Passive Voice Exercise

Can you use the passive voice correctly? Take a moment to do this exercise. Fill in the blanks with an appropriate passive verb form. Answers… Continue reading
from English Grammar https://www.englishgrammar.org/passive-voice-exercise-12/

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K-6 Educational Music Videos: Selecting the Right Videos for Learning

Joanna and Matt Pace on episode 172 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Joanna and Matt Pace write videos on a popular YouTube channel, Hopscotch. Joanna is an elementary teacher and Matt is a songwriter from Las Vegas. Their 7 Continents song has almost 300K views. Today they talk about what makes a great learning video and how to select good videos on YouTube for K-6 students.

Today’s Sponsor: GradeCam lets you create assessments with formats including multiple choice, true/false, number grids, rubrics, and even handwritten numeric answers that can be read and scored by Aita – Gradecam’s Artificial Intelligence Teaching Assistant.Score assessments, generate reports, and transfer grades automatically. Work smarter instead of harder. Sign up for your 60-day free trial at gradecam.com/coolcatteacher

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

K-6 Educational Music Videos: Selecting the Right Videos for Learning

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e172
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vicki: Today we are talking to Joanna and Matt Pace. So this is really a unique couple – they have a great YouTube channel for K-6 – lots of free resources. Now Joanna, you are a 2nd-grade teacher. And I’m guessing that part of this is your desire to help kids remember. How do we help kids that age remember things?

How do we help kids remember?

Joanna: Well, that’s a great question. I think that most kids learn in different ways. And in my classroom, we try a lot of different things. And some of those include movement and repetition. Music is a great way to take both of those – as they are repeating things over and over and attitude. So, for different kids, some are more powerful than others, but we have noticed (at least in our classroom and my experience with my team members) music helps almost all kids to learn and remember things.

How did you get started?

Vicki: So, what happened Joanna? Did you go home and say, “Write me some music, Matt because you’re the composer?” What happened?

Joanna: That’s exactly what happened! I will look online, I look in stories to see what I can find to help teach concepts that my students are struggling with. And at the end of the day, sometimes I really can’t find things that meet our needs. So, I say, “Matt, you’re awesome at writing a song! Can you please take your skills and make up for what I lack in teaching sometimes?”

Vicki: So, Matt, I was looking at your Continent song. And we’ll post that in the show notes. You’ve got over a hundred thousand people who have seen that particular one. How do you write an engaging song about the continents?

How they wrote the 7 Continent Song

Matt: Well, that one we started off just talking about the key points – what we wanted the kids to get out of the song. And so after we had figured all of that out, then I had to work my songwriter magic to make it rhyme, to make it have an appealing melody. One of the big aspects of a song that we want to keep, is keeping it really short. Because then you can repeat it and then you can remember it. The longer you go the less attention you have because and so trying to say that idea in as concise a way as you possibly can and still make it melodic and singable and rememberable.

Vicki: Matt, are you surprised with the response you are getting to your videos?

Matt: On one side, yes. I didn’t expect our third song that we released on YouTube to have that much of a response. But on the other side, we had seen lots of videos on YouTube that have .. were about similar subjects. Similar type things that were song animation that had so many views. We didn’t know why they had that many views. So people must have been in need of that content. No matter how high or low the quality of the video was, they were getting millions of views. So we figured, if we put something out there that is good quality, that’s educationally sound as well as musically sound then hopefully we’ll get the same response.

Vicki: Yes, because you know YouTube has a lot of great resources. But some things are just are being viewed that are not being made by educators, and I guess that’s the difference. You’ve kind of got a partnership of music and education. So Joanna, what’s the response of your own students to this music, knowing that you are involved?

Joanna: They love the fact that they can put a name to the music. But on the other hand they will beg to listen to it over and over again. They always ask for Mr. Pace to write them another song. Can Mr. Pace write us a song about this? So, it’s fun to see they are understanding the way that they are learning. And that they appreciate music as a learning tool.

Thoughts on memorization

Vicki: Does it bother you that we have so much memorization? I guess that just has to be part of it in the elementary grades?

