Teaching the Whole Child
·During my teaching career I have developed an approach that focuses on the whole child and emphasizes academics, character development, work habits, social…
Last updated 7 weeks ago
Introducing "Spotlight" Days
"Spotlight" days are a great way to give special attention to important ideas and priorities. Elsewhere on this page you will find the visuals that I use to introduce each day's focus to my students. I learned of this idea at the SHAPE Tampa physical education conference in April of 2019.
2018-19 Class Mission Statement Visual
My students and I created this visual as a companion to the mission statement we wrote at the beginning of our school year. The rationale behind making the visual is that seeing the statement as an image may help students understand the ideas on a deeper level, and the ideas may resonate with the kids in a way they might not with text alone. The visual also serves as the front of our class t-shirt.
This is an example of a personalized motivational visual that teachers can create for individual students to give them a boost. I made this visual for a student who admired running back Marshawn Lynch, who then played for the Seattle Seahawks. (For privacy purposes, the actual student is not shown in the visual. Instead, I found an image on Google and gave the boy a fictitious name.)
This design was inspired by the "12th Man" flag associated with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. The crowd at Qwest Field is so loud and has such a presence during the games that it's almost as if the team has an additional player on the field. In our class the design has become an important symbol. It represents those concepts and ideas that are so important and have such a presence in our room, it's almost as if we have an additional student.
Include a Balance of "Ingredients" in Fi...
This brief video is the first in a series of writing lessons that teachers and parents can use with middle and upper grade children (ages 8-12). Each video features an important writing skill or concept. In my experience as an elementary educator, I have found that many young writers create stories that contain mostly action or mostly dialogue. This video presents an engaging, user-friendly activity that focuses on helping kids include a balance of “ingredients” in their fiction stories.
My students and I just completed our class mission statement, and I decided to try a different format this year. Rather than present our ideas as a series of paragraphs, I designed the document to look like the front wall of a classroom. The text was fit inside a whiteboard, two bulletin boards, a clock, a flag, and other "classroom-themed" shapes. As much as possible, the meaning of the text matched the object in which it was placed.
A Simple Way to Increase Participation i...
This video introduces the "Circulate & Encourage" strategy, a simple, non-threatening way to increase student participation in class discussions. This strategy is especially effective with those children who tend not to raise their hands due to shyness or a lack of confidence.
15 1/2 Ways to Personalize Learning
In this video I announce the release of my new e-book on amazon, 15 1/2 Ways to Personalize Learning. In the book I present a variety of proven, user-friendly teaching strategies, ideas, and activities that simplify the challenge of personalizing student learning and enable educators to meet children’s diverse needs confidently, effectively, and joyfully.
Help Kids Pursue Their Passions Video
One of my favorite beginning-of-the-year activities to use in the classroom is the Passion Survey. Having children identify their favorite hobbies and topics and then using this information throughout the school year produces numerous academic and socio-emotional benefits. This video describes these benefits and presents a user-friendly way to organize and display the results.