Sunday, July 16, 2017

Accountable Talk

Accountable Talk is "talk that is meaningful, respectful, and mutually beneficial to both speaker and listener. It stimulates higher-order thinking which, in turn, helps students to learn, reflect on their learning and communicate their knowledge and understanding."- Education Bureau of Hong Kong

A few years ago, the district that I teach in really started to focus on the importance of student-led conversation and the power that reflecting on and communicating one's individual learning can actually have on individual and peer learning experiences. When accountable talk was first introduced to me, I immediately fell in love with what it represented-student ownership.

Teachers are really good at talking. Talking means we are the ones in control. However, when students take over the conversation, they are the ones in control of their learning experiences, and that is something that I have been so proud to support and watch unfold in our classroom over the past few years.

I like to use visuals to help introduce accountable talk each year and to use as a reference for us throughout the year. Talking about what we are thinking does not always come naturally so we often use the visuals of sentence stems to help get our conversations going or support them when they are stalling.

These are by no means the only sentence stems out there, but they are a good starting place. Feel free to use this resource that I created for our classroom! Some ways that you could use it in your classroom is to print, laminate and cut in the smallest size and attach to a binder ring so that can be passed out to students during group talks or post on the wall for easy reference. I updated it to match the popular "cactus" theme that seems to be floating around the education social media sphere this year. Hope you can use this, and happy talking!


If you want to learn more about Accountable Talk, this website has some great information!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat-Daytime Recap!

When was the last time someone rolled out the RED CARPET for you as a teacher? 

If you attended the 2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat, your answer is a week and a half ago! 

We love to celebrate teachers and all school staff for the celebrities they are, and that is exactly the purpose of this event. This year was no different, and we want to share with you all of the fun and celebration that happened AND give you a chance to win some awesome teacher prizes!

The weekend began as it does every year for those of us on the planning team - with lots of prep! 

We had a huge increase in attendance this year, so this year that meant filling 560 of these awesome bags from Scholastic Reading Club with all kinds of goodies from our fabulous sponsors! 

We were able to take a quick break for dinner under the dome at the amazing West Baden Springs hotel before getting back to work setting everything up for the retreat! 

On Saturday morning, we were back at it early for attendee check-in. 

We also had some awesome sponsors greeting attendees and treating them to some of their products! 

Before we knew it, it was time to start the day! 

As soon as attendees entered the ballroom, they could put their raffle tickets in the items they hoped to win. We were lucky enough to have some AMAZING sponsors provide some fabulous prizes for our retreat! 

We began with a welcome message from Holly Ehle from Kindergarten Connections, our incredibly talented director of this event, who explained the history of this retreat and how her mission is to celebrate teachers for all of the work we do for kids all year. She is amazing! 

Next up was everyone's favorite principal, Mr. Gerry (pronounced with a hard G) Brooks. He gave a fantastic keynote about setting goals for ourselves and our students and families that left everyone laughing and feeling inspired. 

Tiffany, Brittany, and Marissa had fun trying to figure out Principal Gerry's "21 game." 

We also had to get a group picture with Principal Gerry! :)

After the keynote, we all went to our designated buffet lines for a yummy lunch. 

Then we had fun playing the "Left, Right" game describing the history of the Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat with the Teacher Tool Swap. 

Our tool swap was a huge hit! Check out this tool swap gift--an amazing Scentos holder from Kate Mense (her husband MADE IT)!!

To kick off the professional development portion of the day, Hope and Wade King from the Ron Clark Academy and Elementary Shenanigans gave a phenomenal presentation on the power of student engagement. They demonstrated ways we can "set the stage to engage" our kids every day to increase their achievement and help them WANT to come to school instead of just showing up because they HAVE to. 

Every person in the room was completely engaged and inspired! Hope and Wade King are beyond amazing! 

From there, we split up to attend three rounds of mini-sessions. We had some of the best teachers and presenters in the country hosting these sessions! 

 Tiffany Copple and I helped kick off the professional development sessions! We are so grateful for all of our presenters!

 DeeDee Wills from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten presented on writing in the classroom. 

 Tiffani Mugurussa from Time 4 Kindergarten shared tips on how to get started with selling on Teachers Pay Teachers

 Katie Mense from Little Kinder Warriors taught attendees how to use PowerPoint to create classroom resources. 

 Christina Decarbo from Miss DeCarbo lead a session on making comprehension more concrete for students. 

Haley O'Connor from Teaching With Haley shared strategies for helping students improve their self-control. 

 Amanda Pauley from Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten gave attendees some strategies for classroom management.

 Marissa Zimmer from First Grade Stars shared quick and easy ways to integrate STEM into teachers' daily curriculum.

Heidi Neels from Flipping For First showed attendees everything SeeSaw has to offer them.  

 Maja Austin from Kooky Kinders taught attendees about the power of Donor's Choose to fund their classroom needs.

 Brittany Banister from Mrs. Banister's Kindergarten Kids explained how ESGI Software can save teachers time when assessing.

 Chris Pombonyo from Live in the Classroom lead a huge session on effective digital tools to use in the classroom. 

Crystal Oswald from The Balanced Teacher  showed attendees how she creates engaging songs for her classes. 

We wrapped up the PD portion of the day with a quick panel session with Principal Gerry, Hope and Wade King, Dee Dee Wills, and Chris Pombonyo. This allowed attendees to ask these experts anything! 

Finally, we ended the daytime event with the PRIZES from our fabulous sponsors! Check out all of these happy teacher faces!! 

A huge THANK YOU to all of these amazing sponsors:

Did you miss out on the fun this year? No worries! You can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win some teacher swag, too!!

Check back soon for a recap of the epic red carpet evening event sponsored by ESGI, GoNoodle, and Oriental Trading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway