Archive for the ‘End of the Year Activities’ category

Avoid Teacher Burnout: Help a Colleague

March 30, 2015

Eight_o_clockTime is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.   Carl Sandburg

The response to help a colleague may very well be connected to time: There’s barely enough time for the things I have to do—there’s just no time to be collegial. The scarcity of time is often a systemic problem, however, some teachers seem to find that time because they know that the return is energizing. Ben Johnson’s fourth step in avoiding teacher burnout in his article, 10 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout, is to help another teacher. He shares some excellent ways to do just that by responding to a blog or starting your own blog; mentoring another teacher; or taking an active role in your professional organization. Here’s 7 more ways to help a colleague:

  1. Share a lesson, unit, or resources for a topic with teachers who teach the same grade level or content area.
  2. Organize a grade level meeting or content area meeting to plan an end of the semester/year activity and ask everyone to bring an activity or resource to the meeting to share.
  3. Share a journal article with a summary of the article and some practical applications attached to the article.
  4. Designate a bulletin board or bookshelf in the teachers’ lounge for teachers to share resources, activities, books, lessons, etc.
  5. Follow a blog (see suggestions under Resources).
  6. Join your professional organization and share the resources from your membership.
  7. Check in with a first-year teacher in your building.  The conversation will benefit both of you.

While demands on time don’t always allow for teachers to collaborate with colleagues, when you do collaborate, the effort and end result is always worth it. My partners in Surviving to Thriving LjL have collaborated together on many projects—books, curricular materials, presentations, and workshops. For example, we are currently working on a unit and discussion/activity guide for Animal Farm. Jennifer just finished the unit. Next, I go through the unit, editing, deleting, adding, and then sending it back to Jennifer. She makes her adjustments, then it goes to Linda, who formats it expertly and uploads it to Teachers Pay Teachers. When we wrote two books on classroom management (Thriving in the High School Classroom and From Surviving to Thriving: Mastering the Art of the Elementary Classroom), we sat at Linda’s dining room table and wrote as a team—that was an amazing process. Collaboration benefits all those involved in the collaboration process and often benefits students the most.

References

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

Blogs to Check Out

Teach Thought

Middle Web

Hack Learning

Grant Wiggins

From Surviving to Thriving

Thriving LjL

Surviving to Thriving TPT

Here’s a list of some of our collaborative work:

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 by Katherine Applegate

The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate

Avoid Teacher Burnout: Learn Something New

March 23, 2015

You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.  Barbara Sher

normal_109_0990

There is something about doing or learning something new that is invigorating. Sharing that experience with your students is another way to avoid teacher burnout according to Ben Johnson, in his article: 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout. Johnson suggests sharing a new book you are reading with your students or learning about how the brain learns and sharing that. Here are five things to consider connected to doing and/or learning something new.

  1. Go to a large bookstore and browse through their magazines. Choose a magazine you probably would never even look at, let alone buy. Buy it and page through it; look for connections to your own life and/or work.
  2. Read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink—lots of ideas and suggestions about looking at life differently.
  3. Choose a genre of music with which you have little or no experience. Share some of this music with your students and get their opinions about it.
  4. Try a new recipe every weekend and report back to your students what you tried and whether or not you liked it.
  5. Learn to do magic tricks. Share your magical ability with your students—but no disappearance acts for you or them.

One of the things I did when I was working on a master’s degree in literacy is to share new things I learned about literacy and new learning strategies with my high school students. I would tell my students that I am trying out this new learning strategy with them and after we use it, I want their opinions about how well it worked for them. This was stumbling into magic—students took the new strategy very seriously and then shared their critiques. It was awesome!

I also discovered that students love to learn about their brains and how they learn. There are so many reliable resources online connected to the brain and learning. Recently I pinned an infographic on Movement and Learning that summarizes the benefits of movement in the classroom. As for adding more movement to your classroom, again there are many resources available including brain breaks that are fun and still serve the purpose.

