Big thanks to TeachHUB’s bloggers for sharing their experiences in the classroom, thoughts and useful teaching tools with us all, especially with such busy teaching schedules themselves.
If you haven’t had a chance to get to know our bloggers, now is the time. Here are my favorite posts of the year:
Classroom Tales from the Bronx
by the policy-pondering Phil Tabernacle bringing us insights from his NYC charter school
While watching a PBS school documentary, I was struck by a question that one of principals asked her teachers, something along the lines of, “write down the name of your weakest student and what she or he specifically needs to work on to get back on track.”
As part of an independent reading unit at our school, we have explicitly instructed students to judge books by their covers. In fact, looking at the front and then reading the back cover are steps 2 and 3 out of five when deciding what book to begin next.
I began to wonder if subconsciously we are teaching our students to judge based on appearance by giving them this quick protocol for selecting a text. Then I started thinking about how often I do the same thing with my own classroom.
For years I’ve heard administrators tell me that I’m working too hard. They aren’t referring to my coming in early, staying late, or aggressively calling shotgun on committee seats. They’re talking about the way I plan and execute my high school English lessons.
“Tabernacle, let them do the work. You just guide them.”
But they’ll miss that allusion to the King James Bible or Star Wars, Episode IV, I think to myself. They’ll misinterpret the word “wherefore!”
Despite being one of the two nights a year that we are contractually obligated to stay in the building after the final bell rings, I genuinely enjoy Parent Teacher Night… for the most part.
Where else can you find “Parents of the Classroom Stars,” “The Hollow Wrecking Ball,” “The Talker” or “The Wake-Up Call”?
Science Under the Microscope
by our subject-specialist Paul Cancellieri who brings fresh perspective to the profession
What makes humans different? Being teachers and loving it!
While watching a panel discussion to promoteAlan Alda’s forthcoming PBS documentary, “The Human Spark,” the moderator asked each expert to summarize what he or she felt was the single characteristic that most clearly makes humans unique.
My favorite answer came from the hilarious Alda.
The phrase “in these current economic times” has become a bit of a cliche lately, but that doesn’t change the fact that our lives as educators will be changed for some time to come.
As science teachers, supplies can be more expensive than in other subjects. Here are some simple ways to reduce the financial burden of teaching science.
As this time of year rolls around, I have to admit to getting a little excited about some of the gifts that students and their families give in appreciation for a year as their science teacher. But with all things, the good comes with the bad…
In no particular order, and with appreciation for the effort and expense that goes into giving teacher gifts, here is my top five list of gifts that I would rather never receive again.
For me, any holiday season has always brought one of the strangest phenomena related to being a Science teacher.
I am both perplexed and amused when it happens. Surrounded by distant relatives around Easter ham or rubbing elbows with newfound friends during a heated egg hunt, it inevitably gets out that I am a Science teacher.
The Chalk Talks
by It’s Not All Flowers & Sausages-author Jennifer Scoggin with her elementary expertise and witty wisdom
Do you ever have on of those “I totally rock” moments when you step back, look around the classroom and realize that your kiddos are just fully engaged in their learning? (And then you pat yourself on the back because, most of the time, nobody else will.)
Maybe it’s my ego that’s brimming over, but I have recently had that feeling and it is addictive!
In my previous teaching life, and by that I mean in my heinous first job, I was forced to work with a scripted curriculum that made me feel more like a robot than an actual professional.
Let me paint a picture for you. This is how a math lesson went in my first grade classroom:
Hopefully, at this point, your year is chugging along nicely. You and your friends have settled into your routine and you’re off! It’s time to learn!
So what happens when you’ve been so engrossed in your teaching that it’s suddenly five minutes before the end of the day, you have a million odds and ends to take care of and nobody has their backpack yet? (Hint: the answer is not “freak out.”)
This is the time that you truly need to rely on your little friends to help you get it all done.
As I get closer to the start of another school year, I feel that anxious knot in my stomach leading up to the first day back.
It could have been all the sugary margaritas I drank while eating bon-bons with my feet up on the coffee table catching up on the latest episode of Oprah all summer, as all we teachers do, but I think it was back-to-school anxiety.
Ed Tech Made Easy
by Cheryl Oakes who always has the latest in useful teaching tech tools and 2.0
Have you ever considered becoming a videographer? Well, with a Flip video camera you can shoot, edit, produce and publish all in one afternoon.
Normally, I won’t endorse a product that you have to purchase, but I am making an exception with the Flip Video. This little camera is just the perfect tool for so many teaching activities that the payback, as they say in the commercial, is priceless.
Now, each of these activities could be done with a traditional camera. The Flip just makes it much easier to upload, edit and share your videos.
Rap music, you get crunk with it, right?
Maybe not, but many of your students know and love it. Here is a way to use their music to engage them with weekly news and current events.
Do you feel isolated in your job? Are you the only one trying out new technology tools? Do not fear! I have some great suggestions for you, they are easy, free, very welcoming and supportive!
You can exchange ideas with other teachers right here on TeachHUB.com, on the discussion board or by becoming a member of the TeachHUB community.
Here are 3 of my other favorites:
How many of you have a newspaper delivered to your school or classroom daily, weekly, monthly?
With Doodlebuzz, you can access hundreds of newspapers from around the country based on whatever curriculum or topic you want.
Now that you’ve had a chance to “meet” our teacher bloggers, share your favorite teacher bloggers and blog posts in the comments section!