Huntington Connects Connecting you to the latest news, tips and academic resources Tue, 11 Aug 2020 21:38:47 -0400 Zend_Feed_Writer 1.12.17dev (http://framework.zend.com) https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog rss@huntingtonhelps.com (Huntington Learning Center) Huntington Learning Center How to Be a Resource for New Teachers in Your School If you’re a veteran teacher, you probably remember what it is like to be a newbie: scary, exciting, overwhelming, and all-encompassing. How can you be a resource to the new teachers in your building?

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Fri, 10 Jul 2020 13:08:55 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/being-a-resource-for-new-teachers-in-your-school https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/being-a-resource-for-new-teachers-in-your-school Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center If you’re a veteran teacher, you probably remember what it is like to be a newbie: scary, exciting, overwhelming, and all-encompassing. How can you be a resource to the new teachers in your building? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Make them feel welcome. Early in the year, introduce yourself and let your new colleague know that you’re glad they’re part of your teaching staff. Offer to show them around, or invite them to have lunch together during their first couple of weeks on the job. Get your colleagues in on the welcome committee, too.
  2. Give advice when asked. You’ve likely learned many of the lessons that new teachers have yet to learn. Let them know that you’re happy to share any of your experiences or insights when they need it.
  3. Share your tools for planning. Over time, you’ve probably found a few great online or other resources that help you with planning and being effective as a teacher. Why not share them with new teachers? They can do their own legwork, but sharing great websites and best practices with others ultimately improves student learning and makes your school stronger.
  4. Be willing to show new teachers how you do things. That might be how you organize your room, assess your students’ progress, or engage and build trust with parents. These are areas that new teachers will need to learn on the job, but having access to your expertise could make things much smoother.
  5. There’s plenty of opportunity for you to share what you know, but sometimes what a new teacher needs is a listening ear. Be supportive of new colleagues learning the ropes and acknowledge that the first year of teaching is one of the hardest. Your friendship and encouragement can make a world of difference!
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Why Every Teacher Benefits from Having a Mentor Teaching is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs there is, and it does take some acclimating to get into a groove. One thing that can help tremendously is having a mentor to turn to and learn from as you move through your career. 

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Fri, 10 Jul 2020 13:03:09 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/why-every-teacher-benefits-from-having-a-mentor https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/why-every-teacher-benefits-from-having-a-mentor Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Teaching is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs there is, and it does take some acclimating to get into a groove. One thing that can help tremendously is having a mentor to turn to and learn from as you move through your career. Here are a few reasons you need one, whether you are a new or seasoned teacher: 

  • To navigate your many responsibilities. If you’re a new teacher, you’re learning right now that you have many responsibilities, some of which you maybe weren’t aware of previously. Someone with more experience than you can help you learn how to balance your job in the classroom with everything else on your plate. And this goes for the rest of your career as well—teaching is a journey, and it is nice to have someone to help you figure things out as you go.
  • To learn best practices for professional development. Professional development is important as a teacher, and it’s helpful to have others sharing with you what programs and classes have benefitted them the most. Your mentor can help steer you toward the most valuable ways to improve your skills and expand your knowledge.
  • To have someone with whom you can celebrate your milestones. Family and friends will always be happy for your career successes, but there’s nothing quite like having a colleague to turn to when you are excited about something or striving toward a goal. The mentor-mentee relationship is one of mutual respect and collaboration. Done well, it can be a real win-win for both you and your mentor, fueling your career growth. 

Finding a mentor early in your career can make a tremendous difference in your happiness and longevity. Find out if your school offers a formal program. If not, approach a teacher you admire about the idea. You (and your future mentor) will be glad you did!

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What Does Remote Learning Look Like During the Coronavirus Pandemic? Chances are, your school is getting you up to speed on what remote learning will look like during the time that students must stay home from school. Here’s what is going on in different schools and districts around the country.

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Mon, 20 Apr 2020 17:34:44 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/remote-learning-during-coronavirus-2020 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/remote-learning-during-coronavirus-2020 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Chances are, your school is getting you up to speed on what remote learning will look like during the time that students must stay home from school—or maybe you’re already rolling. Here’s what is going on in different schools and districts around the country: 

  • Laptops for students – Some school districts are already working to distribute laptops that have been loaded with assignments to students, while others are working out those details now.
  • Paper packets – Some districts are providing younger students (kindergarten through first or second grade) paper assignments every couple of weeks, although this could change with the extension of remote learning into April.
  • Wi-Fi for all – For communities or homes without Wi-Fi access, schools are getting creative by encouraging families to drive to and park in school parking lots to access the internet and complete work there if needed. In other areas, schools are outfitting school buses with Wi-Fi to be used as wireless hotspots throughout their communities.
  • Live broadcast learning activities – Schools are broadcasting activities through group video and audio conferencing tools such as Zoom and WebEx. These tools allow teachers to continue lecturing and showing students how to do problems as they would do standing in front of them.
  • Posted videos for independent learning – It’s likely that many schools will have teachers post videos and assignments that students can access and refer to on their own time (which could be in addition to live lecturing via video conferencing). This will probably happen through a platform like Google Classroom. 

On March 20, 2020, Google introduced Teach from Home to help teachers during the coronavirus crisis. Schools will be figuring things out in the days and weeks to come and possibly introducing new tools over time. You and your students can expect some trial and error as district leaders work to determine the best way to ensure students can continue learning and progressing.

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Talking to Your Students During a Crisis The global coronavirus pandemic has affected every person and industry around the world. As a teacher, this obviously has a tremendous impact on you your students, and some might handle it better than others. 

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Mon, 20 Apr 2020 17:29:57 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/talking-to-students-during-a-crisis https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/talking-to-students-during-a-crisis Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center The global coronavirus pandemic has affected every person and industry around the world, including education. Schools everywhere have moved to remote learning – or are in the midst of doing so. As a teacher, this obviously has a tremendous impact on you your students, and some might handle it better than others. 

This new normal might never feel normal, but all of us must find a way to take steps forward. How can you be helpful during this global crisis? Here are some tips on how to communicate with your students about it: 

  • Acknowledge the range of emotions. This crisis might be the most difficult thing many of your students have been through in their young lives. Some might be traumatized, while others might be doing fine. Recognize each day in your interactions with your students that you understand that everyone is dealing with the situation differently, and those feelings are valid. Be as positive as you can without dismissing the very real range of emotions.
  • Be honest about adjusting. No school in the country (or the world) has been able to prepare for remote learning as adequately as they would have liked. So, there will inevitably be some bumps in the road with teaching in this new way. Let your students know that you’re doing your best and that you want their feedback on how they’re grasping things –because helping them learn is your priority.
  • Invite students to share. If your class is using discussion boards during this period, allow time each day for them to share how they are feeling about current events. Many of them might appreciate having people outside their families to talk with about their fears and reactions.
  • Encourage students to reach out for help when they need it. If your school district has deployed counseling resources for students, make sure they are aware of them. This is a time of uncertainty, and many students will need help navigating the changes, ups, and downs of the months to come. 

The world today is vastly different from the world a couple of weeks ago. Your students need you to lead them in this time of crisis. Be the role model they need, remind them to keep connecting with you and others, and do your best to provide them a sense of routine as you move ahead with remote learning for the next month or more. More than ever, they will appreciate it.

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Three Tips to Get Your Students to Ask More Questions As students advance through the grades, some become reluctant to speak up for a variety of reasons. Here are three ways to encourage your students to keep asking questions.

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Mon, 20 Apr 2020 17:26:24 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-get-students-to-ask-questions https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-get-students-to-ask-questions Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center If you teach kindergarten, you know how curious young children can be. They want to understand how things work and why, and they aren’t afraid to ask what they want to know. But as students advance through the grades, some become reluctant to speak up for a variety of reasons. Here are three ways to encourage your students to keep asking questions: 

  1. Don’t give the answers. Yes, your job is to teach, but deliver information and lessons in a way that invite your students to meet you halfway. Don’t just step in when they get confused; instead, show them what to do, step by step. When it makes sense, let them figure things out on their own, and be there to guide them. 
  1. Answer their questions with questions. There are times you’ll need to give your students answers, and there are times when you should urge them to think more deeply or approach problems in new and different ways. When your students want you to just answer or solve something for them, redirect them to come up with and test new ideas. Give them a few nudges in the right direction with your line of questioning. 
  1. Establish a classroom culture of respect. Make students feel safe to ask thoughtful, honest questions. Encourage everyone in your class to listen to their peers and give one another feedback. Be a good role model by asking questions of your students and facilitating conversation. It can be helpful to make participation and engagement part of students’ grades. 

Asking questions is an integral part of learning, but some students feel timid about doing so. Keep encouraging your students to raise their hands. Learning to think critically and question ideas will benefit them.

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The Importance of Routine in the Classroom As a teacher, you know that the most successful students are those who are organized and efficient and who embrace solid routines. How can these routines positively impact students who are struggling and reinforce those succeeding?

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Mon, 20 Apr 2020 17:22:07 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/importance-of-routine-in-classrooms https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/importance-of-routine-in-classrooms Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center As a teacher, you know that the most successful students are those who are organized and efficient and who embrace solid routines. In our work with thousands of children every day at Huntington locations around the country, we have discovered a few truths about routines and why they can mean the difference between a successful student and a struggling student. 

Here are some tips to share with your students and their parents: 

  1. Routines help students become independent and responsible. Routines put the onus on students to get things done, which instills in them a sense of responsibility. Such structure also encourages students to take ownership and pride in their work.
  2. Routines get students thinking about their goals and how they can achieve them. With routines in place, students will find themselves with more time for the things they want to do. Also, sticking to routines is all about self-discipline, and self-discipline is what it takes to reach any goal.
  3. As responsibility increases, so does students’ confidence. When you put your students in the driver’s seat and their parents reinforce that independence-building at home, they become more confident in their own abilities. Confidence means students are willing to ask questions and try new things, even if it means failing from time to time.
  4. Good routines minimize stress. Procrastination is a natural tendency of many students. Show yours that routines and a schedule help them make the most of their time, which gives them more time to enjoy their lives outside of school. Just like routines help your classroom run smoothly, they help students’ lives run smoothly too. 

Help your students establish good routines in the classroom and encourage them to stick with them. Your students might not understand the importance now, but as they progress through school, they will recognize that having routines in place for high school and college creates a solid foundation that will equip them for lifelong success.

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Tips to Make Parent-Teacher Conferences Productive Parent-teacher conferences are around the corner, and there’s a lot to do to get prepared. Here are several tips to keep your conferences positive and productive.

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Sun, 15 Mar 2020 13:08:37 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/making-parent-teacher-conferences-productive https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/making-parent-teacher-conferences-productive Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Parent-teacher conferences are around the corner, and there’s a lot to do to get prepared. Here are several tips to keep your conferences positive and productive: 

  1. Know exactly what you want to cover. With 15 or 20 minutes per family, it’s best to go into each conference with a clear agenda. Give parents a brief but comprehensive snapshot of how their children are doing in class. 
  1. Speak in specifics, not generalities. Be thorough in your overview of each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and progress in all subjects. Allow a little time for parent questions, too. 
  1. Have a folder of examples and data to share. Parents will be able to better digest what you tell them if you show them tangible examples of their children’s work. Think charts and graphs of test scores, samples of graded assignments, and other visual aids. 
  1. Offer actionable tips. Provide parents a list of ideas to work on at home with their children. If possible, use some of the examples of past work to explain what you are looking for from students, whether that is doing neater work or answering all questions thoroughly and completely. 

