Lockett Learning Systems

Lockett Learning Systems

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Disagree Agreeably

I have a rotten, awful, racist teacher...and I'm going to sit in his class and do nothing!

That is what we call 'stinkin' thinkin'!'
They get paid, and you have to take the class all over again.
They win...you lose.

Designing the SCORE program, I had a version of that conversation many times.

When our students (or children) are angry at us, they either "wall off" or "act out."  Using our study skills curriculum, we ask them to "build a bridge back to learning...not a wall, and not a war."  We teach them to "disagree agreeably."  To do that, they are to:
  1. Ask non-threatening questions
  2. Provide new information
  3. Put assumptions into words and ask for clarification
Our middle school students are especially excited to learn this valuable skill.  We have to tell them they won't win every argument that way, but they'll win a lot more.

Eventually, we teach them about "win-win."  When they learn how to question or disagree without accusing, they're on their way.

"Communication Skills" is what we call the "forgotten study skill."  We tell our students to listen and take notes; but to do that without the skills to discern what is important and to ask for clarification sets them up for failure.  They may get something down in writing, but it won't always be an important point.

Check out our Study Skills Curriculum.  It will help you empower your students to learn so you can spend your time with them doing creative things instead of reviewing the basics.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Less is More

A Biology teacher, following a SCORE Study Skills workshop, decided to test my theory that when it comes to studying, less is more.  After teaching her students the keys to memory, she said, "Promise me you won't study longer than 5 minutes tonight!"

Test grades went up in every class.

It works!  The taxon part of our brain tires quickly.  When we cram information into it, after about 15 minutes, our brain says, "nighty-night!" and quits processing information.

When we started SCORE, we thought we would turn students on to learning and they would spend more time studying.  Wrong!  They actually spent less time studying...but they studied more effectively, turned in homework more often, and earned higher grades.

Less is more.

Check out our study skills curriculum.  Click here.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The "Uncommon Core" Success or Failure?

As a beginning teacher, I was always reading the textbook and thinking, "No wonder the kids don't understand this!"  I would re-write the instructions and pass out a handout that explained what the textbook had muddled.

I didn't know then that I was a writer.  I just knew that I could do a better job of explaining the "how-to" of my lesson than the textbook authors had done.

It is rare that I read an article and think, "Well done!  I couldn't have said it better."

Enter the exception:  From Edutopia, Andrew Miller's article entitled "4 Lessons Learned from Common Core Implementation."

You'll want to read the entire thing.  Here is the link: 

Let me quote from his final paragraph and shout Kudos!  Yes!  Amen!  Wow!  You name it...however you shout about something that grabs you, here it is:
"All teachers should know how professional development relates directly to their practice. 
All teachers should be given practical tools for implementation. 
All teachers should receive ongoing, embedded professional development. 
They should be leveraged for their expertise and leadership. 
We should focus on assessment and move away from our focus on standardized testing."
Andrew Miller
Educational Consultant and Online Educator

From my years in staff development and endeavoring to bring about success to all students, I quickly realized that top-down staff development doesn't work...nor does teacher-driven change.  Change must be a collaborative.  

I asked a principal who had managed to fully and successfully implement SCORE in less than 6 weeks how he had achieved it so quickly.  He said, "I was the new kid on the block, and I knew the teachers would shoot down what I brought to them.  

'The entire first year, I used my staff development monies to send teachers to observe what other schools were doing.  When they came back, they said, 'Why aren't we doing that?!'  I responded, 'we could do that.  I'll look into how to bring it to our campus.'  

'By year two, they were ready and had hand-selected what they wanted to do.  Interesting...it was what I wanted to do, too."

Kudos again! Thank you, educators and students, for keeping my learning curve alive and growing.