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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teacher Appreciation: Planning Resources for Parents

Related Tags: Parent Partnership
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In preparation for National Teacher Appreciation Month in May, Edutopia has collected tips and ideas for parents looking for the right way to tell educators, “Thank you.”

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Editable Sample Rubric

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Katherine Katter's picture

Biggest problem: Competent is a synonym of Proficient. So I would change that column to "Inadequate" or "Developing."

John S. Thomas's picture
John S. Thomas
First & Second Grade Teacher/Adjunct faculty Antioch University New England

For that column I also like "Partially Proficient" or "Needs Improvement."

(1)
John S. Thomas's picture
John S. Thomas
First & Second Grade Teacher/Adjunct faculty Antioch University New England

For that column I also like "Partially Proficient" or "Needs Improvement."

(1)

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15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer)

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Vicki Davis, a computer science teacher and IT integrator, shares this extensive list of year-round resources for teaching students how to code.

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GGJim's picture
GGJim
Account Executive - GG|Interactive

Vicki,

Thanks for the article. I would love to be considered as a resource. We are a game development studio who have created a curriculum for schools to teach game design and game programming. We too are planning some things for schools for the Hour of Code. If you would look at our curriculum and let me know what you think I would appreciate it. our site is www.gginteractive.com .

Thanks again for your article and any input you have for me.

Victor Small Jr's picture
Victor Small Jr
9/10th Grade English/Careers Teacher from Stockton, California

I generally use codeacademy.org myself, but snap sounds interesting as well as the other links you posted. Thanks for this.

Fatima Ateeque's picture

Thanks for sharing such a comprehensive list. You might want to check us out as well, we are an edTech Start-up and our focus is to bring Coding to every child across the country. We have put together a week long virtual Coding Camp, and we would love feedback from you. Please do check it out: http://www.knodemy.com/codecamp.php
Our mission is to educate and Give Back to the community too, so for every sign up on our platform, we are delivering an online tutoring lesson to underprivileged schools.

Jeremy Keeshin's picture

Hi Vicki--

Thanks for the great article! My name is Jeremy and I'm one of the co-founders of CodeHS. Just wanted to make sure you could share that with your readers as a great option for teaching the Hour of Code to high schoolers, and then teaching a year long computer science class beyond that.

Here is the hour of code link: http://codehs.com/hourofcode

And here is the site: http://codehs.com

If anyone has questions for us, email hello@codehs.com

Mark Kaercher's picture

As a high school math teacher, an easy tool for coding are the TI graphing calculators. I teach them how to write simple programs that do calculations for all areas of HS math. We have written programs for slope, distance, midpoint, quadratic formula. I also show them how to write a simple guessing game program where the calculator picks a random number and the user tries to guess it. Almost all of the students have a calculator, and they really enjoy the power of writing their own programs.

GGJim's picture
GGJim
Account Executive - GG|Interactive

We actually have made our curriculum free for your schools first year if the teacher or admin signs up by Jan 5th. It is "Computer Science in Game Design" it is roughly 160 hours worth of curriculum, in both design and basic programming. For hour of code we have set up a unique "Massively multi-player coding experience" Where everyone picks a line of code and hopefully they agree on where to make the rat move to find their cheese. Very fun. here is the site if anyone is interested in using it this week for hour of code. Its called code;Rat http://www.gginteractive.com/computer-science-education-week/

Sophia Dumont's picture
Sophia Dumont
Microsoft Developer turned Mom

Apart from apps , I found a series called 'Coding Palz' in Amazon that teaches 3-7 year olds.

The stories are fun filled with beautiful illustrations.

My children love it.

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Resources for Using iPads in Grades 3-5

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Monica Burns
Looking for advice on integrating iPads in grades 3-5? In this curated guide, we've compiled resources to help you find apps, learn about best practices, and explore ideas for engaging activities.

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Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Just came across this list of good elementary apps to use in the classroom and they are all FREE: http://mattbgomez.com/great-apps-for-elementary-2/.

