Children's Books, Journal

Saying Goodbye to Future Teachers

End of SpringTerm

I have been an online instructor for a university for almost seven years. Each term I change my course based on what I feel would enhance the learning for my students. I learn so much from them. I love sharing my experiences and insights. This last term I decided to try a new course. I sent out an email to my course developer who put me in touch with a colleague who set me up with a course I have long wanted to teach, Children’s Literature. Whenever I try something new I get a bit anxious, and once I get into it (believe me, I research), I feel like Wonder Woman. On top of it all, I was given autonomy to make any changes I feel are necessary. Being brand new, I hardly changed a thing. To have that level of trust and responsibility given to me is life affirming. I went well above and beyond and made more work for myself than necessary. But oh, what a good class!

I now need to say goodbye to my students as they have completed the term. I received feedback from them stating how much they learned from the course. I wish the course was longer. We could have covered so much more in depth. Goodbyes are hard, but I know the students will make a difference in the lives of their own students. That’s the best outcome ever.




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Learning Apps, Literacy Resources and Children's Books, Teacher Tips

Student Engagement

Student engagement is a vital component in any classroom. Over the past year, remote learning has become a reality for most students around the world. As many students return to in-person learning, or any number of hybrid learning environments, here are some ideas to keep engagement rates high and help maintain student learning in any environment.  

Virtual, In Person, & Hybrid Learning Environments

  • Organizing Content
  • Nearpod: Software to create lessons with informative and interactive assessment activities.
  • Netboard.me: collect, organize and share any web content.  Create Web pages with texts, links, documents, videos, photos, presentations, etc.
  • Prezi: with a basic subscription and a profile that states you’re in Education, you get PreziNext and PreziVideo for free. Access to designer templates, millions of reusable presentations, etc.
  • Slidesmania: Free PowerPoint templates or Google Slides themes for education. You can find simple, formal and even fun templates.
  • Sutori:organize, plan and center  instruction. The collaborative nature and ease of use makes Sutori the perfect companion for student and teacher presentations.
  • Symbaloo:  is a cloud-based application that allows users to organize and categorize web links in the form of buttons, offering its PRO version to all educators at no cost.
  • Creating Digital Lessons

EdPuzzle: Video lesson creation software with lots of usable content.

Kahoot: A game-based learning platform that brings engagement and fun to players at school, at work, and at home.

Pear Deck: Facilitates the design of engaging instructional content with various integration features.

Squigl : Content creation platform that transforms speech or text into animated videos.

  • Management and Brain Breaks

Go Noodle – GoNoodle is a fun website with a variety of brain breaks and indoor PE fun right in one place!

Whole Brain TeachingThe teacher breaks up information into short chunks, using large hand gestures, varying the intonation of her voice by speaking loudly and then softly, quickly then slowly. The greater the variance, the more likely students are to recall and use the information. It activates various parts of the brain, locking information into long-term storage. 

Class Dojo – Encouraging and supportive behavior management device.  Teachers can encourage and support students for any skill or value — whether it’s working hard, helping others, staying on task, etc. 

Additional Resources

Virtual

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Teacher Tips

Connect With Students

We all know when someone cares about us. Students come to school hoping they will be liked and accepted. A teacher that takes the time to know each student creates a solid foundation of trust. Learning is often connected to experiences and emotions. When a child feels secure, learning can move into long term memory.

From the start of the school year find out what your students are interested in. What do they want to know more about? Use an interest inventory. Share your hobbies, favorite sports, songs, movies. Take time to establish an atmosphere of security and respect.

Class meetings are a good way to teach social skills, establish community and foster open communication. Regularly check the status of the class. Encourage problem-solving with teacher guidance.

Give sincere compliments. Model how to show appreciation.

Teachers, I hope you have a safe, productive, positive school year!

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Diversity in the Classroom

Support for Diversity and Inclusion


Supporting and celebrating diversity and inclusion in school works because it gives all children the potential to achieve, and creates an environment where those with additional needs are not segregated and seen as ‘other’; they are part of the same community of learners. Inclusion addresses negative cultural attitudes and misconceptions about people with disabilities, or those who are members of minority communities.

Websites, Blogs, and Media About Inclusive Classrooms:

https://www.readingrockets.org/article/websites-blogs-and-media-about-inclusive-classrooms

 Video 

Is it inclusion?

This chart, developed by inclusion expert Nicole Eredics, can help you understand what inclusion is and isn’t.

YESNO
Child spends the majority of the day in the general education classroom.Child spends the majority of the day in a special education classroom and goes to a general education classroom for one or two periods.
Child’s desk is included with the other groups of desks in the classroom.Child’s desk is away from the other desks in the classroom.
Child has access to and is included in classroom lessons and activities that are adapted or modified to meet his/her special needs.Child works on his/her own curriculum.
Child attends outside activities with the class including assemblies, field trips, enrichment classes, and recess.Child is given alternate activities and options with other special education students.
Child is an independent, valued, and respected classroom member.Child is looked upon as helpless, needy, and dependent.
The child’s paraprofessional facilitates access to the curriculum and classroom activities.The child’s paraprofessional determines access to the curriculum and classroom activities.
The paraprofessional encourages child to complete work as independently as possible, while providing support when needed.The paraprofessional does not provide many opportunities for the child to complete work independently and “hovers.”
Child receives specialist support (therapy, speech, and language) with minimal disruption to the class routine and program.Child is pulled from the classroom lessons and activities for specialist suport without consideration for what the child will miss.
The teacher can identify your child’s strengths and areas for improvement.The teacher refers to the specialists and paraprofessionals to identify child’s development.
Child can name classmates and has many common classroom experiences.Child does not know classmates and does not have many common classroom experiences.





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