October 18, 2015

Keep Sharing - That's It

If you are an educator or an instructional leader...you should read what George Couros has to say on a regular basis.  In his blog post, Why YOUR Sharing Matters, Couros states that educators can have an impact just by sharing.  

By sharing, we can help others continue to grow and learn.

You are able to view the power point used for this professional development here.

East Chester Elementary Educators have been called to Keep Sharing.  We have a desire to continue to grow and learn.  
We know that effectively communicating to someone else forces us to pay attention and learn more (Clive Thompson).  

We are going to Keep Sharing.

The comments posted below are the ways that East Chester models reading or math, creates assessing or advancing questions, sets goals for reading or math - how we...well...

It's not the subjects that matter, it's all about teaching the child.  

The comments below are from educators who make sure the learners are keeping up, who aren't afraid to change the lesson plan, who set high goals, and who love teaching the child.  

We hope you find something that challenges you to continue to grow and learn. What we have to share matters.

66 comments:

  1. The purpose of fear is to raise your awareness, not to stop your progress. Steve Maraboli My share for today is from Donna Boucher. She is a Math Coach @MathCoachCorner. "Our instructional techniques should change as we reflect on their effectiveness and acquire new ideas about best practices." She pushes educators to find ways to grow yourself as a professional - don't stay flat.

    If you want to read the whole blog post, you can find it here...
    http://www.mathcoachscorner.com/2015/10/17/setting-personal-professional-development-goals/#comment-11321

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  2. One of the ways that I set goals for students in math class is through the pre-tests given for each standard. After the students take the pre-test, we spend time in stations talking about what they got right and what they need to work on - this is how and where we set goals for that time of study. Not every student needs all the skills in every standard. This is a simple and effective way of the students seeing their need for growth and how they can achieve that growth. My favorite blogger and TPT provider can be find here http://youngteacherlove.com/math-and-ela-student-data-tracking-binders-and-a-freebie/, Kristine Nannini is her name. She always has great products that help with the pre-testing as well as the recording of data.

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    1. I am so thankful Belinda shared this idea with me a few years ago. I love this concept in reading and English and the kids have really taken ownership of it. At one point I didn't know if they really grasped what was happening, but during student led conferences I heard the language they used with the parents and realized they did. I have also seen tremendous growth from this! The students realize they don't know everything and they want to reach a level 4 so badly they are more engaged during the lessons.

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  3. I have found task cards to be a great way to model what I want my students to do in reading. These task cards are short, simple and direct. I can use a few to model how they should think through questions and problems in reading. I can also model what their work should look like as they answer the task cards. SInce they are short, simple and direct, it does not take a lot of time to model, so more explicit modeling can be done in a lesson with the gradual release. Then, the task cards are placed in a center and can be used as an early finisher project or as that center activity for a few days. Task cards can be found many places. I especially like Teaching with a Mountain View's task cards on TPT. They are also easy to make. I have made a few sets myself for my class. I would be happy to help any of you by making some for you if you want.

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  4. Great thought Becky! I use task cards everyday in math - especially ones with QR codes. I like these because they self check immediately and then the students can figure out what they didn't do right when they worked the problem. I like the Not So Wimpy Teacher on TPT - she has spiral review task cards. Terrific idea about modeling for reading that applies to math as well!

    OH - another share - when I make my task cards - I always print the front cover and answer key as a 4 by 6 card - that way the answers are the same size as the task cards. See you at the edge!

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  5. First grade is having a data folders this year and it has helped our kids to see where they are and where they need to be. Each week we track our words per minute from our Readwell assessments and students are able to see the numbers of words read and how that compares to last week and to where they started the year. Also included in their folder are sheets where they evaluate their behavior for each nine week, sight words checks, sheets to track their timed addition and subtraction fluency and their STAR or IReady testing. All of this is in one folders per child, it was great to have this at parent teacher conference and have it all in one place.
    Nancy Burns First Grade

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    1. Nancy, I love our data folders that we used this year. It really helped with the student led conferences this year. The kids also love to see their growth.
      Melissa

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    2. I love this because it leads right in to what we are doing in third grade, too. I would love to see a copy of what you are using so we can make ours fit what they are use to! Thanks for sharing!

