Tweet to Win $500 Back to School Dollars!
August 22, 2013
We’ve partnered with our friends at Edbacker to fund your next classroom project! Simply sign up and tweet out the link on twitter to enter. If you’ve never heard of Edbacker, they are an awesome new start-up in Washington D.C. that helps teachers use the power of social media to fund classroom projects. We thought this would be an awesome way to get the year off right, so help us – help you!
How to win big for your classroom:
1) Sign up for Always Prepped (it will make your life easier, you’ll thank us later) and your personal tweet link will be revealed.
8 Reasons Why Teachers Teach
December 19, 2012
We have talked with over 1,000 teachers over the past 6 months. Teachers get “it.” They understand that life is not about material “things” — rather life is about impact. They understand that seeing a child understand a concept is more important than keeping up with the Joneses. According to Forbes, teaching is one of the happiest jobs one can have. Why? Because of the intrinsic motivation teachers feel by helping students succeed.
So, teachers, why do you teach? After looking through various surveys, literature, blogs, and personal connections, we came up with a list of 8 reasons why teachers teach:
1. Student Potential. Once children reach school age, they spend more time with their teachers than their parents! The impact teachers have on children is beyond comprehension. Teachers love to teach because they see the potential in their students. Schools are full of children who are excited to learn, have wild imaginations, and give the biggest hugs. Helping students reach their potential is one of the most satisfying feelings one can experience. Some teachers even feel like it is their duty to help students reach their potential. Teaching is a calling.
2. To Impact Future Generations. Did you know that one teacher can touch the lives of 3,000 students over the course of a career? The idea of impacting thousands of people on a very personal level is very rewarding for teachers. It truly is an intrinsically motivating career path.
3. Conducive to Family Life. If you have children, the school calendar will typically allow you to have the same days off as your kids. Further, while you might bring work home with you to grade, you will probably be getting home close to the same time as your children.
4. To Learn. To Stay Young. After talking with teachers, we’ve found that some of them went into teaching because they absolutely love learning! Some teachers say they sometimes learn more from their students than their students learn from them. Teachers also have to stay on top of their game. Teaching a subject helps you learn a subject; you become an expert in a field! New material. New ways of teaching. A constantly changing landscape keeps them sharp.
5. Inspired By Challenges. This one was given to us by talking with Trish Fellows. Many teachers get excited when thinking about ways for a student to get “it” — it’s fun and exciting.
6. Love of Children. We’ve talked with some extremely passionate teachers. They’ve told us that teaching is not a “job” — it’s not a “career.” Rather, it is a lifestyle. If you ever ask a teacher how many kids he/she has, they will typically respond with the number of students they teach! Bottom line: Teachers love their students.
7. Fun/Humor. Not only is teaching more fun than sitting behind a desk, but teachers are constantly laughing after a long day of work. Sometimes, kids say the darndest things, but you know what, they also make a teacher’s day.
8. To Give Back. Think back on your life. Most likely, a teacher has helped shape you into the person you are today. Often, a teacher has been there for a student when a student really needed him/her. They want to be that person for a student — a trusted mentor and role model.
To sum it all up, here is a link to some great quotes about teaching. Thank you, teachers, for all that you do.
So, why do you teach? Comment below.
Forbes 30 Under 30 In Education
December 17, 2012
Earlier today, our CEO and Founder, Fahad Hassan was selected to Forbes 30 under 30 in Education. We feel honored to be included amongst some of the smartest, innovative, and dedicated companies and entrepreneurs in the world. As a company, we still have a long way to go. We will continue to build our product through the collective voices of teachers around the world. As the Marketing & Community Coordinator at Always Prepped, I get to work with Fahad first hand.
It’s the little things. He will always stop everything he’s doing if a teacher calls in looking to give feedback about Always Prepped. He will Skype with any teacher, even if that means rescheduling a meeting with a potential business partner. He genuinely cares about making a difference in education. He goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that our product is simple, easy to use, and actually adds value to teachers’ lives.
So, I want to thank all of you. This award means a lot to Fahad and to Always Prepped. But, it also validates the importance of doing everything with a sense of purpose. Fahad didn’t enter the education industry to make money. He entered it to make a difference in the lives of teachers. Life’s too short. We sincerely believe teachers are our nation’s heroes and that education is the solution for most of our world’s problems. Work with us to empower teachers and to make tools to save teachers time, so they can spend more time on instruction, professional development and advocacy. At the end of the day, we are all in this together. We all are serving our nation’s children. Thank you, teachers.
Click here for a comprehensive list of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education
From A Teacher: Powerful Statement
December 16, 2012
”To parents who are not educators, this may be hard to understand.
Five days a week, we teach your kids.
That means we educate your kids.
