Another school shooting

When will the madness end?

Read this article. It is an editorial about how we address school shootings in our schools.

Teaching our kids to hide in their classrooms if a shooter enters is the sad reality of our world.

We must do better.

Lesson Planning

I moved to a new school year and was really struggling with the new 42 minute class periods. After students complete 10 minutes of typing practice at the beginning of class, there was only 30 minutes of instruction left in the period! Not nearly enough time for direct instruction and independent practice followed by project work. I’ve been brainstorming for a while about how to improve this class structure. I finally decided to move to a two-day lesson approach. The first day is direct instruction followed by the second day of individual student project work, which allows for me to work individually with students. I am really liking this new approach to instruction in my classroom. It seems so simple! I was always so hung up on each lesson needing to be over in one class period. This approach is working well in my class for both me as the teacher and for the students.

What works for you in the classroom?

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.

Useful Websites

Here are some websites I have been using since the beginning of the year in my middle school computer applications classes. I have used some of these sites before, but have really harnessed their power this school year, and I love them! Check them out.

  • I have really loved using this site to post and collect assignments as well as grade them.  It has made it so much easier to keep track of who has turned in assignments and allows me to grade right online instead of having to print out student work.
  • Common Sense Media: I have been using their digital citizenship lessons with my 7th grade classes. They are well put together with lessons, assignments, and short quizzes. 
  • We have used this typing program daily in my classes. The students enjoy the typing lessons. We track our speed and accuracy with the typing tests and there are also built in keyboarding games. I love the report features that I can use as well.

I am not being paid to endorse any of these sites. They are simply websites I enjoy using and have found beneficial in my classroom.

What websites have you found most useful so far this year?

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.

Back  to School Tip

So many teachers get overwhelmed at the beginning of the school year with all the new changes to curriculum and students and everything in between. You also hear about new ideas to try and new technologies to incorporate into your lessons. Between also learning all your students’ names, I have 93 this quarter, how do you not get overwhelmed?

My number one tip is just to try one new thing at a time. Don’t try to use every new website or app in your lesson plans. Start small and work your way forward from there. 

Of course, you probably will still have to learn all your students’ names at once!

What tips do you have for starting off the year well?

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.

Back to School

Most schools are now in session across the country. There are a few hold-outs that still begin the Tuesday after Labor Day. Chicago’s public schools begin next Tuesday. I’ve been in school since August 19! We are in full swing at my school. I actually am at a new school this year. I am now teaching middle school computer applications exclusively. I am very excited about this new position and am really enjoying spending my time teaching computer lessons. I have started my unit planning and am getting things in place for a successful school year.

How are you getting ready for the new school year? Are you already back to school?

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here.

Back to School Tips for Parents

It is hard to believe it is already August and time to gear up to go back to school! Although I do think Target started to get ready for back to school at the end of June!

When we talk about back to school time, we often hear about tips for students and, of course, tips for teachers. We rarely come across tips for parents. But I did come across this back to school list for parents from PBS that I’d thought I’d share.

Check it out here!

What are your back to school tips?

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here!

Take Your Kids Outside!

It is so important to make sure kids get outside playtime. 

I loved this article from the National Wildlife Foundation on Connecting Kids to Nature in the Digital Age.

Bridging the gap between the indoors and the outdoors is a great idea for helping kids connect with nature.

Check out the article here

How do you get your kids to experience the outdoors? 

Tweet me @barry_christine or leave me a comment here!