Using Her Powers for Good instead of Evil…
Posted by newbie-tchr at 10:43 pm in Classroom management, students

stewie Pictures, Images and Photos
First week’s over and done with, and

I’ve always been one of those annoying people who can find the good in everything, and so I’m trying to keep that in check, but my situation seems almost ideal. My peers, both teachers and fellow student teachers are awesome, the kids are interesting in a good way, and I’m a government nerd teaching government. But I did say “almost ideal…”

I have a student, and I know we all have these students, that I can already foresee trouble with. She’s been known to get into physical and verbal fights with students, and hasn’t hesitated to try and do the same with teachers in the past. All of this would be tolerable, even fine, if she didn’t have the adverse effect of seemingly “spoiling” the students who sit around her. I don’t know how or why, but there’s this quality in this child that’s almost a magnet. But instead of being a magnet of positive energy, it’s more of a magnet for bringing out the hateful side in people. So if you couldn’t tell – potential problem student.

Now, I figure instead of giving myself a complex about this child, I might as well make a plan of attack for taking all those potentially negative qualities about her being in my class and using it to my advantage. Contrary to her initial attitude on coming in to the class, I’ve found that she responds pretty well to positive attention AND looooooves being given a task. (I don’t question it, but it’s amazing how kids get excited about something so simple as passing out papers – it’s totally awesome.) So my solution? In two days I’m teaching my first solo lesson(s), which entails of a of a lecture on the origins of American government using a tool called Prezi, and a competitive game reviewing the information students just learned out of the lecture. (In regards to Prezi – use it and you’ll realize how cool and addictive it is, plus kids actually pay attention since it’s not like anything they’ve seen before) So for my little problem-child, I’m going to incorporate her into my review game, having her help keep track of scores on the SMARTboard. It may seem stupid, but I already told her about it and she was really excited already.  Plus, it’ll give her that purpose to encourage her to behave in class, while separating her from her peers and taking away that negative influence she seems to have. We’ll see if it works, but I’m really crossing my fingers on this one. If anyone has other ideas/behavior management techniques that would work with such a confrontational student, please feel free to pass them on. My teacher has been great, but I feel like new ideas wouldn’t be a bad thing to add to the toolbox.

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This past week was my first time in my student teaching placement, and was full of classroom decorating (so fun), syllabus planning and lots, and lots, of teacher workshops. The school district I’m in has embraced what they call “21st Century Teaching,” aka catching up in technology and incorporating it in the classroom. (Loved it, great idea – but I do think that if I heard wiki one more time I would have poked my eye out.) The workshops they put on were amazingly awesome, and I have to admit that they were far from what I expected. The teachers in my team had spent hours telling me funny, but true, stories of how bad workshops in years past had been, and even they were surprised to see what the district had put together.

For the most part, the presentations and workshops were put on by two very respected companies, November Learning and Stratalogica. The speaker, Alan November, was both practical and motivating – he even had the teachers try out a lot of the tools he was discussing during his presentation. The workshops preceding were equally informative, and I’ll include links to some of the tools he offered at the bottom of this post. Take one, pass it on:)

Beyond my own infatuation with the workshops, there were two different reactions to this I noticed: half the faculty was really excited, the other half looked ready to die. I know that technology can be a difficult thing to learn – my mom still calls me asking how to turn the DVD player on. I’ve been out of the house for 5 years and am 3,000 miles away. Has she stopped calling? No. Why learn how to turn it on when someone else can do it for you – even if it’s over the phone? So from personal experience with my lovely momma, I get it. What surprised me was that when it came time to pick workshops, all the panic-strickened faculty avoided the technology options like the plague. Why is it that when presented with an opportunity to learn about the clearly unknown, these people were the first to bail? In all seriousness, if you know the answer – don’t hesitate to comment, I’m still curious.

The second thing noticed was more about how the process of learning to be a teacher has changed, thanks to technology. Only a 5-6 years removed from the eldest kids we’re teaching, my cohort of fellow student teachers probably qualify in that category of “21st century learners.” In grad school, there is a large focus on incorporating technology – we even had to take a “Teaching with technology” class to graduate. Technology is incorporated in almost every class, using SMARTboards to teach, online assessments and collaboration, even clickers in class for formative assessments. Technology has seeped into teacher education, making it impossible for new teachers such as myself to picture educating students without it. Taking into consideration the reaction of some of the teachers in the field to technology – it will definitely be an interesting dynamic to watch.

For those curious, here are some of the resources given to us during this week – I highly recommend checking them out and seeing if you can use them in your classroom!

  1. – great way to use kid’s obsession with cell phones to your advantage!

  2. Titan Pad – This is great for chats with large groups of people, but be careful – without oversight, can lead to a lot of off topic discussions. This review from TeachersFirst describes it in greater detail.

  3. PrimaryPad – same thing as Titanpad but allows drawing!

  4. Khan Academy – endless resources, the link leads to another review from TeachersFirst

  5. Itunes U – in your Itunes store, this resource is towards the bottom of the page and hosts thousands of podcasts and any and all academic subjects.

  6. Maps of War – great for us History teachers!

  7. Student News Action – a really great place to find resources from all over the world on a variety of topics

Bye-Bye Summer
Posted by newbie-tchr at 4:42 pm in Firsts place in the world!
Tis the day before student teaching starts, where the prepping from one year of graduate school is about to be put to the test. Next week I start a week and a half of inservice, classroom prep, syllabi-building, and of course – Open House. I’ll be teaching government, both general and AP, as well as AP geography to High School Seniors. So far, all my experience has been in 6th and 7th grade, so I won’t lie, I’m nervous to deal with 17 year olds. Middle schoolers are still kids in so many ways that the fact that I’m not much older than them never comes to mind. High School Seniors though? I definitely won’t have the intimidation factor going for me with these kids.

Regardless, I’m ready. I’ve looked at the summer assignment (kind of) and brushed up on government. I’ve even got an entire teacher-approved wardrobe of clothes.  Nervous yes, but definitely excited. Time to get this show on the road!

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