Thursday, January 3, 2013

Faith and Service

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"  The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we celebrate a man of vision, hope, compassion, and faith! His vision has been immortalized in his words and actions that we share each year in the classroom through speeches, videos, books, and discussion.  Some of my favorite teaching aids include MLK's infamous speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial,

the written version and pictures of MLK,
by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  
Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial
in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963

and several engaging books such as; We Dream of a World... and Martin's Big Words!
Martin Luther King, Books, service learning, MLK, Globicate, Heidi Befort

Discussions emulating from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life will bring about wonderful insights and vision from our youth today.  Words to spark conversations with your students might include: 

dream, speech, faith, leader, equality, free, boycott, segregation, skin, colors, racism, leader, service, freedom, equality, boycott, protest, assassinate, and honor.

But, our biggest tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. should be the gift of service, the caring for our fellow neighbors, and the act of giving...the giving of time, energy, and resources.


This is what our country was built on, and what continues to separate us as a nation from others.  Encourage your students to look beyond themselves to others, outside the classroom, the school, and community to see how they can change the world and give back.  It is through service learning that we as teachers will create the next generation of compassionate, caring, intelligent, and thoughtful young leaders who will take our country and the world into the next generation.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013, Finding Time!

Classroom management, classroom tips, grading papers, highlighters, Globicate, Heidi Befort

     I've decided to make more time for me this year.  Don't get me wrong, I love what I do and look forward to each day.  The only problem though, is I'm kind of a perfectionist and I like being prepared and organized.  This entails time, and in a profession where there never seems to be enough time, I'm working towards finding time!  In order to do that though, I know that I need to do less in the classroom.  So, I thought I'd share one of my quick and easy ways to make more time for you, your family, your indulgences, or whatever time you need.

     One of the easiest ways to make more time for you or your choices is to grade less.  Grading is one of those never-ending tasks that seems to grow with each passing second.  The larger the class or the more students you teach, the more papers to grade, right?  Well, here is one of the simplest ways to grade more papers and give immediate feedback; let your students grade their own papers.  Yup, you heard me right, let them grade their own papers.  Now granted, this may take a big leap of faith for some classes, but in the end you'll be thanking me.
     Give each student a highlighter or have them bring one from home, and when homework is due, grade the papers with the whole class right when they turn them in. It will take you approximately 5-10 minutes which is way less then if you grade them. As you give the students the correct answers, they will put a yellow "X" over the incorrect answer and when you are done, have them count how many they got right, and place that number at the top of their paper.   I always start each grading session with clear expectations which include the following:

1) I spot check all work turned in.
2) I expect you to be honest and trustworthy.
3) No pencils or pens can be located on your desk.
4) Your partners will be watching.

     When all papers are graded and turned in, you are left with just logging in your grades.  Voila!  You've successfully increased your own time significantly, and are now set to do the things you need to or want to do.  What better way to make 2013 a year of finding time!

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