Groups

R_manna_025

Teacher Helpline

Hi, I’m Ruth Manna, a teacher for over 20 years, and now a Director of Curriculum. I’ve spent over five years answering questions on the Teacher Helpline and hope to answer yours. This year, I'll join other teacher advisors on the Top Teaching blog.
Administrator: Ruth Manna Created: 02/22/2010 Last Activity: 11/20/2010

Announcement

Please bring your questions, situations, and problems and collaborate with one another and with me.
  • Profile
    Re: Demo Lesson
    jacquelinemichelle
    Thank you for the heads up, I never taught special ed before so this is all new to me. The other two lessons can be on anything, I was thinking I should do a math lesson.

    Message Edited by jacquelinemichelle on 05-11-2010 09:21 PM

  • R_manna_011
    Re: Demo Lesson
    Ruth Manna
    Making smoothies is a lot more fun than learning to set a table. You can make smoothies in 10 min. if you are well organized.
    One other thought:
    Nonverbal students aren't necessarily quiet. Some shout or scream. You may want to prepare yourself for this type of behavior.

    Would you like reading or math lesson for K or 1st grade class? Do you have any more info about lesson?

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Demo Lesson
    jacquelinemichelle
    That sounds like a great idea...I was also thinking about teaching how to set a table since that is one of the ideas the teacher suggested but I can't find any exciting ideas online. Plus, the autistic lesson is only 10 minutes long.

    For the other two lessons, it is either for kindergarten or first grade. Thank you.

    Message Edited by jacquelinemichelle on 05-11-2010 05:55 PM

  • R_manna_011
    Re: Demo Lesson
    Ruth Manna
    For the autistic students ages 12 - 16:
    Since students are both verbal and nonverbal you'll want a "hands-on" lesson. I thought about cooking/food preparation since it's fun and will give you a chance to teach about nutrition which is likely in the standards.
    You may not have access to a cooktop or oven so how about smoothies?
    First you'll teach about the benefits (vitamins, fiber, etc.) in fruits and yogurt (or milk?) depending on the recipe you choose. Maybe you could make a chart/poster ahead of time or a Powerpoint about fruits and include the recipe.
    Then you'll read through the recipe together and make smoothies together. You'll want to divide up the tasks so each student gets a chance to participate.
    Students might want to have copies of the recipe to take home, so copy ahead of time.
    You'll need a blender and ingredients, plus plastic cups and straws, but this is likely a small class so it shouldn't be outrageously expensive. The idea is for everyone to have an opportunity to sample the recipe, so a small sample will be fine.
    Before you plan, check with their teacher about any food allergies.

    For a recipe go to:
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/

    If you think you'll have time maybe you could make a small snack like cream cheese and fruit on toasted bread rounds. I don't know your students or how long your lesson will be, but this is one way to expand the lesson.

    This will be fun and engaging! Bon appetit!

    About the other lessons, are they for first graders? Give me more info and I will suggest ideas. Thanks.

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Demo Lesson
    jacquelinemichelle
    Thank you for your suggestion...I did my demo today and it went great. I started off having the students tell me about the original Three Little Pigs story. Then, I introduced the book you suggested. The children loved it!! Next, I did a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the two books. I had the students complete a "Who do you believe?" worksheet. The lesson went great. The principal called and asked me if I would sub this week and do two more lessons. So if you have any other great suggestions, would love to hear them. Thank you so much!!!

    Also, I have to do a demo lesson for an autistic class, 12-16 year olds, K-4th grade level. The teacher whose class I will be teaching in, advised that the students are both verbal and non-verbal and I should do a daily living lesson. Any lesson suggestions, would be much appreciated!!!
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Demo Lesson
    Ruth Manna
    What about The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka?  The story is light and fun and first graders will get the humor, especially if they're familiar with the Three Little Pigs.

     

    Here's a link to ideas for teaching The True Story of the Three Little Pigs which I found here on scholastic.com
    http://teacher.scholastic.com/...
    This book has many descriptive words so you could pre-teach a few words and ask students to give thumbs up when they hear one of the pre-taught words. Stop and review the new words in the context of the story.
    The suggested graphic organizer is a compare and contrast using terms "same" and "different."
    You might also consider a Venn diagram to illustrate what stories have in common and how each story is unique.
    When I teach students to write sentences I use a simple graphic organizer with boxes for Who, What, Where, When, and Why. After reading we complete the graphic organizer together, and then use the completed graphic organizer to write a sentence.


