Sharing love of sports is a powerful tool for building relationships with students. My town of Washington, DC is currently obsessed with the Washington Nationals and their winning streak in the playoffs. Like so many other fans, I've on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Standing in silent frustration in a hushed stadium as we lost to the Dodgers 10-4 in Game 4 to jumping up and down in my living room multiple times in recent weeks as we managed to do what seemed impossible earlier in the season, including winning the Wildcard and advancing to the NLCS for the first time ever in the 10th inning with a grand slam (Howie is my hero). For baseball neophytes, the Nats are one game away from clinching a spot in their first World Series (not that it is going to happen - I don't want to jinx it). It's been such a fun ride for fans but one of the things that has brought me the greatest joy this season is the connection that this epic streak by the Nats has allowed me to make with my students. Believe me: sports moments like these are magic for classrooms. It's lightning in a bottle for relationship building.
This week's Take5 is focused on working to understand each other better. Recognizing racism in education, promoting #OwnVoices books about indigenous peoples, communicating with middle school students, the changing nature of parenting and childhood, and combating perfectionism. Check it out!
Do you know the game Telestrations? Great for parties, it's as if the the game "telephone" met up with Pictionary. Each player starts with a notebook and writes a word or phrase chosen from a game card. The notebooks then get passed around the table, the next person attempting to draw the word, then the next guessing the word only based on the previous drawing, and so forth. It's fun and full of laughs.
Karen, a math department colleague, came to my co-librarian and I with an idea for bringing Telestrations into her math classroom, and asked for our space and our support in making the idea come to life. Upon seeing this fun, engaging lesson and then teaching it with another math colleague, I am (with Karen's permission) excited to share this with you.
2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship's arrival on America's shores in Jamestown, Virginia. In my view, the commemoration of this tragic event presents teachers with a unique and timely opportunity to reevaluate and improve our teaching of slavery to students with a renewed commitment to truth, equity, empowerment, and understanding. For teachers who like me, are tasked with teaching this "hard" history, I am offering up some of resources. A few are designed for the classroom, others are simply resources for us as individuals to deepen our understanding of the nation's past and in doing so, in my view, shed light on our present and our future. So Take5.
As I prepare this year to send my own daughter to her first year of middle school, I am increasingly aware of the complexity of being a preteen (and teen) in 2019. There is a lot to navigate -- academics, extra-curricular activities, social-emotional well-being, friendships, and the ever present cell phone culture. I've always tried to build relationships with my students, but this year I want to double-down on this practice by giving kids even more outlets for reaching out to me for help or simply guidance. I'm not exactly sure what this will look like in it's entirety but here are some strategies that I plan on using (some old, some new to me). I hope they'll spark ideas for you about how to continue to strengthen your relationship with students.
This week, we're focused on technology. Of course, the instruction ALWAYS comes before the tool, but sometimes, you have an idea and just need to figure out the best way to bring that idea to life. We touch on app building, podcast recording, content curation, and share a music playlist. Take 5 and explore some tech tools with us!
An easy way to create an app? Yes please! I learned about Glide on the Hacking School Libraries Facebook group -- it's a neat little FREE tool that allows you to put togther an app using the contents of a Google sheet. What about a book recommendation app, built by your studnets? Or a guidebook for your school? An end product option for project based learning? The possibilities are limitless.
At BubbleUp Classroom, we love listening to podcasts. So what could be better than an easy-to-use tool for podcasting in the classroom! Synth is web-based so it's available across devices. They have built in safety features for students and offer lots of ideas for using this audio tool in the classroom. Check out this post from Class Tech Tips for more deatils.
Anchor is another podcasting tool with a few more features than Synth. Upload to social platforms, collaborate with co-hosts anywhere in the world, all free in this multi-platorm tool. Maybe this is the year to start that podcast you've been mulling over in your head!
Have you discovered Wakelet yet? It's a neat curation tool that allows your to build collections of information. I used it to archive and share out a few Twitter chats (both the conversation and the resources mentioned during the chat) such as this #vaslchat on the AASL Standards. You can bookmark content from across the web (articles, video, social media posts, images. etc) and then organize it in accessible way, adding text and captions. It's a great way to present information to students! And why as your students to curate collections as well?
I recently ran across this playlist on YouTube from Relaxing Records: "Study and Concentration Music." Each piece is at least 30 minutes (and some are an hour or more) to help with focus, concentration, memory and more. Great for kids who prefer to study with music or classroom ambient noise.
What tech-y things have been sparking your interest lately?
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Can you believe summer break is almost over? I know for many of our readers, school has already begun, but here in Northern Virginia, our students don't come back for a few more weeks. I, on the other hand, head back to work next week. And, even though summer ends every year, I'm feeling a bit stunned that it happened so fast this time around. It's hard for me to go from 0 to 60 on day one, so I'm focused this week on getting my school year mojo back. Here are some things on my to do list for the week as I prep to go back to the library.
We’re taking the week off to enjoy some vacation time! Wishing all our readers a bit of time to disconnect from #teacherlife at some point this summer before heading back to school!
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