I continue my mid-year “The Best…” lists…
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.
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Here are my choices for The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers In 2012:
Thanks to reader Terri Reh, I learned about The TEDx Classroom Project. It’s an extremely impressive effort that includes students’ analysis of various TED Talks, along with students using the TED model to create their own presentations.
I wrote about The Benjamin Franklin Effect” and how I use it in the classroom (see “The Benjamin Franklin Effect” In The Classroom):
You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.
And, as I said in that post, a classroom version is:
Many teachers know that an effective classroom management move to turn a disruptive student into an ally is by giving him/her responsibilities in the classroom — tutoring another student, offering them a key classroom job, etc.
The Wall Street Journal wrote about this concept (without mentioning Franklin) and traced it further back further:
“The transformation of enemies into allies, Machiavelli claims, can be effected by granting enemies some power or benefit; doing so can cause ‘those men who were distrusted [to] become faithful,” write Gersen and Vermeule.
The American Federation of Teachers has unveiled a new site where educators can upload lessons to share (and, of course, download them, too). It’s called Share A Lesson, and you can read more about it in the New York Times article, Teachers’ Union to Open Lesson-Sharing Web Site. Registration is certainly simple — it takes about ten seconds. It’s just beginning, so it doesn’t have a zillion resources, but I suspect it will grow quickly.
“Stories are about 22 times more memorable than facts alone” — I found that quote in a post byShawn Callahan and subsequently learned it comes from Bruner’s book, Actual Minds, Possible Worlds.
“Smart Teaching” is a very useful infographic for all teachers.
Thanks to an excellent post by Jennifer Brokofsky, I learned about this short video of Sir Ken Robinson. He makes an excellent point about the importance of helping students motivate themselves (and I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students):
“Farmers and gardeners know you cannot make a plant grow….The plant grows itself. What you do is provide the conditions for growth. And great farmers know what the conditions are and bad ones don’t. Great teachers know what the conditions for growth are and bad ones don’t.”
I have many free resources, including excerpts and student hand-outs, available from all my books. Clicking on the covers will lead you to them:
Film Story is an interactive site where you can search for theatrical films by geographical location, history or science subject, historical era, and film type. It seems like an exhaustive list and is very accessible.
Edutopia has just published a newsletter titled Project-Based Learning: Success Start to Finish. It has tons of resources and links.
My United States History class blog is freely available, and pretty much contains my entire U.S. History curriculum. I only ask that if you download any of the original materials that you add me as the source.
Another Reason Why We Need To Be Careful How We Speak To Parents About Their Children is a post I just published at my other blog, Engaging Parents In School. It’s about a pretty interesting study documenting what typically happens when we make phone calls home.
The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commonsis a must-read post by Ronnie Burt over at The Edublogger.
Here’s a link where you can read an new article I co-wrote with my colleague Katie Hull, “The Five-by-Five Approach to Differentiation Success,” at Ed Week Teacher without having to register.
The New York Times published a guest post I wrote, Helping Students Motivate Themselves.
Vocre is the latest in an increasing number of SmartPhone translating apps that can help you communicate in another language. It can come in handy if you just have to communicate something to an ELL student in their native language, or if you need to communicate to family members.
The American Federation of Teachers has unveiled a new site where educators can upload lessons to share (and, of course, download them, too). It’s called Share A Lesson, and you can read more about it in the New York Times article, Teachers’ Union to Open Lesson-Sharing Web Site.
Shelly Terrell has created another very useful Slideshare presentation, “10+ Getting to Know You Activities for Teens & Adults”:
The Yellow Test is the headline for a New York Times column that offers great writing advice.
I would strongly encourage reading the entire piece, but here’s an excerpt:
Carrie is a professor at a university. She had asked me how to turn an area of her expertise, secondary school education, into writing that the general public would find rewarding and enjoyable. That’s when I began talking about scenes, using her accident as an example of how to approach her work. Almost all creative nonfiction, essays or books, are, fundamentally, collections of small stories — or scenes — that together make one big story.
There’s been a lot of research published about the effectiveness of stories. Readers remember information longer — and are more likely to be persuaded by ideas and opinions — when it’s presented to them in scenes. This is why so many TV commercials are narrative. Think of parents’ angsting over how to pay for their children’s college tuition in the Gerber Life College Plan ad, or the famous “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up” spot, campy, but so successful that the phrase itself has been copyrighted by the sponsor.
I told Carrie about the exercise I assign my students: “The Yellow Test.” You pick up a book by your favorite nonfiction writer or leaf through a best seller that made a big impact. Take a yellow highlighter and color in the scenes — that is, the places with characters and action, where things happen. I promise: You will find you have highlighted a major portion of the text.
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You might also want to explore the 900 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.