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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

9/11 Teaching Resources

With the 11-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaching, now is the time for you and your students to commemorate that infamous day in American history.

We've collected some thought-provoking activities, writing prompts, teacher-recommended resources and lesson plan sites to help you out.

Read more 9/11 Teaching Resources

Thursday, August 23, 2012

5 Don'ts for Teacher Professional Development

A professional development session can leave a teacher feeling knowledgeable and excited, or feel like the session was a waste of their time.

I’ve had the benefit of working in three different districts; some were very laid back, and others were very uptight. I’ve seen both extremes as far as the PD spectrum goes; I’ve had great, and I’ve been subjected to bad, so I feel qualified to write on professional development.

When I came across the article 5 Ways to Fail at Design in the Harvard Business Review, I became inspired to relate it to teaching.  I knew the points of design failure could aptly be used in the teaching profession, especially in regard to professional development failure.

Take these teachers' perspective tips on what to avoid when planning your next professional development.

Read 5 Don'ts for Teacher Professional Development

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Connect Your Classroom to the Outside World

Including people and experiences outside the classroom has become ever more difficult with budget cuts. But with the cyber world and the U.S. mail at your disposal, you can connect your kids in lots of ways that are inexpensive or free.

Here are a few ideas to connect your classroom to the outside world.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

5 Classroom Organization Tips for the New School Year

Welcome to the 2012/2013 school year!  In the spirit of the season, I posted a question to my Facebook Fan Page fans about their professional resolutions for the new school year.

There were lots of fantastic ideas posted, but the one I kept seeing over and over again was the theme of being more organized in the classroom so that he or she would be able to leave after school and actually spend time with loved ones. 

The new year brings with it the opportunity to reflect on what works and what doesn’t in our classrooms.  While many teachers do that on a regular basis with their teaching methodology, when was the last time you really thought about the effectiveness of your organization patterns?  It can really make a difference to you, your students, and colleagues!

Here are five classroom organizational tips and tricks to help you start the new school year off right:

Read 5 Classroom Organization Tips for the New School Year

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Teacher Stereotypes: Overcoming Apple Sweater Ideals

Ahh, being a teacher. It comes with such a huge stigma. No matter who you are or where you live, you feel like you are an expert on what it means to be a teacher.  Can you fault anyone for this? Not really.

Everyone, even if they only have an eighth grade education, feels they are an expert because the majority of everyone's childhood is spent confined within the four walls of a classroom. Those memories lead to very specific ideas about what teachers should look like and how they should behave, even if it is far from the truth.

Read Teacher Stereotypes: Overcoming Apple Sweater Ideals

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Awesome Lesson Ideas to Integrate Science Across the Curriculum

It's easy to feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the school day to properly address all the curriculum expectations that we must teach our students.  The challenging part is addressing curriculum expectations in a meaningful way where students are engaged and motivated throughout the lesson.

One of the most powerful strategies that we have ever learned as teachers is taking a cross-curricular approach in planning lessons and units for the school year, as we are able to incorporate curriculum expectations from various subject areas to create an engaging activity.

By developing cross-curricular activities that are both fun and motivating, teachers can easily integrate science into different subject areas—it only requires a bit of planning and creativity!

We all know that Science and Math are easy to teach together, but did you know that Science can be creatively woven into other subject areas? Science can be integrated into English Language Arts, The Arts, Health & Physical Education and Social Studies to create engaging lessons and activities that your students will just love!

Here are some easy ways to integrate science across the curriculum.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Classroom Overcrowding: It’s Not Just a Numbers Game

In my nearly 20 years teaching in my district, we’ve had several occasions to protest, trying to make our board of education sit up and take notice. One button read “Grossmont Students Lose With Class Size of 34 to One.” It’s black printing on a bright yellow button. I have it pinned to my bulletin board.

Now, I’d give almost anything to have 34 students in my classroom. This year, I have 40 in every single section (that’s five sections…200 kids.) I’m sure one or two may drop eventually, but there's no way to know.

When I tell colleagues that I have 40 students per section, the first reaction is disbelief. Surely I’ve counted wrong? No, afraid not.

In my son’s elementary school, things aren’t much better. He is in third grade, and has 30 little souls in his classroom. Two teachers share the contract for his classroom, and they do an outstanding job. Still, handling 30 8-year-olds is a feat, and trying to teach them something? Well, miracles happen every day. 

With this disturbing trend, schools, teachers and most importantly students are learning the devastating effects of overcrowded classrooms.

Read Classroom Overcrowding: It’s Not Just a Numbers Game