Lastly, end things on a positive note. Make parents comfortable by reminding them that you are there to help, that you invite them to reach out with any questions or concerns, and that your goal is to help their children succeed. That constructive and optimistic approach will keep your conferences focused on what matters most: your students.

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Celebrating Read Across America in Your Classroom You want your students to read more, and this month, there’s a great opportunity to encourage that: National Reading Month and Read Across America!

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Sun, 15 Mar 2020 12:57:56 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/celebrate-reading-across-america-in-your-class https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/celebrate-reading-across-america-in-your-class Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center You want your students to read more, and this month, there’s a great opportunity to encourage that: National Reading Month and Read Across America!

March is National Reading Month, a great chance to encourage your students to make reading a part of their daily lives. In addition, the National Education Association (NEA) observes Read Across America, a year-round program with special events promoted on March 2nd, the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss.

Here are a few tips on how to promote reading in your classroom by celebrating Read Across America:

  1. Read a class book. NEA offers teaching resources for various books with ideas for creating lessons and activities that supplement learning. It also offers questions for discussion or reflective learning.
  2. Bring in guest readers. Those might include parents, local authors, or others in your community.
  3. Make time for book sharing. A little book show-and-tell can get students excited about what they and others are reading. Talking about a book is often part of the fun for students, after all.
  4. Host a book swap. Encourage students to bring in a book they enjoyed and would like to trade for something new.
  5. Extend reading each day. If you have the ability, add a little extra quiet reading time to your daily activities.
  6. Make it a year-round celebration. NEA has a full calendar of activities with books of the month for elementary, middle school, and teen readers.

For more information about Read Across America and ideas for how to promote and celebrate reading in your classroom, visit www.readacrossamerica.org.

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Five Tips for Teaching Gen Z Sun, 15 Mar 2020 12:18:55 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-teaching-gen-z https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-teaching-gen-z Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Today’s children, teens, and young adults are considered Generation Z (roughly ages 7 to 22, according to Bloomberg News). These digital natives spend lots of time on social media platforms and grew up using smartphones for just about everything. How can you teach them best? Here are several tips:

  1. Make lessons engaging. Generally, Gen Z students learn best when lessons are hands-on and require them to participate and interact with one another. They like kinesthetic learning and prefer it over sitting back and receiving information.
  2. Use apps to interact. These students move quickly, and they are used to having information at their fingertips. They are fast thinkers and want teachers to respond quickly to their needs. Try offering brief, meaningful feedback on homework assignments and responding to questions using a classroom app.
  3. Divide up classes into bite-sized chunks. Most experts agree that Gen Z students have shorter attention spans due to their “always on” nature and frequent interactions and connections with multimedia environments. The more you can incorporate short brain breaks into lessons, the better for your students’ retention.
  4. Get students involved. With Gen Z, lessons absolutely must be engaging. Begin lessons with something interactive rather than simply reading aloud while everyone listens. For an English research paper, for example, try rotating students through stations, with one station reading together through a text, another working on outline brainstorming (with your guidance), and another working on and sharing their introductory paragraphs.
  5. Take time to talk about appropriate sourcing. Gen Z considers Google an integral part of learning and relies on technology to answer all kinds of questions. While this generation is digitally literate, they need to understand how to determine whether a source of information on the internet is accurate and reliable. Teach them about inadvertent and intentional plagiarism as well as evaluating online sources for trustworthiness and correctness.

Your Gen Z students are visual, quick, and curious. Offer them daily opportunities to discover, create, and think critically in ways that are experiential and hands-on. 

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How to Help Students with Time Management Successful students know how to organize themselves and manage their time effectively.  If you have some students who seem to spin their wheels when it comes time to work or who frequently hand in late assignments, it might be time for a time management tune-up. 

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Wed, 19 Feb 2020 12:56:30 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/student-time-management-help https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/student-time-management-help Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Successful students know how to organize themselves and manage their time effectively. If you have some students who seem to spin their wheels when it comes time to work or who frequently hand in late assignments, it might be time for a time management tune-up. 

Here are a few tips for how to help your students improve their time management skills: 

  1. Make use of the planner. Hopefully your students are accustomed to using their planners, but if not, work on fostering that habit. Make it a daily practice at the start and end of class to have students record homework assignments and anything they have due that week or beyond. 
  1. Have students block out schedules. A day planner is very useful, but it’s also helpful for students to have a visual reminder of everything they have to do one week at a time. Encourage your students to use the hourly section of their weekly planner to record any sports practices or other commitments. Remind them that it’s a good habit to put everything on the calendar so they can quickly identify the best times for studying and relaxing. 
  1. Teach the art of prioritization. Your students have a lot on their plates. Teach them how to quickly divide homework into several groups: items due the next day, items due that week, and items coming up soon. Next, have them sort due-next-day work from hardest to easiest, which will help them visualize their priorities, decide on an order, and create to-do lists. 

Time management is essential for your students’ success. Help them nurture this skill in order to minimize their stress and avoid procrastination in school and all areas of their lives.

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Tips to Engage Students Through Multi-Media As a teacher, you’re always looking for ways to get your students’ attention and engage them in deeper thinking and learning. Using multi-media opportunities within your teaching can be an effective way to further engage and motivate your students.

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Wed, 19 Feb 2020 12:46:29 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/multi-media-in-the-classroom-2020 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/multi-media-in-the-classroom-2020 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center As a teacher, you’re always looking for ways to get your students’ attention and engage them in deeper thinking and learning. Today’s students demand more than information delivered via textbooks and lectures. They are quick thinkers and processors and have grown up with technology, which expands their learning options greatly. 

Teaching using multi-media can be very effective. Here are a few tips for how to do so: 

  • Enhance class communication. Encourage students working together in groups to communicate using tools like Edmodo or Schoology. Social media or other communication platforms let students continue working together after the school bell rings and give them a central place to share ideas and documents. They also serve as a hub where you can post information about assignments and deadlines. 
  • Amp up those presentations. Whether you use Google Slides or another tool in your classroom, there are lots of ways that you and your students can bring presentations to life with images, audio clips, iMovies or video clips, or even computer animation. 
  • Make better study guides. There are many apps and tools to help students create in-class quizzes, flashcards, and other study aids. Studying on the go becomes easier, and many students especially like the ability to track their progress on their smartphones. 
  • Use videos to teach. Apps like Educreations allow you to create video lessons that students can watch as homework or video tutorials they can use to study challenging concepts on their own. 

Using multi-media in the classroom has lots of advantages, but it takes effort. That effort is worthwhile, however, as multi-media can strengthen student learning and engagement, improve student-student and teacher-student collaboration, and make your lessons more exciting and interactive.

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Five Tips for Teaching Your Students Work Ethic You’ve probably wished before that all your students would have an excellent work ethic. Students who work hard recognize that their future successes and failures are largely within their control and that the effort they put into their work is directly tied to outcomes.

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Wed, 19 Feb 2020 09:08:25 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/teaching-work-ethic https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/teaching-work-ethic Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center You’ve probably wished before that all your students would have an excellent work ethic. Without question, it is a determining factor for long-term success. Students who work hard recognize that their future successes and failures are largely within their control and that the effort they put into their work is directly tied to outcomes. 

So, what can you do to teach your students a strong work ethic? Here are several tips: 

  1. Praise effort, not results. It’s easy to congratulate your students for those As and move along, but instead, take the stance that earning an A means a student was diligent about listening, studying, and doing homework. 
  1. Encourage students to take pride in what they do. Find ways to guide students toward personal satisfaction as they learn. Set the stage that you believe your students can succeed and give them some control over assignments. Consider allowing them to choose between essay topics or incorporate their personal interests into a science project. 
  1. Give them class responsibilities. Let your students know that they all play an important part in the classroom. Give them appropriate jobs, which helps you keep things running smoothly and gives them a sense of responsibility. 
  1. Set goals together. Have students set personal academic goals at the start of each semester. Set class goals together. Talk about how to break down bigger goals into smaller steps. This teaches your students how to work toward the things they want. 
  1. Teach time management. A productive student is a thriving student. Teach your students how to manage their time effectively, which combines self-discipline with goal-setting. 

Remind your students that so much is possible when they are motivated and persistent. The good work habits they establish today will carry them through life and guide them toward success in anything they choose.

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How to Fight Plagiarism in the Digital Age Plagiarism isn’t a new problem, but it has become a more obvious issue in today’s digital age, where a world of information is at every student’s fingertips, and it’s too easy to copy, paste, and save. How can you teach your students not to plagiarize and deter this unethical behavior? 

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Wed, 29 Jan 2020 16:38:41 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/how-to-fight-plagiarism-in-the-digital-age https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/how-to-fight-plagiarism-in-the-digital-age Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Plagiarism isn’t a new problem, but it has become a more obvious issue in today’s digital age, where a world of information is at every student’s fingertips, and it’s too easy to copy, paste, and save. How can you teach your students not to plagiarize and deter this unethical behavior? Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Educate them about it. Your students have grown up using technology, but don’t assume that they know what it means to plagiarize. Explain that stealing others’ work, intentionally or not, is cheating and will get them in big trouble. Give examples of work that has been improperly cited or copied verbatim (or close). Create a handout so that there is no confusion.
  • Give clear guidance. Articulate your expectations of students. Clearly, you don’t want them stealing paragraphs from the internet, but when and how should they cite sources? Are there situations where it is acceptable to incorporate ideas shared by others into one’s own work without crediting the source?
  • Discuss the consequences of plagiarism. Your school and/or district probably have guidelines in place regarding the punishment for academic dishonesty and plagiarism. Go over these rules as well as your own with students.
  • Use plagiarism checkers when grading. There are plenty of software tools and websites out there that will help you check that your students are not copying work from any published sources. Ask your school technology department if they have a recommendation or if your school already has a subscription to a tool.
  • Talk about the importance of not copying other students’ work, too. With social media and photo text messaging, it’s easy for students to help each other out with a quick snapshot of homework or notes. Let students know that you are watching for writing assignments and written responses that look identical or very similar and that the consequences of copying each other’s work are the same as plagiarizing published work. 

Ultimately, it’s important that you remind students that those who plagiarize are only cheating themselves. Establish rules, educate your students on best writing practices, and use tools to help you keep your students honest.

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Five Things Your Students Learn from Field Trips If you’re all about allowing your students to learn by doing, keep in mind how beneficial field trips can be for them. Designed well, these outside-the-classroom experiences get students engaged and excited.

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Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:21:49 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/five-things-your-students-learn-from-field-trips https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/five-things-your-students-learn-from-field-trips Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center If you’re all about allowing your students to learn by doing, keep in mind how beneficial field trips can be for them. Designed well, these outside-the-classroom experiences get students engaged and excited – and not just to get out of the classroom. Here are five things your students will learn from field trips:

  1. How class teachings translate to everyday life: The topics your students read about in textbooks are brought to life when they have the opportunity to see those concepts in action, as they will on certain types of field trips.
  2. What kinds of jobs exist: There’s nothing quite like taking students on a field trip to expose them to the many types of careers out there and fields that they could work in one day. Before any field trip, you should take the time to share more about the people who work in those areas and why their jobs are important.
  3. How things really work in the real world: It can be hard for some students to fully grasp ideas just by hearing you discuss them. Reading about the railroad is interesting, but going to a museum to see how locomotives work and the behind-the-scenes details of the construction of railway systems puts it all into perspective.
  4. The importance of different cultural institutions: Whether you take your students to a historic place or a nature and science museum, this type of exposure to objects, artifacts, history, and other learning opportunities can have a major impact on your students.
  5. How they learn best: By their very nature, field trips are different from standard school days. Students get a lot of hands-on learning and absorb information visually, aurally, and kinesthetically. The trips might open students’ eyes to the learning styles that suit them well.

