Does Competition Have a Place in the Classroom?

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Tis the season of the testing, falalala la la la laaaa. (yes, sing it to the tune). Let’s face it, testing is real. We can all sit on our high horses and say what we want about state testing, common core testing, or whatever brand of testing you happen to give… but it is a fact of life. With testing comes a certain sense of competition. The question, however, is whether or not competition has a place in the classroom. Continue reading

Writing… as punishment… really?

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In all my years of teaching, I have seen a wide variety of disciplinary strategies. I have even been a part of some that, looking back, were probably not the best way to deal with things. As one grows as an educator, one learns. We can only hope that what we learn is what is best for kids.  Continue reading

Using “Fakebook” to teach Point of View

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So, a few months ago I stumbled upon Fakebook. Fakebook is a tool put out by classtools.net that allows students to create what looks a lot like a Facebook page.

I used this while the class read The Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan. I assigned one of the three major characters to each student, and they were tasked with creating a Fakebook page for their assigned character. Continue reading

Kahoot! Your Classroom! A Great Way to Engage Your Students

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Get Kahoot! It’s a game… no, wait, it’s a learning tool… yep, it’s both! We were introduced to the greatness of Kahoot! at the Mississippi Educational Computer Association (MECA) conference last year. Instantly, we saw the benefits. It has completely changed the way we review topics in class.

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Classroom Clickers… still viable?

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Classroom clickers. For years, we have had them in our classrooms. It seems that they were all the rage in classrooms. Tech conferences were filled with presenters and vendors showing off clickers. We recently presented at the Alabama Educational Technology Conference. Looking back on the experience  Continue reading

Does Student Collaboration Really Matter?

You can go to just about any venue where educators come together, and hear umpteen (yes, that really is a word) strategies to use in the classroom. You will hear catchphrase after catchphrase, all claiming to be the be all end all fountain of knowledge, the bringer of prosperity to all students. Ok, that may be a wee bit extreme, but you know what I am talking about.

Teacher conventions are filled with people like those described above. People who say this ONE thing, be it strategy, app, program, or whatever, will do more for kids than any other. The fact of the matter is that no one thing does that, it is how one implements that one thing that makes a difference.

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Using Movie Clips in the Classroom

Many teachers struggle to find ways to engage their students. They often struggle to get them under control so they can get their lesson started. Too often, a great deal of valuable time is lost in doing this.

When asked, many say it is ‘just a rowdy bunch’ or “a rough group of kids’. This may rub some of you the wrong way, but the fact is, if you struggle for that long to get them involved, it’s the way you are trying to engage them that is the problem.

This is not to say you are at fault, just that you haven’t found the magic bullet yet for each class. Obviously, groups of kids can be very different, and no one thing works for everyone. However, one thing I have found that consistently works to get kids involved and on task immediately is using movie clips.

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