Archive for the ‘Classroom Community’ category

Learning Stations and Cranberries

November 10, 2016

cranberriesLearning stations engage students in active learning. “Learning stations can be used for myriad purposes—to teach concepts, integrate subject matter, build interest, and allow for inquiry—the possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the teacher and the supplies available” (Jarrett, 2010, p. 56).

Learning stations are designated areas in a classroom, hallway, cafeteria, or community room where students complete tasks. Everything the student needs is available at each station, which could include handouts, activity sheets, experiments, photographs, videos, music, artwork, food, cranberries, etc. There are step-by-step directions at each station. Students move from station to station individually, in pairs, or small groups. The number of stations can vary as well as the time estimated at each station for students to complete the station task. And, students can work at their own pace.

Learning stations work for all grade levels. Consider inviting parents, older students, or preservice teachers to help with setting up stations, guiding students through stations, or even be part of a station, giving interviews, clarifying instructions, doing demonstrations. For example, a parent helper might serve samples of cranberry juice at a tasting station.

Check out Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities to use as a template for developing and setting up learning stations in your own classroom. It’s a great example of the types of stations you might set up as well as what you need for each station. It’s a delicious example of using learning stations!

Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities includes

  • 19 page-teacher guide
  • Materials and picture guides for each center
  • Answer key for student journal
  • Optional QR codes or print resources
  • 14-page student journal
  • 11 center signs for each learning station

Jarrett, O. (January 2010). Inventive learning stations. Science and Children 47.5: 56-69.

Visit our Teachers Pay Store and look at the products we have available–you just might find something perfect for you and your students.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

The One and Only Ivan

The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Surviving to Thriving TPT

Avoid Burnout: 10 Ways to Add Fun to Your Teaching

March 9, 2015

tagedo kids want teachers to be

Find a place inside where there’s joy,

and the joy will burn out the pain. Joseph Campbell

Often, this is the time of the year where both teachers and students begin to get restless, tired of winter, and in need of a change. In January I came across an article, 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout by Ben Johnson. The first step was to have fun with your students.

In a study I did with my two colleagues, we surveyed middle school kids to see what they had to say about good teaching. And, one thing they wanted was fun (Fontanini, Neiman, & Carpenter, 2014). I think this is a great place to start to avoid burnout, but how do you do it? Here are 10 ways to add a little fun to your teaching.

  1. Play music as students are coming into your classroom. Ask students how that music or song is connected to the content or topic. You might be surprised at what your students might say.
  2. Show a video clip to start off your lesson. Youtube is an easy place to find a video clip on practically any topic.
  3. Do a read-aloud. Pick a picture book, poem, short story, or novel you love and start reading it aloud to your students before your lesson starts or use it as a closing activity.
  4. Do a community/team building activity, one you have used in the past or a new one.
  5. Stand at the door and greet each student formally.
  6. Rearrange your classroom into a new pattern.
  7. Play a game that connects to your topic.
  8. Tell a joke or funny story.
  9. Start class with a brain-teaser or trivia question connected to the topic.
  10. Come dressed as a character, scientist, historical figure, or just something a bit outrageous. (When I was team teaching with a social studies teacher, he had a rental tuxedo that wasn’t due back until Tuesday—he wore it all day on Monday. Definitely got students’ attention!)

Not only will your students appreciate the change in pace, you will too! Novelty catches attention, teachers and students. As my colleagues and I create teacher materials for Teachers Pay Teachers, we remember that students want learning to be fun. Fun to students equates to engaging. We think, and many of our buyers agree, that our products are engaging to students and easy to implement for teachers. Check out our store on TPT: Surviving to Thriving LjL. Let us know what you do to add a little fun to your classroom.

References

Fontanini, J.J., Neiman, L.V., & Carpenter, L.L. (April 2014). Ask the Real Experts About Good Teaching. AMLE Magazine, 1(8), pp. 24-26.

Johnson, Ben. (April 22, 2014). 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout. Edutopia.

Surviving to Thriving TPT

Three Principles to Ponder Connected to Teaching and Learning

August 10, 2014

Paul Brock wants all of his daughters’ future teachers to abide by three principles:

First, to nurture and challenge my daughters’ intellectual and imaginative capacities way out to horizon unsullied by self-fulfilling minimalist expectations. Don’t patronize them with lowest-common-denominator blancmange masquerading as knowledge and learning; not crush their love for learning through boring pedagogy. Don’t bludgeon them with mindless ‘busy work’ and limit the exploration of the world of evolving knowledge merely to the tyranny of repetitively churned-out recycled worksheets. Ensure that there is legitimate progression of learning from one day, week, month, term and year to the next.

