Teachers are artists.
The art they practice is awareness. The canvas they use is the curriculum upon which they bring forth an effervescent picture for the world.
The students arrive at the canvas, each bringing a unique and vibrant color.
The mixture of the student population gives beauty to the canvas.
The more diverse the population, the more colorful the painting.
The artist’s strokes are the skillful, gentle questions that she asks her students.
Some strokes are broad, confirming understanding. Some strokes are playful, discovering student’s current knowledge to find a benchmark to begin the lesson.
Other strokes are so delicate that they barely touch the canvas.
These strokes are the questions that stretch the student’s imagination and foster sensitivity.
Bloom’s taxonomy provides hue to the masterpiece.
The artist adds perspective to the painting by facilitating meaningful discussions and sharing observations.
Once all the color has made its mark on the canvas and the painter has cultivated a glorious picture of a “spot in time,” with bittersweet emotion the artist gently places the work of art on the wall of life.
It is now time to stretch and prepare yet another canvas.
This website for kids is run by Information Please. There is a homework center, dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas, and almanac. Other sections of the site include information about different parts of the world, the United States, science, important people from history, sports, science, authors and books, and math.
This would be a good site to have students look up informations, find definitions, or to introduce different units.
“Read-alouds give students the opportunity to engage with texts above their reading level and can expose them to important ideas and themes of consequence, such as scientific inquiry.”—Introducing Science Concepts to Primary Students Through Read-Alouds: Interactions and Multiple Texts Make the Difference. The Reading Teacher. v. 63: 8. pp 666 (2010)
“I know how: By not letting behavior get to me. By remembering that tomorrow is another day. By savoring moments like when Gabrielle apologized to Shawna by saying, “I didn’t know you felt that way, I’m sorry” or when Tara flawlessly explained the intricate plot of her level Q chapter book. By energizing myself towards productive activities like lesson plans…amazingly, I find that now that I don’t have an assistant principal or literacy coach dictating my every lesson, I’m producing better work.”—Miss Brave Teaches NYC: Back by popular demand
“Schools should extend their hours if they have the funding for both academics and extracurriculars. They need to provide time not only for remediation but also for sports, languages, performing-arts groups, and clubs for activities like debating that improve creativity and leadership skills.
Extended hours, if not done right, could also lead to teacher burnout. Already, dedicated educators work at home to grade or write lessons, and if the school day is prolonged without taking this into account, teachers could find themselves even more overburdened. Precautions have to be taken to make sure they’re not.”—Educators Should Embrace Extended School Hours (via girlwithalessonplan)
As a teacher, questioning is at the heart of every lesson. It is imperative that a range of strategies are used in order to keep children engaged and motivated to learn to the best of their ability. It is easy for teachers to use closed questioning to gain an understanding of how much children know or have learnt during a lesson.
However, as much as closed questioning has its benefits, an open ended question can give children the opportunity to further their thinking and to understand that some questions have a number of possible answers. It also allows children to have the confidence to answer and to understand that it is perfectly acceptable to make mistakes. In order for the children in any class to have this constructive attitude to their learning, it is crucial that a positive questioning environment is developed right from day one.
These are some ideas to help teachers create this type of environment in their own classrooms. Here are five great strategies that you can start using in your classroom today!
The website provides you with one word, and 60 seconds to write about it. This would be good to use with my struggling writes that I don’t get to see for long periods of time or very frequently. The goal is to use that word in sentences which would also help my students learn vocabulary.
I work with students who are struggling. They have both a hard time understanding what is expected of them, pulling out main details, and organizing their thought process. For these reasons, rubrics and graphic organizers are some of my favorite teaching tools. Teachnology (and a number of other sites) has a lot of free graphic organizers that you can print out.
Poetry for Kids: http://www.42explore.com/poetry.htm A resource page for children’s poetry sites on the web. Children can read different forms of poetry and write their own poetry for submission as well.
The answer, as she reveals in the next line, is, of course, money. But, assuming that wasn’t a constraint, what does the 21st century classroom require? The teacher, who was once the perpetual center of attention, is now ceding some of his or her awesome power to group projects and laptops (and other technological devices). So how should the room look now?
One respondent advocates for stand up desks, with stools available when students need a breather, in order to eliminate distracting fidgeting. Another dreams of outdoor classrooms, which would probably offer a huge cost savings. (Though what would happened when it rained or snowed?) There is a suggestion for desks with wheels, so students can move them from a traditional classroom set up into one for group projects. A couple people think technology is so important to future learning that desks should have screens built into them. An entry suggests creating a more coffeeshop-style vibe that encourages discussion, while another goes as far as giving students armchairs to sit in. (I fell asleep in some pretty uncomfortable chairs during my scholastic career, so I’d advise against making students too cozy.)
I plunk the children in school nine days out of ten. I put up with them when they come home three days a month; it’s not bad at all. You heave them into the “parlor” and turn the switch. It’s like washing clothes: stuff laundry in and slam the lid … They’d just as soon kick as kiss me. Thank God, I can kick back!
Many teachers looking for an example of Figurative Language in literature immediately think of books, but we created our songs to offer a bridge between classics and contemporary—to help teachers and students understand figurative language in literature in an easy and accessible way with songs and worksheets.
Sidenote: I was one of the singers on this song, and it was probably the only time in my entire life that I will sing the word “onomatopoeia”! Plus, learning about figurative language through rap and hip-hop music is just cool. ;) -Taunia
Here are a few more websites that offer Figurative Language worksheets, resources, and activities to help teach this aspect of English language arts. As always, if you or your students use our song in a really fun and creative way, we’d love to hear about it and feature it on our website! Say hi on Twitter here.
Kidskonnect.com - Figurative Language This site has a chart of figurative language definitions and links to other resources.
