During my B.Ed practicum placements I picked up many teaching tools and ideas that have often come to my rescue when I needed to change things up in class. However, one tool that has been extremely helpful over and over is one that I first saw my associate teacher use in her class.
Whiteboards! Not only do kids love them, but they give the teacher a quick and easy way to measure how well the students understood the lesson. A class set of whiteboards and markers may not be readily available to you, but if you can convince your department to order some, you will never regret it! Lucky for me, my associate teacher had an extra set which she so kindly gave to me! After successfully using it in class several times, it was not very difficult to convince my principal to get me some new markers.
Personally, I have found them to be extreemly helpful in math, but I have used them in other subjects as well. Usually, I bring out the whiteboards after the students learn a new formula, idea or rule. I put a question on the board, give them some time to answer it, and before I know it, students start holding up their answers. A quick “Yes” or “No” either pushes them to try again, or put down their card satisfied with their work. after 5 or 6 questions, I find the student confidence go up, as well as the number of correct solutions. I have used these boards with grades 7, 9, 10 and 11 and I always got positive feedback from the students.
For the older grades, I recommend getting the whiteboards that have a grid on one side which can be quite handy for function sketching and transformations.
The only downside is how quickly the markers run out, especially when the students are constantly doodling.
Students can no longer relate with many of the tools that were used in classes not too long ago. Overhead projectors, slide rules, and in some cases, note taking. Why is it that they still know and fear report cards? After surviving the first wave of report cards, I couldn’t help but ask “why?”. Why is it that in this day and age we are still expecting teachers to sacrifice countless hours to do such an unnecessary task? Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about the idea of providing students and parents with a summary of their progress, I am simply arguing the method we use to do so. At my school, and i assume in many others as well, grades are instantly uploaded to a website that can be accessed by parents and students. Same with comments, behavioral issues and absences. If we are expected to communicate with parents regularly, and real time grades and comments are a click away, why should we waste time preparing and printing report cards that will be outdated the second it reaches home? Personally, if I were a parent I would much rather have the option if checking my child’s “report card” before it becomes too late to do anything about it. At the very least we should offer the option of either, but printing thousands of redundant report cards — thats as silly as sending snail mail to a friend with a “what’s up” written on it.
After my first two months of teaching, I knew I was forgetting something. After hours of brain searching and reflecting on my endless hours of training and seminars, I finally realized I was forgetting to sleep! Rooky mistake – G’nite
Welcome to Mr. Hanna’s Blog!
Well, I am Mr. Hanna, and I finally got around to creating my blog. The idea has been eating away at my brain for months now, and this morning, after coming across Dan Meyer’s Get A Blog Already, Okay?, I decided it was time. I am a new teacher with little to share and much to learn, and I hope that this blog will be representative of what has already proven to be a very steep learning curve in my career!