It is that time of year again when teachers all over the country are preparing for final exams. Although many teachers have their testing strategy down to a science, I know many others (myself included) that have mixed feelings when it comes to balancing the forces involved in finals. Personally, I am at a crossroads with this summative test. For the last decade, I have administered exam books with literally hundreds of multiple choice questions covering all the major strands of my class. I've almost always incorporated an essay section a few weeks before the end of the term, which counted toward the test score, but on the actual test day, I have watched bubble after bubble after bubble. It has always felt like a strange ritual that served many purposes, but did not really incapsulate exactly what I really wanted students to learn or honor the best practices that I try to use consistently all semester. In the big picture of the semester, regardless of grade level, I most value critical reading and articulate, argumentative analysis of literature. Given my values, I think it is time for me (and maybe you?) to rethink the traditional final exam. Below is the process I am going through. I'd love to hear your questions, comments, or suggestions in the comment section below! I've learned and grown so much as a teacher through the comments here on the blog as well as on our social media and I'm willing to bet others have read your comments with some of the same enthusiasm for new ideas!
I can relate to students who find it difficult to avoid the distractions that are ever present with their peers, their devices, and the all the other competing interests in their lives. These distractions are part of the world today and are not going away anytime soon, so I think it behooves teachers and students alike to regularly revisit strategies for improved concentration on important tasks and projects.
We have all been there: swamped by to do lists and feeling like we are simply putting out fires all day instead of proactively getting anything done. As teachers, we have to balance creating curriculum, grading papers, continuing professional development, communicating with parents, and about a 187 other things that tug at our priorities all day. Oh yeah, and we can't spend all day checking off our list because we have to actually teach most of the day! So what is a teacher supposed to do? Today we are sharing some to do list best practices that can help us all get more done in the limited time we have:
I know summer has just started, but before we know it, we will be frantically pulling ourselves together for the hectic back to school season not to mention that many of us are teaching year around school or summer school, so this blog is of immediate use too! Today, I want to share some easy, make ahead breakfast ideas that will:
I've had department chair on the brain lately because it was recently announced that my current department chair has stepped down for next year. He is smart and he will be missed in that role, but I think there are multiple good options in my current English department to fill his shoes. In my career so far, I've had the opportunity to be a department chair and to work with department chairs that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Some inspired me, some frightened me, and some gave me all the rope I needed either to soar or hang myself. Although it sometimes works out despite the process, in my experience, department chairs are chosen for silly reasons like seniority, admin favorites, or by default because no one else wants it. If done well, department chairs can positively impact fellow teachers, which in turn raises the bar for students, parents, and administrators, so here are some thoughts about what teachers really want in order to be supported in the classroom.
If you are on instagram, we have a few recommendations for fun teacher accounts to follow! Leave us a comment with your favorites so we can follow them too!
Recently, Fusion Yearbooks reached out to us with some awesome tips for creating a classroom culture of laughter. We loved them so much that we wanted to share some of those tips with you today! By the way, if you haven't heard of Fusion Yearbooks, check them out and pass on the info to that lovely person on faculty that is looking a little exhausted and frazzled about this time of year trying to meet the yearbook deadline!
As the school calendar grows short, the weather turns warm, and the testing bubbles are completely filled in, teachers all over the country embark on the epic task of keeping students engaged. To help you in this battle, we have rounded up tips and tricks for the end of the school year from some of our favorite veteran teachers: