII decided to create a free digital course designed specifically to educate teachers on how to select and set up a camera, microphone, lighting and all other gear they need to teach and to create a safe and effective online class culture. ”A teacher’s superpower is teaching, not knowing the ins and outs of cameras, mics, lights, and keeping our kids safe on Zoom,” Lawrence says. The course will be free for a month, after a month the course will be $49.00. Lawrence offers ways teachers can improve their online presence without having to purchase new equipment. For example, in a lesson about smartphones, Lawrence shares some settings that a lot of people are not familiar with. Such as the built-in autofocusing and auto exposure settings. "A simple tap and hold on the screen on your phone as you're getting it set up, will not only automatically focus on you but it will set and allow you to adjust for the permanent setting of the lighting," says Lawrence. "It makes all the difference in the world in how professional you look when you use your phone." To hear more tips from Lawrence, including how to improve your audio and what type of background educators should be using their videos, tune into Episode 146 of Class Dismissed. You can find the latest episode of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. If you have a great idea about learning during coronavirus please contact us info@classdismissedpodcast.com All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
April 7, 2020
A parade for students during COVID-19 For Principal Kristina Pollard, success with students both before and during the COVID-19 shutdown has always revolved around relationships. So when she and her colleagues considered having a parade for their students the decision was a no-brainer. On Wednesday, April 1st she and her teacher's from the Forrest County School District put signs on their vehicles and fell in line behind a school bus that was running food delivery to students scattered throughout the district. The teachers honked horns and stood up through their sunroofs and shouted "we love you" to the students that were lining the streets. "When the students realized their teachers were in those cars, oh it just melted my heart," Pollard says students were jumping up and down and waiving and the parents were just as grateful. Teachers were shouting we love you and we miss you and parents were saying back we love you too. "They were just so grateful because we put smiles on little one's faces," says Pollard. "We felt like we were some sort of healing power." Pollard says the parade was a relationship booster with the students and it got teachers out of the house. How to parade safely during coronavirus Pollard says teachers were asked to pull up in the school parking lot 10 minutes before the school's food delivery was about to run.  As a safety precaution, teachers were required to stay in their vehicles. Some of the educators had spouses or family members drive for them. This allowed teachers to wave from their vehicles without being distracted. The message of safety was also passed on to the students. Signs read "keep calm and stay safe," "we are social distancing," and "we are disinfecting." The event soothed the minds and hearts of the teachers because they could see their colleagues and know that everyone was ok. "Anything we can do that's safe, healthy, and within our governor's guidelines, we're going to try it," says Pollard. You can find the latest episode of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. If you have a great idea about learning during coronavirus please contact us info@classdismissedpodcast.com All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
March 30, 2020
Schools' Secret Weapon In mid-March, when coronavirus began sweeping throughout the United States, schools shuttered. For most districts, the decision to shut their doors came quickly. The result left millions of educators trapped at home with fragmented ways to communicate with parents and students. However, there were about 50,000 educators that had a secret weapon. They were already using SchoolStatus, a communication tool that allows teachers and administrators to send one-to-one text messages to parents without giving up their personal phone numbers.  "I can't imagine having done this without SchoolStatus," says Sanger ISD teacher Beth Sullivan. "I can text, call, and email parents with absolute ease! It's making a complicated time so much easier! SchoolStatus SchoolStatus was already a heavily utilized tool by 143 school districts. On any given day before COVID-19 SchoolStatus would facilitate about 125,000 messages between teachers and parents. Since COVID-19, the software company's usage exploded. They are now connecting teachers and parents close to a million times a day. SchoolStatus CEO Russ Davis says they're seeing 700 - 800 percent spikes in traffic. "We're doing as much traffic in a week as we previously did in a month."  Davis says it's not just the volume that's significant, it's also when it's occurring. SchoolStatus is seeing major increases on Sundays.   How SchoolStatus got a head start on the Coronavirus   Russ Davis, CEO SchoolStatus Employees at SchoolStatus began discussing COVID-19 almost two months before the outbreak in the United States. On January 22, their sales operations manager posted an article about the coronavirus in one of the company's Slack channels.  "I'm sure you've been following this, but in case you haven't, the virus was discovered about a month ago and originated in Wuhan China," he shared with all employees. "9 deaths, 456 confirmed infections, about 2% mortality rate so far." Just days later, on January 27, a marketing manager shared a Facebook post of a friend of hers that lived in Wuhan, China.  The post was a frightening perspective describing how they were trapped in Wuhan. Her friend couldn't get on an evacuation flight out of China, read the Facebook post. They also had a father-in-law that had contracted the virus, but hospitals in Wuhan couldn't take him because all the beds were full.  By February, weeks before any schools shut down, SchoolStatus CEO, Davis, began planning. He started emailing all-hands announcing guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the virus at their three offices. Davis ordered hand sanitizer, UV-C phone/device sanitizers, and he asked all employees to stay more than 6 feet from each other.  Most crucial, Davis had already established a robust infrastructure to be able to "flip a switch" and allow all employees to work remotely. All employees had laptops, Zoom, and Slack credentials, and SchoolStatus VoIP phone lines directly into their homes.  "I'm kind of a paranoid guy by nature," says Davis.  "To me, this is like years in the making. Whenever we started seeing it spread more aggressively outside of that region [China]. We thought this is coming and it's not going away. That's when we started putting our plans in place." Scalability Having much of the United States and the world suddenly shift to remote work and distance learn...
March 23, 2020
Can we educate 40 million K-12 students remotely? With schools requiring students to stay home across the United States, educators scrambled all last week to quickly adjust to this new way of teaching in the world of coronavirus. Here on Class Dismissed, we will spend the next several episodes sharing and examining which methods of distance learning are working and which methods may turn out to be too ambitious. Class Dismissed co-host and Mississippi School Principal, Kristina Pollard, shares with us her district's plan to educate students remotely. What if your students don't have internet access? Pollard who serves a school that is 100% poverty is well aware of the digital divide that many of her students are facing. "They don't have internet access at home. We're already trying to figure out, what can we do as a district," says Pollard. Her district is rolling out a plan using bus routes to ensure that all students get breakfast, lunch, and a snack. "When we do that, we will have academic packets ready for our children," says Pollard. "And we're going to hit those bus stops just like we would when we were running those routes." The idea is not without its challenges. Last week, in Shelby County Tennessee, they were forced to suspend their meal distribution plan when an employee in the nutrition department tested positive for COVID-19. Pollard is also concerned about the social-emotional well being of her students during the COVID-19 outbreak. She says it's going to be important to provide some type of comfort to students. She says her K-6 students really rely on a routine, they look forward to going to school every day. "It's going to become a challenge I think by the third week. Students will miss their teachers. They'll miss the interaction with their classmates. It's going to go beyond the academic support," says Pollard. What do educators expect of parents? Longtime educator Lissa Pruett says parents do not need to fill their child's day with instruction just like at school. "You forget how much time children spend in transition during their school day, with car line, lunch, bathroom breaks, recess, and then PE or art," says Lissa. She says parents should not fill the day with eight hours of instruction. "Please don't do that, please don't do that to your children. That is not how long they would have been in active instruction from the highest qualified individual." Teachers should not overcompensate Lissa also recommends teachers keep their lessons brief. She notes that this is an unusual time and you're not going to be able to get everything done. "I can see where some teachers out there may be thinking, I've got to plan all this stuff because I don't want the parents to think we don't do anything all day," says Lissa. "I think that would be a mistake." Lissa says there are insecurities everywhere, but teachers do a lot within a day. Fun activities for kids during the Coronavirus Outbreak Parents all over the world are clamoring for fun activities to keep their little ones occupied and learning. Lissa, who had operated her own children's art studio over the past two decades is now offering many lessons through instructional videos online. Lissa made video bundle packages of her taking students through lessons.  There are crayon activities of a tiny monster where you can use items at home to trace circles and more advance lessons like watercolors and pencil art.
March 16, 2020
Note: This episode was recorded on March 9. This episode includes in-depth conversations about COVID-19's impact on school districts in the context of the active coronavirus cases as of March 9.   We will air special COVID-19 coverage that will focus on K-12 education beginning March 23. Does blended learning make teaching easier or harder? Catlin Tucker has been a thought leader in the world blended learning. But a lot of the educators Tucker would interact with perceived blended learning as more work for teachers. "I couldn't understand why that was," says Tucker. So, as Tucker started visiting classrooms she realized teachers were still doing the lion's share of the work in the classrooms even when they were trying a blended classroom.  Tucker noticed that workflows were staying traditional and it was placing a lot of burden on the teachers.  For example, she says the teachers would * set the assignment * 150 kids complete it * teacher collects those assignments * teacher processes the work * teacher inputs the data in the grade book * the teacher passes the assignments back to the students. Tucker says she also observed a lot of teacher talking and students listening. But she feels there should be much more balance between the two. Blended Learning Requires a Mind-Shift Tucker goes about blended learning from a different angle. She says it requires a mind-shift around how teachers view their role and their students' role in education. "What responsibilities do we each own and which responsibilities do we each share?" Catlin Tucker - Courtesy of catlintucker.com Tucker says teachers should feel more like they are partnering with students. She suggests using models in dynamic ways to try and create time and space in the classroom. Hopefully, this will allow for teachers to move some of that work they traditionally would take home, back into the classroom. "I wasn't in the front of the room. I was sitting side by side with them, giving feedback as they worked." Tucker also suggests frequent conferencing with students about their goals and pulling them into a side-by-side assessment conversation where the teacher grades the work as the student sits next to them. Tucker highlights the topics in her new book "Balance With Blended Learning." In it, she talks about the value of forming a partnership with kids and she goes in-depth on metacognitive skill-building and real-time feedback. All tools that allow teachers to have more balance inside and outside of the classroom. "I think if we don't start to really shine some light on how we can approach this job in a sustainable way, we are going to continue to lose exceptional people from this profession," More of a coach less of a fountain of knowledge Tucker says that if teachers are moving into a blended space hopefully that means that they're starting to look at their role as a more of a coach and less of a purveyor of information. She suggests letting go of the traditional roles and not lead the class by talking and transferring information. Tucker says teachers need to use that time to give feedback and work with students one-on-one. It's all about balance Tucker is concerned about the number of great teachers that quit because of the toll teaching can take on a person. "I think if we don't start to really shine some light on how we can approach this job in a sustainable way, we are going to continue to lose exceptional people from this profession," says Tucker. Her goal is to help educators find ways to use technology in moderation. "How do we leverage technology to shift students to the center of learning?
March 10, 2020
Why this educator believes he became a better teacher without a desk. For some, your teacher’s desk is a must. Not only is it functional, but it’s also a symbol of your leadership and authority in the classroom. To others, the teacher’s desk is an obstacle; A barrier between you and your students. A large desk also takes up a big chunk of real estate in your classroom. In Episode 141 of the Class Dismissed podcast, we caught up with Matthew Morris.  Back in 2015, Morris wrote an article about why he got rid of his desk in his classroom. Readers from all over the world applauded his post, which is on his website and Medium.com. An unintended barrier Morris says it pushed him to walking around, help students more, and it allowed him to be the lead learner. "It did disolve a little bit of the barrier between teacher and student," says Morris. Morris believes that being forced to move around the classroom made him build better relationships with introverted students. He admits that when he had a desk he would sometimes quickly go and grade quizes while the students were working independenly during class time. But without a desk, things were different. Morris would go and sit near students that were often quiet or maybe struggling with the work. "Those students would actually ask me more questions about the work," said Morris. In Episode 141, we ask Morris if he has any regrets about ditching his desk. Where does he keep his stuff? Where does he grade papers? And most importantly, what did it mean for his relationship with his students. Listen to the latest episode of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes, and find out if Morris is still managing his classroom without a desk today. Other show notes This high school cheer squad is caught between two worlds -- Divided by a border. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
March 3, 2020
It's the #1 Environmental Issue Purdue University Professors Dr. Daniel Shepardson and Andrew Hirsch believe that we need to do more when it comes to educating K-12 students about climate change. Shepardson, who is with Purdue's Department of Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Science says currently climate change is not well covered in classrooms. "It tends to be addressed in a piecemeal fashion," Shepardson says students may touch on it a bit in earth science or biology class, but that's not enough. "There's not really a clearly defined conceptual framework to help teachers to teach about climate change." That's why Shepardson and his colleague, Hirsch recently co-authored “Teaching Climate Change - What educators should know and can do” in American Educator. They argue that climate change is the #1 environmental issue. "If we don't address a warming climate then we are going to find ourselves having to deal with extreme heat, extreme storm events and food security may become a problem," says Hirsch. Battle through the political storm For some teachers, educating students about climate change can be a political minefield. "Regardless of whether you accept the fact that changing climate is driven by manmade activities, the climate is nonetheless changing, says Hirsch. "Farmers can tell you that, insects know that, birds know that. There are quantifiable measures that need to be considered. It's not a matter of politics, it's a matter of adapting the situation that is changing." However, the pair say that educators shouldn't really open the classroom floor for debate on climate change. They know it's common for teachers to present both the scientific perspective and the skeptic's perspective on climate change, but they argue that allowing debate is a mistake. This is because there is a scientific consensus on climate change. "We don't debate other science concepts like photosynthesis or earth system science," says Hirsch.  "It's accepted science and that's what should be taught." Hirsch says the debate should be about how we deal with the issue. "That's where teachers can engage students in debating the ways we mitigate and adapt to our changing climate. To hear our full interview with Hirsch and Shepardson listen to Episode 140 of the Class Dismissed Podcast. You can listen to the latest episode of Class Dismissed on iTunes here. Other show links Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map (COVID-19) American history textbooks can differ across the country, in ways that are shaded by partisan politics. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
February 25, 2020
Dr. Ben Burnett served as a school administrator through Hurricane Katrina but he never imagined he would face two more powerful tornadoes later in his career. In Part 1 of our interview about what to do when a natural disaster strikes your school district, Dr. Ben Burnett reflected on how he and his colleagues kept students and teachers focused after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Burnett was the principal of a middle school in Lamar County Mississippi during the devasting hurricane, but a few years later he took on the responsibilities of Lamar County Superintendent. But even Hurricane Katrina could not fully prepare Burnett for what happened to one of his high schools just eight years after Katrina. Dr. Ben Burnett On February 10, 2013, Oak Grove High School, near Hattiesburg Mississippi was struck by a powerful EF4 tornado that cut a path three-quarters of a mile wide and had maximum sustained winds of 170 mph. The tornado demolished a field house and caused significant damage to much of the large high school. Burnett says that as he first rounded the corner to survey the damage at Oak Grove High School, he thought, nobody ever prepared him on how to manage in this situation. Fortunately, the storm struck on a Sunday, and while there were a few people in the school, there were no fatalities or injuries. However, the cleanup expenses would run into the millions and the disruptions to instructional time and extracurricular activities had to be addressed. By 2017 Burnett had retired as Superintendent and he was now the Dean of Education at William Carey University. Unbelievably, a powerful EF3 tornado struck at Burnett's new job site. It was his third natural disaster. In the early morning hours of January 21st. The tornado packed winds of 145mph and damaged 58 of the 60 buildings on WCU's campus. Remarkably, Burnett's William Carey University story is one of resileence. They adminstration moved quickly and had students back in class in just two days. To hear the full story on how Dr. Ben Burnett responded to both tornadoes, listen to Episode 139 of the Class Dismissed Podcast. This is part two of a two-part interview. Tune in to Episode 138 to hear Burnett talk about Hurricane Katrina. You can listen to the latest episode of Class Dismissed on iTunes here. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
February 18, 2020
