A few weeks ago I was looking for something new to try with my students in our 1920's Unit. I think a critical part of teaching is to change things up -- to keep your teaching and in turn, student learning fresh and vibrant. Gretchen mentioned that her son Charlie was doing a Wax Museum Project in his 7th grade history class. Yes! This was the answer. I have to give a shout out to his history teacher (and my friend): Carrie Guild of Rachel Carson Middle School. Carrie -- If you're reading this know that learning about your project inspired me: thanks! I took the idea of a wax museum and ran with it. My students presented last week and it was a great success. This project has it all: collaboration, research, communication, creativity, learning, public speaking and technology. Plus, it is versatile and really will work for any unit involving a variety of influential people. I'm going to give you a little run down of what I did (with the help of our fantastic librarians: Gretchen and Susanna). I've also linked to a few resources and handouts. I hope the idea helps you in your lesson development -- when teachers share, great ideas BubbleUp!
BubbleUp Take5: Mental Health, Restorative Conversations, Capturing Student Voices, Discussion Strategies and Dogs!
This week's Take5 is full of strategies to promote student engagement and even more important, student well-being. From a new teaching practice -- Restorative Conversations -- to giving students a bigger voice in schools to the use of therapy dogs in classrooms across the country, we're focused on students' ability to communicate and to feel a sense of belonging at school. Together, we can all take steps -- big and small -- to help our students thrive not only academically but also emotionally.
Amy, an English teacher, facing the 8th grade Writing SOL (Virignia's standards of learning tests) in the upcoming weeks, came into the library with an idea to help her students review. She was armed with data from assessments showing the specific skills on which her students needed extra support and was hoping we could help her build a lesson. After some planning with Amy, Susanna (my co-librarian) and I delved into the 8th grade writing standards to figure out exactly what we needed to teach. What evolved was a review activity that surprised even us with the level of student engagement.
Definition of a #teacherfangirl: when Teacher A thinks Teacher B is so amazing that they spend time trying to teach more like Teacher A. In this situation, Cris Tovani, a talented, thoughtful English teacher (and book writer) with decades of teaching experience is teacher A and I am teacher B (but you probably figured that out by now).
Cris has been working with my school district over the past two years to improve our literacy programming. Consequently, Gretchen and I have had the chance to delve into her work and to hear her speak on multiple occasions. She's fantastic and has altered my teaching practice in so many positive ways. So for our 100th blog post (yes -- you heard me right -- one hundred!), Gretchen and I thought we would share the love by sharing with our readers some of the truths we've learned from Cris (yes, I can call her Cris because I am her #fangirl). Because as you know, when teachers share great ideas Bubbleup.
Happy Valentine's Day Week! While kids are busy handing out Valentines and eating treats, we're focused on improving classroom instruction and increasing classroom engagement. In this week's post we explore the "Tyranny of Being on Task", the power of Global Connections for students of all age, and what happens when legislators make laws without teacher input. Plus, we've got a guide for understanding SnapChat (your students get it, shouldn't you at least understand it?) and a way to better understand yourself: Are you a Curator or Dumper? So give yourself a Valentine and Take5 (hint: it pairs well with a piece of chocolate).
Strong, instructionally-focused school library programs are not shush-y places. They are loud, vibrant, and dynamic. Their librarians barely sit down during the course of a day -- juggling a whole range of classes, tasks, meetings, and responsibilities. And still, the perception persists that libraries are quiet and still. How do we break this stereotype? How do we provide evidence of the work we do each and every day? One answer is #LibraryHourbyHour.
Take5: The Great Cell Phone Debate, Wait Time, Mindfulness, Mistakes and some inspiration from Coach Kerr
This week's Take 5 is all over the place -- much like me as I wind up one semester and head gleefully into another. There are so many things to do and so many opportunities in the months ahead for you, me and our students. In this week's post, we explore the Great Cell Phone Debate (is there a right answer?), the Power of Mistakes, the need for Classroom Silence to promote thinking, and more. I hope this Take5 will challenge you to think differently or try something new. When we share, great ideas BubbleUp. So, Take5.
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