Do you plan to use the State of the Union address this week as a text in your classroom?
Whether you plan to view the address with your class, highlight clips, or simply discuss the main points after the fact, this yearly speech can be an excellent teaching tool.
Creative Ideas to Incorporate SOTU 2018 into Your Lessons
Analyze with a Word Cloud: When I was in the classroom, one of my favorite ways to teach with the annual State of the Union address was to analyze the text of the speech with a word cloud.
President Barack Obama’s 2016 SOTU Address
There are many different ways to use this strategy, and we’ve got a few ideas to get you started:
- Identify keywords or themes in the address.
- Determine which issues are important in the world today, based on the text of the speech (Tip: Create the word cloud so that words used more frequently appear larger).
- Compare and contrast the SOTU address with the response from the opposition party.
- Compare and contrast the speech of the current president with those of past presidents.
- Compare the themes present in SOTU speeches across a presidential term.
- Watch the STOU address as a class and ask each student to describe the speech with 3-6 words.
Check out these resources for a look at the SOTU as a word cloud or to create your own. Read more
It was the 11th school shooting in the United States this year — and it happened on January 23rd.
Pundits and politicians alike suggest that we, as a nation, are becoming numb to school shooting incidents — that we have become desensitized. However, nothing could be further from the truth for educators, their students, and school communities — tragedies like these are personal.
Although this most recent school shooting has been notably overshadowed by continuously breaking news, and it’s not a trending topic on Twitter, the tragic events at Marshall County High School in Kentucky this week are front and center in the minds of teachers, students, and parents across the nation.
Earlier this school year we published a post in the aftermath of the California wildfires that touched upon what teachers can do to support their students in times of tragedy. While the tragedy differs in type and scope, many of the tips for teaching in times of tragedy can help in the aftermath of gun violence — whether it happens in your own school or your community is feeling the anxiety that follows watching an event, like the one that played out in Kentucky, from afar.
But when it comes to something so important, teachers can never have too many resources to help them help students with resilience and, most importantly, healing.
Every teacher strives for an active classroom buzzing with engaged and eager students. However, even the most experienced teachers face days when it seems like they’re the only one talking and the students have simply tuned out. Or, perhaps your students are so engaged and so eager to participate that you’re having a tough time making sure that all student voices are heard.
Silence can bring even the best lesson to a screeching halt and the hand that never seems to go down is certainly a challenge. But whatever the reason behind your participation woes, if you have 12 minutes, we have 10 top-notch strategies you can learn today and try out tomorrow to boost active learning and student participation for all students in your classroom.
Managing a classroom is never easy — even for the most seasoned and experienced educators. Even more, every class of students is different, and a great strategy that works with one group may not necessarily work with the next. That’s why it’s smart to build a toolbox full of strategies so you can change up your routine to find out what works for the students you’re teaching right now.
If you have six minutes, we have six strategies you can learn today and try tomorrow for a more focused and well-managed classroom.
It’s been another amazing year at Teaching Channel! As 2017 comes to a close, we’d like to take a little time to reflect on the work we’ve done together.
This year has been particularly special as we celebrated a very important milestone:
One Million Registered Tchers!
As you know, growth is at the core of Teaching Channel‘s mission. We believe in not only teacher professional growth and student growth, but also growth in what we do behind the scenes, so we can continue to help build this vibrant and engaging teacher community. This year the Tch team set out to find the great ideas you need, to touch all the content areas you love, to discuss the difficult and current topics that are on your mind, and to build and grow the kinds of resources you can find at Teaching Channel.
We continued to give a voice to important topics in education with our Tch Talks podcast; Tch Tips Strategies via our Tchers’ Voice blog, and we made a few additions to Teaching Channel‘s Deep Dives, our expertly curated collections of content, including:
We welcomed the Fab Five ELL Squad, continued “Getting Better Together” with our Tch Laureates, and engaged with you in many creative ways through Facebook and Twitter. And we brought you more of the videos you love!
Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of the past 365 days…
When did you first realize that you were called to be an educator?
As a child, I can recall teaching “classes” full of stuffed animals, dolls, a few live puppies, and even a captive audience of neighborhood children. But it wasn’t until high school that I really knew I wanted to be a teacher. It was an ordinary day during my sophomore year in high school, in the middle of a world history lecture, that I remember thinking to myself — Yes, I want to be a high school history teacher.
I was watching my history teacher, Mr. Sterling, at the time, and I could sense his ease with the content, his passion, and his excitement. When he wasn’t captivating me with his ponderings on the state of Abu Dhabi, he was likely teasing me after catching me waving out the door to my boyfriend for the 100th time that semester, or encouraging me to keep going after I missed that one point I needed to meet the goal I’d set for myself in the class.
I knew he was doing exactly what he was called to do in this world — and I knew I wanted to do that, too.
I loved teaching. And that’s why I know that making the decision to leave the classroom is one of the most difficult decisions an educator will ever make.
Yet, for more than a decade, we’ve been having an ongoing conversation about teacher shortages and the difficulties we now face recruiting and retaining teachers. Notably, the data suggests that retention is no longer an issue that only impacts teachers in their first five years, but that teachers are leaving their classrooms in increasing numbers throughout the trajectory of their careers. This is a problem we must address, and we believe that you can help!
American Education Week (November 13-17), first celebrated in 1921, is an opportunity to celebrate public education, to inform the community of the accomplishments and needs of public schools, to secure cooperation and support from the public, and to honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education.
How will you kick off American Education Week?
As teachers, we’ve all dealt with days that are particularly tough in the classroom. Unfortunately, we seem to be increasingly faced with teaching in the days and weeks that follow a local or a collective tragedy. For nearly two weeks, Northern California has been ravaged by devastating wildfires — the deadliest in California history. For many at Teaching Channel, the Bay Area is home, and we’ve been thinking a lot about how we can help our friends and neighbors. From making a donation to volunteering your time, if you’re looking for a way to help, you can find a number of great ideas here and here.
Whether local, national, or international in scope, times of crisis can have a significant impact on our students and our classrooms. While the impact is more obvious when students are in direct proximity to the event or personally involved, large-scale national crises, often accompanied by heavy media coverage, can be equally difficult to navigate. The resulting stress and anxiety students — and teachers — bring into the classroom in response to a crisis can affect teaching and learning.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
This Won’t Be Easy
Important conversations never are. But our students — and colleagues — learn as much from what we do (or don’t do) as what we say (or don’t say). The events that transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia are likely weighing heavy on your students’ hearts and minds, just as they are on yours. You haven’t had the opportunity to learn their names, set up a structure, or lay the foundation for learning this year, but you can still create a space for your students to begin to unpack race, face history, and grapple with the lasting legacies of the past.
When events like those in Charlottesville, Virginia happen, we watch the news in disbelief and despair. We scroll endlessly through our Twitter feeds — tweeting, retweeting, sharing resources, and keeping abreast of the latest developments. Maybe what you saw invoked anger, maybe sadness, maybe fear.
The question that remains is, what are you going to do about it?
Teachers need to talk with their students about race, but before you begin to explore race, bias, and identity in your classroom, you’ll need to do a bit of work to be sure you’re prepared.
When you’re ready, the resources below can help spur discussions about implicit bias, privilege, and systemic racism, and empower students to work toward a more just society.