Dr. Ben Burnett served as a school administrator through two powerful tornadoes and Hurricane Katrina. Most school administrators are fortunate enough to make it their entire career without witnessing their campus destroyed by a natural disaster. Some administrators may have experienced it once, maybe even twice. But probably only a handful can say they've faced a natural disaster striking their school on three separate occasions. Dr. Ben Burnett is one of the few. Dr. Ben Burnett "I try not to talk about it," he jokes. Burnett worries that if word gets out no one will want to hire him in the future. After all, it's a record that no one really wants. But it's also a job experience that no one really has. “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Albert Einstein Over his 30+ year career in education, Burnett has helped clean up and rebuild schools after three major storms. * Hurricane Katrina (2005) - Principal of Oak Grove Middle School * Hattiesburg EF4 Tornado (February 10, 2013) - Superintendent of Lamar County School District * Hattiesburg EF3 Tornado (January 21, 2017) - Dean, School of Education at William Carey University Oak Grove High School (2013) - Credit: Warren Kulo AL.com Historic Weather Events There are no simulations for dealing with events of this magnitude. Katrina needs no introduction and the tornado that struck Burnett's Oak Grove High School in 2013 was featured on the Weather Channel's "Tornado Alley". "One of my first thoughts as Superintendent when I rounded the corner and saw Oak Grove High School had a big path taken out of one of the sections was nobody prepared me for this." On Episode 138 of Class Dismissed, Burnett will walk us through his lessons learned. * How did they get the campus ready after Hurricane Katrina? * How did students get back on track after missing three weeks of school? * How do you react to the unknown? In 2005, Katrina exposed all sorts of problems that arise when you don't have power for weeks on end. Burnett reflects on how the district struggled to distribute paychecks. "The school district had to find a generator and cut checks plugged up to a printer," Burnett recalls.  "There were at least a thousand employees who were depending on those checks. He also reflects on how he was nearly brought to tears when the students returned to school. This is part one of a two-part interview. Tune in to Episode 139 to hear Burnett talk about the 2013 and 2017 tornadoes. You can listen to the latest episode of Class Dismissed on iTunes here. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 - 2020
February 6, 2020
How can you make science cool? Lynn Brunelle is a four-time Emmy Award-winning writer for “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” and she describes her time working on the Nye’s show as similar to working for a combination of Mr. Wizard and Saturday Night Live. “It [Nye’s show] tapped into my love for writing funny things,” said Brunelle. Brunelle said she enjoys making difficult concepts accessible and fun. “In my experience, if it’s funny, and you laugh, you remember it,” said Brunelle. Over the past several years, Brunelle has shifted her energy into writing science books directed towards kids and those that educate them. Her works include “Pop Bottle Science,”“Big Science for Little People” and she’s releasing a new book which will be available April 3 called “Turn This Book into a Beehive.” The latter is packed with 19 sensory-driven experiments and activities that offer a deeper understanding of what it’s like to BE a bee. Brunelle says “You actually do turn the book into a beehive!” The book comes with a removable book jacket and paper nesting tubes that turn into a home for the mason bee, with each “room” providing space for 10-12 mason bee babies. Ignite that love for science when they’re young In our conversation in Episode 40 of Class Dismissed, Brunelle talks about the importance of encouraging more girls to learn STEM and she tells us the age kids usually decide if they’re going to be interested in science. Brunelle believes that everyone is a science person because it’s all based on how the world works. “I think we need to rebrand this and show how cool it is.” Said Brunelle. You can listen to our full conversation with Brunelle on iTunes here. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
January 30, 2020
Why the structured essay writing we're teaching in school is not necessarily what employers want. Learning to write an essay in school is standard. You brainstorm, research a topic, develop a thesis, outline the piece, and begin writing. Jill Pavich, Ed Pioneer In the end, students create a well thought out composition that is grammatically correct and punctually sound. While learning those fundamentals is crucial, do those skills transfer to today's workplace? After twelve years in the classroom, Jill Pavich began following up with past students, and she learned the answer was no. Pavich interviewed several "star students." She asked one of them if what they learned in her class was transferable to the real world. "She [the former student] said a lot of that writing gave her the just-in-case knowledge, but it wasn't giving her any applications," said Pavich. "She had to reteach herself what it meant to write for slide decks, and what it meant to write scripts for videos, or to write for blog posts, or LinkedIn posts, things she was doing for her clients." Knowing that the discipline of writing an essay was not connecting to a modern world, Pavich decided to do something about it. She started EdPioneer, and now helps high school English/Language Arts teachers make writing more authentic, more relevant, and more real. To hear our full interview with Pavich and get some ideas for making writing real in your classroom, listen to Episode 136 of Class Dismissed. You can find Class Dismissed in your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
January 22, 2020
It's demoralizing, and here's what you can do to prevent it. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a beautiful story, and it is one of the most commonly taught books in the secondary curriculum. But educator, Jennifer Buehler, can’t help but wonder how many students relate to the characters. “At the end of the day, that book represents white America’s vision of racial progress and injustice,” says Buehler. “It’s a really different thing to get a story that asks questions about racial justice that’s not coming from the white perspective.” Buehler, a former high school teacher and current associate professor of English education at Saint Louis University raises a question that all educators should consider. What does it mean if you never see yourself in a story? She says it’s a common problem in schools nationwide because it’s a hard shift for teachers to make. “Our curriculum remains pretty traditional nationwide. It requires teachers to be reading out of their comfort zones and exploring new authors and new texts. And it involves parent and administrative support.” says Buehler. Money is a factor as well. “To bring different books into the classroom you have to be able to pay for those books,” Buehler says. Is it hard to find diverse books? According to School Library Journal’s 2018 Diverse Collections Survey of 22,000 school and public librarians, 15 percent said they find it “very difficult” or “difficult” to find appropriate titles to round out a diverse library collection.  The librarians surveyed cited finding portrayals of “characters with disabilities, Native or Indigenous peoples, and English language learners” as the most difficult. What can teachers do? Buehler knows teachers have a desire to make a change. She also knows that a lot of the “classics” already in the classroom are not bad books. “They [the books] just can’t meet all the readers’ needs, they can’t do all the work that literature should do,” says Buehler. Buehler suggests that teachers need first to make sure administrators are aware of the challenge. She advises teachers need to do their homework and know the books that they want to champion. “You have to have your own argument, that’s appropriate to your own educational context, for what change is needed and why,” says Buehler. Another major challenge is money for new books. Buehler suggests organizing small fundraisers. Teachers may also want to consider using PledgeCents or DonorsChoose. She also cites a foundation named “The Book Love Foundation,” which dedicates their time to putting books in the hands of teenagers. To hear more from our conversation with Buehler listen to Episode 135 of Class Dismissed. You can find Class Dismissed in your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2020
January 16, 2020
How and why Global School Play Day is working to restore unstructured play for kids For five years now, the first Wednesday in the month of February has been designated as Global School Play Day. This year, on February 5th, schools all over the world will pledge to allow students to spend an entire day playing with their classmates. Here are the guidelines for educators... * Don't organize anything for the students * Supervise students, but don't tell them how to play * Call for toys - board games, Legos, blocks, balls, cards, puzzles * Don't suggest how to use toys or games * No screens or battery-powered devices Why play is essential to social and emotional learning The catalyst for Global School Play Day was a Tedx Talk given by Dr. Peter Gray. During the 16 minute talk, Gray presents a compelling argument that today's kids do not grow up playing and this could have a negative impact. He backs his case with the science of how animals develop. "Young mammals of essentially all species play. In play, they develop fit bodies they practice physical skills that are crucial to their survival and they also practice social and emotional skills," says Gray. "By playing together they learn to cooperate with one another. They learn to be in close vicinity to one another without losing their tempers, very important for social animals to develop. Gray also points out that "risky play" teaches animals how to take risks and experience fear without losing their minds. The Start of GSPD A group of educators was so influenced by Gray's lecture, they decided to do something about it. Global School Play Day was their answer. The grassroots movement in 2015 had over 65,000 participants and by 2019, GSPD had over half a million involved. GSPD Co-Founder, Eric Saibel, says they would love to see a million participants in 2020. The California principal says it's incredible to see images of students in New Zealand doing slip and slide while the kids in Minnesota are building a snowman. "There's this idea that has kind of crept into American society and education over the last 50-60 years that things need to be directed by adults for them to have importance for kids. And that is simply not true," says Saibel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA8rLXrjcv8&t=3s Saibel says GSPD is about building awareness. He knows that one day out of the year will not build a new paradigm, but he hopes it will build a new culture at a school and maybe across a community. A culture where people interact says Saibel, "Where there is a greater value placed on connecting face-to-face, person to person." To hear our full conversation with Saibel and learn how you can participate in GSPD, listen to episode 134 of Class Dismissed. You can listen to all the Class Dismissed Podcast episodes on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. Click here to learn more or register for Global School Play Day. Other Show Notes The Power of Play Unvaccinated Students Not Allowed Back to Seattle Public Schools All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2020
January 8, 2020
"I wanted to find something that would possibly interest them and that they can’t find on the internet." Dina Leygerman was tired of having her high school students pretending to read the classic novels assigned in her class. She knew many of them were using SparkNotes and other shortcuts online and she guessed that some had probably never read a novel cover-to-cover. So Leygerman set a new a much loftier goal. She aimed to spark a love for reading amongst high schoolers.  With the support of her principal, Leygerman decided to take a break from the classics. She passed out a set of Young Adult books that a friend recommended to her. The book, “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman, is a dystopian title. One that she admits she had not even read herself.  “I wanted to find something that would possibly interest them and that they can’t find on the internet. Like information about it on the internet,” said Leygerman. Teaching a book you’ve never read At first, the students were skeptical because their teacher had not read the book herself. Dina Leygerman – Credit: Dina Leygerman (Medium) “They were like, wait you didn’t read this? How are you are going to teach us” says Leygerman “And I said, we’re going to learn together, that’s going to be the beauty of that.” It didn’t take long before the students were hooked. Since Leygerman didn’t have a unit planned out yet, she set the students up in literature circles and she sat in with a different group every day. “I was pleasantly surprised when the students just got into it. Like two chapters in, they were really into it.”  Leygerman says she had about 40 of her 45 seniors clearly engaged with the novel. This was a massive improvement over the classic novels she introduced in the past.  At times, the students would read well beyond their teacher and the results were heartwarming.  “They would be like, Ms. Leygerman, did you get to that part yet — Oh my God, oh my God, we can’t wait until you get there,” said Leygerman. “They were so excited, and they were so excited for me to get to the part they were at. That to me was like, I won!” Once the students finished the book many of them came up to Leygerman and said “this was the best book I ever read” and some even said, “this was the only book I ever read.”  Several of the students even asked for a copy of the sequel. Leygerman referred them to the school principal and the students made the effort to request the book through the administration. The principal ordered 25 copies of the sequel that could be borrowed.  “Out of the 25 copies that she ordered, the kids borrowed 20 copies,” says Leygerman.  Breaking from tradition turned out to be a huge success. To hear our full interview with Dina Leygerman listen to Episode 133 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2020
January 2, 2020
The Role of Emotion in History Education Dr. Dave Neumann is an Assistant Professor of History Education at Cal Poly Pomona and he was recently published in “Social Education” with his article titled “A feeling for the Past: The Role of Emotion in History Education.”  Recently, some of Neumann's students (future educators) were presenting their culminating model lessons in his history methods class and he noticed a crucial missing element to their presentation. "The students had presented this model lesson in a pretty exemplary way, in terms of the content," said Neumann. "But as I was sitting observing it, I noticed the rest of the students participating in it just really didn't click with it, and I felt like something was missing." What became apparent to Neumann is that the students were missing the emotion in the lesson. His students had presented the topic in a very cold analytical way. In Episode 132 of Class Dismissed, Neumann tells us what his students could have done better at that moment and he gives us some tips on how educators can bring more emotion into their lessons. You can listen to the latest episode of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other Show Notes The Quiet Rooms A teacher makes 10 predictions for education in 2020 — some of them rather hopeful All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2020
December 17, 2019
These are our favorite interviews of 2019 Every year on Class Dismissed, we have an in-depth discussion with scores of amazing people working in education. We introduce our listeners to, innovative teachers, administrators, college professors, and even educational software developers. Towards the end of each year, it's always fun to reflect on a few of those interviews that stand out to us. This week we selected our top four guests of 2019 and we look back on what we loved so much about those interviews. Developing... To hear our full list listen to Episode 131 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
December 10, 2019
Shakespeare is arguably the most widely taught author in the United States, but should he be? Christina Torres has been teaching Shakespeare to her students for the past seven years. She loves Shakespeare, she's read it, she's performed it, and it's an integral part of the lessons she crafts for her eighth-graders in Honolulu. However, Torres recently opened up about why she feels guilty about assigning Shakespeare to her students. "The guilt comes from wondering what would it mean for my students if my students had more access to literature from someone with a similar background," says Torres. Torres, who is half Mexican and half Filipino, says she did not get access to a Latino author until her junior year of high school. "It was this huge revelation," says Torres. "Here's a Mexican writer, writing about things I understand! It was so overwhelming, and I feel a little sad that it did not happen to me until I was 16." Torres says she can't help but feel guilty that she's taking time in her curriculum that could be dedicated to other authors. After all, most schools teach Shakespeare through several grade levels. Torres's concerns don't stop there. To hear our full interview with Torres listen to Episode 130 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019    
December 3, 2019
We shouldn't obsess over early achievement. We live in a world where we applaud kids that do amazing things at a young age, but Rich Karlgaard is not focused on those early achievers. Karlgaard is the publisher of Forbes Magazine and author of "Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement", and he wants to start a national dialog about why it's essential to recognize that some people's prime comes a little later than others. Late Bloomers begins with Karlgaard highlighting a 53-year-old woman named Joanne. When Joanne was in school, she was described as a "high-mediocre" student. Many professors do not remember Joanne, but one professor described her as a student that would often stare off into space while in class. After attending school, Joanne got into a bad marriage, worked as a receptionist for a bit, and went into a spiral of depression after her divorce. For a time, she was even on public assistance. But Karlgaard says Joanne is an excellent example of a late bloomer. "At age 35, while taking a train, Joanne, otherwise known as J.K. Rowling, dreamed up Harry Potter," says Karlgaard. Why do parents push so hard? If being a late bloomer is ok, then why do we see parents, coaches, and teachers push kids to be an early achiever? Karlgaard's theory is that the predominant rewards in society are coming from two industries, software and high-end financial services. "I like to say Google and Goldman Sachs," says Karlgaard. "Now, these Google and Goldman Sachs, who do they look for in college grads? They look for college grads that have gone to most elite universities." This has created the idea that the most significant rewards go to those that attend elite universities and have the best test scores. Consequently, it leads to parents and educators pushing kids towards doing whatever it takes to get into the best universities. Karlgaard says his goal in writing Late Bloomers is to start a discussion about applying unneeded pressure on students that may need more time. He's concerned that our current trajectory is causing financial indebtedness, anxiety, depression, and sleep-deprived kids. What we're getting wrong Karlgaard says we have a very narrow idea of what K-12 education should be. "That it should be a conveyer belt, and at the end of that conveyer belt, it deposits these kids into the best possible colleges that they can get in to." Karlgaard acknowledges some kids are going to succeed on that conveyer belt. He knows some will get high test scores, and they'll manage the homework, and that's great. But he wants to make sure society understands that if kids are not succeeding, then "Plan B" is not to double down. "There's overwhelming research that the conveyer belt is missing more kids than it's hitting," say's Karlgaard. "Many kids, their talents, deepest passions, and purpose, are never going to be revealed on that conveyer belt." This is what motivated Karlgaard to spend five years researching and writing Late Bloomers. What can we do? If we see kids succeeding at an early age, by all means, we should applaud the success. But we also need to be sensitive to the signs of kids that are rebelling against the current system. Karlgaard says to watch for kids… * Mentally dropping out* Retreating to the basement and playing video games* Clinical anxiety or depression * Dropping out school It used to be much easier to be a late bloomer, says Karlgaard. We didn't have social media, where kids compare themselves to the curated vers...
