FEATURES  FOR   TEACHERS

Visit our Website at: www.starteaching.com

Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 2, Issue 11

June 2006

   

 

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with Our Readers?  
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Preparing for Your Student-Teaching Experience 
(part 2)

by Dr. Peter Manute
Educational Consultant

This is the follow-up to last month's article which focused on preparing for student teaching.   

Being an intern is an interesting position to be in. The university treats you as a student, making you jump through hoops completing projects and meeting deadlines sometimes seeming totally irrelevant to the internship.  The school district you are working in expects you to be a professional educator with all the secrets of innovation and new technologies fresh from the university 'think tank'.  Parents think of you as someone who really doesn't know what they are doing yet and don't understand why you are practicing on their kids.  They are always quick to point out their perceptions of student teachers when a problem arises about grades or behavior.  

Hopefully I will provide you with some practical information presented in a no-nonsense form.

First and foremost, make sure all of your personal chores and plans are in order before you begin your assignment.  Once you start it is vital to focus all of your energy and time into your placement.  Secure your housing well in advance and establish a routine of daily tasks.  Plan to arrive at school early and plan to stay late.  Student teaching is absolutely relentless; you will be exhausted after your first day.  The mental and physical strain is unbelievable .  Make sure all of your details are taken care of in advance;  you don't want anything to interfere with your teaching.  Do create some time for yourself or you will self-destruct.  You need to keep your mind clear in order to make effective teacher decisions.  Plan to have some time each day for your self - it may only be a few minutes, but it is very important.  You may think you don't need it, but all veteran teachers will tell you differently.  

Secondly, be a sponge.  You are new to the profession and regardless of how well your university has prepared you, nothing measures up to being on your own in a classroom.  When the door shuts  for the first time you will know what I am talking about.  Glean as much from your mentor and other teachers as possible, and by all means, don't come across a s an expert.   "Learn from your observations and reflections;  don't be afraid to make mistakes.  As you progress and you become more effective, take risks and try different methodologies and teaching strategies."

You have not paid your dues and therefore you are really not an expert at anything.  Learn from your observations and reflections;  don't be afraid to make mistakes.  As you progress and you become more effective, take risks and try different methodologies and teaching strategies.  By all means keep in close contact with your mentor and always remember - no surprises.  Ask questions before you do something;  your mentor knows the ropes and will offer excellent advice.  Make it your responsibility to learn the routines and specifics of the district and building you are working in.  Don't rely on someone to tell you; find out on your own, take the initiative.  You can learn many things from both effective and ineffective teachers.  Unless asked, keep your opinions to yourself, being new and having all the energy of youth will be a threat to some, so tread lightly.  

If there is any down time in your room, ask your mentor for tasks to accomplish.  Help out anywhere you can.  Ask to take on something difficult and work with your mentor to accomplish it.  Save as many artifacts as possible and use them in your professional portfolio.  Creative lesson plans and examples of student work are excellent things to have.  Ask for feedback and listen and process.  Create an open dialog with your mentor;  remember that is the person who will be called first when a district wants to know about you. Your mentor will be able to talk about strengths and weaknesses, so what do you want to them to say about you?  

Finally, enter the internship with the idea there will be a teaching opening that you will be qualified for in the very building you are student teaching.  Create positive relationships with staff, parents, and students.  You do that by demonstrating professional behavior.  When your internship is completed you want everyone to say - "We would really like to have you become part of our team!"  Prove to people that you are the type of teacher that would be a perfect fit for their district.

School districts are looking for candidates who are 'low maintenance' - teachers who can come into their buildings and have an immediate impact.  Confidence, solid work ethic, and exemplary professional dispositions are words you want people to use to describe you.  Your internship is an excellent place to begin!

Be sure to check out our website for more great information, tips, and techniques for new teachers, student-teachers, and interns in teacher prep programs. Also be sure to check out our Who-I-Want-To-Be teacher plan for preparing yourself to enter the educational profession.  Simply click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm

 

The staff at StarTeaching wish you a relaxing and restful summer season.  

Remember to bookmark this page and to visit our website for more great articles, tips, and techniques!
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Also, feel free to email this newsletter to a friend or colleague!  

 

 

The Untold Secret To Creating 
A Fun Learning Environment

By Michael Kett
Houdini in the Classroom

Most teachers, including parents who home school their children, are always looking for new techniques to make learning more exciting for both them and their students. If you think back to the teachers you had in school, you probably remember the teachers that made learning fun. What if I told you that there is an easy, fun, and unique magic application that can improve writing skills, verbal communication, and motor abilities, as well as create memory hooks for key curriculum topics? Well, there is…

I know what you are thinking: "But I’m a teacher, not a magician". Being a teacher is what will make this teaching tool successful for you. The magic effects taught in the book, Houdini in the Classroom, are NOT difficult, although they will require minimal practice. The real magic happens when you blend your teaching experience with magic and you see first hand the powerful learning effect this has on your students. Why Harry Houdini? Harry Houdini is still the most famous magician of all time, even though he died in 1926. He captivated his audience’s attention and was a terrific showman and self- promoter. These “Houdini-like” attributes combined with basic magic effects can be applied to the classroom to create a fun and exciting learning environment, regardless of the curriculum and grade level.

I remember my son having a school assignment to write out the directions to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It was a technique to develop descriptive and clear writing abilities. It is a common teaching tool, but what if the teacher taught a simple but amazing magic trick to the class and then had the students write the directions to the trick?

