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Jenna McWilliams
Jenna McWilliams
(Bloomington - United States)

I studied creative writing and published some poems. Then I decided to  get all up in education's grill. I'm currently a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences program at Indiana  University.
keywords: participatory culture, social media, education,  ...

New Teacher Information

organizing your year

 

This link has several articles from Learn NC to help new teachers organize their classroom, use practical templates for homework, suggestions about how to work with colleagues, and ways to communicate with students and parents at the beginning of the year. I especially liked the "Getting to Know You Questionnaire" for students. There is a wealth of information, so click on the articles that appeal to you the most.

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Activities for the first days of school

 

This link will give any new teacher some fun and useful activities to start your year. The ice breaker activities are especially useful as you get to know your students. They could also be used in team meetings as you get to know other teachers.

50 little Things Teachers, Parents, and Others Can Do to Improve Learning

Here are 50 little things teachers can do to improve learning and student's attitude towards learning. Many of the ideas could be shared with parents in your newsletters.

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6E+S Lesson Plan

Nortel LearniT 6E+S Model of Instruction

Nortel LearniT is pleased to present lessons constructed using a model we are confident will assist you to provide high quality learning experiences to your students.   This model is the 6ES Model of Instruction (6 E's and an S--Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate, Extend, and Standards).   The 6E lesson plan format was developed by teachers in consultation with faculty from schools of education in North America and is based on a constructivist model of teaching.  The lesson plans are based on constructivist instructional models with activities and sections of the plan designed to have the students continually add (or construct) new knowledge on top of existing knowledge. 

Descriptive Information for Teachers  (in the Lesson Plan template on Curriki, Step 1 and Step 2, Overview through Assessment): These sections are designed to provide you, the teacher, with an overview of the lesson and some of the preparation and prerequisite requirements.  The following six sections (the 6ES Model) (final parts of Step 2 in the Lesson Plan Template) should be distributed to your students to use as you work together through the project.

Engage: Here the topic is introduced in an interesting way.  It is an opportunity to provide some information but to encourage the students to seek out new information.  Often this section will arouse a student's curiosity and encourage them to pursue answers to their own questions.  It is important not to provide them with everything they need to know, but more the motivation to find out.  Each lesson plan has an 'essential question' that is the basis for their inquiry. Normally the section will include a few key questions to help direct some of the research in the Explore section.

Explore:  Here the student investigates the topic more thoroughly.  In these lessons the investigation takes the form of Internet research but it could equally include original research and the use of a variety of problem solving techniques.  What is important is that the students are given the opportunity to "free wheel" their way through the materials and not be over directed.  We all know however, that they will need some direction and the teacher can circulate, asking important questions, listening to their interactions and ensuring that they remain on task. 

Explain:  As teachers, we will all have to resist the urge to be the ones that do the explaining at this point.  This section provides the student with the opportunity to "explain" or in some way demonstrate their grasp of the concepts after completing their research.  Normally this section will contain key questions and/or instruction for requiring the student to provide a summary of what they have learned in the Explore section.  This can and should, where possible, take the form of class or group discussion as well.   

Elaborate: Here the students are expected to work directly on the given assignment.  It is their opportunity to demonstrate their application of new information and to present their findings or conclusions to others.  It is a good time for submitting materials for evaluation, doing presentations and completing the project or assignment.

Evaluate:  While it is expected that evaluation will continue throughout the process, this is the section where the teacher evaluates the learning that has occurred.  We have provided some tools and suggestions for evaluation but anticipate that teachers will want to adapt these tools for their own use.  Students normally submit their work or assignments at this point.  It is very important at this stage that the students be encouraged to engage in self-evaluation, group evaluation and develop their own tools to do so.  

Extend:  This section contains some suggestions for taking the students beyond the lesson.  The purpose is to examine ways in which they can bring their findings to others or apply their understanding to new and unfamiliar circumstances.  Normally, this type of activity will grow out of their excitement for what they have accomplished.   This section is highly student driven, though teachers may want to gently suggest that the students enter their work in a competition or take their displays to other locations outside of their own school.  

Standards:  Here can be entered tracking with state, provincial and/or national standards.  It is primarily for the information of the teacher and should provide the information necessary to incorporate the lesson into the local board, district or school curriculum.

