International Teaching Offers Many Rewards
Ever thought of teaching abroad? Educators who’ve taken the leap to work internationally cite many advantages, both personal and professional, offered by the experience.
In an effort to provide greater access to museum treasures, Smithsonian Magazine has designated September 24 as Museum Day.
Book Review: Getting Started With LEGO Robotics
The field of robotics can be a bit intimidating. Few debate the merits of robotics education—a powerhouse combination of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Yet putting together a lesson that is appropriate for younger students can be a challenge.
With everyone getting ready to come back to school, administrators and teachers are looking at improving some of the ways they bring health and fitness into the classroom. Given that it is also the start of the football season, it seems logical to highlight a program from the NFL that specifically targets kids in school.
More than 3 million students representing over 4,200 schools across the United States participated inLet’s Move in School in celebration of National Physical Education and Sports Week.
Site Review: Dictionary.com
Dictionary.com offers free, comprehensive definitions definitions of any word in the English language. The site also has a word of the day and various word-based games.
You've Been Cited: Valid Internet Sources for Student Research
When a student cites a Web site in a report, it’s important for teachers to know the difference between content written by a professional (who did proper research himself) and “crowd-sourced” content.
Student Cheating Goes Digital
In the 1940s, sneaky students used crumpled scraps of paper called crib sheets, and strained glances at the test next to them. Now the tools of the trade are mobile phones and miniature Bluetooth headsets.
Don’t Just Sit There: Use Detention Wisely
What should students be doing in detention so that they are less likely to end up there again? Ask teachers, and their opinions may be as varied as the students themselves.
Is Teaching Still a Shirt-and-Tie Profession?
The continued casualization of America, coupled with increased pressure to set a good example, have left teachers reconsidering the wardrobe they have while trying to upgrade on a limited budget.
Top 11 Teachers’ Pets
EducationWorld has taken a look at some of the more memorable classroom sycophants and come up with the 11 best. Here you’ll find not necessarily the most beloved characters, but certainly those who have most resonated with viewers.
For many students, “homework” equals “tedious.” Some educators are stepping up to change that perception and redefine the role hoomework plays in the educational process.
When is Bullying a Hate Crime?
This provocative piece, contributed by EducationWorld guest columnists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, dispels common myths about bullying.
What's the Best Path to Student Career Readiness?
Preparing students for post-secondary life is a critical priority for teachers, parents, students and corporate executives. So how, as a nation, do we get there? A recent MetLife survey offers clues.
Top 10 Presidential Addresses of All Time
EducationWorld decided to take a look at presidential speeches and come up with a definitive list of the 10 most important.
Japan Relief Efforts Get Creative Twist
Students use fresh ideas--including benefit concerts, origami pledge drives and math problems--to aid disaster relief efforts in Japan.
Top 10 Movies Featuring Educators
When it comes to Hollywood depictions, few professions are highlighted as frequently as that of educator. Here’s a fresh look at the best movies about education.
Student Fitness: What Can Schools Do?
American students are bigger, slower and sicker than ever before. This epidemic has prompted schools to take an active role in reversing the sedentary lifestyles of many young people.
Employers Vexed Over Unprepared Grads
As high schools across the country churn out class after class of eager young minds, the nation's employers complain that too many are ill-prepared.
Social Media in the Classroom?
In this information age, we can now talk to each other in ways we never imagined. Teachers and administrators face a new challenge, however, as they try to find a way to safely incorporate this technology in the classroom.
My Favorite Joke
We asked the Education World Tech and Teacher Teams, "What is your favorite teacher joke? This is what they told us...
A Token Economy and Fifth Grade Financiers
Students in Beth Moore's classroom know what to expect if they break class rules -- a big, fat fine! That's business as usual in a classroom where everyone receives a salary, maintains a checkbook, and designs and sells goods in the class store.
Planning Your Retirement
Everyone is concerned about how much money they will need to retire. While that is important, its not the first question you need to ask yourself. The first question to consider is, What am I going to do with the time?
Five Ways to Make Quizzes Fun for Students
As you prepare your next quiz, use these five tips to create a quiz that will help students receive the best possible score while having fun completing it.
Project Appleseed Grows Parent Involvement
On National Parental Involvement Day 2010, Kevin Walker, the founder of the organization that created the holiday, advises schools not to lament the lack of parental involvement, but to use the day to invite parents to do more.
My Favorite Teaching Tool
We asked the Education World Tech and Teacher Teams, "What is your favorite new (or newly discovered) teaching tool? This is what they said...
Write It; Live It: Six Steps to Help Kids Write Their Own Lives
The most effective way to help students discover their own passion is by having them write their own life stories -- ahead of time.
Starring Sue Bailey
Eighth grade animators show Newton's laws at work through Apple's Keynote software.
Letters Connect Generations
A pen pal program involving Utah fifth graders and senior citizens has created new connections between the generations and introduced students to the almost-lost art of formal letter-writing. The program is benefiting the entire community.
Differentiated Instruction, Flexibility Make Multi-Age Classes Work
Multi-grade classes sound like a lot of work for teachers. But by regularly assessing students, differentiating instruction, and using flexible groupings, the experience can be revitalizing for a teacher. Included: Tips for planning lessons in multi-grade classes.
Chatting the USA: Building Understanding Through Web Conferencing
Last year, third graders in Brewer, Maine, conversed through Web conference with classes from Florida to Alaska. Intrigued by their differences, it was the many similarities the children shared that forged a special connection among them.
Place-Based Education Turns Towns into Classrooms
Place-based education projects get students involved in their learning and expand their perspectives of their community as they tackle real-world issues. The projects re-energize teachers as well. Included: Explore a handful of place-based education projects.
Financial Advice for Teens: What Pro-Athletes Dont Know About Money
Adults should make it their business to teach young people that its not how much you make that ultimately determines your financial success in life, but rather what you do with what you make.
When dealing with bullying in your classroom, be sure that every act of discipline provides an opportunity for bullies to discover their own compassion and develop it as they would a muscle.
Form or Function? The Never-Ending Debate
For years, the distinction between website building and website design has caused disagreement in schools: Should we teach students how to design an aesthetically pleasing website or how to implement the technical aspects of a site?
Books in the Home Can Predict a Childs Education Level
The presence of books in the home has a greater influence on a childs level of education than does parents income, nationality, or level of education. A 20-year study shows how investing in books can make a big difference.
Schools Crayon Factory Offers Hands-On Economics Lessons
The challenge of teaching economics to second graders got easier at one Virginia school when a teacher created a crayon factory that allows students to learn first-hand about raw materials, producers, consumers, natural resources, and marketing.
Social Networking Tips for Teachers
Social networking in the classroom? Absolutely, says Facebooks chief security officer Joe Sullivan. Its educational and safe -- if you follow the rules.
An Inspiring Teacher Draws Inspiration from Students
Finding ways to put students at the center of their own learning and helping them find their passions are just some of the reasons Sarah Brown Wessling was named the 2010 National Teacher of the Year.
Goal Setting Made Easy
Teaching students how to set goals is easy with Goal Setting 101, a 3-part article that describes the process, and the Goal Tracker booklet, a student journal for recording goals and focusing on action steps.
My New (School) Years Resolutions
We asked the Education World Tech and Teacher Teams, "What are your resolutions for the 2010-2011 school year -- professionally speaking? How will you become a better employee... colleague... educator... mentor this year?" This is what they said...
Technology Closes Distance Between Kids, Schools
In the not-so-distant past, students had pen pals in other states and countries to learn about life elsewhere. Now with the help of Skype and other technology, kids are able to chat and work on assignments with students from across the district or across the world.
Using Quizzes to Measure Teaching Effectiveness
Quick quizzes throughout the day can help teachers assess the effectiveness of their instruction as well as student understanding of the concepts taught. Online quiz-making software can significantly simplify the entire process.
School Photo Day Made Easy
Do your school photos make you cringe? Professional photographer Linda Russell shares with teachers, parents, and students her tips for creating frame-able -- and embarrassment-free -- school portraits.
Even young students can develop healthy habits of saving toward short-term and long-term goals, and intermediate students can learn to research and invest virtual money in the stock market.
Dont Go Back to School Without a Flu Shot
As teachers and administrators finalize all the last-minute details for the start of a new school year, the American Lung Association wants them to remember to include an influenza vaccination in their back-to-school preparations.
Designing Schools That Enhance Student Learning
The average school and classroom designs havent changed in decades, but some architects maintain that a few renovations could make classrooms more student-centered and lead improvements in test scores.
Math Questions Worth Asking
Let's look at the qualities of questions that call on higher order thinking skills and consider how we can infuse our math classes with questions and activities that target those skills.
Using A Star Chart to Teach English Language Learners
I tend to think that helping teachers develop a vision, a way of thinking, a cultural orientation, may be more effective in improving their professional practice than endless checklists and long lists of techniques.
Creating Learning Communities: A Model for Ongoing Professional Development
The professional development model presented here represents an easy-to-implement program that makes disseminating information all the more personal, practical, and applicable.
Creating Learning Communities: Reaffirming our Roles as Lifelong Learners
Creating Student Engagement
The process of creating a learning community involves a step-wise, top-down process that recognizes that professional development programs need to combine an element of self-directedness, as well as connect to the collective environment.
To create student engagement, the teacher must succeed in managing both discipline and instruction. If kids are goofing off, you wont get much engagement.
Spreadsheets: A Dynamic Path to Understanding Math
A spreadsheet program might be one of the most underappreciated assets on nearly every computer. Let's take a look at what we can gain from using spreadsheets in a classroom math program.
Starring Kevin McDaniels
Wii improves coordination and social skills in students with special needs.
Teaching Place Value With Arrow Cards
Arrow cards are a set of place value cards with an "arrow" or point on the right side. Students can organize the cards horizontally or vertically to represent numbers in expanded notation, or overlap cards and line up arrows to form multi-digit numbers.
Recycling Activities Turn Trash Into Treasure
In one Indiana art class, students create glamorous ensembles from recycled rubbish and strut their stuff on the runway. A Spanish club in Missouri makes money and serves a need in the community by operating its own recycling center.
Teachers Trade Space, Traditional Fixtures for Fitness
Teachers in North Carolina have made room for exercise bikes in their classrooms. Educators in Minnesota use "standing desks" or stability balls in lieu of student chairs. Strategies vary but the objective remains the same -- healthier kids.
Teaching the Mathematics of Music
Drawing parallels between pop music and math concepts is a great way to reinforce cross-curricular concepts while using a strong mental hook to keep students attention. Try these simple ideas to incorporate music or mathematics into your next lesson.
Harry Potter, Magic Hook Kids on Science
As a new teacher, Alan McCormack turned to magic to conjure up more student interest in his science lessons. Then, when the Harry Potter books appeared, he wove aspects of those books into his lessons. His students were enchanted.
Iditarod Turns Kids' Brains to Mushing
Alaska's Iditarod sled dog race is set to begin, and Herb Brambley, Target's "Teacher on the Trail" will be there to share firsthand experiences with students and teachers. Don't miss out on this annual "teachable moment" from the "Land of the Midnight Sun."
Picturing Mental Math
We can help students become more mathematically literate by giving them the tools for quick mental math and by modeling those tools concretely. Think of it as mental math with training wheels.
Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners -- Part 6
Resilience is an essential construct to consider when working with children in an educational capacity because learning and behavioral difficulties can be devastating to a childs self-esteem and identity as a new learner.
Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners -- Part 5
At the very foundation of all creativity is novelty; being able to bring something new and fresh to what already exists. Creativity should exist in what we think and believe, as well as in our actions.
Math Problem Solving With Pictures
We teach students many problem-solving strategies, but probably the most powerful and flexible problem-solving strategy is, "Make a picture or diagram." Picturing a problem often is the key to helping students understand the problem and identify a solution.
The Heart of Mathematical Thinking
This Valentine Hearts Investigation engages students in collecting data, making predictions, and graphing. Included: A student worksheet, student data chart, and a Smartboard example of student work.
Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work with All Kinds of Learners -- Part 4
Connection is a product of mastering the skill of being present. It is the ability to observe, interact, and affect the individuals with whom you co-exist. You can connect because you are aware, which makes you emotionally available to the young children in your class.
Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners -- Part 3
The path toward increasing your ability to be more present in the classroom can be enhanced by taking the time to (a) pay attention/observe, (b) breathe; and (c) be gentle.
Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners -- Part 2
The notion of self-awareness is a concept we believe to be salient whenever questions of relatedness to people or the management of people (especially children) is involved.
Mindfulness in the Classroom: Five Skills That Influence Your Ability to Work With All Kinds of Learners -- Part 1
In this series, we will examine the way an educators understanding of his or her mode of being with young children in the classroom can influence his or her ability to support a diverse population of young learners.
Children's Museums "Exhibit" Educational Outreach
If you aren't lucky enough to have a children's museum nearby, you might be surprised to discover that many museums dont just open their doors to actual students and teachers; they also reach out to those who can't visit in person.
Enhanced Visual Instructional Plans
A Visual Instructional Plan is a set of step-by-step visual prompts that provide an outline of what a student is expected to do. I'd like to propose an adaptation that also includes a thinkingprompt.
A Parent Engagement Model That Works
Parent engagement efforts have resulted in the formation of school/community gardens, increased affordable housing opportunities, safer neighborhoods, better economic opportunities, and increased student achievement.
Teacher Feature: Starring Diana Solis
A little competition motivates beginning readers.
I Can Create Lightning
A demonstration of static electricity and how it's involved in lightning and weather.
This Old Lounge
If your teachers lounge leaves something to be desired, learn from expert Evette Ros and talented teachers and community members who have donned their tool belts and remodeled their lounges affordably.
My Soil Has Layers!
A demonstration of the properties of soil and a related discussion about the principals of density and sedimentation.
Speak Up or Burn Out: Five Crucial Conversations that Drive Educational Excellence, Part 4
Regularly engaging in healthy crucial conversations can be enormously helpful, not only in avoiding being consumed, but also in restoring much of the meaning and joy that attracted teachers to education in the first place.
My Teacher Caused an Earthquake
An introduction to the topic of seismic waves produced by earthquakes -- using cardboard and an old bowling ball.
Speak Up or Burn Out: Five Crucial Conversations that Drive Educational Excellence, Part 3
Five crucial conversations drive educational excellence while preventing teacher burnout. The last three of those conversations concern uncooperative colleagues, unsupportive parents, and students with discipline problems.
Speak Up or Burn Out: Five Crucial Conversations that Drive Educational Excellence, Part 2
Five crucial conversations drive educational excellence while preventing teacher burnout. The first two of those conversations concern unsupportive leaders and failing teachers.
Speak Up or Burn Out: Five Crucial Conversations that Drive Educational Excellence, Part 1
Teachers can master the stressors in their environment by engaging more consistently and more effectively in five conversations that are common, impactful and, too often, undiscussable.
Eco-Friendly School Supplies
It's time again to stock the classroom with supplies for a year's worth of learning -- and the choices you make can make a difference. Discover some unique, smart, and planet-friendly must-haves for this school year.
Dimes for Charity
In Linda Biondis fourth grade class, positive behavior earns dimes for charity. And Dimes for Charity demonstrates what can happen when children believe in the power of doing the right thing.
To help classroom teachers make the most of recess, even when the weather doesn't cooperate, author and PE expert Guy Bailey shares some of his favorite games.
When, instead of passively receiving and believing everything we tell them, students become hungry to convince and to be convinced, they become active learners.
Teaching with Rap
Educators from California to New York say that raps lively lyrics, meaningful messages, and familiar beat can be powerful tools for learning.
No Fuss Green Projects
Students at The Park School in Brookline, Massachusetts, participate in "green" projects that capitalize on their energy and commitment, but don't overtax their busy school days.
Tying Read Alouds to Standards
This list of suggested activities and strategies will help you make every read aloud count, and assure your principal that you are focused on meeting standards.
Rainforest Rescue: The Earth Foundation Project
Its important that our youth understand the impact of rainforest destruction and become part of the solution. The Earth Foundation project is one way they can do that.
Ask Dr. Shore…About a Student With a Hearing Impairment
What can I do to help a student with a hearing impairment?
Success 101 for Teens: Seven Traits for a Winning Life
Seven traits that will help todays teens make the most of their lives.
The Heart of Mathematical Thinking This Valentine Hearts Investigation engages students in collecting data, making predictions, and graphing.
Brain-Friendly Teaching: Putting Brain-Friendly Strategies to Work
Marilee Sprenger discusses how to put brain-friendly strategies to work in the classroom and how teachers can avoid their own senior moments.
Brain-Friendly Teaching: From Sensory to Long-Term Memory
"BrainLady" Marilee Sprenger follows a seven-step process for taking information from students sensory memory to long-term memory.
Brain-Friendly Teaching: Strategies to Improve Memory
Neuroscience expert Marilee Sprenger shares what teachers need to know about the brain to help students learn and remember.
Teach Outside Your Comfort Zone
Comfort is comfortable, but its not the goal. The goal is constant and never-ending improvement.
Positive Discipline Management: Tips for Successful Implementation
Training is the easy part of effective professional development. The hard part is follow-through. Follow-through requires organizational change to support personal change.
Start Your Engines
Merging his life-long love of racing and a classroom of fourth graders, teacher Tom Stock created a winning learning combination.
Teach It Forward and Reap It Forever
Sometimes the smallest gifts are the greatest gifts. I should know, because my physical education teacher made an impact on my life that I have never forgotten.
Mr. Cover's Class Reviews: A "Real World" Application for Reading
In response to his students' lack of enthusiasm for and skill with nonfiction, reading teacher Millard Cover introduced "Mr. Cover's Class Reviews," a project in which students become product testers and reviewers and publish their findings online.
Teacher's Travels Inspire Young Artists
Last summer, art teacher Tim Wallace hit the road on a driving tour of America's national parks. Along the way, he inspired his students to create art and to maintain their own sketchbooks about their summer travels.
Friendship for Floating Teachers
Former "floater" Jodi McKay knows the challenges faced by teachers who have no classroom to call their own. To support those educators, she created an online forum that allows floating teachers to share their stories, advice, and more.
Building on the Power of Incidental Vocabulary Learning
Incidental learning plays a critical role in vocabulary acquisition. Researchers Nagy and Scott point to three characteristics of word knowledge critical to understanding incidental learning and vocabulary instruction in general. They are
The Wonderful World of Words
Incidental vocabulary learning requires support every day of the school year, even when you intentionally teach selected new words as well. The surest way to include incidental learning is to plan for it.
Goal Setting 101: Setting Individual Goals
You dont have to wait to achieve a class goal before teaching students to set personal goals. The steps of the process are the same, although youll need to approach the task a little differently.
The Hidden Side of Strategic
Using only direct instruction to teach vocabulary can over¬whelm you as a teacher and be too shallow an approach for students.
Freedoms and Responsibilities
Your goal should be to empower students to take a part in their own learning while being held accountable for their behavior and work product. That can be developed through a system of freedoms and responsibilities within the classroom.
Goal Setting 101: The Process in Action
As any effective teacher knows, telling isnt teaching. The best way to help students see the goal-setting process in action is to set a class goal and work together to achieve it.
Goal Setting 101: Understanding the Process
Many of us never were taught how to set goals for ourselves, and we only discovered the power of goal setting later in life. But with a little creativity, we can adapt the strategies used by successful adults and share them with our students.
FugleFlicks Give New Meaning to "Art Film"
Making movies to teach art concepts has transformed Tricia Fuglestad's teaching and the way her students learn.
Dealing with the Unexpected
No set of skills comes with a guarantee. Certain individuals in certain situations will respond atypically. In this segment, we will examine a type of child whose response to you meaning business will be the opposite of what you might expect.
Teachers are human and we lose our cool sometimes. Occasionally losing it is an understandably human response to the incessant flow of life pressures and the demands of the classroom. Perhaps, though, we can lose ourselves in song instead.
What Are You Paying Attention To?
I tell my friends when they question my sanity (which is quite often) concerning teaching and my ability to maintain a positive attitude, I have a simple choice: I either can focus on whining about teaching or I can focus on winning as a teacher.
Keeping Your Cool Amid Classroom Chaos
Can there possibly be a job more stressful than teaching? We asked members of the Education World Tech Team for their suggestions for keeping ones cool despite career challenges and classroom chaos. Discover what they told us.
Total Reader: How Cool is That?
How cool is your reading assessment program? And does it merely assess current reading performance or, like Total Reader, the program used by Nancy Colemans students, does it improve reading performance as well?
Voice of Experience: Creating a Better World
Felicia Arnold reflects on the mandate of the 60s. Did the baby boomers in fact make this a better world?
Cathy Puett Miller: Teaching Writing as a Process
There are, in the real world, many ways to edit, revise, and organize writing. We help students develop strong writing skills when we not only teach them the steps in the process, but also guide them while they take risks and explore.
Teacher Feature: Starring: Harold Olejarz
Sixth graders illustrate poems through digital video productions.
Eric Baylin: Oh, Lunch Duty
This song was inspired by my opportunity to perform weekly lunch duty during a high school lunch period. I can manage my classroom well enough, but amid the lunchtime fries and frenetic conversations, I hold little sway. Whats left but to put my woes to song?
Math Chat: Fall Math
Fall presents special opportunities for bringing math to life in meaningful ways, as students observe and quantify changes in the world around them. Discover a windfall of math activities related to leaves, weather, and the changing seasons.
Teacher Feature: Starring: Marianne Williams
Third graders celebrated birthdays with a sing and cha-ching!
Emma McDonald: Become a Task Master
As a new teacher, its easy to become overwhelmed by the number of activities and tasks that fill your time. Its all too easy to let your tasks control you. Thats where time management comes in. Strive to be a task master -- the master of your own time.
Teacher Feature: Starring Chris Quist
Fifth graders play "Deal or No Deal" for Friday assignments.
Good to Be Green
Little Gerry Green Thumb has applied to become the newest character in Nursery Rhyme Kingdom. A committee of current characters reviews his application and interviews him. Will they look beyond his unique appearance and accept him into their group?
100 Report Card Comments
It's report card time and you face the prospect of writing constructive, insightful, and original comments on a couple dozen report cards or more. A daunting task? Not with Ed World's help! Included: 100 positive report card comments for you to use and adapt.
Fred Jones: Teaching Rules and Routines
"Research has repeatedly shown that teachers with the best run classrooms spend most of the first two weeks of the semester teaching procedures and routines... A wise teacher knows that spending time on procedures early in the semester saves time and energy in the long run. Prevention is always cheaper than remediation."
Teach Like Every Day Is Christmas
The night before every new school year, I get to be a child again by re-living Christmas Eve. Because when I arrive on the first day of school, I have approximately 25 to 30 gifts waiting waiting to be opened. And theyre ALL mine.
Before you can teach the child, you have to reach the child.
What Teaching Matthew Taught Me
When I stopped seeking Matthew out to say a friendly hello in the morning, the students stopped too. When I snapped commands at him, they snapped too. I was treated to a painful refresher lesson about the strength of modeling.
The Art of Language
Addressing the language of luck.
The Web and Teacher Growth
Do todays classroom teachers have a shelf life? Is it possible that teacher "restlessness" is a natural consequence of life-long learning? Does being on a constant learning curve alter the persona of our profession? How has the Internet contributed to that change?
Move Up Before You Move In
Dealing with difficult situations.
Newman Elementary School colleagues learn by observing one another.
Top 10 Reasons to Build Students Moral IQ
Moral Intelligence is what helps youth act right with or without our guidance, and the best news is that this critical intelligence can be taught. Here are 10 reasons why we must build our students Moral IQ.
Podcast for Free on a PC
Dont let Mac users have all the fun. Teachers and students can record, upload, and share online recordings called podcasts using just a classroom computer or even a phone.
Lesson Study Can Improve Teaching, Learning
Through lesson study, teachers learn to work together to develop, teach, and refine a lesson. While this can mean breaking old teaching habits, the authors of a guide to lesson study say the result is improved instruction and student learning.
Ten Things Everyone Needs to Learn
Your school will try to teach you the facts you'll need to pass their tests, but schools won't teach you the things you really need to learn to be successful. What are they? Stephen Downes offers a list of his top ten things you need to learn.
Breaking the Homework Habit
The ideas that homework reinforces classroom lessons, helps children develop good work habits, and improves student achievement have no basis in fact, says Alfie Kohn. Homework should be assigned selectively rather than automatically, he says.
Christian Miller was moving uneventfully through his day of subbing third grade. When it was time for the spelling test, students sprang from their chairs to get their blockers. "What are blockers?" asked the surprised sub before teaching his students a lesson in integrity.
Creating Your Own Web Site
Bernie Poole provides 11 easy-to-read handouts designed to lead you or your students step-by-step through the process of creating a content-rich education-oriented Web site.
"You Must Remember This"
We asked members of the Education World Teacher Team "If you could give a brand new teacher just one piece of advice, what would it be?" Discover what they told us.
Talking to Your Students
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller on improving your Teacher Talk vocabulary.
"Write" on Target
In its weekly "Teacher Feature," Education World highlights neat activities and classroom practices from educators in all locations and at all levels. Recently, three educators who have enjoyed the spotlight in this feature shared some writing-based activities that they and their students love. From hall graffiti to a winter memoir, these activities will have your students, too, penning with pleasure.
A Defining Moment
Regardless of when it occurs or the context in which it happens, the first occurrence of a mistake is a defining moment in each educator's career. How a teacher handles the event can set the tone for the rest of the school year.
Summer Reading Picks
What's on your summer reading list? Members of the Education World Teacher and Tech Teams share their favorite books for professional development, personal information -- and pure pleasure.
How to Accentuate Respect and Eliminate Disrespect in Students
The secret of learning new character-building behaviors is that such behaviors are "caught" by watching others do them well. The secret of teaching new character-building behaviors is to tune up the behavior you want to be caught and accentuate it.
This month, we asked members of the Education World Teacher Team to share with us the activities, lessons, projects, games, and so on that they save for the end of the year, to use either as a culminating activity or to create a memory of the year for their students.
Schools and Online Social Networking
Most educators working with middle and high school students are aware of the explosive involvement of youth on social networking sites. Few are prepared to deal with it. In this article, Nancy Willard discusses the risks and benefits of such sites and offers schools a comprehensive approach to addressing student Internet access.
Five Steps to Teaching Any Character Trait
How do we help students develop strong character? The answer is found in this premise: Character traits are learned; therefore we can teach them. Building students' character, however, involves five steps. Learn what they are and how to accomplish them.
Professional Learning Communities
Professional learning communities are teams of educators systematically working together to improve teaching practice and student learning. Learning communities are characterized by shared values and vision, collaboration, and support. Learn more!
Teaching and Learning Online
Whether you're planning on taking or teaching an online course -- or pursuing an online degree -- you won't want to miss this Teacher Team article, in which our resident experts talk about their online teaching and learning experiences.
Tap In to Tapped In
You've heard about it. You've read about it. Friends and colleagues have raved about the professional development opportunities it provides through ongoing events, groups, and chats. But you still haven't visited yourself. What are you waiting for?
Learning Takes Center Stage in Second Grade Opera Company
When Ellen Levine saw firsthand the benefits of having students create, stage, and perform an original opera, she couldn't have known that she would become part of a dynamic teaching team in a classroom with opera at its center.
Predictions for Education in 2006
What will 2006 bring for the field of education? Will change sweep through departments of education, state legislatures, and the federal government? Is there anything pending on the parent front? Will teachers shift consciousness? Check out these authors' predictions!
My Other Kids
"When a small private school took a chance on me, I spent the first semester scared to death," says writer and educator Gregory Keer. "Every day, I walked into class thinking, 'What if they find out that I'm a fraud?' How are things going now, four years later?
NCLB Up Close and Personal
How has NCLB affected how and what you teach? Has it improved student progress? Closed the achievement gap? Created better students who are better prepared to face the future -- and succeed in it? The Education World Teacher Team tells it like it is.
A Safe and Orderly Environment
"That's a put-down," John Ash tells his students. "We don't use put-downs. We tell the other person how we are feeling and what we want to happen." Can Ash's strategy help you eliminate put-downs from your classroom too?
Lessons in Service Learning
Do today's U.S. schoolchildren represent one of the most socially active generations in history? We asked members of the Education World Teacher Team to tell us about their students' community-service attitudes and activities.
School-Wide Rules Creation
Learn about one school's efforts to improve school climate by developing a more consistent approach to discipline from classroom to classroom and in common school areas, such as the playground, lunchroom, and hallways.
Who's Fault Is it, Anyway?
Students who fail to make the connection between effort and results attribute their successes and failures to someone or something other than themselves. Successful students see their successes as something they can influence.
Parents and Teachers Working Together
How do you establish and maintain a good working relationship with your students' parents? The Education World Teacher Team shares their strategies for increasing parent involvement and ensuring parental support.
The important issue to help children understand about tattling is not when to report. Nor is it what to report. The critical decision involves who to report to. We must help children learn to report to the right person.
Responsive Classroom: Investing in Parents During the First Six Weeks of School
Investing in parents as well as children during the critical first six weeks of school yields better school-home interactions all year, enriches classroom life, and enhances children's learning, say the authors of Parents & Teachers Working Together.
Tools for Teaching: Bell Work
Bell Work is the work that students are doing when the opening bell rings. It's the work that separates the classroom from the world of play. It's the work that provides purpose to the process of "settling in." Dr. Fred Jones explains how Bell Work can add teaching and learning time to your day.
Schools Bring Professional Development In-House
More districts are getting away from generic professional development -- the "spray and pray" approach -- in favor of their own professional development programs targeted to their needs and presented by their staff.
Coaching Teachers to Success
Staff development teachers in the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools are coaches, mentors, and on-site resources for classroom teachers. Many bring years of teaching experience and a desire to help their peers do the job.
Tools for Teaching: Starting the New School Year
On the first day of school, the first question in students' minds is, "Who are you?" Their second question is, "Who are they?" Students do better in class when they are comfortable, relaxed, and "at home." A very good reason to devote the lion's share of your first class period of the year to creating comfort.
The Ten Best Education Conferences
What's the best education conference you've ever attended? The Education World Teacher Team describes their favorite conferences -- and their favorite conference speakers. Included: Ten top conferences and five inspiring speakers.
Could I Pass the Haberman "Star Teacher" Test?
Martin Haberman's research reveals that not just anyone can or should teach in high-poverty schools. Brenda Dyck decided to see if she has what it takes! She took Haberman's "Star Teacher" test, and now she shares the results.
Venable School Builds "Able" Bodies
At Venable Elementary in Charlottesville, Virginia, students are encouraged to adopt healthy habits of physical fitness and nutrition through exciting programs that begin in phys ed class. Included: A guide to Venable's fitness and nutrition programs.
Kickball, Calisthenics, and Composition?: Writing Fits in with Phys Ed
Writing assignments are starting to turn up in all kinds of courses -- but in physical education classes? For sure! While kids get fit, their instructors are using writing to help them focus on the goal of overall fitness. See how students in your school can exercise their bodies and their writing skills in phys ed!
Readiness Differentiation: Daring to Get Back on My Bike
Max Fischer compares his first steps at creating a differentiated classroom to learning to ride a bike. Differentiating without drawing attention to students' ability levels has been the biggest challenge.
"You Must Remember This"Teaching with Mnemonics
Using mnemonics to help students "file" information more effectively makes it possible for them to retrieve material more easily. Discover some classic mnemonics and some teacher-created originals. Included: Tips for creating your own memory tools.
Do You Have What It Takes to Teach in a High-Poverty School?
If better teaching causes more learning, is it ethical for excellent teachers to refuse to teach in high-poverty schools? Brenda Dyck ponders this sticky question. Plus! Take a "test" to learn if you have what it takes to teach in a high-poverty setting.
Coding and Quilting the Elements
This multi-stage classroom project combines chemistry, technology, the arts, and more to teach students discipline, problem solving, and the sense of pride that comes from a difficult job done well. Included: Five teacher-created for your own classroom project.
Token Economies Yield Promising Results
When classroom management is a struggle, the answer might be as simple as the traditional American "five and dime!" See how systems based on "token economies" can work with even the toughest classes. Included: Tips for setting up a classroom auction.
Do Good Manners Contribute to Academic Success?
Recently, Education World spoke with school etiquette consultant Linda Williams about what etiquette is, what educators can do to help students learn proper etiquette and good manners, and how practicing good manners can help children be successful in life.
Those Who Can, Do TEACH!
Max Fischer recently attended a local Chamber of Commerce meeting. The evening's motivational speaker got Max thinking about how successful businesses people and successful teachers have much more in common than either of them might think.
Can We Teach Social Conscience?
Brenda Dyck examines whether social conscience is caught or taught. She shares how a recent project about homelessness helped reshape some -- but not all -- of her students' mental models.
Hail to the Chief(s)!: Lessons from Presidential Libraries
Presidential libraries hold the papers and memorabilia of former U.S. presidents, making them available to the general public, and preserving them for future generations. Discover how you can use online resources from presidential libraries to teach students about U.S. presidents. Included: Activities using materials from ten presidential libraries and museums.
New Ways Use Read Alouds to Complement Content Learning
Whether teaching elementary, middle, or high school, read alouds connect students to content, peak student interest, and provide information. Hear how two experienced educators use read alouds to meet the challenges of differentiating instruction, expanding student learning, and addressing curriculum. Included: Read aloud tips from the Literacy Ambassador.