Joanna: It’s a great question. There’s a lot of different parts going into learning. We hope with all memorization that students have a conceptual understanding before memorization takes place. For example, addition facts. We want them to understand what 1 + 2 means before they memorize it. But at a certain point, as they get further along in their academic careers, or their academic experience, we want automaticity so they can apply those concepts to 2 and 3 and 4 digit addition, subtraction, and eventually multiplication. So, I don’t know that every subject matter needs a song. But I certainly feel like it helps, especially with those students that are on the fringes. That maybe don’t have the same parental support or maybe struggle with some learning disabilities, or autism, or other social disabilities. So I feel like music has a place in the classroom and it is definitely underutilized.

How do we pick effective videos to help kids learn?

Vicki: But not all music is going to be educational or worthwhile. So, either of you can answer this question. When educators are selecting videos for their classrooms, do you think there is a common mistake that educators make when they pick those videos and maybe it doesn’t have the results they want?

Joanna: I would definitely say in my experience, because of the level of desperation and low-funding for educators a lot of times they will go with the cheapest option, not necessarily the best option. And sometimes, at least in our experiences, if we do our research before creating a song, we will – we’ll see a song that repeats the same melody over and over again, but with different lyrics. Which kind of waters down the effectiveness, because the kids get confused on what goes where. If they hear the same melody with different lyrics, I guess it is either…I don’t know if Matt could better explain that. But it definitely confuses them.

Vicki: Well, and Matt, aren’t there some copyright issues with what some people are posting because they are actually not original. You’re making original music, right?

Matt: Well, it depends on the song they are using. We’re going to try to do most of ours original music. One we have done so far was to an old tune that’s now in the public domain. So, people can use that tune however they want for commercial or noncommercial purposes. And that’s totally fine. It just depends on how long the song is. Or how long it’s been since the song was published or how long since the song’s author has died. A lot of the tunes use old folk tunes, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”, things like that. That’s totally fair game to use a melody for a learning song. Hopefully it is used well.

What mistakes do people make when writing videos for kids to learn?

Vicki: So Matt, a lot of educators are getting into writing music for learning. Do you think there is a common mistake that educators may make as they are creating music for learning?

Matt: Well, there are a lot of things that go into writing a song, and especially with such a specific purpose as we’re trying to do. I think one it has to be fun for the kids. If they are going to be engaged, if they’re going to want to use that as part of their learning it has to be a fun song. And the other thing, as I mentioned, concise, short and sweet, and obviously you want it to be correct.

Joanna: We also noticed some are just terrible to listen to. So having some quality in there doesn’t hurt.

Vicki: Well, we’ve gotten so many great tips. I know you want to check the show notes and you definitely want to check their [YouTube] channel, because they have lots more to come in this collaboration because it’s important to select the right videos for learning. I’m so excited, Joanna and Matt, to see you working together because I think that when educators and musicians collaborate that we are going to continue to see an increase in the quality of the videos we are using in our classrooms.

Matt: Absolutely

Bio as submitted


Joanna grew up as a military child overseas mainly in Europe. She studied Elementary and Early Childhood Education at BYU, and this will be her fifth year teaching. She married Matthew Pace, a songwriter from Las Vegas, in 2010. They love working together on various projects, including raising their baby boy whom they adopted last year.

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgM7EYFFz_dba0OIZs5L9kg

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post K-6 Educational Music Videos: Selecting the Right Videos for Learning appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/k-6-educational-music-videos-selecting-right-videos-learning/

Tips for a Purpose-Full Education #MotivationMonday

Dr. Amy Fast on episode 171 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Vice Principal Dr. Amy Fast helps schools how to move their mission from the letterhead to what people do every day. A must-listen for school leaders. Dr. Amy Fast, the author of It’s the Mission, Not the Mandates, talks about how to regain the purpose of education in schools.

Today’s Sponsor: GradeCam lets you create assessments with formats including multiple choice, true/false, number grids, rubrics, and even handwritten numeric answers that can be read and scored by Aita – Gradecam’s Artificial Intelligence Teaching Assistant.Score assessments, generate reports, and transfer grades automatically. Work smarter instead of harder. Sign up for your 60-day free trial at gradecam.com/coolcatteacher

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

Purpose-Full Education #MotivationMonday

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e172

From Audio File: 172 Amy Fast @fastcranny

Monday, October 16, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Dr. Amy Fast @fastcranny, the author of It’s the Mission, Not the Mandates.

Now Amy, this is tough for so many educators, because we have so many mandates coming down, right?

Amy: Correct.

How do we focus on the mission of our school?

Vicki: So how do we focus on the mission, when we feel overwhelmed by all the mandates?