November 25, 2019
Happy Thanksgiving! This week we take a look at some myths surrounding the origin of Thanksgiving. * Were the Indians and Pilgrims that first ate together friendly with one another?* Has Thanksgiving been a tradition since the 1600s?* Who declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday?* Was turkey served at the first Thanksgiving meal?* Did the pilgrims really wear black and have buckles on their shoes? Listen to Episode Class Dismissed your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
November 19, 2019
Over a 30 year period, Kim Marshall served as a teacher, policy advisor, speechwriter, director of the curriculum, and a principal for Boston schools. After that incredible career, Marshall began chapter two of his professional life with the publication of the Marshall Memo. Marshall's weekly publication is widely known in education circles and for the past 17 years, the "Marshall’s Memo" has been emailed out weekly to educators around the world. In Episode 127 of Class Dismissed, Marshall talks about which ideas in education have had decades of lasting power and Marshall told us that he thinks teacher teams may be the "secret sauce" to successful schools. Marshall says that when schools create groups like the algebra team, the 4th-grade team, or the kindergarten team they get results. Marshall says these teams should be sitting down planning curriculum units together and then looking at the actual student work that comes out of their classrooms on a day-by-day basis or from assessments and sharing the most effective ideas. Marshall says this needs to happen because teaching is contextual. "Any middle school teacher will tell you they can have a lesson that's going really brilliantly the first lesson and then the same lesson in the second lesson doesn't go as well," Marshall says this is because teaching is so hard and so complex. Marshall just released a new book encapsulating the "Best of the Marshall Memo" and he and his co-author, Jenn David-Lang, are offering a free chapter on time management to anyone that emails them to requests it. Those interested can email Marshall at kim.marshall48@gmail.com You can listen to the full interview with Kim Marshall on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other links from the episode Gaggle Knows Everything About Teens And Kids In School All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
November 12, 2019
So many of the moments that change us are surprise moments. Have you ever had a spontaneous event define who you are? It’s possible you have and you just didn’t recognize it.  Our guest explains how we can use neuroscience to trigger growth mindsets in the classroom and ultimately enrich the lives of our students. Dr. Michael Rousell is a psychologist and associate professor at Southern Oregon University and he's spent years studying how spontaneous events can change the way we believe and see ourselves. In Episode 126, Rousell teaches us how educators can give their students a burst of dopamine by combining surprise with positive reinforcement. If done properly, the results can have long-lasting positives effects on the way students perceive themselves. You can listen to the latest episode of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
November 5, 2019
How Silent Sustained Readers was a gamechanger for this high school English teacher. Steve Gardiner's first assignment as an educator was a challenge. He was responsible for teaching five sections of a class called basic communications. "It was exactly what it sounds like. The students in there had failed all of our other English classes," said Gardiner. He was their last chance for them to earn the credits that they needed to graduate. Unfortunately, that first year had a rough start. Gardiner says the students were not enthused and he admits that he was struggling to find stimulating curriculum material. But then a colleague suggested Sustained Silent Reading, also known as SSR. Gardiner thought why not? I need to try something different. So they headed to the library and each student got to pick out their own book, and then every day the read for about 15 minutes. It was the consistency that seemed to make a difference. "It wasn't that long, a week at the most, I was getting an occasional complaint when I asked them to put down their books and go to their packets," said Gardiner. He thought wow! I'm getting somewhere with them. Gardiner says he had success with the students the first year, but he wanted to learn more about SSR. He began researching and fine-tuning his program. Over the next 27 years, Gardiner had success with SSR in his high school classroom while also becoming one of the leading champions for Silent Sustained Reading in the country. He authored a book on the subject and gave workshops. In Episode 125 of Class Dismissed, Gardiner teaches us how educators can roll out SSR in their own classrooms. You can listen to the latest episode of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. To keep up with Steve Gardiner you can visit his website at https://www.quietwaterpublishing.com Other links from the episode 7 reasons why teachers should use the educational versions of Assassin’s Creed in their classrooms All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019  
October 28, 2019
Our guests and Episode 125 of Class Dismissed spent a lot of time thinking about what makes a teacher great. As a director of English language programs in the United States and overseas, Paul Morin had the opportunity to observe a lot of teachers. During that time he began seeing three commonalities amongst the educators he thought were the most effective. Morin wrote about those in a recent post on Medium and he went more in-depth about them in the "Bright Idea" segment of our latest episode. * Good teachers watch their students faces * Good teachers check for understanding * Good teachers deviate from the lesson plan when necessary To hear our full interview with Paul Morin listen to the latest episode of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019  
October 22, 2019
We've seen wellness and mindfulness rooms for students, but this public school decided to create one for their teachers. For more than 30 years Debbi Rakowsky attended to the health and happiness of students. She served as the district social worker of the Three Village School District on Long Island, New York. However, over the past ten years, Rakowsky started to notice a shift amongst the staff.  Teachers and faculty would frequently come to her and vent about the stresses that are involved in education. "A lot that has to do with the complex parent and family needs and the high stake job demands," says Rakowsky. "For me, when I started in the district school was a very safe place for people to go. And one of the things that happens a lot with teachers these days is they go through this rehearsed trauma. Where the first day of school we're learning about what you do if an armed shooter comes into your school and how do you protect your students." Rokowsky had dedicated her life to helping kids, but she wanted to do something for the adults that keep the school running. She began piloting a "Winter Wellness Series." Rokowsky says the cold winter months in New York are difficult because you leave for school in the dark and you come home in the dark. So she took a faculty room and repurposed it by making it more "Zen" and she brought in practitioners every Wednesday. "And the staff just went wild for it," says Rakowsky. After that, she began to think big. What if she could make a permanent place just for teachers and school staff to decompress? A place that was off-limits to students. Not a teacher's lounge, but a place where staff could come in think and breath without distractions. "I've had people walk in they literally cry. They say I can't believe that this is in our school," says Rakowsky. Rakowsky wrote a proposal and handed off to administrators and she says they didn't even blink. "They said let's do this!" The district moved Rakowsky to the high school and they gave her a classroom that wasn't in use. She applied for grants and they began to furnish the room. "When you walk into that room, you do not feel like you're in a school," says Rakowsky. There is a faux wood floor, window treatments, and the lights are different than the normal school lights. Rokowsky also added a water feature, massage chairs, and a meditation area. "I've had people walk in they literally cry. They say I can't believe that this is in our school," says Rakowsky. For Rakowsky and the staff, it's more than a room. She also offers several programs for teachers, she offers workshops on managing anxiety, she has lunch and learns with practitioners, and they offer free short term counseling. To learn more about program listen to Episode 123 of the Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. If you have questions for Rakowsky, she can be contacted at drakowsk@3villagecsd.org All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
October 15, 2019
What if we could use data to determine the best rapper? “Who’s the best rap artist?” This a question that one of Peter Nilsson’s high school students wanted to answer. For most high schoolers, it’s subjective. Is it Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, or someone else? Students could debate the topic until they’re blue in the face. But what if those students could prove who’s the best? What if they could come up with a qualitative answer? What if they could use computers to analyze rap lyrics and determine which rapper has the most significant use of internal rhyme? In Nilsson’s class at Deerfield Academy, they did just that. Creating Knowledge Nilsson an English teacher by trade but he has also helped students dive into the world of the digital humanities. In his class, students learned how to use computers to parse through massive amounts of text and answer questions that may otherwise seem unanswerable. Nilsson calls it distant reading. And his students didn’t stop their research with rap. They analyzed how Harvey Weinstein was covered in the New York Times, before and after the MeToo movement. They also examined news coverage of their favorite sports teams. “Part of the way that we designed the class was so that they would be able to pursue these topics of interest. And enable them to see these topics of interest from a new perspective,” said Nilsson. “They start to realize that they are creating knowledge.” To learn how Nilsson is executing and teaching distant reading, listen to Episode 122 of the Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Nilsson offers multiple examples and directs us to resources for getting started with distant learning in your classroom. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
October 8, 2019
The "math person" myth Far too frequently educators hear students say "I'm not a math person." Often, children and even adults convince themselves that they're "built" for other subjects like history or the arts. But Dr. Jo Boaler is on a mission to prove that the idea of a "math person" is a myth. Boaler is a Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University and the faculty director of youcubed.org. She believes (and science backs her up) that we all have the potential to be great at math. So what are we doing wrong? When asked what we're doing wrong right now with math education, Boaler says, "Where do I start?" Credit: YouCubed.Org Boaler believes an emphasis on speed can be devastating in the classroom. She says it's particularly damaging when little kids are expected to memorize and regurgitate lots of math facts. "At that point, when they're given those timed tests, many of them develop math anxiety, and from that point onwards, it's downhill for them," says Boaler. Boaler also believes math teachers should not call on the first student that raises their hand with the answer to a math equation. She says it reinforces a misconception that you have to be fast with numbers to be good at math. "If I was to ask an adult to do a calculation, an area of the brain would light up that is seeing fingers,"  Dr. Jo Boaler "I like to share the stories of lots of math mathematicians who will openly talk about how slow they are with math," Boaler says some mathematicians thought they were stupid in school because speed was valued. It's ok to count with fingers Boaler also talks about the importance of visual thinking when working with numbers. She says everytime you think about math; there are five pathways in the brain that light up. Two of them are visual. "If I was to ask an adult to do a calculation, an area of the brain would light up that is seeing fingers," even if you're not physically looking at your fingers, says Boaler. "For adults, how well they know they're fingers, predicts how well they'll do on calculation tests." In Episode 121 of Class Dismissed we learn more about the tools Boaler offers educators through www.youcubed.org listen to the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019  
October 1, 2019
How do you navigate "fake news" with your students?Let's face it. We live in a politically divided country. President Donald Trump often describes news stories as "fake news." He's listed the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN as the "enemy of the people," and he's on record saying that 80% of media is fake news. So what responsibility do teachers have to reconcile these comments with students? And how do educators wade into the political turmoil without getting complaints from politically charged parents? The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017 Tackle fake news without being political"Lots of educators are afraid of having that talk," says Jaquelyn Whiting. "And I understand why they're afraid of having that talk." "I begin every conversation about media literacy by saying, while we are in the room together, we are not going to use the term 'fake news'," Whiting is the co-author of News Literacy: The Keys to Combating Fake News. She's also a library media specialist at Wilton High School in Connecticut. Whiting has made it her mission to inform students and in some cases colleagues on how to identify media bias "I begin every conversation about media literacy by saying, while we are in the room together, we are not going to use the term 'fake news',"  Whiting says she'll feel successful as an educator if she can remove the term from the students' vocabulary. "When that term is invoked. It tends to be invoked with the intention of shutting down dialogue." Whiting asks her students to think about three things when evaluating news. * Information - What's happening * Misinformation - When someone tries to convey to you what's happening and they make an unintentional mistake. You know the mistake was unintentional when they come back and write a retraction or clarification to correct the error. * Disinformation - When someone tries to convey incorrect information to you for their own personal gain. Whiting says dividing news into these three categories allow her and her students have a quality conversation about how we understand the world. "We can start to differently about the choices that journalist are making when they choose to print or not print something,' says Whiting. Whiting says that the political climate is what it is and we have to learn to operate in it productively. In Episode 120 of Class Dismissed we talk in-depth with Whiting about how to help students become media literate by identifying native advertising, influencers, and media bias. To learn more listen to Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
September 24, 2019
Most educators will agree that school is more than just teaching academics. It’s about teaching life lessons that prepare our children for the future. In fact, we all make thousands of decisions a day. So shouldn't we begin teaching the psychology of decision making to our students? Our guest on Episode 119 of Class Dismissed is a former high school English teacher and the Senior Educational Content Designer for the Alliance for Decision Education. Jillian Hardgrove says they're trying to help students recognize the need to make a decision, as well as develop skillful processes that are involved in making a decision. "We have the attitude that it's better to learn these things when you're young and you have the opportunities to practice them, rather than waiting for something negative to happen," says Hardgrove. Hardgrove and her colleagues at the Alliance for Decision Education offer a few different programs and resources to educators. HabitWise When students dream about their careers and life goals, it’s important they understand how habits can turn their dreams into reality or simply get in the way. HabitWise helps middle and high school students achieve their goals by teaching them how to create and track beneficial habits and crush problematic habits. Mindful Choices Mindful Choices is a Social and Emotional Learning program that helps students manage stress and anxiety, increase self-control, and sustain attention. To learn more about Decision Education listen to Episode 119 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
September 17, 2019
Softening the blow for new teachers In Episode 118 of Class Dismissed we talk with Chase Mielke about ways new teachers can keep their flame for educating ignited. After a decade of reflection Mielke compiled a list of what he calls his five "Passion Stokers" for educators. * Find a positive tribe* Curate the good, don't hoard the bad* Forgive* Own your present and future* Craft your calling Mielke, who has been teaching for over a decade in Michigan is quick to acknowledge that many teachers will fight burnout at some point and he believes much of that burnout will come from something other than students. "The main cause I think stems from a lot of conflicts and perceptions that a are adult-driven rather than student-driven," says Milke. Mielke says a lack of autonomy or respect, colleague conflict, and struggles connecting with parents are leading causes of teacher burnout. Practice what you preach Mielke, who authored "The Burnout Cure: Learning to Love Teaching Again", says there was a time in his life that he considered quitting teaching himself. He had been teaching for 8 years but he says he felt so bogged down by extra stuff. Ironically, he was teaching a positive psychology class and he decided to double down on what he was teaching. In a way, he was counseling himself when he was writing the "The Burnout Cure." "It was like, what were that things that have help me? What were the things that I've talked about a lot. And how do I put those in language that any teacher could use to help them reestablish their love." Much of Mielke's notoriety in the education community stems from a blog and video he produced back in 2014. The high school teacher and instructional coach found himself unable to sleep one night and wrote: "What students really need to hear." The post has been read around 4 million times and the corresponding video (below) has been watched almost a million times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O7v4EJjx-g To hear Mielke talk in depth about each of his five "passion stokers", listen to Episode 118 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
September 11, 2019
Cybersecurity Incidents Strike Often A recent report highlighted on EdSurge says a new cybersecurity incident strikes K-12 schools nearly every three days. Now more than ever, school districts are reliant on using computers and servers to store student and employee data and burden of securing that data is a massive undertaking for educators. For most districts, the challenge of protecting data is a chief responsibility for the director of technology. The person charged with guarding that data has to plan for attacks in several forms, which include but are not limited to. * Denial of Service Attacks* Phishing Scams* Ransomware How to "mitigate" the problem? "The key is not complete containment. That is not possible," says SchoolStatus CEO Russ Davis. "The gold standard is mitigation." Davis has been working with school districts for over a decade and he says there are steps districts can take to reduce risk to a reasonable amount. Davis believes that districts need to have policies and plans in place to prevent extreme damage from cyberattack. "What happens when there is a breach? What do we do?" Davis says these are the types of conversations districts should be having. Don't store student's social security information Dane Conrad, who is the technical on-boarding specialist at SchoolStatus spent the past few decades serving as the Director of Technology for large school districts. Conrad says they quit storing student's social security numbers in their SIS (Student Information Systems). Conrad says criminals would love to have students social security numbers because those socials often go unchecked for foul play. "If somebody steals my identity and they use my social security number. Typically I'll fumble upon it. So I'll see information being accessed on my credit card or my debit card," says Conrad. "But for a student, they are not necessarily in that environment." Conrad says criminals could use that number for years before anyone realizes the damage. Superintendents should ask their director of technology if they're storing student socials anywhere on their servers. If so, find out why? Is it a necessity? Educate about Phishing One of the most common ways districts are compromised comes from phishing attempts. This is typically when a fraudulent email tricks employees into handing over sensitive information. Often employees may be tricked into handing over their login credentials. Conrad says it's critical for districts to educate their staff about what a phishing attempt may look like. He also recommends using a resource like knowbe4.com. He says they offer literature you can share with employees and they'll even run phishing attempts to test the system and see where you may have vulnerabilities. How to combat Denial Of Service Attacks A Denial of Service AKA DDOS attack occurs when multiple systems flood bandwidth or web servers. As a result, your schools network could be temporaily shutdown. Davis says having a quality ISP (Internet Service Provider) can help prevent this. He says that good ISPs offer intrusion prevention and detection systems. He also suggests that districts should tighten up their firewall.
