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:
- Get the student's attention and make sure you have it!
- Give clear, positive directions with high expectations.
- Limit the number of directions and steps to the directions.
- Vary the way directions are given (teacher modeled, student modeled, using phrases like, "When I say go...", students repeating directions).
- Be consistent and follow through.
- Give students time to process.
- 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!
The school year is winding down, summer is highly anticipated, and educators are experiencing reflection and
desiring rejuvenation. Here are a few suggestions to make this process purposeful and successful.
- What was meaningful for you this past year? Did something make you happy, or satisfied? Look back in your planning book or journal and decide what you want to keep or enhance.
- What enthused students the most? When were they the most creative or successful?
- What did you do to make a difference in students lives? Look at thank you notes written by parents, colleagues, principals and especially students to validate your efforts. How can you continue to make a unique difference in the lives of your students? (Keep a yearly file of special notes given to you, this becomes a “happy place.”)
- Take care of your body through purposeful diet and exercise, and get restful sleep. Teaching is a physically demanding occupation, taking care of your physical self is crucial.
- Your mental and emotional self needs down-time too. There are several things that can help you destress such as yoga, meditation, and the outdoors. Do what works for you.
- Refocus on the positives of the job to create anticipation for the upcoming year, this will help you come backrenewed and refreshed.
Knight, S., EdD. (2017). The Heart of a Teacher:6 Ways to Refresh, Refocus and Rejuvenate [Web log post]. Retrieved May 9, 2019, from https://www.gcu.edu
Zakerzewski, V., Ph.D. (2012). Take This Job and.... Retrieved May 9, 2019, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/take_this_job_and
When provisional teachers obtain their Level 2 license, many ask a similar question. “I have my Level 2, now what should I do?” As lifelong learners, it is important to continue seeking opportunities to grow.
There are various ways to continue learning once you have upgraded to a professional license. Here are some ideas:
Endorsements: Jordan District offers many endorsement opportunities such as: ESL, Reading, Math, Technology, Gifted and Talented. In addition to providing new skills and strategies to use in your classroom, credits earned from endorsement classes can be used to increase your step on the pay scale! Also, some endorsement credit hours can be used towards a Master’s Degree at local universities.
Mentor Training: Have you felt a desire to help new teachers? Our district provides mentor training every year to help teachers be prepared to help mentor new teachers to our buildings. These classes are typically offered in the fall, and you can register on JPLS. Mentoring is a great way to build relationships with other teachers, as well as provide yourself opportunities to reflect. If your administrator assigns you to mentor a provisional teacher, you will be paid for your services!
National Board Certification: Have you wanted to push your teaching to a new level? National Board Certification is a rigorous program that helps you reflect on your teaching practice and pushes you toward recognizing how your efforts impact student learning. Through writing, video, and reflection, you spend one to three years working to earn this honor. The district also provides a stipend to National Board Teachers of $2400 a year, and you can apply for an extra stipend with the state office if you are a classroom teacher. To learn more about the process, check out their website: https://www.nbpts.org/
Fellowships and Leadership Opportunities: There are groups that provide leadership opportunities and chances to advocate for teachers on a state or national level. UT Teacher Fellows is one group that works to build relationships with stakeholders and helps collect information from teachers on issues impacting our state for USBE. They accept new applications every two years (and are currently accepting applications right now). To learn more about this program, check out their site: https://hopestreetgroup.org/teacher-fellows/utteacherfellows/
We have made it to Spring Break! We hope that you take time to relax and enjoy your time off from work. Here are some fun ideas of things to do or places to visit that might help you to rejuvenate:
Go walking in a park
Go on a hike
Take a bicycle ride
Visit a museum
Take a nap
Visit a library & check out a book for fun
Invite guests for the first BBQ of the season
Prep the soil for your flowers/garden
Check out some place new such as the following:
- Museum of Natural Curiosity
- The Leonardo
- The Aquarium
- Tracy Aviary
- Clark Planetarium
- Red Butte Garden
A few tips…
- Remember that you are a role model and that your actions speak louder than your words.
- Be an excellent classroom manager.
- Treat all students with dignity and know how to diffuse almost any situation.
- Teach enthusiastically even when you don’t feel like it.
- Relate all lessons to real life.
What does an effective teacher’s classroom look like?
-There is little or no down-time.