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    3. Way to go 1st grade! I love that the students are tracking their own data and sharing it!

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  6. I incorporate math into my lessons on a regular basis. For example, Greater than > Less than < when dealing with scores in games. I also work on counting with the K-1 students. For example, count the number of balls on your teams side of the gym. With 2-3 graders I have students keep their own scores in games, this incorporates addition and multiplication. For example in our bowling unit or in various games such as "One Base Baseball". Those who are stronger in math, I try and group with those who may need extra help. The students never seem to mind doing math when they are having FUN!!!

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    1. Chad PE-teacher

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    2. Math is the easiest subject to incorporate into PE class. Reading is the hardest for me to incorporate into my PE class. I have just received some tile blocks with letters on them to use in PE class. I now need ideas!

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    3. Chad, we are very blessed to have such a wonderful PE teacher! I will be thinking of how you can use those tile blocks with letters! There has GOT to be some cool things to do with those! Thanks!
      Becky

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    4. Chad - Saw this http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/25870/physical-fitness - it might have some ideas!! Great thoughts!

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  7. I have encouraged my PE kids to become more physically fit. I have challenged all students at East Chester to do better on the Pacer test than I can by Christmas. We got a base score on all students at East Chester. Now the race is on......who will beat Mrs. Brown by Christmas. So, now Ms. Brown had to do more than just sit on the couch at night after supper. I had to enroll in a fitness class because I personally needed to become better in endurance for this Pacer test. Man, I did not know how out of shape I was. So the race is on.............(so believe me my base score was terrible!)...............so now as the year progresses I am anxious if I can indeed improve my own score! The kids don't know this but I am the one that is getting the most out of this challenge!!

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    1. I think this is a great idea! What a fun goal for the kids-to beat the teacher!
      -Erica, kindergarten

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    2. What a great idea! You are walking the walk and talking the talk.
      Melissa

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    3. What a fantastic comment about showing growth in physical education. Way to grow Janice!

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    4. I am also going to challenge the students to beat my pacer at the end of the school year. Great idea!

      -Chad

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    5. This is AWESOME, Mrs. Brown!!!! What a wonderful example you have given us reminding us we should do what we expect our students to do! I can't wait to see the end result!

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  8. In kindergarten, we are working a lot on teamwork and partner work. We have partner time three days a week during whole group instruction, as well as, small group work each day. We use partner time to predict/infer one day, discuss vocabulary one day, then work on comprehension one day. We have several questions-some that I ask and some that the students ask each other using these skills. We are working on giving each other constructive feedback and bouncing ideas off each other. I often hear things the students are saying to each other that they may not have said to me. I love to see them excited about working together!
    Erica Parten, Kindergarten

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    1. I love your ideas!

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    2. Erica, you are on the right track from what you have said here as well as what we talked about earlier today! Don't give up! Model, model, model, practice, practice, practice! You can do this!

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    3. It is just amazing that you are training our K's to give feedback - thank you! You are making a difference! Way to glow Erica!

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  9. I am a Kindergarten-Readiness teacher at East Chester Elementary School. I work with students that are kindergarten age, but were not quite ready for kindergarten. I get to work with these precious children for a year to get them ready for kindergarten. We work on letters, letter sounds, numbers, and so much more! One way that I set goals for my students is to give a pre-assessment of the students knowledge on a standard or standards I will be teaching. Knowing where my students are helps me to plan my lessons and set goals for them. I love using Pinterest, TPT, and my teacher friends for ideas to use in my teaching.

    Michelle Hopkins, KR teacher

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    1. Your kids are always VERY prepared by the time I get them in 1st grade. You accomplish so much!
      Melissa- 1st grade

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    2. Michelle, every child that has you as a teacher is blessed because they have been taught ALL they need to do and they are LOVED to the nth degree! I love knowing you pretest in Kindergarten because the same thing happens in third grade! Thank you for sharing!