September 4, 2019
What is Inquiry-Based Learning? In Episode 116 we talk with Inquiry-Based Learning expert Trevor MacKenzie. MacKenzie has authored two books on the topic and just returned from an Australian Tour in which he was spreading the word about Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL). For MacKenzie, IBL is all about getting the students to have a more active roll in the class and exploring students questions and curiosities as entry points into the curriculum. "Sometimes that teacher is in the front of the room and leading the way so to speak," says MacKenzie. "Sometimes that teacher is that guide along the ride. Someone who facilitating and supporting learnings." Makenzie, who trains educators around the globe on how to implement IBL says they're trying to do is give the classroom experience over to the students. He says students should be able to take ownership of what they're learning. Where does an educator begin? Makenzie pushes for a gradual release of responsibility from the teacher to the student. "I always start my unit design with a big overarching 'Un-Googleable' question and I make that question front and center in my classroom," says MacKenzie. He's even built an info graphic where he models IBL like a swim coach teaching someone to swim. He even hangs the picture in the classroom for his students to see and he encourages teachers to download and print the picture for their own classrooms. MacKenzie is also really big on provocation. He shows students a lot of videos tied to their curriculum to spark interest and curiosity, but he's ultimately determining wha questions his students have around the curriculum. Want to learn more? Mackenzie has authored two books on the topic. He says if you teach middle school or high school "Dive into Inquiry" is for you. If you teach younger students you may want to read "Inquiry Mindset." To hear our full conversation about Inquiry-Based Learning with Trevor MacKenzie, listen to Episode 116 on your favorite podcasting app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
August 27, 2019
"The start of something big" When most students attend a university to get a medical, nursing, or pharmacy degree, they typically participate in a residency program. So it should come as no surprise to hear that Universities around the country are now testing similar programs for teachers. Over the next several years, Dr. Ben Burnett, of Williams Carey University, will be piloting a teacher residency program in South Mississippi. Dr. Ben Burnett. Dean, School of Education, William Carey University "Doesn't it make sense that somebody taking care of our children would go out and do a residency within the school building and see what that's like?" says Burnett. Burnett knows that a teacher residency program won't just better prepare future teachers; he believes it will improve teacher retention. He says the nation is down 35% in undergraduate teacher education over the last decade. But this year WCU is experiencing a 25% spike. "We're hoping to be on the start of something big." With the teacher shortage the way it is in Mississippi and throughout the country. Burnett is optimistic that better training could help combat the national teacher shortage. "Even if we don't produce more teachers, which I hope we'll do. We'll have better retention," says Burnett. When do undergrads move to the classroom? Students can apply for the residency once they've completed two years of course work. The undergraduates at WCU are integrated into two participating school districts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The program at WCU is in conjunction with the Mississippi Department of Education and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The residency offers two major selling points for students. * Students get their foot in the door at a solid school district* The grant from the Kellogg foundation covers their tuition for two years "That will also help the longevity of the teachers," says Burnett. " If you have a lot of outstanding student loans, it's difficult to pay those back on a teachers salary." Burnett says students lined up to enroll in the program and they had somewhere between 200 and 300 applications. Is the program sustainable? Burnett knows the grant money may not be available forever, but he's optimistic that the program is sustainable, with or without having the cost of tuition covered. He says that educating with residency programs allows for local school districts to "grow their own." As Dean of the School of Education at WCU, Burnett is putting serious thought into educating all teacher undergraduates with some form of a residency program. "I think the future of teacher education needs to be less inside our buildings and more inside of a school," says Burnett. To learn more about the structure of the residency program, listen to Episode 115 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
August 20, 2019
Lay a foundation with your students on day one On the first day or two of school, it can be tempting to want to lay the ground rules. You know, set the expectations about workload, go over the rules, and fill out required forms. But Rick Wormeli wants to challenge educators to think differently this year. Wormeli, who is one of the first Nationally Board Certified Teachers in America, says that students want to know that you're going to transcend their current condition and help them aspire to something more than they are. "And when all they [students] get is more rules and regulations they realize one more year where there's nothing here for me." Wormeli recommends laying a foundation of meaningful relationships with students by mixing in activities that allow you to get to know and understand where the students are coming from. Wormeli recently listed ways this can be accomplished in a recent article he penned for AMLE, and he elaborates on those ideas in Episode 114 of the Class Dismissed podcast. Wormeli's beginning of the year ideas "The Best Way for You to Learn" Cards Using index cards, teachers can ask students to describe how they best learn that particular subject. "Kids are candid," says Wormeli. "They will say things like, look if it's really important, write it on the board." Or he says some students may ask you not to assign online assignments because their sibling always hogs the computer. "I've got a stack that I rubber band and I look through that as I try to decide what I'm going to do next," Wormeli says kids will say some really cool things and give him lots of examples. Letters to the Teacher from Students as their Parents When students write under a pseudonym, they feel much more free to speak their mind, says Wormeli. "When I get what they say about themselves, and then I get what they think their parents would say about themselves, I'm getting a really fleshed version of the child," says Wormeli. "When someone is fully dimensionalized, you really care a heck of a lot more. Six-Word Memoirs "I love six-word memoirs!" says Wormeli. They really make kids come out of their shell and say profound things. The brilliance of six word memoirs is the brevity, teachers can use six-word memoirs as their students examine the content. "It really reveals a lot more about what the student is thinking." Wormeli says he often has students continue to send six-word memoirs after class about sports or pop culture. To hear more from Rick Wormeli, listen to Episode 114 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
August 13, 2019
A 2012 NAEP report concluded that only one-third of eighth and twelfth graders performed above the basic level in writing skills. How did we get here? Steve Graham, Ph.D., is a professor at Arizona State University and for the past 30 years, he has studied how writing develops and how to teach writing effectively. "There's just not enough attention paid to teaching writing in schools today," says Graham. Graham says 20-30 percent of teachers deliver a robust writing program, but when you look at the remaining classrooms, there's no emphasis on teaching writing. "It hasn't been a major part of most reform efforts in the U.S. in the last century or this century." Graham acknowledges that Common Core standards did put a priority on writing, but he says it wasn't never really actualized. But writing is essential in almost every job. Graham says he recently heard a police officer say that he draws a pen or a pencil every day. He has not drawn his gun once in the last year. What can we do? There have been some grassroots efforts to improve the way we teach writing. The National Writing Project has been actively promoting writing for over 50 years. They started with teachers in San Francisco at the grassroots level who were interested in writing, and now they work with educators all over the world. Graham says at the policy level, we need to start treating writing the way we treat reading. "Reading enjoys considerable emphasis as a policy initiative. We want our kids to read, and we want our kids to read well," says Graham. Graham credits public campaigns and the public as a whole for putting pressure on policymakers to put a focus on reading. "A similar kind of thing needs to happen for writing," says Graham. Five things educators can focus on Graham offers five things that educators should do to improve writing in their classrooms. * Kids have to write and its better if they write about something that has a real purpose * We need to look for ways of supporting them. Teachers need to be clear about their writing goals for the students and look for ways to support them. * We need to teach specialized skills... * Spelling * Typing/Handwriting * Planning * Evaluating * Sentence Construction * We want to create an environment where kids can thrive and take risks. Writing is personal * We want to make sure we connect writing to learning and reading and vice-versa. To hear more suggestions on how we can improve the way we teach writing, listen to Episode 113 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
August 6, 2019
Why are we still using an outdated system? There's been a lot of advancements made in education over the past 100 years, but grading students from A to F on a 100-point scale is not one of them. The grading system most schools use today was first used at Mount Holyoke College in 1897. Middle school principal Eric Saibel recently wrote an article in Education Week challenging educators to reevaluate what he describes as "a profoundly arbitrary and subjective ranking system." "If what we want in schools is to create a culture centered on learning and growth then a feedback model based on points and percentages isn't the most effective route," says Saibel. "It does provide feedback, but the problem with letter grades is that it combines every aspect of what a student does both academically and behaviorally, mixes it all in a cauldron and then spits out a percentage. So what we get is information that is not very nuanced. Saibel says that the current grading scale has led to grade inflation. "In 1940 15% of grades at private colleges and universities fell within the A range. In 2008, that number was almost 45%." that's from the book "Excellent Sheep" says Saibel. Saibel argues that the problem with A-F grading is that there's a wide range of practices between schools and even classrooms. He also points to a misconception that students will be motivated when they score poorly on an assignment or test, but argues it actually may prompt students to withdrawl from learning. What does grading reform look like? Saibel suggests a few possible to changes to grading. * Implement a type of "habits of learning" rubric.* Three models* New Tech Network Learning Outcomes* ISTE Student Standards* Habits of Learning created by his own school* Separate academic grades from homework.* Separate academic grades from behavior.* Give standards-based grades, then convert them to letter grades. Saibel says sometimes he feels a little bit isolated when he's making the case for grading reform, but he knows several colleagues that agree a major shift is needed. Susan Brookhart from the School of Education at Duquesne University penned a similar article in the ASCD Summer Edition. Saibel says the awareness from the research goes back to the 1980s and 90s, but the implementation of some type of new system could take much longer. To learn more about Saibel's ideas on grading reform, listen to Episode 112 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
July 29, 2019
Valerie Lovato teaches elementary school at Eagleton Elementary in Denver Colorado.  In her school district, it’s encouraged to conduct home visits with upcoming student's families right around the start of the school year. Lavato knows it's one of those things that a teacher can procrastinate on, but she says, "once you start, you don't want to stop." She's been doing home visits for the past six years. Her goal is to build relationships with parents and to identify opportunities and challenges. However, it's not easy. It's one thing for educators to talk about doing home visits, it's another to accomplish the ambitious task. Lavato says that the hardest part is just getting started each year. "That very first phone call, and telling families, I want to come to your house and visit you at your home, in your space. Making that first phone call I always get butterflies, even now," says Lavato. Sometimes parents aren't thrilled about having visitors at their home, so Lavato always offers an alternative location, such as a park or McDonalds. But she says that the children are always thrilled to see their teacher during the visit. "They are sometimes waiting out in the front yard for me," says Lavato. To learn more about beginning home visits with your class, listen to Episode 111 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
July 23, 2019
For a teenager, applying to a university can be intimidating. In decades past, high school counselors would have the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with students to make sure student's applications were on the right track. Unfortunatly, today's student to counselor ratio at most high schools makes that one-on-one guidance nearly impossible. CollegePoint is aggressively working to provide a solution. The organization targets high-achieving students from low and moderate-income families that typically would not apply to top universities that they are qualified to attend. The non-profit is accomplishing this virtually. "We have an advisor that matches with every student," says CollegePoint's Alysha Rashid. The advisor then meets with the student using different virtual tools. "Whether it's by text, email, phone calls, video chats, advisors get to meet with students as often as they would like," says Rashid. Bryden Sweeney-Taylor says they work with about 60 full time college advisors and about 600 part-time volunteer advisors. "This year we'll work with 12,000 students." says Sweeney-Taylor. The service is free and made possible by Bloomberg Philanthropies. "Because it's virtual because we're not flying advisors across the country, we're able to reach students in small towns and in rural communities and in all 50 states," says Sweeney-Taylor. To learn more about CollegePoint listen to Episode 110 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
July 16, 2019
The idea of using restorative practices in the classroom is straightforward. Educators build, and as needed, repair relationships with students, all in an effort to prevent or respond to conflicts a student may be going through. For example, if you two students get into a fight a school. A school not using restorative practices would suspend the students for a few days and then send them back to the classroom. However, a school using restorative practices would have conferences with the students and sometimes parents both before and after a suspension. During that conference, educators would ask the students a lot of empathy driving questions. This is done so each party involved will have a better understanding about how everyone feels. "If you do something wrong. You have to repair the harm for what you did wrong, says Nathan Maynard. Maynard studied Behavioral Neuroscience at Purdue and has been facilitating restorative practices for over ten years. Before becoming an educator he worked in the field of juvenile justice. Today he serves as the Dean of Culture at Purdue Polytechnic High School in Indianapolis. Earlier this year, Maynard and his colleague Brad Weinstein released "Hacking School Discipline" a book that offers educators ways to create a culture of empathy and responsibility in schools. In episode 109 of Class Dimissed, Maynard gives a digestible look at the benefits of restorative practices and how we can start implementing them in our classroom. To hear our full interview with Maynard, listen to the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017-2019
July 9, 2019
Dr. Rebekka Darner, an Associate Professor of Biology Education at Illinois State University, says that educators are frequently confronting science denial in their classrooms. Darner says individuals that ignore science has always been around. There have always been "flat earthers" and people that have ignored the science behind natural selection, but Darner thinks instructors are now encountering science deniers more frequently. "I think what we're seeing in the recent decade or two is that these things that used to exist on the periphery of society have started to migrate more toward the center," says Darner. "And we encounter it more in our classrooms." So how does a teacher arm themselves with the skills to respond to students that may knowingly or unknowingly ignore science? Darner suggests that educators must start by understanding the emotions and thinking behind science denial, and she offers ways teachers can delicately push back against inaccurate claims that students may make. To hear our full interview with Dr. Rebekka Darner, listen to Episode 108 of the Class Dismissed podcast on your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. Rebekka Darner can be contacted via email at rldarne@ilstu.edu All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
July 2, 2019
In Episode 107 of Class Dismissed with speak with the authors of "Absent From School." Michael Gottfried is a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Ethan Hutt is a professor at the University of North Carolina. Their book was written to help educators and policy makers understand the impact and causes of chronic student absenteeism. This podcast is now live on iTunes and your favorite podcasting app. Developing...Check back for a written summary.
June 25, 2019
How to be inclusive while remaining authentic Matthew Morris says that part of his journey becoming an educator involved a lot of reflecting on what school was like when he was growing up. “When I was going through my experiences as a child and thinking about some of my friends, even some of own my family, my own brother. It was kind of saddening for me to see some of the outcomes now as a grown man. Morris says that some many of those family and friends are geniuses in their own right, but he feels like they got the short end of the deal. “I feel that education was one of the biggest impediments to their lack of quote-unquote ‘traditional success,'” says Morris Morris, a black male, now teaches middle schoolers in Toronto, he’s also a blogger, speaker, and anti-racism activist. He uses his blog to talk about culture and education, with an emphasis on how black males navigate institutional settings both as students and as teachers. In Episode 67 of Class Dismissed we talk to Morris about a blog he authored titled “10 Ways To Make Your Classroom More Inclusive of Black Students” Morris tells us what he thinks is missing to make a lot of classrooms more inclusive, and he has some tips on things that you can implement in your classroom tomorrow. Listen to Episode 67 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other links related to Episode 67 These are the best U.S. cities to live in on a teacher's salary -- and the worst Jackson Public School District loses 236 teachers due to licensing snafu All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
June 17, 2019
Jackie Waldman, a New York City School Teacher and a certified Life Coach has been teaching for 30 years. She also works with other educators to help accomplish life goals and decrease the stress that many teachers feel during an average work week. In Episode 105 of Class Dismissed, Waldman gives us some pointers on how educators can use their summer to recharge and get the right mindset for the following school year. "I feel like the beginning of summer is a great chance to reflect because we're so busy that we are not aware of the level of stress that we're impossing upon ourselves," says Waldman. "We also don't think about the impact upon our health." You can listen to all of Episode 105 on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
June 10, 2019
How schools should be using their data For the past five years, Dr. Joy Smithson has been helping school districts build specialized reports using their data. Smithson is the lead data scientist for SchoolStatus, and she helps schools find trends in topics like absenteeism, state assessments. She also assists districts with narrowing in on students that may be “at risk.” Developing…This podcast is now live on your favorite podcasting app. Check back for a complete written summary. To hear our full interview about ways you should be using your schools districts data, listen to Episode 104 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
June 3, 2019
The "Care Closet" makes sure students have the basics. So students can focus on learning. Melissa Mann is an educator at Moores Mill Intermediate School in New Market Alabama. A few years ago she recognized that students, sometimes needed items like clothing, shoes, food, and toiletries. So Mann decided to do something about it, and helped create the Moores Mills first "Care Closet". We wanted the kids just to know that we're here for you if you need us. -MELISSA MANN In Episode 103 of Class Dismissed, Melissa walks us through the challenges of creating such a hub to meet student needs. And she also gives us some tips on how to build trust with students so they are willing to accept help. Resources mentioned in the Bright Idea Segment Mann's story was originally featured on EdSurge. During Episode 103, she credits Two Fish Ministries with assisting them with starting their Care Closet. Developing…This podcast is now live on your favorite podcasting app. Check back for a written summary.
