Conversations #68

Post-Show description: 

Our conversation this week was in response to the NY Times article by Elizabeth green, published on March 2, 2010, tiltled, Building a Better Teacher .

Chat Log

11:29:46  Sheila: Morning Maureen and PeggyG
11:29:56  PeggyG: Good morning!
11:30:05  Maureen: Good morning Sheila
11:30:07  PeggyG: usteam or ETTA today?
11:30:12  Sheila: both
11:30:16  PeggyG: thanks
11:32:58  Lisa Parisi: Hello
11:33:12  PeggyG: Hi everyone
11:33:35  Lisa Parisi: stream is up in ETTA and ustream
11:33:36  Sheila: Did the March Madness pic today.
11:33:53  Lisa Parisi:
11:34:03  jackiegerstein: Hi
11:34:32  PeggyG: that is a GREAT picture!! :-) love it!!
11:35:13  PeggyG: hi Jackie!
11:35:23  jackiegerstein: Good to see you again Peggy
11:35:40  PeggyG: love the Flat Stanley clone story!! :-)
11:36:16  jackiegerstein: Peggy - how are you getting the "news" so fast - from their stream?
11:36:26  PeggyG:  this is the right blog, isn't it?
11:36:38  PeggyG: yes the ustream
11:36:55  PeggyG: ustream doesn't have as much lag as the ETT-A audio
11:37:34  jackiegerstein: I am ustream too - a bit choppy for me - but you heard the Flat Stanley project way before me
11:37:43  PeggyG: creating a blog to extend the Flat Stanley experience is such a great idea!!
11:38:08  PeggyG: maybe bandwidth Jackie?? my ustream isn't at all choppy
11:38:29  jackiegerstein: maybe
11:39:11  PeggyG: I really miss collecting the sap from my Massachusetts days!!! That was always a wonderful school experience for our kids!
11:39:43  PeggyG: it took me a long time to get used to eating the maple syrup with sour pickles!!
11:39:52  Lisa Parisi: Ugg.
11:40:09  PeggyG: it was expected!! we had to eat it!!
11:40:13  McTeach: I'm here! Sorry I'm was feeling super chatty!
11:40:24  Lisa Parisi: Why not bring him in?
11:40:35  Maureen: I was in NH yesterday, shocked- no snow. I still have 6-18", a few bare spots under trees. Spent the day cleaning up my dad's gardens.
11:40:51  PeggyG: what a great video experience for the kids!! I'm so glad you let them use the cameras!
11:41:08  McTeach: Lisa...was that question for me?
11:41:13  Lisa Parisi: Yes.
11:41:27  PeggyG: I have a lot of shots like that from my 6 year old granddaughter--but they're important to her!!
11:41:36  McTeach: I was on the phone with him.
11:41:41  Lisa Parisi: Ahh
11:41:54  McTeach: He was talking basketball...both March Madness and my nephew's game
11:42:03  PeggyG: what fun stories Maria!!
11:42:06  Lisa Parisi: Well, we're glad you made it.
11:42:13  McTeach: Me too! Thanks!
11:42:26  PeggyG: someone should have been videotaping Maria :-)
11:42:47  McTeach: Is it on YouTube yet???
11:42:48  PeggyG: those are priceless quotes from the teacher!
11:42:58  Lisa Parisi:
11:43:00  PeggyG: she has a bit of editing to do :-)
11:43:16  jackiegerstein: Very funny!
11:43:40  jackiegerstein: You should have videotaped them videotaping the process
11:43:52  PeggyG: that is a great idea to have those kinds of informal meetings!
11:44:04  Maureen: do you feed them?
11:44:28  Maureen: That's great that people come without a bribe
11:44:38  PeggyG: how do you describe that time for staff? do people come with something to share?
11:45:19  Maureen: We used to do before school, but it was hard for folks with kids. After school many of the teachers are coaches or have family responsibilities
11:45:27  Lisa Parisi: Welcome Karen!
11:45:40  PeggyG: can you train people to be patient and understanding?
11:45:46  karenjan: hi lisa,
11:46:00  PeggyG: Hi karenjan!! great to see you!!
11:46:02  karenjan: it's been ages since i've been here
11:46:14  karenjan: hi everyone. just need to get the audio working
11:46:16  McTeach: Peggy, I don't think you can train people to be patient and understanding, they have to want it!
11:46:25  PeggyG: yes--compassion and empathy too! I agree Sheila
11:46:38  PeggyG: use the ustream karenjan
11:46:41  karenjan: sorry, i'm late, how many people have read the article?
11:46:42  Sheila:
11:46:58  karenjan: it's not a quick read
11:47:04  McTeach: That'd be me
11:47:22  PeggyG: you can teach people not to use sarcasm with kids
11:47:22  McTeach: Sarcasm works well with middle schoolers
11:47:38  jackiegerstein: I read most of it - it got hung up on Lemov's taxonomy
11:47:48  PeggyG: we just got the article today so I am just skimming it
11:47:49  karenjan: aren't we all better educators than when we first started in the field?
