This blog is aimed at professionals who seek professional excellence and are tireless in learning more and more... Here you will find classroom management tips, teacher development issues and a myriad of class games and activities to enhance your lesson plan. Many thanks for your visit!!

sexta-feira, 30 de dezembro de 2011

My collection of Happy New Year messages.

Are you looking for ideas to write a Happy New Year message for your friends and loved ones? Have a look at these New Year greeting messages I have selected. It’s time to welcome New Year 2012 and cheer the old one!

May the New Year bring you happiness, peace, and prosperity. Wishing you a joyous new year!

Season’s greetings and best wishes for a new year that fills your heart with joy. Happy New Year!

Wishing that you are blessed with all that you desire in the year ahead. Happy New Year!

May you have new hopes, aspirations, and resolutions for the coming year. Happy New Year!

As the New Year blossoms, I hope it brightens your days with everything you have wished for.

May the good things in life be yours in the coming year and always. Best wishes for a happy new year!

Wishing you good health, happiness, and success in the coming year and always. Happy New Year!

May you celebrate and enjoy the simple pleasures of life in the coming year. Happy New Year!

Season’s greetings and best wishes for a new year filled with warmth, peace, and cherished memories! 

May the gift of love, happiness, peace, and warmth be yours as you make a new start. Happy New Year!

Wishing you hope, comfort, peace, and happiness on this New Year and always!

May the new year that follows be the best you have ever had. Have a blissful new year!

quarta-feira, 28 de dezembro de 2011

New Year's Time! From A to Z

With only some days to go until New Year's Eve, are you aeady to celebrate the New Year's party! Get yourself started with this A to Z checklist!

Auld Lang Syne
Father Time
in with the new
New Year
New Year's Eve
out with the old
stroke of midnight
Times Square
twelve o'clock

Source: www.enchantedlearning.com

segunda-feira, 26 de dezembro de 2011

Are you a middle, right or left-brain teacher?

Today we are going to see in more detail the characteristics of a right, left and middle-brain teacher. Read the text below and it will help you learn about your teaching style preference.


The Left-Brain Teacher
Teachers with left-brain strengths generally prefer to teach using lecture and discussion. To incorporate sequence, they put outlines on the board or overhead, and they like to adhere to prepared time schedules. They give problems to the students to solve independently. Teachers with left-brain preferences assign more research and writing than their right-brain peers. A reasonably quiet, structured classroom is preferred. The classroom tends to be clean, with items in their place.

The Left-Brain Student
Left-brain students prefer to work alone. They like to read independently and incorporate research into their papers. They favor a quiet classroom without a lot of distraction.

This students has great difficulty understanding lessons with a visual-spatial orientation and tends to be also a perfectionist.  Let's say, for example, that you are introducing a topic about the solar system vocabulary. Here are some left-brain teaching techniques that will help this student and other strong to moderate left-brain students feel engaged during your lesson:

  • a crossword
  • Write an outline of the lesson on the board. Students with left-brain strengths appreciate sequence.
  • Go ahead and lecture! These students love to listen to an expert and take notes.
  • Discuss vocabulary words. Students have a large vocabulary and are interested in words. Make d puzzle on the Solar System.
  • Discuss the big concepts involved in the creation of the universe, how the solar system was formed, and so on. Left-brain students love to think about and discuss abstract concepts.
  • Assign individual assignments so students may work alone.
  • Ask the students to write a research paper on the solar system that includes both detail and conceptual analysis.
  • Keep the room relatively quiet and orderly. Many students with left-brain strengths prefer not to hear other conversations when working on a stimulating project.

The Right-Brain Teacher
Teachers with right-brain strengths generally prefer to use hands-on activities over a lecture format. In concert with the right-brain preference of seeing the whole picture, these teachers incorporate more art, manipulatives, visuals, and music into their lessons. They tend to embrace Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences. They like to assign more group projects and activities, and prefer a busy, active, noisy classroom environment. The classroom of a strong right-brain teacher will typically have materials and books scattered all over.

The Right-Brain Student
Right-brain students prefer to work in groups. They like to do art projects, industrial arts electives in middle school, and graphic design. They would prefer to design and make a mobile rather than write "another tedious term paper."

This student has difficulty processing information that is presented verbally. When the teacher lectures, or talks in compound, complex sentences, he may get anxious and overwhelmed and shut down. The teacher's words run together, and the meaning becomes garbled. Right-brain activities such as painting and drawing are activities that he can do easily and with pride.

