Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fun Elementary Lessons - Use Surprises and Silliness to Motivate the Student

A fun way to motivate a student is to pack your lessons full of surprises and silliness. Positive emotions enhance learning and motivation. Your boys will have strong and lasting memories if they are experiencing strong emotions while they are learning.

If you can make something fun, exciting, happy, loving, or perhaps even a bit frightening, students will learn more readily and the learning will last much longer. Emotions can be created by classroom attitudes, by doing something unexpected or outrageous, by praise, and by many other means. Surprises and silliness make lessons so much more memorable for your boys!

Fun elementary lessons could begin with you teaching the class in period costume, acting like a mad scientist when you are doing a science experiment, or having everyone sing their answers. Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself to make a memorable point.

Try motivating your students by using these surprises and silliness techniques:

  • Be Energetic - Being energetic in your teaching is a motivating factor in itself; adding energy to the ideas you want to convey will further enhance learning and commitment to the ideas.
  • Catch! - Throw soft candy, like circus peanuts, into your students' mouths if they get the answer right.
  • Crafts - Let your kids have time to make a fun and unusual craft. This is good for their imagination as well as giving them a break from their traditional book work.
  • Dancing - Jump up and start dancing during a lesson. Your boys will jump up and join you - it's a great way to get the wiggles out as well as to get the blood pumping when the boys are acting lethargic.
  • Enthusiasm - If you become bored or apathetic, students will too. Typically, an instructor's enthusiasm comes from confidence, excitement about the content, and genuine pleasure in teaching. If you find yourself uninterested in the material, challenge yourself to devise the most exciting way to present the lesson.
  • Humor - Allow your boys to express humor in appropriate ways and at appropriate times. Acknowledge your son's skill at being humorous. Sometimes, you just have to have a sense of humor about a boy's sense of humor. Don't allow yourself to become annoyed at their antics - be in the right frame of mind and they will brighten up your day.
  • Mud - Let your sons put on bathing suits and roll around in a bunch of mud if they do their schoolwork well that day. And let them run through the sprinkler to get cleaned up again.
  • Music - Sing their lessons to them. You can also accompany yourself on a musical instrument that you have at home - whether you know how to play the instrument or not. Have your boys join you in singing the lessons as well.
  • Outside - Move their desks or table outside without them realizing you've done so and have them do their lessons outdoors for the day. This is a great spring or fall surprise!
  • Pies- Let students throw a pie in your face if they get 100% on a test.
  • Play Dead - Have a guest come in a play dead and let your sons solve a murder mystery. This will help to strengthen their reading and logic skills.
  • Strange Voices - Use strange voices when you are teaching the lesson. Or, allow your boys to use silly voices when they give their answers.
  • Stunts - This is a great way for Dad to get involved with homeschooling. Have him offer to have his head shaved or to run a marathon if they achieve a certain level of work.
  • Visual aids - Use silly pictures or cartoons to get across the point of the lesson.

Different approaches will motivate students differently. Use your imagination to continue to try new ideas out on your boys, until you discover which methods work best for them. Fun elementary lessons motivate students and help them to remember the information longer as well. Add surprises and silliness to your lessons and bring the fun back into your boys' learning.

Michelle Caskey has been homeschooling her sons for five years. Michelle graduated from the Western Michigan University with a degree in English and Computer Science. Read more of her homeschooling articles at

Tiered Activities - Give Students Choices

Give students a choice of literacy-related activities that each one can meet at his or her own level. To insure that you ask all students to think at high levels, invite students who choose projects that feature art, movement, or drama to make a class presentation and link their project to some of the big ideas you want students to understand. What follows is a list of choice projects my middle school students enjoy.

POSTERS. Students can design posters to advertise a completed book and its author. Have them include bulleted reasons why the book is a terrific read or why they disliked it.

GRAPHIC TEXT. Invite students to turn a scene from their book into a cartoon putting all the dialogue into speech bubbles. During their presentations, students explain why they selected this scene, and how it related to the genre, issues, or themes their class has been discussing.

ADVERTISEMENT. With students study ads for books in magazines such as The Horn Book and School Library Journal. Next, have students create an advertisement for a book you've enjoyed and share it with classmates.

BOOK TALKS. Each month you can ask students to choose a book they've completed and present a book talk. Book talks can focus on explaining a genre, showing changes in a character, making personal connections to a character, or explaining the importance of the information in a nonfiction text. Keep book talks short and focus--2 to 3 minutes.

TIMELINES. Have students select four to six key events in their book. They can focus on a specific character, several settings, or key plot events. In addition to illustrating the timeline, students can also write captions for each illustration. As part of their presentation, students can explain how their timeline showcases a theme or big idea they found in their book.

STUDENT-LED BOOK DISCUSSIONS. Organize students into small groups, giving each student a chance to talk about his or her independent reading book. Instead of having students retell the plot, ask them to choose an open-ended question such as: What did your book teach you about the issue we've been discussion? Did the book change your mind about the issue? How is the information in this book important to your life? To your community? To the world? Did a character in this book connect you to your own experiences? Explain. Explain how the main character solved a major problem? Would you have done this differently? Explain.

DRAMATIC MONOLOGUES. Have students choose a character and imagine what it is like to be him or her. Ask students to write about two important events in the character's life, including the character's thoughts and feelings, using the first person. Students can then perform their monologues for the entire class. Monologues are a great segway to whole class discussions for the student-audience can share their observations and and ask questions of the presenter.

INTERVIEW. This works well if both students have read the same book. Partners create interview questions based on the plot, characters, conflicts, decisions, and take turns being the interviewer and person being interviewed.

MOVIEMAKING. Have a small group of students choose a scene that they can act out and film with a video camera. Students get to know their characters as they translate them from the book to the camera and screen Groups share their videos with the class. Individuals can make movies of a favorite scene in a book by drawing movie frames on shelving paper. The presenter unrolls the scroll, frame by frame and discusses the event.

POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS. Ask students to choose four to five important events in a character's life and create a PowerPoint presentation to share with the class. Students can include both images and text. Allow time for presenters to field questions from classmates.

TEXT MESSAGING BETWEEN CHARACTERS. Invite students to choose two characters from their book or two people from a biography who interacted a lot. Using their cell phone, students can create a series of text messages that these characters or people might have exchanged based on the events the characters or people lived through. Ask students to explain how they determined what these characters or people would text about. Have students create a hard copy of these text messages.

CREATE A BLOG. Set up a blog with a character's name and write responses to questions classmates ask using all the knowledge you have about that character. Or you can react to a book and/or author that peers have also read and invite them to start and continue a dialogue about the book or author.

Laura Robb is the author of "Differentiating Reading Instruction: How to Teach Reading to Meet the Needs of Each Student". Published in January 2008, it is the natural "next-steps" book to Robb's best-selling Teaching Reading in Middle School, published in 2000, which received rave reviews and continues to sell in large numbers. This new book reflects and offers ways to deal with the fact that middle school classes include students reading at a diverse range of instructional levels.

To learn more about Robb's books, classroom libraries, books that Robb Recommends, teaching and parent tips, to view her speaking calendar, and to contact her visit her web site at

Resourceful Teacher - How To Reuse Worksheets For New Do Now Activities

Did you ever think about using those worksheets for Do Now Activities in the morning?

Those used worksheets can be utilized all week to teach or reinforce learned material or review. They can be used for different activities such as writing, reading comprehension, vocabulary building and more.

As teachers we have a tendency to copy lots of worksheets that are use only once. As I wrote in a previous article we know that Do Now Activities are very important in setting the tone of your class and establishing your class as one where students come to work and not waste time and goof off.

