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Teacher Feature: Mr. Heisey

Teacher Feature: John Heisey

 “Teaching lets me be creative. Most people spend their jobs completing tasks for other people, but I have autonomy to make it as interesting as I want. It never gets dull.” mr heisey

-John Heisey

Creativity has proven to be a key component of brain development as well as an essential tool in building confidence and acquiring strong social skills.  Creative people tend to embrace challenges, learn from mistakes and use their imaginations to better their lives. Unfortunately for some students, room for creativity in education often decreases in the older grades. For a lucky few, creativity is alive and well…

Want to get your students’ creative juices flowing again? Check out how a 7th grade Social Studies teacher fosters creativity in his high-tech (almost paperless) classroom.

Mr. John Heisey, our May Teacher Feature and middle school super hero, has given his students the tools, the time and the freedom to be creative.  Yes, I said he gives his students TIME and FREEDOM to be CREATIVE.

This Penn State graduate has an impressive toolbox of secret weapons that he uses to create the optimal learning environment for his students. For starters, he holds dual certification in secondary English and Social Studies Education, as well as a third degree in Communications.

His remarkable knowledge of technology has led him to become the technology integration coach for his school. Besides his impressive educational achievements, he is also a skilled outdoors man. He hikes, fly fishes, runs marathons and coaches 7th grade baseball at his middle school.

Finally, he has a fundamental belief in the importance of finding new ways to keep his students motivated. Mr. Heisey promotes independence in learning, conquers stagnation in education and fosters creativity.  And, he does all this without even wearing a cape!

Developing Creative Learners in a Blended Environment

In today’s lesson, Mr. Heisey uploads a picture of a rubric using Microsoft® One Note® and a Smartboard®. His students begin discussing the different requirements of a project for which they are about to be introduced. The rubric will provide guidance to students for the duration of the project.

“Today you are going to begin writing your own piece of historical fiction. According to this rubric, what does your story need to include?”

Quickly the classroom transforms into a round-table discussion of ideas and solutions to crafting the perfect writing pieces. His students’ proficiency in Middle-Age history is evident heisley classas they begin to discuss specific events and influential people.

Mr. Heisey emphasizes a critical part of the project that encompasses the entire rubric. “I want you to show the readers of your story the Middle-Ages, include elements of the stories we’ve read and most importantly: Have fun and be creative!”

Putting the Imagination to Work

Next, Mr. Heisey passes out completed stories for his students to peruse.

“Here are some examples of stories written by former students.  Take a few minutes to read through and critique these stories,” he instructs.

After about 5 or 6 minutes pass, the emergence of quiet conversations among the inspiring writers queues the next discussion…

“So what do you think?” Mr. Heisey interjects.

A few random answers are called out:

“I really like how this writer used details about the Plague and the Mongol attack, but there were a few spelling mistakes.”

“I think this writer got the history wrong.”

“Good.” Mr. Heisey responds. “Remember to get your history correct when you write your stories and be careful of spelling and grammar mistakes, because that can make your story more difficult to read.”

We are only about 15 minutes into the class period when Mr. Heisey provides one more support for his budding writers.

“Just in case a few of you are still stuck on how to get your story started, take a look at the screen.”Character List

Interactive settings for a Middle-Ages story are projected using the Smartboard.  Mr. Heisey and his students have fun discussing a variety of opening scenes, protagonist characters and potential conflicts.

Throughout the class period, students have access to the digital story supports along with settingsa host of other available resources. Websites, previous class projects, text and library books, maps, story samples, magazines and fellow classmates are just a few of the resources available.

“Everyone take a few seconds to meet with your partner and discuss your story idea.”

The classroom becomes a flurry of activity. Students are up and moving about, discussing ideas and talking about the different resources they may find to be helpful. Without changing the activity level of the classroom, Mr. Heisey gives his students the go ahead to start writing.  He gives no direction to “sit” or “quiet down.” His students are free to access all the resources provided during class, and like all good writers, they do.

All of this “pre-writing” activity may seem a bit unnerving to teachers who are not used to giving this kind of Slide1freedom to their students.

I asked Mr. Heisey about the effectiveness of this type of activity.

“Student motivation is a never-ending challenge in education, and allowing for creativity is one of the best ways around that challenge. Historical fiction, documentaries, political propaganda – these are great ways to get students to show what they know.”

Slide2Sure enough, one by one, the students begin to settle into their chairs and the clacking sounds of the keyboard overtake the tactical discussions from a few moments earlier.

The previous buzz of the classroom has settled into a focused calm. I watch as Mr. Heisey provides support when needed.  He is careful not to take away from his students’ own creative thoughts by providing too much direction.

As I observe his students working, it suddenly strikes me that I am in a Social Studies class! This whole time, the students were actually learning about the Middle Ages. I have to smile as I look around the room at these poor unsuspecting students who have just been bamboozled into learning lots of content, while being given the opportunity to grow creatively.

Integrating Curriculum

“How important is it to incorporate reading and writing into your Social Studies class?”  I ask.

“The line between history and English is a blurry one.  Understanding literature means understanding the context in which it was written, and nobody can understand a time period without seeing art and literature that came out of it.  The cognitive processes – analysis and critical thinking – overlap in the two disciplines as well.  I really approach my classes much more like a general humanities class than strictly a history class.”

Producing Lasting Results

Quietly wandering around the room, I am able to get a glimpse of the writing being produced by these students. Some students are creating outlines, some have sketched a few pictures in what resembles a comic strip, others are developing characters by researching names and living conditions. Once in a while, a student will use the digital story-starters for additional inspiration, while others are typing emphatically to get the story out of their head and onto the screen, before they lose any important parts.heisey desk

It occurs to me that they are using the same skills used by professional writers. These 7th graders have a solid set of writing, research and communication skills as well as an in-depth knowledge of the 13th and 14th centuries. To say these students are getting prepared for college and career is an understatement!

I happen to notice one girl staring at the screen in front of her – possibly a little lost?  “Are you having fun writing?” I ask.

“Oh, I’m not writing. I’m creating a story.” She smiles and begins typing again.

His students are not writers – they are creators of stories. #Superhero.

Thank you, Mr. Heisey!

The Teacher’s Academy is proud to provide thousands of teachers with a convenient, affordable  place to earn professional development credits.  Check out our course catalog to find the right course for you!

 

Welcome Spring Fever Enthusiasm into your Classroom

Do your students have spring fever?  Here are 15 creative ways to use that extra energy in the classroom.

This time of year the earth is alive with bright splashes of color and exuberant sounds.  All around this great country from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Bend, Oregon and all the wonderful districts in between, students and teachers have Spring Fever! The excitement outdoors, along with warmer temperatures and the promise of summer vacation, can make it difficult for students to concentrate on classroom activities.  But, lessons need not on037ly occur through textbooks and worksheets.

