Thursday, August 27, 2009

Top Ten Teacher Tips for the New School Year!

Welcome Back Educators!

New year. New students. Fresh start. I know your list is extraordinarily long for the things you must do to set your class up for success. But, there are a few things you need to move to the top of that list - immediately.

Based on the ever-famous David Letterman countdown - let's look at the list from the bottom to the top! Incorporating these ten items is a sure way to convert your classroom into one that has "21st Century Learning" written all over it!

#10 - Represent yourself and your curriculum first. Use your School Center teacher webpages as a main portal for housing information, documents, presentations, podcasts, student work, blogs, forums, etc. (Remember - copyright is essential and please, please keep all information on your site current!)

#9 - Create a classroom wiki or blog. Integrating 21st Century collaboration is key to increasing engagement levels of your students! Then, link your wiki to your School Center teacher webpage... Where do you start? - sign up for the academic classroom, free space to get started! Want a blog instead? Head to to get started.

#8 - Talk to your Technology Facilitator and Media Coordinator to find out what tech toys you have at your school... Knowing what you have access to is one of the keys to opening the technology door to your classroom.

#7 - Attend technology staff development workshops. You know the saying... Knowledge is power! You can also take online technology workshops at - same tech credit, just self-paced!

#6 – Collaborate. With who, you ask? Fellow teachers/staff. Teachers at other schools. Teachers in other states. Teachers in other countries. Remember the old saying, two heads are better than one… technology makes collaboration easy! Wikis, Skype, Google Docs, etc. are just a few of the ways you can get started. What do you gain from collaboration as a teacher? Fresh perspectives. New ideas. New Projects. New curriculum add-ons.

#5 – Go Global. Introduce your students to other students - via technology - who may share the same project goals or assignments. What characteristics represent students with global connections? Creative. Empathic. Appreciation for diversity and other perspectives. Knowledge of digital communication. Actually, this list can grow to be quite long. Where do you start? Contact our department.

#4 – Start a discussion… with your students. See what types of technology they would absolutely LOVE to see in your class. You may be surprised at their answers. If they are backing you – that is a great way to have full class participation in not just the technology but… drum roll… the actual curriculum area you are covering!

#3 - Start Small! Pick one technology and embrace it. Pick something technological you have an interest in. It could be a web-based application, computer software (that has been approved by our district, of course) or an actual tech gadget. Once you master it, then move along to your next technology resource/tool. Before you know it, you will have a long list to show for how you integrate technology into your classroom!

#2 – Be a show-off! Once you master your chosen technology – share the wealth. Show other teachers and staff the benefits and results based on your implementation of that tool. Get others in your boat!

#1 - Have an open mind. Enough said.

In my own words - technology has a substantial impact on classroom engagement, learning and even behavior. Incorporate technology into your classroom and observe the results that follow... As a former high school teacher, I am telling you what I know.


Mrs. Edwards said...

I agree with all of these . . . but especially #3! :)

Scott Armstrong said...

Amen to all of the above!

A couple of comments:

Blogging: I've been blogging for over a year with good success. You don't even have to leave your teacher web site--you can set up a blog page complete with RSS support on your web site.

New Technology: I try and learn one new technology over the summer. This summer, I worked with GIMP, Scribus and If my class has success using these items, I'll let you know!