Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday 7-29-10 ACP Class. AVID and Teach Like a Champion

Tonight we discussed AVID and some of the techniques from the book Teach Like a Champion. Here are my presentation notes. If anyone has any questions, or needs any help, please let me know.

What is AVID? Powerpoint

What is AVID 2009? from Mr. Duez on Vimeo.

This is the 10 minute, Parent Night version.

Socratic Seminar

Engagement Strategies from Teach Like a Champion

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ACP Class from Tuesday, July 27th 2010

Had a wonderful time last night working with the ACP class.  Here are the power points and some of the videos we watched in the class.
Remember to read the Tips for the New Teacher for Thursday and we'll discuss that in a Socratic Seminar at the beginning of class.  Then we'll talk about Engagement Strategies for students from the book Teach Like A Champion.
Please email me: about any kind of questions you might have.  Feel free to give me a call if you'd like to come in and observe.

Classroom Teaching Tips

Socratic Seminar

Classroom Strategy from Youtube, 1st grade:

Classroom Strategy from Youtube, 6th grade:

Teach Like a Champion by Lemov.  Great book.  Highly recommend it.

By D. Lemov - John Wiley & Sons (2010) - Paperback - 352 pages - ISBN 0470550473
Teach Like a Champion offers effective teaching techniques to help teachers, especially those in their first few years, become champions in the classroom. These powerful techniques are concrete, specific, and are easy to put into action the very next day. Training activities at the end of each chapter help the reader further their understanding through reflection and application of the ideas to their own practice.Among the techniques: Technique #1: No Opt Out. How to move students from the blank stare or stubborn shrug to giving the right answer every time. Technique #35: Do It Again. When students fail to successfully complete a basic task?fromentering the classroom quietly to passing papers around?doing it again, doing it right, and doing it perfectly, results in the best consequences. Technique #38: No Warnings. If you're angry with your students, it usually means you should be angry with yourself. This technique shows how to effectively address misbehaviors in your classroom. The book includes a DVD of 25 video clips of teachers demonstrating the techniques in the classroom.

Here is a sample from the DVD:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"On Facebook, Telling Teachers How Much They Meant" - NYTimes Article

I really love this article.  "On Facebook, Telling Teachers How Much They Meant" - NYTimes Article  "... people who are 20, 30 or 40 years beyond graduation are using Facebook to re-establish relationships with teachers and express gratitude and overdue respect."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Focus" as the New Literacy

Peter Pappas posted a thought provoking video and his take on "Forget About Remembering, It's Focus that's the New Literacy."  I wanted to embed the video here that Peter shared and also discuss what he wrote and my thoughts.

As a history teacher, I do believe that factual information is important.  It's the backbone of what we do.  Each unit of learning, I ask my students to know certain people, events, places and vocabulary.  Why?  Can't they just "look it up?"  Sure they can.  But, committing certain facts to memory helps to give students the tools and ability to take that learning to the next level.  For instance, discussion or debate about dropping the A-bomb on Japan would be incomplete without a history of the events of the war in the Pacific during WWII.

I love the idea that teaching our students to be fluent about sources and information relevancy and believe it is critical.  Pairing a 'focused literacy' with a solid background on the facts of our history, that is a powerful combination.  Once they leave our classrooms they should be even more prepared to do the work of self education.  That is what each student is going to need to be able to do in the future.  The kinds of jobs they are preparing for are uncertain to us today.  The world is just changing at such a fast pace. (Who would have thought that there would be an internet in 1988, when I graduated from high school?  Imagine what life and employment will be like in just 20 years!)  So when they get out there and are working in a certain field, to advance they may need to seek out to find where to learn new skills.  Having that self reliance and confidence that a student can turn to the internet, book, hit the library, or seek out information from the right sources is what can make the difference.

I agree with Peter that filtering and focusing is essential.  With so much information at their fingertips (or in their pocket on their smart phone), the students who are successful will use the correct sources to help them.  But, I also agree with an idea from a previous thought in one of my posts this week from Alan November.  Today we have so much information that it is awfully easy for people to seek out the most 'comfortable' answer to them, regardless of accuracy.  Since there is a partisan viewpoint for everything under the sun, how can students filter it all?  There is FoxNews for conservatives and an MSNBC and Huffington Post for more liberal leaning people, just to name a few of the obvious examples.

We must also teach students that there are many sides to most stories.  My deep belief and faith is in the power of ideas.  And I believe that the best ideas should win.  Teaching students the art and skill of literacy filtering is critical.  It should be done at all levels of education.  That "focus" that Peter writes about in his blog entry is essential.

So how can we cut through the the ideas here and create a concrete and actionable approach for teachers?  Teaching solid researching skills isn't impossible.  We teach in the AVID College Readiness Curriculum the ASFI process:
Under each of these elements are skills that students can learn to help them in the process of "Focus" when it comes to research and learning.

I have only just scratched the surface with my work on these fundamentals.  Each year I have added a little more and nudged my students closer to being better at them.  I think all teachers should not be over burdened by the huge task of preparing our learners for their future, but rather keep getting better each year.  We can get there.  Sharing and building a strong network and community of teaching experts is the way to get there.  I have learned much from my professional learning community out here on the internet and I am inspired every day by the people that make it up.  People like Peter Pappas who has made me think today.  Thanks!

An Excellent Review of Teach Like a Champion

Here is an excellent review of Teach Like a Champion.  I love how she does a super job of putting it into her own context.  You can tell it was read, digested, analyze and resulted in a thoughtful analysis.

