Are you sick of working for next to nothing? And are you tired of being being treated like the problem in Education? If so then the national teacher shortage may be just what you need.
For as long as I have been in education, legislators have been handing down chore list. They give educators check off lists and meaningless data mandates that have made teaching miserable.
The job of an educator has become such a stigma that there is no wonder that people are choosing other professions. To invest in being educated and not to be able to pay back student loans on top of the heavy burdens that rest on our shoulders it seems foolish to even choose the path of an educator.
This has lead to shortages in schools and a last minute panics by administration to fill the too many positions that are needed. How do they fill these positions? Well they use T.A's, aids, or parents that are willing. It doesn't take long to realize that our kids are being taught pretty much by anyone willing to take the position.
At first this infuriated me that I have spent years on my own education and an emphasis on teaching others and that some people are walking in off the streets to get the same pay as me (Not that its much to brag about.)
It turns out that this may be the first steps to something great. A year after the first major shortage several of the local school districts have worked to allocate the funding to give up to 11% raises for good teachers to draw them back to the classroom. In the following year state governments are working hard to give funding specifically for educator raises.
Colorado reported that almost half of their new teachers came from out of other states. This means that there is competition for recruiting educators. This is great because where there is competition there are perks. Perks such as money, planning time, educational resources. When the schools are fighting to get educators, ultimately the educators win.
So if your down and out keep your eye to the future. In the next few years you may be fortunate to see some of the benefits that have been a backlash from the hard pressure put on educators.
If you disagree feel free to leave a post or share your experience in the educational movement.
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Classroom Money Makes Teachers Feel RICH!!
Would you work for free? If you are most people you would give a resounding NO! Why would you? Why do we expect our students to. I pay students for their work and projects and also their good behavior. How do I pay them? FAKE MONEY! I print a template of money and give it out as often as I can.
What do they use their money for?
What do they use their money for? First of all I personally do not spend a penny, and without spending my own money I have had students buy X-boxes, Play-stations, Wii's as well as toys, stuffed animals, and more.
Once a month students bring old toys or items from home to sell to other students. They use the money they have earned to buy whatever they want. Students bring a large variety of items.
Auction and/or Swap Meet
Every month we start off with a swap meet. Students go around and buy items that students have brought from home. This usually takes 20 to 30 min. They are free to roam between classrooms of participating classes.
A student may have an item that many students are interested in. As students start to compete on how much they are willing to pay this student may choose to place the item in the auction.
Students are able to place items that they would like other students to compete on, in the auction. There is an area at the front of class that students can come and auction off these items. We make sure they are placed in order so that it is fair for all students.
Why this works
Students work for money. They learn the value of their actions, money, and so much more. With the money we purchase good behavior, incentive to work harder, and the ability to teach lessons.
The part that is most valuable to me as a teacher is that it costs me nothing more than just a little time to print money and the return is amazing.
Free Stuff- Feel free to use my money
Here is the template I made for my class money. I have changed it over the year depending on the school I work at. If the mascot changes I change the money. The first school I worked at was Beehive Bucks and now I call them Scholar Dollars. Feel free to use them as well as the note we send out to parents.
Tip- You may want to use different color paper so that there is not counter-fitting. Unfortunately that has happened.
We also change the color each year so siblings don't give unfair advantages.
10 Ways to Use Google Earth For STEM
The days of pointing to a globe in front of a classroom of students, complaining they can't see anything, has been past for a long time. Google Earth has made it easy to visit anywhere on earth easily. We where all impressed with its amazing satellite images and street views BUT there have been a lot of new items added to Google Earth recently.
As a teacher when I dove into it I was shocked and amazed. There is much more than the traditional maps to use in the classroom. I kicked myself for not using it sooner. Check out the ten things I found that can be used in class to learn and explore.
1. Time Travel
Using the time travel tool up on the tool bar you can explore different times of satellite images. This is an amazing way to study changes in building, weather, water levels, as well as whatever you would do with your ability to travel through time.
2. Flight Simulator
You can fly a Jet or a small plane over any place on Earth or out of Earth. This is a fun way to test your flying skills while enjoying views from high above. With the full landscape mode on as well as 3D building it makes the experience so realistic you may get a little motion sick.
3. Space Exploration
Google Earth may soon need to be renamed Google space exploration. You can now visit the moon, Mars, and many other constellations. The images taken from powerful cameras gives you such a feeling of exploration. Warning-be careful your Treck-y or Star Wars Side may take over.
4. Scavenger Hunts
This one can be a blast! There are so many strange things that have been captured on Google Earth. Some of which must be strange camera tricks and others that may make you question humanity. Last year I stumbled on a story of a man that drove his car into a small pond and I was able to go back in time and see the car. It was a little eerie but what you will discover will be very exciting.
5. Animal Tracking
You can now follow animals that scientists have tagged. You can research their migration pattern, You can even follow a digital path showing nearly their every step. This is so fascinating and much more research based than facts on a page.
