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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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Working Through the Shame Behind Teacher Burnout

Welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher Podcast, or welcome for the first time if this is the first episode of the show that you’re listening to.  Either way, I’m so happy to have you listening in.  And I’m going to start off by saying that this episode will be a healthy dose of tough love.

I have all the love for my people - and my people are teachers.  They are educators through and through, and I love them.  But I also have tough love for you today. And I’ll say that a dose of tough love might not be exactly what you want today. Heck, it might not be what you need, because you really need an open ear to vent to.  And that’s healthy as well, but unfortunately, on this platform I can’t be that listening ear, so I encourage you to go and find it.  We have our Sustainable Teacher Podcast private community on Facebook that you are welcome to join and find a safe place to vent and express your concerns.  Be sure to...

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Student Reflection: How You Make It Happen

Welcome to the Sustainable Teacher and what is part two of this series on student reflection.  Last week we discussed the what and the when, so be sure to go back and give episode 62 a listen if you haven’t already, and today’s episode we’re focusing on the how of student reflection.

Now, if you’re anything like me and the hundreds of teachers I’ve worked with, you already are feeling a bit anxious about spending class time on student reflection rather than content, so it’s important to make sure the student reflection is efficient while remaining authentic.  Last week I gave tips on how you can keep the reflection authentic, and today we’ll talk about how to keep it efficient and effective.

After listening to this episode, you’ll have a clear picture of how you can implement effective and time efficient student reflection strategies in your classroom so that your students are empowered in their learning and investing...

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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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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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Classroom Culture and Rigor with Andrew Sharos

Welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher Podcast, I am your host, Mandy Rice, a ten year teacher turned biggest teacher supporter in building sustainable classrooms so you can stay there longer, and today on the show we have Andrew Sharos, the author of Finding Lifelines and All 4s and 5s, a teacher then administrator, and now an administrator and teacher and school supporter, providing professional development and support to schools around the country.

In today’s episode, Andrew and I are talking about his book, All 4s and 5s, whose title is referring to the highest scores a student can get on the AP Exam.  For those who don’t know, AP stands for Advanced Placement, and is a global curriculum in over 30 courses run by an organization called CollegeBoard, and at the end of each course, in the month of May, across the world, hundreds of thousands of students take a summative test to prove how much they learned in that course.  That test is scored on a scale of 1...

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Classroom Culture and Mental Health

During the ten years I spent in the classroom, I taught AP® Psychology all of those years.  I attended numerous content-specific professional development opportunities, flipped the entire curriculum that is readily available for free on my YouTube channel, as well as built resources that many teachers find helpful in my Teachers Pay Teachers store or in our Sustainable Psych Teacher membership.  I’m sharing all of this to say that I became, and hopefully remain, well versed in the AP® Psychology curriculum - I would even venture to say I’ve got my 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell teaches about as indicating expertise, at least in the curriculum that is… but certainly not in the field of psychology.

So as much as I know and love psychology, I am by no stretch of the imagination a psychologist, psychiatrist (shout out to my psych nerds who know the difference), or a mental health professional.  No advice I give today in this episode is advice...

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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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