Field trips immerse students in new settings, which can be a lot of fun. Most importantly, they boost students’ critical thinking skills, stimulate their learning, and help them retain knowledge.

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Do's and Don'ts for Teaching with Technology As you know already, technology can enhance your lessons and empower your students. But there are effective and less effective uses of technology in the classroom.

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Wed, 15 Jan 2020 14:53:42 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/dos-and-donts-for-teaching-with-technology https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/dos-and-donts-for-teaching-with-technology Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center As you know already, technology can enhance your lessons and empower your students. But there are effective and less effective uses of technology in the classroom. Here are a few dos and don’ts: 

  • Do embrace technology that furthers student learning. Use tools that are relevant to what you teach and have a clear purpose. Talk with other teachers to learn what they use and how they find it beneficial.
  • Don’t abandon successful traditional teaching methods. Technology use for the sake of technology use isn’t the goal. Find ways to amplify your teaching with technology, not completely upend an approach that works.
  • Do use technology to make your administrative tasks easier. Many tech tools and apps allow you to be more efficient at what you do every day: grading, answering questions, offering research resources, tracking student progress, and more. Take advantage.
  • Do make sure any apps used do not replace deeper thinking. There are so many different learning apps available that can help students quiz themselves, reinforce concepts, and much more. But be sure these apps are used appropriately and not in place of other activities that facilitate deeper analysis.
  • Do use technology to engage students. Technology allows you to infuse exciting, dynamic content into your daily lessons. Digital storytelling, interactive lessons, live surveys – the list of options to transform your classroom is long.
  • Don’t consider technology an add-on. It’s easy to stick with what works, but be careful not to just do what you’ve always done plus add in some technology. Ultimately, technology should help you achieve learning outcomes and improve your instruction. 

Technology can strengthen your teaching and your students’ learning. Take the time to ensure any tools you use will help you to achieve your objectives and to be the most effective teacher possible.

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Transition Your Students into a Good Second Half of the School Year Motivating your students after the holiday break can be difficult. Many students struggle to get back into the routine. Here are a few tips on how to re-energize your students for the spring semester: 

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Wed, 08 Jan 2020 13:32:41 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/transition-your-students-second-half-of-year https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/transition-your-students-second-half-of-year Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Motivating your students after the holiday break can be difficult. Many students struggle to get back into the routine of homework and studying after a couple of weeks off, with the end of the school year in sight and their brains still in vacation mode. What can you do? Here are a few tips on how to re-energize your students for the spring semester:

  1. Ease into it. Plan out your first month back to school strategically, saving the more intensive work for a couple weeks into the term. If possible, use the first week back as a refresher on where you left off before holiday break.
  2. Engage your students in some planning. Set some goals as a class. You have milestones to reach between now and spring break (and the end of the school year), but invite your students to contribute their ideas on exactly how you’ll do so.
  3. Have students write personal goals. This can be a very inspiring exercise, getting students into the right mindset to make the most of the rest of the school year. Talk about the importance of setting SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and t
  4. Clean up and clean out. Your classroom might not be as tidy and organized as it was at the beginning of the school year, and most likely, neither are your students’ backpacks, desks, and binders. Take some time to get your class organized and back on track as the year begins.
  5. Be enthusiastic. Your energy will be contagious, so share with your students what you’re excited about this semester, and open the discussion to learn about what they’re looking forward to as well. Talk about some of the fun projects or units you have coming up. Take a student-centered approach to get them engaged.

With a little effort, you’ll get this year off to a great start. Lay the foundation for success with some planning—and a lot of excitement.

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Teacher Tips to Get the New Year off to a Great Start Holiday break is behind you, yet your students still seem to be in vacation mode. What can you do to get things back on track quickly?

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Wed, 15 Jan 2020 14:44:41 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-start-2020-great https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-start-2020-great Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Holiday break is behind you, yet your students still seem to be in vacation mode. What can you do to get things back on track quickly? Here are a few ideas for how to re-energize students for the winter semester:

  1. Catch up. Talk with your students about what they enjoyed about their breaks. Make the transition a little smoother by easing into the work and giving students a chance to restore that camaraderie with their classmates.
  2. Set class goals. Surely you have an agenda for this semester, but rather than tell students what it is, talk through your objectives for student outcomes and get their buy-in. Invite student input where you can.
  3. Go over expectations. January is a good time to refresh students’ memories on class expectations and processes that you went over at the start of the school year. Share your expectations and consequences for not meeting them and trust your students to behave accordingly.
  4. Have students write their own goals. Some students might have already thought about their New Year’s resolutions – why not dedicate some class time to that process, too? The first week back to school, ask students to think about what they want to accomplish this semester, academically and otherwise, the steps they’ll need to take to get there, and how you as their teacher can support them.
  5. Tidy up. Get your classroom in order, and have your students get their desks, binders, and backpacks in order, too. Yes, you could spend your free time doing this, but getting your students involved gets them more invested.
  6. Survey students. What did they like about the fall semester? What projects or lessons were particularly engaging? Talk about things you’d like to do differently throughout the winter and spring and ask for their ideas.

Lastly, be enthusiastic yourself! Nothing is more inspiring than your own attitude, so if you’re eager and forward-looking, there’s a greater chance that your students will be, too.

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How to Be a Transformational Teacher in 2020 You want to help students master content while also maximizing their potential, both in the classroom and life. Here are several tips to help you engage in transformational teaching practices that have a long-lasting, positive impact on your students. 

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Tue, 31 Dec 2019 10:41:44 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/how-to-be-a-transformational-teacher-2020 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/how-to-be-a-transformational-teacher-2020 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center In business, you often hear about transformational leadership, wherein leaders create a vision, inspire others to achieve that vision, and execute important change with buy-in from those around them.

So, what does transformational teaching look like? Research published in Educational Psychology Review describes transformational teaching as “creating dynamic relationships between teachers, students, and a shared body of knowledge to promote student learning and personal growth.”

Here are several tips to help you engage in transformational teaching practices that have a long-lasting, positive impact on your students:

  • Engage students in active learning. Your students should not be passive receivers of information; rather, they should be active participants in their own learning. Assign work and activities that invite them to explore ideas, analyze, synthesize, and articulate their thinking.
  • Aim for student-centered learning. Differentiate your instruction by paying close attention to students’ needs, abilities, interests, and learning styles. Give your students choices (when feasible) and autonomy. Foster their responsibility as self-directed learners.
  • Foster collaborative learning. Encourage students to work together, but also create experiences that give them opportunities to solve problems and discuss one another’s ideas. Allow your students to challenge themselves and their understanding of different concepts.
  • Whenever possible, have your students tackle complex problems independently and in small groups. Scaffold your lessons through good modeling activities, guiding them to be independent as learners.

You want to help students master content while also maximizing their potential, both in the classroom and life. Guide them, support them, and teach to them to think. The results will amaze you.

“Transformational Teaching: Theoretical Underpinnings, Basic Principles, and Core Methods” by George M. Slavich and Philip G. Zimbardo, Educational Psychology Review, December 2012

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Life Advice to Share with Your High School Students High school is a transformative time for students. Your students will benefit most from your support and encouragement. Here are a few words of wisdom to share as they navigate the journey through high school. 

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Thu, 19 Dec 2019 12:08:20 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/life-advise-to-share-with-high-school-students https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/life-advise-to-share-with-high-school-students Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center High school is a transformative time for students. There’s the obvious focus of preparing for college (and deciding if and where to go), and so many lessons to be learned along the way. Whatever subject you teach, keep in mind that your students will benefit most of all from your support and encouragement. Here are a few words of wisdom to share as they navigate the journey:

  • Be a sponge. The stress of planning out life is real, but your students should focus more on being open to learning new things and willing to stretch themselves.
  • Ask for advice. High school students don’t always realize how many knowledgeable people are all around them. Remind your students that reaching out to teachers, parents, family friends, and others will offer them many new perspectives.
  • Pursue sincere interests. Getting involved in something is worthwhile, but tell your students not to do so solely for the resume. They should join activities that sound like fun and interesting opportunities to grow and learn.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out. Some students have had their hearts set on a career path since they were eight years old, while others apply to college with no major in mind. Some students may even choose not to attend college in favor of a trade school or other path. Any of these scenarios is fine. Let your students know that high school and college are their chance to explore.
  • Be yourself. There are many social pressures in high school. Teach your students that fitting in isn’t as important as they think. Encourage them to look inward, not outward, to decide who they want to be, and to surround themselves with people who accept them as they are. They’ll be happier in the long run.
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Building Great Relationships with Your Students The more you foster good relationships with your students, the more your students will feel comfortable in your classroom. Here are a few tips to help you build quality relationships with your students.

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Thu, 19 Dec 2019 12:06:34 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/building-great-relationships-with-your-students https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/building-great-relationships-with-your-students Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center At the core of a successful teaching strategy is a good teacher-student relationship. When students feel connected to their teachers, they’re more invested and willing to put forth effort, which leads to better academic outcomes. Here are a few tips to help you build quality relationships with your students:

  1. Get to know them. Remember things about them. Show interest in who they are as people outside of your classroom. Pay attention to the little things.
  2. Let them get to know you. Share a little about yourself so the relationship doesn’t feel one-sided. Be genuine.
  3. Ask their opinions. Treat your students with respect and show them by listening intently that you are interested in what they think and have to say.
  4. Establish a trusting relationship. Put them in the driver’s seat whenever possible. Let them try new things and encourage them to take some risks. Set expectations and always follow through when you say you’ll do something.
  5. Express your passion. Your enthusiasm for what you teach and for helping students learn can be both inspiring and contagious.
  6. Have fun. Make your classroom a vibrant and enjoyable place to learn. Find ways to make lessons more engaging and interactive.
  7. Remind them often that you’re there for help. Above all, make certain that your students know you care. Offer office hours throughout the week and encourage students to come in (or email you) if they need help or want to talk.

The more you foster good relationships with your students, the more your students will feel comfortable in your classroom. This enhances your teaching, making for more effective instruction and deeper student learning.

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Five Things Your Students Will Remember About You The things your students will remember most about their time in your classroom aren’t the day-to-day tasks or types of homework assignments. Find out five things your students will remember about you years from now. 

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Thu, 05 Dec 2019 11:21:55 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/five-things-students-will-remember-about-you https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/five-things-students-will-remember-about-you Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center As a teacher, you spend countless hours creating lessons, tidying your room, and grading homework. But the things your students will remember most about their time in your classroom aren’t the day-to-day tasks or types of homework assignments. Here are what students will remember about you years from now:

  1. How well you knew them. It’s nice to know students’ names, but you show them you care when you remember that they play a sport or an instrument, or that they grew up in another country. Show interest in your students as people. It means a lot.
  2. You believed in them. Build your students’ confidence by encouraging them to set goals and work hard toward them. Let them know that you see their potential. Talk to them about what they want for themselves and then discuss those ideas as realities.
  3. Your goal was teaching students to better themselves. Yes, your job is to teach students to master your subject, but it’s about more than that. Make it your objective to help students improve themselves and their abilities, academically and otherwise.
  4. Your classroom felt safe. The student who feels comfortable enough to contribute ideas is the student who is excited about learning and growing. Make your classroom a place where all ideas are valued and all students are listened to and respected.
  5. Your door was always open. Life is not easy for all students. The high school years in particular are full of change and can be tumultuous and stressful. Make sure your students know that you’re available as a sounding board when they need you, and that you are part of their extended support system.

