Classroom tech expert Will Richardson posts a dispatch from the Learning 2.0 conference held this weekend in Shanghai, China. More on the conference happenings is available here. Or should we have said unconference?...


Tired of hearing students answer your questions with the infamous "I don't know?" CaliforniaTeacherGuy is -- and he thinks it stems from the students' fear of making a mistake, not because they don't know. It’s OK to make mistakes. That’s how we learn. Some of my biggest mistakes have proved to be some of my most important learning experiences. To combat this problem, CaliforniaTeacherGuy has outlawed the phrase "I don't know" and replaced it with "I'm not sure but I think..." to challenge his students to voice their opinion. It's OK not to be sure, but it is ...


Sherry Technically Speaking, a former computer teacher, wants to integrate high-tech resources into her classroom, but her technologically-impaired school is not making it easy. Sherry, who now teaches English and social studies, fights with insufficient space on her hard drive, a lack of computers, and a Web filter that blocks her every move: I switched teaching positions so that I could lead by example and show teachers how to integrate technology into the curriculum. Fat chance! My hands are tied. In response to Sherry’s cry for help, fellow blogger and educator Carolyn Foote writes: Make a proposal, a list, ...


They say that teachers don’t really get comfortable in the classroom until their 3rd year. Having reached that milestone, clean up on aisle life notices the change: Today was the first day of school, and last night was the first time I ever slept soundly the night before the first day of school. I can't believe how little anxiety I have about this school year. I'm still shocked by the amount of work that is to be done, but I feel completely capable of handling it. And it only took three years!! (But should we be worried that she ...


Although Baltimore schools have just started, negotiations have stalled over planning time for teachers and a recent union letter urged educators to avoid doing tasks not stated in their contracts. But Epiphany in Baltimore doesn’t want school bells, academic calendars, and contract agreements to define his teaching responsibilities—not if he wants to be a successful teacher. He lists their demands: No hall duty, no lunch duty, no staying past 3:25 and no arriving before 8:05. No advising any organizations. No writing any letters of recommendation. No grading or planning anything outside of the prescribed time. No ...


After having run-ins with two troubled students, Brian of An Audience of One questions how to make teenagers understand that dropping out of high school will affect them for the rest of their lives: The first student belligerently refused to serve her assigned detention... She said, “I hate school. I won’t go. You can’t make me.” ...My question to her was, “Ok, lets say your mom gives in and allows you to drop out. Then what?” She mumbled something about getting a job. “What kind of job could you do?” She couldn’t name a single job that ...


The Teacher Voices from Teacher Leaders Network are chatting about bulletin boards—and exciting ways to use them. Although most of the Networks’ members agreed classroom bulletin boards should display student work and encourage interactive activities, Patty deviated from the group: We were taught to minimize the amount of visual stimulation on the walls. We covered our boards with fabric in earth tones with no bright paper borders... As an individual diagnosed as having ADHD, and as a teacher of many students with this label, I am amazed at the effect this has on concentration and focus. Sometimes the environment ...


The first day of school has Junior High School Teacher sweating bullets—and it’s not from nerves. Although her classroom’s sweltering temperatures are “unbearable,” JHS says there’s no relief in sight: A few years ago, I complained that the fan system (we have no AC) in my room wasn't working. Or that it was working, but only when I turned on the heat. That wasn't going to do. I brought in fans from home, but still, my room was in the low 90's for three days in a row. They finally came to address the problem. And ...


Gracie from Today’s Homework responds to an inquiry from her former student teacher, now a newbie seeking advice. The beginning teacher asked her veteran-mentor a tough question: I'm trying to come up with a classroom management plan involving classroom expectations, consequences, and rewards, and I'm having a hard time with the consequences and rewards part. Gracie’s response includes a writing assignment she gives to her misbehaving students. As for rewards: I do silly things like The Happy Teacher Dance...or when I get a good answer or comment or reflection I’ll rush over and shake that student’s...


As the school year approaches, Doug from Borderland, self-described "organizational rebel," determines to come to grips with his disorderly habits and rid his classroom of all the unnecessary clutter: I will be ruthless. Old workbooks, lesson plans, my classroom library, science materials…all must be given a brief but hard look before I decide if they are worth putting someplace besides the “pile” that is going out the door. I am good at this purging. I do it every year. But this time is different. I’m burning bridges. Anything that’s really worth keeping is already in my head ...


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