Kirsten Franklin on the role of teachers and academic discourse – POP13

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

In our second kernel of wisdom from Kirsten Franklin, she manages to cover a wide range of issues in a short time! First of all, Brandon asks her about the role of the teacher.

How would you say the role of teachers is changing as you support them with the NGSS guidelines?

Kirsten Franklin
Kirsten Franklin

Kirsten thinks that, in common with the Common Core approaches, teachers are moving more towards becoming facilitators rather than deliverers of information and facts. For example in science, teachers can start off a lesson with some kind of phenomena. This can be an object, a provocative question or a video – something which the children have to talk about, wrestle with and come up with an explanation of what it is
or how it works. Inquiry is a large part of the process.

Kirsten has experience of this when she brought Ghost Shrimp into First Grade.

What does Kirsten recommend to teachers with regard to
student learning behaviours? How do you create a safe and positive
classroom culture?

Academic Discourse is one area Kirsten has really focused on. This can be a foundation for a lot of other things which happen in science – and across the curriculum. We want children to be talking and behaving like scientists do and academic discourse is what scientists use.

However, meaningful and deep discourse is easier said than done
– it takes some explicit instruction.

The teacher needs to create a classroom climate which supports the exchange of ideas in a safe and positive environment. Kids need to be respectful, attentive and reflective. Kirsten recommends taking the first few weeks with a class to establish the culture. This can be done via class meetings – prompts, sentence starters etc.

Academic Discourse resources:

Kirsten Franklin on science teaching – how to organise teacher support and student academic proficiency – POP12

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

In education for 28 years, Kirsten is an elementary grade teacher and teacher on special assignment coordinating Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards implementation for the Petaluma State Schools in Petaluma State, California.

Kirsten did not come into teaching as a science specialist but took an opportunity to develop her skills in this area and she realised the importance of providing a high-quality science education to students, beginning at the earliest grades.

I really got hooked on science as a vehicle to provide meaningful and engaging learning for students that can be emigrated across the curriculum.

Kirsten Franklin
Kirsten Franklin

Eventually, Kirsten took up a role full-time, supporting teachers. She now loves working with adult learners and providing trainings for teachers.

What are the main aims of the role?

Kirsten does whatever she can to support teachers in providing quality science instruction to their students, based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). She does a lot of networking and searching for resources which she shares with teachers. This is essential so they can make the shifts in their practice that the NGSS requires.

Kirsten puts on workshops, writes a column in the district newsletter and works with individual teachers by request. She helps them to design lessons or even comes in and delivers model lessons.

Professional Learning Networks

This is a group of elementary teachers who are working on how to embed discourse in their science instruction. Kirsten has been developing this area as well.

Stages of development

Kirsten says that they spent the first 2 years in the Development Stage. This involved making teachers to understand the background and the rationale behind the NGSS as well as the architecture of the document. The colour coding and the columns can be really intimidating and overwhelming. Having worked with it, however, Kirsten sees it as a very useful blueprint for planning lessons and units.

NGSS is not a curriculum, it simply contains guidelines for what students should be able to do after instruction and all the learning experiences teachers provide for them.

The district is now in a Transition Stage. They are now working mostly on the delivery of instruction and what the ‘three dimensions’ look like:

  • Disciplinary core ideas – content
  • Cross-cutting concepts – thematic concepts which help student think like scientists and to make sense of what they are learning
  • Science and engineering practices – 8 different ways that students should be doing science

So Kirsten is working on what these look like in a classroom and how to adapt existing lessons to embed these. The assessment which is coming will be focussing on assessing students on all the three dimensions which have to be happening at the same time.

CSTA– Californian Science Teachers’ Association
NSTA – National Science Teachers’ Association

 

Kirsten on Twitter:

@kfranklina3

Diane Ketelle on how to make connections with and understand the real needs of our students – POP11

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Dr. Diane Ketelle, Professor of Education at Mills College in Oakland, CA., returns this week with another kernel of wisdom. This time she concentrates on making connections and understanding the real needs of students.

Diane Ketelle
Diane Ketelle

Diane starts by talking about authenticity.

She says that the word is probably over-used but if we look carefully at it, we can see it incorporates a number of important things.

To be truly authentic, we must start having hard conversations about:

  • race
  • class
  • gender
  • sexual orientation
  • the gender binary

We must think about:

  • what a good school is
  • what a good school is
  • what it means to have a positive discipline program

For Diane, authenticity underpins making positive change.

It does take a lot of courage to make these genuine connections because you have to be willing not to avoid these harder conversations.