If you want to be the best teacher possible, think about the impact you want to have on your students and how your daily actions shape that influence. You can change your students’ lives for the better by how you teach them – and how you treat them.

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Six Ways to Build Student Confidence Confidence is an important trait that you can help build in your students through your everyday interactions. A confident student has a much better chance of being successful in school and beyond. You might not be able to teach confidence, but you certainly can nurture it in each of your students. Here are six ways to do so:

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Wed, 27 Nov 2019 16:02:58 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/six-ways-to-build-student-confidence-2019 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/six-ways-to-build-student-confidence-2019 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center A confident student has a much better chance of being successful in school and beyond. You might not be able to teach confidence, but you certainly can nurture it in each of your students. Here are six ways to do so:

  1. Loosen the reins. Maintain control over your classroom environment, not your students. Let them take the lead on classwork and assignments, and take on a supporting role.
  2. Pump them up. Tell your students that you believe in them and their abilities often. The more you do so, the more they’ll believe it, too.
  3. Foster the development of a growth mindset. Let your students know that you believe that there’s always something to discover and that learning never stops. They’ll start to recognize that learning is continuous and that their potential is unlimited.
  4. Set goals as a class. There’s something very empowering about setting goals. Encourage your students to take control of their destiny by putting on paper the endeavors that matter to them (and the steps they’ll take to achieve them).
  5. Embrace the mantra “Let’s explore that.” When students ask questions, don’t just give them the answers. Have them delve into new topics. Ignite their curiosities.
  6. Point out their strengths. You don’t need to do so publicly, but find opportunities to let your students know when they do things particularly well or when you see them exerting extra effort. They might not recognize those attributes in themselves.

Confidence is an important trait that you can help build in your students through your everyday interactions. In doing so, you’ll have a lasting positive impact that will serve them well in life.

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How to Encourage Outside-the-Box Thinking in Students Whether you teach first graders or high school seniors, teaching students how to think outside the box in school and life will be a valuable tool you can impart. Your goal should be to encourage your students to let their innovative ideas flow without restraint. Find out a few tips on how to do so.

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Thu, 21 Nov 2019 09:16:35 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/how-to-encourage-student-outside-the-box-thinking-2019 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/how-to-encourage-student-outside-the-box-thinking-2019 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Whether you teach first graders or high school seniors, teaching students how to think outside the box in school and life will be a valuable tool you can impart. But what exactly does that mean? Put simply, your goal should be to encourage your students to let their innovative ideas flow without restraint. Here are a few tips for how to do so:

  1. Ask open-ended questions. In the classroom, closed-ended questions (those with a right or wrong answer) halt discussion in its tracks. Phrase your queries in a way that invites students to share additional information (e.g. What do you mean by ___? Tell me how you feel about ___. Can someone add on to what Jennifer said?).
  2. Make yours a student-centered classroom. Yes, you’re the teacher, but put the students in charge of their learning. Give them appropriate autonomy and have them collaborate and work together often.
  3. Individualize learning. No two students learn alike, and your teaching approach shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all, either. Create lessons and assignments that require students to reflect on what they know and share that with you and their peers. Give your students daily opportunities to think on a higher level.
  4. Address the risks/downsides last. Don’t stop students from sharing or thinking through ideas because you foresee a few hurdles. Allow them to brainstorm without criticism, and save the risk assessment aspect of the exercise until later.

In today’s dynamic world, it’s more important than ever that you teach students how to be creative and arm them with the tools to solve problems, take risks, and innovate. Foster that kind of environment each and every day in your classroom and you’ll prepare your students for great things.

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Four Benefits of Reading Aloud Teachers of young students often read aloud to them, but the truth is, it’s valuable to do so even with older students. Here are just a few benefits you and your child will find in this practice.

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Wed, 13 Nov 2019 11:06:00 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/four-benefits-of-reading-aloud-2019 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/four-benefits-of-reading-aloud-2019 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Teachers of young students often read aloud to them, but the truth is, it’s valuable to do so even with older students. Here are four powerful benefits of reading aloud:

  1. You’ll model fluent reading. Hearing you read out loud shows students what fluent reading should sound like. You’ll demonstrate good pacing, proper pronunciation, how to pause for punctuation, and how to emphasize words in appropriate places.
  2. You’ll help students build their auditory learning style. Some students are naturally good listeners, while others could use the practice to strengthen their auditory learning skills. Reading aloud encourages your students to focus when you are speaking in order to retain what you say and apply it to what they already know.
  3. You’ll promote literacy and listening skills. Especially from an early age, reading out loud to students helps them acquire many of the building blocks necessary to read themselves. It also helps students grow their vocabulary because they hear a wider variety of words in use. When possible, have students read along with the book or printed paper in front of them. This supports weaker readers who can follow the text while listening to you and builds all students’ comprehension.
  4. You’ll bring stories to life. There’s nothing quite like reading aloud to bring your students together for a shared, special experience. When you choose a class book and carve out class time to read it, you instill a love of literature into your students and give them something to look forward to each day.

Whether it’s detailed directions for an assignment or a class novel, keep reading aloud to your students when it makes sense. The benefits are numerous!

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Six Tips to Foster Student Creativity Creativity is a valuable trait that students will put to use in school and life. It helps them think outside the box, come up with innovative ideas, and take different approaches to solve problems.

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Wed, 06 Nov 2019 08:51:49 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/six-tips-to-foster-student-creativity https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/six-tips-to-foster-student-creativity Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Creativity is a valuable trait that students will put to use in school and life. It helps them think outside the box, come up with innovative ideas, and take different approaches to solve problems. Here are six tips to build student creativity:

  1. Ask their opinions. Invite your students to contribute their thoughts and ideas in class and give them the freedom to explore them. Phrase your questions in a way that sparks deeper thought. Urge students to question assumptions.
  2. Encourage risk-taking. Tell your students that you not only want them to try new things, you expect them to. Dismiss the notion that mistakes are bad. Remind your students that failure is how they learn and grow.
  3. Have them learn by doing. Project-based learning is a great way to get students involved in meaningful, active learning. Offer opportunities for your students to research complex problems and present their findings.
  4. Advise students to do what they love. It’s important to fuel your students’ creativity in the classroom, but it’s just as important to remind them that life is full of opportunities to learn and better themselves. Talk about your passions and push them to find their own.
  5. Talk about reading. Few pastimes spark the imagination like reading. Even if you teach an unrelated subject, invite your students to share what they’re reading and what they love about those books. Get them talking.
  6. Take a step back. Try not to hover or micro-manage the way your students do things. Let them try, fail, try again, and experiment.

Your students’ creative thinking could help develop solutions to the greatest problems of today. Establish a classroom environment that nurtures creativity, and you’ll benefit not just your students, but the world.

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Seven Tips to Keep Your Day Organized and Productive Wed, 30 Oct 2019 12:24:35 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/seven-tips-to-keep-your-day-organized-and-productive https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/seven-tips-to-keep-your-day-organized-and-productive Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center An organized teacher is an effective teacher. Here are eight tips to keep your classroom orderly and running smoothly:

  1. Create a daily folder. Whether you plan on the weekends or go into school early each day, spend time organizing what you will do in class each day of the week and putting any materials in a labeled folder for that day.
  2. Keep an agenda. A detailed agenda will keep your day from veering off course, whether you teach one class of third-graders or several class periods of math students.
  3. Set up inboxes for important papers. Pick a corner of the room where students can turn in completed classwork, completed homework, parent notes and other important papers in separate, labeled inboxes.
  4. Organize your desk. Your desk is an easy catch-all for all other paperwork. Get ahead of the clutter by labeling trays for grading, filing, distributing, reviewing, shredding, or other.
  5. Have a place for everything. Designate spaces for everything students use, from laptops to pencils, from books to disinfecting wipes. Use laminated posters to make it easy for students to glance at an area and see what belongs there.
  6. Label it all. Clean-up time is easier when students know exactly where you keep supplies and don’t have to ask you over and over. Use jars, tins, boxes, crates, baskets, or whatever you prefer to keep everything tidy.
  7. Spend time every day cleaning up. With 20 or more students a day in and out of your room (more if you teach a subject multiple times a day), it’s easy for rooms to get messy and disheveled. Even a few minutes a day putting things away and having students do the same will help.

The more organized you are, the better teacher you’ll be. Commit to organization and you’ll notice a big difference in your stress level and effectiveness.

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Seven Behavior Management Tips for Your Classroom You could spend a lot of time creating a great lesson and perfecting your teaching approach only to have it all undone because of a rowdy classroom. Here are a few tips to help with classroom behavior management.

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Tue, 29 Oct 2019 13:30:16 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/behavior-management-tips-for-your-classroom https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/behavior-management-tips-for-your-classroom Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center You could spend a lot of time creating a great lesson and perfecting your teaching approach only to have it all undone because of a rowdy classroom. Here are seven behavior management tips that will put you back in charge and keep your students focused on learning.

  1. Establish a short list of class rules. Make sure your class rules cover the essentials but do not feel like you need to write a list of 50 rules. That might cause confusion or result in students ignoring them altogether.
  2. Share consequences and rewards. Rules do no good if students are unclear on the penalties for breaking them. Similarly, it’s important to establish a system for rewarding positive behavior and good role-modeling.
  3. Establish a seating chart. Seating charts help you retain control of the classroom but don’t be afraid to move students around periodically if you find some students talking too much or struggling to pay attention based on where they are seated.
  4. Create routines for transitions. Think of the moments in your classroom when students tend to get talkative and establish routines that keep things active and minimize disruptions.
  5. Incorporate brain breaks. Brain breaks are proven to help students regain focus and perform better after sitting or working for an extended amount of time.
  6. Correct bad behavior quickly. Don’t stop everything to deal angrily with one misbehaving student. Stay calm, give direction, and administer a consequence if the student continues to interrupt. Then, carry on.
  7. Praise good behavior. Acknowledge and thank the students who follow the rules and meet your expectations.

Every student has good days and not-so-good days. Keep these ideas on hand for the times when you need to get your students back on track and refocus on helping them succeed.

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What Students Need to Know About Advanced Placement Exams Many high school students are probably aware of the terms “Advanced Placement®” or “AP®,” and of course, those taking AP® classes understand that the courses offer a challenge for high-achieving students.

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Tue, 29 Oct 2019 13:21:54 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/what-students-need-to-know-about-advanced-placement-exams-2019 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/what-students-need-to-know-about-advanced-placement-exams-2019 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Many high school students are probably aware of the terms “Advanced Placement®” or “AP®,” and of course, those taking AP® classes understand that the courses offer a challenge for high-achieving students. But it’s worth reminding students important details about the AP® exams and how performing well on these exams could benefit them. Here are five things to share:

  1. AP® exams take place every May. Exams take place at high schools and exam centers only once a year. Students can get more details from the guidance counseling office.
  2. Students can take the exams more than once. If a student takes an exam and doesn’t earn their desired score, they can retake it. The student’s score report will include scores for all AP® exams taken unless the student requests that one be withheld.
  3. Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. The final score for each AP® Exam offers a recommendation about how qualified students are to receive college credit and placement. Every college makes this decision differently. In 2018, the mean AP® exam score was 2.89.
  4. Students can get college credit or placement for good AP® scores. As mentioned, each college makes its own decisions about what scores receive credit or placement. Generally, students who earn a good score on an AP® exam might be able to skip a course that a college requires for its general education requirements.
  5. AP scores shouldn’t hurt a student’s chances for admission. Colleges consider a wide range of factors when admitting students, including the strength of their curriculum. So, while taking AP® classes should bolster the application, a low AP® exam score isn’t likely to harm an applicant’s admission prospects.