Taking the solar system example, here are some right-brain teaching techniques that will help this student, and other students with moderate to strong right-brain strengths, get the most out of your lesson:

  • During the lecture, either write the main points on the board or pass out a study guide outline that students can fill in as you present orally. These visual clues will help students focus even though you are lecturing.
  • Use the overhead, the white board, or the chalkboard frequently. Since the students are apt to miss the points discussed verbally, the visual pointers will help the students "see" and comprehend the points.
  • Have some time for group activities during the week of the solar system study. Right-brain students enjoy the company of others.
  • Let the students create a project (such as a poster, a mobile, a diorama, or paper mache planets of the solar system) in lieu of writing a paper. Students often have excellent eye-hand coordination.
  • Play music, such as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Discuss how space might feel to an astronaut. Students with right-brain strengths are intuitive and like to get in touch with their feelings during the day.
  • Bring in charts and maps of the universe and let the students find the Milky Way. Maps and graphs make use of the students' strong right-brain visual-spatial skills.

A Teaching Challenge
Students with strong left- or right-brain tendencies much prefer to be taught to their neurological strengths. Although they can learn by different methods, they get most excited and involved when they can learn and do assignments in their area of strength.

The good news is that we can all strengthen the weaker parts of our brains. Researchers tell us that our brains are always searching for new meanings and adding new neural circuits to make connections.

Why not incorporate a new "neurological teaching method" into your classes ? If you are a left-brain teacher, try adding at least one right-brain methodology (overheads, videos, music, role playing, dance, or group projects) into your lessons. If you are a right-brain teacher, try adding more direct teaching, lecturing more often, or assigning more individual and/or research-oriented projects. If you are a middle-brain teacher, select and incorporate something new from either area.

I also recommend giving your students a variety of assignments to choose from each week. For example, let's say you plan to assign a book report. Let each student choose from one of the following: write the report using an outline; present the report from an outline; draw and color a major scene from the book; design and create a mobile, poster, or diorama; dance a scene from the book; or create a different ending to the book. It is fascinating to watch students gravitate towards their neurological strengths when given a choice of assignments. Those with moderate to strong right-brain strengths will choose to draw, act, or create. Those with the left-brain preference will write or speak.

Diane Connell, Ed.D. is currently an associate professor and director of the Graduate Programs in Learning Disabilities at Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire. She has taught at the elementary and high school levels. Dr. Connell can be reached at dconnell@rivier.edu

sábado, 24 de dezembro de 2011

Learning how to recognize a teacher's neurological strengths and weaknesses


Watch this cool video and see whether you are good at using the two brain-hemispheres.The more you can see the two images in each picture, the easier it will be for you to reach your student in your lesson. To understand a little more about it, read the text below and see the implications of it for your lessons.

By better understanding our own neurological strengths and weaknesses, we can adapt our lessons to reach all of our students. Have you ever had a student who starts to draw every time you teach a new concept or explain an assignment?  Or have you ever had a student who  feels ill every time you begin a specific activity or game, and asks to leave the classroom? Why doesn't h/she enjoy it as much as the other students do?
Wouldn't it be wonderful to start the year with a single plan that would ensure that we could reach all of our students? As we know, such a plan does not exist. The students we teach have diverse learning styles that require different approaches. So how can we adapt our teaching to reach and engage as many of them as possible, as often as possible?

Interestingly, the answer lies in first knowing ourselves as teachers. One way to do this is to understand how our own "neurological style" influences the way we teach. Each one of us has a left-, a right-, or a middle-brain preference, and believe it or not this significantly influences our teaching patterns. By understanding the processes at work in the brain, we can better help our students to explore their own individual preferences.

For example, if you are right-brain dominant, it is your intuitive, emotional right hemisphere that guides the decisions you make throughout the day. If you are left-brain dominant, it is your sequential, time-oriented left hemisphere which tells you how to think, what to believe, and what choices to make.

Those who are middle-brain dominant tend to be more flexible than either the left- or the right-brain folks; however, you often vacillate between the two hemispheres when you make decisions. You sometimes get confused when decisions need to be made because, neurologically speaking, you could do most tasks through either a left-brain or a right-brain method!