May 28, 2019
Why are teens stressed and worried at a time of their lives that should be happy and carefree? It's the million billion dollar question. How did we get to a point where some teens are so hyper-competitive that giving them a "B" on a paper or quiz, is like giving them an "F"? Why do some teens now overload themselves with advanced placement courses and extracurriculars, just to stay up past midnight cramming in homework? Dr. Cathy Vatterott is an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and she's been researching and writing about homework for more than 20 years. She believes much of our teens' excessive workloads and goals of "perfectionism" is caused by a desire to get into Ivy League Universities. "We as a culture, especially in highly- affluent communities, have bought into an idea, that if you don't get into one of these 10 colleges, you're going to be a failure, says Vatterott. "They've made this an incredibly high-stakes game for kids." What should teens be doing? Vatterott who recently published "The Teens are not Alright," says teens should be -  Experience learning as joyful and exciting. -  Read for pleasure. -  Play a game where winning doesn’t matter. -  Figure out who they are and what they value. -  Fall in love, not with a person, but with a passion. -  Discover not what the world can do for them, but what they can do for the world. -  Reflect, wonder, and dream. What can schools do to help? Vatterott helps coach educators on what they can do to help teens strike a balance and she says changing up homework assignments can have a huge impact. While she is not a proponent for eliminating homework entirely, she does believe schools should reduce homework and make sure that what's going home is meaningful. "We don't prepare kids to do five hours of homework in college by giving them five hours of homework in high school. The way we prepare kids is to teach them the skills that we need to actually be able to handle the work," says Vatterott. "It's not about time. Time is not the metric." She also suggests that schools should coordinate the workload across classes and switch to a modified block schedule with fewer but longer classes each day. To hear our full interview with Cathy Vatterott, listen to  Episode 102 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
May 21, 2019
Making a case for mathematics Jennifer Kinser - Traut is project director at the University of Arizona college of education. Earlier this month she published "Why Math?" in Mathematics Teacher. Before working with the Unversity of Arizona, Kinser -Traut, spent a decade as a high school math and science teacher. During her time in the K-12 system, she discovered that many of her students would enter her classroom with a negative attitude towards the need for mathematics. To combat the negative energy, Kinser Traut began starting each ninth grade algebra course with a two-day project titled "Why Math?" * Her and the students met in the library computer lab, and students would have to find 1-3 reasons why they should care about math. * Students would look for connections with mathematics in their chosen areas, such as nursing, fashion, or skateboarding. Kinser-Traut says prior to the "Why Math?" project, she would spend a lot of time trying to sell the students on math. She says her sales pitch was usually unsuccessful. She says doing the "Why Math?" project with her students turned the tables and required the students to come up with the reasons mathematics is essential. To hear our full interview with Kinser-Traut, listen to  Episode 101 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. Resources mentioned in the Bright Idea Segment. Here are some helpful links where students can explore the application of math in their area of interest. * http://www.learner.org/exhibits/dailymath/resources.html * https://mathigon.org/applications * https://pumas.jpl.nasa.gov/examples/index.php All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
May 14, 2019
A Resolution Worth Keeping A few years ago, Catlin Tucker made an ambitious New Year’s Resolution. She decided to no longer bring grading home.  The California English Teacher says she loved her job, but she resented having to grade papers during her personal time. “It really robbed me of the time that my kids want with me. You know, I have a nine and a ten-year-old and they want my attention. And it robbed me of that time and space and ability to relax and be creative that drives a lot of my lesson and project design. Tucker, an avid blogger, and author of several blended learning books decided to put her blended learning models to the test and see if she could create time in the classroom and make assessments real-time as a conversation between her and her students. Tucker managed to pull it off, “I have yet to take a stack of grading home, said Tucker during our Class Dismissed interview.” How did she do it? Tucker says she used three blended learning models. * Station Rotation Model* Flipped Classroom* The Whole Group Rotation Model Tucker says there are not a lot of credentialed programs that support teachers in learning about the different blended learning options. “What are the different models? When would I use a station rotation and what would that look like? And when would I use Flipped Classroom and what would that look like?” To take a deep dive into each of Tucker’s methods, listen to Episode 100 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.  All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
May 7, 2019
We live in a world where we applaud kids that do amazing things at a young age, but Rich Karlgaard is not focused on those early achievers. Karlgaard is the publisher of Forbes Magazine and author of Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement and he wants to start a national dialog about why it's important to recognize that some people's prime comes a little later than others.. Late Bloomers begins with Karlgaard highlighting a 53-year-old woman named Joanne. When Joanne was in school, she was described as a "high-mediocre" student. Many professors do not remember Joanne but one professor described her as a student that would often stare off into space while in class. After attending school, Joanne got into a bad marriage, worked as a receptionist for a bit and went into a spiral of depression after her divorce. For a time, she was even on public assistance. But Karlgaard say Joanne is a great example of a late bloomer. "At age 35, while taking a train, Joanne, otherwise known as J.K. Rowling, dreamed up Harry Potter," says Karlgaard. Why do parents push so hard? If being a late bloomer is ok, then why do we see parents, coaches, and teachers push kids to be an early achiever? Karlgaard's theory is that the predominant rewards in society are coming from two industries, software, and high-end financial services. "I like to say Google and Goldman Sachs," says Karlgaard. "Now, these Google and Goldman Sachs, who do they look for in college grads? They look for college grads that have gone to most elite universities." This has created the idea that the greatest rewards go to those that attend elite universities and have the best test scores. Consequently, it leads to parents and educators pushing kids towards doing whatever it takes to get into the best universities. Karlgaard says his goal in writing Late Bloomers is to start a discussion about applying unneeded pressure on students that may just need more time. He's concerned that our current trajectory is causing financial indebtedness, anxiety, depression and sleep deprived kids. What we're getting wrong Karlgaard says we have a very narrow idea of what a K-12 education should be. "That it should be a conveyer belt and at the end of that conveyer belt it deposits these kids into the best possible colleges that they can get in to." Karlgaard acknowledges some kids are going to succeed on that conveyer belt. He knows some will get high test scores, and they'll manage the homework, and that's great. But he wants to make sure society understands that if kids are not succeeding, then "Plan B" is not to double down. "There's overwhelming research that the conveyer belt is missing more kids than it's hitting," say's Karlgaard. "Many kids, their talents, deepest passions, and purpose, are never going to be revealed on that conveyer belt." This is what motivated Karlgaard to spend five years researching and writing Late Bloomers. What can we do? If we see kids succeeding at an early age, by all means, we should applaud the success. But we also need to be sensitive to the signs of kids that rebelling against the current system. Karlgaard says to watch for kids... * Mentally dropping out* Retreating to the basement and playing video games* Clinical anxiety or depression * Dropping out school
April 29, 2019
Rebranding the assignment Amanda Lacy will admit, she was not excited when her principal assigned her to teach a group of high school students that were struggling with reading. Her new class consisted of juniors and seniors who had failed the state test as tenth graders. "I was hoping they made a mistake. I went into the principal's office and said, 'Oh, you wrote the wrong thing down on this piece of paper,'" said Lacy. Lacy says teaching the course is a difficult job. The kids are embarrassed to be in the remedial reading class and they don't like to go. When Lacy took over the course at her school in Gainsville Florida, the class was named Read 180. Lacy says the name had a negative connotation amongst students. "They would make self-deprecating comments, they would tease one another," says Lacy. "A student I had in the first period walks into the 6th period and yells, 'Read 180'". Lacy says they treated it like it was a joke. So Lacy did what any marketing professional would do. She changed the name of the course. Read 180 was now known as Critical Thinking and Reading for College Readiness. Ditching the old content Lacy also wanted her students to be interested in what they were reading, so she surveyed them with questions like * What are you interested in?* What do you care about? * List five things that you're good at. * Complete this sentence: After graduation I hope to... Lacy learned that a lot of kids were interested in sports, some liked military stories and some liked reading about food. Going forward, Lacy began to tailor her content to align with the student's interest. On Monday's, students would use the computer lab to find articles in the Washington Post or New York Times and they had assignments tied to the article they selected. Much of what the students were reading was tied to current events that interested the students. They would also participate in what she called "A Few Minutes of Me." Much like an open mic night, students would recite slam poetry, read Bible passages and even give beauty tutorials. Practice Patience Lacy admits the changes didn't happen overnight, but as the students began to enjoy reading, they experienced better results. A few years back 100% of the students passed the reading exam. "It changed the tenor of the class," says Lacy. "Success is very inspiring. When the students in the class saw that other students were doing it and that they could do it, it started happening more." To hear our full conversation with Lacy, listen to Episode 98 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
April 23, 2019
Going big with a tiny home For the past two years, Joe Romano and his students have been building tiny homes to provide housing for those experiencing homelessness in Washington. The Architecture and Design educator teaches ninth graders at the Annie Wright School in Tacoma. His lessons show students how to give back to the community through thoughtful design and construction. Romano will admit, that before this ambitious project his background in construction was limited. "I personally have some experience with construction with building fences, building decks in my back yard, but I've never seen a house from a pile of lumber all the way into a built structure." However, Romano was inspired by the work of a non-profit called Sawhorse Revolution, which is based in Seattle. The organization gave Romano guidance and even some funding the first year. Getting the pedagogy right The pedagogy for the project is key for Romano. He starts by teaching students about human-centered design. Then he transfers that skillset into designing a tiny home for those experiencing homelessness. "So we'll do some work around the factors and the experience of homelessness in order to inform design decisions we make, but also to understand why we're tackling this project." Students go through a lot of steps before construction starts. They draft a house on paper and then transfer that into SketchUp. They do site visits and interview residents. And they get feedback from professional architects and make revisions. They usually hit the ground running and begin construction after Christmas break. Giving back Romano says his students understand the gravity of what they're doing. t The home that they're constructing this year will ultimately end up at the Nickelsville community in Seattle. It's a student project that could change someone's life. "They see the difference between their everyday lives and the lives of the people in those communities," says Romano. "They understand the impact that they can have." Romano says the ninth graders are doing 80-90 percent of the work and that some days he's just fetching tools. He says they do contract with a master carpenter for some of the more difficult tasks like cobbling together the rafters. One of the ways Romano accesses his students is he has them put together a portfolio of the project. They take pictures and write reflections about teamwork, challenges, and the skills learned. "And then they'll write a final reflection when they're sitting in the house, about the total project," Romano says it's heartwarming for him to see his students thoughts in writing. "I never know how much they value the meaningfulness of the work we're doing except from these portifolio reflections." To hear more about the tiny house project, listen to Episode 97 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
April 16, 2019
In 2013, math teacher, Karine Ptak and her colleagues at Frederick High School in Maryland faced a significant challenge. Their students had an "alarming failure rate" on the Maryland State High School Assessment in Algebra with Data Analysis (HSA). Ptak and three of her colleagues knew they had to create a new approach. They targeted what they called the "middle range kids." "Kids who defintly have the ability but somehow have been left behind," says Ptak. The educators started surveying a group of students and they learned two key things. * Traditional class structures were not working* Students were not doing their homework No More Mandatory Homework After polling their students, Ptak and her coworkers learned that 73 percent of their students didn't do the homework because they didn't know what to do. And 21 percent said they did not have the time. Ptak says, a lot of their students had to work after school and a lot of them had to watch younger siblings. So the teachers decided to make a drastic change. They eliminated mandatory homework and they decided to use class time differently. The Traditional Math Class The typical math class structure was for the teachers to do a lot of lecturing, go over a few examples, and then send the students home with math problems to work through on their own. Students that were not able to do the work at home often began to shut down. So the teachers mixed things up. They got rid of the warm-up period where they would review homework from the day before. Doing so allowed for instruction on new lessons to begin earlier in the class. "We did the bulk of the practice happened towards the middle of class," says Ptak. Students had the opportunity to work on their own, they worked in groups, they worked online." This gave students access to technology in class, which was important because many students did not have that access at home. Developing...This episode is now live and available on your favorite podcast app. Check back for a written summary. Show Links and Resources A high school teacher came up with a brilliant way to talk to her students about mental health, and it's going viral. High-Impact Solutions for Struggling Mathematics Students All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
April 9, 2019
Educator, author, and consultant, Jeffrey Benson, is making a case for educators in a position of leadership to carve out time and jump back into the classroom. Even if it's on a limited basis. Benson is speaking directly to "anyone whose job it is to change other peoples way of working." For Benson, this means instructional coaches, assistant principals and possibly principals. Why jump back in? Benson argues that getting back in the classroom builds credibility and leverage with your staff. "They'll respect you more, they will listen to you more. When you bring things up they're going to say, well he/she knows what the work is like," says Benson. But Benson also points out that getting back in can benefit the students. He says many of those in leadership positions were once master teachers. How do you find the time? Benson says the first step is for the leaders at the school to agree to make the effort. "Let's say we need four hours to get back in the classroom during the week. How do we carve four hours out of this person's schedule?" Benson suggests some duties are going to have to be reassigned in order to make getting back in the classroom a possibility.  "Can we give the person a couple of lunch duties? Can we take them off of the beginning of school duty? Can we pull back on the number of people they're coaching? Benson also is a proponent of these leader teaching to an area of strength. Doing so will reduce prep time and will benefit the students. "The students that have you will probably benefit greatly from your expertise and wisdom." To hear other time-saving ideas from Benson, listen to Episode 95 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app Stories mentioned in Episode 95 School Districts Are Banning Teachers From Using DonorsChoose Teachers are Fired up About District Bans on DonorsChoose All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
April 2, 2019
Showcase your students progress The idea of a student digital portfolio is for the pupil to collect their achievements as digital artifacts and then display those online — often that’s a website. The practice is growing in popularity across the country, and Class Dismissed tracked down a district that’s seeing results. “It’s the idea of having a showcase place or place where students can curate their work. Their successes, their failures, the things they care about, some of their classwork, things like that,” says Daniel Whitt, the instructional technology coordinator for Madison City Schools in Madison, Alabama. “The basic concept for all students is practicing constant ‘show then reflect,'” Whitt is a champion of Digital Portfolios at his district, and he and his colleagues have compiled tools to implement the curriculum. In Episode 94 we chat with Whitt about the need and challenges for school districts to roll out a digital portfolios curriculum. “The idea here is to showcase things that are not easily quantified,” says Daniel Whitt with Madison City schools in Madison Alabama. To hear our full interview about digital portfolios, listen to Episode 94 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. Other Notes During the episode, Whitt refers to a Google Drive with tools for success. That Google drive can be found by following this link. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
March 26, 2019
Developing...This podcast is now live on your favorite podcasting app. Check back for a written summary.