Play with your kids.
Joke with your kids.
Console your kids.
Praise your kids.
Question your kids.
Beat our head against a wall about your kids.
Laugh with your kids.
Worry about your kids.
Keep an eye on your kids.
Learn about your kids.
Invest in your kids.
Protect your kids and yes, love your kids.WE WOULD ALL TAKE A BULLET FOR YOUR KIDS.
It’s nowhere in our job description.
It isn’t covered in the employee handbook.
It isn’t cited in our contracts.
But we would all do it.
So, yes, please hug your kids tonight, really, really tight.
But on Monday, if you see your kids’ teacher, please hug them too.”
51 Best Books For Teachers
December 10, 2012
This was taken from an infographic found here. However, we included direct links to Amazon for you, if you’re interested in purchasing a book or two (or three, etc.). Below are the 51 best books for teachers:
1. The First Year Teacher’s Survivor Guide. Offers beginning teachers a wide variety of tested strategies, activities, and tools for creating a positive and dynamic learning environment while meeting the challenges of each school day.
2. Teaching with Fire. A glorious collection of the poetry that has restored the faith of teachers in the highest, most transcendent values of their work with children.
3. The First Days of School. Used by new and veteran teachers, college instructors, and administrators, this is a beautifully designed book on classroom management, student achievement, and teacher effectiveness.
4. Growing Minds. A lively, personal testament of one teacher’s efforts to cultivate the natural vitality of the learning process; it is also a wondefully concrete and practical guide full of stories of individual students and how they were helped to grow through learning.
5. The Teacher’s Book of Wit. A winning collection of quips, quotes, anecdotes and humorous definitions to make learning and teaching more fun. Ideal for the classroom, lectures, homeschooling, workshops, presentations, reports and newsletters.
6. Fred Jones Tools for Teaching. Dr. Jones describes the skills by which exceptional teachers make the classroom a place of success and enjoyment for both themselves and their students. Tools for Teaching integrates the management of discipline, instruction and motivation into a system that allows you to reduce the stress of teaching by preventing most management headaches.
7. The Courage to Teach. This book builds on a simple premise: good teaching cannot be reduced to technique but is rooted in the identity and integrity of the teacher. Good teaching takes myriad forms but good teachers share one trait: they are authentically present in the classroom, in community with their students and their subject. They possess “a capacity for connectedness” and are able to weave a complex web of connections between themselves, their subjects, and their students, helping their students weave a world for themselves.
8. Educating Esme. A must-read for parents, new teachers, and classroom veterans, Educating Esmé is the exuberant diary of Esmé Raji Codell’s first year teaching in a Chicago public school. Fresh-mouthed and free-spirited, the irrepressible Madame Esmé—as she prefers to be called—does the cha-cha during multiplication tables, roller-skates down the hallways, and puts on rousing performances with at-risk students in the library.
9. School. We learn how, in the first quarter of the twentieth century, massive immigration, child labor laws, and the explosive growth of cities fueled school attendance and transformed public education, and how in the 1950s public schools became a major battleground in the fight for equality for minorities and women.
10. The Substitute Teacher’s Organizer. Comprehensive resource for substitute teachers. It has lots of useful pages to copy, ideas for the classroom, tips, pages to photocopy for recordkeeping and activities, and motivational ideas. The pages are also perforated and hole-punched for immediate usefulness.
11. Little Critter: The Best Teacher Ever. This book was written for teachers who teach younger audiences (primarily elementary school teachers). Little Critter has the best teacher around. Miss Kitty even makes math class fun! Join Little Critter as he searches for the perfect gift to show Miss Kitty just how special she is to him!
12. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales. There’s always that one special teacher or student, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales regales all educators with its heartfelt, inspiring, and humorous stories from inside and outside the classroom. Stories from teachers and students about their favorite memories, lasting lessons, and unforgettable moments will uplift and encourage any teacher
13. You Know You’re a Teacher If… That creative side of you recognizes ordinary, everyday objects as extraordinary teaching tools. So roll up your sleeves, open the book, and, along with your students, get ready to laugh, learn, and discover!
14. Growing Mathematical Ideas in Kindergarden. This rich resource recognizes the special set of challenges that kindergarten teachers face. The book provides helpful guidelines for establishing a mathematically nurturing classroom environment, making plans for helping all children learn, choosing appropriate mathematical tasks, and assessing children’s understanding.
15. Social Studies in Elementary Education. The book is organized into three sections—the first orients the reader to the mission of social studies education to the increasingly diverse children we teach, the second concentrates on the curriculum, and the third deals with instruction, how we plan and teach this curriculum. Three central themes continue to pervade the book—democratic citizenship, diversity, and the social sciences—to ultimately encourage teachers to excite their students about closing the gap between social realities and democratic ideals.