By utilizing used worksheets more then once it eliminates a lot of extra copy work and in turn saves trees. When teachers utilize used worksheets it enables us to show our class that even this small activity can impact the ecology by:

  • saving valuable budget money for paper
  • saving energy by not running the copy machine
  • saving money on repairs of the copy machine
  • saving money by not buying toner
  • setting an example to students on conserving resources
  • most important we are saving a very important natural resource trees

One of the easiest ways to start being a resourceful teacher in the area of reusing worksheets is to start using them for vocabulary building. Once a worksheet is used have the students make lists of nouns, adjectives, verbs or any other form of vocabulary lists from the worksheet. Once these lists are made you can do the following activities:

  • using a list of nouns have them divide the list into common nouns by person, place or thing. Using the same list have them divide them in proper nouns and give you the common noun that goes with the proper noun.
  • Using the list of adjectives have them partner the adjective with a noun to describe it.
  • using adjectives have them write synonyms, and antonyms for each one
  • using a list of verbs have them write the verb in different grammar tense then us in a sentence.

Even if you are teaching a foreign language these activities can be used:

  • if you teach Spanish have them use these lists for translation activities
  • then have them use the words in sentences
  • have them convert those sentences into the past tense or future test.
  • if you are using verbs have them write those verbs in the form of the eight pronoun for example hacer; yo hago, tu haces, el hace, ud. hace and so on.
  • if you are using a list of nouns have them divide the list into common nouns by person, place or thing.
  • Using the same list have them divide them into proper nouns and give you the common noun that goes with the proper noun.

Using the list of adjectives have them partner the adjective with a noun to describe it.

These are just a few activities to get you started there will be more to come. Just wetting your teacher whistle. Happy teaching.

Written by a veteran teacher of 32 years who hopes to give new teachers tried and true strategies that work. Come join me at and look for the educationfiary.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Amusements in Mathematics - A Timeless Classic of Math Puzzles

Henry Ernest Dudeney, English author and mathematician, became a legend with his math puzzle creations. He specialized in logic puzzles and math games. One of his greatest and most noted achievements, however, is his book, Amusements in Mathematics.

Amusements in Mathematics is one of the largest collections of puzzles with 430 brainteasers. All of the puzzles contained within the book are based on algebra, arithmetic, permutations, probability, plane figure dissection, properties of numbers and other mind bending math puzzles and math brain teasers. Critics hail it as "intriguing" and "witty." Amusements in Mathematics is said to be a "paradoxical production of one of the world's foremost creators of puzzles." It includes the puzzles as well as complete solutions.

Dudeney always had a passion for mathematics. He voiced his views very liberally. "A good puzzle should demand the exercise of our best wit and ingenuity," He said, "and although a knowledge of mathematics and of logic are often of great service in the solution of these things, yet it sometimes happens that a kind of natural cunning and sagacity is of considerable value."

When Dudeney wrote the preface to Amusements in Mathematics, he expressed his own views and opinions on puzzles in general. He also made several comments about puzzles that were in the book.

The difficulty of the math puzzles, according to Dudeney, were quite varied. Some math puzzles, particularly the ones that fell into the arithmetical and algebraically categories were very easy. He did warn his readers, though, that they should not overlook or dismiss puzzles that appeared on the surface to be very simple. He alluded to some of the math brain teasers as having traps or sublet pitfalls that could add a twist to the puzzle, giving it a degree of complexity and difficulty.

Dudeney also warned his readers to read the wording of the puzzles very carefully. He indicated that it would be in the reader's best interest to be prudent and wary when reading over the exact wording of the puzzles. He believed that this was a good exercise and a very good habit to cultivate. His beliefs were that it teaches exactitude and caution. Thus he added some twists and turns to the wording of his math puzzles to give his readers a little extra challenge.

The difficult math puzzles, according to Dudeney, could be quite challenging and some of the problems were, in his words, "very hard nuts indeed." His more challenging math puzzles, he explained, were advanced enough to warrant the attention of even expert mathematicians. And in some cases, even these expert mathematicians were left scratching their heads over some of Dudeney's math brain teasers.

Dudeney left his readers a vast selection of math puzzles so that there was something for everyone. He wanted readers to select puzzles in the book according to their individual taste. This resulted in a well rounded book that has math puzzles that are appropriate for nearly every member of the family. There are the simple problems for the youngsters and exceptionally challenging ones for the older more advanced family members.

Amusements in Mathematics by Henry Ernest Dudeney is a timeless classic. It is appropriate for family night, in the classroom or in a meeting of college professors. There is something to appeal to every taste and mathematical level. What's more, it is an entertaining, educational book that reminds us, even today, that math is fun.

Rowan Shead

Amusements in Mathematics

Amusing Math Puzzles of Henry Dudeney will have you Pulling your Hair Out

4 Qualities You Need Have If You Want To Be A Great Teacher

Teaching is a difficult job and becoming a great teacher is almost a thousand times harder.

That is the simple reason why we can remember great teachers - they are as valuable and as rare as pink diamonds.

Overworked but underpaid, these great teachers view their calling as an opportunity - not as an obligation. They believe that to associate with young people is a rare privilege, to teach them is an inspiration and to lead them into a better future is a joy of the profession.

If you want to be one of those great teacher, here are the 4 most fundamental qualities you must have.

Have Sympathy

To have sympathy for your students is to have the ability to live, at least momentarily, in their life. A great teacher can re-live the memory his own childhood or has the power of imagination to see things through the eyes of his pupils.

A great teacher also take a matter of concern in the affairs of his students. To succeed as amazing teachers, we must have a strong passion to to help them. And that sometimes involves the actual doing of something by way of service.

Be Sincere

People say children and dogs are the great judges of sincerity. Guess what? They are absolutely correct. A great teacher is sincere in his work, believes in what he teaches and will do his best effort to the task in hand.

His class is his greatest concern, he meet his students because he loves teaching them and will always be available for counsel at any time. Because he is sincere in his work - he teaches with enthusiasm.

Be Optimistic

Optimism is contagious.

Look for the good things in your students. Even the weakest or the naughtiest one have some admirable qualities in them.

Be friendly, do not be so serious in your job that you forget to be human. Yes, too much friendliness can be used by the students as a license for mischief. However, great teachers know when to exert order and when to apply cheer.

Remember, cheerfulness is the best key to the human heart.

Have Vitality

The days where a stern teacher is respected has been long gone. Not having enough role models, young kids nowadays demand a teacher or leader who is energetic and enthusiastic . A great teacher fills in the role perfectly.

He knows that children like to have a teacher who the have a certain vigor of attack that appears to go directly to the point, putting at rest all other things and making discipline simply unnecessary.

That is what 20th century students seem to like.

There are many other contributing factors that make a great teacher. However the above four steps are believed to be the key or fundamental to be one. Follow the steps, acquire the abilities and one day you will also be a teacher that your students may remember for their entire life.

If you need some inspiration to be a better teacher, try some inspirational quotes for teachers . For your students try some inspirational quotes for students

You can get all these at the inspirational and motivational quotation site - the

Teaching Patriotism in Elementary Schools

Patriotism is a growing concern in our nation today. One of the ways to teach children patriotism is to have them be in an informative play or program. Many schools and teachers are looking for programs to fit this description that are easy to put on and take very little practice time to present. With all the teaching and testing that teachers are required to do for the “No Child Left Behind” idea. It has left them with little time to do the creative programs for their students. Even though these are the activities that children will remember they are the ones that are being eliminated from schools.

Patriotic programs also need to teach and educate students in a creative way about their country. The programs or plays show them just what a priceless gift freedom is for them to celebrate and embrace. Teaching them about respect for their flag, country and other patriotic symbols such as the Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial is important for patriotism to take root in young children.

There are many holidays that students could participate in patriotic programs. Just a few are Constitution Day in September, Veterans Day in November, Election Day, in November, Pearl Harbor Day in December, Columbus Day in October, Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January, Presidents Day in February, Memorial Day in May, and of course July 4th in July. All of these times are special events that call for some patriotic program and it helps us appreciate our freedom more. Another more recent day is 9/11 in September to remember those people who serve our country

Nothing instills patriotism more than a good patriotic song. There are so many on the market today that it is not hard to find something to fit any patriotic program. Another must for a patriotic program is a good power point presentation showing our flag, or maybe even all the flags that have flown over the United States. A good power point can make students feel how important that flag really is to them. One of the things that I like in programs to teach patriotism is to always start the program with the scouts posting the Colors of the United States of America. One years we had taps played and the students really enjoyed that, also.

To summarize some of the most important parts for a patriotic program is:

Take the time to do a patriotic program at least one a year

Talk about the symbols that represent our country

Choose an appropriate day to celebrate

Include patriotic music

Include pictures

Post the Colors and Retrieve the Colors of the United States of America

Saturday, March 1, 2008


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Friday, February 22, 2008

Teaching Preschool - Patience, Expectations, and Fun

"Not While I'm Wearing the Hat"

Teaching preschool is never a walk in the park. One moment you're trying to sooth a crying child while tearing apart two others who are fighting over the last black pipe cleaner for their art project. For this reason, teaching preschool requires a never-ending supply of patience balanced with enough authority to get the kids to listen.

One great way to keep from being interrupted when teaching preschool is to use a visual focal point to remind the children not to speak, such as a hat. Unless children are bleeding, they cannot speak while the teacher is wearing the hat, even to ask a question.

This helps to teach restraint and patience, as well as the value of listening to others. The hat could even coincide with the theme of the month, such as a Santa hat around the holidays and a baseball cap in the spring.

Great Expectations... but not too great

When teaching preschool, remember to develop expectations specific to each child as opposed to the notion of where they should be developmentally. Some children are able to wait five minutes for something whereas others can only sustain one minute of waiting before their attention wanders. Similarly, some children are out like a light during nap time while others simply will be unable to fall asleep, especially at the beginning of the school year.

When a child succeeds in meeting or exceeding their own set of expectations, always make sure to reward them with positive reinforcement, which is the key to both behavior guidance and the prevention of negative behaviors. And positive reinforcement doesn't just have to be kind words either.

For example, the child could be rewarded by being allowed to sit at the teacher's desk for the remainder of the class. Or they could be permitted to bring their favorite classroom toy or game home for the night. This teaches the child a sense of responsibility in remembering to bring the toy back the next day.

Another great reward for good behavior can be that the child gets to choose which story is read during story time, or what craft everyone gets to do after lunch. By being allowed to make choices for the entire grow, the child is endowed with a sense of group responsibility.

Finally, another great reward for positive behavior is to phone the child's parents, preferably in front of the child just to let them know what a great kid they have. This will make the child feel special since the teacher is taking time from their busy day just to deliver a compliment to the person which most children are trying hardest to impress.

The Golden Rule: Have Fun!

Speaking of delivering compliments, make sure not to forget about supporting the other members of the teaching staff and parental volunteers. A little thank you now and then will go a long way. And at the end of the day, the most important thing to remember when teaching preschool is to have fun. When the children can sense that the teacher is having fun, they too will share in this sense of amusement.

Mary Robinson has been teaching preschool for well over a decade. You can get instant access to her preschool activities, crafts, and lesson plans by visiting her website:

For a limited time, all visitors to Mary's site will also get a free copy of her special report: "The 7 Biggest Mistakes Preschool Teachers and Parents Make". Go get your free copy today!

Orlando Schools Sue Parent for Blog Postings

Orlando schools have been a victim of the information age. In a recent news item, it was revealed that the New School of Orlando is suing a parent for comments posted on the parent's blog about her daughter's treatment while attending kindergarten there. The school is alleging that the parent's statements caused enrollment to drop and that the school should be compensated for damage to its reputation. This one case raises the questions of how personal opinions on the Orlando schools can and should be shared.

Can One Person's Blog Make a Difference at Orlando Schools?

If enrollment at this school dropped because of statements made by this parent, how can the school prove it? Or how could any Orlando schools if it happened to them? It's almost impossible to track how and why parents choose to enroll or pull their children from various Orlando schools. But the pressing question is really whether parents should be prohibited from sharing opinions of Orlando schools online.

By its very nature, a blog is someone's personal observations and opinions posted on a website. Please note that I said "personal." I have no way of knowing if what this parent posted on her blog was true or not. But she believed it. I would hope that no child attending the Orlando schools would be treated with a lack of respect, as was stated on the blog in question. I also hope that no person working at the Orlando schools would think it was appropriate in any way to threaten a parent who had something to say about the school that officials didn't agree with. But reality is that when you have as many families in an area as there are in Orlando schools, someone's going to be unhappy.

Freedom of Speech and Orlando Schools

One idea is that students at Orlando schools (and elsewhere) have the freedom of speech to express their opinions. They should also be discussing the concept of censorship and at what point it is appropriate to tell someone that they can't express their opinion, or if this is ever appropriate.

If what this parent wrote in her blog is not simply giving her opinion about her child's treatment at this Orlando school and her allegations are true, then shouldn't the public be informed of these facts? The institution involved in this case was a private school not part of the public Orlando schools. Yet whether she is or not, her opinion may be helpful to other parents, and my even force Orlando schools to improve.

I don't know whether this blog simply listed this parent's experience with the school or whether she actively discouraged other parents from enrolling their children at this particular school. Maybe she lambasted Orlando schools in general. No matter what, she has a right to her opinion. And as an Orlando schools parent, I want to know what other parents have to say.

Other parents may send their children to this same Orlando school and be quite happy with how the place is run. This woman has the right to express her opinion about any topic she chooses, whether online or elsewhere. Anything else is censorship and has no place in a democracy.

Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Orange County Florida Public Schools

Public School Teachers - A Lesson in Mediocrity

If the American Public School system were a corporation it would be sued, and then closed for bankruptcy. Its product is crap, its bureaucracy is bloated, and its rank and file is more concerned about their benefits, seniority and pension than excelling. The teachers make the average united auto worker of the eighties look like employee of the year. And while the UAW worker is now paying for their lackadaisical attitude the teacher can go on, thanks in no large part to their own union, indefinitely. But that is not surprising when you look at the make up of your average public school teacher. As a student they went through school with the lone talent of being able to regurgitate the teacher's lesson, never a creative thought in their head. Their idea of human achievement was earning the perfect attendance record for the semester so they could hang it on their wall. They were ignored by their fellow students who enjoyed pranks, challenging authority, dreaming of leaving school, and pursuing careers with passion and dedication. When looking for careers, future teachers had to look no farther then those under achieving adults that patted them on the head like a faithful dog, thier current teachers. Where else could such mediocre clods have power over thirty individuals at once? Certainly not in a boardroom, or leading a seminar, that would be facing adults that have achieved things in their life. Instead these poster children of mediocity discover rather early in life they have nothing to offer their classmates, in fact their fellow man. They do not possess original ideas, they do not posses an ability to make life long friends, and they do not posses the ability to be a constructive teammate. So they seek out others who are lacking in these areas that make people human, public school teachers. Many times forming improper but usually relationships.

The public school teacher is a sanctuary for the mediocre. It does not require any effort, it does not require any talent, it does not require any vision. The requirements are to stay one page ahead of the students, most of whom have no interest in the subject being taught because it in no way relates to anything in their life. And it requires them to reward the kids that fit neatly inside the bell curve of average. Kids that learn differently, have different interests, act out, are to be identified, isolated, and labeled. In short any kid that demonstrates abilities that might become future leaders, are to be ostracized, and/or medicated. If you are bored or disruptive sitting in class, then there will be meetings, diagnostic exams, and you will be classified with A.D.D. or some other disorder. It is never a requirement of the school to change their direction. They are stamping out Model T's only.

For the mediocre these youngsters are a challenge to their authority, and that will not be tolerated. They are the same kids that taunted them back when they were in school, made fun of their joy when receiving that gold star, that pat on the head, for making the teacher smile.

There are a few teachers that do have something to offer. Generally these folks went out to achieve something in the adult world, and then returned to share their knowledge with the kids. They themselves have learned something in their life, and want to share this knowledge, and inspire today's youth. Their efforts while just a drop in the bucket should be commended. It is a decent and proper thing to do, and it shows today's youth well rounded adults do exist.

The mediocre teacher left high school, straight for an under achieving state college, that offers education as a major, and then quickly returns back to high school, this time at the front of the class. What do these people have to teach? What do they have to offer high school students? Nothing? They have no life experience, they have not challenged themselves. They have nothing, except one page ahead in the book.

