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Dr. Barbara Sweet @bsweet321

Dr. Barbara Sweet @bsweet321

Teacher, Speaker, and Author of Teaching in a Chromebook Classroom. Dr. Sweet has a Doctorate in Educational Technology and e-Learning. Her research includes: Screencasting Feedback in Online Learning. She has experience teaching every grade PK-12th grade. She is passionate about educational technology.

Posted by on in Education Leadership

 Coloring

A teacher's day is full of a lot of stress. We're responsible for the well-being of 30 or more students. We have to inspire, guide, and nourish young minds. We have administrative duties and responsabilities. There's also the grading and constant monitoring of student progress. At times you will feel as though you can't keep going, that you need a break. A surprisingly simple strategy is coloring. 

Adult coloring has become a popular activity. Many book stores offer a section specific to adult coloring books. The designs of adult coloring books are more intricate and detailed. These books tend to have a lot geometric shapes and elements. You can use color pencils, crayons, markers, whatever you enjoy the most. Some books are even specifically designed so that you can rip-off the pages and then frame them.

As a teacher, your classroom probably already has the coloring supplies you need. You'll probably just need to keep a coloring book or some coloring pages in your desk drawer. 

I've attended school meetings where we were asked to color. At first I was a little confused by my administrator's choice of activity, but I eventually realized that it got all of us to relax and focus on something other than our problems. We were jokingly fighting over the crayons, comparing our masterpieces, and laughing. 

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

You

Have you stopped to think about how students perceive not only what and how we say things in the classroom, but also our body language? There are cultural expectations and misunderstandings that can occur. Additionally, our body language can misinterpret our intentions and create obstacles to their success in our classes. 

I recently spoke with a student who was upset that one of his teacher’s was very rude to him. Of course, I asked him what had happened. He said that his teacher snaps his fingers at him to get him to focus and do his work. He found the teacher’s behavior to be unacceptable. As we talked, he told me that at home he had been taught that you only snap your fingers when you call a dog. It is not used with people. If you snap your fingers at a person, that is seen as being highly disrespectful.

This made me think. I wonder how many other nonverbal cues we give students that are misinterpreted. If you point to a student, will he feel disrespected? If you stand too close to a student in order to talk, will that student feel uncomfortable? Of course, this varies by student and situation, but it’s a good reminder. As teachers we are being observed and judged by our students every day. We need to ensure that our students are getting the correct messages from us and that we quickly address any misunderstandings.

 

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

 Rapport refers to the connection we create with other human beings. In education, developing rapport with our students is one of the most important parts of our job. Some of our students walk into the classroom not understanding themselves or believing in themselves. While they might not verbally say so, all of them want to be acknowledged and feel that they are special to us.

We have all have busy schedules. The expectations of a teacher are now higher than ever. How do we develop rapport with our students? 

Here's a few suggestions:

1. Learn their names. This can be challenging if you have a lot of students, but no one likes to be called "hey, kid".

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

 

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It’s easy for a person to see the world through their own eyes, but to be able to evaluate the world from a different perspective, allows them to better understand the world. Being able to analyze different perspectives is an important critical thinking skill.

 

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Posted by on in Education Technology

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Instructional Technologists and TOSA’s often hear “I want to include technology in my lesson, but I don’t know how to?” It starts with constructing meaning. Think about teaching as being the general contractor at a work site. You have a series of employees that you want to help you build something, let’s say a building.

  1. What is it that you want to teach? Check for prior or background knowledge. Make sure the foundation of your building is solid before you start construction.
  2. How would you normally introduce that topic? Look at the blueprint (lesson plan) that you have used in the past.
  3. What do you want the students to know and or do at the end of the lesson? How should your building look like at the end?
  4. Find the tech tools to match those needs. You don’t need a chipping hammer to nail wood. If you don’t know which tools to use, Google it, YouTube it, check with your PLN and teacher friends.
  5. Remember that it’s not about just using technology, but it using it to further the students’ understanding of your subject area. Could you have shown the students a building and told them how it was made? Yes, but would it have the same impact on their learning?
  6. Add layers to your lesson. Your building will needs various floors, windows, kitchens, doors, etc. The more times you address one topic in different ways, the more likely all students will learn and retain the information. When you only address it once, you are likely to choose an activity that plays to your personal learning style, but how about all the other learning styles in the room?
  7. Innovate. Don’t just tell students, let them explore the topic for themselves. Let them create and invent a new solution to the problem. Let them get their hands dirty and learn from trial and error.
  8. Make real-world connections. Use the internet to reach out to professionals in the field that you are learning about.
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