Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy 2019!

Educational Links 1/1/19

10 Innovative Formative Assessment Examples for Teachers to Know

Transportation, enrollment issues create barriers to school choice, study says


Why Multitasking Doesn't Work


At a Glance: Career Paths for Teens Who Don’t Want to Sit at a Desk

Looking for a way to lower suspensions and reduce bullying?

Suspension has been a commonly used disciplinary method in schools for decades. Unfortunately, it also has no positive impact on students. What’s worse, these same children often develop a dislike for law enforcement that lasts into adulthood. This is a dangerous cycle that we have to stop to help students stay in school, develop positive relationships with adults in positions of authority, and achieve greater success.

The Sky Is Cheap Entertainment: EarthSky’s top 5 stories of 2018

Tommy Eliassen Photography caught comet Wirtanen on December 12, 2018, from Bleikvassli, Norway

EarthSky’s top 5 stories of 2018

Teacher Resolution #3

I solemnly resolve...
#3. I resolve to not let the kids drive me completely nuts.

Seventh grade teachers, I feel your pain. But let's be realistic.

How about:

I won't let the students bait me as much.

How 'interesting' your students vary from year to year, grade to grade, and there are plenty of other factors. But how to respond to your 'interesting students' is in your domain of influence. Keeping a consistent, regulated classroom management system every second of class time will stabilize the experience of the students and yourself. This isn't easy, but when Teacher realizes the efficacy of relying on a good classroom management system, it becomes a pleasure--no, that's too strong--a relief. Include the parents, for sure, with reports of success and rascality. Be efficient with reports to the Discipline Office--only after other options are truly exhausted unless it is a safety issue or some other extreme situation. Be fair, be thorough, be relentless in your pursuit of every student's success. You'll be the teacher that very 'interesting' student thanks when he/she is a successful stand up comic.

Top Ten Classroom Management Ideas and Resources 

25 Sure-Fire Strategies for Handling Difficult Students 

How to Handle Discipline Problems with Effective Classroom Management

Using Detention Wisely

Don’t Just Sit There: Use Detention Wisely
This is not my school--but it could have been! Don't think we're ever going back to this classroom management, as far as I know.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Educational Links 12/31/18

Should Emotions be Taught in School?

2018 in Research: How Principals Lead, Gates Faltered, and Teens Balk at 'Growth Mindset'

When Little Girls Are Mean

Helping Young Girls Handle Relational Aggression

STEM Stars With Learning and Attention Issues

Supporting English Learners with Technology


Teacher Resolution #2

I solemnly resolve...
#2. I will keep up with all the paperwork, all the time.

Quite a goal. But how realistic is it?

How about this:

I will keep up with mandatory paperwork in a timely manner, and not create unnecessary paperwork for myself.

There are plenty of deadlines for all teachers that are universal: grades, behavior reports, cum files' stuff. But sometimes in our enthusiasm we create lots of paperwork related activities that don't really need our personal touch but as teachers we may not want to let go of the control. Our time is our most precious resource and if we can expedite the necessary paperwork through better organization, we should also let go of time-consuming, and possibly unnecessary, teacher grading/commenting interactions on everything.

Overwhelmed with Grading Papers? Try These Time-Saving Tricks 

Grading Made Simple 

Classroom Management: Top 12 Ways to Tackle Teacher Paperwork 


Love Defined

The Love of God - Mercy Me (With Lyrics)

28 Beautiful Words for Love from Around the World – 

and Their Literal Translations into English

1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 LOVE (Biblically) Defined

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Educational Links 12/30/18

10 Reasons to Become a Google Certified Educator 


Resource officers equipped with SEL skills can help reduce bullying, suspensions

Books That Foster Empathy and Hope

Social Communication Disorder Basics

Teaching Is as Stressful as an ER. These Calming Strategies Can Help.

When we think of effective professional development in America’s schools, we often hear of the need for sustained training, subject and grade-specific materials, and opportunities for active learning. While these are all essential, missing from this picture are the activities and strategies that our teachers need to effectively address those highly stressful moments.

Teacher Resolution #1

I solemnly resolve...

#1. I will be a better teacher.

Great sentiment, a little too general.
How about:

I will pay more attention to each student.

The students feel more empowered to participate in classroom activities, attempt new challenges, and express ideas when on a positive footing with Teacher. The other data that schools collect make more sense when viewed through recent interaction with the student, and parent interaction becomes more positive and coherent when your input concerning the student is current.

Observing Students 

From this article:

  • Glean information from each student's daily experiences and interactions.
  • Use data from tests to supplement your observation.
  • Watch the process children go through to master skills, concepts, or content.
  • Ask students to think aloud for you so you can probe their understanding of content and strategies.
  • Build student portfolios to record performance benchmarks during the year.
  • Use every possible source of information to create a rich tapestry of assessment enabling you to determine appropriate instruction for each student.

Response: Supporting Student Engagement by 'Building Community' 

From this article:

Teachers play a critical role in increasing engagement by changing the type of tasks and by improving the social dynamics in the classroom. 

Supporting Student Resilience in the Classroom 

From this article: 

In a classroom, there are many variables that a teacher cannot control, such as parental involvement, poverty, nutrition and chemical influences. However, within the classroom, a teacher can become a charismatic adult and model a resilient mindset, identify and communicate islands of competence to students, and give them a sense of autonomy and choice in the work they do. These are simple, inexpensive steps that may make future assignments go more smoothly and keep more students involved throughout the process. 


