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How Education Will Come Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic BETTER

It is all too easy to go down the rabbit hole that is talking about the dumpster fire that is year 2020.  Am I right?

Seriously it's hard to connect with your friends or be in a social gathering (wait, are we allowed to do that yet?) without the conversation being almost solely about what is pandemic living.

And then it gets even worse if the topic of going back to school comes up.  I don't know about you, but I almost try to avoid that topic when I am amongst non-teacher friends.  It's hard to hear some comments made about teachers.

Then you open social media or turn on the news and things are even worse when the topic of teachers comes up.  Let's face it, no matter what your stance may be on going back to school or not, some of the things that "teachers" are doing and saying right now, meaning groups of teachers or teacher unions, are really hurting the perception of all teachers.

There.

I said it.

Some of the stipulations that are being made by teachers about...

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A Teacher's Influence during Distance Learning

What a challenging time we find ourselves in as teachers, and we aren't even in school right now!  Seriously, maybe it's just me, but it seems like a new limelight has been shown on teachers recently.  It's like we have been working all summer to prepare our classrooms for an unpredictable year, then numbers of those contracting the virus started rising and a whole new pressure was added.  Like we've got society's nasty pointer finger in our face saying "You'd better go back to school in the fall come hell or high water" with no regard for our (or our students') safety or HOW in the world we'll financially or physically meet social distancing requirements while maintaining our status as institutions of education (not free daycare).

Even through all of that, I still believe we'll come out of this better.  Call me crazy, but I can literally see the field of education becoming better because our hand is being forced in a few areas.

Today's post is about one of the...

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Blended Classroom Best Practices

We are all keenly aware that no matter what decision our schools have made about starting the school year, it could change in a split second, more than once.  But, as the resilient teachers that we are, we want to be ready for anything.

Many of us are preparing for what we're calling a blended or hybrid format, where we'll have half of our students one half of the week, and the other half of our students the other half of the week, or some variation thereof.

Something I've been saying for a few months now, and that was a rude awakening for many teachers in the spring is that the basic flipping techniques that I teach about on this blog and inside of programs like my online course, Flipped Classroom Formula, are ones that not only allow you the flexibility to make. it. happen. in a blended format, but allow the work you're doing now to count after all this distance learning stuff is over.

But, here's the thing.  Will it ever be over?  Lord help us, I hope so.  The...

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A Teacher's Dilemma

Not gonna lie, I've been a little down lately thinking of prospects for next year.  It seems like in the last two weeks things have really taken a turn away from the general conversation of "things are looking much better, maybe we can just be smart as individuals and all go back to school," to more of "holy crap numbers are trending up and is school really going to be safe?"

Seriously, it's such a bummer.

Although I don't want this post to be a super drain or a pity party for teachers, I would like it to be one that brings a bit more awareness to what teachers are uniquely facing as we enter this school year compared to other industries.  I'd also like it to be a post that empowers teachers within the influence they still have, even given the unprecedented circumstances.

A Teacher's Unique Situation

The process of state's pulling back on what were their stay-at-home orders back in May were very much fueled by the desire to get the economy back open for the summer (and...

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Grading in an Online Classroom

Whether your building will be in a completely virtual setting or a mixed bag with the blended model, grading is going to shift in some way in your classroom this coming school year.

And, just like in our Flipped Teacher Facebook group last week, I have a challenge for you...

Let it.

Let the pandemic and the reality of remote learning thrust upon us make a shift in your grading structures.  I don't necessarily know what it should look like, or what the paradigm of grading will ultimately be, but I'd like to contribute some thought-provoking points on this whole grading thing, especially in the context of distance learning.

The Change we've been asking for

Could this pandemic and the necessity of remote learning be the catalyst we've needed to make some large, and necessary paradigm shifts in education?  Particularly with grades?

I don't necessarily have the answer to that question, but it seems to me that if we teachers have been begging for less testing, more authentic,...

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3 Tips for a Teacher's Video Background at Home

Let's get back to the step-by-step, practical, take-action tips that we teachers so LOVE... is that alright?

Super.

This week, I'd like to focus on a very sure reality that is shifting for teachers, and that is making video for our classrooms.

Here's the thing, no matter if we go back to a traditional setting, a hybrid model, or fully online next year, we teachers need to be ready for any of those setups to change one a DIME!  As a mother, I am predicting that although my sons' school will start normal next year, entire buildings will be shut down WHEN one student or staff member tests positive.  I just don't see how to avoid it.

Please know that I'm not saying that to invoke panic amongst teachers (or mothers for that matter).  I offer up my prediction as a way to get ourselves prepared (both as teachers and parents, by the way).   Prepared for what, you might ask... prepared to be flexible in an every changing educational setting so that it's not over...

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What's So Different About the Blended and Online Classrooms?

As we get closer to the 2020-2021 school year, we're feeling more and more uncertain.  Let me give you a friendly reminder... we still have time.  And I hope you can think on that, take a deep breath, and slow your mind down in order to enjoy a bit of your summer, but at the same time know that those deep breaths only last so long.

At least they don't last very long for me either.

I hope that this blog can serve as a platform for thoughtful consideration of your classroom should it need to remain online, become blended, or even want to flip in a normally scheduled setting.

Either way, all teachers, more than ever, want that safe, welcoming classroom atmosphere, and I hope to help you build that no matter the setting for next year.

The Big Shift to Online or Blended Classrooms

I am a firm believer in the power of mindset.  When I use that term I feel super trendy, but don't want the trendiness to be the focus.  Instead the focus should be on the simplicity of the...

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The Best Way to Prepare Your Classroom for Next Year

Most of us are wrapping up the school year right now and really looking forward to summer break... as you SHOULD!

This year has been everything but boring or relaxing, and at this point I bet you're ready to sign up for both of those descriptors as long as they reside in front of what type of day you're having. Ok, maybe not a boring day, but certainly a relaxing one. YES!  Sign you up, am I right?

I'm betting, though, you're the kind of teacher that finally sits down to actually, you know, relax - get some peace and quiet with your favorite beverage sitting under a shade tree preferably near a clean body of cool water... yep that sounds about right - and just as the quiet settles in your mind starts working.

What about next year?
Will it be normal, blended, online?
Am I ready for that?
How can I get my classroom - both physical and digital prepared?
Do I have what it takes?

Phew - it's enough to drive you mad.

If I may interject in your mind's spinning wheels of madness, though,...

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A Teacher's Prayer for 2020

Uncategorized Jun 04, 2020

I couldn't bring myself to talk about the potentially blended or online classroom of next school year this week.  That's why my blog post is a bit late - I try to publish a blog each week on Tuesday mornings.  Sorry about that.

What I mean here is that I couldn't bring myself to talk about what we teachers will do to support our students next year (a super important topic, right?) when an even more important issue is at hand; and, when this year, let's just face it, has been anything but normal or even manageable.  So, I'm taking a break from the recommendations, the advice, and how-tos of the flipped, blended, and online classroom.

And, here's the thing.  I don't have the words.  Let me rephrase that... I have lots of words and thoughts and gut reactions, but in an attempt to be compassionate, supportive, and, most of all, humble, I want to turn my words into a prayer.  One that I will be praying often, and one that I hope resonates with you.

A...

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Hear from Teachers of Flipped Classroom Formula

The last couple weeks on the blog have been focused on talking to and hearing from students of the flipped classroom.  If you haven't checked those out yet, I would encourage you to here and here.

This week, however, we are shifting gears and our focus to be on teachers not who have just flipped their classrooms, but who have done it by participating in the implementation program that is Flipped Classroom Formula.

Flipped Classroom Formula is the online course I built over a year ago to help teachers not just consider flipping and if it will work for them, but instead to get tools in their hands and actually build the thing.  That's right, it's an implementation program where I walk teachers through, step-by-step, exactly how to flip their classrooms like a seasoned veteran without the overwhelm of DIYing it.

 But instead of hearing me talk about it, I want you to hear from teachers who have been in the program and flipped their classrooms.  Keep in mind that...

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