After stumbling across Portent’s Content Idea Generator, I had a bit of fun… I threw in some favorite topics and generated some pretty giggly blog post ideas:
10 Freaky Reasons Creativity Could Get You Fired.
How Learning Can Help You Predict the Future
12 Ways Technology Could Help the Red Sox Win the World Series.
20 Things Spock Would Say About Schools. <~someone should totally write this!!
But those are all topics for another day….
So I started thinking about one of the topics that Portent generated…. What are ideas we teachers have, that others would find worth stealing?
1: Attention Please
Whether teachers are clapping, chanting, counting, calling out, or throwing up Peace Signs – they are getting the attention of students coast to coast. So, next time you need to get attention at the dinner table, or at the deli, or on the subway – try some tried-and-true teacher tricks. Clap a rhythm, shut the lights off, or count backwards from 10. Soon you’ll have the rapt attention of all those around you.
2. Everything is more fun with Music
Music is a powerful medium. I can still remember all of the words from all the Schoolhouse Rocks videos of my youth. I can still sing my multiplication tables from 3rd grade (thank you, Mrs. Lynch!). Classical piano and guitar help drown out all of the distractions of Real Life so I can focus on one thing at a time. Sharing music in the classroom helps keep things calm and lively; serene and silly. Students respond to rhythm, to rhyme, to rap, to relaxing tones. So, try rapping that pesky list of chores to be done around the house, or singing the steps to cleaning a bedroom. A little classical music during dinner never hurt anyone.
3. Read-alouds are good for everyone.
Read-Aloud time is one of our most favorite in Room 204. Whether we are sharing the next chapter in Charlotte’s Web, or rhyming along with Dr. Seuss, during read-aloud every student is engaged and involved. Perhaps the next time you’d like to get an important point across to a family member, you could do it in the form of a read-aloud. Gather them on the rug in front of you, muster up your best fluency skills, and have at it. Whether you read the DVR user’s manual, summer camp brochures, or the latest junk mail, I guarantee you’ll have a committed audience. Sell it.
4. Mix things up.
We all know there is comfort in routine. Classrooms are environments based on routine – but even the best-built routines need shaking up once in a while. Changing the schedule, the furniture, the materials we use, or the people we eat lunch with can all help avoid monotony at school. Kids love it! Give it a try yourself! Switch up meals, schedules, furniture, and responsibilities – it will breathe new life into your predictable day.
5. Reach out and help each other
Students are encouraged to work collaboratively together every day. Teachers are always looking for opportunities to work with colleagues on projects as well. In a busy world, with many responsibilities and little time, we must rely on each other to persevere. Reach out! Helen Keller was right when she said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Buddy up!
6. We are all icebergs.
One thing I’ve learned as I have aged, is that everyone is far more than they appear on the surface. My work with students has only solidified this belief. Students are complex creatures growing into even more complex adults. In most situations, we are only able to see each other as iceberg tips; what lurks beneath the surface is always far more than appears. Remember: everyone’s iceberg foundation is made of positives and negatives, of strengths and weaknesses, of similarities and differences. When we can truly accept and respect those differences, we can learn more together. “Iceberg ahead!!”
7. Recess Rocks!
Every day, recess provides an opportunity for students to be free from obligations. On any given day, you can observe an intense game of football, or a creative music performance. You can see children swinging to the sky or rolling on the ground. Time is their own to fill as they choose, and it fuels the remainder of the day. What can recess look like OUTSIDE of school? Don’t we all need breaks? Couldn’t we all use a little refueling? Remember – recess is more fun with friends! Get out there!!
8. Practice Patience
Patience is required by all of us, throughout the school day. We need patience to deal with behaviors, with the learning process, and waiting our turn. We need patience when we misunderstand, or are misunderstood. I wish that patience packages were sold at BJ’s in big club-sized boxes, as sometimes even I run a little short by the time I get home. Patience is valued outside the school day even more so than in it. Outside school, we still need to have patience with behaviors, with the driving process, and waiting for information. Outside of the classroom, we need patience when we misunderstand, or are misunderstood. We could all stand to practice (and receive!) a little more patience every day.
9. NEVER stop learning
Life is a classroom. When we all start believing education occurs inside and outside school, every day of the week, for the entire length of our lives, the more we will all learn. Look for opportunities to tie School into Life in much the same ways we work to tie Life into School. Ask questions, research answers, share findings. Read articles. Share articles. Write articles! Watch videos. Share videos. Create videos! Imagine if EVERYONE consumed AND created learning content within our society? What would change?
Well, it seems to me after writing this, that there aren’t any real secrets teachers have, that everyone else doesn’t already know. Hopefully what you already know and believe about teachers includes their all-consuming commitment to reaching every child, every day, every year. Hopefully you already know teachers are icebergs who use their foundation and experience (sprinkled with patience) to bring the real world into the classroom. Hopefully you already know that teachers love recess and read-alouds for all the same reasons kids do. Hopefully you already know reaching out to help your children and their teachers makes all the difference in the world, so keep on doing it.
Thank you for your attention.
Be sure to send in your choices for our upcoming Wax Museum. Students will receive their assignment on Thursday so they can look for a good book over April Vacation. If you have any questions or need more information, be sure to let me know.
We are still researching the importance of reading to babies… The folks at Scholastic shared this video for parents, but 204 students will find lots of ideas, too!!