The Teachers We Need

Topics for this week include how to improve student note-taking, becoming a teacher/gardener, and personalizing students' learning experiences.

The Teachers We Need
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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


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Looking back, it was a great week. Some of the highlights include finding a nice planning and meeting groove with my teaching team, using the Energy Skatepark PHET simulation with my science classes, and booking flights and a hotel room for this year's EL Education National Conference. Whenever I get to attend this conference it ends up being one of my favorite professional educator moments of the year. I may also have an exciting announcement connected to this conference in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

I’m hopeful that this week’s newsletter holds something of value for you. World Teacher’s Day is coming up on October 5th (see below). I applaud👏 every educator for their dedication in showing up every day and doing their best, especially considering the growing challenges in the field of teaching.

Have a great weekend!

In today’s newsletter…

  • Revision improves note-taking techniques, with research suggesting that revising lecture notes during pauses and with a study partner is more effective than simply copying them again.
  • Teachers can create ideal conditions for growth and reflect on their teaching practices, drawing inspiration from the concept of teaching as a form of gardening.
  • Customized learning experiences can help balance shared lessons in education, acknowledging that children grow at different rates and find value in personalized methods.
STRONG Teacher Toolkit
Here are some of my favorite resources, ideas, tools, services, and miscellaneous gadgets and goodies that keep me STRONG in both my personal and professional life.

Ideas, resources, tools, and free downloads to make your teaching life easier and more enjoyable.

The News

Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.

  • Improved Note-Taking - In a study conducted by the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, researchers looked into the advantages of revising lecture notes and discovered that revision is more effective than simply copying them again. They also found that the best way to revise is by doing it during pauses throughout the lecture, especially with a study partner. Teachers can encourage students to take advantage of those pauses to revise their notes and even try revising with a partner to improve their note-taking skills and overall academic performance. Direct instruction often gets a bad rap, but in reality, it can be highly effective in helping students build background knowledge as long as there is not too much of it. Collaborating and revision during the note-taking process makes direct instruction even more effective.
  • The Right Conditions -I like the idea of thinking about teaching as if it's a form of gardening. It makes sense for teachers to do everything they can to create the ideal conditions for growth, while also paying attention to what works and what doesn't. Then adjustments can be made. Paying attention and taking time to reflect are valuable tools for teacher-gardeners.
  • It’s Personal - Standards are crucial in education, but we should also be cautious of excessive standardization. If you spend enough time around children, you know firsthand that no two children are at the same developmental stage simultaneously. Some kids are asked to do things they are not ready for, while others are prepared for greater challenges ahead of their peers. Technology does offer the promise of providing more personalized learning experiences, which can bring balance to the shared lessons all children experience together.
  • The Teacher’s We Need - World Teachers Day is an international holiday celebrated on October 5th each year to recognize the importance of teachers globally. It was first celebrated in 1994 and is different from Teacher Appreciation Day/Week, as it focuses on broader issues in teaching and education. The theme for World Teachers Day 2023 is "The Teachers We Need for the Education We Want: The Global Imperative to Reverse the Teacher Shortage," highlighting the critical issue of teacher shortages worldwide and the need for support and recognition of teachers. Teachers deserve to be celebrated. Here are a few ideas on how to do it.
  • Teach Like Ted Lasso - I went down a Ted Lasso quote rabbit hole recently. Here’s what happened.
  • Social Media - Why Edify Weekly Wonder


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • The Right Kind - When it comes to friends, it's about quality rather than quantity. Having eight types of friends may be all you need. These include The Builder, The Champion, The Collaborator, The Companion, The Connector, The Energizer, The Mind Opener, and The Navigator. Which type of friend are you?
  • Break it Up - Adopting a semester-like approach can improve time management and goal setting. Each semester involves setting specific and realistic goals, periodically assessing progress, and using the end of the semester for reflection and adjustment. These strategies provide structure, focus, and a sense of accomplishment, leading to a better life.
  • Front, Back, or Side - What is the best position to sleep in? Sleeping on your side is the most common position and may have advantages such as reducing snoring and acid reflux. Several studies have explored the ideal sleeping position, and while there is no consensus, everyone agrees that getting enough sleep is crucial for living your best life.
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All you need are a few good friends!


"Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears." — John Lennon

Teacher Commuter Playlist

Favorite Things

  • Teachers - I have been fortunate to work at a school where I feel appreciated both as an individual and as a professional. I understand that not all teachers have the same experience. In this article by Matthew Dicks, he declared, "Teachers, this is our time...". What I gathered from this is that teachers offer a valuable service to their communities and should be treated with the respect and recognition they deserve as professionals. To my teaching friends, thank you for all that you do. To my friends who support teachers and public education, it’s greatly appreciated.
  • Gravity - If you want to weigh less, try standing in another state.
  • Teacher T-Shirt - Punctuation saves lives (Halloween Edition)
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