And the only students they relate to? Those just like them, oh the joy of that perfect attendance record. You know who you are you pathetic dolts.

Mac McMann writes from the male point of view at

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Teacher Next Door Program

Good Neighbor Next Door Program or the Teacher Next Door Program is a unique federal government sponsored home loan program applicable to state-certified classroom teachers in grade K-12. The teacher should be a full-time employee at a public school, private school or a federal, state, county or city educational agency.

Under this program, HUD-acquired single-family homes are offered to teachers at half the purchase price. Homes offered under this program are located in HUD-designated Revitalization Areas and are typically in low and moderate-income neighborhoods. Single-family detached homes, condominiums and townhouses are also included under this program. The loan amount should be utilized for purchasing a home located in these revitalization areas. A teacher should purchase one that is located around the school in the same district or jurisdiction in which he/she is employed.

Revitalization areas contain many vacant homes that were previously insured through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and then foreclosed due to the inability of borrowers to make mortgage payments. In most cases, these are the homes that are offered to customers under the Teacher Next Door Program. These houses come at a discounted price and require a minimal down payment equivalent to $100. Interest rates on the mortgage loans are low and repayment terms are flexible. HUD contains a list of such houses. Hence, there is no need for real estate brokers and agents.

However, there are certain restrictions under this home loan program. The applicants must be citizens of the US and should be the primary resident in the purchased home for at least 3 years. Till that period, the teacher must be employed in the same school. Once the 3-year period is complete, the teacher has the option of selling the property and keeping the profit after clearing the loan.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Schools Look for in a Teacher

When a school searches for a new teacher, they already have an image of the teacher they want. Every school has certain qualities they feel a teacher must have to be successful. Those qualities can be many things depending on the needs and location of the school. While the qualities that each school considers important may vary, there are usually shared qualities that all schools would consider important.

The experience or background of a teacher is the most important quality a school looks for so your resume should highlight the qualities they are looking for. If they are looking for an ESL teacher for kindergarten students, it may be best to highlight activities that you have initiated and prepared at your previous positions. In addition, if you are looking at a position for a content subject such as science, highlight your knowledge and education in that area. This is especially important if you are a new teacher with little or no experience. Regardless, you should also have all academic qualifications available for the school to preview before you go for an interview. Most schools want to review the qualifications while considering applicants and will sometimes pass on teachers who don’t submit these items for review when applying. Each school is unique so the best thing would be to have a cover letter that speaks to that school and the position they are looking to fill. Don’t just have a blanket letter and resume that you mass mail to any potential school in the hopes of gaining employment. It may be beneficial to have a list of professional highlights that you can copy and paste into a cover letter based on the requirements of the position.

Another important consideration for schools is the personal qualities of a teacher. Most schools are looking for a long term commitment from a teacher so they want to make sure that teacher will fit within their school. The obvious qualities that come to mind are personable, positive and flexible/patient because these qualities will carry over into the classroom with your future students. In addition, the school will look at a teacher’s qualities with regards to their professionalism because there is much that is required outside of the classroom. In other words, they will want a teacher that is organized and committed. If they feel that the teacher can’t be depended on, they may not consider them a viable candidate. One of the things that may highlight a teacher’s lack of commitment is a resume that shows numerous teaching positions over a short period of time. Remember that you will not be judged strictly by your qualifications but on the sum of who you are as an individual.

The factors that go into a school’s decision to accept a teacher are varied and many so it is impossible to cover them all. Regardless, cover the basics looked for in any teacher and identify the unique characteristics or qualifications of a particular position. Remember that looking for a teaching job, like many other employment searches, is about selling yourself and the best way to do this is by identifying what the employer wants.

The following is an abbreviated list of characteristics posted by a teacher in response to a UNICEF request to “What makes a Good Teacher?”:

Positive - Thinks positively and enthusiastically about people and what they are capable of becoming. Sees the good in any situation and can move forward to make the most of difficult situations when confronted with obstacles. Encourages others to also be positive.

Communicative - Shares with others in a manner that encourages effective two-way communication. Communicates personal thoughts and feelings on a wide spectrum of issues and can listen to students in an empathetic manner, assuring each that conversations will be held in confidence.

Dependable - Honest and authentic in working with others. Consistently lives up to commitments to students and others. Works with them in an open, honest, and forthright manner.

Organized - Makes efficient use of time and moves in a planned and systematic direction. Knows where he or she is heading and is able to help students in their own organization and planning. Can think in terms of how organization can be beneficial to those served.

Committed - Demonstrates commitment to students and the profession and is self-confident, poised and personally in control of situations. Has a healthy self-image. Encourages students to look at themselves in a positive manner, careful to honor the self-respect of the students, while encouraging them to develop a positive self-concept.

Motivational - Enthusiastic with standards and expectations for students and self. Understands the intrinsic motivations of individuals, and knows what it is that motivates students. Takes action in constructive ways.

Compassionate - Caring, empathetic and able to respond to people at a feeling level. Open with personal thoughts and feelings, encouraging others to do likewise. Knows and understands the feelings of students.

Flexible - Willing to alter plans and directions in a manner which assists people in moving toward their goals. Seeks to reason out situations with students and staff in a manner that allows all people to move forward in a positive direction.

Knowledgeable - Is in a constant quest for knowledge. Keeps up in his or her specialty areas, and has the insight to integrate new knowledge. Takes knowledge and translates it to students in a way which is comprehensible to them, yet retains its originality.

Creative - Versatile, innovative, and open to new ideas. Strives to incorporate techniques and activities that enable students to have unique and meaningful new growth experiences.

Patient - Is deliberate in coming to conclusions. Strives to look at all aspects of the situation and remains highly fair and objective under most difficult circumstances. Believes that problems can be resolved if enough input and attention is given by people who are affected.

You can also practice answers to typical teacher interview questions like the ones on the following sites:

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Michael G. Hines is the founder of, a free resource helping the ESL/EFL community for jobs, resumes, schools, resources, yellow pages, classifieds, information and lessons. There are even free user blogs and chat!

SAT Essay - 8 Ways To Write A Great Introduction

You can't afford to have writer's block since you only have 25 minutes to write your SAT Essay. So to help my students put pen to paper faster I created these 8 techniques for creating a compelling introduction quickly. Try them and they'll help you too.

1. Understand the prompt first

The number one thing you must do to write a great introduction is to make sure you know what you are writing about first. The biggest mistake I've seen in scoring SAT Essays is that many students misread the prompt. To avoid this I have my students underline or circle important words and phrases to make sure they have truly digested the prompt. I suggest you do the same.

2. Use an analogy or metaphor

Analogies require creativity. A trait that SAT Essay graders love to reward. For an essay in which the prompt was "Is it true that to make progress people must make sacrifices?" A student created the following analogy,

"To climb a mountain a person must struggle and strain. And this is the case with any worthwhile goal..."

3. Tell a brief anecdote

You can create an engaging introduction by telling a brief (1-2 sentence anecdote) such as the following.

When I trained for my first marathon it was difficult and often painful. But I wanted to have the accomplishment of running 26.2 miles so I did it anyway. To make progress in life requires sacrifice.

4. Use a quote that was not used in the prompt

It is useful to memorize quotes that you love. You never know when they can come in handy on the test. For example for the essay topic "Do mistakes lead to growth?" one of my students wrote

Someone once asked Edison, "how can you feel good about your work, having failed nine-hundred and ninety-nine times to make a light bulb?" To this Edison replied, "I have not failed so many times, I have merely learned nine-hundred and ninety-nine ways not to make a light bulb. Why did Edison react this way? Because he knew that mistakes are always experiences that lead to learning and growth."

This was a great quote to begin his essay with and would definitely impress SAT Essay graders.

5. Mention a topic in the news

SAT Essay Experts will often say to stay away from news in the body of your essay. And they are right. However, in the introduction it can be very useful IF you have the facts straight AND it's even better if it is a news story that isn't well covered. If you use this idea make sure it clearly fits the topic.