16. If You Don’t Feed The Teachers They Eat The Students: Guide To Success for Administrators and Teachers. Packed with words of wisdom and inspiration, this is one book no administrator or teacher should be without. Filled with practical tips to improve school climate, communication skills, and fun, this must-have resource will leave you laughing your way to a more successful school year. 144 pages
17. Why Didn’t I Learn This In College. Even veteran teachers say that they find the ideas and strategies here invaluable. It is based on the construct that the best management program is a good instructional program. If student learning is our goal, we want to shift our focus from control and compliance to creating positive learning-centered environments
18. Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56. Perhaps the most famous fifth-grade teacher in America, Rafe Esquith has won numerous awards and even honorary citizenship in the British Empire for his outstandingly successful methods. In his Los Angeles public school classroom, he helps impoverished immigrant children understand Shakespeare, play Vivaldi, and become happy, self-confident people. This bestseller gives any teacher or parent all the techniques, exercises, and innovations that have made its author an educational icon, from personal codes of behavior to tips on tackling literature and algebra.
19. Science Workshop: Reading, Writing, and Thinking Like A Scientist. What does a Science Workshop look like in a real classroom? How do Science Workshop teachers plan? Where does literacy instruction come into play? How do you track children’s learning? This second edition, chock-full of new information and ideas, leaves teachers even more eager to implement an inquiry-based science curriculum.
20. Reluctant Disciplinarian: Advice on Classroom Management From A Softy Who Became (Eventually) A Successful Teacher. Gary Rubinstein relives his own truly disastrous first year of teaching. He begins his teaching career armed only with idealism and romantic visions of teaching—and absolutely no classroom management skills. By his fourth year, he is named “Teacher of the Year.” As Rubinstein details his transformation from incompetent to successful teacher, he shows what works and what doesn’t work when managing a classroom
21. See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers By Teachers. The must-have book for new teachers, giving them survival advice on various topics from classroom management to parental involvement to surviving the teacher’s lounge.
22. Stories From A Teacher. After only four years, Mr. Flores turned in his resignation, and his students all showed up to find out why. But instead of describing a single moment that made him quit, he told them his stories – each one, an insane memory from his teaching career. While he describes how he fell in love with the job as a young teacher, he also describes the harder realities that followed. Each memory offers deeper insight into the teaching life, and the obstacles teachers face from day to day.
23. The Animal School. This book is a timeless fable that contains a powerful, universally understood message: sweeping education reforms that neglect to recognize students as unique individuals and learners will, undoubtedly, set our students up to fail
24. What If There Were No Teachers? Everyone knows that teachers are overworked and underpaid. Too often even the students they teach don’t understand the effort that is put into each class period. What If There Were No Teachers? uses illustrations on the order of Norman Rockwell to let teachers everywhere know that we couldn’t live without them.
25. 101 Great Classroom Games: Easy Ways To Get Your Students Playing, Laughing, And Learning. Created by award-winning educators, these easy-to-learn, giggle-as-you-go games are designed to be both fun and educational. These activities in reading, logic, science, measuring, listening, social studies, and math are the perfect complement to your K-5 curriculum.
26. Tested: One American School School Struggles To Make The Grade. To see if this world is producing better students, Linda Perlstein immersed herself in a suburban Maryland elementary school, once deemed a failure, that is now held up as an example of reform done right. Perlstein explores the rewards and costs of that transformation, and the resulting portrait—detailed, human, and truly thought-provoking—provides the first detailed view of how new education policies are modified by human realities.
27. Teach Like A Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students On The Path To College. Offers effective teaching techniques to help teachers, especially those in their first few years, become champions in the classroom. These powerful techniques are concrete, specific, and are easy to put into action the very next day. Training activities at the end of each chapter help the reader further their understanding through reflection and application of the ideas to their own practice.
28. Positive Discipline In The Classroom: Developing Mutual Respect, Cooperation, and Responsibility In Your Classroom. Over the years, millions of parents have come to trust the classic Positive Discipline series for its consistent, commmonsense approach to child rearing. Hundreds of schools also use these amazingly effective strategies for restoring order and civility to today’s turbulent classrooms. Now you too can use this philosophy as a foundation for fostering cooperation, problem-solving skills, and mutual respect in children. Imagine, instead of controlling behavior, you can be teaching; instead of confronting apathy, you will enjoy motivated, eager students
29. Teaching Outside The Box: How To Grab Your Students By The Brains. This second edition of the bestselling book includes practical suggestions for arranging your classroom, talking to students, avoiding the misbehavior cycle, and making your school a place where students learn and teachers teach. The book also contains enlivening Q&A from teachers, letters from students, and tips for grading. This new edition has been expanded to include coverage of the following topics: discipline, portfolio assessments, and technology in the classroom.
