It’s hard to believe that I am celebrating my twentieth “Teacher Appreciation Week” this year. It seems like just yesterday I began my teaching career fresh out of college. Although my intention was to only teach for a few years and then pursue a more lucrative career in law, my first years in the classroom revealed the zeal I had inside for teaching social studies. Within a few years, I had found my calling as a classroom teacher—and have never looked back. Now, twenty years later, I still retain that passion and enthusiasm for teaching. However, I am astonished to see how much my classroom has changed since I began my career, and what a much better teacher I have become.
Topics: tips for teachers
For even the most experienced teachers, back to school time is often filled with a blend of anxiety, hope, and excitement. A great deal of time is spent in the weeks prior to the start of school preparing classrooms, organizing resources, and planning lessons. This time of year can be especially complicated—and even overwhelming—when new instructional technology is introduced into the classroom.
Last week we discussed why accustoming students to whole-class collaboration is critical to their future success in the workplace, and looked at the ways that mobile applications can facilitate that type of classroom collaboration.
Today we’ll consider other types of ed tech: interactive whiteboards, digital displays, and Web 2.0 tools.
It has become clear that student collaboration is now an important focal point of modern education. The Common Core standards found in many states require that students participate in a diverse range of collaborative activities. That’s because teaching students collaborative skills has become paramount to their success in the 21st century global economy.
Collaboration Creates Tomorrow's Successful Workforce
When today’s students enter the workforce, they will be asked to collaborate with others, both in person and via technology. To prepare students to perform their future jobs successfully, many schools have adopted curricula, materials, and lessons centered on the concept of student collaboration. Programs such as College Prep Math (CPM), which requires students to work and to solve problems together as a team, are becoming more common in schools across the country and around the world.
Building a T4PD Community, Part 2
Last week’s blog, “Building a T4PD Community: Part 1,” described a new strategy for professional development that has helped one school transform into a 21st century learning center. Working one-on-one or in small groups, teachers come together to share their expertise in a supportive environment. This week, learn how you can institute the T4PD model in your school.
Getting Started with T4PD
Building a T4PD technology integration model in your school is easy – but it does take time. For two years our staff has been working to transform our classrooms with instructional technology, and we still have a ways to go to achieve full implementation.
Within the T4PD model, each member of the staff assumes one or more of the roles described below. While the process appears to result in a hierarchy, the foundation is based on a community of teachers assisting one another in a casual setting for the better implementation of instructional technology. Furthermore, teachers who take part in a T4PD model may actually fill several roles as the process continues and their ability to use technology in the classroom grows.
Building a T4PD Community, Part 1
In November of 1986, a provocative article appeared in the New York Times with the simple title, “Debating Classroom Technology.” The article posed many intriguing questions about the future of technology in the classroom, at a time when educational technology was still in its infancy. Schools and teachers across the country were struggling to determine whether classroom technology might someday impact student learning: Could technology actually reform the way knowledge is transmitted? What is so compelling about this article, almost 30 years later, is that educators are still searching for the answer to that question.
My History Classroom, “Redefined”
Throughout my teaching career in a semi-urban district outside of Cleveland, Ohio, I have tried to inspire my students to achieve more by bringing my knowledge and passion for Social Studies into my classroom. However, as many of you have probably noticed, history is a topic that simply does not grab 21st century learners. Today’s students are accustomed to working with mobile devices, glancing at quick headlines, doing Internet-only research for projects, watching short YouTube videos, and reading and composing social media buzz. When today’s tech-savvy students are presented with traditional textbooks, worksheets, and magazines that are older than they are, they quickly become disengaged learners. It’s for this reason that several years ago I began a personal quest to “redefine” my instructional strategies, methods, and materials for the 21st century. The end result is my highly successful paperless classroom!
Whether it’s getting lessons ready for another semester, wanting answers to tech questions, or just looking for new inspiration we often need additional resources. An online educator community is a great asset to have in your teaching toolbox. Mimio created MimioConnect free for it’s users, the five reasons apply directly to the MimioConnect community, but there are several others available so you can easily find one what works for you!
Finding effective teacher-created lessons and resources for your interactive classroom is a picnic with MimioConnect!
Last week I attended a summer barbeque with a number of good friends, who also happen to be educators. As you know, when educators get together over the summer months, quite a few topics get discussed around the picnic table. Since this was a gathering of educators at the end of July, our conversation quickly turned to our back-to-school preparations.
The upcoming 2012 presidential election has social studies teachers across the country excited to return to their classrooms. A presidential election, especially one as hotly contested as the current race, is a social studies teacher’s dream! The election process gives students the opportunity to learn about our democratic process in real time.
In this election year, news of the campaign is seen and heard in students’ homes daily on all media – including social media – and shared at the kitchen table. Students often come to class with questions, but sometimes feel disconnected from the political process since they are not old enough to vote. Some students also find it difficult to understand exactly how our political system works, and their confusion often leads to disinterest.
Social studies teachers must find a way during an election year to increase student engagement. Teachers must also be able to provide their students with rich content about how we elect a president, so that today’s students can become informed voters.
How Can a Teacher Get Students Excited About the Upcoming Election?
This is a question most social studies teachers will be asking themselves this fall. However, the answer is really very simple: if you want to get students excited about the upcoming presidential election, you give them the vote! The MimioVoteTM assessment is an incredible teaching tool in a social studies classroom because it puts interactivity into the hands of 100% of your students. With the MimioVote tool in the classroom, every student participates – not just the most eager. MimioVote assessment also removes the fear factor some students have about getting a question wrong, because all of their answers are anonymous.
The core of the MimioVote assessment is MimioStudio Gradebook, which automatically records student responses and indicates their progress. Teachers can use the real-time data to measure student achievement and understanding, and they can even generate printed reports.
Fall is a very busy time of year for a teacher. How will I find time to create lessons about this year’s election to use with my students?
Mimio has solved this problem for you by producing a series of seven teacher-created interactive lessons to teach students about the upcoming presidential election. Each of these lessons is FREE to download from mimioconnect.com.
The interactive lessons cover these seven important election topics:
- Election Vocabulary
- Meet the Candidates
- How Do We Elect the President?
- Who Can Vote?
- Political Parties and Issues
- Deciding Congress
These lessons are based on proven instructional principles and have been specifically designed for grade level bands K-2, 3-6, and 7-12. No matter which social studies grade level you are teaching, you will find age-appropriate activities for your classroom. Every lesson includes questions that can be answered using MimioVote assessment. Some lessons even include bonus activities, such as classroom challenges. Each lesson is also fully customizable within MimioStudio Notebook, to meet your students’ specific needs..
Using them in your classroom might even inspire your students to ask for the vote!