I’ve been teaching a unit on The Things They Carried in my War & Literature class, and just yesterday, my students and I got into a discussion on lies. We discussed the reasons people lie and the frequency at which they do it. We came to the conclusion that everyone lies every day. I even admitted to my students that I had most likely told lied at least once today (this was first period, so it was only 8:00 in the morning).
As an English teacher, I am constantly confronted with the topic of vocabulary. How do I teach vocabulary? How do I ensure my students are learning and retaining the words? How do I integrate vocabulary into my daily lessons? How much vocabulary homework do I assign?
To answer the last question–I don’t.
Assessment tends to be one of the most feared words to students, but it is imperative that educators continuously assess their students to identify their needs and their understanding of the material. Assessment can be as large as a unit test or project/essay (summative) or as small as an exit ticket or discussion questions (formative). Regardless of the type, assessments are crucial for educators to successfully teach their students and help them achieve success. But assessments do not always need to be “boring” or “scary”; they can be authentic and fun. Below are a few suggestions for properly assessing students in a unique and creative way.
We’ve all been there. We struggle to keep our students focused when there are only a few more days or hours till the holiday break. The students can hardly contain their excitement, and the last place they want to be is in the classroom. So how can we manage our classrooms while still allowing for teaching and learning? There are some ways to engage students while also allowing for a meaningful lesson. Below are some suggestions to help control your classes during the final days before the break.
Generation Z has finally entered our classrooms. These are 21st century learners who are digitally literate and determined to take charge of their learning. Consequently, teachers need to adjust their strategies and give students more voice and ownership. When the classroom moves from teacher-centered to student-centered, more learning takes place and students tend to be more engaged in the lesson.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the purpose of homework. I have attended several workshops on administering homework, and just last week, a speaker visited my school to encourage teachers to reduce the amount of homework given each night. I must admit that once I was able to recall my high school days, I recognized how truly useless and time-consuming homework can be.
Just yesterday, I told my Journalism students that I made a mistake; I messed up last semester by presenting my students with their final project assignment all at once rather than breaking it down into separate parts. The students did have several due dates for different parts of the assignment, but they chose to focus on the overall product rather than the content. I am getting ahead of myself though, so first let me explain to you the final assignment…
For the first time as a teacher, I attempted the flipped classroom with my 9th grade English students, and my only regret is not trying it sooner. My biggest concern was accountability. How could I hold my 14-year-old students accountable for their learning? Chances were that they would not complete the assignments or watch the videos without an incentive. But this is where Edpuzzle came to the rescue…
I recently wrote a post about “thinking outside the box” with lesson planning. While writing it, I began to reflect on particular lessons from my high school days as a student, and I thought about why these lessons were so impactful.
The one lesson I immediately recall is from my US History II course during junior year of high school. I had a phenomenal teacher who was very creative with his teaching strategies.
One day, at the start of one of my college education courses, the professor looked at the class and said, “Everyone, please take out your cell phones.” We all looked at him in disconcertion, but he simply waited for all of us to have our cell phones in hand while he turned on the projector screen. It was at this point that he introduced us to pollevereywhere.com and had us answer a few questions from the previous night’s readings.