Spark Fires, Save Time

Well, maybe this will be a monthly feature… I prefer quality over quantity anyway…

In this issue Inspiration for Innovation: Toxic chemical fires, tech tools for student products, classroom time-savers, encouraging students during assessments

Current Event (Magnet Tie-in)

Click the image below to take you to the NPR article. Side note: NPR has both the audio files and written transcripts for most of their stories.

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Potential lesson/talking points:

  • How could this have been prevented?
  • What level of responsibility does the company have, given part of the problem was due to a natural disaster?
  • What steps should a company take to inform residents of nearby hazards?
    • Should these be required by law?
  • What health effectsĀ (acute/chronic) would result from these types of exposures?
  • How will airborne toxins spread to other areas?
  • How would backlash against Arkema from this affect jobs in the area?

Tech Tool

Click the image below for an interactive ThingLink to introduce you to a variety of student product tools. My suggestion to learn a new tool is to always kills as many birds as you can with one stone. For example, when I wanted to learn how to use AdobeSpark Video (formerly Adobe Voice), I used it to make a holiday video letter to my family. Find something fun or useful for your real life that you can use as a reason to learn a new tech tool for your professional life.

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Teaching Strategy

Do you feel like you never have enough time in your class period? I have personally seen many ways that teachers use class time for administrative tasks that could be handled differently in order to increase student learning time.

The top 3 ways I see teachers lose time are:

  1. taking attendance by calling out students’ names from the roster
  2. passing out papers or returning work during class
  3. taking too long to transition between activities

The ways that I personally address these issues are by:

  1. jotting down absent students during their warm-up assignment. If you don’t do daily warm-up assignments or activities, I strongly recommend considering it to prepare your students for what they are going to do that day and free up a few moments for yourself for attendance and any last minute preparations. As a science teacher, there are almost always last minute preparations.
  2. using a mail folder system. Yes, you have to take the time to file the papers, but that also makes a great job if you have students around that need service hours for a club. I would rather spend the time outside of class filing, than walking around handing things out. It’s also a lot less confrontational when returning graded work.
  3. having transition signals and utilizing timers. Recently, I started saying “mic check” when I need my students to listen. The ones who hear me repeat it, then the ones that hear them, and so on until it ripples outward and the room is quiet. I got the idea from reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.

Here’s an article with some other great ideas:

20 quick actions you can do today to set up your classroom for success

Positivity

If you like to have students use privacy folders or cover sheets for assessments, take them up a notch with a positive or motivational quote or meme! (Positivitea, courtesy of @MathWithMrWood

flat800x800075f-c075800331-u4Thank you for reading. I hope you found something useful and are having a great start to your second quarter of the school year!

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