Coaching Success Strategies in Education

wpid-2014-09-20-11.30.22.png.pngIn the immortal words of John “Hannibal” Smith, I love it when a plan comes together! This has been a great week of professional development, dialogue, and discovery for the teachers I serve. The Instructional Technology department decided to “flip” our PD sessions this year. So teachers are being exposed to our presentations early in Schoology. Lot’s of them came to the sessions already familiar with the content and were reeling with ideas.

What makes IT coaching even more fulfilling is when teachers implement tools and practices immediately, and reveal that they get immediate results from students. I’ve seen two teachers this week, transform their pedagogical practices from lecture/copy notes to flipped lessons/facilitate creativity. The looks on their faces are like light bulbs shining brightly!

What’s the key element that makes this happen? A two-sided mindset called coachability. Some teachers have already heard this story, however, it’s worth an encore.

I learned the importance of coachability when I was a senior on my high school basketball team. During our prior campaign, I led the team in scoring and rebounds. I was the team MVP, and the team captain. We had a different coach than the year before, and we were rebuilding. The season ended with us near the bottom of the conference with a 6-18 record. Still, I thought very highly of my 18 ppg average, and I went home that summer vowing to work hard on my ball handling to compliment my scoring ability. Continue reading

Students Explode Onto the Blogging Scene!

We all know it…it’s very difficult sometimes to get high school students excited about writing (and almost anything else these days). We proved this week however, that once you give them a voice, add a dash of guidance, and a splash of technology… viola! We’ve got kids writing like crazy at one high school.

This week, three classes at Bertie Early College  were exposed to training on blogging. Mr. Michael Everett allowed me to come into his Creative Writing class and conduct a workshop for his students on Evernote Web, Evernote Web Clipper, Clearly, and of course, WordPress. The kids were enthusiastic and engaged!

Let me tell you just a bit about what started the blogging revolution. Earlier in the week, I visited with Ms. Rhonda Taylor’s Earth/Environmental Science Classes. Their task was to research an event relative to human’s impact on the environment, and summarize their findings (on paper). This assignment needs some pizzazz, I thought. TechChic to the rescue! Continue reading

10 Takeaways From ISTE 2014

20140701_102350The 2014 ISTE conference in Atlanta GA, was indeed an eye-opening experience. If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen the #ISTE2014 on your feed for the last seven days. I got off the plane ready to take in all of the information, and I boarded the flight home afraid that my brain was going to ooze out of my ears! Therefore, it’s taken me a few days to wrap my mind around the many things I learned while in attendance. So, here are 10 takeaways from this amazing national conference!

1. Technological Savvy requires a personal commitment.

Let’s face it. After attending ISTE 2014, it became very clear to me that there are far too many tools and strategies for one to ingest and regurgitate all at once. If I were to rely solely on the presenters and materials I encountered during the conference, and tried to remember every word spoken, I’d fail miserably at retaining valuable knowledge. Thus, it is my personal responsibility to go back into my notes, research the many links I’d written down and QR codes I’d scanned, and embed those concepts mentally, according to the needs of my school district. Continue reading

Go Wild With Social Media In The Classroom! Sort of…

Are you tired of constantly being on the prowl, looking to reprimand students whom you catch using social media during your class time? Unless your school has strict digital device policies, or the ability to block all connectivity to the outside world, it’s an everyday task. However, today I’ve got a couple of tools for you from that your little social media enthusiasts will love! So, let’s take a traditional research paper/PowerPoint (substitution) assignment, and move it into the Modification/Redefinition levels of technology integration.

MJ Cover

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Top Tools for the Backchannel: Engage Students With Powerful Discussions!

Amplify Your Lesson With a Backchannel Chat!

So you’ve planned your lesson, and tailored your lecture so that you tell your students all they need to know about a given subject. You’ve pulled up a PowerPoint presentation you saved on your flash drive two years ago, and made some minor updates. Student’s will need to copy these slides into their notes. Then you picked the perfect YouTube video and prepared a list of questions for students to answer afterwards. Right? Are you bored yet? Your students will likely be. This is a classic example of a teacher-centered lesson.

There are a couple of ways you can take this plan and move from the substitution level to the higher order thinking levels of technology integration, according to the SAMR model.  The best blog that describes this model that I’ve seen is Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch!

The SAMR Model

The SAMR Model: Image the creation of Dr. Ruben Puentedura, Ph.D.


