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Can I Help You With Student Accountability?

The million dollar question in education right now is how in the world we get our students to do the work?  It seems we have alarming rates of failure and, week after week, a substantial amount of students just not doing the work.  In the flipped classroom, this has always been one of the top questions I’ve fielded from teachers when they come to me for help to get the flipped classroom process started, and that is “What happens when a student doesn’t do the work, meaning take the notes, at home?  Then what?”

This week we will dive into what it is to actually hold students accountable and how you  can use it to not only be a more effective educator, but one who is actually reducing your own to-do list as student accountability increases.  After listening to this episode, you will have clarity around what it means to hold your students accountable in ways that empower your students to own their learning, and ultimately reduce...

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Are You Tired of Low Student Engagement?

Who would have known almost a year ago that we would all have experienced such a monumental change in our lives that showed us just how important and effective having students in the classroom with us is for student engagement.  Who would’ve known?

Somewhere in the middle of my second year of teaching, I vividly remember a moment when I realized, it’s got to get better quickly - meaning, I’ve got to stop engaging more and working harder than my students when it comes to understanding the content.  I’m not the one taking the test and I care a whole lot more than they do.  Side bar - of you course you do, you’re the teacher in the room, but feeling exhausted at the end of the day because of all your hard work just to have black screens or non-engaged students is not what’s going to keep you going in this career field.  

No matter how long you’ve been teaching, this year and your experiences with distance learning have...

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My Flipping Conversation with the Master IEP Coach

Hey there teacher friend!  Today I’ve got a bit of a different episode for you.  A few months back I sat down with Catherine Whitcher, the Master IEP Coach of specialedinnercircle.com and catherinewhitcher.com to chat about the possibilities of the flipped classroom in today’s education context and how the flipped classroom can serve teachers at the IEP table and their students.

This interview was done for Catherine’s podcast which I encourage you to go check it out, it’s called Special Education Inner Circle, and so she is actually interviewing me.  I loved our conversation so much that I wanted to share it on my podcast as well.  At the end of the episode you’ll hear me talk about dates long past for the Sustainable Teacher Challenge, but have no fear you can still go check that out here.

From a basic understanding of flipped learning to how the flipped classroom can serve you and your students long after distance learning, this...

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Organization in the Sustainable Classroom

Today on the Sustainable Teacher Podcast I am excited to welcome Kelly Jackson of Thesimplyorganizedteacher.com so we can chat about something that many of you have resolved to accomplish in 2021.  Many teachers who have participated in our Sustainable Teacher Challenge where we all are challenged to find ways to make our daily teaching lives a bit more manageable, actually set goals around becoming more organized.  Whether you set those kinds of goals or have an interest in getting all things teacher-life a bit more organized, then this episode is for you.

Kelly is a former teacher of little turned Classroom Organization Coach.  She helps busy and overwhelmed teachers create organized, safe, and well-managed classrooms that facilitate effective learning for their students and more time for themselves. She is a Texas girl currently living in Germany. Kelly runs The Simply Organized Teacher, hosts the Simply Teach podcast, and is the creator of The Organized Teacher...

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Gaming in a Sustainable Classroom

On today’s episode of the Sustainable Teacher Podcast I am so excited to welcome Dustin Staats of Board Games with Education.  Dustin and I first crossed paths about a year ago at the time of this recording when he learned about how I used a game board in my classroom.  Now, please know that I am NOT a gaming connoisseur.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  The most complex video game I’ve ever played is Duck Hunt on my cousin’s 1984 Nintendo.  Ok, wait, I take that back… I totally played Sonic and it was so fun! - but that’s about it.  So understanding how gaming could work in my classroom was not something I had the talents to make happen in a quick or effective manner.  If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t have the space in my calendar or brain needed to make it work.

However, the drive of human motivation when it comes to simple games is something I became intrigued with as my understanding and...

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Parent Communication Systems

 “Hours!” she said.  “I spent HOURS on my Sunday afternoon grading just late work alone, and then you want to know what I had to do the rest of the week?”  I could almost guess what it was, “call parents” she said, exacerbated.  My teacher friend went on to explain how as it was the end of the quarter and grades were due soon, it was that time of the year that comes around four times per year to communicate to parents whose child is near or actually failing a course.

I squinted and turned my head to the side to lessen the blow of her answer as I asked, “how long did it take to contact parents?”

Three days after school, she said, until well past 5pm.  And I never got to them all.

We’ve all been there.  We’ve all been in a place where something in our teaching lives is taking up way more hours than we want it to, or than is healthy.  Whether that’s because we’re new at it and...

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Declaring the Student Learning Process

Although I wouldn’t wish living through a pandemic on my worst enemy and I’m sure we’d all love to get back to normal, there are major lessons I believe we all can learn from this experience within the world of education.  I could list quite a few and make separate episodes on each of them - hey, note to self, maybe I will - but one of those lessons is that our time with students, meaning a teacher’s time with his or her students IN THEIR PRESENCE is not only imperative, in many cases it’s an issue of equity.

The fluctuating schedules, whether they are all virtual or some variation of hybrid, we teachers feel the urgency of wanting to see our students more - wanting more time to master those standards, right?!?

And you may even be drowning right now in the schedule you’re living, unable to keep up with all things.  Whether you are fully remote, some form of hybrid, or even back to face-to-face 5 days a week “normal” some...

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3 Steps to Sustainable Planning

I LOVE all things planning.  In fact, I plan out our family calendar each year in January… no joke the whole year.  But even as much as I love to know what we’ve got coming up and how we can best use our finite amount of time on earth, planning as a teacher can be tough.  You can do some really great work for it all to just change on a dime without any heads up or prior notice, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  That’s just the nature of the beast, but there also has to be a better way to make this whole planning thing more effective and more intentional so that it serves us and our students. 

In today’s post I walk you through three steps that will help you do just that - streamline your planning process so that you’re better able to stay on track throughout the school year and are helping your future self when you go to plan in the years to come.  Let’s get to it.

I hope that you’ve been able...

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3 Steps to Sustainable Grading

Sustainable grading - is that even a thing?  It’s like teachers have all collectively just rolled over and accepted the fact that if we aren’t drowning in grading then we aren’t really doing our job.  Not only is that crap, but it’s unsustainable.  No one can manage that in a healthy way.  But then we’re left with the question, well what do we do instead?  If we aren’t grading everything in our classes, aren’t we saying that it’s not important???  O man, that statement couldn’t be more wrong.  There is a way to reach more sustainable grading practices and in this episode I will provide three steps to help you get there.  

Do you remember as a child how, if you’re anything like me and most children I’ve observed, you collected things and used objects to simulate real life situations as an adult?  For instance, my 5 year old son right now has this clipboard that has a...

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Sustainable Systems at Home for Teachers

I’m betting that when you’re in the middle of your week it’s not just your teaching responsibilities that have you stressed.  It is that endless teacher to-do list, but it’s that piled on top of all the things that need to be accomplished at home as well.  Whether you’re single, married, have kids or not, maintain a home or rent, there are things outside of your teacher life that are super important and can’t just be put on hold as you focus solely on maintaining your professional life.

In fact, your home-life will very much influence and even predict how your professional life is holding up. That is why we’ll focus on the home and how sustainable systems on the homefront can in fact help you be more present on the job as well.

At the time of this episode's recording, our family is in the heat of our first annual Christmas movie tournament.  We’ve got a bracket with the 16 matchups and are working our way through,...

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