homework


Seven Vital Tips for the First Day of School
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
— Will Rogers

That quote might not be accurate, but it won’t hurt to be prepared and let the students know you are prepared. To enable this to happen there are seven important steps that should be taken to get the most of this first impression.

First, be prepared. Have your first day well planned out including a seating chart for the students. It is important to have good discipline from the first day, but that does not mean you have to be mean. Raising a hand to ask a question, asking permission to leave the room, even where to pick-up or hand-in work should be explained as well as the late work policy. Above all spend time reviewing school safety rules. Where are the exits, the fire extinguisher and the emergency routes? You don’t have to make the students afraid of you, but they need to know what your expectations are and when they can get extra help.

Secondly, take control. This is their first day in your class. They need to know the rules and the expect ions. Posting them in the classroom is always a good idea. I recommend having a handout for each student with the discipline code, your contact numbers, materials that they may need to bring, and any other school information. You may not have time to go over the school handbook, but make sure that every students has one as well as any textbooks that are required.

Thirdly, take a long look at your classroom. The first code in your community, if it is like other towns, usually limits the number of flammable items to about 20 percent of the wall space. There cannot be anything hanging from the ceiling or blocking the doors. Sofas and other upholstered items may also be deemed a violation of the rules regardless of how good an idea it might be. I recommend you dedicate at least one board to posting of school related items. As for the other space, I recommend you have students design them based on what is being covered in class.

Fourth, Some of the students may not know each other and so an ice breaker may be of value. I don’t use them, but some teachers find them of value. One idea I sometimes use is to bring in a wolf or other stuffed animal and have the students submit names to name our classroom mascot.

Fifth, Get personal information. I give the students a card asking them for their home contact numbers as well as their interests and favorite hobbies. I even ask them to bring a paper that they did in previous years that they are proud of so they can show it to me later in the week as I get to know them better. And, I always try to contact the parents within the first couple weeks of school or at a Back to School night. Sometimes messages from a students get changed by the time they get home, if you know what I mean.

Sixth, be open to new ideas. I have posted a great many links here. Spend some time and maybe you can discover frosh ideas. Consider having the students write a short autobiography to get to know them.

Finally, be yourself. Whether your first day of class or your 40th, the most important message to leave with your students is that you are a caring teacher. Yes, you have rules, but that does not mean you or without compassion and understanding. Remember you don’t want to mark Will Rodgers wrong.
Read up on classroom management
http://www.pacificnet.net/~mandel/ClassroomManagement.html

A list of great ideas for new and experience teachers.
http://iteslj.org/Lessons/Schroeder-FirstDay.html

Ice Breakers and Checklists from Education World
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson074.shtml
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson073.shtml

Planning for your first day of school
http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr360.shtml

Establishing rules
Ten Ideas
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson274.shtml

Ideas for preparing to work with parents
http://www.middleweb.com/9637/parents-inclusion-classrooms/

Huge selection of ideas and links on everything.
http://www.proteacher.com/030005.shtml

Activities and sample handout forms
http://atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Back_to_School/

Middle and elementary school ideas including school tour
http://www.cbv.ns.ca/sstudies/activities/1rstday/1rst.html

Back to school bulletin boards
Remember that decorating a door may be a fire code violation as well as having over about 10 to 20 percent of the walls covered with flammable items.
Mainly for elementary
http://tinyurl.com/ob5v2dk

Interesting collection of back to school get acquainted ideas
http://atozteacherstuff.com/Tips/Back-to-School/Icebreakers-Getting_Acquainted/index.shtml

Lots of lesson planning sites
A good place to look for new ideas
http://www.teachingtips.com/articles/Jthefirstday1.html

Set up your classroom seating arrangement virtually
http://teacher.scholastic.com/tools/class_setup/

haskvitz111

Bulletin Boards by Month
http://bulletinboards.theteacherscorner.net/monthly/

Discipline: training that perfects the mental faculties

Ten Skills Every Student Needs and You Probably Don’t Have Time to Teach
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

After 40 years of teaching there comes a time when you want to just yell at the curriculum designers and textbook publishers that they have the cart before the horse. Teachers need to be allowed to spend more time teaching students how to learn and less on preparing for a test which measures nothing applicable in the real world.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I feel that every teacher would love to really teach students how to get ready for the challenges ahead of them and use the curriculum as a stepping stone to that goal. Over the years my students always were at the top in the State in terms of standardized testing. Indeed, some of them had perfect scores. The problem was I was teaching them how to take the test. Fortunately, I as able to shorten the material required for the course by removing those elements I though were essentially chaff so that I could teach them essential skills. Essentially, I started by teaching them how to discipline themselves. This worked so well that I still get letters from students, some decades after they were in my class, thanking me for teaching them for life. I have never gotten a letter thanking me for teaching them the Monroe Doctrine.

