3 Ways to Keep Parents in the Know

August 29, 2013

While elementary school is a place for children to learn, gain independence and grow, parents do appreciate regular updates on their children’s education and progress. Here are three great ways to ensure that you keep open communication between you and your students’ parents:

1) Weekly Communication Folders – Tell parents to expect their children to bring home a “take-home” folder every Thursday. Get into the routine of updating student parents on a weekly basis by giving each student a folder with his or her name on it and dividing the folder into two parts: one side will be for handouts that go home (notice for parents about ongoing problems with their child in the classroom, release forms, etc.) and the other side will be for handouts or assignments that the child needs to return to you. This will allow parents to help their children stay on top of schoolwork and address any behavioral problems if need be.

2) Monthly Letters – Mail a letter home to parents at the beginning of each month laying out what concepts or topics will be taught over the course of the next four weeks. Incorporate fun lesson plans and field trips that you have planned to show parents that their children are learning through a variety of ways and that you value your students’ education. Show them that you are going above and beyond to make their children’s education enjoyable and productive. To make the process easier, you can even create a standard classroom newsletter to send to all parents once a month: include photos, a calendar with the month’s activities, and student accomplishments and highlights.

3) Regular meetings – Plan regular meetings with parents. Each parent or guardian should be required to meet with you at least once a year. If some are more involved or concerned with their children’s education than others, leave open the option of meeting with certain parents more regularly. Be prepared for each parent meeting by bringing some of the student’s schoolwork and remaining open to parent questions. The more accessible and responsive you are to parents, the easier your life as a teacher will be.


3 Ways to Incorporate Social Media into Your Classroom

August 29, 2013

Social media offers plenty of opportunities for student learning and interactivity as it is only becoming more prominent in the business world. Students who become comfortable with social media early on will only benefit. According to Mashable, here’s what you can do to integrate social media into your classroom:


1) Create a digital classroom on Edmodo.

Edmodo helps you create a social, digital classroom. The platform allows you to vote, post assignments, create an assignments calendar, and upload photos and messages to students. Edmodo allows students to get quick feedback by taking quizzes online. Teachers can also communicate socially with one another by sharing lesson plans online and asking questions to their online communities. With more than 17 million users, Edmodo is rapidly growing. Get up to date with the latest online tools like Edmodo to make you and your students’ lives easier.

2) Use a hashtag for guest speaker discussions.

Encouraging students to engage with guest speakers via Twitter makes them more engaged with the discussion and prepares them to raise important topics or questions. This method ensures that students get their questions answered without interrupting the speaker while he or she is talking. Incorporate the students’ social communities outside of the classroom, allowing them to chime-in with questions for the speaker as well.

3) Require students to blog about current news.

This will entice students to read relevant articles daily while learning how to cite sources digitally, and embed hyperlinks and images . Keeping a blog is a great way to develop your voice as a writer, and to explore and highlight your interests. By requiring students to keep a blog, you’re helping them create writing samples to include in portfolios and establish their digital presence as an emerging, intelligent leader.

For more ways on how to include social media in your lesson plans visit


3 Tips to Give Rising High School Juniors

August 29, 2013

Rising junior high school students feel overwhelmed before junior year even begins. They know what’s coming: a year of eating, sleeping and breathing college applications. As a high school teacher, the least you can do is understand that your students are under a lot of pressure and offer them advice on how to balance it all:

 Tip #1: Be Prepared and Plan Ahead

       Advise students to:

-       Enter junior year with a potential list of colleges they’re interested in attending.

-       Ask for college teacher recommendations early, so teachers will have enough time to write valuable recommendations.

-       Take both ACT and SAT practice tests. Based on which one suits him or her better, choose the ACT or SAT route and stick to it. This will narrow their focus.

-       Put aside time each week to study for standardized tests whether it’s on their own, in an SAT or ACT class or with a tutor.

Tip #2: Prioritize & Set Goals

        Advise students to:

-         Know their values, their likes and their dislikes. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities in the midst of it all.

-       Make a list or timeline at the beginning of the year with goals and tasks that need to get done. Prioritize based on deadlines to meet their goals.

-       Plan when they’re going to take the ACT, SAT’s or both and leave room for error. Remind students it’s normal to take the test a few times before receiving the score they want.

Tip #3: Stay Organized & Breathe

       Advise students to:

-       Keep a planner, check things off when they complete them and keep track of where they are in the application process for each school.