Find Your Benefactor
If Santa overlooked your class's Christmas list, it might be time to request a special delivery from an online resource. iLoveSchools.com puts teachers in touch with supporters with materials and supplies to donate. Don't wait until next December to ask for a care package from a benevolent friend.
Adjusting to Accountability
Has the No Child Left Behind Act changed how you teach? Educator Max Fischer says it has affected what and how he teaches. NCLB's emphasis on testing means he has to pace his teaching differently. He's changed the format of the tests he creates for students too.
Kids Can Help Too
Children in the United States and around the world have responded to reports of the recent tsunami in Asia by contributing to the relief efforts in record numbers -- and in unique ways. Learn what they're doing -- and how your students can help too. Included: Where and how to contribute to tsunami victims.
How to Teach Handwriting
About three-quarters of elementary school teachers say they don't feel adequately prepared to teach handwriting. That figure isn't surprising when you consider that few teacher training programs in the United States today address handwriting instruction. Perhaps this article can help! Included: Handwriting lessons, free worksheets.
The Italian Adventures of an "Average, Every-Day Teacher"
Educator Brenda Dyck shares new of a recent 3-day journey to Rome where she was treated like royalty as she took home an international award. Dyck shares her fairytale adventure -- one all teachers should experience! -- in this Voice of Experience essay.
How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay
A new SAT, as well as the mandates of NCLB, make it more imperative than ever that teachers at all grade levels provide students with increased opportunities to practice and develop their writing skills. Provide that practice for your students with these step-by-step instructions for planning, outlining, and writing a five-paragraph essay.
Learning to Cope With Larger Classes
Max Fischer reflects on the difficulty of dealing with significant increases in class size. The inclination might be to become "the sage on a stage," but Fischer hasn't given up on strategies and best practices mastered during his national board experience.
If I Were Secretary of Education
Members of the Education World Teacher Team share with readers their thoughts about U.S. education today as they respond to the question: "If you were U.S. Secretary of Education, what would be your priorities for the next four years?"
Advice for Future Teachers: Five Questions to Consider
A former sixth-grade student recently approached Max Fischer. After teaching at the college level, Fischer's former student was considering a transition to teaching in a public high school. Included: Five questions to consider before making the switch.
Professional Development Via E-Mail: All You Need is a Keyboard!
E-mail is a great way for keeping teachers informed about school goings-on. But are you using e-mail as a tool for providing professional development for your teachers? Ed World's "Principal Files" principals share how they are doing just that. Tips included.
Fast and Fabulous Freebies
Need a great idea or a new activityyesterday? The Internet puts free teaching materials at your disposal 24-7, if you just know where to find them. From apple growing to ergonomics, get the 4-1-1 on fantastic freebies you can take advantage of today!
Add Literature -- and Life -- to Content Instruction
Max Fischer bemoans his sterilized history text. Were it not for that text, however, he might not have been forced to "discover" the value of bringing quality literature into his history classroom. Included: Sources of quality literature.
Keep It Clean
Do you find yourself spending precious after-school time cleaning up your classroom? Have you tried student cleanup and decided it wasn't worth the chaos or loss of learning time? Maybe all you really need to turn class cleanup into a fun and productive activity is a little help from some creativity colleagues.
Me? A Teacher-Researcher?
Brenda Dyck examines the place teacher-research has in the classroom and how it can develop into a kind of "dance" between students, teachers, and learning. Included: Web sites to help teachers learn more about becoming teacher-researchers.
Eek! Comics in the Classroom!
Are you looking for a way to motivate reluctant readers, engage urban youth, develop the comprehension skills of second-language learners, or teach visual literacy to elementary level students? Have you considered using comics and graphic novels?
Letterboxing: Clues Lead Kids on an Educational Adventure
In this pastime turned class-time activity, students solve and follow clues to find a hidden "treasure" -- containing a stamp, a logbook, and a few other goodies. Included: Experienced educator/letterboxers share tips for getting started.
The Class Cry-er
For some students, frequent crying is less a reaction to what is happening than an effort to get a reaction. Such students have learned that crying is an effective way to get what they want. Crying episodes interfere with lessons, distract other students, and cost valuable teaching time. They must be addressed. Six tips for dealing with the student who cries easily.
Power Words: Using Positive Words to Energize Your Students
In the classroom, positive reinforcement is easier to talk about than it is to carry out. Brenda Dyck shares a classroom tradition that celebrates the uniqueness and potential of each child. "What I See in You" time is one of the most special times in her classroom.
The "Art" of Comprehension
If it wasn't for Howard Gardner's multiple-intelligence theory, educator Max Fischer might never have seen how art can be used to increase student comprehension of content reading material. Included: Ideas for using pictographs, storyboards, graphic organizers.
The Overly Dependent Student:
The goal in working with an overly dependent student is to help him become more self-reliant and develop more trust in his own judgment. That requires that a teacher communicate expectations and set firm limits on student-teacher interactions. Five tips for dealing with an overly dependent student.
The term classroom management refers to the procedures, strategies, and instructional techniques teachers use to manage student behavior and learning activities. Effective classroom management creates an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. It is the most important -- and the most difficult -- skill a teacher must master.
Teaching Reading by Example:
Explore ways to put the power of example to work in your classroom and turn your students into "readaholics." Cathy Puett Miller shares a series of thought-provoking questions designed to help teachers reassess their influence on their students, and rediscover how to help students translate the skills they are learning into tools for life.
The Forgetful Student:
Some students practice forgetfulness with almost religious zeal. If you have students who are memory challenged, you can find yourself spending considerable time tending to their needs, often at the expense of classroom lessons. Included: Seven tips for dealing with forgetful students.
Can We Talk?: What Parents and Teachers Want Each Other to Know
Most teachers and parents recognize the importance of parent-teacher communication. Few, however, gleefully anticipate the actual occasions of that communication. If only we understood each other better! Education World answers the question, "What do you want your child's teacher -- or your student's parent -- to know about you?"
Voice of Experience: Without Professionalism, It Could Always Be Worse
Thirty-year educator Max Fischer reflects on these trying times in education. When he gets to grousing, he tries to remember that things could always be worse...
Tools for Teaching: Meaning Business: Part 3
Poker is a simple game. You either bet or fold. In the body language poker game, teachers fold when they turn a way from a situation before the students have folded. Students fold when they abandon pseudo-compliance and actually get back to work. You have to stay in the game until the students fold. Dr. Fred Jones provides step-by-step instructions on how to win at "body language poker."
Fantastic and Free Materials for Teachers
How can you add to your classroom and curriculum without depleting your pocketbook? Request free teaching materials and other items from organizations that appreciate the services educators perform. Here you will find out how to obtain hard copies of terrific lesson plans, videos, and other resources for your classroom.
Classroom Problem Solver: Checking the Chatterer
Some students just love to talk -- and their talking can become contagious. To gain quiet, you need to pay attention to the nature of your instruction, as well as to the structure in your classroom. Dr. Ken Shore offers six tips for dealing with excessive talking.
The Literacy Ambassador
Create a unique system for student reading success using techniques developed and proven in real school environments. Independent literacy consultant, Cathy Puett Miller, offers practical steps to building such a system to use throughout the school year. You will begin a transformation at your school through the marriage of effective parent involvement techniques and the power of reading.
The Prop Box: Setting the Stage for Meaningful Play
Dramatic play is an essential mode of learning for young children, and "prop boxes," play materials grouped by theme, make this activity even more effective. Find out how you can use these educational tools to guide your students toward meaningful role-playing and creative exploration.
Voice of Experience: About Stephen... and Fresh Starts
The promise of a successful year is the hope of every student and teacher. Educator Brenda Dyck shares the story of Stephen and ponders the importance of offering a fresh start to every student who enters her classroom.
Classroom Problem Solver: Dealing with Teasing
Students need to know that teachers will protect them from teasing. You need to send a strong message that ridicule will not be tolerated in your classroom, and then be alert for signs of ridicule. Dr. Ken Shore offers eight tips for dealing with teasing.
Hopes and Dreams: A Strategy to Begin the Year
"In classrooms using the Responsive Classrooms approach, teachers begin their year generating 'Hopes and Dreams.' The process of developing hopes and dreams each year is a process of reviving hope -- and hope is one of our most critical community resources. How do we teach or learn without it?" Ruth Charney shares strategies for developing hopes and dreams.
Bag It: A Professional Development Activity That Works
Looking for a great staff meeting idea? One that is totally practical and fun? The "Brown Bag It" activity gives all members of your staff an opportunity to play the role of professional developer for an hour. Included: Step-by-step activity instructions.
Voice of Experience: Professional Development: Following Your Own Lead
As schools move full-tilt towards a professional development model more attuned to collegial school-wide goals, educator Brenda Dyck explores the need to balance that model with one that recognizes the professional goals of individual teachers.
Classroom Problem Solver: Prevent Teasing
Teasing can result in anxiety and low self-esteem, affect academic performance, and even escalate to physical conflict. Teasing hurts some students, and makes all students uncomfortable. Dr. Ken Shore offers six tips for preventing teasing in your classroom.
Building Close-Knit Communities: Knitting Makes a Comeback
Knitting is a great activity for students with ADHD. It makes a great recess activity, and it meshes with the multiple-intelligences philosophy. And it's catching on in schools around the country! Included: Learn why knitting works from teachers at two schools.
Tools for Teaching: Meaning Business, Part 2
Kids read body language. They are born with that ability, and they get better at it with each passing year. Dr. Fred Jones explains how you can exploit that skill by employing the body language of meaning business. Included: A step-by-step guide to completing "the turn."
A Teacher's Back-to-School Supply List
Each summer, teachers send home a list of supplies students will need during the upcoming school year. Until now, little thought has been given to the supplies teachers might find useful. Noted educator Howard Seeman corrects that oversight with his back-to-school list for the well-equipped teacher. Included: Twenty-seven must-have items.
Running for Fun and Fitness
Not much of a fitness fan as a child, Carol Goodrow wanted her students to develop an appreciation for healthful eating and exercise at a young age. Her running club teaches kids that keeping fit and eating right is fun and easy.
Voice of Experience: When Students Rock the Boat, I'm the "Master and Commander" of My Classroom
Max Fischer has learned about dealing with student outbursts and insubordination. Past experience has taught him to remain calm in a storm; to be "Master and Commander" of his emotions. Included: Tips for keeping control when the classroom "ship" is sinking.
Classroom Problem Solver: The Student Who Lies
Most children lie sometimes. Although an occasional lie is not a reason for serious concern, teachers should be concerned about a student who lies frequently. Dr. Ken Shore offers eight tips for dealing with students who lie.
Drinking Up Inspiring Words
Who hasn't smiled at the memory of a favorite teacher, student, or teaching moment? Teachers and their admirers share inspirational stories in the book, A Cup of Comfort for Teachers.
Classroom Problem Solver: The Student with Tourette Syndrome
Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary body movements and/or verbalizations. The disorder can present classroom management concerns for the teacher and self-esteem and peer acceptance issues for the student.
Speaking of Education: The Read-Aloud Experience
Literacy consultant Cathy Puett Miller explores the importance of reading aloud to students. Sprinkled with the best read-aloud titles, her step-by-step reminders give teachers powerful tools for building comprehension, improving vocabulary, promoting active thinking, and connecting lessons to life.
From Beginning to End: Making Memories All Year Through
Experienced educators share how they enrich their classes with projects and activities that take students from the beginning of the school year to the end -- while creating memories that last a lifetime. Included: Ideas for time capsules, memory books, welcome letters, more.
