By heather on July 4, 2009
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January 8, 2010
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March 5, 2010
I would like more information on podcasting. More technical info like how to setup a podcast feed to iTunes from a website and a blog. I think I’ve done it correctly on the blog I run for my school’s video club, http://mmtv.placeritajhs.org. I will hopefully get confirmation of that soon. I’d also like to get the basics of iWeb. I use Dreamweaver and know HTML code. But have never used iWeb to create a website.
August 18, 2010
I’d love to hear some of your concrete ideas on how to organize a differentiated classroom.
September 13, 2010
I’m interested in digital book reviews using web-based technology. Also, pros/cons/how-tos of student websites (and blogs), and how a teacher manages all of this.
September 19, 2010
I would love to know what you would do for differentiation. I now have a real vast difference between the kids who finish right away and the kids who struggle all period to get through the content. How do I manage this?
September 19, 2010
Great question. First off, give kids choice. That’s the ultimate in differentiation. Go in tomorrow and get out a chart paper and stand in front of them and ask the question, “What should you do when you’re done?”
Then let them develop the list. Hang it up for the year and never have to answer that question again.
How’s that work for you? Or do you need advice that’s more content specific? Let me know!
June 1, 2011
Please share some reading/writing workshop ideas for teaching figurative language to 6th grade students. What can I do to “hook” them right away?
June 22, 2011
I would like to know how to motivate kids to do homework. Even a tiny bit of homework. We have very few kids who even attempt to do any. Any ideas would be helpful.
June 22, 2011
My first suggestion would be to give them choice in their assignments and in how they best present the information. It’s a powerful tool. From there, it’s all about innovation. What technology tools can you employ that utilize homework? Blogging, commenting, etc..?
OK, now here’s my real question: do you need to assign what you do? I’m not a big homework giver. Are you assigning it because you have pressure from other stakeholders? tradition? does it truly help what you are trying to convey?
As I said, I don’t issue a lot of it. If I do, it’s generally associated with with a greater project at large. Whenever I do, however, it’s begun in class as part of the classwork and then what the student does not complete is expected to be finished at home. This helps with classroom management and with homework completion.
Hope this helps!
July 3, 2011
How much non-student interruption do most middle school tolerate? I mean interruptions from announcements, other teachers, disciplinary matters where kids with infractions are called out to be given GASP or detention, phone calls from the front office, kids being called out for club meetings, projects, short notice extracurricular activity meetings, student office calls that the student is signing out, kids sent by other teachers to borrow something/sell something/pass out flyers etc?
I guess I am asking how do we handle the interruptions and distractions that folks I work with say are just “normal” and I have to be “flexible”? I have taught middle school for a couple years and high school for 10 prior and am still amazed at the constant distractions and interruptions to my teaching. I tried keeping count but gave up but was able to see that on average for the 9 weeks I counted, I had an average of 4 interruptions per class. That is alot in 45 mins.
My classroom time is chaotic, not because I can’t manage my students, but because there are so many external interruptions. IS this a problem everywhere and if so-how do you suggest it be addressed and handled? Are there alternatives to communicating with teachers during class time or handling disciplinary paperwork?
July 3, 2011
I think you raise a really good question, and one that I unfortunately do not think is unique to your experience.
To answer one question: I think that distractions of a certain number bother us more than them. I think that distractions over that number DO begin to chip away at achievement and instructional time.
I know in one school in which I taught, a group of teachers gathered evidence,professionally (not angrily) delivered, and implored the super, the board, and the principal with the numbers we had gathered. It was important because some of the issues had to be addressed at a procedural level. The changes that happened included no announcements unless for dire emergency during class time save for 5 minutes in 1st period and 5 minutes in 8th period. Phone calls from outside the school were not routed to the class rooms during class time, or were routed to our voicemails.
In regards to discipline, the teachers are always working with the admin to devise ways to streamline things. Right now, if we need to send a student out (which I don’t really do a lot of as I’m sure you don’t either), we can send the student out, and then follow up with the paperwork during the passing period. It’s flawed, but at least class doesn’t stop for longer than necessary. We give a quick call, “So and so’s coming to see you” so the office knows the student is coming, but at least the learning isn’t halted for longer than necessary.
There’s a lot coming at us. There are many cards against us in the classroom, coming at us from society, family challenges, etc…It is a shame when the school system itself gives little thought to how best to leave us be and do our job. Sometimes, however, people are just so focused on surviving and doing their job, that they lose sight of the accumulation of disruptions.
Come at them with the evidence and the reminder that there are many masters and many parties contributing, you might be able to cut down on the interruptions significantly.
Let me know how it goes!
Thank you! Just knowing that this IS normal helps. I am really curious about time management in this area and will try and record so I can get a better picture of where the interruptions come from and if there is anyway to make procedures less distracting.
I keep thinking that the evaluation of teachers based on student scores makes the assumption we have total control of our teaching time and our students emotional and social readiness to learn. That we are totally responsible for their learning. To me this is a very convenient and myth-based view of teaching. Your site is a blessing and has lowered my anxiety of the new school year a great deal.
I have already sent several video links from here to teachers I know.
November 28, 2011
I’m almost afraid to ask this question but…how are you (and your audience) teaching sentence construction, punctuation, grammar? I’m still teaching parts of speech, parts or sentence, paragraph construction, etc. Many of the students I receive (9th grade) have had no exposure to these terms and elements. Did I miss a memo? Is there a better way?
I’ve justified teaching these elements of grammar to my students as just as important to writing and understanding English as learning the periodic table is to chemistry. Curiously, the students who are familiar with these terms are usually ESOL students.
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