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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

 

Getting Creative with Field Trips

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear brown bag lunches, matching t-shirts, bus rides, and chaperones? FIELD TRIP! The yearly field trip is a chance for freedom and a time to get away from the day-to-day and experience something nSchool Trip - Berlinew. Many teachers fall into a rut, going to the same place every year. Incorporating art is a great way to jazz up your field trip! Art-based field trips can often be cheaper and more inspirational than more traditional outings.

Here are some destinations that will provide your students with a whole new perspective on life!

MUSEUM

Viewing great works of art can inspire an interest in even the novice critic.  Many Pmuseums have programs specifically designed for field trips that guide groups through designated areas and point out interesting facts. These can be very helpful and require almost no work for the teacher, but there are ways to make them even more stimulating! Consider making a student scavenger hunt for featured pieces. Divide all kids into groups and give each group a different list of art to locate and report back on. You could even theme each group (find landscapes, portraits, sculptures, etc.) and have them solve a riddle or puzzle. To assist you in creating a scavenger hunt, reference the museums’ website for a list of their inventory and any special exhibits or upcoming features. Parents.com offers a list of the best art museums for kids, along with a description of what makes each of these museums accessible and interesting to the younger crowd. If you don’t have an art museum near you, any museum will do.  In college, I was assigned to go to the Natural History Museum in Pittsburgh and design a sculpture from a dinosaur bone. I had never considered such a thing and it really opened my eyes to a whole new place of inspiration. There is art everywhere!

SHOW

What do drama, dance, and music all have in common? They are all forms of art in motion. Having students draw the climax or major turning point in a play can help them remember it. If you are going to see the Phantom of the Opera as a class, coordinate with the art teacher to provide extra credit opportunities for students to do research on the theater or draw an interesting architectural detail they found in the opera house. Have students create an abstract work inspired by one particular song from the musical. They could design alternate costumes for a modern day ballet or make a flip book showing movement from a stack of post-it notes. The possibilities are endless. Check out our Teaching Drama Across the Curriculum Course for some ideas of how to make the performing arts an integral part of your lessons.

NATURE

YIn every state and every town in America you’ll find parks and green spaces to explore. Some of the best and most famous painters got all the inspiration they needed from the great outdoors. Impressionists like Claude Monet made their life’s work outdoors. They experienced certain challenges when creating art outdoors with temperature and light changes, along with wind and rain. Giving your students a few hours to explore and create awesome things in nature will heighten their awareness of the beauty all around them. Team up with the history teacher and do some research on how your local park started or do a joint lesson about the majestic landscapes that the early American painters like Thomas Cole created. Don’t forget to have each student bring a sketchbook and pens to take notes and make drawings of something interesting they’ve found. The Minnesota Department of Art Resources provides a helpful list of ideas to interweave art and music with nature and environmental studies.

INDUSTRY

My favorite episode of Mr. Rogers was when they went to the Crayola Crayon factory to see how crayons are made. There are tons of factories and plants that invite kids to come check out how things are built or processed. Team up with your science teacher and see how water is treated in your local city or take a trip to the recycling center. Bring back what you learned by creating a bulletin board summarizing the process for the whole school. Another great idea is to make your next art project out of all recyclable materials. Try making beautiful Chihuly inspired sculptures out of painted water bottles. (Look at all of these projects for kids inspired by Chihuly on Pinterest). Check your county website for interesting ideas about the industry that surrounds you.

VIRTUAL

Not every art teacher or classroom can afford to go somewhere for a field trip, but that shouldn’t limit your learning. There are tons of online resources to check out and explore a kids computerfaraway place. No public school can afford to send all of their students to Paris to see the Louvre and the amazing pieces of art it holds, but why not look at the Mona Lisa right in the museum from the computer lab? Almost every museum website features some sort of online gallery. A great place to start is by taking a virtual tour of the National Gallery of Art.

Whatever route you opt for, incorporating art into your next field trip will enrich the experience for your students.  The Teacher’s Academy is a proud supporter of the arts in education.  Check out the Art/Music section of our course catalog to find a list of classes to help you weave the arts into your classroom.  Start earning Professional Development classes the affordable, convenient way with The Teacher’s Academy.

The Best of Summer Education Conferences

Summer is just around the corner! Are you dreaming of some much needed pool-time, ice-cream-eating, back-yard BBQ fun? We are! After you’ve packed up your last classroom box and sent off your final report card comments, you will be free to relax and recharge for the next two months.  While you enjoy the “relaxing,” we’ve got you covered for ideas for “recharging.”

Education conferences are a great way to recharge! They provide a forum for meeting some of the most influential people in education and help you to gather new ideas and inspiration for your future classroom.  However, because there are a variety of educational conferences planned in cities all over the country, it can be difficult (and time-consuming) to choose the one best suited to your interests.

No worries! The teachers from The Teacher’s Academy have organized a list of high quality, worth-the-trip, educational conferences planned for this summer.  Our list of conferences includes: location, dates, theme, keynote speakers, a sampling of sessions and a link to the website for more information. Enjoy this quick glimpse of the most popular educational conferences and find the best way for you to recharge!

ASCD Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 9.35.23 AM
Hilton New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans, LA
Theme: Teaching Excellence
July 8-10

Keynote Speakers:

  • Andrew Miller, Education Consultant for ASCD
  • Darlene Axtell, Teacher, Counselor, Presenter for ASCD
  • Carol Ann Tomlinson, Teacher of the Year, recipient of All-University Teaching Award and best-selling author
  • Erik Powell, Teacher, Curriculum Designer, ASCD faculty
  • Nicole Clifton, Instructional Leader, Author

 Highlights of the ASCD conference:

  • Expand your professional skill set.
  • Target your learning needs.
  • Uncover teacher-proven secrets.
  • Cultivate relationships with colleagues and experts.
  • Advance your career.

Sample of Sessions:

  • Designing Project-Based Learning Activities for Rigorous Learning
  • Designing Lessons with Student Engagement in Mind
  • Improving School Culture to Improve Student Achievement
  • Creating a Classroom Environment Focused on the Whole Child
  • Lesson Planning for Creative and Critical Thinking Skills
  • NOLA as a Classroom: Travel as a Resource for Excellent Education

For more information visit the ASCD website.

 

NAESP National  Association of Elementary School Principals naesp
The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, MD
Theme: Best Practices for Better Schools
July 6-8

Keynote Speakers:

  • Daniel Goleman, Psychologist and Author
  • Dr. Russell Quaglia, President of Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations
  • Pedro Noguera, Urban Sociologist

Highlights of the NAESP conference:

  • Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities 
  • High Leverage Leadership (Practices for 21st Century Principals)
  • Emerging Issues (Game Changers in Education)
  • Transforming Schools (Equality & Equity)
  • Arts Education (Spotlight on the “A” in STEAM for 21st Century Learning)
  • Technology and Social Media (Curriculum Integration, Digital Tools, & Communication Strategies)

 Session Samples:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders at School: Life Literacy and the Pursuit of Content
  • Band of Brothers: A Focus on Making Good Boys Great Young Men
  • Cultivating Creative Thinkers, Innovators and Masters of Core Content Through Design Thinking
  • Diggin’ Deep: What Matters Most for Student Results
  • Connecting Learners to Schools: Building a Culture that Engages and Supports Student Learning

 Note: This conference might be geared towards principals, but there are plenty of workshops for everyone.

For more information visit the NAESP website.

 

ISTE  International Society for Technology in Educationiste
The Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO
Theme: Educational Technology
June 26-29

 Keynote Speakers:

  • Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist and host of TV specials on: The Science Channel, The History Channel, BBC and The Discovery Channel
  • Ruha Benjamin, Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.
  • Michelle Cordy, Inspirational 3rd Grade teacher from London, Ontario

Highlights of the ISTE Conference:

  • Experience the latest learning technologies.
  • Explore interactive teaching technologies that enhance creativity and learning.
  • Network with like-minded educators at the after-hours ISTE Campfires. These organic, participant-driven learning experiences, organized by topic, are designed for learning and sharing in an open environment.

