What Students REALLY Need to Hear

keep-goingIt’s a busy week on campus. We just got past mid-terms, and now it’s time to dig into the end of the semester tasks. Same is true at K-12 schools. And with children beginning to get excited for the holidays, keeping focus can be challenging.

So, today, we thought we’d share this message written by Chase Mielke, a high school teacher, trainer, and instructional coach who blogs at Affective Living.  We think his message will resonate — not only with those of you who teach or who are training to be teachers — but also for everyone who’s struggling to get through the semester.

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be honest with you — both in what I say and how I say it?

Here’s the thing: I lose sleep because of you.  Every week.  [Read More]

Tuesday Trivia: November 18, 2014

How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education?
Test your knowledge (and win cool prizes) every Tuesday!


In light of Thanksgiving next week, the COED is testing your cache of Thanksgiving knowledge this week.  (There will be no trivia next week, but expect the final round of trivia for the semester when we return from Thanksgiving break!)  
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, how big (in weight and diameter) was the largest pumpkin pie ever baked?


Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 11pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.

Understanding and Embracing Senioritis

senioritisBy Nick McDaniels — My students are catching it.  I can tell.  In fact, it’s coming early this year.


College acceptances go up, effort goes down. This year though, instead of fighting it, I plan to embrace it.  What I have realized in my brief tenure of teaching 12th graders is that senioritis is a phenomenon not built upon teenage entitlement or teenage laziness as I thought, but built on a teenager’s want to turn the page before the teachers want the page to be turned.  I’m going to let my seniors turn the page by giving them more college-level assignments, more adult-level tasks, by putting them in situations where they can teach others, rather than always learn from.

Of course, I still need to assign the work, the papers, the projects that the curriculum requires.  And I will.  But this time with a different structure.  Students will be more independently driven when writing their term papers, will be guided more instead of directly instructed, and will be held accountable just as much for their abilities to manage their time independently (a grown-up skill in their mind) as they are on actually producing a product (a student skill in their mind).

But what’s really exciting, and in the same vein, is that I now have the opportunity to get my students out on internships.  They just finished writing their cover letters and resumes and at least ten of them hope to spend the hours of my class in the field working in law offices, non-profits, and other businesses. In this way, my students will get to feel like adults. That’s what they want anyway, it seems.

Further, I am excited to find opportunities for my students to work with younger students as much as possible. Whether that involves seniors helping to coach the mock trial team for sophomores and juniors, or emphasizing the program I advise whereby seniors mentor freshmen, allowing seniors to feel like they are trusted with a task that involves more than meeting the standards of a teacher, will drive engagement up. Why? Because those types of assignments, which demonstrate just as much learning, mastery, and expertise of content as any other type of assignment, don’t feel like school.

That’s my goal! Wish us luck as we try to go with the flow, make the school that seniors want so desperately to be out of feel not so much like school, keep the work meaningful and the effort high.

Keeping Students Informed on News…On Their Terms

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By Clare Jorgensen – News outlets can be found everywhere we look. In fact, we can now access them directly from our phones, tablets, computers, televisions and (less popularly) newspapers!

With the many news sources available, sometimes it can be overwhelming to decide which sources to trust.  High school and college-age students can easily be susceptible to one-sided views through FOX News, MSNBC, and occasionally CNN. They too do not often get the right information if students only get their news from Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, etc.

While it is good that news is always available, it would be very beneficial for teachers to offer ways to keep students updated on what is happening in the world with easy and reliable outlets.

Last semester in Education 1210, my professor asked us at every class what we heard about in the news, and we would have open discussions based on what was brought up. For a while, I did not participate much in the conversation, because I did not follow the news very closely, but I soon realized that it was an important tool for teachers to open up discussions in any class.

To get more involved in the conversation, I occasionally watched the local news on weekday nights, or I would look through CNN online. These alone are often reasonable ways to get the news, but many students can often be too busy for long-winded articles or 30-minute to hour-long reports on the news, so there has to be some simpler solutions.

Teachers could recommend to their students with smart phones to get Flipboard or StumbleUpon. Both apps have personalized snapshots of different news stories where they explain everything in simpler terms for the readers on the go. For students who do not have smart phones, teachers can bring newspapers to class where the students can borrow them, and take them to lunch or home to catch up on the news.

While I am preparing to be a Spanish teacher, I will want to maintain conversations with students, and I could do this by mentioning various news stories happening in Spanish-speaking countries or even closer to home. I could give them news story printouts so they can see the story firsthand, and the students can aim to discuss in Spanish, so they may gain some confidence in speaking.

Lastly, while the conversations or topics are not always appropriate for junior high or high school students, it can be great for teachers to implement various clips from the “Daily Show,” the “Colbert Report,” or “Last Week, Tonight” to get students a funny yet informative view on the news. It allows for students learn about issues happening across the globe, but with tones of humor, which many people can understand. Clips from these shows along with many other sources from the Internet can prove very helpful in keeping students informed, and it is always beneficial that students can lead informed conversations in any class, which could lead into the general class discussion.

Providing Parenting Advice … Even When You’re Not a Parent

MjAxMi0wYzU2Y2EwNzQzNTM2NWJjBy Sabrina Bong — About a year ago, my fiance and I volunteered to babysit his sister’s children overnight.