Friday, December 28, 2018

Educational Links 12/29/18

20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious or Defiant Students

7 Teacher-Tested Hacks For Elementary Classrooms

More Than 2 Hours Screen Time A Day Could Damage Children’s Brains

School Lockdowns Affect Kids In So Many Disturbing Ways, According To A New Analysis

Missed Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

Daily Exercise Ideas That Build Focus

A Case of Rural Equity: Coding in Remote Kentucky

A teacher works to sustain a computer science program at a high school in the heart of Appalachia.

Next Semester...Classroom Art Gallery

Don't get too carried away--but just so you know, I have a power stapler, too. Prepping for an art show.
Prepping for School Art Show
Prepping for School Art Show

Students may tell you, "I can't draw a straight line!" Tell them back, "Good, we have rulers for that."

Bringing out the artist at all grades levels and in every subject takes some organization and motivation, particularly if you intend to include all students at some point in your classroom gallery.

First, let's start with the actual location and methods of getting a space going.

5 Ways to Create a Classroom Art Gallery

Really Good Bulletin Boards

7 Tips for Successful Student Art Displays

Student-Centered Bulletin Boards for a Secondary Classroom: 5 Ideas to Make Your Walls Work for You and Your Students

Second, decide the frequency of new material. You mean I'm not leaving this bulletin board up all year? No. Even the Louvre moves things around from time to time.  The students can help, and would enjoy the task. Plus, this means they can break the monotony of a sedentary classroom on a regular basis. Have a cycle so every student has work on display an equal amount of time, The students can implement this. The environment of the class will be refreshed. Will this mean designating time for organization of the art gallery during class? Yes. 

Third, decide the content of your classroom art gallery. This could be content-driven, seasonal or student choice. How cool for the quiet artist to know they need to create something in three weeks to be displayed in the classroom gallery. Teacher has the final say on content, of course.

Pegasus, Escher

Here are some ideas for  class activities that might end up in your classroom gallery.

Exploring Tessalations  

Composition II, Mondrian

Here's a great artist for inspiration: 

Escher: Tessellations by Recognizable Figures 

Geometry, Color, and Piet Mondrian 

Don't for the artist who created the STEAM craze: Leonardo.
Hydraulics, da Vinci

Design Like da Vinci: Sketching Lessons from the Original Renaissance Man 

Even pages from well-drawn science notebooks could go up.

Third, you can use classroom content as sources of inspiration through illustrating historical or literary scenes, or make posters for current events.  And, of course, well known artists and seasonal topics make great sources for classroom art.

Exploring Impressionism, Grades K-5 

Exploring Impressionism, Grades 6-8 

Exploring Impressionism, Grades 9-12 

Don't get too carried away--but just so you know, I have a power stapler, too. Prepping for an art show.
Prepping for School Art Show
Prepping for School Art Show

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Principal's Suggestion Box #17

These letters are absolutely fictional (to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.) But, with the hint of truth, maybe we can make some adjustments. Principals have the best chance to do that.

Dear Principal,

I wish to apologize to you, the school, and the parents (and the District, if necessary). I didn't mean to be controversial or inconsiderate. I just didn't know that saying, "Some families believe in Santa, and some do not," would cause so much trouble to Fifth Graders.

I respect the right of every person to believe what they choose. I promise not to mention Santa ever again.

If there is any other form of apology I have to make to keep my job, please let me know. 

Yours Truly,
Chagrined Teacher  

The Santa controversy

Expelling Santa from school? Holiday observance in a politically correct age 

My Jewish child was asked to wear a Santa hat at school. Should I care?

My two bits worth: I generally talk like a lawyer when teaching in a public school. Just to be politically correct, plus to not hurt the kids' feelings. Some people believe (fill in the blank), some people don't. Teacher may not know (nor does she need to) the religious or non-religious background of the students or staff. Do I have a right to say, "Merry Christmas?" I believe so, because I intend the positive. Is believing in Santa a religious right? I don't think so, any more than the Tooth Fairy. Do I feel obligated to tell kids 'the truth' about Santa or the Tooth Fairy? No, the Tooth Fairy is especially sacred. Some schools create inclusive winter holidays, with Hannukah, Kwanza, Christmas, etc., but draw the line at Islam. And definitely won't allow Satanism. How to choose? It's up to the principal and District, but there must be a fair, just way to acknowledge the kids' customs in your school.  Some schools have a Peace Program.

And, by the way, Santa--like love and generosity-- comes in all races, colors, customs, and diversity.

Jahleel Logan, 3, poses with Santa, a.k.a. Langston Patterson, 78, of Rudolph Holiday Photo, at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Educational Links 12/28/18

10 things I learned flipping my classroom

Language Disorder Basics

Teachers, Being Loyal May Cost You Your Professional Career

TEACHER QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Student Slang?

Three Ways to Create Online Reading Logs and Progress Trackers


A Simple but Powerful Class Opening Activity

The rose and thorn check-in is a quick strategy for building community and developing student voice.

Next Semester...we'll have a healthier classroom

This schoolyear teachers, students, and families are faced with serious communicable health risks to every generation. The first precaution is timely and appropriate vaccinations. Then, teachers (and families) should provide healthy environments and experiences so students and staff are less likely to fall victim to this year's serious round of infectious diseases. Influenza is serious this year. Whooping Cough has made a comeback, with Measles coming right behind. When watching the news, its like a movie and you expect Dustin Hoffman to appear in full hazmat suit, particularly when patient zero spreads measles from Disneyland. What's a teacher to do?

Five Ways to a Cleaner, Healthier Classroom 

Teaching Students Healthy Habits 

Strategies to Keep Schools Clean and Students Healthy 

More Fresh Air in Classrooms Means Fewer Absences

Study: Classroom ventilation affects student performance 

15 houseplants for improving indoor air quality 

Vaccines are Effective 

Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report