Different Strokes for Little Folks: Carol Ann Tomlinson on "Differentiated Instruction"
Professor Carol Ann Tomlinson understands the challenge of providing appropriate learning experiences for all students. Once a classroom teacher who had to simultaneously meet the needs of kids struggling to read at grade level and those who were ready for Harvard, she turned to differentiated instruction.
Voice of Experience: Education Conferences: Goin' It Alone
Budget cuts are forcing many teachers into the uncomfortable position of attending educational conferences on their own. Educator Brenda Dyck shares how going solo to a conference can be frightening -- and unexpectedly enjoyable.
Classroom Problem Solver: Dealing With Student Aggression
In dealing with an aggressive student, you want to send a strong message that aggressive behavior will not be tolerated while helping the student develop more appropriate ways of settling disputes. Six tips for dealing with an aggressive student.
Tools for Teaching: Meaning Business, Part 1
Classroom management requires calm. You never will be able to manage another person's behavior until you can manage your own. A calm response to provocation can be learned. Because upset happens quickly, however, you have to learn to relax immediately and automatically when confronted. That takes practice.
Seeking Help in the Accountability Era
Long known for its role in preparing students to take college entrance exams, Kaplan, Inc. now is spending more time helping school districts with curriculum and professional development. Kaplan's Seppy Basili talks about the company's role in those areas.
Voice of Experience: Teamwork Counts (A Lot!)
Max Fischer draws parallels between his days as a high school football player and his role on a team responsible for creating an IEP that will get to the bottom of a student's learning issues. In both cases, teamwork is key; no room exists for prima donnas.
Classroom Problem Solver: Preventing Student Aggression
Aggressive students can engender a climate of fear in the classroom, creating anxiety among other students and distracting them from their schoolwork. Six tips to help prevent aggressive incidents in your classroom.
Family Fitness Night a Popular School-Wide Event
Reaching students with the message about the importance of fitness isn't enough. Schools are going for the gold with events designed to bring in kids and their families too. Included: Four teachers share different Family Fitness Night approaches.
Voice of Experience: Is Differentiation the Answer to the Tracking Debate?
As Max Fischer tries to transform his classroom into the "differentiated" model experts describe, he's confronting some roadblocks. Is it possible to achieve the model, he wonders? How much different will his classroom look a year from now?
Classroom Problem Solver: Preventing School Vandalism
For some students, vandalism is a way of expressing anger or frustration. For others, it is a way of impressing peers. Whatever its reason, even minor vandalism can markedly drain a district's financial resources. Seven tips for preventing school vandalism.
Opening the Door: Teaching Students to Use Visualization to Improve Comprehension
Visualizing text is a proven way to improve reading comprehension. It is a technique that can be taught using this simple, step-by-step strategy from literacy consultant Cathy Puett Miller. Included: Tips and resources for developing students' comprehension skills.
Teacher Training: Time to Review, Renew, Redo
The last few weeks of school present the perfect opportunity for staff developers to step back, look at what they've done, and plan what they're going to do. This is the time, says Lorrie Jackson, for teacher trainers to review, renew, and redo.
Voice of Experience: Log On to a Blog
Emerging online communication tools have the potential to unleash a new level of creative thought in the classroom. Educator Brenda Dyck shares her recent experiences with an online journaling tool called a blog. Included: Blogging resources.
Classroom Problem Solver: School Vandalism
Vandalism in schools can take a variety of forms, from doodling in books to writing on desks; from gouging walls to breaking windows, from slicing school bus seats to smashing school furniture. Teachers who pay attention to the reasons for vandalism can play an important role in preventing it. Six tips for dealing with school vandalism.
Voice of Experience: Another Look at "No Child Left Behind" (Year Two)
Max Fischer takes another look at No Child Left Behind. He updates his initial reactions -- published a year ago -- and takes a close look at the positive impacts the law has had in his own district and classroom. Included: Join a discussion about NCLB's "positives."
Classroom Problem Solver: Johnny Come Late -- Again!
Some students are late for school for reasons beyond their control. Some students arrive late because of choices they've made. And some students are late because they like the attention. Dr. Ken Shore offers seven tips for dealing with the habitually tardy student.
Tools for Teaching: Escaping the Paper Grading Trap
The paper-grading ritual, says Dr. Fred Jones, not only fails to improve student learning, it also cannibalizes the after-school time available for planning tomorrow's lessons with yesterday's clerical work. The more adept you become at building work check into teaching, the more responsibility students take for quality control, and the more your evenings are freed up for lesson planning.
Hold an Interest Fair: Broadened "Science Fair" Taps All Subjects, Students' Interests
In keeping with their focus on the individual child, one Ohio school opted to shun the "science fair" in favor of a broader alternative -- the "interest fair." This diverse event encourages participants to investigate and share information about their favorite topics.
Voice of Experience: Gaga Over Google: Photo Images Bring Lessons to Life
You probably know about the Google search tool, but have you made use of Google's image search engine? Max Fischer thinks Google's image library is a virtual goldmine. Included: Ideas for using Google's image search tool to bring lessons to life.
Classroom Problem Solver: Students Who "Bother" Their Classmates
Students "bother" their classmates in a variety of ways: by poking, tripping, pushing, interrupting, and ridiculing them. Whatever form the bothering takes, if the incidents come to your attention, you might need to get involved -- before a small problem turns into a large problem. Eight tips for dealing with students who pester their classmates.
Voice of Experience: Poetry Writing: A Comprehension Tool Across the Curriculum
Educator Max Fischer's most recent Aha! moment came when he let students use poetry to demonstrate their comprehension of the history curriculum. Now Fischer has one more tool for engaging students, one more tool for his growing "bag of tricks."
Classroom Problem Solver: Creativity Flourishes in the Structured Classroom
"Specials," just like regular classroom teachers, need to give careful consideration to discipline in their classrooms. Structure and limits are important educational tools; tools that give rise to a climate in which creativity can emerge and flourish. Seven tips for establishing order in phys Ed, music, art...
Classroom Problem Solver: Tips for "Specials"
Regular classroom teachers aren't the only educators who confront behavioral problems. Teachers of special subjects, such as art, music, and physical education also face disciplinary issues. Six classroom management tips for special teachers.
Voice of Experience: Tackling Big Projects: No Wonder Students Get Frustrated!
Have you ever wondered why some students begin project work with a bang that soon fizzles out? Brenda Dyck has been working on a grad course; that experience has helped her reflect on the role emotions play in student -- and adult -- learning projects.
Classroom Problem Solver: Dealing With Toileting Accidents
When a student wets or soils herself in school, it can embarrass and distress the student, disrupt the class, and give rise to ridicule and rejection. It is critical that you deal with the incident in a way that is sensitive to the student's emotional well-being, while preserving her dignity and self-esteem. Eight tips for dealing with toileting accidents.
No Retiring from Dedication
After 30 years as a third grade teacher, retirement couldn't stop Jill Herrick from being an educator. She founded a mini-grant program to help teachers fund hands-on projects, and an awards program for third graders who "work their tails off."
Voice of Experience: Meat and Potatoes vs. Souffl (or My Great In-Service Adventure)
Educator max Fischer recently presented three different in-service sessions in a single day. In this Voice essay, he reflects on the planning and outcomes of those presentations, and encourages others to give doing an in-service a try!
Classroom Problem Solver: Teaching Students With Attention Deficits
Students with attention deficits often have problems focusing, low frustration tolerance, and organizational and learning difficulties. In fact, about one of every three students with an attention deficit disorder also exhibits a learning disability. Seven tips for teaching students with attention deficits.
Voice of Experience: Student-Centered Learning: The First Steps Are the Hardest Ones
Educator Melba Smithwick never had much difficulty adopting new ideas. But when a principal encouraged her to give students more say in their learning, Smithwick hesitated. Included: Smithwick shares those first, tentative steps.
Classroom Problem Solver: Dealing With an Attention Deficit
Almost every classroom includes at least one student with an attention deficit. A child with an attention deficit can pose serious classroom management problems and take up a considerable amount of instructional time. Seven tips for dealing with a student with an attention deficit.
Voice of Experience: No-Grade Assignments Open Up Student-Teacher Communication
Educator Kathleen Modenbach reflects on the enormous influence teachers have on the kids they teach -- if channels of communication remain open. Providing opportunities for student expression -- with no strings (no grades!) attached -- is a key to opening those communication lines.
Classroom Problem Solver: Bathroom Behavior
Because it often is unsupervised, the school bathroom is a frequent site of behavior problems. Setting firm rules and carefully monitoring bathroom use can keep those problems to a minimum. Nine tips for dealing with bathroom behavior.
"Let It Slip!" Admit and Exit Slips in the Classroom
Want to know what your students really learned today, and what might require extra reinforcement? Use exit slips! When students respond in writing to what they learn and share it, teachers can target the gaps and keep them on the right track.
Classroom Problem Solver: The Tattler
Elementary students are quick to tattle. Dealing with every report would seriously interfere with your teaching, and yet you do want to make sure you're told if a student is in physical or emotional danger. The following strategies will help you spend your time teaching while still safeguarding your students. Seven tips for stopping tattling.
Voice of Experience: Some Classroom "Dilemmas" Are Beneficial
Max Fischer shares his experiences using moral dilemmas to bring classroom lessons to life. Discussions of dilemmas tied to his curriculum challenge students to think critically as they reflect on history. Dilemmas teach many other skills too.
What Makes Southdown Elementary a Great School?
Meet the team of educators at Southdown Elementary School in Houma, Louisiana. Each staff member has shared an idea -- a fun lesson, a special strategy, or a bit of philosophy -- that helps paint a picture of why Southdown is such a great place to teach and learn.
Voice of Experience: Three Differences Between Teaching and Administration
Educator Arnold Pulda reflects on his move from the classroom to administration. There are big differences, he says, but the most important thing administrators need to know is that they can never -- must never -- forget where they came from.
Classroom Problem Solver: Angry Outbursts: Part 2:
An angry student might display his temper in a variety of ways. He also might trigger feelings of anger and frustration in you. In last week's column, Dr. Shore discussed ways to defuse student anger and help him learn better self-control. This week, he offers some additional strategies. Six more tips for dealing with an angry student.
Tools for Teaching: Adding Motivation to Mastery
The question underlying the topic of motivation in the student's mind is, "Why should I?" If you answer that question successfully, you can get work from an unmotivated student. If you cannot come up with a good answer, you get nothing. Included: How the right incentives can motivate your students -- and free up your evenings.
Voice of Experience: Most Direct Route to Parents Is an E-Line
Educator Max Fischer has been doing a little independent research on the effectiveness of phone calls, written progress reports, and e-mail in raising student achievement. Which communication method do you think he and his teaching teammates found to be most effective?
Classroom Problem Solver: Angry Outbursts, Part 1
At some point, almost every student becomes angry in school. Anger isn't a problem as long as the student expresses feelings appropriately. It is a problem if she expresses her anger in a way that is hurtful or disruptive. Your challenge is to control your own temper as well as that of the student. Five tips for dealing with an angry student.
Voice of Experience: "I Never Knew I Could Be A Hero": Thoughts on Service Learning
To educator Kathie Marshall, service learning is an effective strategy for engaging students' interest in the curriculum and in their community. She offers ideas and resources for implementing service learning in any classroom on a shoestring budget.