March 19, 2019
Duncan Lyon and Olaf (Ole) Jorgenson are experienced leaders. Each guide independent schools in California and both know the importance humor can play when leading a team of educators. "I start every faculty meeting with something humorous," says Jorgenson. "Usually these meetings are at the end of the day and everybody is tried and not everyone likes meetings. For whatever the reason, starting with laughter just lightens everything." Lyon and Jorgenson know that most people would not argue with them, humor works in leadership. But they wanted to dive deeper into the topic of humor and laughter. So they surveyed other school leaders across California and asked them how humor helps build trust. They also found existing research supporting the impact humor can have. Developing... This podcast has been uploaded to your favorite podcast app. Check back for a written summary. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
March 12, 2019
Cybersecurity Incidents Strike Often A recent report highlighted on EdSurge says a new cybersecurity incident strikes K-12 schools nearly every three days. Now more than ever, school districts are reliant on using computers and servers to store student and employee data and burden of securing that data is a massive undertaking for educators. For most districts, the challenge of protecting data is a chief responsibility for the director of technology. The person charged with guarding that data has to plan for attacks in several forms, which include but are not limited to. * Denial of Service Attacks* Phishing Scams* Ransomware How to "mitigate" the problem? "The key is not complete containment. That is not possible," says SchoolStatus CEO Russ Davis. "The gold standard is mitigation." Davis has been working with school districts for over a decade and he says there are steps districts can take to reduce risk to a reasonable amount. Davis believes that districts need to have policies and plans in place to prevent extreme damage from cyberattack. "What happens when there is a breach? What do we do?" Davis says these are the types of conversations districts should be having. Don't store student's social security information Dane Conrad, who is the technical on-boarding specialist at SchoolStatus spent the past few decades serving as the Director of Technology for large school districts. Conrad says they quit storing student's social security numbers in their SIS (Student Information Systems). Conrad says criminals would love to have students social security numbers because those socials often go unchecked for foul play. "If somebody steals my identity and they use my social security number. Typically I'll fumble upon it. So I'll see information being accessed on my credit card or my debit card," says Conrad. "But for a student, they are not necessarily in that environment." Conrad says criminals could use that number for years before anyone realizes the damage. Superintendents should ask their director of technology if they're storing student socials anywhere on their servers. If so, find out why? Is it a necessity? Educate about Phishing One of the most common ways districts are compromised comes from phishing attempts. This is typically when a fraudulent email tricks employees into handing over sensitive information. Often employees may be tricked into handing over their login credentials. Conrad says it's critical for districts to educate their staff about what a phishing attempt may look like. He also recommends using a resource like knowbe4.com. He says they offer literature you can share with employees and they'll even run phishing attempts to test the system and see where you may have vulnerabilities. How to combat Denial Of Service Attacks A Denial of Service AKA DDOS attack occurs when multiple systems flood bandwidth or web servers. As a result, your schools network could be temporaily shutdown. Davis says having a quality ISP (Internet Service Provider) can help prevent this. He says that good ISPs offer intrusion prevention and detection systems. He also suggests that districts should tighten up their firewall.
March 5, 2019
For the past 20 years, Elena Aguilar, the founder and President of Bright Morning, has worked as a teacher and instructional coach for educators. During that time she's witnessed and experienced something that many teachers know all too well. The feeling of being overwhelmed. As part of an ongoing series, Aguilar recently published: "How to Coach the Overwhelmed Teacher." In it, she offers five tips for working with a colleague or employee when they feel overwhelmed. * Describe it* Recall Previous Experiences* Identify a next step* Listen* Plan for Action To hear our full interview with Elena Aguilar listen to Episode 90 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. Resources from Episode 90 The Core Emotions Resource discussed with Aguilar. Teachers as young as 20 could be in classroom as Mississippi struggles with teacher shortage Arkansas legislator proposes cutting lunch funding from schools that struggle to improve reading skills All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
February 26, 2019
Kim Marshall spent decades monitoring education in the United States, so we asked him how we're doing. For 50 years, Kim Marshall has been deeply involved in education in the United States. Between 1969 and 2002, Marshall served as a teacher, policy advisor, speechwriter, director of curriculum, and a principal for Boston schools. Once retiring from public education in 2002, Marshall started serving as a coach for principals, and he started writing the Marshall Memo. A weekly publication, well known in education circles, which he designed to keep educators in the know about current education research and best practices.  "When I was a principal I did not have enough time to read," said Marshall. "Once I got finished being a principal, out of exhaustion by the way. I decided that I now had time to read and that I should write summaries of the very best ideas from a wide variety of publications and send it to principals so they could get some of the best ideas from all around the world." Kim Marshall reading. Credit: marshallmemo.com The State of Education? Over the past 15+ years, Marshall has published over 700 memos and he's had his fingers on the pulse of the education community. So who better to ask about the state of education in the United States. Overall, Marshall is upbeat about where we are. He notes that surveys find that people are happy with their local schools, but they're down on schools nationally. "Generally the US is doing really well, but there are pockets of problems," said Marshall. "They are mostly schools where you're educating children coming from poverty. Children with other issues in their lives. But Marshall says there are some "beat the odds schools" that fascinate him. He says he was inspired to become a principal when he started reading the research on how some schools and principals produced really great schools for students that were challenged. When were we at our best? Since Marshall has been involved in education from 1969 to 2019, we challenged him to state when education in the US was at its best. "I think now we've done better and I think part of that was through some things that were controversial," said Marshall. He says the George W. Bush reforms had its flaws with testing and narrowing the curriculum. "But I think one of the best things that came out of it was producing data broken down by race, by class, by different schools." Marshall says No Child Left Behind, allowed educators to shine a spotlight on those pockets of schools that are not performing well. "The big picture is we're getting better", said Marshall. To hear our full interview with Kim Marshall listen to Episode 89 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
February 19, 2019
How to spark a love for reading Dina Leygerman was tired of having her high school students pretending to read the classic novels assigned in her class. She knew many of them were using SparkNotes and other shortcuts online and she guessed that some had probably never read a novel cover-to-cover. So Leygerman set a new a much loftier goal. She aimed to spark a love for reading amongst high schoolers. With the support of her principal, Leygerman decided to take a break from the classics. She passed out a set of Young Adult books that a friend recommended to her. The book, "Scythe" by Neal Shusterman, is a dystopian title. One that she admits she had not even read herself. "I wanted to find something that would possibly interest them and that they can't find on the internet. Like information about it on the internet," said Leygerman. Teaching a book you've never read At first the students were skeptical because their teacher had not read the book herself. Dina Leygerman - Credit: Dina Leygerman (Medium) "They were like, wait you didn't read this? How are you are going to teach us" says Leygerman "And I said, we're going to learn together, that's going to be the beauty of that." It didn't take long before the students were hooked. Since Leygerman didn't have a unit planned out yet, she set the students up in literature circles and she sat in with a different group everyday. "I was pleasantly surprised when the students just got into it. Like two chapters in, they were really into it." Leygerman says she had about 40 of her 45 seniors clearly engaged with the novel. This was a massive improvement over the classic novels she introduced in the past. At times, the students would read well beyond their teacher and the results were heartwarming. "They would be like, Ms. Leygerman, did you get to that part yet -- Oh my God, oh my God, we can't wait until you get there," said Leygerman. "They were so excited, and they were so excited for me to get to the part they were at. That to me was like, I won!" Once the students finished the book many of them came up to Leygerman and said "this was the best book I ever read" and some even said "this was the only book I ever read." Several of the students even asked for a copy of the sequel. Leygerman referred them to the school principal and the students made the effort to request the book through the administration. The principal ordered 25 copies of the sequel that could be borrowed. "Out of the 25 copies that she ordered, the kids borrowed 20 copies," says Leygerman. Breaking from tradition turned out to be a huge success. To hear our full interview with Dina Leygerman listen to Episode 88 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. Other show notes NPR Student Podcast Challenge Setting up a podcast for kids -- Equipment Needed All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
February 11, 2019
Podcasting live so educators can learn Each winter educators from around Mississippi gather in Jackson for the Mississippi Educational Computing Association, better known as MECA. Recording a live Podcast from the event is becoming somewhat of a Class Dismissed tradition because it allows for us to interview the MECA keynote speakers. It's also an opportunity for those of us at Class Dismissed to teach educators how they can set up a podcast for themselves or their students. Our Guests This year we had the privilege of interview Oxford Assistant Superintendent Bradley Roberson and Oxford Math Coach Brian "Buck" Buckhalter. Roberson, a believer in change, is pushing his school district to adapt to new teaching styles to better fit the needs of Generation-Z. Roberson knows that Gen-Z students are always "plugged in" and he says that the classroom is not about acquiring knowledge anymore. "We have to able to implement a curriculum to where students can transfer the knowledge we're giving them to new situations," says Roberson. This means that school districts need to design an autonomous classroom where students can leave the class and still act independently, transferring their knowledge to new and unique situations. Roberson's colleague, Buckhalter knows there are a lot of strongholds that can get in the way of building a new curriculum for Generation-Z. But Buck believes that can all be overcome with love. During our recording, Buck shared what he calls "The Story of Moises." It's a beautiful story that you won't want to miss. To hear our full interview with Roberson and Buck, listen to Episode 87 of the Class Dismissed Podcast. You can find Class Dismissed in your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
February 4, 2019
A Better Way with Open Textbooks Each year public schools spend millions of dollars on copyright protected textbooks. Districts do this even though we now live in a digitally dominated world, which is full of open textbooks. Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. School districts around the world are currently exploring Open Educational Resources (OER), and they're finding out that the cost-saving results can be significant. The Man With The Answers Cable Green is the Director of Open Education with Creative Commons. He knows that if states use open education resources correctly, they can experience not just lower cost educational tools, but arguably better education tools. Cable Green courtesy of Twitter Green has over 20 years of experience in academic technology and online learning, and he’s a leading advocate for open licensing policies. He says that the many states are spending millions of dollars on textbooks that are sometimes six to ten years out of date. “The United States, just in K-12 spends somewhere between $6 and $9 billion a year on textbooks and other curriculum,” says Green. Green says for that money, we get pretty terrible results. "On average our books are 7-10 years out of date. They're paper only, we don't have any digital versions for the most part." Green says he gets irritated because it doesn’t have to be this way. With educational resources from the past decade originating in a digital format all that information can be stored, copied, and distributed for a minimal cost. Green believes by informing school districts about open educational resources; districts can spend a lot less money and get a lot better results. Hear Green explain how Open Educational Resources (OER) can change your school district by listening to Episode 86 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. This interview with Cable Green is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The interview with Green was initially recorded in October of 2017.
January 29, 2019
"The New Childhood" The unknown surrounding new technologies often cause concern. In the case of iPhones and Xboxes, parents worry their kids are over-engaged. But Dr. Jordan Shapiro is offering a different perspective. In his new book, "The New Childhood" Shapiro argues that everyone needs stop worrying about our children's device usage and instead harness that usage for good. Shapiro, who teaches the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University, says the reactions to smartphones and video games today are not much different than the way society acted to new technologies in the past. Jodan Shapiro Credit: jordanshapiro.org For example, when the printing press was invented and books were bound for people to take home there was an uproar that stories would become too isolated of an activity. "Because stories had always been told communally, whether that's around a campfire or at church," says Shapiro. While we forget that trains were once a new technology, Shapiro says physicians and neuroscientists were once worried about kids staring out the window of moving trains. "Because the images go by so fast and the human brain is not capable of taking in things at that speed," Shapiro says back then the physicians were concerned about brain damage. Play video games with your kids Several years ago Shapiro was going through a transition in his life. He and his wife were separated, and he was worried about his kids. "They were little, and it was hard enough on me, I couldn't imagine how hard it would be on them to go through such a giant shift in their life." Shapiro wanted to find a way to spend time and bond with his kids. So he tried sitting on the couch and playing video games with them. "And that gave me the opportunity to talk about so many other things cause we were just sort of sitting next to each other playing," said Shapiro. But he also believes he was helping his kids create narratives about their digital life. "I was both using the digital world to help them make sense of their none digital life, and I was also preparing them to have a much more stable and healthy digital world," said Shapiro. To hear more of our conversation with Dr. Jordan Shapiro listen to Episode 85 of Class Dismissed. You can find Class Dismissed in your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. Other notes from Episode 85 To protect kids, don’t send report cards home on Fridays All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
January 22, 2019
"What does it mean if you never see yourself in a story?" - Jennifer Buehler "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a beautiful story, and it is one of the most commonly taught books in the secondary curriculum. But educator, Jennifer Buehler, can't help but wonder how many students relate to the characters. "At the end of the day, that book represents white America's vision of racial progress and injustice," says Buehler. "It's a really different thing to get a story that asks questions about racial justice that's not coming from the white perspective." Buehler, a former high school teacher and current associate professor of English education at Saint Louis University raises a question that all educators should consider. What does it mean if you never see yourself in a story? She says it's a common problem in schools nationwide because it's a hard shift for teachers to make. "Our curriculum remains pretty traditional nationwide. It requires teachers to be reading out of their comfort zones and exploring new authors and new texts. And it involves parent and administrative support." says Buehler. Money is a factor as well. "To bring different books into the classroom you have to be able to pay for those books," Buehler says. Is it hard to find diverse books? According to School Library Journal’s 2018 Diverse Collections Survey of 22,000 school and public librarians, 15 percent said they find it “very difficult” or “difficult” to find appropriate titles to round out a diverse library collection. The librarians surveyed cited finding portrayals of “characters with disabilities, Native or Indigenous peoples, and English language learners” as the most difficult. What can teachers do? Buehler knows teachers have a desire to make a change. She also knows that a lot of the "classics" already in the classroom are not bad books. "They [the books] just can't meet all the readers' needs, they can't do all the work that literature should do," says Buehler. Buehler suggests that teachers need first to make sure administrators are aware of the challenge. She advises teachers need to do their homework and know the books that they want to champion. "You have to have your own argument, that's appropriate to your own educational context, for what change is needed and why," says Buehler. Another major challenge is money for new books. Buehler suggests organizing small fundraisers. Teachers may also want to consider using PledgeCents or DonorsChoose. She also cites a foundation named "The Book Love Foundation," which dedicates their time to putting books in the hands of teenagers. To hear more from our conversation with Buehler listen to Episode 84 of  Class Dismissed. You can find Class Dismissed in your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 – 2019
January 15, 2019
Project LIT Back in 2016, English teacher Jarred Amato read an article in the Atlantic about "book deserts;" areas where printed books are hard to obtain. The story stuck with Amato. So much so, that he shared the article with his class at Maplewood Highschool. The conversation with his students was enough to spark the beginnings of Project LIT, a movement that has swept across the nation. "I don't think I understood the scope of the problem," said Amato. "It was eye-opening." Are book deserts real? When the Nashville teacher presented the idea of book deserts to his students, they started to consider if it was an issue around the Music City. "We actually drove down Dickerson road and took note of the gas stations, the liquor stores, and the fast food, so there are healthy options to eat," said Amato. "There's actually an adult toy box, literally right next to the bus stop where kids get ready for school, across the street from an elementary school. And there are no bookstores, there are no books." Amato said it was that moment that his students decided to do something. They started small, they created a name, "Project LIT", and a logo. From there, they asked the community for books. Even posting a launch video on YouTube. The community response was tremendous. They received over 10 thousand books. LIT Libraries But the next challenge was distribution. How do high school students make 10 thousand books accessible to a community that needs them? They decided to transform old USA Today newsstands into what they dubbed "Lit Libraries " Amato admits that it was overwhelming at first. He was delivering thousands of books using his Honda Civic. He was also juggling preparing for a wedding, finishing grad school, and of course keeping up with his regular responsibilities of teaching. Amato says they learned a lot along the way. He says it's all about empowering the students. Students now set up conferences, read to elementary students and handle the duties of running social media accounts. Explosive Growth The Project LIT growth has been incredible, and Amato credits the students. He says their work on social media created interest in the program and in the Spring of 2017, they began offering an application for other communities to develop a Project LIT chapter.  "That's where teachers can go to sign up to become a part of our movement," said Amato. In less than two years Project LIT has grown to 620 chapters. Amato says they're almost in every state. To learn more about the mission of Project LIT listen to Episode 83 of  Class Dismissed. You can find Class Dismissed in your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2017 - 2019    
January 8, 2019
Can you measure what matters?When companies look for employees, they look for candidates that are curious, creative and persistent. So logically, these are the skills we should be teaching and measuring in our school system. But how do you measure curiosity or creativity? YJ Kim is a project director at the MIT Office of Open Learning, and she's been working years to answer this question. "When we started talking to teachers more about it, we quickly realized that teachers do want to measure, they do want to assess those skills," says Kim "But they often feel like at the end of the day we just have to do standardized testing." Currently, schools assess students on content retention. Using a standardized test, it's relatively easy to do. But there really is no standardized test for curiosity. In response to that, Kim and her colleague, Lousia Rosenheck have been designing what they call "playful assessments." Rosenheck, who is a designer and researcher at MIT, says a lot of the construct behind playful assessments is helping learners recognize what they're good at, how they can improve and how the individual can tell if they're getting better at those things. "Communication is an important skill. But what does that mean? What are the different kinds of communication?" Rosenheck says these are the types of questions they hope their tools can answer. ShadowspectOne of the tools the researchers are designing is called "Shadowspect." It's a game-based assessment that looks like a fun puzzle. Kim says you rotate shapes and figures in the environment, and it measures not just students mathematics strengths, but it also assesses the students spacial reasoning, creativity, and persistence. "How those things are measured is because we are using a lot of process data that is logged through the gameplay," says Kim. Shawdowspect monitors the things the user moves, clicks and rotates and then it uses those features to make inferences based on how the user solves the puzzles. Rosenheck says they are still in the early stages of development, but they are inviting teachers to join a pilot program that will be starting in the next month or two. Why is it called "playful assessments"?Kim says the notion of playfulness is essential because their goal is to reimagine what assessment really means. The researchers want assessment to go beyond something that students are just passively doing. "If you think about a playground, everybody who comes to a playground are equal players. They share they have fun, and everybody participates in the process of play," says Kim. "When we think about assessment, it's something that's given to students, and they don't really have any say in how they're assessed." What does success look like?Rosenheck knows that if a school can't measure something, it probably won't be a priority for the school. "Our school system is so focused on assessments that the way it is, things are not going be taught, they are not going to be given priority if we can't assess them," says Rosenheck That's why finding a way to measure skills like curiosity, creativity and persistence are so important. "So if we can find tools and mindsets that show everybody how we can value these skills, then teachers can finally focus more on those, and validate what students are doing, and celebrate the wonderful projects that students are doing that are meaningful to them," says Rosenheck Kim says they can develop great assessment systems that have ...
