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Although the best way to adapt a lesson for your students who are less proficient at mastering material quickly is to respond to them as individuals, sometimes you may find that several students are experiencing difficulties. In the following list, you will find some ways to adapt lessons so that all of your students can be successful.

  • Vary the learning modalities in a lesson that will make it easier for all students to learn and use their preferred learning styles.
  • Provide more examples, models, and demonstrations.
  • Build on students’ prior knowledge.
  • Build students’ self-confidence by encouraging their efforts as well as their achievements.
  • Allow students to work with peers in mixed-ability groups.
  • Supply students with support materials such as word banks, graphic organizers,  technology practice, and outlines.
  • Give more time to complete an assignment.

Helping struggling students in a variety of ways will guide them on the road to success and make your classroom a fun and interesting learning environment for everyone.

Adapted from The First-Year Teacher’s Checklist: A Quick Reference for Classroom Success by Julia G. Thompson

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You’ve survived the craziness of the holidays and have had some time to relax. It’s a new year and with it comes new hopes, new dreams, and new possibilities.

As you reflect on your experiences so far this school year, are there things you would like to change? While all teachers can adjust their instruction, management, and teaching style at any point during the year, the beginning of a new year is always a great time to do this.

Take a few minutes to consider these tips to help you start 2018 as an even more effective and confident teacher:

  • Focus on curriculum development and teaching strategies using your newfound confidence and energy.
  • Try something new with your students and talk about the results with other teachers, even if it didn’t work out the way you had expected it to.  Now that you have made it through some difficult times, you have valuable experience to share.
  • Expand your professional network to include new and experienced teachers. Pooling ideas from multiple sources gives you many more ideas.
  • Go back and examine your vision of successful teaching.  Honestly evaluate your teaching efforts from the beginning of the school year to see how far you have come as an educator.

These questions can help you recognize your successes and determine your future actions:

  • What worked?
  • What didn't work?
  • What’s next?

Make the new year a fresh start in your classroom for you and your students.

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Handling Frustration Around The Holidays

Below you will find a few ideas to help decrease the stress that is creating a negative impact on your health. It is important to find ways to cope and empower yourself to face the stress of the holidays.

  • Acknowledge your feelings
  • Reach out
  • Be realistic
  • Take a breather
  • Seek professional help if you need it
  • Learn to say no
  • Don't abandon healthy habits
  • Set aside differences
  • Stick to a budget
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How Do I Spend My Legislative Money?
Have you ever wondered what is best to buy with your legislative money?

Rules Regarding the Use of Legislative Money

  1. The money should be spent PRIMARILY on consumables that you cannot purchase through the district warehouse, or that you wish to buy above and beyond what other funding allows
  2. Non-consumable items you purchase will follow you through the school district.  However, if you pool your money and purchase items with a colleague or team, the items should stay at the school where they were purchased.
  3. If you leave the school district, any items purchased with legislative money will remain at the school you leave.  Remember, this is only if you leave the district.
  4. Be sure to turn in receipts ONLY for the total amount you are given.  Anything spent over that total amount belongs to you and can go with you if you move districts.
  5. It can be helpful to write "purchased with legislative funds" or "purchased with personal money" on non-consumable items you buy.
  6. Check with your secretary for the final due date and protocol for submitting receipts,  as procedures will vary by school.

Purchasing Ideas

markers giant sticky notes
colored pencils dry erase markers
glue vis-a-vis makers
scissors mini white boards
crayons class sets of approved books
organization tubs books for classroom library
candy (for incentives and rewards/activities) picture books for teaching
pens bookshelves
pencils wire baskets
class sets of highlighters technology tools
post-it notes paper
jump drives notepads
classroom posters teacher guides
dry erase paper workbooks
rubber bands stapler
3 ring binders electric pencil sharpener
3 x 5 note cards 3-hole punch
classroom set of calculators storage crates
binder clips name badges
push pins awards

 

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Jordan Family Education Center
Located at River’s Edge School
319 West 11000 SouthSouth Jordan, UT 84095
801-565-7442

The Jordan Family Education Center provides support services and classes for families and students in Jordan School District. These services are provided by the District’s school psychologists, counselors, and school psychology interns.  The center offers classes and short-term counseling on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. There are three-quarters packed full of interesting classes and support groups covering a variety of topics like parenting skills, dealing with adolescence, attention deficit, anger, anxiety, autism, blended families and much more.

