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.

10 Interviewing Tips for Educators

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.

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.

Using Nonlinguistic Prompts to Promote Critical Thinking

Reaching the deeper levels of rigor and getting students to think critically while learning a world language can seem difficult. A lot of what students have to learn initially is that surface-level knowledge, but using pictures without words is one way you can get students swimming in the deep end of the thinking pool. At this point, those of you who aren't language teachers are now thinking of jumping off my post and dusting your hands of it since it clearly doesn't apply to what you teach. But wait! There's more! This gem can actually be used with any content and at any level. It is presented as an world language activity, but it is easily adapted to whatever you teach.

Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting with Microsoft Teams!

I have written two previous posts where I talk about how to use Google Classroom as the hub for student blogging and authentic feedback in a safe place. My original post, Blogging with Google Sites? Google Classroom to the Rescue! Let the Commenting Begin! focused on using Google Sites with Classroom to connect students and give them a platform for authentic feedback. More recently, I updated this idea in Google Classroom STILL to the Rescue: Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting! where I broadened the scope of how students can express themselves through the various tools now available. Continuing to broaden my own horizons, I explored Microsoft Teams as a hub for students to receive authentic feedback from peers and am very excited about the amazing potential that it has.

Zigazoo: New Video Response App with a Social Media Feel

I haven't written in a while, and I totally blame COVID-19 for my lapse. The additional workload that comes with pandemic teaching can be overwhelming, and then when you realize you have the virus, productivity takes another dive. However, right before I became sick, I had the opportunity to create videos for the new app, Zigazoo, and I discovered that not only did I love making short instructional videos for students, but this app has a really wide range of appeal for students of all ages.