Here is the list and it far from complete, which are skills that need to be taught. Feel free to comment and add your own.

Learning how to Learn

Developing a love for learning is essential for any educator. It is the most important lesson a teacher can impart to a student and it is also the most difficult. A teacher may have to face a variety of hindrances from lack of parental care, nutritional and emotional problems, and even severe mental concerns. Regardless, there needs to be an effort and the best way is to become a facilitator by prodding, motivating, and providing a diverse array of learning materials to challenge the student to learn for themselves. Most often the textbook, frequently filled with data with little relevance to the student, is the main focus of instruction. And, perhaps, that is the way it must be if the goal is a test that measures improvement in the acquisition of this data. The teacher can feel confident as he or she has covered the material by sticking to the textbook. Motivational, hardly, but that is how teachers are frequently judged. There is another way to do this, but it is time consuming and requires a multitude of rubrics. Providing a variety of materials and having the students learn from them is an arduous task. However, once it is done a teacher can spend the rest of years modifying, adding, and individualizing lessons to meet the needs of the students. ReachEveryChild (cited below) provides a variety of sources for this free material and is an excellent place to start individualization.

The second part of learning how to learn based on whether the student is an auditory, visual or kinetic learner and how to use these to their advantage. It is impossible for a teacher to use all of these methods when presenting lessons, but a student can create their own lessons to help them acquire the knowledge. In my classes I have students create poems, songs, graphic organizers and the Cornell note taking system. In this way there is a variety of methods for them to learn. I insist they use my linking and three transfer method of learning as well. The linking method makes them link what they are learning to other things they have learned and create a “learning tree” of it that they add to throughout the year. The three transfer method is to have students read the material, take notes on it, and transfer that material to another mode such as notecards. I also recommend presenting the answer to a question and have them supply the question. This is an excellent test of finding out what they know. It can be used in all subjects.

What is Valid

If you have time, giving the student a variety of short articles to read and asking them to figure out what would be the best way to judge this material is very worthwhile. This process should also include a study of the various types of propaganda, how to evaluate a website for bias, and stereotyping. That is a lot to swallow and so it is best as part of a school-year long program. If you are teaching social studies an ideal unit could be the differences of opinion between the South and the North about slavery. Learning how to learn is not just about the acquisition of skills, but for the student to acquire the ability to judge the material. One of the best tools to get students to read is Sherlock Holmes and the Sign of Four. As the students read the article they keep track of the characters and reach various conclusions as the teacher hands them the next page. The lesson makes them detectives, but more importantly allows them to learn for life. Seldom are we giving all the answers, but we must make decisions by what we know and judge what is valid.

Speed Reading, not just reading.

It isn’t any secret that the first basic skill is reading. But not just reading, but speed reading. Close reading will follow much more quickly if students can learn how to read rapidly. Reading for facts and reading for pleasure can both be more enjoyable if a student acquires the ability to focus on several words at one time. I taught second graders how to read over a 1000 words per minute at their grade level. The usual improvement was always 200 to 400 words per minute more and this was for language arts and social studies materials. Interestingly the comprehension improves as the speed level doubles as the student concentrates on the material. It is a win-win, but it most be reinforced until it becomes a habit and it takes at least 30 days for it to become a habit. Be warned that some students are resistant to it and so online speed reading sites can help them challenge themselves at their own rate.

Write at Grade Level +

The first thing on teaching a student to write is to explain the types of writing based on the purpose. Taking notes while on the phone or writing a compare and contrast essay may be different in length, but the ingredients are the same. However, for longer works you need to teach the student to write at grade level. I have the students write a one page paper on their favorite vacation either real or imagined. Next, I have them underline all the one syllable words. After that they circle any word that they have not known since primary school. The Fry Formula is applied and the students record their writing scores. They is always silence as the students realize that they are writing at several grades below grade level. Now, that isn’t necessarily bad, but it does force them to expand their vocabulary and that is good. I always have a few Thesaurus books on hand and show them how to use them. The results are immediate and the students not only improve their writing, but improve their thinking and organizational skills as well as they strive to improve. My article (citation below) provides an in-depth look at this successful practice that has enabled my students to win numerous writing competitions.

