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Showing posts from 2014

When I tried to prevent students from failing their second essay…

One thing I have learned this past semester: teaching writing is difficult. It’s easy enough to get students to write a paragraph or two on a given topic, but to get them to write a coherent five paragraph essay is like herding cats. Since the start of my teaching career in 2013, I have been getting my students to write more, but rarely did essays.

This changed when two fantastic things occurred. First, the English department at my school began Writing Across All Disciplines, a program where the English teachers helped support other departments by providing training, outline formats, a common writing rubric, etc. At about the same time I attended a training for DBQs (Document Based Questions), where students read and analyze primary or secondary sources and then write an essay that answers an overarching question. Both of these programs helped encourage me and the rest of the social science department to incorporate more writing into our curriculum.

At the start of this school year, w…

When students focused on their failure...

At the end of every semester, my department takes a week and a half to help the students review for their upcoming final exam, which covers everything from the start of the semester to the end. Last year, I had students work on their study guides for half of the period by using the Kagan strategy known as “Rally Coach. " After about half an hour we would then going over the answers.

This semester ended up being different since we only covered four units rather than the usual five, which meant I did not need an entire week and half to review the study guide. I did my typical review lesson with my students, but decided to use the last few days to try a new assignment.

My students and I have been in love with a new app through Google known as Pear Deck. Essentially, it's an application that allows you, the teacher, to create a formative assessment slideshow where students can log on and answer various question types (multiple choice, drawing, short answer, etc.) regarding a part…

When I didn't keep a promise...

At the start of the school year,  I made myself a promise that I would take care of myself and keep my stress low. I would do yoga at least every other day. I would stay active on Twitter. I would keep up with my blog. I would go to bed at a decent time. This seemed to be a simple yet important promise that would also benefit my students.

Its almost half way through the year and I have not kept my own promise. Other than going to bed at a decent time,  yoga had become a once a week thing, I rarely get on Twitter, and my blog has been updated once. I still spend the majority of my time consumed in grading or BTSA or Yearbook or the school newspaper.

I know my experience with this is not unique. If I have learned anything from being on Twitter, connecting with educators, and dating a teacher is that there are hundreds of thousands of other teachers feeling the same stress and frustrations as me. Yet I still see my failure to my personal promise as frustrating.

Since the purpose of this b…

When my projector failed...

In our technological world, you don't expect technology to fail, but of course it does. In fact, the most recent mishap I have encountered has been a failure of technology.
Last week, the bulb in my projector went out. Initially I wasn't too concerned because I didn't think a projector was that important to my classroom. In fact, as I've integrated more technology like Chromebooks, I began to see my projector as insignificant and now its seeking vengeance for my lack of appreciation. My experiences this week have been similar to when your power goes out or you injur your arm; you suddenly realize how much you relied on that one thing to do multiple jobs:
"Let me show you an example...oh wait..." "There's this funny video about this...but...I can't show you because I don't have a projector..." "That's awesome! Can I show the class...if I had a functioning projector..."
Throughout this week, I felt as though my hands have been t…