One Question Tests

48095_10151460458076117_1282058836_nI was driving back from Del Taco tonight and had an epiphany about my class and how I can help them all achieve standards mastery. It would be really helpful to see if they can actually work through math problems I have been teaching. I mostly do two kinds of assessments currently, whiteboard “on the spot” picking random-non-volunteers with playing cards and formal multiple choice paper tests. I find that there are usually a few who somehow get through these assessments and don’t really master the material. I thought it would be great to give a 1-2 question test each morning on the challenge standards, or the ones the whole class scores below 70% accuracy on. That in and of itself is not the great idea. Grading them is!

In class or at home I can see almost instantly if a kid is getting say long division or place value standards. I can make 2 piles: Those that “got it” and those who didn’t. In minutes, I have valuable assessment information that I can make a plan to address. I can work in a small group with those kids in the “did not get it” pile. I can also pair students who did get it with those who didn’t. I have found numerous times that some students respond better when taught by their proficient peers. It’s an especially great idea for middle to end of the year because in that time segment you have a pretty good idea which standards need extra work. The best part of these “piles” of tests is that you can put a post-it with the standard and save them for anytime you have the time to reteach and address these deficiencies. It’s very simple and very helpful I think. In theory, you could even avoid the copier by simply putting the 1-2 problems up on the overhead. If you have a Mobi or other writing device for your overhead that can be a great way to correct the test and reteach as well. In theory, you will have a stack of several standards paperclipped together that will help you work toward entire class mastery of the standards.

The Business Career Paths Many Young People Can Take

Once the celebrations are over, the first thing a young graduate has to decide is what career he or she is going to follow. Having a business degree makes a young person a suitable candidate for many business sectors; the problem is not one of too little choice, but rather too much.

Career opportunities

The world has truly opened up, especially for young people who have a business degree. For example, possible career sectors include Communications, Human Resources, Management, Marketing and Administration, to name just a few. These need not just be homegrown opportunities, either; many offer the chance to work internationally, giving the employee a flavor of other countries and cultures. Finally, there is also the possibility of working for oneself. A business degree should equip a young person with all the knowledge they need to start up their own business or become an entrepreneur.

Of course, one sticking point with the above may be money. Much of a graduate’s available finances will have been spent on their education, perhaps leaving little room to maneuver when it comes to entering a specific field or sector. This is where scholarships, such as the Laidlaw Centennial Scholarship Challenge Fund can be beneficial. This scholarship enables recent graduates to source employment opportunities abroad, which will in turn broaden their education, both personally and in terms of business. If Lord Laidlaw himself has proved anything, it is the value of an international education. He founded the Institute for International Research back in the 1970s, an organization that enables conferences of all types to be held on a global stage. He now lives in South Africa, having settled there in view of the fantastic business opportunities the region currently offers.

Some business sectors are more lucrative than others, so one of the factors in your decision-making process is to define your core objective. Are you interested in making money immediately or are you prepared to enter employment that offers you a bridge to a field you are especially interested in, with the money coming later? A bridging role may offer you the opportunity to learn further works-based skills that make you even more desirable as an employee.

If good remuneration is your core objective – and there is nothing wrong with wanting to make money – then good sectors to get into are Computing and Technology. These often rank in the Top Ten graduate jobs for their ample rewards and the scope of the different roles, such as software developer. This area is constantly evolving as the world becomes more technological, both in business and in the domestic market, so a computer-based job offers good salaries and job satisfaction.

However, there are rewards besides money and one is job satisfaction. For those who want to have a role that gives something back, teaching, especially at elementary level, can be an excellent sector to enter as a graduate.

Take advantage of all the opportunities open to you as a graduate, including scholarships, to secure a job that fulfills all your expectations and broadens your horizons.

10 Tips to Teach Kids with Repetition

  1. Enunciate new vocabulary clearly and slowly and repeat it in the lesson
  2. Have them write concepts verbatim.
  3. Have them respond to you verbally their own synthesized answers.
  4. Have them do the same in writing.
  5. Have them share verbally in pairs.
  6. Have them share on white boards and hold up (an instant assessment tool)
  7. Give them a short written test.
  8. Pick a random non-volunteer.
  9. Do the similar lessons after complete after 24 hour period pass.

