Posts for Tag: classroom


Rainy (and super windy) day. Decided to do some planning this afternoon, the Sunday before school is back in session. My weather app alerted me that, just up the hill, Interstate 80 is closed from Colfax to the Nevada state line due to snow/zero visibility.

I’ve experienced those interstate shutdowns coming home from Lake Tahoe. IIf you haven’t, imagine being totally helpless, only a little bit colder. Six years ago, Ingot caught in a brutal storm on the way back from Incline Village, I called my Dad to tell him I’d be a little late picking up the dogs. He said: 

“You’re not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.”

A clever and amusing observation, that I keep revisiting....especially when considering education. I mean, what does the traffic in the classroom look like? As a teacher, I can’t accurately describe it. But, I can tell you it does not involve boring worksheets, lengthy vocabulary assignments, or mandatory presentations. 

How do students view the situation? Do they feel stuck in traffic? Do they feel like traffic? Hint: ask them. Kids are super good about being brutally honest  

On one of the teacher-centered facebook pages I follow, a teacher membe recently posted a question asking for guidance on cell phones in the classroom. The 56+ comments provided a unique insight about opposing viewpoints. And, as I read through these comments [sometimes with a clenched jaw], I could not escape the traffic analogy. 


back to the classroom

As I hustle to complete my household chores and projects on this last weekend of summer break, I’ve been reflecting quite a bit. That’s what teachers do, right? 

Tuesday is district-wide PD, followed by staff meetings. Wednesday is teacher work day. And, students return on Thursday. Monday is still open, but I’ll be having conversations with some of the site admins. Those conversations will be centered on what I can do to support teachers remotely. 

This year, I have been involuntarily transferred to a middle school to pick up three classes, with the rest of the reserved for tech TOSA work. So, here’s the questions I’m pondering: 

  • How does a TOSA support teachers at other sites while teaching periods 2, 3, & 7 at a middle school? 
  • Should I take that yearbook stipend and tackle that project? 
  • What’s the deadline for Spring semester enrollment into an EdD program? 

powerful stuff

Last week, Angela (a fellow teacher) forwarded a link to a blog post. Below is what she sent:  

This blog talks about the smart way one teacher takes the emotional pulse of her class. 

In this blog post, the author describes her experience volunteering in her son's elementary classroom. More importantly she explains how her son's teacher uses a specific method to examine classroom dynamics. The blogger, Glennon, writes:

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.  

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.  

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?  

Who doesn’t even know who to request?  

Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?  

Who had a million friends last week and none this week?  

My first thought: why can't we do this in Google Forms? My colleague Angela had the same thought. Great minds think alike! Great minds like a think. 

We could quickly create a similar system, and eliminate the slips of paper. Best of all, we could get instant insights into the pulse of the classroom by looking at the response summary. 

And that is exactly what we did. We pushed out a Google Form through Google Classroom. It only took a few minutes for students to complete the Form. A few minutes later, we had powerful data. 

What you find might be surprising. Below is just a snippet of what one classroom told us. Talk about Student Voice and classroom pulse! 

Attached are screenshots of the way this Google Form was presented. If you're interested in gaining some insight into your classroom, I encourage you to try something similar. What your students tell you might surprise you. 

The "popular kids" may not be so popular. That "quiet kid" might often be excluded on the playground. It's powerful stuff! 

Thank you for forwarding that blog article, Angela. Your willingness to try this gave students a voice in the classroom. That's a true inspiration, for the kids in your classroom and your colleagues. That truly is powerful stuff!