To learn more about AP scores and what they mean, students should meet with the guidance counselor at school and visit www.collegeboard.org.

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Questions to Ask Your Students to Get Them Thinking About Post High School Education As a teacher, part of your job is to get your students thinking about the future. And while some high school students already know what they might like to study after high school, others don’t have that kind of direction.

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Wed, 02 Oct 2019 09:05:21 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/post-high-school-education-questions-2019 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/post-high-school-education-questions-2019 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center As a teacher, part of your job is to get your students thinking about the future. And while some high school students already know what they might like to study after high school, others don’t have that kind of direction.

You can help get your students’ wheels turning by asking the right questions. Here’s a shortlist to weave into class conversations throughout the school year:

  1. What do you do in your free time? For some students, that might include volunteering with children, playing a sport, or playing an instrument. Those activities could help your students identify what types of activities they enjoy, like working as part of a team or mentoring others.
  2. What topics get you excited? Encourage students to contemplate what topics, subjects, and current issues in the world pique their curiosity and make them feel energized. Those areas could be budding passions that later turn into career interests.
  3. What subjects are strengths? Students don’t always see how a subject translates into different career paths, but this is one of the best starting points for students without many ideas.
  4. What adults do you know who have cool-sounding jobs? An aunt who is an attorney or a family friend who owns a business are great resources. Encourage them to ask the adults they know what they do and what they like about it.
  5. What kind of lifestyle are you seeking? Too few students reflect on what is important to them in their life long-term when choosing career paths. It is early, but teens would still be smart to consider things like whether they want to travel or climb the career ladder as they weigh options.
  6. Do you like/dislike the idea of graduate school? Some jobs require advanced degrees, such as an attorney, doctor, or veterinarian. Students don’t need to decide on graduate school now, but it’s good to think ahead.
  7. Where do you see yourself after college? This is the ultimate college admissions interview question, so it’s good for students to ponder it throughout high school. Students might not have the answer figured out now, but pondering the question is worthwhile.
  8. Is a traditional four-year college the right fit? A post-secondary education program such as a vocational school prepares people to work as a technician or in various jobs such as a trade or a craft. If students are looking for more practical skills and a quicker pathway to the workforce, this might be the best choice.

No matter what subject you teach, your students will benefit from a little effort to prepare them for the future. That class time is definitely time well spent!

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Eight Great Brain Break Ideas Did you know that brain breaks are proven to improve student productivity, problem solving, and overall attention? Here are eight brain break ideas to incorporate into your classroom routine when your students need to refocus and reenergize.

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Wed, 25 Sep 2019 08:32:13 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/eight-great-brain-break-ideas-2019 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/eight-great-brain-break-ideas-2019 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Did you know that brain breaks are proven to improve student productivity, problem solving, and overall attention? Here are eight brain break ideas to incorporate into your classroom routine when your students need to refocus and reenergize:

  1. Do yoga stretches. Put on some soothing music and lead students through a few stretches and breathing exercises. Shoulder circles, cat and cow, tree, and ragdoll are some simple moves that will get your students revitalized.
  2. Flip water bottles. Keep a few half-full water bottles around for your tween and teen students, who are probably familiar with the bottle-flipping trend that overtook the internet over the last few years. Clear a few desks and line up in rows to have your students try to flip and land water bottles upright.
  3. Go outside. If you have a little more time for a break, take the class outdoors for some vitamin D. Lead them through a few group exercises like jumping jacks or just let them relax and talk.
  4. Bust out the beach ball. Keep a blown-up beach ball on hand and have students toss it around, challenging them to keep it from touching the ground or walls. Better yet, make that three beach balls to keep airborne.
  5. Line up by ____. Get students interacting and moving by giving a criterion and having them line up in order. For example, your students could line up by height, age, or alphabetical order of first or last name.
  6. Play Simon Says. Have everyone stand up and play this classic, and make it fun and active. For example, “Simon says take five big steps across the room on your knees. Simon says try touching your foot to somewhere above your waist.”
  7. Play Human Knot. Divide up into groups of five or six, have everyone put one hand into the circle to grab the hand of someone else, and then do the same with their other hand. The goal: untie the knot without letting go.
  8. Stand up. Short on time? Have everyone stand up. Let your students move around and socialize or start a conversation by asking what TV shows your students are watching or what they’re doing over the weekend.

Sometimes, the best way to engage your students is to give them a quick break. You’ll build camaraderie and boost their brain functions at the same time. Ready, break!

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What You Need to Know About Project-Based Learning Have you heard about project-based learning? Edutopia defines it as “a dynamic classroom approach in which students explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge.” This innovative methodology encourages students to think on their feet and collaborate to produce projects that present what they learned.

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Wed, 18 Sep 2019 13:16:10 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-project-based-learning https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-project-based-learning Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Have you heard about project-based learning? Edutopia defines it as “a dynamic classroom approach in which students explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge.” This innovative methodology encourages students to think on their feet and collaborate to produce projects that present what they learned.

Sound intriguing? Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • It requires preparation. Project-based learning is student-led, but it requires a lot from you as the teacher. Projects you assign should be open-ended, but you must ensure that the problems or questions you have students work on are tied to content standards and establish clear learning goals.
  • You’ll achieve the best results when projects connect to the real world. Pose a complex question or challenge, and then let your students loose. Think of the project as something that might take place in the workplace. Your students must engage in critical thinking and communication and work together to come up with a solution.
  • It’s best to get students involved in the creation. Sam Houston State University’s Center for Project-Based Learning explains that students find projects to be “more meaningful if they play a creative role in the construction and planning” of them. Take on the role of facilitator. You’ll see your students transform.

Project-based learning puts students in positions where they apply classroom knowledge to their lives and the problems they will face in the real world. There are many resources out there to learn more, including Edutopia, Buck Institute for Education’s PBLWorks, and Sam Houston State University’s Center for Project-Based Learning, among others. Do your research and get started!

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Four Tips to Boost the Quality of Your Teaching There’s no question that teaching is an art. It takes time to get into a good routine, but it’s important to continually refine your methods.

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Fri, 13 Sep 2019 17:27:27 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/four-tips-to-boost-the-quality-of-your-teaching-2019 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/four-tips-to-boost-the-quality-of-your-teaching-2019 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center There’s no question that teaching is an art. It takes time to get into a good routine, but it’s important to continually refine your methods. Here are four tips for how to boost the quality and effectiveness of your teaching:

  1. Focus on essential college skills. Your students need skills like critical thinking and perseverance just as much as subject-matter knowledge. Take time every day to teach your students how to analyze, discuss, think at a higher level, and problem-solve. The lasting impact will help your students far beyond their time in your classroom.
  2. Ask for feedback. Your best source of information about how you’re doing is your students. Establish an open dialogue with them to solicit feedback on your approaches to different topics. Ongoing informal feedback on what is and isn’t working will help you make tweaks throughout the year (rather than waiting until any formal end-of-semester assessments).
  3. Solicit peer feedback. Even if your school does not have a formal peer-teacher feedback program, you can ask trusted colleagues to observe your teaching and offer their comments on areas where you are most effective and where you could improve. Administrator reviews are valuable, of course, but evaluations from your peers might offer new insights.
  4. Continue to seek new knowledge. Talk to your colleagues about what they’re doing in their classrooms. Follow education blogs for fresh ideas. When selecting professional development courses, choose carefully, focusing on those that will ignite your fire and help you learn new skills and grow as a teacher.

You hold your students to a high standard. Set the bar high for yourself as well! The impact will be noticeable, and your students will reap the benefits.

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Great Apps for Teachers Teaching in the digital age certainly has its advantages. There are many apps out there for everything from math to science, class communication to language arts. 

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Fri, 13 Sep 2019 17:18:49 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/great-apps-for-teachers-2019 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/great-apps-for-teachers-2019 Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Teaching in the digital age certainly has its advantages. You can teach digitally native students in a format with which they’re very comfortable, connect with students outside of the classroom, keep your class organized, and much more.

There are many apps out there for everything from math to science, class communication to language arts. Here are a few to check out:

ClassDojoClassDojo is a communication app for teachers, parents, and students. It has tools for giving directions, playing class music that fits any activity (focus or free time), generating student groups, monitoring class noise, encouraging collaboration, and more.

Blackboard – Blackboard’s app, Bb Student, lets students view their prioritized events and actions, visualize their course timeline and important information, access their grades in real-time, engage in real-time video conferencing or chats, and much more.

Seesaw – Seesaw makes it easy for you to have a handle on what your students are learning and how they are progressing toward school goals while engaging parents in their learning. Students can save portfolios of their work that you share with parents. You can keep those portfolios over a student’s entire career to track their progress and keep a record of their learning.

Kahoot! – Kahoot! lets you create and share learning games with your students. You can make your own or search its database for other Kahoots to play or alter, and assign Kahoots as part of homework.

Remind – Remind is a simple way to communicate with your students and parents. You can send home updates for parents and encourage students to reach out to you via the two-way messaging feature.

Looking for other great apps? Reach out to your school district’s technology department for recommended apps with which they might be familiar.

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Four Tips to Engage Your Students in a Brand-New School Year There’s a lot to do as you prepare for a new school year: getting the classroom ready, organizing your materials and plans, and brainstorming the best ways to engage your students both behaviorally and cognitively.

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Fri, 13 Sep 2019 17:08:56 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/engage-your-students-in-a-brand-new-school-year https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/engage-your-students-in-a-brand-new-school-year Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center There’s a lot to do as you prepare for a new school year: getting the classroom ready, organizing your materials and plans, and brainstorming the best ways to engage your students both behaviorally and cognitively. Here are a few tips as you design this year’s learning activities:  

  1. Share what you learned over summer. Your positive attitude can have a big influence on your students. Come in excited and your enthusiasm will inevitably rub off on them. Spend time developing a list of your takeaways from any recent professional development or personal projects that pertain to student learning. What are you eager to share with students this year?
  2. Give students some control. Empower your students by telling them that they are in charge of their learning. As the school year gets underway, start setting goals and have students come up with their own, as well as steps to achieve them. When possible, invite ideas and input. Rather than dictate, encourage dialogue.
  3. Guide students toward competence. The more you can guide your students toward success, the more motivated they will become. You cannot control students’ work ethic, but you can provide clear, well-thought-out direction in class and offer support and encouragement as students work toward skill mastery. Nurturing students’ sense of competence helps them feel more engaged in the next task.
  4. Commit to building good relationships. Show your students you care. Make your classroom a place where they feel like they belong and are treated fairly. Most of all, make it your class mantra that improvement and learning something new (and not simply obtaining high grades) is success.

This year, refine your student-centered instructional approach to promote higher student engagement. You’ll see your students become more focused and willing to participate, which will result in a richer class experience and greater levels of student success.

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Group Classwork Fri, 13 Sep 2019 17:01:55 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/avoiding-the-pitfalls-of-group-classwork https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/avoiding-the-pitfalls-of-group-classwork Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Despite your best intentions and careful preparation, sometimes group assignments go haywire. Maybe your students don’t work well together. Perhaps your efforts to foster collaboration don’t always translate to student productivity. Here are a few common pitfalls of group classwork and tips to avoid these issues:

  • Pitfall: Uneven workload. There’s no getting around it: some students put more work into group projects than others. You can avoid this problem by setting clear expectations upfront. Elementary students might do best with assigned roles, while older students should work from a group grading rubric that includes guidelines for sharing the duties. Try incorporating anonymous peer reviews into the project so students know they’ll be assessed for their efforts (or lack thereof).
  • Pitfall: Disorganization. Putting students together with different learning styles and ideas can cause a little chaos, making it hard for some to use class time wisely. You can greatly streamline group work by developing a timeline of milestones so that students know what they should do and by what date. If you prefer, give them the assignment details and have them get together to develop this schedule of deadlines on their own.
  • Pitfall: Groupthink. Sometimes students in a group agree or keep quiet to avoid conflict. The problem with groupthink is that not everyone contributes or has the chance to put those critical thinking skills to work. To avoid this, talk with students about compromising and good listening. Consider holding periodic meetings with groups and inviting each student to share how the group came to its decisions.