Here's the list if you don't want to click over to the blog:

Brainpop Apps
AR Flashcards: Animal Alphabet
ColAR
ABC Magic Apps
Venn Diagram
Geoboard
Daisy the Dino
Hopscotch App
ABCMouse Apps
Haiku Deck
My Script Calculator
Educreations
Skitch
Class Dojo
Pic Collage
Toontastic
Adobe Voice
ChatterPix
Blokify
Tellagami

Susan Chen's picture

My school has purchased one classroom set of iPads a year ago. We are all eager to make the most use of this investment to further develop our students' skill with technology. It is not enough to have an assortment of apps available for the students to access. This article is helpful in reminding us that we need to choose carefully the apps. We need to consider how and when to best implement the use of technology in the classroom. I will be sharing this article with my school.

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Susan Chen's picture

My school has purchased one classroom set of iPads a year ago. We are all eager to make the most use of this investment to further develop our students' skill with technology. It is not enough to have an assortment of apps available for the students to access. This article is helpful in reminding us that we need to choose carefully the apps. We need to consider how and when to best implement the use of technology in the classroom. I will be sharing this article with my school.

(1)

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Resources for Using iPads in Grades K-2

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Monica Burns
Looking for advice on integrating iPads in K-2 classrooms? In this curated guide, we've compiled resources to help you find apps, learn about best practices, and explore ideas for engaging activities.

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Karen Lirenman's picture
Karen Lirenman
Grade One/Two Teacher from Vancouver, Canada

As an Apple Distiguished Educator, the 2013 ISTE Kay L Bitter Award Winner for Innovation in a PK-2 Classroom, and a grade one teacher who has been 1:1 with iPads for the past two years my students' "go to" apps are pretty much creative open ended ones. Some popular apps include Draw and Tell, Book Creator, My Story, Skitch, Popplet, Pic Collage, EduCreations, Chatterpix, Explain Everything, and iMovie. I have blogged about how we use iPads for choice. I also shared screen shots of my students iPads with direct links to samples of how they have used those apps. My blog can be found at www.learningandsharingwithMsL.blogspot.com . I have also begun to create a K-2 iPad resource on my district's website which can be found here. https://www.surreyschools.ca/sites/E8JU47CFNJ/Pages/default.aspx Please feel free to contact me for more information re using iPads in a k-2 classroom. I am @klirenman on twitter.

Ashley Cronin's picture
Ashley Cronin
Digital Resource Curator

Karen, thanks for reaching out and sharing the info about your blog and K-2 iPad resources site. Very helpful!

Kristi Meeuwse's picture
Kristi Meeuwse
Kindergarten Teacher, Charleston SC

Monica,
Thanks for including my blog in this round up! What an honor! We work diligently in kindergarten to create content and not just consume it. The creation apps we use are very engaging and the kids always produce far more than I ever expect them to. We use Explain Everything, Book Creator, Popplet, Pic Collage, and iMovie the most.

Monica Burns's picture
Monica Burns
Educator, Consultant, ADE , ClassTechTips.com

Thanks Karen and Kristi for adding your favorite apps and helpful links!

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14 Virtual Tools for the Math Classroom

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Edutopia blogger Monica Burns presents a wealth of iPad apps to transform daily math lessons for elementary students.
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Kara Carpenter's picture
Kara Carpenter
Former teacher, expert in cognition & learning, and co-founder of Teachley

Plus, there's some great research that backs up your point. Check out Doug Clements work about the advantages of virtual manipulatives in early childhood mathematics or more recent research that shows a combination of physical and virtual manipulatives to be most effective:

Clements (1999). 'Concrete' Manipulatives, Concrete Ideas. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. 1 (1).

Zachariam, Olympiou, and Papaevripidou (2008). Effects of experimenting with physical and virtual manipulatives on students' conceptual understanding in heat and temperature. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 45 (9).

MrsPincock's picture

Used the Number Pieces Basic (newer version by same creator & which I like better) today to help a struggling student. I had just downloaded it this morning. What did the student do? Ask to do more math in her free time! Thanks for the info ...