Result?  Proficent kids!

CD Hovercrafts – A Fun Science Craft Idea

A science lesson can be such a great part of the teaching day. Unfortunately for some, it can also be the most boring. I am always looking for innovative ways to get kids’ attention while teaching them science. Bill Nye videos are very useful and they are titled by standard which makes it easy to select one for your class. But video can’t be the sole thing you rely on when igniting interest. I discovered in the last few years that crafts or experiments can awaken even the most sluggish learner.

I’m currently teaching guitar in Summer school and I saw a science craft another teacher did I want to share. It shows how one force can work against another in unison to create movement. In this case, it is a hover craft. The materials needed are: 1) an old CD you don’t want anymore 2) a balloon 3) The “pull top” style water caps (see image) and 4) a glue gun.

As far as the lesson goes, the sky’s the limit. Do you think you could do something with this idea? I’d love to hear about it.

Teach: Tony Danza on A&E – My Review

Every public school teacher should watch this show!

Teach: Tony Danza – what happens when a career actor steps into the classroom and tries public school teaching, under lights and television cameras. Is is an accurate presentation of the profession? Not quite.

Teach: Tony Danza is a reality show on A&E currently running on Friday nights. (You can currently catch all the epsiodes free online at hulu.com) The show has a lot to offer us as teachers as well as the “civilians” out there because it raises crucial topics about the profession. Tony Danza, actor made famous by shows Taxi and Who’s the Boss, actually taught for one year at a Philadelphia high school. Though it aims to be, the show is not a realistic portrayal of the teaching profession. Having said that, his reactions to the classroom challenge and administrative pressure feel real. They are an excellent starting point for understand the world that is teaching. I am glad this show was produced because it shows some extreme challenges we as teachers face. I hope the viewers take the good and leave the acting because there is quite a bit if it. As my long-term readers know, I’ve been a public school teacher for 13 years and therefore feel qualified to evaluate the show below.

  1. Teachers teach first, then ask. When they fail to teach, this is known as “forward questioning.” It is a big no no because it just doesn’t work. Danza loses a point for using forward questioning throughout the episodes.
  2. Danza does not stay focused and on topic. This is a nightmarish trait for a high school teacher, or any grade for that matter. Students need to be guided carefully and clearly through new concepts for them to take hold. Danza is an actor/entertainer and this is not what works with kids to teach them a year’s worth of standards.

Danza sweats and appears nervous many times in the show. He often appears over-extended. The viewer should note the following:

He taught 28 kids 45 minutes a day.

I teach 104 kids for 6 hours a day.

When he appears harried by his heartless Principal and asst Principals, we as viewers need to remember he is not even doing a quarter of the work an ordinary teacher must do.

There are many scenes where he is helping coach the football team that are useless and off topic from the show’s premise. There are also large spaces of time devoted in one episode to Danza’s daughter and fights breaking out that really have nothing to do with understanding teaching. You would think in one year they’d have gathered more footage of Danza becoming a proficient teacher. Still, what is there is worth seeing.

In conclusion, while it may seem I am not big on this series, I do recommend you see it. There were many times (mostly in episodes 1-3) where I found myself cheering because so many things resonated as true to my job. It is nice to know people see the constraints of time and demands of the administration and parents. It shows some of what what we teachers have to deal with on the job.

Danza probably went into this thinking because he was an entertainer he could succeed. It is far more than that. You must engage the learner with innovative methods. Often you receive no recognition. I hope civilians (non-teachers) will see all we are expected to do and that not just anyone can waltz in and do it. Teacher preparation and teacher training are crucial but tenacity and ongoing improvement are also invaluable.

Teach: Tony Danza is a reality show on A&E currently running on Friday nights. (You can currently catch all the epsiodes free online at hulu.com)

Spring Break Rolling By

its-official-science-just-confirmed-that-spring-break-is-the-shortest-week-of-the-school-year-a269cI always get so many ideas for my classroom when I’m on Spring Break. Teaching is a tough job on your wit and candor and when you get these breaks, you reall appreciate it. If you do it right, you improve. Would you care to share with the community and I here how your Spring Break makes you better?

