Do you want suggestions to improve your classroom or remote learning experience? Are you struggling with organization or management of student behavior, personal time, or parents? Are you looking for ways to be more engaging or build rapport with disengaged students? These blogs provide the teacher with activities and resources that will immediately help you implement fresh ideas for a modern classroom.
If you are looking for engaging activities or help with life work balance, check out The Chalkboard. This is a professional blog by Teach Starter that has multiple contributors. It includes many teaching and management ideas for building a positive classroom climate and a happy teacher. Ideas are organized by topics including, teaching ideas, in the classroom (for classroom management), and life and well being (for managing a work and life balance). It even has a section dedicated to parents. The site also includes podcasts designed to introduce inspirational teachers. Check out some of the podcasts I reviewed.
Did you struggle to make your home office feel like a classroom when we started teaching from home? “Making the Most of Teaching from Home,” provides suggestions for maintaining a school environment by creating an inviting and engaging workspace and backdrop, having essential tools (camera, computer, and internet), and most of all being kind to yourself! “It doesn’t matter if you have it all together, or if your house is a jumble of books and boxes. You are doing the best you can under the crazy circumstances we are all in” (Emma).
Give me more coffee! “Teacher Life Hacks/Tips for Stress Free Mornings” helps you create a stress free morning with some important tips. The author, Alison Smith, says it is important to get up with plenty of time, choose your outfit the night before, watch your diet (drink water, eat protein, and avoid sugar), and make time to meditate. Maybe I won’t need all the coffee after all!
It is a little late for this now, but maybe you can use it next year. In “The Easiest End of the Year Activity – Say Cheese” is a great way for students to reflect on their year. A camera to decorate along with photo templates are given to the students to illustrate. The teacher labels the photo templates with customized activities unique to the class’ experiences. The “photos” sum up the year and can be displayed and/or taken home as mementos! This fun activity could really work at any elementary grade level.
I gave this site 5 stars because it provides support and ideas that cover many aspects of teaching and learning, and are immediately useful. It even includes helpful ideas and tips for parents. With the many contributors, a variety of articles are available and the site is professional and attractive.
Emma (Teach. “Making the Most of Teaching From Home (Home Classroom Inspiration!).” Teach Starter, 20 Apr. 2020, http://www.teachstarter.com/us/blog/making-the-most-of-teaching-from-home-home-classroom-inspiration-us/.
Do you work with gifted students or students who enjoy creative problem solving? Engage Their Minds, by Terri Eichholz, is a blog that includes ideas for engaging students in the process of learning through creative and innovative activities. Included in the site are Genius Hour resources, book recommendations for teachers, and links to other blogs by educators. Most of the blogs are short explanations that link to a primary source. I included a few samples below.
Do you have students who enjoy coding? This review “Girls Who Code at Home,” links to a site that provides free downloadable coding activities that are updated weekly. These activities are available from beginning to advanced skill levels and are designed to appeal to many different interests. Even some boys will enjoy these activities.
If your looking for creative ways to engage your students in the design process, “Unlocking Design Thinking” will do it! In this article the blogger, Eichholz, shares design process posters that focus on the idea phase of designing from Greg Kulowiec’s (@gregkulowiec) Twitter account. Each of the different strategies approach coming up with ideas for solving a problem with different focuses. For example, the Worst Idea method has students start by thinking about the worst ideas as a way to eliminate them, and the Scamper method uses the acrostic SCAMPER to lead students through a process of adjusting and modifying an idea. You’re sure to find one your students will like.
Many of us are looking for resources to help create a more inclusive classroom that is honest about racial injustice. Eichholz reviews a site she believes does this well in “Texts for Talking About Race.” In this post she refers to CommonLit as a high quality resource that has compiled 59 texts addressing race for children. The site provides activities that complement the readings. It even includes paired texts, media, and guides for teachers and parents. Because this site has literature at all reading levels, teachers from all grade levels will find it useful.
The sources on this blog are appropriate for elementary through high school. I gave this site 3.5 stars because it is difficult to navigate as I did not find a search feature and all of the blogs require you to link to other sites for complete information.
Engage Their Minds
What kind of problems did you encounter during your remote teaching experience? Smart Classroom Management, is a site that addresses the teacher’s management of stress, time, students, and parents. Michael Linsin is the creator and sole contributor. He also sells his books on management through this site. Although he covered daily management in school as well, I focused on locating articles that were recent and new to all of us! Get some tips from the following posts from his site.
I had difficulty engaging all my students for the first few weeks of online learning, did you? In “How to Increase Student Online Participation by 50 Percent,” Linsin suggests that you skip going to the parents and address the student directly. He even provides a script to help the teacher deliver the point. It may seem harsh, but that is exactly what I did and I had 100 percent participation by the third week of remote learning!
Of course this whole pandemic wasn’t our fault; of course we were not prepared; and of course we often ended up in the line of fire when things didn’t go smoothly. In “How to Avoid Parent Complaints About Online Learning,” Linsin provides teachers with strategies for dealing with parent frustrations over remote learning in a professional manner. He makes the point that it is important to remain calm and not take it personally when parents complain. It helps to realized this was not what any of us planned and it created many hardships for all of us.
Bullying is a problem in schools, whether we witness it or not. So, what can we do about it? In “A Quick Way To Calm Your Class, Build Rapport, And End Bullying,” Linsin explains that giving your students the clear message that they will always be safe in your classroom and you will do anything to protect them is the best approach. To do this Linsin emphasises that you need to build a rapport and let the students know you can be counted on and trusted.
Linsin posts on his site about once or twice a week, so it had fewer blog posts than the others I reviewed. His blog has a search tool, making it easy to navigate to topics of interest. I gave this site 4 stars because although the information was interesting and thought provoking, its topics were limited to management and only provided Michael Linsin’s point of view.
Smart Classroom Management
Note About Using Blogs Curated on Modern Teacher
All of these blogs provide tools that can help improve the craft of teaching. They include strategies, tools, and skills that can be used to help educators branch out and try new things that will help them grow professionally.
The information learned from these blogs could be shared when planning with colleagues. Links are provided and can be shared with others who could benefit. This blog of curated sites can also be shared with others.
The many choices of material in these professional blogs allow the reader to learn what is valued and meaningful to the reader’s experience. They also provide a quick way to learn the most current and up to date information about education.
SLM508VCC by Vicki Charikofsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.