In the midst of this global pandemic, you need a break from your classroom even more than you usually do. Teachers are being asked to do so much more to maintain the health and wellness of their students in addition to the already tall stack of expectations heaped on teachers with curriculum, assessments, and grades. With all the stress that you are under as a teacher, you need to take some time for yourself. Don’t be afraid to use a substitute teacher to give yourself a break.
Don't have time or just don't want to make one from scratch? You don't have to! Teachers Pay Teachers has a plethora to choose from! Find the one that's right for you, fill in the specifics for your school, put it in a binder, and go!
Welcome to my Guest Blogger - Rachel
This post is super special! I am thrilled to have a guest blogger here on my site! I reached out to my fellow teachers asking if they would be willing to share their experiences using the Eureka Math/Engage NY Math curriculum. I wanted others to benefit and learn their tips and tricks. I was thrilled when Rachel reached out to me and was willing to share what she has learned. Rachel and I worked together in a Title I public school a few years ago, and she has since become a home-school mom and is STILL using the program, which speaks volumes to me! When Rachel generously agreed to write about her experiences using Engage NY/Eureka math at home, I sent her the lessons I created for classroom teachers to see if they might be useful in some way to her as a home-school parent, and she loved them!
Keep reading to learn more about Rachel and her experience using Eureka Math / Engage NY Math as a home-school parent.
I know that I’ve had parents ask me what types of gifts I would like to receive, but it just seems rude to put in requests for things. My mama didn't raise me like that! Even though, as a gift giver myself, I always ask the intended recipient what they would like and honestly, I become a bit annoyed when they are vague or say nothing. Hmm… I’m going to have to consider that.
As I was perusing the internet today, I came across some things that I think would be EXCELLENT gifts, so I’ve decided to write them down so that when a parent asks me in the future, I’ll always have a suggestion. The items below contain affiliate links, but all of these items are things I truly would like to have!
Personalized office supply products.
I hope this helps those of you searching for gifts for your classroom teachers, but remember, the best gift is a student who is ready to learn every day!
However, I had never compiled a list of all that I would have to do. For those of you who are not teachers, I can tell you - the expectations of classroom teachers are numerous and wide-ranging.
As soon as I inherited my own classroom, I quickly learned that elementary school classroom teacher’s responsibilities include (but are not limited to): teaching every lesson, every day for every subject; ensuring that all students are learning and that the material is differentiated for higher and lower ability students; meeting the social and emotional needs of all students; communicating with parents; communicating with administration; remaining current on grading student work and updating the grade book; sending home behavior notices (positive and negative); creating lesson plans, preparing materials; making copies (there are no workbooks in schools anymore, they’re too expensive); preparing for evaluations; preparing students for standardized testing; having classroom parties; planning field trips and of course, every good teacher must be versed in all material they are supposed to be teaching in every subject, which may or may not change the next year.
As so you can see from the list above, teaching is not just sitting in front of kids and talking.
As a teacher-researcher, I am particularly interested in teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK).
Briefly, PCK refers to a teacher’s understanding of how to help students understand specific subject matter. It is the combination of a teacher’s pedagogical knowledge (how students learn, teaching approaches, methods of assessment and knowledge of different theories about learning) and content knowledge (knowledge of the subject matter).
I believe that educative curriculum materials, by aiding teacher learning, can transform teacher’s knowledge simply from being either content specific, or pedagogically centered, to a combination that allows deep learning of both the student and the teacher
During the study I completed for my dissertation, I found that translating teacher’s manuals to digital presentations for easy digestion and delivery benefited both new and experienced teachers, just in different ways. The presentations allowed less experienced teachers to transition into their new roles more easily, while ensuring the required content was delivered with fidelity; and experienced teachers were able to refer to the presentations as needed and use them as a pacing guide.
Curriculum materials, such as textbooks, are ubiquitous in schools. We have all experienced reading from a textbook and recognize that the information provided in those standard curriculum materials is typically solely for the students. My focus, educative curriculum materials (ECMs), can include textbooks or other common classroom curriculum materials, but what sets ECMs apart is their ability to help to increase teachers' knowledge, not just student knowledge. These kinds of materials help teachers develop more general knowledge that they can apply flexibly in new situations.
I learned that to prepare I needed to read each lesson, digest all the material, review all the tips and tricks and notes about how to differentiate the content based on the types of learners that are in the classroom, and I had to do this for each subject daily.
“We also have the entire Lucy Calkins writing program that you’ll need to check out from the professional development library, and of course you’ll need the social studies and science teacher’s manuals as well - but those are spread out in various locations and some are in bins - just see what you can find - don’t worry - we’ll be here for you”.
I never saw my mentor again unless I was having a performance evaluation.
- Classroom Teacher
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