December 2nd is National Special Education Day and it holds a special place in the hearts of educators and advocates alike. On this day in 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law, reaffirming the importance of inclusive education for students with special needs. As we commemorate this occasion, it's an opportune time to delve into its history, grasp its significance, and explore how technology, such as interactive displays and learning apps, plays a pivotal role in promoting inclusivity in today's classrooms.
November was National Gratitude Month but it’s certainly not the only time we can reflect on how we show our appreciation. As we get ready to close the year, let’s explore the profound connection between gratitude, kindness, and the positive impact they have on our lives, relationships, and communities. While expressing thanks was integral to this month's theme, let's delve into how acts of kindness, both big and small, not only highlight gratitude but also play a crucial role in fostering positive relationships and strengthening the fabric of our communities.
Teachers, are you ready for winter break? Your students are, too, so bring some excitement to your classrooms as winter break approaches using your interactive displays. They are excellent tools that can turn any lesson into an engaging adventure. Whether you're teaching language arts, any STEM class, art, history, or any other subject, these activities will “spark” some enjoyment and engage both you and your students in the weeks leading up to winter break.
Communication dynamics between educators in the realm of education, the art of constructive argumentative communication is crucial for the holistic development of students. This form of communication is not solely based on the ability to articulate viewpoints but hinges on a combination of cognitive development, environmental influences, and emotional intelligence. As students navigate the intricate landscape of ideas and discussions, their capacity to engage in reasoned debate depends on critical thinking, problem-solving skills, the presence of positive role models, an encouraging classroom ambiance, and a keen sense of both empathy and self-awareness. Each of these components plays an integral role in shaping a student's ability to communicate their perspectives in a constructive, respectful manner. and students can profoundly influence the classroom environment. As professionals dedicated to nurturing future generations, understanding these dynamics becomes imperative. It's not just about conveying information - it’s also about fostering a positive atmosphere conducive to growth and exploration. Communication researchers have articulated the nuanced distinction between argumentative and aggressive communication and for educators, understanding this distinction is crucial. A deeper exploration of their findings can help educators refine their communication style to foster vibrant, effective classrooms.
Interactive learning has moved from being an innovative strategy to a ‘must do’ to keep students engaged in the classroom. As technology has become more beneficial for instruction and student learning, teachers are at the forefront of why, how, and when to use ed tech effectively and efficiently. Interactive displays support connected and collaborative experiences for students, even if they’re remote learning. With more features and applications available on displays, teachers are incorporating their use regularly and seeing student participation and active learning improving in their classrooms.
The past couple of decades have shown that the pace at which technology has influenced teaching and learning is moving at hyper speed, and within the past two years – warp speed. Not only have this generation’s students grown up in a technology-rich environment, but they also benefit from lessons and activities that are interactive and immersive. Educators have seen the advantages of implementing educational technology, like interactive whiteboards, that offers students multiple opportunities to engage and collaborate with others.
Have you hit your rhythm with lesson planning, teaching, meeting with students, and grading assignments? Are your students excited each time they walk in the classroom or turn on their web cameras for remote learning? Do you wake up each morning with so much energy that the cup of coffee you pour is really unnecessary? While there may be moments of ‘Yes’, it can also be ‘Sometimes’, and ‘I wish’; regardless, your work and efforts to make learning an enjoyable and active learning experience is appreciated.
Coming into this new school year has been a mixed bag of emotions for everyone: anxiety, disappointment, frustration, excitement, sadness. Because many schools are starting the year with remote learning, add stress and hopelessness to the list especially for those juggling more than one child in school, work responsibilities, and maintaining some semblance of balance at home. There are quite a few social media posts of children trying hard to be excited for learning online but struggling (haven’t we all seen the little boy lying across his chair out of view of his teacher during a virtual session?!). Understandably, this leads to concerns of substantial learning loss for our students.
I love feedback. I appreciate how feedback has helped me to improve in different aspects of my life. I believe in giving feedback that makes someone feel good about a job well done. For me, feedback is essential to growth! Yet, I can remember countless afternoons struggling to write feedback on all my students’ essays before the next class session. I wanted to be thorough and write about all of the points I’d reference in the lessons but my hands would cramp, my brain was mush, and by the last student’s paper I was barely writing a sentence or two that I hoped would help them improve. It wasn’t until a colleague showed me what she did — quick notes on each student’s work as she walked around and observed them during independent work time — that I began to feel like my time was being used more effectively and my students were able to implement recommendations as they worked. I also found that because I was saving time, I could talk with each student and really understand their comprehension and academic needs. Those quick convos with each student were some of my favorite times as a teacher.