Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are We Too Accommodating to Today's Students?

As a nation, we have accommodated students’ needs more and more as we work to provide them with the optimal learning environment, but at what point does accommodating become enabling?

Laura Klein, 8th grade teacher at I.S. 217, Rafael Hernandez School of Performing Arts in the Bronx, explains, “It’s our job to teach them no matter what. We are often the adults that children see with the most consistency and frequency, and we are responsible for their educations, in the broadest sense of that word. But to truly help them be successful, we ourselves have to embody the “no excuses” attitude.”

“The problem is that by allowing ourselves no excuses, and doing whatever it takes to make students successful, we often find ourselves accepting excuses from them.”

As an educator, do you ever make excuses for your students? If so, where do you draw the line?

Read Laura Klein’s full article here

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Students Learn Social Studies "On Location" with Technology in the Classroom

While most of us have never been to Egypt, students in Dan Jones’ social studies class have come close. Taking full advantage of available green-screen technology, Mr. Jones transports his students to the places they study.

Jones, who is in his seventh year of teaching, said every teacher can find creative ways to use technology in class. He said he picked up most of his strategies by experimenting with a variety of online tools.

"Our students' world is made up of Facebook, YouTube, texting and more," he said. "We, as educators, need to bring these things into our classroom and figure out how to use them for an educational purpose . . . I have students creating websites, portfolios and video book reports.” Jones’ goal is for kids to leave his class with a portfolio of work they’re really proud of.

Do you agree with Jones? Do educators need to bring technology into the classroom?

Read more about Dan Jones and how he has used technology in the classroom here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Giving the Right Attention to All Students

While every educator has likely experienced a child who makes a spectacle in class to receive attention, not every teacher knows how to react. Last week, Coach G (Education Week) offered some tips to steer teachers and administrators in the right direction. “It all starts with the need to focus attention on constructive behavior at the expense of disruptive behavior rather than the other way around,” he said.

Three of Coach G’s tips include:

1. Give attention to attention givers
2. Leverage all available attention
3. Communicate non-verbally

As Coach G puts it, “There's no way around it: all children need and deserve attention. And how you manage a classroom full of kids vying for attention can make or break your overall effectiveness as a teacher.”

To learn the “how” behind Coach G’s tips, click here.