    Message Edited by ruth.manna on 05-07-2010 08:16 PM

    Ruth

  • Profile
    6th grade clubs
    jnr039
    Hello, I was recently hired as a summer school teacher for sixth grade. I didn't know I would be hired for this grade at the interview, but since I have never taught sixth grade (even though I'm certified) and am a first year teacher, I accepted. The thing is, they just made an announcement at the last PD meeting that the last hour of the day, each day during summer school should be devoted to "clubs". Now they didn't give us any guidelines on the club, any materials , nothing to help us. They told us that it has to be catered to our interests but then I read on the district website that the clubs will also be tailored to students interest. So we will have to change them up every week or so. My interests are art, creative writing,and reading. But what are sixth graders going to like? I've never taught this age (I really, really, prefer younger children). This is a school in a semo-urban area as well. Please give me ideas for clubs I can do with them. It'll be for an hour a day. Summer school lasts five weeks. Also, the school district expects us to come up with a list of materials we'll need for both the summer school portion and club portion by next Tuesday! How can I know that by then? UGH.

    Message Edited by jnr039 on 05-07-2010 01:42 PM

  • R_manna_011
    Re: 6th grade clubs
    Ruth Manna
    You could start gathering materials for your favorite activities. Ask family and friends to donate supplies. Consider culminating activities for each of five weeks of summer school.
    Will you have access to computers or computer lab? There are many great online logic puzzles and games.
    For cooking, maybe you could come up with recipes for smoothies, sandwiches, or salads which require prep work but no real cooking.
    For science experiments, think about chemistry and physics experiments that would grab students' attention and spark their enthusiasm for science.

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: 6th grade clubs
    jnr039
    Hi Ruth, Thanks!  The main reason this task is difficult is because we have no idea what resources are already available to us. I know that I'll have a room with a bulletin board, desks, and a chalk/dry erase board. That's about all we know. It's frustrating to me. Any sport activities besides kickball would be out (I am not a sports fan). I do love logic puzzles and games, art/painting, and community sevice. As far as cooking, I don't know if we'll have access to the kitchen. They just threw this at us and provide no details. I don't have a green thumb but I do enjoy doing science experiments when I teach younger grades. I like the idea of a culminating activity each week. Thanks.
     




  • R_manna_011
    Re: 6th grade clubs
    Ruth Manna
    Here's a list of possible activities/clubs. You could work toward a culminating activity at the end of the week.
    If you like any of these ideas, write back and I'll come up with details, okay?
    Comic Books/ Graphic Novels
    Photography or Videography
    Logic Puzzles and Games
    Intramural Sports (dodgeball, kickball, etc.)
    Community Service
    Painting a Mural
    Cooking
    Plays/Skits
    Gardening
    Science and Nature
    Pottery

    Ruth

  • Profile
    First Teaching Demo! Please advise
    sarahwesterberg
    Hello! I have been trying to make the transition to teacher from administrator (I work in development at an independent school) and have been coaching and teaching students outside of the classroom quite a bit. I now have the opportunity to go up for a position in 6th grade history (I majored in history for my undergrad). The curriculum for the 6th grade is world history/ancient history (Rome, Greece, Asia, etc.) and I am to prepare a demo lesson. I read another really helpful post about what those observing will be looking for but I am more so looking for appropriate content and activities that I can do. Any help and guidance would be MUCH appreciate. Thank you so much!
  • R_manna_011
    Re: First Teaching Demo! Please advise
    Ruth Manna
    Here are a few ideas:

    Prepare a Powerpoint with embedded video clips to engage students and present content. New vocabulary that's essential could be part of presentation. Presentation is a mini-lesson (not more than 10 min.) to get conversation going. Maybe it could include a timeline to orient students in time.

    Consider small group work for part of the lesson, especially if your lesson is 45 min. or longer. You'd move from group to group talking with students and keeping them on-task. Begin and end with the whole class together.

    Divide class into groups and have each group take a different position on an issue/event. Students could act out event from the perspectives of groups involved.

    To make event relevant, compare/contrast with a similar 21st century event.

    What about planning for a podcast? Does that seem do-able?

    Ruth

  • Profile
    sand play
    nhnoh nogy
    Hi,
    What can you tell me about sand play and creativity for kindergarteners? I'm interested in new activities and paper and pencil tasks. Thank you.   Nahal

    Message Edited by ruth.manna on 04-10-2010 06:22 PM

  • Profile
    Re: sand play
    Patriciannc
    Thanks for the link to sand play. It was interesting to read

    Pat C.
  • R_manna_011
    Re: sand play
    Ruth Manna
    Here is a link to an article about the benefits of sand play.
    http://bouncyleaf.com/2010/03/...