-Procedures and routines are evident and consistent.
-The teacher’s rapport with students is evident.
-The classroom is well organized.
-The teacher is well prepared for each lesson.
-The lessons relate to real life and are student-oriented.
-Transitions are smooth.
-Teacher moves around the classroom frequently.
-Incorrect responses from students are dignified by the teacher.
-Teacher models skills for students.
-The students are actively involved in all lessons.
-The atmosphere is comfortable and pleasant with lots of smiles and encouragement.
As a bonus… here are a few tricks for avoiding discipline problems:
- Greeting students daily with enthusiasm.
- Maintaining a calm, composed, professional demeanor at all times regardless of a student’s demeanor.
- Avoiding negatives whenever possible.
- Keeping students busy from bell to bell.
“We have to believe that all children are both reachable and teachable and that we, as teachers, truly can make a difference in their lives”.
Resource: Annette L. Breaux - For information on Annette’s books, go to www.eyeoneducation.com
As your Mentor Teacher Specialist meets with many of you in your schools, the subject of your teaching license is a frequent topic for conversation:
“Do I have a Level 1 or a Level 2 license?”
“Yes, I did take a Praxis test, but which one was it?”
“ Have I taken the Praxis II PLT test and were can I go to find my score?”
The answers to these questions and many more can be found by accessing an electronic personnel file called C.A.C.T.U.S., which is an acronym for "Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah Schools".
It is important for every teacher to be aware of his/her C.A.C.T.U.S. file, have access to it, and to monitor it frequently. On it you will find your degree, license, a list of in-service classes taken, teacher employment/assignment history, record of Praxis test scores, and much more.
If you haven’t registered for your account on C.A.C.T.U.S, take a few minutes to register now. It is simple and easy to do.
Once you have access to your account, monitor it regularly to be sure all information is current and accurate. If you find information that is incorrect, contact our Jordan District Human Resources to resolve it.
Teaching can be a wonderfully rewarding occupation as change and growth are observed in students. However, teaching can exact a high price if teachers suffer anxiety, exhaustion, and even depression through the school year. Instead of struggling with the ability to maintain good mental health, new teachers need to incorporate strategies which help them feel the joy of the profession rather than suffer in silence.
Here a few tips to help maintain your mental health:
- Put it in perspective. Recognize the good aspects of life and retain hope for the future.
- Get time away. If you feel the stress building, take a break. Walk away from the situation or take some deep breaths.
- Engage in activities such as physical exercise, sports, or hobbies that can relieve stress and anxiety.
- Strengthen connections with family and friends who can provide emotional support.
- Talk it out. Sometimes the best stress-reducer is simply sharing your stress with someone close to you. The act of talking it out and getting support and empathy from someone else is often an excellent way of blowing off steam and reducing stress. Have a support system of trusted people.
- Cultivate allies at work. Just knowing you have one or more co-workers who are willing to assist you in times of stress will reduce your stress level. Just remember to reciprocate and help them when they are in need.
- Find humor in the situation. When you or the people around you start taking things too seriously, find a way to break through with laughter. Share a joke or funny story.
- Have realistic expectations for yourself and those around you.
- Realize nobody is perfect. We learn from overcoming obstacles.
- Maintain a positive attitude and learn to reward yourself for little accomplishments.
If you find yourself sinking into depression or you need help with mental health issues, JSD insurance in partnership with Blomquist Hale is your professional resource. Call them for confidential and professional help. It is free of charge for you and eligible dependents.
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One of the most challenging components of teaching a quality lesson is the ability to format and ask questions. Below are listed some areas in the lesson when questions can be used to promote student learning and understanding.
WHEN TO ASK QUESTIONS
We use questions at the beginning of learning experiences:
To initiate a discussion
To pique student curiosity
To focus students on a new concept or a different aspect of a concept
To access prior knowledge and experience
To consolidate previous learning
To surface misconceptions
We use questions during and following learning experiences:
To break down complex tasks and issues
To promote transfer and retention
To control shifts in discussion
To keep discussions on track
To invite student questions
To elicit student opinions
To promote student interaction
To facilitate flexible thinking
To challenge the obvious
To check for student understanding
To help students confront their misconceptions and reframe their thinking
To focus on process
To promote student evaluation of credibility of sources and strength of evidence
To cause students to consider alternative viewpoints
To help students make connections