Alejandro Gomez Arangua's picture

"Decir que la matematica se puede ensenar con hojas de calculo es como decir que un nino puede tener unas vacaciones mirando un folleto"
"Saying math can be taught with worksheets is like saying a child can have a vacation by looking at a brochure" - @d_martin05

Samantha Edwards's picture
Samantha Edwards
2nd grade teacher from Kingsford, Michigan

Thank you for the great resources, Monica!
My colleagues and I were just discussing apps for using geoboards today! I will definitely be passing on the information tomorrow!
I also agree that using concrete models first is important, but the virtual experience is a fantastic supplement (and the students love using the iPad whenever they can!)
I also have students who gain iPad time as a part of their reward systems. It does work and helps to increase desired behavior in my classroom.
I am looking forward to introducing your recommendations to all of my students!

Alejandro Gomez Arangua's picture

Children must know what is a binomio before using virtual tools,too much of them,give poor results for USA in international tests.

Dennis Pack's picture

You do realise there are more affordable devices other than iPads? Those of us that work in developing countries iPads are out of reach ... but then again, we are more concerned about human rights violations in factories that produce these devices.
A more balanced approach to educational resources would be appreciated.

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Tools for Teaching: Managing a Large Class Size

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Do you have more than 30 students? Check out these strategies for keeping a large group of kids engaged and managed.
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Susan Weikel Morrison's picture
Susan Weikel Morrison
Science Education Program Developer, Sci-Q Systems

Keep a really good seating chart - in pencil. At the beginning of the year, put each child's reading and math levels next to their name. This will help you tailor your discussion questions to them.

It is very important that you call on all students equally and skip no one, so that kids know they can't hide behind playing dumb. Wait for answers. Coach answers. But do what you have to do to get success.

Leave space around the edge of the room and down the center so you can easily move around while you're teaching.

Put the weakest students nearest to you and/or partnered with a strong student. Make the strong student explicitly responsible for assisting the weaker student's learning. It will help the stronger student review material and develop better empathy and social skills.

Have students check each others' homework and assign a letter grade to it based on the percent correct. Tell them which percentages go with which letter. Have baskets on your desk labeled A,B,C and D,F. Have monitors collect the papers. Every kid should turn in a paper, even if it's blank. Have monitors be responsible that every kid turns in a paper and that every paper has a name on it. Monitors place the papers in the appropriate basket based on grade.

As soon as possible, when you are not directly teaching and the kids are engaged in an activity, call up the kids with papers in the D-F basket, one by one, and find out what their problem was. Assign a solution - a demerit for laziness, peer tutoring or small group re-instruction for lack of understanding, extra time if there was a family emergency, finishing the homework after school or at recess, a call to a parent, etc. Be frank with the kids: the only grades that count for report cards are tests and projects. Homework grades are just to check for understanding.

As for essays, have students write regularly according to specific criteria. When the essays are collected, scan them to be sure students generally met the criteria, but don't grade them. Return essays that haven't met criteria. Put the completed essays in a folder. After you've collected a certain number (for you to decide), return all essays. Have each student select which of his/her essays is the best one. Have them polish and re-write their essays, partnered with another student who will read and critique their work as they improve it. The polished essays are returned to you for grading. You also might photocopy them and create a class magazine. Those publications were always quite popular with my students and parents.

Do science labs in quads. Do not assign roles. Rather, have each child be a number from 1 to 4. When a task needs to be done, say the number of the doer. For example, No. Ones get the rock samples from the science table. No. Twos lay all your rocks out on your desks. No. Threes, find an igneous rock and tell the group how an igneous rock is made. And so on. Keep the lesson going really fast to keep the kids on their toes.

(1)
Ellen Z.'s picture
Ellen Z.
Reading Specialist from Hellertown, PA

One idea may be to also have a "quiet" collaboration project, and have the students write collaboratively. Over the summer, I discovered a fun creative writing site for elementary students called Cubert's Writing Cube. This website streamlines the process of writing and is very user-friendly, colorful, and fun. It is Wiki based, and a great platform for collaborative story writing. There are interactive story-starters which make it impossible to suffer from writer's block, and there is a "gallery" where the students can draw illustrations or upload them. Here are some of the other benefits the site :

* Getting feedback from you and peers within the cube makes it easier to edit and revise and they resist it less.
* Students can access it at home to do their homework or add more detail to their illustrations.
* When they publish their writing, students can choose how to share it, with friends and parents.
* There is a lesson shelf for teacher, a great resource to get ideas on how to get started!
* The entire writing process (and papers) are accessible from a single place.