Diane talks about ‘nicety nice’ schools who only concentrate on creating a polite working environment but not much learning is going on.

To make deeper change and to help all learners make significant growth, you have to start with the adults having the tough conversations outlined above.

Leadership

Diane points out that leadership is work with people and if you don’t enjoy working with people then educational leadership is probably not for you.

Diane doesn’t focus on ‘solving problems with bullet points’. She wants to get to the deep, sustainable change which involves investment in teachers, investment in staff which means:

  • investment in professional development
  • looking at supervision
  • sustaining ongoing conversations
  • reflective practice

Remember Diane’s new book:

Our first Pivotal Popcorn guest, Dr. Diane Ketelle has published a book – ‘Tread Lightly, Lead Boldly’.

Laurel Krokstrom on motivating students – POP10

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Laurel Krokstrom joined us to talk about motivation. She has a M.M. in trumpet performance from the University of Southern California, a M.A. in musicology from CSULA and is a doctoral student in Educational Psychology at the University of South Dakota.

What is motivation?

Laurel Krokstrom
Laurel Krokstrom

Laurel believes academic motivation is very important in K12 settings. It affects cognition and academic achievement.

Internal motivation comes from the student – they really love to do something like playing a musical instrument and the will do it whether someone asks them to or not.

External motivation is where you have ‘external prodding’ from a teacher, parent or peer who offer incentives to encourage the student to practice a musical instrument, for example.

Originally a lot of teachers used external motivation but now more and more research is showing that internal motivation is the way to go and makes for a much happier classroom.

Expectancy Value Theory

This is one of the latest motivation theories which Laurel has used. It states that students who expect to do well in a certain subject – who expect to succeed – will do really well.

There is a simple tool associated with this theory. Students rate how well they think they would do and how much they value the topic on a scale of 1 to 10. When these figures are multiplied together, they produce a rating of how likely it is that the student will compete a set assignment.

This can apply to any subject.

If you understand what motivates your students, particularly their internal motivation, then you can use this to inform everything you do with them.

Brandon remembers giving out surveys to his classes to try to find out what their interests and motivations are. This helped him to understand the motivation of each of his students and helped him to help them to have the most enjoyment and fulfilment out of the activities he planned.

So Brandon believes we can observe students to find out their motivations but we can also ask.

Shawne Kearney’s Passion for Project Based Learning – POP9

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

We welcomed back Shawne Kearney this week to share some more kernels of wisdom. Shawne is a Master Teacher and New Teacher Support Provider and Mentor and is currently teaching 4th Grade in Sonoma State, California.

Shawne Kearny
Shawne Kearney

A teacher for over 20 years, Shawne also now teaches adults at Sonoma State University where she specialises in project-based learning and classroom management.

What is Project Based Learning (PBL)?

This is a teaching method by which students gain specific knowledge and skills. They work for an extended period of time and investigate a complex question, problem or challenge.

  • Launch with a bang – stimulate student interest
  • Come up with a driving question – a challenging problem
  • End with a culminating event – with public audience – so students can shine and reflect on their work

What are the top strategies teachers should consider when contemplating PBL?

1. Know your standards.

2. Choose a problem or challenge which is highly relevant to your grade and students and which you are passionate about yourself.

3. Start small – it’s a paradigm shift to start PBL in which you give students more control so start with a 2-week project

4. Teach the ‘4 Cs’ explicitly before you ask students to solve a challenging problem – Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and  Creativity.

The Buck Institute for Education has a large amount of helpful resources for teaching the 4 Cs.

The challenges of PBL

Shawne says one of the biggest challenges is students collaborating and giving feedback to one another. She believes this is one of the reasons some teachers avoid PBL. It takes time to encourage students to overcome their ‘learned helplessness’. They need to develop the stamina and endurance to cope with creating a project which may fail several times before finding success.

Evaluation

Shawne has rubrics which help students evaluate themselves and give kind and considerate feedback to their group members. The students can see themselves advancing on this but the real power is the feedback they receive from their peers which is far better than anything she can give them. She sees students’ use of language in this feedback improving dramatically and they practice it so it doesn’t seem so unnatural.

Shawne on Twitter

Mark Cerutti returns to talk about creating effective and sustainable change – POP8

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

In his second Kernel of wisdom, Mark Cerutti gives us the benefit of his experience in effecting and managing change. Mark is Associate Superintendent of Education Services for the Elk Grove Unified Schools District, the 5th largest School District in the State of California.

