Great ideas for great activities in the classroom with the brain in mind!
Great ideas for great activities in the classroom with the brain in mind!
Creating an Easter Sunday Mindset in our Classroom the Entire Year
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
The euphoric, emotional high that is felt by Christians throughout the world on Easter Sunday morning is intangible. On one day of the year, we unite together proudly proclaiming a risen Savior.
Perhaps, you had an extra-special focus on our Savior’s actions throughout Holy Week in your classroom as it all culminated with a joyous worship service on Easter Sunday.
When we think of Easter we think of joy, victory, enthusiasm, and an inward reaction to run and go tell others the Good News!
Wouldn’t it be great if we took that same attitude and emotion that we feel on Easter Sunday, and have it permeate our classrooms throughout the entire year? Having that attitude of joy and victory and enthusiasm in all that we do.
That mindset always begins at the top. Yes, teachers, I’m looking at you. You are the one who sets the tone of your classroom. What type of tone are you setting? It is one of joy? Is it one of that no matter our weakness, we are victorious through Christ?
Students notice the smallest of imperfections from their leader, their teacher. If you are often stressed out, they will notice. Do you come to school with tired eyes? They notice. Do you stand to yourself rather than smile and laugh with the other faculty and staff at lunch or recess? They know. Are your lessons taught with the enthusiasm and importance? Oh boy do they notice.
It is the weekend of the big game, and its finally here! The entire season has been leading up to this point. All of those long hours watching the preseason, regular season, and playoffs will finally going pay off with the big game. All of the analyzing, preparation, and reflecting is over. The time is now, this is the weekend!
Just like football fans look forward to the big game each and every season, we, as teachers, can build to that same crescendo each year in our classroom.
The crescendo that we build to can take on many different forms in our individual classrooms. The big idea is that we have individual lessons sprinkled throughout the school year that our curriculum builds to in order to reach a climax.
Much like a good book, students love the anticipation of a good story arc. A story arc in which you have plenty of groundwork and anticipation leading to an unbelievable resolution. Subject areas in which this can be successfully done are subjects like history, science, God’s Word, Reading, and more.
A wise teacher once stated, “If students had a choice to sit in my classroom, would they?” While the goal of education isn’t entertainment, our goal should be excitement and passion for learning. At the end of the day, don’t we want students to be passionate about what they are learning? While each and every goal can’t always be successful, our overall goal remains.
Last school year we spent six months learning about ancient Rome. I realize this is not possible for every school. As a history teacher, I love being able to dig miles deep into a topic rather than just scratching the surface.
Having a challenging time bringing some life to your literature and writing classes this last month of the school year?
One of my favorite activities to use is a comic strip creator available through PC, Apple, or Android.
We just created our own comics last week in literature class. The students created their own graphic novel written in the style of the popular thriller series, Goosebumps. The students loved it, and it has caused some of them to delve into the series further.
Check out this handy graphic organizer, and start your students on their own comic today!
In my years of teaching, coaching basketball, and being involved in the lives of teens I learned one thing that dwarfs everything else I learned. Boys and young men need dads. Most importantly, they need to know that their dad is “there.”
Being “there” doesn’t mean you have to be at every game, every practice, every up and down, every event. However, being “there” means that they can depend on you. That they know you care. That you love spending time with them. That, when the time comes, you are willing to drop everything just to see or be with them.
First, some staggering and sobering statistics. Most of these statistics pertain to single-parent households where the dad is not present in the child’s life.
Came across this great list of conferences in an edchat on Twitter. Great resource if you are looking to attend a national professional development conference but don’t know where to begin.
I will be attending at least two of these. In February I will be attending the TCEA Conference. I also hope to attend the iNACOL conference in October.
I have copied the conferences upcoming for January into this post.
You can find the complete list at 25 PD Conferences for 2016
Find us at Booth 2117! FETC provides educators and administrators the opportunity to explore the integration of technology across the curriculum through hands-on exposure to the latest hardware, software and successful strategies.
Atlantic City, NJ
EduCon is an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas—from the very practical to the big dreams.
Oxon Hill, MD
Stop by our table! This two-day high-intensity event from EdTechTeam focuses on deploying, integrating, and using Google Apps for Education (and other Google tools) to promote student learning in K-12 and higher education.
I often tell my teachers that it is never too late in the school year to change something. While there are a few major items, like curriculum, that deserve our full attention during the summer months, most aspects of classroom instruction can be changed at any time throughout the school year.
If something is not working, why would we continue with mediocrity just because there are a only a few months of school left? That makes no sense. Teachers should continually be striving for the best, even with limited time remaining.
So how do we continue reaching for the sky in our classrooms and attain the most out of the few time we have left remaining with our students?
Make sure we are setting and sharing learning goals
Are we giving our students goals for the instruction that they are being taught? What is the point of this test? What is the plan for this project? How are we going to get to this end result? It is important that we stay on task. Are we holding ourselves and our students to task by articulating our learning goals for each new unit?
