Focus on Three Things (or less) Today

tumblr_m8z4yltfxY1qiph2fo1_500If you are a high achiever who has 110 things on her/his to-do list today, this post may not be for you.  If you want to be a high achiever but get overwhelmed at times, this might be more suited to you. I was talking to a new friend, Justin, the other day through emails about how we can get over indulgent in work and actually be less effective.  That conversation made me think up a challenge post to my readers:  I want to tell you to focus on only three things today. You decide what they should be.  You’ll be tempted to focus on more, but limit yourself.

As a teacher, I tend to get bogged down in all the demands from the district and parents.  Sometimes, it can sap my energies.  The professional solution is to focus my energies with an almost tunnel vision on no more than 3 things.  I can still do other things, but my success for the day will be determined on whether I got those three things accomplished.  For example, tomorrow my 3 are: 1) Multiple meaning words, 2) Finalize my parent conferences calendar, and 3) Teach the final 2 math concepts we’ll be testing next week.  There are many other things I could/should be worried about, but these three are the most important.  I will name the day a success when these three things are done.

It is the regular attention to goals that makes me feel like a great teacher.  I wasn’t born great and I do not remain great just because of what I have done.  My puritan upbringing cringes at calling myself “great,” but I am simply referring to the data that says: I set goals and achieve them.  To me, for any occupation or endeavor in life, that is success.

Password Debacle

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This year the web based teaching materials have tripled. I login in to 15-20 resources a day and all require a password. Thankfully, Chrome saves most of them in memory. For the ones it can’t save I have to recall and type in from memory. It is a daunting task without a strategy. Some people write their passwords in a notebook they carry around. Others go on pure memory. The latter can leave you stranded based on my experience. Continue reading Password Debacle

Keep Old Stuff

Keep old Curriculum 2To some this post is stating the obvious: keep your old materials for teaching. With all the “home makeover” shows on today, there is a definite emphasis on minimalism. Feng Shui and Hoarding are also a part of our modern vocabulary but throw all that away and keep old stuff! Remember encyclopedias? I kept a set. I don’t use them often but it’s a teaching opportunity to show the kids what life was like before the internet. We would consult World Book instead of Google. Kids get a sense of history that way. For example, compare the Apollo flight to the moon article in an encyclopedia to a Google search. Kids just don’t know there is a difference.

Keep old Curriculum 3Keep old textbooks that the District tells you to discard. I know so many teachers who regret getting rid of an old math series we used to use. I kept 21 of them! I wish I would have kept the 35 I once had. Another thing these are really good for is independent study. I sometimes get requests for independent study curriculum when kids are going to be out for weeks. When you have an old text, you can work with it and not risk losing the current texts. Of course, kids muct always have the option of taking home the current text per William’s act. These textx are great for small group work and even homework.

Keep old CurriculumMath manipulatives are notorious for being thrown out, as are Science kits. Both are golden to have around. I have noticed, for example, that many of my kids annot tell tradition time as in the hands of a clock. I got a hold of a kindergarten math kit a colleague had kept and I used it to teach time in about three sittings of 3 minutes each. Tis is helpful to all subjects and in all standards. You never know where it will pop up. Not to mention the kids that may think it’s cool to have an analog watch. Keep old stuff, I guarantee you’ll use it, Of course, some stuff must be thrown away. Someone said, it you don’t use it for 2 years, throw it away. I’ll leave that up to you.

Why You Should Get Accounting Homework Help

Why You Should Get Accounting Homework Help

Homework is considered as a positive activity for students to continue learning and recalling the lessons for day. It also gives them a glimpse of what will be discussed the following day by trying to answer questions or problems of the lesson in advance. Students develop their skills, gain knowledge, becomes responsible and disciplined when they have assignments to do when they get home. Although it lessens their time for play and television viewing, assignments are still considered as an essential requirement to assess the students’ academic development. Assignments also cause stress and weariness among students especially when they have to deal with difficult subjects such. Lack of proper accounting homework help can bog down students and make them lose interest in studying.