-       Keep a drawer full of college recruitment mail and application materials.

-       Remind students to breathe and gain some perspective. Yes, college is an important milestone in their lives, but it’s four years of their lives – not the rest of their lives. They will get in. They may not get into their dream school, but maybe it wasn’t the right match – they may be happier elsewhere.

7 Tips: The Reading Survival Guide

August 29, 2013

Teaching students reading comprehension takes a bundle of patience, persistence and practice. To help become active readers and make sense of text on their own, educators must prepare sets of steps and strategies for students to utilize. According to Reading Rockets, below are seven strategies to boost your students’ reading comprehension:

1. Help Students Monitor their Comprehension: Instruction can help students become better at monitoring their comprehension as it teaches them to be aware of what they do understand, identify what they don’t and use appropriate strategies to resolve problems in comprehension. Help students monitor their comprehension of material independently and come up with strategies for fixing problems in their understanding.

2. Metacognition, often referred to as “thinking about thinking”, allows readers to grasp control of their reading. Assist students in creating a reading routine:

·      Before reading, teach them to ask themselves the purpose of reading this text and to preview it.

·      During reading, remind them to monitor their understanding, adjusting their reading speed to fit the difficulty of the text and “fixing” any comprehension problems they have.

·      After reading, advise them to check their understanding of what they read.

3. Graphic organizers illustrate concepts and relationships between concepts in a text, helping readers focus on concepts and how they are related to one another, and assist students in writing well-organized text summaries.

4. Ask Questions: Ask your students to indicate whether they answer your reading questions using information that was directly stated in the text, information that was implied in the text or information that they acquired from background knowledge. This will give them a purpose for reading, help them think actively as they read, and remind them to review content and relate it to what they already know.

5. Generate Questions: By generating questions, students become aware of whether they can answer the questions, thereby if they understand what they just read. Teach students to ask themselves questions throughout reading that require them to pause, combine various facts from different parts of the text and develop the story’s main ideas.

6. Practice Recognizing Story Structure: Instruct students to identify the categories of content including the main characters, the setting, the climax, and the resolution. This will give each story they read a clear purpose, acting as a standard guide for understanding the gist of the story.

7. Summarize Each Story: Require students to summarize each story they read: to put what is most important in the text into their own words. This will enable them to Identify the main ideas and connect them, eliminate unnecessary details, and remember what they read.

Summer Memories May Fade, but the Effects of the Sun Don’t

August 19, 2013

Most likely, you genuinely care about your students. You care about people. You care about people’s success and you’re passionate about education or you probably wouldn’t be a teacher. You aim to guide your students down the path of success in any way you can, you act as an ongoing resource and you share all knowledge that you think students may benefit from today, next year or even five years down the road. But have you thought about how you can potentially play a factor in saving your students’ lives? It’s simple: wear sunscreen. Teach your students the importance of sun safety and how to protect themselves from one of the deadliest, yet most preventable diseases — skin cancer.


Did you know that:

  • Skin cancer is the fastest growing cancer annually and that 90% of skin cancer is caused by overexposure to the sun?

  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime?

  • Approximately 30 percent of all melanomas occur in people who are younger than 45?

  • The majority of a person’s lifetime skin exposure occurs before he/she turns 18 or graduates from high school?


It would be easy to overlook such statistics and move forward with your original lesson plans. Don’t take the easy way out when you can make a remarkable, positive difference in your students’ lives. No matter their ages, they do not fully understand the potential hazards of the sun if they are not armed with proper precautions.The earlier you teach your students to practice smart sun safety tips, the more likely they will carry these good habits throughout their lives.

So, remember that the end of summer does not mean the end of the sun. Spread the word. You can help lower the toll from this devastating disease with a quick reminder to slather on sunscreen before your students leave the classroom for any outdoor activity; a quick reminder that will save at least one of your student’s lives ten years from now.

4 Tips For Organizing Your Class Without Breaking The Bank

August 19, 2013

As a teacher, you put your heart and soul into organizing your classroom to make it just right – an orderly, safe and happy place for your students to learn. The last thing you want is the disruption of a student running around aimlessly wondering as to why he or she can’t find the scissors, where to return the crayons or where to find the paper towels after spilling glue all over the floor.  An unorganized classroom screams chaos, let alone a very unproductive learning environment.

However, organizing tools and materials do cost a fortune — and what people don’t realize is that the expenses come from a teacher’s very own pocket. How do you organize your classroom yet escape breaking the bank?

Rule #1: Don’t underestimate the power of utilizing simple, everyday things for new purposes.

Rule #2: Think outside the box. Use glue or a jumbo rubber band to attach an empty tissue box to a full one to use as garbage. This will eliminate the high chance of spent tissues ending up on the floor and reinforce the importance of throwing away tissues right after use.

Rule #3: You name it, you label it. You can never do enough labeling. Collect soup cans and glue magnets to them. Stick each can to poster board or even a hanging steel cookie sheet. Assign a can to each set of materials such as markers, pencils, crayons, erasers and paper clips and label each can’s magnet accordingly. This serves as an affordable, simple solution for keeping clutter at bay and clearly designating a place for various classroom materials.

Rule #4: The toilet paper tube. The inside cardboard tube from a used roll of toilet paper is a perfect tool for keeping your classroom’s unruly extension cords tangle-free. Glue the toilet paper roll to a nearby wall, neatly wrap up your extension cord and place it in the tube holder. No more time spent untangling an extension cord before its next use!

5 Visual Designs Ideas to Achieve a Relaxed Classroom Environment

August 15, 2013

Looking to ease your students back into a sense of structure? Set the classroom tone from day one. Below are contemporary ideas to welcome and stimulate your students while increasing their involvement & respect in the classroom:

Choose a theme and stick with it. Create visual inspiration to catch students’ attention from the moment they step foot in the classroom. Not only will this promote a cohesive environment, but it will create a “homey” feel that will keep student moods positive and light. Try fairy tale, rockstar or jungle themes for elementary school students and college pennant or remarkable leader/figure themes for middle and high school students.

 Incorporate students in classroom ownership. If students feel connected to the classroom environment on a personal level, they are more likely to respect the classroom, one another and you. Allow students to discuss and compile a list of classroom rules for each student to abide by and sign. Post the set of rules in a central spot.

 Prolong summer relaxation & enjoyment. A student’s worst nightmare is being thrown back into a disciplined, rigorous school schedule after enjoying a long, free-spirited summer break. Entice students to overcome the back-to-school dread by showing genuine interest in their summer activities. Ask each student to bring a picture from the favorite thing he or she did this summer vacation to class. This will also serve as a great conversation starter among students, enabling them to learn from one another’s travels and experiences.

Blend entertainment and education. Social media is at the heart of our society and it certainly isn’t going anywhere. Embrace today’s digital era by illustrating the power of social media and its benefits to students. Create a Facebook bulletin board display, allowing students to post classroom suggestions or feedback (with boundaries) on the Facebook wall. Post classroom photos of students and include fun facts about your classroom. Create a separate Pinterest bulletin board as a “board” of inspiration. As you or your students find items or ideas that stand out, they can be “pinned” to your board. Students can also comment on the “pins” that they appreciate.

Be mindful of your color scheme. Some colors inevitably create a soothing ambiance, helping students focus, while others create more unsettling feelings, distracting students from their work. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate your classroom color combinations: light pink, blue and pale yellow tend to act as soothing, non-irritable colors, while bright yellow excites the brain and body, orange agitates students and red often triggers hunger.

5 Fabulous Back To School Tips For Teachers

August 12, 2013

Vacation time is winding down and fall is just around the corner. We know what that means…the start of a new school year. Getting back to school can be a stressful time for parents, nerve wracking yet exciting time for students and most of all, a very busy, planning-filled time for teachers. Here are five, fabulous tips for teachers to start the year off right:

1) Reflect on your unique teaching philosophy. Throughout the summer, reevaluate your teaching: What do you feel is most important about teaching and education? Think about how your past experiences may have changed your outlook and approach to teaching. Reflect on past teaching experiences so that you can be more prepared for the upcoming school year.

2) Discover new ways to engage students before school starts. All teachers have their “treats” box when it comes to motivating students. These are the lessons that are always classroom favorites. Collect fresh lesson ideas by surfing the web or stealing ideas from colleagues and adjust your lesson plans each year.

3) Get organized. After school begins, it only gets busier. Organize lesson plans, handouts and other documents using folders and a filing cabinet before the school year starts. Go through your lesson plans to decide what worked last year, what didn’t, and get rid of things you won’t need. Organize classroom supplies like pencils, paper, paint, etc., giving everything a specific place so students can easily find materials. Set the organizational standard yourself and students will be more likely to follow your lead.

4) Create a comfortable yet spunky classroom environment. The more comfortable and colorful a classroom is, the more motivated your students will be to learn. Use posters, bulletin boards, plants, and class pets to let your personality and teaching style shine. Create displays that will catch your students’ attention and spark their imaginations.

5) Reach out to students and parents before school starts and foster your relationships throughout the year. Contact parents early on and plan follow up meetings for during the school year. Mail a letter home or call parents directly to introduce yourself and describe your goals for the school year. This will give parents the confidence that their children are in good hands. Forming relationships with future students is just as important as doing so with students’ parents. Mail a letter or postcard to each student introducing yourself and getting him/her excited for school to start by describing a class activity that the class can look forward to on the first day of school. Get your students inspired to learn before they even walk through the classroom door. After the school year begins, don’t forget to maintain these relationships by giving students one-on-one attention and opportunities for feedback, and offering parents regular updates on student progress.

Always Prepped Demo

March 4, 2013

Howdy Everyone!

We’re super excited over at the Always Prepped HQ today because we just finished our first instructional video for Teachers. This short, informational, and overall awesome video goes over the basic features that the AP Dashboard has to offer.

Step by step, the video shows how easy it easy to securely manage student data, and link accounts with our partners over at Khan Academy, Engrade, Socrative, JumpRope, and the NWEA. Every one of our partners are amazing, and if you haven’t signed up for their sites, just click on their name.

We hope you’ll take the time to check out this video, and then go to our website to sign up for a free account with us today.



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24 Ed-Tech Terms That All Educators Should Know

December 21, 2012

1.  1:1 Technology. Providing every student with a labtop or tablet to make learning more individualized, increase independence, and extend academics beyond the classroom.

2. Adaptive Learning. Software that adapts its content and pacing to the current knowledge level of the user, so it’s almost like having a personal tailor for your education.

3. Asynchronous Learning. A student-centered teaching method that uses online resources to facilitate learning without requiring students and instructors

4. Blended Learning. Mix one part students learning at school and one part students engaging with content delivered online. Blend well for results. Optional — adjust when, where, and how the students use the online content.

5. Course Management System (CMS). Class websites can be a big undertaking. A CMS keeps teachers and students organized with digital resources for class discussion, document management, homework submission, and course scheduling.

6. Differentiated Learning. Programs or tools to present learning materials in creative ways that match every student’s individual learning style, from typical lectures to fun games and quizzes. Though the tools used depend on the student, the learning goals are the same for all.

7. Digital Storytelling. Once upon a time (2012), there were students and instructors who used digital tools to tell exciting stories in educational ways, like showing off research or building course assignments.

8. E-Books. Put down your highlighters and Post-Its, e-books are completely digital and are usually read on computers or e-readers.

9. E-Learning. A web-based learning environment that allows instructors and students to interact through the computer without worrying about time or place.

10. Electronic Classroom. A classroom equipped with multimedia devices to enhance the learning experience.

11. Flipped Classroom. Wouldn’t it be convenient to do your homework at school? In a flipped classroom, students learn lessons at home with the help of videos or other instructional materials and spend their valuable classroom time doing assignments with help from their instructor.

12. Gamification. Let the games begin! Using game design and mechanics to drive motivation and increase engagement in learning.

13. Individualized learning. When a group of students all receive the same content but work through it all at their own pace — anything from slow and steady to fast and furious.

14. Informal Learning. Learning that occurs outside a traditional school, i.e. forget having to lug around that heavy backpack.

15. Instructional Technology. Combining education and technology to enhance a curriculum. Instructors can alter how they deliver content to students depending on the technology available at their school.

16. Learning Platform. An interactive online service organized around a specific topic that gives users the ability to submit and receive information and learning materials.

17. Lifelong Learning. There’s no rule that says learning stops after a certain age. Lifelong learning continues education informally for personal enrichment, usually after finishing formal education.

18. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). A course in which materials and instruction are delivered over the internet to users around the world. The course is designed to connect instructors with learners interested in a common topic and works best with a large user-base and open content.

19. Open Educational Resource (OER). Digital materials available for reuse and repurposing in teaching, researching, and learning. These materials are made available through open licenses that allow them to be used through means not permitted under copyright, so the flow of knowledge is boundless.

20. Online Lab. Students learn almost exclusively online, and do so while logging in from a physical school setting. No lab coat or goggles required.

21. Personalized Learning. Unfortunately not all about monogrammed notebooks and book bags — it’s learning entirely geared toward the individual student. The content, pace, structure, and goals of instruction vary depending on the student’s learning habits.

22. Synchronous Online Learning. A real-time learning situation in which immediate, two-way communication between instructor and participants in possible.

23. Virtual Classroom. An online space where students and instructors interact. Not to be confused with a video game, though engagement definitely improves if students think of it as one. 

24. Virtual Learning Environment. An education system online that mimics real-world education by using virtual concepts for exams, assignments, classes, and more.

Here is an infographic of these 24 terms! Any other ed tech terms that all educators need to know? If so, please comment below!


20 Ideas for Teaching Citizenship to Children

December 20, 2012

This blog was reposted with permission from Leah Davies, and selected from the Kelly Bear website.

Citizenship means being a member of and supporting one’s community and country. A United States citizen has certain freedoms which are declared in the U.S. Bill of Rights. In addition to these privileges, a citizen has an obligation to be informed, law abiding, and uphold basic democratic principles such as tolerance and civic responsibility. Voting, conserving natural resources, and taking care of oneself are all part of citizenship. In addition, citizens often participate in local community projects dedicated to the common good.

In response to concerns about children’s ethical development, many states have adopted character education programs of which citizenship is a part. Most educators agree that helping children understand their rights and obligations as a U.S. citizen needs to be reinforced in all grades.

Educators are obligated to teach students the history of our democracy on a level children can comprehend. Helping students explore citizenship and connecting it to their lives are the keys to true understanding. When children are exposed to storytelling, drama, and other activities in which they are actively involved, their retention is increased. If they learn that people from other countries are not necessarily free to voice dissenting opinions, practice their religion, or even have as many children as they would like, the students will begin to appreciate their freedoms.

Hearing accounts of people who fought for and founded the U.S.A. will increase their awareness. Children need to be taught that citizens of the United States are not free by accident, but because individuals made great sacrifices to protect their rights. Learning the history of our symbols such as our flag, Liberty Bell, and Statue of Liberty will contribute to their insight. Since our flag embodies our values and the unity of our country, respect for it needs to be maintained. Reasons behind certain holiday celebrations such as Fourth of July, President’s Day, and Veteran’s Day need to be addressed, as well.

Many schools have adopted rituals that inspire citizenship. Immigrants report that saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing patriotic songs are meaningful traditions that help them feel part of America. In addition to classroom lessons, some schools invite children to read school-wide messages that encourage citizenship and stimulate discussion. Patriotic programs can be presented by the students once a year. If children learn to love and appreciate their country through thoughtful activities, they will be more likely to become responsible, active citizens in their community, nation and the world.

What are some activities that foster citizenship in children?
  1. Hold a discussion on what citizenship means — including rights and responsibilities of citizens.
  2. Define a good citizen and have the students share personal stories about when they exhibited citizenship. For example:
    • I was friendly to a new child from a different country.
    • I helped clean up the park.
    • My mom and I passed out voter pamphlets.
    • I collected used toys and clothes for needy children.
    • I walked away from a fight.
    • I said “no” when a friend asked me to steal money from another child.
    • I wear my bike helmet and follow other bike safety rules.
    • I wait for the signal to cross the street and I stay in the cross walk.
  3. Ask students to describe what would happen if there were no rules or laws at home, in school, in traffic or against stealing, attacking, etc.
  4. Involve them in making classroom rules. Discuss why rules are important and have them define the consequences if they are broken.
  5. Ask the students to interview a veteran, immigrant, or person who lived through the Great Depression. Together make a list of questions they could ask such as:
    • How do you feel about the United States of America?
    • Tell me about your life?
    • What was a difficult time for you?
    • What does being a U.S. citizen mean to you?
      Have the children write about or draw what they discovered, report their findings and post the results on a bulletin board.
  6. Have the children write a poem, story, play or song about citizenship. Have them perform their creation for others.
  7. Ask the students to search for local citizens who generously contribute to the good of the community. Thank or honor them in some way.
  8. Have them read, analyze and debate newspaper articles on various topics concerning civic life.
  9. Have the children create a video on “American Life” or another related topic.
  10. Invite speakers to share their knowledge of United States history or portray historical characters.
  11. Read or have the students read stories about extraordinary Americans and then act out the stories.
  12. Teach an understanding of the country’s founding documents: Declaration of Independence, U. S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
  13. With an adult’s assistance have the students take photographs in their community for a book entitled “Our Freedoms,” “Our Citizens” or another related topic.
  14. Attend city council meetings, school board meetings or court sessions. Visit historical museums, monuments, and/or national parks.
  15. Teach the children patriotic songs to sing at a parent program, school or community event.
  16. After researching the significance of American symbols and/or the Pledge of Allegiance, have the children make a bulletin board explaining what they learned.
  17. Have the students create a presentation to teach younger students about the American Flag, its history, symbolism, care and proper display.
  18. Discuss taxes and why our local, state and national governments need income for police, firemen, prisons, roads, etc.
  19. Support a school-wide student council composed of representatives from each classroom.
  20. Encourage students to participate in community service projects such as recycling, picking up litter, and volunteering for other worthwhile projects.

What other ideas do you have for teaching citizenship to children?

9 Best Infographics for English Teachers

December 11, 2012

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 SchoolUsed 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 WitA 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 TeachingDr. 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 TeachThis 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. SchoolWe 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 EverThis 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 KindergardenThis 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 TeachersPacked 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 CollegeEven 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 56Perhaps 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 ScientistWhat 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 TeachersThe 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 TeacherAfter 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 SchoolThis 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 ClassroomOver 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 AnecdotesTeachers 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 SideAn 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 StoriesA 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 LessonsThis 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 TeachersThrough 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 ReadThe 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 LearningThis 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 FiredAn 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 GrammarStrong 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 TalkHere 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!

8 Best Paper.Li Newspapers for Teachers

December 3, 2012

Why search for information when information can come to you! There is a new trend in ways people gather content online called Paper.Li. Basically, anyone can start an online newspaper where people publish newspapers based on topics they like and treat their readers to fresh news, daily.  Below are the 8 best Paper.Li papers for teachers! Enjoy.

1. Laura Conley Ed-Tech Weekly. She publishes a weekly newspaper that talks about Ed-Tech, from a teacher’s perspective. Laura is on top of everything ed-tech, so make sure you subscribe!

2. K-12 Daily Dose by Ernie Delgado. Ernie is a K-12 Technology Planning Expert. He talks about Ed-Tech trends, statistics, and information related to devices in the classroom (BYOD, BYOT, etc)

3. The EdChat Daily. This is one of the most popular Paper.Lis out there! The EdChat daily curates all of the “Ed-Chatter” on the web. Great content. Publishes daily.

4. EdTech News. A technology teacher in Vietnam posts relevant EdTech news daily. He also posts photos, videos, and other news (business and environmental)

5. Ed-Tech Enthusiasts Daily. This paper is for the Ed-Tech LOVERS out there. For the teachers who eat, drink, think, sleep, and dream ed-tech. Enjoy the relevant content.

6. TechEd Buzz. If you are just looking for a weekly newspaper, this is a great newspaper to read. It is designed specifically for teachers.

7. The #NTChat Daily. NT actually stands for “New Teacher.” So, for all you new teachers out there, subscribe to this newspaper and you’ll life will be a lot easier!

8. Rebecca’s #K12 + #EdTech Daily. A great newspaper that combines the best of K-12 news and EdTech news.

It is important to note that you don’t have to subscribe/read all of these newspapers! We made the list to help guide you to find great education content online


5 Best Sites For Teachers Researching Education Technology

November 30, 2012

With all of the information out there on the internet, it can be overwhelming. As a teacher, your time is valuable, so it is important to be efficient. With all of the apps/programs/software out there, Below are the 5 best sites for teachers researching education technology.

1. EdShelf - A directory of websites, mobile apps, and desktop programs that are rated & reviewed by parents & educators, for parents & educators. They help educators find the right educational tools for their specific needs.

2. EdSurgeEdSurge has a great newsletter that you can sign up for by clicking here. They also have a directory of tools that you can find here. EdSurge is an independent information resource and community for everyone involved in education technology. They aim to help educators discover the best products and how to use them and to inspire developers to build what educators and learners need.

3. Appitic - Is a great site with over 1,300 reviews done by Apple and Google Distinguished Educators.  These apps have been tested in different grade levels with different instructional strategies.

4. Edudemic – The “go-to” website for cutting edge education news. In our opinion, they produce the best content related to education technology and trends.

5. FreeTech4Teachers - Richard Byrne writes about education technology, reviews products, and is THE thought leader in education technology. It’s a great place to find free technology for teachers.