Is Your Energy Sink Implementing New Curriculum?

Are you implementing new curriculum? As an author of science curriculum, I’m sure I need to explain background and activities very clearly and that takes a lot of words. I try to save time by including videos in my materials so teachers can listen to me instead of reading all the text in their teacher guides and students books. What might you do if your energy sink is implementing new curriculum? Can you clearly identify what makes this curriculum different from what you have been using? A unique approach? A refocus on learning strategies? Different content? Does that help you …

Is Your Energy Sink the Weekly Newsletter?

images by Education Graphics Group Do you want to publish a weekly communication? Parents say they appreciate it, kids love seeing their names mentioned, and it can keep everyone up to date on coming events. What can you do to keep it from taking two or more hours to write, print, and distribute each week? Focus on why you are writing a newsletter If you write about every subject, mention many students, give a detailed overview of the curriculum, AND a preview of coming events your newsletter will be L-O-N-G. It takes time to write and may not be read by parents. Define the purpose of your newsletter. Is it reminders, …

Is Your Energy Sink Grading Papers? Kids can help!

Students need timely feedback. While a student is wondering “I’m not sure about that last question” you have a great opportunity to capitalize on this interest to review answers. Tomorrow or the next day that student might not remember the assignment or the quiz. If you don’t need the information from the assignment to assess student understanding or plan activities here are a few suggestions for giving feedback quickly. Here’s your obvious choice: Project the answers or hand out answer keys. Students correct their own papers. This can be an opportunity to discuss an answer that students identify as needing clarification. Note: I usually avoid …

Is Your Energy Sink Grading Papers?

  Does it seem like there’s always papers to grade? Are there stacks of paper on your desk and a few more on the shelf? What information do you need to adjust your teaching and plan future lessons? Students need timely feedback, does it take an hour or more every day? Here are a few suggestions: Grade one assignment each day and set up the other assignments for students to grade themselves Plan ahead so you have time to grade an assignment that needs more time, like an essay Learn to quietly grade papers during a staff meeting IF your attention …

What’s Your “Energy Sink”?

I started this six weeks ago planning to publish July 1st. I was sidetracked creating back to school products for adorable aliens, fabulous fish, and superhero kids, products that help teachers easily create a great classroom space with just one product. Now those products have been uploaded and I’m back! Here’s my question. Did you make a list of tasks to complete in the summer when you have LOTS of time? I’d like to add something to that list. Between chapters in the book you’re finally reading, closets that are getting cleaned out, and your plans for rest and recreation, think about your energy …

Alien Puzzles and More!

Quick puzzles can add a bit of fun to your math class any time of year. I created a set of alien puzzles that you can use to have students find a number pattern and then solve the puzzles to reveal a math term!     There are 6 different kinds of puzzles – each has its own alien. Choose from full color or black and white images. Students can use a blank form to create a new puzzle for classmates and receive a certificate. You can also find many kinds of puzzles online, including: Brainbox Logic Puzzles, Kid Number Puzzles, and number …

How to End the Year Right

Check out this great article Justin Minkel wrote for Education Week with practical suggestions for ending your school year. Consider signing up for a free subscription to three articles a month so you can read the article he referenced about building a parachute for a thrill-seeking gummy bear. I hope you enjoy the end of your year! Note: The photo was taken by Justin Minkel.

Quick Science: Flying Paper Clips

Got a few minutes of class time? Want to amaze students with an activity that requires scrap paper and just two paper clips? Gently fold a piece of paper the size of a dollar bill (about 2.5″ x 6″) paper in thirds without creasing the paper. Use a paper clip to attach the top to the middle as shown. Use another paper clip to attach the bottom to the middle as shown. Turn the prepared paper so the paper clips are on top. Firmly grasp the paper on each side and point it away from you toward an open space in the classroom. …

Dedicate Your Spaces!

Thanks to what I learned while taking a great class from Michael Grinder mid-career, I have dedicated different parts of my classroom to a unique purpose. I find this gives students a nonverbal clue that helps them make sense of our environment. When anyone is standing or sitting in the front of the room, we are sharing information or instructions for an activity. We’re focused on the presenter. We might be discussing, clarifying, or sharing with each other. When I’m sitting at the small table by my desk, I’m working with a small group of students. The rest of the group is working on an activity I’ve already …