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Scary thoughts about increasing class sizes - surely, you'd think, we'd be heading towards smaller class sizes. Anyway, these are great tips - and some excellent ideas in the comments, too. One tip that I've often found useful is devoting time each cycle for a little 1:1 session with each student, so that you can get a clearer picture of what's happening for that individual. A little individual time can be so valuable.

BieberQOU_durin's picture

Huge numbers of classes are naturally and inevitably scary to teachers because there is an immense possibility of failing to organize and successfully manage the class. But the teacher who is really a teacher in the calling finds way for his treasured commitment.

Mrs. Parks's picture
Mrs. Parks
High school English teacher

Most of my classes are in the low 30s, even up to 40 students. My challenge is simply that in my larger classes, I can't monitor behavior as effectively as I can in smaller classes.

During work time, I'm okay with the conversational volume that comes with collaboration, but I get so frustrated with students wasting work time. It seems that the more I assist students who need help, the more other students take advantage of my diverted attention. I struggle to police cell phone usage, keep track of how long students are in the bathroom, etc. while trying to actually teach.

We established community expectations as a class at the beginning of the semester, but I struggle knowing what behaviors to enforce. When I pick my battles, students see that as condoning inappropriate behavior and off-task behavior escalates, but I can't address every infraction either, or I spend all my time in a disciplinary mode rather than instructing. Any suggestions?

Audra Winters's picture
Audra Winters
Retired, but active educator!

I find it a very daunting task to keep students using indoor voices while working in small groups. Although there is collaboration going on, a lot of time is spent socializing. It's a situation that needs redefining with a group of 25 students. Students also think that it's o.k.if the work is complete, to chatter.

Jennifer Jones CCSD's picture

My classroom, fire coded for fifty three, ballooned up into the 70s. I had to place kids outdoors and in the hallway. I don't care how good you are. You can't teach around this. Try to look at this from the students' perspective. How could you not feel undervalued? Often we teachers complain that our students do not value their education, but the apple does not fall far from the societal tree. How can we demand for our students to value their education when they are treated like this? Preaching to the choir... I know, I know.... But thank you for allowing me the forum to express this. It is very hard day in, day out.

taja_tt's picture
taja_tt
TAJA TT® a paradigm changing teaching system

I am grateful for the tips and sympathize with difficulities of teaching large classes, even up over 50 students sometimes for me. These tips i will keep in mind.

reflecting on this article makes see so much clearer just how much better a class, esp a large class, can be taught and managed with 2 teachers. with one teacher the classroom management itself is a big struggle not to mention getting individual or small group attention to a sizeable portion of the students,...and all the while still tap into the class mood and give necessary motivational boost or bring them to inspirationi... but with 2 teachers....ah....both teachers can breathe easier, classroom management virtually takes care of itself and presentation of content is smoother, faster and more impressive as 2 teachers can tap into the mindset of modern day kids....and well in those kinds of conditions a teacher is ripe to get inspired and thus inspire the kids!

sometimes i like to teach solo, but when i teach a few in a row solo, esp. with the big classes, i again see how effective, powerful and relaxing 2 teachers in one classroom is and look forward to the next chance to partner with a colleague and "dance" in the classroom.

wishing you Peace, Harmony and Prosperity

Megan Colon's picture

I just completed my first year of teaching. My mentor and the other veteran teacher on my grade level kept saying that my class size will decrease. By the time it was the end of the year, I had 25 students. Majority of my class was not reading on grade level. It was a challenge to teach and keep 25 third graders focused. After reading the tips, I really liked tip 1 and tip 2. I can't give up on grouping because I can have my higher level students work with the lower level students. As long as my students are working together in the give, let it be loud.

Susan Weikel Morrison's picture
Susan Weikel Morrison
Science Education Program Developer, Sci-Q Systems

Keep a really good seating chart - in pencil. At the beginning of the year, put each child's reading and math levels next to their name. This will help you tailor your discussion questions to them.