Top tips for creating effective, sustainable and data-driven change

This is a big question but a critical one.

Mark Cerutti
Mark Cerutti

1. Mark sees the current situation as narrowing down assessments of schools to a single number or a single letter and if a school is seen to be successful then the only question which is asked is ‘what did they do to be successful?’ Mark believes this is the wrong question to ask. Of course we should know what we are doing to be successful but a much more important question is:

‘How did you decide to do that?’

Mark is more interested in what the thinking process was which guided schools to do what they have done to be successful. In public education there are many things you could be doing in many different ways so it’s great to be able to look in detail at what’s guiding leaders’ thinking.

Mark mentions Dr. Alan Watkins’ work as useful in this area. His book, ‘The Secret Science of Great Leadership’ deals with physiology and then to emotions, feelings behaviour and then results. There are 6 different levels but in education we have been focussing just on ‘what are we doing?’ and ‘what results are we getting?’ In fact, in order to make significant change, we need to make sure people are able to think better and to feel better.

There are several different elements which need to be understood to encourage and sustain effective change:

  • Enlightened leadership which deals with professional learning
  • Professional and adult development – the understanding of what influences adults in terms of physiology thinking

2. Human Performance Technology is a model which has been around for a long time. Mark likes it because it differentiates between input, output and outcome data in a systematic continuous improvement model. Sometimes when Mark hears people saying they do systematic, data-based decision making, he doubts it because they haven’t had the chance to use the techniques of HPT.

3. Make sure the changes you are making start with an understanding of ‘why’. This is what Mark covered in his first kernel.

4. Mark likes the work of Ron Richhart and his ‘Creative Cultures of Thinking’. The Common Core is trying to get kids to think at a deeper level and Rickert’s work is about getting everyone – teachers, students and parents – to become creative thinkers.

Announcement

Diane Ketelle
Diane Ketelle

Our first Pivotal Popcorn guest, Dr. Diane Ketelle has published a book – ‘Tread Lightly, Lead Boldly’.

Master Teacher and Department Chair Kim Ray on building connections with students – POP7

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Kim Ray is Master Teacher and Department Chair at East Union High School in Manteca, California where she teaches ceramics. She has been teaching for over 20 years after trying to work as an independent artist. She still practices her art while being employed full-time. Kim believes teaching is the best job she has ever had and is still excited to go to work every day.

Top tips on how to make your students feel safe and valued as well as engaged in their learning

Kim Ray
Kim Ray

Kim likes to communicate a lot with her students. She touches base with each student every day by working with them individually which allows her to communicate her expectations repeatedly as well as getting to know them really well. She therefore knows about them, their families and how they are doing in other classes. This helps her to build up a strong rapport. It’s also important to talk to parents. Kim is available via email at any time for students or parents.

Kim shares her life experiences appropriately with her students and they do the same with her.

Kim stresses that she is not her students’ friend – she is still in charge but she builds trust in this way.

Another important factor is routine. Kim feels it’s really important that students know what they are going to be doing before they arrive in her classroom. She has taught the expectations of routine explicitly so that the students feel comfortable in class.

Humor is also really important to Kim and she believes it helps to establish the essential rapport she has with her students.

If you can share a little joke with your students it helps them to bond with you better.

All this means that Kim knows her students really well and so she can identify immediately if they are experiencing difficulties – and her relationship with them means she can offer help and support.

Shawne Kearney on How to Develop Excellent Classroom Management – POP 6

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger

Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne
For this kernel of wisdom, Brandon speaks to Shawne Kearney who is a Master Teacher and New Teacher Support Provider and Mentor and is currently teaching 4th Grade in Sonoma State, California.

A teacher for over 20 years, Shawne also now teaches adults at Sonoma State University where she specialises in project-based learning and classroom management.

Tips for teachers for building positive classroom management systems

1. Pro-active classroom mangement

Shawne believes strongly in pro-active classroom management. She greets her students at the door, which is very important especially at the beginning of the year to help you establish a relationship with your students. Also important are:

  • Inclusion activities
  • Team building
  • Establishing common interests

Alongside this you need very clear procedures and routines – available in writing and practiced with feedback given.

Shawne Kearney
Shawne Kearney
Shawne believes kids want to do well but they need to have a target and they need to know what ‘doing well’ looks like, what it sounds like, what it feels like.

It’s also important to have clear consequences. Everyone, Shawne says, appreciates knowing the consequence  of a behaviour ahead of time. If a consequence is sprung upon someone, they are likely to get upset.

