Most of us would agree that we are indebted to some of the most overworked and underappreciated people on the planet: our teachers. Less often, though, do we consider how overworked and underappreciated our principals are.
In case it slipped your mind, October is National Principals Month and we want to help you celebrate it!
Our newest download will help you create a thank-you book for your principal. All you need to do is print out the pages and have your students fill out the two writing prompts. Once they finish, combine the class pages into a booklet, attach the cover sheet and present to your favorite underappreciated principal!
Click here or on the icon below to download our free Principal Appreciation Project.
We’re on a mission to find books that your students will love—and once we find these books, you can hear all about them in our ongoing podcast series, Booktalk. This month, we’re talking about the first book in Patrick Carman’s acclaimed series, Trackers.
In Trackers we get to know Adam, Finn, Emily, and Lewis, a group of teenage tech-prodigies called the Trackers who find themselves lured into a dangerous web of blackmail and deceit by a hacker named Lasko. But this is no ordinary book. Trackers is actually a “vook,” a new kind of book that combines traditional print with online videos and interactive digital media!
To listen in on what we have to say about Patrick Carman’s “vook,” click here.
Whether you’re a veteran teacher or a new teacher, we know you share something in common: you are busy. In addition to this, you can never have too many ideas for increasing student engagement, as well as improving reading and writing skills.
That’s why we are offering our FREE downloadable guide, Surfing for Substance II, a compilation of 50 User-friendly websites and apps for teachers.
You may be a “tech-head” already, but you don’t have to be to make any of these 50 user-friendly websites and apps a part of your everyday life. Our descriptions of each resource are brief and lighthearted—and hopefully, substantive enough to give you a sense for whether or not they will fit your students’ and your needs.
Inside you'll find apps for the following:
-Reading and Literacy
-Images and more!
Amaze your class with your technology "know-how" and have fun too!
February is a hectic month…we know. Not only is it Black History Month, there’s also Valentine’s Day, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (only recognized in certain states), Washington’s Birthday, and President’s Day!
If you need a little help cramming it all in, keep your powdered wigs and stovepipe hats on! We’re here to help by sharing 10 of our favorite Lincoln and Washington-inspired projects with you.
Maybe you’re looking to satisfy your students’ sweet tooth. No problem, we’ve got three recipes—fruit cookies, Shrewsbury cakes and strawberry punch—that are not only delicious, but happen to be forefather favorites.
We’ll also help your students dress for the occasion by offering instructions for creating their own stovepipe hat, powdered wig and other Lincoln and Washington-inspired projects.
Before we officially shift our gaze towards 2013, we thought we’d celebrate the New Year by compiling some of Marygrove College’s most popular resources of 2012.
Now you can take them with you and access them whenever and wherever you are! Inside our Best of 2012 you’ll find:
- 10 things you should know for the first day of school
- Ways to reinvent elementary geometry and make it fun
- Literacy tools that nurture independent reading
- Ways to teach grammar…without teaching grammar
- Classroom management tips
- Simple and practical ways to enhance your curriculum with free technology
These are only a few of the resources you’ll find inside our Best of 2012—and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, be sure to browse our blog and resource library as well!
On behalf of Marygrove College’s Master in the Art of Teaching program, we want to wish you a healthy and successful New Year.
-The MAT Team
We are all familiar with the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But in the case of bucket-filling, a positive reinforcement program that works well in classrooms, the Golden Rule should be revised to “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them,” in other words, treat people the way that they want to be treated, or treat them in ways that are valuable to them.
You’re probably thinking, How in the world can I treat 23 students individually and personally at any given time? Hold on! Essentially, all we are asking you to do is know your students. The more you know about what makes your students tick, the better able you will be to “fill their buckets. “
Dr. Donald O. Clifton’s book How Full is Your Bucket asserts that often it is what we recognize in others that actually helps them shape their identities and future accomplishments. Constantly referring to a child as funny, or shy, or outgoing can reinforce what that child thinks of him or herself. Teachers have the access and unique power—every day— to tell a child that he is a good writer, or a capable scientist, or an excellent athlete. These often unintentional individual recognitions, for better or worse, plant the seeds that can affect decision-making down the line. So make sure the seeds you plant are always for the better. (No pressure!)
The book outlines some key questions we’ve adapted for students to find out the best ways to fill their buckets:
1.By what name do you like to be called? Nickname?
2.What are your hot buttons—hobbies or interests you like to talk about a lot?
3.What makes you feel great when you’ve achieved something special?
●Receiving a certificate with your name on it?
●Note from teacher?
●Note from Mom, Dad or Grandparent?
●Announcement to the whole school over the PA system from the principal?
●Pizza for the whole class?
These insights can help teachers decide the best ways to fill their students’ buckets, to make recognition individual and meaningful whenever possible. Before long, you will see positive results in your classroom and you will have fostered a much more cooperative classroom climate.