Mitigate the cons of group work with some proactive effort and your students will reap the gains. The best thing about group work, of course, is that it prepares students for the real world, where teaming up with others is a common occurrence. Set expectations and model good practices in your classroom and your students will benefit.

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Adjusting Your Teaching for Different Students To reach all students where they are, you must adapt as needed, paying attention to learning preferences and styles as well as the challenges students face.

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Fri, 13 Sep 2019 16:55:23 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/adjusting-your-teaching-for-different-students https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/adjusting-your-teaching-for-different-students Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center If there is one universal truth in teaching, it is that no two students learn the same. To reach all students where they are, you must adapt as needed, paying attention to learning preferences and styles as well as the challenges students face. Here are a few tips on how to support your students with individualized instruction:

  1. Survey parents and students. At the start of the year, conduct an email survey of parents to learn a little bit about each student, their challenges, strengths and weaknesses. Do an in-class survey of students to get their perspective as well, as it might differ from what their parents say.
  2. Pay attention to preferences. Make note early in the school year of your audio, visual and kinesthetic learners (and students who learn effectively in multiple ways). Teach students about this too so they can recognize their own preferences and better advocate for themselves.
  3. Arrange your classroom into different environments. Some students study best in silence; others prefer a little action. If possible, have a quiet corner, a group of desks where students can put up cardboard walls to visually block distractions, and some sort of collaboration area for students who want to work with others.
  4. Develop scalable assignments. Create lessons that allow you to alter the same assignment based on students’ varying abilities. Tier up or down depending on students’ needs.

With two dozen or more students in the classroom at a time, helping each student learn and grow is no small task. Differentiate your teaching and materials when possible. Your students will strengthen their higher-level thinking skills, start to take more responsibility for their own learning, and be more engaged overall.

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Ideas to Revitalize Your Teaching Practices If you have been teaching for some time, it is easy to get into a routine, but it’s just as easy to fall into a rut. Whether you’re seeking better ways to reach your students or need to infuse a little energy into your processes, we have a few tips to help you out.

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Fri, 13 Sep 2019 16:48:13 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/ideas https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/ideas Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center If you have been teaching for some time, it is easy to get into a routine, but it’s just as easy to fall into a rut. Whether you’re seeking better ways to reach your students or need to infuse a little energy into your processes, here are a few tips to revitalize your teaching practices:

 

  • Choose professional development that really lights you up. Yes, PD is required, but when possible, pick classes that are relevant for your position and current challenges. Good PD classes can also get you thinking about new ideas, introduce you to innovative practices, and help you figure out how to apply evidence-based research into your practices.

 

  • Take the initiative to learn from your peers. The other teachers in your building are some of your best resources. Pick their brains. Talk with others about what they’re doing, and share what you’ve been working on as well. Talk with your principal about instituting some sort of peer coaching program, formal or informal.

 

  • Build bridges across your school district or with other schools. In addition to collaborating with teachers within your building, find ways to establish connections with teachers in other schools. Seek out ways to visit other schools to observe their practices.

 

  • Infuse technology into your teaching. The opportunities to bring technology into the classroom today are seemingly endless. Spice up your units and lessons by taking a virtual field trip somewhere or by incorporating blogging, an app, or other tech tools. Get ideas from your school’s technology teacher or see if he or she might like to co-teach a lesson.

 

  • Read teacher blogs for new ideas, tips, and resources. There are many excellent ones out there that will get your creative juices flowing and get you excited about teaching and making an impact on students. Whether you seek instructional inspiration or technology tips, there are many blogs that can help you.

 

Need a boost? Try one or several of the above. You’ll get this school year off to a positive start, and your students will notice the difference!

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Five Ways to Help Students Develop a Growth Mindset Students with a growth mindset believe that they are capable of increasing their knowledge and growing their intelligence. The outcome can be remarkable, resulting in students who are more motivated, happier, and undeterred by failure.

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Fri, 09 Aug 2019 11:39:59 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/five-ways-to-help-students-develop-a-growth-mindset https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/five-ways-to-help-students-develop-a-growth-mindset Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Are you teaching your students to embrace a growth mindset? Students with a growth mindset believe that they are capable of increasing their knowledge and growing their intelligence. The outcome can be remarkable, resulting in students who are more motivated, happier, and undeterred by failure. Here are five ways to help your students develop a growth mindset:

  1. Talk about how to tackle problems. Encourage your students to think of challenges as opportunities to learn, and mistakes as milestones on the path toward growth. When one attempt doesn’t work, have your student rethink it, adjust, and try another.
  2. Share pitfalls of the fixed mindset. Talk to your students about how a fixed mindset can put them at a disadvantage in school and leave them feeling disappointed and dissatisfied. Students with fixed mindsets avoid taking risks because they are afraid of mistakes. They give up easily because they’d rather shirk hard work.
  3. Celebrate progress. Just as you tell parents, grades are the result of effort. Explain to your students that what you want to see most is sincere commitment to do their best. When a student acquires a new skill or raises a grade, take notice.
  4. Adopt the class mantra, “There’s always something new to learn.” Tell students to stay curious. Encourage them to ask questions, and dedicate class time to seeking answers. The more you engage your students in learning for learning’s sake, the more you help them strengthen their growth mindsets.
  5. Reframe failures and struggles. To the student who wants to give up, say that learning requires persistence and practice. To the student who claims he is bad at something, point out that he’s still figuring it out and will get there. Whenever possible, help your students turn those fixed mindset claims into growth mindset statements.

When you infuse these concepts into your teaching, you build life-long learners. Tell your students to dream big, work hard, keep at it when something is difficult, and support each other.

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Four Ideas for Building Students’ Persistence If there’s one skill that will help your students long-term, it is persistence. Students who persevere through challenging work are better equipped for college, and they are able to maintain a positive attitude no matter what life throws their way.

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Fri, 09 Aug 2019 11:26:08 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/ideas-for-building-student-persistence https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/ideas-for-building-student-persistence Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Four Ideas for Building Students’ Persistence

If there’s one skill that will help your students long-term, it is persistence. Students who persevere through challenging work are better equipped for college, and they are able to maintain a positive attitude no matter what life throws their way. Here are a few tips for building this aptitude in your students:

  1. Promote problem-solving skills. Give students difficult problems, and then teach them how to tackle those problems in different ways. When one attempt doesn’t work, encourage them to brainstorm another approach. Talk to your students about coming up with multiple ways to solve any given problem.
  2. Push students appropriately. Help your students stretch to their limits, and tell them that you believe they’re capable of anything to which they put their minds. Don’t be afraid to make your students a little bit uncomfortable. This is where true growth happens.
  3. Bring up examples of people who never gave up. There are many prominent figures to reference – people who persevered in spite of roadblocks and achieved their goals. Share them often. Talk to your students about how their dreams will not come easy, but that doesn’t mean they should set them aside.
  4. Teach students to embrace a growth mindset. Share with your students that their abilities can be developed with effort, and teach them to continuously seek out new knowledge. Encourage them to embrace challenges, not to shy away from them. This helps your students stick to things even when they get hard.

Persistence is essential for long-term student success. Make your classroom one where students feel safe to take risks, push themselves, and make mistakes and learn from them. They will grow as students and people as a result.

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Six Tips for Creating a Positive Learning Environment You became a teacher to make a lasting difference in the lives of young learners. One of the best ways to have an impact is to create a positive, encouraging learning environment in which students feel cared for and supported.

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Fri, 09 Aug 2019 11:18:51 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-creating-a-positive-learning-experience https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-creating-a-positive-learning-experience Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center You became a teacher to make a lasting difference in the lives of young learners. One of the best ways to have an impact is to create a positive, encouraging learning environment in which students feel cared for and supported. Here are six tips on how to do so:

  1. Develop good student relationships. Be friendly and upbeat. Treat your students as individuals. Ask questions about their lives to get to know them better, and encourage them to get to know each other as well.
  2. Build good school-home connections. Your relationship with parents is important, too. Send home an email and/or note early in the year. Let parents know how to reach you, your expectations and plans for the year, and how much you are looking forward to helping their children grow this year. Invite any input on how their children learn best and how you can make this year a great one.
  3. Put your trust in your students. Give them a say on certain decisions. Set your expectations and rules and then let them know that you believe in their ability to hold themselves accountable.
  4. Guide your students toward discovery. Don’t give them the answers. Pose the questions, and then invite them to solve problems. Offer encouragement every step of the way, but put them in the driver’s seat when possible. Have them explain concepts to each other and to you – and congratulate them when they figure things out on their own.
  5. Make students feel like valuable contributors. Everyone’s ideas matter in your classroom, and everyone deserves respect. Encourage students to voice their opinions and offer their input and thank them for being brave enough to do so.
  6. Share why you love your subject. There’s nothing quite as convincing about why a subject is interesting as a passionate teacher. Don’t be afraid to tell your students what you enjoy about different subjects and why learning got you excited when you were their age.

A positive learning environment will get your students fired up about learning. Take steps to make your classroom a nurturing, comfortable place, and your students will reap the many benefits.

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Tips For a Great First Day of School The new school year will be here before you know it. Start this school year the right way, putting your students at ease and setting the tone for a positive year. 

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Fri, 09 Aug 2019 11:12:04 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-a-great-first-day-of-school https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-a-great-first-day-of-school Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center The new school year will be here before you know it. Start this school year the right way, putting your students at ease and setting the tone for a positive year. Here are a few tips to make the first day of school great:

  • Greet everyone individually. Ease everyone’s nerves and offer a warm, personal welcome to each student who comes through the door. Introduce yourself and ask each person’s name, repeating them as they are spoken.
  • Break the ice. Make everyone feel a little more relaxed with a few fun name games or activities that get everyone acquainted. This helps new classmates remember one another’s names, too.
  • Share classroom rules. Set expectations right away for how your classroom will run and what is and isn’t acceptable student behavior. Talk about your classroom management rules and the consequences for breaking them.
  • Go through the routine. Post the daily schedule somewhere central and review it once you’re finished with introductions. Your everyday routine is key to keeping your students on track – make sure they learn it quickly!
  • Run through any FAQs. Often, students want to know the basics right away, like when to use the bathroom, where to hand in homework, and what activities are allowed after classwork is finished.
  • Establish your procedures (and hang them in a visible location). If you want your classroom to run like a well-oiled machine, you need to explain your classroom procedures and practice them. Go over them on the first day and reinforce in the weeks to come.
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Five Resources for Professional Development It is always a good idea to improve yourself as an educator. Whether you are seeking an online community of teachers where you can exchange ideas, or a site with articles, tech tips, lesson inspiration and more, here are several resources worth exploring.