11:48:01  Lisa Parisi: Very much so, Karen.
11:48:26  PeggyG: I don't understand the sarcasm of teenagers!! always sounds like put downs to me
11:48:28  karenjan: i often wonder what we learn when we have our own children. but don't believe you have to have your own kids to be a great teacher
11:48:49  McTeach: You have to use sarcasm appropriately with them
11:48:59  PeggyG: good point karenjan! we learn a lot by being parents (and grandparents)
11:49:10  McTeach: My kids know I love them and they love when I'm sarcastic
11:49:15  McTeach: Yes, it's the humor that they love
11:49:34  jackiegerstein: My gifted students loved my sarcasm - I think you need to define
11:49:47  PeggyG: hoping to get a laugh at the expense of making fun of someone else--at least that's the way it sounds to me
11:50:03  McTeach: You have to be able to read kids...which kids love the sarcasm and which ones might be hurt by it.
11:50:31  MariaK: If sarcasm is used about a subject or content area rather than directed at a person - then there can be some humor.
11:50:39  PeggyG: that's a great example Lisa!
11:52:19  PeggyG: @McTeach--being able to read kids is important but that is what is often hard to do
11:52:25  Maureen: I think that it really all comes down to caring about the kids. If you care, you get to know them and you know what works, what doesn't.
11:52:50  karenjan: and we are seeing many more literal students - NLD issues, Asperger's etc
11:53:25  jackiegerstein: There are also cultural differences in terms of use of sarcasm
11:53:35  McTeach: Peggy...I totally agree! I never thought of it as a gift, being able to read people really well, but I guess it really is
11:53:52  McTeach: Absolutely!
11:54:06  PeggyG: teachers are better at reading kids than kids are at reading other kids and knowing when sarcasm is appropriate
11:54:33  Maureen: When I first started I used to assess the kids, now I teach them
11:54:37  McTeach: Excellent point, Peggy!
11:55:10  PeggyG: love that point Maureen! I'm sure you're still assessing them as you teach though (informally)
11:55:39  sroseman: they own the problem
11:56:00  jackiegerstein: Funny - when I first started I cared so much about the kids - that it took precedence over everything else - it consumed me.  I learned to set my own boundaries
11:56:09  karenjan: we never stop learning
11:56:14  PeggyG: I find the Diigo sticky notes/comments really intersting on this document. They're having an interesting conversation. :-) many pros and cons
11:56:34  Lisa Parisi: I have to turn my diigo account on the see them.
11:56:45  karenjan: Peggy - i saved that as an excellent example of the use of Diigo.
11:56:59  Maureen: @peggyg- yes, but altho I still assess their learning- it isn't the same. Before I used to think my job was done- teach, assess. Now, I know that I need to do more than that- passing an assessment doesn't do it for me. I want them to learn, to care, to grow and go a lot further than I ever did when I first started.
11:57:16  PeggyG: I agree about the 8 weeks student teaching experience! Our PDS students actually got 20 weeks of student teaching and we actually co-teachers
11:57:37  PeggyG: excellent description Maureen!! that is so true!
11:58:09  karenjan: looking back, what do you wish you had exposure to during the first year or two of  classroom teaching
11:58:13  sroseman: love your cat
11:58:52  Maureen: @karenjan I had a co-teacher... so it was an excellent way to learn
11:59:19  PeggyG: I think co-teaching is a powerful model for student teachers! Students get 2 teachers :-)
11:59:47  Maureen: @Sheila- you need a safe environment in order to really be able to evaluate your own teaching.
11:59:57  jackiegerstein: Have to go - bye
12:00:03  PeggyG: bye jackie
12:01:19  PeggyG: student teachers and beginning teachers need support even when they are observing other teachers--they don't know what to look for and how to make sense out of what they are seeing.
12:01:46  PeggyG: that's why a mentor is so important so they can discuss their observations with someone
12:01:49  McTeach: That's what I kept waiting for in the credential program!!!
12:01:56  sroseman: article..can somone give me the url
12:02:28  Lisa Parisi:
12:02:37  PeggyG: it's a long article :-)
12:02:57  PeggyG: very important points Sheila!!
12:05:17  PeggyG: common prep times can be really valuable but they are often not used for collaboration
12:05:31  Maureen: We're on break at the moment, but our first day back- meetings- and for the 1st time we are having mixed subject meetings to talk about working more collaboratively. Altho only for gr 4-9... the prek-3 are still separate.
12:05:45  PeggyG: that's exciting Maureen!!
12:06:49  Maureen: I think I have convinced my asst head to go to Saratoga for the curriculum conference this summer. Perhaps she will come back with new ideas.
