Listen in as Crystal Hughes shares how she developed scaffolds to support her 8th graders shift from passive online learners to engaged historians and writers on PEBC’s Phenomenal Teaching Podcast with Michelle Morris Jones. When school began last year, Crystal’s students were quite reluctant to engage in writing, yet Crystal knew that her students were capable of being successful with argumentation. Tapping into the workshop model and formative assessment allowed Crystal to create a Writer’s Workshop within her social studies class. Specifically, throwing away writing fears, setting high expectations, planning for engagement with intriguing topics, leveraging formative assessments, meeting in small groups, conferring, chunking the process, providing time to write, differentiating tools, using consistent rubrics, and developing a community of writers were some of the ways that Crystal moved students from producing a few lines on the page to crafting an argumentative essay with each unit. Crystal believes in the importance of courageous curiosity and radical empathy and uses these beliefs as energy sources to support each and every student to be successful. This episode connects to the workshop and assessment strands of the PEBC Teaching Framework.
Crystal spent 10 years in the beauty industry before coming to teaching full-time. Throughout those years she worked with students in many different types of settings. Tutoring on weekends, volunteering with youth in her community and at local schools. During those years Crystal earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky and her Master’s Degree from Georgetown College. Crystal is a first-generation college student who knows first-hand the challenges of generational poverty. With the love and support of her family, Crystal has been sowing roots at the Mighty Elkhorn Middle School for the past five years where she served as an 8th grade social studies teacher, team lead for seven teachers and a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports team member. She most recently completed her Principal Program at the University of Cumberlands and is now an Academic Dean. Follow her on Twitter @007CHughes.
The “Phenomenal Teaching Podcast” is brought to you by Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC) and is intended to elevate the strands of the PEBC Teaching Framework illustrated in Wendy Ward Hoffer’s book, Phenomenal Teaching. Those strands include community, planning, workshop, thinking strategies, discourse, and assessment. Thank you for joining us this season as we strive to share the stories of educators who are creating scaffolds for each and every student to ensure that classrooms and schools are places where agency, equity, and understanding can flourish.