It is very important that you call on all students equally and skip no one, so that kids know they can't hide behind playing dumb. Wait for answers. Coach answers. But do what you have to do to get success.

Leave space around the edge of the room and down the center so you can easily move around while you're teaching.

Put the weakest students nearest to you and/or partnered with a strong student. Make the strong student explicitly responsible for assisting the weaker student's learning. It will help the stronger student review material and develop better empathy and social skills.

Have students check each others' homework and assign a letter grade to it based on the percent correct. Tell them which percentages go with which letter. Have baskets on your desk labeled A,B,C and D,F. Have monitors collect the papers. Every kid should turn in a paper, even if it's blank. Have monitors be responsible that every kid turns in a paper and that every paper has a name on it. Monitors place the papers in the appropriate basket based on grade.

As soon as possible, when you are not directly teaching and the kids are engaged in an activity, call up the kids with papers in the D-F basket, one by one, and find out what their problem was. Assign a solution - a demerit for laziness, peer tutoring or small group re-instruction for lack of understanding, extra time if there was a family emergency, finishing the homework after school or at recess, a call to a parent, etc. Be frank with the kids: the only grades that count for report cards are tests and projects. Homework grades are just to check for understanding.

As for essays, have students write regularly according to specific criteria. When the essays are collected, scan them to be sure students generally met the criteria, but don't grade them. Return essays that haven't met criteria. Put the completed essays in a folder. After you've collected a certain number (for you to decide), return all essays. Have each student select which of his/her essays is the best one. Have them polish and re-write their essays, partnered with another student who will read and critique their work as they improve it. The polished essays are returned to you for grading. You also might photocopy them and create a class magazine. Those publications were always quite popular with my students and parents.

Do science labs in quads. Do not assign roles. Rather, have each child be a number from 1 to 4. When a task needs to be done, say the number of the doer. For example, No. Ones get the rock samples from the science table. No. Twos lay all your rocks out on your desks. No. Threes, find an igneous rock and tell the group how an igneous rock is made. And so on. Keep the lesson going really fast to keep the kids on their toes.

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Five-Minute Film Festival: Hooray for Pi Day

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Do you celebrate Pi Day? Pi is an essential mathematical symbol, representing the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Coincidentally, pie, a delicious dessert usually made with a pastry crust and fruit filling, shares the same pronunciation. So someone came up with the brilliant idea to combine them and celebrate both on one day: March 14th, or 3/14 (which matches the first digits of pi). It's one of those rare holidays that can make math fun for anyone, whether you're the kind of person who's interested in a tart pastry or a juicy math problem. Not sure what I'm talking about? Just read (and watch!) on for more Pi Day fun.

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National Poetry Month: Useful Resources for Teachers and Students

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In honor of National Poetry Month in April, Matt Davis has put together a list of useful poetry links for educators, including resources from the web, Edutopia's most popular poetry-themed blogs, and other quick reads.

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Sue Wise's picture
Sue Wise
Prof. Dev. Provider --Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium

The Library of Congress has millions of free primary sources and teacher resources. Here is a just small sampling useful for National Poetry Month:
* Literature and Poetry lesson plans (grades 3-12) http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/themes/literature/lessonp...
* Found Poetry (primary source set) http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/poetry/
* Poetry and Literature (resource page) http://www.loc.gov/poetry/
* From the Catbird Seat (blog) http://blogs.loc.gov/catbird/
* Poetry 180 (a poem a day for American high schools) http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/

ajr1206's picture
ajr1206
Educator, Author, Mentor, Consultant

Thanks for all the terrific ideas and links posted so far.
In invite you take a look at some of resources on my website including this one: Poetry Notebook: Product and Performance
http://teachingenglishlanguagearts.com/?p=1531
Students do research gathering biographical info on poet, selecting poems on theme, on topic, or by same author; model (pattern) poem(s), write original poems, write review (evaluation), memorize and recite poetry. Interim due dates make grading manageable and create formative assessments throughout the unit.

Melanie Link Taylor's picture
Melanie Link Taylor
Educator, Blogger, Southern California

Poetry to inspire, comfort, surprise, delight. Necessary, since we are poets all.

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