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Thursday, June 30, 2011
Teachers have always sought out new and effective ways to motivate students, but now business leaders are getting involved. With private funding, schools across the country are testing a new strategy: paying students for good grades and higher test scores.
According to an Ed Week blog, a study done in connection with Boston College and the Educational Testing Service shows that NAEP scores went up when students were either paid to take the test or paid to do well.
"In the end, the study found, both of the monetary incentives spurred students to do better than they might have otherwise, although the second condition, in which part of the payout hinged on the students getting answers correct, proved to be the stronger incentive. Under both conditions, though, scores for both male and female students were, on average, at least 5 points higher than the scores for the no-incentive group."
The business community also supports this foray into incentivizing student achievement. USA Today got the lowdown from CEO’s on the subject:
Read Paying Students for Grades: Are we cheapening education?
We're comparing fun summer pictures from teachers on the TeachHUB Facebook page.
Post a “Summer Fun” picture to make us all jealous. On Friday, we’ll pick one picture-poster at random to win a TeachHUB mug.
Post your picture for a change to win!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
If you ask me, summer school gets a bad rap. Those who look at summer school with the "glass half full" perspective will see a chance for teachers to step up as leaders and get some freedom from the binds of forced curriculum. They’ll also see a chance for struggling students to work in smaller classes with personalized instructional strategies.
Instead of focusing on the stigma of summer school, it’s time that you and your students start taking advantage of the great opportunities summer school provides.
Read Summer School Teaching Strategies Students Love
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Forget curriculum. Forget better classroom management programs. Start looking at how you teach and the relationships you have with your students.
As an empowered teacher, you need to balance two things masterfully. You must balance important, meaningful relationships with your students with high expectations for them to do competent work. It is not only possible to have both; it is imperative.
As Dr. William Glasser says, “What people fight or resist is control; not education; not relationships." As an empowered teacher, you know the teachers you worked your hardest for were the ones you liked and who held you accountable for stretching and growing.
I know today’s students may make it seem difficult, if not impossible, to teach your curriculum. This is a very real challenge if you don’t take the time to get to really know your students, collectively and individually. There is an old expression that says, “People don’t care what they know until they know that you care.” Never is this more true than today in teaching students in our public school systems.
Read Two Simple Secrets to a Successful School Year
Fireworks Design Video Writing Prompts
K-5: Exploding with National Pride
Fireworks can have different shapes and ways of exploding. Design your own firework to represent America on the 4th of July. Draw it on a piece of paper, give it a name and write why it honors the country.
Presidential Video Writing Prompts
3-8: Your Campaign Slogan
Pretend you are running for president. Write a campaign slogan that you could put on a poster. It should include your name and tell people to vote for you. You can use rhyme, alliteration (starting words with the same letter) or a fun theme (i.e. American eagles, flags or fireworks).
Monday, June 27, 2011
If that sounds familiar, take heart: here are some activities that are low cost, but high impact – guaranteed to make you a more effective teacher next fall.
Read Your Way to A+ Teaching
During the school year, you probably don’t read much beyond the assignments you’re grading. So this summer take time to read.
Hit the library and study research in your subject area or on education in general.
My Recommended Reads
DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education
The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education
Everyday Teacher Leadership: Taking Action Where You Are
Brush up on your teaching skills with a book on teaching techniques, service learning, project-based learning, or discipline (try Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Road to College).
Learn From Fellow Teachers Online
Join an online discussion forum here at TeachHUB, or see if your professional development organization offers a discussion group. Yahoo hosts free groups; a recent search turned up everything from kindergarten teachers swapping discipline tips to high school science teachers discussing experiments.
Twitter is a tremendous resource to build your personal learning network and learn from your fellow teacher. Check out these "twitter chats" to get started.
Friday, June 24, 2011
After I finished my undergrad degree, most of the graduating class drove down to Florida for a week of debauchery fueled by free kegs of lukewarm beer, dollar PBR’s and corndogs on the boardwalk. During those five days, I realized an incredible thing happened. Everyday was the same, to the point of having the same conversations with the same acquaintances in the same spot by the pool, not remembering that we had done it all the day before. It was a shameful cross between National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and Groundhog’s Day.
Here comes the educational connection – I’ve begun to think of each school year as a day of drunken debauchery that gets repeated over and over.
