The Right Foot


It’s August and that means teachers everywhere will be preparing for the new school year. The edtech and edublogger communities are doing the same as they do their “back to school” blog posts with ideas and resources galore. I’ve collect a few for you to peruse as you prepare your classroom for the new school year.

Always ready with a plethora of resources is Larry Ferlazzo posted some great first day ideas as suggested by his commenters. Larry provides you with a rundown of the kinds of things he does with his students on the first day. Then, he adds suggestions from his readers in order to provide additional perspectives. The greatest asset of Larry’s blog is that he posts regularly and updates older posts constantly. Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day is a definite addition for anyone’s blogroll.

Pernille Ripp over at Blogging through the Fourth Dimension takes a different approach to the first day of school. Instead of listing all the things she (or her readers) will do, she prefers to list what she won’t do. What you’ll find is a surprising and insightful list. Luckily for us, Ripp provides an explanation for why she’ll leave certain first day traditions out. Here’s an example:

Give you a list of my rules; we will make expectations together.

For those of my readers who are currently in eMINTS training or have completed their two-year commitment, you’ll remember how students can take so much more ownership of their classroom when they can make the class expectations with you. Be sure to check out Ripp’s other suggestions as their are just as valuable to creating a cohesive classroom community.

A new year means trying new things, right? Richard Byrne lists “11 Techie Things for Teachers to Try this Year” on his blog, Free Technology for Teachers. A couple of the suggestions are components of your eMINTS training (social bookmarking, creating a website) and some are newer, exciting ideas to try (creating a class wiki, using maps to tell a story, etc.). Even if you don’t use all of Byrne’s suggestions, you should certainly use the post as inspiration to extend your eMINTS training this year and try something new with all the great online tools that are out there.

Sometimes we are rusty on our teaching practices and pedagogy thanks to a long summer of rest and relaxation. For a little refresher on Bloom’s Taxonomy, check out this video explaining the levels of the taxonomy using scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl[1]

Bloom\’s Taxonomy According to Pirates of the Caribbean

Before I sign off, I have two other things for you to ponder as the school year begins. First, read this post by Will Richardson. It will make you think and question how we teach, kids learn, and for why we send children to school. It’s a short post, but thought-provoking nonetheless. Second, on a lighter note, be on the lookout for students using Sharpie pencils. They’re basically like erasable pens. However, after 24 hours, the ink becomes permanent. Check out the new Sharpie pencil here.

I hope this post gets you geared up for a great school year. Let me know what you plan to do for your first day of school in order to get the year off on the right foot.

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1I’m sorry if you can’t see the video. This might be a good reason to get your schools block on YouTube lifted. It is a wonderful resource with many great videos with fantastic educational value.
2The way I understand it, the packaging claims that the ink becomes permanent after 24 hours, but the Sharpie company is saying three days.

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