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: sand play
    nhnoh nogy
    thank you for your help. please , provide me any thing new about sand play and creativity for kindergartenrs nehal
  • R_manna_011
    Re: sand play
    Ruth Manna
    You likely have a sand box and/or sand table.
    Sand play develops eye-hand coordination and small muscle control.
    This type of play gives children a chance to learn how to use different tools, understand volume and measurement, learn about gravity and other scientific principles, and observe changes. And sand play is fun!
    Here are a few ideas:
    Vary moisture content, sometimes moistened and at other times dry.
    Suggestions for equipment and activities for sand play:
    Dumping and filling activities with different shapes of containers, cylinders, cubes, rectangular prisms in a variety of sizes.
    Kitchen tools like rolling pins, pie tins, large spoons, etc. for making cakes and pies.
    Small plastic animals and vehicles like dump trucks, front-end loaders, etc. for creating construction sites, farms, and castles.
    Beach tools like shovels, pails, and sand molds.

    Sand play is an unstructured activity that can be guided and enhanced by teacher's suggestions. Paper and pencil tasks are unnecessary for sand play but conversation that inspires creativity in students is a plus.



    Message Edited by ruth.manna on 04-10-2010 06:49 PM

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Model lesson? so confused
    jnr039
    Hi,
    As I mentioned before I was recently hired at a first year charter school in an urban area. Their hiring process is still brand new and I have been waiting patiently for the principal or director to tell me the next steps (i.e. when will get to see my contract and discuss salary !!) . Today I e-mailed the principal and she e-mailed me back saying that they would like to see me teach a reading lesson for kindergarten next Tuesday to see if I will need further training or areas that need to be improved that they will work with me on during the summer. Sounds strange to me.
  • What do you all think about that? I mean they hired me and introduced me as one of the new teachers that will be with them next year.
  •  I need ideas for a reading lesson for kindegarten students PLEASE and thank you. My certification is in 1-6, and I have never had to teach Kg in my student teaching. Which I also think it is weird that they are asking me to do Kg but whatever. They are adding second grade next school year to the school and I am hoping to get that grade. They have not told me which grade I will be teaching but it can't be kg because I'm not certified in that area. I hate this waiting and being unsure!
  • Profile
    Re: Model lesson? so confused
    jnr039
    Hi, Thanks for all the rhyming ideas!
    The class size is fifteen and they do not have a Smartboard. The kids usually sit at carpet for instruction activities and they have circle tables instead of desks. 45 minutes is a long time for me to do rhyming, I'm thinking about combining it with one of the other topics such as initial consonants. I think phoneme replacement can tie into rhyming too. I've emailed the teacher to ask her if she wants me to follow the Open Court lesson.
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Model lesson? so confused
    Ruth Manna
    Here are more resources to help you plan your lesson:

    http://www.teach.virginia.edu/...

    A Rhyme a Week

    Many activities for teaching rhymes.

    This is a great resource. Check it out!

    from the of Education, .

     

    http://www.mywaytoo.com/Pages/...

    rhyming cards with words, pictures, and both. Free download.

     

    http://www.janbrett.com/search...

    Teaching rhyme with Jan Brett books

     

    http://www.songsforteaching.co...

    Teach rhyme through song. Students clap their hands when words rhyme and shake their heads when words don't rhyme.

     

    http://www.readwritethink.org/...

    Lesson from International Reading Association site


    Does this classroom have a Smartboard?

     

     

     


    Message Edited by ruth.manna on 04-08-2010 10:03 PM

    Ruth

  • R_manna_011
    Re: Model lesson? so confused
    Ruth Manna
    Hi,
    Yes, I agree rhyming words would be the easiest way to go.
    Are you expected to use Open Court or can you develop your own lesson?
    There are so many great picture books that are full of rhyming words that it should be easy to find a book to use or maybe a poem or poems. If you can get highlighting tape at an office supply store you could highlight the rhyming words in the poem or book.
    Maybe you could make up 3" X 5" cards with word on one side and icon on the other. There could be pairs of rhyming word cards. You shuffle up the cards, give one to each student and then they find their rhyming partner. Maybe you'll want to pre-teach the cards to the whole class and then deal out the cards.
    Another idea - fold piece of art paper in half. Students pick a pair of rhyming words from a word bank or from cards. They write one rhyming word on each side of paper and then draw a picture that illustrates that word.
    Or maybe you could use a rhyming song. You could write up the lyrics on chart paper and use illustrations for the rhyming words.
    45 minutes is a lot of time for kindergarteners so you may have time to do:
    Fingerplay
    Song
    Book or poem
    Matching game with cards
    Writing and drawing time

    You may want to start out with students grouped on a carpet, then have them move around, bring them back to you in circle, and then have them work at desks. You'll want to think about how you'll handle transitions.