Falling down the beach ramp every day is forgetting to plan for 4th quarter progress reports, again. Awkwardly telling your classmate from Philosophy 101 for the third time that you had a crush on her is once more not comprehensively scaffolding essay writing starting in September.
At the end of each year, as we begin to sober up, we realize all the mistakes we made and say to ourselves, next year, that’s going to get cleared up.
This excerpt from Finding Mrs. Warnecke: The Difference Teachers Make gives you a glimpse into this unique relationship.
"A Surprise Announcement" excerpted from Finding Mrs. Warnecke: The Difference Teachers Make
One year I had a seventh grade language arts class that was very difficult to get focused on instruction. It was a small class, fourteen very lively boys and one girl, Tenisha. Tenisha tried to make her place in that classroom known, but despite her feistiness, those boys let her know who was boss...
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Frustrated educators have organized the Save Our Schools: March and National Call to Action to give the power of numbers to their opinions on education reform.
The Washington D.C. march harkens back to the power of peaceful protest demonstrated during the Civil Rights Movement. Organizers will start with an “Activists’ Conference” leading up to the march on the Department of Education on Saturday, July 30.
The Save Our Schools March cause page on Facebook shows just how much they think this movement can achieve:
“In 1963, over 200,000 concerned citizens marched on Washington to participate in a momentous event that forever shifted the national dialogue on race and justice. Consequently, policy changed. Laws changed. America changed.
In 2011, it is our time to change the national dialogue on PUBLIC EDUCATION.
Read Teachers Unite for Save Our Schools March
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil for teachers and a fear that must be overcome in order to get the desirable, or quite often better paying teaching positions that exists. If you are struggling with your teaching cover letter, here are four surefire cover letter tips that will get you an interview:
First Impressions Matter
When it comes to a resume cover letter, no one is going to read the resume if you don’t have their attention with the cover letter. Make sure your cover letter gets their attention from the very start for best results and keeps that attention throughout. You do not want the reader of your cover letter skimming over the good stuff through boredom. Make your cover letter personable, interesting, and entertaining. In other words, show them who you are as much as possible in one little page.
Read Get a Teaching Job: Surefire Cover Letter Tips
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Transitioning students into an online space can be daunting for a teacher who is acclimating to the role of online facilitator.
You can choose to be a silent facilitator or an involved facilitator depending on your objectives. There are benefits to each style of facilitation. It is important that you define a realistic role for your involvement in the online forum so students know what to expect during online discussions
Questions you should consider before deciding on your role:
* How many students are you working with?
* What age level are you teaching?
* How much support do your students need when working?
* What is the goal of your online discussions?
* Will online discussions be done in class or at home?
You need to select the role that best fits the needs of your students' needs.
Read How to Guide Online Student Discussion
Monday, June 20, 2011
With nearly 15,000 votes, voters came out in droves for the Hot Mess Contest. Our two highest vote-getters, Melanie Driscoll's Music Mayhem Mess and Heather Asbell's Joplin Tornado Disaster were neck and neck throughout competition.
Though Music Mayhem Mess finished with the most votes, 46% of the votes compared to Joplin Tornado Disaster's 43%, both finalists are clearly deserving of the prize.
Find out who won the Hot Mess Classroom Photo Contest
Here are twelve ways to stay cool and keep learning alive as the mercury rises in your classroom.
Whenever possible, let the bright summer sun light your classroom rather than extra heat-inducing bulbs. As a bonus, you’ll win major green points for saving electricity.
Stay Cool in Style
Break out those cute skirts, dresses and light layers. Though you should make sure those skirts fall below the knee (both for propriety and to avoid sticking to your chair).
Expel Hot Air
Put a fan facing out the window. Despite the temptation to point the fan directly in your direction, this tactic should expel the hot air from the classroom and letting fresh air circulate inside the classroom.
Top 12 Ways to Beat the Heat in Your AC-less Classroom
Friday, June 17, 2011
Singer, songwriter, and performer Billy Craig is on a mission to bring elementary students positive music with positive message in his "I Love This School Tour."
As a supporter of music and education, Billy's school assembly show is filled with excitement and positive messages about the power and importance of learning. Students get to sing, clap, and laugh with Billy as he dresses the part of three different characters that touch on important subjects such as bullying, respect, reading and more.
