I have been thinking about this question a lot lately. I’ve taught for over 20 years in seven different buildings. This includes various grade levels in the elementary setting in the inner city, in military schools, in affluent schools, and somewhere in between. Over the years, I have realized a few things about what it takes to make a school great.
In our district, we ask teachers to post learning objectives in the room so that the students can see the goal of their learning. The idea is that by posting this, both the teacher and the students will have a focus for the lesson and be able to determine at the end of learning whether they have met the objective for the day.
This clarity of learning is critical for students. It helps the teacher and the students to clarify what they are trying to accomplish. The second layer to this is to add a success criteria to the goal. This is language that shows the student how they will be able to demonstrate they have learned the objective to an appropriate degree. By adding success criteria, we then know how a student can prove learning to the teacher—and more importantly, to themselves.
Topics: tips for teachers
Boxlight is excited to announce the spring webinar series, Transforming Learning in the Classroom, featuring five webinars to help you improve upon important professional development and STEM integration in your school. The presenters are all experts and leaders in education and technology, and they are ready to share their insights into creating successful learning environments.
The series will begin on March 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm ET with Innovations Bringing STEM and Robotics to Today’s Classrooms. The experts hosting each webinar have used and loved each of the innovative solutions discussed in the webinars to engage students and promote STEM in the classroom. The webinars were developed to help educators of all types acquire useful knowledge to help bring their classroom to greater technology-driven heights.
Twitter can be a great professional learning tool for teachers, but some teachers might be hesitant to get started. The root of this hesitancy can come from a variety of sources. Social media may not have a positive image in some teachers’ minds. The technology part can be intimidating, as well as the lack of knowledge about the tools themselves.
In hopes of encouraging teachers to get started—and possibly ease some of those fears—I have created a set of steps to get started with Twitter that are specific to the field of education.
Top Books for Educators
This is the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book! For educators, it’s especially important to read up on teaching trends, classroom innovations, and both the history and future of education. After all, the more we know about these important topics, the more beneficial it will be for our students.
Here are our picks for the top 20 books educators won’t want to miss:
I started my career teaching high school English. If you’d asked me back then about promoting Read Across America (RAA) Day, I would have thought you were crazy. Why would we celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday at the high school level when we could be focusing on Shakespeare, Thoreau, or Steinbeck? I’ve learned a lot over the years, and I know this to be true: Dr. Seuss never goes out of style. These books are fun, clever, and nostalgic—they turn children into readers and teach life lessons. They honor reading and show us how to be good citizens and friends. As an educator, parent, and lover of books, I urge teachers at all levels to plan a Read Across America celebration. Here are some reasons why:
Topics: tips for teachers
Spring is right around the corner, and with it we leave behind the winter blahs as blue skies are ahead. As an educator, it’s easy to get into a rut this time of year with everything that is going on—spring activities kicking into full gear, local and state assessments, curriculum changes for next year, and so on.
Just as nature around us begins to show renewed growth, we too feel the new energy that we can carry into our classrooms. Although it may be easy to pull out lessons from previous years to use, it can be exciting to try out new ways of teaching lessons or exploring new ideas to motivate our students. Designing new lessons can take some time to ensure it meets your needs, but the end result is well worth the investment. Here is our collection of themed content to get you ready with new lessons for March:
Collaborating with other educators is an effective method of professional development. When teachers have time to talk, connect, and collaborate, they can expand their experience and expertise.
In many schools, finding this time can be a huge challenge. Even if teachers can find the time to meet and talk, sometimes the group is not cohesive or collaborative enough to be very productive. And other times, they might not have a person in the school who teaches the same content or grade level. Teachers who want to plan and collaborate may have few, if any, options.
Many educators would agree that there has been an increase with students displaying anti-social tendencies and a struggle with social skills over the past 10 years. There are different theories about the root cause of this, but one that I have heard recently seems very logical on the surface. It goes something like this: Adults and students are spending more time than ever interacting over devices (screens) and not face to face. This reality hurts students’ development because they are unable to interpret social cues, facial expressions, and voice inflection. This has resulted in students who struggle more with social skills like cooperation and conflict resolution than in previous generations when screen time was less frequent.
At the end of a section of learning, it’s time for the teacher to create an assessment. This could be the end of a unit or chapter, but for what we are discussing today, a summative assessment needs to be created. Instruction is over, and we need to see what the student knows and has retained.
Where should a teacher start? The first question that should always be asked is, “Do I even need an assessment?” This may seem like a crazy question. “If I don’t give a test, what will I put in the gradebook?” But if we stop to think about it, not all learning is created equally. In the mind of a student, if something is tested, it matters because it is for a grade. So as teachers, if we test everything equally, we are sending the message that everything matters to the same degree.