Tag Archives: Carmen

Supporting Thinking Through Cognitive CoachingSM

Welcome Back!  We hope you are off to the start of a wonderful school year!  The eMINTS National Center has been hard at work all summer long preparing learning opportunities for you!

Image used with permission.

We are excited to be hosting another eight day Cognitive CoachingSM Foundations Seminar in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Cognitive CoachingSM  Model helps produce self-directed individuals.  Here is what people have said after attending the Cognitive CoachingSM  Foundations Seminar-

  • “Coming into CC, I thought I would really struggle with the purpose of coaching being to take the coachee where he/she wanted to go… I thought it would be difficult to let go of where I wanted him/her to go.  Throughout the trainings though, my thinking changed with my experiences. The trainings were totally engaging to me and really affected the way I view myself as a leader and even as a conversationalist.  My expectations were more than exceeded!”
  • “Cognitive CoachingSM  has made me a better listener. I have to really practice holding back my own thoughts and opinions during a conversation and remember that the conversation is about helping the other person to think, not about getting my ideas in the air.”
  • “The knowledge and skills that are learned in the 8 day Foundations Seminar can be applied in all aspects of personal and professional life. The tools and experience are worth the time and money spent attending training.”

The dates for the upcoming St. Louis Foundations Seminar are:
September 26 and 27, 2012
October 24 and 25, 2012
November 28 and 29, 2012
January 16 and 17, 2013

The Foundations Seminar is a great professional development opportunity for all instructional coaches, administrators, teachers, and anyone interested in improving their communication skills to support others in planning, reflecting, and problem-resolving. Participants who attend the eight-day seminar will be a certified Cognitive CoachSM.

To learn more and register for the seminar go to http://www.emints.org/professional-development/other-pd/cognitive-coaching/

Space is limited so register today!

Brooke Higgins, Carmen Marty, and Terri Brines are Instructional Specialist, Cognitive CoachingSM Agency Trainers, and bloggers for the eMINTS National Center.

eMINTS Announces St. Louis Cognitive CoachingSM Foundations Seminar

eMINTS is excited to announce the next round of the Cognitive CoachingSM Foundations Seminar to take place in St. Louis, MO beginning in September 2012.

The 8-day professional development series is tailored to anyone that wants to encourage self-directedness of others. Participants will learn strategies and techniques to increase others’ thinking potential and mediate thinking when working with someone who is planning, reflecting or struggling with a problem.

Click Image for Source

The seminar is split into four 2-day sessions lasting from 8:30am-4:00pm each day.

Days Dates
Days 1-2 September 26 & 27, 2012
Days 3-4 October 24 & 25, 2012
Days 5-6 November 28 & 29, 2012
Days 7-8 January 16 & 17, 2013

Cognitive CoachingSM – a research-based model – encourages the process of decision-making to achieve goals through metacognition. The seminar will be facilitated by Brooke Higgins, Carmen Marty, and Terri Brines, certified Agency Trainers of Cognitive Coaching.

Learn all the details and registration online now at the eMINTS website. Sign up now to hold your spot in this amazing professional development opportunity.

Brooke Higgins is an Instructional Specialist, Cognitive Coaching Facilitator, and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

How We Make Meaning

How does this baby learn about his world? For the most part, this child is constructing his own meanings and ideas about how things work. While some of the parental guidance has been edited out of the video, there’s still four hours of footage (condensed into two minutes) of a baby simply exploring his world and making sense of it all.

Why can’t this be the same approach we take with students? Students can explore, inquire, and investigate the world around them in order to create their own meaning just as this baby is doing in the video. Of course, there are key elements that make this exploration possible.

The baby has some limitations. There is a limitation of space where the baby is learning. He is generally contained in this one room, not permitted to roam throughout the house. Part of this limitation is due to his lack of mobility, but it’s a limitation nonetheless. Similar limitations can be set for student inquiries. Identifying essential, guiding, and content questions can help with focusing the inquiry. Also, hooking them with engaging examples of the phenomena to be studies will provide parameters.

Another thing the baby has that encourages his inquiry is the ample supply and variety of resources. No matter where the baby turns or what he decides to do, there are toys (or sometimes other household objects) with which he can experiment. Providing resources can be challenge for cash-strapped schools, but the internet more than makes up for these shortcomings in the form of limitless literature, multimedia, and simulations.