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    3. Pre-testing is the way to go Michelle - when you pre-test then you can set your instruction based on the student's needs. Great thought!

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  10. The Fine Arts area is a passion of mine because it helps our students grow in areas that improves the way students learn in so many ways. It hits every type of learner (kinesthetic, auditory, visual, etc.) and it gives them a chance to break free of the typical classroom routine.

    "Much of what young children do as play- singing, drawing, dancing- are natural forms of art. These activities engage all the senses and help wire the brain for successful learning". David A. Sousa could not have said it better.

    I feel that I am here to educate my students in the Fine Arts areas but why not do that as well as help reinforce what the other teachers are teaching. I'm all about collaboration and I feel that if I can reinforce subjects that the students are learning then that will allow the different type of learners to get a better grasp of what they have learned in the classroom.

    For example in a week I will be starting a land form unit for the 2nd and 3rd grade classes. I will be using all of the fine art areas to reinforce the land forms as it is a major part of a standardize test they will have to take. For Music I will have a list of songs that are to the tunes of nursery rhymes they all know. The words have been changed to discuss the different type of land forms. They will learn the songs and create dance movements to represent each land form. I have found a unit of Reader's Theater on land forms on teacherspayteachers.com. Each script talks specifically about the land forms in which the students will create movements to put the land forms in their mind AND body (muscular memory). For Art the students will create the "Starry Night of Tennessee". As I discuss how to create line, shape, and color I will also assign them to put each land form we have learned into their artwork. They should be able to explain to me what land forms they have put into their artwork.

    I won't have every lesson perfect this first year, but as I continue to grow and learn from all of you I will find out how I can reinforce more and more with each and every lesson.

    - Becky Hartle, Fine Arts Teacher

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    1. Have we said how blessed we are to have you because WE ARE BLESSED! What an example you have been already by coming in and ASKING what you can do to help us meet all of our standards. Thank you for sharing and wanting to help. Thank you for making Fine Arts so much more than it could be!

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    2. Becky - Thank you for working with us to help meet the standards we need to meet for 3rd grade. This makes such a difference in our grade! We appreciate it so much!!! You are making a difference!!

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  11. The biggest thing I want my Pre-K students to learn this year is a love of reading. Even though they are not readers yet I can begin introducing them to the world of words and reading. I read to my students every day. Just reading to them is not enough. For example, when I read "Little Bear's Visit" I want to relate it to something I did when I was a little girl. This was one of my favorite books. We talk about visiting a grandparent. I show pictures of my grandparents. The students are ask to bring pictures from home of their grandparents. We make a list of some of the special things they do with their grandparents. You may get some really fun comments. I read the story, " Little Bear's Visit". We talk about every book has an author and most have an illustrator. Later in the week we do activities related to the story. Some activities are draw pictures of their grandparents, tell what they call their grandparents and we eat jam and bread that little bear ate with his grandparents. By the time we finish with book they love it as much as I did as a child. I let each child pick out their favorite book to read during the year. Leslie Pre-K

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    1. These are fantastic ideas, Mrs. Leslie! I love how much you put into this and can tell you love what you are doing! These are ideas we can all take and use! Thanks for sharing!

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    2. What a fantastic goal for your Pre-K students. I love how they can pick out their favorite book and how you shared your favorite book with them in such a creative way! Way to glow Leslie!!

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  12. My class and I created a rubric together to use when we grade math tasks. We discussed all the components that a good solution for a task should have and made an example page with pictures, words, and a number expression. We did the same with what a solution would look like if you went above and beyond what was expected and what a solution would look like if we didn't understand or didn't try. We then scored these example solution pages and use them to grade ourselves or peers when we do math tasks. The students loved getting to create the rubric!
    Blair, 1st Grade

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    1. Blair, I love how you created the rubric with your kids! That is a wonderful idea because they will truly understand the rubric and what is expected of them. I will be doing that in third grade for sure!