As my colleagues and I create teacher materials for Teachers Pay Teachers, we always include activities that get students up and moving. Check out our store, Surviving to Thriving LjL on Teachers Pay Teachers. Here’s a list of the novels for which we have developed curriculum materials.

Movement and Learning Infographic

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 by Katherine Applegate

References

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

End of the School Year Activities

May 23, 2013

Reflection in the context of learning is a generic term for those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to new understandings and appreciation.  It may take place in isolation or in association with others.  David Boud, Rosemary Keogh, and David Walker

human-face-with-flower

Once again it is the time of the year that teachers are counting days, lamenting and celebrating the end of the school year while excitedly planning for next year.  End-of-the-year reflective activities wrap up the current school year and provide students an opportunity to reflect on their classroom experiences.  Student reflections solidify what students thought was important about their classes, whether that be what they learned, how they felt, or what they might do differently in the future.  These student responses also give teachers valuable information about their teaching and what they should keep doing and what they might consider not doing.  The activities listed below are just a sampling of reflective activities that have worked for us. Please share your end-of-the-year reflective activities that have worked for you and your students.

A Few Reflective Activities for the End-of-the-School Year

Reflective Essay

Write an essay about what you learned this year or semester in this class?  Not just the facts, but what did you learn that you can apply to your own life or that was important to you.  No limit or page requirement, just an essay.

Reflective Collage/Wordle

Create a collage or Wordle that reflects what you learned this year or semester in this class?  Not just the facts, but what did you learn that you can apply to your own life or that was important to you.

3-2-1 Contact

List 3 things you learned this year.

List 2 things you will do over the summer to become even a better student and learner.

List 1 thing you will try that you have never done before.

Contact:  Choose one activity you enjoy doing and practice it.  Become a pro!

Four Corners

Corner Question #1:  What was the most fun you had in this class?

Corner Question #2:  What was the most important thing you learned in this class?

Corner Question #3:  What would you tell someone who will be in this class next year about this class?

Corner Question #4:  What was your favorite activity in this class?

Use Post-Its or invite students to write comments on poster paper.  Invite students to visit each corner and write a response to the prompt.  After students have visited all corners, share responses.

Letters to Those Who Will Follow

Direct students to write letters to the students who will be in their class next semester or school year.  Provide a variety of stationary, including colored paper and different size envelopes.  Good opportunity to remind students how to address an envelope.  Great way to start the new school year or semester.

Spring Check-Out

Copy these questions on a half-sheet, add a spring graphic, and invite students to respond to each of these prompts:

  • One thing that really blooms in this class is…
  • One thing I might weed out in this class is…
  • One thing that would make my learning blossom is…

Kindness is Catching

If you keep scraps of colored paper, this is a great use for them.  Give students oddly shaped pieces of colored paper and ask them to write down a kindness someone showed them during the past year and how that kindness positively impacted them.  Create a bulletin board by displaying all the kindnesses.

Spring Snowball Fight

Give each student a piece of white paper.  Ask students to list the three most important things they learned this year/semester in this class.  Direct students to crumple the paper and on your signal, throw that “snowball” into the air.  Next, direct students to pick up a snowball, unwrinkled it, and read it to the class.  You might want to shovel up these snowballs for further reflection.

Something else to consider is to give students a project for the summer like our Summer Reading and Writing Journal which includes teacher guidelines, parent letter, resources for reading lists, bookmarks, 38-page student reading and writing journal and much more.  Ideal to give intermediate students and their families to sustain and promote reading and writing skills over the summer.

Resources

Summer Reading and Writing Journal

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Summer-Reading-and-Writing-Journal-671730

Connection between Learning and Reflection

http://www.monash.edu.au/lls/llonline/writing/medicine/reflective/3.xml

Making Practice-Based Learning Work

http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415537902/data/learning/9_Learning%20and%20Assessing%20Through%20Reflection.pdf


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

EDUinspirations

Education with Diverse Understanding

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: