Greetings subscribers! As most of you know, I was selected to travel to Botswana on a Fulbright Distinguished Teacher Grant. I’m actually sitting at the airport waiting to get on my flight to Gaborone, Botswana and wanted to spread the word that my second article was just picked up by Smartblogs. Thank you to all of you- my subscribers. I appreciate your ongoing support.
My article published in Smartblogs: Priority for Schools in 2016: Character Education to Prevent Bullying
Every year we come back from our winter break with fresh ideas and new perspectives for our schools and classrooms. Although one of the biggest issues facing schools, we still do not have a universal answer to bullying prevention — perhaps until now. As a teacher for 10 years, the sad truth is that it was inevitable that I would witness bullying.
Can you think of a time in school when you made a mistake? Was it a learning experience or just humiliating? The title of this blog may make some of you cringe, recalling some of your biggest mistakes in your own classroom experiences. Allowing for mistakes to be made is much different from how many of us were taught growing up.
Students Speak Out: Why Do We Like Some Teachers and Not Others? (caution: sensitive material): A 4 minute read
Teaching is difficult. Excellent teaching is even harder. Building a strong connection with students, along with pedagogy, best practices…and sometimes a magic wand, is the foundation to any lasting teaching. During my first few years teaching, it bothered me that some students just didn’t seem to like me.
Standardized Testing: These 4 Slight Adjustments Could Actually Make a Big Difference: by Serena Pariser
In most schools, the students take at least one standardized test teach year, if not more. One of the most frustrating aspects about standardized tests is that often students have a difficult time putting all of their brainpower into a test made by strangers a.k.a. Common Core gods or the state, however many times the scores are a measure of your performance as a teacher. How many times have you heard the question, “Does this count for our grade?” If you reply no, forget about any motivation. If you answer yes, you are flat out lying.
A teacher and I were casually talking about how our classes were going and she bravely mentioned that she hadn’t done as much critical thinking as she’d like with her students. It’s this type of honesty that allows teachers to grow.
3 Teaching Productivity Maximizing and Stress Minimizing Habits to Start Now: Make 2015 Your Best Teaching Year Ever
Last year, I started developing some beneficial habits at school and I noticed my to-do list was actually getting done during my classroom prep time. The difference in my productivity was astonishing. I was less stressed and more energized. In turn, I found realized I’d achieved a significantly higher degree of engagement during instructional time with my students, creating a true win-win-win solution.
It’s a good idea to do a goal setting lesson or activity every year. Among the most favorable and effective methods for students usually consist of a graphic organizer. The students write out their immediate and long-term goals, including perceived barriers, and how they plan to overcome these challenges. Students especially enjoy writing in these graphic organizers because of the visual element.
The students in our classrooms are together 187 days a year for multiples hours each day. There will be disagreements, minor conflicts and passive aggression. Unfortunately, sometimes a particular class falls off the deep end and the hostility and negativity starts to overtake the content.
Serena’s Blog: 3 No-fail Debate Questions — Even the most Reluctant Students will be Deliberating: a 4 minute read
When I ask my students what project or activity they enjoy most about class, the most common answer is debate. We don’t debate that often, but when we do, the students always love it. Not only that, but they also readily remember the topics of debate, implying solid connections were made.
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