Spring is around the corner, and in the world of education, that means we will begin to say goodbye to friends and colleagues and begin welcoming new ones. Maybe you will be the one leaving this year, maybe you are the one doing the hiring. Whatever the case, we are all familiar with the spring routine in schools. Let’s take a dive into the two areas and ten tips that make a candidate stand out above the rest.
If you aren't using Google Forms, it's time to up your game and this post may help get inspired to give it a try. If you are using Forms regularly or at least frequently, this post is for you too. Although Forms can help you quickly and easily gather data and artifacts for assessing student learning, this post isn't really about that. My focus here is more on the aesthetics of those Forms.
I attended the 2022 TCEA Convention in Dallas, Texas, this past week and had the time of my life. Put me in a room with other educators who are as passionate about pedagogy, educational technologies, and students, and I'm in my happy place. Add to that an exhibitor's hall full of a plethora of Edtech companies from all over the nation and world, and I'm walking on clouds. Seeing my friends from social media platforms in person, face to face again, was the icing on the cake.
If you have never considered how tech can make your class more inclusive, I encourage you to do so. If you have considered ways to meet the needs of your students in more diverse ways while helping to build a positive culture in your class, then this post may be just a refresher for you. I will briefly feature Pear Deck, Buncee, Microsoft tools, Wakelet, and Flipgrid to show how these tech tools can help you create that inclusive classroom we all need.
I am a big proponent of turning over areas of lesson designing to students. While I head into class with a clear outline of what I want students to accomplish, I am more than willing to give them the opportunity to refine the details of my plan's execution. When it comes to building game elements into a lesson, my students are the pros at making it more fun for them while at the same time, retaining or enhancing the impact on their learning. So take the following learning activity, try it in your classroom, then encourage your students to find ways to improve it.
Whether or not you consider yourself an organized teacher or person, in the era of pandemic teaching, I've learned that it is crucial to organize courses within my learning management system (LMS) in a way that helps students who are not in class for whatever the reason. It took a pandemic to make me reconsider how I structure my activities and assignments within the LMS so that all students are clear on what we are doing, when we are doing it, and how we are doing it. I should have thought of this a long time ago, but the pandemic really brought this need to the forefront. Now that I know better, I do better.
As you know, I love to teach students several tools and then let them choose the one they prefer for different activities we do in class. It can be challenging to find the time for students to learn those new tools in this fast paced data driven world we've created. When you are in a smaller district and are the only one who teaches those subjects or classes, then finding time isn't so hard. However, for those in larger districts who have to keep pace with all the other teachers of that class or subject, that's when we have to think "inside the box," as George Couros would say. How can we we still allow for student choice and creativity when time constraints mean it is hard to teach a variety of tools quickly?
We've all had to deal with others who call us names, and those who make assumptions and judgements about us. How we handle those and the resulting after waves of self-doubt can determine current and future successes, well-being, and resiliency. I've frequently looked back on that old saying, "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me," with amazement. Words certainly can hurt us.
As an English teacher, reading as always been a love of mine personally, as well as a focus of mine professionally. As a high school teacher, though, I have not been taught HOW to teach the reading skills. My expertise is in the analysis and comprehension of texts, so when the district begins to talk about having the English teachers facilitate reading intervention, I throw up my hand to point out that I have no literacy training. I'm probably not the only teacher this has happened to, and if we're being honest, it is up to everyone in a district to ensure all students can read and have the tools necessary to help them be successful readers.
My hat is off to all educators out there who just survived one of the hardest years, if not THE hardest, in education to date. If we never hear the words “flexibility” and “pivot” again, life would be grand. However, as we look ahead to the 2021-22 school year, there is still a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it.