Good things!
Posted by newbie-tchr at 8:27 pm in Career planning, Other duties

So going to extracurricular events for students is more than paying off. For one, the kids love it. I went to a senior night for some of my girls who played field hockey, and they were so excited. I went in with my teacher, and the girls cheered for us from the sidelines and some of the other students who were spectators even came over to say hello. Plus, and this is the really awesome part, the principal came over to talk to my teacher and I and dropped the “what are you doing after graduation” question. And when I told him I was moving, but hoped to move back he smiled and said “well I’ll make sure and keep that job open for you.” SO AWESOME!!! Our principal has made comments through out the year about how important it is to show the kids we’re there for them on multiple levels, and I think going to their games and performances was something tangible he could look at. Yes, I guess I’ll never know if he would ever offer me something now, but I’m going to take the hints as a sign that he thinks I’m doing a good job.

The other good thing: totes pumped about my lesson plan tomorrow on George Washington’s Farewell Address. I know it’s nerdy, but I was able to incorporate one of my new favorite sites,  (Link leads to a good TeachersFirst review on how to use it) Because some of the low reading levels in my class don’t allow me to let the kids loose on the entire farewell address and expect understanding, I first created a paraphrased version of the speech, making it easier for them to understand. We’ll read the modified address aloud popcorn style, and then fill out a analysis sheet as a class. (for the analysis I’ll be using APPARTS) We’ll go through the analysis as a class, and then the kids will write their own “farewell address.” The students will write a letter to younger grades at the high school, telling them what legacy they think they’re leaving behind and then focusing on major advice they want everyone to know. Here’s where the wordle comes in – I made a wordle of the Farewell Address, and the kids need to incorporate at least 5 words from the wordle into their own work. Hopefully this will get the kids into it, and engagement levels will be up!

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Book Recommendations!
Posted by newbie-tchr at 9:02 pm in Books!, Career planning, recommendations

IMG_4066One Reader, Lyn, mentioned this in a comment, but I agree with her so much I think it’s worth it’s own post. If any teacher has NOT read “Teach like a Champion” by Doug Lemov they should do so immediately! I was lucky enough to have my grad school use it as a required reading for seminar this semester, and I can honestly say it is the most practical book about teaching I’ve read thus far. Too many books are entirely based in theory, and for me, seem to be difficult to translate into real-life situations. “Teach like a champion,” is the first teaching book I’ve read that has specific practical advice, as well as strategies for incorporating these ideas into the classroom. One of my favorite techniques in the book is entitled “no opt out.” The strategy is a simple way to incorporate students whose favorite answer seems to be “i don’t know,” and make them accountable for the information. There’s even a script helping teachers use it – hence this being the most practical book I’ve read thus far.

I also recommend another book entitled “Why are all the Black Kids Sitting together in the Cafeteria” by Beverly Tatum. Unusual title? Yes. I felt incredibly awkward reading this in public. BUT it was such a great read, and I especially recommend it for anyone teaching a history class. Without realizing it, a lot of history teachers have a euro or white-centric curriculum, and the points she makes are excellent for someone trying to incorporate a more accurate and multicultural representation of history. Other teachers can benefit from it too, but as someone whose passionate about history it really hit home in regards to my content. Not to mention that Tatum’s a well regarded academic with a Ph.D in psychology and works with students, so her perspective is both academic and practical. My school in particular seems to be racially divided by tracking and student choice, so a lot of the points she makes in the books have made me feel more aware of the effects this can have on students. If you have a free minute – read it.

Lastly, all history teachers out there – you MUST read “Divided We Stand: Teaching about Conflict in U.S. History” by James Percoco. Percoco taught for years in Springfield, VA and even won a Teacher of the Year award from USA today and the Walt Disney Company. In the book he gives a lot of great ideas for classroom activities, as well as ways to infuse your curriculum with hooks to get students interested. I’ve used several of his methods in my government class already, and so far they’ve all been successful. It’s a great book to motivate you to make history class more interactive – just read it and trust me!

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