Finally, the baby’s inquiry goes so well because there is a skilled, caring adult providing an opportunity to actively explore his world. Much of the child’s interaction with adults has been edited out, but one can tell by the way toys have been laid out and the simple fact that his entire play session has been recorded that this baby has adults who are looking out for his well-being. The same can be said for students with teachers who care enough about their learning that they sacrifice their time and financial gain in order to help their students grow intellectually.

With these support systems in place, students, like the baby in the video, will succeed in their efforts to inquire about the inner-workings of their world. Of course, this inquiry can’t take place in an environment that is too restrictive or encourages passivity. Structure, access to resources, and caring and thoughtful facilitation are musts for inquiry to succeed.

What lessons about learning do you glean from the above video? How might these lessons inform your teaching? What can you do better in providing opportunities of inquiry for your students?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger with the eMINTS National Center. A special hat tip is given to eMINTS staff members Carla Chaffin and Carmen Marty for pointing out this video in connection with inquiry.

Life Class, Oprah, and eMINTS-Part 2

There was high energy in the theater!  Music, cheering, everyone was buzzing.  Then the community building began.  Oprah’s audience producer came on stage.  She encouraged the audience to say hello to the people you were sitting by and to start having fun!  I met a nice person named Carol who was there by herself!  There was a great big group hug and the audience was all one with Oprah!

The evening contained so many “Ah-Ha” moments that connect with the Community of Learners component of the eMINTS Intructional Model.

Ah-Ha #1-

Wow the audience producer developed the community and energy in the room from the moment we walked through the door!  There was music, dancing, and discussion.  How might we do this in a classroom day after day?  One of my favorite quotes from the night came for guest Iyanla Vanzant, “You are responsible for the energy in the room.”  As teachers, we are ultimately in charge of the energy in our classrooms.  As the end of the year sneaks up on us and testing is lurking right around the corner, I want to stay mindful of this quote. I have to choose my attitude and the impact it has on the children in my room.  If the students sense I am stressed, tired, worried, that will rub off on them.   If students feel loved, cared about, and excitement for learning it will rub off on them.  To maintain a positive classroom community, I must maintain a positive vibe towards all my students even as end of the year craziness begins!


Ah-Ha #2-

Our kids need to know we are proud of them and we love them unconditionally.  During the show Iyanla Vanzant worked with a man named “Steve” who was suffering from an addiction.  The root of the problem was the man did not have a male father-figure growing up.  Iyanla did an exercise where she told the man his father would be proud of him and his mother loved him unconditionally.  She also called two men up on stage from the audience.  One man stood back to back with the man.  This represent to “Steve” he had someone to lean on.  The other man told “Steve” he was proud of him.  I started thinking about so many of our young students who come to school from homes where the idea of someone being proud of them may not be reinforced.  What would it feel like to never know someone was proud of me?  I began to wonder what might be some possible community-building activities to reinforce the concept that we are proud of our classmates and we can lean on one another.  Morning Meeting is one activity where this message could be reinforced.  I wonder what the impact would be if twice a week we took morning meeting time to share specifically why we are proud of each other.  I am proud of you “Andrew” for being peaceful on the playground.  I am proud of you “Sophia” for completing your homework this week.  Along with morning meeting classroom teachers plan trust building activities with students.  Trust building activities would help students learn they have someone to lean on.

Ah-Ha #3-

Students’ behavior is a way of them acting on their PAIN (Pay Attention Inward Now).  When students act out, they are doing so to express some type of pain.  If I help students discover how they are feeling, it will help them deal with their behaviors.  Throughout the show, Iyanla Vanzant focused on people using I language as they told the story of their pain.  For example when she interviewed a convict via Skype the convict described how she felt by saying, “You feel embarrassed, you are reminded of what you did everyday.”  Iyanla had the convict change the language to “I feel embarrassed.  I’m reminded of what I did everyday.”  This helps the person in PAIN own their feelings.  Taking the time to listen to students who are acting out and helping them determine the emotion driving their behavior will help them deal with and create a vision for what they want to do in the future.  It is through owning these feelings and developing a vision that we start to heal our PAIN and work to making our selves better people.   Paraphrasing students when they tell their side of the story, labeling their emotion, and giving them a goal for the future can help them from being stuck in a funk to moving on and being productive member of the classroom community.

