Category: Teaching Strategies

Does Mindfulness Make Your Class Better?

 

District Administration recently published an interesting article on how mindfulness creates kinder classrooms and reduces problematic behaviors by 18%. Click the link and check out their thoughts.

If you’d like background on Mindfulness, check our article published earlier on

How to Incorporate Mindfulness into Your Class

Students learn best when they are relaxed, happy, and feeling loved.  It is challenging to include those characteristics in classes when you are concurrently trying to achieve school goals, comply with curriculum timelines, juggle parent concerns, and blend your lessons with those of colleagues.

This is where mindfulness becomes important. It reminds teachers that the fulcrum for learning is the student’s emotional well-being.

Let’s back up a moment: What is mindfulness? Buddha said:

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

If that’s the plan, mindfulness is the path. It teaches students how to quiet themselves — get to a place where their mind is settled sufficiently to pay full attention to the task at hand. Experts offer many suggestions for incorporating mindfulness into your classroom experience. Consider:

  • pause and take a deep breath before beginning an activity or in the middle of performing it
  • reflect on an activity as a group
  • reflect on the student’s own experiences and background and how that relates to the topic

Delving into these rudimentary steps isn’t the goal of this article. Today, I’ll share five ideas on taking mindfulness to the next level in your classes:

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Equipment You Need for Online Tutoring

Teaching during the pandemic has turned the iconic job of education on its head. Should you teach at home or in school–or with a hybrid approach? How can you be effective with the new rules required to ensure safety while maximizing the students’ educational journey? Is it safe to enter the classroom? You’ve never taught remotely before–how do you do that and still meet your school’s education standards and curricula?

Many teachers are turning to homeschool co-ops or tutoring programs as reasonable approaches to pursuing a job they love in a way that allows students to succeed. If this is a choice you are making, here are suggestions from one of our Ask a Tech Teacher contributors for equipment you’ll need to succeed in this new approach:

8 Props and Pieces of Equipment for Tutoring Students Online

The equipment and props you use when teaching your students online can make all the difference when it comes to how successful you are.

They can affect how engaging your lessons are, how much your students enjoy them, and even how professional you appear.

Choosing the right equipment and teaching tools is not just essential – your decisions can make or break your online teaching career.

Most online teaching platforms have basic requirements, like a high-quality headset, web tools, and a reliable internet connection, but there are other things you need to take into account before you start teaching online – things like good lighting and visual teaching aids can go a long way.

Here are eight things you’ll need to become a successful online teacher.

1. A Background

Most online teaching centers require their tutors to have some kind of professional backdrop behind them – this can be a blank wall that you’ve decorated with relevant classroom posters.

You can also set up a bulletin board behind you with your name and some interesting items that say something about your personality, like trinkets and souvenirs that relate to your hobbies. Setting up your virtual classroom can also be a great way to unleash your creativity!

You can also incorporate flags, ABCs, or a reward system into your bulletin board to keep your students more engaged.

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Here’s How to Motivate Summer School Students

When you have to compete with a warm sun, sandy beaches, and playful friends, motivating students in summer school can be a daunting challenge. The best first step, right after introducing yourself, is to understand why students are with you rather than with friends or playing online games. Their reasons could be to try something new, make up for a class they failed, get ahead of classes they must take, or something else. Their answers to this question will guide you in how you teach the class. Once you know their reasons, be honest with them on how you will help them meet their goals. In general terms, you want them to know you’ll do your best to make their summer experience worthwhile, get them through the material, and help them pass the required exams with the grades they need. I’ve talked about best practices for teaching. Let’s today cover how to get students through the summer learning experience:

Make the class interesting

There are a lot of ways to teach a topic that satisfies curriculum demands. For example, you can fill in worksheets, watch videos, complete group projects, or work independently. Pick an approach that is 1) different from how you teach during the school year, and 2) fits your student group.

While you’re changing the approach, also change the setting. Teach class in a park, in a museum’s group learning room, at a restaurant over a meal, in someone’s home, or in the school auditorium. Here’s the logic behind that: Students react well to change. Do you remember the Hawthorne Effect Study? Done in the 1930’s (and redone in different ways many times afterwards), researchers examined how different aspects of the work environment (i.e., lighting, the timing of breaks, and the length of the workday) affected employee productivity. What they found wasn’t what they expected. The biggest impact on productivity came from simply paying attention to the workers and their environment. Let your summer school students experience this motivator. Change their learning ecosystem and watch how much harder they work simply because you care enough to pay attention.

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Tips for incentivizing your teachers team while working remotely

This is a how-to article from an Ask a Tech Teacher contributor describing clever ways to make remote teaching work. A recommended read if your remote program isn’t working as you’d hoped:

Tips for incentivizing your teachers team while working remotely

The challenges involved in working remotely are many and varied, yet arguably the most significant obstacle managers face when trying to steward teams from afar is keeping them engaged and motivated.

This is all the more significant in an educational context, because teams of teachers are in turn responsible for looking after large groups of students who need to be ushered through the twists and turns of remote learning with aplomb.

Providing the right incentives in the right way is a solution that can help overcome remote working burn-out and general disgruntlement brought about by the current climate. The following tips should help you to come up with an effective strategy to ultimately bolster job satisfaction and improve performance.

Image Source: Pixabay

Implement an incentive program

To start off with, it is worth formalizing your approach to incentivizing teachers in a remote working scenario through a program which has been developed specifically for this purpose.

While this will require a little work upfront to set the wheels in motion, once everything is in place it will become perpetually beneficial and continue to pay dividends as time passes.

You can get some program ideas from here to give you a little initial guidance. It covers everything from programs focused on rewarding the most loyal team members for their long service, to programs that encourage teamwork and collaboration between individuals and groups alike.

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Back to School Tips

back to schoolIt’s hard to imagine school is back in a few weeks. I’ve collected a series of back-to-school tips that are suited for in-person or remote learning. Pick those that work for you:

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13 Teaching Strategies to Shake up Your Remote Teaching

As we struggle with adapting our classes to remote learning, I know lots of teachers who are realizing that their normal approach isn’t suited for remote teaching. They need to come up with a transformative tool that will reach students more comprehensively, more rigorously, more granularly online. Here are thirteen accepted pedagogical teaching strategies with proven records of success. Read through them then think how they might be applied to solve the problems you’re having with online teaching. For more information, click the link:

Depth of Knowledge (DoK)

DoK is not a taxonomy (like Bloom’s). Rather, it itemizes ways students interact with knowledge.

Frayer Model

Frayer Model uses a graphical organizer that asks students to describe words by much more than a memorized definition. 

Growth Mindset

In a Growth Mindset, people believe ability can be developed through dedication and hard work. The cerebral and physical traits they were born with are just the starting point. Students are responsible for setting the patterns and strategies that allow them to succeed, by evaluating what they can do at any given point and making a plan for learning everything else.

Habits of Mind

In the face of mounting evidence, education experts accepted a prescriptive fact: student success  is not measured by milestones like ‘took a foreign language in fifth grade’ or ‘passed Algebra in high school’ but by how s/he thinks.  Habits of Mind lists sixteen of these.

Orton-Gillingham

Orton-Gillingham is not a packaged curriculum, rather a prescriptive program designed for each individual student. The O-G teacher incorporates phonology and phonological awareness, sound-symbol association, syllable instruction, morphology, syntax and semantics into a personalized methodology 

Project-based Learning (PBL)

John Dewey suggested the education focus be switched to students when he introduced “learning by doing”, today referred to as Project-based Learning (PBL).

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