Posts Tagged With: teaching strategies

Shake up Your Remote Teaching with These Teaching Strategies

As we struggle with adapting our classes to remote learning, I know lots of teachers who are realizing that their normal approach isn’t suited for remote teaching. They need to come up with a transformative tool that will reach students more comprehensively, more rigorously, more granularly online. Here are thirteen accepted pedagogical teaching strategies with proven records of success. Read through them then think how they might be applied to solve the problems you’re having with online teaching. For more information, click the link:

Depth of Knowledge (DoK)

DoK is not a taxonomy (like Bloom’s). Rather, it itemizes ways students interact with knowledge.

Frayer Model

Frayer Model uses a graphical organizer that asks students to describe words by much more than a memorized definition. 

Growth Mindset

In a Growth Mindset, people believe ability can be developed through dedication and hard work. The cerebral and physical traits they were born with are just the starting point. Students are responsible for setting the patterns and strategies that allow them to succeed, by evaluating what they can do at any given point and making a plan for learning everything else.

Habits of Mind

In the face of mounting evidence, education experts accepted a prescriptive fact: student success  is not measured by milestones like ‘took a foreign language in fifth grade’ or ‘passed Algebra in high school’ but by how s/he thinks.  Habits of Mind lists sixteen of these.


Orton-Gillingham is not a packaged curriculum, rather a prescriptive program designed for each individual student. The O-G teacher incorporates phonology and phonological awareness, sound-symbol association, syllable instruction, morphology, syntax and semantics into a personalized methodology 

Project-based Learning (PBL)

John Dewey suggested the education focus be switched to students when he introduced “learning by doing”, today referred to as Project-based Learning (PBL).

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Categories: classroom management | Tags: | 1 Comment

Do You Make These 9 Mistakes

…with your child’s computer education?tech ed

  • Show your child how to do something rather than allowing him to discover
  • Do for them rather than let them do it
  • Say ‘no’ too often (or the other enthusiasm-killer, Don’t touch!)
  • Don’t take them seriously
  • Take technology too seriously. It’s a tool, meant to make life easier. Nothing more.
  • Underestimate their abilities
  • Over-estimate their abilities
  • Give up too quickly
  • Think there’s only one way to do stuff on the computer

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Categories: classroom management, education reform, homeschool, K-5 Tech training, opinion, teacher resources, teaching | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

How to Balance Teaching and Independent Discovery

I had a question from a reader about how I keep students from messing up the desktops, deleting icons, going into files they shouldn’t, while still encouraging a

sense of exploration and adventure. It got me thinking of all the tricky stuff I teach that makes computers both challenging and fun. For example:

  • how to create wallpaper, which means they have to change the lab computer’s screen
  • how to add shortcuts to the desktop (which means they might add some I don’t like)
  • how to change the direction of the screen (after a precocious fifth grader inverted it 90 degrees)
  • how to add shortcuts to the start menu (which means they might add some I don’t like)
  • how to move the taskbar from the bottom (and then another student likes it at the bottom, but doesn’t know how to fix that)

It’s a balancing act as a technology teacher (or a homeschooling mom) to teach students how to problem solve on the computer and personalize their station while reigning students in from making computers useless to others. Especially when our job as technology teachers is to model problem solving, which includes playing around with icons. Continue reading

Categories: classroom management, homeschool, problem solving, teaching, Tech ed | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Five Great Summer Websites Your Kids Don’t Want to Miss

It’s summer. Kids can’t play outside all the time, so here are some fun online activities that will keep their attention while feeding their brains. These are all tested on my classes throughout the school year. When my students are done with the day’s planned projects, I let them pick a website or software of their choice to fill the last five or ten minutes before the bell rings. These five, I’ve found to be favorites” Continue reading

Categories: critical thinking, first grade, free tech resources, homeschool, internet, K-5 Tech training, Kindergarten, second grade, teacher resources, teaching, websites, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Every Parent Should Know About Computers

As a tech teacher, I constantly chat with parents about computers and their kids. Some are afraid to allow their children access to the

computer and want suggestions on how to make internetting specifically and computer use in general a positive experience for their little one. After ten years of teaching technology, I can tell you without doubt that school can no longer be done without a computer. They’re used for:

  • homework, starting in around 2nd grade–sooner in some cases
  • communication with the teacher–it may be difficult to reach a teacher on the phone or catch them between classes, but the teachers I know commit to responding to all email within 24 hours. If that isn’t fast enough, then definitely, hang out by their classroom
  • research–I teach 2nd graders basic research on the computer and I may be a year late. Your children are seeing it in school, hearing about it from friends. They’ll want to access information on classroom topics via your computer. Let them spread their fingers and go.
  • finding out what’s going on around school. Most schools have lots of administrative material online, sports dates, shows, events. Children feel comfortable at their school when they understand the environ. Enjoying school means they learn to love learning. Continue reading
Categories: homeschool, K-5 Tech training, teacher resources, teaching | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 Steps to Keep the Internet Child-Safe

The biggest concern I get from parents at my school is how to keep their children safe on the untamed internet.