Classroom Problem Solver: The School Assembly
Your challenge when faced with student misbehavior during a school assembly is to respond in a way that does not draw attention to yourself or to your student, that leaves the misbehaving student's dignity intact, and that allows other students to enjoy a disruption-free program. Included: Six tips for dealing with behavior during an assembly.
From "Pretty" to Practical: Using Bulletin Boards to Teach
If you've ever been guilty of ignoring a clearly out-of-date bulletin board or of putting up "anything" that will do, maybe it's time to give your bulletin boards a second look. Experts tell Education World that classroom boards can be more than just "wallflowers" -- they can be tools for teaching too!
Voice of Experience: Downshifting: Teaching (for Understanding) in a Lower Gear
An expanding curriculum and high-stakes testing drives many teachers to just "cover the curriculum." Educator Brenda Dyck reflects on the place "slow teaching" has in a speed-teaching world. Included: A lesson Mrs. Miller taught me in second grade.
Classroom Problem Solver: Lunchroom Behavior
The lunchroom often presents more challenging management problems than the classroom: students may believe that classroom rules don't apply in the cafeteria. So it's not unusual for lunchrooms to get out of control. Learn 14 tips for improving lunchroom behavior.
Voice of Experience: Planning for a Substitute Was Never This Easy
Unhappy with inconsistent results and lousy reports from substitutes, educator Bob Brems came up with a new strategy for his planned days off. He turns over the teaching reins to one of his students. Included: Tips for planning for student-as-teacher days.
Voice of Experience: The Importance of Mentors, or What I Learned from Harold
Max Fischer remembers Harold, the teacher next door when Max was a first-year teacher. That was long before formalized mentor programs were the norm. Fischer shares what he learned from Harold and from his own experiences mentoring new teachers.
Tools for Teaching: Exploiting Structured Practice
In a previous segment of this series, we quoted Vince Lombardi, who said, "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." A key part of teachers' jobs is to create perfect practice. Creating bad habits is the alternative. Teaching it right the first time is easier than breaking bad habits.
Voice of Experience: Where Have All the Staff Rooms Gone?
As working lunches become the norm in schools, educator Brenda Dyck reflects on a time when the staff room was the hub of the teaching community. Included: Ideas for improving social networks and teaming in your school.
Latecomers: Tips for Handling the Disruption of Students Who Come Into Class Late
You're already five minutes into the lesson and a late students walks in. How do you handle the disruption? Do you stop the class? Do you ignore it? Included: Classroom management expert Howard Seeman offers eight tips for handling latecomers.
Teacher Training: Staff Development Through Peer Mentoring
K-12 teachers can be a challenging group to train. Although deeply committed to their students, they often feel overwhelmed by the many demands on their time and energy. Establishing peer mentor relationships can help encourage reluctant teachers to implement change in their classrooms.
Making a Difference Is What It's All About
Educator Max Fischer reflects on a turning point in his career. He didn't realize what teaching was all about until his eighth year in the profession. No wonder so many young teachers leave before they have five years under their belts!
Classroom Problem Solver: The Chair Tipper
Nothing is more unsettling than watching a student tip back in his chair, teetering on the brink of a dangerous fall. Before you can break a student of that risky habit, you need to make him aware of what he's doing. Six tips for dealing with chair tippers.
Manners and Etiquette: Teaching Essential Ingredients for Success
Whether they use a formal curriculum or simply take advantage of serendipitous opportunities, two teachers are taking good manners off the back burner. Those educators say that focusing on manners in the classroom is not an option -- it's a must!
Teachers Say Word Walls Work!
Word walls are not just a tool for the primary grades. Teachers across the grades are using them throughout the curriculum. They find that word walls work -- if teachers work with them. Included: Teachers from grades pre-K to 8 share their word wall successes.
Voice of Experience: Teacher -- Alias Telementor
Opportunity is often difficult to recognize and it frequently takes the form of an interruption or additional work. This week, Brenda Dyck shares a teaching opportunity that opened her eyes to the potential we have to influence students via the Internet.
Classroom Problem Solver: The Note Passers
Passing notes is a time-honored method of classroom communication. Although not a serious problem, it suggests that the students are not paying attention. Note passing also can disrupt lessons and trigger conflict. Six tips for dealing with classroom note passers.
Tools for Teaching: Teaching to the Physical Modality
Say, See, Do Teaching, says Dr. Fred Jones, reduces many of the learning and behavior problems that teachers face every day, by attacking structural problems that underlie the more common "bop 'til you drop" teaching approach.
Classroom Problem Solver: The Backtalker
A student who speaks to her teacher in a disrespectful manner undermines the teacher's authority; the disrespect becomes even more serious if other students begin emulating the behavior of the student who "talks back." Six tips for dealing with the backtalker.
Teacher Training: Is Your Staff Development Program Working?
We train -- and we hope that our training makes a difference. But how do we really know? Gauging the success of a professional development program requires self-assessment, objective assessment, critical friends, and observation.
Reading Response Journals: Writing After Reading Is Revealing!
In an effort to encourage students to think and share more about what they read, some teachers have turned to reading response journals -- notebooks reserved for writing in response to literature -- and are gaining new insights. Included: Teacher tips.
Classroom Problem Solver: The Messy Student
It's not hard to identify a messy student. His desk and his backpacks are dead giveaways, and he spends much of his day searching for supplies and redoing lost work. Eight tips for helping the messy student clean up his act.
Classroom Problem Solver: While You Are Out
An outsider with no personal connection with the students, a substitute has all of a teacher's responsibilities, but little of the authority. Six tips for preparing your classroom and your students for your absence.
In the Loop: Teachers and Students Sticking Together for a Second Year, or More!
Seeking to make more of an impact on students, some educators are choosing to remain with their classes a second year -- or longer. Is looping right for your school? your teachers? Included: Tips from teachers who have the scoop on the loop!
Voice of Experience: Put On Your (Six) Thinking Hats!
Want to move your students' thinking from the predictable to the profound? Educator Brenda Dyck describes a powerful thinking tool that will help students approach problem solving in innovative ways.
Classroom Problem Solver: The Arguer
If you have an argumentative student in class, you can spend considerable time debating, justifying, and explaining every decision. This diverts you from lessons and can lead to similar behavior in other students. Five tips for dealing with the argumentative student.
Tools for Teaching: Weaning the Helpless Handraisers, Part 2
Last month, Tools for Teaching looked at verbal modalities for dealing with those helpless students who sit through Guided Practice with their hands waving in the air, waiting to be personally tutored. This month, Dr. Jones discusses how to go beyond the verbal to the visual; explaining how a "Visual Instruction Plan" can reduce the duration of your helping interactions from 30 seconds to 5 seconds.
Teaching Self-Control: A Curriculum for Responsible Behavior
Martin Henley has created a curriculum for teaching 20 self-control skills all children need. The Teaching Self-control curriculum includes role-plays, simulations, learning center activities, and children's literature that can be used to teach those skills.
Voice of Experience: Video Time Machine Engages Students, Energizes Curriculum
Teacher Max Fischer uses his video time machine -- a VCR with snippets of movies that offer teachable moments -- to bring Ancient Rome and other parts of his history curriculum to life. Included: Guidelines for selecting video clips.
Classroom Problem Solver: The Spitter
Few behaviors are more unappealing than spitting. The challenge for a teacher with a student who spits is to stop the spitting, while giving minimal attention to the student's behavior. Five tips for dealing with a student who spits.
Teacher Training: Delivering Relevant Staff Development
Teacher training expert Lorrie Jackson explains how K-12 staff developers and administrators can overcome the barriers of fatigue, boredom, frustration, and distrust, and make staff development relevant and effective for their teachers.
Voice of Experience: Your Professional Development: Let Your Fingers Do the Walking!
Many teachers, taking ownership of their own professional development, have found innovative and cost-efficient ways to improve classroom practices. Educator Brenda Dyck uncovers a number of exciting online resources to assist and support teachers.
Classroom Problem Solver: The "Noise Maker"
Students make noise in a variety of ways -- they tap their pencils, click their tongues, sing a song, crack their knuckles.... Some of the noises can drive you and your other students to distraction. Five tips for dealing with the classroom "noise maker."
Voice of Experience: Taming the Three T's
The anonymous quote Hold a tight rein over the three T's -- thought, temper and tongue -- and you will have few regrets got Max Fischer thinking about what happens when teachers let go of their control of any of the three.
Tools for Teaching: Weaning the Helpless Handraisers, Part 1
Ah, the helpless handraisers -- those students whose hands are waving in the air no matter what you do or say. Do you have a few in your class? You can break the cycle, says Fred Jones, and turn helpless handraisers into independent learners.
Cross-Age Tutoring: A Helping Hand Across the Grades
Guidance counselors Christi Bello and Susie Borgnini each created a program that brings the wisdom of older students to the aid of younger ones -- with benefits for all students. Included: Examples of how cross-age tutoring/mentoring affects students in all grades.
Voice of Experience: Surprised By Reading -- Confessions of a Math Teacher
Time pressures and accountability have caused many educators to cut back on -- or cut out -- reading aloud to students. Teacher Brenda Dyck reflects on the power of reading aloud. Included: Resources to help teachers re-establish read-alouds.
Rallying Cry from a "Champion for Children"
Thomas Baldrick is author of two books that focus on kids and how adults relate to them, and he is a frequent presenter at workshops for students, teachers, and parents. Included: Practical tips for celebrating children in the classroom.
Teacher Training: Navigating the Information Highway
Successful professional development depends on the acquisition of information. But with so much information available, how do educators choose what to use? Teacher trainer Lorrie Jackson offers advice on selecting the best resources for you and your staff.
Shared Reading: Listening Leads to Fluency and Understanding
Many middle and high school teachers use shared-reading -- an approach to teaching reading that engages students and makes them better readers. Included: Reading expert Dr. Janet Allen and two teachers offer tips for a successful start to shared reading.
Classroom Problem Solver: The Whiner
Few behaviors are more annoying to teachers than whining. The student who constantly responds in a shrill, high-pitched voice can annoy even the most tolerant teacher. Seven tips for dealing with students who whine.
Reader's Theater: A Reason to Read Aloud
The Reader's Theater strategy blends students' desire to perform with their need for oral reading practice. RT offers an entertaining and engaging way to improve fluency and enhance comprehension. Included: RT tips from the experts!
Tools for Teaching: Rules, Routines, and Standards
Classroom management expert Fred Jones explains why educators need to teach -- not just announce -- classroom rules and routines. In this month's column, he offers effective strategies for getting students to take your standards seriously.
Teacher Training: Capitalizing on Conferences
How can you be sure the conferences and conventions your staff attends make the best use of the limited time and money available? Tips on selecting, preparing for, and getting the most from conferences and conventions.
Teacher Training: A Matter of Timing
How to motivate teachers to make the most of the training opportunities you provide.
Voice of Experience: Alleviating Appraisal Anxiety -- Lessons Learned from 29 Years of Evaluations
Max Fischer has taught for 29 years, but he still gets a little nervous each time he is observed! Over the years, however, Fischer has learned a lot about reducing anxiety during observation and appraisal time.
