If you follow this blog at all, you know that I LOVE using technology in the classroom, but today I want to share some of my favorite low tech teaching strategies. I am a terrible artist, but I find a lot of benefit in drawing as we read. Students remember my silly drawings and they get a sense of the big picture of the literature. I require note taking in my class and my students usually love taking these notes and invariably, they are so much better than mine.
I'm really excited to share a new teacher tech tool with you today! Although, I am just getting started with it, I think NoRedInk.com is a tool to keep an eye on!
Here's why I love it:
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!
Remember when I told you about a few apps that my students taught me to love? Well, I just jumped on the bandwagon and realized that one of them is going to change the way I assign vocabulary study. No matter what words or book you are using for vocabulary, you have to check out this tutorial on quizlet:
Today, I want to share with you some of my rules for answering questions about literature. Please leave a comment with any additions or questions you have! Together we can make a master list and raise the bar in classrooms around the country!
The kind folks over at Grammarly recently let me try out their service with my high school English classes. The service offers to help students continue to develop writing skills through automated instructional feedback in grammar and word choice, as well as plagiarism tracking. I tried out the teacher/student version, which you can learn more about at Grammarly.com/edu. Check out the video tutorial below and the pros and cons list. Please let me know if you have questions or comments and remember to check back weekly for more teacher tips, tutorials, and tirades. ;)
It's funny how I tend to hear students espouse the same myths year after year. Here are a few of the ones I'd like to debunk:
1. We are all conspiring together to assign common due dates. It seems like every time we assign a major paper or project, we hear the groans about how our due date coincides with the due dates in other classes. We assure you, this is not an intentional affront to your social life. Since every class begins and ends each marking period on the same schedule, it makes sense that projects in multiple classes would be assigned after a few weeks of front loaded instruction and with enough time to assess before grades are due. Lucky for you, most teachers I know offer step by step guidance and plenty of advanced notice. In addition to all of our wonderful content, we are teaching you the life skill of time management. Break out your agenda and plan accordingly.
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.
I teach primarily juniors and seniors this year and so I have three main waves of recommendation writing: junior enrichment opportunities, senior college apps, and senior scholarship apps. Many of these opportunities ask students to obtain a letter of recommendation from an English teacher who can give insight into student reading and communication skills. Whether you are sitting down to write one letter or fifty letters, here are some tips to get you through: