While some teachers can have everyone’s name down pat by the end of the first period, others need a little more help. If you are struggling to remember your students’ names, here are 4 time tested tips and 1 new, fun project idea to get you going:
As teachers, we fight so many important battles to help students become socially, academically, and emotionally ready for adulthood. Many times we act as educator, parent, social worker, and mediator. As hard as we work to help every student succeed, there are a couple of things I think we need to let go of. In my humble opinion, we shouldn't waste our energy on small, annoying little bits that cloud our busy days with negativity. Below are a list of things I think we need to NOT let get under our skin. I'd love to hear your opinions or additions to this list in the comment section below.
As a mother of a three year old and a high school teacher, I've been thinking a lot lately about how positive discipline works in very similar ways in both contexts. We all know that discipline is key to effective learning environments, but sometimes we lose sight of the thin line between discipline and punishment. Now that most of us have settled into the summer, I thought it would be a good time to talk about some positive discipline concepts that work in high school. I'd love to hear your questions or technique suggestions in the comment section below!
I hope that your summer is off to a fantastic start! I'm teaching a series of college application bootcamps so it seems that mine hasn't quite started yet, but this week I want to share one of my major summer goals. If you haven't made summer goals yet, I'm inviting you to take this journey with me and if you already have some expertise in this area, I'd seriously love your two cents! This summer I want to learn how to effectively use a social learning network in my classroom. I used Collaborize Classroom last year and I absolutely loved it. However, some of my colleagues have decided to take up Edmodo or Schoology and it makes sense for us to have some constancy across the curriculum.
I remember the terror of handing out my first end of the year survey to my students. I was thoroughly convinced that they would come back completely extolling all my virtues or completely destroying the last shred of dignity that I had as a young teacher in May. To my utter shock, I have uniformly had the opposite situation. Students have been incredibly honest and fair with me. Some things they love, some things they hate, some things just needed a little tweak. Since I have found student surveys so beneficial to honing my craft, today I want to share with you my simple survey along with the reasons why I suggest you give a similar one. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
At my school, it is time again for parent conferences. This opportunity can be bitter sweet. Before I get into my tips for successful parent-teacher conferences, can I just take a moment to explain my love-hate relationship with parent conferences? (Note: Our conferences are organized as open time slots 3 times a year without RSVPs or scheduling)
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:
Back to School Night is on the calendar for schools across the country, and it is time for teachers to put on our game faces. If your school is like mine, the format for Back to School Night involves a general assembly and then quick 10-15 minute stops for parents in each of the student's classes. For many teachers, this evening can be frightening, overwhelming, awkward, or incredibly dull, but don't worry! I'm here to give you my tips on making Back to School night a success that will garner you respect with parents and not run your ragged. I've even included a free Prezi template that you can download and edit to give your presentation that extra pizzaz.
1. Make the curriculum your own, but don't try to re-invent the wheel. My first few years, I had so many ideas that I started every lesson from scratch and left the crates that were passed down from the last teacher to gather dust in the corner. When I taught my English learners about science academic language, I went straight to home depot to create plaster of paris mountains with sand paper so that students could feel the words for erosion, landslides, and peaks. I made my own handouts to teach literature circles and everything else! I spent every evening and weekend creating, planning, and grading. And at the end of that wonderful year, I realized that I would never make it through a 3 year, much less 30 year career at that pace. When the next year rolled around and I was assigned to completely different grade levels, I decided to actually go through the files left behind and use them as a base. I also purchased literature guides for each of my novels. Of course I still threw in the cool inforgraphic project or socratic seminar, but I saved a ton of time not creating every single lecture, test, and activity from scratch.
There is much debate on whether a warm-up activity should be related only to previous lessons or to help introduce the day's material, or whether a warm-up can be totally unrelated to the students' curriculum. I am of the mind that if you don't have your students engaged and ready to learn, you can't teach the curriculum anyway, so I always liked to do warm ups I thought my kids would like. The choice is yours. Either way, the idea is not to take up too much of the class time, but to get students' brains moving, focused, and ready to learn!