Tools for Teaching: Effective Room Arrangement
Classroom management expert Fred Jones identifies "three zones of proximity" and discusses how knowing what they are can help you "work the crowd" in your own classroom.
Back to School Checklist
Are you ready for the first day of school? These twenty Education World resources can take you from the first day to the last.
In a Million Words or Fewer...
A simple activity offers a powerful tool for learning about your students and connecting with their parents. "I was suddenly a part of each child's life," teacher Trisha Fogarty said.
Voice of Experience: Summer -- Time to Regenerate
People who joke about teachers having summers off are clueless! In this week's Voice of Experience essay, Max Fischer reflects on the key role summertime plays in restoring tattered psyches, reviving tired lessons, and regenerating passion.
Wire Side Chat: Helping "Fake Readers" Become Proficient Life-Long Readers
Cris Tovani, author of the best-selling "I Read It, but I Don't Get It," chats with Education World about her checkered reading past and about her widely acclaimed work with students and teachers in the area of reading comprehension strategies.
Voice of Experience: Of "No Child Left Behind" and Blueberries
Max Fischer has worked for a year under the shadow of the No Child Left Behind Act. Now he feels the need to react, to point out what's really needed in order to "leave no child behind." It's all about blueberries!
Teacher Diary: April Horrors
Monica reflects on recent stresses and successes as the school year ends.
Voice of Experience: How to Keep the Fire Burning (Or Lessons Learned from Edith, the Kids, and "the Fear")
In this week's Voice of Experience essay, Max Fischer shares how, after almost 30 years as a classroom teacher, he keeps things fresh -- for himself and for his students. Where does he get his inspiration? He says it comes from the students, "the Fear," and Edith!
Teacher Diary: The Experience of a Lifetime
Stephanie accepts the Milken award, and discovers that encouragement is empowerment.
Put the "Memory" Back in Memorial Day
Some teachers, concerned about students' ignorance of the origin and meaning of Memorial Day, have created programs that stress the importance of remembering and honoring U.S. war veterans on that day.
Voice of Experience: Connecting Our Students to Their Past -- A World War I Project
With so few veterans of WWI still alive, who will make sure the world remembers? Brenda Dyck shares how primary and secondary resources became the vehicle for connecting her students to some of history's most important lessons.
Twenty-Five Activities to Keep Kids' Brains Active in the Hot Summer Sun
As students set out on summer adventures, send their parents a much-needed "life preserver" -- a list of 25 activities to share and enjoy with their children. These fun activities cover all subjects and grades; you will find something for everyone.
Voice of Experience: It's Quittin' Time!
Some teachers seem to give up on teaching earlier and earlier each year. Teacher Brenda Dyck looks at ways to keep students learning until the last minute of the last day. Included: Ideas for making the last few days of school more meaningful.
This is SBNN Broadcasting Live...from F. H. Tuttle Middle School
Armed with newly acquired research and technical skills, 13 middle school students from South Burlington, Vermont, produce a weekly live news show that has become their school's "must-see TV." Video of an SBBN news broadcast!
Voice of Experience: Make Time to Teach -- Ten Tools for Reducing Paperwork
What happens when paperwork starts to crowd out time with students? Is there a way to streamline the forms that can take over a teacher's life? Educator Brenda Dyck has found ten online tools that help her reduce paperwork and give her more time to teach.
Shaking Willy's Hand: A Collaborative Project Teaming Teens and 'Tweens
A teacher in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, recently completed a project in which Grade 4 and Grade 10 students collaborated to read, understand, and perform Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Learn how she did it and how you can do it too.
Voice of Experience: Finding "New Cheese" Requires Adjustment To Change
So many education mandates fail because they lack the teeth to move teachers' "cheese." Will the No Child Left Behind Act be different? Educator Max Fischer has high hopes that NCLB has the teeth to support teachers and bring about real change for students.
Teacher Diary: Teaching and the Test
Monica works to increase her students science scores -- and prays she succeeded.
Wire Side Chat: Lessons of the Holocaust
To help you provide your students with the information and insights they need to understand the events and implications of the Holocaust, Education World interviews Warren Marcus, a teacher educator for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Voice of Experience: Handling Parent Complaints -- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Seasoned teachers will recognize all three types of parents -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- described in this week's Voice essay. Less seasoned teachers will learn from educator Max Fischer's thoughts about how to handle all types of parent complaints.
Plan Your Summer Vacation Today!
To help make the upcoming summer as productive -- and as pleasant -- as possible, we asked members of the Education World Tech Team to tell us about their favorite summer professional development activities.
Teacher Diary: Am I Good Enough?
Stephanie weighs the pros and cons of obtaining National Board Certification.
Teaching Study Skills: Ideas That Work!
Faced with poor student performance on tests and assignments, teachers often recognize that the root of the problem lies, not in a lack of understanding, but in poor study skills. Discover how three teachers introduce students to more effective ways of studying.
Voice of Experience: Revisiting Walden Pond in 2003
If your students were to head for a modern-day Walden Pond, what would they take with them? Kathleen Modenbach shares an activity that helped her students grasp Thoreau's sacrifices and appreciate his work. Included: Cross-curricular activities extend the lesson.
Awesome Summary Notes Make Studying a Breeze
The Awesome Summary Notes system provides students with an easy and efficient method for organizing information and studying for tests. Included: Directions for creating summary notes and tips for using them for studying and review.
Voice of Experience: Written Communication:
An Educator's Calling Card
Today -- with the proliferation of e-mail, classroom Web pages, and newsletters -- a teacher's writing ability is more important than ever. Max Fischer wonders What do your written communications with parents say about you? Included: Writing tips.
Lessons in Life: Connecting Kids and Soldiers
Many teachers are finding that both they and their students want to do something to help U.S. troops abroad. Education World has compiled a list of organizations that link classes with deployed servicemen and women
Lessons for War
As the war in Iraq heads into its third week, teachers at every grade level are struggling for ways to help students deal with the war and with issues related to the war. To aid you in that effort, Education World has collected some age-appropriate online lesson plans.
Voice of Experience: When Molding Minds Gets Messy
The war in Iraq has educator Brenda Dyck probing the heavy responsibilities that go along with shaping -- without bias -- the minds of students. Included: Resources to help teachers facilitate discussions that can help students reach their own conclusions about the war.
Educator Astronaut Program Continues
Undeterred by the tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia February 1, teachers are continuing to apply for NASA's Educator Astronaut program, which is designed to select and train three to six teachers for future space missions.
Voice of Experience: Looking At Your Students in the Future Tense
Brenda Dyck reflects on a night spent watching some of her former students perform before an audience. She wonders how she might have missed some of the potential she saw realized in them. Plus: Links to articles that shed light on the middle school years.
The Concept-Mapping Classroom
By providing a framework that allows users to focus on topics, and a structure that permits them to easily convert diagrams to outlines and back again, Inspiration and Kidspiration simplify the task of organizing thoughts into effective project plans.
Teacher Diary: Hello? Is Anybody Home?
Stephanie reflects on the difficulty of communicating with parents who won't communicate.
Teaching Kids to Make Moral Decisions
Colorado attorney Michael Sabbeth teaches an ethics framework to fifth graders -- to arm them with the skills for making moral decisions.
Voice of Experience: Back from the Iditarod -- Teaching Is a Lot Like Mushing!
Educator Jeanie Olson is home from her trip to the 2003 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. As she reflects on her Alaskan adventure, she sees quite a few similarities between the skills it takes to be a dog sled musher and a classroom teacher!
Online Book Club Promotes Student Literacy
Are you looking for new ways to encourage students to read and write with greater effort and enthusiasm? Students in Kentucky have demonstrated both since the Literary Book Club -- an online forum that offers students a real audience and incentive -- was formed.
Voice of Experience: Middle Schools Are Getting a Bum Rap
A recent USA Today news story took a few swipes at middle schools. In this weeks Voice essay, educator Max Fischer defends the middle school concept against its critics and nay-sayers. Included: Five components of a successful middle school.
Dealing with War and Terrorism in the Classroom
With security alerts now part of American life and the number of troops in the Middle East growing daily, avoiding the topics of war and terrorist threats is becoming increasingly difficult for teachers. Today, Education World offers educators tips on how to address those issues with their students.
Voice of Experience: Service Projects Help Students Find Their Voices
Educator Brenda Dyck describes a service project in which her middle school students participated. She reflects on how she might be able to take the passion and energy they demonstrated for that project and apply it to the prescribed curriculum.
Tales from the Trail: Iditarod Teacher Readies Lessons, Long Johns
Iditarod "Teacher on the Trail" Cassandra Wilson sees a sled-ful of lessons in the annual race.
Voice of Experience: Choice -- The Ultimate Tool for Engaging and Empowering Students
Educator Max Fischer recalls a childhood trip to East Germany. In 1966, life in that country stood in stark contrast to the freedom of choice he enjoyed in his life. Today, Fischer provides his students with choices in projects, writing assignments, and tests. Choice is "the avenue to empowerment," Fischer says.
Teaching Students to "Go Fourth" Peacefully
Go Fourth, an anti-bullying program based on classroom discussions and exchanges among children around the globe, recently brought teachers, parents, and fourth grade students from East Greenwich, Rhode Island, school to Shaoguan, Guandong province, China, on a mission to promote respect for cultural diversity.
Voice of Experience: Is Student Disinterest Curable?
What happens when students "check out" of the learning process? Is it an educator's job to re-engage them? If so, how can that be accomplished? This week, educator Brenda Dyck reflects on some ways to tackle the sticky problem of student disinterest.
Cheating: How to Prevent It (and How to Handle It When It Happens)
Have you ever considered that there are things you might do to head off cheating before it occurs? Classroom management expert Howard Seeman offers tips for preventing cheating and for handling it if it does happen.
Voice of Experience: The Power of Written Praise
Being roused from a sound sleep by a parent can be a rude awakening. But in one case it got educator Max Fischer reflecting about the power of written praise to raise student achievement. Included: Six reasons to put praise for students in writing!
Helping the Healing: Tips for Teachers After the Columbia Tragedy
As NASA investigators struggle to find answers for the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts on February 1, teachers also search for answers to students' questions about the tragedy. Education World has compiled a list of resources.
Helping Kids Deal With the Space Shuttle Tragedy
On Saturday, February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas, only a few minutes before its scheduled touchdown. Today, Education World offers resources to help you help your students deal with the Columbia tragedy, and to help them understand the history and goals of the space program.
Voice of Experience: Seeing is Believing -- Harnessing Online Video Clips to Enhance Learning
Educator Brenda Dyck reflects on the Net as a valuable source of video that brings history to life for her students. For students of the video- and technology-age, seeing is believing! Included: Dyck recommends great sources of online video!
Show Me the Money: Tips and Resources for Successful Grant Writing
Many educators have found that outside funding, in the form of grants, allows them to provide their students with educational experiences and materials their own districts can't afford. Learn how they get those grants -- and how you can get one too!
Voice of Experience: The Schoolhouse Rocks -- Using Music to Engage Learning
Educator Max Fischer reflects on the first time he used pop music lyrics in the classroom. Since then Fischer has found many ways to introduce music -- from the Rolling Stones to Steve Martin -- to achieve learning objectives. Included: Tips for getting started.
Six Online Projects Anyone Can Join
Looking for something to jump-start students during the post-holiday blahs? Education World has found six teacher-created collaborative projects sure to engage kids and teachers.