Sample Sessions:

  • iPad for Early Learners: Create and Collaborate
  • Filmmaking for Teachers
  • The Essentials of Online and Blended Learning
  • A Day in the Life of a Google Classroom

For more information visit the ISTE website.

 

TCEC Texas Career Education Conferencetcec
Forth Worth Convention Center, Ft. Worth, TX
Theme: Career and Technical Educators
July 25-28

Keynote Speakers:

  • Adam Braun, Best selling author and Founder of Pencils of Promise, an organization that builds schools in poverty-stricken areas around the world
  • Mick Normington, Author and expert in understanding the types of skills needed in today’s work place

Highlights of the TCEC conference:

  • Explore the latest trends in Career and Tech Education.
  • Get advice from experts in the field on improving your program and instruction.
  • Network and connect with other teachers in the field.

Sample of Sessions:

  • Can I Use Your Pen? No! Go Make Your Own!
  • Learning Games: Anatomy and Physiology
  • New Teacher Orientation: Arch & Construction, Arts & A/V, Info Tech, Manufacturing and STEM
  • Claymation Basics
  • Bringing Cytogenics into the Classroom
  • Work Based Learning Training for Career Preparation/Practicum Programs

Note: This conference is specifically geared for career and technical educators like: Administrators, Counselors, Business/Finance Teachers, Marketing Teachers, Health Science Teachers, Manufacturing Teachers, Architecture Teachers, STEM Teachers, Arts, A/V and Communication Teachers

For more information visit the TCEC website.

 

Campus Technologycampus technology
Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA
Theme: Education Technology Conference
August 1-4
 

Keynote Speakers:

  • Richard DeMillo, Executive Director of the Center for 21st Century Universities
  • Stephen Downs, Program Leader, Learning and Performance Support Systems
  • Amy Collier, Associate Provost for Digital Learning Middlebury College

Highlights of the Campus Technology conference:

  • Experience interactive, education workshops that focus on the advancement of educational institutions.
  • Discover innovative solutions to drive student success.
  • Develop new teaching and curriculum models to align with 21st century conditions.
  • Meet the pioneers who are revolutionizing the field of education.

Sample of Sessions:

  • Virtual Reality and the Future of Learning
  • Spruce up Your Campus Learning Spaces without Breaking your Budget
  • Coalescing Data-driven Student Lifecycle Solutions in Higher Education
  • Technology Trend Panel: Strategic Planning in an Era of Transformative Change
  • From Zero to Hero: Setting Up a 3-D Printing Infrastructure
  • Digital Learning for Arts Education

For more information, visit the Campus Technology website.

 

The Teacher’s Academy is a company created by teachers for teachers. We are an approved provider of Act 48 Hours in Pennsylvania and Continuing Education Units in Texas. We also offer ACSI hours for our Christian schoolteachers across the country.  We provide professional development hours for busy teachers in most states like Oregon, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, etc.   Find your state page on our website!

 

We hope you have fun checking out these conferences, but we really hope you have more fun relishing all that summer break has to offer.  Enjoy, teachers!

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!

 

6 Ways to Heat up Your Classroom When it’s Cold Outside

Are your students unmotivated this time of year? So are mine…In fact, so am I!

For many students, February can be a difficult month. The holidays are no more than a The Teacher's Academyfaded memory and summer vacation is still far off the future. Add to that, freezing cold temperatures and short daytime hours, and often you are left with a classroom of tired, unmotivated kids. This is the time of the year I need a kick in the butt, an exciting venture, a new trick up my sleeve. Why not try something new and outside the box with your students?

70% of High School Drop Outs Cite Lack of Motivation as Major Cause

This lack of motivation is not only a hindrance to your students’ success at school, but can be a real danger to their futures. When surveyed, 70 percent of high school dropouts reported lack of motivation as being a cause for dropping out (Bridgeland, Dilulio and Morison, 2006). What are some things that we, as teachers, can do to bring back that excitement into our classrooms?

 1. Empower!

Give students more control. Kids are much more likely to be excited about an activity when they are empowered. Hold classroom meetings, ask for feedback, engage your students in the process of learning. Project Based Learning is a great way to get students The Teacher's Academyinvolved in a meaningful way. This method of learning is centered around a question or a challenge that students work on for an extended period of time. When done effectively, PBL can change the entire dynamic of your classroom. Your students will learn to work together, solve problems, and take charge of their own learning. Teach Thought provides links to a dozen online resources that will inspire and assist you in making Project Based learning a reality in your classroom.

2. Mindfulness leads to focus.

It’s not only the kids who feel the winter blues. Many adults feel it as well. Enthusiasm is infectious! Being upbeat and passionate about your lessons is one of the greatest motivators you can give your students. But finding that enthusiasm this time of year is the hard part. Take three minutes a day- with or without your students- and complete a guided meditation, write in a journal or do one good deed. These mindful acts pave the way for success both short and long term. The Teacher’s Academy offers a course on how to incorporate mindfulness exercises in the classroom. February might be a good time to look into it!

 3. Move!

One of the most difficult things about this time of year is the lack of exercise. Recess may be limited to indoor play, and after school sports may not be an option. The lack of movement can affect kids’ energy levels and motivation. Find creative ways to get your kids moving. Infuse today’s lesson with a “Brain Break.” Incorporate dancing and/or stretches into your routines. Take short walks around the campus when the sun is at its brightest. Or, simply take a field trip to the window to play a quick game of “I Spy.” A recent trend that has already hit the corporate world and now gaining popularity in schools to replace chairs with exercise balls. Many teachers have found that exercise balls keep kids more alert and ready to learn. Check out Go Noodles for some other great ideas to get your kids hopping!

 4. Performance Arts

Music, story-telling, role play, visual arts and drama are enormously helpful in motivating students. A study by Shirley Brice Heath of Stanford University found that young people The Teacher's Academywho participate in the arts regularly are much more likely to win awards for school attendance and and to be recognized for academic achievement. Teaching and the performance arts go hand in hand. Want more ways to infuse performance arts into the classroom? Check out The Teacher’s Academy course and earn professional development hours for your time.

 5. Make ‘em work!

Every opportunity should be taken to make students feel like part of the classroom community. Being responsible for daily classroom chores helps give kids a sense of purpose and commitment. Feeling that deeper connection can be very helpful in motivating The Teacher's Academystudents to come to school and do their best, even when they are not feeling up to it. Scholastic offers some unique ideas on how to make classroom jobs an engaging part of the school day.

 6. Be Encouraging!

The truth is, no matter what you do to make your classroom a stimulating environment, there will still be rough days. Whether there are difficulties at home, academic struggles, troubles with friends, or just the winter blues… students will sometimes be so entrenched in their own issues that it can seem impossible to motivate them. A warm, positive attitude and encouraging voice are sometimes the only things that get students through the roughest days. Display students’ work, recognize improvement, and make note of their successes, both big and small.

Teachers need a boost too!

Winter can be a difficult time, not only for students, but for teachers as well. However, as adults, we understand that no matter how unmotivated we may feel, we must remain accountable. One of the biggest responsibilities for teachers is fulfilling professional development requirements. Driving to take courses after work or on the weekends during the winter can be draining. The Teacher's AcademyLet The Teacher’s Academy make this task a little easier for you. Our helpful courses can be taken from home, at a time that is convenient for you. All of our courses fulfill Act 48 requirements and are accepted in most states. Contact us today and let us help you achieve your professional development goals quickly and effectively so that you can reserve your energy for the important work of teaching.

January 2016 Teacher Feature: Brian Blair

“Life is the hardest teacher, she gives you the test first and the lessons after.”

-Anonymous

 Hey teachers!  The Teacher’s Academy is excited to kick off 2016 with an introduction to a high-tech, innovative 9th grade modern American history teacher from PA.  (Yes, I used high-tech and history in the same sentence!)  You’ll be inspired by his out-of-the-box approach to teaching and motivated to create your own digital lessons.  It doesn’t matter what subject you teach or even the age, grade or ability level of your students.  Mr. Blair’s custom learning experiences are cross-curricular, engaging and adaptable to a variety of academic levels.

Get ready, because this is not your typical history class and Mr. Brian Blair from Bucks County, PA has no interest in being a typical history teacher…

Teacher Brian BlairThrough innovation, experimentation and communication, the lucky students in Mr. Blair’s classroom are obtaining the skills necessary for success in college and career while having a blast… in the past!  Images of modern American history cover the walls of classroom 501.  Louis Armstrong plays soft jazz music over-head as students file in and get settled.  The 1920’s culture is the theme for today, and to bring them back in time, Mr. Blair begins class by allowing students to observe and discuss a political cartoon from that era.  Even though they are separated by almost five generations, these savvy students are able to quickly observe striking similarities in the 1920’s culture and politics with our own 21st century society.   Students are given time to discuss the fear and symbolism in the cartoon while connections are made to a current events article.   The feel in the classroom is easygoing, safe and positive.  His students seem to know what is coming and are excited to begin their exploration of the 1920s.

 Innovation

Exploring history does not happen merely in books in this classroom, rather learning occurs in a digital realm.  Mr. Blair and his team of teachers have worked together to create digital learning experiences for students in grades 7 through 9.  Using Web 2.0 tools, students have access to the “Course Site” where videos, advertisements, pictures, articles and teacher-created questions related to the content have been posted.  (Teachers can also post questions or additional information while the students are working.)  There is a “comments” section for student responses, and they can also access the videos and articles from a home computer.  Students now have the freedom to review on their own or spend more time on an area they found interesting.

Creating an online curriculum takes planning and collaboration, but once the process is in place, the content comes to life.  This method is certainly a major change in the way teachers can deliver curriculum, but it in no way diminishes the role of the teacher.  In fact, the teacher becomes a crucial piece of the learning process by creating an environment that supports and challenges all students.  In this environment, the teacher has more time to coach one-on-one or clarify misconceptions and enrich learning.

Back to the ‘20s…

As his students gather their laptops and head-phones, Mr. Blair directs them to digital “stations” that he created so his students can experience history in a whole new way.  In Station #1 students are able to witness the popular roaring ‘20s dance craze “The Charleston.”  A picture of the actual dance steps is posted in this station for adventurous students who want to get out of their seats and try a few steps.  (Several do, to the delight of the rest of us!)

Station #2 introduces the dynamic changes in transportation that occurred in the ‘20s by allowing students to watch and/or read about Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight and understand how the assembly line allowed Henry Ford to build his Model T at the rate of 1 every 93 minutes!

“Oh my gosh!  There is a kid doing The Charleston on the wing of a bi-plane!”  Click on Station #3 and you get to see “barnstorming” the very real and death-defying entertainment of the 1920s.  (Thank goodness for Steven Spielberg!)

As the students begin to immerse themselves in the videos, the classroom becomes more vibrant and exciting.  Mr. Blair encourages the excitement by posting a few new pictures and tempting his students to check them out.  “I think I just found my favorite barnstorming image and I’m posting it on the Course Site.”  Frantically, the students search for the image.  It’s a picture of a few men playing cards while flying on the wing of the plane.  Hilarious?  Well, his students think so!

Experimentation

Since 2011, Mr. Blair has been the department coordinator and catalyst for introducing Web 2.0 tools into the classroom.  This has encouraged digital collaboration between teachers.   He is a proud member of a talented team of 7-9th grade teachers also possessed with the ambition for creating amazing learning experiences for their students.

“I work with an incredible team of teachers in my department, in my building and in this Mr. Blair's studentdistrict as a whole.  They are all great collaborators and expose the students to high quality teaching and learning daily.  We even have a member of our department here that is getting published and has a fledgling career as a historical rapper on iTunes.”

His decision to become the department coordinator did not come without some apprehension.  With the support of his principal, his new roll allowed him to completely redesign curriculum delivery using the latest technology which has had lasting effects on the department and, more importantly, the students.  He has incredible confidence and does not hesitate to take risks or experiment with ideas outside of the teaching “comfort” zone.  He is aware that things will not always go perfectly, but taking risks is important for growth and change.

“I think the best advice for anyone in this profession is to not be afraid to try new ideas or experiment with new technology.  I know at times we have a tried and true approach and we may not want to deviate from the norm, but some of my greatest moments as a teacher have evolved from trying a new digital platform or creating a screencast of content I used to stand in front of a class and deliver.  We sometimes need to refine who we are and what we do.  Sometimes it works and sometimes… it is dynamic…”

Communication

Mr. Blair has a natural read for middle school learners.  He has an easy smile and makes Brian Blairthe whole class feel comfortable communicating with each other.

“The students need to be comfortable talking in this class,” he says with a wide smile.

I know exactly why he’s smiling.  Student chatter can be quite uncomfortable for some teachers to accept, but learning to communicate effectively is a key skill that students will not learn by staying quiet.  Of course, anyone who works with 13, 14 and 15 year old students can also understand the challenge to get any kind of valuable response!  No doubt, these students were very comfortable discussing ideas with Mr. Blair, but most of the discussion happened between the students.  Discussions about the political landscapes, the differences in the cultures, and the similarities in our hopes and fears were happening in small groups all around me.   Mr. Blair supports students just enough so they are able to succeed independently and challenges others to dig deeper.  Some students formed strong opinions based on the new information gathered from the videos but also from listening to their peers’ reactions.    Many were practiced in the art of persuasion and used those skills to change minds.  His students are expert communicators already.

Mr. Blair mentioned his team of teachers more than once and, to an outsider looking in, it is clear that this team of teachers has created an effective, fun way to accomplish many academic goals.  Through collaboration and effective communication with each other, no one loses site of the end product.

History in the Making

Mr. Brian Blair began creating his own history in his junior year of high school.  As a teenager, he would sit in his favorite class (social studies) and imagine ways of using different types of visuals or primary sources to make the lessons even more interesting.  After graduating from Penn State, earning a Masters degree from Villanova and years of teaching experiences, Mr. Blair still imagines news ways to make his social studies class even more interesting!

He has been awarded by his district for in-house assessment services, worked for ETS, The National Board and currently contributes to Learning Bird.com.  (As part of Learning Bird, he creates short educational videos to increase student engagement and keep education moving in a digital direction.)  He runs a Claymation Camp with a fellow teacher at Bucks County Community College and has coached tennis and track for years.  Like any respectable Pennsylvanian, he is an avid participant in fantasy football and could be considered an originator of that great pastime considering his family involvement since 1972.  (Respect.)

Most importantly, Brian is the proud father of two little aspiring rock-star girls and a brand new baby boy!  I must mention that he happens to be married to another fantastic teacher who was featured in our 2015 line-up of amazing teachers. J

Back to the 21st Century

The time flew by and I seemed to have been lost in the super fun, “roaring” ‘20s, because class was about to end and I was not prepared.  I jumped to get my notes and continue my observation, but most of the students had filed out.  So, I thanked Mr. Blair and started to leave.

Just before I walked out the door, I had a chance to ask one of Mr. Blair’s lingering students about the class.

“What do you think about your history class?”

“It’s pretty cool,” she responded.

“Well, what do you think about your teacher?”

She too gave me a wide, easy smile, “He makes class really fun!”

I’d have to agree, Lexi!

Thanks Mr. Blair, for being The Teacher’s Academy January 2016 Teacher Feature! You are truly making history!

For more information about technology courses, social studies courses and professional development in your state, visit The Teacher’s Academy. It’s where teachers go to learn!

 

 

 

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