Works4Me - Ideas and Tips for Teachers, By Teachers
May 1, 2013
Create a Socratic Seminar
From Ann Wolter
An English teacher at Chambersburg Area Senior High School in Pennsylvania:
An interesting way to create a Socratic Seminar in your high school class - use colorful sticky notes!
In my class, I arranged all desks into semi-concentric circles. For a class of 20 students, I put five desks in the inner circle, and then arranged the remaining desks around the inner circle. The inner circle desks I labeled with purple sticky notes. These will be the first students to discuss the question. Leave room for one additional seat in the inner section that you can label "hot seat." Behind each of the inner circle desks, label five desks with a blue sticky. These students are evaluators - each will be assigned to one purple speaker, and they will evaluate their performance. Behind and around these desks, label five more desks with yellow sticky notes. These are the "next-up" students who are to carefully listen to and take notes on the discussion so that they are ready to jump in next and continue the discussion. Finally, the green sticky notes go on the remaining five desks. These students are also observers, but are not next-up. But they are in the rotation.
To begin the discussion, set a timer for 10 minutes (but I let it go over, if needed!) and put the springboard question that they prepared for up on the board. Let the students take the lead (or choose a leader, if that seems necessary based on the students) and get started. If any students in the outer circles wish to participate at some point in the discussion, they may move to the "hot seat" and contribute, then go back to their seat. The idea is that if a student has something to say about a particular statement, they have the opportunity to do so without having to wait until later, when the idea may be irrelevant.
When the timer is up or the discussion comes to a natural end, rotate the students: Purple to No color; Blue to Yellow; Yellow to Purple; No color to Blue. Continue to rotate until each student has had a chance to evaluate a student (blue) and participate (purple). The students love the structure of the rotation but the freedom and natural feeling of the discussion!
Dinosaurs in Language Arts
Mary Loomis, a first-grade teacher at Perry Local Schools in Perry, Ohio
Found In: creative writing, language arts, social studies
In the spring, our social studies unit includes dinosaurs. One way to combine language arts and social studies is to use the book called, What If I Were a Dinosaur. We read the story and then the children sequence the dinosaurs they meet in the story. They pick out the nouns and the verbs and identify the number of syllables in the dinosaurs' names. Finally, they write a creative writing piece
of their own about what would happen if the dinosaurs did come back. At this time of year, it keeps the children's attention and interest.
Equitable Team Homework
January 26, 2005
Mac Frazier, a seventh-grade communication skills teacher at Liberty Middle School in Morganton, North Carolina
I teach on block schedule as part of a three person team. I found that some students in my second and third blocks were working together on their homework throughout the day, even during other classes, until they would come to my class.
To prohibit copying and restore equity to other classes, I put a box with my name on it in each of my partners' rooms. My partners also did the same. Now when students arrive in the morning, they must place their homework in the boxes before school starts. We have homeroom at the beginning of the day, which gives us a
moment to go around and collect the homework. Students that do not turn in their homework at this time have points subtracted. It's equitable, and it encourages responsibility.
How to Celebration National Teachers Day
Thanking a Teacher today? Find out here.
recognizes teachers and thanks them for their service.
- Parents: Show your
support for educators by taking our pledge.
- Teachers: Celebrate
Teacher Appreciation Week with Carnegie Corporation and our partners. Upload your photo of inspired teaching and you could win $3,500 for your favorite school!
- Congratulations to the five outstanding teachers who have been selected for induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2013.
An Unexpected Thank You
During Teacher Appreciation Week, NEA member Courtney Bertsch-Martin was surprised at a school assembly, where she received a thank you gift in appreciation of her collaborative work on social media, sharing teaching ideas with colleagues.
Resources for Celebrating National Teacher Day
- Ideas and activities for celebrating National Teacher Day
- Five easy ways to make a difference in the lives of teachers
- Artwork and posters
- Sample proclamation
- Sample news release
- Quotes about teaching
- Celebrities Name Their Most Memorable Teachers
(PDF, 306 KB, 38pp)
- History of National Teacher Day
Information on the Teaching Profession