Real learning should be as dynamic and changing as the seasons.  Instead of allowing spring fever to disrupt your classroom, use all that extra enthusiasm to spark some new discoveries, both indoors and out.

Get a Fresh Start!

Sometimes the best way to get students inspired is to make an adjustment in the environment.  Spring is the perfect time to do a thorough cleaning and re-organization of your classroom.  Check out these websites to find some innovative ways to cut down on classroom clutter and focus on learning.

1. We Are Teachers

This site has a great blog that offers ways to conquer classroom messes, help students keep track of their homework, create storage with items you already have, find tips of creating digital student portfolios and more!

2. Betterlesson.com– Kaleidoscope Eyes Lesson

If spring cleaning and a fresh new approach isn’t enough to keep students’ enthusiasm in the classroom, perhaps a change in perspective will do the trick.   This 8th grade math lesson posted by Mauricio Beltre incorporates materials from the dollar store, but we recommend finding some free replacements in nature! Your students will really get excited to experience a bright, hcolorful, shape-shifting view of the world around them while sneaking in some important math concepts like symmetry, reflection, and geometry.

3. Read Write, Think

This is a great time to freshen up your lesson plan catalog. What better place than a website that provides free lesson plans written by literary experts? Try this one: Multiple Perspectives: Critical Thinking Skills by Shannon Bradford! This gem helps students understand how the world can look through very different through different eyes. After reading Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin, students will analyze the different perspectives and write a creative piece capturing another point of view. This lesson is filled with opportunities for outdoor exploration and adventure to aid the analysis and creative writing piece.

Bust a move!

Even with an organized classroom and a new perspective, students may still be reluctant to stay at their desks this time of year. So, get them up and moving!  Here are some sites designed to give your kids a “brain break” and get them re-energized to learn.

4. Minds in BloGroup Of Children Enjoying Drama Class Togetherom

This site made our list for two reasons: (1) Their slogan is, “Because Learning should be Fun,” AND (2) They have a host of great resources for teachers that need a quick infusion of creativity and motivational push to get them through the last few months of the year. Check out their blog, 20 three-minute Brain Breaks by Rachel Lynette for a few fun short games that get your kids moving and focused.

5. TeachTrainLove.com

Bevin K. Reinen’s website is devoted to innovative teaching tips and online resources for teachers and students. We want to feature their blog on 20 best brain-break videos. Bookmark these videos and have them on hand for the moment your students need help to fight their fidgeting!

6. GoNoodle

We can’t overlook the leader in brain-break websites. Students of all ages (though geared towards elementary) will love the goofy custom-made videos designed to keep students moving, track their progress and quickly get them back to learning.

Go outside!

No matter how energized and inspirational your classroom is, when the sun is shining and the birds are singing, kids will long to be outdoors.  So…. Take them out! And, bring your lesson plans with you.

7. The National Wildlife Federation Lesson Plan Page

This site is not just devoted to preserving our nation’s habitat, but educating our nation’s youth as well.   Featured lessons include, Habitat Hunt, Sensory Discovery Walk, and Tree Detective. All Science lessons are designed for grades K-8 and are aligned to the National Science Education Standards.

8. Geoec.orgGarden 4

The Global, Environmental, & Outdoor Education Council also offer some fun and engaging lessons for outdoor learning. Check out their lesson plan section, organized by grade, make a quick print and get your students outside tomorrow!

9. The Teacher’s Academy- Creating a School Garden Course

School gardens are all the rage, but finding the resources, getting support, planning and executing such a task is difficult to take on by yourself. If you need professional development and are interested in proposing a school garden to your school, this course is an excellent option. Learn how to plan, implement and teach with a garden to provide authentic learning in your unique space.

10. Growing Minds, Farm to School

Spring is the perfect time for experimentation and observation in nature’s greatest gift: our farms. For those of you that already have a school garden or access to local farms, check out this site and browse the many lessons on integrating farming and gardening into the classroom.

Learn about transformations!

Spring is a time for change. It makes sense since it happens after about 7 months of school, everyone is ready for a change! Since change is happening naturally all around us Monarch with caterpillarthis time of year, it’s easy to integrate the concept of metamorphosis into the spring science curriculum. Here are three websites that offer great lessons on the classic metamorphosis concepts:

11. ScienceNetLinks.com/lessons

This site provides teachers with background information, planning ahead tips, motivation, content, hands-on activities and varied assessment options for the classic lesson, Parts of a Plant.

12. USDA Monarch Education Site

Lessons on metamorphosis aren’t just for 3rd graders! The USDA has lessons and resources to discuss life cycle changes for all levels K-12. Science teachers, use this site for the best Monarch Butterfly lesson this spring!

Stare out the window…Seriously!

The weather in the springtime can be unpredictable.  Clear days are the perfect time to introduce lessons about the sun and solar energy.  But, even rainy days can provide learning opportunities. NASA has created some incredible lesson plans about precipitation, 147climate, and weather.  But our honorable mention in this list goes to…

13. WeatherWizKids

On days when your kids are particularly restless, use this site to find loads of amazing weather information, projects, and lesson plans.

Take a break!

Even with all that extra springtime energy, your students will still need to take some time to relax and reflect. Wait for a rainy spring day and hold an impromptu Read-In! h

14. A Mighty Girl

This adorable site is a massive book organizer. They even have a section dedicated to celebrating spring! Don’t let the sweet vibe fool you, books for students of all ages are recommended and available for purchase.

15. YALSA

This site is designed for young adult readers. Check out the list of recommended books and suggest a few for your students to start over spring break! (Yeah, right!)! In any case, it’s a great resource for parents looking to get that perfect book for their growing student.

 

Look forward to summer!Garden 3

Even as we celebrate spring, we are looking forward to summer vacation and the extra time that it brings.  Summer is a great time to catch up on those necessary Professional Development courses that you have been putting off all year.  The Teacher’s Academy is a convenient, affordable way to obtain the credits you need in a way that won’t put a damper on your summer fun.  Our classes can be completed wherever your summer plans take you!  Check out our online catalog today to find an extensive list of Act 48 approved courses to handle your professional development needs at your convenience.

10 Ways Your Class Can Help Save the Earth

Make room for environmental education!sunflower

Environmental concerns will have a huge impact on our students’ futures.  And, yet, with so many mandated assessments and time constraints, teachers often feel forced to focus most of the school day on reading and math lessons. Remember, administration wants us to teach our students how to read, write, and do math but generally, there is room for creative content. Environmental awareness is a theme that can easily be integrated into the day’s lessons and still meet performance objectives of even the strictest standards.

