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SPECIAL POINTS OF INTEREST: Hot Stuff and
Imagine taking your class on an “around the world” field trip or having your students’ favorite author lead today’s lesson. You can do both of these and more without even leaving your classroom thanks to Skype!
Ways to use Skype in the Classroom Written by: Amanda Kenuam
other things! Smithsonian Quests Smart Teachers… Should States Ban Junk Food in Schools? Weather Underground EDSITEment! Ten New Years Resolutions for
1. Interview authors, astronauts and other amazing individuals from around the world. 2. Collaborate with classrooms, businesses and more in multi-disciplinary projects. 3. Explore a volcano, rainforest, or history museum in virtual fieldtrips with experts in the field or even share your field trip experiences with others. 4. Practice conversational foreign languages with native speakers. 5. Provide additional support for students needing extra attention or unable to come to class. 6. Invite a guest lecturer from leading educators and experts from anywhere in the world. 7. Explore foreign cultures first hand with classroom to classroom video conferencing. 8. Broadcast a performance or project to parents and families unable to make it to school. 9. Access and share professional development opportunities with educators on the go. 10. Collaborate with innovative educators to plan units, lessons, and more.
What’s Your Google Grade? If you’re looking for a job, applying to college, or just Googling yourself, do you actually know what search results are displayed? Google’s customized search personalized results for most users so you really don’t truly know….or do you? A new Facebook app (ironic
that it’s Facebook?) called “Google Grader” can figure out your online reputation. You go through the app as it posits questions...you mark them as ‘positive’ ‘negative’ or ‘not me’ and then you get a grade. Who knew your Googling could be graded?! What’s your grade?
By: Jeff Dunn
Hot Stuff: and other things!
educators and helps them create, organize, and share their curricula. They are focused on aggregating and scaling the most innovative content and practices from high-performing teachers across the country.
Sciencebuddies.org— empowers k-12 students, parents, and teachers to quickly and easily find free project ideas and help in all areas of science from physics to food science and music to microbiology.
Smithsonian Quests “Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes”
iCivics prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by creating free and innovative educational materials.
by: Smithsonian Education
Like Perseus or Hercules, your students can go on a quest! With Smithsonian Quests, they earn digital badges as they explore all the Smithsonian has to offer, from art to zoology. The interdisciplinary content aligns with many Common Core standards, including the use of digital media in learning. To learn more visit smithsonianquests.org.
—- The Power of Attitude
Smart Teachers… by: Ian Jukes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. SHS
Challenge students. Understand that it’s about them not about us. Study their students. Exude passion as well as purpose. Keep it clear even when they can’t keep it simple. Practice vulnerability without sacrificing credibility. Teach from the heart. Repeat important parts. Ask good questions. Never give up on students. NEWS
Should States Ban Junk Food in Schools? YES -America is facing a crisis because of our eating habits.
NO—It may make sense for a school board to ban junk foods in
Sixty million adults are obese. Nearly 300,000 people die each year
some cases, but there are several issues that should be considered.
from complications associated with being obese or overweight.
To begin with, there is the problem of defining junk food. Are we
Poor eating habits developed at an early age lead to a lifetime of
talking about potato chips, soda, and pastries? What about fried
real health consequences. School is where children spend most of
chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, and pizza— foods many school
their time, and it is where we lay the foundation for healthy habits.
That's why New Jersey is the first state to adopt a comprehensive
Second, the American education system is designed to give commu-
school nutrition policy that bans candy, soda, and other junk food.
nities control over their schools through local school boards. This
If you go to school in New Jersey, your vending machines and
principle of local control lies at the root of our democracy. We be-
school stores, along with the a la carte lines in your cafeterias, will
lieve that locally elected school board members are in the best posi-
no longer be able to sell snacks that are high in fat and loaded with
tion to make policy decisions that reflect the opinions and needs of
sugar. Items that list sugar as the first ingredient will be eliminated
their individual communities. Any decisions about what is sold in
and snacks will contain no more than eight grams of total fat and
school vending machines should be determined at this level.
not more than two grams of saturated fat.
Third, an important part of education is learning to make good
Soda and junk food will be replaced with more-nutritious alterna-
choices. An across-the-board junk-food ban does not teach young
tives. You will still have choices, but instead of candy or chips, you
people how to make healthy choices; it simply removes some of
may have to decide between an apple or carrot sticks.
