I don't think educators typically have leadership skills. They need to learn how to think and act strategically when it comes to new ideas, changing practice, and learning together. There is lots of research available in this regard and if teachers learn how to advocate and lead, they not only will impact schools with greater skill, but they will also model these leadership skills for the students they teach.
It has been proven over and over again that exercising increases brain activity and learning amongst elementary aged students. Having a running club Tuesday and Thursday at our school has been a huge success for all involved! The parents organize the rewards for number of laps completed and the kids love it. It's simple and can be such a positive environment filled with energy and music to kick start the day!
One way to improve your teaching is through observing others teach. Not often do teachers get the opportunity to be in each others classrooms to watch a lesson with a critical eye on the lesson and the students’ reaction to that lesson. An effective way to promote this kind of observation is through lesson study. As a teacher on special assignment I am able to facilitate short lesson study cycles with interested staff. ...more »
An article by Leigh Buchanan titled Between Venus and Mars: 7 Traits of True Leaders states control is a mirage (June 2013). Buchanan explains the most effective leaders right now--men and women--are those who embrace these traits: Empathy. Vulnerability. Humility. Inclusiveness. Generosity. Balance. Patience. There is a strong connection between these traits and my teaching style. My passion for bringing about change, ...more »
There are many components to teaching in an urban environment outside of curriculum and classroom management. Many teachers entering urban education lack the knowledge of family background, family and community struggles, community dynamics, and how to assist families in their academic, social, and emotional journey. In order to better prepare and retain urban teachers, a scaffolded mentoring and professional development ...more »
I have been in charge of piloting five iPads in my resource room setting for the past three years. Due to the testing scores my students received, my principal bought 40 more iPads. I have spent numerous hours independently investigating ways to best use iPads at the elementary level to reach the top of Blooms Taxonomy. As my iPad use has expanded so have my views on how to use iPads as tools towards higher level thinking, ...more »
Our new teachers meet with instructional coaches for five seminars outside of the school day in their first year. This year, we incorporated what I call "Instructional Round Playground." This is how it works. We show our new teachers a portion of a Teaching Channel video. Then, as if we were taking part in an instructional round together, we focus on identifying examples of excellence in teaching. It's amazing what ...more »
If a class is having poor behavior moments, I take a minute to reverse the role modeling.I sit at a student's desk, and allow a small group of students to stand up as the teachers. There assignment is to get me to write my name on a piece of paper. While they're trying to teach me to do this, I display actions that they use. Sometimes I also give role modeling action cards and have small groups display the wrong behaviors ...more »
As a school gets bigger, the number of teachers grows as well. As the size of the staff becomes bigger and the school focus stays on student learning, building a meaningful relationship among teachers can be neglected and compromised. This can eventually create problems as the staff works with one another because they do not have any understanding of each other’s idiosyncrasies or life stories prior to working together ...more »
It is no surprise that the topic of classroom clip charts has proven to be controversial for students, parents and educators alike. While clip charts offer a visually appealing tracking system for behavior in the classroom, what do they really tell us? I make it my mission to focus on the positive in the classroom so upon implementing a behavior chart I was not one to use the bottom half. Instead of clipping down in ...more »
Collaborative conversations, text-based discussions, literature circles, Socratic seminars...these are a few of the buzz word strategies that have been used throughout the ages in order to engage students in learning. Providing opportunities for students to discuss rich fiction or expository text in a productive way is a great way to aid them in digesting the hefty standards they are expected to master. When students ...more »
Young children are naturally curious and born to engineer. Testing and reconsidering the world around them using play-based learning, engineering is the natural vehicle for children to learn science and mathematics, in order to design, build, and test their theories. Engineering is perceived as a subject where educators need deep levels of specialization and requires certain curriculum. Most children are not exposed to ...more »