As teachers, we usually go into the first weeks of school assuming full responsibility for building the learning space. But what happens if we put some of that responsibility in our students’ hands instead? Our new students come to us full of ideas, stories, expertise, and curiosity. These are the essential materials for a strong classroom community. Here are a few ideas for how to put those raw materials to use:
Have you tried these or other community building activities? Tell us what works!
Now that Labor Day has passed, it’s time to think about back to school resources. Here are a few things I am planning to do to get a head start now to help to make this a fabulous school year!
- Creating/Maintaining a Classroom Library
To help my students get motivated to read, I try to have timeless favorites in my classroom library as well as add new titles. ReadWriteThink.org has two podcast series that provide book suggestions. Several NCTE journals also review new texts in every issue.
- Staying Current with Trends in Education
By reading other’s posts and participating in discussions on the NCTE Connected Community and on the Literacy & NCTE blog, I feel like I can gain easy access to each other’s best ideas.
- Finding or Become a Mentor
Being provided with a mentor as a teacher is a wonderful benefit. Sometimes, teachers may need to find their own mentor or teacher with whom they can work and learn. The English Journal column “Mentoring Matters” has a focus on effective ways to support new English teachers and student teachers and is a great resource to all teachers. Check out this column!
- Plan for Professional Development
Now would be a good time to register for the NCTE Annual Convention! Join thousands of educators, experts, authors, administrators, publishers, and others in St. Louis, Missouri, for the 2017 NCTE Annual Convention! November 16-19, 2017
What else are you doing to plan for the upcoming semester?
Since 1984, National PTA has designated one week in May as a special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating our children. This is a week for everyone to show teachers just how much they are appreciated!
Here is an activity to do with students that celebrates teachers:
Read a book about a teacher such as Thank You, Mr. Falker, Miss Nelson is Missing, The Miracle Worker, Tuesdays with Morrie, or A Lesson Before Dying. Why are the teachers in these stories special? Have a class discussion about some of your students’ favorite teachers. Then have students try these follow-up activities:
- Compare a favorite teacher to a teacher from a book with a Venn Diagram.
- Write a letter to a favorite teacher using the Letter Generator.
- Create a character map of a storybook teacher with the Story Mapping tool.
- Use the Word Mover to create a piece that describes the teacher or school.
To round out Teacher Appreciation Week, watch a movie that inspires you and makes you feel proud to be in the field of education where YOU really do have an impact. Enjoy!
This week marks the first day of Summer 2016! It’s true that many educators assign reading to their students over the summer. We also know that educators themselves have some books they want to read this summer. The following resources from NCTE provide some suggestions for summer reading for educators.
The author of “Summer Reading: A Reflection” recounts her family’s summer reading which gave her a chance to talk with her children about books and, ultimately, about life.
This Teacher to Teacher column invited teachers to respond to the question, “What Work of Adult Fiction or Nonfiction Do You Recommend to Other Teachers for Summer Reading?”
“Reading for Fun” includes three teachers’ reflections on their personal reading lives and the reading instruction they provide to students.
For several years the editor of “TYCA to You” compiled annual summer reading lists. The editor states that the reading suggestions “span time and content in ways only voracious readers can.”
A study investigated the relationships between five junior high school teachers’ personal approaches to literature and their teaching of literature in “Teachers Reading/Readers Teaching: Five Teachers’ Personal Approaches to Literature and Their Teaching of Literature“.
When adults and teens read the same book, that shared experience can spark important conversations that might not happen otherwise. Tune in to hear about eight novels that all focus in some way on teens and their complicated relationships with family members, peers, and the larger world.
We here at NCTE pose these questions to you: What is on YOUR reading list this summer? Why? What titles are you recommending to others?
Can you believe it? The first day of summer will be here before we know it! Whether your school year is already over or will be soon, here are a few things to get you in the mindset:
Take some time to revel in the journey you’ve taken this school year. This blog post, What I’ll Miss, from Katherine Sokolowski offers a lovely example.
One way to prime your batteries for next school year is to learn new things! Here are a few options we recommend this summer: the Whole Language Umbrella Institute (St. Louis, MO), the online course Using Evidence to Guide Teaching and Learning, and the Conference on English Leadership Regional Institute (Bowling Green, KY).
Take care of you. A recent study from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education showed that “teachers who regularly use stress-reducing strategies increase their abilities to cope with the demands of the career and are positioned to do a better job educating students.”
We’re pretty sure you’ve got a summer reading list going already, but if not, you should definitely put #nctechat on June 19th on your calendar. The theme is “Books That Changed My Life” and we’re inviting lots of friends to participate.
If you could invite an author to join this conversation, who would you invite?
Tweet your answer to @ncte and don’t forget to tag the authors!
Also, check out Plan Now for Summer Reading, a blog post on the Literacy in Learning Exchange.
This post is reprinted from the NCTE INBOX Newsletter. Don’t currently get Inbox? Nonmembers can use this form to subscribe to receive a monthly issue of INBOX or can join NCTE to receive INBOX each week as part of their membership.