Episode 34: Valerie Wilson and Richard Woods; Candidates for Georgia State Superintendent of Schools

September 25, 2014

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This November, Georgia will elect a State Superintendent. The group has been down sized since the campaign trail started. The candidates for the office have been reduced to two: Valerie Wilson and Richard Woods.

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I recently attended The State of Education in Georgia Conference at the University of Georgia. During lunch the two remaining candidates were each given 15 minutes to speak.

The podcast today is my recording of their talks. Listen to their thoughts and comments. Keep in mind that if you are a Georgia registered voter that you will have a chance to vote for either candidate this fall.

I refrain from doing too much editorializing. The only edits involve the time between candidates and then at the conclusion of each talk. Otherwise, you are hearing exactly as the audience heard them.

I have included links to each candidate’s websites as well as a link to my blog article about the coming election.

Enjoy!

Length: 34:04

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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 32: Planning-A Key to Better Teaching

September 8, 2014

Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

This is so true in every facet of our lives and especially in the world of teaching. 

Too often colleagues will act as if no planning is necessary. They will fly by the seat of their pants…...doing whatever hits them at the moment. This is a terrible way to work with kids. The better teacher needs to take time to purposefully plan and the best plan is developed with the big idea in mind. 

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As Stephen Covey said, “Start with the end in mind.” What is it that you want the kids to know? To get to this takes time to develop unit plans that are used to guide the teacher in working with the kids. These plans should contain at least the following six elements:

1.     Essential Question (What is the point/purpose of this unit?)

2.     Content Vocabulary (What words are necessary for understanding the subject?)

3.     Formative Assessment (How do you know that the kids understand or get it?)

4.     Engagement (What activities will you use to engage the kids in the lessons?)

5.     Connections (How will you connect the topic to the real world?)

6.     Use of Time (Are there any special considerations?)

It takes time to create lessons that engage kids and move them to learn and grow academically. The better teacher understands that planning and preparing leads to success in the classroom. 

Bear Bryant once said, “It’s not the will to win that matters-everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

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Some excellent resources for developing plans and understanding why you should plan with the end in mind have been developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe in Understanding By Design and Essential Questions.

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       (Grant Wiggins           and                   Jay McTighe)

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Here is a link to an overview of UbD at grantwiggins.org

Here is a link to an overview of UbD at JayMctighe.com

Here are links to YouTube clips of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe explaining Understanding By Design.

Here is a link to the excerpt from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Example of a Frayer Model for learning words...

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Example of a Unit Plan

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Time to start planning…

Enjoy!

Length 35:09

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