Teaching Learning Leading K-12
Episode 20: Classworks with Kristie Brooks

Episode 20: Classworks with Kristie Brooks

May 9, 2014


Kristie is a former special education teacher who eventually became a Special Education Director for a school system. She now is a Georgia Account Executive for Classworks.

Classworks is a web-based tool for assisting students in achieving more during their education. It has tools for assessment and instruction that are used to personalize learning and to support teachers as they help students achieve academic goals.

Kristie and I explore the following questions and many more…

·         How can software programs go beyond the “computer lab” to impact classroom teaching and student engagement?

·         How does Classworks use student data to form individualized plans? How can a teacher use this tool to help with differentiation?

·         What do you think is the greatest challenge for teachers working with kids? How can Classworks assist with these challenges?

Hope that you enjoy the conversation. 

Spend some time at their website or contact Kristie if you have any questions.

For more information go to…


or contact Kristie at


Length 26:32

Episode 15: Ms. Kamorra Crafton, 3rd grade teacher talking with me about learning centers and mini-whiteboards

Episode 15: Ms. Kamorra Crafton, 3rd grade teacher talking with me about learning centers and mini-whiteboards

March 20, 2014

This is Episode 15! 

Today, I am talking with Ms. Kamorra Crafton, a 3rd grade teacher at Saxon Heights Elementary School in Dublin City Schools, Dublin, Georgia.
This is her 7th year in teaching and her 3rd year teaching 3rd graders.
I had the pleasure seeing her teach using learning centers and mini-whiteboards to create engagement and to provide feedback about student understanding! Her students were involved and excited to be working in the centers and using the boards. It is not an exaggeration to say that they were totally engaged in the activities! Ms. Crafton commented, "I use the centers to provide more individualized instruction." She continued, They allow me to see what the kids are struggling with..."
The mini-whiteboards help her get immediate feedback. She shared, "Anytime they can get out those markers and whiteboards they are excited!"
She reflected, "The information gathered helps her with determining what direction she needs to go, what she needs to re-teach and what she may need to make harder..."
I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and I am glad that I was able to see her work with the children. 
Check out the use of learning centers and mini-whiteboards to assist with aiding instruction and getting feedback about student understanding.
I have a board on Pinterest called Assessment Strategies where I have pins pertaining to using the mini-whiteboards and one called Stations(Learning Centers). 
Length 17:12
Episode 13: Formative Instructional Practices with Kelli Harris Wright GADOE

Episode 13: Formative Instructional Practices with Kelli Harris Wright GADOE

March 6, 2014


Kelli is a recently retired public educator. She was a special education and general education teacher. She also served in many different capacities within public school systems. Her most recent role, prior to retiring and going to work for the Georgia Department of Education, was as the Director of K-12 Teaching and Learning for a large Atlanta school district. She now oversees the FIP or Formative Instructional Practices program which falls under the Division for Assessment and Accountability at the DOE.

FIP is based upon the work of Rick Stiggins, Jan and Steve Chappuis, and Judith Arter.  According to Kelli, “It focuses on the formal and informal methods that teachers and students collect information about student learning. It is about the use of the information that is collected.”

Formative Assessment helps teachers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their students. The collected information then enables the teachers to modify their instructional practices to address the needs of the kids.

One aspect of this program is that the teachers learn how to create learning targets based upon the standards for the unit content. These help the teacher understand what it is that needs to be taught.

Formative assessment is purposeful. The teacher creates activities that provide information about the understandings of the students. As a result, these activities typically are not graded and should not be graded. It shows what the students know or don’t know therefore, a grade cannot be administered.

The actual training for teachers happens through professional learning networks, overview sessions, and on-line modules. There are five on-line modules for teachers.

1.        Overview of the Research about Formative Assessment

2.        Learning Targets

3.        Ways to Collect Evidence of Student Learning

4.        Analyzing the Evidence of Student Learning/ Effective Feedback

5.       Student Ownership of Learning/Peer Feedback

There are two additional modules: One for leadership personnel and another for coaches and teacher leaders.

Kelli recommends three books to help with understanding formative assessment:

Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning

Jan Chappuis, Pearson Assessment Training Institute

©2010 • Pearson • Paper, 272 pp

Published 03/01/2009

Assessment Balance and Quality: An Action Guide for School Leaders, 3/E

Steve Chappuis, Carol Commodore, Rick J. Stiggins, Pearson Assessment Training Institute

 Pearson • Paper, 240 pp Published 03/02/2010


Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading

       Robert J. Marzano, Publisher: Marzano Research Laboratory

      November 11, 2009


You can find more information about Georgia’s use of FIP at www.gadoe.org/fip or simply google Georgia FIP.

You can contact Kelli at

 Phone: (404) 463-5047

Fax: (404) 656-5976

Email: Kharris-wright@doe.k12.ga.us

Length 34:09

Episode 12: Darby Jones & Arts Now: Improving Education Through the Arts

Episode 12: Darby Jones & Arts Now: Improving Education Through the Arts

February 26, 2014

Darby Jones is the CEO of Arts Now.

Darby comes from the classroom; He taught in an Atlanta middle school for 10 years and he was the fine arts department chair. During his teaching days he started working with The High Museum of Art in Atlanta which lead to him working with the Atlanta College of Art and then the Savannah College of Art and Design as an adjunct professor in visual arts instruction.

ArtsNow is about integrating the arts into schools.  Darby calls it, “A true collaborative.”

The program has local, state, and national support. It's not seeking to replace arts in schools but instead is focused on the integration of the arts in all content areas.

Darby comments that too often “kids learn in silos” and this program breaks those down. It develops connections. It is about increasing engagement. It helps make learning meaningful.

I had the pleasure of seeing the program in action with the teachers and kids in an elementary school in Dublin City Schools, GA. The kids were truly excited to be participating together and using the instructional strategies. They were discovering and excited to be involved in the activities throughout all content areas.

Find Darby and Arts Now on the web at www.artsnowlearning.org or on facebook at Arts Now Learning where you can find contact links for Darby.

Length 29:34 minutes

Episode 11: Dr. Lodge McCammon/Differentiation and Engagement, part 2

Episode 11: Dr. Lodge McCammon/Differentiation and Engagement, part 2

February 19, 2014

This is part 2 of my discussion with Dr. McCammon.  

If you haven't listened to Episode 10 (part 1), yet...I encourage you to start there first.

As we continue our conversation, Lodge states that the purpose of Flipping the Classroom is to make the teacher more efficient. The teacher creates short film clips to introduce or continue the lecture and thus, makes more class time for hands-on activities.

Listen to his awesome thoughts about there being an intersection between challenge and engagement... he shares his ideas on engaging the students who don't want to be in school at the same time as the teacher has to recognize their level for challenge...

We couldn't have completed our talk without spending some time with his ideas about music and the classroom...
Lodge is an amazing musician and I think that you will totally enjoy hearing him express his ideas about..

 "My passion is to bring the power of music right into the classroom, allowing (the kids) to be artists, again."

We had a great time recording this conversation...I know that you will enjoy listening! 

Have fun and check out Dr. McCammon on social media at the following links:

On YouTube search for Flipped Teacher Training as well as Lodge McCammon or follow the links below.

Also, visit his website:

Length of Episode 11: 

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