Teach Them to be Journalist

This vital profession is based on training that every student needs. The ability to communicate, to judge facts, and to influence others with their work. There is no other profession that is so vital for students to learn from because it is essentially what they are going to do nearly every day of their life. A good journalist seeks out evidence and judges it. They write using the who, what, when, where, why, and how approach. They use the inverted triangle that helps them organize facts. Finally, it teaches them to be curious and ask questions and, very importantly, take good notes.

Teach Them to be Lawyers

Perhaps, oversimplifying, but lawyers earn them living by researching and providing evidence that their cause is correct. This requires an examination of evidence and organization. This is another valuable trait that can help students of all ages. For example, was George Washington was a good president? Can you prove it? Can you provide evidence that he was not so good? Some may call this critical thinking, but that type of thinking can not really be utilized until a student is able to have a variety of experiences that enable them to make a critical decision. Thus using the basic skills of an attorney in proving a point and providing evidence to that end are skills they are going to need to write essays persuasive and expository essays and in life.

Be Accountable

At the beginning of the school year I ask the students to look around the room and, without naming names, tell me how many other students they would hire to work for them based on the knowledge that they wanted good workers. After that I ask them to write that number down, fold the paper, and place it in a basket. I take out the numbers and place them on the board to come out with an average. In almost every case it is ten percent of the students or less. That means that the others already have a reputation of not being good workers. The reason for this is that many students simply do not hold themselves accountable. Immediate gratification, poor parenting, the need for quick teacher assessment with little assessment of the assessment, all help feed a “who cares” mentality. This results in large scale cheating with little fear of consequence. Research has overwhelming shown that rewards must be intrinsic to be a lasting value. If students are to be held accountable there must be a reward system that works and entices parent buy-in.
People Skills

We aren’t talking about cooperative learning, we are talking about the ability to get along with others regardless of differences. We are talking about good manners, social skills, negotiating skills, and the ability to work together to create a common goal. Skills as basic as how to talk to people on the phone, how to ask permission, or even showing remorse or concern are missing and yet vital for life.

Handling Emergencies
Handling emergencies is also seldom taught at school. Yes, fire drills are held, but what value are they to the student when a fire really occurs elsewhere? My students wrote and had published in the American Fire Journal the problems with school fire drills in the hopes of enlightening others. School administrators essentially ignored it because it wasn’t an area to be tested. Sad, because the issues the students brought up were important. For example, why does the fire extinguisher stay in the room during a fire drill? Why do the students stand up in rows when an explosion could knock them over? Who knows where the dangerous chemicals are? What do the various colored helmets that firemen wear mean? Needless to say, handling emergencies is a vital skill. Why doesn’t every student know CPR? How to stop bleeding? Or to identify a person having a “fit” and knowing how to act? Taking this a step further, how to teach students not to panic and to learn how to identify people should be taught. But, who has the time?

Skills for life

Setting realistic goals, identifying propaganda and bias, budgeting time, operating a computer and touch typing, triage work assignments, handling money and investments, observation skills, where to find information and measure its accuracy, and learning how to listen can all be incorporated in the curriculum. Each of these carry lifelong importance and all can and have been taught within the curriculum if there is time. There are free units of study on almost all of these areas available. The teacher needs to be given the time and flexibility to personalize them for their class.

Before I get off my high horse I must add one more thing and that is for the student to learn how to be happy. My friend Larry Martz, an editor with Newsweek, wrote in his book Making Schools Better, about the small bite principle. This is a simple plan where small strides can result in large gains. An educator who just takes one of these ideas to heart could make a huge difference knowing well that it is at least as significant as anything on a standardized test.

Why Students Cheat
http://www.teachers.net/gazette/NOV08/haskvitz/

Making Schools Better
http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-8129-1939-4

Car Rating Site
http://autos.jdpower.com/

Government fuel economy site
http://fueleconomy.gov/

How to Improve Student Writing
http://reacheverychild.com/blog/2014/not-so-secret-formula-improves-writing

Student speed reading lessons
There are others
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/stancliffe59.html

Using the Inverted Triangle
http://www.multimedia-journalism.co.uk/node/2097

World Cup of Soccer Lessons: Teachable Moments
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

For more free resources go to
http://reacheverychild.com/blog/2014/not-so-secret-formula-improves-writing

The 2014 World Cup begins on June 12th in Brazil and is the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world and the coverage is bound to be huge. There are 32 teams from around the world participating the event. The World Cup offers a great way to integrate lessons that involve a variety of subjects from art to zoology. With the results being available daily the lessons can be updated. Since some places may not have coverage of the event I highly recommend you use the Internet to keep current.

