ARTICLES

Author: Andy Jacks

This guest post is written by Justin Holbrook @JustinHolbrook I am one of those soccer fanatics who wakes up early on Saturday and Sunday mornings to watch the matches from “across the pond”. As the rest of my apartment complex is fast asleep in their nice warm beds, I am up drinking coffee and screaming at the television in support of my favorite club. I can’t miss it! This weekend’s matches from the Barclays Premier League in England served up some inspiration to an education question I have been pondering over the past few months. Through twitter chats such as #PWCSedchat, #Leadupchat, & #BmoreEdchat I consistently hear the same thing from teachers around the world: teaching is an organic art. In other words, how are we supposed to standardize or categorize teaching into a cohesive style?

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Whoa! What a day! I love my job, especially on days like this when I get to be with kids the whole day! I had somewhat of a plan, but I definitely woke up knowing that I was going to bring it today no matter what!

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Why the pressure to have our students coding all of a sudden? It’s not like everything that they do uses computers, right…right? Wrong. Basically every recreation and professional occupation now uses computer programming in some way. The old emphasis on teaching simple machines is now evolving to into complex machines. This is coming to us in the form of ‘code,’ an increasingly popular term we are seeing at the elementary level.

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This guest post is written by Lauren DeIntinis @laurendeintinis, a 2nd Grade Teacher in Manassas, Virginia. Check out more of her information at the end of the post. My name is Lauren DeIntinis and I am a 2nd grade teacher at the FABULOUS Ashland Elementary School in Manassas, VA. I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA but have lived in Virginia for three years as an elementary teacher. I started in school as a Psychology major and wiggled my way into education on a very windy path. Though not what I originally planned on doing, teaching has become the most important aspect of my life and something that I can honestly say I am in LOVE with!

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Are you listening to your students when they have ideas for improvements or helping others? Do you turn these into opportunities for developing their leadership skills? What has really caught my attention over time is seeing individual students that have shown leadership WITHOUT adults giving them the ideas.

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This guest post is written by Justin Holbrook @JustinHolbrook, a 4th Grade Teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. Check out more of his information at the end of the post. I fondly remember the games I used to play with my family as a little kid.  Legos with my mom.  Monopoly with all the money missing or thrown together into a “box”.  Stratomatic baseball tournaments with my dad on rainy afternoons.  Even 2-on-2 basketball with my little brother outside in any temperature for hours (We are still undefeated in the neighborhood!).  In all of these memories, time flew by like a race car.  As a 4th grade teacher, I try to recreate these experiences for my students because I recognize the emotional connection I forged with games as a kid and their power on students’ memories.  However, I think it is crucial that educators understand that there is a difference between relying on games and planning “gamification” in the classroom.

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I played this music video as I started writing and my kids swarmed me, halfway sitting on me, arms around my head! They were totally drawn to the sounds of Elmo, Abby, and Grover celebrating Autism!

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This guest post is written by Justin Holbrook @JustinHolbrook, a 4th Grade Teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. Check out more of his information at the end of the post. When thinking about designing a dream instructional block, questions start whipping through my brain like the frantic tornado scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”  How much time do I have?  What are the curriculum requirements selected by my leadership and/or district?  What does my group of students individually need to be successful?  The list goes on and on.  How then do we as educators sort through these reflective questions and design our instructional blocks to be effective yet efficient?

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My #OneWord for 2016 is believe. Although I am cheating a little bit, since believe is a word that we have been discussing as a school team all year! I’m definitely still focused on it for 2016! Believe in Yourself: If you want to make a difference in others, you must first have confidence in your own abilities. Know you can do it. Leadership is influence and anyone can be a leader at any time, but you must first believe you can make a positive difference in others. Believe in yourself by being you, but really be you. Be the best you that you can be. It’s so important that it’s written on our staff shirts and painted on the school walls this year. It’s even in our new cheer which starts, “B.E. Y.O.U. Believe in yourself and be the best you!”

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I’ve almost been trying NOT to use the term ‘grit’ because of how trendy it has become, but I’ve found it may be one of the best character traits we could possibly teach our students! Grit is courage and resolve; strength of character. It’s clenching the teeth, especially in order to keep one’s resolve when faced with a tough or difficult responsibility.

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