Monday, September 20, 2010

Top Teaching Tips of the Week (September 20-26)

  1. Browse through the first season of PBS’s great show, SciGirls, which promotes scientific discovery and analysis.  It's an excellent resource for teachers in the middle grades.  The show encourages the study of math and science as viewers join girls as they solve an interesting problem in each episode.  Technology, internet use and cartoon characters also help this show seem relatable to students, and real scientists also make appearances.  I highly recommend SciGirls!  Also, visit their activities and projects page to see ideas for science class.  The activities are also helpfully provided in Spanish!
  2. Here's a great use of classroom technology:  have students create their own short children's book using ArtisanCam, which allows them to write a story and "publish" it for everyone to read online.  The neat thing is that students can also select from images to illustrate their story, and they all actually look like children's drawings!  Peek through the gallery for some examples.  Students could practice using story elements, and you could also integrate science by having them include facts about animals (such as their habitats, for example) because the pictures use animals as characters.
  3. To practice basic math facts, young students could Save the Apples in this online game.  They can practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and select their level of difficulty.
  4. Your class could practice visualization and summarization skills by designing a comic strip or short graphic novel based on a few pages of text.
  5. Use Bingo instead of a written history or geography quiz if you want students to remember details about different Native American groups, states, etc.  Make some Bingo cards (you could even use regular paper and have students draw a chart)  and have your class fill each box with a term from the unit's list.  Then, call out clues ("This Southern state is also known as 'the Peach State'") and have them mark their box if they have the word written down.  Because students have to know their facts in order to win the game, this is a good assessment tool, and it's motivating to students.  It has the benefit of a "Jeopardy" game with easier preparation for the teacher.

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