It’s true, every website links to other places. Children click there by accident–and suddenly they’re where they shouldn’t be. Some parents I know forbid internet use without constant supervision, but that’s onerous to parents and hurts kids. Parents don’t have time to watch over their child’s shoulder (while they are trying to cook dinner, prepare for guests, watch the dog–or do their day job) and kids end up the losers (see this list of great websites for kids to see what they’d be missing).

Here’s what I do to balance both sets of needs: Continue reading

Categories: homeschool, internet, K-5 Tech training, teacher resources, teaching, tech security | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thirty-two More Ways to Use Spare Classroom Time

I keep a list of themed websites that are easy-in easy-out for students. They must be activities that can be accomplished enjoyably in less than ten minutes. In the parlance, these are called “sponges”.


Photo credit: Nemo

You may have read my post with nineteen sites my students love visiting during sponge time (let me know if you liked them, have some to add, I’m always interested in learning from you). Here are thirty-two more. Hope you like them!

Language Arts



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Categories: fifth grade, first grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, grammar and spelling, homeschool, internet, language arts, math, problem solving, Science, second grade, teacher resources, Tech ed, vocabulary, websites | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Nineteen Ways to Use Spare Classroom Time

I keep a list of themed websites that are easy-in easy-out for students. They must be activities that can be accomplished enjoyably in less than ten minutes. In the parlance, these are called “sponges”.


Photo credit: Nemo

What exactly are sponge activities? The term, originally coined by Madeline Hunter, refers to an activity designed to produce learning during the time taken up by “administrivia.” They stem from Hunter’s teaching philosophy that there should be no wasted moments in her classroom.

Here’s my list, by topic:


Vocabulary Building


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Categories: fifth grade, first grade, fourth grade, free tech resources, homeschool, K-5 Tech training, Slideshows, teacher resources, teaching, Tech ed, vocabulary, websites, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

16 Things You Know If You’ve Been Reading This Blog

Computer technology isn’t as hard as it sounds, but it does require consistent use. You can’t learn a skill and stick it on a shelf for three months without it molding. Here’s what you do: Read this blog. I cover the stuff you will use daily. It won’t get stale. Take my test. Try these sixteen.


Great Free Stuff

How to Hack, Stop a Hack and Know When You’re Hit


Categories: homeschool, K-5 Tech training, teacher resources, teaching, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

What You Need to Know about Kidproofing the Internet

Keeping your child safe online is a constant question from my parents. They ask about firewall, filters, kidsafe desktops. The only solution, truly, is to pay attention to what’s going on. Here’s some guidance from my friend, Coolcatteacher. She says it better than I could:

Steps to monitoring for parents to consider:

  1. Use a filter with some sort of parental control. You know the password and decide what types of activities you will allow them to do.I filter all pornography. After all, what little boy can resist typing “sex” into the Google box. Otherwise, I’m pretty lenient on my filtration. I currently block myspace and such but when they are ready, we will unblock it together and set up the profile together. My children are young for that right now but when they are ready, I want them to ask me so I know that they are using it.
  2. Discuss with your child what they can and cannot do online.(more on kidproofing the internet)


Categories: critical thinking, homeschool, K-5 Tech training, problem solving, teacher resources, teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tips for Internet Searches

google2Searching the internet is always a problem for students and teachers: How do you guide students to finding what they need? Too broad a search, you get millions of hits; too narrow you miss the good ones. For younger students, say kindergarten through second grade, I provide a list on the internet start page (I created one using Protopage that has a spot for ‘Bookmarks’. There, I list the ones students will use that day in class). For third grade and up, this is a disservice to students because they really need to learn how to search themselves.

Here are some tips from my fellow blogger Worddreams . They’ll help you maneuver the minefields of Googling:



Categories: free tech resources, internet, K-5 Tech training, teacher resources, Tech, web | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Talk to Your Child’s Teacher (Parent)

parent-teacher-communicationThe parent-teacher communication is critical to student success. I was asked to write a guest blog for a wonderful new site called Parentella that addresses that very topic. I’ve reprinted it here as a summary of the many ways that communication can be accomplished. There is no reason why both parties can’t work together for the success of the child.