Ah-Ha #4 and then some…

Don’t become hypnotized by your story.  It seems that all teachers have a story, a certain parent, a specific student, an administrator that challenged them as a professional.  Don’t let the “story” hypnotize you and become your identity.  What did you learn from your experience that you might apply to future situations?  Take your story, state the truth as facts, and leave the emotion behind.  The anger, the baggage you don’t need in your life.

Surround yourself with people who share.  A great quote from last night was “You need to be around people who make deposits and not just withdraws.”  As you work with teams and committees, give and take.  We all need deposits in education! We also need to be willing to share and let others withdraw ideas.  How might this analogy be used with students when working in cooperative groups?

And my final favorite thought…

“You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want.”  So what do you want your classroom community to look like as you wrap up the school year?  How might you be the catalyst for creating a collaborative and peaceful environment?

My experience at Oprah was amazing!  I had no idea the message of this fun evening would impact my life and my teaching.  The lessons Oprah is teaching on her LifeClass show are life lessons!   This experience and these lessons will stay with me for a long time!

Carmen Marty is an eMINTS Instructional Specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

#Life Class #OWN #Oprah

Life Class, Oprah, and eMINTS-Part 1

A few days ago, a friend called me and said, “Hey do you like Oprah?”

I said, “Yes!”

“My battery on my phone is dying, but I have a ticket for you for Monday night!  I’ll call later.”

For a few days, it didn’t sink in.  I was going to Oprah!  I received an email with the details about the show, what to wear, what to bring, what not to bring etc.  As the time got closer, I got more and more excited!  I was going to see Oprah!!!!!

As we entered the Peabody Theater, I was overwhelmed with the excitement and energy in the building!  This was going to be a great night!  I had no idea how inspiring the evening would be or how much Oprah connected with components of the eMINTS Instructional Model.

Throughout the night, distinct parts of the eMINTS Instructional Model that stood out in my mind Powered by Technology and Community of Learners.

Oprah is very Powered by Technology.  I thought it was unique when the letter confirming my attendance included, “Bring a charged Smart Phone or Tablet.”  Hmmm, in a society where we are encouraged to put our devices away, Oprah was embracing the online community through tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and Skype.  Large screens in the theater posted directions for her Twitter Feed #Lifeclass.  Before the show began, people over the theater were tweeting about their excitement and expectations for the show!  There was another screen showing live Facebook comments.  Oprah also had viewers from six different global locations join the show via Skype.

Photos by: Stephanie Madlinger @cyberteacher

Prior to the show, the audience producer encouraged everyone to turn off their ringers, but keep posting throughout the show.  They wanted the audience to bring the experience to the viewers at home.  They wanted the viewers at home to have an interactive experience.  We even did a Twitter Poll.  The Oprah network provided the audience free wifi so we could be a big part of the interactive learning, which took place!  Throughout the show, Oprah referred to the screen of tweets and Facebook messages.  As an audience member, I was on the edge of my seat secretly wishing she’d read one of my tweets.  I was encouraged and motivated to keep paying attention to the content of the show, process what I was learning, and share with others via my Smart Phone.

How could this tool be used with students?  You are supposed to be 13 or older to have a Twitter account.  I started to look for some microblogging sites that could be used as an alternative to twitter.

We’ve featured Edmodo on our blog before.   Edmodo is an online, private, classroom environment.  As the teacher, you set up the classroom and students register.  There are opportunities for discussion boards, gradebooks, assignment calendars, voting, and microblogging!

So how might I incorporate microblogging into a class lesson just like Ms. Oprah Winfrey?

Imagine your students working on an inquiry lesson.  On the SMART Board you project your Edmodo class site.  As the students discover, question, and make authentic connections they post their thoughts and findings to Edmodo.   As a class you set up guidelines for the length of posts, what is appropriate content, how to site other classmates if you use their information etc.  Using the Power of Technology, students are engaged and interacting.  To assist with management, you could designate one person in each group to be responsible for posting information.  As the facilitator, you can watch the Edmodo feed and see where your students are with their understanding.  You can stop and highlight/summarize big classroom “ah-has”, do mini-lessons on misconceptions, or individualize instruction by providing guiding questions to a specific group based on the data from the Edmodo feed.

