Teaching Learning Leading K-12
Episode 97: Teachers - 10 Promises to Make Yourself for Next School Year

Episode 97: Teachers - 10 Promises to Make Yourself for Next School Year

April 27, 2016
10 Promises to Make Yourself for Next School Year


From year to year, it is a great practice to reflect on what we can do better. 
As a classroom teacher, there are some practices that will help you accelerate the kids with greater success. Some of these concepts are instructional and some are relational, but what they all have in common is that if you use them you will help more kids overcome the fog or issues associated with not understanding. 

You will be able to connect and help the kids move beyond the walls that stand in their way. I encourage you to look at these 10 promises and whether you make all of them part of your future plans or just one, commit. 

Follow through with adding one of these promises to your plans for what to do better next year. 

I guarantee you that you will be glad that you did.


Here are my 10 promises to make Yourself for Next Year:

a.       Get to know more kids by name sooner

b.      Make more positive contacts home

c.       Create a blog

d.      Learn to use interactive boards with the kids

e.      Emphasize vocabulary

f.        Plan backwards-Start with the end in mind-Use a Unit Plan

g.       Get better at giving instructional feedback

h.      Use formative assessment more frequently

i.         Use charts with formative assessments, especially whiteboards

j.        Create more engaging activities


Check out my Pinterest boards for additional support: www.pinterest.com/smiletto

Word Walls

Unit Plans


Using Charts

laura Robb - Vocabulary is Comprehension

Formative Assessment, part 1

Formative Assessment, part 2

Formative Assessment, part 3 


Length: 24:42

Episode 96: Classroom Management - De-escalation

Episode 96: Classroom Management - De-escalation

April 20, 2016


If you work in a school at some point you are going to have to deal with confrontation. Issues arise that need you to try to remove the heat, lower the temperature, de-escalate the situation.

Today, in this segment on classroom management, I am focused on de-escalation.

You know…the concept that if we stay calm and use a specific skill set that we can keep in control of a situation.


Here are my ...

10 Keys to De-escalation:

1.     Someone has to be the adult

2.     Lower the temperature.

3.     Watch your tone.

4.     Be aware of your hands

5.     Choose your words carefully

6.     Don’t make them look at you.

7.     Is it necessary to talk right now?

8.     Remove the audience.

9.     Don’t talk down…actually move so you don’t hover over

10.Do not threaten.

Throughout the show, I explain what I mean with each key.

I challenge you to place this list of 10 techniques, strategies, and concepts someplace in your classroom where you can see them. Put the list someplace where the students wouldn’t pay attention but you would. After putting the 10 keys someplace that you see them make sure that you practice them.


What do you think?

When you feel that blood boiling, that temperature rising, and the brain is suggesting irrational solutions refer to the list.

Remember above all, my number one key is that someone has to be the adult and it should be you.

Here are some other podcast episodes that might be helpful for you:

Episode 22: Technology and Classroom Management

Episode 85: Classroom Management- Its Ok to Start Over

Episode 86: Classroom Management- Consequences

Episode 87: Classroom Management- Rules




Length: 26:14

Episode 95: Formative Assessment in the Classroom, Part 3

Episode 95: Formative Assessment in the Classroom, Part 3

April 13, 2016


This is the conclusion of a three-part series on Formative Assessment in the Classroom.

If you haven’t listened to the first two parts they are Episodes 93 and 94.

In this three-part journey, I have introduced you to several characterizations of kids you might have in your classes:

Mr. Compliant, The Recluse, The Answerer, The Comedian, The Disruptor, The Questioner, and Love Struck. (I explain each of these in the episode.)

By the way, they sound a little like characters from the 1960s Batman TV show…

After reading and knowing who they are can we agree that…

Kids are different from each other.

Can we agree on this?

If so, we need to make sure that we are taking the time to check if they are following you. It is important to see if they get what you are introducing them to, you know ... do they get the content?

The way to do this is to plan for formative assessment opportunities during your lessons.

In the second part of this series I explained my working definition of Formative Assessment:

 Formative assessment is the purposeful use of activities that will not be graded that will reveal to the teacher what the kids know and don’t know. The results of these activities will be used to adjust instruction to help the kids develop a better understanding, over-come confusion, or move on because they already get it.

In today’s episode, I introduce you to formative assessment tools.

Listed below are a few formative assessment tools that teachers are using in their classrooms. Each of these is linked in my Pinterest board called Assessment Strategies.


10 Tools for Formative Assessment in the Classroom:

1.      Five Powerful Questions

2.      Ten Assessments in 90 Seconds

3.      Marzano’s Question Stems

4.      Tickets Out The Door

5.      Stickies

6.      Red Light (Stop Light)

7.      The Mini-Whiteboard

8.      Craft sticks

9.      Craft Sticks with mini-whiteboards

10.  Charts



Go here to read my blog article on formative assessment.

Keep in mind that all kids are not the same; hence, they need you to figure out whether they are following you and understanding the content. The way to do this is with formative assessment. These activities are purposeful, not graded and the information gathered is used to adjust instruction.


In this series, I talked about the Why, the What, and the Tools.

So have you made plans to take a look at my Pinterest boards

Do so now. 

Go check out the many ideas for formative assessments that are linked on my site.

Have fun working with the kids and helping them get your content!

Nothing better than when that light bulb comes on!


Length: 33:44

Play this podcast on Podbean App