For this lesson, we’re going to take it up one level from the Substitution Level to the Augmentation Level of the SAMR model by using the Backchannel discussion strategy. Continue reading

Anger Management for Dummies

Don’t Make Me Angry: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry…

Have you ever seen my Incredible Hulk impression? Some people have and they think it’s a hoot! No, I don’t really turn green, or burst out of my clothes. There’s just this thing I do while adjusting the cervical vertebrae in my neck. I take a deep seething breath as I try to find a way to respond to the stimulus without losing my cool. My jaws flex, and anything I say for the next few moments, exits my mouth through my clenched teeth. At any rate, that’s my way of managing my anger, no irritability when I’m confronted with certain situations.  Continue reading

Album Review: Beyoncé

Beyoncé Holds Private Album Release Party at Dave & Buster's in Times Square

Beyoncé Holds Private Album Release Party at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square

Beyoncé dropped her 5th album over night last Friday, unbeknownst to anyone. She skipped the months of campaigning and marketing that usually precludes an official release date. In fact, the self-titled album shattered sales records on iTunes topping the 800,000 mark by Monday morning. The fact is, singles were not for individual sale. For any of the 14 tracks and 17 videos, consumers had no other alternative than to buy the entire album, priced at $15.99. Genius.

After succumbing to the Wal-Mart Black Friday Conspiracy a month ago, I decided to play the commercial guinea pig again, by downloading the self-titled “Beyoncé” from iTunes. As my laptop screen took me through verification prompts, repeatedly asking me, “Are you sure you want to buy this selection,” I thought to myself, please let this be good.

In short – Beyoncé brought it!

This album is for the deep thinker. There are no bubble gum tracks or bubbly tunes that a kindergartener could memorize after a play or two here. “Beyoncé” isn’t about selling popular music, it’s about expression. With this one, you’ll get to take a look into her mind, and it’s exhilarating!

For the first time, the 32 year-old shows us a clearer picture of who Beyoncé Knowles Carter really is (and who she isn’t), and as of December 2013, she’s officially an artist.  Continue reading

Under Taylor’s Leadership, The NCCU Lady Eagles Must “Trust The Process.”

WBB_Coach_with_IWM_and_CN-300x166Vanessa Taylor came on board at North Carolina Central University in 2012, and has already steered the women’s basketball team in the right direction. She inherited a squad that had gone 3-27 prior to her arrival, and finished with a menial 2-27 record last season. Within those two campaigns, The Lady Eagles suffered 29 straight losses – Ouch!

This season, they’re 5-4 going into the holiday break, and I knew they would be. This isn’t about statistics and records. It’s not about glory, or fame. This is about life. I know women’s basketball and I know Vanessa Taylor. That’s what she does. She resurrects defunct programs, dusts them off, and makes them viable contenders overnight. In the process, she impacts player’s lives eternally. How do I know?  Continue reading

Fake it ’til you become it: Amy Cuddy’s power poses, visualized

TED Blog

[ted_talkteaser id=1569]No two ways about it: Social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s talk from TEDGlobal 2012 touched a nerve, and sparked a sensation. In the talk, “Your body language shapes who you are,” Cuddy offered a free, low-tech life hack: assume a posture for just two minutes — and change your life. The idea caught on, the talk has now been viewed more than nine million times, and the idea of “power posing” has truly entered the vernacular. For the visualization below, created in conjunction with Brazilian magazine Superinteressante, the designers illustrated some of the points Cuddy makes about posture and its impact on how we feel. Take a look … and stand up straight.

Amy Cuddy also appears in the latest episode of NPR’s TED Radio Hour, “Spoken and Unspoken,” about the ways human beings communicate in both intentional and unintentional ways. Take a listen!


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How To Get The Love You Want (Pt. 1)

Does it seem that relationships come and go for you?  Is it that as soon as you think you’ve met “the one,” something happens and you’re left holding the proverbial box of tissues?  Have you observed others who seem to say or do all the things you could only hope for which leaves you wondering why your mate never does? Needs unmet? Words unspoken? It could simply be that you and your partner speak two very different love languages!  Here are five reasons your relationships do not flourish:

  • You are unaware that you express love in a specific language to others.
  • You have no idea what your mate’s love language is (and before now, probably couldn’t have cared less).
  • You have been unwilling to convert your expressions of love into relative “terms” the other person can feel.
  • You have failed to recognize your mate’s attempts to show you love, even if it’s in his or her own way.
  • You drown yourself in sorrow after each breakup believing that the relationship failed because something is wrong with you (or you try to convince everyone that it was all you ex’s fault), thus repeating the same patterns in the future.

This came to me after a long weekend of portraying Mother Superior in a local theater production of “Drinking Habits” by Tom Smith. I shed my wimple and veil and slipped into my civilian PJs. Once settled beneath the covers, I tuned into the Oprah Winfrey Network. I was instantly intrigued by this particular episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass which featured two authors whom, in my opinion have struck the “self-improvement” nail on the head!
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