I Want to Get Better at… Learning through Video

Summer 2017 - I want to get better at...

Over the past few weeks, Teaching Channel has been offering up ideas for getting better at something this summer to prepare for the next school year. We’ve given you suggestions for learning about classroom organization, growth mindset, classroom management, and social emotional learning. This week, we’re offering you ideas for learning alongside other educators in the Tch Video Lounge.

If you’ve never visited the lounge before, summer is the perfect time to join us in our redesigned space! We now have 30 interactive videos for learning, organized by topic area. Each video is layered with prompts to focus your thinking and inspire you to share your ideas with other educators.

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Tch DIY: Introducing the Choral Counting Number Routine

Tch DIY math routines blog header

Seeing math routines through the lens of every grade level has been such an amazing experience. While I’ve remained fairly consistent in the types of routines filmed in the kindergarten, third, and fourth grade classrooms, I’ve introduced a new routine to this first grade collection called Choral Counting.

Choral Counting is an activity in which students count together by a given number as the teacher records the count on the board. The purpose of a choral count is not just to practice rote counting, but to engage students in reasoning, predicting, looking for patterns, and justifying things they notice in the count.

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I Want to Get Better at… Social Emotional Learning Next Year

Summer 2017 - I want to get batter at ...

How would you describe your perfect classroom?

I imagine you’re thinking about a classroom where deep learning happens because your students feel supported, understood, and inspired; everyone gets along, respects one another, and manages their emotions and behavior with ease.

Maybe you’re picturing an oasis of calm or a classroom that runs like a well-oiled machine. All of your students are responsible and accountable and you’re wrapped up in a warm cocoon of “Teacher Zen.”

Sound impossible? Well, maybe just a little… But when you have resources and support, it’s definitely a bit easier.

Whether you want to incorporate social and emotional learning into your classroom or explore SEL as a dedicated class — we’ve got the tools for you!
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Youth Mic: What Three Transgender Students Wish Their Teachers Knew

Youth Mic - Listening to Student Voices

Research tells us that LGBTQ students continue to experience harassment and discrimination at school, and these climates negatively affect health and educational outcomes. However, the narratives mean more coming directly from the students themselves. Below are the responses offered by three students when asked what they would like teachers to know about their experiences as gender-nonconforming students.
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Supporting Transgender Students

As teachers, our greatest charge may be moral: create a safe and responsive environment where all students learn. And that charge — in the face of 12+ hour days, isolation, and little support — can be hard to live out. But summoning the requisite courage and compassion is particularly essential for students who are gender-nonconforming. In a world too often lacking in understanding and acceptance, sometimes even in a student’s own home, teachers have a potent opportunity and responsibility to make our classrooms and schools an oasis of grace and safety.

On the Youth Mic blog, three transgender students have shared their perspective in their own voice. Their experience personalizes and echoes the findings of a recent report, “Separation and Stigma: Transgender Youth and School Facilities,” which found that 70% of transgender students said they’ve gone out of their way to not use campus bathrooms. This means drinking less, even to the point of developing urinary tract infections in an effort to skip the public restroom, in addition to complications around physical education classes, attendance concerns, and the effects of dehydration on attention and study habits.

But the bathroom question, though serious, is also symbolic. It begs us to ask a more fundamental question. Will we fully include these students — these human beings — in our public education system?

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I Want to Get Better at… Classroom Management

Summer 2017 - I want to get better at...

Does anyone not want to get better at classroom management? Even the most experienced teachers can find ways to make their classrooms more welcoming and productive places. But for new teachers, classroom management can feel make it or break it.

If you’ve had a rough year, congratulations on getting through it!

This summer, let’s settle in and learn how to get better at classroom management.

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Cultivating Student Empathy: Acting to Understand

Social Justice & Empathy

How do we help students to move beyond their own perspectives to understand the lives of others? How do we challenge them to deeply understand another person whose life and experiences differ greatly from their own? How do we cultivate empathy, compassion, and even love across the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion, and disability?

These questions lie at the heart of social justice education.

To create a truly equitable society, we must be able to empathize with experiences we may never share. We must break down “empathy walls” to transform our society. But how do we do so?

Theater in the history classroom provides one possible answer.

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So You Wish It Had Been Different: Three First-Year Struggles

New Teacher Survival Guide

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series by Tch Laureate Emeritus Sarah Brown Wessling for new teachers wrapping up the school year.

“Every fear hides a wish.” — David Mamet

My first year of teaching was equal parts fear and wishing. In fact, they each pulled me from opposite directions, sometimes so tautly, everything seemed to bounce right off me, into the distance, uncatchable. That was my first year of teaching: lots of wishing for magical teaching moments and lots of hiding from my fears. I wished the kids would like me, but my fear meant I had some classroom management issues early on. I wished my colleagues would think I was doing a good job, but my fear meant I wouldn’t reach out to them with my own insecurities. I wished my lessons would all be inspired, but my fear meant that too often I would think about a “cool lesson” instead of a scope of learning.

My first year taught me that the rest of my years would be about shrinking the fictions of wishing and fear in order to opt for the beautiful and real mess of a teaching life. In case you’re finding yourself, at the end of this first year, needing a little less fiction and a little more beautiful mess, here are some common end-of-first-year struggles and how to use them to launch yourself into an even stronger year two. Read more

Accessing Tangible Learning Outcomes Through Minecraft

Minecraft Education Edition

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.

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I Want to get Better at… Growth Mindset Next Year

Summer 2017 - I want to get better at...
As you pack up your classroom, filing away lessons and deciding whether to keep or scrap student work samples, your mind may already be racing with ideas about ways you can make next year even better. You’ve probably heard about how having a growth mindset helps students to persist through challenges and take risks — and you may be thinking about how you can help your students do just that next year.

Want to learn more about growth mindset? We’ve got you covered!

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