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10 Easy Ways To Create an Amazing #ClassroomCulture This Year

The Principal of Change George Couros - 20 August, 2016 - 08:26

Simple things can make a significant difference in our classroom environments, yet we should be intentional about them.  Every year we should strive to make it the best year students have, and if we all did this, school would only progressively get better for our students.

Below are some really simple ideas that can help shape an amazing year for your students.

  1. Greet kids at the door. – There is a massive difference between walking into a room and being welcomed than seeing a teacher sitting at their desk prepping for the day.  This sets the tone for the entire day and reminds kids that we are privileged to have them show up each and every day.
  2. Play music to liven up the day. – This might be something that I am a little biased on, but the environment of a room that I walk into that has lively music playing, as opposed to one that is quiet reminds me of warming up for a game as an athlete.  Music can often bring a smile to people entering the room and is just an awesome way to start the day.
  3. Go out of your way to make your first interactions positive. – At some point, kids make mistakes. As a principal, I would go out of my way to connect with kids, before they were sent my way.  A student that knows they are valued will make the tough conversations a lot easier later on. This time spent is an investment in the child, not an expenditure.
  4. Call parents early…Make sure they know you care about their kid. – I learned this awesome tip from a former secretary at my school.  It is an awesome call (and far too often surprising) when parents hear from their child’s teacher and the conversation is ONLY a positive one.  This is a definite investment in an emotional bank account, and lets parents know that you genuinely care about their child.
  5. Have ideas what you are going to do, but always tailor it to the students in front of you. – Be flexible.  What you did last year might not work this year because these are different kids.  Don’t over-plan; ask questions and learn about your students.
  6. Design the classroom with your students. – We spend so much time decorating the classroom before students show up, and then we call it “our room”.  Something as simple as decorating the classroom together, not only gives students ownership of the space, but it also helps to show that you care about their opinions (while also saving you a ton of time!).
  7. Find out the passions of each student and tap into them. – One of the best way to work with people is by finding out what they love and tapping into it.  The teachers that spent time finding out my passions, made me feel like they had a genuine interest in who I was and what I loved.
  8. Find out their dreams, and try to help them move closer to those goals. – We spend a lot of time thinking about where we want students to be, and not enough time asking where they want to go.  Success is deeply personal and if we know students’ goals and dreams for both in and out of the classroom, and help them work towards achieving them, our impact will last long after their time under our care.
  9. Have them ask questions every single day, and help them find those answers. – As stated in “The Innovator’s Mindset“, if a child leaves schools less curious than when they started, we have failed them.  Let’s ensure that we encourage our students, through different endeavours, find the answers to the questions they pose and are curious about, not just what we are expected to teach.
  10. Love them.- This might sound a little lame, but teaching is a tough job. So is being a kid.  There are so many things that kids deal with while growing up, that they just need to know that someone cares about them.  Go out of your way to show that enthusiasm for them as people, not just who they are as students.

I would love to know the “little things” that you do in your classrooms to make a big impact. No matter when you are starting your year, I hope it is a great one!

Categories: Planet

Why You Shouldn’t Babysit Kids with Tablets! (And What to Do Instead)

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 19 August, 2016 - 11:02

Advice about Tablets and Young Children: What Works and Warnings from an Expert.

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

You’ve seen it. Young children engrossed in tablet devices. But how much is too much? Today’s expert, Diane Levin, gives technology guidance to the parents and teachers of young children.

Check out Tiggly

Parents and teachers need to interact with students. Kids need the real world. Hands-on manipulatives help them learn, as well. Today’s guest helps us with balancing the physical world and the virtual tablet-based world many young children inhabit.

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher Hands on Manipulatives and iPad Games with Today’s Sponsor, Tiggly Check out Tiggly. Informed educators and parents are looking for better ways for their children to interact with technology. Tiggly combines the best of physical play with their apps.

Tiggly combines hands-on manipulatives with iPad games. In my opinion, Tiggly strikes the balance that we discuss in today’s show. While you’re on Tiggly’s site, check out the Bonus Segment, Avoiding the Biggest Mistake We Make with Kids and Tablets by today’s guest, Diane Levin.

Show Notes about Kids and Tablets:
  • What risks do tablets pose for young children?
  • What experiences are necessary for a child’s optimal development?
  • Why do children need blocks and manipulatives?
  • What are ways that parents and teachers can engage with kids as they use tablet devices?
  • How can we help children learn to self-regulate their use of tablet devices?
  • How do you select activities and games appropriate for your child?
Who is Diane Levin?

Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., is a Professor of Education at Wheelock College in Boston. She is the author of Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood(NAEYC) and So Sexy So Soon. She is a founder of Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment and Defending the Early Years.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) 

The post Why You Shouldn’t Babysit Kids with Tablets! (And What to Do Instead) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Learning is the Job

The Principal of Change George Couros - 18 August, 2016 - 12:38

I encourage people to challenge me in my workshops, and share their frustrations and hurdles that they have to jump to get to the next level.

This one amazing lady shared this with me.

She said, “You know every time I learn something new in my work as a teacher, all of a sudden there is something else new. I get so frustrated because I feel I am always starting over again.”

First thing I said to her, was that I loved her for being so honest. A lot of people feel this, but not all people were open enough to say it.  After that, I told her that I wanted her to think about something.

“What would you say if a grade 2 student said, ‘you want me to learn all this grade 2 stuff just after I learned all of that grade 1 stuff last year?!?!?’  Would you let them off the hook?”

Her and I (and others) both laughed, yet she totally got the point.  A student moving from grade 2 to grade 3 is often excited, yet a teacher making the same transition does not always share the same enthusiasm.

What was amazing was that she openly acknowledged that the thing holding her back was her thinking. A beautiful first step to growth in my humble opinion.

If we think about, learning is the job. How can you effectively teach, if you can’t effectively learn? Yes we will always be inundated with information, and there will always be something new to learn, but let’s expect the same growth from our students that we would from ourselves.

Categories: Planet

Response to Class Project Over 100 BUT

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 16 August, 2016 - 04:49

Comments:

  • No one e-mail with questions. I added a contest, made instruction clearer.
    Plus I added Turning Points in American History to the projects page.
    http://www.textbooksfree.org/Turning%20Points%20in%20American%20History3.htm
    http://www.textbooksfree.org/U.S.%20Terror%20Episodes%20Since%201900.htm
    Please advise on lack of response, possible changes …
    http://www.textbooksfree.org/walter.htm - Walter Antoniotti

Tags: education, web2.0, technology, tools, resources, learning, teaching, collaboration, video

by: Walter Antoniotti

Categories: International News

Making Compassion the Fifth C of Learning — The Learner's Way

Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group - 14 August, 2016 - 18:20

Comments:

  • The question of what learning matters most to our students is one that I return to regularly. A fascinating range of models are available each with similar elements but presented in a slightly different manner. Most could be summarised by the ‘Four C’s’ model outlined in ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith. Critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity are vital and each plays an important role in allowing us to manage the complexity of modern day life. Beyond being relevant to success in the classroom the Four C’s are the foundations of life-long learning but I question if alone they are enough. I believe we must include a fifth; compassion. - Nigel Coutts

Tags: compassion, learning, education

by: Nigel Coutts

Categories: International News

SBL Interactive > Home

Oz/NZ Educators Diigo Group - 5 August, 2016 - 11:14

Comments:

  • Free interactive learning object creation tool with a focus on creating scenario-based learning - Kerry J

Tags: interactive, learning, learningobjects, tools, resources, teaching

by: Kerry J

Categories: International News

Code4Kids – Building a Simple Scratch Game

Chris Betcher - 10 July, 2016 - 01:23

I had the pleasure this week to be a guest on Code4Kids, a webinar series with Kelly Moore. Kelly is a teacher and tech coach in Melbourne, and she asked if I’d come on the show and talk about the use of Scratch to help teach computational thinking and coding. Well, you might know I’m a bit of a Scratch fanboy so I didn’t take too much convincing!

Rather than just talk about theory stuff, we actually created a classic but simple guessing game in Scratch during the live show.  I thought this was a good example because it uses quite a few fundamental programming constructs such as sequencing, looping and branching, etc. It also makes good use of Boolean comparisons, if-then decisions, and reassignment of variables. Throw in some simple maths like random number generation, greater than and less than operators, and it’s the start of some simple yet sophisticated Scratch coding.

Click here to view the embedded video.

It was nice to get some comments from the livestream viewers that they learned something from watching.

If you’d like to check out Kelly’s channel and her other videos, head on over to her Code4Kids playlist

And if you’d like to check your own Scratch skills, you can take the 15 question Scratch Quiz I mention at the end of the video… just head to bit.ly/scratchquiz and take the quiz… your results will be emailed to you immediately thanks to Google Forms and Flubaroo!

Related posts:

  1. Scratch 2.0 Beta: What’s new?
  2. A Little More Scratch
  3. Teaching Kids To Think Using Scratch

Categories: Planet
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