Studies have shown that a lack of environmental education comes at a detriment to our students.  Learning about the environment is not only important on a global scale, it can have a profound effect on the future of each child.  The No Child Left Inside Organization has found that Environmental Education (1) Increases student success across the curriculum by integrating literature and math into meaningful lessons; (2) Improves the overall health of students by getting them outside and moving, and (3) Provides them with critical tools for the 21st century workplace.

Earth Day is the perfect time to start making environmental education an integral part of your classroom curriculum.  Here are 10 creative, fun ideas that will get your class excited about this amazing planet of ours.

Celebrate and protect our earth with these incredible resources!

1. Have a party! Cookouts are a great way to celebrate the springtime warming of the earth.  Even better if you can make them a learning experience for your students.  Scholastic’s “Host a Solar Cookout” Lesson combines math, science, and community involvement to give kids an in-depth understanding of solar energy.  Students will learn about the importance of renewable energy, sun safety, and engineering, all while creating tasty treats to be enjoyed with their friends and community members.

2. Start a compost pile! School lunches and snacks generate a ton of waste.  Allow students to witness firsthand how “garbage” can be turned into valuable organic soil which can then be used in school gardens, or even sold to raise money for class projects.  Organic Lesson provides a clear, colorful guide to composting to help you get you started.farmer

3. Host a swap! We all have things that we don’t need or use anymore.  Holding a classroom swap shows kids how what might seem like trash to them, can be treasure to someone else…. And it’s a ton of fun!  Planet Pals has some good tips on how you can use a swap to teach kids about conservation and upcycling.

4. Take the Catalog Cancel Challenge! Over 19 billion catalogs are sent out yearly and less than 2% are used.  This unnecessary waste results in the destruction of thousands of trees, the use of billions of gallons of water, and an enormous amount of pollution.  The Catalog Cancel Challenge has already saved 1,400 trees and 1.4 billion gallons of water.  Check out their website to see how your classroom or school can join and do your part to save the earth.

5. Conduct a role play! Role plays create an opportunity for students to do research and have meaningful conversations about environmental issues.  They help build communication skills and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.  Asia Society offers two excellent lesson plans to help you bring environmental role-play into your classroom.

turtle6. Adopt a Species! We are experiencing the worst species extinction rate since the time of dinosaurs.  Up to 99% of these extinctions are caused by human activity.  If nothing is done to stop this, as many as 30-50% of all species could be extinct by mid-century. These are alarming statistics.  Fortunately, there are things we can do to slow down this mass extinction. Learning to Give provides a lesson plan that shows how you can make adopting an endangered species a meaningful class project.

7. Make something interesting!  Science teachers add the extra challenge of creating the rube Goldberg with items found in nature! Nature is full of beautiful and unique items. A simple hike outside can get your creative juices flowing to revamp a lesson to include flowerMother Nature’s gifts. Want specific ideas? Tinker Labs has collected an incredible list of online resources you can use to create a wide variety of things using objects found in nature.

8. Cut down on packaging! Packaging accounts for a large amount of the waste that we create. Doing a self-audit can really help students become aware of excessive packaging and ultimately empower them to purchase without such waste. These are the types of lessons that trickle home and have the greatest impact. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has created a lesson plan that helps kids understand the dangers of excessive packaging and some key waste reduction techniques that they can employ in their own homes.

9. Learn about sustainability! Population growth is a crucial component to many of the environmental issues we face today.  Population Education provides a wealth of resources to help your students understand how we can create a sustainable living environment for our growing world.  Their website offers comprehensive packets of lesson plans for various age groups that can be used on Earth Day or any day!Garden 2

10. Grow a garden! Whether you have a big or small, indoor or outdoor, space available… School gardens offer an interactive, authentic way to get your students involved in nature.  The Teacher’s Academy offers an online course that will show the basics of creating a classroom garden, as well as how to use gardening to create meaningful, interdisciplinary lessons.

The Creating a School Garden Course is only one of the many valuable courses that the Teacher’s Academy offers.  All of our course fulfill Pennsylvania Act 48 requirements and can provide you an economical, convenient way to earn professional development courses from home.  Sign up for your first class today!

A New Angle on Teaching Math with Ms. Zakuto

Teacher Feature, March 2016: Ms. Tammy Zakuto

What does it take to be a teacher today?

We expect a lot from our teachers these days. We want them to be… kind, but structured; Caring, but firm; Funny and smart. And a vibrant personality is only one Zakutocomponent of great teaching. We also expect our teachers to teach with passion and differentiate their lessons; Address different learning styles and teach the whole child; Teach, but guide students to make their own discoveries; and do this all for every child in the class.  Add to these great expectations a dash of never-ending curriculum content, and the ever-present standardized testing and you’ve got a recipe for a high-pressure, demanding public service. Teaching is not for everybody. It takes patience, self-discipline, personal drive, creative thought and a little sense of adventure. This month’s Teacher Feature, Ms. Tammy Zakuto, embodies these qualities of a great teacher and more…Just ask her third grade class!

zakuto quoteMs. Zakuto was nominated for a Teacher Feature by a peer that claims Tammy’s innovative teaching style, ability to differentiate lessons and desire to constantly challenge her students are what makes her worthy of celebration. By the end of my visit to Ms. Zakuto’s beach-themed classroom, I wholeheartedly agreed!

Is it possible to make math fun? Tammy thinks so! (And so do her kids!)

Measuring angles was today’s topic. Since I’m a Social Studies geek at heart, admittedly, I was a little worried that I might not find a good “angle” for this blog. I was skeptical that a lesson about teaching angles could showcase all of the wonderful things I had heard about Tammy and her teaching methods. I imagined I’d spend most of my time watching students breaking out protractors and measuring lines- the way that I was taught all those years ago. Simply put…things have changed. Math is cool. Measuring angles is fun. And I was wrong!

zakuto raise handsUsing Applied Learning to Tackle New Concepts

The students know it’s time for math when they see the three color-coded questions on the SMART® board. The green question indicates a review of their 3rd grade knowledge. Today’s question simply asks the students to identify the degree of the angle shown (90). The room is abuzz…everyone can do this one! They move on to the yellow question which is a bit harder and requires the students to apply what they already know (90 degree angles) to determine the size of another angle- one they haven’t seen yet. Ms. Zakuto remains encouraging, but does not reveal how to solve it. Most of her students have it and she still hasn’t given any instruction on how to do it. Next, everyone tackles the red question: Find the outside angle. Students are applying their knowledge to new situations- a few have the answer (without protractors) and their teacher still hasn’t told them how!

protractorAssociate and connect, and then associate some more, and then connect again…

Now, she will finally break out the protractors and tell them how to measure the angles- even those tricky outside angles, right? Wrong. Next is a lesson in understanding the degrees of the circle…without a protractor. Students understand the math right away. They pick up that 90 plus 90 is 180. But to bring it home, she takes it outside of math. With a little prodding, students start identifying elsewhere they hear these degrees. One sweet voice chimes in, “In my dance class, if we only turn half way around, we call it a 180.” Then another, “If I go all the way around on the bars in gymnastics, they call it a 360.” Then Tammy starts to jump and do ¼ turns and half turns so the students can see the degrees of a circle in a physical sense. “Who skateboards?” Ms. Zakuto asks. One boy raises his hand. “What do you call some of your tricks?”