Our neurological profile essentially guides the way we teach our classes, meaning that left-brain teachers tend to teach in a "left-brain style," right-brain teachers typically teach in a "right-brain style," and middle-brain teachers tend to vary their teaching between the two approaches. As you evaluate your own teaching style, remember that none of these guidelines are set in stone, and that we do not always act according to our preferences. As we know, people are complex and so are their behaviors.

Teachers tend to better reach students who share their same neurological strengths. A strong left-brain teacher, for example, will need to make a conscious effort in order to better reach the strong right-brain students in the classroom.

On the next post, we will look in more detail on the characteristics of  a middle, right / left-brain teacher. It will be posted on December 26.  Don't miss it!

quarta-feira, 21 de dezembro de 2011

Expression of the week #14

Can't see the wood for the trees

Meaning: If you can't see the wood for the trees, you can't see the whole situation clearly because you're looking too closely at small details, or because you're too closely involved.

For example: I don't think we can see the wood for the trees at this stage, so let's get an outsider to take a look at the project and give us a progress report.

In Portuguese: Não conseguir separar joio do trigo.

Note: The U.S. equivalent is "can't see the forest for the trees".

quarta-feira, 14 de dezembro de 2011

Expression of the week # 13


Meaning: If you jump the gun, you start doing something too soon.

For example:
If you're in a debate, wait until you're invited to speak and don't jump the gun by speaking before you should.

In Portuguese: se precipitar com alguma coisa

The origin comes from the metaphorical derivation from athletics, in which an official starter fires a gun to signal the start of a race.

segunda-feira, 12 de dezembro de 2011

How can classroom management influence student performance?

Have you ever thought why classroom  management  where learning can actually happen is so essential?

In her article on the value of safe learning environments, Lora Desautels, Ph.D., reminds us that during adolescence, the part of the brain that controls emotional responses—the amygdala—develops faster than other centers of the brain while the prefrontal cortex, a center for logical thought and rational response, develops later. Thus, our students are more effectively wired for emotion than logic. Their systems are primed to react to situations with feelings and they have not yet fully developed the ability to apply logical thinking to keep those feelings in check. It follows that the stimuli within and surrounding the learning environment can have great effects on these emotional responses and can serve to either support or impair the learning process.
So what can we as educators do to bring down the levels of stress in our classrooms and make sure that our learning environments are safe places where optimal learning can take place? How can we create spaces that keep the emotional responses as positive and free of stress and anxiety as possible so that we can most effectively engage fresh young minds? Rebecca Alber has a wonderful list of twenty tips to create a safe learning environment. Check them out:

1. Community Build All Year Long.
2. Post Student Work.
3. Have Non-Negotiables.
4. Admit When You Don't Know.
5. Read with Your Students.
6. Remain Calm at All Times.
7. Take Every Opportunity to Model Kindness.
8. Circulate.
9. Address Grudges Early On.
10. Write with Your Students.
11. Model Vulnerability.
12. Follow Through with Consequences.
13. Smile Often.
14. Use Every Opportunity to Model Patience.
15. Give Kids a Chance to Problem Solve on Their Own.
16. Laugh with your Students.
17. Offer Options. 
18. Keep the Vibes Good.
19. Sit with Your Students.
20. Art and Music Feed the Soul.

For more information on each tip go to: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/20-tips-create-safe-
. I highly recommend reading it in full!

quarta-feira, 7 de dezembro de 2011

Expression of the week #12


Meaning: If something is plain sailing, it's very easy to do and there are no problems to overcome.
For example: I answered the first few questions in the exam without any problems, and I knew it'd be plain sailing from then on.
In Portuguese: mar de rosas

terça-feira, 6 de dezembro de 2011

How much do you know about Christmas? Try the Ho-ho-ho game!

Taking a quiz is a nice way to learn new words and it is also a rich opportunity to enhance students' cultural literacy. Check this list of suggested quiz activities and get the most of Christmas time for your lessons!

The ho-ho-ho game: this is a nice activity for teens. Have students arranged in groups of 3 or 4. Ask them to choose from the list below the quiz they want to take. While students take the quiz, take notes of the number of correct answers they get. When all groups have taken the chosen quizzes you tell them they have an extra challenge. In groups they are supposed to say a HO for each right answer they got. (i.e if a group got 5 right answers, they are supposed to say in chorus ho-ho-ho-ho-ho). Students will have a lot of fun!


For kids I suggest this quiz http://www.anglomaniacy.pl/christmasQuiz.htm. Very sweet!