Conversations Episode 89 – Teachable Moments

This week, we discussed the topic of teachable moments.  It seems that in these days of more content and high test expectations, there is very little time to take advantage of teachable moments.  We discussed ways to capitalize on the moments, as they arise.

11:26:13 Lisa Parisi: Hi Pat!

11:26:44 Sheila: HI tthere!

11:27:07 loonyhiker (aka Pat): hi! i will be right back. for some
reason i can’t open ETTA or ETTB

11:27:13 Sheila: Switching to ugly color.

11:27:33 Lisa Parisi: No sound yet

11:27:53 Lisa Parisi: Sound will be on ustream today.

11:28:03 Sheila: We will be using usteream

11:28:19 loonyhiker (aka Pat): oh good! i think i can get that to

11:28:30 Sheila: Lisa is so fast at typing!

11:30:03 loonyhiker (aka Pat): Changed the color of my font so mine
won’t look like Lisa’s πŸ™‚

11:30:43 Lisa Parisi: ustream is on

11:32:14 Lisa Parisi: Hi Peggy

11:32:20 loonyhiker (aka Pat): Hmm, i can’t get it to play. i have
a new lap top so I’m not sure why i can’t get anything to work

11:32:33 PeggyG: Hi everyone, I’ll be mostly listening today.
Still recovering from surgery.

11:32:50 Sheila: REst up!

11:32:51 Lisa Parisi: Hi Cheryl

11:33:16 cheryl w: hi Lisa no sound?

11:33:20 PeggyG: can see the ustream but not hearing anything yet

11:33:21 Lisa Parisi: Pat, click on the play button on Ustream

11:33:58 Lisa Parisi: We’re working on the sound.

11:34:04 Lisa Parisi: So how is everyone.

11:34:10 loonyhiker (aka Pat): i don’t have a play button πŸ™

11:34:13 Lisa Parisi: Hi Karen

11:34:37 McTeach (Karen): Good morning, Lisa!

11:34:38 PeggyG: are you also streaming on ETT-A?

11:34:43 Lisa Parisi: I just had to reload a few things…java,

11:34:44 Sheila: ustream

11:34:47 Lisa Parisi: Hello Jackie

11:34:55 PeggyG: ok-still waiting for audio

11:34:56 Lisa Parisi: Almost there

11:35:01 PeggyG: ok

11:35:13 Lisa Parisi: Hi Cathy

11:35:13 jackiegerstein: Hi, Lisa – sound via ustrea?

11:35:37 Lisa Parisi: Any sound on ustream folks?

11:35:55 PeggyG: not yet for me

11:35:56 McTeach (Karen): I’m not hearing anything

11:35:59 jackiegerstein: nada

11:36:00 loonyhiker (aka Pat): not for me yet

11:36:02 PeggyG: I’ve refreshed a couple of times

11:36:10 Lisa Parisi: ANyone want to stream for us today?

11:36:28 Lisa Parisi: I don’t seem to be able to.  Sheila is now trying.  Maria is not here today.

11:36:39 Lisa Parisi: We’ll get there.

11:36:49 cheryl w: no sound yet

11:37:00 loonyhiker (aka Pat): don’t worry – i’ve got all day and
lots of junk food πŸ™‚

11:37:01 Lisa Parisi: Topic today is teachable moments and how to
take advantage of them.

11:37:20 Lisa Parisi: I remember when I was student teaching,
teachable moments was a big topic in each class.

11:37:26 cheryl w: this is one them! (LOL)

11:37:30 Lisa Parisi: Now it seems we don’t have time for them

11:37:31 Lisa Parisi: LOL

11:37:31 PeggyG: πŸ™‚

11:37:50 Lisa Parisi: Hello Maureen

11:37:57 Maureen: Hi Lisa

11:38:00 loonyhiker (aka Pat): i feel like i have teachable
moments all of the time – we just need to recognize them for what they are

11:38:22 jackiegerstein: A teachable moment – how to be flexible
when technology doesn’t work

11:38:30 Lisa Parisi: I wanted so badly to spend time on the
mudslides in Brazil and floods in Brisbane

11:38:31 cheryl w: @PLoonyhiker absolutely!

