|FEATURES FOR TEACHERS|
Visit our Website at:
Features For New Teachers
Volume 6, Issue 16
|StarTeaching Store||Advertise with us||Previous Articles||Submit an Article||FREE Reports||Feature Writers||Tech Center||New Teacher's Niche|
Three…two…one…and we are off on a new school year. It is usually a great time to start new techniques, practices or units. After my summer with the Crossroads Writing Project through Ferris State University back in 2006, I brought in a more active journaling program to my classroom.
I have always struggled with journal writing in my own personal writing world because I found my writing voice too forced; I thought certain rules had to be observed. My view, however, was changed with reading Breathing In/Breathing Out by Ralph Fletcher and with practicing journal writing with my summer Crossroads Institute. I was able to run, sometimes with scissors, on the journal page. This led to the use of journals in the classroom.
I used the daily journal writing as a part of creative writing class that fall. It worked well. It was a great tool for brainstorming, gathering information and writing. It fit the writing process well. Plus, I was able to develop several writing prompts and a grading system for its use. It fit the creative process.
So, my next question was could I tie it in to other academic classes. Since they were already taking notes, to use prompts related to notes, textbooks and current events was an easy expansion with my journalism, science fiction and fantasy and drama classes.
Basically, I would put a writing prompt on the board at the start at class. Students would date the entry and respond to the prompt. The prompt would be related to the topic or theme of the unit we were working on. For example, when discussing freedom of the press for journalism, I would put up prompts like “What rights do students have?” or have them read a news article about an issue with students and their freedom and have the students respond. With my science fiction class, I would ask, “What are rules or patterns that we associate with having wishes granted?” at the beginning of the unit on wishes.
The journal stays open for most of the class.
I would either discuss the prompt, or save it for later in the class when we hit it with the lesson. Their notes went into the journal. Also, brief short answer assignments went in it too. The class spent the week filling their journals with information, writing, their ideas and so on. As we went through readings and discussion, the prompt or question would progress to “How did the court ruling of Tinker vs. Des Moines affect student rights?” or “How did today’s short story follow the rules or break the pattern of granting wishes?” Students would then start formulating their own opinion with support.
On Fridays, Writing Days, we would go to the Writing Lab (computer lab according to others) and write.
Writing Days would be impromptu writings related to the week, or it may be assignments shared at the beginning and developed through the week. Either way, students came with stuff in their journal and did not have to spend time figuring out what to write. As the semesters rolled by, I even started offering two or three writing options for Writing Day. Student liked the choice. They could write on a topic, still in the realm of the topic or there, that clicked with them.
My scoring I wanted to keep simple. On Writing Day, I collected the journals. I would put a plus, check, minus or zero for the week and record it in my grade book. Plus was for the students who went beyond the required material for the week, check for those who did the required writing and notes, minus was for those it did not do all, and zero was for those who did not bring it in on Friday. Before parent/teacher conferences, I converted the marks and added up the score. If there were five weeks of journals, I would set the points possible at 45. A plus was worth 10, checks were 8 and a minus was 6. This way, the student who did more earned a few extra credit points, and the average student would get a around a 40 out of 45, a good grade.
To facilitate more importance on the journal and the writing process, I also let them use the journal on the written portion of the semester exam.
Experimenting with different classes, I found that the more mature student did not need to have the weekly journal check. With a freshman English class, I found that the journal helped develop organization skills, note taking and using writing to think; it takes the class beyond the note taking by linking notes to the thought process in the same place.
Journaling is flexible to any teaching and learning style.
The big benefits to journaling are free writing, thinking on paper and prompts that take the facts beyond the recall level of education that can develop a student’s higher level thinking skills, problem solving and application of knowledge.
As a teacher in the classroom, I would encourage you to journal with your students. Role modeling behavior, writing and thinking not only helps your student learn, but it let’s the student see more of you through instruction.
In conclusion, a journal can be used in any class to any level. But if used to its full potential, a journal stores knowledge, develops thought, strengthens understanding and enhances writing.