Seeking Homework Help Online

Students who are feeling distraught with their load of assignments in different subjects can seek help from websites offering homework help and assistance. They can assist students in completing assignments on a variety of subjects such as Geometry, Biology, Accounting, Calculus and many others. You can even seek help in completing your essays, book reports and other writing requirements. In the recent years, many students have proven the benefits of seeking online help for their homework. They can find registered tutors to assist them through effective methods of teaching, tutoring or coaching.

Academic Development

Seeking online help for your assignments is not just searching for ready answers to your problems. At learnok.com you will have a team of tutors and mentors to help you find the right answers by analyzing, evaluating, teaching and explaining things about your homework that you do not understand. These people are proficient in various subjects so you can find experts in specific fields of study. Homework help should not only be a question and answer program otherwise you will not learn anything from it.

Competent tutors can solve your accounting problems but they will opt to teach you how to solve them first. Homework helpers could find a better approach to clarify concepts and subjects so that you can understand them better than the way it was discussed in the classroom. If you find the subject difficult, then there must be way for you to like it first so that you can understand it and be more motivated in dealing with your homework. These activities are geared towards improving your skills and knowledge on the subject thereby giving directing you towards better performance in school and higher grades.

Although you can find free answers to your homework, it is still a great option to have a personalized mentoring or tutoring for you to really get a grasp of your lessons in accounting. It is a subject that you can use in the corporate world so while you are still a student, you have to understand and be able to solve problems on your own. Online tutors and mentors provide individual attention to students seeking help for their assignments. They address the students’ weaknesses by focusing on what bothers them the most. Some student-tutor relationship also go a long way wherein tutors can monitor students’ progress and create personalized programs to cater to his or her specific needs, capability, learning style and academic requirements.

 

When Extra Work Means Less Headache

20130111-144253.jpgSometimes with certain classes, you have to do extra work in order to avoid headaches. One example of a headache is another teacher coming to you complaining about your class’ running or misbehaving at recess or dismissal. You can say it’s not your duty time but it will always come back to affect your reputation as a teacher, unavoidably. Define your target. Sometimes a little extra work takes care of it. My students get rowdy at dismissal. I have tried warning them to walk and be respectful but even after teaching rules and holding the whole class in all day as punishment, I still got two teacher complaints. It’s time to become more of a hawk eye with this class.

At that point, one has to decide, do I work a little outside my duty and walk them like smaller kids to the gate every day or risk letting them continue without my intense guidance and get more complaints further affecting my reputation as a teacher. It is an extra few minutes I agree and I am not required by contract to do it. At the same time, with some classes, one must accept they are too immature to do it alone and lead them out. I’ve given my current class every chance to improve and yet they are still, running and screaming and running into other kids. In the big picture they are my responsibility and I really don’t expect this class to ever be autonomous 4th graders in these activities, even though I’ve had much more mature kids who could handle it in the past. Sometimes a little extra work makes for less headache.

Back to the Old Drawing Board

 

 Someone asked me if I agreed it takes about 5 years for a teacher to feel comfortable with her/his craft. I responded by saying it’s taken me 3 years in Santa Ana and 13 in Adelanto to get here today where I am yet again rearranging the furniture and tweaking my behavior program. I say it comes in waves but a dedicated teacher keeps putting out blood, sweat and tears. This all makes the learner experience better. Of course I pull from the stuff I learned in my first five years. Nonetheless the time since has been full of trial and error. The error sometimes shows me more than the success. If you know what doesn’t work, you can narrow it down to what does.

 

 A few days ago I started getting that urge to uproot my seating chart. Kids had settled in and we’re getting used to some bad talking habits during the lessons. In my normal way, I like to think big by writing on a huge piece of cardboard. This time I added a C shaped table and made my teaching area further back. I made a seating chart on a spreadsheet and rearranged some of the overly lively kids to be better located. The kids are always excited and motivated right after a classroom makeover. This was no exception. With 32 school days left in the year, I’m glad I mixed it up. It will work much better, it already is. I’m sore from moving huge tables but I feel satisfied this will give them more of what they need from my 4th grade program. What does “Back to the old drawing board” mean to your teaching?