11:38:39 Lisa Parisi: But it didn’t really fit into my schedule.

11:38:55 Lisa Parisi: So I wait for 10 minutes here, five minutes
there…to tell the kids about it

11:38:59 Lisa Parisi: Then I move on

11:40:02 loonyhiker (aka Pat): Sometimes Lisa, it is those short
bursts of time that are the most meaningful

11:40:06 Lisa Parisi: Almost there with sound

11:40:42 Lisa Parisi: I feel like they are Pat, but instead we
spend our time on content

11:40:48 Lisa Parisi: Sound is on ETTA now.

11:40:52 Lisa Parisi: Come join us.

11:41:27 loonyhiker (aka Pat): I can hear you on ETTA

11:41:33 Lisa Parisi: Hello again

11:41:54 McTeach (Karen): Not hearing anything on ETTA…gonna

11:42:13 jackiegerstein: I hear it there too πŸ˜€

11:42:21 cheryl w: I am in!!

11:42:44 Sheila: Finally!

11:43:11 McTeach (Karen): Yay! Sound!!

11:43:31 McTeach (Karen): Thank you, Sheila! πŸ™‚

11:47:18 McTeach (Karen): I could use some energy…

11:47:18 PeggyG: hearing you now. Thanks!

11:47:41 jackiegerstein: Foss?

11:48:35 Maureen: I loved teaching science to grades 1-3. Kids got
to experiment, and play with lots of different materials. Electricity and
design technlogy were really fun.

11:49:57 Maureen: I used to have 1st graders learn about short
circuits by making them… burning steel wool. They loved all the sparks they

11:51:19 woodenmask: Good morning. Teachable moments?

11:51:32 Lisa Parisi: Yes

11:52:32 Sheila:

11:53:00 woodenmask: Spent a big-ish chunk of time this week
talking to my 7th/8th graders about the Arizona shootings. In the case of the
7th grade, not even close to what we’re studying, but seemed too important not
to address.

11:53:08 Sheila:

11:53:38 PeggyG: excellent example @woodenmask of a teachable
moment! That was really important to talk about!

11:54:22 Deven: I used the quake in Haiti the day after it
happened as a teachable moment. Taught about plate tectonics to my social
studies class. I love it when interdisciplinary opportunities come up.

11:55:24 McTeach (Karen): 25 years! Wow!!

11:55:24 Lisa Parisi: lost the skype call

11:55:54 PeggyG: teachable moments often provide both the teacher
and students an opportunity to learn together since it is “late-breaking
news”–even if it’s snow in Phoenix πŸ™‚ you’re not prepared for it but you
can learn about it together

11:58:10 Lisa Parisi: broadcasting again

11:58:22 loonyhiker (aka Pat): i hear u now

11:58:23 PeggyG: hearing you now

11:58:27 Maureen: you’re back

11:59:20 woodenmask: Yay. I can hear you now.

12:00:39 McTeach (Karen): We discussed the Arizona shootings and
the Baptist church that wanted to protest at the funerals. It was a good
conversation about first amendment rights

12:01:57 woodenmask: I played my 8th graders an NPR story about
Westboro BCh earlier in the year. As it turns out, we were in the process of
discussing the 1st Amendment. VIGOROUS class discussion.

12:02:00 PeggyG: there was a lot of controversy about showing the
challenger events live in classrooms because parents felt they should be the
ones talking to their kids about it. you can’t preview live breaking news to
know if your kids can handle it

12:02:12 Maureen: When it is hard for kids to understand what
“civil discourse” is… it’s important for them to hear unbiased
views and have a safe place to talk

12:02:36 woodenmask: One of the students ended up hosting an
online discussion about it on FaceBook that night, including her father, who is
an active duty serviceman in Afghanistan.

12:02:54 PeggyG: what a great outcome woodenmask!

