The first week of school is different from all others. During this week, teachers and students alike spend time getting to know each other, become comfortable in the classroom where they’ll spend countless hours for the next nine months, and take time to reach a comfort level with leaving summer behind. I’ve gathered suggestions below from some of the leading education folks, those who are all about project-based learning rather than the application of pedagogy, to share with you. I’ve also included a few general back-to-school classroom activities with a digital spin to get you back into school quickly and agilely.
Classroom Activities include:
The first week of school is different from all others. During this week, teachers and students alike spend time getting to know each other, become comfortable in the classroom where they’ll spend countless hours for the next nine months, and take time to reach a comfort level with leaving summer behind. I’ve gathered suggestions below from some of the leading education folks (like Catlin Tucker, Alice Keeler, Eric Curts, Richard Byrne, and Monica Burns), those who are all about project-based learning rather than the application of pedagogy, to share with you. I’ve also included a few general back-to-school classroom activities with a digital spin to get you back into school quickly and agilely.
Classroom Activities include:
- Authentically use forms.
- Build a puzzle to decorate class walls for Back to School Night.
- Let students prepare how-tos to share with classmates.
- Prepare English Language Learners to participate fully in class.
- Review class tech tools so students are comfortable with them and not surprised when they pop up.
- Review the class LMS.
- Set individual goals.
- Share back-to-school thoughts with a #hashtag.
- Take class selfies.
- Write a back-to-school story.
My Army son is coming to visit from Okinawa Japan for a month. We are training it across country (I’m in California) to visit my Navy daughter in the Washington DC area. Along the way, we’re stopping in Marion Indiana to visit my sister Tina who I haven’t seen in over a decade (though we talk often). I will get to meet many of her extended family I have never met. What a trip!
I am planning to be back to blogging the last week or so of July. Really, it’s hard to keep my fingers off the keys for longer than that. As a result, I won’t be around much. I apologize in advance for missing many of your posts. I will try to drop in now and then but I’m not sure of time constraints.
Education is changing. Again. This time, it’s not about iPads and Chromebooks; it’s 1:1 computing. More than 50% of teachers report they have one computer for every student (on average) and that changes for the better every year. Digital devices, be they iPads, laptops, Chromebooks, Macs, or PCs, give students access to endless amounts of web-based resources for research, inquiry, collaboration, sharing, and more. Schools are no longer reliant on years-old (or decades-old) textbooks written for the average student, whoever that is. It has become increasingly possible to personalize learning–adapt resources and assessments to student skills and needs and differentiate lessons that are pushed out to individual students or small groups (read: Shifting my Teacher Mindset with Micro-credentials).
To do that requires competencies most teacher training programs never considered. As a result, an increasing number of schools are making micro-credentials a fundamental piece in their professional development plan.
What are Micro-credentials?
Micro-credentials are short, low-cost, focused, online classes that are self-paced and student-driven, offering competency-based recognition for skills educators want to learn to buttress their teaching.
Because they aren’t long tedious seminars, expensive college classes, or comprehensive certificate courses, they were ignored by administrators in the past. Not anymore.
Holiday gifts for teachers are a challenge. If your child has many teachers, it’s difficult to find a personalized gift for each that is both affordable and valued. For me, as a teacher, I am always happy with a gift certificate that works anywhere, but there are time-proven ways to get more creative than a gift that sounds like “Money.”
When I chat with teacher friends, here are the most popular holiday gifts they’ve gotten over the years. Many are free, and others allow you to spend only what you can afford while still giving a gift the teacher will love.
You’ve been teaching for five years and love what you’re doing. You consider yourself darn lucky to be working with colleagues that are friends and a boss who always puts your needs first. Most of the teachers at your school have been there years — even decades — and you have no doubt that, too, will be you. So, you don’t bother to keep your resume up-to-date or expand your teaching skills other than what is required for your position. In short, you found the square hole that fits your square peg.
Until the day that changes. There are dozens of reasons, from new bosses who want to shake things up to your husband gets a job in a different state. The only good news: Your boss told you already, giving you time to job hunt for the new school year. For many schools, if they’re going to make staffing changes, early Spring is when they start looking for the new people. For you as a job hunting educator, this becomes the best time of year to find a job.
Digital portfolio sites
Rather than a two-page printed document that can be lost and serves only one user, a digital portfolio posts your resume online, in an easy-to-understand format. This makes it more available, transparent, robust, and quickly updated. This is the modern resume, tells future bosses you can use technology as a tool, and can give you an edge in a competitive job market. It organizes your qualifications, evidence, and background in one easy-to-reach online location. Interested parties can check it without bothering you and decide if the fit is good. You do nothing — which can save the disappoint of sending out a resume and getting nothing but silence back.
Here are suggestions for digital portfolio sites:
Summer is coming, and so is Summer Tech Learning! Join me with a great group of professionals (who will quickly become your best online friends) for one or more of these five classes on tech topics you want to learn.
Note: Early Bird special for those who sign up by May 15th: Use coupon code SUMMERPD to get 10% off!
There are five options, four of them detailed below:
- The Tech-infused Teacher
- The Tech-infused Class (sequel to Tech-infused Teacher)
- Teaching Writing with Technology
- 20 Webtools in 20 Days
- 20 Webtools in 20 Days–K-8 Tech Curriculum edition
At the completion, you get 18-24 hours of professional development credit (depending upon which course you take) and a Certificate of Completion itemizing your accomplishments.
There are two ways to sign up–
- sign up as an individual (not available for 20 Webtools in 20 Days–K-8 Tech Curriculum edition)
- sign up as a group of five and save 30%!
You can use your personal credit card, school card, or a school PO.
Back in December, ISTE asked for assistance reviewing draft 1 of the 2017 ISTE Standards for Teachers. You all responded wonderfully! Last week ISTE released draft v2 of the 2017 ISTE Standards for Teachers and expects to release one more draft in February before they are finalized and released at the ISTE conference in June. Carolyn Sykora, Senior Director of ISTE Standards Program, is asking for your help to ensure that they capture key knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to operationalize the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students and prepare teacher candidates to work in schools that increasingly invest in technology. The standards will need to serve the field for 5 to 10 years. This poses a unique challenge in the world of standards because devices, tools, and digital content are released every day and have the potential to impact how, where and what we learn. The goal–as many of us know–is to inspire teachers and teacher candidates to explore and examine how to meaningfully leverage these resources for learning.
Here’s the survey link. Please click and share your thoughts.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.