Teaching from the couch

You see it right. I'm home, on my couch with 2 laptops open and the television on. My cell phone is next to me where I'm answering texts from students as well.

You see it right. I’m home, on my couch with 2 laptops open and the television on. My cell phone is next to me where I’m answering texts from students as well.

This weekend I was sick… sick enough to warrant a trip to the walk-in clinic and a day off (which I hardly ever do for myself… most of my days off revolve around my son being sick).

But that doesn’t slow me down from the cause.

Without moving off my living room couch (which is a challenge in itself for me… sitting still is remarkably hard. One would think it easy, but there is always something to do and being sick makes that more complicated than it needs to be.)

So when I got the note from the doctor yesterday, I thought it was a blessing in disguise. A few things needed to get done, but I knew taking care of my health was most important.

Emails were sent to school to administration and to each of my classes with specific directions and information for how class time should be spent in my absence so that no learning was lost.

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Ed Perspective #5 – Relationship Ready

Today’s episode tackles the importance of building relationships at schools.

Administrators can’t take for granted the power of visibility says Brad Currie and teachers can’t underestimate the power of developing relationships with students and parents to ensure learning success.

So enjoy and let us know what you think of this episode.

How do you develop lasting relationships to ensure success in your school?

Should the learning stop if the teacher is absent?

Sometimes we have to deal with personal business that can't be handled on a non-school day. Student learning shouldn't stop in our absence.

Sometimes we have to deal with personal business that can’t be handled on a non-school day. Student learning shouldn’t stop in our absence.

The answer is a resounding “no!”

Learning should never stop.

And although we teachers think ourselves all important, there are steps that can be put in place to make absentee days a worthwhile and supportive part of the learning process, easing the breaks and creating a seamless transition.

With technology being as prevalent as it is, we need to harness the power of the tools we have at our disposal and develop a learning culture that has students clamoring to work even in our absence. (more…)

Literature blogging in AP Lit

Students are using a class hashtag #wjpsaplit to share their blog posts about literature. This was the first week.

Students are using a class hashtag #wjpsaplit to share their blog posts about literature. This was the first week.

It was time for a change.

This year has been the start of many different things.

Plus after some seriously thought, I realized the kids were missing out on valuable opportunities to talk to each other about their independent reading.

Although I loved reading and responding to student reaction papers, it felt very flat. So it occurred to me that literature blogs could be a great solution.

Using the blogs in class, students are free to set up their own, personalized spaces to discuss the literature they choose to read for reaction papers (papers not meant to analyze, but rather discuss their feelings and thoughts about books/poetry/plays).

Keeping their reactions short, students can share what liked and didn’t like creating a community of readers, sharing and commenting on each other’s blogs. Through  one weekly assignment, kids could practice their digital citizenship and continue to grow as learners together as well. (more…)

Book Recommendation: Teaching the iStudent

Mark Barnes's book Teaching the iStudent helps teachers understand the need and relevance to changing the way they think about teaching.

Mark Barnes’s book Teaching the iStudent helps teachers understand the need and relevance to changing the way they think about teaching.

Have you met your students?

Do you know them? I mean, really know them?

In the 21st century, our students no longer function in the realm of books and desks alone for learning, their learning is dynamic and electronic.

Therefore our pedagogy necessarily needs to be adjusted. (If it’s important to us to actually reach our students, which I know it is)

While I was reading Mark Barnes’ Teaching the iStudent, I found myself nodding along in agreement, strongly recognizing characteristics of my students and my teaching that are already adjusted for this shift. More importantly though, there was great information that about how to do more and help my colleagues start to adjust accordingly as well. (more…)

Monday in September is like a whirlwind… that’s a simile

9th grade students sit together finishing up their peer interviews. They get to know each other and I get to know their stories and what kinds of writers they are all at once.

9th grade students sit together finishing up their peer interviews. They get to know each other and I get to know their stories and what kinds of writers they are all at once.

And maybe a hyperbole too

or

Not!

My days have been starting off busy and they don’t seem to get less busy until I’m walking out the door. By June, I forget how hectic September is while teaching seniors.

It’s not just the seniors this year, though. I’m all over the place, but it suits just fine.

My day started with the realization that a bulletin board needed to be hung – only I don’t have enough student work yet to make that happen.

Decided I’d make the board about reflection and hang some examples from last year’s seniors with tips for current students.  (more…)