12:03:26 PeggyG: I agree Sheila

12:04:32 loonyhiker (aka Pat): the “n”word is a big
issue down here in the south

12:04:38 Maureen: One of our English teachers had a big discussion
about that with her class. Didn’t show the John Stewart piece tho.  She also teaches history and has had
discussions about rewriting history

12:05:11 Maureen: History is written by the winners

12:06:02 woodenmask: Here’s my blogpost on it:

12:06:34 woodenmask: Or, in the case of the Civil War, by the

12:07:00 loonyhiker (aka Pat): Brought in a speaker who wrote The
Four Perfect Pebbles – was in the same concentration camp as Anne Frank –
entire school came and community was invited – Jewish religion is not very
prevalent here so very educational

12:07:35 loonyhiker (aka Pat): Sometimes we have to make teachable
moments happen

12:07:42 Deven: Or we know how to fit it into the curriculum.

12:08:04 PeggyG: teachable moments happen for all
teachers–experienced or not. it’s what they choose to do about them

12:08:05 Sheila: Yes, Deven.

12:08:35 Lisa Parisi: Yes, Peggy…they do.

12:08:51 Lisa Parisi: So are more experienced teachers more
willing to teach them?

12:09:08 Maureen: I skipped a teachable moment with a 5th grader
this week. We were making anagrams out of names. The generator turned his name
into “genital herpes”… told him to use his middle name.  5th grade- not goin’ there

12:09:16 McTeach (Karen): Lisa, would love to hear more about your
Global Awareness Club. Thinking about doing something like that at my school.

12:09:26 woodenmask: I think that more experienced teachers are
more comfortable with not covering everything in the curriculum – after a
certain number of years, you realize that there is NO WAY to cover everything
under the best of circumstances.

12:09:31 Lisa Parisi: Let’s talk Karen

12:10:00 McTeach (Karen): Awesome! Thanks!

12:10:03 loonyhiker (aka Pat): @Maureen I just wish I could have
seen your face when that came up!

12:10:12 Deven: I think my best teaching occurs when I’m taking
advantage of teachable moments, often because the students recognize the moment
and are more attentive.

12:10:25 Maureen: @loonyhiker πŸ™‚

12:10:39 PeggyG: access to the internet has changed teachable
moments a lot

12:11:09 Sheila: I agree PeggyG!

12:12:28 woodenmask: It’s always a risk – a lot of the time, the
kids take the teachable moment in a direction you’d rather they didn’t. One of
my classes simply decided that the Westboro creeps should just be shut down;
didn’t get the bigger constitutional issues I was trying to get at. Still –
leaves us someplace to come back to later in the year, if there’s another
teachable moment.

12:13:44 woodenmask: (Which actually gives me an idea – talking
about abolitionists now. THEIR message was offensive and unpopular at the time.

12:14:20 Maureen: good question

12:14:31 Deven: It doesn’t matter.

12:14:47 PeggyG: you could research it together πŸ™‚

12:15:02 woodenmask: Yes, apparently, I’m now an Ares.

12:15:12 Lisa Parisi: Yes, Peggy, but what would the research

12:15:33 PeggyG: late breaking news isn’t in the hard copy encyclopedias

12:15:34 Maureen: Technology has changed the speed that we get the
info, the quality of the info and our access to research and ways to answer

12:16:16 Maureen: But it’s good for kids to know that there is a
difference between astrology and astronomy

12:16:49 cheryl w: Very often the teachable moments come up from
the student questions and I have to say I don’t know lets investigate

12:16:53 Lisa Parisi: I think I am too, John.  I was Taurus

12:17:25 loonyhiker (aka Pat): my students loved learning about
Chinese New Years and the chinese zodiac

12:17:29 McTeach (Karen): Peggy…last week the math teacher asked
me if I had a set of encyclopedias in my classroom. I just laughed!

12:17:36 Lisa Parisi: Cheryl, do you have more time to take
advantage of that because you might not have to get into as much curriculum?