For information about classes and counseling, call 801-565-7442. These services are available to families at no cost as a service of the District.

In addition to Jordan School District services, listed below are several other resources for families and caregivers in Utah.

Parents, guardians, and caregivers play a vital role in student success. Parents face similar issues from helping a beginning reader to applying for college financial aid. The resources listed here provide great ideas for building the home-school partnership.

http://www.uen.org/parents/

http://healthservices.jordandistrict.org/

http://www.utahparentcenter.org/

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Why should teachers have students practice routines? If you have ever had the chance to observe kindergarten, especially at the beginning of the year, you may see a lot of repetition of directions. Kindergarten teachers know that their students need to  practice basic skills a lot: sitting in their seats, moving to the carpet, raising their hands to talk, sharpening pencils, lining up... you name it. Kindergarten teachers are pros at establishing routines.

Routines should be established and built in all levels of teaching. It is important for teachers to set these expectations and practice them with their students, even with older grades and students in secondary schools.

In this TED Talk, How To Use A Paper Towel, Joe Smith teaches adults how to help the environment by using paper towels more effectively. Watch the video and see what techniques he uses to help his audience remember the directions.

When we give directions, we should try to follow these basic ideas:

  1. Get the student's attention and make sure you have it!
  2. Give clear, positive directions with high expectations.
  3. Limit the number of directions and steps to the directions. 
  4. Vary the way directions are given (teacher modeled, student modeled, using phrases like, "When I say go...", students repeating directions). 
  5. Be consistent and follow through.
  6. Give students time to process.
  7. Repeat directions if needed.

If you find you are struggling to have students follow directions or they struggle to do routine tasks, try using some of these ideas to help your students remember the routines and procedures for your classroom. It is never to late to polish up routines and procedures to help students be successful!

 

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During their first year, new teachers experience some extreme phases of teaching. According to the New Teacher Center, teachers experience five phases.

This time of year, our new teachers may discover the disillusionment phase. They begin to realize the amount of time teaching takes, their management and planning may not be going the way they had envisioned, and they might question why they became a teacher in the first place. As a mentor or colleague, you may witness your provisional educator "express self-doubt, have lower self-esteem, and question their professional commitment" (New Teacher Center, 2017).

Disillusionment

Our department recently worked with lead mentors in Jordan District to illustrate the phases and share strategies to help teachers through them. Mentors and colleagues can provide emotional support for their teachers by genuinely listening to them, encouraging them, giving positive feedback and helping them with perspective.

Instructionally, mentors can help plan lessons, observe their teaching and model lesson ideas for them, and help provide ideas to help with management challenges.

Mentors can also help new educators with logistical items, such as making copies, offering advice on parent teacher conferences or evaluations, assisting them with grading, and finding books or materials that will help them with areas the new teacher is concerned with.

If we can support our new educators through the disillusionment phase, we have a better chance of retaining them. As mentors look to support their new teachers and provide the emotional, instructional and logistical support they need through the phases, they can make a huge difference for new teachers.

Resources:
New Teacher Center. (2017). From surviving to thriving: the phases of first-year teaching. 

Mentor Training New Teacher Phases document

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2010

Doug Lemov calls his strategies techniques. He believes that a technique is an action, the more you practice the better you get.  “My task has not been to invent the tools but to describe how others use them and what makes them work. This has meant putting the names on the techniques in the interest of helping to create a common vocabulary with which to analyze and discuss the classroom.”

Chapter 2 describes seven techniques. Three of them are; Begin with the End, Shortest Path, and draw the Map.

