Plickers is such a fun tool with a myriad of uses in the classroom! If you haven't heard of plickers, they are definitely worth a look!
Many teachers find it daunting to help students deal with informational texts with the regularity that brings confidence and skill. It is important for students to read longer, more complicated texts and primary source documents; however, small daily doses can also be a strategy for student success with informational texts. Today, I am sharing an idea to incorporate these texts into a short, daily warm-up activity.
During this time of year, students across the country feel anxiety levels begin to creep up due to the onslaught of high stakes testing. Some take it all in stride, while others reach panic mode before the first bubble is even filled in. Whether they are taking the SAT, ACT, State Proficiency Test, Common Core Assessment, Advanced Placement Test, finals, or any other high stakes test, the pressure on students can be very real. For some, test results will go a long way toward high school graduation or college acceptance. So how do we help them deal with the anxiety associated with these tests? I'm sharing some ideas below, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section following this post.
During this time of year, the research paper dominates the English department in my school. We slog through the sometimes painful and sometimes engaging process of finding credible sources, creating a documented argument, and using MLA format. I wrote about teaching research papers in this earlier post if you want to know more. Today I want to share a quick tip for creating sheltered research and argument papers without a ton of background work for the teacher. By sheltered research, I just mean that teachers provide the sources for students to synthesize as opposed to students being open to all possible sources. I find that these assignments are ideal for preparing students to do longer, more independent and scholarly research papers later.
Over the years I have gone back and forth about the necessity of review days. Sometimes they have felt like a cop out or a waste of time and sometimes they have felt like a much needed way to pull together the big picture from a long unit of study. Review days can also be a strategy for teaching students how to study, which they can then take into other courses. I think the keys to review days are:
- having a variety of strategies to pull from according to subject, length of unit, and type of upcoming assessment
- keeping the goals in mind and avoiding busy work (Goals may be SAT vocab rote memorization, literary analysis essay preparation, or many other necessary pursuits)
In the spirit of adding to our collective review toolbox, I'm sharing 15 review techniques, and I would love to hear your additions and thoughts in the comment section below!
Recently, I have been feeling the frustration that bubbles up every once in a while when I find students trying to subvert their own education through trickery. Sure, teachers will always battle the homework copiers, cheat sheet creators, plagiarizers, and last minute project workers, but the students that really get to me are the ones who spend so much time finding ways to trick the system when they could spend the same amount of time studying and legitimately learn! I try really, really hard to inspire students to care about their own education over and above a pursuit of the almighty grade. Sometimes I fail miserably. Here are a couple of struggles I've faced lately and what I am trying to do about them. I'd love to hear how you handle students when they try to game your systems.
As we enter December, most high school teachers are preparing to end the semester, which means entering grades, contacting parents, wrapping up major units, and creating a final exam (among 100 other last minute tasks). Making a final exam can be a daunting process, so this week I want to share some tips that I've picked up over the years and I would love to hear your questions, comments, and suggestions in the comment section below!
A few weeks ago, we featured a video blog about how to use google drive, and as a follow up, I'd love to share some ideas for how to use google forms in the classroom. Here are some of the things I love about using google forms:
My high school is beginning the long and arduous planning for a 1:1 tablet program in which each of our students will have a device for school use by the 2014-2015 school year. This is such an exciting time for me as an educator and I find myself consumed with researching how to harness the power that each student will carry around in their backpacks. The iPads, tablets, laptops, and even smartphones are so much more than a glorified electronic textbook, but it can be difficult to navigate the sea of classroom technology resources out there and it can be even more overwhelming to think about recreating an entire curriculum to incorporate these tools!
Like all parents, I sometimes struggle with my child at homework time. My first grader's regular math exercises include a variety of activities, including multiple choice questions. He often bubbles whatever answer strikes his fancy in hopes that I won't notice or check his work. In anticipation of this, I now cover the answer options on his worksheet with mini post-it's and ask him to work out the answer before he can lift up the stickies and fill in the bubbles. (Can you tell I'm the teacher mother?) This week, he was particularly frustrated with my strategy. It was 4:00. He wanted to go over to his friend's house to play. He gave me that wide-eyed, Puss in Boots, imploring gaze and argued, "But Mom, sometimes bubbles help me. Can't you just tell me the answer?" Now there's a question I have fielded before. I gave him my stock answer: "I'll tell you the right answer, honey. But then you have to tell me why it's right."