2. Setting students up for success

This is especially important for struggling learners – they should be able to participate on a level they feel comfortable with. Ask questions you know they can answer so they are not ‘put on the spot’. When you see they have a great answer, you can whisper in their ear and ask them to share it later when called on by you. This helps them to feel proud and good about themselves.

Shawne thinks it’s also important to modify work for struggling students. They often work slower but they still need to be able to finish the task you have set and feel success.

3. Teach collaboration and communication skills explicitly

Often, teachers put learners in a group and expect them to be able to collaborate and communicate – many adults don’t know how to do this!

Shawne recommends this video about students giving feedback to illustrate her point:

Austin’s Butterfly: Building Excellence in Student Work from EL Education on Vimeo.

Shawne teaches these kinds of collaboration and communications skills very explicitly in isolated lessons so that, when they get to those groups lessons like the one in the video above, they know what to expect.

Shawne sees this transferring into students’ social situations outside the classroom by about half way through the school year.

Bonus tip! Self care

Make sure you take care of yourself so you are:

  • Rested
  • Patient
  • Rejuvenated
  • Genuinely feeling you enjoy your job

Kids know if you are upset, angry or grumpy.

Shawne on Twitter

Jessica Bonduris on decision-making suggestions for school leaders and teachers to use – POP 5

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

We welcomed Dr. Jessica Bonduris back to the podcast this week for another kernel of wisdom. We first heard from her in episode 2 where she spoke about how to build positive relationships.

What are Jessica’s top tips around decision making when leading staff and students through positive climate change?

Transparency in decision making – Jessica believes this is particularly important for new administrators where there can be a large element of mistrust from staff members, parents or students. Being transparent allows you to alleviate a lot of the potential tension around decision making.

Jessica Bonduris
Jessica Bonduris

If it’s a shared decision on a school-wide issue you are able to make with an instructional leadership or other decision-making team, be prepared to speak about why it’s important for the school, present the data behind it and discuss it thoroughly.

As a leader you also need to be very transparent in what you expect everyone to be doing. This will help you to avoid having to catch people not doing what you expect or being disappointed when this happens.

Relationships – any programme which covers social or emotional issues is going to be used not only in the classroom but also in the cafeteria, at recess and at other times so it’s really important to teach students and staff how to use the new initiative in all areas of the school. This also needs to be communicated to parents as well so they can help at home.

Principals need to be out of their offices to see the programme being implemented in all the different settings.

Especially for new principals, any decision which is implemented in a ‘top-down’ manner has the potential to be disastrous. So it’s much better to work with the leadership group and for them to tell the rest of the school about what is going to happen and why. This way, you are building the leadership of the whole team.

Brandon adds that where the leader has already made up their mind about a decision and the group decision making ends up not being genuine, this can lead to serious problems as well.

It’s much better to be transparent and make it clear which decisions are shared and which have to be made by the principal alone rather than pretending that all decisions are shared. If you have established good relationships, then everyone will be happy to trust the principal’s judgement.

Mark Cerutti on Improving the Culture of Behavior – POP4

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Mark is Associate Superintendent of Education Services for the Elk Grove Unified Schools District, the 5th largest School District in the State of California.

Mark was originally involved in natural resource and wildlife management. This led him to education as a great way to continue to support these areas through teaching children.

Mark Cerutti
Mark Cerutti

He taught at elementary and secondary schools and took courses in various topics including administration before taking up Principal positions at different levels for approximately 18 years as well as working in corporate educations as well.

However, K-12 has always been Mark’s passion and when a position in Elk Grove was suggested to him, he was delighted to take it up.

What are the top 3 aspects for a school administrator or team to consider when improving the culture of behaviour at a school site?

1. Start with adult behavior

What are the types of adult behavior we need to exhibit ourselves in order to be successful with kids?

It’s easy to head towards the types of behaviors we want our kids to exhibit in order to be successful but in fact it’s much more important to get the adult behaviour right first.

2. It’s essential to understand your ‘why?

Mark loves the following video from Simon Sinek which helps to explain what he means by starting with ‘why?’

Whatever initiative you are engaged in it’s essential to help everyone involved to understand why you are doing it. This leads on to how you are going to do it and finally what the programs are going to be.

3. Resources

Mark says there are a lot of resources which can be used like PBIS or, of course, the Pivotal Curriculum:

http://us.pivotalglobal.com/instructor-training/

https://www.pbis.org/

Recently, many tools have been developed which can help behavior initiatives so nowadays a school does not have to start from scratch to develop a program itself.