Great Lesson Basics – Mixing Methods

IAF_CL1_PX01192If you’re like me, you’ve been to hundreds of trainings, most claiming to be the greatest lesson method. Then, you learned they were good and bad but never universal. Have you ever sat down and tried to piece together the best of the best into something that works for you? Whether you have or not “knowingly” done so, that is the role of the teacher … to synthesize a lot of information, create, and innovate. I used to be a huge proponent of a method called “EDI.” In fact, my EDI posts get the most traffic of any posts here on the blog. I am proud to share EDI because plain and simple: it works! A few years later since my initial EDI training, I have created sort of a hybrid set of “great lesson basics” that work to foster student achievement. I am happy to share them here with you.

1. Learning Objective: I have to introduce what I am teaching and what the students are expected to do in order to be successful after the lesson.

2. Engagement: This is a step I invented. It is what people often call a “sponge activity.” It can be a story, a puppet show, a short video, a game, anything that gets the learner absorbed into the subject matter.

3. Importance: I have found time and time again that when the kids know the value of learning the lesson, they are more engaged and thus learn more and faster.

4. Steps: Everything in education can be broken down to steps. This is often easier said than done. Taking time with the steps is invaluable toward getting kids to meet the demands of the lesson.

5. Guided Practice: Simply put, SHOW THEM HOW YOU DO IT. Use the steps and model over and over. I learned to play guitar by imitating Dave Sharp on the Alarm albums. I would move the needle back again and again until I knew every guitar riff. Kids are the same today with academics. Show them and then show them some more. Gradually release them to do it on their own.

6. Independent Practice: At this step they should be doing what they watched you do over and over. Make sure they can do it before you let them go on their own.

20120815-140604.jpg7. Small group intervention: There are usually going to be a group of kids who need extra guided practice. Take them to a side table which the whole group is working independently. Just repeat the steps of the lessons for as long as you have time or until they get it, whichever is first.

This is the lesson method I have developed through the years. I would really appreciate your comments of what you think of it, ie; how I might improve it. Thanks for being part of the Dynamite Lesson Plan professional learning community.

How to Be the Teacher Your Students Will Never Forget

I was asked to mention this article and I really liked it. So here it is mostly in its entirety. Source is linked below. A very good read, full of some good truths for teachers.

A teaching career can be one of the most challenging, yet one of the most rewarding careers that a person can pursue. Most educators embark upon their careers with a determination to make a difference and to be a teacher that students remember and count as an inspiration. Chances are, you have had a teacher at some point in your academic career that truly stood out, perhaps even inspiring your own desire to become a teacher. If you’d like to make that same impression on your own students, these tips may point you in the right direction. Keeping this advice in mind while emulating some of the behavior that your own inspirational educator exhibited can help you become just as important of a figure in the lives of your students as a few great teachers once were to you.

Respect Your Students

In order to maintain control over a classroom full of kids, you’ll have to command their respect. One way to accomplish that goal is to play the role of the authoritarian teacher that refuses to accept anything less. More gentle educators know that getting students to feel genuine respect, rather than blind fear, depends upon the amount of respect they show those students.

Be Patient

Some of your students will learn differently than others, and have to go at their own pace. Others will have behavioral problems that prevent them from comporting themselves in the same manner as their peers. In every class, you will have at least one student that tries your patience, but it’s important that you do your best not to let it affect you. When your students look back at you through the lens of adulthood, they’ll be more likely to remember the wonderful teacher that was patient with them and coached them through their difficulties than the ones that couldn’t manage their needs.

Show Compassion

Your students will come from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. They’ll have different learning styles and different home lives that will affect the way they behave at school. Rather than lashing out at a student who’s clearly acting out due to anger or fear, take the time to work with them and show the compassion they need.