“Well, on a skateboard, we do a 360. And if you can do it twice, it’s a 720.”

I could practically see the little neurons bouncing and connecting in these brains. She wasn’t really giving any answers. She was instead constantly building on previous knowledge, helping them connect the concepts to the world around them and watching them come to their own conclusions. It was beautiful! With this new understanding, the kids were able to figure out all sorts of angles now…and still no protractors!

Guide. Facilitate. Explore. Repeat

With a few more class examples, something special was happening. Students were beginning to see patterns. “Look! Every other one ends in a 5.” And, “I think it looks like a clock.” Or, “It looks like that thing we used in Art…a compass!” Finally, it was time. They were ready…Ms. Zakuto brought out the protractors. No longer a mysterious tool, or “rounded ruler thingy.” These guys understood the lines and the little numbers before she had to explain it. But to really get it and to go further with measuring different angles, a small-group instructional on the topic would’ve been ideal.


zakuto kidsSeparating into groups of 3 or 4, students spent the next 15 minutes in their math centers. Some were working on their choice of carpet-friendly math games, others explored an zakuto studentsintuitive math program on the Ipad. Another group worked playing Angle Kung Fu on the computer, and the rest were huddled around their teacher with protractors in hand in that coveted small-group instructional session. So this is how she does it! Differentiated instruction, addressing multiple intelligences and small group instruction were all rolled up into one lesson.zakuto laptop

What it takes to make the difference and affect student learning…

Great teachers have strong intuition. They need to read their students’ needs in that moment and make adjustments when situations change. I think it’s Ms. Zakuto’s passion for thrills, pushing limits and sense of adventure that foster her unique teaching methodologies. Students in Ms. Zakuto’s class are regularly pushed to challenge their minds and often given work that they may not see until next year. “If I sense they can go further, then I push them. I mean, why not?”

It takes a lot of prezakuto quote2paration to pull off this kind of learning experience and she does it…every day. It’s why her students love her classes, the parents see growth in their children, and her peers think she should be recognized by The Teacher’s Academy. Her daily lessons look seamless, and to the zakuto pickids it’s just another day at the beach. But to those who understand the depth of this craft and what it takes to make a difference in today’s education world, Ms. Zakuto is teaching at its best. Bravo, Tammy Zakuto. And thank you for surpassing today’s expectations of what every parent, child, administrator and colleague want in a teacher.

The Teacher’s Academy provides continuing education courses that meet Pennsylvania Act 48 requirements for busy teachers. Our online professional development courses are written by teachers so the content is relevant and the process is convenient.

 

High-tech Teachers from PETE & C Share their Best Tech Tools

We Celebrate Teachers
Last month we collected some amazing techy ideas from the teachers at the PETE & C. But, before we share these ideas with you, we wanted to tell you about all the incredible, hard-working teachers that we met while at the conference. The Teacher’s Academy was delighted to be able to recognize some of those teachers with well-deserved gifts. amazon winnerCongratulations to Wendy Evans, Jennifer Kling and Rosemary Kennedy – each winners of the $50 Amazon gift card giveaway! The Teacher’s Academy also gave away 30 copies of A Tribute to Teachers by Richard Lederer to some very deserving teachers.

The Teacher’s Academy Pays it Forward
Throughout the year we’ve collected gently used books from teachers’ libraries across the state. Our hope was to give these treasures away to teachers needing to expand their libraries. We are happy to report that we were able to find new homes for every single book! Thanks again to all of the great teachers who made this conference super fun and educational for us.

If you did not get a chance to go to the PETE & C this year, no worries! We will bring the BEST of the PETE & C to you! Every year, we are lucky enough to meet hundreds of teachers at this high-tech conference in Hershey, PA. This year, we decided to tap into their techy brains, find out what technologies are actually working in the classroom and share them with teachers across the country. If you stopped by our booth and filled out a card with a cool tech idea, check out your contribution below!

Useful Website Recommendations from Real Teachers

Holy smokes! So many cards had Nearpod listed as one of the best tech tools for the classroom! This tech tool is a simple way to create interactive lessons for your students. Easily grab pictures from your computer, videos from the Internet, or use the activity slides to allow your students to draw or respond to questions. You can create your own interactive lessons or pick from thousands of pre-made standards-based lessons. Sign up for a free 30-day account. I promise it won’t take 30 seconds for you to decide that this is a must have!
Altoona Teacher comment: “I’ve been using Nearpod a lot. The students love it!”

This was the next most popular tech tool that teachers love! Kahoot allows teachers to easily create interactive assessments (Kahoots) for their students. Choose from multiple-choice quizzes, discussion responses and surveys, then add videos or pictures to spice up the assessment. Assign a pin number and any student with a device can log in and play (I mean learn) from anywhere! The fun part is that it is delivered like a game. Students are engaged, learning and having lots of fun!
Paoli Teacher comment: “Kahoot-it! and Discovery Education are indispensable.” Which leads us to our next website…

Discovery education has one of the largest no-cost vaults of current information accessible to teachers. They offer lesson plan ideas, puzzle makers and activities for students of all ages. But, perhaps, most amazing are the virtual field trips. Teachers can virtually take students to places around the world to meet scientists and learn first-hand about animals, environment or the people who share our planet. In just a few clicks, your students can view the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro or swim with sharks! Discovery Education is a fantastic resource for STEM programs or cross-curricular integration.
Harrisburg Teacher comment: “My students love to research ideas using Discovery Education.”

Plickers is an older website, but one that many teachers still find indispensable. This is a cool tech tool for formative assessment. Students hold up “Plickers” cards to answer questions and an app on the teachers’ phone reads their answers instantly. Teachers can then adjust instruction immediately to reach students who need extra help or move on! This tool alleviates guesswork for teachers and prevents embarrassment for students. A fantastic teacher from Prospect Park recommends Plickers!
Scranton Teacher comment: “Great tool for a formative assess & kids think it’s a game.”

Remind (formerly Remind101) is a safe, simple and free way for teachers to chat with students and parents. Teachers can send a last minute update or a quick reminder about events happening at school. Parents and students can alert teachers about being sick or needing extra help. This tech-tool opens the door for lots of communication, without exchanging phone numbers. Thank you to some incredible teachers from Williamsport and Penn Foster for introducing us to this website. (Penn Foster is an online high school where communication is key!)

