Episode 51: Rigor Made Easy with Dr. Barbara Blackburn

April 17, 2015

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My guest today is Dr. Barbara Blackburn. She is an educational consultant who has made Rigor in the classroom one of her signature topics. She is the author of 15 books and numerous articles on educational topics to name just a few there is Rigor in the Classroom, Rigor is Not a Four-Letter Word, Rigor for Special Needs Students, and, our focus today, Rigor Made Easy.

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She has taught early childhood, elementary, middle, high school and college students. She is a national speaker who can often be found presenting to workshops for school personnel. 

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Rigor is a word that sends shivers through many typically because it has been misinterpreted or introduced in a manner which connects it to thoughts of more of everything. In Rigor Made Easy, Barbara addresses Myths about rigor…such as Myth#1… Lots of Homework Is a Sign of Rigor and Myth#2…Rigor Means Doing More. 

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During our talk we discuss a few of the myths as well as several key elements of Rigor Made Easy. The book is divided into seven chapters, the first one is called Understanding Rigor and the other six are:

2. Raise the level of Content

3. Increase Complexity

4. Give appropriate Support and Guidance

5. Open Your Focus

6. Raise Expectations

7. Challenges and Adventures

Barbara’s writing style is easy to read and understand. You will find yourself ready to reassess your lesson plans so that you can address her thoughts about Rigor in your classroom and school, tomorrow.

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This is an awesome discussion that lends itself to helping kids get to greater understanding of content and learning processes.

Check out the links below to find out more about Barbara and to connect with her:

Website-    http://www.barbarablackburnonline.com/

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraRBlackburn

Pinterest-  https://www.pinterest.com/barbblackburn/

Blog-           http://rigorineducation.blogspot.com/

Twitter-      https://twitter.com/BarbBlackburn

YouTube-   https://youtu.be/4LZ6na9V1Wc

Or simply call… (609) 474-4677

Enjoy!

Length: 60 minutes

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Episode 45: Laura Robb-Vocabulary is Comprehension

February 2, 2015

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Today I am talking with Laura Robb. She is a teacher, speaker, author, and coach.

She has taught for over 43 years and continues to teach each year in middle grades classrooms.

She has published 18 books primarily focused on reading, writing, and comprehension.

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You will often find her speaking across the country and working with classroom teachers to learn how to address the needs of kids in reading, writing and text comprehension.

Laura is concerned about teachers who are “stressed out” with attempts to measure classroom success by using standardized, high stakes tests. The money and time that is spent on these tests could be better spent on training teachers to use better instructional practices.

Laura says, “One of the joys of teaching is that every child is unique.”

Our talk is primarily focused on one of her most recent works, “Vocabulary is Comprehension: Getting to the Root of Text Complexity”.

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This work is filled with understandable lessons on how to connect vocabulary building and development with complex text comprehension.

Any teacher could easily take this book read sections and immediately begin to use its lessons in her plans for the week.

Some instructional works are cumbersome with their own language and information. The teacher would need a translator first before even getting close to thinking about using the information…not this book! It is easy to understand and use!

Take a look at her Big 10 and then turn to any of the lessons associated with them and you will be able to start making a difference in a child’s understanding of the text and content.

I strongly encourage you to take this information to heart and to use her book to help change your lessons to help the kids “get it!”

By the way…also, check out her foundation. She and her son are focused on getting books into the hands of children with none.

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Enjoy!!!

 

www.LRobb.com

www.e2efoundation.org

Vocabulary is Comprehension

www.teacher.scholastic.com/products/classroombooks/laurarobb

www.twitter.com/LRobbTeacher

www.facebook.com/laura.robb.372

www.middleweb.com

Length: 1:00:19

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Episode 40: Forestry with Mike Harrell

December 10, 2014

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Forestry is an age old profession that should be attractive to people who have a knack for business (managing resources, purchasing, marketing, selling, accounting, and running a money making operation) and like to be surrounded by nature.  

You may get dirty, be surrounded by some amazing machinery and even have a few run-ins with the wildlife that calls the trees and the brush their home.

Mike is the VP of Stuckey Timberland. His world is the forest. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Forestry program. Forestry is a life career that is in his family lineage.