TeachHUB gets the scoop from Billy, the creator and star of "I Love This School Tour", and learns how his successful show is bringing a new twist to the average school assembly.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The reason for this could not be simpler: When we talk about the special needs of black and Latino students, the unsaid inference is that they are somehow deficient because they are black and Latino. I’m tired of ONLY talking about how different they are, and how we need to approach our minority students in a different way because of their culture or the color of their skin.
Believe it or not, there is something more important we should be talking about: poverty.
Read Poverty: The Elephant in the Classroom
Somehow teachers seem to develop an odd superpower- the ability to gauge whether small children actually need to go to the bathroom or they are simply putting on an Academy Award worthy performance. If your skills falter, here are a few methods I've used to coordinate bathroom breaks.
Teaching & Bathroom Breaks: Dealing with Other People’s Pee
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
For those teachers who aren’t teaching summer school, June through August are the best months of the year. No homework to track down from students, no lesson plans or evenings spent grading, no school bells punctuating the day. Busy days at school transform into busy days at home, either taking care of your family or working a summer job or daily trips to the pool. Pretty soon, you’ll wonder how you ever got anything done while you spent all day at school.
While students tend to forget everything they’ve learned over the summer, teachers can also let their skills sit idle for the summer months outside the classroom. Here are a few tips to help you stay sharp as an educator over summer break.
Read Training in the Off-Season for Teachers
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Without further adieu, here are the top 12 finalists. Your votes will decide who wins the $200 Staples gift card for Back to School.
Get your vote in by Monday, January 20th at 12CST!!!
Help! I need to win this contest to find my students. They are buried underneath all their books and projects. Staples Take Me Away!
Karen Mitchell; Plymouth South Middle School; Plymouth, MA
Jurassic Desk Mess
Students, helped by Captain Hoover J. Pancakes, classroom pet dinosaur, wrecked my room. Help Me, Please! “Dinosaur Room Repair” on sale at Staples, only $200.
Debra Mitchell; East Laurens High School; Dublin, GA
Wet, Hot American Mess
My classroom is so HOT because the AC unit for the main office is in my floor and the condensation creates a huge puddle. Look!!Lynn Perekslis; Duxbury High School; Duxbury, MA
Check out all the finalists and vote for "My Classroom is a Hot Mess" Photo Contest
Those are some angry birds. Have you ever been angry? How do you behave when you feel angry? How should you behave when you feel angry?
6-8: Game Instructions
Explain step-by-step instructions for playing your favorite game. It could be Angry Birds, a video game or a sport. Be sure to explain each step clearly, so your readers can play the game themselves without any other help.
See Video & Get Live Angry Birds Video Writing Prompts
Monday, June 13, 2011
Here are the Top 12 Surprising Celebrity Teachers:
Jon Hamm: The dashing Mad Men star was breaking high school hearts as a drama teacher at John Burroughs High School in St. Louis. In fact, he taught The Office's Ellie Kemper, who now stars with him in Bridesmaids. Showing off his teacher skills and lifelong memory of students, he even commented Ellie's success in a Sundance interview: "It's really cool to see them blossom and find their own way in."
Sylvester Stallone: One of the most celebrated action/adventure figures of all time, Sylvester Stallone is also a director, producer, screenwriter and former teacher. The Rocky and Rambo star survived boarding schools and a special education school for "problem children" as a child, and then enrolled in beauty school after high school graduation. Stallone dropped out of beauty school to attend the American College of Switzerland, where he studied drama and worked as a gym teacher.
Read Top 12 Surprising Celebrity Teachers
Friday, June 10, 2011
Edcamps are "un-conferences" in which teachers come together to create their own professional development and to learn from one another. As an organizer of the first California Edcamp, Lisa Dabbs gave TeachHUB the scoop on this new PD trend and shares tips on how to take charge of your growth as a teacher.
What are EdCamps all about?
Edcamp is a free un-conference for teachers and educators. You can lead a session or come to the camp to listen and share! Take a minute and watch this Edcamps video to see it in a bit more detail.
The EdCamp model is based on the international un-conference model, BarCamp. According the to BarCamp wiki, a BarCamp:
1.) Is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment.
2.) Is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants who are the main actors of the event.