Are you looking for a complete Physics curriculum or just a few demonstration videos? The Physics Classroom website gives teachers everything they need to create an interactive physics learning environment. This website uses downloadable lessons and game-like, interactive activities to make learning physics fun and easy! It also offers a lab, a teacher tool kit, ACT test info and much more!
As parents and teachers we are always concerned about our children’s health. Teens are of special concern since they tend to be less communicative. Teen Health.org allows teenagers to access good advice from experts when they may not be comfortable asking a parent or a teacher. This free website invites teens to click on interactive buttons to find out about topics like: Meningitis, prescription drug abuse, fighting depression, healthy eating, or helping friends with issues like cutting. It is a fantastic resource to empower teenagers to help each other! And it’s not only for teens… Younger kids can click on interactive buttons to learn about fun topics like the digestive system and why feet stink. There is also a tab for parents with buttons linked to kids’ health topics. These are only a few of the helpful resources available on this website. Please take a few minutes and check it out!
A great idea from a tech savvy-health-conscious teacher in Gettysburg!

“Creativity is essential to particle physics, cosmology, and to mathematics, and to other fields of science, just as it is to its more widely acknowledged beneficiaries – the arts and humanities.” – Lisa Randall
Yes! We absolutely need to make math fun for students and Minecraft can be used for such a purpose. Students can create or destroy bridges, walls, fortresses, hallways, secret rooms, stairs and so much more, using the digital blocks as their materials. As they build and reconstruct, they are learning about height, width, area, perimeter, size and space. They are also thinking about design, structure, architecture and, most likely, other art concepts. Connecting art and mathematics goes back thousands of years. Math concepts come to life with art! Art can be key to making math fun and accessible to students. “Use Minecraft to teach perimeter.” Thank you, awesome teacher from Central Fulton!

Google Slides is a website that we, at the Teacher’s Academy, love so much that we created a course about using it effectively in the classroom. Slides is Google’s answer to MS PowerPoint. It is not as flashy as PowerPoint but it is free and you can attach pictures, video and text in the presentations, just like the Microsoft product. Google also has Docs (similar to MS Word) and Sheets (similar to MS Excel). “Kids can use Google Slides for presentations and short reports.” They sure can! Thanks again, awesome teacher from Central Fulton! Check out our course Google Slides.

Central Fulton is becoming our favorite place! They’ve offered another fantastic recommendation for a great teacher tool – Go Noodle. Go Noodle provides teachers with quick video clips that get students dancing, stretching, running or even winding down. Most importantly, it releases good energy so students can focus in class. These quick “brain breaks” are beneficial to everyone involved, including the teacher. Check out Go Noodle and get your students focused.
“Go Noodle for brain break awesomeness.” Thanks Central Fulton teachers! We think you are all filled with awesomeness!

Want to connect with your students?
Students were eager to tell us their favorite tech websites as well. Here are the top 5:

  • Plickers!– Turns out kids like Plickers just as much as teachers! This app lets kids answer questions anonymously to avoid fear of getting the answer wrong in front of their friends!  Plus, “It’s cool!”
  • Notability– Kids appreciate the new approach to note-taking with the Notability app. Their notes come to life with their handwriting, photos and typing options.
  • ITunes U– This app provides resources for any subject right on the ipod. Teachers can generate lesson plans and deliver them via recommended apps. Students can connect with each other and the entire lesson can be done using just the ipad!
  • Showbie– For the paperless classroom, this app helps teachers and students collaborate, give feedback and grade assignments.
  • Google Expeditions– Google has photographed the world and they are giving it to us- for free! Students can travel to the top of the Himalayas or to the bottom of the oceans. No wonder this is a favorite for students!

Thanks and see you next year!

The PETE & C is a great place to learn about the development of new educational technologies but, it is also the one time of year that we get the chance to thank the fun, energetic teachers making a real difference in education. So, again, thank you for all that you do and make sure you stop by our booth next year!

*Most of our business comes from teachers who have taken a course and shared their experience with other teachers. We really appreciate the honesty, loyalty and excitement that these teachers possess when talking about The Teacher’s Academy. So, please feel free to share our blogs, Facebook posts and links to our website with anyone you feel may benefit from our services. It’s because of all of you wonderful teachers that we are able to provide the great resources that we do! Thank you!!

The Teacher’s Academy is Heading to Hershey!

Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference Welcomes The Teacher’s Academy

Hey, Teachers!  It is that time of year again!  The Teacher’s Academy is super excited to attend the Pennsylvania Educational Technology and Expo ConferenceThe Teacher's Academy! We love learning about the new educational technologies available (or soon to be available) and getting inspired by motivational speakers!  The exhibits, workshops and keynote speakers give us an opportunity to recharge and gather new ideas for the following year.   It’s also the perfect chance to celebrate all you hard-working teachers. This year we will be giving away several inspirational prizes and promoting our Teacher Feature opportunities.

 Free books for your class library- Booth 122!

As part of our out-reach program, The Teacher’s Academy will be handing out free books to teachers who stop by our booth.  We have gathered gently used books from classrooms that have gone digital, teachers who stacked bookshave left the industry and other donations.  Our hope is that these lovely treasures find new homes in the hands of curious readers all across the tri-state area.  We have a limited number of books so visit booth #122 as soon as you can on Monday!

30+ Winners in The Teacher’s Academy Drawing!

PETE & C is the place for sharing ideas, getting inspired and putting what works for others into your own practice. That’s why this year we are rewarding teachers for their ideas!

To celebrate teachers, we will be giving away three (3) $50 Amazon Gift Cards and thirty (30) light-hearted, inspirational copies of A Tribute to Teachers, signed by Richard Lederer.  To be entered into the drawing, simply fill out our postcard and write your favorite teaching practices, a bit of advice or a techy idea that works in your classroom!  After the conference, EVERYONE’S ideas will be featured in our upcoming blog, “After the PETE: Advice and Ideas from PA teachers.” We hope to encourage as many teachers as possible to participate in sharing their ideas and winning prizes!

Do you have what it takes to be a Teacher Feature?

The Teacher’s Academy celebrates teachers every month by sharing their cutting edge practices with thousands of other teachers across the nation.  Our blog post, “Teacher Feature” has been an amazing way to transfer expert strategies, resources and tips, from inside the classroom, to teachers everywhere.  So far, we have encountered teachers who use social media for enrichment purposes, cope with the loss of their arts program, share the very best free tech resources, use the world outside to experience real science and much more. We know teachers are the most creative and innovative thinkers and above Teacher Featureall, love to share their ideas.

Why nominate myself for a Teacher Feature?

This year, we will be inviting all of the teachers we meet at the PETE conference, to nominate teachers for our 2016-2017 Teacher Feature blog.  Why not nominate yourself or someone else for this great honor?