The custodial and maintenance staff isn’t just around to sweep the floors, empty the wastebaskets, and clean up messes. They play an important role in the school environment. These people are not only essential to keeping the building and grounds in top shape and presentable to the public, but also keep the various physical systems in the school in working order. These may include heating & cooling, water, plumbing, and electrical systems, and sometimes even technology. They may also put up walls, plow the snow, line the football field, repair the drinking fountains, and put together classroom furniture.
Your custodial and maintenance workers can help you in a number of ways. They certainly can keep your room and hallway in tip-top shape. Many times, custodians will pick up and collect pencils and pens from the halls, and will drop them off in your room if they know you need them.
And they will often help you out if you have requests. In many schools, their contracts and union will dictate what physical jobs can be done by school personnel other than maintenance/custodial workers. So if you’re having trouble with your room heating unit, your clock is not synchronized with those around the school, or your door is squeaky, you can usually get prompt service if they know you and know you appreciate their time and efforts. If you are well liked by the maintenance staff, your requests may often move up the priority list. And if you want those extra ‘little touches’, such as a shelf put up in your room, or document frames mounted on your walls, such favors are often the reward of your time spent building positive relationships.
Appreciation for their work can be as simple as an honest and genuine ‘thank you’. Often times, including the custodial and maintenance staff in get-togethers and school celebrations goes a long way. Some groups will purchase donuts or treats for the custodians during the year. Other groups put on dinners or cook-outs. If your students bring in any extra treats, be sure to send some down to the maintenance staff.
If you take the time to get to know these hard-working people, and build positive relationships with them, you will definitely reap the rewards. Not only will you have handy people willing to help you out when you need it, but you may even find pleasant, friendly faces in and around your school.
Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
1. The storage area of a computer where it keeps all the files. ______________
2. A program used to see the internet. ______________
3. Something you use to get back to a specific place on the internet at a later time period. ______________
4. Another name for a program used on the computer. ______________
5. A folder that all programs are put into. ______________
6. A device used to navigate around the screen of a computer.______________
7. The workspace on the screen of a computer. ______________
8. The amount of memory a computer has to work with. The smaller the memory the less things you can have open on the screen. ______________
9. A blinking line that shows where you will type next. ______________
10. An overall program that runs the computer. An example would be Tiger, windows XP, windows 2000. ______________
11. Something you do first to duplicate writing that you want to use elsewhere. _______________
12. A type of computer made by Apple corp. _______________
13. A type of computer made by many companies such as Dell, Gateway, Sony. _______________
14. A temporary file that holds the memory of a page you looked at on the internet so that it will load faster when you bring it up again. _______________
15. The way you place writing from one document to another. _______________16. The way to update a page from the internet. _______________
Storytelling is an art. It takes dexterity to expose the creative person inside us. When we play with any toy, we pretend to walk, talk, and act the same as that figure. We might be telling a story about a fairy, or we might be having a birthday party, or, conceivably, we may be going on some outings. The fun of playing by ourselves is in making different sounds and many gestures. We try to set different emotions in order to make our expressions clear and full of reality.
When we tell a story to anyone, for example let’s suppose a child, we do follow the outline of beginning, middle, and end. We fill in details of our senses, emotions, feelings, expressions, etc. We try to locate the timings and make our story more interesting by adding descriptive words in it.
To be frank with you all, telling a story is not a cup of tea for everyone. It requires dedication and skills to fill it with emotions. I would suggest to teachers not to duplicate any characters. Be real! Use gestures and always move from one place to another to grasp the attention of your audience. Everyone must start as who they are and let the action and the description of the story inspire us to play. There is no right or wrong way to tell a story except to be ourselves, relax, and have fun with the pleasure of sharing a story.
During my teaching career, I have used many techniques to teach students with the help of stories full of life. Here are some of the suggestions that might help you to become a good story teller.
