We talk about the methods of great teaching and we talk about our objectives. One thing we don’t talk about enough is the physical proximity and presentation of our lessons.
Teaching can never be described as a simple endeavor. Planning lessons is a challenge that will always stupefy the greatest teaching minds. That doesn’t mean we give up though! Humility is a necessary ingredient in the dynamite teacher. If we ever reach a mental place where we feel we “have it wired” I think we will never reach our potential as educators. Through difficulty and yes, failure, we become great. Anyone who tells you failure isn’t a requisite for teaching greatness is not a great teacher in my opinion.
We talk about the methods of great teaching and we talk about our objectives. One thing we don’t talk about enough is the proximity and presentation of our lessons. Take this idea for example: say you have delivered guided practice to your class on a math topic for nearly 2 hours and you still do not see 80% accuracy in the kids. You might be tempted to blame them or even still yourself for not getting the lesson out in an effective manner. Quick, simple question:
“Where do you stand?”
Could it be possible the kids couldn’t see your numbers as you wrote them on the board? Could it be possible your glorious “steps” you created and taught were hidden from the students because the screen turns snow-blind at a given angle? Perhaps you should take the time to test and measure the proximity and presentation of your lesson before you begin. No time teaching kids is ever wasted. However, you can make the most of your time by deciding the answers to some of these questions before, during, and after your lessons:
- Can every seat see me and the content I am presenting? You might go to every seat with your content on the overhead to test this. Or, you might ask a colleague to pop in and test your visibility
- Where do you stand? You should know the blind spots you create with your body and/or writing hand.
- Is the overhead or document camera a better tool than standing at the board for the content you are delivering?
- Are your visuals big enough for the back to see.
After you have addressed question like these, you are more likely to produce a dynamite lesson. But don’t stop there. If you find yourself puzzled as to why kids aren’t getting it, you don’t have to wear yourself out asking questions like background checks for employment. Simply use proximity and presentation as a way to troubleshoot and pinpoint issues holding your teaching back. The reason you aren’t reaching all your kids may very well lay in the question: “Where do you stand?”
“This is going to be my restaurant,” the fifth-grader said proudly, without breaking her focus. “All my tables are different shapes.”
Ulloa, who attends Eagle Ranch Elementary in Victorville, created detailed plans for a pizza restaurant, which was just one of many group assignments that she and her peers have been tasked with doing in their GATE class.
According to Eagle Ranch Principal Peter Livingston, the school has started to implement the Common Core State Standards, an instruction method designed to teach students to develop higher-level thinking skills, especially in English, language arts and math. Livingston said that group-work is one of the trademarks of the new Common Core standards.
via Public schools gear up for new standards | standards, victorville, gear – Victorville Daily Press.
Professional evaluations for teachers can produce stress. However, focusing on the criteria for evaluation can alleviate much of that while also aiding professional growth toward becoming a more accomplished teacher. In this article I share a simple tip.
Teacher evaluations can produce stress. However, focusing on the criteria on teacher evaluations forms can alleviate much of that while aiding professional growth toward becoming a more accomplished teacher. In this article I share a simple tip. Throughout the teaching year, good teachers create and innovate daily to produce results in their students. The federal and state governments set goals for us and we strive to meet those goals, and hopefully exceed them. Unfortunately, during the time of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the goal was, and I am being 100% frank here, to have EVERY child in America score proficient on the same standardized test given each year. I never agreed with this goal for education but I have always striven to make it happen. Now that Obama and Arne Duncan are in office, I understand they are out to revise NCLB rules and expectations. That may be a good thing, time will tell. I can say the most trivial of teaching materials made a world of difference in my evaluation: a plastic desktop cover. Continue reading “Tip for Improving a Professional Teacher Evaluation”
I Love Charts – -aubspeters-deactivated20110825.