6. Make up an anecdote using very specific details

I don't recommend this as you don't need a creative introduction badly enough to take the trouble to make one up. I had a student insist on trying this and his were so bad at first anyone could guess they were fictional. Finally, however he started to put details that were so specific that I couldn't tell if it was real or not. So you can fool graders if you want to but I don't recommend it.

7. Use a cliche in an inventive way

Most books and articles on writing say to stay away from cliches however, it's a secret of professional writers that if you change a cliche it captures people's attention.

One student used the following cliche to make a great introduction for the topic "Which is a better indicator of a person's true character, their actions or their words?"

"A picture tells a thousand words" is a saying that applies to the newspaper industry but which also applies to people. The picture created by a person's actions tells us a thousand words about him or her and goes much farther than words do in telling us about a person's true thoughts and feelings. Several examples from literature and history demonstrate this point.

Using the cliche "A picture tells a thousand words" to make the point that actions speak louder than words is very unique and very powerful.

8. When all else fails just do a quick summary of what you will cover in your essay

Make sure you clearly state your thesis and state which categories of information your examples are from

For example, "Examples from history, literature and science will prove that people care far too much about what others think of them."

Most of all remember, you do not need to write an impressive introduction so badly that you sacrifice the rest of your essay. In fact I taught my students to write great body paragraphs first as these are just as important. Then when they could write them quickly I taught them how to write great introductions and powerful conclusions.

Rodney Daut is a former public school teacher, SAT instructor and author. Did you find these tips writing the SAT Essay useful? You can learn a lot more about how to write well for the SAT Essay by visiting SAT Essay.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Classroom Management - How to Handle Minor Classroom Management Problems

As a full-time middle school teacher as well as a part-time adjunct education professor, I know quite well how important it is to have strong classroom management skills.

Personally, I am a big proponent of the using a "proactive" approach to classroom management. My goal is to stop classroom management problems BEFORE they start. I do this by using teaching strategies that increase student motivation, increase class participation and basically keep my students involved throughout the entire lesson.

However, regardless of how effective a teacher uses proactive classroom management strategies, minor disruptions will still occur in the classroom. Before we go any further let me make one thing perfectly clear here...this article is about stopping MINOR classroom management problems such as talking while the teacher is talking, writing or passing notes, and minor roughhousing.

There are two common ways in which teachers usually deal with these nagging classroom management issues...

In order to avoid being the known as the tough disciplinarian, some teachers choose to simply ignore minor misbehaviors altogether. The problem with this approach is that the misbehavior will most likely NOT go away. In fact, the misbehavior will most likely escalate and the teacher will be forced to deal with it anyway. Therefore, ignoring the misbehavior is just too risky.

On the other hand, some teachers use the strict approach and react to every minor disturbance regardless of the severity of the misbehavior.

The problem with this approach is that it presents the teacher as a negative role model, and it may lead to an overall negative feeling in the classroom and towards learning and school in general. Furthermore, the teacher's response may actual cause greater disruption to the lesson than the student's original misbehavior.

The problem is if the teacher stops the lesson to discipline 1 or 2 students for some minor misbehavior then the class went from 1 or 2 students being off task to 20 or 30 students being off task. While, the teacher may not have caused the original minor disruption, the teacher can certainly be blamed for the other 20 to 30 kids being off task.

So what's a teacher to do?

The key to handling these minor classroom management problems is to make sure the lesson itself does not stop.

Many experts call this the "Law of Least Intervention".

The basic concept is simple...the teacher uses a series of steps that require the least amount of teacher time and the least amount of disruption to the lesson. The teacher starts with the first step requiring the very least intervention and if that doesn't work quickly moves up the ladder to the next step which requires slightly more intervention and so on.

By using this approach the teacher can maintain a positive learning environment while at the same time maximize time on task. And, as I have stated time and time again, when students are on task they are much less likely to disrupt the class.

Remember, the intervention should take the least amount of time...the least amount of teacher effort...create the least unpleasant feeling for both teacher and student...and have the least disruption to the lesson.

Download your FREE report that shows you step-by-step how to handle minor classroom management problems:

How To Deal with an Oppositional and Defiant Student

We all know the type of kid; he or she may be your biggest headache. They are hostile to you and their peers, they don't seem to listen, and don't do what they are told. Its almost like they want to upset you. It seems like the more you try to manage them the more they resist....

Sound Familiar?

Students with oppositional and defiant behavior tend to have a pattern of negative and abrasive interactions with others (including you) in the classroom.

These guys are special and must be carefully approached...but don't give up! That willfulness can be channeled in good ways. But the trick is to take the focus off of them and carefully monitor your responses to them. You must become a Jedi must master yourself!

So you find yourself in a power struggle. Take a minute and reflect on the last one you were in. How did you try to control the situation? What happened? What was the outcome?

The Trap of the Power Struggle

Things you may do to make it worse:

  • Lose your temper (yelling or using sarcasm tend to escalate oppositional kids)
  • Engage in the interaction in front other students
  • Try to persuade the student or worse...bribe the student
  • Threaten the student
  • Adding more and more consequences
  • Trying to embarrass the student or put them down
  • Not following through with consequences or being inconsistent
  • Letting the struggle go on way too long
  • Crowd the student
  • Get annoyed at every little thing they do wrong...always focus on the big battle.
Things you can do to make it better:
  • Use a calm neutral voice no matter what
  • Give clear directions to the student
  • Discuss things briefly and in private to remove the audience
  • Making sure to listen to the student and consider what they are saying
  • Have clear boundaries and predetermined consequences for problem behavior
  • Remove yourself from the interaction if you cannot keep it together
  • If you have a teacher's aid, have a plan for who will take over the class when a defiant student must be spoken with.
  • Analyze the power struggles you have been hooked into...what hooked you?
  • Creating Change

Monitoring your tone

With negative and defiant students you may become triggered to be negative too. This is a mistake. Use your Jedi powers to keep your tone neutral when the child is negative, and be positive when the child is neutral or positive.


Oppositional and defiant behavior is often driven by the student's resistance to being under someone else's control or authority. Therefore, reward systems may not always work, especially if the child smells your desire to tame them or manipulate them.

Reinforcement that may prove more successful includes:

  • Giving praise briefly and discreetly as you walk around; or a quick whisper in the student's ear when they are on task (do not draw attention).
  • Write some good comments on a note and leave it on their desk.
  • Reward them with a leadership role.

What else can I do???

Make your oppositional student a helper and a leader. Because oppositional children have a strong need for control, helping them find pro-social ways to channel that need can be a great strategy to help them gain a sense of self-worth and community. Of course, make sure that your student is appropriately prepared, trained, and supervised in the activity. If the student's academic skills are below grade level, you may consider creating opportunities for leadership or mentorship with younger children.

Great roles for oppositional students are:

  • Leader of a small group, or co-leader of a small group with an adult.
  • Caretaker of the class pet.
  • Tutor or read-aloud buddy for peers or younger children.
  • Buddy, lunch pal, assistant, or mentor to a younger or new student.
  • Conflict mediator to help others solve a problem.
  • Have them help create and/or lead a community service project.
  • Have them construct something for the whole class to use.

Most important, take care of yourself outside the classroom, this is not an easy job! Set realistic expectations. Set the bar low enough so that your student can definitely clear the jump. Build slowly from there! Good Luck!

Read related "How To" teaching articles on

Classroom Discipline Tips: Dealing With Difficult Students and Parents

Or Check out TheApple's Lesson Plans for all Age Groups.

Katherine Richert Ph.D.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Web Makes it Easy to Get Math Help

When you or your child needs math help, it's sometimes hard to know where to turn. Schools have limited resources for helping students with mathematics, and tutors can be incredibly expensive. Thankfully, the Internet has made it possible for students of all ages to receive innovative and affordable math lessons. Using video lessons that are interactive and cost-effective, students can essentially receive one-on-one instruction while working through problems at their own pace. Here are some circumstances in which online math help can be effective.


