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 47: Talking Education With Ron Walker

February 25, 2015

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Ron has been an educator for over39 years. He has been a teacher, administrator, and consultant. He is the president of Walker Educational Consulting and is also the director/operator of the SAGE Academy in Gainesville, GA (A school that targets the needs of at risk children).

I’ll never forget the first time I met Ron…I was the new principal of a high poverty, high risk high school. He had been hired as an educational consultant. He told the faculty what they needed to hear not what they wanted to hear. He is always like that, but not just with teachers and administrators. With the political arena he pulls no punches, as well.

He has a heart for working with the most challenging kids and schools. He is a master of connecting the dots and helping teachers be successful. He pushes all to do their best and to do what is right.

Listen to him talk about what he sees as the real power of change that educators can make.

He is a wealth of information and he will make you think about why you do what you do.

His small private school, The SAGE Academy, is funded completely through his ventures.

Contact Ron on Facebook at SAGE-Academy

or 

contact him through his email address

ronwalker62@aol.com

 

Enjoy!

Length: 48:31

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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 43: Learning in the Fast Lane with Suzy Pepper Rollins

January 15, 2015

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Suzy is a math and literacy consultant.

She is mostly known by math teachers for her awesome course called Math in the Fast Lane.  


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She also was my first guest to be interviewed so check out Episode 2: Math in the Fast Lane with Suzy Pepper Rollins.

Suzy is now a published author and wow did she do it right!

Her book, Learning in the Fast Lane: 8 Ways to Put All Students on the Road to Academic Success is an ASCD hit!

Her 8 ways are …

1.     Acceleration: Jump Starting Students Who Are Behind

2.     Standards Walls: Transforming Standards into Clear Learning Goals

3.     Success Starters: Sparking Student Success Right Away

4.     Formative Assessment and Feedback: Checking Student Understanding Minute by Minute

5.     Vocabulary Development: Implementing a Strategic Plan

6.     Student Work Sessions: Giving Students Greater Responsibility With Valuable Work

7.     Student Motivation: Creating Engaging Tasks and a Positive Learning Environment

8.     Scaffolding: Providing What’s Missing Just in Time

Her last chapter … 9 is titled Why Are Some Students Still Failing, and What Can We Do About It?

We talk about her path to being a published author and then get into some of the specific details of the book.

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Her book is right on the money for being a treasure chest of tools that can be put to use immediately in a classroom. It doesn't require a lengthy book study, on-line course or 1000's of dollars. She cuts through the education jargon and makes it easy to understand what the research says that we should be doing!

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There is so much to learn from Suzy and her book!

One caution… If you read this book you will be excited about seeing the change in your students’ success!

You can contact Suzy at

suzypepp@yahoo.com

or 

(404)399-6760

Enjoy!

Additional Links:

Chapter 1: Acceleration

A blog summation of What the Writer Learned Listening to a Webinar with Suzy about Learning in the Fast Lane

Length 53:05

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Episode 24: Teaching First Grade with Tonya Hair

June 11, 2014

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Mrs. Tonya Hair teaches first grade at Pulaski County Elementary School located in Hawkinsville, Georgia. This is her 11th year of teaching. Mrs. Hair grew up in Hawkinsville and is now a teacher at Pulaski County Elementary School where she attended as a child. She is working with some colleagues who were teachers when she was a student. How cool is that?!

Mrs. Hair has some amazing routines and practices. Her kids know them and it is obvious. They transition between activities and different locations in the classroom with no down time or disruption to the learning. I asked Mrs. Hair to explain how she is able to accomplish this.  She commented, “Practicing routines. If you set it up in the beginning then it is not that hard as the year goes on.” Tonya also noted, “Organization and planning are keys to being successful, as well as learning from your mistakes.”

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Tonya uses groups quite successfully. She says that she is looking to find the best fit for the child. She uses these groups to help her address the individual needs of her students.

As you listen to us talk teaching and learning you will hear us touch on…

·         reading and math stations

·         problem solving

·         showing numbers in different ways

·         starting class with an activity

·         formative assessments

·         charts that she uses to make notes on student progress (she uses this information to adjust her instruction)

·         using mini-white boards

·         engaging kids

·         organizational skills

Her favorite resource for her classes is her SMART board and if she could have anything for her classroom where money wasn't an option it would be a parapro and a set of laptops.

If she had a chance to give advice to 30 brand new elementary teachers she would tell them, “Always be prepared and forward thinking. Be flexible.”

At the very end you will hear Tonya express her thoughts about a teacher who made a difference in her life… She says that she was like… Wonder Woman.

Mrs. Hair has much to share!

Enjoy!

Length 31:24

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