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“High school students hate history. When they list their favorite subjects, history always comes in last. They consider it “the most irrelevant” of 21 school subjects, not applicable to life today. “Borr-r-ring” is the adjective they apply to it. When they can, they avoid it, even though most students get higher grades in history than in math, science, or English. Even when they are forced to take history, they repress it, so every year or two another study decries what our 17-year-olds don’t know… “
And so begins James W. Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.
The study of society and our collective past is important. It helps us understand ourselves, how we got to the present, and the world around us. It’s interesting that, as a society, we show a great interest in our culture and history. Whether it be historical novels and nonfiction, games, television programs, feature films, museum exhibits, or Broadway shows, American audiences — young and old — are fascinated with the “story of us.”
Yet our students sleep through the classes that present it.
Students may be the experts when it comes to the world of Minecraft, but teachers are the experts in curriculum design.
Teachers can use what they know best to design engaging, real-world experiences within Minecraft that are aligned with curriculum and standards and focused on a learning goal. Students can use the tools within Minecraft to show evidence of their learning, document their progress, share their achievements, reflect, and learn through hands-on experiences. What’s more, students love Minecraft and are excited to craft!
Dr. Amy Tong joins Tch Talks to discuss how we can create tangible learning outcomes for and with students through Minecraft.
Attention getters, do nows, morning meetings, hugs, and high fives. These are often the ways teachers start their days. By now, you probably have your routines in place for how you start your day or class period. But sometimes it’s good to mix it up. Or maybe you’re looking for an exciting entrance to a specific lesson plan. Just like writers, teachers often need a hook!
Whether you’re mixing it up or just curious about what other teachers do, check out these five videos to see five different ways teachers start their lessons.
TEDYouth conference at the Brooklyn Museum. November, 2015. Photo by Ryan Lash for TED via Flickr
It was outstanding. Under the soft glow of the mighty brass chandeliers of the Beaux Arts Court of the Brooklyn Museum, learning stations — many decorated with a splash of iconic TED red — were scattered about the restored glass tile floor like a handful of strategically tossed jacks. As I bounced about the room, I watched 400 students smile with delight, scrambling to engage, create, and collect the vast knowledge available in the room. They vibrated with energy and I knew in an instant that this conference would be extraordinary.
Is it possible for learning to be so compelling that school wouldn’t have to be compulsory? Is it possible for our classes to offer learning experiences that students would actually opt into?
This is the challenge that was stuck in my head going into this past school year.
Steve Masson, a high school teacher connected to the Hudson Valley Writing Project, spent the last three weeks of school working with his juniors and seniors on a #WhatsMyIssue video project in connection with Letters to the Next President 2.0. Letters to the Next President 2.0 (L2P 2.0) is an initiative that empowers young people, 13-18, to voice their opinions and ideas on the issues that matter to them in the coming U.S. Presidential election.
Revolution, independence, the founding of our nation — this was my favorite era to teach. I have more creative, exciting lessons for this period than for any other, no matter the course or content.
Fascinated by the often fortuitous folly of the Founding Fathers, I made it a point to show my students that this nation was created by a group of brilliant but imperfect men — and women.
Editor’s Note: Math teachers across the country are learning the power of formative assessment in their classrooms. In this video series, we bring you an opportunity to see formative assessment in action, with the help of math consultant Ann Shannon and resources from the Mathematics Assessment Project (MAP). Ann provided the initial training for teachers in Kentucky’s Kenton County on how to implement MAP and frameworks from the Math Design Collaborative. She observed teachers in the classroom, gave real-time feedback, helped facilitate the after school meetings to analyze student work, and helped build capacity in the district so that the work would be sustainable.
When I first read the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics, I felt overwhelmed. I loved the idea of common standards and a focus on math practice standards as a way for students to interact with the content, but I wasn’t sure how this would look. How would I support teachers and their approach to this content? Soon after Kentucky adopted the CCSS in March of 2010, my district, Kenton County, got involved with the Math Design Collaborative (MDC) as a way to help teachers make sense of the standards and begin shifting instruction toward the Common Core. My work with teachers around MDC has been critical to our students’ success because of the focus on formative assessment and teacher collaboration time.
In these videos, you’ll find tips to help build authentic relationships with your students and define your classroom culture.
1. Creating a “Comfortable” Classroom Environment: Middle school can be a sensitive age where students may start feeling anxious about belonging in their communities. Mr. Van Dyck puts students at ease with verbal and nonverbal indicators, and encourages students to be themselves around him.
2. Advisory: Check-In and Support and Building Student-Advisor Relationships: Having a time and place where students can talk about their lives and receive support from peers and teachers can go a long way in creating a positive class culture. Advisories can be helpful in both small groups or one-on-one with educators and students.
3. Making it Personal in the Classroom: Ms. Koch shows how sharing personal anecdotes makes students feel safe and more inclined to open up to her about their lives.
Start off your school year on the right foot! Here are 6 body language tips to help with classroom management:
1. Lesson Starters: From the moment her students walk through the door, Ms. Bubb demonstrates that they have her undivided attention, making students more likely to focus on Ms. Bubb and her instructions.
2. My Teacher Look: Keep students on track and redirect behavior with just one look. Every teacher needs one of these. Watch how Ms. Noonan uses her “Teacher Look,” and come up with one of your own.