Monthly Archives: April 2016


It is late on a Sunday and I am feeling in quite the mood. I am going to use this blog as a #rantchat. I first saw Manan Shah (@shahlock) use this hashtag before on twitter. Here goes my rant:

If you do not participate in a group of Voxer, Twitter, or Facebook do not promote your stuff in that group. It’s super annoying to see people who never do anything in a group drop a link to their blog, their project, or some other work that they want help or input with. STOP! No one wants to live on a one-way street. To be honest I don’t care about your project if you aren’t lifting the profession up as a whole.

The Voxer groups I moderate and participate in are wonderful. People share what they want when they want. People may go weeks or months without participating; however, when they do it’s not to drop a link to some personal project that only lifts them up. They chime in with thoughts, feeling, or sources for information. Then when the time comes they can ask for help from the group.

Dropping your link to a blog or site during a Twitter chat you’re not even participating is the worst!! How selfish can you be? People are actually connecting to get better and all you are doing is wasting their time. STOP!

There is no formal timeline or number of participations that you need to accomplish before you self-promote. Just be an active member of the groups you promote in. We are not your guinea pigs waiting to give more of our time so you can accomplish something.

End #rantchat

Q1: What rant do you have about your social media experience?

Q2: What advice would you give new collaborators about chat etiquette?

Q3: How do you define participation, collaboration, and self-promotion?

Q4: What action would cause you to withdraw from participating in a chat?

Q5: How can you help shift the tone of a collaborative space away from an individual to focus on group growth?








Cleanliness is not Godliness

Cleanliness is not next to godliness. Cleanliness is next to healthiness. I spend so many hours a week cleaning something. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, washing hands, showering, and brushing my teeth all tasks that seem to never end. I spend so many hours a day cleaning my personal domain but what about my professional domain? Do we expect that same level of cleanliness at work?

A conversation over Voxer brought this to the forefront of my consciousness. A statement was made that their room was really dirty. Much dirtier than their last school. I have to admit that over the years I have heard numerous teachers complain about how dirty their classrooms are. Think about the last conversation you participated or overheard (eavesdropper!) that sounded like this:

Person A: “Wow my custodians are awesome. They cleaned my room so great yesterday.”

Person B: “Yea they keep my room spotless. I couldn’t ask for a better janitor.”

That happens never. I don’t hear these conversations at all. It may just be me. It always seems that janitors/custodial engineers/custodians get a bad rap when it comes to cleaning.

I personally can’t complain. My custodial staff bends over backwards for me. We have a facultative symbiotic relationship. This happened because I put time and effort into our relationships. I help move things, buy them Christmas presents (this goes a loooong way to show my appreciation), and hang out outside of school hours. It also happens that we are 3 of five men that work in my building.

If my gymnasium is dirty I am not scared to pick up a broom to sweep or fill a mop bucket to clean up a spill from the basketball game the night before. This seems like a natural thing to do, yet when I ask teachers why they can’t clean their room they tell me it isn’t their job. I know during germ season lots of teachers will spray the desks and wash all the knobs and handles in the room. Why not help out after germ season?

What are your thoughts on cleanliness in the classroom? #slowchatpe

Q1: How well is your professional area cleaned? #slowchatpe

Q2: Are you willing to clean your area up when it needs to be? #slowchatpe

Q3: How do you create and nurture relationships with custodians? #slowchatpe

Q4: Do your students notice when your area isn’t clean? What do they say? #slowchatpe

Q5: What is a cleaning tip that we should all know? #slowchatpe

Gradual Release Method

I was sitting in my supervisor’s office last week discussing a lesson evaluation from the prior week. The health lesson went horribly awry. My classroom management was on point as always, but the lesson itself was poor. I had packed too much into the lesson. Student choice became overwhelming and what I wanted to accomplish didn’t happen. There are multiple reasons why this happened but that’s not the main point of the blog. My supervisor asked me if I was familiar with the Gradual Release Method. Right away my mind went to Sting. Then I thought about what he was really asking me. I answered truthfully I hadn’t.