Clifton reminds us that we all face a choice every single moment of every single day. We can fill one another’s buckets, or we can dip from them. The choices we make can profoundly influence our relationships, our health and our ability to be productive in the classroom or on the job. He cites a Gallup poll that estimates there are “…more than 22 million workers in the United States alone who are extremely negative or "actively disengaged." This rampant negativity is not only disheartening, it's expensive: It costs the U.S. economy between $250 and $300 billion every year in lost productivity alone.”
Let’s do our part by starting early and modeling for our students what positive behavior looks like and even sounds like. Before long, they will understand what it feels like to be a positive, productive person, and it can make all the difference in the world to your classroom community.
Begin the New Year on a positive note! Download our Guide to Successful Bucket-Filler Techniques and let your imagination be your guide on how to best introduce this concept to your students.
You made it through to the holidays! Congratulations. Use your time off to relax and reflect on the things that you’d like to change when you return. But by all means don’t worry—that pesky behavior problem you’ve been dealing with in your classroom over the last six weeks does not need to persist into the New Year.
You’ve probably tried every behavior modification trick in the book, yet your classroom culture seems unaffected. There may be one or two “repeat offenders” who always seem to command your energy, and the classroom as a whole usually suffers. Right? Time to grab a bucket.
If you have never tried bucket-filling, you are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to transform your classroom into a cohesive, caring team. There’s a great book, Have you filled a bucket today? by Carol McCloud that is simply written and quite effectively introduces the concept to children. To begin your bucket-filling program, read the story aloud to your class. Then, perhaps a week or two later, ask a student to read it again. This only takes a precious few minutes, and can be easily incorporated into your morning meeting. In fact, re-reading it is a great way to reinforce the basic concept.
Bucket-filling is all about recognizing the good things our students do, rather than focusing on negative behaviors. The beauty of bucket-filling is teachers can choose to do a little or a lot, depending on the unique needs of the classroom. Our free download from teachers, for teachers, offers lots of tips on how to implement an effective program that gets results.
But first, let’s back up and take a look at how bucket-filling first emerged on the scene. We can trace its roots back to the 1950s, when Dr. Donald O. Clifton, a psychology professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln became increasingly aware that the field of psychology at that time was based almost entirely on the study of what’s wrong with people. Clifton published a book with Tom Raft in 2004, How Full is Your Bucket? based on many decades of research about how human behavior can change dramatically when the positive is emphasized over the negative.
Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Well, if it were easy, we’d all be humming “High Hopes” as we go to work each day—“Just what makes that little old ant…Think he'll move that rubber tree plant…” The point is, positive feelings and attitudes need to be practiced, and honed. It is learned behavior, and can be habit-forming, not unlike remembering to take an umbrella when it rains. (And who hasn’t forgotten to do that from time to time?)
Clifton and Rath’s book was a New York Times Bestseller and workplaces soon began initiating bucket filler programs. Clifton found that people’s lives are shaped by interactions with others, and most of the time, we interpret them as either positive or negative. Carol McCloud realized its application for the elementary classroom, and the rest is history. McCloud lectures across the country on the virtues of bucket-filling, and she continues to publish on the subject.
The bucket and dipper metaphors are easy for children to understand, and Clifton’s research maintains that we each have an invisible bucket and dipper within us. When we use our dipper to fill other people’s buckets— by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions— we are also filling our own. Download our Guide to Successful Bucket-Filler Techniques and use your creativity to find unique ways to infuse this concept into your classroom community.
The holidays are as exciting as they are hectic—especially when you’re a teacher. Not only do you have to plan out celebrations for your family, you’ve also got a classroom (or classrooms) full of students to think about!
If you’re running behind this year, or simply looking for a few new holiday crafts to supplement the tried and true, look no further: We put together a FREE downloadable guide that contains 10 of our favorite cheap, quick and easy holiday craft ideas. Feel free to take it with you and share it with your friends and colleagues!
Inside you’ll find holiday crafts like:
· Reindeer puzzle piece ornaments
· Pine cone snowmen
· Gumdrop Trees
· Candy cane reindeer
· Hershey Kiss mice
· Handprint menorahs and more!
On behalf of Marygrove College’s Master in the Art of Teaching program, we would like to wish you a happy and safe holiday season.
Why do our students come to school? Yes, yes, of course because they have to, but why else? Is it because of you? Is it because of the mind-bending textbooks?
If you asked Michael Kahn (see his article, “The Seminar”) these questions, he’d tell you that there’s nothing intrinsically special about us or the textbooks.
No, what makes coming to school “worth it” is the collaborative learning experience—or in his words, the “opportunity to engage in a fantastic dialogue, trialogue, multilogue with a fantastically varied assortment of consciousnesses.” Indeed, the teacher facilitates and instructs and the books are the springboard from which conversations and teachable moments are launched. But Kahn believes classrooms become magical because of the relationships we nurture and the conversations we have.
