Tips to close out class

1. Exit Tickets or Tickets to Leave

With 5 minutes left in class, present students with a small form that requires them to answer a few questions about the core concepts of the lesson for that class period or gives them space to reflect on what was the most important thing they learned in that class. The students then present their “ticket” on their way out of class.

2. Journal writing

Provide time at the end of class for students to write journal entries about the concepts discussed, including any questions they have about the material. It allows time to process any concepts learned in the class period and provides potential questions to address in future sessions.

3. Provide an outline after the lesson

Provide students an outline of the material they should have learned during the lessons for that class.

Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom

1. Use a Noise Meter (we particularly like the one on our website or on our app). There are plenty of good options. You can use the noise meter to keep the class quiet or set a high bar and see if they can get excited and set off the meter (assuming you have something they should be excited about and some noise won’t hurt.)

2. Use video for lessons and response material. It’s easier than ever to find informative video on the internet. A short video can help create an engaging lesson. Having students watch a short video so that they can identify main themes, information and react to the content can also provide a change-up to the practice of reading a passage then reacting to develop reading comprehension and writing skill.

3. Play a podcast. This online listening format is growing in popularity and you can find them on a variety of subjects in startling levels of depth. Find a good podcast on a subject. You can assign it the same way you would a reading passage, provide it as optional material or let it play in the background while students are doing independent work.

4. Share an online class calendar. There are an number of online calendars with sharing options, including the widespread Google Calendar (if you don’t mind a little spying). It will take some planning to get maximum benefit, but a shared calendar will help keep students coordinated with all the class activities. It may not eliminate all the excuses for missing assignments or due dates, but it can help.

5. Provide online content and activities for students who finish early. Collect as much additional material as possible so that students who complete lessons or independent work early have something to do besides become bored or disruptive. You may have to prepare some devices, depending on the age of your students and your school’s phone policies.

6. Study, proofread and critique the content of webpages. Huge amounts of content are published online everyday. If you frequent many websites, you’ll find that the writing isn’t always top-notch, often because the digital nature of the web means that mistakes can be easily corrected. That provides a lot of opportunity for students to try out their proofreading and editing skills. It can also be a chance to exercise logic and communications skills — did a blog post do a good job of conveying an idea? Was is clear? Was it easy to follow? Were ideas supported by facts?

Stay Social, While Staying Sane

We all need to be aware of how social media can affect our mental health, but the risks are even greater for children and teens.

Parents know that social media can expose kids to cyber-bullies and predators, but a study at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine also showed that the more time young adults spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and to report symptoms of depression. A researcher at San Diego State University found that teens who spend five or more hours a day online were 71% more likely to have at least one risk factor for suicide compared to teens who spent only one hour a day online.

According to the National Center for Health Research, one of the biggest factors in these problems is that kids often measure their popularity through social media—through numbers of “likes” and followers, seeing pictures of other kids at parties, seeing status updates, and etc. Teens, especially, tend to be insecure and vulnerable, and kids who spend a lot of time on social media can become socially isolated, while at the same time gaining a distorted impression of other kids’ popularity from their online posts.
Here are some ways you and your kids can avoid the negative psychological effects of social media:

1. Remember that what’s reported on social media is not reality. Remind yourself and your kids that people mostly post the most positive things about themselves and some people post things that aren’t true. So, don’t compare your everyday life with other people’s most fabulous, or fantasy, moments.
2. Limit time on social media. Turn off notifications from social media during work, school, sleeping, and social/family times of day. You can also get apps that block social media from your phone and computer at specified times.
3. If someone’s posts are making you feel bad, unfollow that person. If someone is contacting you and making you feel bad, unfriend them. Likewise, if someone is approaching you with offers, contests, or threats, unfriend or block them, then check your social media privacy settings. These can be signs of social media phishing scams.
4. For parents, be aware of what social media platforms your kids are using and be alert for signs of problems. One recent study found that using more social media platforms increased the likelihood of depression and anxiety in adolescents, independent of how much time they spent on social media.

If you feel that social media is becoming a problem for you or your child, the ultimate defense is to deactivate social media accounts. You can always reactivate them later if you choose to. If social media problems become severe, you might also want to consult a doctor or mental health professional. Online trolling and cyber-bullying can make anyone feel bad, but if posts of friends having fun make someone feel sad or angry, they may need help to feel better.

