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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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How I Accidentally Monetized My Flipped Classroom

I don’t know if I’ve ever told the full story of how I flipped my classroom and what happened once I had flipped.  You know, like the whole story, start to finish.  Sure, I’ve told it in bits and pieces as was applicable to the episode or post on our website, but not the story in its entirety.

Well, buckle up because I’m going to share it in this episode with a focus on the absolutely unexpected surprise I got in my inbox shortly after publishing my first videos, and the surprise that just keeps on giving now that I’m 12 years past flipping for the first time.

After listening to this episode you’ll see the bonus, and what was hidden advantage of flipping your classroom that may or may not be a perk to you, but at least lets you know the possibilities of flipping so that you can make the most informed choice for your unique classroom.  You’ll be ready to start flipping and see the worldwide impact, yes worldwide impact, you...

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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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Student Reflection: What It Could Look Like

Here at Teach On A Mission and the Sustainable Teacher, we believe that building a sustainable classroom includes a very important player… which is, your students.  Empowering your students as learners is one of the most sustaining strategies you can implement in your classroom.

And that is what today’s episode is all about, empowering students in the reflection process, showing you exactly what student reflection can look like, giving you practical strategies to get your students doing some meaningful reflection tomorrow.

Because you know the value of hard work in the learning process, you understand the connection between effortful processing and performance on assessments, you understand the value in engaging in your classroom. 

Students don’t always see that, you know this.  You also know that telling them the value in all of these things isn’t going to do it for many of them.

Enter stage left, reflection that helps students make the...

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Binder, Interactive Notebook, Digital Notebook Oh My!

In last week’s episode, episode 59 where I talked about streamlining your content in order to have the time to actually put relationships first, the main recommendation was to put your content delivery into video.  There are many reasons why, and if you haven’t yet, be sure to go back and listen to those suggestions, but this week’s episode on creating one space for your students is in the same vein as streamlining your content.

Are we going to talk about Binders, Interactive Notebooks, and Digital Notebooks, oh my?  You betcha.

But this episode is more about streamlining your classroom, especially the aspects of it that are student facing, so you can use more of your time focusing on what matters - connecting with your students.

So what we’re going to streamline today is what, rather where, exactly our students house all of their materials and necessities for our class, and go over the purposes of this one spot for your students.

As chaotic as...

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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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My Goals, Planner & Calendar

You’ve heard the saying out-of-sight-out-of-mind, which in most contexts refers to distraction tactics of an infant or toddler.   But I’m here to burst everyone’s bubble and say that out-of-sight-out-of-mind is a very real occurrence for adults, especially when it comes to our goals, but not in a good way like it is for toddlers.

Instead of being able to use it to our advantage, though, the out-of-sight-out-of-mind concept robs us of accomplishing our goals each year if they aren’t something that has to do with our daily lives or we’re otherwise trying to get outside our comfort zone. 

For instance, it’s easier for someone to accomplish a goal of working out everyday if they work at a gym.  They have the constant reminder and opportunity.  But for a teacher, especially when it comes to their personal goals, we are so focused on what we do as educators everyday and then don’t have much mental space leftover to focus on...

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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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Revisiting Your Teacher Why in 2022

Last semester I had the privilege of working with mostly freshman students at a local university in an Introduction to Educational Technology course.  This was one of the very first education courses many of my students were taking, and I appreciated the perspective of a college student with next to no experience in education, but the drive to know as much as they could about strategies and best practices to implement in their future classrooms.

What I discovered in conversations with many of my students is that although they hadn’t much experience yet, they all had stories and the first stages of what will become their why as teachers.

Now you may be someone who knows your why, is grounded in it, and acts from that space more days than not.  But you also could be someone who hasn’t had the time to consider what your why might be because, seriously, who’s got time for that right?!?

Whether you are a teacher who’s known your why for a decade or...

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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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