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Mixing It Up With 4 Corner Discussions

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Dec 19, 2015 11:24:21 PM

One of my new favorite ways to keep discussion fresh and interesting is to throw in a 4 corner discussion. For me, it is one of those techniques that I saw a hundred times at professional development trainings, but didn't actually implement until last school year. This technique is my go-to fun, but academic plan for minimum day schedules or other days when students tend to be distracted.  It is so simple to set up and implement.  Do you use this discussion strategy?  We'd love to hear about any experience or spins from your classrooms!

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Topics: discussion, lesson plan, literature, tip

7 Tips for Acing a Formal Observation

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Feb 24, 2015 7:06:55 AM

My school is in an accreditation year, so we have been preparing in many ways for formal observations within our school community and from the accreditation team.  (I'm on the west coast, so we are governed by WASC.) I normally really enjoy informal observations by department members and colleagues because I find that they are a great feedback tool for my own reflection and professional growth.  During informal observations, I like to try out new methodologies or focus on meeting the needs of a particular group of students. Then, I like to debrief with my observer and brainstorm ideas for future tweaks.  However, formal observations can have a very different plan and purpose.  These are the types of observations you know will occur in advance and typically are not followed by collaborative feedback.  These are the observations that you want to knock out of the park with a home run. Below are 7 tips for acing a formal evaluation.  I'd love to hear your comments or concerns in the comment section below.

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Topics: Classroom Management, lesson plan, Lesson Planning, observation

Avoiding and Embracing English Teacher Burnout

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Dec 3, 2013 6:23:18 AM

We all hit that wall eventually.   We look around at the stacks of essays waiting to be graded, tests to be written, parent emails to be answered, books to prep and we wonder if we picked the right profession.  We realize that something has to give.  We may have to give up some of our responsibilities at school like moderating a favorite club or that extra essay assignment that would be an amazing learning experience, but also the proverbial straw that will break our back.  Sometimes we have to make sacrifices in our personal lives also like that extra hour of sleep we would love or that Sunday afternoon hike we were invited to take.  The struggle to find balance between school and personal life has been a huge part of my career for the last 10 years.  We all know how important it is to take care of ourselves so we can be better teachers to our students, so today I want to offer you the following lessons I've learned in this area:

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Topics: burnout, Classroom Management, lesson plan, Lesson Planning, tips

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