    Let me think more about this and get back to you.

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Model lesson? so confused
    jnr039
    Hello, thanks for the advice. The classroom teacher says that on that day they are scheduled to do: Phoneme Replacement,  Initial Consonants, Segmentation Identifying and Counting Phonemes, and Rhyming Words. She told me to pick one of those. The lesson has to be about 45 mins and the school uses Open Court Reading, which I am not familiar with. I think the easiest lesson would be rhyming words or initial consonants. I don't know where these kids are and what they can do already so it's frustrating to me. Suggestions for which lesson I should do?
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Model lesson? so confused
    Ruth Manna
    Hi,
    It's becoming more common for new teachers to present a demonstration lesson as part of the hiring process. For some teachers a demonstration lesson happens at a second or third interview, or as in your case, after you have been hired. It's accepted practice in some schools and school districts, so try not to take it personally.
    What they may be trying to decide is where to place you. Perhaps they are expecting a large number of first graders and may want to see how you'll get along with current kindergarteners, next year's first graders.
    Or maybe they want to see you teach kindergarten because they believe those students are easiest to manage or take direction/teaching from a total stranger better than first graders. But whatever they are thinking, they want to see you teach.
    Go to readinga-z.com and look around. This is a subscription site but you may be able to try it out for free. Print out a book on level A or B to use with kindergarteners. There are follow-up activities on the Web site but you may want to make up an activity that is more open-ended and creative. This might be something as simple as a drawing with a sentence at the bottom of the page.
    Or you could do an activity that involves cutting and gluing, good kindergarten skills.
    You might teach a song or a poem.
    Or you might do an interactive read-aloud with a follow-up activity.
    This lesson is about how you manage a class and secondarily about curriculum. Still you want your lesson to be tied to state standards which you can look up online at your state's state dept. of ed. Web site.
    So they'll want to see how you manage a group and deal with the unexpected (sick child, misbehavior, fire drill, interruptions, etc.). As long as you are well-prepared and flexible, you'll do fine.
    I hope this is helpful.
    If you search on this message board under demonstration lesson, you may find more tips and strategies.

    Message Edited by ruth.manna on 04-07-2010 08:53 PM

    Message Edited by ruth.manna on 04-07-2010 08:54 PM

    Ruth

  • Profile
    teacher recommendation letter
    desaiasha
    Hello, my name is Susi, I have been asked to write a recommendation letter for my fellow team teacher. I need help & want to see if there is a sample letter written by another teacher. Appreciate all the help. Thanks!
  • Profile
    Re: teacher recommendation letter
    desaiasha
    Dear Ruth,   Thanks so much! This will help me to write the letter. Sincerely, Susie
  • R_manna_011
    Re: teacher recommendation letter
    Ruth Manna
    Hi Susi,
    Since your colleague asked you to write a letter of recommendation for her, you are likely friends as well as colleagues.
    When you write this letter you'll want to adopt a professional, positive tone.
    Here are ideas you might include:
    How long you have known one another
    How you work together as colleagues and team members
    Your colleague as a team member/team player
    Positive description of her work and her personal attributes like enthusiasm, empathy, creativity, etc.
    How fortunate this school would be to have her on their team
    An offer to speak by phone with your school phone number and email address.

    Write your letter in Word and email to your colleague as an attachment. This will allow your colleague to address the letter to specific individual(s) rather than the impersonal, "To whom it may concern."

    I hope this is helpful.

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Jobs
    floodder
    How do you break into the job market?   I have been looking for a job since last year when I got my degree.  In that time I must have sent out over 100 job applications with only a handful of calls for interviews.  I'm even going outside of WI for jobs...really do not want to do that as my family is here in WI but what else can I do?

    I have been subbing, but want to work on a daily basis.  I seriously wonder if age is playing a factor in the job search.  I am over 50.  And as a special education teacher I know it can be very physical.  How can I assure the school that I am capable of putting in a full day and then some?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.


