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...
“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...
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.
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...
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...
Brenda in 4th grade, Keri in 7th grade math, Jessica in high school chemistry, Megan in Algebra 2, and Charles in high school ELA… all are teachers who flipped their classrooms this past school year and are now on the other side of their hard work reaping the rewards of the flipped model and ready to share their own and their student success with you.
I’m compiling experiences into this one episode and hope that the stories shared allow you to see the possibilities for your own classroom and daily teaching life.
After listening to this episode you’ll be inspired by the success teachers of the flipped classroom have found, and see yourself in their transformation, knowing that this time next year, your classroom or student success story will be told.
Let’s get to it.
Before we get started I want to point you to a resource that I think you’ll love seeing and that is all of the stories I’m going to be sharing with you today and WAY MORE are...
I’m betting you’ve had a student come to you at the end of the semester or grading period to ask if there’s anything they can do to improve their grade, and your answer is, yes, you could’ve cared and done your work months ago - but caring now is too little too late.
Or maybe you’ve had a student come to you about how they were only one or two points away from an A on the test, after you had already slightly rounded up their score, and now they were asking you to round it up more.
I’m betting you’ve had any number of experiences like these whose true, underlying meaning is that the student cares more about the grade they receive in your class than they do the learning experience.
This is not a one-classroom, one-school, or one-region issue. This is a systemic, culture-wide issue inside of education that I will say, I’ve seen some improvements in over my years in the classroom, but I’m not sure will ever truly go...
Now that the 2020-2021 school year has come to a close, we can all look back and realize the race it was to lessen the ramifications and decrease the learning gaps created by the shutdowns that occurred in the spring of 2020.
And when I say it was a race, I mean it was a rat race, with tons of hurdles, obstacles, disqualifications, delayed starts, and crap on the track and anything else that symbolizes hardship in our foot race analogy here.
Learning and achievement differences have always existed, but the shutdowns of 2020 put all kids’ learning in a jar, shook it up, and laid it out for us to clean up. And here’s a big takeaway for today’s episode… That clean up process is not finishing as we end this school year.
We will notice those learning gaps indefinitely. And we must respond in-kind.
So as we reflect on how to close these gaps, let’s do so with the facts in mind that
I have an analogy for you that will take us through the duration of this episode. Here it is. Throughout the school year, we each have multiple spinning plates in the air as teachers and as human beings. Each facet of our life is one spinning plate, and it’s our job to keep them spinning and in the air lest they drop and shatter.
Summer break, then, is a time for us to put down all the educational, teachery plates we keep spinning for 9-10 months of the year so that we can focus on other plates. Summer is an incredible thing for teachers - this is no news to you - but truly, it is time for us to refuel and rejuvenate in whatever aspect of our life we want.
In this episode I’d like to offer some food for thought on how we can use summer to fuel our sustainability throughout the year. Hence the title What is Summer to a Sustainable Teacher. So stick around areas within this topic that we’ll be pondering and discussing...
As teachers (and humans, really), we are provided with steps and formulas to follow in implementing great strategies, fixing our classroom management, and all other things teacher-life, at what seems like every turn. And I knowingly contribute to this, although I hope that my advice is valuable and helpful, but in this episode I hope to provide you with something NOT to, multiple steps NOT to take when it comes to improving upon and implementing strategies in your classroom.
And it really comes down to one piece of advice.
After listening to this episode you will know this ONE thing you shouldn’t do in your classroom because in not doing iit you’ll serve your own sustainability and your effectiveness with your students. You’ll feel empowered and ready to take next steps in strengthening your sustainable teacher-life.
So let’s get to it.
Picture this teacher-scenario really quickly. You want to make a change in your classroom, and...