Things for Teachers
What motivated you to become a teacher?

Honest answer: In high school, my history teacher made history sound really cool. I wanted to do that.

What it turned into? A million different things.

While learning history in college, I realized everything history is. I could use history to teach my students bias and perspective and some serious analytical skills. I could teach them a new way to look at the world.

As I have interacted with students throughout the past 2 years, I am continually more motivated to provide them with a support system. Many of my students do not have that.

It started out as something that seemed cool and has definitely developed into a passion. I don’t think a person ever has the opportunity to alter another’s life the way a teacher does.

What reliable tech alternatives do you build into your lesson plans in the event that technology fails you or is inaccessible? It's something I've struggled with during student teaching, and you seem to have a great grasp on integrating technology into your classroom!

Recently, there was a guest post that dealt with this issue over at Free Tech for Teachers. I really liked their advice.

Back up plans for when you are using/directing the tech:

  • Have all essential notes (Powerpoints, etc) printed out. Resort to chalkboard if necessary.
  • Have a Youtube video planned? Re-enact part of it (you may think I am kidding…but my students find this hilarious).
  • Smartboard activity problems? Have stuff like Post it notes always available. Most interactive Smartboard activities can be re-created by throwing students into groups and having them move around some Post It notes (sorry Smartboard…I just made you sound way less cool).
  • Always have some generalized worksheets copied and ready to go. My favorite to have as an emergency is the History Frame/Story Map. It works for whatever unit we are on and is a good formative assessment.
  • Be ready to move around lessons and do a lesson that’s less tech-centric if necessary.

If students are using tech (think: projects in the classroom)…

  • Always check to make sure websites are not blocked on the student accounts. I learned this the hard way.
  • If you are using a certain Web 2.0 tool, know easy alternatives to that tool in case it goes down. For example, Typewith.me went down for one period when my students were using it- so I just had them create Word Docs and upload them using my Dropitto.me account. Usually, if you go to Free Tech for Teachers and search for a certain Web 2.0 app, posts with similar apps will be suggested to you.

Basically, if you are planning a lesson with technology: Be ready to completely throw away the lesson one day and have to rearrange your schedule (don’t we deal with this everyday anyway?) Also, don’t be afraid to ask the students for help. They have solved my problems before!

Poll everywhere- Advice and questioning strategies ⇢

Greg Kulowiec addresses many teacher-concerns about using cell phones in the classroom to implement tools like Polleverywhere (violating school cell phone policy, students without cell phones, and questioning strategies). If you have considered using Polleverywhere in your classroom, give this post a read.

10 Twitter Tips for Teachers ⇢
world-shaker:

What a great resource for history teachers out there.
PS: Maybe there should be a History tracked tag :o)
(via Rare Color photos from Depression Era)

world-shaker:

What a great resource for history teachers out there.

PS: Maybe there should be a History tracked tag :o)

(via Rare Color photos from Depression Era)

There are certain moments in teaching that I call Teacher Moments. These are the special moments that make it all worthwhile. They are golden. They are few. They come unannounced. And you have to listen very closely, or you might miss them.

- Phillip Done, “32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny” (Teacher Moments)

Realization: There are ten days of class left in the 2010-2011 school year.

I have started my summer job full force, and start grad school tomorrow night, so they are a pretty jam-packed ten days (plus finals). My apologies if Things for Teachers becomes a little low on original stuff until mid-June.

Tumblr Teachers (education majors, substitutes, teachers)- what are you doing this summer?

A Great Resource for Collaborative Learning ⇢

world-shaker:

If you want to learn more about Collaborative Learning, this would be a great place to start. The site’s on the older side, but the content is good. There are even teaching strategies and advice sections.

It’s true that schools with large numbers of low-income and English-as-a-second-language students don’t perform as well as those with lots of middle- and upper-middle-class students who speak only English. But the demonization of some schools as “dropout factories” masks an important achievement: The percentage of Americans earning a high school diploma has been rising for 30 years. According to the Department of Education, the percentage of 16-to-24-year-olds who were not enrolled in school and hadn’t earned a diploma or its equivalent fell to 8 percent in 2008.

- Five myths about America’s schools

Washington Post

roughdrafts1:

