Since TeacherPop is part Texan (and Monday is Texas Independence Day), we thought it was a good time to revisit this smart piece by Emily Garvey about how she stays motivated to teach curriculum that is, shall we say, less than fulfilling. In Emily’s case, this native New Englander was charged with teaching Texas History for an entire school year.
Waaay back in 2009, TeacherPop writer Molly Eigen wrote some really useful advice for new teachers who spend hours and hours hacking away at their weekly lesson plans. We’re bringing back Molly’s advice for 2015, with a few editorial additions, so get ready to be efficient. It’s tough love time, teachers. Let’s do this.
Winter is the toughest time of the school year. Buses get caught in the snow en route to school, and the sky outside your classroom is permanently etched in gray. This is the time to call in every game and engagement technique you can think of to make class extra fun for your kids. Try these six tips to brighten every subject in your classroom during the last stretch towards spring.
This is the first post in a series about curiosity in the classroom.
My “aha” moment came during a review of The Baseball Study, conducted by Donna R. Recht and Lauren Leslie in 1988. Recht and Leslie grouped kids into four categories: (1) high reading ability and high knowledge of baseball; (2) high reading ability and low knowledge of baseball; (3) low reading ability and high knowledge of baseball; and (4) low reading ability and low knowledge of baseball—and then measured students’ comprehension of a baseball-related passage.
Teachers spend weeks preparing for the first day of school, determining how to teach students procedures, or how to teach the rules in a way that is engaging and memorable. All those hours of preparation are designed to make students feel like they are gently wading into the next grade, and help them leave the first day feeling excited—and not overwhelmed.
You might be wondering what an ELA teacher could possibly teach a non-ELA teacher about the classroom. I’ll be honest: not much. I can’t teach you anything about your content, your standards, or your resources that you don’t already know. However, if your job is like mine, it includes catching up students until they perform at grade-level, in addition to teaching the content that is on grade-level. Though I have only taught for a few years, I have learned one classroom-changing lesson: the achievement gap is a literacy gap.
For months, getting my students attention was the bane of my existence. I pulled out all the stops: “1,2,3…Eyes on Me,” “Hands on Top.” I even got creative with some cool clapping call-and-response. Yet I never seemed to get more than 70% of my students’ attention. There were always three or four who just kept on working or talking.
In her TED Talk, Every Kid Needs a Champion, educator Rita Pierson said, “You know, kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” When I first watched this video, everything seemed to make more sense. I was having issues with classroom management for many reasons and among these was the fact that not all my kids knew me well enough to like or respect me. Once I cultivated strong relationships with my students, I noticed that things in the classroom went much smoother. Here are four things that I did to get to know the kids in my classroom: