This year, I was lucky enough to be sent to the NSTA conference in Nashville, Tennessee. While there, I attended various workshops on Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy. I was most intrigued in the Physics-based car crash project and decided to implement it. Below is my account of how things went with my students and this project:
These are items that I got along just fine without, but then once I had them, I wondered how I ever managed. Plus, it has made my life of teaching more fun and enjoyable!
#1: A nice bag to carry your work in. We all take work home and for some reason, when you are carrying it home in some old ugly bag or a repurposed grocery bag, it feels… sad. I think that when you like the bag you are carrying your work home in, you are more likely to feel ok about the work inside of it. There are some really cool bags out there. Here are a few I like: messenger bags, tote bags and computer bags. I particularly like this store on Etsy. She does personalized orders (combining any fabrics she has and monograms as well!). Here is the bag I ordered from her:
I like to tell my students that if they are bored, I’m bored and if they are having fun, I am having fun. I really do believe this! There is a certain kind of unexplained magic that is palpable when the teacher and students have this synchronic energy of fun in a learning environment. When we have fun, we are more open to new experiences, we are more relaxed and most of all, we are happy! Who doesn’t want that everyday? I know I do and I am willing to bet that you do too. Below are just a few ideas for you to try as well as to help you get started in your own brainstorming session on bringing fun into your classroom.
A year ago I introduced “clickers” to my classroom and my students went nuts for them. These clickers were essentially remotes that they could use to “vote” their answers to questions I projected up on the board. The participation of my students skyrocketed as well as their desire to review material so they could use “the clickers”. This system was very expensive and I fundraised to get it in my classroom. When the system recently started having connection trouble (long, frustrating story), I searched for a solution and found a FREE alternative that basically does the same thing. Below is what I learned about this awesome new tool that just requires a printer and a smart phone!
Does this sound familiar? “Hey (insert student name here), could you come by after school so we can discuss your grade/behavior/missing work etc?” Three o’clock comes around, 3:05 then 3:15 and eventually 3:30 and you are still all alone. You see that same student the next day and ask them what happened and they respond: “Oh! I totally forgot, sorry!” This is the (short) story of how I fixed the problem.
I don’t know about you, but I could not wait to get back to work. I missed my classroom. I missed my coworkers. I missed being around my students. Most importantly, I missed teaching in general. To me, nothing signifies the start of a new school year like back to school night. The teachers are bright-eyed and excited for the upcoming year, the parents are excited to gain a little of their freedom back, your classroom still looks shiny and organized—it’s great! Although this can be the perfect time to get to know your new group of parents and to show them who you are and what to expect, it can also be a little nerve-wracking. Below are the ways in which I like to prepare myself and my classroom for back to school night and calm those pesky nerves.
Well, it’s officially August… we all know what that means– summer is now coming to an end and it’s time to start gearing up for a new school year. Teachers handle this in many ways, some go with the classic: denial. They completely put out of their mind that they have to go back to work and then lo and behold– it’s night before school starts and they panic! Some teachers begin to over schedule their remaining time with all of things they were wanting to do over the summer: beach trip, brunch, shopping, movies, dinners out, weekend get-a-way… you name it! Others, accept that it’s happening and begin to transition, slowly, to their school year schedule and life style. My approach is kind of a blend of scheduling fun things and acceptance. Hopefully the tips below help make your transition easier!