Communication

Military Crossroads with Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Michael Francis

Michael Francis, U.S. Army Sergeant

From 2000 to 2004, I was an active duty Soldier in the United States Army and have been in the Florida Army National Guard since 2005.

There are many parts of my military career that stand out in my memory. Basic training, my drill sergeant during the hot summer at Fort Jackson, being in my promotion board during the September 11 attacks, being deployed during multiple state emergencies, and so much more. Most recently, and regardless of political platform, I was honored to play a role in our democracy by providing security support for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration in D.C.

However, these memories and events are not what changed me the most.

Instead, it is the military’s connection with CTE that has been the most valuable. That connection positively affected my personal life, my educational pursuits, and my civilian career.

Although military life is not for everyone, the skills and knowledge that are integrated within CTE are for everyone, whether an Army future is in the cards or not.

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Mastering Discussion-Based Assessments (DBAs)

Blog_DBA_FollowupIf you missed this week’s Facebook Live Q&A about discussion-based assessments, don’t worry! In this post, we’re sharing a great video recap that covers everything you need to know.

At FLVS, we want students to be successful and completely comfortable when learning online. This includes discussion-based assessments (DBAs).  Even though some students may get nervous or anxious, just remember that DBAs are simply a verbal conversation between you and your teacher.

DBAs are one of the ways we ensure academic integrity (and make sure that it’s actually you doing the work). This is why teachers need to hear directly from you! They will be referencing the work you have done and speaking to students and parents multiple times throughout the course, so there is a common thread of communication that helps teachers connect a face (or voice) to the same student they see (or hear) in live lessons and through submitted work. DBAs are also there for teachers to help you! Continue reading


Back to School: Virtual Style

Heading Back to School Virtual StyleIt’s August and that means it is back to school!

For much of Florida Virtual School, our teachers and students have been hard at work – even through the summer months.

Of course, the new school year always brings with it anticipation and excitement for the year to come. In traditional schools, there are some eagerly anticipated back-to-school traditions.

So how do we do these in our virtual world?

Let’s walk through a few back-to-school basics!
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The FLVS Minions

Minions in the ClassroomYoung adolescents require drastically different and unique approaches to education.

Middle school educators have always understood that the biological events of puberty fundamentally disrupt the somewhat smooth development of elementary school years and has a profound impact upon the cognitive, social, and emotional lives of young teens.

In line with this important insight, educators see the need for the delivery of special instructional and administrative changes in the way that education takes place for kids in early adolescence.
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Seven Survival Skills for Careers

Tony Wagner quoteIn his critically acclaimed book, “The Global Achievement Gap,” author Tony Wagner explores what he considers to be “Seven Survival Skills for Careers, College and Citizenship.”

After spending time with the most successful executives and professional people in the world, Wagner came to the conclusion that there is a gap between what our students need to be successful when they enter the real world and what we are teaching them in the classroom.

As a result, he created a list of essential 21st Century skills that all people need in order to be successful in college, in their career, and for their overall citizenship. Continue reading


Getting Past the Fear of DBAs

DBAIf discussion-based assessments make you nervous, check out these tips from FLVS students on mastering the DBA!

DBAs are verbal assessments and are often the most dreaded assignments for FLVS students. Instead of comfortably typing essays and worksheets on their laptops, students communicate with an instructor one-on-one over the phone.

But why is this so terrifying? Surely the verbal component of the DBA is not intimidating, especially when the assignments are approached by the instructor as a conversation instead of an oral exam.

However, if you compare talking on the phone for twenty minutes to being the only student called on to answer random questions for 20 minutes in a classroom, you can see why students are reluctant to dial their instructors’ numbers. Continue reading


Communication – The Disappearing Art Form

phoneText, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat…these are but a few of the new and most common ways for today’s generation to communicate. Gone are the days of face-to-face time. Gone are the days of just sitting on the porch and shooting the breeze for hours. Gone are the days of chatting on the phone until late at night and mom coming in and saying “Hey, it’s time to hang up and go to bed.”

Today’s teens spend their hours not speaking with each other, but texting, posting videos, and of course, taking selfies.  In May 2014, the term “selfie” joined the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.  (“Selfie: An image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.”)  It is now a permanent part of the American vocabulary. Today, kids don’t see the need for words, when a selfie can express what life is all about. Continue reading


If You’re an Introvert, Yell “I”!

personalitytypes
“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” – Albert Einstein

Educators have been using the Myers-Briggs Type Indictor (MBTI) for years to identify the personality types and learning styles inside their classrooms and to meet the diverse needs of their students. A student’s interests and way of learning directly determines how he/she will see and make sense of the world. If a teacher and a student are both aware of their own unique learning styles, communication and learning will be positively impacted.

Teachers who understand the different personality types and learning styles in their classroom can approach the same lesson in multiple ways to reach multiple students capable of multiple intelligences. Continue reading


The Power of Words

Power of Words coverEarlier this year, our FLVS Teacher of the Year, Shawn Wigg, shared his thoughts on the power of negativity in a blog post for The Virtual Voice. His comments were inspired by a presentation given by Jon Acuff, one of the keynote speakers at the Florida Virtual School 2013 Professional Learning Conference.

Jon explored the five stages every life goes through on the path to awesome and looked at what it takes to punch fear in the face, escape average, and do work that matters. As you can imagine, Jon’s words resonated with FLVS employees on several levels. He spoke to us about our influence on others and how often people don’t realize how their actions and words affect those around them. Jon left us with an equation to consider: “1 Insult + 1,000 Compliments = 1 Insult.” Continue reading