Second, to care for Sophie and Millie with humanity and sensitivity, as developing human beings worth of being taught with genuine respect, enlightened discipline and imaginative flair.

And, third, please strive to maximize their potential for later schooling, post0school education, training and employment and for the quality of life itself so that they can contribute to and enjoy the fruits of living within an Australian society that is fair, just, tolerant, honorable, knowledgeable, prosperous and happy (Brock, 2004, pp. 250-251).

Visible Learning HattieSchool for many will be starting within the next few weeks. While teachers are busy preparing for the upcoming school year, it might be a good time to reflect upon Paul Brock’s three principles. This quote was included in the preface of a book by John Hattie, Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. I have only read the preface and first chapter and I am intrigued.   Then I read the following quote and now I can’ wait to read the whole book.

“This development of critical evaluation skills requires educators to develop their students’ capacity to see the world from the viewpoint of others to understand human weaknesses and injustices, and to work towards developing cooperation and working with others. It requires educators to develop in their students a genuine concern for self and others, to teach the importance of evidence to counter stereotypes and closed thinking, to promote accountability of the person as responsible agent, and to vigorously promote critical thinking and the importance of dissenting voices” (Hattie, 2012,p. 4).

This quote provides a strong rationale for teachers to create community in their classrooms by getting to know their students and students getting to know each other as well as students getting to know their teachers. Building a community of learners who care for each other takes time, but it is time well-spent. Go slow to go fast.

There are many getting to know you activities in books, on the Internet, on Pinterest, etc. Check out our two books for more ideas about building trust in your classrooms: Thriving in the High School Classroom and From Surviving to Thriving: Mastering the Art of the Elementary Classroom.

Thriving in the HS ClassroomFrom Surviving to Thriving

 

Brock, P. (2004). A passion for life. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. New York: Routledge.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:surviving%20to%20thriving%20ljl

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Thriving-in-the-High-School-Classroom-1326075

http://www.amazon.com/Visible-Learning-Teachers-Maximizing-Impact/dp/0415690153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406818434&sr=8-1&keywords=John+Hattie

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/From-Surviving-to-Thriving-126820

Building Trust with Students and Among Students

July 31, 2014

An optimal classroom climate for learning is one that generates an atmosphere of trust—a climate in which it is understood that it is okay to make mistakes because mistakes are the essence of learning. In so many classrooms, the greatest reason why students do not like to expose their mistakes is because of their peers: peers can be nasty, brutal, and viral! Expert teachers create classroom climates that welcome admission of errors; they achieve this by developing a climate of trust between teacher and student, and between student and student (Hattie, 2012, p. 26).

Community_circleThe first days of school for most are just around the corner—we know this because the “Back to School” ads have already been up and running. Teachers everywhere are preparing for those first days of school. The expert teachers are planning activities for students to get to know their teachers, for teachers to get to know their students, and most importantly for students to get to know each other. This is always time well spent and often sets the tone for the rest of the semester and/or school year.

Building relationships with students and among students is the key to building trust with students and among students as well as creating a classroom climate that facilitates student learning. When students know you care about them and their learning, they show up physically and mentally. I am always reminded of one of my high school students who had perfect attendance in my class, Early American Literature, and proudly told me that my class was the only one he attended on most days. While he may have had an overwhelming interest in early American Literature, he also knew that he was welcomed, supported, and part of a community of learners in my class.

Thriving in the HS Classroom

My colleagues and I have a new book out, Thriving in the High School Classroom, available from Teachers Pay Teachers. We share many strategies grounded in best practice and our professional experiences that facilitate building trust with students and among students. We also published a book with Lorenz Press, From Surviving to Thriving: Mastering the Art of the Elementary Classroom, also available on Teachers Pay Teachers. While both books are great for new teachers, more experienced teachers might be reminded of strategies they successfully used in the past and perhaps a few new ones too. Check out our other products on Teachers Pay Teachers!  Oh, and we’re having a sale on Monday, August 4, and Tuesday, August 5!!

 Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. London and New York: Routledge.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:surviving%20to%20thriving%20ljl

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Thriving-in-the-High-School-Classroom-1326075

http://www.amazon.com/Visible-Learning-Teachers-Maximizing-Impact/dp/0415690153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406818434&sr=8-1&keywords=John+Hattie

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/From-Surviving-to-Thriving-126820

header-logo.jpg

5 Books Anyone Concerned about Education Should Read

January 26, 2014

American education is at a crossroads. There are two paths in front of us: One in which we destroy our strengths in order to “catch up” with others in test scores and one in which we build on our strengths so we can keep the lead in innovation and creativity. Yong Zhao

Anyone interested in a different perspective on PK-12 education and learning might find the following five books fascinating reading. These books will showcase a variety of perspectives that may challenge or change the way you currently perceive educational practices as well as the way in which you perceive learning in general. Any one of these books would make an excellent choice for a study group or book club.

 Catching Up ZhaoCatching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization by Yong Zhao

The above quote is from the introduction and best describes the importance of what Zhao is advocating in his book.  Zhao challenges readers to consider the criticism of schools, which he thinks is misleading and misinformed, while taking into account the impact of globalization on the economic and social landscape. Ultimately, Zhao advocates for leaders to take five actions to ensure a world-class education for American students—actions that are realistic and doable.

Armstrong Best SchoolsThe Best Schools: How Human Development Should Inform Educational Practice by Thomas Armstrong

Armstrong makes a strong case for changing the way we talk about education, moving away from academic achievement discourse toward human development discourse. He argues for developmentally appropriate practices that emphasize play for early childhood learning, theme and project-based learning for elementary students, active learning that focuses on social, emotional and metacognitive needs of middle school students, and mentoring, apprenticeships, and cooperative education for high school students.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink

Both Zhao and Pink use the words innovation and creativity. According to Pink, the 18th century was the Agriculture Age (farmers), the 19th century, the Industrial Age (factory workers), the 20th century, the Information Age (knowledge workers), and the 21st century, the Conceptual Age (creators and empathizers). In order to maintain our lead in innovation and creativity, Pink advocates that we need to complement our L-Directed reasoning (L for left-brain functions) by mastering six essential R-Directed aptitudes (R for right-brain functions).

Those six high-concept, high-touch senses are:

1. Not just function but also DESIGN.Pink Whole New Mind

2. Not just argument but also STORY.

3. Not just focus but also SYMPHONY.

4. Not just logic but also EMPATHY

5. Not just seriousness but also PLAY.

6. Not just accumulation but also MEANING

The rest of the book defines and describes these six senses with a variety of activities to develop and refine those senses—of which many are fun and easily adapted to the classroom.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

For anyone who teaches any age student, this book is a must-read. Pink supports his theory of motivation with numerous research studies and anecdotes. While it isn’t a surprise that humans are intrinsically motivated, Pink addresses rewards in the following list:

CARROTS AND STICKS: The Seven Deadly FlawsPink Drive

1. They can extinguish intrinsic motivation.

2. They can diminish performance.

3. They can crush creativity.

4. They can crowd out good behavior.

5. They can encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior.

6. They can become addictive.

7. They can foster short-term thinking.

 Those who have read Alfie Kohn will appreciate the support that Pink provides for Kohn’s ideas about punishments and rewards.  Included is a list of 15 books for further reading.

The Invisible Gorilla and Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

Of all the books listed, this is the one that will definitely challenge your belief that you see yourself and the world as they really are, but in reality, we’re all missing a lot. The topic is intriguing, the writing is witty, and the answer to why we all see the same situation in different ways becomes more apparent. And for those of us who believe in intuition, this book may change all that. We may want to rethink how we teach and how we keep our students attentive.invisible gorilla

Our goal is to incorporate many of the concepts in these books into the teacher materials we create.  Check out the books and check out our teacher materials at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:surviving+to+thriving+ljl

Surviving to Thriving TPT

Five Reasons Students Should Set Classroom Norms

November 5, 2013

Every child is entitled to “equitable access to positive learning experiences and potential academic success” (Chubbuck, 2010, p.198).

A community of learners is established by hearing student voices.  It is a deliberate process orchestrated by an effective teacher to ensure that every child has that access to powerful learning experiences and potential academic success.     –Linda L. Carpenter, Jennifer J. Fontanini, and Linda V. Neiman

When some of us hear the phrase, setting norms, we roll our eyes, because many of us have been in situations where setting norms was just an idle exercise.  But it doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be. When students have a voice in generating their classroom norms, that exercise becomes meaningful and constructive.

