-->

What to Look Forward to from The Teacher’s Academy at the PETE&C

The Teacher’s Academy will be hosting a booth at the annual PETE&C in Hershey, Pennsylvania this February. At the conference, educators from across the state come together to learn from each other.PETE&C

Participants will walk away with a deeper understanding of the importance of technology in education — and, if they’re lucky, they might even leave with some great prizes and a few professional development hours under their belt.

Here are some details about the PETE&C (Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference):

  • Date: February 11th-14th, 2017
  • Location: Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, PA
  • Provides programs based on technology in the educational field
  • Consists of keynote speakers, concurrent sessions, students showcases, and more
  • Educators can take a course, apply to enter their students in showcases, host a booth, volunteer, and more

To learn more or register, visit the conference’s website.

TTA

 

At The Teacher’s Academy, we offer a variety of Act 48-approved courses in hopes that teachers can learn relevant and advanced material to pass on to their students. As a website that offers professional development, we understand just how important technology is in the education field. To display our offerings and give teachers more information about our services, we will be exhibiting and giving away a few prizes at the PETE&C.

Here’s what to expect from our booth 116 in the Great American Lobby:

  • 4 Fun Best-Selling Teacher Books Giveaway
  • 3 $50 Visa Gift Cards Giveaway
  • Healthy snacks (and not so healthy snacks!)
  • Free Books for Teachers! (Our crowd favorite is back! Stop by booth 116 to take any gently used book donated by teachers from around Pennsylvania!)

Stop by our booth to ask about our courses, find out how to fulfill Act 48 requirements, learn about our affordable and convenient services, and win some fun prizes along the way!

Our online courses, which are Act 48 approved in PA, are creThe Teacher's Academyated by teachers, for teachers. Teachers can select courses based on the grade level they teach, their subject and interests, and more.

Browse our website or call us at 215-660-4926 today to complete your professional development hours in PA and learn more about The Teacher’s Academy: where teachers go to learn.

The Teacher’s Academy in Arkansas!

Arkansas teachers: Get ready for the MOST convenient, affordable and relevant professional development option!

How it all began…

In 2012, a group of established teachers wanted more out of their professional development time. We used our content-based expertise (and knowing what teachers really want), we created an online platform that provided a variety of courses for teachers to complete on their own schedule. Most importantly, we had to make these courses affordable. Originally, we aimed to serve PA teachers, but soon noticed purchases coming in from other states. Teachers needed this service and we are happy to provide it! At The Teachers Academy, we are all certified classroom teachers. In fact, the founder of the company is still teaching in the classroom and keeping her pulse on the needs and wants of the 21st century teacher. We are so excited to be able to bring this service to the great teachers of Arkansas! Welcome, Arkansas teachers!

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 additional states like, Texas, Tennessee, Colorado, Virginia, Arizona and Indiana. In 2016, we were approved by an international accrediting agency, IACET.

The Teacher’s Academy is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU.

This approval opened doors to all states accepting IACET CEUs, like Massachusetts, Michigan, South Carolina and South Dakota.

Today, our internationally recognized company, The Teacher’s Academy, reaches across the nation to support all teachers. We are extremely proud to share the same vision for preparing generations of students for successful careers.

Renewing Your AR Teaching License

Arkansas teachers may take any of our 6, 15 or 18 hour courses toward license renewal. Beginning the 2015-16 school year, Arkansas teachers must earn 36 hours or 6 days of professional development per school year. Licenses that are expired for more than a year must earn 60 hours of professional development.

Here are a few examples of courses offered by The Teacher’s Academy and the PDPs earned for each:

The Teacher’s Academy offers a variety of courses worth 6, 15 and 18 hours.

The Teacher’s Academy Courses

Because the founders of The Teacher’s Academy are teachers, we believe professional development should be convenient, cover relevant topics, provide choices and above all, affordable.

Not only are courses affordable, the team of teachers that reviews your completed work will present your Certificate and professional development hours within 5 – 7 business days of submission.  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.

Since our courses are downloaded to the your computer, the course, along with all of the great web resources and teaching tools, are your to keep! Check out our course topics:

Teacher Resources

Music and Art

Technology

We are honored to bring our services to the excellent teachers of Arkansas! Check out The Teacher’s Academy website and Course Catalog, for a listing of all of our courses.

The Teacher's Academy

4 Things you Didn’t Know about Exercise and Learning

4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Exercise and Learning!

It started with the physical education teachers screaming from the rooftops, but no one listened. The “Specials” classes and even recess were being cut to make room for more instructional time that would ideally raise test scores. Soon parents, students and teachers began noticing the continued decline in academic achievement, test scores and a rise in behavior issues. This is something our physical education teachers knew would happen! Today, there are new studies that support what our phys ed teachers have been trying to tell us, exercise stimulates the brain and improves learning.  Once again, the education world is seeing a shift in teaching strategies. Here are five things that we are just now discovering about how exercise and learning go together like peas and carrots!

#4: More than half of our youth do not meet the minimum requirements of daily exercise.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends at least one hour of moderate aerobic exercise every day. In addition, children (ages 10-17) should have an hour of high-intensity aerobic exercise and strength training. Most schools don’t have a physical education class for every student, and certainly not every day! Do your students meet the requirements by the CDC? Does your school even know what they are? Most likely not. PE, like other “specials” have been hit hard by the renewed push to increase test scores as students find most of their day spent in the classroom, with little time left in the schedule for the gymnasium or playground. Perhaps if administrators and board members were aware of the scientific benefits of exercise, the times would be switched!

#3: Recess increases cognitive development.

In a study called, The Role of Recess in Children’s Cognitive Performance and School Adjustment, showed that developed social and emotional behaviors have a direct influence on cognition. In other words, students that easily make friends, take on leadership roles, play creatively, include others, solve peer arguments, show empathy, control their anger and demonstrate other areas of social and emotional growth also have strong cognitive performance results. They score higher on standardized tests than students who are not socially and emotionally balanced. More importantly, it’s easier for these students to learn! Isn’t that the goal? What can we do to get our children to learn, retain and apply new information? According to the latest in brain research, the answer is exercise and movement.

#2: Our brains were designed for movement.

According to John Medina, a molecular biologist and research consultant, humans were not designed to sit at a desk all day. In fact, he states, “If you were to design an almost perfect anti-learning environment, it would look… like a classroom!

He reminds us that our ancestors were in constant motion. They would walk an average of 12 miles a day in search of food and shelter (Medina, 2014). Those who didn’t walk or at least keep up were likely the next meal for one of the many predatory animals with whom we shared the land. The connection between the mind and the body is stronger than we ever believed it to be in the past.

Ask yourself: Why do we have a brain?

If you answered: To think, Dr. Daniel Wolpert, a Neuroscientist, would disagree. He claims we have only one reason for the brain: “To produce adaptable and complex movements.” As evidence, he cites living things such as trees and plants. They have a life cycle, but they don’t move and therefore don’t need a brain. The brain is designed to be stimulated through exercise. In fact, advances in technology have made hunting food (grocery shopping), dancing for rain (watching the news) and making clothes (online shopping) too easy! As a nation, we’ve become inactive and our brains have not evolved to keep up with this sedentary lifestyle.

#1: Beyond improved cognition, exercise is vital to social and behavioral growth.

According to John Ratey, more than just academic performance is enhanced when physical movement is added to a daily regimen. Take a look at this list of benefits that exercise provides and see if any might apply to the students in your class!

Reduced Stress

  • Reduced test anxiety
  • Decreased symptoms of depression after 3 days of exercise
  • Improved adaptation to challenges in a changing environment
  • Decreased toxic effects of high levels of stress
  • Reduced neuronal death caused by chronic stress

Balanced Mood and Behavior

  • Improved attention, motivation, self-esteem, cooperation
  • Ameliorated learned helplessness
  • Improved resilience and self-confidence
  • Increased ability to withstand stress and frustration
  • Fewer behavior problems
  • Increased coping skills when presented with a new situation
  • Increased self-discipline and self-esteem
  • Reduction or elimination of the need for ADHD medications and antidepressants
  • Regulated mood through the natural balance of neurotransmitters
  • Regulated sleep patterns for increased alertness during school hours
  • Intrinsic sense of reward, motivation, and satisfaction
  • Impulse control
  • Joyful attitude
  • Increased state of happiness and life satisfaction

Improved Social Skills and Behavior

  • Lower levels of drug use in teens
  • Better family relationships
  • Noticeable improvement in key personal, social, cooperative, and communication skills
  • Improved attention, impulsivity, motivation, self-esteem, and cooperation

Classroom Teachers- Start Implementing Movement in your Classes Today!

The evidence is clear, plus kids love to move around in class…if you aren’t already, implement movement and exercise in your classes. Need some ideas? Our course, Move to Learn is an excellent resource for justifying and implementing movement in education. Plus, you can earn 18 hours of professional development!

The Teacher’s Academy for Professional Development

Visit The Teacher’s Academy for all your professional development needs. We are teachers writing courses for teachers to obtain relevant PD in a convenient and affordable platform. We are Act 48 Approved (PA), internationally accredited (IACET), and likely approved in your state for professional development. Check us out to learn more!

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, June 4). How Much Physical Activity should Children Get? Retrieved March 31, 2017, from CDC CEnters for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/children/index.htm

Medina, J. (2014). Brain Rules. Pear Press; 2 Upd Exp edition.

Pellegrini, A. D., & Bohn, C. M. (2005, January/ February). The Role of Recess in Children’s Cognitive Performance and School Admustment. Research News and Comment, 34(1), 13-18. Retrieved March 30, 2017

Ratey, J. J. (2013). Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Little Brown and Company.

Wolpert, D. (2011, November). TedTalks. Retrieved April 04, 2017, from The Real Reason for Brains: https://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_wolpert_the_real_reason_for_brains

 

 

 

Top 5 Summer Reads for Teachers

 Only a few more weeks left, but who’s counting? Time start thinking about relaxing on the beach with a good book. We won’t judge if you pick a trashy romance novel for your first read, but when that gets old and you’re ready to reconnect with the world you love, we have a few recommendations that will inspire, motivate and gear you up for Fall! (Oops, sorry for dropping the “F” word in early June!) We’ve checked out a few “fun in the sun” books we think our teachers will love to dive into! This year we have chosen books to help ignite your student’s brains, create a more artful classroom and inspire you to overcome challenges. We hope you had a wonderful year and enjoy a long, well-deserved and restful summer.

 #5: Spark! The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain Spark

Get out of the desks! The latest research suggests that students will excel academically, if they are moving. Check out this book for incorporating movement in your classroom and stay tuned for The Teacher’s Academy new course, Move to Learn being released later this month!

Integrating the Arts#2: Integrating the Arts Across the Elementary School Curriculum (What’s New in Education) by R. Phyllis, Gelineau

Integrating the Arts in your classroom can be used to jazz up some of your old lessons and activities. Get some great ideas on how to incorporate art, music, drama and movement to increase engagement and academics in your classroom. Stay tuned for The Teacher’s Academy new course release, Integrating the Arts in the Classroom.

#3: The Bridge to Brilliance: How One Principal in a Tough Community Is Inspiring Bridgethe World by Nadia Lopez

Be inspired by the story of one young principal determined not to fail her students. Nadia Lopez started a school in one of the poorest sections of the country and faced an uphill battle to provide a safe, nurturing, quality education for her community. She has received several awards and national recognition for her efforts but her greatest achievements are her happy students.

Smile big moon#4: A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and Their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp by Mike Kerjes

Follow a special education teacher and his students on a journey to one of the most prestigious space camps in America. Mike Kersjes breaks down barriers to show his students that nothing can stop them from achieving their dreams. Take your tissues along for this one!

#5: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Make your bedWilliam H. McRaven

If you have not seen Admiral William H. McRaven’s 2014 Commencement address at the University of Texas, check out the YouTube video here. This book offers humble advice, hope and direction from a Navy Seal’s own life experiences. When life becomes too overwhelming, start the day by making your bed.

Need Professional Development this Summer? We can help!

The summer is not only a great time for teachers to catch up on reading, but also to get started (or finish up) those pesky professional development requirements. The Teacher’s Academy is created by teachers and we know how time consuming continuing education can be. Check out our online courses for cost-effective, relevant and convenient professional development.

Check out our Online Course Catalog for the most relevant, affordable and convenient professional development courses, created by teachers for teachers.

Click, Find Your State for specific details on professional development from your department of education.

 Have a great summer, teachers!

The Teacher’s Academy

Where teachers go to learn.

The Teacher's Academy

 

The FAQs of Professional Development for Teachers

Move over in-service days, The Teacher’s Academy is here!

Teachers are voicing their concern over wasting time in a lecture or workshop that doesn’t

TTA

relate to their craft, and schools are listening and adapting to their needs. The full-day in-service model is slowly being phased out in many schools. Some schools are offering a menu of workshop options for the day. Even so, it’s difficult to develop an instructional day that meets every teacher’s needs. We all have different areas of expertise, teach different subjects and have different struggles with our students. Administrators are catching on and allowing many teachers to find their own outlet for professional development. The Teacher’s Academy was born from these concerns. We are the fastest growing professional development company in the nation and have recently taken our accreditation international! Thanks for supporting us, and feel free to share this information with any teacher looking to have more control over their professional development experience!

How does customized Professional Development work?

Recently, many teachers have been contacting us and asking how they can get their professional development requirements through The Teacher’s Academy. We hear questions like…

Are you approved in my state?

A: Most likely! Check your state page. If your state requires an approved provider, we are likely on that list! If it doesn’t, it’s usually up to the district or administrator of the school. In that case, you can complete the Request for Approval form.

Do I get a certificate when I’m finished?  

A: Yes! And a Projects Feedback form for your records!Certificate

How do I submit my hours to the state?

A: In PA, we submit the hours for you! In other states, just print and submit your certificate (Certificates are customized to include all required criteria requested by your state).

How long does it take to complete a course?

A: It depends on two things: 1) The length of the course you chose (3, 6, 15, or 18 hour courses usually take close to the time specified, and 2) Your expertise in the subject matter. If you are a whiz at Microsoft Word, that 15-hour course may not take you the entire 15 hours. (Rest assured, you still get 15 hours of PD for taking it!)

Why does it take 5-7 business days to get my results?

A: Teachers are sometimes surprised to hear that real teachers (Yes, live humans!) are reviewing your course work and responding to questions. You will notice that the course projects are not easily assessed with a computer-generated multiple choice quiz. Teacher’s Academy course projects and assessments are varied for a variety of learners. (We practice what we preach!) Therefore, teachers, not computers, are the MOST effective tool we have for providing excellent service and support to our clients.

 What is the process of completing a course through The Teacher’s Academy?

A: It’s simple and we will spell it out for you in five simple steps!

 1.      Create an account at The Teacher’s Academy

Our teachers will use their accounts to upload coursework and maintain their records of completed courses.

 2.      Choose a Course

We offer courses in 3, 6, 15 and 18 hour increments. If you need just a few hours or all 180, we can help you! The Teacher’s Academy has a wide variety of topics ranging from technology to trends in teaching strategies to nutrition and mindfulness. Every course is designed by teachers for teachers!  Keep checking back, the Teacher’s Academy posts 3-5 new courses every year!

Roasted Thanksgiving TurkeyIMG_7716paint handsmindfulness pic

3.      Purchase the course and get started right away!

Once a payment has been processed, the course is sent to your email inbox immediately! You can start and finish your course at your own pace. J

The course text and most accompanying files are send in PDF format. Files are named in numerical order so you know where to begin. You will notice that you are not tied to your computer to complete the course! Teacher’s love that they can even print the course if they want! It’s also comforting to know that live support is a simple phone call or email away! We are here to help. J

 4.      Upload the Coursework

Once you have finished ALL projects required in the course, you are ready to submit them for review. Every course has specific instructions on uploading projects to your Teacher’s Academy account.

 5.      Final Project: Participant Evaluation Survey

The final step in completing your coursework is to complete the online Participant Evaluation Survey. This survey alerts the Teacher’s Academy Review Team that you have finished your course and it is ready to be reviewed. Within 5-7 business days (and usually earlier), you will receive a certificate of completion and Projects Feedback form from The Teacher’s Academy.

The Participant Survey might be the end of the course process for our teachers, but it is the beginning of the process for The Teacher’s Academy!

How does the Teacher’s Academy keep their courses innovative and relevant?

Every single idea, piece of advice, criticism and compliment is read and reviewed by the teachers at The Teacher’s Academy. Our team takes that feedback and uses it to create new courses or edit our current catalog. Many of our courses like, Nutrition, Mindfulness and our suite of Google and Microsoft courses came from teachers who gave us the idea on the Participant Evaluation Survey. As a matter of fact, we have tons of artists to add to our Rock History course when that gets edited later this year. We also have some cool updates for our Web Review and Tech courses, thanks again to the feedback and suggestions from our teachers.

I want to learn more about The Teacher’s Academy!

