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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

Engaging students in vocabulary review is challenging. Here is a strategy for using digital breakouts to make vocabulary review fun and challenging. 

Step One: Build a Quizlet deck.

Quizlet is a great tool for making vocabulary flash cards. The Quizlet Live feature is another fun way to review vocabulary with students. 

Step Two: Click on "Test."

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

“Variety’s the very spice of life

That gives it all its flavour.”  

(Source: The Task (1785), Book II, “The Timepiece” William Cowper 1731-1800)

Most people like variety; it keeps life interesting. Unfortunately, few people associate typical schools or classrooms with variety. Indeed, it is the routinization of patterns and behaviors that makes most classrooms run like well-oiled machines. In addition, no matter how artfully decorated, the classroom space many students experience on a daily basis at school is the same from day to day. The unvarying nature of the classroom–and worse yet, a sterile learning context–is an obstacle to imaginative and emotional engagement. Simply put: taken-for-granted, routinized contexts extinguish the imagination.

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

Other teachers have been encouraging me to use Socrative for awhile now, but until recently I just didn't care to try it out. I'm not against using tech in the classroom; it can make things a lot easier. I just didn't want to have to learn yet another educational technology.

And Socrative is intimidating. Students use their own smartphones to navigate the program, so that's a lot of small screens to pay attention to. There are teacher accounts and student accounts. There are a few different ways to do things, but that means more decisions you have to make. In short, it has the appearance of that kind of tech that isn't worth the time to learn. That was my first impression of it.

But I was wrong. Socrative is easy, useful, and even fun.

How Kris met Socrative

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

Engage Their Inner Rebel.

Adolescence contains the makings of a perfect storm. At a time when young people are establishing a sense of self and getting a grasp on how the world works, they also have limited freedom. There are rules. Everywhere. They have “written” and “unwritten” rules to follow at school, at home, in society at large. Navigating these rules is a large part of growing up—and many young people rebel as part of a healthy development process.

The storm clouds are building at my place. My eldest daughter will soon be a teenager. While I’m very eager to see where these years will take her, I’m also slightly apprehensive about what’s coming.

Should I run for the hills? Install deadbolts on the doors? Sign up for some extra therapy sessions? 

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

Have you fallen out of love?

I know that title is a little corny but, if you are in a place right now where you are having to drag yourself out of bed and into your classroom, you need to keep reading.

How Did This Happen?

You might be wondering how you got to this place. When you first started your career you were passionate, energetic, couldn't wait to change the world through education. You spoke up in meetings, shared inspirational quotes about learning and student achievement on social media, and wanted to make a difference.

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