June 25, 2012

Question Connection

When I first started teaching I was full of questions, and I've been asking questions ever since. My mentors and colleagues at school were always gracious and offered plenty of advice, but my teaching style is a bit unique and sometimes their answers weren't what I needed. Luckily, times have changed, and with the internet, its easy to ask hundreds or even thousands of teachers for help or advice! Better yet, I'll often get responses from teachers all over the world!

Facebook has been a key player in the game of collaboration. Lately teachers have been posting questions on my Facebook Wall, and I've been trying to repost them to all 50,000+ fans and open the Wall for discussion. I'm always amazed at the spirit of collaboration when others jump in to help.

The Question Connection
To make it even easier to ask your questions, I'm starting a regular feature called the Question Connection. You can post your questions at any time, but from time to time I'll sharing the logo above and issue a call for questions on Facebook. Just post your question as a comment on my Facebook post or directly on my Facebook Wall. I'll send your questions out, one at a time, over the next few days to get feedback and ideas. Follow me on Facebook and be sure to watch for your question to be shared!

Feel free to ask about anything related to teaching or the education profession. Here are a few ideas to get  you started:

  • Share an upcoming lesson topic and ask for links to great resources and teaching ideas
  • Ask for advice about classroom management, parent communication, dealing with difficult situations at school, etc.
  • Ask how other teachers are using technology or specific websites

Questions are only one half of the Question Connection! We also need educators who are willing to answer questions and share ideas. Don't be shy about responding! Even if you have only been teaching a few weeks, you have learned valuable information that can benefit others. Share your successful teaching strategies, links to free resources on the internet, book recommendations, helpful advice, or best classroom practices. The only thing I ask is to refrain from self-promotion or providing links to your own teaching products.

If you ever feel hesitant to ask a question or respond with a suggestion, remember that your collaborative efforts benefit many, many other educators. Your question may spark a great discussion that leads to someone else learning a new strategy or discovering an amazing resource!

Great Questions + Advice from the Heart = The Question Connection! Enjoy!

June 5, 2012

End of the Year Fun!

The end of the school year can be a grueling time when you fight your students every step of the way, or it can be a fun time when you create special memories together. The traditional advice is to keep following your regular routines, but I always found myself to be fighting a losing battle when I did that. My only hope was to engage them in activities that were a little different from the norm and make the last few days enjoyable for us all.

Last year on Teaching Resources, I outlined a dozen ways to keep kids active and engaged at the end of the year. Here they are in no particular order:  
  • Learning Centers
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Classroom Book Clubs
  • Welcome and Advice Letters
  • Class Scrapbooks
  • Class Newsletters
  • Fun Friday
  • Scrabble Tournaments
  • Outside Learning
  • Team Challenges
  • Ed Tech and Online Learning Games
  • Multimedia Projects
For more details about how to implement these strategies, read the full article, "Easy and Fun Activities to Wrap Up the School Year."

End of the Year Classroom Management Strategy
It goes without saying that if you plan to have your students do special activities at the end of the year, you need a great classroom management system in place. It's important to have a back-up plan, too. I highly recommend the Erase-a-Letter Strategy. In a nutshell, you write the word STOP on the board and cross off a letter each time you have to warn the class about their behavior. When they run out of letters, you stop the activity and switch to a back-up plan. You can read a full description of the Erase-a-Letter Strategy on Teaching Resources.

If you aren't out of school yet, I hope you find something here to make your last days less grueling and more fun. For those of you lucky enough to be out already, just pin this blog post to your End of the Year board on Pinterest to save it for next year!