Tch Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Stay Connected Over the Summer

Tch tips

Summer is here, so you’ve probably been off from school for at least a few weeks. Your brain may have finally shut off its “teacher mode” and that can be a great feeling. But believe it or not, some educators may already be wishing for the return of the connections and conversations teacher mode brings.

When I first started teaching and didn’t have kids of my own to deal with over summer break, I actually got a little lonely sometimes. I even opted to teach summer school (regretting that decision later!) because I missed my students and colleagues.

If you’re one of those educators missing that connection, here are a few ways you can stay in touch with colleagues without necessarily joining the summer school crew.

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I Want to Get Better at… Teaching ELLs

Summer 2018 I want to get better at...

No matter where you teach, you probably have English Language Learners (ELLs) in your school community. While it’s true that all learners are language learners, teaching ELLs may feel more challenging, especially if you’re new to teaching. Luckily, there are strategies and tips you can learn to help improve your teaching practice.

Want to get better at working with your ELLs? Check out these Teaching Channel resources for your summer learning.
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Back to School Starter Pack End-of-Year Reflection: Your Final Checklist

End of Year Reflection

Congratulations! You made it to the end of the school year.

Are you excited for summer? Are you already thinking about the next school year? Here at Teaching Channel, we sure are!

At the beginning of the school year, we launched our Back to School Starter Packs, a set of checklists and resources organized by grade band to help you start the year off on the right track. If you missed these packs at the start of the year, don’t fret! We’ll be refreshing them for back to school this fall.

In the meantime, we’ve created an End of Year Reflection to help you think about your year and plan for the next. While it sometimes feels better to simply shut the door and forget, if you take a moment now to reflect and plan just a little, your future self will be happy you did!

Take 5 (or a little more) to Reflect

Head over to our Back to School Starter Pack page and download the End of Year Reflection (you must be logged in). Print it out, and use it to assess your year in the areas of Classroom Setup, Lesson and Unit Planning, Class Culture, and Self-Care. We’ve made it simple and quick to use — just a check-list and a few spots to take notes — so no excuses. You can do this now and save yourself time later!

After you’re finished, you may even want to take it a step further by joining the conversation in Tch Video Lounge. Our interactive video, Take 5: End of Year Reflections, asks you and other educators to take stock of your experiences this year. Share your thoughts and see what others are saying about their triumphs and struggles. You might just learn something new.

Speaking of learning… be on the lookout next week for our blog series, I Want to Get Better At… We’ll be sharing resources for learning about four key topics this summer: Differentiation, Collaboration, ELLs, and Assessment.

If you try our End of Year Reflection, let us know how it goes in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Gretchen Vierstra taught middle school for ten years in the San Francisco Bay Area. During her 15+ years in education, she’s also been a department chair, new teacher coach, curriculum developer, and policy analyst. She is Director of Educational Content at Teaching Channel.

Tch Tips: Four Ways to Gather Student Feedback

Tch tips

As another school year comes to a close, I’d bet that you and your students are looking forward to summer break. While these last days of school can be crazy, they’re often reflective as well.

You’ve probably asked students to self-assess their learning, and you’ve probably been busy assessing their learning in final projects, portfolios, and report cards. Of course, all of this assessment of student learning is important — but remember, you were the one who guided them on their learning journey!

As an educator, it’s just as important to take time to ask yourself about your year.

  • What went well?
  • What will you change next year?

And, while you still have your students in the classroom, why not ask them for a little feedback? Sure, this idea may seem scary at first, but with the right setup, you can truly learn a lot from your students.

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Tch Tips: Three Ways to Formatively Assess Content and Language

Tch tips

As educators, we all know how important it is to assess student learning. Often, formative assessment strategies focus on student understanding of content learning. But what about language learning?

Whether or not you have ELLs in your classroom, our students are always improving their language skills. Why not try a formative assessment strategy that checks in on both language and content?

Here are four ways you can assess all students for content and language learning in your classroom:

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Tch Tips: Engaging Students in Socratic Seminars

Tch tips

Ready to teach like Socrates? We’ve got the videos to show you just how to do it!

In its simplest form, a Socratic Seminar is a structured conversation that students facilitate through open-ended questioning, listening carefully to one another, sharing their thoughts, and making meaning together. Traditionally, the seminar focuses on a text or set of texts, but there are many variations. The main idea is that the teacher is off-stage, and it’s the student inquiry that leads the show.

Whether you’re just starting out with these seminars or a full-fledged expert, there’s always something to be learned by watching how others do it. Some of our most popular Teaching Channel videos are of Socratic Seminars for that very reason! Here are four tips you can learn from watching these videos.

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Mid-Year Check-in: Assessing Your Year So Far

mid-year check-in

Congratulations: You made it to January!

For many experienced educators, January can feel like an exciting time to reboot. For new teachers, January can bring back feelings of disillusionment that may have started around November (be sure to read this post on staying energized if you’re in the latter category).

Whether you’re feeling dismayed or excited for the rest of the year, taking just a few minutes to reflect and plan can often make you feel a little bit better.

At the beginning of the school year, Teaching Channel launched our Back to School Starter Packs, a set of checklists and resources organized by grade band to help you start the year off on the right track. Now that we’ve reached the midyear point, we’re offering you a simple review sheet to see how well you’ve done with all of your plans.

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Tchers’ Voice: Top Blog Posts of 2017

Tch Most Read Blog Posts 2017

Each year, Teaching Channel has the pleasure of publishing great ideas, thoughtful reflections, and helpful advice from our community of educators in our Tchers’ Voice blog. This year was no exception! We published posts from writers across the country, covering topics from classroom management to the solar eclipse. In case you missed any of these amazing posts, here’s a wrap up of our top reads.

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Tch Tips: Four Tips for Surviving December

Tch tips

It’s that most wonderful time of the year. Well, sort of.

Teaching in December can be tricky and sometimes downright difficult. You may find yourself digging deeper and deeper into your bag of tricks. You may need something fresh to keep you and your students on track. You may simply need a break.

You can survive and even thrive in December! Here are four tips to get you through the holiday season.

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The Power of Collaboration for ELLs

Power of Collab ELL Blog Header

As educators, we know the value of collaboration. We ask our students to do it daily, and we hopefully get to do it ourselves. In this new series, The Power of Collaboration for ELLs, we have a chance to see both teacher and student collaboration in action, supporting the learning of all students.

In this set of videos, we’re back in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where we first showed you co-teaching in a bilingual classroom at Banting Elementary. This time we visit Horning Middle School, where we get to learn from the collaboration between two content area teachers and an ELL specialist. Teachers Meredith Sweeney, Shannon Kay, and Chris Knutson create a learning environment that embraces the social nature of middle schoolers, while fostering simultaneous language and content learning for all their students, especially ELLs.

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