This week's Take5 serves up a little of everything, kinda like the Thanksgiving Dinner you are all hopefully about to enjoy later this week. For a main course, we're offering up discussions starters to help reluctant learners explore why school matters and teacher strategies for improving student talk and student assessment. Looking for a side dish to accompany those strategies? Explore the history of Thanksgiving (the history teacher in me couldn't resist). And for dessert, a little time with one of our favorite Sesame Street Characters, Cookie Monster. So Take5 teacher friends and then enjoy your very well earned Thanksgiving break!
Last week I attended the Virginia Association for School Librarians (VAASL) Annual Conference. It's always hard to get away from school for a few days, but I think it's worth it if I am able to collect take-aways that really upgrade the work I do every day in my library program and my learning as a professional. And, as I am heading out this week to attend our big national conference, the American Association of School Librarians, I thought I'd pull together some of my tips for turning a good conference experience into a great one.
This week's Take5 is all about using different forms of "play" to enhance student learning and engagement. From the importance of recess to the value of integrating the latest craze into classroom instruction, this post offers ideas for meeting kids where they are. So Take5!
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.
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