Goody bags for my seniors!
I like to do something special for my seniors on the last day of classes. I do different things every year, depending on who the kids are and what sort of resources I have at the time. This year, I made the goody bags in the picture. I was inspired by ohmuffins’ post about the bags she had made for her students. I made goody bags a few years back and figured it would be a good thing this time around since I only have 26 seniors.  
 So I wrote them a letter (see below) and included 13 items, one for each year K-12. I photocopied the poem for them, excluding a particular line that I thought was distracting. About half of my students (including boys) started crying, they were so touched. I cried too. It’s been a tough love kind of year.  
A Letter to my Students, on the Last Day of Class:
Over this past year, your senior year of high school, you have carried on through moments of triumph and despair, happiness and pain, laughter and anger. All these moments have helped you become the people you are today. I have been your teacher and sometimes your confidant through some of these times: We have laughed; we have cried; we have worked together; we have danced. When I look at you, I see so much promise in each of you. Thank you for all the lessons you taught to me, and all the good times we shared. 
I would like to share a little with you. If you look in your goody bag, there you will find a motley assortment of things that on their own have little intrinsic value, but each represents an idea or a hope I have for you as you continue to carry on, into the great unknown that stretches before you. So many wonderful things await you. This ending is just the beginning.
 1.    Bookmark- I hope you make reading a part of your life and that you find enjoyment and satisfaction in it.
2.    Candle- May you always have a light to guide you through dark times, and that each candle on your birthday cake represents another good year behind you and a happier one to follow. 
3.    Rubber band- I hope you stretch yourself to explore your talents and interests.
4.    Bandage- Life sometimes involves pain, and I hope there is always someone there who will help you when you fall, just as I hope you will help others in need.
5.    Ball- May you always have fun, bounce back from adversity, and seek new heights.
6.    Marker- Go forth and make your mark upon the world boldly and confidently.
7.    Eraser- Mistakes will be made but I hope that they are never so great as cannot be erased or made up.
8.    Toothpick- I hope you pick your words carefully so you won’t have to worry about your mouth.
9.    Pom-pom – May you be cheered by a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever you need it most. 
10.Kiss- I hope you find a love that will sustain you and inspire you throughout your life. 
11.Smarties- Because you are so smart, you will know what to do.
12.Penny- Change is often overlooked, but a little change is good and sometimes all that you need to get ahead.
13.A Poem- I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
 Your devoted teacher,
Ms. T

I LOVE THIS.

roughdrafts1:

Goody bags for my seniors!

I like to do something special for my seniors on the last day of classes. I do different things every year, depending on who the kids are and what sort of resources I have at the time. This year, I made the goody bags in the picture. I was inspired by ohmuffins’ post about the bags she had made for her students. I made goody bags a few years back and figured it would be a good thing this time around since I only have 26 seniors.  

So I wrote them a letter (see below) and included 13 items, one for each year K-12. I photocopied the poem for them, excluding a particular line that I thought was distracting. About half of my students (including boys) started crying, they were so touched. I cried too. It’s been a tough love kind of year.  

A Letter to my Students, on the Last Day of Class:

Over this past year, your senior year of high school, you have carried on through moments of triumph and despair, happiness and pain, laughter and anger. All these moments have helped you become the people you are today. I have been your teacher and sometimes your confidant through some of these times: We have laughed; we have cried; we have worked together; we have danced. When I look at you, I see so much promise in each of you. Thank you for all the lessons you taught to me, and all the good times we shared.

I would like to share a little with you. If you look in your goody bag, there you will find a motley assortment of things that on their own have little intrinsic value, but each represents an idea or a hope I have for you as you continue to carry on, into the great unknown that stretches before you. So many wonderful things await you. This ending is just the beginning.

 1.    Bookmark- I hope you make reading a part of your life and that you find enjoyment and satisfaction in it.

2.    Candle- May you always have a light to guide you through dark times, and that each candle on your birthday cake represents another good year behind you and a happier one to follow.

3.    Rubber band- I hope you stretch yourself to explore your talents and interests.

4.    Bandage- Life sometimes involves pain, and I hope there is always someone there who will help you when you fall, just as I hope you will help others in need.

5.    Ball- May you always have fun, bounce back from adversity, and seek new heights.

6.    Marker- Go forth and make your mark upon the world boldly and confidently.

7.    Eraser- Mistakes will be made but I hope that they are never so great as cannot be erased or made up.

8.    Toothpick- I hope you pick your words carefully so you won’t have to worry about your mouth.

9.    Pom-pom – May you be cheered by a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever you need it most.

10.Kiss- I hope you find a love that will sustain you and inspire you throughout your life.

11.Smarties- Because you are so smart, you will know what to do.

12.Penny- Change is often overlooked, but a little change is good and sometimes all that you need to get ahead.

13.A Poem- I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 Your devoted teacher,

Ms. T

I LOVE THIS.

About

Who I am: A fourth year high school history teacher at an urban(ish) high school in New Jersey.

What I blog about: Stuff related to education I like, and stuff I hope can help other teachers out. Technology, deals on supplies, helpful books. My focus lately is on educational technology & related resources. Occasionally, I also post things related to education reform. Because I post articles that I feel will be of interest to teachers with varying views, the political-related posts made here do not necessarily reflect my beliefs or opinions, nor do they reflect the beliefs of my employer.

What I like learning & reading about: Other teacher's opinions about and experiences with teaching & education. How I can enrich my classroom and reach out to my students. If you write about this stuff, let me know, because I probably want to read it.

What you should submit: Anything that could help a teacher.


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