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The Meaning of Grades with Dr. Bill Rice

Welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher Podcast, and today  we have a return guest, my  husband, Bill Rice.  He was first on the podcast back on episode 39, so not too long ago, where we talked about his perspective as principal and husband to a sustainable teacher - so if you haven’t yet, you’ll want to go back and give that a listen.

In this episode, though, we are focusing in on a particular subject, and that is grading.  Specifically, the meaning of grades and how a teacher could be more aware and intentional around what it means when they give a student a specific grade.

This is not a light conversation, and there are certainly fourteen other conversations (or podcast episodes) we could have from this one interview.. And maybe some day we’ll go there, but today we’re focusing on the work Bill has recently done in his research on the meaning of grades, and what it’s been to just scratch the surface on this issue.

So without...

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Do You Need A Content Coach?

AP® Psychology, Intro to Psychology, Sociology, Hybrid Psychology, American History, Honors American History, Women and Minority Studies… all courses that I taught in my ten years in the classroom.  In each course I did have some materials from former teachers or current teams that were willing to collaborate, but I had to learn the content and standards of each of these courses… and this is nothing novel.  I’m betting you’ve had a similar experience whether you’ve had multiple preps or had to teach a new course.

And as I shared in last week’s episode, a teacher who has to focus on learning the content they teach, although that is important, is less able to focus on their students’ growth.

I’d like you to have both.  Know the content, well enough at least, and get to connect with kids and focus on their growth… all without having to sacrifice your evenings and weekends to do so.

My mission here at Teach On...

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Are Teachers the Top Influence on Student Learning?

The conversation and debate around what is best for students, and what impacts learning most is not a new one in the human experience.  It's been hotly debated for quite some time.

What impacts student learning most?

Are tests the best way to measure student learning?

Or, wait, don’t tests hinder learning?

How does technology impact learning?

Standards-based, flipped classroom, project-based, problem-based, student centered, backwards planning, flexible seating...

Wow - so many things.  So many ways to impact student learning.

How in the world do we know what strategies impact students the most?

That's just it... there is no ONE strategy that will impact student learning more than another.

But...

... there is one person.

If you're reading this post, this is probably no surprise to you that teachers are the number one influencer on a student's learning.

But I don't want to just say that and claim it as truth.  I want you to see for yourself.

And that’s...

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What’s Behind Teacher Self Talk?

I was doing a Facebook Live not too long ago, and at the end as I was trying to convey to teachers watching that I too am a teacher, working for myself now, reaching out to teachers with my message of teacher sustainability, and I caught myself saying “I’m just a teacher.”  And although I meant it in an endearing, relatable way, it still didn’t sit well with me that the word “just” wanted to creep in there.

Adding the word “just” means I’m nothing  more than, or I could’ve done more with my life, but instead I’m “just” a teacher.

Have you ever caught yourself saying this or something like this?  Maybe in a circle of friends who aren’t teachers?

Or how about this common saying, “Those who can, do.  Those who can’t, teach.”

Now, that’s just a saying, but it’s one we’ve all heard, and I’m sure had aimed at us in some way before even if it...

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A Teacher's Flipped Classroom Transformation - Part 1

I can't wait to share this with you!  Recently, I interviewed Keri Tafuro who demonstrated how flipping her classroom has transformed the teaching  experience and the learning  experience of her students, both within the pandemic and regardless of it.

On today’s episode of the Sustainable Teacher Podcast I am so excited to welcome Keri Tafuro, a full time classroom teacher of  7th and 8th grade math  in Vacaville, California.  Keri isi a 22-year teacher, having  taught math  at the  high school, and now middle school level.  She and her husband  have two college-aged children, and mine and Keri’s paths crossed about a year ago when Keri was exploring a bit more about the flipped classroom, and came upon one of my Facebook live trainings.

Since then she has jumped in with two feet taking Flipped Classroom Formula last summer and into flipping her classroom this school year.  I can’t wait to bring her...

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The Number One Tool Your Classroom Needs Right Now

Hey there and welcome to the Sustainable Teacher Podcast/Blog about the number one tool your classroom needs right now. 

We are in a time of transition in education as we head back to normal or at least to some sort of new normal.  You are probably right in the middle of the teacher-hustle, and you’re reflecting on the changes you want to make to your daily teaching life so that it’s a bit more sustainable, am I right?

Either way, the tool that I’m going to tell you about today is one that’s going to help you take practical steps towards a more sustainable and effective classroom in the modern times of education.  It’s going to help you take steps towards more evenings focused on your family and less weekends spent grading papers, all while maintaining or even increasing your effectiveness in the classroom.

Want to know what the number one tool is?

It’s the Flipped Classroom Starter Kit I’ve built to help you do ...

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5 Things Everyone Should Know About the Flipped Classroom

There are only a few reasons why you may be reading this blog (or listening to this week's episode on the podcast) right now.  You’ve heard of the flipped classroom and want to know a bit more.  Or you feel like you’ve been flipping your classroom since the pandemic started and now you’re wondering how that translates as we enter our new normal.  Or you know the new normal we’re heading toward can’t be the normal that was, and yet you’re not sure what it will look like, or more importantly what you want it to look like.  All you know is, there has to be a better way to go about being accessible, flexible, and effective without you being the martyr that sacrifices your personal life and well being to do so.

I’m going out on a limb here to say that although there is no silver bullet in education to solve all our daily teaching life problems, flipping the classroom is absolutely the answer for most teachers to be...

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The "New Normal" in Education

If I sit still and quietly for a moment…. More than ever, at least in my own life, I can almost physically feel the currents of change in education.  We could spend time labeling that change good or bad, but it’s happening with our without us due to circumstances and powers we can not control.

Have you heard the phrase “A rising tide lifts all boats?”  It’s an aphorism tied to economic policy, but one that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately in the educational realm.

What if we looked at the shifts that are happening in education and our approach to the new normal as a chance to be the tide?  We as individuals, seize this moment to say I’m going to shift and I am going to take advantage of this opportunity to show folks the possibilities here.  What if?

I’ve got three takeaways for you today, and after reading this blog, teachers will feel empowered to face the inevitable changes in education, knowing...

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I Bet You'd Never Guess These Numbers

It’s 2011, and I’ve just finished my first year of teaching when over the summer I hop on the little portal that will show me how well I did.  I taught an AP® course, among other courses, which for those of you who don’t know stands for Advanced Placement® and is a nation-wide curriculum and testing program run by CollegeBoard.  At the end of every year, students take a test on the entire course’s material and can earn college credit - it’s a big deal for many students and certainly for the adults who teach them.

The test is scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with all public universities accepting a 3 for the equivalent of one college course in the field they tested.  Then at private universities students can earn even more credit with higher scores.

Welp, I hopped on that portal and saw that my average student score was a 3.1.  Not bad for a 22 year old teaching AP® Psychology for the first time and only ever having taken a...

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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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