Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Flipped Classroom

I have been reading a great deal about the "flipped" classroom and the movement of teachers toward this use of technology. If you are not familiar, the "flipped" classroom is where the teacher delivers the lesson via video the night before. Students then have access to view that lesson the night before and then class time the next day is used for monitoring student understanding, reteaching and problem solving. Teachers are using YouTube, Moodle,and other models, such as Khan Academy, to teach their lesson the night before so students can view the lesson.

Creating student interest and motivation to watch the videos is a key concept in the "flipped" classroom. The "need to know" must be presented to students by teachers in a positive way, not in a punitive/punishment way. Finding a way for ALL kids to be able to access the video is also important. Will you require that they all watch the video? How will you make that happen? If they watch the video and master the concept immediately, what will you do the next day in class with the student? If they watch the video and don't get the concept at all, how will you address the concept in the classroom? How will you manage students that might be at very different levels of understanding?

How will you set up your classroom the next day when students walk in the classroom? They have watched the lesson and now what? What was the target of the lesson? How did the concept build on previous learning? How will they use the concept for future learning? Did they learn it? If not, what is needed to learn the concept?

Once started can you maintain using the "flipped" classroom? Will you video daily? Will you start it and then get bogged down with it and not be able to continue it? What does that mean for the students who may be more excited about using the video lessons?

Check out articles on The Teacher Guru Facebook page for more "flipped" classroom information. I am going to try a "flipped" lesson in my doctoral class this summer....I will let you know how it works!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Classroom Management

Last Friday in Georgia, the police were called to an elementary school and handcuffed a kindergartner after the girl threw a tantrum and was put in a cell at the police station for tearing items off the wall and throwing furniture in an outburst. Does this happen sometimes when a child gets out of control in the school setting? Yes it does. Are there strategies that can put into place to avoid this situation? Yes there are, but students can still get out of control for a variety of reasons.

Classroom procedures are necessary to create consistency and routine in your classroom. Students need procedures and routines for entering the classroom each morning. What are they expected to do? Enter the classroom, be ready to work by the time the bell rings. Homework ready to discuss, complete the warm up on the board, materials needed listed on the board -- teachers need to TEACH and PRACTICE this routine with students of all ages at the beginning of the year, so that each lesson begins with students ready to go. Teachers should never have to constantly tell students to get in their seats or to be quiet. Some teachers use transition music, so that when the song ends, students are in their seats ready to go-- and YES it even works for high school students. A positive, respectful class environment needs to be modeled by the teacher from the start of the school year. Greet your students by name as they are coming into class each day, making a connection with them.

Having well planned lessons and activities that engage students is another critical component of an effective learning environment. When students are actively engaged in learning, it lessens the opportunity for students to engage in disruptive behavior. Lecturing students during a complete class period is a teaching method of the past!! Students must actively display their learning, the development of their knowledge and skills. When the teacher lets students know what the expectations of each lesson will be, this gives students an understanding of what they need to be able to do by the end of the lesson. Giving the students regular feedback on their learning, keeps students involved and more motivated to learn.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Finding a Teaching Job in Hard Economic Times

In these times of the troubling economy, budget cuts, reductions of programs and increasing class sizes, it is difficult to get an interview and land a teaching job.

Make sure your resume and cover letter make you stand out-- not colors and ABC's, but will grab the reader. Highlight your experiences and talents that will benefit that district or school. Individualize that information per school so that you are connecting to the school's vision and mission. Can you coach? Do you have experiences with clubs and student activities?

Create a list of links where you can check job postings quickly. Regional offices, job banks, as well as school district websites usually provide the most updated information on positions available. Create a quick Excel spreadsheet so that you can track the application process-- when the job was posted, when the posting will close, when you submitted the application, follow up plans, etc. This will make your search more efficient in tracking what you are doing.

Find networking opportunities that you can participate in. The more people you know, the more likely that you will connect with someone who is looking for YOU! to fill a teaching position. Linked IN, Facebook, college and university job fairs, events for networking, etc. are all ways to get you out there and get noticed. Do you have any connections in a school or district that can help you get noticed? With the hundreds of applications being submitted for a single position, you have to pull every trick out of your hat to get noticed.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Preparing for MORE Specific Interview Questions

How do you prepare for a teaching job interview? There could be hundreds of questions the interviewer can ask! So some tips on what you might prepare for:

1. Tell me about yourself. Have a brief story ready about your experiences in life; growing up, school, activities, interests, hobbies. You need to make a connection with the interviewer, so make it interesting, can include humor and make sure you practice it from beginning to end.

2. In your first teaching job, questions might be more difficult as you have not experienced your own classroom. So be prepared to discuss: classroom management, how you will work with a team and collaborate, understanding of the Common Core Standards, instructional strategies, how you differentiate for students in learning, how you will assess students and what you will do with the results, communication with parents, how you might work with special education students, and what was your best lesson, and what was your worst lesson.

3. Be positive, upbeat, enthusiastic as you speak; practice some points for each of the possible topics above, so you have a framework in your head and you are not fumbling during your response. If you have examples to share in which you have experienced success with a management or classroom strategy, use that in your response to personalize it more. Remember, this is about what YOU will do in your classroom, not what your student teacher supervisor will do. You can compile all those experiences to share what YOU will use that is most effective!

Good Luck!!