The Teachers' Scrounge

News and comments from the world of public education. A middle school math teacher shared what he learned today.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Engaging Students

Let me share an idea we've implemented at my campus this year. We have televisions in the cafeteria. These tvs connect with our media station. They can carry cable programming, a DVD or VHS played from the library, or (and here's the cool one) it can broadcast a computer monitor from the library station.

Last year, we played a PowerPoint slide show on those screens with a myriad of math facts. But this year, we wanted to "kick it up a notch!" We thought we could engage the kiddos by putting those facts in the form of a quiz. So we solicited questions from ALL the teachers (electives, core curriculum, PE, everyone) and based the slide show on the trivia contests you see an Buffalo WildWings and other similar restaurants.

The result is cool. We sprinkle in some current events and pop culture questions, and the students' reaction has been positive. Especially the younger students are shouting out answers and following along. We swap out the questions every week.

If you want to try something similar, you can download my PowerPoint slide show and use it as a template: Lunch Quiz PowerPoint Template

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Monday, September 15, 2008

California Ag Teacher Killed by Aggressive Bull

Tulare, California is grieving the loss of a 31-year veteran Ag teacher, Max Corbett, who was killed by one of the farm bulls over the weekend.

I have the utmost respect for Ag teachers. It is a tremendous investment of time, and requires a very diverse skill set. Ag teachers perform a service to their students -- and the community -- that cannot be found elsewhere in the school. As such, I am sure Mr. Corbett will be sorely missed.

The Fresno Bee article contains more info.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

New year -- New book study

We are three weeks into the new school year. Progress reports go home on Monday. Each year, our faculty participates in a campus-wide book study. This year, we are reading the book, Fair Isn't Always Equal, by Rick Womeli. The book addresses issues related to differentiated instruction -- a district focus for some time now.

I want to share a thought from the first chapter. What would happen if a teacher from the 50s, 60s, 70s, or even the 80s stepped into your classroom. Would he be comfortable and able to teach your kiddos the same way you do? Or would he be lost, overwhelmed by the differences between your classroom and his?

I think it's fascinating to think about what we know and do that teachers did not 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Not "what" is different (technology, or "things"), but "how" we are different (methods, strategies, data).

Leave me a comment. How is your teaching different from the classroom of 20 years ago? The author, Rick Wormeli, says our hope is that the 1970s teacher will look at our classroom and say, "I wish I had known that 30 years ago. It would have helped me with Gennie in 4th period."