In June, I spent twelve days traveling across western Europe with a group of students. We started in Barcelona, Spain and slowly made our way north, ending in London, United Kingdom and it was a whirlwind of exhaustion, excitement, stress, blisters. Like any great travel adventure, I gained a new perspective on the world and a better understanding of new culture, but most of all I understood the benefit of traveling with your students.
During those twelve days, I got to witness a whole new side to my students. I was used to seeing them in my classroom or in the hallways at school surrounded by their peers, but on the trip I got to see them away from their friends in a new environment, experiencing a foreign culture. Within the first 24 hours, one student had a meltdown because the Coke in Spain did not taste the same as the Coke in the United States; it was mostly the jet lag talking, but it became a running joke and we made him try Coke in every country, just to be sure. There was ano…
By far one of my favorite historical simulations to do is the trench warfare simulation for WWI. Initially, the thought of allowing students to turn the classroom into a war zone made me hesitant to do the simulation, but I finally took a deep breath in 2014 and decided to try it out.*
I began the class period with the following presentation to have some order to the madness.
From my first experiences, I highly recommend that you go over the rules and expectations BEFORE the trench construction begins. With all of the student excitement and noise, it is difficult to get their attention, especially if they begin hiding in the trenches; I would divide up the classroom and allow construction and then it was herding cats to get everyone to refocus for more direction. The main rules I have is that when the lights are on nothing is thrown, but when the lights go off and the war begins then its fair game. As I said, explain everything THEN allow construction to begin.
Even though the student…
October is always a fun month; please note the sarcasm. Its the first month without any breaks or three-day weekends (at least in my district), the start of cold/flu season, and grades are due for the end of the first quarter. On top of that, I was also in the middle of my first semester of my Master's program, the new advisor for both CSF and NHS, and planning my #googleEI project that is scheduled for November. By the end of the month, I was stressed, exhausted, and completely drained, like so many teachers around the country.
Unlike Octobers in the past, I got to finish the month by attending and presenting at #FallCUE up in American Canyon, CA. I didn't have much time to get pumped and excited for the conference so I went up with my to do list weighing me down. But once the conference began, I immediately forgot about my stress and became re-energized by collaborating and sharing ideas with educators around the state.
There were so many incredible experiences at #FallCUE