Blogs on High (9-12)

Blogs on High (9-12)RSS
Caroline TrullDecember 16, 2013

Students are taught that a closing paragraph should accomplish three things:

  1. Restate an essay's thesis
  2. Summarize main points
  3. Provide a finished feel

In response to this information, young writers often exhibit confusion. "Aren't I repeating myself if I copy the same content from the first paragraph? And what's a finished feel?"

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Nicholas ProvenzanoDecember 13, 2013

Students want to be engaged in class. They really do -- but sometimes other things get in the way of their natural instincts. A few changes to how a teacher runs a classroom can make a huge impact on how engaged students will be in that classroom. It's an issue that every teacher has to face, but it can be addressed in some very simple ways. Here are just a few of my strategies for dealing with low levels of student engagement. They've made a major difference in my classes over the years.

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Dan BloomDecember 10, 2013

Minecraft, the popular sandbox game, is beloved by educators for its use as a learning tool. It enables students to explore, create and imagine in a completely different way than they could ever do in a traditional classroom. The beauty of the game is in the way it unleashes the creativity of both students and teachers.

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Stacey GoodmanDecember 6, 2013

I am an eye. I am a mechanical eye. I, a machine, am showing you a world, the likes of which only I can see. -- from Dziga Vertov's (1896 - 1954) "I Am Camera."

This September I watched anxiously as Dylan, my student in the Personal Projects class, lifted a jagged, ruby-colored shard of glass over the worktable while wearing computer-in-an-eyeglass technology known as Google Glass.

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Maurice EliasDecember 5, 2013

As we edge towards the end of the calendar year and the first half of the school year, we can benefit from taking stock of what has happened thus far and also, put aside regretful events or actions that might hold us back from a good start in the new year. I have explored these aspects of reflection with staff members, and my dear colleague, Rachael Kessler, of blessed memory, used it with students.

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David CutlerDecember 4, 2013

I notice several students listening to music while busy at work. I have no good reason to ask that they remove their headphones and turn off their devices. As I walk around the room, I admire the elegant, concise prose each produces.

I ask one student why music helps her concentrate. "It soothes me and makes me less stressed," she says. "Plus, Ed Sheeran is just awesome."

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Michelle Lampinen, NBCTDecember 3, 2013

Last week, I was composing a rubric to go along with a writing assignment for my juniors. The assignment, though cleverly disguised as an end-of-unit essay for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, is actually a mock paper for the IB Language and Literature curriculum. For this assignment, students select one of six prescribed (by IB, not by me) questions to answer in the context of a text they've read. They then develop an 800-to-1000-word response that is grounded in the text.

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Ainissa RamirezDecember 2, 2013

More people watch the Super Bowl than vote in a Presidential election.

This fact stopped me in my tracks, and I wondered if the tremendous popularity of football could be used as a way to teach STEM. I took on this challenge with journalist Allen St. John when we wrote a book called Newton's Football, a new title from Random House.

What did we find in terms of science at work on the gridiron? Surprisingly, a lot, and many of the topics fall under the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Let me share a few items, which might be useful to you in your classroom.

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James Marcus BachNovember 29, 2013

Editor's note: Internationally recognized coding expert James Bach dropped out of school at age 16. A few years later, he was one of the youngest hires at Apple Computer. His book Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar shows how anyone can create their own education on their own terms.

Bite-Sized Logic

To teach critical thinking, start by bringing a box of Frosted Mini-Wheats to class. Hold it up. Shake it. Ask the kids, "Can you tell me what this is?"

"Cereal! Frosted Mini-Wheats! Mini-Wheats cereal," they will say. Some may call out other answers, even silly ones. Smile about that. Funny, irrelevant and unique responses are all good at this point in the exercise.

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Bob LenzNovember 20, 2013

How about that post professional development evaluation survey? We've all done them; but what have they done for us? Professional development (PD), when well done, can make a huge difference in teachers' knowledge and skills. But it can be challenging to evaluate how PD transfers to actual classroom practice.

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