Flipped classrooms. Project-based learning. BYOD. Homework & standardized testing overhauls. These are some of the big-picture aspects that help define the 21st century education landscape. But when we approach it with only these kinds of large-scale changes in mind, the shift will be daunting and slow. Here are five minor 21st century habits to try out for major potential for change!
You’ve probably noticed that approaches to education and business tend to clash. After all, we spend about 13 years training students to memorize and then produce results in bubble sheets (which tends to untrain them from their natural tenacity, creativity, and passion), and then we suddenly hope they’ll be innovative and creative leaders once they join our workforce. One way to help beat this paradox: find applications for improved educational practices among the advice columns in the business world. Below are just a few examples.
Have you ever played with Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button? Well, you should–and so should your students who are looking for inspiration or a challenge (especially if they feel they are always “done”).
Martin Luther King Jr.: civil rights activist, nonviolence champion, Nobel Peace Prize awardee, assassinated martyr. Help students understand why the that holiday honors his life goes beyond having a day off school!
Welcome back to HGU for a fresh year! We hope you enjoyed a restful and relaxing holiday break, and that you are feeling rejuvenated for school. Here to offer some inspiration for your classroom New Year’s resolution-making are a few of our readers’ favorite posts in 2014, along with some suggestions for low-stress, high-impact goals.
Best of 2014
If you are currently researching language arts programs, you won’t want to miss this teacher-tested review!
Research continues to back up the fact that reading to your children–even older children–provides literacy benefits. So don’t skimp on read-aloud time just because you teach preteens!
Several members of our HGU team tried out and reviewed Fluenz, Pimsleur, and Rosetta Stone to help give some guidance in choosing a foreign language program.
30 different math, science, and art games–all free, student-tested, and teacher-screened!
Possible Goals for 2015
*Become a Google Educator:
With the abundance of free professional development opportunities online, there’s no reason not to start taking your PD into your own hands in 2015! What we especially like about Google Courses for Educators is that they help teachers fully harness Google resources in the classroom, broken down into bite-sized 5-30 minute lessons.
*Create a Donors Choose project:
Math board games, a document camera, 2 iPad Mini’s–these are just a few items I received through the generous donors on Donors Choose over the past few years. Be sure to watch for match offers or Chevron’s Fuel Your School to increase your chances of funding!
*Write personal notes to every student:
Cut up card stock and reserve just a couple minutes of your prep time each day to write a couple of meaningful letters to students each day. Express your admiration for their perseverance, confidence in their potential, and enthusiasm for their progress. Not only will you foster a positive class atmosphere, but you’ll help beat out the gray midwinter blues to which so many of us are susceptible.
*Pick just 1 new edtech to integrate:
Instead of getting overwhelmed by the many choices for technology integration in the classroom, choose just one this year. Student blogging, Twitter, flipped classrooms, and virtual field trips are a few of our favorites.
Featured Image (visible on mobile layout only this version): BazaarBizarreSF vis Flickr
Sure, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media may be a great place for exchanging selfies and cat videos, but what about when you come across legitimate information in social media that backs up your research?
Over the course of the past couple decades, we have moved from card catalogs, to library computer searches, to articles published online, and now on to social media! It can feel overwhelming to keep up with the most modern methods of research, especially when it comes to the various APA or MLA citation formats. Hopefully, this post will be a useful resource for you as you decide when and how to cite social media finds!
The TeachByte graphic below is an excellent general guide for both MLA and APA citations. However, as anyone who has done any research knows, certain instances can get more complicated than general guidelines. For instance, what if you want to cite an expert who sent you a personal communication, and it’s not publicly visible for audiences to click on? Or how do you know how to cite in-text vs. your bibliography reference list? The official APA blog answers these questions and more in greater detail using examples from their post in October!
As with all research, you will want to make sure there is plenty of variety among your sources. Just because it is now acceptable to cite social media does not mean it should consume most of your bibliography. Additionally, because of the unique nature of social media Tweets, posts, and videos in that they can go viral even if they are inaccurate, you will want to be particularly careful when considering whether to use one. The information literacy website, EasyBib, provides an excellent Infographic to help you in that decision-making process.
…It’s all about giving each individual the credit they deserve for their efforts and ideas! When in doubt, discuss your concerns with your teacher or professor!
Pete Simon (featured image)
Chelsea, L. (2013, Oct. 13). How to Cite Social Media in APA Style. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from: http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2013/10/how-to-cite-social-media-in-apa-style.html
Success in school is often measured by the grades you get. For some of us, getting good grades is more than difficult–it seems like no matter how we try, we can’t follow through. With this list on getting good grades (that applies to all levels), maybe we can change that and get on the path to good grades…
Five steps to getting good grades
I. Get Organized
If you’re anything like any of us at HGU, we sometimes get caught up in the organization and forget to move past the step. We sometimes find ourselves lost in endless check-lists and to-dos that never get done. Don’t get us wrong, organization is important (hence why it’s on the list), but don’t get lost in it!
- Get a planner. Most phones have calendars, and smartphones have apps you can download for daily checklists. (See our top smartphone apps post here). At the beginning of every semester, get your syllabus and go through your calendar/planner and mark all the due dates, tests, and projects. You can even color code if you’re feeling crazy.
- Organize your workspace. This helps avoid losing things, and it helps our minds feel in order if our space is in order. Don’t believe us? Try it out!
- Schedule time for study. Decide how much time you need to devote to each class and pick specific times at which you will buckle down and study.
