Posted in Current Posts

13 Reasons Why … Teachers are Effective

It’s that time of year again. It’s when principals reflect on the last school year and start planning for the next.

I’m working on my pep talk for my new teacher orientation. Some of my new teachers are fresh from college. I remember being fresh from college, relieved that the grind of studying and researching were over, and I could finally rest and start teaching.

Ha. A highly effective teacher’s work is never done.

13 Reasons Teachers are Effective

Continue reading “13 Reasons Why … Teachers are Effective”

Posted in Current Posts

Operation Innovation!

“Mrs. Kane, I’m bored!

There is nothing to do out here,” said a sweaty little sweetie at recess.

I looked in disbelief at the multilevel brightly colored playground equipment. How could she be bored? Yet, I heard this complaint at every recess.

It wasn’t always this way.

A decade earlier, our school did not have a playground. The kids played in a big grassy empty lot at the back of our property (don’t judge). They had a whole “tent town” thing going on. They used sticks, rocks, and abandoned lumber, along with other flotsam and jetsam they found in the grass to build the forts. The only problem we had were occasional turf wars.  They were busy and not bored.

They were innovative.

Innovation:a new method, idea, or product, to make  a beneficial change, to introduce something as if new, teaching/allowing/enabling students to take a new idea, an old idea, someone’s idea and make it better.

I’d like to add my own definition: Innovation is not an isolated project or activity; it is a philosophy or “teaching worldview.” It’s allowing children to use 19th century skills (creating, carving, inventing, crafting, composing, designing) in 21st century classrooms.

Innovation is what we do when we have a bad snow storm and lose power-we become innovators instead of consumers. (Admit it. Your kids invent all kinds of games to play when the power goes out).

How innovative are you?

Innovative Teacher Test:

  1. I try new things in my classroom. I am brave.
  2. I make mistakes and my kids know it.
  3. I am transparent. I ask for help when I need it and admit my mistakes (See number 2)
  4. I use technology as a tool.
  5. My classroom is connected.
  6. I am a lifelong learner. Each day I learn something new about education.
  7. My students have voice and choice.
  8. I am very likely to learn it on Sunday and try it on Monday!
  9. My lesson plans are a living breathing document.
  10. I always have a project going.
  11. My kids talk as much or more than I do.
  12. I am one of several teachers in my classroom.
  13. Failure is ok in my class.
  14. I praise process instead of product.
  15. I share ideas with  others.

If you answered yes to ten or more items, you are on your way to becoming  an innovative teacher! If you answered yes to less than ten questions, don’t get discouraged. Get your growth mindset on, pick an item from the list above and start researching!

Check out my Resource Page for innovation resources!

Do you have another item that should be added to the Innovative Teacher Test? Please leave me a comment below. I’d love to chat with you!

By Mary Kay Kane

all rights reserved. copyright 2017

 

Posted in Current Posts

Shhh! Don’t Tell! Inquiry-Based Learning

Step One:

Ok. Open your envelopes, sort your numbers and discover how the numbers relate to each other, I said to the 5th grade class. The envelopes contained slips of paper printed with two base numbers and their factors. The base numbers are underlined and each set is in a unique font. I was using inquiry-based learning method with my class.

“Inquirybased learning (also enquirybased learning in British English) starts by posing questions, problems or scenarios—rather than simply presenting established facts or portraying a smooth path to knowledge. The process is often assisted by a facilitator.” Wikipedia

Continue reading “Shhh! Don’t Tell! Inquiry-Based Learning”

Posted in Current Posts

Are You CRA-CRA?

So I’m on day three of being sick and I’ve had tons of time to resear—I mean rest on the couch. While I’ve been resting, I’ve watched video three of Number Sense.  In video 3, Christina Tondevold is teaching about CRA method of presenting information.

Concrete-Representational-Abstract

Concrete: hands-on manipulatives to represent a number concept or situation such as three red discs and four green discs to make seven discs.

Representational: a drawing or a model made by the child of a number concept or situation such as students draw three red balloons and four blue balloons to make seven balloons.

Abstract: symbols only such as 3 + 4 = 7

So what’s so CRA-CRA about this concept? We’ve been doing this for years, right? The CRA-CRA part is: we need to do these three concepts all at once, all together. Continue reading “Are You CRA-CRA?”

Posted in Uncategorized

Off to School

Last week I attended a training conference for Project Lead the Way—an awesome science program our elementary is adopting for the coming school year.

As I was getting ready for class, I looked over my supply list. It has been a VERY LONG TIME since I needed to “get supplies” for school. My mind went back in time.

New Crayolas (96 colors with a built in sharpener if your parents were rich)

New pencils (Pristine with erasers intact and NO bite marks.)

Cartridge pens with extra ink (if you didn’t attend Catholic schools, Google it.)

Lunch bags.

Book bag.

Note: I walked to school with my sisters for the first 7 years of my school career.

We were good to go.

 

Fast forward to the 21st century. Scan my supply list shown below:

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 8.21.53 PM

Not a pencil on it.

Times have changed … but for the better. Never has education been more exciting, more relevant, more connected. Good ideas between teachers, schools and nations can be shared at the speed of a click! No more excuses for boring, worn-out projects and methods or teachers. We have the resources to be the best God has created us to be.

Same message—new methods.

 

old school
Old School Supplies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New school
New School Supplies

 

What do you remember about going to school? Leave me a comment below! I’d love to chat with you!

By Mary Kane. All rights reserved. Copyright 2016