Hardcore Tips to Beat Cold and Flu Season

We had such a good response to yesterday’s post, that we’ve collected some additional tips that are not for the faint of heart. We wouldn’t exactly recommend these tips for more than entertain or only for those who really want to got to extremes to prevent the cold and flu.

1. Vitamin load

There are plenty of benefits to a daily multivitamin. If you want to up the ante, especially for immune-boosting effects, you can always add more vitamin C. Lots of supplements claim to boost your immune system, but we’d stick to basics – the science isn’t solid and you’re probably just making expensive urine.

2. Surgeon scrub

If you already have a strong hand washing routine, you can get more aggressive – scrub each hand all the way to the elbow. This is really just about cleaning the surfaces that are likely to come into contact with a infected surface and then come into contact with your face.

3. Saline gargle and flush

Mixing up some saline to gargle and/or using a saline spray to flush out your nose is an attempt to dislodge any virus that may have entered in these prime points of entry.

4. Alcohol swab your nose

This tip comes from grappling sports like judo and wrestling where participants go to create lengths to prevent MRSA infections (a prime entry for MRSA infection is the nose). Disinfecting the nose can help an infection from starting.

5. Hot pack your ears and sinuses

If you start to feel congestion or a tingle in your sinuses or ears, lay a heating pack on them. The heat should loosen any mucus that may be building up and hopefully heat any infection outside the range where it can replicate or survive. Think of it as a localized fever targeting an infection before it can spread. Just don’t overheat – cook the virus, not your brain.

Tips to beat cold and flu season

This tips Tuesday was inspired by a member of our team, who is at home with a daughter sick with the flu.

1. Get the flu shot

Even in years where the vaccine is not as effective, the flu shot is one of the best ways to prevent infection.

2. Wash your hands – all the time

Wash your hands as much as you can stand. Certainly before thinks like eating or after going to the bathroom. Your hands are how you interact with the world, and it’s one of the primary ways that cold and flu spread. Wash with soap and water, and take time to physically scrub your hands to remove any viruses on the skin. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can help, but it should not replace soap and water as the primary means of hand washing.

3. Wash your face occasionally

Your hands are the most likely way that you’ll pick up a virus, but the most likely way it will make it into your system is through your eyes, nose and mouth. Washing your face a few times, especially before eating can help cut down on the risk of infection. Again, use soap and water.

4. Keep your environment clean

Washing high-use surfaces like door knobs and light switches can help prevent the cold and flu from spreading. If you’re a teacher, having Lysol spray or wipes to clean desks and tables can help prevent infections from spreading between classes. If you’re at home sick or with a sick family member, a little general cleaning can help, especially in areas where an infected person has had a lot of contact, including things like closes and bedding.

5. Decontaminate

It’s common for professionals in high-risk professions like medical care, wastewater treatment or sanitation to immediately change out of their work clothes and shower when they get home. You can use your judgement on how far to take this practice, but it can help prevent you from carrying viruses from outside into your home environment. Even if you only use this practice when you’ve been in contact with several sick individuals, it can reduce your chances of infection.

6. Quarantine

Try to avoid sick individuals as much as possible. If you are sick, stay home – don’t go to work, don’t go to school, don’t go to church, don’t go to judo class, don’t go shopping, just don’t. One of the best ways to reduce the spread of any infection is to limit how much contact healthy individuals have with the virus, and the greatest source of virus exposes are sick individuals.

Get teacher swag from the Classroom Core Shop, help support app development

In an effort to help provide value to teachers everywhere, while also funding our free apps, Classroom Core has launched the Classroom Core Shop. The shop is a print on demand service where anyone can buy Classroom Core designs on a rang of products, including shirts, bags and coffee mugs.

“It’s another way for us to help fund our technology costs and app development,” said the Classroom Core CEO. “We want our tools to be free for teachers everywhere, which means we need to have creative ways to generate the revenue to support those efforts.”

The shop will focus on designs for teachers.

“We started this business to support teachers,” the CEO said. “Every effort we undertake is going to be geared to providing value for teachers.”

Five time-saving tips for teachers

Here are five ways to save time in and out of your classroom.

1. Use In and Out boxes to reduce clutter

It’s easy to set up In and Out boxes for each of your class periods. They help take the clutter off your desk and create a structure that organizes everything from assignments to grading.

2. Log your time

Part of figuring out how to save time is learning where your time actually goes. Keep a log for a few days so that you can see how much time it takes to accomplish each task. Once you have a clear picture of how your time is spent, you can create a plan to use your time more efficiently, whether by eliminating time-wasting activities, or finding ways to tackle time-intensive activities like grading essays.