Not only would it be more fun than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but it could be combined with developing the motor skills to perform the trick. Plus, what about having the students write a story to accompany the trick? And then tell the story while performing the trick to develop public
speaking skills? What a fun and multifaceted learning activity! The same idea can be used as a behavior modification technique. What child doesn’t love magic? Especially, when they know the secret and can fool their family and friends? Why not offer to teach the class a cool magic trick at the end of the week, if certain goals are accomplished during the week?

I guarantee that any teacher that performs magic as part of the teaching process will have the students sitting on the edge of their seats to see and hear what the teacher does next. Magic is the ultimate attention getter!

Easy magic tricks can be integrated into any lesson plan regardless of subject or grade. You can pick up any beginner magic book at the library but you it will take trial and error to know what tricks are appropriate and how to blend them into your lesson plans. Or you can allow me to help you. I’ve done all the work for you in my book, Houdini In The Classroom. You can become the Houdini In The Classroom at your school!

Michael Kett, a physical therapist for more than 25 years, is an educator, motivator, and author. His two published books, Applied Magic and Houdini in the Classroom, explore two unique magic applications. Applied Magic demonstrates how to use magic as a therapeutic tool and Houdini in the Classroom shows teachers how to use magic to develop creative thinking, writing skills, verbal communication and self-esteem.

Be sure to check out Michael's website, Houdini in the Classroom

http://www.teacher-magic.com

 

 

We are proud to offer Michael's two books.  Simply click the links to each (affiliated with Amazon) for more information or to purchase.

Michael also has an excellent offer to teachers on his website.  
Purchase the illustrated 124 page e-book version of Houdini In the Classroom... and you will receive 3 additional bonuses valued at $45! 
(including a CD-ROM demonstrating the tricks)

Click on his website for details!

 


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Website of the Month:

K12 Academics.com

Our June WEBSITE OF THE MONTH award is presented to, K12 Academics. Monitored and edited by Chris Glavin, K12 Academics is a great resource for teachers, educators, students, and parents.  

K12 Academics is a national based education & disability resource center with a community based approach. We cover every county, city or town in the U.S. If you are looking for a website or information on a school, organization, museum, library, camp or support in your area you can find it here. The site also serves as a great resource for teachers, parents, students, professionals & district officials in the K-12 education system.

There are many areas on the website to check out, including information on national directories on websites, resources, educational services, camps, and museums.  There are articles, updated daily and written from educational experts all around the country on any number of educational issues.  There are specific sections for teachers, from tips and techniques to lesson plans.  There is another section for students including major tests and scholarships.  There is also a directory of schools across the country.

Check this site out, you'll be glad you did.  Simply click the link below:

http://www.k12academics.com

 

 

 


 

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"If You Think"
Walter D. Wintle

Themes on Life

The power of thinking and using your mental capacities...

If you think you are beaten, you are. 

If you think you dare not, you don't! 

If you want to win, but think you can't, 

It's almost a cinch you won't. 

If you think you'll lose, you're lost; 

For out in the world we find 

Success begins with a fellow's will; 

It's all in the state of the mind. 

Life's battles don't always go 

To the stronger and faster man, 

But sooner or later the man who wins 

Is the man who thinks he can.


 

What's New at StarTeaching

Monthly Updates to our Website

Be sure to check out our website by clicking the link below:

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It's loaded with great tips and techniques by teachers for teachers.  You can find articles from the past newsletters, as well as special reports and 'freebies'.  

We have recently added a link to the great inspirational quotes and photos you've enjoyed in each 2005 issue of our newsletters, Features for Teachers.   

There are 20 total photos and accompanying quotes from a variety of sources.  

Simply click the link to the right to access the quotes and photos:

You can use these quotes and photos in your own classes.  They make great starters for discussions and writing prompts.  They are also useful for sharing with your staff.  

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

     ~ Robert Brault


“The more extensive a man's knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do.” 

     ~ Benjamin Disraeli

http://www.starteaching.com/freebies.htm#article2

 

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In This Week's Issue 

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Preparing for Your Student-Teaching Experience (part 2)

The Untold Secret to Creating A Fun Learning Environment

Website of the Month

Themes on Life:  
"If You Think"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

Summer Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club

What's New at StarTeaching


 

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All articles will be proofread, and may be edited for content and/or length.

 

10 Days Of
Writing 
Prompts 

Day
1

What are THREE goals you have to accomplish over the summer?

Day
2

Create a short poem or song that reviews this week's class information.

Day
3

Describe your favorite activity to do in the summer.

Day
4

What are the differences between spring and summer in the region in which you live?

Day
5

How will you spend your time this summer?  Give FIVE examples. 

Day
6

What is your favorite song and why?

Day
7

Why do people make a personal connection with a particular style of music?

Day
8

Describe FIVE important pieces of information you learned in class this week.

Day
9

If you could play any songs during class, what would they be and why?

Day
10

What song can you relate to the best moment of your life?  What song relates to your worst moment in life, and why?

 

10 days of writing prompts

 

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Be sure to check out our
BOOK of the MONTH



Who Moved My Cheese
?

by 
Spencer Johnson

 

 

 

Coming Soon:

Designing and Running a Medieval Fair

Technology & Teaching: Setting up for Handhelds

Discipline Procedures in School

Using Magic in the Classroom


 

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