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    2. It takes time to teach how to create a rubric and I am impressed that you have taken the time to help your students learn what a strong rubric is all about! Thanks for sharing Blair!

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  13. Down the hall in Kindergarten at East Chester Elementary, we are learning to use a rubric to grade each other on sentence writing. We use a 3 STAR writing rubric in which the students color in stars for the different components of a sentence. The students receive a STAR colored for a capital letter, using spaces in the sentence, and ending with a punctuation mark. The students grade each other and they get to explain their reasoning to their friends. Sometimes the students grade themselves. I LOVE seeing how honest they are about their own work! ~Brandy K-teacher

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    1. Love it! I would like to start utilizing something similar in my first grade class!!
      Julie

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    2. This is amazing! I love this so much! What a great but simple way to get so much done in one activity! Thank you for sharing! I am not trying to work this into our third grade lessons!

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    3. Brandy - What a superb foundation you are laying for our students. Thank you for teaching them how to be honest and provide helpful feedback! What a great idea!!

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  14. In my first grade class, teaching my students to give each other good academic feedback began with teaching them to actively listen to each other. One strategy I am using to improve their listening skills is having them tell the class what their partner said during their share time. I present them with a question or scenario, have them share with their shoulder partner, and then report back to the class by sharing what their partner said during share time. The first few times I did this I found out how very little they were listening to each other. Once they realized that I was going to ask them to report what their partner said, they began really listening to each other. Then, they began questioning each other and giving each other feedback during their share time!!
    Julie Hudson, First Grade Teacher

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    1. I love this! Listening is a life skill and one that needs to be practiced like this! Thank you for sharing! I will be incorporating this into our class somehow!

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    2. Listening is a difficult skill for adults - love that you are laying a foundation in 1st grade for success in listening. This is a skill they will need for life! Excellent Julie!

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  15. I am a School Counselor with an avid love for reading. I strongly believe that many of the struggles children and adults deal with can be addressed with the use of books. When students come to my class as individuals or with their homeroom class, they come with history...some great and some not so great. With the use of social stories and books about life, I feel that I am better able to address student's needs in a non-threatening and non-judgmental way. Students can relate to characters in the story and learn life lessons without feeling like a lesson was directed personally to them therefore they are less likely to become defensive or offended.

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    1. I love this idea! What a great way to help our students! Thank you for all you do for them. I love using books to relate to our lives!

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    2. This is a terrific way to reach a child. Wow - what a powerful way in which to use books. Thank you for sharing - we are blessed to have you as our School Counselor!

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  16. As a Kindergarten teacher, I feel that questioning is very important, not only for me to assess, but for students to lead each other into higher level questioning. I ask questions as I'm teaching, but the best part of my questioning method is when my students develop their own questions, and we get in to a deeper conversation (regarding the lesson). When the students become more involved, and interested, then the lesson becomes "student focused." SaraBeth, Kindergarten

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    1. I love hearing this, Sara Beth! You said so many things that are true about questioning! The kids - when given a chance - really can ask such good questions that lead into much deeper conversations. Thank you for sharing!

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    2. SaraBeth - Proud of you! It takes a lot to write when there are lots of distractions - you did a great job!

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  17. I teach Kindergarten at East Chester. I love music and in my classroom we incorporate music into everything we learn. Students remember objectives put to music. We learn letters and sounds by learning many different ABC songs and letter songs. The music keeps them moving and keeps students engaged and busy doing the right things. I am having a rather difficult year but I'm learning to communicate better with my parents and learning to problem solve with my parents. When students know you care about them even when they lay in the floor and throw fits they begin to trust you and to talk about whats really going on. Learning can begin after you take care of why the student is so angry? If a student is hungry or angry the anger will show up with karate chops to their friends. Every student needs unconditional love and understanding. Every student is worth additional effort. My students love to come to school even the most difficult ones but they know they are loved even when they yell, scream, bite, and lay in the floor and cry. It has been a long 10 weeks but we have made great progress and I'm looking forward to see how far I can help them grow in the weeks to come.