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Tue, 09 Jul 2019 19:51:19 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/resources-for-professional-development https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/resources-for-professional-development Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center It is always a good idea to improve yourself as an educator. Whether you are seeking an online community of teachers where you can exchange ideas, or a site with articles, tech tips, lesson inspiration and more, here are several resources worth exploring:

  1. Edutopia offers teacher development resources and other tools and articles that help teachers implement project-based learning, social and emotional learning, comprehensive assessment, integrated studies, and technology integration.
  2. TeachThought grows teaching through thought leadership, professional development, resource curation, curriculum development, podcast publishing, and collaboration with organizations around the world.
  3. Annenberg Learner distributes multimedia courses and workshops to help teachers keep current on the content they teach. Professional development resources provide teachers with research on the most effective teaching strategies and their connection to national education content standards, as well as tips on practical, classroom application.
  4. KQED Teach offers a collection of free professional learning opportunities focused on digital media. Educators can build skills in digital storytelling, data visualization, and critical media use to support all curriculum areas.
  5. Teaching Channel highlights inspiring and effective teaching practices in America's schools, offering a library of videos to teachers free of charge.

 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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Five Teacher Tips for Fostering Kindness You care about your students’ long-term well-being. So, teach them not just to achieve but to treat others well along the way. Here are a few tips to help teachers foster kindness in their classrooms.

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Tue, 09 Jul 2019 19:39:58 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/teacher-tips-for-fostering-kindness https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/teacher-tips-for-fostering-kindness Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center The primary focus of your job is to guide students toward learning and prepare them for the next grade – and the real world. You might also work on cultivating students’ “soft” skills like perseverance and communication, but there’s something else that matters: kindness.

The Center for Creative Leadership’s white paper, “Empathy in the Workplace: A Tool for Effective Leadership,” shares that empathy is positively related to job performance, while countless other experts cite kindness as an asset of some of the world’s most successful people.

You care about your students’ long-term well-being. So, teach them not just to achieve but to treat others well along the way. Here are a few tips to cultivate kindness in your students:

  1. Lead by example. As always, your example speaks volumes. Treat your students with respect and compassion. Be a good role model for what it looks like to genuinely care for others.
  2. Teach them to find the good in others. Encourage your students to build up classmates, friends, and peers, even with small gestures like a smile or a compliment a day. This has mutually positive benefits on both sides.
  3. Talk about understanding. That’s what empathy is all about – putting yourself in another’s shoes. Teach your students to take others’ perspectives and keep an open mind as they learn about the world and different people and cultures.
  4. Set expectations for high ethics. Discuss moral issues as they come up. Ask students what they stand for and how they “walk the walk” in their daily lives.
  5. Explain how actions affect others. Selflessness is at the root of being a kind person. Talk to your students about how they can have a positive (or negative) impact on others.

A culture of kindness in your classroom will nurture students’ development of empathy, self-esteem, and more. This positive environment will strengthen your students as individuals and future leaders.

 

Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash

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Four Ways for Teachers to Rejuvenate This Summer Students need a break after an intense school year, and so do you! Even if you have professional development plans or other education goals while you’re not in school, it is essential that you take time to rejuvenate your mind and recharge your batteries.

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Mon, 08 Jul 2019 10:13:24 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/ways-for-teachers-to-recharge-during-summer https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/ways-for-teachers-to-recharge-during-summer Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Students need a break after an intense school year, and so do you! Even if you have professional development plans or other education goals while you’re not in school, it is essential that you take time to rejuvenate your mind and recharge your batteries. Here are a few tips:

Make a summer reading list. Just like you tell your students, summer is the best time to rediscover your love for reading for the fun of it. Make a list of pool reads and commit to unplugging and reading a little bit each day.

Exercise. We all know that exercise is good for the body, but study after study shows that it is good for the mind and the soul, too. Start walking, hiking, or practicing yoga. You’ll feel better and be glad that you did.

Reflect on the year. Within a week or two of school ending, take a notebook and head to your favorite coffee shop for some reflection. What worked well last year? What didn’t?

Set goals when your mind is fresh. After reflecting on the year, set a few goals. What would you like to improve or change next year? How will you make those changes and what milestones can you set to ensure you do?

Summer is your chance to breathe in between school years and give yourself a much-needed mental break! Use the time well so that when the next school year comes, you feel excited and ready to make it a great year.

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Eight Test-Taking Tips to Share with Students Whether you teach English, math, or any other subject, you have to give tests – and to succeed in your class, students need to get comfortable taking them. How can you help students become better test-takers?

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Mon, 08 Jul 2019 10:06:24 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/test-taking-tips-to-share-with-students https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/test-taking-tips-to-share-with-students Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Whether you teach English, math, or any other subject, you have to give tests – and to succeed in your class, students need to get comfortable taking them. How can you help students become better test-takers? Here are eight tips to share with them:

  1. Work on getting “in the zone.” Every classroom has distractions, but students must learn how to tune them out. This takes some trial and error, but encourage your students to work on figuring out what works for them.
  2. Jot down formulas or key information. It’s a good idea for students to write down any formulas or quick mnemonic devices they’ve memorized in the margins of their tests once you say “Begin.”
  3. Become skilled at pacing. One of the simplest tips you can share with your students is how to pace themselves. Students should estimate the minutes per question (and section) they can spend and do this quick calculation before starting any test.
  4. Mark the tough questions. Once students have a time budget in mind, they can keep themselves on track. That means they should circle any difficult questions and come back to them rather than waste time struggling.
  5. Read the directions. Students should always remember that reading directions is a must—on any test or assignment.
  6. Read the questions carefully. Doing so is the best way to eliminate obvious wrong answers and use time efficiently.
  7. Practice stress management. Tests can be very stressful for some students. Teach your students simple strategies to calm down and clear their heads, like deep breathing, stretching/standing, and positive visualization techniques.
  8. Allow for time at the end to review. It’s always good practice for students to review tests when finished to ensure that no questions were overlooked and to double-check or complete any problems about which they weren’t certain initially.

Remind your students of these tips and strategies throughout the school year. These practices will help them improve their test-taking abilities and confidence!

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5 Signs Your Student Needs Tutoring Outside of School It’s probably pretty obvious when a student is struggling in class, but as you know, getting that child help sooner than later is crucial.

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Mon, 08 Jul 2019 09:59:14 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/signs-your-student-needs-outside-tutoring https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/signs-your-student-needs-outside-tutoring Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center It’s probably pretty obvious when a student is struggling in class, but as you know, getting that child help sooner than later is crucial. Here are a few signs that one of your students needs tutoring help:

  1. The student is very behind. When students fall behind, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to catch back up, especially if the class moves at a fast pace. Also, falling behind tends to be a cumulative problem that worsens with time.
  2. The student is disengaged. Students who are disruptive, uninterested, or even angry often have something else going on that requires addressing. It could be that they’re embarrassed about their school struggles. Apathy is a big red flag that shouldn’t be ignored.
  3. The student performs poorly on tests and quizzes. When a student’s homework grades are acceptable but they get low test grades, you might be dealing with poor exam prep and study skills.
  4. The student struggles to work on pace. Some students work quickly while others take their time. This is to be expected, but if you have a student who consistently takes longer than seems reasonable to do tasks, supplemental tutoring might help them learn where they can be more efficient and build skills they’re missing.
  5. Your efforts to reach the student aren’t working. Maybe you’ve tried talking with a student and his parent, but your attempts have been ignored or met with resistance. A customized program of instruction that addresses the student’s areas of weakness might be just what they need.

Have a student who you feel could benefit from one-to-one, individualized tutoring? Refer parents to Huntington: 1-800 CAN LEARN. We’ll talk with them about how we help children of all ages raise their grades and their confidence.

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How to Make Smooth Classroom Transitions One challenge all teachers face is managing transitions from one activity to the next. That down-time can turn into class chatter and throw you completely off course.

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Thu, 20 Jun 2019 14:26:04 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/making-smooth-classroom-transitions https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/making-smooth-classroom-transitions Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center One challenge all teachers face is managing transitions from one activity to the next. That downtime can turn into class chatter and throw you completely off course. What can you do? Here are a few ideas for making those transitions smoother:

 

  • Establish a “stop talking” cue. This might be ringing a bell or calling out a chant. Teach your students what this means early in the year so that they understand that your expectation when it happens is for everyone to be quiet and listen.
  • Give time reminders. Abrupt changes are difficult for many students. Give five- and ten-minute warnings before you ask students to clean up or switch to something new.
  • Have a plan for the early finishers. Students work at different paces. Let students know what they should do if they finish a task before others. This will help avoid such students getting fidgety and disturbing their peers.
  • Develop routines. If you’ve been teaching for a while, you probably have routines well established. Take a good look at your day, though. Are there times where students are more disruptive or talkative than others? Consider giving a refresher on your expectations or trying a new routine.
  • Use transitions as quick brain breaks. Sometimes, no matter how well you plan a transition, your students might need a breather. Use it as a chance to move around, do some jumping jacks, or take a quick walk up and down the hall. Hitting pause for a moment will do your students good.

 

Managing transitions well is an important classroom management technique. It’s all about setting expectations and holding students to them. Do that, and you’ll notice that your classroom runs more effectively and your students remain engaged.

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Tips for Teaching ADHD Students School can be a struggle for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As their teacher, how can you make things easier and less frustrating for them and for you?

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Thu, 20 Jun 2019 14:22:22 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-teaching-adhd-students https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-teaching-adhd-students Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center School can be a struggle for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As their teacher, how can you make things easier and less frustrating for them and for you? Here are a few tips and techniques:

 

  • Get to know students individually. ADHD doesn’t look the same for every student. Talk with your students about what methods they’ve tried to focus, and pay attention to what works best for them.

 

  • Incorporate brain breaks. Sitting for long periods is difficult for any student, but especially those with ADHD. Recognize when your students become fidgety, disruptive, or distracted and take those moments to move, which is critical for getting students back on track and re-engaged.

 

  • Set expectations. For many students with ADHD, the visual and audio reminders of the time (and how much time is left to complete tasks) is the best method of time management. Throughout the day, let your students know what they must accomplish (e.g. a worksheet) and by when (e.g. using a timer).

 

  • Embrace the checklist. Checklists can be a lifesaver. Incorporate them into transition time, working time, and preparing-the-backpack-for-home time, and encourage students to create their own checklists to have on hand during homework.

 

Huntington works with students who have ADHD every day and helps them focus on improving their areas of weakness, developing study skills, and developing reliable methods of staying focused. As you work toward classroom success, feel free to refer parents to Huntington as well. Our customized tutoring programs are effective with students with ADHD because we use targeted strategies based on evidence-based practices. Call 1 800 CAN LEARN to learn more.

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Establishing a Great Learning Climate Every day, you strive to guide your students toward greater learning. How can you foster a climate that pushes students to grow and learn?

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Thu, 20 Jun 2019 14:18:19 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/establishing-a-great-learning-climate https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/establishing-a-great-learning-climate Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Every day, you strive to guide your students toward greater learning. How can you foster a climate that pushes students to grow and learn? Here are a few tips to create an effective classroom and learning climate:

 

  • Encourage questions. Students who are engaged are poised to learn, and asking questions is a big part of that. Invite meaningful, thoughtful questions. These help students solidify their understanding, think about what they learn as they learn it, and strive to continue their discovery journey in your class and beyond.
  • Adjust to your students. No two students learn exactly the same way, so meet your students wherever they are. Acknowledge that everyone has different strengths and needs, and let students know your goal is to support them as individuals.
  • Make your classroom a safe place. All students should feel welcome, comfortable, and empowered in your classroom. Demand respect from students for you and for one another.
  • Emphasize the process, not the end result. Teach students the value of learning and get them to “buy in” on its importance. Let them know that you expect effort and participation, which in turn is likely to lead to higher grades.
  • Embrace a positive attitude. Believe that your students are capable and tell them that you have confidence in their abilities. Set and communicate high expectations, and give students the support to meet them. Show your students you care and want to help them learn.

