Monday, August 14, 2017

Do's and Don'ts for Awesome Classroom Aesthetics

  Keep this tranquil picture in mind as we head back to our classrooms! Most of us keep an organized classroom that helps most every learner to get work accomplished. But, what about more aesthetics? How does your classroom appeal to you and students? We spend most of the day in our classrooms, so it is important that students are inspired by learning there. So, what can you do this year to fill your room with exciting learning tools, sounds and images?

     DO's and DON'TS for  Awesome Classroom Aesthetics

DO  have a good classroom work flow. Does your room have clearly defined spaces for different types of learning? It is not just young learners that like to sit and read in a quiet zone on a carpet or in beanbag chairs. Centers and computers for learning games can be utilized at any age. Also, it is important to have a plan on how desks can be quickly moved together for small group sessions, or for partnerships in your classroom.

DON'T keep a multitude of posters up on your walls all year long. Too many different posters detract from the learning tasks at hand. Also, the same theme, such as say, cowboy decorations for the entire year, can create feelings of classroom monotony. In fact, a room might look downright cluttered and too many concept posters can lead to topic confusion or the "dreaded" student information overload. 

DO  decorate bulletin boards to get your students' attention on a particular concept or to appeal to their senses. But, your boards and posters should change with the flow of seasons, holidays, objectives or big ideas. Bring out posters only when needed as instructional tools. Remember to update your bulletin boards. Kids love to help on this, and some older kids might even design your seasonal/big idea boards.

DON'T pick up student papers and pass out student supplies when you have so many to help you and save instructional time.  During the first several weeks of  school, go over where to place homework, projects and other assessments. Students should also know where the classroom supplies, folders, dictionaries and other books are located. 

DO rotate teams of kids to pass out papers, supplies, books, folders and project materials, as well as to sharpen pencils or neaten up centers.

DON'T keep stacks and stacks of classroom materials on wire shelves in boxes. This gives an industrial effect to your classroom. Either share your wealth with other teachers who need them, stow your things in a closet or keep them at home in the garage until your students need them.

DO bring in interesting items to showcase to your students for short periods. Let's say you found arrowheads while camping, bought items while abroad, or have souvenirs or photographs from a recent trip.

DON'T allow music for the entire class period unless you are a music teacher of course, but...

DO enhance the mood of your class with music or sounds before or after transition periods. You can use music or sound cues to clean up, signal the end of a quiz or work period or to acknowledge someone's birthday or an event. Soft music might be played at a center for those who can listen, read and work at the same time.

DON'T  only have class pets such as fish, guinea pigs, turtles, rabbits or hamsters.

DO  include rubber tree plants, poinsettias, orchids, and maybe an annual or two, such as mums, if they can get enough sunlight.

   Most all children are curious, just as we adults. Having an interesting classroom that supports appealing aesthetics shows that you care, want to continuously improve an environment, and wish for your kids to be motivated and inspired.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ocracoke Island and the Last Stand of Blackbeard Video
Price $6.00 This video tells a powerful story about Blackbeard on Ocracoke Island that will capture your attention. Ocracoke Island and the Last Stand of Blackbeard is ideal for students with a 5th grade reading level and above (with a good reading fluency) in the study of colonial history. This over 16 minute captioned fun-to-watch video has informational text, background music and footage of the Outer Banks area.

Student Objectives:

1. Read and comprehend informational text.

2. Develop reading fluency at a moderate pace.

3. Learn the history of a settlement beginning with indigenous cultures.

4. Define quotes from the colonial period.

Values Based Learning Skills

5. Understand one’s own values and consider those of others in beliefs, policies, and behaviors.

6. Reflect on concerns for the common good and practice of social values.

7. Develop an awareness of an issue to include complexities, dilemmas, costs and benefits.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Flash Freebie in May!

Flash Freebie!
May 20th and May 21st for TiePlay Ed. TN followers only.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Now and Then: Immeasurable Qualities of Teacher Effectiveness


    Is an excellent teacher really definable? How can a truly effective teacher be characterized? In the old days of education, there were no "highly qualified" teachers.