I find that even those students who are not interested in soccer enjoy getting involved in using the variety of information interesting for math practice such as percentages, graphing, and even probabilities. They also like to make a book of the animals that represent those countries in the form of an animal atlas and design flags for their teams. The lessons can easily meet Common Core standards in math and literacy.

Official site
http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/

This site has updates on the World Cup
http://www.espnfc.com/league/_/id/fifa.world/fifa-world-cup?cc=5901

Soccer lessons from Great Britain.
A wide variety including songs.
http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/themes/worldcup/

Compare the stadiums
A fun site that has pictures and data on the places in Brazil where the games will be played. Students can compare rainfall, temperature and even the capacity of each stadium to write an essay on why there choice is best or a compare and contrast essay or make a graphs of the information.
http://tinyurl.com/of8pkez
A free app
This site has flags of the nations.
http://eflclassroom.com/store/products/world-cup-resources/

Huge link sites
http://www.2learn.ca/specialedition/fifa/fifa.aspx

AND
http://tinyurl.com/246hfnt

Printables for younger students
http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/world-cup-for-kids

A photo essay on the history of the World Cup
http://tinyurl.com/q8q6td6
A unique math game based on soccer
http://www.sharemylesson.com/teaching-resource/Soccer-Coordinates-Math-Game-50012204/

ESL Lessons
Includes tests and listening skill practice.
http://www.esolcourses.com/topics/football.html

More ESL Lessons
News English Lessons
ESL / EFL Lesson Activity on Brazil World Cup
http://tinyurl.com/mml5eka

The New York Times has a blog about the event
The site has both synonyms and quizzes.
http://tinyurl.com/nnoq2lr
Probability lessons for older students
http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/05/28/1863382/lessons-in-supply-and-demand-goldman-on-the-world-cup/

The Release of #42”, the Jackie Robinson movie is an excellent teachable moment for students who can use Robinson’s story and baseball to create a number of lesson plans.

For more free resources go to :

Http://www.reacheverychild.com

Objective: To provide students with the opportunity to learn about segregation and the Civil Rights Movement based on the life of Jackie Robinson’s integration into the National Baseball League. The student shall be able to write about how the actions of one person can make a significant difference in the lives of others and the importance this event to society.

The student’s assignment should include the comparison and contracting of one person, they deem a hero, with another and also include their own opinion of what they would have done in a similar situation.

Lesson Plan

Students watch this video of Robinson’s life

http://www.biography.com/people/jackie-robinson-9460813/videos/jackie-robinson-full-episode-2190492587

Compare what Robinson went througth what Nelson Mandela went through in this story

http://www.awesomestories.com/flicks/invictus

Have the students make a Venn diagraph showing what Jackson and Mandela had in common.

Venn Templates

http://www.venndiagramtemplate.net/

Have the students review these traits of a hero

http://psychology.about.com/od/the-psychology-of/a/characteristics-of-heroism.htm

The students also need to create another Venn diagraphm and place those traits that they have in common with Jackson and Mendela.

The students create an essay entitled, Jackie Robinson, Nelson Mendela and I” that explains what they have in common.

As a group project, the students can look through the many entries in Awesome Stories and research those who they considered to be a hero and create a poster that commerates that individual or group’s actions to share with others.

Students can also be given a homework assignment to interview those adults that they know and to take notes on what traits they feel heroes have and their heroes. The notes have to be rewritten during class time and collected and placed in a class book.

Students can expand this lesson with the links below.

Awesone story links that can expand this lesson

The early history of baseball

http://www.awesomestories.com/sports/baseball-cards/the-knickerbocker-club

The color line in baseball

http://www.awesomestories.com/sports/baseball-cards/the-color-line

Other Heroes in American History

The Suffrage Leaders

http://www.awesomestories.com/history/womens-rights

Children Labor

Fighting for the end of child labor

http://www.awesomestories.com/history/child-labor/efforts-to-protect-children

The Underground Railroad

Harriet Tubman’s Story

http://www.awesomestories.com/history/underground-railroad

Civil Rights Links

http://www.awesomestories.com/search?channel=&search=civil+rights&x=0&y=0

Remember the Titans

A football movie about athletes and school integration

http://www.awesomestories.com/flicks/remember-the-titans

Other Sports Stories

http://www.awesomestories.com/sports

Suggested Reading

If there are funds, having the students read Baseball Saved Us: Ken Mochizuki

This can be used as a compare and contrast book.

http://erinschildrensliteraturepage.blogspot.com/2008/02/baseball-saved-us.html

Assessments will be done according to the grade level and Common Core rubric used by the school.

