This week's post is all over the place (much like we are this time of year in the land of education). We've got math on the brain with a dive into teaching that uses literacy to improve math instruction and a TED Talk that every educator should see (regardless of the subject they teach). Plus, a look at the newest addition to the SAT, how teachers can bounce back from classroom "fails,"and the systemic problem of deepening school segregation in America. So take 5 and explore all the things we've been thinking about.
This week we are wrapping up our unit on the Holocaust and I thought that I would share the ways in which I guide my students through this difficult topic in the hopes of giving fellow history teachers, especially novice teachers, some ideas. It can be extremely challenging to teach middle school students about the Holocaust for a number of reasons. First, the subject matter is hard (and despite what people may think many of my students have not learned about it before) and can hit home for some students based on personal history. Second, this topic requires students to be their most mature selves (which can require a great deal of teacher guidance and modeling in the middle years). That said, if it is done right, these lessons of one of humanity's greatest tragedies can stick with them for life. I, like so many teachers, teach history not only because I love the subject but also because I feel like the lessons of our history -- if instilled in our young people -- can guide the world toward good. So here are some of the resources and ways that I teach the Holocaust. I hope that they might help you in your teaching journey.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to our BubbleUp Classroom Community. Whether you are a teacher or a parent, we have five, little creative ways to help kids celebrate the educators in their lives. With our desire to promote equity among our students, these ideas require no money from students or their parents (and just a small amount from the school or the PTA). Instead, they just take a caring, kind adult to gather supplies and give kids that spark. These activities are a win-win -- they model for kids the practice of thanking people and also give teachers a boost. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good gift card; but all students should have the chance to say they care no matter what their financial situation. That’s what this post is all about.
One of the elective classes we offer at our school is called Strategies for Success. It's designed to help students with organizational and study skills. Carla, one of our Strategies teachers, asked my co-librarian and I to develop a lesson on note taking to teach different note taking techniques -- we ended up with an activity that could be applied across content areas or used independently by students who want to explore different ways to take notes.
We've returned to school after spring break and found ourselves knee deep in the busiest time of year. We're in the final quarter, heading into state standardized testing, and racing to finish curriculum. Teaching is hard, we've talked about that before. But it is also incredibly rewarding so we need to take moments to find joy and to remind ourselves and our colleagues, that we do in fact love this work. This week's Take5 is all about helping us all find ways to bring joy and happiness into our classrooms for our students and into our own lives.
We're on Spring Break this week -- taking time to rejuvinate with our families and re-energize as we head into the end of the school year.
We'll see you back here next Tuesday!
-Corey & Gretchen
Aloha! If you are a regular reader of our blog, you've heard us reference our school's Literacy Committee. This committee consists of teachers from various content areas who work together to help embed literacy (reading, writing, discussion, and critical thinking) in all of our school's classrooms. We are in charge of a lot of professional development and it can be a real challenge to keep things new and engaging. We recently developed a fun, meaningful PD session that could easily be replicated in any building for any professional development content. It's the complete antithesis of sit and get professional development, blending the sharing of strategies (by the experts: educators) and a little whimsy. People walked away with new ideas and new energy, so all and all - a success! If you have a PD session to plan in your future, check out our Literacy Luau. We'll walk you step by step through what you need to do to make this a fantastic PD event for you and your colleagues.
This week's Take5 explores a new approach to grades, the problems created by extremely early lunch times in some schools (9 am, really?), and compassionate ways to manage your classroom. Also, we talk about new tech tools for the classroom and a dynamic resource from TED-Ed that gets kids using TED Talks to make connections beyond the classroom walls. So Take5.
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