Amy: That’s a good question. I think that it’s certainly something that we need to keep in the forefront of our minds, because mandates are kind of – like you said, in the forefront of our work on the daily basis.

But one of the things that I’m really passionate about is that if we’re not really clear about what our end goal is in public education, then we’re going to be spinning our wheels for the most part.

We only have so much time that we can do things in, and so much manpower and motivation to do those with. If we’re not really clear about how to get the biggest bang for our buck in every second of everyday, then we’re not doing right by our students, and we’re not doing right by society ultimately.

A Leader’s Responsibility in the School

For me, I think that A) it’s a leader’s responsibility to be mission oriented and not be so focused on the initiatives and the mandates that are rolled out in their districts and their states. But B) to be really clear about what their school and their district in there in this field of public education is all about, and to use that to make sure that their staff is on the same page and excited about what they’re doing every day… and knows pretty clearly what they need to do for students so that students can be as successful as possible.

Vicki: Now, Amy, you’re not just a thought leader, sitting in an office. You’re actually an assistant principal in Oregon.

Amy: Yeah!

3 ways to make a mission more than a statement

Vicki: So how do you reinforce this with your staff? How do you help them focus and stay on mission? And what do you say your school’s mission is?

Amy: We just came up with a mission statement this year. We have a relatively new team across the board. Three new administrators out of four – “new-ish” I should say, in their roles – and a lot of new hires, and a lot of veteran teachers who are ready for a chance to revitalize their purpose and revitalize the school.

We have this committee called Innovation Council. On that team, we determined the mission statement alongside students and parents and other staff members.

Our mission is “Ignite purpose. Pursue passion. Rise to your worth.”

That kind of encompasses what we’re all about. I think that even for me it’s hard to keep that in the forefront of my day-to-day work, but there’s a few things that we do to keep that mission alive.

Mission statement action item #1: Make sure every group purposefully pursues the mission

One is to not just have it live on letterhead, but to really make sure that all the programs and practices in our school fall under the umbrella of that mission and are really purposeful in realizing that mission. Otherwise, why are we doing them?

Mission statement action item #2: Rethink school meetings that don’t help the purpose

(Two) is making sure that if our meetings and our work with students doesn’t reflect that mission, then we rethink whether those meetings are purposeful or not.

I do something that’s called “Fast Facts.” You know, my last names is Fast, so…

Vicki: (laughs) I got that!

Amy: I send out weekly emails that are mission-oriented. They kind of get to you. I always tell people that “Mindset is more important than Skillset in what we do as educators.”

I’ve seen that to be true in my work with students and staff. These Fast Facts are really geared toward making sure that staff remember how hard the work is that they do and that they also remember that that work is valued.

I think that it’s really easy to feel demoralized as an educator. When you’re reminded constantly of the mission and of our value, I think that can keep your battery charged enough to do the really important work.

Also, I think that one of the big mistakes that we make as educators is not keeping our students in the know of the work that we’re trying to do. I talked on a few podcasts about our student survey that we’re really proud of.

Twice a year we use a Google Form to survey our students about how hopeful that are, and how much they feel like they’re significant in the school, and even have them reflect on their soft skills like teamwork and perseverance and those sorts of things.

Everytime we do these surveys and every time we have an assembly, we remind students of what we’re all about and how proud we are of them and the work that they’re doing and the achievement that they’re had thus far.

If we’re not taking the time to let them know the strides that they’re making toward that mission, and they’re the ones that are doing the real work, then we’re never going to realize that mission.

Mission statement action item #3: Make sure students own it

I think that:

  1. Keeping it in the forefront of our work as administrators, and
  2. Making sure that our staff see that it’s a living thing and not just something that lives on letterhead, and
  3. Making sure that students own it.

Those are probably the most important pieces of making a mission more than just a statement. It’s something that actually inspires you on a daily basis.

Make sure schools are full of purpose or purpose-full

Vicki: So, Amy, you said a word that I love. “Purposeful.”

But I like to spell it “Purpose-full.”

Amy: (agrees)

Vicki: Everything we do should be full of purpose.

As we’re thinking about motivating ourselves to be more, do you think that there’s anything that schools unknowingly do that are “Purpose-less,” or take away from your purpose?

Amy: All the time, unfortunately. This is probably the impetus for my book. I had this nagging feeling for fifteen years — when I was in the classroom or as an instructional coach — that what we’re spending the most time on isn’t necessarily the most purposeful for students and in turn for society.