  • R_manna_011
    Re: Jobs
    Ruth Manna
    Hi Ray,
    I attended your workshop at ASCD in San Antonio which is how I learned about the Center for Urban Teaching. I'm happy to recommend the Center for Urban Teaching, although most of the time I don't know where teachers are from.
    I recommend Doug Lemov's, Teach Like a Champion, too. After attending your workshop I bought this new book, read it, and have recommended Doug's book and video clips both online and to colleagues and administrators.
    Effective teaching is a matter of refining one's skills in thousands of small ways. Most of us have improved our skills through years and years of trial and error. The Center for Urban Teaching andTeach Like a Champion offer new teachers shorter paths to excellence.
    I mentioned Teach Like a Champion to my friend, Pete MacKay. It's on his Web site.
    http://www.theteacherlist.ca/2...




    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Jobs
    RDusseau
    Thank you Ruth for your positive reference to the work of the Center for Urban Teaching in Milwaukee. We are dedicated to a NO EXCUSES - High Expectations approach to urban teaching. More information can be found on the website www.urbanteaching.info. I can also be contacted by email at dusseau@wlc.edu to extend the conversation about high performance teaching.   Dr. Ray Dusseau Director - CfUT  
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Jobs
    Ruth Manna
    Hi Ellen,
    I thought of something else:
    Recently I was at a conference and attended a workshop presented by the Center for Urban Teaching. Since you are in Wisconsin, this group may be able to give you ideas and suggestions. The Center for Urban Teaching is a joint venture of Wisconsin Lutheran College, Marquette University, Concordia Univ. of Wisconsin, and Cardinal Stitch Univ. They provide support and professional development for new teachers who are teaching in urban schools.
     Here is their phone number: 414-443-8954

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Jobs
    floodder
    All great questions Ruth!  I have considered other areas of the country-in fact i just did a phone interview with Las Vegas.  And I have done applications in Milwaukee. With that school district I have about 30 applications - so far no calls for interviews.  I have heard through the grape-vine that some school districts are holding off with interviews until they have their budgets set up for 2010-2011. 

    I have not considered over-seas...that i something I would love to do but not at this time.  I still have my parents to consider, so having to fly back on a 16 hour flight when they need me is not going to be an option.  Maybe sometime in the future....

    I'm trying to get a brochure put together, a great suggestion you gave me yesterday on your first email.  I talked to a friend of mine who is finishing up her degree now and she too loved the idea.  She is going to put one together to present to schools down in Florida when she does the rounds next week while on spring break.

    Thank you for all the help, the websites, and the encouragement...

    ellen
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Jobs
    Ruth Manna
    Ellen,
    Here is a Web site I've used myself and you might explore it.
    http://www.schoolspring.com/
    You can search by location, type of teaching job, age level/grade, etc. If you're willing to relocate, a site like schoolspring might help.
    Scholastic has a site for teaching jobs.
    http://www.schooljobsnow.com/
    Here is another site that has administrative positions, but may have teaching positions too.
    http://www.topschooljobs.org/

    Here are other questions you might want to ask yourself:

    Would you consider teaching in private or parochial schools?
    Would you consider teaching overseas?
    How far are you willing to drive to get to your job?
    Would you teach in an urban school?

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Jobs
    floodder
    Thanks Ruth...that helps a great deal.  I would never have thought of a brochure.  What a great idea! 

    I'm just starting my career as a teacher.  I have never taught before so I have no experience to fall back on.  But I had hoped that people would see that with age comes the experience from raising your own family.  And if you can survive the teen years with 5 children, you can handle anything.  LOL

    I did have  a long term subbing position in the beginning of the school year but nothing since, just a day here or there throughout the remainder of this school year.  They ask for me by name so that is a good thing...but nothing that has led to a new job.  What makes it doubly hard is that they are talking of laying off more teachers-even special ed teachers.

    I've applied to the state website to look for jobs in other areas but again, I'm competing with teachers who have been at it a lot longer - hard to trump someone who has been in the trenches with special needs kids.