Read PD from Your Peers: Exploring EdCamp with Lisa Dabbs
At the beginning of the year, you were brimming with pride at the perfection of your bulletin boards, the splendor of your classroom decor and the clean desks lined in eat little rows (or pairs, or a U, etc.).
Now, all that's left is in shambles. I blame the students. It's all their fault.
Show us what a hot mess your classroom has become to earn some well-deserved Back to School cash to start the 2011/2012 school year off right.
Deadline: Monday, June 13th at 12 CST
Get full details
Enter "My Classroom is a Hot Mess" Photo Contest
Thursday, June 9, 2011
According to the web site, "DoodleBuzz is a new way to read the news through an experimental interface that allows you to create typographic maps of current news stories."
Read Doodlebuzz: Drawing News in the Classroom
Schools around the country are considering the four-day work week to deal with extreme budget cuts. With a shorter week, these schools can save thousands of dollars a year on busing costs and building utilities.
There has been a mixed reaction to this drastic change to the school schedule. In order to maintain required instructional hours, schools will likely extend the school day and/or have shorter summer breaks. Some educators, parents and even students worry that the 4-day schedule will be too much for students and hurt overall achievement and learning in schools.
Read Should Schools Switch to 4-day Weeks?
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Budget cuts, the need for an ever-increasing number of chaperones per student, and about a million other obstacles educators face every day are making class field trips a thing of the past. It’s a shame, because allowing our students to discover and explore in an environment outside of the classroom can be an amazing way to inspire a love of learning that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
We can whine and complain about not being able to take field trips, but once we’re done with that – what’s next? Virtual field trips can give students a bit of the “field trip experience” without the need for funding, permission slips, and chaperones.
Here are some quick pointers on how to make virtual field trips an exciting and useful part of your lesson plans.
Read How to Plan a Virtual Field Trip
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
K-12 teachers have taken advantage of Twitter’s format to keep their classes engaged and up-to-date on the latest technologies. Twitter is an unbelievable resource for peer-to-peer professional development, but it also has tremendous potential for classroom use.
The following projects provide you and your students with 50 ways to incorporate Twitter into important and lasting lessons.
Read 50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom
Monday, June 6, 2011
Here are my top 12 ways to rock your summer break on a budget!
Now is the time to make the most of your hometown and explore your own backyard.
Step 1: Mark Your Calendar
Set aside a day or two with your family or friends to dedicate to your hometown adventure! Otherwise, you’ll all get caught up in your own thing.
Read Top 12 Ways Teachers Can Rock Summer Break
Friday, June 3, 2011
Robbins is a journalist and author who studies the social behavior and experiences of teens. In her latest book, The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth, Robbins follows the lives of seven very different students, while also observing and interviewing school admin, staff, and students.
Through her research, she allows readers to catch a glimpse of the social struggles many young adults face and develops the "quirk theory" that celebrates individuality.
Find out what Robbins learned from shadowing 7 students from different cliches around the country, what her "quirk theory" is all about and why she believes geeks will inherit the earth in this exclusive TeachHUB interview.
Read The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Alexandra Robbins Interview
Thursday, June 2, 2011
A Michigan superintendent channeled this James W. Frick quote when he questioned the governor to request that his school be turned into a prison.
In this ironic argument, Superintendent Nathan Bootz points out how backwards society must be to dedicate more resources to its prison inmates than to educating students.
Below is his letter addressed to Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder requesting that he have the decency to start treating schools like prisons.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Here are a few ideas to connect your classroom to the outside world.
My Classroom Connections Inspiration
My niece in Ohio sent me a manila envelope a few weeks ago. Inside was her hand-drawn rendition of Flat Stanley, a picture book character who travels around the world in two dimensions, visiting sites both foreign and domestic to connect classrooms to people and places they couldn’t visit in person.
Our mission: take Flat Stanley on a trip somewhere in California where we live, take photos and write a letter from him about his trip. We were to send those back by a certain date so my niece’s classroom could chart where her class’s Flat Stanley had traveled.
Two things about this project made me happy:
1.) I could connect to my niece, whom I rarely see.
2.) I could play like a kid, taking Flat Stanley all around and posing him in weird places because I was doing it “for education.”
It brought out my own playful spirit, and added a fun dimension to our trip to the Anza-Borrego desert. It also made me think about my classroom.
Read Connect Your Classroom to the Outside World