The Assassination of William McKinley

Lincoln, Kennedy, and who?  William McKinley???  Find out all about this forgotten assassination from our American Class this past week!

Also be on the watch for what McKinley’s final words were prior to the emergency surgery to extract the assassin’s bullets!

 

When Student Enthusiasm Fades, Teacher Enthusiasm Must Soar

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Remember all of those first day smiles filled with the anticipation of the first day of school that you witnessed in the faces of your students?  Remember their excitement as they met new friends?  Recall the joy of seeing their new classroom, new books, and so much more?

If only that excitement of the first day of school could last the duration of the entire school year.  

However, very quick the realization of the work ahead sets in for many students.  Daily work, quizzes, tests, projects, and essays soon appear and the joy turns to thoughts of being overwhelmed.  

For students, parents, and teachers alike the excitement soon turns to the grind.

Continue reading “When Student Enthusiasm Fades, Teacher Enthusiasm Must Soar”

American History Plans

I am so excited for the upcoming school year, and the content I will be teaching for American History II.  Our complete focus will be on the time period from World War I through World War II.  It is going to be incredible!

A couple highlights from the picture.

History Theme:  Our theme for this year’s history study will be, Rise

Year at a Glance:  Our course of study is all laid out on the Rise Word Chart.  The larger the word, the more emphasis that lesson will receive throughout the year.

Our Monthly Lessons to Buy a Ticket For:  I like to lead to a major lesson every month.  It gives us purpose, and it keeps our minds on track.  I dub these lessons, “A lesson you would buy a ticket for!”  This concept is from the incredible education book, Teach Like a Pirate.  

If you are interested in a closer up shot of the monthly lessons or the year plan, just drop a comment in the comment section!

As always, be passionate and keep growing!

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Bringing Literature & Writing to Life

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!

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Is History Dead in Your Classroom?

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“History is philosophy teaching by examples.”

That quote is attributed to the great Athenian general and historian, Thucydides.  We all know the old saying, “those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.”  While true, the quote from Thucydides gives that saying true gravity.  History not only teaches us about the past, it teaches us about ourselves.  It teaches us the principle that everything throughout history has a grand purpose and plan laid out by our Creator.

So this bears the question, do you find yourself in a history teaching rut?  Do you find yourself repeating endless lessons without flavor and life?  Do you spend too many days assigning text without context or meaning?

Don’t feel ashamed, we’ve all been there.

I’ve got good news, you can bring history to life immediately.  Allow me to share just a few ideas and a little background on myself.

Continue reading “Is History Dead in Your Classroom?”

Ben Franklin Said it Best

How many hands-on learning activities have you engaged your students in this week?  This is a great visual for all you history teachers out there!

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Resolve to Grow as a Teacher

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A new year often brings a new focus.  Typically, this focus comes in the form of New Year’s resolutions.  Often our New Year’s resolutions center around personal promises to ourselves, our family, or our wellbeing.  It is rare that our resolutions center around professional qualities.

As educators, our work never ends.  A successful educator reflects regularly.  A successful educator applies that reflection and continually tweaks and improves their teaching.

However, even the most successful educators can fall into their old habits and place the value of reflection to the side.  We may begin to teach the same lessons, with the same methods, while expecting a different result.

While there are occasions when we move from reflection to action, reflection must be a continual aspect of our professional life.

What are some easy methods of reflection for educators?  Here are a few, simple ideas for you to get a jump start on reflection in the New Year.

Peer Observation

Working together with your faculty and realizing the gifts of your coworkers is invaluable.  Take the time to observe in a colleague’s classroom.  Something you see may give you a new idea.  A culture of collaboration could be fostered through engaging with one another in their classroom.  What often happens through peer observation is that both educators grow with each other.

Journal

It is powerful to be able to put your thoughts to paper.  So what should an educator journal about?

  • Perceived problems in the classroom and possible solutions.
  • Triumphs!  What went well today?
  • Quotes.  Come across an inspiring or uplifting quote?  Write it down!  I keep a long running list of quotes in the Notes app on my phone.  This could come while listening to a podcast while I’m walking, watching a TV show, or reading a professional article.

                                                                         I will have a future blog post on journaling.

Read

Choose an area in which you want to grow as a teacher.  Find books, articles, and blog posts on that topic.  Read up on it for weeks and focus your efforts on that particular area.

One helpful reminder, don’t make your topic too broad.  When you choose an area of growth, be specific as possible. Narrow the scope of that growth initiative to aid in your overall success.   For example, rather than choosing to improve on classroom instruction, focus on how you are going to increase hands-on activities within the classroom.  This will give you a clear path to improvement.

Make it your professional New Year’s resolution to be a reflective educator.  An educator who not only grows during the summer months but throughout the entire year.

Other blog posts regarding the reflective teacher.

The Most Valuable Feedback in the World is Your Students

Are You Reaching for the Sky in Your Classroom?