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Friday, September 30, 2011
I have had a multitude of those moments in my 25 year plus teaching career. Some were expected and most were not. I treasure these moments because they are with me always, and they are with my students always too.
Most of those moments will not even be remembered by those students who made them with me, but they are a part of them and their education nonetheless. I have had a few other not-so-positive “moments” and I’m sure you have had those too. Those you would love to forget and with time and effort you will. I don’t need to tell you about those moments.
Read Moments That Make Teaching Worth It
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I don’t like to waste people’s time. I don’t believe that any of us who engage in something we love want to either.
After reflecting on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's efforts to adopt longer school days in CPS schools, I can't help but consider the controversial question:
Is a longer school day necessary to provide students with a high quality education?
Read Ed Reform: Longer School Days or Better School Days?
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Here are 7 tips to create a robust communication plan that leverages the power of your students’ families.
Read 7 Effective Parent Teacher Communication Tips
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Here is my 4-step process for turning reluctant readers into bookworms!
Read Encourage Reluctant Readers in 4 Simple Steps
Monday, September 26, 2011
This annual celebration presents us with a teachable moment to encourage reading and open minds in our students. What better way to make reading cool than to make it an act of rebellion, right?
Here are 12 creative ways you and your class can use Banned Book Week as a learning opportunity.
Read 12 Banned Book Week Classroom Activities
Friday, September 23, 2011
Seriously, my first real essay in 5th grade was written out on loose leaf paper sitting on a high counter. It seemed relatively safe until my nutso dog (f.y.i. part-poodle equals part-crazy) scaled a Mr. Ed-style half-door into the room and tore it to shreds. This, of course, turned me into a hysterical, sobbing mess. After I got my act together, my mom and I taped it back together, I typed it up and it was turned in on time.
Moral of the story: suck it up and get it done!
Just because you don't take excuses doesn't mean students won't make them.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
In the end, all we really want to know is that the skill was mastered, right? Why not make it fun and engaging for students as well?
Here are 40 alternative assessment ideas to get you started!
Read 40 Alternative Assessments for Learning
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
LitWorld, an international literacy organization, is coordinating a global campaign called "Stand Up for Girls" on Thursday, Sept. 22 to raise awareness of this disturbing reality and to expand literacy among girls and women.
Ruby Veridiano, LitCorps and Social Media Ambassador for LitWorld, shares details about the "Stand Up for Girls: International Day of the Girl" campaign and LitWorld's other efforts to "cultivate literacy skills in the world's most vulnerable children."
Read "Stand Up for Girls" Literacy Awareness Day LitWorld Interview
Monday, September 19, 2011
Here are our top 12 favorite TV teachers.
Disclaimer: Yes, most TV teachers and schools are as realistic as me expecting my principal to send a limo to pick me up every morning. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them, right?
Read Top 12 Favorite TV Teachers
Friday, September 16, 2011
With an air of satire and ever-present quick wit, the story follows Payman from his college days through his politically-charged experience in the classroom, both beginning and ending with Payman at school on 9/11. Despite the heavy subject matter, Payman’s memoir is a colorful, truly human story of a caring, talented teacher. Both Payman and his book have enough humor to make his teachers at clown college (he has a Street Theater degree from London).
Payman shares his unique perspective on education in this TeachHUB interview.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Oh, but how I teach it is better for sure, right?
Well, probably not, because you see, students can’t stop me, rewind me, play me over again, pause me, fast forward me, rewind me again, watch me again, and follow me step by step until they get the skill down exactly the way they want or need.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
This is the root of the resistance educators face when encouraging students to write. It is crucial that we nurture the creativity and voice of every young writer.
How to Nurture Writing in Young Students
Some kids, whether it is stubbornness, or a mental or physical disability, cannot process assignments and therefore will refuse to work in class. We like to call them, “Reluctant Learners”. These students can pass through school via social promotion, or they may have been held back more than once because a lack of grades. No matter the situation, there are ways to make a non-worker into a busier bee.
Here are a five strategies that I picked up from BIST, the Behavior Intervention Support Team, on getting kids to work on their assignments:
Read 5 Simple Steps To Get Students To Work (Even When They Don’t Want To)
If you had a pet dinosaur, what would you name him? Draw your dinosaur pet and write his name under the picture. Bonus: describe in 1-2 sentences a dinosaur game the two of you would play together.
