The title of this “The Best…” list is pretty self-explanatory. What you’ll find here are blog posts and articles this year (some written by me, some by others) that were, in my opinion, the ones that offered the best practical advice to teachers this year — suggestions that can help teachers become more effective in the classroom today or tomorrow. Some, however, might not appear on the surface to fit that criteria, but those, I think, might offer insights that could (should?) inform our teaching practice everyday.
For some, the headlines provide enough of an idea of the topic and I haven’t included any further description.
You might be interested last year’s edition:
Here are my choices for The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers — 2010 (not in order of any preference and, in fact, not in any order at all):
How to Create Nonreaders by Alfie Kohn
What a good IEP looks like… is the best and most useful piece I’ve ever seen about IEP’s, the “Individualized Education Plans” that students facing learning challenges are supposed to have if they’re in the U.S. public education system. And I’m not just saying that because the author, Ira Socol, says something nice about me in it
I’m a big believer in the importance of developing relationships. Organizers say community organizing is just another word for relationship-building, I have a chapter on developing relationships with students in my book on teaching English Language Learners.
There’s a nice article in Middle Ground titled “The Power Of Positive Relationships” by Tara Brown that shares some more ideas on how to enhance building relationships in the classroom.
Dan Meyer, a highly regarded math teacher who uses a lot of multimedia in his lessons, has generously placed his entire curriculum for Geometry and Algebra online for people to use. Also, just a reminder that I have my entire United States History curriculum from one year ago online, too. Lastly, even though they certainly are not as complete, you might also find the lessons in my Theory of Knowledge, Ninth Grade English, and Intermediate English class blogs useful.
Edutopia has a very nice and useful “Back-to-School Guide: Jump Start Learning With New Media” available for free download. All you need to do is type in your email address here, and it’s yours.
Tom Barrett is known for his “Interesting Ways” series, which include numerous ideas on how to use Web 2.0 applications (including Wordle, iPod, Google Wave, Prezi, etc.) in the classroom. The series, however, is not only limited to technology, and also includes topics like supporting reading comprehension and spelling. He’s put them all in one place now. You definitely want to bookmark his Interesting Ways page.
“The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book,” edited by Terry Freedman, is a must-read for anybody who wants to use Web 2.0 applications with their students.
What to Look for in a Classroom is a nice chart developed by Alfie Kohn. It lists “Good Signs” and “Possible Reasons To Worry” for a number of categories, including furniture, “on the walls,” sounds, etc. It wouldn’t necessarily take it all as “gospel” (and nor do I believe he intended it to be). I’m not a big advocate of students seated around tables, for example. But it’s a good general guide to use and figure out which side do you tend to be on…
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You might also want to explore the nearly 500 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.