Teachers can find most of the answers to these and other questions on our About Us or FAQs pages. We take great pride in how we can help teachers earn professional development hours quickly with relevant content, so they can get back to providing excellent instruction to their students.

The Teacher’s Academy is always looking for creative ideas to develop new courses. Our professional development courses are relevant, affordable and created by teachers like you! Have an idea for a course? Fill out a Contact Form! Or check out our course catalog to find a course that inspires your next great idea.

3 Strategies that Engage Students

(That You Probably Haven’t Tried!)

Finally summer is here! With this school year safely in the rear-view mirror, teachers will have plenty of time to reflect on what worked and what will need to be improved upon for the coming year. Keeping students engaged in learning can be a struggle at any point during the year. Having a variety of ways to reengage students can be the difference between a good year and a frustrating one. (This applies to both you and your students.)

Luckily, student engagement is a problem with a wide range of solutions to choose from and fairly easy methods of implementation. Do you already employ these strategies? Take a moment and see if you are doing what some experts recommend and if not, take advantage of the insight from experienced teachers…These strategies work to get and keep students engaged- and their teachers too!boy with a lantern

1. Project-Based Learning (PBL)

In a PBL classroom, the students create projects as a way of demonstrating knowledge. Students are given a real-world problem or question and then given the tools and support to find a solution or answer. The students are responsible for the research, design and presenting the solution to the audience. The teacher acts as a facilitator, guiding the processes and using embedded assessment practices to monitor progress.  In many cases, an expert in the field will come in to help guide the students as well. The expert acts as another resource for students as well as a strong connection to the real world problems that need solving. Solutions are often presented to an audience with the intent to implement. Students get an extra boost of motivation when they know their hard work is for more than just a grade!

In other words, take the subject matter and apply the lesson to real-world problems. For example, my second graders this year were learning about recycling. In the old days, we would read about recycling in a book and then take a class on what we read. In my class, however, we take a trip through our school to go through the class trash cans at school! (Ewe…Gross! And the kids love it, and they talk about it at lunch, and eventually it becomes “one of those projects you get to do in 2nd grade!”) After collecting some interesting things, we examine and determine what can be reused, recycled, or replaced with a better option.

Of course a lesson like this comes with a little extra preparation, like getting gloves for the kids, asking teachers for cooperation in advance and reminding the students to wash hands afterwards! But the lasting effects of a project-based learning experience is worth it!

Here are a few resources to help you find more information on how you can implement project-based learning activities in your classroom: EdutopiaThe Teaching ChannelLesson PlanetTeach Thought

2. Genius Hour

This strategy, brought to our attention by Genius Hour.com, is a great example of how Young man using laptopeducation can look to industry for engaging. Employees at Google® get to spend 20% of their time, working on a project of their choice. The results have been impressive. During this “free time,” employees use their interest and expertise to solve problems, make processes more efficient or develop new software. It’s where Gmail was born! You might be thinking, “Yeah, well, those are professionals with a secure set of expertise. I’ve got a room full of silly 6th graders!” Even Google had to put a few parameters on the 20% time and you will too. Even so, it’s proven to be incredibly successful.

Many middle level and high school teachers have already adopted this philosophy, and their students are able to spend 20% of their class time working on solutions that are of interest to them. Genius Hour starts with a driving question or problem. The question or problem, although chosen by the student, must have a level of complexity that would require research. Once the teacher and student agree on the question or problem, the student uses a variety of different resources to try to answer the question or solve the problem.  Finally, the solution is shared with an audience. Many times, these solutions are posted on a shared site for anyone to view. This strategy develops independent learning skills, fosters creative thinking and brings fun back into learning.

Here are a few resources to help you find more information on how you can implement Genius Hour activities in your classroom: Mind in BloomTeach Thought

3. Makerspaces

Makerspaces are small, dedicated spaces in a common location, usually a library or an empty classroom. In a makerspace, students can tinker around with almost anything of interest: Legos®, Kinex®, clay, blocks, circuit boards, craft items, gardening, health, etc. These spaces do not require any type of technology and can be tied to the curriculum. Students can learn about a math or science concept and then create something that represents what they’ve learned. Some Makerspaces have 3-D printers on hand for transferring the concept into a tangible item. Of course, students can share their creations with teachers, other students or the rest of the world. Expect to see an increase in student engagement, determination and creativity after a Makerspace has been implemented in your school.F

Makerspaces can be found in New York, Colorado, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Ohio classrooms to name a few! Hopefully, some of these strategies will find their way into many more classrooms across the country.

Here are a few resources to help you find more information on how you can implement Genius Hour activities in your classroom: Makerspaces.comEdutopia, How the Maker Movement Connects Students to Engineering and TechYou Tube, What is a Makerspace?

Where to get even more great resources for professional development:

Check out The Teacher’s Academy website for some more great ways to keep teachers and students engaged all year long. Need to get caught up on those professional development requirements? Get them done this summer! The Teacher’s Academy is the place most teachers look to help maintain their certifications or fulfill teaching license renewals. Not sure if your district will accept TTA courses? Check out the Find your State Page and see if we can help. (We probably can!)

The Teachers at The Teacher’s Academy want to wish all of our amazing teachers and fun, safe and happy summer!

Top 10 Summer Reading List for Teachers

Hey Teachers, This one’s for YOU!

Every year my district releases the summer reading list for students. As a parent, I really appreciate how the books are screened, reviewed and rated. And as for my kids… Luckily, today’s book selection is way better than when I was young! They have enough entertaining reading options to last all summer. I, on the other hand, do not! Where are the book suggestions for teachers? Never fear, the Teacher’s Academy has got you covered. At the Teacher’s Academy, we know what teachers want (because we ARE teachers): Books that are entertaining, informative and make an impact. And it wouldn’t hurt if these books slipped in a little professional development!

The Teacher’s Academy chose 10 amazing professional development books that teachers will love to read this summer. These books will have teachers reflecting on their school year, recharging their batteries and planning new ways of inspiring their students.

So, if you are heading to the southern, sunny ranches in Texas, the northern adventures in Oregon, the east coast shores of New Jersey, or any of the fabulous cities in between, grab a great book for the trip and relax while you revive your passion for teaching!

10. CreaBookCreativeSchoolstive Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Ken Robinson, PHD

It is time to change our outdated factory model of education for a more effective, creative design. Ken Robinson offers ideas on creating a student-centered approach to learning and eliminating the burden of standardized testing. You will enjoy his wit and humor too!

BookWhisperer9. The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller and Jeff Anderson

Gather some ideas from a teacher who throws out traditional reading strategies and uses her students’ interests to nurture a love of reading. Donalyn shares her own teaching journey down a crooked path of trials, failures and finally, an awakening. She includes a recommended list of books for parents and teachers too!

8. Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Key to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits by Donalyn Miller and Susan Kelley

Donalyn Miller continues her teaching journey in the “Wild” by offering strategies on how to nurture of love of reading in your own students. This book is packed with management tools, lesson plans and assessment ideas.  Teachers can continue to improve their reading programs by doing more than just putting great books in the hands of their students.

BookStratospsphere7. Stratosphere: Integrating Technology, Pedagogy, and Change Knowledge by Michael Fullan

Michael Fullan believes teachers can escape from the traditional content-based curriculum and embrace the high-tech changes to develop higher-order thinking skills. He offers ideas on how to make these changes a reality for classrooms across the country.

BookMakeitStick6. Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown, Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel

Recent studies on how our memories work have shaped new strategies for teaching. Maybe using personal learning styles is not as effective as using more complex methods? Maybe cramming, underlining and highlighting are not effective study habits? Check out this very new teaching concept that uses activities like forgetting, self-testing and multifaceted learning, to build strong memories.

 BookUnshakable5. UnShakable: 20 ways to enjoy teaching everyday…No Matter What by Angela Watson

This collection of inspiring ideas will have you loving teaching again! Teachers spend so much time finding ways to develop that intrinsic motivation in their students – this book is a guide for teachers to find and develop their own intrinsic motivation, everyday.

BookLearnLikePirate4. Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz

This book is packed with ideas for teachers to employ in their classrooms! Here are just a few strategies teachers will learn: craft relevant (and interesting) lessons, provide opportunities for students to demonstrate leadership, instill confidence in your students, develop a sense of curiosity. The focus is on improving the whole child – not grades, Argh! Feel like a pirate now?

BookMindfulTeaching3. Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone who Teaches Anything by Debora Schoeberlein David with Suki Sheth, Phd.

This book talks about the positive effects of applying mindful practices in the classroom and offers strategies for implementing those practices. The Teacher’s Academy has a course called, Mindfulness in Education so no need to continue to express how much we love this one!

 BookTeachKidstoThink2. Teaching kids to think: Raising Confident, Independent & Thoughtful Children in an age of Instant Gratification by Darlene Sweetland, Phd and Ron Stolberg, Phd.

This book does double duty as a book for educators or parents. Many of our kids and students need instant feedback, instant answers, instant information and they can easily get it by doing a simple search on the Internet. How is this instant gratification affecting their minds? How do we teach patience and self-reliance?  This book has all the answers – but you’ll have to read through it, slowly. 🙂

BookFTest1. F This Test: Even more of the Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers by Richard Benson

Oh my gosh, every teacher must read this book… It’s hilarious! Sick of testing your kids? Well, they’re sick of it too! See the honest and hysterical responses kids write on their tests.

The summer is not only a great time for teachers to catch up on reading, but also to get started (or finish up) those pesky professional development requirements. The Teacher’s Academy is created by teachers and we know how time consuming all of that continuing education can be. Check out our online courses and you’ll see how cost-effective, relevant and convenient professional development can be.

The Teacher’s Academy is the proud parent company of Act 48 Academy. We provide Act 48 Hours for PA teachers and professional development hours for teachers across the USA including Texas, Colorado, Oregon, and much more!. Check out our Online Course Catalog for the most relevant, affordable and convenient professional development courses, created by teachers for teachers.

Click, Find Your State for specific details on professional development from your department of education.

Have a great summer, teachers!

 

“Whoever is happy, will make others happy too.”

-Anne Frank

The Teacher’s Academy is honored to introduce our April Teacher Feature, Mrs. Lisa Mancini!

Fostering a love for reading at the middle school level can be a quite challenge.  Kids spend so much time immersed in the fast-paced world of technology that they often don’t have the patience required to appreciate classic literature.  We met one teacher who is able to use her students’ interest in technology to keep them motivated, curious, and persistent in the challenges that come with developing strong reading skills.  Simply put, she nurtures a good old-fashioned, love for reading.

Spark CuriosityMancini

The beauty of Mrs. Mancini’s teaching is that she is able to develop her students’ comprehension skills in such a subtle way that they become captivated before even beginning the book.

On the day I met Mrs. Mancini, she was introducing, “The Diary of Anne Frank” to her lively 7th grade students.  Before they were able to open the book, Mrs. Mancini used the website http://annefrank.org to allow her students to experience a virtual tour of the secret annex where Anne and her family hid for 3 years.

The realization of war and the occupation of the Nazi army in Holland were sub-topics that her students quickly picked up on.   They asked questions about Anne’s older sister who was called to report to one of the camps in Germany.  They wondered about how Anne’s friends must have felt when she just disappeared, unable to say goodbye.  They considered the risks taken by her father’s employees to keep the whole family hidden. In short, they were able to make the deep connections to the people and events in the book that are vital to reading comprehension.  Did you forget we were in English class?  I did!

Performing Arts and Reading…

Next step, reading!  Not reading from a textbook or even the diary, but from a scripted play.  Mrs. Mancini skillfully incorporates the performing arts to allow her students to further immerse themselves in the story.  The students have already chosen which characters they will portray.  They sit together, practicing their lines, while Mrs. Mancini helps to further define the characters.

 “I never thought I’d see the day where Mr. Frank goes into hiding.” She states to her students.  “What does that sentence tell you about Mr. Frank?”

The students discuss what they know of Mr. Frank’s character thus far and devise several responses:

“He’s a good person.”

“He’s trying to protect his family or else he wouldn’t have to go into hiding.”

 Mrs. Mancini offers a little more guidance. “What kind of people go into hiding?”

The enthusiasm in the room is palpable as students jump to chime in.

“Criminals!”

“Bad people, people who are wanted by the government.”

“Mr. Frank is not a bad person. That’s why no one can believe he has to go into hiding.”

“Exactly.” Mrs. Mancini smiles and leads her students into a discussion of the other 7 characters and some background information to help set the scene.

The kids have lots of questions.

 annefrank“Why are the names different in the video?”  One perceptive student asks.

 “Anne was afraid to get anyone else in trouble.  She knew if they were caught and the names of the people who shared the annex with her were in her diary, the Nazis would punish them too.”

Mrs. Mancini continues to explain why Mrs. van Pels has on 7 layers of clothing and a fur coat in July and why Peter might be happy to burn his Star of David, but Anne can’t seem to let hers go.  She points out how Mr. Frank, the eternal optimist, continuously tries to keep everyone’s moods elevated, even in the darkest of times.

Her students are comfortable with their characters and the play begins…

Foster A Love of Reading

Mrs. Mancini gives stage directions and supports the integrity of the play by encouraging her students to read their parts like true actors…

“Come on Zac! This is the perfect role for you! How would you act if your mom was embarrassing you?”

With Mrs. Mancini’s encouragement, Zac (reading the role of Peter) over-emphasizes the total embarrassment of having such a doting mother, “Pleeease Mother!” he says, with the dramatics of a seasoned professional.  The classroom erupts with laughter until the student playing Anne chimes in with her eloquent voice, evoking the energetic spirit of the real Anne Frank.

Mrs. Mancini’s students continue to have fun reading their parts. Mr. Frank, Margot, Mrs. Frank, Mr. and Mrs. van Pels, Peter, Mr. Pfeffer and of course, Anne, enjoy experimenting with voices and emotions, while the rest of the class encourages the actors to “stay in character.”

At the conclusion of the play, the students are directed to write about the characters.  Using laptops, they log into www.goformative.com. Mrs. Mancini hands out slips of paper with the names of two characters the students can describe.

Incorporating writing immediately after interactive visuals and a dramatic reading makes her students better equipped to respond.  They get to work right away, with very little discussion. Soon the classroom is filled with the clicking sounds of confident writers. Students are able to post their responses onto the common page where Mrs. Mancini can quickly read or share the comments.

At the end of class, students gather to sign up for characters to portray during tomorrow’s lesson.  “I’m going to read the role of Mr. Frank! I can’t wait until tomorrow!”  Chirps one enthusiastic student.

Kindness and Giving… Keystones of a Successful Teacher

“My favorite thing about teaching is having the chance to play a small part in so many lives. Knowing that I have had a role in the education of so many young lives is very powerful. I also love the opportunity to start again each fall; it gives me the opportunity to improve my craft and set new goals for myself.”

Even with a story as tragic as that of Anne Frank’s, Mrs. Mancini is able to find elements of life and joy that she then brings to her students.

Not only does this create strong readers, but it also develops compassion and interest in historical events that students may not have been able to connect to previously.  And, perhaps even more importantly, it demonstrates Mrs. Mancini’s ability to teach her students that to avoid hatred we must embrace kindness.

Mrs. Mancini performs her own acts of kindness in many different ways.  Along with her entire school community, she supports the Kelly Ann Dolan fund, which raises money for families of sick children. She organizes the Lee National Denim Day at her school, to raise money for breast cancer research.  She is one of the 7th grade team leaders, as well as backstage support during school plays.  She also serves as the CB Cares Boomerang Award Coordinator.  (A district-wide initiative to honor students for small acts of kindness.)

“I love helping students earn recognition for the great things they do each and every day.”

As a graduate of Bloomsburg University and a daughter of two teachers, Mrs. Mancini never dreamed of doing anything but becoming a teacher herself.  She was inspired to earn an additional certification in German by a very special, energetic 13 year-old girl, who also had a great love of writing.

“I LOVE reading. My love of reading turned into a love of writing.  I see the two going hand-in-hand. Good writers need to be good readers and vice-versa!”

Mrs. Mancini works with LearnZillion and the Louisiana Department of Education, writing curriculum guidebooks for teachers. She is also a Graphite Certified Educator, which gives her access to some really cool technology.  On first impression, she presents herself as quiet and modest, but don’t let that fool you! This 21st Century teacher loves to stay active! She is a competitive triathlete and a mixed martial artist. She has been fortunate to have support from some awesome people in her life in order to accomplish all of these amazing things.  Her husband and two children join her for adventures whenever they can. Each summer, the four of them escape to North Wildwood with her in-laws so they can be outside and hang with family and friends.

As an energetic teacher who loves to read and devotes herself to making this world a better place, Mrs. Mancini has some pretty high hopes for her own students…

“I want them to find something they love and go after it. I want them to know that great things are possible with hard work. I want them to know that they might fall down along the way, but there will always be a way to get back up and keep going.”

Thank you so much, Mrs. Mancini!  Anne could not have said it better herself.

Check out The Teacher’s Academy to find an array of affordable, convenient professional development courses. All courses are Act 48 Certified and accepted in most states. Click here to find a course that works for you!

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.

 

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!)