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.
"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.
I am always watching to see how I can incorporate them, and this past week, with the help of other educators and my students, I figured out how incorporate Among Us-Google style! Please note right now that I have never actually played this game. I have observed students become obsessed with it, and from there I just asked a lot of questions, which my 14 year-old son can verify. If you are not a Google school, then using the collaborative features of other programs, like Wakelet and Powerpoint, will function similarly for you. As we rolled it out this week, I took notes, and the students helped me revise the game elements as needed, so the following is what we came up with, and it includes how to do this if you are teaching virtually or face to face. Get ready for some fun with a collaborative or gallery-style lesson.
On Wednesday of remote learning week two, I notice my son has hair growing on his upper lip. When did that happen? I vaguely remember him saying he was shaving, but I clearly didn't believe him. My post isn't really about mustaches and eighth graders. Like many parents world-wide, this shift has been stressful for me. I wear many hats in my district, and this time of school closure has increased my workload. I feel the anxiety and stress creeping in the minute I wake up and ponder my "to do" list. Sound familiar?
So while I am always on the lookout for ways to bring the latest technology into my classroom, my goal is not to just bring tech to my students. My pedagogy guides my use of tech, and recently, my use of spoons. Helping students practice mastery in an engaging way is always my goal. One morning in my first hour Spanish class, I contemplated student interests and how I might leverage that for our Friday Fun day.
Whether you are in the #OneWord movement, make your own New Year's resolution, or not doing either of those, there is usually some moment of reflection and, maybe, dreaming as the new year approaches. I like the choosing one word that can guide me through the year, so I give it quite a bit of thought, attention, and I never refuse a bit of luck along the way. As I pondered this one, I was a bit stumped. I was uninspired. I was stymied, and then Christmas was right around the corner. What to do. What to do.
Getting students to practice our content area and have fun while doing it is the challenge we face as educators today. If students do not have the desire to write, solve problems, and create, how can we develop an excitement and love for learning while meeting all the demands of our curriculum? We can. Here's one way of many to bring the magic back to writing in your classroom. If you teach subjects not related to writing, then feel free to modify this as suits the demands of your curriculum and subject matter.
Let's face it. At some point in your educational career, something will inevitably NOT go as planned. It happens in classrooms, buildings, and districts. We plan and plan, but then the execution does not have the result that we intend. It fails. Flops. Crashes. Burns. So then what do we do? Get embarrassed, dejected, angry, stressed or all of the above? Sure. What should we do instead?
My family and I recently attended a For King And Country concert with some long time family friends of ours. Tom, my husband's college roommate, works with a nonprofit organization which was one of the three businesses promoting the concert, so we attended as his guests. While waiting for the doors to open, Tom gets a call that changed our evening and inspired this post.
I recently took my mom to her hand surgery in the wee hours of the morning. She had to check in at 6:30 a.m., and we were an hour and a half away. As I drove her car before the sun or chickens were up, her CD (Yes, CD. Mom doesn't have an aux cord or Spotify) player plus copious amounts of caffeine helped me stay awake. As we listened to the songs of her childhood, I began thinking about our eclectic taste in music and how it evolves as we grow older. And as I pondered this and avoided the deer emerging from the trees to cross the road, I thought about how we are often unwilling to be eclectic and let our mindset, tools, and strategies evolve in education.