To enhance or reinvent your students’ collaborative learning experience and use technology to do it, we thought we’d offer 5 apps to get you started!
5 Apps to Boost Collaborative Learning
Corkboard Me. If Google Calendar and Pinterest had a child, the result would be Corkboard Me. It's a pragmatic way to keep everyone on the same page in terms of who is doing what and when. Students can create "post it notes," keep track of the project's timeline and leave messages to each other on an online cork board. Nobody has the excuse they didn't get a message or didn't know what they were supposed to do because it's all on the group's cork board.
Sync.in. Once the students are ready to work, Sync.in is a one-stop-shop where students can work on the same document, at the same time, in real time. Different colored highlights are assigned to each student. It eliminates the need for cutting/pasting, or attaching documents back and forth, with different versions of the same thing floating out in cyberspace. Students can check out previous histories and collaborators can chat in real time while the document is being created. These are just a few of the perks of using Sync.in.
MixedInk. Similar to Sync.in, MixedInk is another collaborative learning platform that allows students to work on one document at the same time. This one’s quite user-friendly and more geared toward teacher/student/classroom learning. Perks include the ability for students to give a star-rating to certain ideas, passages, or versions of the document so they can decide as a group which one should be the final product. It's completely free and can be as professional, creative, or fun as the collaborators want to make it.
LiveBinders. Email, Facebook, Twitter, and texting can all be used to send information to individuals or groups. You can embed URLs on a website or blog. But after enough links/sites come your way, it can be hard to keep track of them. LiveBinders created a way to organize resources and information in one location - which is put together like a traditional 3-Ring binder using tabs and sub-tabs. Ideas:
- Teachers can embed a LiveBinder link on their website which houses PowerPoint lectures, YouTube Videos, and recommended websites for student/parent viewing.
- Parents can use it to keep track of safe websites for their kids, or to help them find online resources for their student's project.
- Collaborative learning groups can use LiveBinder to keep all of their group project resources and information in one organized place.
Realtime Board. This online app combines the best features from multiple apps. It's a collaborative, creative, organizational Realtime Board, based on the idea of a whiteboard, which allows groups to create presentations, infographics, papers and more. It's a little more high-tech so older students will benefit the most from this one. One of the bonuses is that when a document is pinned to the board, you can still work within it - scrolling between pages, or editing it, and then save the changes back to the original file on your computer.
Students, of course, aren’t the only ones who benefit from collaborative learning. We were lucky enough to stumble upon a recent Education Week article featuring Keith Pomeroy, an Ohio-based director of technology, who exposed us to collaborative-learning websites like Edmodo and Schoology. If you’re ever looking for lesson-plan ideas or new resources, we recommend that you check both of these sites out!
It’s almost back-to-school
time; the first day of school
will be upon us whether we’re ready or not. Back-to-school jitters
are normal for new and veteran teachers alike. But if you are just starting out in the profession, or are assigned to a new building, there are several things you should know before the bell rings. Sometimes even the most obvious information can be overlooked. Being prepared will help you start out the year on a confident note. It’s just good classroom management
Before you report to class, you should know:
1.Your school hours, bell times, and when you are expected to report to work.
2. Your classroom and curriculum duties and responsibilities.
3. Any additional duties/responsibilities assigned to you such as bus, hall and lunch duties.
4. The district's and/or school's policies on:
Referrals to special programs
E-mail and Internet usage
Fire drills and lockdowns
5. How to handle a sick day, personal leave day or an emergency for you.
6. Who to contact in case of a classroom or school emergency.
7. When faculty, team or other regular meetings are held.
8. Where and how to get classroom supplies.
9. How to best communicate with parents, telephone, e-mail etc.
10. What day Open House is scheduled for, and what the policy or procedure is for it.
You can probably knock off most of these by perusing your district’s website. Set aside a few minutes each day to make some phone calls or send some e-mails to make sure you have all of the answers you need.
While you’re floating on your raft in the pool, you might want to collect your thoughts about your overall classroom management style this year. Mrs. Feinman from Houston has some excellent classroom management ideas that she implements right off the bat, on the first day of school.
A big part of classroom management is establishing an attractive, organized classroom. Could your decorations use a makeover? When it comes to classroom decoration, we found two teachers who really hit it out of the park. First grade teacher Mrs. Tabb displays her ideas in her blog, How I Decorated my Classroom for Under 25 bucks! Her beautiful ideas will inspire you.
And as always, we can’t help but brag about our own master teacher, Christina Bainbridge who has been busy this summer preparing for her new classroom in a new school. It’s hard to believe that she could top last year’s classroom, but she did it.
It is so important to create an engaging and colorful learning environment for students of all ages. It is definitely worth the time you put in. So don’t wait until September!
Need some more classroom management ideas to chew on while you’re basking in the summer sun? Download our free guide to get you thinking creatively about how to make the most of your class time to reach every single student, every single day!