    But again...I plan on hitting the fairs with brochure and resume in hand.  Again, thanks for that great idea.

    ellen
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Jobs
    Ruth Manna
    Hi,
    It's challenging to find a job now, no matter what your age. That said, your age may be a factor.
    Have you taught in the past?
     Are you re-entering the teaching profession or did you recently become a teacher?
    If you have teaching experience in the past, that may help you.
    It may also help if you try to network in your current school or school district where you're already known. Ask the person in charge of placing substitute teachers about possible long-term subbing opportunities for the fall, like subbing for a teacher who's out on maternity leave. Sometimes long-term subbing jobs develop into full-time positions.
    When you are subbing, come in early and stay late. Make sure you grade all papers and leave classrooms neat. Doing so will show school personnel that you are energetic and willing to work hard.   
    Last week I spoke with a group of student teachers who are beginning to look for their first jobs. Here's what they're doing:
    Brochure - You can make a tri-fold full color brochure. Go online and look for videos/help with how to make a brochure using Microsoft Word. In brochures, prospective teachers have a short form of their mission statement, summary of relevant experience, student teaching experience, color photos of themselves teaching, etc. Student teachers are planning to bring brochures and their resumes to job fairs.
    Resume - More detailed than a brochure but similar content. Resume should include unique strengths like speaking a second language or playing a musical instrument.
    Portfolio - A portfolio might include a copy of your license, transcript, sample lessons, and lots of photos.
    Job Fairs - Check local school districts and colleges and universities for Job Fairs.

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Job Offer
    jnr039
    Hi! I have been offered a job for next school year at a small, new (they opened this year!) l charter school that I really am interested in. Before I officially accept I am going in next week to observe classes and talk to other teachers. If I officially accept, do I have to write a letter? What else comes next after an applicant accepts (besides the contract)?

    I was wondering what other questions should I ask before I take the job. I know the salary range, my class size, and what grade. The school is currently small, has 3 kindergarten classes and one 1st grade, and has fifteen kids per teacher. They are adding 2nd grade for the upcoming year and that's where I'll be teaching.

    Message Edited by jnr039 on 03-25-2010 01:15 AM

  • R_manna_011
    Re: Job Offer
    Ruth Manna
    Congratulations on your job offer at a new charter school. The class size sounds fabulous and I'm jealous because next year I will have 27 students. Small class size really does make a difference.

    With regard to sending a letter of acceptance, it seems like a gracious, polite gesture, even if it's not a requirement. As a public school teacher, I don't know charter school procedures and every charter school is different. Of course you could ask if they'd like a letter of acceptance. But if you feel awkward asking, I'd suggest writing a letter.

    Here are the questions I would ask:
    Do you have a teacher handbook? If so, can I have a copy?etc.
    If there is no handbook, you might ask about length of work day, time of arrival and departure for teachers, dress code, faculty meetings (how often and what happens) etc.
    Will I be expected to work in after-school program?
    What are your expectations of me? This is a general question but may yield information about working hours.
    Do you have a  teacher induction program and/or teacher orientation?
    Will I have a mentor teacher? How will she be matched with me?
    How do you evaluate teachers? How often will you observe me in my classroom?
    When will I have access to my classroom? Will I be able to work in my classroom over the summer?
    Will I have a key to the building?
    Do you plan to have a get-together so parents and I can meet before the first day? Some schools have a potluck or ice cream social in August to introduce new teachers to parents and children. If this is not the norm, you could suggest it. Meeting parents and children in advance of the first day will put everyone at ease.
    If I think of other questions I will write more later.
    Best wishes!

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Teacher Jobs
    mstec
    Hi.  I was wondering if you have any advice for me.  While I currently have a position as a reading specialist, my position will be ending at the end of the school year due to lack of funding.  I live in an area where elementary teaching positions are very hard to come by.  Do you have any advice on how to find a job and interviewing?  Thanks!
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Teacher Jobs
    Ruth Manna
    Here are ideas about preparing for an interview:
    Do an online search about the school. Find out everything you can about strengths and weaknesses, test scores, etc. Do the same for the school district. On the school's Web site, see if you can find photos of administrators and teachers so you'll be familiar with their names, faces, and roles.

    Drive around the school neighborhood and familiarize yourself. Whether you'll drive to an interview or take public transportation, you may want to make a trip in advance of the day, just to gauge how long it will take. I know this information is on Mapquest, but it's not always accurate and you'll want to arrive on time, even better ten minutes early.

    If you arrive early, you can observe the school office while you are waiting and you'll learn something about how the office works,  atmosphere, etc.

    Prepare and practice answers to questions you think you may be asked. Here is a list of questions I have seen interviewers use. I'm sure you can come up with other questions. Have a friend or family member do a mock interview so you can practice responding to questions.