12:17:54 PeggyG: funny McTeach!

12:18:19 McTeach (Karen): πŸ˜€

12:18:25 woodenmask: That gets into the whole issue of personal
beliefs – given what I teach, I feel the need to keep most of my personal
political beliefs to myself; I’m trying to get them to develop their own
political beliefs. It’s hard.

12:18:40 PeggyG: the internet definitely brings up the issues
about is it true, accurate–all of the issues that need to be explored when
using sources like wikipedia

12:18:56 McTeach (Karen): One of the benefits of teaching at a
Catholic school is we can talk about beliefs

12:18:57 Lisa Parisi: I always tell them they can’t have an
opinion unless they can back it up with proof, John.

12:19:07 Sheila:

12:19:19 woodenmask: I do a whole unit on that – Immigration.

12:19:21 Maureen: yes- that’s amazing

12:19:22 cheryl w: absolutely~! Not having c urriclum but teaching
students to use technology and using technology to integrate into the
curriculum allows me more opportunites for investigation!

12:20:23 woodenmask: I love the Material World

12:20:29 cheryl w: Even when I know the answer I will say I don’t
to encourage investigation!

12:20:36 woodenmask: They have one on the food that each family
eats, too.

12:20:41 Maureen: Did you see the Fedex interactive
visualization… you can compare $ with “happiness index” Interesting

12:21:05 PeggyG: interesting Maureen! do you have a link for that?

12:21:31 Lisa Parisi:

12:21:41 Maureen: Here you go Peggy

12:21:50 PeggyG: thanks!

12:22:18 woodenmask: If I ever had an AP class, I’d love to read
The Geography of Bliss, with them. What is happiness and how do we find it? We
talk a lot about “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” – it
would be great to take that to a more pragmatic level.

12:22:23 Sheila: Thanks Maureen.

12:23:26 McTeach (Karen): Yes…we talk about all religions

12:24:57 woodenmask: It’s hard teaching History w/out addressing
Religion and Politics. I’ve been muddying it in recent years by adding Sex – a
real tightrope.

12:25:04 Maureen: By definition… isn’t the universe it? 

12:25:32 loonyhiker (aka Pat): hmmm aliens… you haven’t met my
stepsister’s husband lol

12:25:40 Lisa Parisi: LOL

12:25:55 PeggyG: lol

12:26:19 woodenmask: Chariot of the Gods

12:26:54 Maureen: When I talked about checking sources with kids-I
used the lunar landing example- One girl said it had to be real, her parents
had watched it on TV. It was a teachable moment

12:27:16 PeggyG: and then there are moments when the kids bring up
whether there is a Santa Claus or tooth fairy and they aren’t all ready to
learn that πŸ™‚

12:27:29 loonyhiker (aka Pat): we read the Scarlet Letter and had
to talk about adultery!

12:28:01 loonyhiker (aka Pat): kids started telling stories about
their parents and i wanted to yell “Too Much Information!!!”

12:28:05 PeggyG: that’s called a backup plan πŸ™‚

12:28:13 woodenmask: When we do our New York City unit, I do a big
lesson on 9-11, which leads into conspiracy theories. I try to give them a rule
of thumb for evaluating C.Theories.

12:28:52 woodenmask: Ginger Lewman’s school doesn’t have snowdays
– all online on days when they’re at home.

12:28:54 PeggyG: great approach woodenmask!

12:29:44 woodenmask: Conspiracy Theory Rule of Thumb – How many
people would have to have been involved for it to be true? How likely is it
that they would have all kept their mouths shut?

12:30:27 loonyhiker (aka Pat): We watched all day on 9/11. I
didn’t know where my niece or brother in law were because they worked in

12:31:28 Sheila: Thank you for joining us!

12:31:34 McTeach (Karen): Thank you ladies!

12:31:37 loonyhiker (aka Pat): Thanks y’all for this wonderful

12:31:38 cheryl w: bye thx

12:31:55 Lisa Parisi:

12:32:25 Lisa Parisi: Bye


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