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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Teacher Observation Beginnings

Evaluation Basic Beginnings

Administrators expect a few steps in your evaluation. Here is a short list to expand or rehash your memory on the beginnings of a great lesson. I decided not to go into the full evaluation lesson because I didn't want to info overload anyone.

Before you start your lesson, make sure you have all your supplies ready where you can easily find them. I know this sounds basic, but have you ever had to look for something missing when teaching? Imagine having to do this during an observation. Yikes!

Justin Timberlake was a Shelby County Schools kid.
JT and me for a Set
He has nothing to do with teacher evaluations,
but he's awfully cute and a good set, so I posted him here.
If that doesn't grab your attention, nothing will.
  • Set - You need a basic start up to catch your students' interest. Tell a relevant (and clean, ha, ha) joke. Show a film short, play a song, throw out a relevant question, match the learning to something of interest to them.  For example, say, "Harry Potter has to do this before buying a new wand.," etc. Whatever you do, keep in mind that kids are different than we were. They need something that says, "Hey! Listen to this." 
  • Standards - Don't ya hate 'em? It may seem stupid to throw out a number to a bunch of kids who could care less, but those administrators really like to know what you are teaching. If nothing else, have that standard written somewhere visibly in the classroom. Actually, definitely have the standard on your board. Find kid speak to tell the kids what they are learning and don't forget to have them say that learning objective back to you or to a classmate. Throughout the lesson, you want to remind the kids of what they are learning.
#TeachersPayTeachers #TpT #education
Past Learning to make lessons meaningful
In the past, I learned that coffee grounds did nothing to improve my complexion.
But, they are great for getting rid of ants;
so if you have ants on your face, cover liberally with coffee grounds.

  • Past Learning - This step may not always be needed, depending who is watching you, but it's a nice touch. Do what you can to make the lesson relevant to the kids by mentioning how it can be used or how it relates to past learning. Evaluators love lessons that can be tied into other things in meaningful ways. This could also be part of the set. For example, "Where have you seen or might we see analogies?

Hope this was helpful. Tune in next week for ways to deliver the meat of the lesson with gradual release tips and formative assessment techniques.

I have a lot of lessons in PowerPoint that are good for evaluations. Check these out!

Fact and Opinion PowerPoint lesson on TeachersPayTeachers

Area and Perimeter Word Problem lesson on PowerPoint

Musical Monday Moves Me

This week is a freebie, so since this post was about beginnings, I'm going to post a song by that name from, Chicago.

Also, since I posted Justin Timberlake on my blog, I have to make sure you know who he is . . . as if you didn't. This song is called, "Supplies." What a coincidence. Not! Hopefully, you won't be kissing in the classroom or having a dirty little girl telling you to, "Just die, already!" Needless to say, nothing out of the mouths of babes surprises me anymore.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Pop-In Evaluations and Music, Too

During my time teaching, there was never anything more nerve-wracking than the pop-in evaluation, which often occurred in January or February; however, I remember waiting until half past April, one year. It seemed like it didn't matter how long I had taught, I'd still feel that familiar jump in my chest when the administrator headed into my room. Plus, it wasn't just me. As a specialist teacher, I saw many classroom teachers jump when I opened the door to pick up their kids.

We'd all talk about pop-in evaluations after the fact, or the rumors about who got hit and where teachers saw the administrator headed. "Can you believe she sat it Mrs. Teacher's room and waited for her and her class to come in from recess?"

Blog post about teacher evaluations
One co-worker got so nervous that she forgot her kids' names . . . and this happened during the second semester. Another teacher had her pop-in right before Christmas. In the middle of her evaluation, kids pointed at the clock and yelled, "Miss T., we're missing the Christmas party!" I kid you not. This really did happen at what I called, "Hell Elementary," where I got stuck teaching for two years.

Nervousness is normal. We all feel it, except for maybe the teacher who is ready to retire. Nonetheless, after multiple pop-ins, I got familiar with what it takes to score high and retired as a level five teacher. On our scale, that was great!

Evaluation Tips

Ask and Listen

Before you have your pop-in evaluation, you're bound to have had a planned evaluation with a pre-conference. I've seen these pre-conferences as optional and required. Either way, you should definitely go for it. Become familiar with what the evaluators are looking for and do as they say. If you got tips after your last evaluation, put these into practice. Not just when you think you're going to be evaluated but all the time. Which leads me to the next tip.

Establish a Teaching Routine

There are certain things evaluators look for in ALL evaluations. These vary from administrator to administrator, but certain habits need to become just that. To not do what the evaluator wants in all of your lessons is to set yourself up for failure during the pop-in. How many times do we forget what we should do when we are nervous? It doesn't matter if you are teaching or pulling someone's cavity. You have to be comfortable with the needed steps! If you practice good teaching, ALWAYS, your autopilot will kick in, and you'll be a success.

Thanks for tuning in. Next week, I will get specific about the basic requirements of an evaluation.

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Link to get FREE teaching resources for GT class.

Monday Music Moves Me

Since it's time for Monday Music Moves Me, and the topic is a freebie, I will post songs that relate to this post in some way. First up is Gloria Gaynor's song, "I will Survive."

Next is "Teacher, Teacher" by 38 Special.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Planning for the New Year

Advice for New Year for teachers to plan in / how to
Clipart from The Little Nerdy Teacher

New Year Plan

It's a new year and everybody seems to be all about goal setting. I've also heard that people who set goals and actually write them down are more likely to achieve them.

So, what are your plans for 2020?

As a teacher, I often felt like it was simply staying afloat. I was a Special Education teacher for gifted and talented students. That probably doesn't sound right, but in Tennessee, giftedness is a handicapping condition. That's how we funded our program.

Years ago, I had a parent who would constantly brag to his coworkers about how bright his daughter is. Then, he attended an IEP meeting and received his "Parent Rights for Children with Disabilities" pamphlet. He left it in his car, which he lended to a co-worker. The bragging caught up to him because the teasing didn't stop.

Tip: Set Goals Early

To stay afloat, I would work to stay at least one week ahead on my IEP writing. Planning ahead, I would use any slower weeks to write future IEPs. If I had a crazy future week, I didn't wait until the weekend before to get writing.

Lesson planning was a little trickier because you never know what you'll finish in class. As a result, I was a huge overplanner. I'd plan more than could ever get completed in one class period and then scoot the unfinished over to the next class. This was helpful in keeping up with my plans. Now, if you have an administrator who expects you to complete absolutely everything you write in plans, place these activities, elsewhere.

Who Taught One Year Thirty Times?

Teachers who teach one year over and over, again
I didn't have these 30 years, ago.
Clip art by Clever Cat Creations

We've all heard about the teacher who taught one year thirty times. With the constant curriculum changes and trends, that is no longer possible! However, if you find something great, there is nothing wrong with pulling it out again next year. Why not keep a folder of these lessons. Heck, you can actually keep ten folders, one for each month of the school year. I can't imagine falling into the trap of teaching the same year over and over. Just not possible these days, so chillax! 

Have a Happy New Year!

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Monday Music Moves Me - New Beginnings

Here is one of my old favorites, "Danny's Song" by Loggins and Messina.