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You will hear Mike reflect on his career and his desire to be in the outdoors. He talks about the business and the misconceptions that those looking in often have about the business of growing trees for wood products.

I think that you will find this interview interesting as well as it might make you a little envious about Mike’s ability to be outside many of his work days.

If you know a young person who is thinking about future careers, ask them to take a look into forestry. It has a definite place in our future world, trained foresters are needed, and the profession offers opportunities to be engaged outside of a typical corporate office!

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Here are some links that can provide you further information:

Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Stuckey Timberland

Logger Education

University of Georgia: Forestry

ABAC Forestry (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College-Forestry)

Georgia Forests

Georgia Forestry Association

Enjoy!

Length: 50:21

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Episode 33: Six Apps for the Classroom with David Lockhart

September 16, 2014

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David is a high school teacher at North Atlanta High. This summer we met at the Georgia Virtual School Symposium in Athens, Georgia where I had the chance to attend his awesome class titled,

…30 Apps in 30 Minutes.

David has always had an interest in Tech… he says, “I found something that I was good at…”

In our interview we focus on four points…

1)      His 6 favorite apps

2)      The cost of apps (In a word…cheap!)

3)      Engaging!

4)      Ease of use…

David advises…in looking for apps, “Find what works in your classroom…and then find an app that will help you. If it doesn't work…then adjust.”

Most importantly…David comments, “Don’t be afraid!”

He has amazing advice for apps to use and why as well as how to find the best apps.

I know that you will find this episode brain food!

Here are the 6 Apps that we talk about and their websites.

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1)      TouchCast   http://www.touchcast.com/

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Google Drive  https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2424384?hl=en

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3)      Symbaloo http://www.symbaloo.com/home/mix/13eOcK1fiV

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4)      Weebly https://education.weebly.com/

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5)      Tackk https://tackk.com

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6)      81dash http://81dash.com/

Follow David on Twitter @ld112265

And read his blog at www.edtechspeeddating.com

Seasame Street Song, “There’s An App for That! Find it at www.sesamestreet.org or on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhkxDIr0y2U

Enjoy!

Length 30:37

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Episode 22: Technology and Classroom Routines with High School Science Teacher…Dana Niblett

May 21, 2014

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Dana is a high school science teacher at Dodge County High School in Eastman, Georgia.

She has been teaching for 7 years and even though she is a science teacher she started out teaching middle school math. Mrs. Niblett comes from a tradition of teachers as both of her parents were teachers.

I had the wonderful experience of observing Dana teach her environmental science classes. From the outset it was apparent that she was very organized. She had tardy boxes, places for work to be turned in, places to look when the student is absent and so much more.

Her students understood the routines and procedures of the class. This was very noticeable when she shifted from the bell ringer (Science Question of the Day) to the general instructions to the lab groups and back to their seats to work with the technology. There was no down time. The students knew what was expected of them. She did not have to threaten or shush them. They went right to work.

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Dana and I talk about how all of this is possible. She reflects on the days when she first started teaching and struggled with classroom management. Then she found Harry Wong and studied his comments about managing the classroom. She then “stole ideas” from colleagues who were very good at creating the routines and procedures that helped the students get right to work and focus on the content.

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Her biggest secret is “PRACTICE with the kids.”

Mrs. Niblett is a tech guru…or at least not afraid to try to use many different technology applications and tools to help her engage the kids. She uses tablets, laptops, QR codes, Weebly.com, Padlet.com, Prezi, SMART board applications and tools, Google searches, youtube clips, voicethread.com and follows Tony Vincent on Pinterest (He is a teacher who is constantly providing information about cool tech apps for the classroom). Her kids are creating digital portfolios on weebly.com and recording their labs and daily activities in this website. They use padlet.com to respond to questions.

My head was swimming with the amazing about of free technology being used by the kids to help them learn their content! Dana says that she once was made to go to the Georgia Technology Conference and now she knows that it is awesome!!!! She reflects, “It’s the best conference I have ever gone to! There are classroom teachers showing what they use and what works for them!”

I hope that you will take a look at some of her ideas for classroom management and technology uses. Her kids were focused on learning and having fun. Try these out! I dare you!

As Dana says, “We have to get out of our comfort zone and get with the times!”

Enjoy!

www.weebly.com

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