FEATURES FOR TEACHERS
Features For New Teachers
Volume 3, Issue 3
We first discuss the role of adjectives and their job in writing. Adjectives add much of the description and details for the people, places, and objects your students are writing about. These help to describe shapes and sizes, colors and textures, tones and amounts, among many other details. Especially when students begin creative writing, you should encourage them to try new techniques and to overuse their descriptions. From my experience, believe me, its much easier to 'tone down' the students writing later on than it is to try and pull more out of them.
The first assignment the students complete is the pizza description. We start by discussing how pizzas are made. We talk about crusts, sauces, cheeses, and different meat or vegetable toppings. We try to get the kids thinking about their favorite toppings, and we list these triggers on the board as students write them down. Then next to each ingredient we will list five or more adjectives for details. We'd like to get students with a list of 50 or more triggers to work with when they start writing. We will also discuss methods of cooking, so our discussion is educationally good for the kids too. We will organize our brainstorming these triggers in the order we build the pizza, from crust to the final topping.
Once the brainstorming and organizing is complete, the students start writing the description. We make it competitive, seeing which students can provide the best (and possibly the most outrageous) descriptions of each ingredient, and the pizza as a whole. These are read aloud in class, much to the delight of the kids. We will proofread and peer-edit the writings, and then either type or print them carefully in ink before hanging them in he hallway outside our lunchroom. As a related art project, students create slices of pizza out of construction paper, with toppings to match their written descriptions. We hang these along with the writings, giving students something fun to read while in the lunch line.
The second writing we do a few days later builds on the same concepts as the first, only we now write about ice cream sundaes. We like this second because after doing the leg work in teaching the pizza description, students are much more ready to creatively write on their own. And the sundae description lends to more details and description, since there are more choices students can make concerning ice cream flavors, sauces, and a myriad of toppings. We will up the triggers to 75 total, thus stretching the kids a bit more.
Again, start at the bottom and build upwards. We first talk about ice cream flavors and describe each in great detail. Kids are allowed any types or flavor combinations for the ice cream. Then we discuss sauces and toppings. Hot fudge, caramel, butterscotch, and fruit sauces or preserves are added. Lastly, describe the details of the various toppings, whether they are the old classics or exotic and unusual ones. Possibilities are endless. After organizing these ingredients, students write out the description.
Now if you want to take the writing to the next step, have students create a story that uses their food description. Give it a day or so to rest, then bring back out the kids' descriptions to revise and edit. We have had students write about space aliens trying these foods for the first time. We've had these foods taken back in time and given to pilgrims, vikings, and pharaohs. I think you could be really creative in the story ideas, and even let the students create situations.
The question is: Are our students prepared to learn from these tools? Do they have the skills to work through all that a video brings forth from sounds, music, visuals, and whatever else multimedia can bring? Do we, as teachers, prepare them for what they are about to see, or do we just give them the topic and turn on the show?
As teachers, we need to think about how we approach the use of this
tool. When we announce that we are going to show a video, every student
ought to be able to ask us the question: What do you want me to learn
from this? We need to be
able to answer that question every time. If not, we shouldn't be showing
it. We need to help the students focus on what is being learned.
As teachers, we need to think about how we approach the use of this tool. When we announce that we are going to show a video, every student ought to be able to ask us the question: What do you want me to learn from this? We need to be able to answer that question every time. If not, we shouldn't be showing it. We need to help the students focus on what is being learned.
Even before all this takes place, we need to teach the students how to
learn from a video and how to handle multimedia. One good way is to take
an educational video, or any video for that matter, and show a 30 to 60
second section. Then get feedback from the students about what they just
saw. Repeat this procedure over and over. Discuss what was important,
not important, or just background. We need to teach them how to discern
what is important and what isn't. This practice should not be a one time
event. You will see them grow in their understanding and learning
through feedback in their note taking and class discussion.
Even before all this takes place, we need to teach the students how to learn from a video and how to handle multimedia. One good way is to take an educational video, or any video for that matter, and show a 30 to 60 second section. Then get feedback from the students about what they just saw. Repeat this procedure over and over. Discuss what was important, not important, or just background. We need to teach them how to discern what is important and what isn't. This practice should not be a one time event. You will see them grow in their understanding and learning through feedback in their note taking and class discussion.
Video length is also important to consider.
Today's students can only handle about 30-35 minutes, at best,
regardless of age, when it comes to educational videos. For younger
students, keep the length to 15-20 minutes. If it takes two days to show
it, that's fine. Our goal is for them to learn, not be overwhelmed or
bored because they lost focus.
Video length is also important to consider. Today's students can only handle about 30-35 minutes, at best, regardless of age, when it comes to educational videos. For younger students, keep the length to 15-20 minutes. If it takes two days to show it, that's fine. Our goal is for them to learn, not be overwhelmed or bored because they lost focus.
Using videos with today's students can be very rewarding when we just
follow these guidelines.
Using videos with today's students can be very rewarding when we just follow these guidelines.
A good librarian, or
media specialist as they are being called in many schools, is certainly
an asset to your district.
librarian role has been changing rapidly, even over the past ten years.
With great changes in technology and communication, a media
specialist must readily handle the tremendous variety of computer
hardware, software, and all of those 'connective tissues' - the cables,
wires, peripherals, and even the controls of every piece of equipment
from vcrs to dvds to camcorders.
The internet has
revolutionalized the world's communication and the way we research.
Libraries are moving away from thousands of tomes to computer
terminals where entire buildings of information and texts can be found.
Many books and periodicals are now found on-line.
E-books, with their low cost and easily-updated versions, are
quickly gaining both popularity and a share of the literary market.
Hand-held computers, which utilize
E-books and downloadable text books, are being used around the
Your librarian / media
specialist can help you with projects you may wish to have students do
in class. These can include
basic book reports or research papers, or they may be elaborate
multi-media presentations using PowerPoint or other computer programs.
In many cases, libraries are also school computer labs, and if
you can get in good with your librarian, you may be able to schedule
optimal times for your class. Librarians may also be the ones to check
out tech materials, such as vcrs, dvds, and cameras.
All in all, it is worth your time to get to know your local librarian, and build a positive relationship. They can make your teaching life easier and more productive.
KidsNumbers is an interactive website for students to learn and practice basic math skills. Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division are practiced through online flash cards, games, activities, and simulations. There is a free worksheet generator for teachers to use in their classrooms, and there is also a spot to pose questions on homework and a math forum.
One great aspect of the website is the Math Foundations, an online course for kids to learn and practice numbers and counting prior to entering kindergarten. Over twelve weeks, young students will gain confidence while learning basic mathematical skills.
This is a user-friendly website with quick links to the various parts of the site. It is a great resource for elementary teachers.
Check this site out, you'll be glad you did. Simply click the link below:
There was a boy who found a terrapin, more commonly known as a turtle.
He started to examine it but the turtle pulled in its head and closed its shell like a vice. The boy was upset and he picked up a stick to try to pry it open.
The boy's uncle saw all this and remarked, "No, that's not the way! In fact, you may kill the turtle but you'll not get it to open up with a stick."
The uncle took the terrapin into the house and set it near the fireplace. It wasn't but a few minutes until it began to get warm. Then the turtle pushed out its head, then stretched out its legs and began to crawl. "Turtles are like that," said the uncle, "and people, too. You can't force them into anything.
But if you first warm them up with some real kindness, more than likely, they will do what you want them to do."
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resides not in possessions'
and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul."
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Technology & Teaching: How Life Is Changing For Our Students
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Setting Up Your Classroom
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