9-12: Learning Comes to Life
This dinosaur visit is a great way to get kids excited to learn about dinosaurs. What would make learning fun for you? Think about one of the subjects you're currently studying. Brainstorm 5 different projects, classroom activities or special guests that would make school come alive.
Watch video and find more Dinosaur Scare Video Writing Prompts
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
My job will be to offer tips and strategies for how you can sneak a little activity into your lessons without losing your sanity in the process.
6 Easy Ways to Create a Caring Classroom
Monday, September 12, 2011
Always exhibit an interest in what you are teaching. If you think it’s important , your students will, too.
Have an assessment for how to grade your students.
Be prepared with your lesson.
Have “bell ringers” to keep students on task when you are collecting papers, etc. It’s better to have MORE than not enough for each day’s lesson.
Try to make connections with other areas of study with cross curricular activities whenever possible.
Critique your lessons each day for what you liked and what needs improvement.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Together, they write and publish innovative teaching resources which target primary school curriculum through value-based original songs. Nuala shares her passion for music and learning in this exclusive TeachHUB interview.
Read Educating Through Song: Interview with Musical Curriculum Creator Nuala O'Hanlon
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Education blogger Steve Moore shares his response to this quote:
“Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more.” Bob Talberthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
After reading this quote, I felt a jab not because I see myself as a defender of “bad” teachers, but of language and rhetoric. I think the way we frame our discussions about teaching, education, and success in those areas is directly related to what we will see come to pass.
Any time I hear a person debase or celebrate teachers, I try to find a way to understand what exactly they are speaking to. The “good” as well as “bad” is deceiving.
Read The Bad Teacher Debate: Losing Labels in Education
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Many police officers and fire fighters died trying to help people on September 11. People who put themselves in danger to help others are heroes.
Create your own drawing that says "thank you" to all those police officers, fire fighters and other heroes who help people every day.
6-8: American Symbolism
This memorial is designed using imagery often associated with America, as well as symbols that come from nature. Name three symbols used in the memorial. Explain what each symbol means and how that object/thing has a greater meaning.
Watch video and find all 9/11 Memorial Video Writing Prompts
Now, some subject areas are an easy match – English and history often make a dynamic pair, as do math and science. Educators begin to bristle, however, when administrators and others in charge suggest “teaming” of vastly different classes, like Algebra and Language Arts.
With these tips, team teaching across the curriculum can transform from a marriage made in h-e-double-hockey-sticks to a perfect pairing:
Read Tips for Team Teaching Across the Curriculum
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to best reach and teach your ELL students in a mainstream classroom.
Learn Their Background
Everyone wants to feel special, unique, and important. Too often we are so focused on teaching these students English that we forget there is a deep cultural heritage connected to them. Spend that time with your ELL students by getting to know their cultural background.
The following questions can help get to know and better understand your ELL students.
Read ELL Strategies for the Mainstream Classroom
Friday, September 2, 2011
Instead, I worked in a monotonous job in corporate America. I was lost. I had no purpose or drive. Miserable had become my middle name. For many reasons, I didn’t think it was possible to change careers. There were too many obstacles, so I let the misery fester and run. I was good at my job and took every training job I could in the company because at least I’d be teaching.
Years passed…more than a decade, while I just sat at that desk falling deeper and deeper into the gray world in which I lived. Langston Hughes described my world:
Read The Inspirer: A Teaching Dream Deferred
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Two main roadblocks to productive learning are students' lack of focus and students' struggle to understand their thinking.
My experiment in using bell work as a therapeutic exercise for students knocked down these roadblocks, resulting in student success in my classroom.
Clearing a Path for Student Understanding
When I was in graduate school, education professors made a big deal out of metacognition. “You must get students to think about their thinking,” they would inevitably say, without so much as hinting about how to do that, exactly.
So, as a younger educator, I designed lesson plans and activities that would give my students the opportunity to understand their cognitive selves better. Lots of introspective “why” and “how” questions were used, and my tenth graders were expected to identify and use their learning strengths. They completed inventories, surveys, and preference sheets, and I, in turn, used their responses to inform instruction. Everything was very by-the-book.
One problem arose, however; my greatest lessons could always be short-circuited by a single factor – student emotions. If students were angry, sad, excited, or anxious, I could forget about helping them think about how their individual minds worked. Their feelings informed their perceptions, and those perceptions then became decisions:
• “I don’t feel good today, so I’m not going to work,”
• “My dog just died, so I’m not going to read.”
Because I was working with students who had a wide range of learning differences, there was almost always some strong emotion blocking their path to mental clarity.