Color Me Impressed

As I prepared my room for the new school year back in August, I did a lot of thinking about the hallway bulletin board that is under my control. I hate doing bulletin boards, generally speaking. In this post, I walk through the process of creating an interactive bulletin board for students to color.

Finding the Nexus

Many teachers, in fact probably most teachers, are always looking for ways to help students engage with the content being taught. Student engagement is perhaps the holy grail of teaching. Many teacher evaluation systems have it as a standard or indicator, which increases the motivation of teachers to locate that elusive cup. In researching creativity with my master's partner, Kristy Graber, we came across a nugget that might lead us to the holy land of student engagement.

Everyone Needs a Throwing Partner

My son Ryan plays travel baseball and high school baseball, and he is fortunate to get to play both of those with his cousin Hayden. They are three weeks apart in age, so they naturally get to do a lot of things together. However, having the same throwing partner for both the travel team and the high school team is pretty cool. Your throwing partner is important, so having the right one is crucial.

Creativity: A Much Needed Skill

"I'm not creative" is something I have heard everywhere I have taught, uttered by student and educator alike. In fact, one of the first things that drew me to Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like A PIRATE, was his stance on creativity. In his book and in person, Dave talks about creativity and the hard work it entails.

Classroom Community Building

Relationships between students and their teachers are important, but so are the relationships built in class between classmates. While pacing guides and other curriculum demands can become overwhelming fast, there are some easy ways to work in relationship building too. New students popping in throughout the school should definitely be a reminder to add team building or relationship building into your plans, but the truth is that all students benefit with regular or periodic activities that help them get to know their classmates.

Google Forms + Previously Created Graphics=Magic

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.

5 TECH Inclusive Platforms

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 Call Cap On That

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.

Microsoft Literacy Tools and More

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.

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5 Things Administrators Can Do to Build Trust and Community in Their Buildings

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.