    Why do you want to teach? Why do you want to teach at this school?
    What are your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher? How will you address your weaknesses?
    How will you create a classroom community with a group of diverse learners?
    What is project-based learning? Can you give an example?
    How would you get help for a student reading two or more years below grade level? How would you accommodate this student?
    What is the difference between formative and summative assessment. Give examples of each.
    How would you introduce students to a new book? Give an example.
    How will you include special education and ELL students?
    What areas of math do you especially enjoy teaching?
    How will you use math manipulatives?
    Have you used a Smartboard? How?
    What books have you read lately?
    What are your hobbies and interests?
    How do you manage stress?

    You'll want to prepare a short list of questions and make sure your questions are answered too. There may be time set aside at the end of the interview for your questions, but if not it's okay to say, "I have a few questions I'd like to ask." Interviewing is a two-way street.

    Ask about induction and orientation programs and school policies or whatever seems appropriate given what you have learned during the interview. .





    Message Edited by ruth.manna on 03-26-2010 06:38 AM

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Teacher Jobs
    mstec
    Thanks for the job finding tips!  If you have any advice on interviewing that would be great.  I am always very nervous in interviews and as a result do not do as well as I would like.  I am certified K-5 and can teach reading K-12.  Thanks!
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Teacher Jobs
    Ruth Manna
    I have a few ideas for you. You are starting to look early enough. There are still jobs available. March, April, and May are good months for seeking a teaching position.

    Here are questions you might consider:
    Are you willing/able to relocate?
    Would you consider teaching in an urban school?
    What grades/subjects would you be willing to teach?
    What enrichment programs or after-school programs could you lead?

    The more flexible you are, the more you'll improve your chances. If you have special talents and skills (foreign language, play piano, etc.) be sure to include them in your resume and mention them in an interview.

    If you haven't found a teaching position by mid-summer would you consider any of the following:
    classroom assistant
    special education assistant
    part-time teacher
    Before and After-School Leader/Coordinator
    Preschool or daycare teacher

    I wrote an inexpensive book that has ideas about job interviews. If you'd like I can give you ideas about what to expect in a job interview.


    Ruth

  • Profile
    Teacher In-service ideas
    doodster75
    Hello,   I have to create a teacher inservice presentation and wondered if anyone had any good ideas for a creative pre and post assessment other than an anticipation guide?  I am trying to find something different.  Any help is greatly appreciated.  Thanks,  Julie
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Teacher In-service ideas
    Ruth Manna
    Since you have to assess parents, I'd do so in a casual way. Here are a few ideas for questions: Did you learn anything that was new and/or surprising today? What's one thing you'll take home from today's workshop? Was there something we talked about that you're still wondering about? Were there topics or ideas that we discussed that reminded you of your children? Of your childhood? How could I make this presentation more effective in the future?

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Teacher In-service ideas
    doodster75
    Let me clarify-sorry.  We have to prepare an inservice for teachers as well as parents on the same topic.  And unfortunately we have to have an assessment to give the parents as well.  I agree with you that it could be off-setting to them but it is required.  The parents will not be part of the video session just the teachers. 
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Teacher In-service ideas
    Ruth Manna
    Hi Julie,
    This is a tele-conference presentation for parents? When you said in-service I assumed it was for teachers.
    So parents have volunteered to attend a workshop about literacy?
    I'd make them feel welcome and not be concerned about pre or post-assessments. It's wonderful that they are interested and committed. How great for them and for their children!
    The important thing is they're present. They will undoubtedly learn tips and strategies.
    Put yourself in their position. All parents don't feel comfortable at school to begin with and an assessment is off-putting.

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Teacher In-service ideas
    doodster75
    Any ideas for pre and post assessments for parents?  I have never had to do assessments with parents after they have attended an in-service before?  Thanks!
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Teacher In-service ideas
    Ruth Manna
    Hi Julie,
    Since this is a video tele-conference, is there any way you can send out an email in advance with a few questions for each participant to get a sense for the group? Participants will appreciate your interest in them and you'll be able to differentiate based on their prior knowledge.

    Will participants be able to ask questions throughout? If not, you may want to include a "questions break" in the middle of your presentation as well as at the end.

    I'm not sure about bingo game. Maybe you could play Jeopardy?

    The "work along" is easy to make. You want to include information, places to fill in notes, vocabulary, and reflections. I don't know of any templates for the "work along." You'll want to refer to the "work along" periodically during your presentation too.

    If you use slides you'll want to have a handout with your slides on the left and places to take notes on the right. Some people may prefer this familiar format to the "work along."