For a more “global” experience consider connecting with a classroom in another state, country, or school.  Collaborate and plan an inquiry project with another teacher and share ideas through an Edmodo online classroom.

What possibilities can you imagine for the power of microblogging with students?  What are some ways you are currently using microblogging?

Carmen Marty is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

More Picnik Alternatives

I was so sad when I heard Picnik was closing its doors.  Like Brooke Higgins mentioned in her post Wanted: free and easy photo editing, I loved Picnik and used it for photo editing and creating unique gifts and collages.  I even paid for the full membership.   When I heard the news the site was closing I started searching for a new quick, easy tool.  On my iPhone I found a few apps I liked for editing my mobile images- Instagram, Pixloromatic , and Fun Camera, but  I really wanted something I could use to edit photos on my desktop computer.  Something easy, full of great features, and free!  I wanted to add two more options to your toolbox, that may help you replace Picnik (Which is still around until April 19) as a favorite photo editing tool!

Pixlr- The same people who created Pixloromatic have a feature on their website called Pixlr-Express. Pixlr-Express is free!  It does not require a log in.  You just upload a photo, or take a photo using your webcam and you can edit it on the spot!   You have access to your typical photo editing options- cropping, resizing, red-eye, sharpening, and more.  It also gives you a few special color effects, a variety of filter overlays, frames, stickers, and the ability to add text to pictures.  You don’t get a million options, but it is free and easy.  It helps you enhance an image and save it in just a few quick clicks.

The other tool I recently discovered was Pic Monkey. This tool is very “Picnik like.”  I did some research and found out it was actually created by some of the engineers from Picnik!  Yeah for us!!!!  There is no registration required for the basic features. However, to get the advanced features they do ask you to register.  (I would recommend registering because there are tons of amazing advanced features!)  Currently you can get both basic and premium features for free.  The freebie deal will end in a few months and if you sign up now, you will get a coupon for a discounted subscription in the future.

Once you upload your photo, you see a very clean, user-friendly interface.  Along with your basic editing tools of cropping, rotating, auto adjust etc., you get much more. The site offers 25 different special effects from the categories of Basic, Camera Look, Paintbox, Area, and Artsy.   These features help make your snapshots look like masterpieces.  In the touch-up section you can reduce wrinkles, add lip-gloss, change your eye color, and even reduce your weight.  Pic Monkey provides a many, many overlays that help you increase the interest of your photo by adding accessories such at beach objects, comic bubbles, flowers, butterflies, and shapes!  Along with text and frame options, Pic Monkey is an amazing resource for adding a ton of creativity to your digital images!

As I explored these tools, I thought about how students could use these tools to support the NETS-S of creativity and innovation.  “Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.”  How might you use Pixlr-Express or PicMonkey to encourage creativity and innovation in your classroom?

Carmen Marty is an Instructional Specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Tuesday’s Tool: WhatWasThere

Local histories can sometimes be the most interesting to our students. However, it is hard to place historical landmarks by just reading about them or learning about them from those who were there. Even images aren’t always enough.

WhatWasThere is a tool that pairs historical pictures and images with their locations on a Google map. It is even easy for one to upload photos for archival purposes. Scanning and archiving Grandma’s old photos can help tell a historical tale in a particular location.

The website says it best:

The WhatWasThere project was inspired by the realization that we could leverage technology and the connections it facilitates to provide a new human experience of time and space – a virtual time machine of sorts that allows users to navigate familiar streets as they appeared in the past.

The premise is simple: provide a platform where anyone can easily upload a photograph with two straightforward tags to provide context: Location and Year. If enough people upload enough photographs in enough places, together we will weave together a photographic history of the world (or at least any place covered by Google Maps). So wherever you are in the world, take a moment to upload a photograph and contribute to history!

If you have a question or want to find out more about this project, contact us atinfo@whatwasthere.com.

In addition to the easy-to-use website, WhatWasThere also has an iPhone app.