Jackie Robinson links

http://www.schools.pinellas.k12.fl.us/educators/tec/Mutert2/wbsts.html

Guided reading

By National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz

For young and ESL readers guided reading presents a supportive and remediative form of learning to read that offers students the benefits of sharing accomplishments and overcoming weaknesses. It takes time to set-up, needs consistency, and a lot of time, but once the method is mastered it can nearly run itself if the necessary resources are available. Below are some of the best ones I could find about reading and guided reading.

Help for slow learning child

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/slowlearners.html

Strategies for motivating readers

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/motivating_readers.html

 

Phonics and teaching reading

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/phonics.html

Videos about guided reading

http://www.watchknowlearn.org/SearchResults.aspx?SearchText=guided+reading

A fairly comprehensive site

Most everything you need to know here from questioning skills to the time allocation.

http://www.oe.k12.mi.us/balanced_literacy/guided_reading.htm

A good how-to site

http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/de/pd/instr/strats/guided/guided.html

An excellent site for those just started using guided reading

It includes a full range of helpful resources.

http://www.tips-for-teachers.com/Guided%20Reading.htm

A good wiki article

It explains how to do it and provides lesson ideas.

http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Guided_Reading

Making Guided Reading Multi-level

Introduces the four block method.

http://www.wfu.edu/education/fourblocks/block1.html

The Significant Benefits of Guided Reading

With Specific Instructions on How to Use Guided Reading

http://righttrackreading.com/guidedreading.html

Teachers and Classroom Discipline

by Alan Haskvitz

National Teachers Hall of Fame

Classroom discipline if probably the most difficult thing for a teacher to master. However, although it may be tiresome there are a few rules that might provide help. First, don’t be a buddy. Secondly, contact the parents frequently for all reasons, good and bad. Third, talk with other teachers about your concerns. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for ideas. Fourth, avoid putting a student or yourself in a corner. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask administration for help. This all sounds so easy, but it never is and there are many times when you go home and can’t leave your work at school. I suggest you check out the stress sites below as well as keep a diary of what happens each day at school, good or not so good. At the end of the school year take a look at what you have written. It may reveal some insights into what worked and what didn’t but more importantly it might just reveal that you may have let a few bad days nullify a lot of bright ones.

Here are some good resources that provide a lot of valuable ideas.

Stress sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/teacher_stress.html

New Teacher Help

http://www.reacheverychild.com/newteach/index.html

Resources for teachers in all areas

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/new_resources_for_teach.html

Horace Mann offers valuable services in case of an assault

http://horacemann.com/html/disability/darp.html

What is your classroom management style?

Take the test.

http://education.indiana.edu/cas/tt/v1i2/what.html

How to use your time between classes and in the classroom to help control problems.

http://www.foothill.net/~moorek/transitions.html

Set limits

How to use your voice and body to control classes.

http://www.foothill.net/~moorek/limitsetting.html

Teaching responsibility

http://www.foothill.net/~moorek/responsibilitytraining.html

Dr. Mac’s site

You must go here and see the oodles of ideas,

http://www.behavioradvisor.com/

Over 400 links to behavior and class management sites

http://drwilliampmartin.tripod.com/classm.html

How to make rules

http://ss.uno.edu/ss/New/CMRules.html

Dealing with the student who does not care

http://www.foothill.net/~moorek/omissiontraining.html

An excellent review of the literature. Check out the summary and what works and does not work.

http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/5/cu9.html

Controlling escalating behavior problems and possible interventions

http://www.foothill.net/~moorek/escalating.html

Avoiding verbal confrontations

http://www.foothill.net/~moorek/backtalk.html

Some good insights from a young teacher including grading ideas.

http://www.middleweb.com/INCASEdiscsteps.html

Ways to check your program and see if it is working

http://www.foothill.net/~moorek/managementsystems.html

You can handle them all

A terrific site with over 100 potential behavior problems and ides on how to handle them.

http://www.disciplinehelp.com/

Example of letter sent home at start of year.

http://www.ueatexas.com/Links/Classroom_Help/Letter_to_Parents_Regarding_Discipline/H_Letter_to_Parents_Regarding_Discipline.html

A nice compilation of information from setting up the classroom to meeting with parents.
http://www.pacificnet.net/~mandel/ClassroomManagement.html

Importance of time on task

http://www.foothill.net/~moorek/timeontask.html


School safety links

http://ss.uno.edu/ss/homepages/SchlSafe.html

Advise from veteran teachers.

No holds barred here.

http://www.middleweb.com/INCASEDiscpl.html

Huge array of classroom management links

http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/archives/classmanagement.shtml

Ideas about bathroom breaks

http://www.teachnet.com/how-to/manage/cantwait011399.html

Talking about sex in a non-health classroom

http://education.indiana.edu/cas/tt/v1i3/dealing.html

Class rules

Examples for each grade level.

http://www.gigglepotz.com/expectations.htm

Ten activities for creating classroom rules

http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson274.shtml

Information on bullying

http://members.aol.com/kthynoll/schools.htm

Large selection about dealing with bullying

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/bullying.html

Positive Reinforcement site

Has examples and a quiz.

http://psych.athabascau.ca/html/prtut/reinpair.htm

Rules for working with Paraeducators

http://para.unl.edu/para/Behavior/lesson2.html

Teachers’ organization provides information on behavior and when to contact an attorney.

http://www.ueatexas.com/Links/Classroom_Help/Links_Classroom_help.html

How to document student behavior

http://www.foothill.net/~moorek/documentingbehavior.html

Tattletales

http://www.teachnet.com/how-to/manage/tattling100600.html

Management problems for children with special traits such as ADD

http://www.healthyplace.com/Communities/parenting/elaine/mgt.html

Classroom adjustments for special education

http://www.ldonline.org/ld_indepth/teaching_techniques/class_manage.html

Working with shy students

http://www.ericfacility.net/ericdigests/ed402070.html

Frequently asked questions

http://www.cortland.edu/flteach/FAQ/FAQ-Discipline.html

Classroom Management and Discipline Sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/discipline.html

Classroom Discipline Help

http://www.reacheverychild.com/newteach/index.html

Tips for new teachers

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/new_resources_for_teach.html

Student discipline and the new teacher

An interesting article about the frustrations of teaching, especially without a good preparation program.

http://www.middleweb.com/INCASEDiscpl.html

General articles from teachers

Teachers are always the best sources for information on student discipline.

http://studentdiscipline.suite101.com/

American Federation of Teachers

Suggestions and tips

http://www.aft.org/topics/discipline/tips.pdf

Teacher to teacher suggestions

http://studentdiscipline.suite101.com/

Short slide show on essence of student discipline

http://www.slideshare.net/LATTC/student-discipline-1873546

Suggested Reading List

Good start for setting up a program

http://teacherpathfinder.org/Support/discipline.html

Research on Discipline

http://www.nwrel.org/archive/sirs/5/cu9.html

Simplified explanation of needed steps to follow

http://schoolwidediscipline.com/

Guide to School Discipline

http://www.mathguide.com/services/Discipline/

An example of a school district code

http://teched.vt.edu/VCTTE/VCTTEMonographs/VCTTEMono2(Discipline).html

From Canada: A Zero Tolerance Program

http://www.safehealthyschools.org/whatsnew/capzerotolerance.htm

Washington State Booklet for Parents

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/publications/manual_discipline_public_schools.pdf

Excellent collection of teacher ideas and articles

http://www.theteachersguide.com/ClassManagement.htm

Understanding Why Students Don’t Like School:

by Book by Daniel Willingham

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIv9rz2NTUk

Reviewed by Alan Haskvitz

http://www.reacheverychild.com/alan.html

This is an interesting book that I read for only one reason; I wanted to see if he mentioned any of my methods of teaching. Call it a vanity read. However, as I read this book I became more interested in his findings and their possible impact on the way teachers educate their charges. Willingham challenges some of the sacred cows in education and provides some interesting support for his beliefs. Best of all, the author relates his work to helping teachers teach.

“The mind is actually designed to avoid thinking,” Willingham writes because the mind works slowly and takes effort. This is definitely something that most people want to avoid. Instead, the author adds that people rely on memory and it is faster and easier. For example, most people do things the same way they always did them. They are happy with it and it is easier. Of course, the problem with teaching is that the students become hidebound and so getting them to change their notetaking or study skills is a chore. No wonder it is said that changing a habit takes 30 days.

This fear of change and of having to use ones brain is also why some students don’t like school. They like to work; they just don’t like to think. That being said, people are also curious. So a teacher that can stimulate their interest by taking advantage of this curiosity has an advantage. First, it should be noted that students enjoy thinking, if it isn’t too difficult. That is why television games such as Password are popular with some individuals and why people read and play games. So a teacher needs to find this sweet spot, according to the author.

“This is where creative teaching comes in, using a combination of storytelling that evokes emotion and thought, and exercises that put lessons into context and that build upon previous learning. It’s also sustained hard work,” Willingham wrote. This process creates thinking skills dependent upon factual knowledge. It is that factual knowledge that must be stressed so that learning can be advanced and last.

Willingham, a research cognitive scientist, spent a great deal of his efforts trying to find how to reach students using different learning styles and discovered that the reality is that it really does not matter.
“There are different abilities, but really, we all learn the same way,” he said. “It’s not left brain versus right brain, or visual or auditory or kinesthetic. We learn using a combination of skills, and we are all more similar in our learning styles than different.”

In other words, as most teachers already know, in order to motivate students you need to reach their interest zone regardless of the type of learner. A good unit of study allows students to learn the material in a variety of ways and build the core knowledge base that enables them to advance. The author continually stressed the need for students to master basic skills, especially study skills. Since I spend most of the first part of every school year teaching my students how to take notes, how to provide proof, how to write test questions, monitor their time, create a battle plan for the day, use spare moments wisely, link learning, and transfer material at least three different ways, Willingham’s work was reassuring to me. There may be some teachers who work in a district where the State curriculum is the bible and anything not listed is forbidden material, but hopefully, the administration will learn from this book that before you can build you need a good foundation of knowledge.

Another interesting finding professed by Willingham was that intelligence can be improved through hard work. It is not solely heredity. In a study of great scientists the common theme was not the fact they were exceptionally brilliant, but they had the ability to sustain their work. Although Alfie Kohn writes that homework really does not result in improved learning, homework does provide a student with the opportunity to sustain their work on their own. Thus homework can supply the outlet for students to learn to excel and sustain learning on their own, as they are going to do in the future. Students may be talented in one area, such as music or math, but that does not mean they have a greater “intelligence” in that field. For the educator this means that they should add enough flexibility for a student to apply their learning in several ways.

Another point Willingham makes is that praising a child for being smart should be avoided. It gives the impression that if you are smart you are going to get good grades. Thus not getting an answer could make the student feel he or she is dumb.  Thus praise should be for working hard and effort. Help the student understand that hard work pays off and that failure is a natural part of learning. That is the real value of assessment. It shows the student where they need to work harder. In the classroom I find students who get an A mark just look at the grade and not the questions missed. Whereas most students who get lesser grades look at each missed answer and question it. The grade is not an end in itself, but a measure of progress to building up a large memory base for future use.

Here are some additional thoughts expressed in Willingham’s book.

  • The brain is not designed for thinking; it is designed to save you from thinking. It is slow and unreliable. People are naturally curious, but we are not naturally good thinkers, unless the cognitive conditions are rights we will avoid thinking.
  • Most of the time we do what we do most of the time. In other words there is a need to challenge our teaching style and to look at it with fresh eyes and the student also needs to be challenged.
  • People like to think, but the conditions have to be right or they quit. Chains of logic should not be more than two of three steps long and the application of new ideas cannot be done too soon or the lesson is lost for future use.
  • Students need to have the proper facts on hand to proceed with learning and the use of memory aids is suggested.
  • When you plan a lesson start with the end in mind.
  • Factual knowledge must precede skill.
  • Learn to link or chunk information for easier recall.
  • The amount of material you retain is based on what you already know.
  • A student can’t do critical thinking without core knowledge.
  • Memory is the residue of thought
  • A teacher’s teaching style is what students remember. A teacher who is recalled as good is one who builds a learning base for the student to use in the future.
  • A worthy goal is persuading the students that the lesson has value.

Here are some of Willingham’s basic beliefs that I have tried to relate teachings:

“People are naturally curious, but they are not naturally good thinkers.”   This means that the teacher needs to create lessons that challenge the student to blend there base knowledge with new learning. I would recommend using Bloom’s taxonomy to create different outcomes from the same base material to allow learning to flow with more creativity.

“Factual knowledge precedes skill.“   A student must have a base of knowledge to draw on. And, in fact, that base knowledge is what makes it easier for some students to learn because it gives them a wider base to build upon.

“Memory is the residue of thought.“ Students have to be motivated to turn a lesson into a memory. The teacher must not take away from the student’s ability to learn by distracting them with artificial means that might take their thoughts from the basic objective. For example, a teacher who dresses up as a historic figure might disrupt the learning by having the student looking at the custom rather than what the character represents. I have read a number of research pieces that also note that music can also be a detriment to learning for some individuals as they become enamored with the song rather than the lesson.

“We understand new things in the context of things we already know.” The more vast the knowledge base the easier it is for a student to learn new principles. This takes time, especially if the child does not have a rich academic environment to bring to the table. Abstract principles and deep knowledge are not easy to acquire.  Have realistic expectations. This type of learning must be built over time.

“Proficiency requires practice.”  Building a base of knowledge is ongoing and needs consistent practice. And, not everything needs to be inculcated. Willingham recommends shorter practice sessions spread over time, but the content should also be related to more advanced work to offer a challenge to the student and provide the opportunity to apply what they have learned.

“Cognition is fundamentally different early and late in training.”  Students are not experts and it takes time to build skill. Teacher assignments need to reflect this change not by asking more questions, but asking questions that stress the depth of knowledge.

“Children are more alike than different in learning.”   A most interesting observation, especially since I was a co-presenter with Howard Gardner at the Imagination in Education conference in Vancouver. That being said, it is with willingness that I follow Willingham’s ascertation that although people have different learning styles and types of intelligences, the teacher needs to stress the content over the presentation style. In other words, a teacher should use a variety of strategies in the classroom depending on the lesson and be wary of only using one method.

“Intelligence can be changed through sustained hard work.”   A teacher should promote hard work and praise it as previous knowledge builds a larger memory base for future learning. Since intelligence can be changed by the learning environment the more opportunity a student has to expand that base the better prepared they are going to be to meet future challenges and abstracts with a larger memory base.

Teaching, like any complex cognitive skill, must be practiced to be improved. What I felt was the most important part of Willingham’s book was his belief that experience is not the same as practice and that teachers need to continually improve their teaching ability. He states that teachers with ten years of experience do as well as teachers with 25 years of experience for one reason, after a certain time period they tend to “coast.” He relates it to driving a car. Very few people really can drive well, but they think they can because they drive daily. Seldom does a driver take an advanced course or even learn the difference between cutting the apex of a corner to dealing with under-steering or over steering let along emergency braking. The author believes that you should get the opinion of a peer to help you improve and make small changes as you deem necessary.

It is clearly obvious that professional development for teachers needs to be rethought. Too often such presentations are made by non-practicing teachers and offer little practical application for the busy educator. In my previous research I noted that inservice days need to be followed-up to provide feedback to the presenter as well as the teacher. Attending professional development given by successful practicing teachers also provides a common ground to explain how changes in cognitive development can be used by the working educator.

A final thought about Willingham’s work is that most teachers instinctively know how to teach well. They may need a few tips from a peer or from attending a conference where fellow educators are presenting, but very few of them need much more except, perhaps, a teaspoon of good job from those they serve. If change is going to come to education it needs to come from within and that is why the best conferences are those where teachers learn from other teachers. It would be very interesting to see if teaching another form of intelligence because we all know it is a talent.

Here are some good links:

Top 11 traits of a good teacher

http:// www.reacheverychild.com/feature/traits.html

How to Integrate Lessons

http:// www.reacheverychild.com/feature/integrate-lessons.html

Differentiated Instruction

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/differentiated-instruction.html

http:// www.reacheverychild.com/feature/differentiatedinstruction.html

Middle School Brains: Teaching the Distracted

by Alan Haskvitz

http://www.reacheverychild.com/alan.html

Major links to Autism free sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/autism.html

Special education links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/specialed/general/index.html

Students with special needs links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/special_needs.html

Free resources for students with special needs:

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/special_needs.html

Teacher liability and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/teacher_law.html#4

Special Education sites by area of need

http://www.reacheverychild.com/specialed/index.html

Ideas for helping slow learners

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/slowlearners.html

Special needs physical education sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/sports/special/index.html

And

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/phys_ed.html

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