Math is one of those subjects that requires a solid foundation, since concepts build one atop the other as a student progresses. In the absence of basic math skills - such as how to multiply a fraction or how to express an exponent - it's impossible to move on to algebra, polynomials, or logarithms. Middle school or high school students often need practice with and reinforcement of basic math skills in order to move forward into grade level appropriate mathematics classes. Online video lessons can help with pre-algebra skills that are necessary to succeed in algebra courses.


Unfortunately, because the No Child Left Behind Act focuses on moving low-performing students toward proficiency, schools are forced to concentrate heavily on remediation. As a result, students who are accelerated in math are often not given the opportunity to do so. They may be ready for trig or perms and combs, but are instead forced to work at the pace of the rest of their classmates. This can result in frustration and boredom, as well as in the student never reaching his or her potential. With online video math help, accelerated students can move through lessons at their own pace, and experience the satisfaction of exploring their capabilities to the fullest.

Home Schooling

Although there is wonderful curriculum for students who are home schooled, parents are often not well equipped to teach their children middle school or high school mathematics. After all, when it's been years since you've been exposed to the material, it's very easy to forget. Video math lessons can help fill in the teaching gaps for homeschoolers, while allowing students to learn at their own pace.

Tuning Up Math Skills

There are many times when a person might need a math tune-up. Perhaps college entrance exams are coming up, or maybe it's time to sit for a professional certification test. Being able to watch math tutorials and work through problems can shore up confidence and help develop even advance math skills.

What to Look For

When you decide that you want to take advantage of Internet-based math help, you should look for those designed by a certified teacher who has extensive experience teaching math and tutoring students. Look for lessons that are downloadable, and that you can view over and over again at no additional charge. Each lesson should cost less than ten dollars, and the videos should contain all of the information you need to understand the lesson. In other words, you should have to buy any textbooks.

Thanks to the Internet, it's never been easier to get math help when you need it.

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web. Learn more about Math Help on the Web or Majon's Education directory

Slide Preparation Tips for Interactive Whiteboards

1) Keep your slides as clutter free as possible. Don't add unnecessary graphics to your slide, just to decorate it. Any unnecessary addition will only create distraction from the information you want the learners to retain.

2) There should not be more than 5 lines on a single slide and not more than 5 words per line. A slide should contain only main points and should be used as a supplement to your verbal presentation. Don't try to write everything you wish to say on your slides.

3) Prepare your slides in such a way, that it covers at least one topic or a part of a topic. This is important to retain the attention of your students to you. When a slide is changed, students' attention goes to the slide. During that time, students can't hear what u said during the slide transition. If this is not possible, then pause for a while, during slides change.

4) Keep font size, font color, background color and background image in mind while slides preparation. The font size should be such that, even a student sitting in the last row can read the text clearly. The font color and background color must be in contrast with each other. Use those color combinations which make a text readable without putting any strains on the eye like combination of black, white, red, green, blue or yellow. Use background images which contain a light graphic and don't create any sort of distraction. Many teachers use such visually appealing background images, that it takes the eyes off the slides contents and thus ruin the whole purpose of the slide.

5) Use same font color, background color or image for each slide to minimize distraction during presentation.

6) Use interactive panels if you have to read the contents of the slides on an interactive whiteboard. This will free up the board for the class to see.

7) Don't' emphasize all the text by using bold or italic. Making all the text bold or italic is equivalent to a simple text with no emphasizes. Reserve bold or italic only for key points.

8) Use laser pointer only to draw attention of students to a given point. Once you have drawn the attention, then switch it off. Continuous use of laser pointer will cause distraction.

9) Each slide should have a title and well labeled tables or graphs. Don't include anything which you are not going to discuss.

10) Prepare your presentation well in advance. Decide how much time you should spend on each slide, how you will start and switch to other topics. Also reserve some time for queries from the students. Check all your slides on your interactive whiteboard for WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).Use high resolution images, animations, sound and video clips to make your presentation interactive and fun.

This Read Along Technique Increases Comprehension

Once your child can read most words at a reasonable pace, have her read to you in the following way:

  • Choose a book that is somewhat challenging, but not too difficult. One way to make this judgment is to have her read a page; if there are more than five words she does not know, the book may be too difficult. You want to challenge, not frustrate.
  • Now have her read a page. As she is reading, take a pencil or other pointer and point to each word as she reads. If she mispronounces a word, tap your pencil on the incorrect word. If she doesn't get the word on the second try, tell her the beginning sound of the word. If it is a multi-syllable word, break the word into syllables and sound out each syllable with her.

This technique allows you to give a gentle reminder when a word is not correct without interrupting her or breaking the continuity of the story. It is better than her reading on her own because she is corrected when she misses a word; otherwise she will just skip the word or think her incorrect pronunciation is correct.

For difficult words, consider making a word card. Just write the word on a 3x5 or other blank card. For young children it is important not to overwhelm with too many words, 7-12 words seems to be a good number, depending on the student.

Practice these words from the word cards for just a few minutes per day. A few minutes per day on a consistent basis is much better than longer sessions with less frequency. Remember not to study too many words at a time. When she knows a word right away without any help, toss the card.

Educator Don Jones has taught reading and math in a 1-to-1 environment for many years. He learned the methods from his father who started The Arcadia Reading Clinic in 1956. For more information, please visit

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Comprehension should always be the chief concern when teaching reading. What good is reading if the child has no understanding of what is read? In this article I will outline key reading comprehension strategies and show how they should be used.

Before reading you should allow children to make predictions about what they think the book will be about based on either the title or the picture on the front cover of the book. Children can also make predictions about what they think will happen based on what they read on the back cover of a book. Discuss with them their predictions and ask them to justify why their predictions are reasonable based on what they have read. Create a prediction chart that shows titles such as: WHAT WE PREDICT/WHAT HAPPENED IN THE STORY. List everything students predict will happen under the "WHAT WE PREDICT" column. Once the story has been read you can write what actually happened in the story in the "WHAT HAPPENED IN THE STORY" column. Students should be allowed to adjust predictions so the "WHAT WE PREDICT" column can be changed as the story is read. Older readers must be taught that while they are reading they should be looking out for the setting of the story, that is, the time and place the story takes place. The characters and plot are also essential elements they should be focused on as understanding of these story elements is at the heart of comprehending any story that is read.

Allowing children to do research on a topic before it is presented in a story format is highly effective for improving reading comprehension. This strategy however, works better with older readers. Children will feel more in tune with the content of the text if they are allowed to develop previous knowledge.

Another reading comprehension strategy that I have found to be highly effective is to do vocabulary work before hand. You can introduce children to new words. Have them break them up into syllables. Put the new words on flashcards. You can also have children find out the meaning of these words in the dictionary, with all this groundwork, once you get to the text it will be smooth sailing.

After reading, children can do written and oral retelling of the story. Engage children in answering questions. These may be in the form of traditional written comprehension questions or oral comprehension questioning. I mentioned using research as a pre-reading strategy but this can also be done after reading.

Encourage children to act out stories in groups with each child taking turns playing characters from the book.

Completing a story map is a good activity for students to do after reading as they get a chance to summarize and to zero in on what happened at different points in the story. A good story map is one that asks students to tell what happened at the beginning, middle and the end of the story.

Make an art-literature connection by having students draw and paint or color their favorite scenes. They can also write something about what they have drawn so that a writing connection is also made.

Simone Mary is a teacher, writer and artist. She is the author of the eBooks TEACHING READING AND WRITING, WRITING A STORY? WHAT EVERY WRITER SHOULD KNOW and RAMCEN'S ASSIGNMENT her first work of fiction, for more reading strategies visit her website at

Honor School Staff During Teacher Appreciation Week

When children are not at home or on the soccer or baseball field, they are at school. At least for nine months of the year. Outside of their parents and family they probably spend more time in a classroom with their teachers than anywhere else. Teachers help mold young minds and build the foundations for children's futures.

Teacher & School Staff Appreciation Week on May 4-10 is the time of the year to say thank you. Every team member at your school works hard, and often for a salary that is far below the standard salary of other professions. Teachers want to know they are valued for the time and efforts they take to help their students. A recognition event will let them know they are appreciated.

