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.
If Teach Like a Pirate is not on your summer reading, you are missing out!
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!
To kick off 2016, we talked about the importance of reflection as a teacher. So often we can get bogged down in the day to day rigor of just being a teacher. Think about what goes into your day after you finish teaching. Grading papers, preparing for the next lessons, organizing and cleaning the classroom, congregational duties, and other teaching duties just to name a few. We can quickly become overwhelmed. Unfortunately, taking the time to reflect can often get pushed to the side.
Now what if I told you that you could do your job of reflection in just five, short minutes every day? Would you be more likely to make that a habit and set it into your daily routine?
Thankfully, this is possible. A small, simple journal is all you need. Now those of us who were graduates of Martin Luther College perhaps remember, with horror, those special, little things known as reflection journals during student teaching. Let me be clear, that is not what I’m talking about when I refer to journaling.
We need something doable. Something that we can look forward to each day and make a routine in our daily schedule as a teacher. Our goal shouldn’t be a two-page written essay in a notebook. If that excites you, more power to you. However, for the rest of us, a short bulleted list does the trick with the same effect.
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.
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.
It is powerful to be able to put your thoughts to paper. So what should an educator journal about?
I will have a future blog post on journaling.
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.
Such a good reminder.
10) Tell Them
Nothing beats the ol’ fashion look ‘em in the eye and “thank you.”
9) Stickers anyone?
Not as a reward, but as a quick and easy thank you. Everyone loves stickers.
8) Write Them a Personal Note
Stick it in their desk or backpack. Better yet, if you are really proud of their work in a certain subject, tell them. Slip it into the next lesson of their textbook so they can have the pleasant surprise all to their own.
7) Tell the Parents
6) Display Their Work
Place their art work or strong assignment in a prominent place by your desk. Perhaps, on the wall for a few weeks or in a frame right on your desk.
5) Down Time
Encourage them when they are down. Be specific and tell them how much you appreciate them. This one can get emotional, especially if they are really down about something. The more personal feedback the better.
4) Have Lunch with Them
Make it a point to sit with them at a lunch hour, and have a conversation with them. Try not to focus on school. Focus on their life outside of school.
3) Sticky Note Smile
Walk by their desk and put a sticky note on top of their desk while they are working. It is unexpected and it is personal. That is a rare combination in a classroom. And seriously, does that take all of 30 seconds?
2) Extra-Curricular Support
Show up to one of their events outside of school. The ideas are endless. Their basketball game, soccer match, football game, dance competition, singing recital, and gymnastics event are all examples in which you can show you really care and appreciate them.
1) Hug it Out
If you don’t like a hug, then you need a hug. This is especially important for male teachers who have male students who really look up to them. They crave that affirmation. They need to see that male example of care and kindness. Remember, many of them may not receive any male affirmation outside of school. The lack of a father in the life of a boy has reached an epidemic in this country.
Have another way to say thank you? Share it in the comment section.