  • Unique strategies and approaches to teaching and classroom management will be shared with others.
  • Your story is likely someone else’s. Sharing it will only help other teachers looking for inspiration.
  • You work hard and a little (positive) media publicity never hurt anyone! Once the blog is written, you can read, make edits and changes and have the final say before it gets posted! Then, we hope you share your publication with your peers. People should know the impact you have on your students!

Professional Development from The Teacher’s Academycategory26

The Teacher’s Academy celebrates teachers. As teachers ourselves, we understand how difficult it is to find relevant professional development that’s convenient and affordable. Check out our courses (written by teachers) to help satisfy your PD needs. All of our courses Act 48 Approved. As a matter of fact, you may already know us in PA as Act 48 Academy!

The PETE conference in Hershey, PA is an incredible event for anyone in education.  Meet new educators from Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Scranton, Allentown, Pittsburgh, to name a few, and share your teaching experiences! Being in Hershey makes it that much sweeter!

So, stop by booth #122 and meet the hard-working PA teachers who want to help make these few days in Hershey fun (and rewarding) for you!  Can’t wait to see you there! (Tell us you read the blog and there’s something special in it for you!)

The Teacher’s Academy Releases a New Course: Social Studies Websites Review

The Teacher’s Academy proudly releases the latest course in our Website Review Series: Social Studies Websites Reviews!

For those of you who are not familiar with The Teacher’s Academy’s 3-hour website review courses, the idea is simple.  We research hundreds of educational websites and choose 25 to be featured in one of our website review courses.  Of those 25 courses, we ask teachers to review five of them and give a brief summary of how they might use the website in the classroom.   Within 5 – 7 business days after completing the course, teachers will receive a Certificate and Feedback Form. They also have 25 educational websites to refer back to at anytime!  All of our website review courses are worth 3 professional development hours and cost $24.99.   Not bad for checking out a few cool website for your students!

Here is a sneak peek into the course and some of the fun and interesting web sites teachers will discover:

1. Teaching Tolerance.org

Teaching Tolerance.org is a place where teachers can find free materials to use when teaching diversity, equality, and appropriate social behaviors.  Teachers can use the Mix it Up activities, film kits, and magazines (also free) to help support a tolerant, compassionate classroom environment. http://www.tolerance.org/

2. Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum “tells the stories of 97 Orchard Street.”  This tenement apartment building was built in 1863 and housed almost 7,000 working class immigrants. You can take a virtual tour of the apartments and learn about the families who lived there through pictures and stories.  *A great connection to current immigration issues!  http://www.tenement.org/

3. Teaching History.org

This website provides educational resources for k-12 learners.  Lesson plans, digital integrating ideas, and videos help teachers create engaging learning experiences for their students. There are links to educational websites that complement the lesson plans.  They also have their very own website review section where teachers can choose a few cool websites to check out on their own.  Wow!  What a fantastic idea! http://www.teachinghistory.org/

4. Museum Box

This is a really cool tool for organizing research then presenting an argument.  Students create their own virtual box of information to defend or argue an issue.  The museum box can be filled with videos, pictures, text, sound bites, or anything that can be used to support a particular argument.  Students will have fun with this digital tool while honing their research skills! http://museumbox.e2bn.org/

5.The First Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trips

Scholastic is a great educational website and houses webcasts that re-create the events of the first Thanksgiving.  Students get a tour of the Mayflower, meet the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians of the New World, and learn about the daily lives of these two very different cultures.  Scholastic has also created Common Core aligned lesson plans to make things extra easy for teachers!  http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/webcast.htm

6. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum This virtual museum holds pictures, text, podcasts and videos of this dark time in history.  Teachers can share the stories of survivors and online exhibits to connect students on an emotional level.  Use online exhibits like The Nuremberg Race Laws to ignite discussions about discrimination and fear leading to genocide.  Guidelines and lesson plans are provided to help teachers build an appropriate and sensitive unit for their students. http://www.ushmm.org/

7. Facing History and Ourselves

The philosophy behind this website was to provide a way for users to directly connect with racial injustices and prejudice practices of the past so they never happen again.  Teachers can download lesson plans and units on the events surrounding the Civil Rights Movement or find teaching strategies to teach social behaviors.  Articles and news stories are also posted so teachers can connect current events to our history. https://www.facinghistory.org/

While visiting the other websites featured in this course, teachers will discover tools for creating engaging lessons for students, technology to embark on virtual field trips to historical sites such as the Pyramids of Giza, and access to live footage of our own political leaders.  We hope the Social Studies themed websites we’ve chosen for the course will ignite a new passion for learning about historical events and how they have impacted our culture.  Check out Social Studies Website Review online and get excited about Social Studies!

Here is a listing of other web site review courses you can purchase at The Teacher’s Academy website:

2013 Website Reviews for Teachers – 3 Hours, $24.99

2014 Website Reviews for Teachers – 3 Hours, $24.99

2015 Science and Apps Reviews – 3 Hours, $24.99

2015 Pre-K Website and Apps Reviews – 3 Hours, $24.99

2015 Elementary Website Reviews – 3 Hours, $24.99

For a full listing of courses, check out The Teacher’s Academy Course Catalog

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a Rigorous Classroom?

Take this Teacher’s Academy quiz to find out if you teach with rigor.

Introduction

There’s a lot of buzz lately about integrating rigor into the classroom. There are workshops, webinars, articles and even blogs that define rigor for students and teachers. You’ve probably started to hear about rigor in your latest staff meetings, and if your state has adopted the hotly debated Common Core Standards, rigor is the new cornerstone of your lesson planning. But are you really infusing rigor into your curriculum? Are your students actually working rigorously? Take this quiz and see if you truly understand rigor in the classroom, and if your lessons and your students perform at a higher, more rigorous level!

1. Which of the following classes is an excellent example of a rigorous classroom?

a. An Honors Science class that requires a 20 page research report as their final exam.
b. An AP History class that coaches students to pass a college entrance exam.
c. An Algebra class that teaches students to use problem-solving strategies to analyze world hunger data they received in their social studies class.
d. A 4th grade class that assigns the most homework in the school.

“Rigor is the ability to solve complex problems and develop strategies to other content areas (Bogess 2007).” Since the adoption of No Child Left Behind in 2001, more attention is given to the way and the depth that teachers teach and students learn. It’s vital for us to compete in the global community, and according to test scores, the United States is falling behind. The quick fix for some teachers might be to assign more work. In the question Rigorous studentabove, all but one class focused on the amount of work the students had to endure. The correct answer is C. In the algebra class, students are using strategies taught and applying those strategies across the curriculum and to real world problems. Do you teach strategies that help students solve problems outside of your classroom? If so, you are teaching with rigor!

2. Which of the following teaching philosophies lends itself to incorporating rigor into the curriculum?

a. I believe all students can learn.
b. It is more important for students to respect than like their teacher.
c. I have high expectations for my students.
d. Fostering student effort is more important than high grades.
e. Both C and D.