Teach Enthusiastically

In order to inspire enthusiasm for a given subject in your students, you’ll have to show that you’re excited about teaching the subject matter. Approaching every class as if it were the most exciting thing you’ve ever done and showing a sincere eagerness to share your knowledge and help your students learn can make a significant difference in the way they respond to you and how they remember you throughout the years.

Set High Expectations, and Help Your Students Meet Them

It is okay to set lofty goals for each and every one of your students, as long as you’re willing to put in the extra work it takes to help them meet those expectations. Work with students that need extra help, coach those that need a confidence boost and make sure that they know you’re behind them all the way. When your students look back at the time spent in your classroom, they’ll think of the sense of confidence you instilled in them and all the encouragement you gave. While the memories of apathetic or bitter teachers fade away, they’ll still remember the teacher that did everything possible to make them feel powerful and capable.

Engage Your Students

Getting kids to connect with the source material is a key to helping them retain it and to fostering an appreciation for it. Working in as many hands-on ways as possible and getting kids engaged and connected is a great way to not only help them learn, but also to help them feel secure in their environment and eager for each new day.

Get Involved

Teachers might have summer vacations and weekends off, but the truly great ones spend time outside of the classroom working with their students. Whether you’re coaching a sport, supervising an after-school activity or spending time in a tutoring program, your students need to know that you’re taking an active interest in the school. Kids can spot the teachers that are simply going through the motions until summer vacation arrives and those tend to be the educators that they don’t carry such fond memories of when their school days are over.

via How to Be the Teacher Your Students Will Never Forget – Become A Nanny.

Side-Yard Superhero (Book Review)

The tagline to this book’s title is “Life Lessons from an Unlikely Teacher.” It is a book by Rick D. Niece, known as a teacher, administrator, University president, and now author. The book is published by Five Star Publications. It is a memoir and anecdotal collection of teachable moments I am sure Rick has used to captivate students in his classroom for decades. He notes in the beginning that life stories may change when put into print and they can even become more true over time than they were when once lived in adolescent or other aged eyes. For that reason, he doesn’t label it non-fiction but the book is clearly a collection of autobiographical events.

The book starts with the backdrop of Rick’s paper route. Many of us can recall collecting along paper routes and the life wisdom we draw now from those innocent times. He visits a quadriplegic named Bernie and much of the wisdom shared in the book comes from him. Rick tries to share how important his times with Bernie were and still are. He gets his point across through richly descriptive prose of a small town and all its treasures. This is Americana through the eyes and pen of an educator. As most Americana novels do, he paints word pictures that bring us back to our youth and young adulthood. He intersperses some of his poetry as well that carries the same reverie of youth passed and wisdom gained. These are universal stories about the human condition.

I really enjoyed Rick’s slice of Americana and I agree we can gain wisdom from the most humble of places. Across our great nation there are many Bernie’s quietly offering just that sort of wisdom. Perhaps this sort of insight is what led Rick up the ladder of academia to become a principal and the president of a college. If you are looking for an inspiring and nostalgic read with humor and stories to use in your teaching or other job, buy Side-Yard Superhero. I think you will agree that anyone seeking to have an impact in this world would benefit by reading these stories.

President Obama Signs Education Law, Leaving ‘No Child’ Behind : The Two-Way : NPR

Was given this link from a co-teacher. I had to post for those interested.

The new law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, changes much about the federal government’s role in education, largely by scaling back Washington’s influence.

Source: President Obama Signs Education Law, Leaving ‘No Child’ Behind : The Two-Way : NPR

My goodness this is some good news! I did not even know this was on the table. I guess I’m a bit jaded of reading education news from Washington. Maybe I better get back into it if stuff like this is happening! This is huge. My guess is change will be slowwww as always. We’ll still be judged by the Smarter Balanced. But at least it’s a ray of hope, a slant of sunshine that we can soon focus on the needs of the future citizens in our classrooms and not strategize 24/7 on how to hurdle the Common Core. For now though, that’s what 2-12 will have to continue to do until someone tells me otherwise. Thanks!