Student-generated classroom norms

  1. create a positive learning environment for all students;
  2. create an operating system for procedures and communication;
  3. increase productivity and learning;
  4. provide means for conflict resolution; and
  5. ensure all students have access to what they need for academic success.

On November 8, we will be conducting a session at the Association for Middle Level Educators (AMLE) conference in Minneapolis entitled Orchestrating Student Voices to Create a Community of Learners.  We hope some of you will join us.

References

Carpenter, L. L., Fontanini, J. J., & Neiman, L. V. (2010). From surviving to thriving: Mastering the Art of the Elementary Classroom. Dayton, OH: Lorenz   Educational Press.

Chubbuck, S. M. (2010). Individual and structural orientations in socially just teaching: conceptualization, implementation, and collaborative effort.  Journal of Teacher Education, 61(3), 197-210.

AMLElogo71.jpg

Grouping to Build Relationships

August 10, 2013

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:  “What!  You  too? I thought I was the only one.”

                                                                                            C. S. Lewis

August is the month of anticipation—new school year coming, football season beginning, fall and holidays around the corner—and we are still enjoying summer.  The creative energy emitting from teachers planning for the upcoming school year is electrifying.  Students are eager to reconnect with school pals and anxious about meeting their new teachers and class mates.  Good teachers know students learn best in a positive, nurturing learning environment where relationships between teachers and students and students and students are carefully constructed, day by day.

Build those relationships directly with getting to know you activities and indirectly by grouping students creatively.  One way to build relationships among students and form small collaborative learning groups is to use getting-to-know-you prompts on grouping cards.  Create a table with two columns and four rows on one page, forming eight “cards.”  In each space, write a different prompt and make four copies of the page.  Cut and distribute to students, directing them to find three other students to form a group.  As they form their group, they should respond to the prompt and share their responses with each other.  Time permitting, you can direct students to reform with three other students who have different prompts, and repeat.  Here’s a list of prompts you might consider using:

“Best”   Prompts

You, too!   Prompts

Best Sandwich

Best Superhero

Do you have   sisters or brothers?

Do you have   pets?

Best Sport

Best Holiday

Do you play a   sport?

Do you play a   musical instrument?

Best Book

Best Movie

Do you play   video games?

Do you like   the Muppets?

Best Video Game

Best Dessert

Do you know   how to dance?

Do you speak another   language?

For more ideas about grouping techniques, check out Grouping Techniques for the Classroom.  If you have a novel way to form groups, let us know!

grouping techniques medium-448415-1logo71.jpg


Uma Krishnaswami

Writer, Author of Books for Young Readers

beautifuljunkyard

odds and ends, bric-a-brac, and scraps

Annotations

Musings on life in a new place

Learning in Teaching

Teaching: a place of constant learning

If You Can't Do

Thoughts, anecdotes and ideas for Primary and Secondary teachers.

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson

Nerdy Book Club

A community of readers

Kindness Blog

Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations.

Tales of A Teacher Nerd

Some people get nerdy about games and computers, I get nerdy about teaching!

booktrailers4kidsandYA

This site is about encouraging reading throughout the school years. By watching book trailers it is hoped that you will be inspired to read the book.

Sweat to Inspire

Working hard to make sure teachers are inspiring the youth of tomorrow.

inspiredbyabook

love drifting off into my own little world of books.

Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

On a Mission to Prevent English Teacher Burnout

Thriving LjL

Products for today's classrooms!

Shaelynn Farnsworth

Educator. Staff Developer. Writer.

To Make a Prairie

A blog about reading, writing, teaching and the joys of a literate life

radical eyes for equity

Confronting "our rigid refusal to look at ourselves" (James Baldwin)

Traveling Ed

Traveling, Education, Adventure

Grit & Wit

essentials for teaching middle school

Growing Together

Inspired by children to celebrate life daily

Models By Design

Models speak louder than words

Christopher Lehman

Educational Consultant and Author Christopher Lehman's Blog

Kristen's Kindergarten

Kindergarten Classroom ideas

Education Inspirations

Learn. Inspire. Create.

eduflow

This site is dedicated to education, philosophy, spirituality, leadership, management, social commentary and self-actualization.

An Ethical Island

How to Teach Without a Lecture and other fun

Surviving to Thriving LjL

Our professional work is motivated by the possibillity that every child will have great teachers.

%d bloggers like this: