There’s too much information streaming by my students to get them to concentrate on reading a book.
My high school students think books are artifacts from the 20th century. I can’t get them to read anything longer than a Facebook entry or a tweet.
When it comes to getting kids to sink their teeth into a novel, I’m at my wit’s end!
Does this sound like what you’re hearing in the teachers’ lounge at your school? Or when you meet with parents to talk about their son or daughter’s learning? Nic and I hear comments like this all the time.
How can we motivate our adolescents to read actual books?
Loan your students Kindles. Rent books for them to read (up to 6 students can read the same book on different devices, depending on how you set up your Amazon account).
That’s what ninth-grade teacher Mark Isero did to motivate his class. Mr. Isero, a teacher in Oakland, California, discovered that his students were much more willing to read if they could use Kindles. In his recent article in Phi Delta Kappan, “Rekindle the Love of Reading,” he explains why.
What about cost? Well . . . have you noticed how many people have latched on to the next new thing? They may have left their Kindles behind when they switched over to a mini-iPad, for example. Let people know that you can put their old Kindles to good use-- they may be willing to donate them to your classroom. Or try eBay for some deals.
How to get started? Always the heart of the matter . . . Again, Mr. Isero weighs in.
What do you think? Have you tried using digital books? Do you think you could beg or borrow a collection of Kindles or other devices? Write to us!
Inspired by “The Marshall Memo 533,” Kim Marshall, April 21, 2014. Here’s the link to the Kappan article.
As summer is upon us, thoughts turn to taking an exotic class trip. But who will be willing to fund our wanderlust? Rather than dealing with passports, travel expenses, and lost luggage, why not take a virtual field trip?
New Jersey Kindergarten teacher, Karen Marinoff, has just taken her students on a virtual field trip to Costa Rica this past April. The children flew on a virtual airplane, ate native Costa Rican dishes, studied the rain forest, grew exotic plants, learned about volcanoes, and became experts on animals that are native to this region. Ms. Marinoff has been planning these trips for years. The countries that she and her students have visited include China, Hawaii, Africa, Mexico, France, and many more countries far from the US’s mid-Atlantic region. Children learn as much as they can about a country (of their choice) all year long, learn words and phrases from the region, keep a journal of what they’ve learned, and create presentations using digital media.
The class’s itinerary once they landed in Costa Rica included visiting a butterfly farm, a coffee plantation, a pineapple farm, a zip lining spot, and the rain forest—all with curricular ties to math, art, music, science, and social studies. (See kidssavingtherainforest.org, for example.)
Sometimes you just need a mini-field trip as well. So, children and their families met for dinner at nearby restaurant where they enjoyed dishes such as fried yucca, empanades, and Tres Leches cakes. I would like to think that the children even had a chance to try out their Spanish when ordering...
So, TechnoTeachers, what about doing a mini-version of field trip this spring, and then start the year off with a more ambitious version next fall? Think about the digital resources students can use to learn about the culture of the country. Talk with your colleagues about how you could adapt this project for students in upper elementary and middle grades. This could be your TechnoTeaching 'Mission' (for more details please see the book).
Oh, and my own grandson, Martin, “traveled” to Africa when he was in Ms. Marinoff’s class—an experience that made a deep impression on him. As his teacher said, studying other countries helps children understand “. . . how they fit the world.”
Or, like Nic have you visited afar? As you know the location is only the start of the learning process. She took a group of A Level students from (Reading in) the UK to Los Angeles for a film trip (mainly paid by car washing and part-time jobs). It was organised via email and the students created a documentary video, that was screened at their mini-Oscars back at home, following exams.
Have you ever tried anything like this? What other ideas or top tips can you share when it comes to school trips? Or what advice would you give others?
(Taken from a report by L Haber, The Haddonfield Sun, April 29-May 6, 2014.)
I am thrilled. Not just with my new MacBook Air (bought on eBay, not hit the big time yet readers!) and the sun FINALLY being out in the UK, but that I am starting to feel that I can call myself a writer. I have always been a teacher first - and although working as a coach - I still feel I am. However, things seem to be changing. One way this has been bought home to me is the introductory blurb by the Editor at innovatemyschool.com and for the publicity around TechnoTeaching. I am a "veteran" (turning 37 this week did not help that much). I am an "ex-Teacher'. On the other "side".
I think I am, but it kind of crept up on me. I was asked this week, by another mummy (my real job) if I was going to return to teaching in a school. I said I hope so. I would love to continue to do what I am, but I just don't know how sustainable it is. Especially these days. So, am I a teacher? Not in the sense I was before my son bounded into my world. Am I consultant? I don't think so... although my non-classroom pals say I am. I think this just fills the teacher in me with dread (I cringe as I write this). Am I a writer? Yes - working on it anyway. I have written a book and am typing this. Tick. Tick. Does that make me not a teacher, or are you a teacher for ever and ever. Amen...? For me, I am. Once a teacher always a teacher. Why? Well, I think it makes me feel proud. Choosing to be a teacher was the best thing I ever did. Am I ready to let go of that yet? Not. On. Your. Nelly (the elephant).
So I thought as I have been writing for innovatemyschool.com, it would make sense to share some of the articles here - and then I can go back to sunbathing. Because - let's face it - today might be all the summer we get here! Here are the links and introductions, so you can try before you click. If you want to have a chat about any of them - if it tickles you, you have any questions, or examples - we would love to hear from you!
How to Make Room for Being an Outstanding Teacher in 2014
How can you be an outstanding teacher in 2014, against strikes, changing school forms and new curriculums? How can you be, and why would you want to be, outstanding all of the time? I have been graded at this level several times in my profession, but I started teaching well over a decade a go. I suppose my question is… since leaving the classroom in 2011, would I be ‘outstanding’ today and what would I change?
Top 10 Tips for Teaching the Teachers
My role has changed. From being a nondescript member amongst the staff audience, it is now me who is at the front of the hall when it comes to teacher training sessions. I always try to remember my place as a guest and consider what I look like from the back of the room (who said back of a bus?!) and sound like to Mr Cynical Teacher with his arms folded and his lips pursed (and that’s before I have turned the computer on or given out leaflets). Sigh. It is hard work, but when the light-bulbs start twinkling, you really feel that you can give yourself a “self-5”. One of my favourite things is to help teachers find their passion for learning again, but they do make you work for it.
Great Tips on Innovative Ways to Teach Films
Are you one of those teachers who “puts” on a film on the last day of term? Are you? Well if you are, I am afraid you will not be getting a Christmas card from me. As a film teacher, I like to teach film. I think one issue that causes film to have a bad name in education is that many adults see film as escapism and therefore do not know how or why it needs teaching. They associate it with their childhood and they do not see that moving image / film/ the movies are an art form.
Who's Responsible for Educational Innovation: Teachers or Suppliers?
With a background in marketing preceding my time in schools, I find this question of great interest. Schools and business are in the marketing game – schools to illustrate and celebrate the hard work and success of students and teachers alike, businesses to illustrate how innovative they also are, and to make a profit. As a former multimedia teacher, I have always been keen to provide my secondary school students with ‘industry-standard’ software and hardware. I want to prepare them for the world of business. However, working with technological giants like Apple, Sony and Vodafone, I have learnt a little about who is leading this innovation in terms of produce use – teachers or suppliers? Who is making the first move, and is this more about products or partnership?
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.