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Archive for the ‘Teacher's Discussion’ Category

Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest Activity

Posted by teacher on June 14, 2016

What You Need:

  • Watermelon (not seedless!)
  • White paper
  • Markers
  • Large knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk

What You Do:

  1. Invite your child to gather the ingredients for the seed spitting contest. He can get started creating a scorecard to keep track of each participant’s seed spitting distance.
  2. Help your child use a large knife to cut the watermelon into several slices, making sure each one has lots and lots of seeds.
  3. Remember, watermelon seeds can be a choking hazard, so make sure those participating in the seed spitting contest are over three years of age!
  4. Now your child can find the perfect spot for the seed spitting contest—a driveway works wonderfully. He can use a piece of chalk to mark where the participants should stand.
  5. Each person can take a turn standing on the line while eating a slice of watermelon, and spitting the seeds. Your child can use the measuring tape to measure and mark the distances. Not only is he having fun participating in a game, but he's also learning more about measurement.

Does Being Young Matter to Be a Great Teacher?

Posted by teacher on March 27, 2015

With most of young teachers, It is comfortable to ask, to discuss and to study. Freedom is felt in their class. Most importantly, they treat like an individual rather than a student. Many times some of students come to teachers and say that they are the teacher who made a difference. Although there are many reasons for the good lessons I teach, for the good days we had, one thought never goes away from my mind, which is the “because I am young” reason.

You can consider the following questions to be more specific:

Do you have a very good rapport with your students because you are young teacher?

Do you spend a lot of time working with your student because you are young?

Do your students say that they enjoy your class most and wake up earlier not to miss your class because you are young?

Do you inspire them, motivate them, and challenge them because you are young?

What would you say it is about you as a teacher that made difference for your students?

Teachers should be paid according to their students’ academic performance

Posted by teacher on March 20, 2015

Students’ academic performance strongly reflects their teachers’ paying performance. Admittedly, paying teachers according to their students’ academic performance may bring some disadvantages like devious competitions for more wages.

Firstly, paying teachers according to their student’s academic performance provide incentives to improve their teaching standard. Apparently, how well teachers are paid strongly influences their performance and teachers will pay more efforts to teach their students to improve students’ academic performance in order to get higher payments which will allow them live better. The higher payments will then encourage teachers to show more passions in their teaching. Besides, such method of wage measurement raises competition among teachers, which will also encourage them to make more efforts. For example, my high school sets up many different prizes for teachers and the main standard is the students’ academic performance in his or her class. Under the encouragement of the prizes, our teacher works harder than other high schools which have no or less prizes. If teachers are not paid according to the performance of their students’ academic performance, it is quite likely that they will pay less effort to teach their students.

Secondly, paying teachers according to their students’ academic performance encourages teachers to provide higher quality of teaching. It is obvious that higher quality of teaching brings better academic performance. Paid according to students’ academic performance, teachers will be encouraged to improve their quality of teaching. They will try to find better ways to teach their students and make fewer errors, which will make them better teachers. For example, in my high school, teachers’ bonuses are related to our performance. This encourages them to pay more attentions to their teaching styles and they often ask us for feedback in order to make improvements, which can lead to better academic performance of students. If teachers are not paid according to students’ performance, it is hard to figure out why they have to improve their quality of teaching.

Finally, paying teachers according to students’ academic performance is a better way of payment. It differentiates teachers who care about their students’ performance from teachers’ who don’t care about their students , only their wages. It is apparently a fair standard measuring for their students’ performance. The achievement of teachers should not be judged only by their working hours or positions but by the overall influence they have on their students. Teacher’s main job is teaching, providing knowledge to their students. So they should also be paid mainly according to their students’ performance.

Uncertain Effects of Teaching

Posted by teacher on March 4, 2015

Even if teachers had a good idea of how much students knew, they would remain uncertain about the links between their teaching and pupils’ learning and about what to do to enhance learning. Pupils’ responses, both behavioral and cognitive, are affected by the range of contexts in which they live,of which classroom instruction is only one part (albeit an important one). The lesson that has always excited students, for example, can flop with this year’s class. The child whose creative writing suddenly improves may have been inspired by a parent’s comment, not by the teacher’s language arts unit. The student who has never completed her homework can turn in a carefully completed essay.

Although teachers have some ability at guessing how students will react to a lesson or to see which things a student is learning in school, uncertainty remains. Common sense suggests that if the teacher provides clear explanations and engages students in tasks closely tied to the content to be learned, students will grasp the focal concepts. This hope is, unfortunately, often disappointed.

Systematic research on teaching can contribute to teachers’ understandings of the connections between teaching activities and student learning, but it cannot provide a means to engineer classroom success. Research provides concepts that illuminate puzzling events and descriptions of the relative overall merits of different teaching approaches. But research has not permitted, and probably never will permit, accurate prediction of what this child will learn from this lesson taught in this way by this teacher in this school. Nor can it ever remove all doubts about what to do to when a pupil raises an interesting, but unexpected, point in class discussion.

Certainty decreases even further when one shifts perspective from the instruction in a single class, or on a single topic, to the education of an individual over 10 to 20 years. Rather than enhancing certainty, research has shown that the long-term effects of education are variable and unpredictable. This is driven home to teachers whenever a former student returns to testify to the tremendous importance of a lesson or comment that seemed insignificant to the teacher at the time.

How Student Centered Is Your Classroom?

Posted by teacher on February 28, 2015

Use these questions to reflect on the learning environment you design for students:

  • In what ways do students feel respected, feel valued, and feel part of the whole group?
  • In what ways do students have ownership of the classroom? Do they ever make decisions about resources, environment, or use of time? When? How often?
  • Do they have ownership in their learning? Do they have choices and options for projects, assignments, and partners for group work?
  • When are students comfortable with expressing who they are and their thoughts and ideas? When are they not?
  • When do you inquire about the needs of your students? How often do you do this? How often do you check for group understanding and adjust the instruction accordingly?
  • How are desks arranged? Are students facing each other? Do they have multiple opportunities each week to share with fellow classmates, and to share with a variety of classmates?
  • As the instructor, what is my “air time” each class session? How much direct instruction is there? How might I change some of that directing teaching to facilitating?

Language development in the classroom

Posted by teacher on February 3, 2015


One of the major ways to support language development is your language interaction with students.

Checklist of steps that teachers can take to enhance language development in the classroom:


  • Organise the room to emphasise open space.
  • Define learning areas clearly.
  • Use classroom displays that invite children to comment.
  • Make book- and literacy-specific areas available.


  • Manage background noise levels and ensure children and adults are able to hear each other easily.
  • Manage transition times so that children know what to expect next and noise levels don’t become excessive.


  • Provide good light.
  • Label most learning resources and materials with pictures and/or words.
  • Label learning areas with words and/or pictures.
  • Provide less visually distracting quiet or private areas for children to retreat to for down time or small group activities.
  • Display and appropriately label children’s work.

With play

  • Provide resources for free play that children can see and reach easily.
  • Have a role play area available.
  • Include imaginative role play in outdoor play.
  • Make good quality toys and real/natural resources available.
  • Make musical instruments and noisemakers available.

With books and stories

  • Have a range of books that are appropriate to the children’s experiences and interests available in a dedicated book area.
  • Ensure books on children’s interests or special topics are available in other learning areas.

What should an Efficient Assessment Design contain ?

Posted by teacher on January 31, 2015


Assessments in schools have changed definition over the last couple of decades. Changes in the world around us and the skills and knowledge essential to succeed in this world have consequently changed the learning design and teaching methodologies in schools. This has in turn necessitated assessment strategies that keep in mind the relationship between assessment of functional skills of children and its implementation in academic instruction. The new world today expects more out of children than just the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. They are expected to acquire skills to access, interpret, think critically, analyze, and use information for making decisions, make inferences and be prepared to take on the challenges of “real-life”.

An efficient Assessment Design must:

1. Involve teachers, parents, and students at each stage of the process.
2. Match assessments to the purposes for assessment.
3. Match assessments to instructional content and student performance goals.
4. Review and revise specific outcomes that are grade-level and subject-specific and are important for students to learn.
5. Help develop realistic and individualized learning goals and standards for students.
6. Keep in mind that the primary goal is to study how children acquire grade-level skills and what strategies best enhance that process rather than measure performance for accountability purposes.

Increasing student interaction

Posted by teacher on January 20, 2015


Most teachers have experienced classes in which student interaction has been more limited than they would like, with students becoming reticent when asked to ‘talk to your partner about’.

Why student to student interaction is desirable :


Most people agree that learning anything involves participation. You can’t learn to play a musical instrument without actually picking up the instrument and similarly it is difficult to learn a language without engaging with that language. Given that language primarily exists to facilitate communication, interaction in that language must have an important role to play in developing a learner’s ability in that language. In other words, teachers need to promote learner interaction in order to help the learners succeed.

Maximising practice time

Learners need to practise as much as possible if they are to be successful. Interaction through pair and group work maximises the opportunities to practise as more learners speak for more of the time.


Collaborative learning, particularly through the use of collaborative tasks, has been shown to foster language development since learners can see a reason to use language in order to interact.


Related to the concept of collaboration is that of socialisation. Interaction does not only promote language development but it also fosters the development of social skills (e.g. politeness, respect for others) that people need to operate successfully in any culture.


Motivation is a fundamental aspect of successful learning. Interaction gives learners the opportunity to use language successfully and to measure their progress which in turn should lead to an increase in motivation.

Problems faced when trying to increase interaction :

Student Resistance

It is unfortunately true that some learners are not enthusiastic about pair and group work, particularly in mono-lingual classes in which it is a little unnatural to communicate to someone who speaks your language in a language you are both less proficient in!


Many learners become very nervous and embarrassed when asked to speak English.

Large classes

While theoretically the more students there are in a class the more possibilities for interaction there should be, this is not the case in practice. The more learners there are, the more difficult developing interaction can be since there are more people to monitor and, therefore, more chances of problems

Mixed abilities

Pairing and grouping students appropriately in classes that have a wide variety of levels (e.g. secondary schools) is much more difficult than in small classes of a homogenous level.

Lack of motivation

If learners have no need to interact or don’t want to, they probably won’t.

Insufficient language

Perhaps the most common reason for interaction in English breaking down, or indeed not starting in the first place, is that the students don’t have the language they need to interact and, therefore, complete the task successfully.

A List of 20 Free Tools for Teachers to Create Awesome Presentations and Slideshows

Posted by teacher on January 17, 2015
Below is a list of some of the best free tools teachers and students can use to create awesomeslideshowand presentations.

1- SlideShare

It Offers users the ability to upload and share publicly or privately PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Adobe PDF Portfolios.

2- Animoto

Animoto turns your photos and video clips into professional videoslideshowsin minutes.


VUVOXallows you to create interactive slideshows and presentations from photos, video and music from Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, YouTube, Facebook and more.

4- Knovio

Knovio gives life to static slides and with a simple click you will be able to turn them into rich video and audio presentations that you can share with your friends and colleagues via email or popular social media websites. Knovio does not require any software installation
or download, it is all web based.

5- Ahead

Ahead is a great presentation tool for educators. It works in such a way that it instantly transforms your layouts into a zooming presentation. Check it out its is great.

6- HelloSlide

HelloSlide is a cool web tool that allows its users to create awesome slidestogetherwith voice narration.

7- Jux

Jux is one of the best showcase for your stories. You can embed videos and photos from your hard drive or from a URL.

8- Slidestaxx

Slidestaxx is a great presentation tool. It allows its users to create amazing social media slideshows. You can now gather media from
different sources and put them together in an engaging slideshow using Slidestaxx to embed it in your blog, website or wiki.

9- Present.me

It allows its users to record and share their presentations using their webcams.

10- PhotoPeach

PhotoPeachis a free online service that allows it users to create media rich slideshows.What i like the most about this tool is the fact that it supports background music .Integrating audio into photo slideshows makes them quite engaging and presentable

11- Slideboom

Slideboomis a slide hosting service where you can store your presentations and share them with the rest of the world.

12- Zentation

Zentationis one of the best video presentation tools . It combines both videos and slides into presentations making out of them engaging pieces of multimedia in education

13- Empressr

Empressris a rich media presentation tool .It allows you to share and create high quality online slideshows and presentations.

14- VoiceThread

Voice Thread is a digital media discussion service . It allows you to create engaging interactive slideshows using different types of media .

15- Slidesix

It enables users to share multimedia presentations using a rich web based application where they “ they can import presentation material and personalize their message by narrating each slide with video or audio.”

16- Zoho Show

It helps you create interactive presentations using simple yet sophisticated tools .It has several features that sets it apart from other presentation applications.

17- Prezentit

It allows its users to create alone or with others , share and show online memorable presentations . It is a very handy tool that we can use with our students.

18- Popplet

Poppletis a unique web2.0 tool. It is one of the best applications for visual ideas . It combines presentations , mindmapping and online bulletins.

19- AuthorStream

This is a platform for sharing PowerPoint presentations on the Internet. authorSTREAM makes it easier to share your PowerPoint slideshows through blogs, websites, on YouTube and even via iPOD.

20- SlideRocket

SlideRocketis an online web2.0 applicationthat facilitates creating and sharing online presentations in the form of slides .

21- Prezi

Preziis a cloud- based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas.

Teacher-Tested Time-Saving Tips

Posted by teacher on January 16, 2015


  • Use a daily planner. Keep all your “to do” lists there. Or, keep one calendar handy and write everything on it that you need to accomplish. Memories fail at times. Some teachers keep a planner on their desk at all times, some use large desk calendars. Whichever type you prefer, use it.
  • Do not try to accomplish difficult tasks when you are tired. Save those for your peak periods.
  • Do not waste class time by calling out students’ names in order to take roll. Once students are at work, take roll. If you have a seating chart, you can see who is absent in one sweep. Elementary teachers have many options: You can write each student’s name on a clothes pin and pin it to a chart near the door. As students come in, they place their pin in a small bucket. Or, vice versa. The pins could be placed in the box and the student takes his or hers out and places it on the chart.
  • At the beginning of the year, assign each student a number which corresponds to the number in your roll book. (Roll books usually numbered lines for students’ names.) Instruct students to put their numbers (along with their names) on their papers. Then, when you collect the papers, simply have one student put them in numerical order. Marking grades in the book then becomes a snap because you are not jumping from name to name trying to find a particular student.
  • If you have never tried “gradebook software” you may like it. It can save you time by tallying grades, curving grades, allowing you to print the grades for a particular student (along with absences), quickly seeing what assignments a particular student is missing, etc. Some are better than others. Ask for recommendations from your colleagues.
  • While waiting for a parent conference, meeting, etc. try to accomplish those small, “interruptable” tasks.
  • Remember: Every single paper-and-pencil task a student completes, does not have to be graded.
  • Allow students to self-grade or peer-grade when appropriate.
  • Create a generic “Classroom Procedures” list for substitutes. (Include schedules, important points to remember, the process of taking roll, etc.) This can then be attached to specific lesson plans.
  • Keep a small area set aside where you store often-used supplies for students to use.
  • Keep a supply of notebook paper handy. Tell students they make take a sheet when necessary
  • Make transparencies for directions to tasks.
  • Pull out of storage all material that you will be distributing that day and place it in one area. Think through the lessons you will be doing and what materials you will need for each one.
  • Distributing material. You may want to assign a student assistant to distribute material for you (makers, rulers, art paper, newspapers). Talk with the student about how to distribute the material and how to pick it up and put it in its proper place. Some teachers find it handy to have a number of small containers and fill each one with the needed materials for each student. (For example, they will place in the container a pair of scissors, glue stick, markers, etc.) They then simply distribute the containers.
  • When students pass in papers, tell them to pass them across the rows instead of passing them forward. The people in the row to whom the papers eventually come can then pass them forward to one person. (A side benefit of this is less poking.)
  • Create a list of classroom routines and procedures that will make the day flow smoothly. Go here for some ideas.
  • Make a “To-Do” reference sheet for events. For example, you may want to have a list for field trips. Include on the list everything that must be done before, during, and after the trip, then check off as completed. Make copies of your reference sheets and use them as necessary.
  • Create templates for materials you create regularly. For example: Store on your computer a lesson plan template, then use “save as” to name the lesson plan.
  • Keep a file folder handy with copies of forms you normally use.
  • Keep like items together. For example, you can buy (or sew) an overhead fanny pack.
  • Keep a log of phone calls made to parents. You can make a form which includes the name of the student, phone number, reason called, results.
  • Assign tasks to students. If a student can do the job just as well as you can, then let her or him do it. Most students love having responsibilities. Some teachers for example, have a classroom librarian whose job it is to be in charge of the classroom library. They shelve and straighten books, recommend titles, and keep the area organized.
  • Learn to say no. Admittedly, this is not easy for some people. Remember though that your time is valuable so guard it wisely.
  • If you are planning a big project or unit, keep a box handy for the materials as you procure them. Label the box and place everything in there that you will need. Or, alternatively, you may only need a file folder.
  • If you find yourself constantly running to the office or media center or any one particular place, try to consolidate trips. Place the material you are taking with you in one area and limit yourself to one trip.
  • When making phone calls, write down the points you want to discuss ahead of time so you can “get to the point” as well as remember what you wanted to talk about.
  • If you are constantly losing your seating chart or other paper that you use daily, attach it to you chalkboard with a magnet. You may also want to buy some magnetic tape (available in school supply stores) if you don’t want to (or can’t) use the traditional magnets. Some teachers, for example, will place magnetic tape on the back of a plastic pencil cup holder, fill it with pencils, and place it on the board for handy use.
  • Before you dismiss the students have them look around their desks and pick up any trash, papers, or items on the floor. You can assign one student to pick up “wandering items” and put them in their proper place.
  • Allow students to create one or more bulletin boards. Most children enjoy this.
  • Keep a large calendar handy for noting make-up assignments for students who were absent. Instruct students to check the calendar when they return from an absence. Place any materials they will need near the calendar. Assign one student to be “in charge” of telling returning students what they missed. If you are a middle school or high school teacher, make a file folder for each of your classes and put the missing student’s work in the folder with his or her name on it. Tell students that it will be their responsibility to check the appropriate folder when they return.

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