Tradition vs. Tech as a Teacher

Below is an excerpt from a longer article I published on another blog. I think this concept is highly valuable to teachers.

It does a teacher no good to hang on to methods that are decades old when they don’t produce value. Some examples might be cursive or silent reading time. These have proven of little value in many people’s minds. Today’s teacher needs to use tech to teach explicitly and directly. As an innovative and creative teacher, I must prepare my students for the jobs and create data toward value. It’s not an easy job, but I know I will continue to be successful. I am willing to consider the data and ALL tools be they tech or tradition. The extent to which they add value toward my goals is the extent to which I use them.

via Tradition, Tech, Data and Value at Work.

Kids Getting to You?

When it comes to teaching, there are a couple disparate popular opinions. Some say teachers have it easy “playing with kids all day.” The other one holds that teachers have it worse than most jobs in that kids drive them crazy all day. Where do you fall along the spectrum? We should in fact be thankful to work with the citizens of tomorrow. That basis along is enough to inspire respect, in my opinion. At the same time, many teachers suffer ailments as a result of their job. The kids truly are “getting to” many out there in the occupation. I think every teacher I know gets frustrated and at the end of their rope sometimes. Here’s a few simple things you can do when the kids are getting to you:

  • breathe. I have found that many times when I am getting frustrated I am taking shallow breaths. Oxygen feeds the blood and the blood feeds the brain so make sure you are taking fairly deep breaths in between teaching.
  • imagine them as grownups. I don’t mean to expect more from them than what kids can do. I simply mean to gain empathy for them when you imagine what they’ll be when they grow up. This can also help motivate you knowing you are entrusted with such a calling.
  • find the humor. Let them be kids, and laugh at the things they do. Laughter is the best medicine sometimes.

Of course there are many other ways to “check your head.” Remember to be aware of when the kids are getting to you. Whether it is the quality of life you have at home or the doctor’s measures, you need to pay attention to the signs. In order to best serve the kids, you must make sure that you are happy and healthy first. The students will thank you for making the effort to be a “whole” teacher.

Introduction to Explicit Direct Instruction

A table of contents to a powerful and proven teaching method called Explicit Direct Instruction, or EDI.


IAT_CL1_PX00768Explicit Direct Instruction is a teaching method created by Data Works that uses proven scientific data to teach kids. It is a part of my dynamite lesson plan for teaching every day. This method has been used at my
school in teacher training with student achievement as a result.  Here is just one of a few examples of good edi lessons (Word format) you’ll find in this series.  Above is the table of contents to my posts describing the lesson plan steps in detail. Each step was created with the learning processes of kids in mind.  The goal of it was to foster student achievement in public school.  My hope is that this method will help you as it has helped me to create and teach dynamite lesson plans. You can access information on each step through the links above. I think you will find each component has a powerful place in student achievement.

Problem of the Day as Routine

teaching kidsI was so glad to hear that Common Core had less standards that the 1997 set in California. When you look at the pages of standards you have to teach in a year, it can produce anxiety. A reasonable response to that anxiety can be to schedule too much each day. It’s been said it’s better to aim at something and miss than to aim at nothing and hit your target. A problem of the day for math and language arts can seem miniscule but if done every day, you can get a lot done over a year. 185 standards covered in both ELA and math, that sounds good to me! I can feel anxiety lifting as I type it. If you go through them as a class, you have a different approach that isn’t possible all day long. Plus, the mind likes routines and chunks of information. All these things are the pros of doing a problem of the day. Continue reading “Problem of the Day as Routine”

Sports as Incentive in the Elementary Classroom

Classroom management and academics are the cornerstone of the elementary school classroom. For this reason, knowing ways to encourage and provide incentives is crucial. One way is to have a day in the week when you play a game with the kids who earn it.

We are currently trying something like this we call “Fun Friday.” Basically, all three homeroom classes have the opportunity play a game with me outside at the end of the week. To be part of it, they must have good behavior. This means they have not had any warnings or consequences the entire week It is working very well so far. The usual offenders are even coming to the fence and bragging when they are allowed to participate.

