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!
Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are native concepts to teenagers today. They use the waze app to crowdsource information about how late they are likely to be to first period. They create their own flavor of Lays potato chips without batting an eye. They back the next Kickstarter idea and share Go Fund Me pages for causes they believe in.
Let's get one thing out of the way; I love using technology in my classroom. I use multiple devices, websites, and apps everyday. However, as edtech becomes more prevalent, I hear a lot of fallacious reasoning around the topic that I think can be damaging to both teachers and students. Here are some of the things I hear:
- Mrs. X uses technology in her classroom, so she is a great teacher.
- Because school X is not using a 1 to 1 student device program, the students will not be well prepared for college or careers.
- Giving massive technology grants to low performing schools will solve the issues of educational inequity.
- Computer skills are replacing basic reading and writing skills in the new digital world.
We frequently get questions from teachers who want to teach novels, but simply do not have enough time to read entire books with their classes. While we generally advocate for reading novels in their entirety, we completely understand that this is not always possible for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to English language levels and school schedules, as well as state, school, and district mandates. Today we want to give you a few tips for picking out which novel excerpts to read with your class.
Although it is often underestimated and overlooked, parent and teacher collaboration is vitally important to student success. Some parents have time to be very involved and others have significantly less time and/or resources to dedicate to schooling. Either way, parents ought to be a respected part of the education equation and positive communication with them should be toward the top of teachers' priorities. Here are a few tips for keeping parent communication positive:
Move over Von Trapps, it's time for the sound of school:
New sharpened pencils and fresh ink in pens
Bright stadium lights and warm woolen letterman's
Brown paper lunch bags tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite back to school things
With all of the stress, busyness, and seemingly endless meetings that greet teachers at the beginning of each school year, I thought that today would be a good day to reflect on some of my favorite parts of the back to school season. Feel free to share yours in the comment section below!
I've just finished another round of student research papers and as laborious as the grading can be, the process of curating research is one of the most valuable lessons that I teach students heading into our modern world. For the rest of their lives at home and work, students will need to solve problems and reach conclusions based on the incredible expanse of information on the internet. They will need to be able to determine the credibility of sources, understand multiple perspectives, and use resources to form educated responses to their world. Academic research, including research papers can be one step along the path to digital proficiency. (For tips about research paper assignments, click here. For more about teaching students to determine source credibility,click here.)
I'm in the midst of teaching Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible, which I absolutely love for the end of the American Lit school year since it so eloquently ties together early and modern America. We have been doing Streetcar Named Desire for the last few years, but made the switch back to The Crucible this year, so it was time to revamp my curriculum and dust off the cobwebs on my brain! I've been using the Common Core Aligned Unit from Simply Novel, which has been saving my life (especially since I am almost 8 months pregnant)! It is chock full of meaningful activities, assessments, and resources for teaching the play. Today I want to share a supplemental, cross-curricular activity that I tried this year. Where it works, the English department at my school likes to collaborate with the social science department to enrich both of our curricula and help students make connections. The most obvious links in my class are between American literature and US History, but this activity links the Arthur Miller play with psychology, a popular social science elective at my school.
Before school started this year, I wrote this blog post about one of my goals for this school year, which is to incorporate more educational social networks into my classroom. I decided to give the free version of schoology a whirl this year and so far I have been LOVING it! Here are some of the things I've been loving so far:
It can be a constant battle to create dynamic, collaborative lessons that engage students without disturbing neighboring classrooms that may be in need of quiet for testing, writing, lecturing, or other, more subdued activity. I loathe nagging or yelling at students to quiet down, especially when they are loudly engaging in my class content! Today I'm sharing a few tips, but we'd love to hear your strategies for striking that balance, so feel free to comment below!