Speed Networking in the Classroom

 

It can be daunting to try out a new teaching method, but TRUST ME, this one is A HUGE hit! I’m writing an extension to my post on History’s Great Mystery (How can I make my classroom more interactive?!) and Why I put the SOCIAL back into SOCIAL STUDIES! so you can try out this awesome technique in your classroom. This lesson can be modified for primary/middle school and high school.

I like doing this lesson for a number of reasons.
One –  This lesson give students practical, real world experience. The students are required to practice their interviewing skills on their peers as they bring a business card, a name tent and a resume with them of their historical figure (on the high school level). See below I modify this for the younger grades.  This gets my students thinking about creating their own resumes and business cards and career prospects.

Each resume and must include the following: Name, birth date, education, background, known associations (with a definition), notable accomplishments, and 3 references. Each resume must also have a “job sought” paragraph at the top. This must be between 3-6 sentences long and should include long term goals and other pertinent information. I have students bring a resume which should also include a picture. I require that these must be typed (you need two copies – one for you and one for me!) . You should have students work on this in groups if they are each assigned the same character. 

Two – I require each student to shake hands with the person as they move around the table. I give them a quick “this is how to do a proper handshake” and “smile nicely” when I hand out the instructions and again before the activity begins. This requires they practice their social skills.

Continue reading “Speed Networking in the Classroom”

What is the purpose of education?

What is the purpose of education? A great question to consider as we start the new school year. Horace Mann asked this very question when he designed and reformed our modern school system in the during the antebellum era. But fast forward to today (the 2nd gilded age?!) – we are still asking the same question. Educators, Parents, Politicians, students – perhaps we all have different answers (and questions!)

Is an education to prepare for the workforce?
Should students have a rigid structure or should students have flexibility and Freedom in the classroom?
Should teachers give homework?
Should teachers and students have the summer off?
Should education be free from birth?

These are difficult questions with varied opinions from EVERYONE. Everyone has been a student. Not everyone can be a teacher.

What are your thoughts? What is the PURPOSE of Education?

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Dreaming of September Bulletin Boards

As back to school session is underway , I love greeting new students with artfully decorated bulletin boards. My favorite way to do so is with Tagxedo’s word cloud maker.    To use the Tagxedo site you must have Silverlight (a free Microsoft plug-in) installed on your computer.  Silverlight does not work with all browsers.  I ended up using Explorer.  Once you have cleared this hurdle making word clouds on Tagxedo is very intuitive.

I had a great time playing around with the different shapes, fonts, colors – it is very entertaining and totally free!  I finally settled on the traditional apple shape and loaded it with the names of fictional students.   Check out tagxedo.com, see my sample below!

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The Teaching SECRET you NEED to know!

Tomorrow is the BIG day! Back to school. As a seasoned teacher I always get asked the same question over summer break… “If there is one SECRET to being a great teacher what would it be?” This is never an easy question to answer. But it really all comes down to ONE SECRET. Here it is…

The best teachers COMBINE the TWO E’s.
 ENTHUSIASM and EMPATHY.

WHY is this the secret to great teaching?
Simple. Ask yourself, what type of teacher would YOU learn best from? Would YOU want to be a student in your class?
In order to answer YES you need both enthusiasm and empathy.

Greet your students with a big “HELLO!” every day. Every class. Why? You don’t know what kind of day they have been experiencing. That’s where the empathy comes into play. Students may have anxiety, had a fight with their parents, or a sibling, a peer or worse. However, if you can provide a welcoming atmosphere combined with empathy it will be contagious.

If you have an online presence with a google classroom or even excel surveys then:

Be sure to decorate your google classroom with an animated header!

Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for bringing enthusiasm into the classroom! Let me know how your first day back goes!

Bring Google Classroom to Life

Howdy! How do you do? (Classroom Icebreakers 101)

Make a Magnificent Classroom Meme !

History’s Great Mystery (How can I make my classroom more interactive?!)

THE WINNING WHITEBOARD

Why I put the SOCIAL back into SOCIAL STUDIES!

SHARK TANK FOR YOUR CLASSROOM

The Great Debate (Socratic Seminars in the Classroom!)

Bored of Giving Assessments? – Use Board Games!

Holiday Themes for Google Classroom

Play-Doh is Power

Color the Past

The Mannequin Challenge – for the Classroom

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Bubbling Beauties for Back to School!