High expectations are important and must include effort on the part of the learner (Wasley, Hampel and Clark , 1997). Most teachers believe all students can learn, and that’s a great teaching philosophy, but it doesn’t reflect the intent to teach with rigor. B is surprisingly a debatable topic to be discussed in another blog! The correct answer is E.students raising hands

Teaching with rigor requires the teachers to have high expectations of their students, and it requires effort on behalf of the student. It is up to the teacher to ignite that fire, so the student is compelled to work at a higher level, use more brain power, think harder and be ok with making a mistake. Do you have high expectations for your students? Do you celebrate effort over test scores? If so, you are teaching with rigor!

 3. Which of the following lessons is being taught with rigor?

a. After the science experiment, students will use primary sources to defend their findings.
b. Working collaboratively and utilizing the trends provided by NASDAQ, students will determine the best stock companies in which to invest for the next quarter.
c. After reading a passage from the classic Robinson Crusoe, students will refer to other literary texts and draw comparisons.
d. All of the above.

“Rigor would be used to say something about how an experience or activity is carried out and to what degree. Specifically, a ‘rigorous’ experience would be one that involves depth and care as, for example, in a scientific experiment or literary analysis that is done thoughtfully, deeply with sufficient depth and attention to accuracy and detail (Beane, 2001).” Memorizing facts is definitely an essential skill needed to get to deeper level thinking. Math facts, for example, must be drilled through a variety of practices until they become second nature. But this is not rigor. Once facts are established, what you and the students do with them sets the stage for rigor in the classroom. All of the lesson samples are examples of students using information that they comprehend and applying it to alternative situations. Do you give your students opportunities to deepen their understanding of basic concepts by analyzing data, comparing text or utilizing primary sources? If so, well done…that is a rigorous lesson!

 4. Which combination of classroom skills is considered “rigorous”?

a. memorize, explain, paraphrase
b. communicate, recall, comprehend
c. identify, paraphrase, solve
d. lead, collaborate, adapt

 “Rigor for the 21st century includes a focus on skills for life: critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and leadership, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective oral and written communication, accessing and analyzing information, and curiosity and imagination (Wagner 2008).” Perhaps options A, B and C look familiar to you. They were taken straight out of Bloom’s Taxonomy. As mentioned earlier, the foundational skills of learning are important, but too many students, teachers, and districts stop there. The correct answer is D. Students must be given opportunities to utilize the concepts they’ve learned and apply them to other situations. Do your students get to lead, collaborate, adapt, initiate and analyze to stimulate their curiosity? If so, you’re providing a rigorous environment.

5. Which of the following is true about rigor in the classroom?

a. Teaching rigor does not require supporting the students. At this level, students should be able to adapt to a rigorous lesson.
b. When students demonstrate understanding of rigorous material, they should all come to the same answer using the same methods.
c. The best way to assess rigor is through testing.
d. A student may have to sit with a problem longer than others to develop deeper understanding of applying the concepts.

In a rigorous classroom, the teacher is the support, the motivation and the key to success for students. Rigor is higher level thinking; teachers must support students and guide them through questioning and analyzing material. Therefore, the answer cannot be A. If students are being guided to come to their own conclusions, it’s highly likely that they come to their solution through different means. Rigor includes providing a variety of ways that the student can comprehend information. Therefore, the answer cannot be B. Rigor cannot be assessed through standardized tests, unless these tests offer a variety of stacked booksopportunities to demonstrate comprehension. Rigor is best assessed through creative projects, discussion, and application. Therefore, the answer cannot be C. Rigor can be taught at all levels. If a student’s mental capacity requires them to sit with a problem longer than their peer needs to, the student sitting and working through the problem is experiencing rigor. Do you support your students as they work through difficult problems? Do you teach and encourage a variety of methods that lead to the same findings? Do you vary your tests and assessment strategies to incorporate analysis? Do you encourage students to sit with a problem until they get it? If so, you’ve got a pretty rigorous classroom!

So, what have you learned about rigor and your own classroom? As a teacher and life-long student, I believe there are always areas to grow and learn. Taking a good hard look at our own teaching philosophy, curriculum, lessons and methods can only put us on the path to being a better teacher.

Do you need more ideas? Check out our professional development course Inspiring Ideas for the 21st Century Classroom.  Or check out how to integrate rigor in Teaching Math using Common Core Standards and Teaching Science using Common Core Standards.

At The Teacher’s Academy, we are always updating our courses to be the most relevant, affordable and convenient professional development option. Check out our entire course catalog and get started renewing your certificate right away.

The Teacher’s Academy Expands to Indiana

Professional development made easy, affordable, and relevant (finally)!

Welcome busy Indiana teachers!  The Teacher’s Academy is honored to support Indiana’s Professional Growth Plan program.  The certified teachers at The Teacher’s Academy Indiana farmlandmake maintaining professional licenses easy, affordable and convenient.  Since we are all teachers here, we understand how expensive and time consuming it can be to attend workshops or colleges for professional development hours.   We also understand how information from workshops and colleges can be outdated or not specific to your classroom needs.   At The Teacher’s Academy, teachers can quickly download a course, create materials for your classroom and earn professional development hours, without leaving your home!

 

Indiana teachers need professional development and we can help!

The Indiana Department of Education allows teachers to choose their own professional development experiences to apply to their Professional Growth Plans.

One growth point equals 1 clock hour of a professional development activity.  Indiana teachers holding an Initial Practitioner’s license need 90 Professional Growth Plan Points for license renewal.  Most of the courses at The Teacher’s Academy are 15 clock hours (equal to 15 growth points).

 

According to Indiana’s Professional Growth Experience Documentation, The Teacher’s Academy would fall under the “Professional Conference / Workshop / Institute” option.  We could also fall under the “Other” option, which allows teachers to benefit from opportunities that “improve curriculum knowledge, instructional skills, class management skills or any other professional growth experiences.”   We will supply a Certificate of Completion and Feedback Form after successful completion of the course

 

How does it work?

First, you would need to set up an online account with The Teacher’s Academy.  Having an account allows you to purchase courses, manage your course work and upload completed projects.  Next, choose from a variety of courses depending on the hours you need or interest.   Finally, place the courses in your cart and proceed through PayPal’s secure checkout with your own credit card or a PayPal account.  All of the course materials are emailed to your email address immediately after purchase. (If you don’t see them, check your spam folder!) Directions for opening and saving the course are emailed along with the course and course materials.  You can get started right away, or perhaps you want to begin a month from now. The course is yours to keep forever, but if you want your certificate, you must complete it within a year!

 

How will I get my credit for taking the course?