12:07:23  PeggyG: that is true Sheila! observing other teachers needs to be an accepted part of the culture. Some teachers are threatened by being observed by other teachers. Easier if it's the norm
12:08:08  Maureen: We always had co-teaching prek-3rd... lost it a few years ago. I love co-teaching, like a marriage, but when it works- it is absolutely the best!
12:08:49  Sheila: I think schools need common language and experiences too.
12:09:00  Lisa Parisi: And when it doesn't, Maureen?
12:09:07  sroseman: co teaching can rejuventate teaching
12:09:07  Lisa Parisi: I've been in those situations too.
12:09:14  Maureen: @Lisa- I've had a few of those
12:10:35  PeggyG: I love the co-teaching model we used with our student teachers but we always had to teach the mentor teachers about co-teaching--it wasn't a role they knew about and understood
12:11:21  karenjan: @Peggy what needs to be taught about coteaching?
12:12:14  Maureen: @peggyg- my former head always thought that I was in charge and my co-teacher was more like an asst... she & I did not feel that way, but in many cases that is true. My partner was the best. She taught me so much
12:12:19  PeggyG: they aren't used to sharing the teaching and their past experience was to teach one at a time--ST observes teacher then teaches alone, etc.
12:12:20  Lisa Parisi: I'm going through co-teaching training now.
12:12:37  Maureen: @Lisa- what is that?
12:12:48  PeggyG: I taught co-teaching to both ST and mentor teachers and there are many variations
12:13:07  McTeach: There are secrets???
12:13:12  sroseman: there is great mentoring at
12:13:22  Maureen: You can give them a tool box... it keeps on growing.
12:13:25  sroseman: and you can pick up nuggets there
12:14:25  Maureen: No, I don't think so.... I am great with some kids, but not all of them.. They are the ones that keep me up at night.
12:14:31  Sheila: They are secrets when I don't know what they are! :)
12:14:34  MariaK: What are the traits that make someone a great teacher?
12:14:54  Cathy E: Some people are born with those traits
12:15:13  PeggyG: co-teaching is often considered what teachers/special ed teachers do but it's valuable anytime you have 2 people teaching in a room (even teachers and assistants or parent volunteers)
12:15:13  karenjan: @maria - they care about all their students' ability to learn
12:15:17  sroseman: Classroom management is the key ... everyone has their own style
12:15:34  Maureen: I think that there are 3 things- knowledge of content is important too...
12:15:52  PeggyG:  This is a good co-teaching summary
12:16:05  Cathy E: some people have great classroom management - but they are not great teachers
12:16:14  karenjan: learning doesn't end when you graduate with the education degree, in fact, that is the beginning of the process
12:16:33  PeggyG: I agree Cathy E!!
12:16:53  karenjan: great teachers share their passion for learning and for their profession
12:17:04  Cathy E: you have to be a nice person to be a great teacher
12:17:05  Maureen: They can be duplicated.. but since the kids are not the same, the situations are always changing... duplicating lessons doesn't work
12:17:43  PeggyG: agree Maureen--same rationale for not teaching the same lesson every year for 30 years :-) kids change
12:18:40  PeggyG: how do you decide what makes a "good lesson" ??? :-)
12:19:05  Cathy E: some people think if they spit back a lesson plan they are good teacher - NOT
12:19:20  karenjan: a "good lesson" has to include universal design for learning principles
12:19:25  Sheila: @maureen - and was I disappointed when I found that out in my first years. I thougth it was going to be soo easy.
12:19:46  PeggyG: sometimes when principals observe lessons they expect to see kids quiet, on task and following directions-sometimes they like seeing discovery learning and lots of conversation and interaction, even if it's noisy
12:20:04  Maureen: A friend at school always knows when I have had a good "lesson" with my 9th graders.. she says it makes my whole day- and she's right.
12:20:07  karenjan: learning should not be quiet
12:20:12  PeggyG: UD is essential!
12:20:54  karenjan: @peggy but how many teachers have even heard of it? they all know DI but haven't heard of UDL
12:21:08  PeggyG: that's the problem karenjan!!
12:21:16  Lisa Parisi: Well, Karen, we have to keep instructing.
12:21:16  karenjan: i'm doing my part!
12:22:10  PeggyG: in AZ all teachers are required to take training in teaching ESL students and these are effective teaching strategies for ALL students, not just ESL
12:22:51  PeggyG: Lisa is describing the problem I was referring to--what is "out of control"?
12:23:10  karenjan: sheila the article talked about who went into teaching
12:23:22  karenjan: so who are the people attracted to the teaching profession
12:23:50  McTeach: My previous boss used to say "noise is good if it's good noise!"