December 31, 2018
Class Dismissed Best of 2018 It's been an incredible year for the Class Dismissed Podcast. We were just named as one of the "Best Teacher Podcasts". Plus, we now have listeners in all 50 states and 61 countries. The success of the show would not be possible without our listeners and all the incredible educators we've interviewed. In Episode 81, we're reflecting on some of our favorite interviews and we're highlighting our most downloaded episode and our most clicked on webpage. Favorite Episodes Episode 54: Leading with love – The secret weapon of this tattooed principal - Hamish Brewer is not your typical principal. He rides his skateboard through the school, tattoos cover his arms, and he high-fives students as he walks through the halls. However, Brewer expects and receives results from his students and teachers. Episode 73: Meet the educator that’s teaching a class about Anthony Bourdain -  Kennedy, who has a Ph.D. in 20th Century American Literature and Film, started to analyze why Bourdain’s death had such a personal impact. And he realized all the brilliant ways Bourdain looked at cultural studies, film studies, and literary studies. Episode 43: Why this educator reads a novel to his pre-algebra class - For more than a decade, Joel Bezaire has been reading “The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time” to his pre-algebra students. The main character in the mystery novel is a 15-year-old boy who has a form of autism and is very gifted in mathematics. Bezaire says that as the book progresses, his students really come to enjoy and connect with the character. Most Listened To Episode 72: Taking the fuzziness out of reading comprehension with Jennifer Serravallo - Bestselling author Jennifer Serravallo is already a rock star in the education community. Her previous books, “The Writing Strategies Book” and “The Reading Strategies Book”  have helped thousands of educators offer strategies for reading and writing.  Now, Serravallo is out with a new guide designed to help teachers make sense of reading comprehension. “Understanding Texts & Readers” offers the tools for an educator to identify if a student is comprehending a book, even if an educator is not familiar with the book the student is reading. Most Clicked On Webpage Episode 46: Make Fortnite a vehicle for your classroom lessons - Teens and tweens around the world are hooked on Fortnite. When kids are not in school, they’re rushing home to hop on their Xbox or PlayStation to play one of the most popular video games in years. This past January, Epic Games said the title had more than 45 million players. But did you know Fortnite is packed with lessons of alliteration, math, and geography? Where to listen? You can find Class Dismissed in your favorite podcast app or on 
December 17, 2018
When parents and teachers talk children do better, period. -Russ Davis, CEO SchoolStatus The Perfect Marriage For the past six years, the software company, SchoolStatus, has been in the business of aggregating student data for school districts. They offer a platform that allows districts to see trends within large amounts of information quickly. This data includes attendance, test scores, and records of discipline. Now, that same app is being used to translate conversations between educators and parents. A few years ago, SchoolStatus decided to marry that data with a teacher-parent communication tool. Now, using a desktop or mobile app, educators can review their student's data, and with a quick click of a button, they can call or text a parent without sharing their personal number. The calls and text messages are also archived for proper record keeping. "You can see who you've contacted, when, what they said...when they read it," said Tupelo, MS middle school teacher Kirsti Turner. Recently, SchoolStatus honored Turner because she sent the company's millionth text message. "The rate at which they [teachers] have been adopting it, has just been insane," said Nick Peterman, Vice President of Operations and Development at SchoolStatus. Peterman says they are on pace to hit 3.5 million sent text messages by the end of the 2019 school year. In today's day and age, text messaging is a convenient form of communication between parents and teachers. But teachers don't necessarily want to give up their phone number, and sometimes they may forget to document the conversation. SchoolStatus seamlessly eliminates both of those headaches. Tearing Down The Language Barrier One of the most impressive features of the SchoolStatus application is that they have built in a way for teachers and parents to translate their communications. "I have a couple of parents who don't speak English at all," says Turner. "So I've had to translate my messages, and whatever they send to me they'll translate." Peterman says teachers have told them that these conversations would not be happening without the translation feature. Tupelo, MS middle school teacher Karla Scott said, "One of the parents, she really informed me about a lot of things that were going on with her child that I had no idea about because I think that she thought I was a Spanish speaker." "That's just another barrier that this tool has allowed us to overcome. It's been fantastic," said Peterman. To learn more about SchoolStatus and the communication and student data features, listen to Episode 80 of the Class Dismissed podcast.  You can find Class Dismissed in your favorite podcast app or on iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
December 10, 2018
"There are 10,000 teachers that might teach the Great Gatsby, and I have no idea what they're doing?" Alternatives to "Teachers Pay Teachers"? Peter Nilsson has taught English at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts for more than a decade. He and his colleagues understand the importance of sharing resources and lesson plans, and they know they are dozens of sights that try to bring teachers from around the country and globe together to do just that. But Nilsson believes those platforms are falling short. He says that when a teacher looks online for resources, one of three things usually happens. * It's hard to find what you're looking for. * When you find something, the quality is unreliable. * It cost money for teachers. Some solutions like Teachers Pay Teachers have been successful in creating revenue models and making some teachers money, but Nilsson says it's not building a free shared knowledge base. "Content is locked and closed," says Nilsson. * You don't know what you're purchasing when you purchase it * It's locked up in documents which makes it hard to manipulate * There's hardly any way to feed your information back into the community Other platforms are allowing teachers to share information for free, but those platforms are not always very easy to use, often because of poorly constructed search functions. "There are 10,000 teachers that might teach the Great Gatsby, and I have no idea what they're doing?" says Nilsson. "Great veteran teachers retire and with their retirement evaporates all of their knowledge." What makes a better platform? Nilsson and his colleagues believe there's a more effective way to create a shared professional knowledge platform. He feels so strongly about it; he's on a sabbatical to build Athena. Athena is unapologetically described as no whistles and bells. No badges. Just a place for teachers to find, share and improve the questions, activities, and assignments we use every day. Nilsson says teachers are looking for a topic-oriented approach when searching for educational resources. So when you go to Athena, you would find a search bar, and you would arrive at a topic page much like Wikipedia. If you searched Great Gatsby, it might be organized by chapters and then materials for the entire text. And articles based on characters. "You would find discussion questions, classroom activities, assessments, multi-media objects," says Nilsson. He says, remarkably very few sights use this topical approach of searching for information. "We're not interested in creating this just for the sake of creating another platform," says Nilsson. "We're doing this because we feel it solves a problem that has not otherwise been solved effectively." Nilsson says educators have increasingly found ways to share materials online and that's really exciting, and it feels like we're going through our first generation of that with networks on Facebook, Twitter and Teachers Pay Teachers, but there's likely going to be the second generation of platforms that enable it to happen even more effectively. "That effectiveness is critical," says Nilsson Athena is currently being tested with hundreds of teachers and thousands of resources, but the platform is not fully open to the public just yet. If you would like to sign up for more information, you can head to www.teachathena.org To learn more about Athena, you can listen to Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.
December 3, 2018
The migrant caravan, the Pittsburg synagogue, Charlottesville, and Parkland High School. They're all significant events that have dominated the airwaves, and they've been the focus of heated political debate. Educators know their students are aware of the events, but they can be understandably hesitant to broach the difficult topics with their class. Could something get lost in translation? How might a parent react? What if a teacher is accused of pushing a political agenda? "They (teachers) want to be able to talk about this, but at the same time they are so afraid to do it," says Jennifer Rich, an assistant professor in the College of Education at Rowan University. Rich, who is also the director of research and education for the Rowan Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies believes there is a way to talk about these heated issues without pushing your politics. "I think that we can open the conversation and allow students to lead the conversation, without getting involved." Recently, Rich wrote an opinion piece for the Hechinger Report about discussing the migrant caravan with students. She also broached the topic with her students a few weeks ago, and she told us about five takeaways from her experience. * Admit Mistakes * Remember the rule of "good intentions." * Enter into the conversation from a place of curiosity * Don't have a firm end-goal * Allow everyone a voice, even when you disagree In Episode 78 of the Class Dismissed podcast, Rich offers in-depth strategies for discussing difficult topics. To learn more, listen to Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
November 27, 2018
How one guidance counselor channeled her frustrations into a proven school improvement model. In 1998 Angie Jerabek was working as a high school guidance counselor near Minneapolis. She was in her fifth year and working directly with 9th graders, but she was discouraged. She felt like she was trying all the "best practices" but year after year half of her students were failing a course. Jerabek was so frustrated she was ready to call it quits. She went to her principal to tenure her resignation, but he pushed back. "In a very helpful way he provided a much broader context, and he said this wasn't an issue with just our school this was a national issue," said Jerebak. The principal challenged Jerabek to come up with a new approach. The result was the Building Assets, Reducing Risks program, also known as BARR. Raising the Bar The BARR model has evolved since 1998, and it's experienced real results. On average, BARR schools see a 34.5% reduction in failure rate after one year of implementation. The BARR model consists of professional development and training, and that's paired with a lot of structure. "We are wanting to make sure that every student in the grade has multiple adults that are knowing who they are. We provide structures to make sure everyone is being seen and that they're in relationships," said Jerabek. "And then we're sharing that information between adults." Part of the BARR training focuses on equipping educators with the tools to make sure they're picking up on changes amongst students.  BARR looks at "noticing" as a skill. In California, a school using the BARR program credits the "noticing" technique with recognizing that a small group of girls were victims of sex trafficking. A group of teachers meeting and discussing unusual patterns amongst the girls led a BARR coordinator to investigate and ultimately shine a light on the situation. Across the board Since 2010, Jerabek has been putting BARR to the test in school districts all over the country. BARR is currently practiced in rural, urban and suburban schools. In fact, they're in 15 states and the District of Columbia. "At this point, every school that has taken the model on has seen changes within the year," says Jerabek. To learn more about the impacts of the BARR program, listen to Episode 77 of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018        
November 20, 2018
Redefining Success What does success look like? Is it about being the best in the world or is about being the best for the world? It's key to a mindset raised by Austrailian Researcher Ash Buchanan, and it resonated with educator Robert Ward the first time it was brought to his attention. Ward has been teaching students in Los Angeles, CA for over two decades and he's authored several books, but after studying the Benefit Mindset, he couldn't help but contemplate how he could apply the Benefit Mindset model to education. Teaching the Benefit Mindset As a result, Ward penned his latest book, "Teaching The Benefit Mindset." Ward has always believed that developing self-confidence is important, but he says the "Benefit Mindset" takes that confidence to the next level. "Personal success should only be a beginning," says Ward. "Now, how can I share my passions, how can I find my purpose in the world." "Teaching the Benefit Mindset" focuses on how the education community can work together in teaching students to think outwardly. Ward says parents should be asking their kids "What is the one thing you did for others today?" And educators should reassess what praise they heap on their students. Success shouldn't just be measured by grades. To hear more from Ward about "Teaching the Benefit Mindset" listen to Episode 76 of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
November 12, 2018
Matchmaker for Educators Many of us are familiar with how a dating website works. Plug in your hobbies, interested, and preferences and then the software matches those qualities with a partner that has similar interest. So what if you could use that same method when applying for a job in education? This is essentially what Selected is doing. Co-Founder and CEO, Waine Tam, says they originally built the software to match tutors with parents. Three years ago, Tam was sharing his tutor matching software at a job fair. A representative from an elite private school in New Jersey asked if they could use the software to help find quality teachers. Tam knew that schools could use some assistance finding great teachers, but he didn't realize that teachers had a difficult job finding schools. "The kind of light bulb was when we started talking to teachers, and the teachers said we have a hard time finding jobs," said Tam. "These are teachers that are certified. These are teachers that have a tremendous amount of experience." Tam was surprised to learn that teachers, which are in high-demand, were under-supported when it came to looking for a job. Tam says Selected's mission is to improve teacher retention. The platform, which is free for teachers, requires teachers to list their experience and then Selected asks the applicant a few questions about desired pedagogical preferences. Schools have to reach out first, and on average, a candidate gets contacted by five schools in the first week. To learn more about Selected listen to Episode 75 of the Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other Links From Episode 75 Why Are So Many People In San Jose Fighting Housing for Teachers? 'We are better than this:' Idaho teachers get paid leave after dressing as border wall, Latinos for Halloween All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018  
November 5, 2018
Who's the best rapper? "Who's the best rap artist?" This a question that one of Peter Nilsson's high school students wanted to answer. For most high schoolers, it's subjective. Is it Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, or someone else? Students could debate the topic until they're blue in the face. But what if those students could prove who's the best? What if they could come up with a qualitative answer? What if they could use computers to analyze rap lyrics and determine which rapper has the most significant use of internal rhyme? In Nilsson's class at Deerfield Academy, they did just that. Creating Knowledge Nilsson an English teacher by trade but he has also helped students dive into the world of the digital humanities. In his class, students learned how to use computers to parse through massive amounts of text and answer questions that may otherwise seem unanswerable. Nilsson calls it distant reading. And his students didn't stop their research with rap. They analyzed how Harvey Weinstein was covered in the New York Times, before and after the MeToo movement. They also examined news coverage of their favorite sports teams. "Part of the way that we designed the class was so that they would be able to pursue these topics of interest. And enable them to see these topics of interest from a new perspective," said Nilsson. "They start to realize that they are creating knowledge." To learn how Nilsson is executing and teaching distant reading, listen to Episode 74 of the Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Nilsson offers more examples and directs us to resources for getting started with distant learning in your classroom. Other Links in Episode 74 Why relationships – not just money – are the key to improving schools Can You Show Netflix in Class? Copyright for Teachers Made Simple All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
October 29, 2018
A Profound Impact On June 8, 2018, Professor Todd Kennedy was visiting Spain with his wife. They were headed to dinner to try a dish they had seen Anthony Bourdain feature on his hit CNN show "Parts Unknown."   Walking en route to that meal, Kennedy and his wife heard the tragic news that resonated around the world,  Bourdain had died. "It shocked me on how much it moved me. Because I'm not normally moved by celebrity deaths," said Kennedy. "And it shook me for days. Really, almost as if I lost somebody that I knew." The impact of Bourdain's death surprised Kennedy. He considered himself a bit of a Bourdain fan, but he's by no means a "superfan." A Bold Move So Kennedy, who has a Ph.D. in 20th Century American Literature and Film, started to analyze why Bourdain's death had such a personal impact. And he realized all the brilliant ways Bourdain looked at cultural studies, film studies, and literary studies. "We talk about being an inter-disciplinarian and we talk about connecting between different ways of approaching culture," said Kennedy. "We rarely just take the whole enchilada and approach it in one go. And that's what Anthony Bourdain did every single week, and he did it quite brilliantly the more I realized." So Kennedy, who teaches at Nichols State University in Louisiana, started thinking about ways he could teach a course about Bourdain.  He says it began as a hair-brain idea, but the more he mulled it over, the more complex and meaningful the concept of the course became. In Episode 73, Kennedy tells us how he pitched the idea to his superiors and ultimately got approval for a three-credit course titled “Anthony Bourdain and His Influencers.” So, it's happening. For real. And I doubt they ever let me do this again. So spread the word to interested Nicholls students: a cross-listed literature and film studies course on Anthony Bourdain and his Influencers @PartsUnknownCNN pic.twitter.com/eZXTcaWaIR— Todd Kennedy (@NSUFilmStudies) September 19, 2018 In Spring of 2019, the course will be available on campus and online. Kennedy says you can enroll in the online course even if you're not a student at Nichols. To hear what reading and assignments Kennedy plans to open up his course with, listen to Episode 73 of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other Links in Episode 73 Mark Zuckerberg Is Trying to Transform Education. This Town Fought Back. MIT has just announced a $1 billion plan to create a new college for AI All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