How could one use WhatWasThere in a classroom? Are there other applications outside of a history course? How does a tool like WhatWasThere transform history education?

(H/T Carmen Marty, eIS)

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Friday 4ALL: Building Self-Directedness in Students

Decisions Decisions

A few weeks ago we looked at ways to promote self-directedness within ourselves.  We shared thoughts about developing your own PLN (personal learning network) to promote your personal growth and development.  With the school year just around the corner, you may be thinking, “What might my classroom look like with self-directed students? What positive outcomes might we experience if students learned how to be more self monitoring, managing, and modifying?”

Imagine a classroom were students are self-directed with their learning, behavior, and thoughts?  As a teacher, how might you play  role in and promote self-directedness in the classroom?

Encouraging students to be a part of the process when creating classroom norms is one way teachers can promote self-directedness.  Allowing students to reflect on what they need to do to be a successful learner and member of their classroom community is another way to support students in the process of learning to be self-monitoring and modifying.  How might reflecting on experiences from the previous school year assist them with identifying the past way they learn?  What they need to be successful in a group?  What strategies do you envision using to assist students with creating and being respectful of group norms?

Another area for promoting self-directedness comes in the form of assessment.  Helping students create learning plans based on a pre-assessment of knowledge helps them be realistic about what they know and what direction they may want to focus their learning on.  When working on long term projects, allow students to be part of the creation of the scoring guide developing descriptors for what makes a good product/project.  Another idea is to present students with the standards or objectives for a project and ask them what the learning criteria should be.  You can also present students with a rubric that is partially filled out perhaps with the descriptors in place and have students work in groups to decide what an excellent project would look like vs a needs improvement project. Through self-assessment students learn to look at their work with a critical eye, they reflect, and make decisions about their learning all the while giving them the opportunity to learn the skills needed to be self-directed.  Self-assessment encourages students to take pride in their work.  For additional ideas on a variety of ways to assess with students check out the Intel Assessing Projects, Intel’s Library of Assessments, a tool for creating assessments of 21st century learning. An account is required but it is free and easy to set up. Once you have an account you will have  access to the application which includes pre-made assessments as well as a tool to create your own customized assessments to meet the needs of your unique students. Watch this video to see how it works.

Another resource you may want to consider is Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick’s Habits of Mind. Habits of Mind are 16 characteristics to help students be successful.  The Habits of Mind provide guidelines for working successfully and interacting with others.  Teaching students the Habits of Mind and then asking students to identify Habits they might draw upon or need to complete classroom projects successfully can help them become thoughtful learners.  Students also become reflective and self-directed as they use the 16 Habits to navigate problems and challenges in the classroom in an appropriate manner.

As the school year draws near, you might take some time to revisit the Hallmarks of an Effective eMINTS Classroom, a matrix that can outline the progression of changes in teaching practice often observed as teachers complete eMINTS Professional Development. The Hallmarks can be used to assess where a classroom is and can even be used to set goals for teachers, students and classroom community. An Effective eMINTS Classroom promotes students being self-directed and as your classroom transforms into a Constructivist Learning environment, it is imperative to encourage your students to self-modify, self-monitor, and self-direct.

Carmen Marty, Terri Brines, & Brooke Higgins are eMINTS Instructional Specialists and Cognitive Coaching/eMINTS Agency Trainers. For more information about Cognitive Coaching and related seminars visit the eMINTS National Center events page.

Bert Werk (Photographer). (2007). Vijfsprong/forked road/crossroad. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bertwerk/2821951515/

Thursday’s Tip: Supporting Self-Directedness

Self-Directed – “Directed or guided by oneself, especially as an independent agent”

When you think about it, we all want to be self-directed.  We want the ability and freedom to guide ourselves; to make choices based on a sound thought process, and the independence to tailor learning, thinking, and life to our own style and needs.   Being teachers, we also strive to achieve that same ability and desire in our students.  We want them to be self-directed with their thoughts, learning, and life.  Our biggest obstacle is: How do we achieve self-directedness in ourselves and our students?  As we first focus on ourselves for this post, there are several ways to move towards becoming self-directed.  With summer here, we can take some time and explore possible avenues to help meet that goal.

