My mother used idioms to teach me life lessons. Maybe due to a popular song in the 80’s, she would say “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going,” almost daily. Basically, life is not always easy; I can make the most of it and do my best by not give up . My mother didn’t “beat around the bush,” I needed to “pull myself up by my boot straps.” These phrases are still relevant in today’s classroom. What can we do to encourage our students to keep learning and growing? In this post I will explore ideas (and provide some Big Universe resources) that will benefit all students, regardless of learning style and ability.
In many ways, the generation we are currently teaching has been labeled the “i-Generation.” They are by far the most plugged in, turned on, and, at times, zoned out because of the technology around them. There are plethora of educational apps and games out there, virtual and not. If you have not ventured into this territory before, I recommend checking out BBC’s Bitesize Games (Key Stage 1 is early elementary, and Key Stage 2 is late elementary or early middle school.), for excellent games that your students can play in the classroom, that are paired with quality lessons. I also know many teachers who use the site FunBrain.com for extension or review when students have finished work. Either way, great game sites or ideas are just a search away, but what I really want to focus on is coding for games.
It wasn’t that long ago that personal learning devices (cell phones, tablets and laptops) were banned from classrooms and schools. As the prevalence and usefulness of personal learning devices has evolved, so has school policy regarding their use. Many schools have adopted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies or started moving toward a one-to-one technology environment. As educators, it can be challenging to find ways to utilize these devices so they contribute to the learning rather than distract from it.
Whenever we as educators try to delegate work to our students, in hopes that they will peacefully and quietly work independently, we are sure to encounter some roadblocks. However, while the 100% serenity and engagement reading groups of our dreams may still be a bit out of reach for most of us, it is still possible to pull off multiple reading groups successfully without having to rack our brains too much.
Time to Celebrate….
February 2nd is Groundhog Day! As an educator, I love celebrating current events. I have seen how these topic specific lessons motivate students during the winter blahs. This unit is a great way to foster a love of reading through various activities and resources for all your learners. Finding the right resources to teach your holiday specific lesson is vital. I have used many resources that are available on Big Universe. Whether you are teaching a whole group or assigning to individual students, they will enjoy this unit. Included are my reviews of my favorite fiction and nonfiction books as well as ideas for celebrating Groundhog Day.
When I was a student, the closest I ever got to the assessment process was to hand my work to the person behind me and correct the paper of the person in front of me. Luckily education has come a long way since the days of pass-the-paper-back-and-grade-someone-else’s-homework.
Let´s face it, despite our best intentions, many of us probably have found ourselves building our unit frameworks on what will eventually be on a student test or other assessment. When we hear phrases like ¨teaching to the test,¨ we shudder and think, ¨Not me!¨ However, really reflect on your teaching practices, and you will see that at some point, like me, you probably have.
Teaching students about health related topics can be fun and rewarding. Finding the right resources will allow you to encourage participation in a healthy and active lifestyle. Whether you are teaching them how to make smart eating choices, hygiene or fitness your students will enjoy these resources and activities.
For as many of us in education that are well versed in the ways of the latest and greatest literacy strategies, and have devoted our careers to studying and teaching reading skills, there are an equal amount of us that find this area particularly daunting. I, for one, am trained as a science teacher, and while I have had my fair share of professional development on the subject and an comfortable reading content for the subject I teach, I know what a struggle is can be getting the message across to my students, even the ones who excel at reading. However, after some trial and error over the years, here are a some strategies I have implemented in my classroom that have helped me, help my students:
Thank you for taking the time to read the Big Universe blog. We hope that you find the information of value as you create a reading culture within your classrooms and schools. If you would you like more information regarding how you can utilize the Big Universe cloud-based literacy solution in your school, please contact one of our Literacy Consultants to learn more.