30. Teachers Jokes Quotes and Anecdotes. Teachers are some of the most beloved people in the world. That’s only one of the reasons why it’s so easy to make fun of them. The witty, amusing, and heartwarming tidbits collected here will charm educators and their fans alike
31. The Art of Teaching. The noted classicist presents his educational methodology, within the context of history, from the Sophists to modern teaching.
32. The New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons. A hilarious compilation of cartoons that capture the joy, terror, excitement, anxiety, fun, and bedlam that teachers experience every day, as seen through the eyes of The New Yorker‘s best-loved cartoonists.
33. What Makes A Good Teacher? Here’s What The Kids Say! What Makes a Good Teacher? We went to the experts for the answer. Students from kindergarten through second grade.
34. Among Schoolchildren. For an entire year the author lived among twenty schoolchildren and their indomitable, compassionate teacher — sharings their joys, their catastrophes, and their small but essential triumphs. As a result, he has written a revealing, remarkably poignant account of education in America . . . and his most memorable, emotionally charged, and important book to date.
35. Inside Mrs. B’s Classroom: Courage, Hope, and Learning on Chicago’s South Side. An expert on Chicago’s massive education reform efforts even before she turned in her press credentials, Baldacci adds an informed, intellectual layer to this insightful, engaging work. In an era in which many people talk about wanting to make a difference, Baldacci has done so. Here she shares the whole picture, from the unrealistic expectations to the surprises–good and bad–that make up education today. Above all, she shows how an individual can, did–and continues to–make a difference in the lives of American children.
36. Teaching Stories. A veteran teacher leads the American classroom into the 21st Century. Judy Logan takes the simple human drama of day-to-day classroom life and creates an all-embracing vision of the possibilities of public education in America. She was the subject of Peggy Orenstein’s “Schoolgirls”, the groundbreaking study of adolescent girls in the American classroom.
37. 99 Ways To Get Your Kids To Love Reading: And 100 Books They’ll Love. The author of Parents Who Love Reading, Kids Who Don’t now offers a cornucopia of simple, practical tips that will help children–no matter what their age or level of reading ability–learn to read. A separate section identifies books suited to different kinds of readers, such as girls who love horses, teenagers who like rock bands, and computer lovers
38. The Power of Questions: A Guide To Teacher And Student Research. The Instructor’s Guide provides a suggested framework that outlines each class session, complete with detailed assignments and rubrics for assessment. Teacher research is a tool that can help you continue to learn throughout your career. Pursuing your own questions has the potential to foster genuine understandings of educational methods, re-invigorate your teaching practices, and re-shape your curriculum for the benefit of your students.
39. Conflict Resolution In The High School: 36 Lessons. This comprehensive, sequenced curriculum will help secondary educators address conflict resolution, problem solving, diversity and intergroup relations, social and emotional development, and building community in middle and high school classrooms. Includes sections on implementation, assessment, and infusion of conflict resolution throughout the standard curriculum.
40. The Art of Classroom Inquiry: A Handbook for Teacher-Researchers. The authors give teacher research a human face, from preservice and beginning teachers at work in their classrooms to veterans with suggestions and examples to share. The stories of individual growth demonstrate why and how teacher research is transforming the ways teachers view themselves and their classrooms.
41. 99 Ways To Get Your Kids To Do Their Homework (And Not Hate It). The book shows you how to encourage the student in your household to confront that hated chore as painlessly as possible. The author’s lighthearted but experienced advice will help schoolchildren (and parents!) everywhere develop a healthy attitude about homework and deal with specific homework problems at each level in their education. Effective, succinct, and workable, these practical pointers guide you and your children as they go from the elementary grades to high school
42. A Handbook for Beginning Teachers. This handbook for beginning teachers offers a well-balanced approach to student teaching methods, bridging both the idealism of teaching and the realism of American schools today. The book offers strong historical perspectives while introducing current coverage, such as the use of technology and the Internet in the classroom
43. Why Are All The Good Teachers Crazy? A captivating collection of hilarious stories and unreserved observations from one man’s odyssey in the classroom. With equal parts humanity, insanity, and profanity, Frank Stepnowski, a twenty year veteran of the academic wars, offers unique insight into a world everybody knows about but very few understand. “Step” as he was re-christened by his students, pulls no punches in the classroom, and takes no prisoners in his writing debut.
44. Managing the Adolescent Classroom: Lessons From Outstanding Teachers. Through 14 case studies of exemplary teachers, Crawford showcases classroom management strategies that produced positive results in learning and behavior in adolescents.
