Libraries, Feedback, and STEM Education
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T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter #53
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Hello Friends and T.G.I.F.
What a strange week it's been. A professional development day and two snow days in the same week. Today is only my second-day teaching this week.
The topic of ACE scores was brought up by a guest speaker on Monday. So many kids and families are struggling. I am grateful for public schools and the teachers who work with passion to help students build the best versions of themselves.
Supporting public education is an act of community service.
Happy Friday - Have a great weekend😄!
Here are some things I thought were worth sharing this week.
Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.
- Libraries Matter - The increasing use of computers in schools has also meant smaller libraries and diminished library media programs. There’s an abundance of research that shows that students who have access to a quality library and literacy instruction have higher reading scores, higher ACT scores, and gain important critical thinking skills. It’s also apparent that a well-trained media specialist is one of the primary reasons for these benefits.
- Feedback Wasteland - Often when I’m grading papers I find myself getting irritated as time ticks on. I know how effective feedback can be, but I always have that feeling that so many of my students won’t pay attention to my suggestions, let alone act on them. One strategy is to return student work with feedback but delay the grade. Here’s how you do it. I know it’s challenging trying to find the time to conference with students, but if you can manage it, the idea of delaying the grade and having students wrestle with feedback has merit.
- Resource - Makerspaces and Mental Health for Students from eduporium - Most people think of Makerspaces as places to build science, technology, engineering, art, and math skills. They also provide an ideal environment for students to build social-emotional skills. The process of designing and making things promotes well-being. Makerspaces provide a place for trial and error with minimal stress. Explore additional Makerspace resources.
- Joyful Math - Today is our school-wide Math Day. Our attempt is to help build a culture where math isn’t feared but enjoyed and embraced. You can bring joy into math classes by using math-related biographies, finding ways to incorporate music, and providing time and space for students to talk about their mathematical thinking. Each grade level also watches a movie where math is an essential part of the story. I love watching “Stand and Deliver” every year.
Personal Development and Wellness Resources
- Lonely Number - Learning how to be happy when you’re by yourself helps you build emotional independence. During these times you can get an accurate pulse on your physical and mental well-being. Most people don’t recognize they are burnt out until they slow down and experience solitude. Follow these 11 steps to building your capacity to be alone and happy.
- Tell Me What You Want - Most people have a lengthy list of wants and desires, and to some extent, it can feel defeating to have a list and not make progress to obtaining what’s on it. It could be you don’t really want what you say you do, or you don’t want to make the sacrifice it would take to obtain what you desire. It might be time well spent to shorten the list so it only contains the items you’re truly willing to work towards.
- There’s Still Time - It’s not too late to embrace a new challenge, hobby, or adventure. You can still reinvent yourself. There’s a new path you can follow tomorrow. These stories of late bloomers who followed their dreams are inspiring.
- Financial Hindsight - It’s so easy to get wrapped in family obligations, lesson planning, and other students’ needs that it’s easy to neglect your financial security. Don’t wait too long to explore ways to maximize your economic potential, research long-term disability insurance, and start an emergency fund. The earlier you start the greater the benefits will be.
Here is a quote I’ve been revisiting this week:
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace — not in the “American” sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.” - James Baldwin “The Fire Next Time”*
- 🔍 Search - You can learn quite a bit about a person by looking at their search history. Here are the top Google Searches for the past 20 years. I wonder what we can learn about humans from their collective search history.
- 🧮 Speedsums - How many can you get in 30 seconds?
- 🔧 Gadget - DNA Helix Pencil Holder* - This is one cool-looking pencil holder. It's perfect for a science classroom and a conversation starter.
- 📗 Book - Unearthing Joy* and *Cultivating Genius* by Dr. Gholdy Muhammad - This is the book mentioned in the Joyful Math section above. I recently heard Dr. Muhammad speak at a conference and went away inspired and ready to purchase this book.