Ideas, Positive Vibes, and Technology…What more could you want?

Outstanding Classroom Blogs that all educators should check out!  Read my reviews, check out some of the links, and see how these can be a great addition to your instructional tool kit!

Elementary Blog (Primary K-3 focus)

Title: “Teaching Heart”

Blog Link: http://teachingheart.net/blog/

Purpose of the Blog: This blog was created to share that teaching is more than just teaching. Education is more; it is communicating, loving, caring, showing, and growing.

Effectiveness in Achieving the Purpose: I thought that the author, Collen Gallagher, does a great job keeping a positive spin on this blog. She shares things that have worked for her, without sharing the negatives about something that didn’t. For me, that was a great positive! You can tell in her writing that she truly loves what she does. She shows examples of her work and her students’ work. She also provides photographs, which will help teachers to envision the end product. By doing this I can see that, yes it really does work. She shares additional resources that have helped her to grow professionally too. She gives examples, and also provides links to the text or resources that can help other teachers too. Finally, I also like that she shares ideas that are non-educational, but family related too. It is great to see that she is “real” and has a life outside of school!

Types of Posts:

  1. Resources to print/create to use in your classroom.

My Thoughts about the Posts: I really enjoy reading her posts. They are short, sweet, and to the point. A lot of the items shared are geared to the primary classroom. (K-3) She includes many holiday items, birthday ideas, and fun ways to teach content. Many of the items were self-created. There are free items that you can download and then there are items that you can purchase. She also includes some professional resources and links for you to gain more knowledge on the concepts. She shares personal success stories and links you to further learning opportunities. The Blog is very user friendly. The links work and you can also type into the search engine to find items related to what you are teaching or what you may want to learn more about.

How I may use this blog in the educational setting: As a primary teacher, I feel that I will use this blog often. It provides me with additional lesson plan ideas, techniques, professional development opportunities that I can use for myself personally or I could even host a Primary Learning Cohort (PLC) group with staff at my building. Finally, it helps me reflect on my current teaching practices and what I could do differently.

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High School- English Teacher

Title: “The Zen Teacher”

Blog Link: http://www.thezenteacher.com/blog

Purpose of the Blog: You will get practical advice about creating a more mindful teaching experience and improving calmness and peace in your classroom and for yourself.

Effectiveness in Achieving the Purpose: Dan does a great job and helping the reader identify the stresses of his/her job, and then gives the reader guidance on how to re-balance. Whether it is re-balancing life, classroom management, or maybe a little of both there are suggestions that everyone can apply/try as soon as they read the post.

Types of Posts:

My Thoughts about the Posts: This was a blog that I was interested in straight from the title, “The Zen Teacher.” As a teacher in a trauma sensitive school, I am always looking for additional calming strategies to put into place. This blog is a great resource not only for myself but also for my school. Many of his posts are to help you, the adult, find peace. Although they are written for us, it is easy to see how you can apply them in your classroom. One of my favorite quotes from his blog is, When I think about you and why you should prioritize reduced stress and improved self-care, please know that two of my main themes are:

  1. You are worth it.
  2. You are okay EXACTLY how you are.

This blog is not only about helping your students, but also about helping you!

Types of Posts:

  • Back in the Trenches- Recapture your sense of peace
  • Additional Resource for Professional Development-
    • For Principals: “The Four O’clock Faculty: The Rogue to Revolutionizing Professional Development”
      • This post provides principals/school leaders some strategies and a book that can help to refocus and redefine professional development for your staff.  It also talks about showing your staff gratitude and how a few simple things can go a long way to empowering your staff.
      • http://www.thezenteacher.com/blog/the-zen-teacher-profile-rich-czyz
  • Sacred Spaces and Bliss Stations
  • Teacher Activity Pages
    •  If you can’t afford to purchase the book or kit, you can download these free sheets to get your classroom started.  Why not create a peaceful, calm, and stress-free location for you and your students? We all know things can become challenging and this is a great way to help regain focus.
    • http://www.thezenteacher.com/blog/april-16th-2016

My Thoughts about the Posts: This was a blog that I was interested in straight from the title, “The Zen Teacher.” As a teacher in a trauma sensitive school, I am always looking for additional calming strategies to put into place. This blog is a great resource not only for myself but also for my school. Many of his posts are to help you, the adult, find peace. Although they are written for us, it is easy to see how you can apply them in your classroom. One of my favorite quotes from his blog is, When I think about you and why you should prioritize reduced stress and improved self-care, please know that two of my main themes are:

  1. You are worth it.
  2. You are okay EXACTLY how you are.

This blog is not only about helping your students, but also about helping you!