Voice of Experience: A Poetry Slam Cures the Midwinter Blahs
Educator Brenda Dyck reflects on how she uses a poetry-slam event to focus her students. She shares how they took this 1980s art form and turned it into an opportunity to connect with their peers and teachers. Included: Benchmarks for student presentations.
Making Parents Part of the "In"-volved Crowd
Parents can be invaluable partners in their children's education, but many take themselves out of the equation because of mistrust, misunderstanding, the demands of work and home, or other factors. Learn how you can overcome those obstacles, get parents involved, and promote better home/school communication!
Voice of Experience: "No Child Left Behind" Places Premium on Reading Instruction in Content Areas
Every teacher is a teacher of reading, and the No Child Left Behind Act is about to make that more obvious than ever! But what about teachers who haven't had a reading course since their undergrad days? Included: Strategies for teaching reading in the content areas!
Teacher Diary: Reflections on Teaching and Learning
In Reflections on Teaching and Learning, Education World's teacher diary series for 2003, three teachers in three different classroom situations take turns reflecting on their professional experiences, problems, successes, and concerns. We hope their reflections will help you as you face your own classroom experiences.
Kids Count Clams to Spur Community Cleanup
Students in one Maine school count clams instead of Cuisenaire rods and enter data into PDAs instead of notebooks. But they aren't just learning how to use technology to count clams, they're learning that what they do in school can benefit the entire community.
Voice of Experience: Chess, Anyone? -- Chess As an Essential Teaching Tool
Educator Brenda Dyck contemplates whether smart kids play chess or chess makes kids smart as she considers the integration of chess into the curriculum. Included: Links to resources and research about the impact of chess on students' skills, thinking and organizational abilities, and self-esteem.
Orphan Train: A Social Studies Project that "Clicked" with Students!
Two 4th grade teachers ride the rails of the "Orphan Train" as they use technology to add vitality to their social studies curriculum. Included: Links to lessons and resources you can use to develop your own Orphan Train project!
Voice of Experience: Wouldn't It Be Nice to Have a Computer Lab With Working Computers?
Educator Kathleen Modenbach wonders why so little money in the budget is devoted to maintaining the large investment schools have made in computer technology. But Modenbach is making the best of the situation Included: Modenbach finds a silver lining!
Could Your School Be a "Wiener?"
The Oscar Mayer School House Jam Talent Search offers schools the opportunity to win enough money to start or restart their music programs. All it takes is a song!
Voice of Experience: Teaching Religion in Public Schools: Removing the Angst
Do you run from any mention of religion in your public school classroom? How do you escape that during this month of holy celebrations? Educator Max Fischer has been thinking about this issue, and his thoughts might help relieve some of your angst.
Wire Side Chat: Sheila Tobias on Re-Thinking Teaching Math, Science
In an Education World e-interview, author and educator Sheila Tobias talks about her approach to teaching math and science -- and about teaching in general.
Fighting 1960s Mental Models of the Perfect Classroom -- and the Perfect Mom
Brenda Dyck reflects on her mental models of the 1960's classroom and 1960's mom. Those models still haunt her from time to time, even though she knows they won't prepare her students -- or her own kids -- for the world they will face.
Bang Bang's Message Reverberates
Author William Mastrosimone has been overwhelmed by students' response to his Showtime movie Bang Bang You're Dead. Mastrosimone hopes schools will use the movie as part of their own anti-bullying efforts.
The Author's Picks: Must-Read Books For Young Adult Readers
In recognition of National Children's Book Week, the authors of some of today's best books for children and young adults share their favorite young adult books with you.
Voice of Experience: Handling Difficult Students -- Lessons from Mrs. G
Educator Perri Gibbons pays tribute to teacher Deb Graudins, whose success with the most challenging students wins respect from students and colleagues alike. Her measured, consistent approach could hold lessons for any teacher who must handle difficult students.
The Author's Picks: Must-Read Books For Elementary Students
Are you looking for the best books to read with your elementary school students during National Children's Book Week? This week, those in the know -- the authors of some of today's best-loved children's books -- share their personal favorites with you.
Voice of Experience: In Search of National Board Certification -- One Teacher's Perspective
Considering a bid for National Board Certification? Educator Max Fischer shares his experience. It was the most challenging -- and rewarding -- teaching exercise of his career. Included: Fischer's tips.
Learning Geography Through E-Mail
A month ago, some students in Bellingham, Washington, weren't even sure where to find Arizona on a map of the United States. Now they can find Australia, Korea, and even Azerbaijan on a map of the world, thanks to an e-mail activity initiated by their school's library media specialist.
Voice of Experience: Your Students -- No Two Are Alike
Educator Brenda Dyck reflects on how she focuses the first weeks of instruction on helping students become familiar with their learning strengths. Surveys and activities help students learn which intelligences they favor. These beginning-of-the-year activities will be revisited throughout the school year.
Toshiba's ExploraVision Launches Student Researchers
The Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Awards program is one of the nation's largest K-12 science and technology competitions. The program allows students to be creative as they use research and scientific principles to design inventions. Included: Comments from last year's winners plus registration info.
Voice of Experience: What I've Learned About Cultivating Parent Involvement
Educator Max Fischer has found that successful teaching often hinges on employing a wide variety of instructional methods to meet student needs. In this Voice of Experience essay, Fischer reflects on how getting parents involved in their students' education also requires a variety of approaches.
Meeting With the Parents -- Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences
Research has shown that parental involvement is the most important factor in a student's success in school. For many parents, however, that involvement is limited to attendance at parent-teacher conferences. Learn how to make the most of the opportunity! Included: Specific strategies for involving urban parents and a printable conference planning sheet and conference report form.
Voice of Experience: Driven By Data -- What It's Like to Teach in the Age of Accountability
Brenda Dyck reflects on how collecting data has become an essential part of teaching. But data collection often can become such an obsession that it actually gets in the way of student learning. Included: Eight questions to help determine if data gathering will be worth the effort.
Wire Side Chat: "Mister Rogers" Reflects on Respect, Diversity, and the Classroom Neighborhood
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood lives on in reruns; Fred Rogers, however, has turned his attention to designing other materials that support children, families, and educators. As a part of his work with Family Communications, Inc., Rogers has published videos and print materials to help teachers create a nurturing classroom environment. In this Education World e-interview, Rogers offers advice to teachers who want to promote a "neighborly" feeling among their students! Included: Rogers shares ways to promote respect and help students cope with stress!
Voice of Experience: Lessons Learned from Howard Gardner and the TV Remote Control
This week, educator Max Fischer's first days in a middle school classroom -- after years at the elementary level -- were eye-openers. Would he ever be able to reach the students whose "deadpan stares, wet-noodle postures, and other lethargic body language screamed Go ahead, make me learn! I dare you!'"?
Wire Side Chat: Reporter Reflects on Year as a Teacher
"I've come to think that only a radical change can address the deep-seated problems in our poor, inner city schools," says Christina Asquith, a former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter who spent a year teaching in a Philadelphia middle school. Asquith, who was hired as an emergency certified teacher, recounts her struggles as a teacher -- and her insights -- in this Education World interview.
Voice of Experience: Reaching the Hard-to-Reach Student
This week, educator Kathleen Modenbach reflects on her summer "vacation." Like most teachers, summer is a time to reflect on the school year just ended and come up with new ideas for improving learning in the year ahead. Modenbach has been thinking a lot about how she might do a better job of reaching her hard-to-reach students.
Educating Students to Fight Hunger
Hunger is not the condition caused just by a lack of food; hunger is an issue tied to food access, distribution, and utilization. These are among the lessons of Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger, a curriculum about hunger issues tied into World Food Day, October 16. Sponsors of the program hope widespread awareness of hunger will lead to widespread efforts to eliminate it.
Voice of Experience: Yearlong Themes Spur Learning and Fun!
In this week's Voice of Experience column, educator Cindy Farnum shares her thoughts about using a yearlong theme to motivate students and create fun in the classroom. She shares a bunch of ideas from her "plant-astic" plant theme and seeks your help with her latest theme idea.
Learning While Teaching the First Year
New Teacher Academy, a seminar program based at Teachers College at New York's Columbia University, offers new teachers advice, information, and support throughout their first challenging school year. The program aims to ease the teahers' adjustment and keep them teaching.
Class Meetings: A Democratic Approach to Classroom Management
Patterned after family meetings in her own home, teacher Donna Styles established a format for class meetings that enabled her students to share their thoughts and solve classroom issues on their own. In Styles's model, students take turns acting as a discussion leader, while the teacher promotes a respectful atmosphere and participates as a group member. Encouraged by the students' positive response to her approach, Styles decided to share her expertise with other teachers.
That's the Way the Cookie Tumbles!
In the online collaborative project That's the Way the Cookie Tumbles, students stack Oreos one at a time until the cookies come tumbling down. The results of their experimentation, combined with the project's supplementary interdisciplinary activities, help students have fun as they learn math, science, geography, technology, teamwork, and more. The project is open to students around the world; so far, classes from more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Australia, and Uzbekistan have signed up. What about you?
Student Books Capture Feelings About 9/11
Ongoing class discussions about the terrorist attacks on September 11 made teachers realize that students needed more outlets for their thoughts and feelings. Many educators turned to writing and art projects that culminated in published collections of students' work, providing the children and others with a permanent emotional record of 9/11 and the days that followed.
Teaching About Islam, the Middle East
Teachers fielded many questions from students in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, some of them dealing with the history, culture, and religions of the Middle East. To better prepare themselves for questions this year, about 60 Connecticut teachers attended a week-long seminar in July about the region and how to use the information in the curriculum.
Voice of Experience: Weighted Grading Can Work
Max Fischer shares his approach to grading, which takes into account all elements of his students' performance. It's a weighted system that Fischer believes truly reflects the needs of his students -- and it has the support of parents too. "No grading procedure completely shields a teacher from parental criticism," writes Fischer. "However, weighted grading categories offer teachers the opportunity to tailor their assessment practices to the skills they believe are most critical to student success within their classroom."
Wire Side Chat: Schwarzenegger Seeks to 'Terminate' the Danger Zone With After-School Programs
Long known as a successful actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger in recent years also has become an influential activist. The beneficiaries of his efforts? Children! For more than a decade, building on his past experience and his years of service to Special Olympics, Schwarzenegger has turned his attention to after-school programs for children. In this Wire Side Chat, he tells Education World how he became involved with this important issue in education and why he feels after-school programs should be available to every child.
Voice of Experience: Inclusion Can Work -- Without Too Much Work!
Educator Janice Robertson shares how she looks forward to integrating special needs students into her sixth grade science classes. That was not always the case, though! The simple modifications she made to her usual teaching practices benefit all the students in her classes.
Truckers, Kids Make Good Buddies
Truck drivers who travel the country often have no one with whom to share anecdotes and insights. A program called Trucker Buddy International offers such drivers an eager audience. The program pairs truckers and classes, giving students a driver's-eye view of the world and prolific pen pals.
Voice of Experience: In Classroom, Computers Often Yield More Glitz Than Guts
Brenda Dyck reflects on how, in our zeal to integrate the most up-to-date technology in our classroom, we can settle for more "glitz than guts." Dyck suggests that the main goal of educators should be to move past a focus on the technology tools themselves to how those tools can be used to help students construct new knowledge and deeper understandings.
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