45. Parents Who Love Reading, Kids Who Don’t: How It Happens And What You Can Do About It. Virtually all teachers agree: The best students are avid readers. They’re the kids who don’t just do their homework, but pick up books and magazines to read for pleasure. Yet even parents who love to read sometimes find that their kids don’t enjoy books. Now, Mary Leonhardt shows how to awaken, or reawaken, a child to the joy of reading. She even identifies the seven stages that children go through as they develop their reading skills and outlines what parents can do to help them along. Her advice is clear, down-to-earth, and proven effective.
46. Why Johnny Still Can’t Read. The classic book on phonics–the method of teaching recommended by the U.S. Department of Education. Contains complete materials and instructions on teaching children to read at home.
47. The Cooperative Classroom: Empowering Learning. This guide for current teachers and future teachers provides them with the necessary skills to create classrooms where cooperation is a way of helping to empower students and themselves as learners. The book answers the difficult questions that teachers often ask about cooperative learning such as, “Why should I use cooperation?”, and “When, how, and how much should I use cooperation?”. Both pre-service and in-service teachers have extensively field-tested the models, examples, and scenarios featured in this book developed to help them acquire a new understanding and appreciation of the power of working together.
48. How To Teach A Love of Reading Without Getting Fired. An underground book that coaches teachers how to cover required curriculum while keeping their classrooms exciting centers of independent reading and discussion.
49. 99 Ways To Get Your Kids To Love Writing: And 10 Easy Tips For Teaching Them Grammar. Strong writing skills are essential for success in school, college, and on the job. In 99 Ways to Get Kids to Love Writing, educator Mary Leonhardt provides parents with practical, easy-to-follow tips on how to teach their children the fundamentals of writing and make it fun for them at the same time.
50. How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & How To Listen So Kids Will Talk. Here is the bestselling book that will give you the know-how you need to be more effective with your children—and more supportive of yourself. Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding.
51. Teacher Man: A Memoir. An urgent tribute to teachers everywhere. In bold and spirited prose featuring his irreverent wit and heartbreaking honesty, McCourt records the trials, triumphs and surprises of teaching in public high schools. Teacher Man shows McCourt developing his unparalleled ability to tell a great story as, five days a week, five periods per day, he works to gain the attention and respect of unruly, hormonally charged or indifferent adolescents. Thanks for the tip, Henry!
What other books do you recommend for teachers? Comment below!
10 Important Infographics for Teachers
December 6, 2012
Teachers, we want to make your life a little easier. Digesting content can sometimes be overwhelming. So, enjoy clicking through to these amazing, easy-to-read infographics!
1. Teachers are Heroes. Cool facts! There are over 7.2 million teachers in the US! Did you know that over 80% of teachers are female.
2. The Cost of Dropping Out. We need to reverse this trend. 1 in 4 students drops out of high school.
4. Education by the Numbers. There are 1.23 billion students in pre-k to high school
5. Your Teacher Was Right. A great infographic that shows how in-class assignments/lectures apply to everyday life!
6. The Impact of Great Teachers. We love teachers. The impact they can have on students is immeasurable.
7. The Educational Path of Our Nation. This infographic was made by Census.Gov. A lot of great statistics, visualized.
8. A Librarian’s Worth. Reference librarians answer more than 7.2 million questions per week.
9. EdTech Cheat Sheet. Understanding New Trends in Education Technology. Teachers, you will want to print this and hang it up in the teachers’ lounge!
10. The Anatomy of a Great Teacher. Powerful list. To all of the great teachers out there, thank you!
Do you know of any more great infographics? If so, comment below!
A Collection of Our Most Popular Blog Posts
November 29, 2012
We have been blown away with all of the positive feedback we’ve received from teachers, administrators, and even some students! You’ve loved our blog posts, and you’ve provided us with some great ideas for product development. Below is a collection of our most popular blog posts, so you can read all of our best content, all in one place!
Our goal was to create a framework for effective habits for teachers interested in using technology in the classroom. This post was made into an infographic, and retweeted over 1,000 times!
We scoured the web to find the best technology tools for teachers to use in the classroom. Through our own independent research, we found that teachers use 7-10 technology tools in the classroom. We feel like these 8 are a great place to start.
We’ve talked with a TON of teachers. The theme has been consistent: there are not enough hours in a day to learn about new education tools, teach, grade, discipline, plan, participate in meetings, and more (and more and more). We feel like technology can help save a teacher time.
In our eyes, these 9 educators are some of the most influential in the Twittersphere. After feedback from some of our readers, we also want to include Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) on this list.
What does “data” mean if it can not be used for information; in other words, what good is data if it cannot be consumed and produce a positive outcome? These article talks about how to effectively use data in the classroom.