Review of Teach Like a Champion @ MissTeacha's Confessions from the Couch

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Myths and Opportunities of Technology in the Classroom

I came across this video through Angela Maiers Educational Services Blog and Angela saw it on Sharon's Share

Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom by Alan November from Brian Mull on Vimeo.
In this video presented by Mobile Learning Institute, Alan tours his hometown of Marblehead, MA and comments on the historical global vision of his community. Alan challenges us to think about the emerging role of “student as contributor” and to globalize our curriculum by linking students with authentic audiences from around the world. (For more, read Alan’s article, Students as Contributors: The Digital Learning Farm, found at

What do you think about this video?  First, I believe it is artfully produced and directed.  I like the style and the metaphor.  But, I also love his premise.  Isn't it our job as educators to help students learn how to produce and be productive?  Isn't a great way to start this creative and collaborative fire to have students working in the digital realm to create content?

I have been doing this each year with our Video Project.  It is a big part of our year and probably one of the top three things kids enjoy about my class.  They feel very much like they are creating content and teaching the class.  On top of that, with the power of being able to use the internet to share their work.  The students end up teaching the world, or with anyone that shares in the content.

Amazing how this has evolved from when I was first working in technology in education - setting up computer labs to speed kids through software so that they could pass the state test.  (Although I'm sure it didn't help them at all!)  I love the idea of students learning how to create content, yet still learning the core objectives and learning skills that are in our curriculum.  But, it takes a little creativity and patience to get it done.  Especially in today's educational landscape.  The excuses for not being able to do something are usually greater than the force of will needed to get them accomplished.

Some have said to me, "How can you waste time on a project where kids are creating videos and presenting them to the class?  How will you get through all the information that the State of Texas wishes the kids to know for the test?"  Well, they are working in that realm of learning the information and curriculum.  It's not like I'm having them do a video project on Alien Sightings!  They are learning about social studies and World History topics.  To be able to learn that information as they analyze a writing prompt, design a thesis to answer a question, and use the skills to present that information to the class and the world is a powerful thing.

It is simply my belief that if the students can do some independent learning to create content, they learn how to learn.  There is no way to teach them everything they need to know today.  The power is giving them a chance at learning how to harness all this information that is at our finger tips to learn from it and teach it to others.  The odds are that most of my students will be preparing for jobs that I can't even imagine right now.  Their futures are unknown.  The most powerful thing I can provide to them now is the opportunity to build their confidence in becoming independent learners.  It will be on their own that they seek out ways to improve themselves in the future.

How can you challenge your students in this way?

Check out my Video Project Blog from a couple of years ago in my World History class here:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Great AVID Story

Teachers give student a little extra aid for college
07:07 AM CDT on Thursday, July 8, 2010
By JEFFREY WEISS / The Dallas Morning News
Link: Dallas Morning News Story
Dewan Woods' new Boston College hoodie is a welcome reminder of North Texas. The sweatshirt was a gift for the incoming freshman, one of many gifts to help set him up in college.
Woods just graduated from Richardson's Berkner High School, an honored product of a program designed to give a leg up to at-risk students who show a particular spark of promise. Woods delivered on that promise in high school, earning scholarships from his chosen college and from the Dell and Gates foundations.
Those grants will pay for his education and room and board through graduate school. But a kid needs more than his studies, a dorm room and a laptop to settle into college life far from home. Things like bedding, a desk lamp, cold weather gear for the Boston winters, and plane tickets to get him there and back.
I encourage you to read the rest of the story.  Really nice.  Also I wanted to link to the Berkner Cardboard Confessional video.  Very inspiring.

LINK to the Video

Monday, July 5, 2010

Prep for Staff Development - Teach Like a Champion

Lots to do this month, including rest and relax.  :)

My number one goal is to get my presentation ready for our summer staff development for school.  I'll be working with two other awesome teachers to present a chapter from Teach Like a Champion.  What we have decided to do is use chapter 4:

Chapter Four. Engaging Students in Your Lessons.
Technique 22. Cold Call.
Technique 23. Call and Response.
Technique 24. Pepper.
Technique 25. Wait Time.
Technique 26. Everybody Writes.
Technique 27. Vegas.
Reflection and Practice.
Do any of you use these techniques already?  What has worked for you and what have you struggled to implement.  I know my #1 thing I learned from TLAC was Cold Call and Pepper.  I like it because Pepper is 'game like' and I know my kids will enjoy the competitive nature of it.  Also I do a poor job of covering vocabulary.  Honestly, with my pre-AP kids I feel like they should be more independent with vocabulary, people and events.  They should be learning them outside of our lessons at school by reading their book, taking notes, creating flash cards, etc.  BUT, I still need to check on their learning.  Doing it in this informal way will be a wonderful tool for me to use.  Quick, simple and effective.

I also dabble in Vegas a bit (as you can see from the costume shot of me in the banner above).  But, I know Vegas needs to be sharp and quick to be effective.  I would love to do more hats and costuming.  It is just fun and the kids really perk up.  Problem is that it costs $ to do so and it is an investment.  But, one I am willing to add to and build on each year.

Our professional development is during the last week of July and first week of August.  I always enjoy these sessions because it is great to catch up with everyone after they have been away for the summer.  And most people are very open and willing to learn.  We aren't burdened by the work of the school year yet.

I would like what we have to show the faculty also be inspirational.  Teaching Like a Champion is indeed a great message.  I am not a big Notre Dame fan, but I love how their players tap the "Play Like a Champion Today" sign as they exit the locker room to the playing fields.  Hopefully we can instill that same kind of spirit in our faculty.

We are also going to be utilizing the Mobi Interwrite Tablet during our training.  One of our technology teachers is leading that up and I think it will be great for the faculty to see the Mobi in action and hopefully it can enhance our lesson.