December’s Teacher’s Corner Column: Are We Expecting Too Much, Too Soon?

Teacher’s Corner is a monthly newsletter from eNotes just for teachers. In it, experienced educator and eNotes contributor Susan Hurn shares her tips, tricks, and insight into the world of teaching. Check out this month’s Teacher’s Corner column below, or sign up to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox at eNotes.com.

I recently read an article by Laura Katan in which she shares an anecdote I keep thinking about. At a fair, Katan saw a ten-year-old boy and his mom pass a massage vendor, and she heard the mother ask her son, “Do you want a massage? It may relax you.” Katan recalls she was “incredulous” as she overheard the comment. “Since when do 10-year-olds need to relax?” she asks. Well, apparently now. In fact, there seems to be a lot of kids who need to relax, and most of them are in our classrooms.   Read the rest of this entry »


10 Books to Help Every Teacher Rock

Pick up one of these teacher-written guides over your next school break to return to your classroom with fresh and inspiring ideas.

By Lesley Vos, a private educator of French language and a Bid4papers blogger.

A good teacher is not the one who believes he knows everything, but the one who is ready to learn new things and improve his knowledge and skills. A good teacher is not the one who perfectly knows a theoretical part of a subject she teaches, but the one who knows how to talk and behave to her students, how to understand them, how to become their friend, how to make them trust and rely on her.

If you want to become a teacher who rocks, it’s never late to learn some tips and tricks from your colleagues: check out these 10 top books written by your fellow instructors to help you understand your students better, and come back to school a better teacher.

Your must-read books include:

1. Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit

Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit

Your students are different, and big problems may appear because of some stereotypes or prejudices in your classroom. The author of Other People’s Children analyzes all cultural differences that may appear between teachers and students, and tells how to forget about all this cultural baggage and take into account the needs of every student regardless of his color.

Other People’s Children on Amazon: link

2. Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel T. Willingham

Why Don’t Students Like School by Daniel T. Willingham

The author of this book is a cognitive scientist, and he scientifically explains how you can engage students in a classroom. If you want to know how your students’ brain works, this book is your must-read for sure. Here you will find some advice and tricks to use to improve your practice and motivate students. Daniel Willingham explains how important emotions are for students’ learning experience and how memory and context influence the process of study too.

Why Don’t Students Like School on Amazon: link

Read the rest of this entry »


November’s Teacher’s Corner Column: A Guide to Summative and Formative Assessments

Teacher’s Corner is a monthly newsletter from eNotes just for teachers. In it, experienced educator and eNotes contributor Susan Hurn shares her tips, tricks, and insight into the world of teaching. Check out this month’s Teacher’s Corner column below, or sign up to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox at eNotes.com.

Keeping Up with Assessment and Grading

Assessing students’ achievement is an integral part of teaching, and like everything else in the profession, it has become more complicated. The days of giving a chapter test and calling it good are over. That’s not a bad thing though. To really keep tabs on who’s learning what, assessment has to be an ongoing process, and it has to offer kids a variety of ways to show what they know and what they can do.

To be thorough and effective, assessment has to include the three main types of measurement: diagnostic, formative, and summative. Diagnostic assessment is imperative, since it’s impossible to know how much ground students have gained at the end of a study unit unless we know where they were at the beginning. Formative assessment checks their learning along the way and provides an opportunity to adjust lesson plans, if necessary, and to address specific problems a struggling student might be experiencing. Summative assessment at the end of a study unit indicates kids’ overall mastery of new material and gives a clear idea about how to proceed in instruction. A review of all six types of assessment can be found here at edudemic.com. Another good site with information about assessment practices is utexas.edu/teaching.

Read the rest of this entry »


October’s Teacher’s Corner Column: How To Be Proactive and Organized Year-Round

Teacher’s Corner is a monthly newsletter from eNotes just for teachers. In it, experienced educator and eNotes contributor Susan Hurn shares her tips, tricks, and insight into the world of teaching. Check out this month’s Teacher’s Corner column below, or sign up to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox at eNotes.com.

Whether you’re a new teacher or a classroom veteran, the school year can feel overwhelming, more so than ever since the demands of standards-based testing and professional development have grown increasingly complex and time consuming. Teaching now seems to require holding down two jobs at once: teaching kids with one hand and meeting a plethora of administrative mandates with the other. It’s tough to carry such a load day after day without sinking under the weight.

According to the old proverb, “A stitch in time saves nine.” It’s true, and it’s still good advice. Being proactive takes a little time, but it saves a lot of work and heads off problems, making a difficult year more manageable and less stressful. Here are a few ways to save yourself in the classroom by acting sooner rather than later:

  • Organize your paperwork, but don’t overdo it:
    • An organizational system shouldn’t be so complicated that it takes hours to create and you have to remember what’s filed where when you’re looking for something.
    • Backing up critical information is a must, but recording the same information in multiple places wastes time.
    • Making lists keeps things on track, but if you have so many lists you need a master list to keep track of them, you’ve overachieved! (I’m speaking from experience here, so trust me.)