Getting started with Twitter can be overwhelming for teachers. We made a list of 7 different ways that Twitter can help teachers; our goal was to make it easy for teachers to get started.
We scoured the web for common core resources for teachers. More importantly, we wanted to ensure they were free! There’s a lot of buzz about the Common Core, and we compiled some great resources for teachers.
Technology should not be exhausting; it should be fun! If you follow these 7 tips, your students will be more engaged, your classroom will be ELECTRIC, and your students will perform better.
K-12 education is in the midst of a revolution. New teaching methods are flipping traditional pedagogy. Technology empowers teachers in ways once never deemed possible. We highlighted the 5 common themes in education.
Between teaching, grading papers, attending professional development sessions, preparing for parent-teacher conferences, lesson planning, student behavioral issues, and other administrative tasks, how do teachers take a second to……breathe? We compiled 9 general time saving tips for teachers!
We love puns. They are so darn punny. We collaborated with teachers on Twitter to make a collection of 28 funny education jokes.
Enjoy! Please let us know what else you’d like to see us blog about. Feel free to tweet at us, or comment below!
28 Funny Education Jokes For Teachers
November 28, 2012
Below is our collection of funny educational jokes for teachers. We hope these jokes made your day!
“It’s not that I can’t tie my shoes. I just choose knot to.” Do you see what I did there?
“I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down.
“Seven days without a pun makes one weak.
“I met a Mathematician sunbathing. He was a real tan gent”
“What did one Ocean say to the other Ocean? Nothing. They just wave.”
“Was Einstein’s theory good? Relatively.”
“How do you organize a party in space? You planet”
“I asked my dad if he knew any jokes about sodium? He said, “NA”
“What did the buffalo say to his son when he left for college? Bison”
“What do you call a fish with no eyes? Fshhhh!” (thanks Megan for this one!)
“He said I was average – but he was just being mean.”
“A rule of grammar: double negatives are a no-no.”
“I’m bad at math, so the equation 2n+2n is 4n to me.”
“Math teachers have lots of problems.”
“What did the triangle say to the circle? You’re so pointless.”
“I used to hate maths but then I realised decimals have a point.”
“He wears glasses during math because it improves division.”
“I didn’t understand the math, so the teacher summed it up for me.”
“A small boy went to the counter to pay for his lunch but he was a little short.”
“Sometimes a pencil sharpener is needed in order to make a good point.”
“Our social studies teacher says that her globe means the world to her.”
“The calculus teacher tried to keep his students on task, but the class discussion kept going off on tangents.”
“You know what happens after you miss math class? It starts adding up.”
“When you use glue in class it paste to be careful.”
“No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.”
“A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.”
“A backward poet writes inverse”
“Gravity is studied a lot because it’s a very attractive field.”
Teachers, do you know of any other funny jokes? Comment below!
TechCrunch Covers Always Prepped’s Financing
November 15, 2012
Tech Crunch wrote a great article about Always Prepped and our data-driven classroom mission. We are building our product through the voices of teachers. Teachers, thank you so much for providing us with such great feedback. Keep it coming!
“When we talk about the factors that can help improve student outcomes and personalize the learning environment, it’s not just data, APIs and App Store distribution that will be responsible for flipping education. Teachers are often overlooked in this equation, but they remain the most important interface between students and parents and students and content. The more (intelligent) data we can put in their hands (and the more we can grease the wheels by shifting away from standardized assessment), the more they can own and personalize the learning experience for their students.
The integrated, all-in-one dashboard approach sound like an exciting place to start. And even though Always Prepped may not have any direct, one-to-one competition in this regard, companies like LearnSprout and Clever are using APIs to open up Student Information Systems — where most student data currently lives.
Blended learning platforms like Education Elements, Engrade and Edmodo also touch on this use case as do many learning management systems, but most integrate with systems or software that are being used on the district level. And that’s where Always Prepped can differentiate: By being a consumer and front-end-facing data visualization tool — for a potentially huge audience.
Although, it does make one stop and ask, if this is such a big problem for teachers, why hasn’t this been nailed yet?”
Check it out by following this link:
Creating The Data-Driven Classroom
November 15, 2012
I am incredibly pleased to announce True’s investment in Always Prepped, an education technology startup focused on classroom data management for the K-12 marketplace.
The rise of technology in schools and the proliferation of educational apps and software have fundamentally changed the way teachers manage their classrooms. They now rely on innovative assessment tools, behavior tracking apps, attendance systems and other pieces of software to monitor student progress.
But, as Always Prepped Founder Fahad Hassan puts it, “the problem is, the data is everywhere.”
Always Prepped aggregates and analyzes student classroom performance, attendance and behavior metrics from several online programs in a single dashboard—solving a major problem for teachers and leading the wave for the next generation of data-driven classrooms.