We’re really doing this so that students can be happy and successful someday and so that we can live in a better world. When you zoom out at the 30,000 foot range, that’s why we’re here. The unfortunate reality in education is that what gets tested is also what gets taught. Not that what we test is wrong, but it’s limited.

I always say that there was this popular phrase for a long time that was “having a laser-like focus” in education. That’s important because without that focus then you’re all over the place. But at the same time, that laser-like focus can become tunnel vision if we’re not careful.

I think that one of the things that I care a lot about is making sure that what we focus on reflects our greatest purpose.

School is not just here for academic reasons

This is a statement that ruffles a few feathers, and this is probably where my niche is in this field, but I’m not sure that the purpose of education is solely academic.

The research that I did when I was writing my book was all about, “What is it that changes the trajectory of a society? What is it that changes the trajectory of an individual?”

If that’s 90% academic, then great. We’re on the right track as public educators.

But if it’s not, then we need to be really careful, because if what we’re testing is what gets taught, and we’re solely testing academic measures and that’s actually not what leads societies and individuals to be successful, then we’re going to be going down the wrong path.

3 Fold purpose of schools

1 – Academics

I have this conceptual framework in my book, and it’s something that I share sometimes on Twitter. It’s a triple Venn diagram, and academic achievement is only one sphere or circle in that.

2 – Foundational Skills

The (second one is) those foundational skills, those soft skills people talk about like perseverance and teamwork and creativity. Those are seeming intangible, but actually are pretty measurable qualities.

3 – Intrinsic Drive

The other circle, the third circle, is intrinsic drive, and that’s the piece that I talk about that we’re missing a lot.

When you look at things that are integral to individuals’ and society’s success, it’s really that piece about students

  • getting super passionate about what they’re doing,
  • feeling like they have something to contribute to society, and
  • feeling like they matter and matter in a unique way and not just a way that’s a number on a data point somewhere on a chart, somewhere in a school.

You’re actually an individual that people are seeing, you’re cared about, and you’re known.

For me, if we’re going to be purposeful about our work, then we need to be purposeful about what it is that’s really going to make a difference in education for students.

It’s not solely academic.

If I am pushing any agenda, that’s the agenda I’m pushing.

How to improve student performance

Vicki: Give us a 30-second pep talk about focusing on what will actually improve the trajectory of kids.

Amy: Well, I don’t know if it’s a pep talk…

But I’m all about multiple measures. I’m not about moving backwards in education and not measuring at all, just making kids “feel good.”

I think that we can’t do things the way that they’ve been done in the past. That hasn’t been proven to be as beneficial as we’d like them to be.

Let me give you a little caveat here, because I think that we’re really hard on the field of education. A lot of things we’ve done have come to fruition in society and actually made a positive impact. We’re not quick enough to give credit where credit is due.

But, that being said, it’ really important to have holistic measures. We are too quick to dismiss that because it seems impossible. But we forget that a really easy measure is asking students. We can measure a student’s motivation level and intrinsic drive. We can measure their soft skills with their own self-assessment or rubrics that teachers have. And we can certainly measure their academic achievement which we’re already doing.

So what I would like to see happen is to have these holistic measures that allow schools to capture not only how their students are doing academically, but also

  • how they’re feeling and if they’re able to think creatively,
  • have a global perspective,
  • have solid oral and written communication,
  • be good leaders,
  • be good at teamwork and digital literacy,
  • be flexible.

All of those things that are shown to actually be more important than technical or academic skills in the workforce. I think that we should put equal weight on those things. Then we’ll get an accurate reflection of what our schools are doing. Once we start looking at those things, schools will start paying more attention to those things. By virtue of paying more attention to them, students will in turn rise to their worth.

Vicki: OK educators. So, let’s get out there and let’s have a more purposeful education in our classrooms and in our schools.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


Dr. Amy Fast is an assistant principal at McMinnville High School in McMinnville, Oregon. She is the author of It’s the Mission, Not the Mandates and is a rising thought leader in the field of education. Her focus is on public school policy and practice that ignites students’ passions and inspires them to pursue their purpose–both at the national socio-political level and at the grassroots school building level.

Social Media: @fastcranny

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Tips for a Purpose-Full Education #MotivationMonday appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e171/

5 Ways to Add Morning Meetings to Special Ed Classrooms

Dr. Felicia Durden on episode 170 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dr. Felicia Durden shares methods behind having a powerful morning meeting in special education classrooms. From routine to celebrations, we talk about how to start the day well in special education classrooms.

