Tuesday, June 1, 2010

End of the School Year Rant

So, only a few more days are left of the 2009-2010 school year.  If you're a teacher with thin skin, stop reading now.  If you're open to constructive criticism, please read on.

What is up with all the movies?!  Ever since the achievement tests were history for another year, most every teacher in my area has been showing a movie (fiction, popular culture, not educational or even edutainment) at least twice a week.  Seriously?!?  Why have my kids and I been waking up at the crack of dawn?  Why not make the school year end when the No Child Left Behind testing is complete?  OK, I get that it's stressful to teach to the test all year, but now would seem to be the time to add all the cool hands-on crafty learning exercises.  Out of ideas?  Use the Internet!!!

Remember this blog?  It's all about resources from vetted sources for supplementing your classroom activities.  Out of ideas for creative use of time?  Put down the DVD remote!  There are phenomenal resources available online that you should be able to share with your whole class.  I'm not aware of any fees or other restrictions on the sites highlighted here.

Put this on your to-do list for next year: Plan to have your class participate in the Junior Ranger Program (or Web Ranger Program) through the National Parks online (www.nps.gov/webrangers/ or http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.cfm). Pick a park or topic that relates to your students' abilities, interests, or your subject.  Print off the workbooks and try to do the Junior Ranger activities from the classroom using Internet resources.  Or log on as a class to earn badges together through the Web Ranger program.  After you've done a patch or two, or more, as a class, send information home about the program for summer activities for families.  Use individual computer time to work toward individual badges.

Please consider using the down time to teach kids that learning can be fun.  Allow them to pursue their own interests now that the test is behind them.  By doing so, you'll be encouraging the lifelong learner.

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