We’ve all heard rumblings that we are in an ed-tech boom, but we at True believe that Fahad has created something truly unique—both in the product and how he is approaching the marketplace. Many ed-tech startups target school districts with their products, spending little time actually iterating with teachers in the classroom. But Fahad has worked with teachers first, allowing them to adopt the product, try it out and help improve it. The result is not only a beautiful, user-friendly product, it’s a company with exponential growth opportunities. Always Prepped has already partnered with Kahn Academy and Engrade, and the hundreds of teachers using the product can’t wait to link other data sources. With Always Prepped in hundreds of classrooms tracking the progress of tens of thousands of kids, Fahad is truly onto something special.
I first met Fahad in 2007, when he was a senior at Virginia Tech and seeking funding for Daylert, a higher education-focused startup. While we passed on the opportunity, I became something of an advisor to Fahad, working with him through the sale of Daylert to Intelliworks in 2008 and into the development of Always Prepped. Fahad inspired us with his passion for improving education from day one. His ultimate goal is to build schools around the world for underprivileged children, and building Always Prepped to improve student performance in classrooms is a step closer to that goal. It has been a true delight to watch Fahad in business over the past six years, and I am pleased to be supporting him by funding Always Prepped.
Fahad, welcome to True. Let’s change the world together.
5 Common Themes In Education Today
November 14, 2012
K-12 education is in the midst of a revolution. New teaching methods are flipping traditional pedagogy. Technology empowers teachers in ways once never deemed possible. So, below are 5 common themes in Education today.
2. Education Technology is spreading like wildfire. Investments in education-technology companies nationwide tripled in the last decade, shooting up to $429-million in 2011 from $146-million in 2002, according to the National Venture Capital Association. The boom really took off in 2009, when venture capitalists pushed $150-million more into education-technology firms than they did in the previous year, even as the economy sank into recession.
3. Solving the “Big Data Problem” is extremely important to schools, administrators, and policy makers. Educational data currently exists in silos, and it is important for it all to “talk” to one another. Companies such as Clever and LearnSprout are looking to make it easier for the 23,000 school districts to integrate SIS systems. More schools are headed towards a data driven classroom, so understanding how to consume the information quickly is key.
4. Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) now connect educators around the world. PLNs are an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment . In a PLN, a person makes a connection with another person with the specific intent that some type of learning will occur because of that connection. Websites such as Twitter and Pinterest connect educators, allowing them to share ideas and network.
5. Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CSSO), the Common Core is a U.S. education initiative that seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards-based education reform. There are companies focused solely on building tools to help teachers and school integrate with the Common Core. We wrote a blog post about free common core resources available to teachers here.
What are your thoughts? Comments are welcome!
Ed-Tech Companies Need to Be In The Classroom
November 13, 2012
Always Prepped was able to get some great feedback, as well as, some direction on future updates to our product. We will continue to shadow teachers, solicit advice, and build our product around the needs of teachers.
Too many education technology companies build their products without consulting teachers and do not fully understand the true needs of teachers. Companies should not create products; rather, they should solve problems.. Below are 5 takeaways that I learned today after following Matt McCrea:
1. Before building a product, talk with teachers….a lot. Even if we think we are talking to a lot of teachers, it’s probably not enough.
2. Different districts have different needs. Different teachers have different needs. Make sure you talk with teachers in Massachusetts, as well as, Texas to gain a full understanding of teachers’ needs.
3. When thinking about product updates or the future direction of the company, write out a list of teacher needs. Next, think, what can we do, as entrepreneurs to make a teachers’ life easier? How can we meet their needs?
4. Teachers are strapped for time. They have very little time for professional development. Make products that are extremely simple, intuitive, fast, and easy to learn.
5. It is important to understand the life of the end-user. Being there to support the user, having a clean user interface, and a robust user experience are just as important as meeting teachers’ needs.
Teachers, what other advice would you give to ed-tech companies? Comment below.
INTRODUCING: DC Ed-Tech Meetup
November 12, 2012
We believe it is extremely important for educators in the DC Metro area to be able to connect, share ideas, and network. Therefore, we have started DC’s first Ed-Tech Meetup Group.
This is a group for anyone interested in education technology and promoting education in the classroom for teachers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers in the Washington DC region.
We will be organizing keynotes, panel discussions, and more.
We will try to meet monthly to explore various topics at the intersection of education and technology; to learn about the latest technologies that are supporting teachers; and to hear from teachers about the problems in education that must be fixed now.
In addition, we invite our members and partners in other cities join The Ed-Tech Meetup virtually. Every Friday at 1pm EST, we meet on Twitter using #edmeet to share our learnings and engage with other education advocates around the world to realize positive systemic (or disruptive) change.
Our first event is titled, “The 21st Century Classroom.”
Below are the details:
Date: Thursday, December 6, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM To
Location: NClud Headquarters
Address: 1203 19th St NW, Washington, DC
Event Information: Hear from teachers, innovators, administrators, and policy experts about how technology has reinvented the American classroom. Teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge; rather they are facilitators of the learning process. Hear directly from the educators, administrators, and ed-tech entrepreneurs on the front lines.
Plus, bank on engaging in amazing discussions, forging new connections with the best and the brightest, and learning from people all over the ed-tech spectrum in our Nations Captal!
If you do not live in DC, please feel free to tell your friends in the area to RSVP!
Kids Say The Darndest Things – Teacher Edition
November 1, 2012
So, we recently asked teachers to tell us funny stories about students. Every teacher has been there. That moment when a student says something so funny that it just makes a teacher shake their head and laugh. Below are some examples of Kids Saying The Darndest Things – Teacher Edition:
A student asked me what a uni-Q was. I was thinking “I have no idea what a uni-Q is.” Thinking it was a toy or something, I go why do you ask? She said to me “It’s one of our spelling words.” I promptly told her, ‘That’s unique.”
I overheard one of my first graders ask a fellow student why he picked his nose and ate it. I was of course, expecting shame, embarrassment, or even anger. Imagine my surprise, when he answered very matter-of-factly, “Because I’m hungry and it tastes good.” Gross!
I had a child yell out, “Did you here about the salamanders in the peanut butter?!” I thought, turned my head one way, thought some more, and thought some more because she followed with, “It was in the news”, in a very exasperated tone. That’s when it hit me and I started laughing. What she meant was, “Did you hear about the salmonella in the peanut butter?”
Isn’t my Mommy pretty? She’s single. (5th grade)
I can’t read lips! I don’t know Morris Code.
I have a student who quite seriously calls me, “Teacher.” I don’t mind; it just makes me smile…
But, Mrs. J! A penny saved is… not much.
Me: “Your shoes are on the wrong feet.” Student: After a long blank look: “I don’t have any other feet.”
Student after being asked why he cries all the time (we were genuinely concerned), replies, “I’m a Pisces, and we’re just extra sensitive…”
“Miss M, did you know that if you say “orange” rrreeeaaalllyy slowly, it sounds like gullible?” Resounding around the room: “Ooooorrraaannngggee…”
“Miss T, knock knock.” Me: “Who’s There.” Student: “Wu.” Me: “Wu Who?” Don’t get so excited, Miss T, it’s just a joke.”
Middle school student when faced with the dilemma over which side of town he would live on (while studying the Berlin Wall) if our city was divided: “Oh, Mr. R, I don’t know…the side with Toys R Us? Or the side with my doctor?”
Miss H. can I add you on Facebook?” [wait what, 10-year-olds have facebook!?]
First day of class this year. “Miss J. (dramatic pause) My name is (another equally dramatic pause) Paul. Call me Paul”
I had been sick for a week with the flu and laryngitis, 2 days out and I come back to very sympathetic kids. One of my boys, a very vocal boy, says “Ms. H you know the reception in here really stinks.” Reception? “You know we might just have to adjust your antenna.” Now mind you it hurt to swallow and I just belted out this barking laugh. That made my week, that week.
14 year old boys accidentally calling me ‘mom’ instead of ‘miss’ in front of their friends.
In our pre-school class, We asked the four-year-old if he wanted milk with his snack, and he just waved dismissively and said “Nah, I’m good.”
Miss. E, say hello to my little friend” and pulled out a fake mouse. Adorable
Student, why are you doing your multiplication on the floor? “You told me to do it without using tables.”
And….we saved the best for last.
On a field trip to the local police station, the children were looking at the photos of all the people that were wanted for various crimes. The police officer giving the tour asked if there were any questions. One of my third graders asked “if these people are all wanted, why didn’t you just keep them when you were taking their pictures?” The officer smiled and said, “I wish we would have thought of that.”
How do teachers spend their time?
October 30, 2012
After speaking with teachers, we found that they spend their time in 6 different areas:
2. Classroom teaching
4. Administrative matters
5. Communicating with parents
6. Receiving professional development
We believe teachers should be able to focus most of their attention on 1 & 2. The idea of saving teachers time keeps us up at night (it really does).
Below are our tips:
Teachers can PREPARE using tools such as BetterLesson
Teachers can make GRADING easier by using a program like Engrade
Teachers can streamline ADMINISTRATIVE and ASSESSMENT matters, including data management by registering for AlwaysPrepped (no more spreadsheets)
Teachers can easily COMMUNICATE with parents by using Remind 101
Teachers can focus on PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT by using a website such a Claco