Little Schoolhouse on the Prairie

The Pedagogy of a Rural Educator


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30 Day Blogging Challenge – Day 30: Dauntless!

What would you do (as a teacher) if you weren’t afraid?

Keep teaching.

Teaching is hard. Teaching is frustrating. Teaching is scary. I mean, really scary.

Teachers are responsible for helping students become productive members of society. Teachers are responsible for preparing the next generation of doctors, lawyers, engineers, and you can’t forget, TEACHERS!

If I don’t do my job well, I am putting the future of our nation and our world at risk.

Scary, right?

However, thousands of teachers face that fear every day. They do it because they want to make a difference in the nation and in the world.

They love knowing that their students will grow to be productive members of society. They will become the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Jane Goodall.

Teaching is rewarding. Teaching is amazing. Teaching is awesome. I mean, really awesome!

Keep teaching.

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30 Day Blogging Challenge – Day 28: Technology

Should technology drive curriculum, or vice versa?

Education-Quote

As a science teacher, my answer to this questions isn’t black & white, yes or no. I feel like we need to use technology to teach our curriculum, but we should also teach about technology. When it comes to technology, I like to follow these three principles:

1. Build curriculum and use technology to enhance the material.

2. Apply curriculum through the use of technology when appropriate.

3. Teach students the proper uses of new technology that can be used and applied to everyday living.

I believe if you follow these, the use of technology in the classroom will be appropriate and effective.


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30 Day Blogging Challenge – Day 27: Weekends & Holidays

What role do weekends and holidays play in your teaching?

A cup of coffee, the Today Show, 2 dogs and 1 cat on (or next to) my lap. I LOVE holidays! Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and my birthday (funny how that worked out)! Holidays and weekends are incredibly important in teaching.

First, they give me time to relax and rejuvenate, which is super important after working an average of 55-60 hours a week! Second, I typically use weekends and holidays to plan lessons, grade papers, set-up experiments, and do a little professional development. Without this time to plan and grade, I’d never get it done. In a typical day at school I don’t have time to grade papers or plan lessons. Finally, I spend time with my hubby and friends. In my first few years of teaching, I found it very easy to spend 8 hours on a Saturday just doing school stuff. I soon found out that I need to set aside time for myself, family, and friends. Without that time, its easy to get sucked into a world that only includes work.

So, here is my advice for new teachers: make time for yourself. You’ll be happier which will make you a better teacher in the long-run!!


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30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 26 – Websites

What are your three favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?

Quick post this time:

1. http://www.nclark.net/ For science teachers! She has resources for chemistry and biology from tons of different sites. Just overall a great catalog of science teaching resources!

2. http://youtube.com  This is an obvious one, but youtube really has great content. I’ve started doing short videos to start each class. Some great channels include: CrashCourse, AsapSCIENCE, and The Slow Mo Guys.

3. https://www.superteachertools.net/ If you are looking for a new way to review, this site provides templates for games like Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, as well as tools like a random name generator and seating chart maker!

Enjoy!!


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30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 25 – Student Collaboration

The ideal collaboration between students–what would it look like?  

Not this!! I love having students collaborate on assignments, projects, and other classroom activities. I have had many questions like, “can we work together on this?”. My answer is always yes (unless its an assessment, then its sometimes yes)! However, its sometimes a challenge to define “work together”. There are three things I say equal good collaboration:

1. All students are involved. No-one is a by-stander, just allowing the others to complete the work and copying answers.

2. All ideas are valuable. Everyone in the group has the opportunity to share their ideas and have them heard.

3. Communication is essential and multi-faceted. There is not just one way that students communicate, so we should not limit them to just one.

Although these seem to be three things that should always be present in a classroom, everyone that has ever done a group project in a class knows that they are not always true!

As a teacher, we have to teach our students how to do this. It isn’t natural for them, and many have been conditioned to play their role and never strive to change that. It has to be a conscious effort to work to change the pre-set ideas of students about group work and collaboration.


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30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 4 – Love of Teaching

The topic presented by @TeachThought for Day 4 was: What do you love the most about teaching?

This question always makes me really think for a second. I know there is one expected answer, but I also know what my real answer is. Sometimes, I feel like a bad person, because I don’t always just answer the way a teacher is supposed to. However, I just really feel like the right answer isn’t always right for me!

Ok, I really hope you are thinking, “Just tell me what you are thinking of!” If you are thinking that, I accomplished my goal. I was trying to use one of Dave Burgess’s hooks – The Teaser Hook. Its where you present the information in a way that just gets students (or readers) to keep listening (or reading) just to figure out the ending. 