The first step is to write it. Make your habit to fill the your words full of expressions and ideas in your writing. I, myself, am struggling to be a good writer, and that's what the dedication is (which is required from your side too) to be passionate about trying and learning things. The idea for your story may be based on an old tale or it might come right from your mind, but it must be put into your own words and then told with your own style of telling. Never plagiarize a story or copy words. It might make your story artificial. There are many ways to tell the same story. When you tell a story, you must imagine it just as if you were there.
Choose a favorite story from your school or college library or you can even try newspapers to get a good story. Websites can also help you a lot to get different tales.
First: Make an outline of each important plot point of the tale in sequential order: a true beginning, middle, and end. This outline is a map that will remind us where the story is going, even if we experiment by taking a few detours. Add some details and scenes that no one has ever thought of before. It should be unique and should please your listeners.
Second: start writing your first scene. Look at
your outline and brainstorm. Work in a group to get a lot of ideas. You
can arrange workshops for the teachers in order to gain different ideas
before transforming it into reality. I still remember that while
attending workshops at the
Ask yourself these questions:
* Who are the characters in your story?
* What is happening?
* Why is there a problem?
* Where and when does the scene take place?
* Can you describe what the setting looks like?
* By whom? By what?, etc.
List the senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching details of the pretend world of the play. Imagine you can hear what the characters are saying. Imagine and write the dialogue of the scene. Pretend to walk and talk like them.
Third: Imagine that you are
one of the characters in the play. Write down the story from your point
of view. Imagine being the
character and speaking this story out loud.
Share these monologues with your team so you get to know all the
characters in the play.
Third: Imagine that you are one of the characters in the play. Write down the story from your point of view. Imagine being the character and speaking this story out loud. Share these monologues with your team so you get to know all the characters in the play.
Fourth: Now, imagine you are one of the spectators. Using pieces of the
dialogue, the monologues, and the expressive details which you and your
colleagues have already written, write a new version of the story
describing the whole imaginary world you have been brainstorming. Tell
this story out loud. When you converse the words of the characters, let
yourself move and talk like them. Sometimes you will recount the details
of the scenes that you can see in your mind's eye. Sometimes you may
become the characters and feel what they are feeling. Let yourself be in
the middle of the world of the story, describing to the listener what is
happening all around you as if it were real.
Fourth: Now, imagine you are one of the spectators. Using pieces of the dialogue, the monologues, and the expressive details which you and your colleagues have already written, write a new version of the story describing the whole imaginary world you have been brainstorming. Tell this story out loud. When you converse the words of the characters, let yourself move and talk like them. Sometimes you will recount the details of the scenes that you can see in your mind's eye. Sometimes you may become the characters and feel what they are feeling. Let yourself be in the middle of the world of the story, describing to the listener what is happening all around you as if it were real.
Remember, imagining things is the most challenging task to learn. The
imagination is like a muscle. The more we use it the quicker and
stronger it gets. Don't be discouraged if at first you feel awkward.
Keep trying and soon you'll be leaping and roaring. Just like bike
riding, gymnastics, football, or any other skill, the more you do it,
the better you get at doing it. Practice playing, and soon you'll see
your storytelling skills growing.
Remember, imagining things is the most challenging task to learn. The imagination is like a muscle. The more we use it the quicker and stronger it gets. Don't be discouraged if at first you feel awkward. Keep trying and soon you'll be leaping and roaring. Just like bike riding, gymnastics, football, or any other skill, the more you do it, the better you get at doing it. Practice playing, and soon you'll see your storytelling skills growing.
Last, I wish you best of luck to become a professional story teller.
Last, I wish you best of luck to become a professional story teller.
In the United States and Canada, zero tolerance policies are applied in schools and other education venues. These have proved controversial in that some of those penalized have claimed that their treatment is egregiously unfair.
A zero-tolerance policy is a policy of having very little tolerance for transgressions: any infraction of existing laws and regulations will be punished, no matter how small. The term may be used in general or with reference to a particular category of transgressions, e.g. a zero-tolerance policy towards alcohol use.
