Tagged With: back to school
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:
A new school year is a fresh start. For students, that means a different teacher and new classmates. For teachers, it’s another chance to make an impact on the lives of kids, turn them into life-long learners or at least let them experience the joy of learning.
In the chaos of getting ready for that all-important first day, it’s tempting to “do things as they’ve always been done” — like lectures, quizzes, student plays, and posters — but more and more teachers want to shake things up by adding innovative activities that differentiate for student learning styles while creatively accomplishing classroom goals.
Here are eleven such activities I’ve collected from colleagues using transformative tools that optimize learning while making students active participants in expected learning outcomes:
Use the webtool Too Noisy for the first month of class to show students how loud the class can get. Demonstrate how it works by showing that the louder classroom sounds are, the more the needle moves into the red. After that, project it onto the class screen occasionally throughout the day when voices and activity exceed what is best for learning. Let students notice the meter and then self-correct.
This tool is intuitive, easy to use, and is available on mobile devices only. A good alternative if you don’t have the ability to project your iPad to the class screen: Bouncy Balls.
Post a draft of class rules on the wall based on those followed last year. Ask students for suggestions. As they offer ideas, jot them down on the list. When everyone is done, post the edited list in place of the draft. Now, everyone is a stakeholder in classroom management.
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.
Where to purchase: Teachers Pay Teachers
- for grades K-12
- five resources, from posters to pedagogy to lesson plans
- 175 pages, delivered digitally via PDF
- available only through Teachers Pay Teachers
These five tools (included) help you start Day One and can be used throughout the year:
The 56-page 25 Digital Tools in the Classroom is a thorough discussion on which are the most useful tools in any K-8 classroom, classified by appropriate grade level. This includes popular digital tools such as blogs, backchannel devices, vocabulary decoding tools, avatars, digital portfolios, digital note-taking, and more.
This is the same as the Ask a Tech Teacher resource, 25 Digital Tools in the Classroom You don’t need to purchase both.
Back to School night is a time-honored ritual where teachers and parents meet, with or without children, and preview the upcoming school year. Teachers share information about their teaching style and methodology, how they grade, what students can do to thrive, and how parents can connect to classroom activities. It’s a way of easing everyone back into the education journey after a long summer break and is arguably one of the most impactful days in the school year.
But Back to School night has changed over the years in large part because families have changed. Consider this list of reasons why from Edutopia:
- Increased pace of life
- Greater economic demands
- Alterations in family composition and stability
- Breakdown of neighborhoods and extended families
- Weakening of community institutions
The most important goal of Back to School Night — establishing the parent-teacher partnership — is a lot more complicated to reach than it used to be.
Assessing student learning used to be as simple as giving a test that consisted of multiple choice, True/False, short answer, and/or essay. How many answers students got right told the teacher how much they knew. No need to look further. Simply grade, record, and move on to the next chapter.
Educators have come to realize that there are lots of reasons why a test score doesn’t reflect student knowledge. Maybe the student had a bad day; maybe s/he isn’t good at memorizing (and the test was mostly memorized facts); maybe education researchers are right that doing well on tests isn’t a predictor of student success.
Tossing tests makes a teacher’s job more difficult. I’ll stipulate to that. Habits, templates, and routines are much easier than reinventing the assessment wheel but a tool that results in passionate students committed to lifelong learning gets my attention.
That’s what the next twelve options are: assessment strategies that inspire student interest and allow them to share what they know in ways compatible with their personal communication style. These can be used formatively or summatively and can be created by teachers or students-as-teachers. Decide what works best for your circumstances. The uniting characteristics are that all assess:
- New School Year? New Tech? I Got You Covered
- 5 Top Ways to Integrate Technology into the New School Year
- 5 Ways to Involve Parents in Your Class
- 3 Organizational Apps to Start the School Year
- 6 Tech Best Practices for New Teachers
- How to Prepare Students for PARCC Tests
- 8 Tech Tools to Get to Know Your Students for Back to School
- 5 Tools To Shake up the New Year
- 3 Apps to Help Brainstorm Next Year’s Lessons
- What Digital Device Should My School Buy?
- 4 Options for a Class Internet Start Page
- 5 Ways Teachers Can Stay on Top of Technology
- Back to School–Tech Makes it Easy to Stay On Top of Everything
- Dear Otto: I need year-long assessments
- 5 Tech Ed Tools to Use this Fall
For the entire list, click this Back-to-School category tag.
This just out: Turnitin has released “Rethink Feedback”–themed resources to help K-12 teachers and higher education instructors teach proper methods of attribution and help improve student writing skills in response to the ongoing priority teachers place on not only improving writing skills but educating students about plagiarism and integrity. New resources and tools in Turnitin’s back-to-school program, “Rethink Feedback,” help K-12 teachers and higher education instructors teach proper methods of attribution and improve student writing skills.
The free back-to-school resources include:
- In the Loop: Feedback Quiz – This 12-question, online self-teaching tool helps students understand the value of feedback and explains how to get the most from feedback and how to respond to instructor feedback, while encouraging students to separate feedback from evaluative measures like grades.
- Feedback that Makes the Grade – 78% of students say they want feedback from teachers, but how do they feel about the feedback teachers are giving? This infographic lists five tips for fantastic feedback, details how students use and think about feedback, and explains what makes feedback effective in the classroom.
- Aiming for Integrity Analysis – How well do students understand plagiarism? Compiling over 12,500 data points from over 25,000 responses to Turnitin’sPlagiarism Quiz, this report helps educators understand student perceptions of plagiarism and citation methods.
- Plagiarism Spectrum – This infographic defines 10 different types of plagiarism. Each type has been given an easy-to-remember moniker to help students and instructors better identify and discuss the ramifications of plagiarism in student writing. Request posters for classrooms, or download a student handout or the full study.
“Teachers intuitively know—and research supports—that there are best practices to giving feedback to students in writing exercises,” said Jason Chu, education director at Turnitin. “Feedback that is appropriately constructive, specific, actionable, and given at the right time drastically improves how much a student learns about good writing.”
Turnitin has been a leader in promoting and supporting teachers in how to give appropriate feedback leading to improved writing skills. Earlier this year, Turnitin addedRevision Assistant to its product lineup. Turnitin Revision Assistant, for grades 6-12 and developmental writing in higher education, extends teachers’ reach by giving students immediate formative feedback during the writing process.
Whether you teach science or PE, there are hundreds of apps to help you do it better. The response to this tidal wave of information has been confusion. As each teacher downloads their favorites, students spend as much time learning the app as applying it academically.
There’s a move afoot to pick five that are cross-curricular, train faculty, and then use them throughout the school year. This is the way it used to be when MS Office ruled the computer and everyone understood it. If this is your school, here are three apps to start the school year:
When looking for an app to curate classroom reading, consider these requirements:
- works well with your current LMS
- includes a wide variety of reading formats
- displays books quickly, allowing you to open multiple books, add annotations, and take notes
- displays class textbooks
Lots of apps do the first three; none the last. Why? Many class texts use formats that only display on the publisher website. What became apparent as I researched was that GoodReader was one of several considered Best in Class because of its broad-based ability to read, manage, organize, access, and annotate a wide variety of file formats. Where it has long been considered a leader in reading and annotating PDFs, new releases accommodate almost any type of file including .docx, mp3, jpeg, ppt, xlx, audio, and videos. With its tabbed interface, users can open multiple documents and click through them as needed.