It has always been the role of government to help solve problems,
Fourth, improving what we teach about nutrition and requiring
including and especially health crises. Obesity is a health epidemic
more physical activity are better ways to approach obesity than
across our country, and we have a responsibility as a government
imposing statewide junk-food bans.
and a society to do all we can to promote good nutrition and healthy
eating so we can reverse this alarming trend. —Richard J. Codey
Wolfram Mathworld—is the web’s most extensive mathematical resource , provided as a free service to the world’s mathematics and internet communities as part of a commitment to education and educational outreach by Wolfram Research, makers of Mathematica. mathworld.wolfram.com
Weather Underground —
Would you like to know what the weather was like the day you were born? Find out using Weather Underground. This site is committed to delivering the most reliable, accurate weather information as possible! wunderground.com
Edsitement— offers a treasure
trove for teachers, students, and parents searching for highquality material on the Internet in the subject areas of literature and language arts, foreign languages, art and culture, and history and social studies. wunderground.com
Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Teachers 1 Mark less, mark better. If there’s one thing destined to chew up your precious time it’s marking. The dilemma: kids need it for feedback, but it’s a killer. The simple solution? Mark less frequently, but when you do, mark closely. Don’t write essays; write as little as possible - if that (as Chile Palmer would say). 2 Shout less, raise your voice. Shouting is almost always a mug’s game. You look like you’ve lost it, and you have. Only shout if someone is about to fall through a window, or if the whole class is so loud you can’t be heard. Raised is good, though; raised is still under your control. 3 Don’t sweat the small stuff. This is hard, but it’s gold dust. Try not to get upset by things at school so much, because in almost all cases, what upsets us isn’t worth getting upset over. Or if it is, it’s almost certainly not productive or useful to be upset. Care less, young Jedi, care less. There are plenty of important things to care about. You can’t care for them all. Most of the things we invest emotional time in, are simply not worth it. Like when a kid snaps at you, or a class doesn’t behave so well . Don’t get upset. Do something about it next time. 4 Just say NO. There are a million irritations of your job that were definitely not included in the adverts when you applied. Many of these will be pointless jobs that have been lumbered upon you by well-meaning but often quite desperate people. While we can feel sorry for these people, feel sorry for yourself more. If someone asks you to do something, before you simply jump in boots first, ask yourself who is really being served by your involvement. If it’s just to service another pointless task, then claim - correctly- that you’d love to help but you’re too busy. You will be amazed by the feeling of power it gives you. 5 Relearn what you teach. We get so wrapped up in the mechanical process of our jobs, that we forget the reason we decided to teach what we do. If you’re an English teacher, how long has it been since you read something challenging, seen a good play, written a poem? If Art, do you create, or merely comment? What inspired you towards some level of mastery of your subject? Find that heart again, somewhere. Bring it back into your life, and then, into the classroom. 6 Reboot your classroom. Walk in, day one, and imagine you were seeing the class for the very first time. What would you think of how they behave, of their routines, of how they speak to each other and you? Then do something about it. It’s amazing how our own expectations often wither over time. What would you tell yourself if you observed your own lesson, your own style? Be harsh with yourself. Do something about it. 7 Reboot your ground rules. Maybe you’ve already told your class what you expect from them. Tell them again, clearly, in a written or verbal form. Set your stall out again, and remind them why it’s important. But don’t invite debate about it, because it’s not a discussion. It’s repeating the rules of the game. No rules, no game. 8 Go Off-Ofsted. Don’t be afraid to teach in whatever way that works. You will receive many maxims about teaching and learning that are apparently set in stone. They are not. What works is what works for YOU and your class. If you want to dispense with a three part lesson then do so, if you have something better with which to replace it. If your class doesn’t like group work, or you can’t get them to profit by doing so, then change. Fact sheets and worksheets? Why not, in the right circumstances. Teach as the inspectors demand when the inspectors are in. Otherwise, be a teacher and do what’s best for the kids. 9 Don’t beat yourself up. Too many of us blame ourselves for things beyond our control. Well, may it be granted to us the strength to tolerate what we can’t change. If the class misbehave, then it’s their fault, not yours, so don’t think, ‘Gosh, what an awful teacher I must be’. They didn’t misbehave because you’re rotten; they chose to do so. Of course, what you do next is your responsibility, but don’t conflate that with the moral responsibility for poor behavior. 10 Get busy living. Teaching is a difficult, stressful job. It is also one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, and far more varied, entertaining and nourishing than many jobs in the commercial world. So if you’ve decided to teach, then BE a teacher. Don’t half be a teacher. Don’t be wishy-washy about what your role is; don’t pretend that you’re no good, or that the job sucks, that you can get by doing the bare minimum. Throw yourself into your job like it’s a vocation, because it is. It’s a huge responsibility to be a link in the chain of a child’s life. Take that responsibility seriously, or don’t take it at all.
Written by: Tom Bennett