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Re: Teacher In-service ideas
    doodster75
    The first two ideas are great however we are in a video tele-conference style situation so it will be hard to pair share many ideas.  I really like the idea of the handout at the end of what I am thinking and what I will try- and so on.  That was different and we could do that easily.  My topic is the use of the internet to promote literacy and I saw how someone had used a bingo style board with various topics on it so if they heard the key phrase used in the lecture they would cover it up but I don't know if that would qualify as a pre-test or just more of a listening style activity.   The last activity you spoke about how difficult is that one to create and would it work as a pre activity or is it better to use after the presentation?  Is there a template available for that?    Thanks for the help,  Julie
  • R_manna_011
    Re: Teacher In-service ideas
    Ruth Manna
    Here are a few ideas:

    KWL Chart - What I Know, What I Want to Know, and What I Learned.
    I do this with students and maybe it would work with teachers.
    It's a way to assess prior knowledge which will help you target your presentation to your audiences' needs.

    When I do presentations I like to get a sense for the group by asking each participant to share something about herself. I usually ask for three or four specifics and go around the room so all can share. If the group is too large, I might ask several questions and just get a show of hands. Again, this helps me address the needs of my audience. What I don't want to do is waste their time by telling them what they already know.

    I tell the group that I hope they will ask questions throughout. Their questions are generally very helpful for me.

    Pair Share - It seems like pair share or "turn and talk" would work as a way to start. Perhaps you give teachers a question to consider and a chance to talk with a partner first and then share their thinking with the whole group or a sub-group.

    At the end of the session you might have a handout divided into three columns:

    What's new for me                 What I'm thinking about           What and How I'm going to try

    One of the problems with in-service training is the lack of follow-through. You might get participants to commit to try new strategies/ideas before they leave. If you have participants share their thinking with their colleagues at the training, they may feel more obligated to implement what they have learned.

    Recently I attended a workshop at which the leader had designed what she called a "work-along" which was a graphic organizer. It was an outline of her talk. The graphic organizer had places to record notes while she talked and places to reflect creatively on her remarks. This takes time to plan but may be worth it if it leads to acquisition of knowledge/retention.

    I hope this helps. If you'd like more ideas or have questions, just write back. 


    Message Edited by ruth.manna on 03-16-2010 07:57 PM

    Ruth

  • Profile
    Charter schools?
    jnr039
    Hello,
    I recently interviewed with a few charter schools in my city in Missouri. I will be a first year teacher if I am hired for the fall. What are the pros and cons of teaching in a charter school? I know that some or most of them don't have pensions or tenures. Also, if you could give me some more questions I can ask if offered a second interview that would be great.
  • Profile
    Re: Charter schools?
    jnr039
    Thanks so much for the info Ruth! I'll be writing these questions down because they are very important.
    1. Ideas to Promote Active Engagement in Your Students
      View lesson detail
      Type:
      Activity 
      Grade:
      3-5
      Subjects:
      Interdisciplinary
      Avg. Rating
       
      Summary:
      All teachers struggle with keeping students engaged throughout the school day. Attached are some ideas that have been successful in my classroom.
      Created by:
      wiseguys1
      Views:
      8703
      Assets:
    2. Report card comments
      View lesson detail
      Type:
      Link/URL 
      Grade:
      3-5
      Subjects:
      Arts, Math, Science, Technology, Foreign Language, Interdisciplinary
      Avg. Rating
       
      Summary:
      Superb tool to help teachers write their end of year reports
      Created by:
      duncwilson
      Views:
      93877
      Assets:
    1. mbeattie
      View profile
      Profile
      Location:
      Pittsburgh, PA 
      Grade:
      PK to 5 
      # Resources:
      0
      School:
      Mt. Lebanon Extended Day 
    2. mhunt72
      View profile
      Profile
      Location:
      BIG PINEY, WY 
      Grade:
      3 to 5 
      # Resources:
      0
      School:
      SUBLETTE CO SCHOOL DISTRICT 9 
    3. daniellestrausbaugh
      View profile
      Profile
      Location:
      BUXTON, NC 
      Grade:
      2 to 2 
      # Resources:
      0
      School:
      CAPE HATTERAS ELEM SCHOOL 
    4. hebert007
      View profile
      Profile
      Location:
      PALM BAY, FL 
      Grade:
      7 to 9 
      # Resources:
      0
      School:
      COVENANT CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 
    5. alwaysteaching1
      View profile
      Profile
      Location:
      OSTRANDER, OH 
      Grade:
      K to K 
      # Resources:
      0
      School:
      BUCKEYE VALLEY WEST ELEM SCH