More and more schools are opening up to in-person learning, even as we get closer to the end of the school year. Regardless of if they have two months or two weeks left in the year, the excitement of being in their classrooms with their classmates and teacher can be overwhelming. We celebrate in-person learning and the effort it took to ensure everyone’s health and safety but after the initial frenzy of first day, first week, first recess, what can be done to get students focused and ready to learn?
Every April is Move More month, created by the American Heart Association to motivate people to increase their activity and improve their health. Physical activity benefits more than the body’s health; studies have shown that physical activity also improves attention, mood, and reasoning skills. For example, increased activity has shown to improve concentration and sharpen memory. How?
Topics: tips for teachers
April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, a day that recognizes the rights of those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). What is ASD? It is a developmental disorder that can cause people to behave, communicate, interact, and learn in different ways than most others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov), in 2016 there were 1 in 54 eight-year-old children identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the United States.* What does this mean for classrooms across the country? Teachers need to be prepared to teach students with ASD, using a variety of strategies and tools including educational technology. Read some tips for supporting your students with ASD in the classroom.
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 a live virtual lesson? Do you wake up each morning with so much energy that the cup of coffee you pour is really unnecessary? If your answer is ‘Yes’ to the previous, Kudos to you! (I’d also like to interview you for my next blog.) For the rest of you, there may be moments of ‘Yes’, ‘Sometimes’, and ‘I wish’ for each of these questions and that speaks to your hard work and effort to make learning an enjoyable experience for all.
The school year is in full swing and depending on how your area has been affected by the ongoing pandemic, that ‘swing’ may feel more like a roller coaster ride! With possible adjustments in learning environments from in-class to remote instruction, teachers should be prepared. This includes classroom management procedures and routines that should be easy to implement and follow. Managing a classroom virtually has its challenges such as lack of teacher’s physical presence for monitoring engagement, and limited view of facial expressions and body language to communicate thoughts and feelings but it is not impossible. At this point in the year, routines have been established to navigate the learning day. How can these procedures be adapted to remote instruction? Review the chart below.
Schools that have reopened are fastidiously following local health and safety guidelines, including physical distancing of student desks. This can hamper some common instructional practices that help students understand new concepts such as sharing math manipulatives or working as teams on science activities. Teachers need to adapt to different ways of facilitating lessons and document cameras have proven to be an easy-to-use tool for doing so.
Those stepping into the adventure of teaching should expect that professional development requirements come with the journey. The purpose of professional development is to keep certified educators current on new instructional tools, strategies, and research. Teacher PD can cover a variety of topics such as educational technology, classroom management, subject-specific research and strategies, and curriculum tools and applications. PD requirements differ from state-to-state, so it is best to regularly check state teacher credentialing websites for up-to-date information.
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams
When I was in the 4th grade, our teacher came back from a trip to Europe with an awesome idea — our class was going to have pen pals in England! She had met a teacher from there and they talked about having their classes learn to write letters while making new friends from one another’s country. I was so excited when I got the first letter from my pen pal, Tanya. She actually sent a picture of herself — she had long red hair, freckles, and blue eyes; so different from what I and most of my friends looked like. For the life of me, I can’t remember what was written in the letter just the thrill of receiving one from another young person who lived in a different country! Our class wrote back but unfortunately after the one exchange of letters from each side, we didn’t receive more letters. It was a great idea with the potential for so much more but just seemed to fizzle out. Clearly, something went amiss in my experience. This isn’t the case for many educators who have endeavored to introduce their students to different cultures, experiences, and values while integrating valuable learning skills through letter writing.
You’ve probably scrolled through countless social media posts of teachers and students engaging in remote learning. There are posts with teachers dressed up in costumes, really working to get their students engaged. There are posts of students in pajamas, bodies contorted in different ways as they try to make it through a virtual lesson. There seems to be a nice mix of the positive and negative in this new normal of teaching and learning. Although it seems that more schools and educators have prepared for distance teaching, it brings up another concern — distance teaching burnout. With remote learning a reality for many, it is important to recognize the warning signs of burnout and move towards its prevention. But first, what is burnout?