I have done three games so far: soccer, basketball, and dodgeball. So far, dodgeball is the most popular sport. The students always have an inside option to make a craft with another teacher. So far it’s been about 50/50. Not since I started teaching and leading them in dodgeball though. Continue reading “Sports as Incentive in the Elementary Classroom”

Team Tables Configuration

IMG_2544.JPGI’ve made a few significant changes to the way I run my classroom teams. I’ve added an element that is quite innovative, shared with me by teacher and Adelanto board candidate Carlos Mendoza. We had a great visit sipping Starbucks and telling teacher war stories when he suggested something unique with the help of a pencil and napkin. I started implementing it today. My classroom runs on the concept of competition. I have the kids seated at u shaped tables instead of desks. This is in hopes they will be more collaborative.

Continue reading “Team Tables Configuration”

Advice for Making an Edublog

dlpI started writing this blog in 2007. I’d been a personal blogger for a couple years but I knew very little about edublogs and what goes into them.

I did my best to scour the web and find samples through blogrolls, which are now all but extinct, and I found a few edubloggers I copied and branched ideas from. Blogrolls once made it very easy to hone in on a “niche” of blogs. If you happen to find one now, don’t get too excited until you’ve checked the links for which have gone dead. It’s likely to be many. In 2007, blogrolls and the blogger movement was beginning to die out itself. Well, I take that back, you still can connect with a lot of people on Twitter. Edublogging on social media is alive and well.

I insist there must be pockets of edubloggers out there doing what I do, which is primarily blogging, but the searches don’t yield them quite as easily as back then. If you are an edublogger, I implore and beg you to connect with me via comments and twitter. I am @cre8nnov8

I started this blog with a blogroll axis. That is, I read and commented on as many “cool” blogs I could find in education and hoped they would visit and comment on mine as well. It worked well at first. You might try a Twitter access? Just a suggestion. Hashtags are powerful as are searches for keywords.

When I check back through my early years of posting, I see many reciprocal comments as compared to now. So that leads up to my suggestions for you about starting a blog: network.  That got my edublog off the ground. If you want to stick around and get paid for your ads, you’ll HAVE TO study and use social media. It’s the table at which networking bloggers 2017 eat. Continue reading “Advice for Making an Edublog”

President Obama Signs Education Law, Leaving ‘No Child’ Behind : The Two-Way : NPR

Was given this link from a co-teacher. I had to post for those interested.

The new law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, changes much about the federal government’s role in education, largely by scaling back Washington’s influence.

Source: President Obama Signs Education Law, Leaving ‘No Child’ Behind : The Two-Way : NPR

My goodness this is some good news! I did not even know this was on the table. I guess I’m a bit jaded of reading education news from Washington. Maybe I better get back into it if stuff like this is happening! This is huge. My guess is change will be slowwww as always. We’ll still be judged by the Smarter Balanced. But at least it’s a ray of hope, a slant of sunshine that we can soon focus on the needs of the future citizens in our classrooms and not strategize 24/7 on how to hurdle the Common Core. For now though, that’s what 2-12 will have to continue to do until someone tells me otherwise. Thanks!

What Might Have Been and What Can Be

imageIn education, things are contantly changing. Some methods show up as new ones but they’re really just renewed from times past. We have to be comfortable with change. This isn’t just about technology, though it is true with that as well. Rather, it refers to Common Core and Madeline Hunter’s lesson plan and every other trendy style that has come down the pike with mixed results. We need to synthesize old and new based on the needs of the students. This is what makes us valuable. If we couldn’t do this, anybody could step into the classroom and pretend to teach. When things change a lot, there is bound to be a lot of failed attempts. We rely on those failures to learn what works. The key is to not give up. Keep your eyes on the prize. Continue reading “What Might Have Been and What Can Be”