It is typically enacted by an organization (usually a school) against a particular action, or possession of something on organization-controlled property. Many schools have a zero-tolerance policy concerning drugs or weapons. For example, a student possessing or caught using drugs on school property governed by a zero-tolerance policy could immediately suffer the highest possible consequence for their actions. Many organizations avoid these policies because it binds those in authority to an action, regardless of circumstances. The policy must be written extremely explicitly or it may have negative consequences.
As of 2004 many publicized cases have sparked slight controversy with regards to (at least what some perceive as) irrationality of the policies. These cases include students being suspended or expelled for transgressions such as carrying Advil (a legal, non-prescription drug) in backpacks, keeping pocketknives (small utility knife) in cars, and carrying sharp tools outside of a "wood shop" classroom (where they are often required materials). In some jurisdictions, zero-tolerance policies have come into conflict with freedom of religion rules already in place allowing students to carry, for example, kirpans.
Most policies were enacted after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. One well documented case took place in the Ashland, Oregon School district.
Controversy of Zero Tolerance
Supporters of zero tolerance policies claim that such policies are required to create an appropriate environment. They also point to examples of persons in authority providing lax discipline in the past, with a resulting breakdown in order (for example, in a school environment).
Some supporters also argue that the mass publicizing of examples of unfairness serves the schools' purpose by frightening students into conformity. They point to the millions of student acts and omissions each and every school day, only a small percentage of which prove to be unfairly penalized.
The utilitarian policy assumption is that inflexibility is a deterrent because, no matter how or why the rule was broken, the fact that the rule was broken is the basis for the imposition of the penalty. This is intended as a behavior modification strategy, i.e. because those at risk know that it may operate unfairly, they may be induced to take even unreasonable steps to avoid breaking the rule. This is a standard policy in rule- and law-based systems around the world on "offenses" as minor as traffic violations to major health and safety legislation for the protection of employees, those living nearby and the environment.
Critics of zero tolerance policies frequently refer to cases where minor offenses have resulted in severe punishments (see above and , for example, Zero Tolerance Nightmares. Typical examples include the honor-roll student being expelled from school under a "no weapons" policy while in possession of nail clippers; or a distinguished longtime employee at a company who, despite an impeccable work record and compiling many honors, losing his job because he made a seemingly innocent remark to a female co-worker (e.g., "You look nice today").
However, some view zero tolerance policies as a tool to fight corruption. Under this argument, if subjective judgment is not allowed, most attempts by the authority person to encourage bribes and/or other favors in exchange for leniency are clearly visible.
Some might argue that having a set of rigid rules serves as a way to limit the powers of the person doing enforcement, ensuring equal treatment for everyone. However, the evidence is that minority children are the most likely to suffer the negative consequences of zero tolerance.
Such policies could conceivably be established to allow unchecked freedom for officers; in such cases the rules could be intentionally self-contradicting, unclear and/or otherwise impossible or implausible to obey.
Research on Zero Tolerance
Zero Tolerance, Zero Evidence: An Analysis of School Disciplinary Practice reports that there is no credible evidence that zero tolerance is effective. Furthermore, school suspension and expulsion result in a number of negative outcomes for both schools and students.
The study, conducted by the Indiana Education Policy Center at Indiana University School of Education, reviewed the use of zero-tolerance policies since their inception in the 1980s.
"Zero tolerance is a political response, not an educationally sound solution," said Dr. Russell Skiba, author of the report. "It sounds impressive to say that we're taking a tough stand against misbehavior, but the data says it simply hasn't been effective in improving student behavior."
Once the hectic pace of the first day of school is over, you'll want to get your students off and writing 'on the right foot'. We begin the second day of class with a writing assignment / activity that will give me an idea of where the students are in terms of their understanding of the writing process.
Our school uses a common writing program that increases in complexity at each grade level. The teachers use common terminology and formats for paragraphs which are the basis of our drafting. Thus, I know they will have a bit of familiarity with the process. However, even if you are teaching 'on an island' without any class or grade continuity, this activity will allow you to assess your students understanding of the writing process and set them up for the teaching of your expectations for writing paragraphs.
