Teaching Learning Leading K-12
Episode 46: Building Relationships with Hugh Kight

Episode 46: Building Relationships with Hugh Kight

February 10, 2015

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Hugh Kight is the principal of East Laurens Elementary School in Laurens County, Georgia.

Laurens is Hugh’s home. He grew up here, attended school, and eventually became a teacher and principal here.

Hugh is actually retired but “Un-retired” to be the principal of East Laurens.

Between his amazing energy and contagious smile he is someone who everyone should get to know. Just spend a few minutes with him and whatever troubles you will wilt away as you will see the silver linings, feel the sunshine, and want to smile…because you know that all will be good.

Mr. Kight is always looking for methods to recognize success. He connects with kids and, staff, and the community. He wants to find unique ways of saying … “Good Work! Keep it Up!”

Hence the Falcon Fun Zone!

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A place where the teachers and staff can schedule to send kids who have demonstrated hard work, success, and achievement! A place where the kids earn time to play…(check out the pics of the many games and activities)! What an amazing idea!!!

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By the way, the teachers have also been able to find time to initiate the room! (And the paintings of characters on the walls were created by a staff member!)

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Hugh also has his Coca-Cola Diner…It's not sponsored by the corporation…but it grew out of an idea for having a room to celebrate and connect with others. Hugh is known for his cooking skills…just ask anyone about the chicken dinners!

In this room he often feeds staff, students, families, and community members. The walls have the school’s test scores and other data to show their gains and successes. Feels like you are visiting family…

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Hugh likes to visit garage sales and flea markets…this is what led to his decorations for the room…Check out some of the really cool Coke artifacts!!!

I challenge you to think about the ways that Hugh has created to celebrate, connect, and build relationships and develop your own. It will inspire your kids to do well. It will help your staff feel valued and it will help you connect with the parents and community.

Enjoy!

Length: 37:26

Episode 45: Laura Robb-Vocabulary is Comprehension

Episode 45: Laura Robb-Vocabulary is Comprehension

February 2, 2015

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Today I am talking with Laura Robb. She is a teacher, speaker, author, and coach.

She has taught for over 43 years and continues to teach each year in middle grades classrooms.

She has published 18 books primarily focused on reading, writing, and comprehension.

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You will often find her speaking across the country and working with classroom teachers to learn how to address the needs of kids in reading, writing and text comprehension.

Laura is concerned about teachers who are “stressed out” with attempts to measure classroom success by using standardized, high stakes tests. The money and time that is spent on these tests could be better spent on training teachers to use better instructional practices.

Laura says, “One of the joys of teaching is that every child is unique.”

Our talk is primarily focused on one of her most recent works, “Vocabulary is Comprehension: Getting to the Root of Text Complexity”.

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This work is filled with understandable lessons on how to connect vocabulary building and development with complex text comprehension.

Any teacher could easily take this book read sections and immediately begin to use its lessons in her plans for the week.

Some instructional works are cumbersome with their own language and information. The teacher would need a translator first before even getting close to thinking about using the information…not this book! It is easy to understand and use!

Take a look at her Big 10 and then turn to any of the lessons associated with them and you will be able to start making a difference in a child’s understanding of the text and content.

I strongly encourage you to take this information to heart and to use her book to help change your lessons to help the kids “get it!”

By the way…also, check out her foundation. She and her son are focused on getting books into the hands of children with none.

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Enjoy!!!

 

www.LRobb.com

www.e2efoundation.org

Vocabulary is Comprehension

www.teacher.scholastic.com/products/classroombooks/laurarobb

www.twitter.com/LRobbTeacher

www.facebook.com/laura.robb.372

www.middleweb.com

Length: 1:00:19

Episode 43: Learning in the Fast Lane with Suzy Pepper Rollins

Episode 43: Learning in the Fast Lane with Suzy Pepper Rollins

January 15, 2015

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Suzy is a math and literacy consultant.

She is mostly known by math teachers for her awesome course called Math in the Fast Lane.  


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She also was my first guest to be interviewed so check out Episode 2: Math in the Fast Lane with Suzy Pepper Rollins.

Suzy is now a published author and wow did she do it right!

Her book, Learning in the Fast Lane: 8 Ways to Put All Students on the Road to Academic Success is an ASCD hit!

Her 8 ways are …

1.     Acceleration: Jump Starting Students Who Are Behind

2.     Standards Walls: Transforming Standards into Clear Learning Goals

3.     Success Starters: Sparking Student Success Right Away

4.     Formative Assessment and Feedback: Checking Student Understanding Minute by Minute

5.     Vocabulary Development: Implementing a Strategic Plan

6.     Student Work Sessions: Giving Students Greater Responsibility With Valuable Work

7.     Student Motivation: Creating Engaging Tasks and a Positive Learning Environment

8.     Scaffolding: Providing What’s Missing Just in Time

Her last chapter … 9 is titled Why Are Some Students Still Failing, and What Can We Do About It?