The technique, ‘Begin with the End’, or as we promote in JSD (JPAS indicator 25), “What will my students understand today?” (page 58), specifically tells students what they should know by the end of the lesson.

The Shortest Path is about taking the shortest path to your goal or in JSD one method is I/We/You. “Use what the data tell you works best, but when in doubt rely on proven direct, trustworthy methods…. criterion is the mastery of the objective and what gets you there best and fastest” (page 65).

Draw the map is about effective planning of student participation during a lesson. This includes the arrangement of student desks, interactions with students during the lesson and positive student participation. In JSD this technique on the JPAS is called Engagement. “It might be that a teacher wants students facing each other only for some lessons…interaction for only a part of a lesson…without structuring the classroom so that some students always have their backs to the teacher” (pages 67-68).

 

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Lemov – 2010

Teach Like a Champion

People, in general, sometimes think that managing students comes naturally to teachers. That opinion can change for the better or worse when parents volunteer in their child’s classroom. When teachers teach like a champion, they garner love and respect from their students and parents. As Jordan District mentors, we want to encourage all teachers to learn how to teach like a “champion.”

Our district motto is “Every Child, Every Day!”

Several times this year we will post ideas from the book, Teach Like a Champion, 2010 by Doug Lemov, that provides educators with ideas on how to improve their management skills.

The first chapter begins with teaching strategies (techniques) that set high academic expectations. The techniques in this chapter include No Opt Out, Right is Right, Stretch It, Format Matters, and Without Apology.

“No Opt Out” teaches students that their teacher cares enough to help them learn the right answer and that saying “I don’t know” doesn’t give them a pass to not learn what the answer is.

Doug Lemov reflects on advice he received from his mentor, “When you want them to follow your directions, stand still. If you’re walking around passing out papers, it looks like the directions are no more important than all of the other things you’re doing. Show that your directions matter. Stand still. They’ll respond.”  This is an example of “Format Matters”.

 

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Some thoughts about the first days of school:

  • 1st day of school will make or break a teacher
  • Effective teachers manage the classroom more than discipline the classroom
  •  Establish a well-managed classroom
    • Students deeply involved with their work
    • Students know expectations
    • Students are generally successful
    • Little wasted time, confusion, or disruptions
    • Climate of class is task-oriented but relaxed and pleasant
    • You as the teacher will be happier
  • Main problem in classroom is lack of procedures & routines
    • Explain, rehearse, reinforce
    • Effective teachers spend time rehearsing routines
  • Design a Successful Start
    • Have room ready--be at the door and smile
    • You have assigned seats—Project on screen
    • 1st assignment on the board—short, interesting, easy
    • Have students start work immediately
    • If student enters room inappropriately, have the student return to door and enter again appropriately
    • Learn students’ names
  • Plan Routines and Procedures
    • Have room ready
    • You are at the door
    • You have assigned seats—Project on screen
    • 1st assignment on the board—short, interesting, easy
    • Students start work immediately
    • If student enters room inappropriate, have student return to door and enter again appropriately
  • Classroom Management Plan
    • 3-5 measurable, specific, positive rules
    • Examples: a compliance rule, a preparation rule, a talking rule, a classroom behavior rule
    • Plan appropriate rewards; have a hierarchy of consequences
  • Be Professional 
  • Adhere to contract hours
  • Dress professionally
  • Computer belongs to school; do not use inappropriately
  • Start Student Learning on Day One
    • Make sure students understand this is a learning environment   
    • Go through routines, rules, and procedures
    • Go over “I Can” statement (objective) every day
  • Curriculum Map/Lesson Plan
  • Develop a yearlong curriculum map based on core standards
  • Develop lesson plans that navigate through the class and reflect on map                    
  • Take Care of Yourself
  • Take care of your heath; better to prevent than to treat
  • Know how to call for a substitute
  • Develop an emergency substitute plan and leave on desk every night
  • A happy teacher smiles more and makes better choices

 

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