The landscape of teaching is changing.
Summer break is often a time to recharge and enjoy a slower pace of life for teachers who are typically busy during the school year. Although it may be relaxing to lounge around for the first week of summer break, most people want to have a bit of fun and stay active during the season. To make the most out of your time off, there are a few ways to stay busy.
When my daughter missed the kindergarten cutoff by three weeks, I made an appointment with her teacher and principal of her school. She had attended private preschool since she was 3 years old, after I realized that she was too active and curious for me to entertain her all day at home with just the two of us. (She would sit and do 48-piece puzzles on her own at age 3) At 4, she entered California’s new ‘Transitional Kindergarten” program, reinforcing what she had already learned at her excellent private preschool, and learning even more. By the time she turned 5, although she was not reading, she knew all her letters, numbers, could write them, her name, and could slowly sound out many words, and add and subtract basic numbers. When I met with her teacher and the principal, frustrated that she would have to spend yet another year “learning” her letters and numbers, I was concerned that she would be bored and lose interest in school – be a lost sheep forever, setting the tone for her entire school career. Her teacher was open to the idea of moving her into first grade after doing some testing, but the principal flat-out refused. I was sent a rejection letter a day after the meeting, with no explanation other than advancing her would not be “what is best for her.” I was an advocate for my child, who had no voice. I saw my child’s “best interests” and knew that their brief assessment (where she missed two items) was not an accurate assessment of her needs. Was I being a helicopter parent? Or was I advocating for my child? Today, the lines seem more blurred, and can often become overwhelming for teachers and administrators.
Every school day, teachers everywhere arrive an hour before school starts and leave at least an hour after school ends, often hauling a bin or crate of grading or prep to complete. We spend hour upon hour researching the best methods to teach, to differentiate, to engage. We spend hours, creating, preparing, and tweaking lesson plans, activities, and assessments. At the elementary level, teachers spend hours decorating and cutting and laminating and stuffing little sandwich bags for new activities. At the secondary level, English teachers, for example— sift through, read, correct, and comment thoughtfully on 120 students’ 3 page papers (which totals 360 pages of material – for one assignment.
With the start of the new school year, and Banned Books Week quickly approaching - typically held the last week of September (this year, it is Sept. 27 - Oct. 3), it is time to remember how important our freedom to read is. I decided to create this infographic to help teachers broach the subject of challenged and banned books and get a quick visual to some of the interesting facts surrounding banned and challenged books. Information was gathered via ALA.org/bbooks.
Topics: banned books
After seeing a recent post by Emily at Education to the Core featuring 20 Teachers to Follow on Pinterest, I found myself disappointed by the lack of secondary teachers on the list. (Please don't misunderstand me - Emily has a fabulous blog and is doing great things!! Her audience is just not secondary teachers, so it makes sense that she would focus on the elementary and not the secondary level.)
As a champion for secondary teachers (a former high school English teacher myself), I immediately wanted to be sure that Pinterest audiences - especially secondary teachers - knew that there are some AMAZINGLY helpful and relevant boards and pinners out there that teachers should be following. I decided to spend the day researching helpful boards that were not all about products and sales, but the promotion of best-practices, innovative ideas, and helpful resources. While many of these boards do have products pinned, the crux of each is not about advertising. The results? Here's what I found:
Topics: Christine Reeve, Danielle Knight, Education to the Core, Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy, Jason's Online Classroom, Learn with Watts, Lesson Planning, pinterest, Scaffolded Math and Science, Science Stuff, secondary pinners, secondary pinterest boards, secondary teachers, Simply Novel, Smart Apple, Teachers on Pinterest, top secondary boards
One of the most difficult aspects of teaching To Kill a Mockingbird or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and having to deal with how to approach the "n" word in your classroom. Here is an excellent article written by Earl Ofari Hutchinson on the subject.
When I started as a teacher over 10 years ago, I had a group of wonderful teachers to indoctrinate and support me as a new teacher. I was given a binder of awesome resources they put together for me with a ton of great ideas and helpful activities and lessons. I was thrilled to have some great resources right at my fingertips—all free! I was ecstatic that I didn’t have to spend my meager teaching income (coming off an even worse income as a waitress) to build my library of resources. I was over the moon when I discovered these generous teachers had spent their time to make me feel welcome with a gift of handouts, worksheets, and pre-built lessons from some great publishers!
I have posted a few of my annotated Common Core Standards, returning to our examination and analysis of Informational Texts and helping you to find ways to tackle the standards and integrate them into your lessons and activities. This post focuses on exploring how key individuals influence and are influenced by events and ideas, and how authors make connections between such individuals, events, or ideas.
I am not sure where these originated, but I had to share an email I just got with a bunch of these little lovelies! Beware the church lady with the ol' typewriter! These are lessons in misplaced and missing modifiers, irony, tone, and general funny!