Cell phones. I want them out of middle school classrooms (and elementary school classrooms if by some chance they've made their way into the world of K-6 students). And no, I haven't always wanted them out. This is tech-loving me, doing a 180 degree reversal of where I stood a mere months ago. I once believed that phones were instructional tools that if managed correctly could enhance learning. But the research plus my experience this year has dramatically altered my thinking. Because I care about kids, about teaching and learning, about school communities, and equity, I want these cell phones gone - put in lockers from the moment the first school bell rings until the end of the day. So why the sudden change in my thinking?
Take5 touches on so many things that are at the forefront of my mind these days. First: cell phones. A believer in technology, I no longer think the value of cell phones outweighs the distraction. The research supports my view when it comes to middle schoolers. This week's post also explores the power of "math talk," poverty in wealthier school districts, how to spot and encourage teacher resiliency and how a school turned its hallways into a cure for antsy students.
We are thrilled to be featured on The Answer Key Podcast. This was a wonderful opportunity to talk with host Sandra Brennan about 21st century libraries and the power of collaboration. Plus, you know we are podcast obsessed so getting a chance to be in the studio and see all the bells and whistles behind the scenes was ah-mazing! So grab your earbuds and give it a listen. Yay!
Take5: Grading Made Easier, Underfunded Public Schools in Pictures, Design Thinking, How Librarians are Leading the Way and More.
This week's Take5 is all over the map (in a good way). We've got strategies for improving your grading practice. Seriously, it doesn't have to suck out the essence of your soul. We've got practical ideas for using Design Thinking in your classroom to stretch kids into problem solving as well as the BAAR strategy for creating a safety net for kids at the secondary level. We also focus on the news of the day, recent teacher strikes by taking a closer look at the have-nots in public education. Far too many of our schools and buildings are falling apart. The proof is in the pictures. Lastly, to end on a positive note - a powerful infographic about the multifaceted work of school librarians, because well, librarians rock. Happy Tuesday.
So one thing Gretchen and I firmly believe is that kids learn best by doing. Luckily, we work in a school where our fellow history teachers embrace this philosophy and as a result we do several history simulations throughout the year, including Ellis Island, Factory Life, and WWI Trench Warfare. We design our own simulations as a grade level team, as we've found that the ones you can purchase are well, expensive, and never quite exactly what we are looking for.
Today, in celebration of our 100th blog post (yes, I can't even believe it). We wanted to share one of our favorite simulations - The Oklahoma Land Run! We hope you can use it when teaching Westward Expansion. Feel free to use as is, or change it up to meet the needs of your students. When teachers share, great ideas BubbleUp; so let's giddy up and get going ya'll.
We're back from spring break and back to doing the job we love: teaching. While away last week, these articles, touching on wide-range of topics, caught my interest by offering ideas for improving best practices and student engagement. I hope something here will light a spark in you as we all jump into the final months of the school year.
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