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    1. I love that you use music so much in your class. Even in third grade, the kids love anything we put to music. I appreciate your sharing your heart. There is no doubt you love you students and want what is best for them. Hang in there. You are going to make a difference in their lives!

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    2. Love, love, love the honesty. So proud of how you are growing and learning and trying and never giving up and working to find solutions and still loving the children!!!!!! Way to grow as a teacher!

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  18. I have found this year to be an eye opener for me. Letting kids take ownership of their learning is a new experience for me. We have started these data notebooks and have been amazed to see how much more than are willing to learn knowing that they have to document themselves of what they learn throughout the year. They seem to be excited about filling the charts out in their notebooks to see how many letters, sounds and numbers etc. they already know and it helps them to set goals for themselves. I never realized that kindergarteners would be able to "own" their learning and take responsibility for pushing themselves further simply by letting them document their learning in a simple notebook. If you haven't tried in kindergarten, give it a shot. I'm still in the early stages but I think its a great tool to incorporate into everyday learning.

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    1. I just love that you use data notebooks in K (and they are using them in first, too). Thank you for being transparent with us. We are learning in third grade as well that students can and will take ownership of their learning! I would love for us all to sit down and make our data notebooks flow from one year to another!

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    2. It was a blog post just like this one that made me believe that I could actually do Student-Led Conferences. You will make the difference in someone - you will help another teacher be able to begin data notebooks. Awesome!

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  19. I love to read to my kids. I love all the elephant and piggie books by Mo Willems. I love to teach reading with expression with these books. I have the students become either Gerald or piggie. They read their parts. They love being animated and entertaining.
    Melissa- 1st grade

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    1. I see these books completely different now ever since you told me this a few years ago! I would have never looked at those books in that way. Thank you for sharing a great way to teach an important skill.

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    2. Melissa - What a great idea for the elephant and piggie books! I know that this share will inspire someone to let a book become a play! Great job!

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  20. I have always been a big proponent of incorporating technology into the classroom and using it for group talk to start a lesson, but I have found more time constraints lately. I decided to take what I have always done and add it as a filler for students to improve writing skills. I show a picture and ask students to make inferences as to what is happening. They answer this by using a common prompt. I added (How do you think this real-life skill helps you in math? In reading?) to my prompts for students who are early finishers and need a challenge. I save writing for parents to see how students have progressed through the year. Parents ESPECIALLY love this!
    Annette, 1st Grade

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    1. I am so glad you wrote this! We are trying to do the same thing in third grade right on this blog! What a fantastic way to teach so many different skills. I love seeing how we are all doing so much of the same things but on age appropriate levels.

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    2. Annette - This is a great share - you really provide so many ideas to help teachers grow how they use technology as well as prompts. Great job!

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  21. I teach Special Education resource/intervention and intervention. This year, I have Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 7th grade. (Yes, it's a big adjustment from morning to afternoon.) My favorite activity that I have ever done was a fluency activity. I videoed each of my students reading by themselves on my iPad. They LOVED seeing themselves on camera! My favorite part was watching their faces when they saw themselves on camera. When we were finished, we watched each video together as a group. Each student gave feedback by sharing one thing they liked and one thing they would like to see improved. It was so much fun for both me and the students. I plan on trying it with my 7th graders this year. I encourage all teachers to try and video your students at least once during the school year!

    Amanda, Special Education

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    1. This is fantastic! You could do so much with this! I never would have thought of this! I am going to have to work on doing this in my room as well. I am glad you retyped this so I could read it!

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    2. LOVE how you are using the video in order for your students to learn how to give feedback - what a terrific idea! Thanks for sharing Amanda!!

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  22. resource/intervention and INCLUSION* Sorry!
    -Amanda

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