We might consider the development of our own Personal Learning Network (PLN) through blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.  We can choose the ones that allow us to develop skills, learn about new technologies, explore teaching strategies, see a variety of perspectives, and learn about educational issues affecting not only ourselves but the world.  A variety of tools and media allows us to develop a PLN that fits our individual learning styles as well as connect to the global education community where we can gain and share new learning.

Another way to move towards becoming a self-directed individual is through the organization of our thought process.  We have discussed in previous posts ways to reflect and plan.  We can implement these skills in almost any situation and in everything we do.  We can ask ourselves questions to develop a plan, and then once the event is over, reflect on ways to continue or improve what we did. This can include the setting of goals and monitoring the follow through of those goals.   As we take these pieces of planning and reflecting and internalize the process, we move ourselves closer to becoming a more self-directed person.

So some questions that could support you in becoming more self-directed that you might want to consider are:

  • What goals might you have for yourself in becoming self-directed?
  • What might be some strategies you can use to develop your ability to be self-directed?
  • What learning styles and preferences in yourself do you need to consider in becoming self-directed?

Taking the steps in becoming more self-directed may seem small but can have a powerful impact on how we approach and handle life.  As the Australian song reminds us – “From little things, big things grow” – Paul Kelly

Carmen Marty, Terri Brines, & Brooke Higgins are eMINTS Instructional Specialists and Cognitive Coaching/eMINTS Agency Trainers. For more information about Cognitive Coaching and related seminars visit the eMINTS National Center events page.

mathplourde (Photographer). (2007). My PLN Banner. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/mathplourde/4618916837/

Friday 4ALL: What is Cognitive Coaching?

Over the past month the Networked Teaching & Learning blog has published a handful of posts referencing Cognitive CoachingSM. Some of you might be wondering what Cognitive CoachingSM is and why eMINTS is talking about it.

The Center for Cognitive CoachingSM defines Cognitive CoachingSM as a “research-based model that capitalizes upon and enhances teachers’ cognitive processes with a mission to produce self-directed individuals.” They further explain that self-directed individuals know how to self-monitor, self-modify, and self manage independently and as members of a community. They offer the metaphor of Cognitive CoachingSM is like a stagecoach not a baseball coach. Coaching is a way to get from here to there but not someone that knows what is best and tells you what to do. Coaching helps an individual go from where they are to where they want to be.  As a coach, you help your coachee plan, reflect, and problem resolve.  A coach supports thinking and empower’s a coachee.

So why is eMINTS interested in Cognitive CoachingSM…. What we believe is that coaching makes perfect sense as a tool for those affiliated with eMINTS to achieve what we have identified as outcomes for eMINTS classrooms. Cognitive CoachingSM is yet another tool that can serve as scaffolding for our staff, facilitators, teachers, and students in a hope to help them become self-directed, resourceful, and life-long learners. eMINTS and The Center for Cognitive CoachingSM both value supporting instructional change, purposeful lesson design, enhanced thinking, and building a community of learners.

The Cognitive Coaching Foundation Seminar®is an eight-day professional development opportunity for instructional coaches, administrators, teachers, mentors, professors, supervisors, eMINTS PD4ETS program participants, certified Educational Technology Specialists and anyone who wants to encourage self-directedness of others. Participants will learn strategies to increase others’ thinking potential and mediate thinking when working with someone who is planning, reflecting or struggling with a problem.

Check out the eMINTS website events page for information on attending if you are interested improving your skills as a coach and mediator of thinking and plan on attending the Cognitive CoachingSM Foundations Seminar hosted by The eMINTS National Center. The seminar consists of 8 days of high quality professional development focused on learning communication tools and conversation structures you can use as a coach to support others thinking. We will be starting the next round of trainings in early September. Get signed up now to reserve your seat.

Carmen Marty, Terri Brines, & Brooke Higgins are eMINTS Instructional Specialists and Cognitive Coaching/eMINTS Agency Trainers. For more information about Cognitive Coaching and upcoming related seminars visit the eMINTS National Center events page.

arbyreed (Photographer). (2007). Stagecoach Wheel. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/19779889@N00/2785101089/ – used with permission under the Creative Commons license.