The theme of Teacher Appreciation Week has gone beyond just honoring teachers. It takes a lot of talented people to run our schools and education departments. Superintendents, administrators, nurses, guidance counselors, maintenance staff, teacher aids and volunteers all are vital links to our schools.

Most schools now hold Teacher and School Staff recognition parties. Sometimes a different event is held each day of Teacher Appreciation Week. Often, different teams are honored on each day. From an ice cream and coffee hour to a full luncheon, there are numerous ways to hold an event to fit any budget.

Kick off Teacher Appreciation Week with a breakfast. Serve bagels and coffee in decorated commemorative mugs. Continue the week with a school assembly in your gym or auditorium and invite all of your students to show their praise by singing songs and giving their teachers and the staff a standing ovation. Hand out flashlights so they can shine a light on their teachers to let them know they are in the spotlight.

Continue the week with a luncheon. Serve pizza, sandwiches or have each staff member prepare a dish to bring in. A Teacher Appreciation Chocolate Bar makes a great place setting. On other days you can stage fun theme events. Have teachers and school staff bring in baby pictures and hold a guess the staff member contest. Hand out apple shaped die-cut picture frames for them to take their photos back home in.

If you don't have time to have a daily event, a simple and economical gift left in mailboxes or desks will be appreciated just as much. Note pads, monthly academic planners, pens and desk organizers with a message of appreciation will serve as constant reminder that your community supports and appreciates its school staff members. No matter your budget, a small gesture can go a long way during Teacher & School Staff Appreciation Week.

Michael Lerner is a recognized expert in the field of promotional products and logo marketing. Promos On-Time offers teacher appreciation week gifts for every school staff member.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What to Do as a Substitute Teacher

Do you have the desire to be a substitute teacher? Do you think substitute teaching is easy?

I was a substitute teacher for five years and worked for two school districts in St. Louis, Missouri. Substitute teaching can be rewarding; however, it is very challenging.

If you mess up, the school administrators might write a bad report to the school district's personnel office without saying anything to you. I will do my best to guide you to success.

On the days you teach, you should leave your home wearing your badge. Go to the office after you arrive.

The first thing you should do after you report is to read the instructions given to you by the secretary and classroom teacher. At the end of the day, turn in your keys and ask if you can come back the next day.

Dress professionally to gain respect from the teachers, administrators and students. Wear a collared shirt, slacks and dress shoes. The only day you should wear jeans, shorts or gym shoes is when you know you will teach gym.

Follow the school district policies and the policies of the school where you teach. Use your free time to read the safety procedures and other information posted in your classroom.

It helps to know where every school in your district is located. If the district does not give you a district map, download one from the district's web site. Make a trip to the schools you have not visited to avoid being late if you are asked to work there.

School officials do not like tardiness. Keep in mind how long it takes to reach each school. You could get out of bed by 5:30 in the morning to give yourself more time if you are called between 6:30 and 7:00 and asked to report to a school by 7:30.

If you ride the bus and know you do not have enough time to report to a particular school when you suddenly receive a call in the morning, let the caller know you cannot accept the request. It is better to lose a day of pay than your job.

If students prepare to engage in a physical fight, take them to the hall and close the door. Students are much less likely to fight away from an audience.

Never step between people who are throwing punches or kicks. Call the office or school security. Let a student get help.

It helps to know the names of students who misbehave. Look at the seating chart and student identification list on your desk.

Do not eat in the classroom if the school has a teacher's lounge and you have a scheduled lunch break. If you must take a nap, do it on your free time in the classroom or restroom.

Sleeping in the lounge will make you look bad and upset the school officials. If you do not have a class during a particular hour and you are unsure about what to do, call the office.

Your biggest challenge is to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning while not being draconian. Do not give disruptive students more than one warning.

If the class is out of hand and a student asks to get help, you must deny permission to leave and immediately get tough with the class. I once let a girl who wanted to get help leave.

She came back with the principal. The principal criticized me for not being able to handle students.

Your room must be kept clean. If an administrator comes and sees clothes on the floor, your life is over.

You can follow these steps and still be darned. You must have support from the administration. I loved working with the students but I reached the point where I had to move on. Good luck!

Todd Hicks owns Skill Development Institute, an enterprise that provides a keyboard typing lesson and academic study guide. He has a communications degree and lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Todd has also written many articles and posted them on his web site.

Teacher Apathy and the Gifted Child

As I sit preparing to write this article, I ask myself what is the number one challenge facing Gifted Children? There are several, but what would you say is the most challenging issue?

It came to me right away. Is the greatest challenge facing Gifted Children in our society today teacher apathy? Of course, this does not apply to every teacher. It's not that teachers are mean or uncaring. It's not that they don't want their students to do well.

Is it because many are unaware of the characteristics and unique challenges facing the Gifted Child? Many teachers don't know how these children learn best or how they differentiate from their peers. They are preoccupied with students who have learning issues or behaviour issues.

They can not shoulder all the blame. Our society is misinformed as well. Our governments seem determined to lower the bar when it comes to expectations in schools. The universities are turning out teachers that spend little time on Gifted Children and their needs.

If you look up apathy in the dictionary you will find the word indifference. This pretty much sums up many teachers' feelings. If this insults or offends a teacher, I'm sorry. However, our gifted children need parents to speak out on their behalf and work towards changing the myths that surround them.

Teachers themselves need to speak out for these children. They need to want to make a difference in the life of a gifted child. They must stop assuming that these children don't need anything extra and can go it alone.

Gifted children have a right to learn. All the excuses in the world, including inclusion, lack of resources, over crowded classrooms and others don't change the simple fact that teachers show indifference to gifted children in the regular classroom.

Since inclusion is the current trend, Gifted Children will be placed in the regular classroom more and more.

Teachers can help change this attitude by taking courses to learn about gifted children. There are books, workshops, and other resources available to them.

Even if the school board or government doesn't require them to do more for gifted children, this doesn't mean they can't take the initiative.

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." --William Ward

I am the mother of a gifted 8 year old girl. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Studies. I began the journey to learn as much as possible about gifted children and to share it with others in order to get information out and dispel the myths about gifted children.

Becoming Your Child's Home School Teacher Requires Patience and Consistency

Home schooling is a growing trend where parents take control of their children's education. The parents are basically taking over the education process that was once provided by government run schools. Many parents who are passionate about there children's education and feel that the government school system does not do an adequate job instilling values along with education. If you are looking for a way to become a larger influence in your child's life and education becoming your child's home school teacher is a great way to do it.

The recent growth in home schooling is giving the parents and children more time to interact together and learn to enjoy each other more. Many parents who choose to be a home school teacher for their children feel that they can understand their kids better the public school teachers. The parents feel that they will be able to identify study areas that the child is lacking in and give them the proper attention they need and require to excel. The Internet has also given parents a great resource to gather teaching material, curriculum plans and other resources.

Many home school teacher parents feel that they have a better influence over their children, especially in the early years. Unlike government schools there is no restriction as to what can be taught in the home so many parents like to incorporate the families religious beliefs in the studies. This is something that is not allowed in the public school system.

If you have been thinking of removing your children from government education and becoming their home school teacher then you should be ready for a change in lifestyle and a large responsibility. You are going to have to really evaluate yourself and be honest in your abilities to maintain the patience, and consistency home schooling requires.

To help answer the question Why Home school my kids visit our website.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Facts About Assistant Teacher Jobs

An assistant teacher's primary job is to assist the primary teacher. It may sound one-sided, but the truth is, an assistant teacher's job is pretty multi-faceted. Since they stay in the same classroom as the primary teacher and all the kids, they are easily susceptible to any form of task or duty. Because of this, an assistant teacher should be energetic and enthusiastic

An assistant teacher is expected to nurture relationships both with the primary teacher and the kids. The primary teacher and the assistant teacher will be working together. Although the assistant teacher takes directions from the supervising teacher, the assistant teacher's role is quite important because the primary teacher will find it difficult to work without assistance.