Common Core is the latest change that has teachers and families scurrying to absorb. Yes, it is the law of the law these days, the trend as well. Still, why get bent out of shape over something that is new and eventually, passing. The core standards of California are gone now, as an example. I internalized them along with teachers in the huge state I live in. We made progress toward goals and then they took the goals away. Any time there is change it causes stress. Technology is another thing that is causing millions of teachers to stress. This can, in turn, reduce the effectiveness of a teacher. Do you want to do that to your students? The reality is, rather than focus on the changing landscape of education, you can keep your feet securely planted. There are some things about teaching that will never change.
Ask yourself, “What do I do with my students throughout the year that always works?” One thing I do is an incentive program using trophies. No matter what Common Core steers us toward, we can go there with recognition and my trophy program in hand. I feel stability in that. I have some examples I use with candy, no I do not give my students candy, that help explain fractions. I will still use those. I teach kids to write through the graphic organizer of a hamburger. It works in a stellar way! I see growth in writing when I use this method. It will most assuredly be compatible with Common Core. Instead of letting fear take over and reduce your effectiveness as a teacher, remember you are still there to light torches. Those kids will not remember the standards framework you used to teach them, they will remember how comfortable you were as you took them through the often uncomfortable process of learning. Don’t focus on the new things coming down the pike for teachers, focus on the things you know that work. I feel confident in saying, those things will never change. Common Core and technology will work better for you when you’re professional, self-assured, and confident.
Most kids learn by seeing and they seem to be crying out “show me” when it comes to the abstract concepts. Today I wrote a quick mystery for my kids.
Teaching elementary students the writing and reading genres can be a real challenge especially when the genre is abstract like “mysteries.” It’s difficult to explain exactly what a mystery is and a good, short example of one can help immeasurably. Most kids learn by seeing and they seem to be crying out “show me” when it comes to the abstract concepts. Today I wrote a quick mystery for my kids. about writing on the bathroom wall. It was by no means intriguing or excellent. The students banded together to figure it out and in the end they reasoned it was a student to blame.
I then showed them the “twist” that it was really a bad substitute teacher who was the culprit. We had a lot of fun playing with the story. I asked tons of questions and in the end they knew what a mystery was. This genre is a California standard. You might see what you can come up with as a 1 minute mystery. Remember that kids of this generation see things on tv more than they read so a visual type of story you can tell them will be worth a lot more than a lecture.
Love this quote! Not just for teachers but especially us.
There has been a lot of talk about “merit pay” for teachers. I’m not here to debate the idea but I can tell you it has existed for years. I know because I have received it. You might wonder just how much I got. Well, it hasn’t been monetary. I hope this post is a bit more colorful than bragging about incentive money. For me, merit pay comes through watching kids “get it.” Let me elaborate. This is my audio visual desk where I do most of my teaching from. I also use a Mobi to travel around the classroom and control the laptop as well as the LCD projector remotely. These are all great tools but without a lesson plan strategy like EDI and a daily plan of what I plan to teach and assess, the fancy gadgets mean nothing. Continue reading “Satisfaction as Merit Pay”
One tradition of school I really like is Back to School Night. It’s a time for parents to come in and see how the teacher runs things. It’s a time for the families to start a connection with the school and the teacher. With non traditional activities running wild in education, this is one tradition worth keeping. Here are ten positives:
- Parents see the classroom as their kids do.
- Teachers get to hang out informally with parents and their students’ siblings.
- It’s a reminder to teachers that their walls are a gallery to be presented.
- Kids get to show their parents their space (desk, table …)
- Principals get to address a large set of parents.
- Families are made a priority by the school.
- Extra curricular booths can get exposure.
- Teachers get insight into the home life of their students.
- Teachers get to address their students’ families.
Distractions are the enemy of the teacher. Even an innocuous airplane outside of class can unravel all the learning done in one sitting. Kids are generally lured away from the flow of a lesson by distractions large or small. The point to remember is that you need to be able to steer the back into the flow of the lesson. There are several ways to do this and every teacher has to see what fits for their style as well as the needs of their class. Continue reading “Steering Kids Back to the Flow – Connecting to Jobs”