Now I’ll keep going with my discussion of the answer to the question, “What do you love most about teaching?” Most teachers will say, “the students”. That’s the right answer, the expected answer, what teachers are supposed to say. However, I can’t agree with that. While I do love my students, and make deep connections with them, I don’t think that’s why I come to work every day. Honestly, the thing I love most about my job, about teaching, is knowing that I’m getting to share my content with those students. If my job were to purely just “hang-out” with these kids all day, I don’t know how much I would enjoy it. Now, I can’t say that there aren’t days where I wish I would just sit and chat with them all class, but I wouldn’t want to do it all day, every day. Without my content, I don’t feel like I’m contributing to the lives of my students, the community I live in, and the world! With my content, I feel like I can change my students’ lives, create citizens of a community that are able to problem solve and think critically, and maybe even motivate the next Einstein to change the world. 

I LOVE sharing my love of science with students. The students themselves are great, and wonderful, and motivating, and the whole reason I have a job. But science is why I get up every morning. I want to share science. Through my content, I feel like I can do so much, and that’s what I really love.

What do you love about teaching? Comment below!


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30 Day Blogging Challenge

Yesterday, I was enjoying my long weekend by pursing twitter. and actually reading some posts! I love using twitter to connect with other teachers, and often find some wonderful resources! Unfortunately, I don’t usually have much time to read a lot of the articles, blog posts, and other great things that have been tweeted. While actually reading this weekend, I came across a post by Amanda Meyer (@AlynnMeyer) about the 30-Day Blogging Challenge from @TeachThought. As a part of their movement towards teachers becoming more reflective, they have come up with 30 days of blogging topics for any teacher to use as a way to practice reflective teaching. To read more, visit http://www.teachthought.com/teaching/reflective-teaching-30-day-blogging-challenge-teachers/. To see Amanda’s Day 1 post, visit http://disciplinedrebellion.blogspot.com/2014/09/my-anti-smart-goals-for-year.html.

Here is a list of the topics I will be covering for the next 30 Days! Please come back often to see my progress!!

Reflective Teaching Questions: A 30-Day Blogging Challenge For Teachers

Day 1

Write your goals for the school year. Be as specific or abstract as you’d like to be!

Day 2

Write about one piece of technology that you would like to try this year, and why. You might also write about what you’re hoping to see out of this edtech integration.

Day 3

Discuss one “observation” area that you would like to improve on for your teacher evaluation.

Day 4

Respond: What do you love the most about teaching?

Day 5

Post a picture of your classroom, and describe what you see–and what you don’t see that you’d like to.

Day 6

Explain: What does a good mentor “do”?

Day 7

Who was or is your most inspirational colleague, and why?

Day 8

What’s in your desk drawer, and what can you infer from those contents?

Day 9

Write about one of your biggest accomplishments in your teaching that no one knows about (or may not care).

Day 10

Share five random facts about yourself.

Share four things from your bucket list.

Share three things that you hope for this year, as a “person” or an educator.

Share two things that have made you laugh or cry as an educator.

Share one thing you wish more people knew about you.

Day 11

What is your favorite part of the school day and why?

Day 12

How do you envision your teaching changing over the next five years?

Day 13

Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rank them in terms of their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

Day 14

What is feedback for learning, and how well do you give it to students?

Day 15

Name three strengths you have as an educator.

Day 16

If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?

Day 17

What do you think is the most challenging issue in education today?

Day 18

Create a metaphor/simile/analogy that describes your teaching philosophy. For example, a “teacher is a ________…”

Day 19

Name three powerful students can reflect on their learning, then discuss closely the one you use most often.

Day 20

How do you curate student work–or help them do it themselves?

Day 21

Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain.

Day 22

What does your PLN look like, and what does it to for your teaching?

Day 23

Write about one way that you “meaningfully” involve the community in the learning in your classroom. If you don’t yet do so, discuss one way you could get started.

Day 24

Which learning trend captures your attention the most, and why? (Mobile learning, project-based learning, game-based learning, etc.)

Day 25

The ideal collaboration between students–what would it look like?

Day 26

What are your three favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?

Day 27

What role do weekends and holidays play in your teaching?

Day 28

Respond: Should technology drive curriculum, or vice versa?

Day 29

How have you changed as an educator since you first started?

Day 30

What would you do (as a teacher) if you weren’t afraid?

As I go though the month, I will return to this page and link my posts so they are easy to find! Enjoy!