This summer has been so much fun! I have really enjoyed designing new material for my back to school classroom in my Teachers Pay Teachers Storefront.  I am elated I have been able to help so many of you ease your transition back to school! Check out my new TPT material below. Happy Shopping!

Open House Invitation Coloring Page

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Theres more!

Digital Paper-Gingham (FREE!)

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Digital Paper – Chalk Pattern

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Feel Good Free Fonts (Patriotic Edition!)

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Welcome to September! What a great year to be teaching! We are so excited to share our Fantastic FREE fonts for teaching the upcoming election!  Decorate your classroom or class handouts as you prepare for the big event in November.   The number of available free for personal use fonts is just staggering.  I have spent hours playing with new fonts.  Its addicting!

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THE WINNING WHITEBOARD

Greeting my students with a smile and shouting a big “GOOD MORNING!” always does the trick to wake up my classroom. BUT…  one other important tool not to overlook in the “be a positive teacher everyday toolkit” is the glamorizing of the white board. In the beginning of my teaching career, having a pretty whiteboard everyday wasn’t easy (because I had three different preps and three different classrooms!) Now that I am more settled beautifying my board is one of my favorite things to do in the morning as I am drinking my cup of tea and reviewing my lesson plan of the day. Here are some of my favorite tips to do inspire in your classroom:

  1. Use multiple bright and bold colors on the board
  2. Think of a fun question for your AIM– make it a grabber so students will want to be interested in your lesson
  3. Don’t forget to have fun! Your class should be be energized and vibrant especially to set the tone for the morning

Here are some photos of my boards!

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Teaching? I’m on the phone!

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Seven ways a smart phone can make a teacher’s life easier!

  1. Use your phone to record who did the homework.   Don’t collect all that paper if you only have time to verify who completed the assignment. You can easily use the scan to spreadsheet solution- Got the Homework Blues?
  2. Randomly call on students  or choose groups with one of the name generating apps: Randomly, Pick Me!, Decide Now! or Who’s Next? so that you can get them into groups for great interactive activities such as The Great Debate (Socratic Seminars in the Classroom!)
  3. Present directly from your phone.  My classroom computer is really old and really slow.  Now that I have Office 365 on up to 5 devices, I can project a PowerPoint presentation directly from my phone.   My set up time is now under a minute!
  4. Get rid of the paper immediately by snapping a digital copy.   I know I will lose that late assignment or make-up test.  It is safer to get a digital copy and send it to email or to a cloud file!  Try to go paperless as I’ve shared in the past here-   The Paperless Teachers Desk (It can be done!) Here’s how – Continue reading “Teaching? I’m on the phone!”

SHARK TANK FOR YOUR CLASSROOM

Many of my readers have been asking me for extended tips on implementing Shark Tank in your classroom (since reading my post on History’s Great Mystery (How can I make my classroom more interactive?!)

This activity is a HUGE hit in my history classroom. This is basically a marketing 101 lesson.

The Basics:
Break students into groups. Each group gets one invention. The group presents the invention and has to sell the items to three – five “ investors”.

The Play by play:
Start the class by asking what technology has changed during their lifetime. How has it changed cultural, social, political and religious interactions?

Then show a pitch from Shark Tank. I like the LuminAID storyline & clip – find it here. Stop after the 2-3 minute pitch. Ask students why the LuminAID pitch was successful. Write answers on the board.

Go on to show more of the clip and introduce the concept of the valuations.

Give students 1-2 class periods to come up with their pitch and then a class period to present. The rest of the class should take notes while the pitches are being presented.

The Lesson Ideas:
Here are a few lesson ideas by topic-

The Industrial Revolution – Invite students to sell you items from the industrial revolution in a game of SHARK TANK. Pick three – five “ investors”. Ask them to sell you investment ideas from the time period such as the Erie Canal, the railroad, the telephone. Teach them how to make a three-minute pitch and calculate how much they need for their investment. Check out my other marketing ideas here.

The High Middle Ages – Ask students to SELL you technological items from the Commercial Revolution in a game of SHARK TANK. These include the windmill and guilds.

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Howdy! How do you do? (Classroom Icebreakers 101)

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Classroom introductions. The ICEBREAKER! The moment your students (and YOU!) have been waiting for all summer. But the butterflies, they are in the pits of your students stomachs. How do you make it effortless for everyone? Well, here are 5 different ways to break the ice and say “hello!” the easy way. Start by breaking your students into groups and then have each group introduce their team members via a game. Here’s how:

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