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Context Switching, How it Impacts Your School!

You do it and great leaders do it. Context switching.

Not every scenario, team, or individual should be approached exactly the same. There are unique forms, functions, and frames of mind required of school leadership throughout the day.

Great leaders understand this. Good leaders do it. And...well, we've all worked for someone who made mistakes with this...or was unable to execute the context switch.

And yes, it's easier to see in your boss than in the mirror (oh, the power of reflective practice).

In this post, I will show:

How three different school leaders do or don't context switch.The positive and negative effects of each leader.Steps to effectively context switch and lead your school to greater learning outcomes!
The Promoted Manager The context for this school leader is managing up. They intuitively know relationships above in the chain of command are vital.

This leader places an imbalanced effort in managing up. The efforts in this context often result in promotions…

How Long Should Direct Instruction Be?

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How Long Should Direct Instruction Be? Direct instruction is great, but how long should it be - based on brain research? This is a great reminder from Eric Jensen about the length that most students can cognitively engage (in direct instruction, that is).

Thanks @DavidJHuber, for sharing this as we go back to school.

But what can be done in only 8-12 minutes? Here are 5 high-yielding strategies that fit perfectly in this short direct instruction window.

1. Expand Prior Knowledge in Direct Instruction Part of the challenge in teaching classes of students (instead of individual students) is the range of background knowledge. Each student comes to class at a different starting point.

Direct instruction can very efficiently build prior knowledge for all students. Present visuals, videos, quick reads, or graphic organizers. Fill in prerequisite background knowledge and push the limits on enriching background knowledge.

This will allow all students to make richer connections and build sche…

Word Study Warm-Ups

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I'm proud to watch our team at TeamTom Education lead into another area of curriculum and instruction...Word Study!

They are hard at work developing a free spiraling warm-up resource for reading teachers in grades 2-8. In just 10 days we've had almost 300 teachers sign up, and the list is growing by 5-20% per day.

If you know a reading teacher, team, or department that could benefit from a streamlined approach to teaching word knowledge to young readers and writers, this free membership may be for them.



The power in this resource is in the research-based video instruction and the spiraling curriculum. Daily word study warm-ups guarantee each student has hands-on practice and direct instruction with the following skills and concepts: consonant clustersvowel soundsvowel combinationsmultiple syllable wordssentence fluencyacademic vocabularyword partsroot words Our authors are at work developing the curriculum into all areas of word study to build stronger readers and writers.  💪?…

Teacher Appreciation Week from TeamTom Education

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Teachers Really Do Amazing Things! It is so hard to adequately so thank you to the professionals who delicately and passionately touch so many thousands of lives!
TeamTom Education is inviting teachers to access free resources as a part of TeamTom Testers. I think it is a valuable opportunity and a great way to give a little back to teachers.
Teachers really do touch more than test scores!
Read the article and the full invite on the  TeamTomEducation.com blog:
Tap to read Keep Calm and Thank a Teacher

Powerful Teams Don't Compromise Collective Purpose!

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Collective purpose is such a buzz-type word. But the concept is more than buzz. It's the foundation of good teamwork.
In practice, it is not as common as you would think. At least not as common as it should be with the surge in "collaboration" over the last 5 years. Everyone talks collaboration. Working together. Yet, it is not uncommon for many teams to actually collaborate with collective purpose.
What is collective purpose? There are four basic features at the core of collective purpose. Here they are from big picture down to technical detail.
1. When a team shares a vision about what needs to happen and where they intend to be.
2. When a team shares what they hope to achieve and the goals they have to reach along the way.
3. When a team understands how they go about their business.
4. When a team accepts the roles and plays those roles with passion and strength.

Collective purpose can empower and awaken a team to move in the same direction. Collective purpose create…

Test Question Slap Down

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TeamTom Education has an amazing strategy on the new blog post. It is a total response strategy that is aimed at taking test review into excellent instruction. In this strategy, students focus on test question analysis, but they do so in a fun and engaging way!

The blog post covers these key topics related to the strategy:

How the Strategy Works - a step-by-step overview of the strategy, Test Question Slap DownWhat are Analysis-Level Questions?Test Review to Think Deeply - Questions stems to prompt critical thinking when using test itemsOngoing Formative AssessmentThe Benefits of Fun and Engaging Test ReviewIdeas for Classroom Management with this strategy
You can read or recommend teachers to review the blog post at Test Review Game: Test Question Slap Down.

Feed the Principals and Build the Schools!

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I once heard the book titled something like, Feed Your Teachers or They'll Eat the Students. The gist of it was this: build a healthy work environment, and teachers will get the most learning out of the students. To do this, teachers need:
SupportAffirmationProfessional learningPositive feedbackCoaching feedbackListening I think you'll agree, these are the basics for a healthy school culture. You'll also agree the same is true at the leadership level.
Feed Your Principals, or They'll Eat Your Teachers Your principals want the same as teachers - to be successful!
Wait a second, that's the same desire held by district leaders and community members.
So why do principals often act in ways that reveal detrimental dispositions? Dispositions and actions that undermine success. Such as: Fear of being judged harshly.Insecurity about their success.Need for control.Reaction to unforeseen problems. The answer is...
...they need to be fed. In a leadership culture that builds.
I …