Inspiration for New Teachers: The Tortoise, the Hare, and Personal Bests

This post is dedicated to the new teaching degree students who are feeling the sting of our times in education. Don’t give up! Teachers, especially new ones, are under a lot of pressure sometimes to create the best walls, the best lesson plans, and the best APPEARANCE to the teaching “pack” around them. I remember when I was starting out back in the late nineties when I sometimes felt like all the veterans around me were like the “hare” and I felt like the slow moving tortoise. You know it’s an old fable but it stands up true today in our fast paced teaching career more than ever.  If you do the right things, consistently, and keep at it, you will finish the race strong. Those doing the work for education degrees shall have their “day in the sun.” Best of all, you will make a difference in the lives of children.

It seems sometimes that the fast running hares of the world are enjoying their developed speed all around us, but you can’t let that sway you from the road in front of you, however small. They were once like you and if you keep your resolve, you will be successful as they are at teaching. You may even be better at it. Like my high school track coach Mr. White used to say: “Don’t worry about Jamie Oman, you run your own race Riley and get a personal best!” Jamie Oman was a CIF champion runner, I was simply a point man for the team. Every time I “took a man” I felt pride and I carry that with me today.

Times are tough now in education. Stay strong, we need the best teachers to stay in the profession while thousands are quitting. On your teaching journey, don’t compare yourself with others. Just do your best, stay focused on your own teacher evaluations and you will find much success.

Kids Getting to You?

When it comes to teaching, there are a couple disparate popular opinions. Some say teachers have it easy “playing with kids all day.” The other one holds that teachers have it worse than most jobs in that kids drive them crazy all day. Where do you fall along the spectrum? We should in fact be thankful to work with the citizens of tomorrow. That basis along is enough to inspire respect, in my opinion. At the same time, many teachers suffer ailments as a result of their job. The kids truly are “getting to” many out there in the occupation. I think every teacher I know gets frustrated and at the end of their rope sometimes. Here’s a few simple things you can do when the kids are getting to you:

  • breathe. I have found that many times when I am getting frustrated I am taking shallow breaths. Oxygen feeds the blood and the blood feeds the brain so make sure you are taking fairly deep breaths in between teaching.
  • imagine them as grownups. I don’t mean to expect more from them than what kids can do. I simply mean to gain empathy for them when you imagine what they’ll be when they grow up. This can also help motivate you knowing you are entrusted with such a calling.
  • find the humor. Let them be kids, and laugh at the things they do. Laughter is the best medicine sometimes.

Of course there are many other ways to “check your head.” Remember to be aware of when the kids are getting to you. Whether it is the quality of life you have at home or the doctor’s measures, you need to pay attention to the signs. In order to best serve the kids, you must make sure that you are happy and healthy first. The students will thank you for making the effort to be a “whole” teacher.

Cyber-Safety $1,000 Classroom Grant

I’m promoting this teacher grant opp because I think it’s helpful and fairly easy to apply for, especially if, like me, you enjoy writing. Below is the information Jason mailed to me. I hope you’ll take some time to look at it! Good luck!

Hi

My name is Jason and I am the Community Manager at Internet.frontier.com. I want to inform you about an awesome teacher grant opportunity. The grant is for $1,000 and open to school teachers and college professors.

In order to apply, teachers must submit either a 300-500 word essay or 1-2 minute video on the following prompt:

The Internet provides students a vast resource for research and learning. Yet, navigating the beneficial and dangerous places online has been an ever-evolving battle. What have you as a teacher and your classes learned when it comes to cyber safety?

More information about this opportunity can be found here:

https://internet.frontier.com/cyber-security-grant.html

The application deadline is April 30, 2017 so it would be great if you could post this opportunity as soon as possible on your The ADTA Website – Grant website page (http://www.adtatoday.org/) so teachers have ample time to prepare their applications.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

Kind regards,
Jason Linton
Community Manager
Internet.frontier.com