Today’s Sponsor: WriQ from Texthelp is a new FREE Add-on for Google Docs that helps teachers easily assess student writing and track progress over time by automatically scoring students’ spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It also incorporates rubrics so teachers can provide meaningful, qualitative feedback to encourage the writing journey.
This handy free Google Docs add-on tracks things like: time spent writing, spelling-grammar-and punctuation error rates and pulls it into a clear graphical view in your teacher dashboard. To learn more about Wriq go to www.texthelp.com/wriq

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Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. All comments in the shaded green box are my own. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.

***

Enhanced Transcript

5 Ways to Add Morning Meetings to Special Ed Classrooms

Shownotes: www.coolcatteacher.com/e170 Felicia Durden @drdrdn
Friday, October 13, 2017

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Dr. Felicia Durden @drdrdn, author of Morning Meetings for Special Ed Classrooms: 101 Fun Ideas, Creative Activities, and Adaptable Techniques.

Today we’re going to hit on five ideas.

So Felicia, give us our first idea for adding Morning Meetings to the Special Ed Classroom.

Step 1: Set up Your Room for Morning Meetings

Felicia: Hi! Well, one of the first ways that I want to begin by having the Morning Meetings in the Special Education Classroom is to set up your room. Setting up and determining what that space is going to look like is so pivotal to having a Morning Meeting.

In most classrooms, it’s a set area in the classroom – maybe on the carpet, or in an area that’s open where you can bring chairs. But the first thing to even start with the Morning Meeting is to determine where that specified place is going to be that your kids are going to meet with you.

That Morning Meeting area has to be a place where the teacher has prominence so the kids can see you. But you might also be sharing big books or having writing, so you need the space to be open enough where the kids can not only see you, but see the materials that you ‘re presenting as well.

So the first step is to really assess your classroom area and determine where you’re going to hold that Morning Meeting.

Step 2: Think About How You’ll Build Community and Set Expectations

Vicki: Awesome. What’s your second idea?

Felicia: The second thing is that when you do the Morning Meeting, one of the important things to think about is how you’re going to build community.

Morning Meeting is a really special time that you want to make sure that kids feel safe. They’re coming into the room, and you want to build that time when the kids can express themselves. So building community is your second step. Think about how you’re going to teach the rules for Morning Meeting. What are the expectations? That’s a part of community building, because it helps to make that area safe and secure – and really, I like to use the word “sacred.”

You want that Morning Meeting area to be sacred. So you need to think about, “What are my rules and expectations going to be, so that kids know exactly what the expectations are?”

Vicki: And it does make them feel safe to have routines and to know what to expect. It just does create a community of safety, and that kind of starts with structure, doesn’t it?

Felicia: It really does, especially for kids with special needs. Often, part of their IEP goals are social skills. Many have difficulties with connecting with others, and if they don’t feel safe and secure it’s really a challenge. Having that structure and routine, beginning the day that way, sets them off to a good start.

Step 3: Think about Social Development

Vicki: Excellent. OK, what’s your third?

Felicia: My third thing is that you want to think about social development. Think about ways to have the kids take turns. How are they going to alert you that they have a question? Are they going to raise their hand? What are you going to do in that Morning Meeting time to help them with their social development?

Again, this book was written for special education students, but it can be for any student. All kids need to learn how to be good listeners, how to take turns, how to ask questions.

So your third thing to think about in setting up that Morning Meeting time is what social development skills can you hone in on and really focus on during your Morning Meeting.

An example of teaching social development in morning meetings

Vicki: Could you give me one quick example, so we can all understand?

Felicia: Sure. One example would be that possibly the kids are going to have to listen to other kids share their ideas on the carpet. So one of those social skills that you’ll want to teach kids is how to listen when someone is speaking.

You can model that so perfectly during Morning Meetings. As you’re sitting there, you could have kids come up and model it. So have one child ask the question, and then you’re overdramatic and overemphasizing, but you show them what listening looks like and sounds like.

So what I like to do is in the Morning Meeting, it’s a time for kids… They’re feeling safe. It’s a welcoming time… Let’s model and show what proper behavior looks like and how we can develop social skills.

Vicki: And it’s so important when you see that listener recognize it, because sometimes we just focus on inappropriate behavior. We need to hold up the heroes who are doing the correct behavior.