II. Learn the Information
They key to getting good grades is learning the information. This seems obvious, but so many people try to get by with cramming and learning just enough to get through each test. That method is more stressful and less predictable. Sure and steady is the way to go! As a similar warning from the organization section, don’t let your desire for perfect flash cards take you so long that you don’t actually get to study them.
- Figure out your learning style. Are you a visual learner? Auditory? Hands-on? A combination? Figure it out, then apply those methods to your study and your in-class note-taking.
- Read the texts. Everyone hates this, everyone tries to avoid this and most people don’t make it past this point on the list. Why? Because college reading is hard, we totally understand. That’s why we made a post with tips for college reading. If you’re not in college yet, this is still incredibly helpful and it can’t hurt to prepare.
- Take good notes. Notes are critical to good grades, because the things that are taught in class are what you’re going to be tested on. Like we said at the first bullet of this section, your learning style demands you take notes in a certain way. If you’re an auditory learner, don’t spend the class time with your head in a notebook; instead, listen and during breaks or lulls, take a moment to write/type the things you remember from class. Write in the margins of your books. Place sticky-notes in important places. Clearly mark them.
- Study your notes. If study guides aren’t provided by your teacher, find out what will be on the test and make your own. Review your class notes during specific study times that you’ve set apart for the day or week, even if the next test isn’t for weeks. This helps cement the information and you’ll find yourself actually learning!
- Get friends involved. Friends or classmates are great for helping you learn the material. Ask them to quiz you. It’s important to say your answers aloud. This forces you to form your thoughts into sentences and makes concepts turn into more concrete statements.
- Participate in class. There’s a reason participation is usually part of your grade. Those that participate in discussions, activities, and study groups are more likely to understand the information from multiple perspectives. Also, this is a great skill to practice for situations outside of school. Being able to discuss respectfully and maturely are great qualities.
- Ask for help. If you don’t understand, ask. Teachers are there to help you. It’s literally what they get paid for. Ask the questions. If you’re not comfortable doing it in class, ask for a meeting, but sometimes you asking a question in class will help other students who might also have that same question. A lot of schools offer free tutors to students, so check out those options at your learning institutions and take advantage of them.
III. Do. your. homework. Seriously. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
The hardest part for most people is doing the assignments or readings that feel like busy work. Well, whether you like them or not, agree with them or don’t, if you want to get good grades, you have to do them. It’s important to realize we’re not entitled to good grades. You have to work for them, and like most things in life, that sometimes means doing things you think are stupid, dumb, or of no use. Good grades get you to good colleges which give you more opportunities–and then you can make the rules!
- Do assignments ASAP. Starting assignments right after they’re assigned will help you remember and apply what you learned in class. Even if the assignment isn’t due for two weeks, do it right away. Nip that procrastination flower right in the bud.
- Do extra credit. Yes, it is more work that isn’t required, so why would you do it? Here’s a great life lesson: people are separated in life by whether or not they choose to go the extra steps by doing more than is required of them. Boom.
- Make homework a top priority. There’s a story of a man who has a to-do list. He prioritizes activities for the day by assigning them a number. 1’s have to get done ASAP. 3’s should be done today, but are optional. He finds he would rather start with the 3’s because they seem more fun. Don’t fall into that trap. Make priorities and stick to them. True discipline is doing the dirty work before indulgence.
- Have study parties. If you really just need your friend-fix, invite a few friends over to work on homework. The only stipulation is that everyone must bring assignments to work on, or else conversations will spring up and no one will get anything done. Great excuse to order a pizza, too.
- Don’t plagiarize. Just don’t. Do your own work. You might be able to fake it for a while, but no one can fake knowing things for very long–not to mention getting caught could put an end to your college career. Some schools won’t accept students who have been disciplined for plagiarism.
IV. Prepare for your Tests
- Stop cramming. As was mentioned before, cramming is stressful and will likely make you frustrated. Some students take pride in staying up all night before a test to cram all the information they can. Wouldn’t you rather be the one who has learned the information over a long period of time, and the day before the test is simply a review of the most important information? Wouldn’t you rather approach a test calmly and with confidence? Confidence comes from a solid foundation built over time, not scrambled together all at once.
- Get sleep. Being well-rested, eating a good breakfast, and being relaxed are great tips for life in general–especially for tests. If you have to choose between staying up to study and sleep, pick sleep. It’s much better to go to bed early and wake up early. You’ll feel better.
V. Make Good Decisions
If you want good grades, you have to make decisions of a Grade-A person. You have to be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t handle.
- Choose the right classes. This doesn’t mean choose the easiest classes, but maybe don’t schedule your whole semester with the hardest teachers. Balance out your schedule with the hard, impressive classes AND the simpler ones. Don’t take 25 credits in one semester. Heck, don’t even take 18 unless you want to hate yourself! (Or have your grades suffer). Know your limits. Be honest with yourself.
- ATTEND YOUR CLASSES. Does it matter how well you choose your classes if you don’t go? No. So go. Even if you don’t feel like it. With some teachers, just showing up to class is enough to earn extra points–not to mention the stress it will be to try and catch up.
- Keep track of your grades. See how you do on tests and learn from it. Ask teachers for clarification if you don’t understand.
- Manage your time. Be wise, young grasshopper. It’s important to be well-rounded and have a well-rounded schedule. Don’t spend 100% of your time on any one thing, or you will go insane.
- Haters gonna hate. People might look down on you for prioritizing your studies. Who cares, do whatever feels best for you.
In conclusion, there will always be sacrifices. You may have to sacrifice a night out for a night in to finish a paper; however, if you find yourself sacrificing a social life in general, maybe you’ve given yourself too big of a workload. It’s all about balance! Have confidence in yourself! You can do it!
Featured Image: Stefano Montagner