While most members of Radical Nation are probably familiar with Tony Sinanis -- Principal of Cantiague Elementary School and the mind behind the Leading Motivated Learners blog -- they may be less familiar with Tony's brilliant son Paul.
Nowadays, we call it direct instruction. There are times when we need to interact with the material at hand, engage our students in examining ideas carefully, and use skillful questioning to tease out the ideas we know students have but may be afraid to express. That's why the art of teaching is such a beautiful experience to witness, as we allow chances in a safe and caring environment. In doing so, we create opportunities that allow thinkers to intersect content and action.
Substitute teachers, I appreciate you and your efforts. They do the impossible. There was the English teacher who gamely subbed for my science class after the birth of my boy. I came back after three weeks, because there was no other option in my rural locale.
You can't make this stuff up.
But I also know that seesaw that kids walk as the teacher prepares them for a substitute. Preparing them used to go something like this:
"Hey, I will be gone for a couple of days for a funeral." "Mapowell, we're so sorry." "Thank you, I appreciate it. Now let's talk about what will happen when I'm gone..."
What absolutely, positively has to be in that conversation?
How will you respond if or when you get that email or text from one of your students in an age of digital media?
How do you communicate with the substitute and the students so the time is utilized effectively?
What is your plan to ensure a good experience for the subsitute (classroom guest)?
An interesting email landed in my inbox the other day. A middle school teacher from California asked me what #edtech tools I was planning on using this year. "There's so many tools to choose from," he wrote. "Where should I start?"
While there's no one right answer to his question -- choosing #edtech tools should start with a clear sense for the kind of learning space that you are trying to create -- here are three tools that I've used in my classroom already this year:
Many of us know the commercials where someone drinks something, then smacks his or her head, and says, "I should have had a V8." The point, of course, is that conscious choices are better than unconscious habit (short-term or short-line thinking) Can we keep that in mind this school year?
Last week, I shared a plan here on the Radical to introduce students to high interest nonfiction reading using Remind -- a service that allows teachers to send updates to students and parents by text, email or app.
One of the things that I like best about the students in my sixth grade science classroom is that they are still INCREDIBLY curious about the world around them. Blowing their minds is just a matter of taking the time to make them aware of the fact that cool science happens every day.
For the past several years, I've been pushing principals to build a presence for their schools in social spaces like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram simply because social spaces tend to be spaces where our primary customers -- parents and students -- spend a heck of a lot of time.
What does authentic assessment look like in practice, and how does it differ from traditional assessment? What are the benefits — and challenges — of authentic assessment on teaching and learning? Over the next two months, educators from across the country will share the risks and reward of authentic assessment.