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How Flipping Your Classroom Helps Overcome the Game of Grades

Oh, the game of grades.  It’s the toxic consumption of our students' attention only on what grade they are paid with for every little move they make in your classroom rather than on the experience of learning that happens in their brain while a student of yours.

It’s as if you have to pay your students in the currency of grades for any “work” they do in your class, otherwise it won’t get done.  As if the work getting done is the goal - NO!  It’s not!  The learning that happens while doing the work is the goal, and yet our students can’t take their focus away from the work.

So how do overcome this game of grades?  How do we make the focus of our classroom on the learning that happens rather than the “work” that leads to grades?

I’ve actually addressed this topic already in episode 30 titled Overcoming the Game of Grades with Your Students.  So that episode is very much a precursor to this...

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The Three Pros and Cons of Flipping Your Classroom

“The flipped classroom was a strategy I knew I wanted to implement, but I never saw it coming when my flipped classroom gave my students more access during the pandemic and is now a strategy that provides me more sustainability in my post-pandemic classroom.”

This is a quote from a teacher whom I’ve helped flip their classroom, and seriously, I can’t say it much better than that.

Which is why in this episode I am going to dive into both the benefits and the drawbacks of flipping - at least from the perspective of someone who is considering flipping their classroom and hasn’t quite doven in yet (or maybe you have dabbled in the technique but not gone all in just yet).

After listening to this episode you’ll have a clear understanding of how the flipped classroom makes for a more sustainable and effective classroom in the post-pandemic world, knowing if the strategy is a good fit for you.

Because here’s the thing, although the post-pandemic...

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How the Pandemic has Changed Our Students and How Teachers Can Respond

The pandemic took all the routines and understandings about school, shook them up in a paper bag, and spit them out with no semblance of what they once were.

At least that’s how some of our students are now behaving.

With student apathy and absences on the rise as expectations and stakes for students and teachers remain the same, we are working through trying times in education.

Education is different.  Our students are different. And if we don’t respond to how our students have changed, we will not be as effective with them in our classrooms.

We must change with our students but in a way that does not sacrifice our evenings and weekends to do so.  I’m all for changing with the times and responding to the ever changing needs of our students, but I believe it is absolutely contradictory to the system’s success if we do so at the sacrifice of our teachers’ well being.  And requiring that they do it all without support will lead to the end...

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Make the Most of Class Time So You Can Leave on Time

Quick question for you… when you were in college as a pre-service teacher, making your preparations to become a teacher, taking all your education classes, did you ever take a class on how to lecture?

Me neither.

Another question, when you were assigned to make plans for an entire unit, like a curriculum map for a unit in one of those college classes, did you plan to lecture in class 80%+ of the time and say that out loud to your class?

Yeah, me neither.

That’s because as a pre-service teacher you were being trained on how to best help your students through the learning process, you spent thousands of dollars on your education to become the expert on the learning process, and now that you are actively in the classroom, let’s face it… you’re an overpaid lecturer if that’s all you do.

Oh man.  I may have just ticked off a lot of people, but let me explain real fast.

I don’t believe lecturing is bad.  Seriously, I don’t. ...

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The No. 1 Thing You Need to Flip Your Classroom

The most common question I get from teachers about making a more sustainable classroom or flipping their classroom is “Where do I start?”

You may be asking yourself this question before even considering if flipping your classroom is something you want to do, and I think you are absolutely justified in doing so because you want to know if it will be worth your time.

Well, when I answer this question, and what I’ll lay out for you in this episode is the fact that how you start your classroom is not just the answer to how you get started with step one, it’s also the exact thing you should be focusing on for each and every step you take and decision you make in your flipped classroom. 

What that means is that when you take this first step toward flipping your classroom, you’re also helping your future self by making each and every other step in the flipping process that much easier to take - saving you time and headache in the process.

After listening...

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What It Looks Like to Put Relationships First

When asking a group of teachers what has the most impact on their students’ performance in their classroom, the resounding answer I’ve heard in my career is without a doubt relationships - building relationships with our students that lets them know we are rooting for them, guiding them, and that allows them to trust us and invest in the course and what we’re asking them to do.

As much as we recognize that relationships have the most powerful impact on moving the needle with our students, all the other aspects of teaching that pile up in a day take precedence over taking the time to build relationships.

Today, I have a proposal on what it could look like to actually make relationship building a top priority.  And if there were a calendar of how you spent time in your classroom, this proposal I have for you would allow you to spend more time working one-on-one with your students, and ultimately building relationships than any other item on your docket. 

I...

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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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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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3 Steps to Flip Your Classroom Before Christmas

It is mid October at the time this episode will air which means only one thing…  the Holidays, and Winter break, and by extension, second semester, is right around the corner.  Home improvement and craft stores have been setting up for Christmas since August, so don’t call me crazy that I’m talking about it in today’s episode.  Deal?

Alright - today I’m giving you a challenge, if you’re willing to take it on and reap the benefits for you, your classroom, and your students.  And the challenge is this - flip your classroom by Christmas.

Now, does every teacher need or want to do this?  Absolutely not.  And many of you listening today have already flipped, and I’d love to give you a virtual (or at least audio only) round of applause… and ask that you email me or find me on social media and let me know how it's going - truly I want to know.   But for everyone else who hasn’t flipped and has maybe...

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Teachers Aren't Teachers

Have you ever heard the phrase that the best way to learn something is to teach it?  Or have you ever, instead of you, yourself teaching a concept, had your students take over to teach it because you knew they would have to learn it first?

You’ve experienced this yourself.  The only way to be able to teach something is to learn it first.  And this is why teaching can be so hectic, especially if you’re told you’re teaching a new subject or course within your certification.  First you have to learn it, then you have to get into the complexities of best practices in teaching that specific content.  Talk about time consuming, right?

But what if it didn’t have to be that complicated?

What if we approached it not as a teacher, but instead as expert learners?

In this episode I’m diving into how teachers are not teachers, they are expert learners of their specific content, because gone are the days where you can just talk at kids and...

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