Stumped about how to keep yourself busy this summer? While you may have a million things on your summer bucket list, you may also want to keep your teaching "chops" fresh with some fun summer homework! Here are some of our favorites:
It is the time of year again when we meet in departments to plan out summer reading programs. For me, the words "summer reading" can be a delight and a drain. I work at a school that requires summer reading for college prep and honors English classes at every grade level, which can present some challenges. Even with the struggles, I think that summer reading is a battle worth fighting. If you are interested in some of the scientific benefits of summer reading, click around this site for a bit. Here are my thoughts on putting together a summer reading program that will enhance the curriculum without burning out teachers or students.
As a teacher, I feel like I technically have a lot of opportunities for professional development, but it is just so hard to make the time to research, plan, attend, and appreciate most of the options out there! When I actually do get all of that together and attend a conference, there are 2 main risks: 1. The conference or presenter may not be all that it was cracked up to be, or sometimes more likely 2. I may not take full advantage of all of the benefits and resources available. After attending a wildly successful conference recently, I wanted to write about my tips for taking full advantage of professional development conferences:
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:
Today, I am excited to bring you a tip for using google presentations to create classroom engagement and collaboration. This idea is a combination of a project that a colleague of mine has done for years, the inspiration of Catlin Tucker's vocabulary instruction (she is really amazing), plus of course, my deep seated love of socratic seminar, novel study, and google drive (full tutorial here)! This project puts ownership in the hands of students and frees up a lot of my time for meaningful writing feedback instead of a ton of prep for teaching a novel. Check out the Youtube video below for the specifics of my project:
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.
Although summer is in high swelter mode, many teachers continue to create daily plans. During these lazy, hazy days, that has to be incredibly difficult- a feat that I was never tough enough to attempt. I salute you, my colleagues who accept this mission incredible.
Lately, though, social media status reports reveal that some teachers who chose to close their classroom doors in May/June, literally and figuratively, are being plagued by itches they just are not yet ready to scratch. What's causing this rash? The Lesson Plan Troll, bored and thirsty for attention, is tickling their brains.
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!
An Informative/Explanatory essay teaches or informs your reader about a subject. This type of essay can explain how something works, how to perform a task, the steps in a procedure, or why something is the way it is. Ultimately, the reader should have a better understanding of the subject after reading your paper.