Once he explained it to me I realized that I used it in physical education all the time but not in health as often. The full name is called the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model. Most educators were taught this sophomore year in college. Physical Education teachers do it naturally. Health teachers maybe not so much.

“Pearson & Gallagher (1983) who coined the phrase “gradual release of responsibility” to describe this dynamic in the classroom. Basing their model on the ideas of the Russian educational theorist Lev Vygotsky, Pearson and Gallagher envisioned instruction that moved from explicit modeling and instruction to guided practice and then to activities that incrementally positioned students into becoming independent learners. The teacher guides the students to a point ‘planned obsolesces’ on the part of the teacher “…where the student accepts total responsibility for the task, including the responsibility for determining whether or not she is applying the strategy appropriately (i.e, self-monitoring)” link

The Gradual Release Method boils down to I do, We do, You do it together, You do it alone. Dr. Douglas Fisher, Professor of Language and Literacy Education San Diego State University, sums it up as:

                “The gradual release of responsibility model provides teachers with an instructional framework for moving from teacher knowledge to student understanding and application. The gradual release of responsibility model ensures that students are supported in their acquisition of the skills and strategies necessary for success.” link

From what I understand of this theory, I start out demonstrating what I want. We then move on doing an example as a class. This is followed by group work and independent work honing the skill they just learned. That sounds like good old fashioned teaching to me. I am sure there is a time and a place for this.

The problem with my lesson wasn’t that I didn’t model the skill I wanted them to understand, it was that I tried to do too much. I created a flipped video of the skill. That should have eliminated the I do and We do stages and allow them to go right into you do. The Gradual Release Method sounds a lot like the Spoon Feeding Method to me. Sometimes the students need this. Other times they need to go right to the You Do skipping the first two or three stages.

Either way, I am glad that I learned a new term in the edubabble world of education. Excuse me as I go back now and change what was wrong with my lesson so I can reteach it this week.

Q1: What are your thoughts on the Gradual Release Method of Responsibility?

Q2: Is the Gradual Release Method of Responsibility the way you were taught?

Q3: Does I do mean direct instruction for step one?

Q4: Do you ever skip over the I do method and go to You do? How do you do this?

Q5: How do you make sure that you don’t pack too much into a lesson?


Bloom N Onion

This blog is geared toward old people. Let me clarify that. This blog is geared toward people who learned about Bloom’s taxonomy before 2001. The bulk of my Bloom’s knowledge came from the triangle that looks like this:

oldest bloom

The newest Blooms information looks like this:


One of the greatest ideas I have heard is that you don’t have to start at the bottom. That blew my mind. Don’t we have to teach the basics, scaffolding along the way, hoping to find something to apply or possibly analyze? If we had time we would work on synthesis which I still don’t really understand the true definition of. Evaluation was rarely ever reached in my schooling.

Now we can start right at the top with creating. Let me give you an example in the world of physical education. Here is an example of a lesson I did this year:

Create and videotape a game where you use the skill of the overhand serve. Everyone in your group has to have a chance to use the overhand serve during the game. Upload the video to SeeSaw when it is done. We will demonstrate and play the games starting next class.

Using this setup the students will be forced understand what the overhand serve is. (especially when I give them the link to the youtube video demonstrating and explaining it) They will then use this newly acquired (in most cases) knowledge to apply the skill when they video tape the game. After the videotaping is finished they will have to make sure they have performed the skill properly (analyzing form). In this scenario evaluation will come into play when they are figuring out the rules of the game.

This is a much different way to teach the overhand serve than my direct instruction. This isn’t a smack down of the oldest and sometimes most efficient and effective way of teaching. I use direct instruction as one of my numerous pedagogical approaches in my classroom. This is just another way to incorporate student choice and voice into my class while still teaching the standards.

Q1: Can Bloom’s work direct instruction? #slowchatpe

Q2: What is the most important level of Bloom’s to you? #slowchatpe

Q3: How do you use creation in your class? #slowchatpe

Q4: How do students analyze in your class? #slowchatpe

Q5: How does a student’s culture hurt or help creation? #slowchatpe