Search underwater shipwrecks. Attached YouTube videos showing dive ventures bring them to life. An article pops up when you click on the shipwreck sharing information such as who has explored it and the history of how it came to be.
You can measure almost everything accurately. Measure distances from place to place or just the diameter of the building you are in. You can use this for learning real life relations of measurement conversion. I have found the distance I traveled before or after a long trip. I have also found the perimeter of our Disneyland Rides as well as our school playground.
8. Explore your Neighborhood
Ok I know this one is not that new but it is still as fun to do as always. Plus, with updated images and 360 upload exploration you are bound to find something new you didn't see before.
9. Explore Famous Landmarks
You can visit the Stature of Liberty, The Eiffel Tower, or even Gettysburg. You can avoid the crowd plus get different views that you would only see if you purchased a helicopter ride. Go to strange exotic places. Even choose a place at random and see if others can figure out where they are with clues around.
10. Global Awareness
Global Awareness is packed with so much information you will be amazed by the large variety of perspective you gain. Anything from droughts, wildfires, wars, or even political unrest. Get a feel for what is really going on in our world. This one you have to play with to really know its value.
Digital Readers Theater - Toontastic App
We are all looking for something fun and new to enhance our class. Well here is an app that is so fun you may find yourself doing your own story or book report. The app is Toontastic, and you may have heard of it. It used to have a 2 dimensional app that has now been improved to a 3D app that is made for telling stories. The best part about the app is that it is free and the creators want it to stay free for educational use.
I have used this app for story telling, I have used it for students to do a readers theater. It helps those shy kids that don't want to stand in front of the class because it is prerecorded. The best thing I found is that students read over there script dozen times more because they review their recording and want to get it perfect.
The app breaks down a story into 3 parts a beginning, middle, and end. It also has a more complex 5 part story. Or if you are looking to integrate science it has a scientific method version that goes over each step. The animation is so easy and entertaining, it will be hard to not enjoy yourself.
This is a must have app on all educational devices. Try it out and let us know how it worked for you.
Dominoes Race for S.T.E.M. Activity
My kids where checking out YouTube videos fell across these dominoes races where they stack up hundreds of dominoes and make them do cool puzzles. They where so excited to try them out themselves they saved up their money for over a month to buy some. Once they got them I confiscated them and took them to school to use with my class.
<< At the end NO MATTER WHAT you start the race. >>
(REFLECTION>> Afterwords you discuss what worked and what didn't and let them devise a new plan for the next round. )
Each day I did 2 rounds but could have easily done 3 with no complaints.
As they started to work I realized they where learning much more than I anticipated.
What They Learned
I gave each group several chances to create the track and each time it improved immensely. The first round they did't complete it. The next time they did, and the last time they finished it very well in less than 5 minutes.
With all of this they had a blast and where begging to do the activity again and again. It convinced me to get a set just so I can have one on hand for my class.
Check it out in action in the video below.
I had a blast and felt that this was one of the easiest setup for a S.T.E.M. activity with one of the best payouts of learning. Give it a try and let us know how it went for you.
Below is the set I purchased. I looked around a lot for my kids because they used their own money I wanted them to get the best value for their money. I found this one with 600 dominoes as well as machines included. The set worked perfectly and I could not find another that even came close for the price. It was enough for me to do the activity without any students running out of dominoes. I noticed that some of the wood pieces in the machine where loose so I put a small dab of Elmer's glue on them and they have worked great.
Please Feel Free to share your success and challenges with this activity.
Noisy Classroom/Quiet Classroom
Noisy classrooms can be a nightmare, but so can a quiet classroom when you have just instructed your class to share with each other. The problem is not the talking but to do the right type of talking at the appropriate times.
***If you are a teacher like me you want students to listen when its direct instruction, talk when in a discussion, share when they have something valid to share and speak out when when it is time to defend an opinion. I have battled this idea for many years and experimented with several methods and final found a useful technique that works extremely well.
The first idea most teachers jump to is the Noise O Meter. A light that gives a signal when students are too loud. This works okay for a short time but you have students that love to make the meter go off. The problem is that the light only helps control the sound from getting too loud, it doesn't help when you want students to share appropriately and students get desensitized to the sound.
The best way to achieve a good classroom where students learn to use the appropriate level of sound for the correct activity is to train them. I use a light that can be changed with a remote. You can change it from anywhere in the classroom. Then I color code the light with a breakdown on the wall. I make a light for each kind of volume level I would like in my class. As they practice each sound level I reward them for keeping the level as I have color coded them.
Light Colors and Their Meaning
Red- Don't talk without raising your hand.
Green-Actively working on assignment
Blue- Don't Disturb the teacher
White- Use your digression
At first I use the lights to teach the sound level. After using the light system for a while you can implement the white light. The white light is a way for students to use their judgement of how they should be acting. They learn to judge by the activity and what you say how they should be acting. Eventually all you have to do is leave the light on white and they will be able to make the right decision based on what they have learned.
Red light also means do not enter classroom. In the mornings or after recess if I need a few more seconds to get started I leave the light on red. I train students not to come in unless the light is red. This gives me a little more time without answering the same question 100 times, "Can we come in yet?"
