25 Attention-Grabbing Tips

Samer Rabadi from Edutopia published an article that will lead you to a google doc powerpoint (whatever the term for that is) about getting attention in the classroom. There are some excellent ideas, and members have added more ideas in the comments.

Grit and Growth Mindset

Edutopia published an article about teaching grit and growth mindset – two things I will most certainly teach (or at least start teaching) within the first few days of school.

At this point, I’m basically just re-blogging from the original source, but one of these days I’ll have actual lesson plans to post. I hope.

Financial Literacy Resources

Edutopia published several articles about teaching financial literacy:

Financial Literacy: Resource Roundup is an excellent article with links to other articles about why teaching financial literacy is important. It also provides links to websites for teaching this subject to all grade levels.

Resources and Lesson Plans for Financial Literacy focuses mostly on the curriculum created by Ariel Community Academy. It has a whole unit on goods and services as well as other links to other resources around the web.

Financial Fitness for Life is another terrific website run by the Council for Economic Education (not Edutopia). Search by grade level, and all the resources are provided.

Revolution, Responsibility and Football: Teaching Financial Literacy to Middle Schoolers: This article has links to curriculum and websites geared towards middle school.

Grow Your Brain

Donna Wilson of Edutopia wrote an article about brain plasticity and teaching kids about how you get smarter. I definitely want to start the year off teaching students how they learn and that they must Grow Their Brain by trying hard, practicing, and pushing themselves, because no matter how “bad” students are at a subject, they CAN get better and smarter.

I definitely need to research this more, but I want to present some information about this subject to get students interested, and then maybe I’ll “turn them loose” to research, which will allow me to teach research skills and note taking. They can work together and learn collaboration, then write about and present the information to practice writing and public speaking.

I also want to have a big poster in my room that says GROW YOUR BRAIN.

8 Ways to Use Music in the Language Arts Classroom

Heather Wolpert-Gawron from Edutopia posted an article about using music in the language arts classroom, so here are the activities listed, copied and pasted verbatim:

#1 Songs to Teach Academic Vocabulary

Using music as an aid in memorization is just plain smart. Add in songs that are focused in your content area, and they’re gold. That’s why history teachers still use “Elbow Room” from Schoolhouse Rock fame to introduce the concept of exploration. As a Language Arts middle school teacher, I love the Princeton Review Vocab Minute podcast. You can look through the list of short minute-long songs that teach concepts from word origins to synonyms.

#2 Lyrics as Poetry

I love looking at lyrics through a poetic lens. Clearly I’m not alone because my own second-grader’s teacher sent him home with the printed out lyrics to Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.” My son had circled the nouns and underlined action verbs. In my own classroom, I have even had students create a web trying to trace the logic from Willie Nelson’s version of “I Am My Own Grandpa.”

#3 Songs as Writing Prompts

Picture this. The students enter the classroom. John Williams is playing on the speakers. Maybe it’s the ominous opening from the film Jaws or the flying sequence from Hook. Now write.

#4 Music to Aid in Role-Playing

Earlier this year, my students embarked on a project-based learning unit that I developed based on the United Nations. On each day, we had music from the different nations playing, national anthems, processional marches, etc…as we role-played as ambassadors to the U.N.

#5 Developing Playlists to Teach Narrative

I once did a great project when I was in eighth grade in Ms. Sauve’s class that’s always stuck with me. We had to develop an album cover, complete with visuals on the front and a song list on the back. We then had to include a dust jacket that had lyrics to each of the songs. As I think about it, there would be something interesting to have the students develop a mythical playlist, a mix-tape of sorts, that tells a story through its song titles.

#6 Jingles to Teach Persuasive

Commercials jingles are a great way to show that people are writing persuasively in many genres and in many modalities. Have students analyze a jingle as you might analyze an article or review. Better yet, have them write one.

#7 Reviews as Literary Analysis

Music reviews are persuasive, sure, but they are also a form of literary analysis. Look at Amazon reviews or Rolling Stone reviews for elements of analysis. Have students listen to the music they are referring to. Did the reviewer miss the boat? Do they agree with the review and what evidence can they bring to the table to prove their analyses?

#8 Music to take “Syn-naps”

Last, but not least: simply turn on a good tune every now and then. I talk a lot about Judy Willis’ concept of “syn-naps.” This is when you wake up the brain by jolting it a bit. Sometimes you can use an image stuck in the middle of a Powerpoint slide, but music works beautifully as well, flicking the groggy brain into wakefulness. It doesn’t have the last long, merely a stanza or two, but enough to get the oxygen back to their noggin’ and the alertness back in their eyes.

Educational Grants and Resources

Edutopia has compiled “The Big List of Educational Grants and Services.” The link may or may not remain active as the page is updated, so try searching the title of the link if it doesn’t work.

5 Ways to Get Students to Listen

Edutopia published this helpful article about 5 tips to get students to be better listeners.

I particularly liked the tip to “ask three, then ask me” so that students get in the habit of using each other as resources rather than running to the teacher.

I also liked the bit about having one student in each pair talk while the other actively listens and must respond with a comment or question only after the first person is done. It’s a good way to teach the skill of listening. I think there’s a NSRF protocol like this…

Previous Older Entries