Parent Teacher Communication: A Teacher’s perspective

I’ve been teaching for over twenty years in different schools, different communities, but one factor transcends grades, classes, and culture: Parents want to be involved with what’s going on at their children’s school. Parent teacher communication is vital and in my experience, it is the number one predictor of success for a student. But parents can’t always get in to the classroom as a volunteer and see what’s written on the white board. They can’t always make the school meetings where the administrators educates parents on the comings and goings of the school. Why? It’s not lack of interest. More likely, they’re working; doing that 8-5 thing that insures the future of their families and pays for their children’s college education.

Knowing the importance of parent involvement, I feel that my job as a teacher includes not just the lessons I share with students but keeping my parents informed on classroom happenings. I need to be as transparent as possible, get as much information as I can out to parents in a manner they can understand and a format they can access. If I could tape my classes and post them on YouTube, or offer a live feed during class, I would. But I can’t, so I try other creative ideas.

Class website

This is teacher directed, but gives me a chance to communicate class activities, pictures, homework, and extra credit opportunities–all the little details that make up a class–with parents. This is a first stop to understanding what’s going on in class.

Class wiki

This is student-directed, student-centered. Students post summaries of their tech class, examples of their work, projects they’ve completed on the wiki for everyone to share. This way, parents see the class through the eyes of the students. And so do I, which is my way of assuring that what I think happened, did.


I love twitter because they’re quick, 140 character summaries of activities, announcements, events. They take no time to read and are current.


I send lots of these out with reminders, updates, FAQs, discussion of issues that are confusing to parents. I often ask if I’m sending too many, but my parents insist they love them.

Open door

I’m available every day after school, without an appointment. Because I have so many other ways to stay in touch, my classroom rarely gets so crowded that I can’t deal with everyone on a personal level.

There’s a new approach parents and teachers might consider. It’s called Parentella, an internet-based program that is a bit like a website but simpler to create and more straightforward. It includes a dashboard as a starting point, a class page, spots for homework, class activities, sign-ups for volunteer events, class news and pictures, and a calendar. Once activated, it’ll even email reminders to volunteers, to parents about events–whatever you set up for that function. It is a modern classroom that enables instant parent teacher connection.

What impressed me the most was how intuitive it is for both teacher and parent to set up and use. There are help files, but for my demo purposes, I never had to go there. Everything that I needed showed up on each screen. I could dig deeper into topics with just a click or upload easily by following step-by-step instructions. In no time, I felt connected to the ‘class’.  The only shortfall is the ads that accompany each page. Most websites allow an ad-free environment for a price, so I’ll bet the clever people who built this program have that figured out.

Other than that, Parentella is a great tool to build online school and class communities. It is a great service for parents and teachers.

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Categories: free tech resources, internet, teacher resources, teaching, Tech | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Use Your Computer Like a Pro–in fifth grade

The program that says ‘pro’ more than any other is Adobe Photoshop. Believe it or not, there are a whole list of skills easy enough for a fifth grader (maybe even fourth, but I haven’t had time to test it on them yet). Here they are:

Over the next few weeks, I’ll show you how to do each of these skills. Don’t worry–they’re not nearly as hard as people say they are!

First though, we start with MS Word’s graphic editing tools.

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Categories: fifth grade, homeschool, K-5 Tech training, Photoshop, teacher resources, teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blogging for Education

I have a chance to win $500 for the cause of my choice. I have so many, I want your input. What do you think I should talk about? Here are the details. Read them and then post a comment. Thanks, friends!

tnk_educationSummer Fun: What Happens When You Mix an Intern, $500, and a Non-Profit for Education?

The story: One of our team members, Jeremy, thinks that teachers and friends of teachers can help us locate the best non-profits that focus on education through blogging

The dare: Our intern dared Jeremy to put his money on the line and he’s ponied up $500.

YOU: Prove Jeremy’s theory and win a $500 donation to your favorite non-profit organization focused on education

Nominating a non-profit is simple, and will help them whether you win or not. To nominate:

* 1) Write a blog post naming the Top 3 activities and contributions that describe why you support a particular organization, and why their work is inspiring.

* 2) At the beginning of the post, inform your readers why you are writing the post by including the following blurb:

This post is being submitted to Teacher Certification Map to raise awareness for educational charities and the important role they play. To learn more about the effort, check out Blogging for Education

* 3) Once published, send us an email at Please include your name and the link to the post.

The winner will be chosen based on several variables:

1) Potential impact of the organization.
2) Quality of your post (accurate and inspirational? Does it inspire others to support this cause?) and
3) Your passion for the non-profit that you support. Are you taking steps to make sure as many people as possible see your post and understand why you support your cause?

The winner will be announced Monday, July 27th, 2009, and submissions are due by 2pm on July 27th. Once we have chosen an organization, we will make the donation and then recognize both the non-profit and the submitting blog(s) here at the Teacher Certification Map.

Nominations are now open! Who do you think deserves this recognition the most?

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Categories: homeschool, K-5 Tech training, teacher resources, teaching, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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