12:23:55  Maureen: I like control, but I have to learn every day that it is not my job to control kids. For example I am teaching Alice to 9th graders and one kid keeps on adding different stuff to scenarios- uses candycanes instead of trees, tanks instead of cars, etc.. I was annoyed, but when I actually looked at the code he was writing- he was ahead of everyone. I told him that I was getting over myself- he just smiled.
12:24:03  Sheila: especially for second careers . . .
12:24:19  PeggyG: you often hear student teachers and beginning teachers say they chose teaching because they wanted to make a difference in kids lives
12:24:41  PeggyG: love that story Maureen!!
12:25:22  Lisa Parisi: Peggy, I went into teaching because I hated school and didn't want students to have to hate school as much as I did.
12:25:41  PeggyG: that's another reason people often mention
12:25:46  sroseman:
12:25:59  Maureen: When I was teaching science, the only rules I was strict about were safety rules- those were no second chances, no reminders.. and they had to be productive- a more slippery rule
12:26:04  Sheila: Why do a lot of retired military go into teaching? I've met a lot of them in my career. Some good, some could use more help.
12:26:13  PeggyG: and people who go into special ed teaching are often people who experienced special education growing up
12:26:24  karenjan: @lisa- i think you are unusual in that. too many people are attracted to teaching cuz it was easy for them. they have no understanding of the challenges some of ourstudents face
12:26:34  Lisa Parisi: Sheila, I had an assistant like that once.  Not a good fit.
12:27:21  Sheila: @Maureen I can relate!
12:27:23  Maureen: @karenjan- you're right. School was easy for me, and it has been a lot of learning to really try to understand what makes it hard for some kids and how I can help. Still learning that!
12:28:25  PeggyG: now many of the people going into teaching are people who have lost their jobs/careers and need to start over
12:28:43  Lisa Parisi: And I teach math the best because it was so difficult for me.
12:28:48  karenjan: @maureen - thanks for admitting that! :)
12:30:09  PeggyG: I had a fabulous student in my PDS program who came into teaching after a career in theater and wanted to contribute something of value to kids and experience the rewards of teaching. he is an incredible teacher with all of his theatrical talents!
12:30:46  Cathy E:  naturally Nurturing
12:30:56  PeggyG: when he dressed up as the "Cat in the Hat" and brought the story to life the kids really thought he WAS the Cat in the Hat!! :-)
12:31:03  karenjan: so what do you when you have a lousy student teacher? can you guide them to another profession?
12:31:22  Lisa Parisi: I have tried...with the help of the university supervisor.
12:31:31  karenjan: interesting problem...
12:31:33  sroseman: do you have any of the urls of those blogs
12:31:39  PeggyG: sometimes you DO have to counsel them out of teaching as a career
12:32:10  PeggyG: another rousing conversation!! thanks everyone!!
12:32:24  karenjan: I also wonder who is attracted to general education and who is attracted to special education
12:32:37  Maureen: @peggy Sometimes it is just the subject or age- I thought I wanted to be a secondary English teacher- but I hated it! Love teaching- younger- science, etc...
12:32:45  Sheila: Good question KarenJan!
12:33:03  Lisa Parisi: And then there are people like me, Karen...both.
12:33:15  PeggyG: I agree Maureen!! I also had teachers who weren't doing well with a certain grade level and when I moved them to a different grade level they were excellent
12:33:20  karenjan: great conversation
12:33:21  Lisa Parisi:
12:33:28  Lisa Parisi: Bye everyone
12:33:28  McTeach: Thanks ladies!
12:33:36  PeggyG: bye all! have a great week!
12:33:37  karenjan: thank you for facilitating this
12:33:39  sroseman: thanks all
12:33:53  PeggyG: join us on WOW 3 tonight--Sheila is our special guest re Belize!!
12:33:58  Cathy E: Any great spring website ya'll can share?
12:34:03  Sheila: :)
12:34:22  PeggyG: what's a great spring website?? :-)
12:34:38  sroseman: and some great teacher blogs..please share
12:35:11  PeggyG:  how about this writing site?
12:35:27  PeggyG: tons of great interactive writing tools and ideas
12:35:28  Cathy E: I knew I could count on you, Peggy
12:36:19  PeggyG: OR this one--ways to get involved in Earth Day activities and Earthcast 2010
12:36:41  Cathy E: great
12:36:49  Sheila: Oh, yes, CathyE think about Earthcast . . . :)
12:36:55  PeggyG: yes!! :-)
12:37:04  Sheila: Doing roadkill count now.
12:37:33  Sheila: Count roadkill until May 1 (ish) and post weekly to
12:37:51  Sheila: More ideas at
12:38:11  PeggyG:  OR all of Tom Barrett's Interesting Ways presentations about how to use different tools in the classroom
12:38:52  PeggyG: that should keep you busy learning :-) Sheila's roadkill project is amazing!
12:39:08  PeggyG: have a great day!
12:39:21  Sheila: Heading out. Thanks everyone!