ABCteach.com - Hyperboles (PDF) This worksheet teaches students about using hyperboles to make writing more amusing.
UTK.edu - Alliteration Lesson Plan and Resources This website provides several ideas for classroom activities about alliteration, as well as links to other resources. Lots of good examples to use. Two levels. Grades 4-6, and 7-12
Learn how America’s federal, state and local governments work to enact the will of the people, and how President Obama and his administration collaborate with the Legislative and Judicial branches to govern the United States.
In Virginia, a new textbook for fourth graders has created a stir. The line in question claims that thousands of blacks fought for the South in the Civil War. It’s a claim disputed by most historians and an idea pushed by some to minimize slavery’s role as a reason the war was fought.
Basing “reform” on the thin reed of “teacher quality” has destructive unintended consequences, such as misuse of test scores. Even if teacher quality is the most important factor in schools as they now function, Dan Willingham says we should not assume that improving instruction should be the main or sole driver of reform. Neither would I trust wraparound services, alone, as the key to improving schools. Improving schools is a team effort that will require “all of the above.” We need schools with respectful, collaborative learning cultures where being a good, conscientious teacher is enough to be an effective teacher. Schools need teamwork, not one man teams supermen overcome poverty.- JT
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will travel to Philadelphia on Monday, Oct. 25. In the morning, Duncan will discuss the Education Department’s TEACH campaign during a panel discussion at Temple University. In the afternoon, he will join Gov. Edward G. Rendell for a public discussion on education progress in Pennsylvania at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
The TEACH Town Hall will be hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, A&E Network, Comcast Corporation and Temple University. The event will feature a question and answer session about education in America and the importance of great teachers as well as highlight the Department’s nationwide TEACH campaign, aimed at recruiting the next generation of teachers. Temple University President Ann Weaver Hart will open the town hall at 11 a.m. and welcome guest speakers Mayor Michael Nutter, AETN CEO Abbe Raven, A&E Network and BIO Channel President and General Manager Robert DeBitetto and Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President David Cohen. After a series of brief remarks, a panel discussion will begin about the importance of education to our nation’s future, the rewards and challenges of teaching and opportunities and pathways into the teaching profession. Joining Secretary Duncan for the panel discussion are Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, Northeast High School Principal Linda Carroll, fifth-year mathematics teacher Muhammad Al-Ahmar, seventh-year fourth grade teacher Diane Honor and Tony Danza whose first year teaching was profiled as part of the A&E series “Teach: Tony Danza,” launched on Friday, Oct. 1 at 10 PM ET/PT. Invited audience members include teachers, college freshman, high school students and potential teaching profession candidates.
At least, for once, there will be some teachers on a panel discussing education.
Steps for Organizing the Classroom
The number one rule for organization is to have a designated place for each item in the classroom. Paper, pencils, rulers, math manipulatives, books, curricula and craft supplies each need to have their own special place to live in the classroom. If this is a weakness in your classroom, consider the following steps to help organize materials:
Make a list of each material in the classroom. Leave nothing out, even the paper clips need a place to live!
In a column next to the list of materials, write the most common location in the classroom where the supply is used. For example, paper clips are most likely used at the teacher’s desk while blank paper is most commonly used at student’s desks.
Organize the easy materials first. Chalk should go at the chalk board, curricula near the teacher’s desk, etc. This will narrow the list of things to organize.
For each additional item on the list, stand in the classroom where the item is most commonly used and think through the most effective storage solutions. This might mean clear plastic bins on low shelves for math manipulatives for students to easily reach or a paper station in a clear area of the room to minimize student traffic jams when going for paper.
Label Containers for Ease of Use
Organizing classroom materials in containers is a great way to keep things neat and easy to grab. In order for this organization to be effective, though, every student in the classroom should be able to know what it is in each container as well as any classroom helpers, parent helpers and administrative staff.
This Fordham Institute publication—co-authored by President Chester E. Finn Jr. and VP Michael J. Petrilli—pushes folks to think about what comes next in the journey to common education standards and tests. Most states have adopted the “Common Core” English language arts and math standards, and most are also working on common assessments. But…now what? The standards won’t implement themselves, but unless they are adopted in the classroom, nothing much will change. What implementation tasks are most urgent? What should be done across state lines? What should be left to individual states, districts, and private markets? Perhaps most perplexing, who will govern and “own” these standards and tests ten or twenty years from now?
I do think having standards across state lines is a good thing, but I do wonder what this means for standardized testing and what it does to my craft. I hope it doesn’t push teachers to teach to the test even more. We need thinkers, not parrots.
Testmoz is a simple service for creating and administering multiple choice tests online. Testmoz provides a unique url for the tests you create. Testmoz also provides a “pass code” that test takers have to enter. As the administrator of the tests you create you can quickly see who has taken your test and how many questions they answered correctly.
I know that my students in kindergarten loved Show and Tell. However, with the same format each week — I was starting to get bored, and unless it was their turn so were they. Here are a few ideas to mix it up a little.
This web site is for people studying English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL). There are quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random-sentence generator and other computer assisted language learning activities. Even though the primary focus is for ESL, native English speakers may also find some interesting things on this site. This site is non-commercial and has no advertising. TESL/TEFL teachers may want to recommend this site to their students.
Casa Notes is designed to allow teachers to quickly make, and customize, typical notes that are sent home to parents or given to the students. This is done by using templates and allowing the teachers to customize some of the content, choose a color scheme and add a graphic. The notes can then be printed on a black-and-white or color printer to be used. Teachers can select whether the notes should be in English or in Spanish.
Like websites based in other states, this webpage has resources that could be aligned to many other state’s standards. This particular website focuses on math, science, and reading. There are lessons, discussion boards, information on texts you can use in the classroom, ideas for centers, and more.