Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why a teacher should blog and other tales...

To stay current, I have been trying to read at least 2 educational/social concerns articles a day on linkedin.com.
Today, I came across this article Why Teachers Should Blog....of all the points the blogger makes, I find this one the most significant: we should blog so that our professional learning can serve as a model for the learning process. Be transparent.
"Whether you have been teaching one year, or 30, there is so much we can learn from everyone."
As a result, (though I had been putting blogging on the back burner) here I am again.
While I work to make my classroom a 21st century one and strive to implement technology into more lesson plans, it only makes sense that I would continue to reflect and to write about my teaching experiences.
What have I been up to?
Since April, when last I posted, I have made a few changes in my classroom routine.
1) Wednesdays are "World Wednesday" when I emphasize global concerns in lessons by either sharing articles or viewing video clips to create thoughtful discussions about hunger, joblessness, and environment degradation. In addition, I came across a great simulation game on the web Playspent.org that teaches students how difficult it is for a family to make a living on a minimum wage salary. We create classroom families and have students make difficult life-like choices based on their low earnings. This has helped them to realize how easy it is for someone to fall on hard times and become homeless.
2) I asked parents last week to send me an email telling me all about their child. Only a couple parents took me up on it, but I am now a firm believer in the practice because right from the go, I know the special talents and interests of a few children in my class. Love that. Next year, I may reward each student a free late homework pass if she/he can convince a parent to write me a little something.
3) The book Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov (one of the best "how to" manuals I've ever read on teaching) drives home the idea that an effective teacher will always remember, the essential "J" factor in the classroom.
What is the "J" factor you ask?
JOY.
Kids need joy.....tell a joke, give out a surprise treat, or play a fun activity.
Don't you do a better job when you have had time to laugh?
To smile?
To joke?
I know I do.
J Factor...an essential teaching ingredient. Hope I never forget it.
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9 comments:

Charlotte said...

You're back! I was just thinking this morning how I missed you and now you're back! Happy Birthday to me! (about six months early)

Tammy said...

Wonderful! I love World Wednesday - would that every teacher, every school could do that!

I especially love the simulated family finances. That's absolute genius. What grade do you teach?

Terra said...

OMG I about fainted when I saw you here! YAHOO!!!!! I couldn't be happier! Are you back for good? Please say yes!

Therese said...

AP happy to see you posting again Laura. Everytime I read about your classroom, I wish my children were in it.

Barb, sfo said...

Good seeing you back!

Lisa said...

You're back and didn't send out notices or flyers or something?? YAY!!! I MISSED YOU!! :0) So glad. You've so improved my "J" factor, Laura.

dj said...

So glad you're back!

momto5minnies said...

I'm so glad you are back ... I missed your stories.

I feel like I've been missing the whole "J" factor in my job as MOM. I'm going to work on it ...

Michelle said...

So nice to "see" you again!