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Showing posts from August, 2016

Surf's Up: First Year Blended Learning Mistakes & Ways to Correct Them

As the 2016-2017 school year quickly approaches like the annual tidal wave it is, I think about how last year I started running my first blended learning classroom, with what felt like, without a surfboard. For the longest time I felt like I was getting tossed around in the waves, not knowing which way was up. I made mistakes last year in my 6th grade math and science blended learning classes, but this year will be different because I have a whole year of mistakes to reflect back on. So here are my mistakes, and how I intend to correct them for this year, in no particular order. Mistake #1: Putting the cart before the horse When I found out I got the go-ahead to run a blended learning classroom, the first in my district, I was thrilled. However, I immediately started putting the cart before the horse. I started envisioning this perfect blended learning classroom running smoothly with three stations: independent, collaborative, and direct instruction. I thought of having engaged studen…

15 Years of What Not To Do: My Top Ten Mistakes

This will mark my 15th of year of teaching, and during that time I have made my share of mistakes. Seeing how I am close to the half way point of my career, I thought I would reflect on my top ten mistakes (the ones I can remember anyway) in hopes of others avoiding them. Mistake #1: Burning bridges Everyone knows everyone. It's a small world, and getting even smaller with PLN's. No matter what the situation is, always take the high road. Build bridges, don't burn them. Your older, wiser self will thank you. Mistake #2: Losing that fun connection with my students I had my first year I remember playing kickball and other various recess activities with my students my first couple of years. Then I remember getting bad advice just about every young teacher gets from an older teacher, "You shouldn't play with the students at recess, because they won't respect and listen to you in class." Unfortunately I took that advice and found that that destroyed my relation…

You Should Read It

How many times have you finished a fantastic book full of so many ideas, and then struggled to tell people about it? You know the book is full of ideas you think would not only benefit you and your students but other teachers and their students. However the best you can muster up in a conversation is, "It was a great book,"  "You should read it," or "You would really like to read it." Not glowing reviews, even by Amazon's standards.  If you are like me, chances are this has happened to you many times. I feel foolish I cannot articulate anything better than, "You should read it." (Makes me wonder how I can articulate enough to write my blogs.) And even worse, even though I know however great the book was I just read, I end up forgetting a lot of it. Sure I underlined or highlighted and made comments in the book, but those books ultimately end up on my shelf waiting for some company from the elf the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas eve.…