How I may use this Blog in the educational setting: Creating a sacred space or bliss station in my classroom will be beneficial for many students. This space will be calming and it will allow students to seek refuge to calm down and get their body under control safely. “The Zen Teacher: Creating Focus, Simplicity, and Tranquility in the Classroom” would be a great book to share at a faculty meeting with staff. I may pull specific clips or sections to share, but this could also be used a book study. It would also be great to get Dan to come and speak to the staff. He offers workshops and additional programmatic items that we could put in place within the school setting.

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Middle School- Teacher/Librarian

Title: “Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch”

Blog Link: http://blog.kathyschrock.net/

Purpose of the Blog: This blog focuses on technology and technology tools to support classroom instruction. She gives you ideas and her discoveries about technology and technology tools that you can use in the classroom.

Effectiveness in Achieving the Purpose: It was great to see that she actually tries out the programs before posting them. This enabled Kathy to share feedback that is relevant to the readers. She even went as far to say which devices she tried them on. (Mac, PC, Tablets etc.) Kathy does a great job at letting the reader know which grade levels each specific tool would be good for. She has many for all grade levels. I like that the technology items even reach social skill needs, which can support some of the Autism and special needs classrooms.

Types of Posts:

  • Financial Literacy –Star Banks Adventure Game
    • This is a free game that is provided by T-Rowe Price. It will be a great tool to a classroom that is trying to teach students about making good financial choices.  You can access this through T Rowe Price’s site or there are apps that you can download. There is also a teacher’s guide to support middle and high school teachers.  This would be a great way to engage students online. (ISTE: #2)
    • http://blog.kathyschrock.net/2017/10/gamifying-financial-literacy-education.html
  • Civil Discourse in the Classroom- Point of View, Responding to Others, Listening Skills
    •  This post shares some great teaching resources for grades 3-6. Teachers have free access to lesson plans and printable pages that go along with the trade book shared. There are also links to Discovery Education videos to support your instruction and much more. If you are working with students that need to work on their listening/speaking skills there are links, resources, and attachments. This post is very long but there is so my imbeded I feel like it is worth the time to read through it. (ISTE: #2)
    • http://blog.kathyschrock.net/2016/12/civil-discourse-in-classroom.html
  • Product Reviews-Tablet Cases For Educators
    •  Many times teachers are looking for some good quality equipment, devices, protectors, etc. that will withstand the use of many students over time.  Kathy takes the time to review many different items related to the tech field.  This review is of tablet cases.  Many schools use tablets and this post helps the educators see if this would be something that would work for them personally or maybe even school tablets.
    • http://blog.kathyschrock.net/2016/04/unique-tablet-cases-for-educators.html

 

My Thoughts about the Posts: Many of her posts are re-posts/discoveries that are related to technology. Some of the items are programs, products, curriculum concepts, etc. Each post is very detailed and gives multiple opportunities for classroom use. There is also a tool bar on the side of her home page so that you can click on relevant topics that you may be searching for.

How I may use this Blog in the educational setting:  The tools that Kathy is sharing will simply open the door to the world for our students. When our administration is talking about preparing students for the “real world” this is a great resource for all grade level and content area teachers.

Works Cited:

Gallagher, Colleen. “From a Mom with a Teaching Heart.” Teaching Heart Blog,   teachingheart.net/blog/.

Schrock, Kathy. “Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch.” Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch, 1 Jan. 1970, blog.kathyschrock.net/.

Tricarico, Dan. “Blog.” The Zen Teacher, http://www.thezenteacher.com/blog.

“Top 100 Teacher Blogs And Websites With Classroom Resources For Teachers.” Feedspot Blog, 26 Oct. 2017, blog.feedspot.com/teacher_blogs/.

 

 

 

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