We talk about her path to being a published author and then get into some of the specific details of the book.

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Her book is right on the money for being a treasure chest of tools that can be put to use immediately in a classroom. It doesn't require a lengthy book study, on-line course or 1000's of dollars. She cuts through the education jargon and makes it easy to understand what the research says that we should be doing!

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There is so much to learn from Suzy and her book!

One caution… If you read this book you will be excited about seeing the change in your students’ success!

You can contact Suzy at

suzypepp@yahoo.com

or 

(404)399-6760

Enjoy!

Additional Links:

Chapter 1: Acceleration

A blog summation of What the Writer Learned Listening to a Webinar with Suzy about Learning in the Fast Lane

Length 53:05

Episode 42: First Year Teaching with Mrs. Melanie Knight

Episode 42: First Year Teaching with Mrs. Melanie Knight

January 8, 2015

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Mrs. Melanie Knight is a first year middle school teacher at Wheeler County Middle School, in Alamo, Georgia. She is a graduate of Brewton Parker College’s education program and teaching is in her family tree. She is the daughter of teachers; her father was also a superintendent of Wheeler County Schools as well as her grandfather.


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As of the interview, Mrs. Knight is in the middle of her first year of teaching.  She uses many instructional strategies, small groups, individual practice, integrated technology, word walls, and other techniques to help the kids get the content. When I asked her where she learned to use these she credited other staff in her school as important mentors.


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I had the great fortune of watching her teach. Not only does she have good command of many strong instructional strategies but she also emphasizes a need to develop the students’ understanding of content and academic vocabulary. She uses TIPS (Terms Information Pictures and Sentences)…this is an adaption of something she learned from Learning in the Fast Lane by Suzy Pepper Rollins and what she has been taught by other staff members to develop the students’ understanding of vocabulary. 


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Mrs. Knight emphasizes the need to create engagement. It is quite noticeable as the kids are up and working and part of the class. They are not passive, but active.


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 She also has developed an excellent rapport with the kids. She commented, “I’m strict but friendly.” When you walk in her class you are automatically aware that it is a bright and cheerful place to be. She noted, “I use bright colors to help me create a welcoming classroom.”


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When I asked her what has been most helpful for her during her first year in teaching she responded, “Help and support from the school staff and family members.” She continued, “It is helpful to have someone to talk to…to talk things out.”


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She is a big fan of Pinterest and finds that the social media tool is a great help for getting ideas and support for working with the kids.


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I asked her what advice she would give to someone who is getting ready to find their first teaching position and she replied, “Be open to new ideas…Be open to learning…learn from everyone around you.”


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Mrs. Knight’s energy and focus on the kids is wonderful!

Enjoy!

Length 29:28

Episode 41: The Georgia Vision Project with Dr. Stan DeJarnett

Episode 41: The Georgia Vision Project with Dr. Stan DeJarnett

December 18, 2014

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Dr. Stanley DeJarnett is the Executive Director of the Georgia Vision Project

The project came into existence in 2009, but implementation didn't begin until 2010.

 It is…

“… A collaborative effort between the Georgia School Boards’ Association, The Georgia School Superintendent’s Association and about 35 partner organizations…”

“The Georgia Vision Project exists for the purpose of transforming public education in Georgia.”

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Dr. Stanley DeJarnett

Dr. DeJarnett and I talk about what the Vision Project is and how it works.

For example, Stan notes, “It is about sharing a clear and compelling vision of where public schools are going.”

He comments that there really are two target audiences:

1)    Teachers and School Administrators

2)    Parents

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Stan reflects, “The story that our teachers have to tell about the lives that they change through their interaction with students is the story we want our community to hear.”

He continues, “We make a huge difference in the lives of over 1.7 million children in this state every day and this work is being done by teachers and those who support teachers.”

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“We hope that the reality of what we do in our schools every day…a positive reality…can be reflected in our message.”

The Georgia Vision Project has 7 Components:

1.    Early Learning and Student Success

2.    Teaching and Learning

3.    Teaching and Learning Resources

4.    Human and Organizational Capital

5.    Governance, Leadership, and Accountability

6.    Culture, Climate, and Organizational Efficacy

7.    Financial Resources

Check out several short videos to learn more at the Vision Project website.

Here is the link to the homepage...Georgia Vision Project

Enjoy!

Length 44:35

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