Pre-pandemic, the thought of incorporating flipped or blended learning, self-paced learning, video conferencing, and creating videos to teach key concepts or skills was seen as reserved mostly for virtual schools that catered to families that wanted an alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar schooling or for especially ‘high-tech savvy’ educators who could deftly handle quickly changing technology. Of course, the pandemic and consequent school closures changed all that, and educators, students, and parents had to learn to navigate online learning fairly quickly. For teachers who were comfortable with the tried and true, front-of-class style of instruction, switching to tech tools for creating, assigning, grading, and facilitating lessons was a steep learning curve. But here we are, over a year later, and many teachers have found that they have become incredibly adept at using these same tools if not more so.
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 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.
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.