Winter Break: Thinking Back…Looking Ahead
Winter break affords time for reading by the literal or metaphorical fire and reflecting on the teaching life. Should you find yourself with your feet propped up, we’ve put together a mix of blog posts and guest articles on what can make teaching a joy, how to ignite your 2017 classroom, and where to find some really deep laughs.
Mary Tarashuk sometimes is so involved in deadlines and paperwork that she barely has time to reconnect with the reasons she loves teaching. But last November she found a way to recapture the classroom magic and “Do Something Meaningful” with her fourth graders.
In her valentine “to those volatile adolescents and the educators who cherish them,” veteran middle level teacher Beth Morrow highlights six good reasons to spend your days with “the wonderfully rough and resilient gems that are middle school students.”
Elizabeth Stein is giving thanks for research she’s discovered showing the power of gratitude. No surprise, she has ideas about using the research to strengthen co-teaching. Further, she invites readers to join her in being thankful for IDEA on its 40th Anniversary.
When Mary Tarashuk’s college-age nephew tells her he wants to become an English teacher, she smiles a welcome because she can see the “essential fire” in his eyes. He will, she writes, face innumerable challenges, “but also innumerable moments of sheer joy.”
In The Inspirational Teacher, 2nd Edition Gary McGuey and Lonnie Moore augment their concisely presented steps to becoming an inspirational teacher with reflection prompts, questionnaires, and vignettes. Somewhat to her surprise, veteran educator Nancy Chodoroff found herself nodding in agreement throughout the book.
No funding for field trips? Concerns about travel safety? Consider taking your students on a virtual adventure instead. Teacher-authors Billy Krakower, Jerry Blumengarten, and Paula Naugle share four of their favorites and offer plenty of other ideas!
An NCTE workshop convinced Cheryl Mizerny that if she’s going to expect her students to set challenging goals, reflect, and try again, then she needs to practice what she preaches. Her resulting resolutions may ring true for many middle grades teachers.
The first days back after the holidays are a perfect time to strengthen behavior and culture in active classrooms. Libby Woodfin shares text and video tips that teachers can use to make the transition smooth and set the tone for the rest of the school year.
Florida teacher David Finkle chronicles middle school life in a daily comic strip for the Daytona Beach News. Here he shares the 15-year story of “Mr. Fitz,” including four sample strips guaranteed to draw chuckles and knowing nods from teachers everywhere.