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Using Tests To Your Advantage

A great sports quote I saw recently asked “Which player are you?”  and then said “Bad players don’t take much seriously. Average players take games seriously.  Good players take practice & games seriously.  Great players take academics, nutrition, warm-ups, individual work, weight room, conditioning, film, practice & games seriously.”

I love this quote because it flies in the face of what is part of the demise of recent generations and the age old saying “kids these days” who need instant gratification for any action they take.  When we see all the greats in sports, or any performance-oriented task, we only see their greatness.  Sure, we hear the cool stories of perseverance like how Michael Jordan was cut from the high school basketball team and went on to be the best player who ever played, but we don’t see the thousands of hours they put in to get to their greatness.

And even if someone does take on...

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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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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 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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Teacher Tech Series Part Two: Digital Lesson Planning

When I first started teaching, I hated lesson planning.  I loved teaching from day one, but when I had to sit down and write out plans I was doing it on someone else’s terms (meaning it wasn’t in the format that was helpful to me), and I knew by writing it down I would look at it once and then have to redo it again next year.

I hate doing things twice.

That’s when I stopped writing my lesson plans on paper and kept them completely digital.  Most teams I worked on did the same, which gave us a huge advantage because then our plans were sharable.  That’s a total game changer when it comes to collaboration for a team - seriously, it was beautiful.

Collaboration and team planning is one of the biggest benefits to digital lesson plans, but there are many others, and I want to point you to episode 5 of this podcast where I give 3 Steps to Sustainable Planning, and the first step is to go digital.  In that episode I talk about the benefits, so...

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Teacher Tech Series Part One: Parent Communication

Welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher, I hope your week so far is going as smoothly as possible, and that you have found this episode at just the right time, whenever that time might be for you.  This episode will be a conversation about EdTech, but more so on the technology that is teacher-facing, and less student-facing.  

Oftentimes in conversation and professional development involving educational technology, the focus is on student-facing technology and what newest tool can be used to have impact in your lessons.  Although It's not bad that this is the main focus, it’s not the only way that technology can benefit a teacher and a classroom.  So in this episode we’ll be talking about teacher tech and how to leverage technology to make a part of your day more sustainable, and the part of your day we’ll focus on in this episode is parent communication.

Sure, technology, in most areas, is great.  It improves efficiency and even...

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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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3 Things at Home I'm Reevaluating this Back to School Season

Welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher Podcast, I’m so excited you are joining us today and want to remind you that if you’re loving the podcast and all that we offer here on this platform, it would help us out a ton if you could rate and review the podcast.  It’s really easy to do right on the podcast app where you’re listening from, will take just a few seconds, and will ultimately help us reach more teachers with our message of sustainability.

Ok, let’s talk about today’s episode shall we.

Today I am sharing with you three things that I am reevaluating during this back to school season.  We teachers are lucky in that we really have two times throughout the year where we get a fresh start.  At the new year that is the calendar year, and at the new year that is the school year.

And so I am taking this opportunity to make sure that all systems are a go, and that there’s not anything that’s dragging us down as we each...

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