During this holiday season many people are excited about the presents and food, but for me, I look forward to New Year’s Day. There is something about a shiny new year that promises a fresh start that makes me so invigorated. Yes, I love to make resolutions! When I was a classroom teacher, I even made instructional resolutions each year. Immediately after leaving the classroom, I did not consider myself a teacher, so I stopped making instructional resolutions. Recently, I have realized that although I am not in the traditional classroom anymore, I instruct and support educators and those students deserve an improved teacher just as much as the students from my time as a classroom teacher.
Since resolutions can quickly become an overwhelmingly achievable list of broken promises, I keep my list short and fairly simple. In 2015, I resolve to…
“Why is it that teaching by pouring in, learning by passive absorption, are universally condemned, yet entrenched in practice?” –John Dewey
Like many educators, there are times when I believe that instruction stops when I stop talking. The reality is that when we silence ourselves when teaching, we are more available to listen to the needs of our students. It is close to impossible to know what portions of the lesson are confusing or difficult if I speed through without pausing to pose questions and listen.
“If you are not laughing, you are not learning.” -Award Winning Humorist Linda Edgecombe
I am not sure that I believe this quote completely but wouldn’t it be great to teach as if this quote is a fact! That is my plan for 2015. Blending learning and laughter is one of my favorite things to do, but I must say that I do not do it often enough. When I see my students of all ages smiling and laughing, I know that they have enjoyed their time learning and that makes me immensely happy. Not only does laughter improve the mood in the classroom, it also enhances the trust in the room.
“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” -John Cotton Dana
I spend more than enough time researching and learning new strategies and techniques for teachers but I do not spend as much time trying to learn more from them. I am often so busy and focused on the work at hand that I do not intentionally open myself up to learn from others.
Teaching, whether you are in a traditional classroom or a conference room, can be overwhelming and incredibly stressful. Adding resolutions can seem to be just another way to add pressure and additional tasks, but they do not have to be. I prefer to not think of resolutions as reminders of more I need to do, but as tools to get me closer to reducing the stress of the forthcoming year and focusing on the joy that comes from helping others learn.
-Tammy Ramsey, Ed.S
Senior Instructional Specialist
If you’re looking for a collaborative project with a visual end product, here’s another new Web 2.0 resource to try. NOTA lets users create an interactive digital poster that includes a variety of resources, including text, photos, clipart, maps, links, and more. There’s even a message board function, though it seems to be in beta mode.
Washington, DC instructional technology specialist Mark Brumley posted a very nice three-minute tutorial on the HP Teacher Exchange, and the user interface is really pretty self-explanatory once you understand the basics that he covers. You have to create a user account, but are up and running after you complete that quick process. I was able to create the following QTL Poster as a test in just about 15 minutes.
If you have an appropriate project, I highly recommend giving NOTA a try.
A participant in one of our recent ExplorNet workshops on Multimedia and Webpage Design gave us a pleasant surprise when she told us she had a prior history with our programs. Gail Thompson teaches Business Education now at Raleigh’s Athens Drive High School. But back in 2006 and 2007, she was a teacher at Dillard Middle School in Wayne County when the school implemented the QTL Foundations program. She told us she still uses the concepts she learned in QTL almost every day. Continue reading
(RALEIGH) – What good is technology if it sits on a shelf? That’s been a persistent question for administrators juggling budgets and deciding whether interactive tools are worth the price. Amid budget cuts and belt tightening, no one wants to spend precious dollars on tools that aren’t effective. But instructional leaders are desperately looking for solutions that help teachers manage and effectively teacher larger and ever more diverse groups of students. Student response systems, or clickers, are one such tool, when they’re used purposefully to increase engagement and assess student understanding. Continue reading
One-on-one teacher coaching plays an ever larger role in our efforts at The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning. The reflective approach our expert coaches use has a two-fold benefit: it trains teachers to examine and improve their own classroom practices, and does so without putting them on the defensive. Continue reading
Looking for ways to engage your students and motivate them to be self-directed learners? Here is the second of five installments of surefire tips! This time we focus on Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences and find out “WHAT KIND OF ‘SMART’ ARE YOU (AND YOUR STUDENTS)?
WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT HOW KIDS PREFER TO LEARN?
Dr. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences has strong implications for how our students will develop into adults, get jobs and support families. Many adults find themselves in jobs that do not make optimal use of their most highly developed intelligences – for example, the highly bodily-kinesthetic individual who is stuck in a linguistic or logical desk job when he or she would be much happier in a job where they could move around, such as a recreational leader, a forest ranger, or physical therapist.
The theory of multiple intelligences gives adults a whole new way to look at their lives, examining potentials that they left behind in their childhood (such as a love for art or drama) but now have the opportunity to develop through courses, hobbies, or other programs of self-development. Continue reading
QTL Senior Instructional Specialist
Recently a colleague gave me a piece of paper with what looks like a paper doll with a backpack on it. This paper doll student is covered with little text boxes containing attributes like ‘literate consumer of media’, ‘multi-lingual’, ‘capable technology user’, ‘critical thinker’, ‘strong team contributor’, and on and on…17 in all. She explained that the image represented the characteristics a present-day kindergartner should possess by the time they graduate from high school. Hmmm…interesting.
I immediately asked myself, “Do I possess these 17 characteristics?” Continue reading