The girls, who were five and one at the time, were super excited that they got to spend one-on-one time with Rob and I. The oldest one was so eager to have us over that she almost shoved her parents out the door in her excitement! It was a little rough at first (if you have never cooked before with a one year old holding onto your leg and a five year old who is trying to help, but really is making an enormous mess, it’s quite an experience!) but we managed to get both girls fed, bathed, and in bed at a reasonable hour. Once the oldest one was finally asleep, Rob and I collapsed on the sofa before saying to each other, “That was an experience!”

As Rob and I prepare for our wedding (in 10 days!), we have talked about having kids in the future. Though we are not ready anytime soon, we have occasionally discussed what will happen when we become parents. Our conversations have ranged from how we will juggle soccer and karate practices, to how we want to discipline our children. But the majority of our talks revolve around how we want to raise our children. We have talked about taking the best of how our parents raised us, and then blend it with some of our own ideas.

Beyond all of these discussions, and the night we watched the girls, I have not really thought too much about being a parent and parenting advice. However, this recently changed when one of my students fell on some hard times.

This student of mine is a very sweet, very kind young girl. She has been dealt a lot of hard cards in life: she was homeless last year, and is currently living with a relative. She recently started stealing things from her parents, as well as outside organizations. Her parents are unsure what to do, and turned to our principal for help. She, in turn, suggested that the parents come in to meet with me and the head counselor in my building to discuss parenting strategies.

When she first suggested this, I was baffled. What advice on parenting could I offer, when my “parenting” experience is pretty much nonexistent?

When I brought this up, the head counselor reminded me that I gave a lot of advice to boys, even though I was never a teenage boy. He then told me that even though I didn’t have experience parenting, that I knew enough to help guide these parents into how they could talk to their child about her stealing and lying behaviors.

Our first session with the parents went pretty well. To be honest, I was pretty quiet; I was struggling with how best to phrase my suggestions. For example, when the mother asked if it was appropriate to take her daughter to a juvenile detention facility to show what her life could end up like, the head counselor gently, but firmly, vetoed that idea. But the way he did it was fantastic; he was completely honest, but did not make the parent feel defensive. I am not exactly sure how he managed to do this, but it is a technique that I am working hard to learn.

So far, this has been a very eye-opening experience. I have learned that I can provide valuable advice, even if I do not have first-hand expertise in an area. I have also learned that it is okay to respectfully disagree with parents. I am sure that all of the things I am learning now will be incredibly helpful … not only with the parents I work with, but for my possible future as a parent!

Tuesday Trivia: November 11, 2014

How much do YOU know about Marquette University and the College of Education?
Test your knowledge (and win cool prizes) every Tuesday!


In light of Veteran’s Day…

In what year and who changed the name of Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day?


Claim your chance to win by leaving the correct answer in the comments section below anytime today between 7am – 11pm. And don’t be afraid to play, even if someone has already posted the right answer! One winner will be randomly selected from ALL correct answers and announced the following day.  The winner will be posted on our Facebook page and notified by email.  Please note that you must have a valid email address listed in your comment or WordPress profile to win.

Can Technology Bring Us Closer Together?

By Claudia Felske –Imagine being separated from your spouse for seven years. It’s not what any of us sign up for, especially after 30 plus years of marriage.

My friend Barb faced this exact situation as the state of the economy forced her husband Al to take a contracting job in New Orleans while she remained back in Wisconsin. Through holidays, periodic visits, Skype, and gritty determination on both of their parts, the state of their marriage remained strong.  Connect6

And happily, this summer after seven years of living separately from his wife, Al was able retire. He moved back to Wisconsin, and now Barb and Al live like married people are meant to live—together.

Sounds like a happy ending, right?

Imagine my surprise when Barb, wine glass in hand, lamented the other night that she felt closer to Al when there were four states separating them.

I inquired and she explained.

When he was in New Orleans, they spent an entire hour each night face-to-face Skyping. No multitasking, no running to this commitment and that event, no half-conversations while watching t.v. or surfing the net: one full hour of face-to-face, eye-to-eye conversation about how their day went, about the family, about their plans, about the state of the world, one full hour every single day. How many of us have an hour like that?

Now that they’re living together, she explained, that hour simply doesn’t happen. Life gets in the way. Emails, meetings, obligations, television, hobbies, the internet—all of these happen, and so remarkably (though not so remarkable when you think about it) she feels less close to him than she did during their 7-year separation. She pines for that hour.

And HOW (you may be asking) is this related to education?

One of the biggest fears people have about technology in schools is that it will depersonalize learning, that students will hide behind screens and teachers will hide behind their desktops.

Not  unlike Barb and Al’s Skype sessions, the reality is that the effective use of technology can bring us closer together, in our relationships, in our schools.Rid6eAni9

Sage teachers use backchanneling technology to engage ALL students to participate in class discussions rather than just one raising his/her hand at a time.

Tech savvy teachers use polling and surveys to check for understanding throughout the class period, making each student  aware of his/her learning at any given moment.

Innovative teachers use technology to flatten their classroom walls, connecting with other classrooms in the district, state, country and world.

I jokingly advised Barb that maybe she and Al should consider going into different rooms each night and Skyping each other to rekindle their bonding hour.

And maybe those in education who fear that technology will depersonalize the classroom should consider the opportunities it offers to connect us to each other and to the larger world.

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