Within 5-7 business days of coursework completion, expect to receive a congratulations email containing the Certificate of Completion and Feedback Form.  These documents will state the hours earned for the course along with the skills mastered, and they can be submitted to your administrator for professional development hours.   We also provide a Request for Authorization Form for the convenience of any teacher needing prior approval.

 

What if I need help?

Our courses are designed to be completed autonomously, however, we understand glitches, questions and problems arise. We have a tech team and support staff ready to assist with any issues. All requests are answered within 24 hours (but usually before then)!  Our goal is to make the process as simple, meaningful and fun as possible!

 

Course Catalog…

The Teacher’s Academy has a wide variety of courses that you can choose from ranging from computer basics to next generation teaching strategies. Below are just a few of our most popular courses to date. Check out our Course Catalog for a full list of courses.

 

Once you try it, you will keep coming back for more!

The Teacher’s Academy is proud to say we have a large percentage of returning clients for several reasons.  Clients know they are getting high quality PD because the materials are current and the projects are relevant.

 

The format for every class is similar.  In other words, once you take one course, you will notice that the course layout, terminology, and submitting protocol for all TTA courses are exactly the same. Our goal is to make the process as easy and fun as possible!

 

Once you pay for the course, it is yours to keep forever!  Often times, teachers refer back to the course for websites or activities ideas long after they’ve completed the course.  Teachers can share the educational resources, activity ideas for students and cutting edge strategies with other teachers or administrators.  Even students like to see what their teachers are learning!

 

Another feature teachers appreciate is the ability to complete their PD requirements from home.  We really like the idea of working from home, and we want to share that experience with as many teachers as possible.  So now there is no reason to get in the car and drive to a workshop or college campus.  Stay at home and enjoy a few hours of learning at your own pace and creating your own materials, and you can expect your Certificate of Completion and Feedback Form in a few days.

 

The Teacher’s Academy is proud to align our courses with the high standards set by the Indiana Department of Education.   We bring excellence to the field of education and are honored to serve the teachers of Indiana.

 

Check out The Teacher’s Academy website for a listing of all of our courses, and you can find information on the education requirements for Indiana teachers on our Indiana webpage.

 

Enjoy teachers!

 

 

The Teacher’s Academy Expands to Colorado

 The Teacher’s Academy Expands to Colorado

How it all began…

In 2012, a group of established teachers formed a company in Pennsylvania called Act 48CO pic Academy in honor of a law that requires all staff to maintain a high level of professional development. Act 48 Academy struck a chord for many teachers, and these services were needed outside of PA. Hence, The Teacher’s Academy was born.

We help teachers across the country…

Since then, we have been providing an affordable, convenient way for teachers to maintain their professional licenses.  In 2013, we expanded into our neighboring states of New York, New Jersey and Delaware. We’ve become approved providers for the state of Texas and Oregon.  We will remain Act 48 Academy in Pennsylvania, but our nationally recognized company, The Teacher’s Academy, reaches across the nation to support all teachers.  And now, we are excited to announce that The Teacher’s Academy is part of the educational landscape of Colorado.   We are proud to share the same vision for preparing generations of students for successful careers.

Professional development should be relevant and useful!

Preparing students for employment in an ever-changing global market must begin with our teachers.   As educators in the new millennium, we are bombarded with an incredible amount of information on best teaching practices from a variety of different sources.  Sifting through all of this information in order to keep up with highly skilled and tech savvy students can be a bit overwhelming.   We are all teachers at The Teacher’s Academy, and we understand the need to navigate time constraints, develop high-level thinkers and adhere to demanding standards.  For those reasons and more, we have created courses that contain projects for teachers to use in class and utilize resources from reputable education companies. We foster and spark next generation ideas for achieving best practices in education.   Our courses are aligned with Colorado’s superior professional development standards and can be completed at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home.

 Professional development doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming (anymore)!

The Teacher’s Academy has considered the financial burden placed on school districts and, more specifically, teachers.   To keep costs low, we have created an efficient system of reviewing projects and then distributing your Certificate of Completion and Feedback Form within 5 – 7 business days.  Our process is faster and less expensive than community colleges or other private companies.

There are no administrative or extra costs for materials because everything you need to complete the course is emailed immediately.   We have a tech team and support staff ready to assist with any questions.

 How we can help busy Colorado teachers…

According to the Colorado Department of Education, a valid license may be renewed every five years with an equivalent of six-semester hours of credit from an accepted, regionally accredited college or university, which may include up to 90 clock hours of professional development (in-services, workshops, being on a committee, etc.) earned during the validity of your professional license.

 One semester credit hour equals fifteen contact hours.  The courses at The Teacher’s Academy are written in 3, 6, 15 and 18-hour increments.  This allows teachers to choose from a variety of educational experiences and gain an abundance of educational resources while earning their 90 clock hours.

The Colorado Department of Education allows a variety of acceptable activities for professional development.  The Teacher’s Academy would fall under the Workshops or Academies section of the Accepted Renewal Activities document.  Upon completion of the course, Colorado teachers will receive a signed Certificate of Completion along with a Feedback Form that state the contact hours earned and skills mastered.  These forms are sent as a PDF file, via email, and can be submitted for earned “ongoing” professional development hours.

Once you try it, you will keep coming back for more!

The Teacher’s Academy is proud to say we have a large percentage of returning clients for several reasons.  Clients know they are getting high quality PD because the materials are current and the projects are relevant.

The format for every class they take is similar.  In other words, once you take one course, you will notice that the course layout, terminology, and submitting protocol for all TTA courses are exactly the same. Our goal is to make the process as easy and fun as possible!

Once you pay for the course, it is yours to keep forever!  Often times, teachers refer back to the course for websites or activities ideas, long after they’ve completed the course.  Teachers can share the educational resources, activity ideas for students and cutting edge strategies with other teachers or administrators.  Even students like to see what their teachers are learning!

Another feature teachers appreciate is the ability to complete their PD requirements from home.  We really like the idea of working from home and we want to share that experience with as many teachers as possible.  So now there is no reason to get in the car and drive to a workshop or college campus.  Stay at home and enjoy a few hours of learning at your own pace, creating your own materials and expect your Certificate of Completion and Feedback Form in a few days.

We are honored to bring our services to the excellent teachers of Colorado!  Check out some of our most popular courses:

Inspiring Ideas for the 21st Century Classroom – 18 Hours, $89.99

Blended Learning – 15 Hours, $79.99

Computers the VERY basics for the PC – 15 hours, $79.99

Microsoft Word for Educators – 15 hours, $79.99

2015 Science Website and Apps Review – 3 Hours, $24.99

2015 Pre-K Websites and Apps Review – 3 Hours, $24.99

Check out The Teacher’s Academy website for a listing of all of our courses and information on the education requirements for Colorado teachers on the Colorado web page.

Enjoy teachers!