I don’t mean drill and kill worksheets. With so many months of school in the preverbal bag, we must ensure that we are continually changing up our assessment strategies. Yes, at many levels tests are crucial to reinforce study skills, habits, and memorization skills. However, are we also offering other varied avenues for assessment? Skits, class videos, music videos, clay sculptures, real life math projects, group presentations, are all types of assessments that we can use to invigorate our classroom. The list is endless, our creativity and drive are the only barriers.
Have you lost your passion in these winter months? If students see teachers who are going through the motions, won’t they emulate the same? How are you keeping your lessons engaging? This is the time of year to put in that extra effort to make sure your lessons remain interesting and mentally challenging for your students. If they see that passion and enthusiasm in your presentation, that same attitude is all the more likely to transpose into their work.
Win their hearts, gain their minds. I can’t write about achievement in the classroom without concluding with relationships. Teaching, our calling, is all about relationships. When students know we care, they care. It is all the more important, as the school year closes, to make sure we are building those relationships with our students. This is crucial with students whom are struggling. This is the time of year in which they prefer to just throw in the towel. That is if they know their teacher doesn’t care. Students who struggle, strive for that relationship. While many teachers may see that student as a student who doesn’t care or is lazy, the teacher who cares sees that student as another soul. We never give up on a soul. We never give up on a student. Build those relationships, show your students that you care not only about teaching but about them.
So have you set that bar high? Are you reaching for the sky? If not, there is time to change. Don’t wait. Make that change, in your classroom, in yourself, and in your heart, now.
“It is finished.”
To understand the importance of these three, simple words, you must first understand their context.
The context is Jesus’ perfect life, led for us. The events of Holy Week culminating with the most selfless act in the history of mankind. The brutality and shame of Calvary. The grim sight of the cross. All of this, led us and Him to these three words. The three words that would display love, grace, mercy, and our future.
Those words speak volumes. His resurrection was the exclamation point. The victory dance. The ultimate celebration.
Those words tell us that there is nothing more that needs to be done. He has done it all for us. It truly is finished. His redemptive work is complete, nothing that we do will earn His favor.
We are completely His, bought by His own blood.
Many of our Lutheran schools have resumed classes this week after Christmas break. For many, it was a well-deserved and well-needed break from the rigor of school. It also served as a time for us to reflect on the birth of our Savior, and the life that he was about to live for our sake that would culminate with those words, “It is finished.”
The second half of the school year will be filled with challenges, blessings, disagreements, and struggles that we cannot even imagine. We live in a sinful world, and we will all have our failures.
When we have those failures, it is then we realize the power of Jesus’ statement on the cross. It is then we understand the full scope of His love for us. it is then we humbly fall at the foot of the cross, and realize that all we have is because of Him.
We have His treasured little ones in our presence every day of the week. We have the opportunity to bring them up in the pages of God’s Word. We have the fortune to proclaim to them every day, “It is finished!”
Look at the second half of this school year as an opportunity, an opportunity to share that pure Gospel message that is the completion of Calvary. The knowledge that by grace alone, by faith alone we are saved.
It is finished! Go forward this school year with the dedication, peace, and knowledge that is found only in Him.
“We all need people who give us feedback. That is how we improve.”
Our harshest critics, are often times the students whom we serve. I have the privilege of teaching an amazing group of junior high students. They may be some of the harshest critics of them all.
One thing I love about teaching children is they are brutally honest. If they don’t enjoy something, they will let you know. The opposite is also true, if they enjoy something, they will most certainly let you know.
Every day that I enter my classroom, I receive feedback throughout the day. I can tell when my students are engaged. I can tell when my students are anticipating a lesson. I can also tell when my students are bored out of their minds. This feedback is invaluable.
As teachers, we must ask ourselves, am I listening to my students’ feedback? There is some feedback from students that we can ignore. Decisions we make based on classroom climate, culture, discipline, etc. may be unpopular but needed.
There is a whole stream of feedback that we must listen to, however. We must answer tough questions as educators. Are we engaging our students? Are we meeting all of our students needs? Are we serving our students to the best of our abilities?
This is when we must listen to the feedback our students are giving us. It is invaluable. Furthermore, if we listen to it, it will make us all the stronger as an educator.
My students have called me to task before. My junior high students used to have an inward grown when it was time for science class. I knew I had to make more of an effort to engage them in class. I had to add more hands-on activities, more experiments, and more labs. I had become too dependent on the lecture as the basis for my science class. It was easy. It had become a crutch. I knew I had to change, based upon the feedback of my students.
Now I have students who look forward to science class and the topics we will be learning. While never perfect, my students helped me become a better teacher for them. We must be open to not only identifying our students feedback, we must be open to implementing change based on that feedback.
“We must be open to not only identifying our students feedback, we must be open to implementing change based on that feedback.”
As Bill Gates stated in the opening quote, it is how we improve. As educators, we should be compelled to be reflective. We ought not be afraid of constant evaluation; we shall embrace it.
What kind of teacher do you want to be? More importantly, what kind of teacher do you want your students to see you as? By listening to their feedback and being open and honest with them, it shows them that you care. It fosters a relationship with your students that cannot be measured.
Finally, how can we insist on our students to improve and grow as learners, if we are not continually growing and learning ourselves?
Listen. Listen with an open heart and a reflective mind.