   Really? Of course there were... and here are just some of the past teaching greats.

     Confucius (561 B.C) was the first well-know private instructor who also wrote the book, Analects. Confucius believed that a leader needed to be humble. A true leader shows compassion and empathy toward others. He wrote how families and the general public should act. In doing so, Confucius began the basis for educational ideals. A notorious Confucius writing declared,


   "What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others."

  •    The Pilgrims (1635) presented their students with reading, writing and religion in the New World.

             Highly Qualified Teachers Had To...

                             In the 1800's
  •   impress the school board of their moral character
  •    succeed on tests of reading, writing, and arithmetic for a state certificate
  •    triumph on later subject tests added: U.S. history, geography, spelling, and grammar
  •    enroll in Normal schools to prepare for instruction and teaching certificates based on multifarious and disconnected topics
        By the twentieth century, noted education schools fought for school improvement. However, there were no effective teaching practices to mentor new teachers. The debate continued on needed subject matters, teaching methods, assessments and research methods.

Even today, teachers get the impression that the latest in education research may conflict with other well-known and seemingly ideal practices.




   In the heyday of  NCLB,  the most sought after education remedy by the general public, polls and in educational departments was the issue of... teacher quality.

     So, ideally, unqualified teachers are a challenge of the past, right? Educators are now critically examined by multiple state testing and an administrator's sometimes very vauge opinions during occasional drop-ins and evaluations. Perhaps, teaching assessments could even be mainly about "politics" in some school districts. 


    States continue to show how poor and minority children are not (illegally) instructed by "inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers". Unfortunately, research implicates that administrators at high-needs schools gravitate toward hiring the least qualified and the least experienced. So, what can this mean?


                                      Into the Future

       Based on the past history of powerful teachers, teaching efforts, and our present circumstances, high quality teachers should not only acquire and maintain content knowledge and teaching skills. Competent instructors should also focus on :

  •      caring services to students, free of biased and discriminatory practices

  •      holistic development for each student

  •      allowing students to learn to exercise their own judgement 

  •      stressing moral education, so that students understand important interaction guidelines


          In looking towards the future, elected school board members might want to actively search for teachers and administrators who substantiate moral character, which to me (and many others) is a first priority. Teachers should have an aptitude for teaching subject matter, of course, as shown by certification and other tested credentials.

        Yet,  teaching skills and subject matter are acquired professionalisms which are continuously being changed and developed. The teachers that convey moral character will adapt to changes in order to better their skills, such as in technology, mentoring students, and advancing their community away from the tides of poverty and oppression.


         All one has to do is look around the county for real statistics.

    • businesses & employment in the county

    • condition of community facilities

    • crime rates

    • high school drop out rates to include children in middle school (and not just high school)

    • teaching credentials to include unique experiences and assistances within a diverse culture or community

    • be less concerned with teacher multiple choice tests, essays and college grade point averages and be very much concerned about hiring caring professionals with character

    • ratio of students of ethnic backgrounds to teachers of similar ethnic backgrounds (very important) 

    • drug use and abuse issues in townships

    • diverse teachers and administrators from various backgrounds, locations, universities and states 

        There is much more real life statistics not listed, but this kind of information might answer questions and determine how well a school system educates their students. 

        Our education status should not be rated solely on how students are doing on any one state or international muliple choice test, as it is now. After all, how does yearly testing impact the adult world of work in most jobs? 

       Children rely on adults to make great teaching happen in their schools. If our kids are not doing well in evaluations or even state and international tests, dropping out, unhappy, not fitting in, being bullied or yelled at, whose fault is it?


                                The problem might not be the children.

        Our educational system supports our economy. If our children have the skills and appropriate moral attitudes after completing high school and/or college, they and others will flourish not only in the work world, but in raising families and in building better communities.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Sign up for Giveaway & Check Out Spring Sales


                                          Simple Inferences Giveaway

    20% Off Selected Products

    20% Off Selected Products
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