Felicia: Yeah. Right.

Step 4: Think about Content Areas to Include in Morning Meetings

Vicki: OK, what’s the fourth?

Felicia: The fourth thing is to think about content areas that you want to emphasize when you’re in your Morning Meeting.

I think it’s one of the best ways to pre-teach reading skills, mathematical skills, that you’re going to be touching on.

I always used my Morning Meetings when I was a teacher as a way to do read-alouds with kids. Let’s say we’re focusing on character development. I would use my Morning Meeting to pre-teach something that we’re going to teach later on in the day.

Again, we’re writing this book for kids with special needs, and many of them need that pre-teaching so that they’re successful once you get to the lesson itself.

So, my fourth tip is to think about what academic skills you want to hone in on and pre-teach during a Morning Meeting.

Vicki: That’s great advice for all of us. We call it “frontloading” now in some of the techniques I’ve seen. That’s great!

Step 5: Think About Ways to Celebrate During Morning Meetings

What’s our fifth?

Felicia: Our fifth, I think, is my favorite. Think about ways to celebrate during your Morning Meeting.

We have kids who come in with so many cultural experiences, from so many different areas. And we really want to celebrate that difference, and what we have in common.

So think about, “What little gimmicks am I going to have during my Morning Meetings to celebrate?”

We know we’re going to celebrate birthdays.

But how about using the Morning Meetings to celebrate academic success? Let’s say someone is really doing well with a skill that you’ve taught. Using that Morning Meeting as a way as a community as a way to celebrate really helps make this Morning Meeting special.

And it really just ties into one of my first tips – building community. When you build that community, you celebrate together, you talk together about next steps.

So that’s an important part of the Morning Meetings.

Making celebrations appropriate to student preferences

Vicki: Now let’s say you have some kids on the autism spectrum in that Morning Meeting.

You know, some children really struggle with being the center of attention. Are there ways to celebrate without putting the spotlight on them?

Felicia: Absolutely. Sometimes you have to talk to those children and find out, “Can I celebrate you aloud?” Sometimes they don’t want you to, and maybe you can just talk about it in general.

I’ve also seen that maybe they want a buddy to share for them. But that’s a great point. You want to be respectful to the kids and how comfortable they are with that.

We have a lot of students at our campus who are on the autism spectrum. One of the things we work on with them is getting that socialization out there. What we find is that maybe at first they don’t want to celebrate, but as they begin to feel more comfortable and you have that respect and rapport that you’ve built in there with that social development that you’ve taught, they’re going to be more apt to want to be celebrated.

Vicki: That’s true. Every child is precious and different. You’re not recommending cookie cutter responses. You’re recommending customizing to the individual child as you have these Morning Meetings, aren’t you?

Felicia: Right. You have to differentiate.

That’s really one of the key things in the book. There’s not one way.

I have things in there also for gifted students. We have them as well, and sometimes they have difficulty with socialization and being celebrated.

So this is all about differentiation, There is not a cookie cutter, one-way-fits-all, but making it work for that classroom and each individual student in there.

Vicki: So, teachers… Here’s another remarkable idea.

Let’s take a look at Morning Meetings for Special Ed Classrooms – but really all classrooms.

This could be a technique or a strategy that you could use.

Check out the book, Morning Meetings for Special Ed Classrooms: 101 Fun Ideas, Creative Activities, and Adaptable Techniques.

We’ll include a link in the Shownotes.

Thanks for being with us, Felicia!

Felicia: It was my pleasure. Thank you so much.

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted


Dr. Felicia Durden is an accomplished Educator with over twenty years experience in Education. She holds her Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership, Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature. Dr. Durden has taught grades K-12, served as an Assistant Director of Reading and Writing and currently serves as Principal in a large Urban School District in Arizona.

She has taught English Composition at the College level as an adjunct instructor for over 5 years. Dr. Durden has a passion for assisting student growth in reading and writing. Dr. Durden is the author of “Morning Meetings for Special Ed Classrooms: 101 Fun Ideas, Creative Activities, and Adaptable Techniques“, “The everything parent’s guide to Common Core ELA, grades K-5 : understand the new English standards to help your child learn and succeed” and the upcoming “Visible Learning Day by Day: Hands-On Teaching Tools Proven to Increase Student Achievement” which will be released in February 2018.

Blog: http://www.balancededucator.com/

Twitter: @drdrdn

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

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