Read the rest of this entry »


August’s Teacher’s Corner Column: Schools of the Future—Oh, My

Teacher’s Corner is a monthly newsletter from eNotes just for teachers. In it, experienced educator and eNotes contributor Susan Hurn shares her tips, tricks, and insight into the world of teaching. This month, she’s looking to the future of teaching with a skeptical eye. Check out this month’s Teacher’s Corner column below, or sign up to receive the complete newsletter in your inbox at eNotes.com.

Predictions about how students will be educated one day are intriguing, but a few of them are downright scary when you think of the implications. Some visions of education in the future seem really off-the-wall, but others are not hard to imagine, for better or worse, considering the continuing impact of technology in the classroom and how it has already changed instructional practices. Here are a few highlights from the prognosticators:

  • Schools will consist of interlocking modular pods that can be added to or removed from a basic structure to adjust for the increase or decrease in a school’s population.
  • Modular schools will be portable, easily moved from one location to another as the general population shifts geographically.
  • Students will be micro-chipped to facilitate supervision and safety.
  • Classes will be conducted with robots providing instruction.
  • Traditional schools will cease to exist. Students will complete individual studies on computers at community centers open 24/7, working when it’s most convenient for them and communicating with teachers by voice mail.
  • All field trips will be virtual, and students will attend virtual workshops conducted by recognized authorities in various fields.
  • Hands-on learning will be phased out; students will interact solely with 3-D models, touching only computer keys.
  • Computer keyboards will be phased out. Students will use hand and eye gestures, like playing games on a Wii, to control electronic tablets. Students will write with digi pens.
  • Large multi-national companies will have an increasing influence on curriculums and school resources.

Read the rest of this entry »


eNotes Students of Change Series: the Fashionably Conscious NGO

“I dreamt up Project Sina in college and always thought that I would pursue the endeavor later on in my career. I guess there is a perception that one has to be of a certain age and have collected a number of accolades before doing something entrepreneurial… Frustrated by a narrow job market, I was compelled to create my own opportunities regardless of who or what entity deemed me qualified.” — Amena Mian

In our new blog series, we’re interviewing students and recent graduates who have taken their studies and done something profound with them. Some are doing great work at home, while others have traveled to far off destinations to help communities in need. Whatever path they’ve chosen, these inspirational Students of Change prove that being young and recently graduated are never hindrances to doing what you want to do.

amenaAmena Mian is a graduate of UC Davis, with a degree in Global Community Development. She has an extensive amount of experience working for mission-driven nonprofits both in the US and South Asia and she was selected as a Fellow for the IDEX Fellowship in Social Enterpise ’12-’13. Her non-profit fashion label Project Sina is “generating opportunity for women through a stitch,” employing Pakistani artisans to create beautiful, hand-crafted clothing and repaying them with fair wages and education. 

Amena’s efforts to promote literacy and equality for South Asian women make her our hero and this week’s Student of Change. Read on to learn more about her and her co-founders’ noble cause!

Read the rest of this entry »


eNotes Presents Students of Change Series: The Social Media Do-Gooder

“At 24 years old having 61,000 followers on Twitter, people always ask me if there’s something profound I did to make that happen and my answer is always no. I just showed people that I cared.” – Emily Thomas

In our new blog series, we’re interviewing students and recent graduates who have taken their studies and done something profound with them. Some are doing great work at home, while others have traveled to far off destinations to help communities in need. Whatever path they’ve chosen, these inspirational Students of Change prove that being young and recently graduated are never hindrances to doing what you want to do.

Take the subject of our first interview for example, Emily Thomas. Emily is 24 and just recently graduated from Seattle University. Her writing has been featured on Huffington Post and she’s currently involved with a number of PR projects, the biggest of which is #standwithme, a campaign for a documentary about the issue of child slavery. She’s a social media guru with upwards of 61,000 followers on Twitter. We at eNotes believe that she exemplifies the ideal eNoter through her upbeat attitude and never ending quest for knowledge. Read on for your daily dose of inspiration.

You’re a self-proclaimed do-gooder, what does this mean to you and what led you to aspire to this identity?

standwithme1I got the phrase “do-gooder” from one of my favorite quotes by Minor Myers which is “go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.” While being an established writer and successful social media strategist is important to me, I always remind myself that true success comes from two things: doing something that makes you happy and doing something that makes the world a better place than when you found it. The truth is that we aren’t going to live forever, but we have the ability to forever make the world a better place by choosing our actions wisely.

Before I embark on any social media campaigns, I ask myself if it’s a project that I feel is going to make a difference in the world. What I have found from working on projects like #standwithme and Snap2Live is that my ability to use social media strategy helps companies tell their story in the best way possible through cyber space. I know that my efforts with these two projects are affecting more lives than just my own. Read the rest of this entry »


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