October 22, 2018
Understanding Texts and Readers Best selling author Jennifer Serravallo is already a rock star in the education community. Her previous books, "The Writing Strategies Book" and "The Reading Strategies Book"  have helped thousands of educators offer strategies for reading and writing.  Now, Serravallo is out with a new guide designed to help teachers make sense of reading comprehension. "Understanding Texts & Readers" offers the tools for an educator to identify if a student is comprehending a book, even if an educator is not familiar with the book the student is reading. Are They "Getting It"? Serravallo says her goal is to make sense of something, that is sometimes hard to make sense of. There are many different viewpoints on what it even means to understand comprehension. Ranging from the Rosenblatt Reader Response Theory to a Proficient Reader Research, it can get murky for educators. "Sometimes the classroom teacher is left thinking, what am I really looking for? What does comprehension look like? Serravallo says, "Sometimes the classroom teacher is left thinking, what am I really looking for? What does comprehension look like? What does it look like when a kid really gets it?" With stories, charts, and examples, "Understanding Texts & Readers" quickly helps educators determine if their students are "getting it." In the book, Serravallo offers a qualities of response mechanism, so teachers can look at a students response and identify if the student needs some support. "If we know that a plot in a "level R" text is likely to have a flashback, then if a child is reading a "level R" text then we ask them to retell. If they're only telling us in sequence, we can know that they might be missing something in the text," says Serravallo. The ultimate goal is to make reading fun and create lifelong readers. "If you are not comprehending, then what fun is reading? And I think a lot of disengagement with reading is rooted in a lack of understanding," says Serravallo. To hear our full discussion with Serravallo and get ideas for doing something similar in your school, listen to Episode 72 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other Links in Episode 72 Chance the Rapper goes Undercover With Lyft Are you a Visual or Auditory Learner? It Doesn't Matter All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
October 15, 2018
Spreading the Anti-Bullying Message Mary Ann Mangini is an accomplished singer and musical theater performer, but she's also a teacher and mentor. Four years ago, Mangini created a youth show choir called the FANTASTIX. The group travels around the Pittsburg Pennsylvania area performing at nursing homes and community events, but one of their programs is now resonating with students. Last year, Mangini wrote, "You Are Worth It," a musical performed by her students, that tackles verbal harassment, cyberbullying, and physical bullying. "It's (bullying) just such a sad epidemic, and it doesn't always stop at the school level, and it can carry on through adulthood," says Mangini. Mangini says that "You Are Worth It" does get a little intense at times and says they've had a couple of kids cry during the show. Mangini openly admits that even she has been a victim of bullying as an adult. And what better way to make a difference than to communicate an anti-bullying message from students to students. To hear our full discussion with Mangini and get ideas for doing something similar in your school, listen to Episode 71 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other links related to Episode 71 Boys Don't Read Enough As facial-recognition technology grows, so does wariness about privacy. Florida teacher says she was fired for refusing to give students partial credit on an assignment they didn't turn in All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018      
October 7, 2018
Liberal Arts in Crisis? You don't have to look hard to find news stories and books questioning the value of higher education. Bryan Caplan recently published "The Case Against Education - Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money." And on Fox News, Jon Stossel recently wrote: "What everyone's afraid to say about college and jobs." Often, the liberal arts are a prime target of such criticism. Naysayers question the potential job opportunities a liberal arts degree offers. And in all honesty, we've even made similar comments on the Class Dismissed Podcast. Making the case Our guest on Episode 70 of the Class Dismissed Podcast sees value in the liberal arts and humanities. Dr. Andrew (AJ) Ogilvie wrote New Frames for New Futures: Translators as Metaphor for the Value of a 21st Century Liberal Arts Education, a research paper that makes a strong case for a liberal arts degree.  Ogilvie argues that the current job market is in need of more liberal arts majors. "Some of the challenges that places like Google and Facebook are facing are human-centered challenges," says Ogilvie. "On how people think about privacy, on how different groups of people think about what is moral, what is right and wrong." Ogilvie says the kinds of knowledge many companies need right now is the not necessarily the kind of education you'll find in a textbook. He says that you need to be translating what your company does for your customers, clients, and stakeholders. Translators Ogilvie likes to look as those holding a liberal arts degree as "translators." He says translators have a real feel for how language works. They understand how arranging words and concepts can be persuasive. For example, Ogilvie notes that taking history courses is not to just remember dates and places of significant events. He says that studying history is about understanding competing stories from the past. "The way we tell the story about the past serves a particular purpose in the future," says Ogilvie. To hear our full interview with Ogilvie Listen to Episode 70 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other links related to Episode 70 Lessons from a school without walls Jeff Bezos is going to create schools where ‘the child is the customer.’ 11 School Districts With the Highest Starting Salaries All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
October 1, 2018
For the past ten years, Dr. Andrew (AJ) Ogilvie has been working with students on writing and communication. The University of Southern California professor knows first hand the challenges students face while transitioning from K-12 to higher education and in Episode 69 of the Class Dismissed podcast we asked Ogilvie about what writing habits he tries to get his students to break when they begin at the university level. Know your Audience Ogilvie says there are two things all writers struggle with, but they're especially common in the first year of college. * Audience Analysis * Revision Ogilvie says teachers should focus on finding writing projects for students that are as real to the students' lives as possible. "A really great example would be having students submit an op-ed to the high school paper," said Ogilvie. "Because the audience is their peers and maybe they have a particular concern or issue that they think would be addressed in an op-ed." To hear our full interview with Ogilvie Listen to Episode 69 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other links related to Episode 69 Rethinking What Gifted Education Means, and Whom It Should Serve Georgia school to ask parents to paddle students as punishment Library of Congress Classroom Materials All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
September 24, 2018
Physical Theater in the Classroom Paul Rajeckas is an educator, performer, and choreographer. Rajeckas uses theater and storytelling to help students improve collaboration and interpret curriculum. Rajeckas does this by working with students and other educators in his “Telling Tales workshop.” In Episode 68 of the Class Dismissed podcast, Rajeckas gives us tips on how educators can use physical theater in the classroom so students can have a deeper involvement with general curriculum. Listen to Episode 68 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other links related to Episode 68 Time Magazine covers highlight teacher pay "I'm a Teacher in America" New Arizona law requires schools to provide two recesses How to use Apple Screen Time  
September 17, 2018
How to be inclusive and authentic Matthew Morris says that part of his journey becoming an educator involved a lot of reflecting on what school was like when he was growing up. "When I was going through my experiences as a child and thinking about some of my friends, even some of own my family, my own brother. It was kind of saddening for me to see some of the outcomes now as a grown man. Morris says that some many of those family and friends are geniuses in their own right, but he feels like they got the short end of the deal. "I feel that education was one of the biggest impediments to their lack of quote-unquote 'traditional success,'" says Morris Morris, a black male, now teaches middle schoolers in Toronto, he's also a blogger, speaker, and anti-racism activist. He uses his blog to talk about culture and education, with an emphasis on how black males navigate institutional settings both as students and as teachers. In Episode 67 of Class Dismissed we talk to Morris about a blog he authored titled "10 Ways To Make Your Classroom More Inclusive of Black Students" Morris tells us what he thinks is missing to make a lot of classrooms more inclusive, and he has some tips on things that you can implement in your classroom tomorrow. Listen to Episode 67 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other links related to Episode 67 Lawnmower Parents Are the New Helicopter Parents & We Are Not Here for It The 2008 financial crisis completely changed what majors students choose Middle School Teacher Suspended Because She's Also a Pole Dancing Instructor: 'It’s an Art for Me' All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
September 10, 2018
Necessity or Obstacle For some, your teacher's desk is a must. Not only is it functional, but it's also a symbol of your leadership and authority in the classroom. To others, the teacher's desk is an obstacle; A barrier between you and your students. A large desk also takes up a big chunk of real estate in your classroom. In Episode 66 of the Class Dismissed podcast, we caught up with Matthew Morris.  Back in 2015, Morris wrote an article about why he got rid of his desk in his classroom. Readers from all over the world applauded his post, which is on his website and Medium.com. We asked Morris if he had any regrets about ditching his desk three years ago. Where does he keep his stuff? Where does he grade papers? And most importantly, what did it mean for his relationship with his students. Listen to Episode 66 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes, and find out if Morris is still managing his classroom without a desk today. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
September 4, 2018
This week on the Class Dismissed Podcast we speak with an expert on using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the classroom.  Jaime Donally writes a column for EdSurge and she’s also the creator of the arvrinedu.com website. Donally helps ease us into some practical applications to try out if you're interested in trying AR or VR and she explains why you don't need to break the bank before introducing the technology in the classroom. Listen to Episode 65 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
August 27, 2018
Help! * The first bell has rung, but parents are still hanging out in the halls and classrooms. * I gave my PLC a principal performance survey, and the feedback was more negative than I was expecting. * Why won't my boss give me positive feedback? If you're a principal, you can probably relate with one of these challenges. These learning opportunities are the driving force behind the Principal Hotline, an advice column on School Leaders Now. In Episode 64 of Class Dismissed we talked with Amy Lynn Tompkins, the author of the Principal Hotline. Tompkins tells us what you can do if your parents are pulling a "Never-ending morning drop off." You know, the involved parents that hang out well after the bell has rung. As Tompkins acknowledges, you don't want to discourage parental involvement, but you also don't want parents disrupting the learning environment. How do you find that happy medium? Listen to Episode 64 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
August 19, 2018
The Cutting Edge Pencil Have you ever considered that a pencil is a piece of technology? It once was considered cutting-edge technology. Michael Cohen, who's also known as "The Tech Rabbi" says that there was a time where some philosophers felt that a pencil could destroy academia. There was concern that a pencil could disrupt the teacher-student bond and hinder learning. It's this big picture perspective and deep thought that has helped propel Cohen to being considered one of the upcoming thought leaders in K-12 education. Over the past few years, The Tech Rabbi has been a featured speaker at ISTE, SXSW EDU, and Apple Education events. The Educated By Design Project Cohen's message to educators focuses on creativity and design. Before he jumped into the world of education ten years ago, he was a designer. He helped create marketable content for businesses. Now that Cohen is an educator, he assists schools in leveraging creative thinking and technology. In Episode 63 of the Class Dismissed podcast, we talk to Cohen about how he motivates teachers and students to find their creative side and why he treats empathy like a currency. Listen to Episode 63 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. Other Show Notes A 1985 Texas law requires high schools to help students register to vote. But most don't. Colleges ask for a share of future salary in lieu of loans All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
August 13, 2018
PledgeCents: Where Every Cent Counts For decades, teachers have reached into their own pockets to purchase new technology and supplies for their classrooms. However, over the past few years, fundraising tools online like DonorsChoose and GoFundme have helped ease the burden for educators by connecting donors to teachers. PledgeCents has emerged as a fast-growing alternative DonorsChoose, that educators should consider before selecting a crowdfunding platform. The Texas-based company has already helped fund over $2 million in projects for educators, churches, youth sports a, d non-profits. AndyShea Saberioon is the CEO and Co-Founder of PledgeCents and he says what separates them from other crowdfunding platforms is that they don't charge a platform fee. Saberioon says PledgeCents also doesn't refund the money if the project goal is not met. "Other sites, if you have a goal of $1000 and you raise $999 they'll refund the $999 to everyone who donated. As with us, you still keep that money," says Saberioon. Saberioon says it allows the teachers to have more flexibility and not be afraid to set a higher goal. To hear more about PledgeCents, and to get a preview of Saberioon's new Teachers Are Professionals Project, listen to Episode 62 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
August 6, 2018
Heading back to public school It's the first week in August, and thousands of students and teachers are heading back to school today. One of those teachers is Class Dismissed co-host, Lissa Pruett. Lissa has been teaching children for over 16 years, but this school year, things are different. She's signed on with a new public school district after spending six years teaching at a private school. Consequently, Lissa is now somewhat of a "non-traditional teacher." Much like someone in their mid-30s returning to college, Lissa has spent the past few weeks in new-teacher orientations. Surrounded by educators teachers fresh out of college, her new district has been bringing her up to speed on their new policies, procedures, and software. So what's it like being the new kid on the block with a masters degree in education and more than a decade and half of experience in the classroom? Tune in to hear Lissa walk us through her story as the "non-traditional teacher." The Summer Slide Also in this episode, we have a rebroadcast about educators in Charlottesville Virginia that have come up with a creative way to prevent the “summer slide.” A group of teachers and librarians outfitted several bikes with individual cargo carriers, and they now deliver books in neighborhoods when the school libraries are closed. ‘Books on Bikes’ uses creative methods to draw students away from the video games and towards reading. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
July 30, 2018
What if the hit tv show "The Office" took place at a school? That's what you may think as you read Roxanna Elden's book, "Adequate Yearly Progress". Elden's new book, which will release August 1, tells the story of educators in a struggling urban high school in Texas. The novel is an honest and humorous portrayal of the day to day life of teachers and administrators. Many teachers are familiar with Elden's first book, "See Me After Class" which was published back in 2013. Elden wrote "See Me After Class" about her teaching challenges, with the hopes of inspiring other educators to push through some of the obstacles they encounter. One hurdle Elden says teachers struggle with is the disillusionment phase, which usually hits teachers head-on in October. "Adequate Yearly Progress" is different from "See Me After Class" in that it's a novel. Since writing "See Me After Class," Elden had been challenging her students to write a draft for their own novel. But those same students turned the table and challenged her to accomplish the same. The ultimate result is "Adequate Yearly Progress". Elden, currently lives in Miami but decided to set the book in Texas. A setting that was inspired by the fact that Elden started her teaching career in Houston. "There's something about Texas that has really stuck with me. I'm originally from Chicago, so there were a lot of things that I noticed about the culture there and the way that people interacted with each other, that I was seeing that as a newcomer," says Elden. "It just has a place in my heart to this day." To hear more about Elden's new book, listen to Episode 60 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes. All Rights Reserved. Class Dismissed Podcast 2018
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