Approaching Teaching: Week of December 9, 2018

 What is your learning mission?

MISSION: Data Devotee

MISSION: Feedback Fanatic


Learning From Mistakes. Teachers know that students learn a tremendous amount from scrutinizing their mistakes, but getting them to take the time to stop and reflect is a challenge. Some teachers have stopped giving grades altogether to try to refocus class on learning instead of on grades. For others, that’s too extreme. Leah Alcala, a seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher at King Middle School in Berkeley, California, developed a grading strategy that falls somewhere in the middle. Learn about here approach in this article from MindShift.

MISSION: IB Programme Innovator


Agency in the IB. In this podcast, Anne van Dam, an international educator who has worked in schools in the Netherlands, China, Singapore and Switzerland in a variety of roles; as a teacher, PYP coordinator, assistant principal and school Director, discusses the enhanced PYP and the role of agency in the IB.


Learning to Learn. Good learning and study habits do not come naturally for most students. The good news is they can be taught. The secret to student success? Read this article about how to teach them how to learn.

Student Agency. According to the World Economic Forum (2016), the top three skills required for work in 2020 are complex problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity. The traditional model of schooling, where students take a passive role in their learning, does not encourage the engagement and rigor required to develop these skills. Instead, new forms of learning must emerge, where students experience high levels of agency and become increasingly independent and capable of directing their learning. Read more here about how to build student agency through concept-based inquiry.

Learn and Earn

Learning How to Learn. This Coursera course offered by University of California San Diego gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. We’ll learn about the how the brain uses two very different learning modes and how it encapsulates (“chunks”) information. We’ll also cover illusions of learning, memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects. Starts December 8: Learn more | Register.

Harvard’s Project Zero. Discover research-based practices that promote critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity. Choose online courses from Harvard’s Project Zero as your Category 3 PD options. These programs, including six online course and one on-campus institute, are based on research and grounded in day-to-day practice. The upcoming term takes place February 25 – May 26, 2019. $525/course. Learn more | Apply here.

2019 IB Workshops and Resources. In the new 2019 workshop catalogue, discover new professional development opportunities to support you in delivering the four IB programmes. For the PYP, workshops will support the implementation of the enhanced programme. For the revised DP mathematics and language courses, find both workshops and subject-specific seminars (the latter take place from February to May 2019).

MISSION: Literacy Enthusiast


Books. Here is the 2018 New York Times/New York Public Library list of best illustrated children’s books.

Do You Speak Emoji? In this article read about how the emoji is the birth of a new type of language.

In the Mood? Thinking about moods is an excellent way to access texts—both written and visual. In this short video, Trevor Bryan, author of The Art of Comprehension: Exploring Visual Texts to Foster Comprehension, Conversation, and Confidence, explains his “access lenses,” which prompt students to explore faces, body language, and sound/silence in art and reading.

Listening Isn’t Cheating. Not everyone believes listening to books is a good thing — biases in favor of reading run deep, and those who listen are often accused of “cheating.” There’s a common perception that listening doesn’t require the same amount of work to reach understanding as reading does. To learn more about the differences between reading and listening, check out Daniel Willingham’s post here.

Writing Routines. Read this article to learn about the art of conferring with students while honoring student autonomy during the writing process.

MISSION: Mastery Learning Master

MISSION: Math Maven


Productive Failure. In this article from MindShift, learn more about how “productive struggle” in math class helps lesson stick.


Line-Up With Number. In this video from the Teaching Channel, learn how to use line-up time to build number sense, help each other, and problem solve. Then read more about additional strategies here.

Learn and Earn

Fractions vs. Decimals. Fractions and decimals. Decimals and fractions. Two alternate representations for the quantities between whole numbers. Both have their uses, and both present unique challenges to students. We will attempt to settle once and for all which representation is superior: fractions or decimals. In this edWebinar, Dr. Drew Corley will make the case for fractions, while Dr. Zach Wissner-Gross will argue on behalf of decimals. December 10, 16:00 (EST) / December 11, 01:00 (AST): Learn more | Register.

MISSION: Teacher Leader


Building Capacity as a Leader. It’s incredibly valuable to gain a new perspective on the different ways and methods of teaching as well. You go into a new context … and you learn so much from the in-country teachers.’ Over the summer holidays, English teacher Victoria McLure flew to Uganda to build her capacity as a leader in her teaching role. This article explores how collaborating with educators from different backgrounds increased her leadership capacity.

Open Your Door. Jennifer Gonzalez, of The Cult of Pedagogy, shares some insights into why we need to see each other teach in this blog post.