Blue light means do not interrupt the teacher. This is for a sanity check. Those moments when you need to take roll, deal with a behavior issue, or just get something pressing done, the blue light tells students to not bother you and if you have a student leader assigned they can go straight to them for questions.
Although this is not the noise o meter and doesn't automatically beep when students reach a certain level, I have found that this is a better learning tool to teach a variety of sound levels and makes the students aware and responsible to change their own sound level to the appropriate activity. I love using it and because there are so many different colors you may be able to customize this to your own needs.
I recommend you give it a try. Its fun and easy and could have many more uses. Please share other uses you have found below in the comments.
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Using Digital Education Technology In Today's Analog School
By Anita Bern | Submitted On October 29, 2013
It's mind-boggling: more than sixty percent of our first graders will some day work at jobs that are not even created today.We can't even imagine what kinds of jobs exactly might those be, but one thing is for sure: it will has to do with technology.
That's why every child needs to learn how to use technology.
It is important to note right away that this enormous emphasis on technology use does not mean that the teachers will become less important, quite contrary. Technology is here to be used as a tool by teachers and empower them to deliver lessons in a way that the old analog school, still stuck in the last century, is simply not able right now. Teacher are indispensable as the most powerful motivators that exist to actually get children to learn, using the most modern technology or not.
Examples of using education technology in practice include, for instance, incorporating rich media and online resources as means of accessing knowledge. Even games can be used as education technology, especially adaptive software that is made to be greatly interactive. Classroom assessment tools can enable teachers to immediately spot the gaps in their students' knowledge and tailor their teaching accordingly. Data analysis and management tools can offer valuable feedback that assists teachers and school leaders in better information management.
Some studies have found that when technology is involved in learning, the students are more engaged in knowledge acquisition. Since technology in the classroom offers specialized learning, struggling students are more likely to catch up with their peers when they can use education technology.
Of course, it is impossible to talk about education technology without at least mentioning e-learning and the MOOC (massive open online courses) revolution. They are giving the students around the world the unprecedented access to the best schools and best teachers available today. At the moment, MOOCs are used in higher education almost exclusively, but in the not too far off future they may be used from kindergarten!
It is hard to stress enough how important is incorporating modern education technology and all it can offer (we're only just starting to scratch the surface on its possible uses and benefits) in today's school.
Expenditure on technology in schools is steadily rising every year, and around the world. Mobile technology, such as tablets and laptops are contributing to this rise the most.
School leaders obviously firmly believe that investing in education technology is the way of the future.
http://edtechnologyideas.com is an education technology peer-reviewed journal that publishes papers focused on new uses, ideas, and theories related to education technology in schools. Published bi-monthly, this education technology journal is free to access, submit, and publish.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Anita_Bern/232243
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New in Smart Notebook
Smart-board has introduced the new smart lab on Smart Notebook 17. It is packed with fun interactive games and built in apps than make learning fun and the setup easy for us teachers. With the new features that allow students to respond and contribute from devices in the classroom I was very excited to get back to my class and get started.
If you haven't had a chance to play don't worry, I have done the playing and found a few tips to get you up and running in no time.
The first activity I found very fun and easy was the "Shout It Out" activity.
What I loved most about it was:
In "Shout it Out" you are able to have students throw ideas, answers, or images directly up on the smart-board from their devices and then be able to interact with them as a teacher. I loved playing with it and can't wait to see whats next.
Video Tutorial for Shout it Out for Smart Notebook 17
I put this video together to help you get started. If you enjoy please sign up for our newsletter for more cool tips. Leave a comment of something you would like me to explore next or some ideas for using the "Shout it Out" activity for.
What time is lunch? What are we doing? Can I tell the class about my puppy? A perfectly executed classroom lesson comes to a complete stop. Now you have lost your momentum as well as your composure. GRRR!
This happens in our classrooms all to often. Your classroom lessons are stopped by a student who's mind has wandered off. No matter how many times you tell your class to only comment on the topics at hand, the topic tangents come up all to often.
What If I told you I had the solution of a lifetime. After you implement this you will never have to deal with the time thieves any longer. What if the problem is taken out of your hands and students take over to remind the others to stay on task. What will you do with all the free time? Ok maybe that is too far but it does make life easier. Here is what to do.
1st- Define Tangent. Anything that is off topic and takes us away from our lesson. Then write tangent on the board. I end up leaving it up all year.
2nd- Tell your students that if they go off topic or someone asks something that is a tangent we all do the cheer.
3rd- Teach them the cheer. Someone says "Tangent", it may be you or a student. Everyone then chants.
Lets get back
Lets get back
Lets get back on track
(2 claps) Clap clap
4th step go right back to the lesson.
I know this sounds simple but it works. Students love to point out if a tangent comes up, they also love the chant. This saves you from going over tangents over and over again.
After a student points our a tangent I love to give a class point or some type of reward which solidify they deal. Give it a try and enjoy less stress.
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