I've put this activity onto an overhead sheet so I can use it each year. At the top are the writing directions: "Write a paragraph describing one of the most important things you learned over the summer. No talking, and no questions." The directions are specific enough that I want a paragraph written, not a page or a few sentences. And the topic is broad enough that everyone can think of something to write about. However, it is just vague enough that students must use their best judgment to decide exactly HOW to structure the writing and how long it should be.
I tell the kids there is no right or wrong way to do this assignment, and there is no right or wrong response to the prompt. In fact, the only wrong thing that can be done is just to NOT write anything at all. This explanation will help most of your students get started right away. If a student is sitting idle for more than a minute, I'll remind them that this is a writing activity, not a thinking activity. They need to get started writing, or I'll assign them a disciplinary paragraph to copy. That's usually enough to get them going.
Undoubtedly you will have some students who seem stumped on this, or will want to ask questions of you. Stand firm on the 'no questions', and let them figure it out for themselves. If you give in now, these same students will rely on you the entire year. You want them to become good thinkers and problem solvers. Let them do it!
We usually give students about ten minutes to write. Although this is less than normal, it's just enough to get them on the right track and enough for you to see if they have any idea what they're doing.
Once the time is up, each student draws a line across his/her paper right under the paragraph. I then uncover the second part of the activity. Students must now "write down THREE rules, guidelines, or expectations they have learned about writing paragraphs." After these are written down, the students prioritize them, the most important labeled #1, and so forth. These provide excellent prompts for class discussions, which is next. We look to affirm correct ideas, and dispel the wrong ones. Then the students draw another line across the page.
Lastly, the students number their page #1-5, and write in their responses to four questions I pose for them. We then discuss their answers, and I'm able to evaluate what they know and what they think they know about paragraph writing.
Again, these help me to see what knowledge the students bring to class, and how closely they are to our class's writing expectations.
The last thing we do is a bit of self-editing. The students are to underline their topic sentences and clincher statements and number their three supporting statements (just imagine their surprise if any realize they didn't write these down!) This also makes for great conversation.
Now they're ready to learn the rules, procedures, and expectations for the formatting of a paragraph in this class. I have these on an overhead sheet and also on a PowerPoint presentation. Both have a note sheet so students can write down the information as it is presented. They quickly learn the rules and expectations I have for the formatting and writing of their paragraphs.
Use this link to access this writing assignment on our website for your own classroom use:
Part 4 of this series will discuss the writing process as we have students begin writing paragraphs.
Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be
plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the
following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
See more of our Freebies as well as Special Reports on our website by clicking the quick link below:
Make sure to BOOKMARK our website so you can keep up with more changes and additions through the year. And feel free to share our site by EMAILING it to a friend.
Don’t be just a Guest! Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, delivered right to your inbox! FREE tips, ideas, and articles.
go the people.
THE PLACE FOR ALL TEACHERS!
Do you have a great TEACHING TIP or ACTIVITY to share?
Are you using an innovative TECHNIQUE in your class?
Have you created WRITING PROMPTS that you’d like to add to our WEEKLY CALENDAR?
We welcome, and are always looking for teachers to share successes, stories, and ideas with our readers.
Submit an article to this newsletter by emailing:
Orclick the following link:
All articles will be proofread, and may be edited for content and/or length.
10 days of writing prompts
Are there other teachers in your district who would enjoy this FREE newsletter delivered to them bi-weekly?
YOU could qualify for FREE offers when referring others.
Click the quick link below for more information:
Are you interested in advertising with us?
Preparing for Student Teaching
Technology & Teaching: 21st Century Teaching and Learning
Writing Process and Programs
Article of the Week
Don’t be just a Guest! Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, delivered right to your inbox! FREE tips, ideas, and articles.
(Affiliated with Amazon.com)
Website design by Carrie's Creations Inc. ©2005