Supporting Beginning Teachers. Steve Barkley shares his thoughts on mentoring and supporting beginning teachers: Part One. Part Two.

If I generate learning that has students master the standards, I have the opportunity to develop the passion, beliefs, and attitudes that drive me to be a teacher.


Learn and Earn

ECIS Leadership Conference 2019. The ECIS Leadership conference takes place each April, and is aimed at international and independent school leaders, be they middle or senior leaders, Heads, Governors, or proprietors. This extremely popular conference focuses on effective leadership, and covers areas such as instructional Leadership, Business Leadership, Community Leadership, and leading and supporting students and adults. April 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal: Register your interest here!

MISSION: Technology Trailblazer


Curriculum Integration of Digital Citizenship. For teachers and students at St Columban’s College, digital citizenship isn’t a one-off lesson or a bolt-on program. It’s at the heart of the curriculum, in all subjects and across all year levels. Read this article to learn more.

OneNote Class Notebook. How do your students keep their work organized? And are you able to give feedback to students in real time? Learn more in this article about how the features in Microsoft’s OneNote can enhance the learning experience for students.

Screen Time is not the Issue. Or not the whole issue at least. That’s what a panel of education experts concluded when EdSurge asked them about how schools can achieve balance when it comes to using devices in class. In addition to overall screen time, schools should also look at what students are doing with devices and how to encourage “creation, connection, discovery and joy.

Tech Savvy Teacher. Read this article to learn how, and why, a professor in Ohio takes attendance on Twitter, posts homework on Slack, and holds office hours at 10 p.m.

Learn and Earn

COETAIL. Learn more here about the COETAIL (Certificate of Educational Technology and Internet Literacy) + Tech Leadership Certificate with University of Kentucky. The spring semester COETAIL Online 11 cohort is open for registration!

MISSION: University Degree

Learn and Earn

Tuition-Free Master’s of Education. The IB has collaborated with the University of the People and launched a tuition-free, online Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) programme. The M.Ed. offers teachers and schools across the world an opportunity to further their careers, regardless of where they live and teach. Find out more here. Apply here to begin in 2019.

MISSION: Well-Being Wizard


Anxiety About Homework. Australian high school students experience higher levels of schoolwork-related anxiety than their OECD peers, according to a new report released by ACER.
Contributing to Students’ Futures. In this article in Education Next, Kirabo Jackson (Northwestern University) reports on his study of the impact of teachers on their North Carolina ninth graders’ academic and non-cognitive attainment. Jackson analyzed English and math grades and test scores, student attendance, grades, behavior, suspensions, and on-time promotion to tenth grade. He also looked at downstream data: whether students took the SAT and graduated from high school on time, their grade-point average at graduation, and plans to attend a four-year college. 
“Teachers are more than educational-outcome machines,” concludes Jackson; “they are leaders who can guide students toward a purposeful adulthood.”
How to Deal with Stress.this article In from edutopia, learn about strategies to help upper elementary and middle school kids who have experienced trauma understand and control their emotions.
Self Talk, True Talk. Help students practice mindfulness with “Self-Talk, True Talk,” a handout from Boost Emotional Intelligence in Students: 30 Flexible Research-Based Activities to Build EQ Skills (Grades 5–9) by Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., and Steven E. Tobias, Psy.D. It explains what self-talk is and shares words students should listen for when they pay attention to their inner dialogue. Download now.

Socially and Emotionally Stunted. It might seem strange to squeeze in lessons on coping with trauma between frog dissection and persuasive writing. But students today say they want to be as prepared socially and emotionally as they are academically when they leave high school. Yet a new report finds that for most students, that is not the case. In these fraught times, the authors say, that’s a big problem.

Learn and Earn

Brave Your Fear. In this edWebinar, Crista Samaras, the founder and CEO of Brave Enterprises, will talk about her 15 years of experience working with thousands of teenage girls and getting to the real base of insecurity, fear, grit, resilience, and bravery. Furthermore, Crista will discuss how she’s designed Brave’s wild and original programming that addresses the emotional fears that hold people back from the things that scare them. December 10, 15:00 (EST) / December 11, 00:00 (AST): Learn more | Register.

The Science of Well-Being. In this Coursera course offered by Yale University, Professor Laurie Santos overviews what psychological science says about happiness. The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy but also to put those strategies into practice. The first part of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The next part of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits. The last part of the course gives learners time, tips, and social support to work on the final assignment which asks learners to apply one wellness activity aka “Rewirement” into their lives for four weeks. Starts December 8: Learn more | Register.

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