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What Is Competency-Based Learning, Why Does It Matter?

Every Classroom Matters episode 210

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Competency-based learning John Martin

New Hampshire and educator John Martin are at the forefront of the competency-based learning movement. In today’s show, we’ll give you an overview of competency-based learning including some of the benefits and the problems. Whatever your school situation, by having teachers agree upon standard competencies that students master, schools can be more certain of what students know. Listen Now.

Think about it. As John says in the show, high school teachers say the kids are coming to them unprepared and blame the middle school teachers. Middle school points down to elementary. Elementary points to kindergarten. And kindergarten blames the parents. Who is responsible?

But, wow, are there some challenges! Competencies by nature remove the class rank and the coveted valedictorian’s spot. Learners are working at a different pace. Even assessment changes with competency-based learning. And when students master things quickly, in some ways, they need to be pushed to level up past the competency. John has a frank conversation about the pros and cons of competency-based learning and how his district is working through the challenges. This is an important conversation to share with curriculum directors, policy makers, and those looking to level up past standards to competencies.

Essential Questions: What Is Competency-Based Learning, Why Does It Matter?

  • What is competency-based learning?

  • What are some of the challenges teachers experience with moving to competency-based learning?

  • What are some of the parent complaints about competency-based learning?

  • What are some of the challenges for college admissions from students graduating from school that uses competency-based learning?

  • How does teaching change when a school moves to competency-based learning?

Educator Resources from this Episode

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What is competency based learning?

The post What Is Competency-Based Learning, Why Does It Matter? 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/competency-based-learning-john-martin/

Reconnecting Your Students to the Lessons of Nature

Every Classroom Matters episode 209

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Justin Ward connect students to nature

We need to take kids out into nature! Far too many children are growing up not seeing the beauty of nature and not learning to respect the danger. We are going to inherit the future where the only thing valued by this generation is made of concrete, rebar, and steel. The lone wildflower that springs up in the sidewalk will just be seen as a weed. We need our kids fording streams, climbing mountains, and getting down on all fours to look at an insect they’ve never seen before. Listen to the show.

According to a 2015 Outdoor Recreation report (linked in resources), outdoor recreation is at its lowest levels since the report began in 2006. Only 60% of kids aged 13-17 report ONE outdoor activity in 2014. (Adults aged 18-24 have only 56% reporting one outdoor activity!)

Today’s show is about a school that takes kids outside into nature.  Many schools are canceling these nature field-trip events for safety or financial reasons. Never taking school children outside is a grave disservice to this generation who needs to get outdoors more than ever before. Let’s talk about nature, learning, and one thing we should be teaching in school.

Essential Questions: Reconnecting Your Students to the Lessons of Nature

  • How is an extended overnight nature experience be run by a school district?
  • How do you educate children on outdoor safety?
  • How can you raise money and secure parent support for nature learning experiences?
  • How does a successful 45-year outdoor nature program keep going in a budget-crunch situation?
  • What are the benefits from an overnight nature experience?
  • What technology can you use to help kids learn more about nature?

Educator Resources from this Episode

albert einstein look deep into natureRobert Frost look deep in the woods nature learning

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You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

How to reconnect students to nature

The post Reconnecting Your Students to the Lessons of Nature 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/reconnecting-your-students-to-the-lessons-of-nature/

Would You Want to Be a Student in Your Own Classroom?

Every Classroom Matters episode 207

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

George Couros innovators mindset empathy

Teachers go into professional development and they complain. This is boring! There’s nothing here I can use! I don’t have time to learn anything new! But these same teachers who have such high demands of those who teach them — go into the classroom and deliver a lesson that could bore the ticks off a hound dog. No pizzaz! No joy! No intrigue! WE CAN DO BETTER. Listen now.

George Couros is beginning a series of shows on Every Classroom Matters where we talk about the eight characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset (George’s new book.) Today we’re talking about empathy. (There were so many great quotes, I’ve made quite a few images to tweet and pin to Pinterest.)

Have empathy for your students! Design awesome learning experiences. You can do this, teacher! If not, why not?

Essential Questions: Would You Want to Be a Student in Your Own Classroom?

  • How do we consider what learning looks like to the students?
  • What is an important question principals should ask themselves?
  • What is the pathway to create better schools?
  • How do we need to get past a growth mindset?
  • How can schools create a culture of innovation and not just have a few teachers who are on fire for learning?

 

Educator Resources from this Episode

it isn't about changing everything (1)

sage-on-the-stage-george-couros

George Couros Empathy Innovator's mindset

Would you want to be a student in your own classroom-

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You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post Would You Want to Be a Student in Your Own Classroom? 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/innovators-mindset-george-couros-empathy/

10 Things Google Classroom Makes Easier

Every Classroom Matters episode 208

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

google classroom Alice Keeler

Google Classroom makes sharing Google Docs, Presentations, and Spreadsheets easier. While it is not a learning management system, it is a handy tool for any teacher using GAFE (Google Apps for Education.) In today’s episode Alice Keeler, author of 50 Things You Can Do with Google Classroom updates us on the newest features. Alice says you can get set up in 12 minutes! From math class to history, you’ll learn something new. Listen Now.

Thank you JTouch by InFocus, Today’s Sponsor

My Interactive White Board (IWB) is gone, and I’m never going back. In today’s show, I’ll tell you how I’m using the Jtouch board in my classroom. It is much more than an interactive whiteboard. (In some ways it is like a massive touch screen computer.) But with Airplay and also a cool tool called LightCast, every single device in my BYOD classroom can broadcast to the Jtouch display at the front of my classroom. When I’m not teaching, I even show huge moving scenes from nature on the board. I love it. Listen to this show to learn more about how I’m using the Jtouch from Infocus or click here to see it in action. Thank you Jtouch for sponsoring today’s show.

Jtouch from infocus

Essential Questions:10 More Things You Can Do Easier in Google Classroom

  • What is Google Classroom?
  • What are some of the things you can do with it?
  • How do assignments work?
  • What is the lesson workflow in Google Classroom?
  • How can you give feedback to students while the work? (formative assessment tips)
  • What does Google classroom NOT do?
  • What are some examples of how Google Classroom is being used by teachers today.

Educator Resources from this Episode

google classroom lets me give feedback faster

things google classroom makes easier (1)

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You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post 10 Things Google Classroom Makes Easier 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/google-classroom-alice-keeler-makes-teaching-easier/