3. Number your students

Assign each student in your class a number and have them write it with their name on each assignment, preferably in the upper right hand corner of each paper. The best system numbers students in the same order they appear in your grade book or grading program. This number can allow you to quickly sort papers, identify gaps where there is missing work and then translate grades into your recording system.

4. Label everything

This will help you save time finding what you need and reduce the amount of time you have to spend answering questions about where things are located in your room.

5. Right-of-way

If you have a large class or a classroom where students are moving to numerous activities, lay down a definitive path and right-of-way for how students are supposed to move through the class. This can be printed footprints or lines of colored tape like you might see at a large hospital. If students regularly need to come to your desk, or to a station elsewhere in the room, then organize it so they approach and leave in a consistent flow – the same way you wish the elementary pick-up and drop-off lines would work.

Tips for teachers dealing with mental health

As teachers, you have a unique relationship with young people and as such are often privy to, or made aware of, when young people are experiencing emotional or mental health issue. Here are a few tips to aiding those students in need.

Show you care –  Often students don’t need anything more than someone who is willing to just be there for them. Having a trusted adult that they can talk to is an important protective factor.

Be yourself and be prepared to listen

Be  patient, calm, and accepting –  The student may be reluctant to talk about their problem, but they need to know they’re doing the right thing by talking to someone.

Support the students and encourage them to seek help – It can be beneficial if students make their own effort to seek the help of counselors or administrators. Support their efforts and help make them comfortable seeking additional help.

Know how to go to others for help –  If the problem is serious or you have concerns for the student’s welfare you must report it to your Principal. As mandatory reporters, teachers are required to report situations where they believe a young person is at risk of harm.

Humorous Advice for New Teachers

1. Always learn where the bathrooms are all located.
2. Never tell the kids how old you are.
3. Never, EVER, be SUPER NICE when disciplining a kid.
5. Most important people to get on your side first: custodians.
6. Don’t wear your really cool clothes to school: Your go-to daily wardrobe will consist of items that are comfortable, have pockets, do not reveal flesh, are impervious to all bodily fluids and getting snagged on the pencil sharpener.

Ten Career Tips for Teachers

1. Build a Network
Everyone needs support and no one will understand your needs, goals, and struggles like other educators.

2. Try Not to Take it Personally
Teaching means that you are exposed to dozens, maybe even hundreds of individuals working through the ups and downs of their own lives. It will be hard – students and parents will have days that test every bit of your patience and professionalism. Try not to take it personally.

3. Find Your Niche
Everyone has unique talents that will help them perform in certain areas. Not every teacher is meant to be the inspirational leader, the confidant, and the disciplinarian. Find the role that you can best play in your school and in your student’s lives, and embrace it.

4. Excell in the Areas You Can Control
You don’t have controll over everything at your school. It the areas you do control, your should challenge yourself to demonstrate the highest level of excellence, professionalism, and effort possible. If you expect your students to be punctual and prepared, you should be too. If you expect a positive attitude, then your sould present one too.

5. Be aware of Your Impact
As a teacher, you will be one of the most important adults in these student’s lives. Depending on their situation and your actions, you can have impact that lasts long after they leave their classroom. It is an honor – appreciate it and make sure that your impact is a positive one.

6. Break Out of the Passive
Create situations for students to ask questions. Encourage them to research and find answers for themselves. Promote discussion. Break out of passive activities and promote active learning.

7. Don’t Ignore Your Own Health and Mindset
It’s hard to teach if your are exhausted, frustrated, and pessimistic. Identify your needs and do what’s necessary to promote your own health and wellbeing. Work on maintaining a positive mindset. It’s hard work making a difference – take the time and steps necessary to ensure you are equipped to tackle that task.

8. The School Year is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
This applies for you and for your students. Teachers have to be aware of the pace, and be prepared for the grind of the year. Don’t fall behind on lesson plans or let papers pile up. Recognize that it may take time for studetns to grasp certain concepts. Set your goals for the end of the year and work dutifully to make progress to those goals.

9. Find the Tools that Work for You
There are millions of tools that try to assist teachers. Find the ones that work for you.

10. Set Appropriate Challenges for Students
Depending on the grades you are teaching, students may need to start preparing for the rigors of higher education or a working career. Others may just be working on basic attention or social skills. Find challenges that are appropriate to your students and give them opportunities to grow into those challenges.