Since the primary teacher will have to pay attention to the lesson, the assistant teacher will be freer to pay attention to the students. This is one of the most important roles of an assistant teacher. He or she will have to supervise the students and monitor them at all times. This also entails taking care of the children, despite the different developmental stages, especially in preschool or kindergarten. Some students may already be independent and can move around on their own without the need for round-the-clock supervision, while some students still need constant supervision and guidance. It falls upon them to support children, especially those with special needs, since the primary teacher cannot possibly focus on one student alone. It is also their responsibility to help children in various activities, such as in eating, toileting, and keeping up with the activities that are part of the lessons. Assistant teachers should also be ready to entertain and play with the children, especially when some of the kids are uncomfortable and are upset. The age of the children in the class affects the mix of responsibilities of an assistant teacher.

Aside from the responsibilities already mentioned above, an assistant teacher is also responsible for the preparation of any materials needed for the class activities. In special classes such as art subjects, the assistant teacher is, of course, expected to help the students in the use of scissors, glue, and the like. It is also their responsibility to prepare the classroom or set it up for the activities, and to clean up afterwards.

Assistant teachers can be fully qualified and registered teachers. However, they can also be simply teaching assistants, with no academic teaching background and prior experience. Teaching assistants are not qualified teachers. Teaching assistants are naturally guided by the primary teacher. The qualifications for teaching assistants are lesser. They just have to have around two years of formal education after high school.

The good thing about being an assistant teacher is that they also have opportunities to advance in their teaching career. They have plenty of opportunities to attend seminars and workshops especially for assistant teachers. These can help them improve their knowledge and skills that they use relating to their job. As they improve as assistant teachers, they can move up and become fully qualified teachers after gaining experience in the field, given that they meet the qualifications.

Your portal to all the best teacher jobs is just one click away. Choose from among the secondary, primary, or assistant teacher jobs in your area at .

Where To Get Time Management Tools For Teacher

In the teaching industry, all teachers from childcare teachers all the way professors of university have very busy schedules. They have many kids to attend to, also have different subjects to share in the classroom. There are many different plans of matters that are made throughout the day and a busy agenda to manage as well.

What is needed to help hectic teachers out

Implementing a specific plan that caters to time management for teachers to enable to help a teacher's busy schedule. Time management is crucial if you want to get through every subject you have in your teaching day. Use time management in your curriculum so as to help in your teaching skills.

With the aid of a “time management for teachers” plan, the teacher can see where they can seize out certain things into the agenda. A lot of the work that a teacher does goes into preparations for classes and in checking papers and quizzes. If you are a teacher and you feel that you have too much work on your hands, it is usually a exact case of needing some help with time management.

In-class, a teacher must also control their time and that of their students. For example, having a good sense of how much time each homework will take the students to do is important – you cannot expect them to work at your pace. In fact, what you might fret over as time wasted could be a bonus for you as you could use that time to get through those ‘administrative’ tasks that you tend to take home.

I hope you will know by now that time management for teachers is no difference than having time management in itself - you have to search out time wasters, prioritize your work and fill in those time slots with short projects to make the maximum usage of your time.

What is the key to any successful profession

Organization is this key.

A time management for teachers program will also help the children how everything happens in order. Even so, that our children are spending most of the time with their teachers.

Teaching time management lessons to the children is simply great as it allows them to do their homework more effectively. Frequently, teachers would give tips and plans to their students just like he or she would do for himself or herself. This is a great part of having teachers take advantage of this training – they can then impart those skills to their students as well.

The teacher's goals is to get the entire work completed before the end of the year. With this management course, she can easily achieve this goal.

Children may getting smarter when their teachers make up their mind to use this tool on them. Being organized is the only way this task can really be accomplished. Especially if the teacher has a lot of information to keep track of.

On the internet, you can simply download a this program for teachers and get started with your new goals and strategies today for your students.

This program will give you more flexibility throughout your day. This will explanation of having more time for yourself or those assignments that needs to be done. Make sure that as you are particular about taking out special time for work, that you make the same sort of efforts for taking out time for yourself and your career.

Eddy K Elgin is the webmaster of the Good Reference To Effective Time Management Tactics. Drop by at Where Teachers Can Find Free Time Management Program for more details.

What You Need To Know About Head Teacher Jobs

The head teacher is the most senior teacher in a school. The head teacher is also called a headmaster or headmistress, which are gender-specific terms. As a whole, they are called head teachers. In a nutshell, the head teacher is the person in charge of the various departments in a school. The lead role makes him or her a part of the school's executive committee. The next step after being a head teacher is to eventually become part of the school's administration.

The head teacher may not have a growing heap of responsibilities, but their responsibilities, though smaller in number, are actually heavier. Some head teachers still retain teaching responsibilities, so they would still have to insert some classes in the middle of all their other tasks. Some head teachers, though, are relieved of any teaching responsibilities, and seems to have already delegated the act of teaching to the nurses under his or her supervision.

This leads us to the second primary responsibility of head teachers. They act as leaders or supervisors who supervise and evaluate the performance of the teachers. Head teachers are always teachers themselves, who just climbed up the ladder until they reach the head teacher post. This way, they are in the correct position of authority to advise teachers on teaching skills and classroom management strategies. Any problems that the teachers may have should be brought to the attention of the head teacher, so that it can be resolved.

The third responsibility of head teachers is focused on the school's curriculum. It is the head teacher's job to lead the teachers in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the school curriculum. In case the existing curriculum needs work, it should be the head teacher's initiative to lead and motivate the teachers to work on the curriculum as a team. Since this responsibility directly involves the education that is received by the students, this is a very important duty of a head teacher.

Because of these heavy responsibilities, head teachers should have certain qualifications and characteristics that will empower them to take the lead role. First of all, since the end recipients of the head teacher's efforts are still the students, a head teacher should have the ability to handle children and interact with them. It makes no difference whatsoever whether the head teacher has teaching responsibilities. He or she needs this skill nevertheless. However, if a head teacher has teaching responsibilities, he or she naturally has to have excellent teaching skills. For those who don't have teaching responsibilities, then the focus of their job is on managerial responsibilities. It follows, then, that they need strong managerial skills. They should be able to balance their interaction with the teachers and the students with the level of authority that they should maintain at all times.

The complex mix of responsibilities makes a head teacher's job very important. A head teacher plays a key role in a school. This also means that head teachers receive more opportunities and higher privileges than other teaching jobs.

There is only one place to go to for teacher jobs. If you are looking for jobs such as head teacher jobs and many others, go to .

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Teacher Education Philosophies

It is important for every teacher to have a personal philosophy of teacher education based on a set of values and principles. It should reflect the person’s ideologies and philosophies of teaching and the overall development of the children. It becomes a crucial element in guiding the children towards a successful life.

The most famous and important people who contributed to the development of the world had personal, deeply insightful educational philosophies on their own. Albert Einstein, Paul Freire and Rudolf Steiner were some people who wrote and followed powerful educational philosophies in their careers.

John Dewey, one of the most prominent educational philosophers, in his book ‘Democracy and Education’, even devoted an entire chapter on teacher education philosophy and talks about various aspects that play a formative role in the education of children. Philosophies of teacher education can be classified as Liberal, Behaviorist, Progressive, Humanistic and Radical. Each of these has specific purposes in education and defines the role of a teacher and his relationship with the learner, in the unique perspective of particular philosophical contexts. The liberal philosophy aims at developing intellectual powers, while the behavioral ideologies focus on the survival skills of a human being and the role of education in teaching them. The Progressive philosophy motivates cultural development of an individual in order to bring about societal change, whereas the Humanistic trends look at the overall development of the personality and characteristics of an individual. And the radical philosophers are interested in beneficial changes that should happen in a society from time to time, and the role of education in bringing about political, social and economical changes.

Teacher education philosophy is now used as a major marketing strategy by teachers and has become an essential component of a teacher’s resume. This has evolved to become part of the teacher’s personal profile, which outlines all of his essential skill sets and unique qualities, and highlights his specialties.

Teacher Education provides detailed information on Teacher Education, Online Teacher Education, Teacher Education Philosophies, Teacher Education Programs and more. Teacher Education is affiliated with Online Special Education Courses.

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