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Top 5 Attributes of My Classroom Culture

Welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher blog episode 56, the Top 5 Attributes of a Sustainable Classroom Culture, and here’s the very first thing I want to say.

I think there should be an entire college course on classroom culture.  I don’t say that about many things. I teach Intro to Educational Technology, and I think a course on classroom culture should come first.  And here’s why… because it’s one of the top, if not THE top factor that will determine your sustainability and impact in your career.

It’s this awesome mix of knowing what you believe as an educator and making sure you always act from that space, helping you to recognize that your impact is greater than any mastered standard or test score.

So, I’ve got five of them for you today, and they each of a message of sorts that you could be sending to your students.  And they are a part of a sustainable classroom culture because they compromise the messages,...

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Do You Really Want A Job You Don't Have To Take Home?

As I’m sitting to write this episode, I’m in an approximately six square feet space in the cab of our pick up truck pulling our camper on our way home from our Christmas vacation with three boys and our dog.  I’m reflecting on what was by far our best camper-trip yet as it was at the beginning of winter and was full of sunshine which we Midwesterners aren’t used to in December.

It was a great refresh.

But you know what I thought about quite a bit?  Work.

Not in a way that was stifling to my or our enjoying the trip.  Not at all.  We just had a lot of relaxation time.  And that meant my mind was able to wonder and think and plan.

And it reminded me of how I was with my classroom when on a break or vacation.

When I was able to step back from it, I was able to think about it in a clearer way.  I was able to work on my classroom rather than in my classroom.

Today I’m asking you the question, in a very non-rhetorical way,...

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Classroom Culture and Rigor with Andrew Sharos

Welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher Podcast, I am your host, Mandy Rice, a ten year teacher turned biggest teacher supporter in building sustainable classrooms so you can stay there longer, and today on the show we have Andrew Sharos, the author of Finding Lifelines and All 4s and 5s, a teacher then administrator, and now an administrator and teacher and school supporter, providing professional development and support to schools around the country.

In today’s episode, Andrew and I are talking about his book, All 4s and 5s, whose title is referring to the highest scores a student can get on the AP Exam.  For those who don’t know, AP stands for Advanced Placement, and is a global curriculum in over 30 courses run by an organization called CollegeBoard, and at the end of each course, in the month of May, across the world, hundreds of thousands of students take a summative test to prove how much they learned in that course.  That test is scored on a scale of 1...

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Teacher Tech Series Part Four: 3 Tips to Clean up Email

Kids have just left your room, you grab your lunch from the fridge and decide to have a working lunch (because, yes, those are ok to have every once in a while) in the peace and quiet of your empty classroom, and as you sit down and open your laptop, you immediately lose all semblance of peace and quiet when you open your email to find 15 new emails amid your inbox that already has over 200 messages needing your attention.

Among those emails are no less than a few reminding you of past emails you have not responded to yet, and there goes your peaceful and lite working lunch.

Much like we talked about in last week’s episode referring to project management and all the roles we fill as teachers, we are filling the position of around 5 people.  It’s high time we start acting like someone who fulfills 5 positions by using a project management tool, and by streamlining how we handle our email inbox.

After listening to this episode you’ll be ready to tackle what is...

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Teacher Tech Series Part Three: Calendar and Project Management

You’ve already taken the big step in being more efficient with your lesson planning by doing it digitally like we talked about back in episode 50, now it’s time to take it one step further, and really it just makes sense to take it one step further with your time and task management as a teacher.  Here’s the truth, as much as what we do in helping kids learn can be super simple, as educators we have plenty of spinning plates in the air.  We are in charge of lots of projects and other moving parts of our day, leaving us with somewhere around ten things we’re managing at any given time.  There’s got to be a better way to manage all that we do other than in a paper planner or calendar.

Because, here’s the thing… The management of time and tasks is the greatest low-grade, yet constant stressor of life, is it not?  Especially for teachers.  The autonomy we have as teachers is truly one of the best aspects of the career...

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How to Use Stations in Your Classroom

Are you ready for a very practical, how-to episode today?  I hope so, because that’s exactly  what I’ve got for you when it comes  to implementing stations.  I try not to overwhelm you  on this podcast with “implement this now and solve all  your problems” strategies, because that’s just not how things work, and, at least for me, learning all kinds  of new things just clouds my thinking and vision, and I end up accomplishing less.

However, a nice how-to every now and then can be refreshing, and I hope that today’s episode is that for you,  and it’s all about stations and how they can be used in any classroom.

Now, who could use stations, what classrooms or students would it benefit?  And I want to answer  that question before we get started.  Really, any teacher at any  grade  level can use stations, but I recommend the use of stations, and wrote today’s episode...

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Being a Principal and Spouse to a Sustainable Teacher

Hey teacher-friend, welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher, I’m so glad you decided to tune in today, and oh boy do I have an episode for you.  In this episode I am introducing you to none other than my main-man and husband, Dr. Bill Rice.

I’m excited to bring him on not just because he’s my husband but also because he is an administrator - he is a high school principal at a school about 15 minutes down the road from us, and today he is offering a wonderful perspective.  Well, two perspectives actually, on what it is to be a sustainable teacher, and that is from a principal’s role and the role of a teacher’s spouse.

My goal in interviewing Bill is not so that we can say, “see this is what you should be doing” to either our principals or our spouses, but so that teachers can see that your sustainability is what’s most important, next to being effective with kids, and that the classroom atmosphere and overarching learning...

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The End Game of a Sustainable Teacher

Hi teacher-friend, I am Mandy Rice, if you don’t know me, I am the host of this podcast that I hope you’ve come to enjoy on your commute or maybe are brand-new to, and I’m glad you’re here to hear me out on this episode.  So, like I said, Hi, I’m Mandy, and I am control freak.  I am also a work horse, and am productivity obsessed.

Now, I’m sharing these things about myself because maybe you can relate, especially in your career and daily teacher-life, but also because I want you to know that as much as I preach streamline, reduce, fight for your own sustainability, I want you to know that when I say  these things, I’m also speaking directly to myself.

Working for your own sustainability is a journey, not a destination.  Meaning we will never arrive at one place where we look around and realize, “Ok, yes, my daily life is sustainable now.”  I don’t know, maybe we will, but I for sure know that...

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