Tag Archives: teacher

Small Wins for Growing Habits and Skills with Diverse Learners

Let’s be real. One of the hardest things for people to do is build a new habit. It takes commitment, focus, drive, and a constant reminder or way to trigger that action. In the learning environment habits play an equally important role as mastering curriculum. For many students habits may come naturally and become part of a routine – something they don’t even think about or focus on…they just do it.

For students with learning disabilities, habits of mind do not come easily – making learning even more complicated due to this missing ingredient. On top of the deficits that come into play for students with learning disabilities, such as, retaining information, processing, skill performance, and executive functioning, building a new habit demands a plan of action and the support of teachers. In the end, when students with learning disabilities take an opportunity to build a habit, they will be more inclined to improve their academic performance, skills, and most importantly, confidence. Continue reading Small Wins for Growing Habits and Skills with Diverse Learners

Retain Talented Educators in Your District

We know what great teaching looks like- dedication, continuous improvement, care for their students’ needs, etc.  But, do we know what great teachers look like?

Does your school and district consciously recognize great teachers, as a means of honoring them, for the great work they do? Does the public know who those great teachers are?

More than a certificate and a handshake, a well-designed teacher recognition program can complement other essential work in your school and district. Schools should think bigger than offering recognition at staff meetings. Include the community at large, so they can share in their local schools’ pride, by recognizing educators at athletic or other events. Continue reading Retain Talented Educators in Your District

Innovative Educator Corps Grant Application

Kent ISD Grants Blog

Calling all innovative educators! The Michigan Department of Education just announced a new grant opportunity with a very short turnaround time, due Nov. 16th by midnight! LEAs may nominate one teacher to apply. IEC teachers will receive a $5,000 stipend and an additional $5,000 to replicate or expand an innovative program.

Below is an excerpt from MDE’s memo:  https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/IEC_Grant_App_637504_7.pdf

 The IEC is a new recognition program for Michigan teachers who employ an innovative educational program, methodology, or strategy to help prepare their students for future career success. The IEC is a competitive application resulting in a $5,000 stipend, paid annually for up to three total years, along with an additional $5,000 stipend, also renewable for up to three total years, which will cover expenses related to the IEC member replicating, disseminating, or expanding the innovative program.

Each local education agency (LEA) may nominate one teacher to apply to the IEC…

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Build it and they will come!

Has anybody been around cinema long enough to remember a couple of the famous lines from Kevin Costner’s 1989 film, A Field of Dreams: “build it, and he will come” or “go the distance”? Now I have to admit, the film I automatically think of when I hear Kevin Costner’s name is “The Bodyguard.” Blame it on the soundtrack, but I digress – tee hee hee!

Kevin Costner’s character in A Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella, was practically mocked, ridiculed; and he almost went for broke for building a baseball field on land that had historically been used for farming – something predictable and something that upheld current social patterns. Perceptions, relationships and other variables were immediately strained, as Ray felt compelled to transform the land and eventually the hearts of the people in his community. Why would Ray change what on some level was working? The land was familiar, traditional and it just “fit” into the existing community, expectations and cultural patterns. Continue reading Build it and they will come!

Individuals First, Learners Second

It’s the beginning to a new school year. As you start the year take into consideration this mind-blowing fact.

Did you know that the term “didaskaleinophobia” is the acute fear of going to school? And, that it affects about 2.4% of all children?

I bet you didn’t know that, or are asking yourself why I bring that up? Well, I believe it is fair to say that most students have a sense of anxiety, nervousness, or a feeling of unexpected emotions that arise from going to school each day. Although these feelings may not all be considered “fears”, they are emotions that need to be controlled and tended to in order to give a sense of comfort and focused mind to learning. When we, as teachers, understand our students as individuals first and learners second, we are more inclined to make their experience within the classroom both productive and focused to their goals and success. Continue reading Individuals First, Learners Second

Which tech tools are worth your time and money?

Dear technology tool, you’ve changed. Frankly, you don’t do what you promised you would. My friends say I try someone with more features and a more attractive design. I’m sorry, but we’re done. Mrs. TeacherDo you find yourself perpetually breaking up with your educational technology tools or not even sure that they are worth the investment? Let me share a perspective that may help you determine which tools are worth your time, money and energy.

The Triple E Framework, developed out of University of Michigan by Dr. Liz Kolb, is a simple to use framework that may help you quickly identify what a technology tool can bring to your lessons. Dr. Kolb synthesized current technology and learning research into three E’s: Engage, Enhance and Extend. If I could sum up Dr. Kolb’s work into one statement, it would be this: Continue reading Which tech tools are worth your time and money?

2018/2019 PD Plan is LIVE

It is that time of year again. The students (and teachers) are starting to get excited for summer break. The days are getting longer and the weather warmer. And, we are starting to plan for next school year.

Click here to view the current Professional Learning Plan for 2018/2019 school year! 

Before we start to plan for the future, it is sometimes nice to reflect on where we have been.  Recently, I gathered some data from the past five years of professional learning offered at Kent ISD to see how our organization has evolved to meet the ever changing needs of our local education agencies. Continue reading 2018/2019 PD Plan is LIVE

Making Students Accountable for Their Learning

Do you ever run out of ideas to keep students engaged?  Have you ever wondered how to keep the students’ brains stimulated?  Do you want to create a safer classroom for your students?  Have you ever had trouble keeping students’ attention?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, “Structures for Active Engagement” is the professional learning you need.

Twenty four years ago, I took a very similar class.  My principal sent me to North Carolina to see what Kagan Cooperative Learning was all about.  The week that I spent there changed my entire teaching career, as well as, all of my students’ educational experiences in my classroom. Continue reading Making Students Accountable for Their Learning

Blended Coaching:   A Full Cup of Coaching with a Pinch of Technology

Written by: Andrew J. Smith, Math Consultant at Kent ISD

“Great teachers are much like jazz musicians, both deliberately setting the stage and then improvising. Great teachers have plans yet to respond to student learning and needs in real time…great teachers need to know the tools of their craft.” – Hattie, Fisher & Frey, Visible Learning for Mathematics, p. 17-18

Acknowledging the power and effect that individual teachers possess, but also recognizing our capacity as a regional service agency to support individual teachers was on the minds of Kent ISD’s Math Team, as they began strategically planning for the 2017-2018 school year.  They believe in both the power of professional learning and providing districts with the resources and opportunities to implement professional learning.  As a regional support, the Kent ISD Math team wanted to be able to stay connected and provide support to classrooms and individual teachers.   Continue reading Blended Coaching:   A Full Cup of Coaching with a Pinch of Technology

The Importance of Informational Text

What were you reading before you turned your eye onto this article?  Chances are it could be categorized into informational text reading. 

With the shift to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards also came a heightened focus on informational text reading, writing, and analysis. And, why shouldn’t it be.

Learning is a journey Continue reading The Importance of Informational Text