Thursday, October 30, 2014

Teens Without Their Devices! My, Oh My!

This is a funny, yet revealing article, about a small group of teens in Alaska who gave up their cellphones for 1 week.  Parents had to OK the project - no texting, tweeting, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Skyping, YouTubing, or emailing.  Could these kids survive?  I won't summarize the article.  The kids reactions are priceless and should teach us, the adults, what they rediscovered.  Not to be missed!

Teens challenge themselves to put down cellphones.  10.29.14. Kris Capps.


Motivate Without Rewards

We all want our students to learn intrinsically but so often kids think in terms of rewards in order to achieve.  We're not talking just prizes, snacks, etc., but also grades.  We would like kids to learn and master difficult concepts.  Author, Linda Flanagan, says that often children lose confidence in themselves because the adults in their lives make decisions for them.  Interesting article and certainly one worth reading.

How Teachers Can Motivate Students of Any Age.  Linda Flanagan. 10.22.13.  MindShift

Great Parent Conferences!

We all know that when parents are made to feel welcome and when conferences are mutually satisfying, parents will be back again.  This article is amazing and still more amazing is the mid-article graphic that you can click on to view an older parent conference article written by the same author.  There you will find 101 tips to great parent conferences.  Obviously, you won't need all of them but a few, I'm sure will spark an interest.  We, who work in the Title I population see only a handful of parents for a number of reasons.  But our research has pointed out that the school must be a welcoming place free of judgment.  This article is a must-read especially for you in schools with poor attendance at parent conferences.  Share you own experiences.  We'd love to here from you.

Report Card Comments and Parent Conferences Made Easy.  Genia  Connell.  10.29.14.  Scholastic – Top Teaching Blog


Saturday, October 25, 2014

You are Better than "Digital Natives"! '!

It's time to dispel the notion that those "digital natives" in your classroom are better with technology than you are.  A recent study of middle school teachers from New York and Utah discovered through observations and teacher focus groups that students use technology differently than their teachers.  Students are fluent in using technology for entertainment and communication.  Teachers, on the other hand, use technology to solve problems.   Teachers help students in using technology to develop sophisticated thinking.  Excellent article and one that should make you feel a whole lot more confident!

Report:  Teachers Better at Using Tech than Digital Native Students.  Dian Schaffhauser.  10.22.14. THE Journal - Transforming Education Through Technology

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ideas to Engage Families Living in Poverty

For a variety of reasons, schools in high poverty areas have difficulty engaging parents. It is important to discover the barriers preventing parents from becoming involved.  By forming a focus group of parents, schools can discover more details and begin respond to them.  Make sure your school is a welcoming place.  Begin addressing concerns by providing solutions to help remove those barriers.   Here is one school's story.  Perhaps one or more ideas would fit your school's situation.

Road Tested / Three Ways to Engage Parents in High-Poverty Settings.  Tiffany Anderson. Sept. 2014 Education Update ASCD

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Toddlers: Books or E-Readers?

This New York Times article today is another in a cluster of articles asking which is better for young children - e-readers or print-books.  Research does tell us the early language acquisition is of great importance and is the foundation for developing reading skills.  Parents, teachers, and pediatricians are struggling to find the answer.  Child development experts have long asked that parents read to their children early and often.  Now the question becomes a bit complicated - digital media has entered.  Too much screen time has other disadvantages - not just language acquisition .  The jury is still out.  Read the article and reflect on different viewpoints.

Is e-reading to your toddler story time or screen time?  Douglas Quenqua. 10.12.14. New York Times

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Are Paperwork & Other Duties Eating Up Your Time?

These days teachers have so much paperwork and administrative tasks. Many say little time is left to attend to the teaching/learning life of the classroom.   District regulations, test procedures, state level data requests, and many other building duties eat up valuable time. Yet we do it all!  We plan.  We differentiate  instruction.  We engage students by getting to know them academically, socially, and emotionally. What is left over?  Are we fully prepared to meet the new demands of Common Core Standards that we will be held accountable for? 
This article describes the life of many teachers who may have left the profession because of time demands beyond their ability to manage.  How do you manage your time? Please offer your opinions in Comments below and feel free to remain anonymous

A Teaching Reality Show:  Paperwork vs. Priorities.  Mary Tarashuk. 10.8.14. MiddleWeb


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Qualities of a Good Mentor

If you want a mentor or are a mentor yourself, here are some qualities that are essential for a good working relationship.  This applies to coaching as well as a PD activity - mentorship under a different term.
Author, Kimberly Long lists describes eight qualities that are essential. I'll list them here but please read the entire article. 
  1. Respect
  2. Listening
  3. Challenging
  4. Collaboration
  5. Celebration
  6. Truth
  7. Safety
  8. Empathy
Share your experiences with your colleagues.  What do you remember most about your mentor relationship(s)?

Eight Qualities of a Great Teacher Mentor.  Kimberly Long. 9.30.14.  Education Week - Teacher


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Interesting Survey About Common Core Implementation

The last 2 sentences are ones we should definitely remember....."Teachers don't shy away from a challenge, but they need support.. "We need to listen to them because nobody knows teaching like teachers."
This CC survey was underwritten by the publisher Scholastic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  To summarize results 68% of the respondents said implementation was going well, up from a year ago.  But 81% of the teachers indicated CC is challenging to implement.  For more details please read the article.
How do you fit in?  Are you adapting to CC?  How challenging is it for you?  What kinds of support would be welcome?  Please share your views in the Comments section below.

Survey:  Common Core standards working well.  Greg Toppo. 10.2.14. USATODAY