Tips for new teachers

Great Tips for New teachers

*Get to know the secretarial staff. They will be invaluable as sources of information.
    * Get to know the IT people. They can make your life much easier.
    * Be prepared to get sick more often than usual. Therefore, become friendly with the person who arranges substitutes.
    * Ask questions of those around you. They were once new, too..
*Make sure multimedia equipment works.
* Have lesson plans ready for the first week. Meet with teammates to make sure you are on track.
    * Have an agenda on the board before the students arrive. An agenda gives you a plan and creates an atmosphere that things are going to happen in your class.
    * Have a Warm-up/Do now every day. A Warm-up gives the students something to do at the beginning of class while you are taking care of the housekeeping duties, like roll call.
∑ Have an icebreaker activity for the first day. This will allow your students to get to know each other and enable you to learn some valuable information about them.
∑ Understand your school’s policies about email. Try to return phone calls and email within 24 hours.
    * Fill out your gradebook as soon as possible. If your records are not kept up from the beginning, you could very well be overwhelmed the entire year. If you don’t have a gradebook, make sure you understand how to use the school’s website in order to post grades, assignments, etc.
    * Create and post a grading system consistent with school policies.
    * Create a restroom pass system that follows school policies while making your life easier. You don't want students constantly interrupting the learning process for restroom breaks.
    * Create a make-up work system that is in accordance with school policies. Make up work can easily snowball into a disaster.
    * Be a team player. Many schools are designed using a team approach and you will have to be flexible.
    * Dress professionally. Students may not take you seriously if you are wearing sneakers and blue jeans.
    * Have high expectations. Students will achieve more if you expect their best.
    * Be your own best substitute. Some days you will feel under the weather, and there is nothing wrong with a little seat work now and then.
    * Be tougher on the students in the beginning. It is always easier to lighten up than tighten down.
    * Be at your door to welcome students. If you act like you don't want to be there, how can you expect them to want to be there.
    * Learn their names as quickly as you can. It is much easier to control a class if you can ask 'John' to stop talking, rather that 'You with the black shirt!' One strategy is to learn just a few names the first day, and use them the next. This will get the students attention.
    * Say please and thank you to the students. If you model the behaviors you want, you are much more likely to get them. Remind students to say please and thank-you.
* Be compassionate to your students' needs. However, avoid the common pitfall of wanting to be your students' best friend.
*Make office hours so students can come see you at regularly scheduled times.
*Let parents know when their child is having difficulty, so they have time to get help.  Always explain what you have noticed without judgment.
    * Try to keep a positive attitude. There will be many ups and downs but you are in a truly noble profession.

Units for beginning of the year

 

Six free units: Fire prevention, Autumn Season, H1N1 flu,Back to school resources, Fairy Tales, Friendship unit.

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Read Write Think

 

This website from NCTE is loaded with great lessons and units for K-12.

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Reflections on children

Here is a list of traits to consider when you are observing a child.

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Being an Elementary School Teacher: Real-World Tips & Stories from Working Teachers

 

This is a free e-book providing insights into the pros and cons of being an elementary educator, across a variety of elementary teaching professions.

FREE Online Peace Education Resources

Our updated 2010 FREE digital Education Resource, recommended for teachers of grades 6 – 12 in the US, is available online! The Resource provides 21 lesson plans and 28 classroom activities for exploring issues such as: ending bullying, conflict resolution, intercultural cooperation, the United Nations, and the link between sustainability and peace. Using September 21, Peace Day, as the focus, the resource works in conjunction with the documentary film The Day After Peace, which charts Jeremy Gilley’s (founder of Peace One Day and director of the film) journey to establish the first annual day of global ceasefire.

Each lesson plan refers to National standards and fits well within the frameworks of History/Social Studies, Civics and Government Studies, English/Language Arts, Environmental Science and more. To find out more about the Educational Resource and to show your students what young people can do to make peace, please go to: http://www.peaceoneday.org/education. Register now!

Do not hesitate to contact me and let me know what you think!

Emily Dew emily.dew@peaceoneday.org

Teaching for Understanding and Understanding by Design

Classroom Management Resources