Spring Cleaning Your Lesson Plans

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The term “spring cleaning” often evokes the image of a jam-packed closet, filled with items that have accumulated over time and that may or may not still be useful. Spring cleaning usually isn’t associated with lesson plans, but it’s a good practice to apply to them, too. In fact, it’s more than good. It’s essential! Continue Reading ›

Owl Eyes Annotated Texts: A Great Resource to Add to Your Teacher Toolbox  

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The beginning of a new season is always a good time to consider new ways to engage students in the classroom. One way to do it—only a few keyboard clicks away—is to incorporate Owl Eyes annotated texts into lesson plans and instruction.

In case you’re unfamiliar with using the annotated texts at Owl Eyes, here are a few things to know to get started. First of all, they’re free, and they’re comprehensive! At Owl Eyes you will find hundreds of poems, short stories, novels, and essays to which instructional annotations have been added throughout the texts—and hundreds of additional annotated works are on the way. Continue Reading ›

The Nature of Leadership: Engaging our Youth to Become Better Leaders

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Excellent leadership skills can come naturally to some, but early experiences impact our adult leadership potential. At a young age, children learn to develop leadership skills by being nurtured and encouraged by adults such as parents, family members, teachers and caregivers. Qualities imposed by adults, such as moral development, communication, and diversity can all greatly affect the way children become leaders. Reflect on your own leadership qualities to see how you can better impact young adults to become future leaders.

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Top E-learning Trends You Can Implement Immediately in Your Classroom

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What do we talk about when we talk about e-learning?

In the past, most courses and learning activities fell on one side of a dichotomy: they were either instructor-led or computer-based, either online or off, either synchronous or asynchronous. Today, the distinction is not quite so clear. Although there are still plenty of e-learning-only courses, blended courses are becoming increasingly popular from elementary to corporate classrooms. Even courses that may not specifically be “blended” are incorporating more digital elements and activities. In this new environment, e-learning is becoming less of a special category and more just a way to describe what happens in classrooms everywhere, every day. Continue Reading ›

Teachers, Here Is How to Spend Your Summer

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I distinctly remember staying late, late on a Friday night my second year of teaching so that I could finish all of my grading and planning for the next week.

I loved the idea of having a whole weekend to myself for once, but I didn’t actually think about what I would do with it once I had it. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling optimistic and free and by 1:15pm when I still hadn’t really moved from my bed, dread started to creep in. I had no idea really what to do with this free time. Completely forgot what I actually liked to do. It was the worst day ever.

I ate a Hungry Man dinner at 4:00pm.

If you are like me and are in danger of having that happen to your entire summer, or even just a couple of weeks of it, I have some ideas for you. Continue Reading ›

The Next New Thing: Personalized Learning

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One thing about education as a profession—the grass is never allowed to grow under a teacher’s feet for very long. There’s always something new coming down the pike, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does induce a kind of professional dizziness from time to time. Adapting to the “next new thing” is always a challenge, especially if it moves from the periphery onto the center stage in classroom practices. The most recent concept in education is personalized learning, not to be confused with differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction addresses how lessons are delivered to students, based on their individual needs. Personalized learning is more complex.

enotes blog squaresIn its purest form, personalized learning allows students to choose what they will study and to proceed at their own pace in meeting individual goals. Implementing it requires four instructional strategies, which are summarized in “Personalized Learning: A Working Definition”:

  • Continual assessment as a student progresses toward “clearly-defined goals,” with the student advancing and earning credit after demonstrating mastery.
  • Learning environments designed to meet students’ needs in reaching their goals.
  • Customized “learning paths” based on each student’s progress, motivations, and goals.
  • Up-to-date “learner profiles” that chart each student’s strengths, needs, motivations, and goals.

That’s a lot to do after taking attendance! Seriously, it’s a lot to do period, and the current demands of standardized testing make personalized learning seem like a classroom fantasy. It’s a great idea, though, so what can be done to personalize learning in a system based on covering a specific curriculum in a limited amount of time? Apparently, quite a bit, starting with learner profiles. Continue Reading ›