 

Teaching is a complex process. The classroom atmosphere you cultivate has a tremendous impact on your students and your ability to stimulate learning that lasts.

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Five Tips to Take the Stress Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences End-of-year parent-teacher conferences can make some parents nervous – and they might be stressful for you too, particularly when meeting with parents of students who are struggling.

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Thu, 20 Jun 2019 14:14:40 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/five-steps-to-remove-stress-in-parent-teacher-conferences https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/five-steps-to-remove-stress-in-parent-teacher-conferences Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center End-of-year parent-teacher conferences can make some parents nervous – and they might be stressful for you too, particularly when meeting with parents of students who are struggling. Here are a few tips to put parents at ease and make conferences constructive:

  1. Be prepared. Know exactly what you want to discuss, and have a timeline to cover the essential topics. Provide parents evidence of their children’s progress and performance (e.g. a portfolio of recent work and test scores) to keep the conversation focused.
  2. Share efforts since your last meeting. If you’ve talked with parents previously about any issues, address what you’ve worked on since your last conversation/conference. Ask parents what they’ve tried at home as well.
  3. Communicate your goals. It’s not easy for parents to hear that their children are having problems. If you have to broach this topic, do so in an action-oriented, confident manner. Let parents know you’re committed to helping their children, share your plans to do so and ask for their input.
  4. You might already know about some of the contributing factors that are causing a student to struggle. Making parents feel heard and understood will go a long way toward moving things in a positive direction.
  5. Listen well. Many parents expect you to do most of the talking during conferences, but it’s important to let them talk too. Ask if they have concerns or ideas as you approach the end of the year. This information will help you make arrangements for a smooth transition to the next grade and future teachers.

After conferences, follow through with any next steps you discuss, whether that’s connecting parents with additional school resources or executing an action plan to finish the year strong. Need support? Call Huntington to learn more about how we work with teachers to help children learn.

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Apps to Keep Students Organized Learning in the digital age has many advantages, and the plethora of apps out there to support students is a big one. Here briefly review a few of the best apps for your students to stay organized and focused.

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Mon, 20 May 2019 15:40:57 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/apps-to-keep-students-organized https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/apps-to-keep-students-organized Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Learning in the digital age has many advantages, and the plethora of apps out there to support students is a big one. Here are four popular apps that will help your students stay organized and on track with homework, deadlines, grades, and more: 

Evernote (for taking/organizing notes) – Evernote lets students collect their notes (typed and handwritten), articles, websites, and other research in one place. It’s great for managing projects, capturing ideas, and staying on top of deadlines and tasks. 

iStudiez Pro (for keeping track of homework, grades, and the schedule) – iStudiez Pro helps students manage their schedule, homework, and grades in one place. Tasks can be sorted by date, class, and priority. The planner helps students organize classes (and all details) and share their detailed schedule with Google Calendar or other calendar apps. 

RescueTime (for time management) – RescueTime is all about minimizing wasted time. It tracks how much time is spent on different websites, social media, email, or in other applications. Then, it provides detailed productivity reports. Students can block distracting websites and set up alerts for when they spend too much time on a website or other activity. 

Scanner Pro (for de-cluttering/minimizing paper) – ScannerPro works with Evernote. Students can quickly scan and save digital versions of any paper document. It uses optical character recognition so students can easily extract words from those scans. So, for the student who loses papers easily or wants to simplify and digitize their life, it’s a great tool. 

Obviously, these are just a few options—there are many other apps out there that your students might want to use instead. Encourage your students to research apps that will help them keep organized, which will lead to better grades and productivity.

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Five Characteristics of Highly Effective Teachers You got into teaching for a reason: to make a lasting impact on students’ lives. So how can you do that? Here are some of the common traits and characteristics of the most effective teachers.

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Mon, 20 May 2019 15:37:51 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/characteristics-of-highly-effective-teachers https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/characteristics-of-highly-effective-teachers Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center You got into teaching for a reason: to make a lasting impact on students’ lives. So how can you do that? Here are five characteristics of the best, most effective teachers:

  1. A passion for the craft of teaching and for helping students learn is essential to being an influential teacher. The best teachers let their enthusiasm show in the classroom. They aren’t afraid to share why they love a subject, and that excitement is often contagious.
  2. Excellent teachers want their students to learn. That means they’re always willing to take the time to help them understand something and overcome challenges. They are committed to guiding students toward greater learning.
  3. Compassion is important in teaching. And a patient, kind disposition is likely to be more successful than one that is more authoritative in nature. That’s not to say teachers cannot be strict and hold students to high standards. However, teachers can create great outcomes when they get to know their students as individuals and show them that they care.
  4. Some students are more naturally motivated than others, but great teachers are good at connecting all types of students to a subject. They try to make subjects interesting, of course, but they are also skilled at convincing students of the value and importance of learning. They pay attention to how their students respond to their methods and adjust when needed.
  5. Embracing a growth mindset. Every teacher wants their students to believe that they are capable of growing their skills and knowledge if they put in the effort. When they embrace this stance, it rubs off—and they will see increased student growth and motivation.

Learning isn’t easy for all students, but the more you can make your classroom a safe space where students are treated as capable learners, the more effective you will be.

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Four Tips to Take the Stress Out of Homework Time Some parents find homework time to be the most stressful part of the day, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’ve heard from any parents that homework is causing a lot of anxiety and arguments, it’s time to do something about it.

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Mon, 20 May 2019 15:34:43 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-take-the-stress-out-of-homework https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-take-the-stress-out-of-homework Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Some parents find homework time to be the most stressful part of the day, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’ve heard from any parents that homework is causing a lot of anxiety and arguments, it’s time to do something about it. Here are a few tips to share with your students’ parents to make things easier on the whole family:

  1. Time your children. It’s a big red flag when your students take a long time on homework and don’t have the grades to show for that effort. Give parents an idea of what’s a reasonable amount of time to spend on homework and encourage them to keep an eye on how long their children are working.
  2. Teach prioritization. Students who struggle to rank their homework in order from most important/due soonest to least important/due later will find themselves taking far longer than needed to do homework. A simple handout explaining how parents can work with their children to review and rank tasks at the start of every homework session will help.
  3. Encourage a routine. Children today lead busy lives, but the more parents can guide their children toward a consistent daily routine, the better. Maybe that means homework happens after school or before soccer, but the key is to establish and stick to a schedule. This promotes good time management skills and gives children greater control over their days.
  4. Develop an organizational system. Staying organized is essential to de-stress homework time, and involves several components: using a planner (or planner app), keeping to a schedule, and keeping track of all important papers and materials required for homework. Again, a handout for parents could be useful as they try to keep their children on track at home.

With a few adjustments, parents can transform homework time from an angst-inducing battle into just another part of the nightly routine. Pass along your best tips for making homework time run more smoothly at home, and you’ll most likely notice a positive difference.

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Can Brain Training Exercises Help Your Students? Maybe you’ve heard of brain training and wondered what it is, and if it could benefit your students. Certain mental exercises are very effective at developing cognitive skills.

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Mon, 20 May 2019 15:07:53 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/brain-training-exercises-for-students https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/brain-training-exercises-for-students Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Maybe you’ve heard of brain training and wondered what it is, and if it could benefit your students. Put simply, brain training is working out your brain. Certain mental exercises are very effective at developing cognitive skills. Students can boost their memories, sharpen their focus and concentration levels, increase processing speed, and more.

The great news: your students can build their cognitive strength with just a little effort each day. Here are a few simple things to encourage your students to do in class and at home:

Try the Pomodoro method. Have students set a timer to work uninterrupted for 25 minutes, then take a break for five. This is a great way to build the attention span. Start with even shorter periods if needed.

Develop time management. Believe it or not, building executive functioning skills like time management boosts the brain. Spend a few minutes every class going over your minute-by-minute agenda, and encourage your students to keep detailed schedules and planners.

Build the working memory. Develop your students’ memorization skills and attention span. Card games are a great way to hone these abilities, and students who develop their organizational skills also consistently strengthen their working memory.

Have students use tools to streamline daily routines. Checklists, homework charts, and planners are helpful aids for all students and build cognitive abilities like memory and brain speed.

The brain is like a muscle that can be strengthened. Help your students do so and you will give them much more than subject-matter knowledge. You’ll equip them with skills for life.

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Tips to Teach Your Students About SMART Goal-Setting If you encourage your students to set goals, make sure they’re SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

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Mon, 20 May 2019 15:05:28 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-teach-your-students-about-smart-goal-setting https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-teach-your-students-about-smart-goal-setting Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center If you encourage your students to set goals, make sure they’re SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Here are a few tips to share with your students as they engage in this valuable process:

  • Specific – Avoid any vague terms. Define the goal as clearly as possible and make sure you outline the who the goal involves, what is to be accomplished, where, and why it is a goal for the student.
  • Measurable – Students need to track their progress so that they know they’re making headway (and will know when their goal is achieved).
  • Achievable – Achievable goals are within the realm of possibility—meaning, students have the resources they need to take steps toward them. The goals must be realistic, and students must have control over the actions that are necessary to reach them.
  • Relevant – Goals must have a purpose. In other words, your students should think about whether the goals they set are worthwhile. They should be linked to their long-term visions for themselves.
  • Timely – A clearly defined timeframe with specific milestones/due dates is important for any SMART goal.

Share an example of a SMART goal like the one below:

Because I want to major in engineering in college (relevant), I want to increase my math grade to a 90% between now, October 10, 2019, and December 15, 2019 (specific/timely) by attending 90% of the Tuesday morning study sessions and spending 15 minutes each weeknight reviewing class notes, in addition to completing any assigned homework (measurable/achievable). 

Questions about setting SMART goals? Contact Huntington.

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Seven Tips for Using Google Classroom Does your school district use Google Classroom? If you’re not familiar, Google Classroom is a free tool that’s included in G Suite for Education.

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Wed, 10 Apr 2019 09:13:42 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/7-tips-for-using-google-classroom https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/7-tips-for-using-google-classroom Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Does your school district use Google Classroom? If you’re not familiar, Google Classroom is a free tool that’s included in G Suite for Education. It “helps students and teachers organize assignments, boost collaboration, and foster better communication.”

Every teacher wants to find ways to make teaching more productive and meaningful. Huntington offers a few ways to put Google Classroom to work:

  1. Share information, such as assignments, materials, and questions with students and other co-teachers.
  2. Manage multiple classes and share posts across classes (including announcements, assignments, or questions).
  3. Co-teach with up to 20 other instructors at a time.
  4. Enrich class assignments by adding YouTube videos, PDFs, or other materials you pull into Google Drive.
  5. Improve communication by starting and managing class discussions, sharing resources, giving real-time feedback, and engaging students in the class discussion stream. Parents can also sign up for an email summary of their students’ work.
  6. Integrate your work with other Google tools, like Google Docs, Calendar, Drive, Gmail, and Forms.
  7. Keep your students organized by encouraging them to track class work and materials, share resources with classmates via the class stream, submit assignments, and keep track of grades.

There’s a lot you can do with Google Classroom. Visit https://classroom.google.com to explore the possibilities and make your classroom more effective.

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Tips for Teaching Students Mindfulness Today’s students live busy lives, and the hectic pace and many demands can often create stress. Teach your students to be more mindful, which will help them feel calmer, more grounded, and more attentive.

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Wed, 10 Apr 2019 09:07:22 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-teaching-students-mindfulness https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-teaching-students-mindfulness Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Today’s students live busy lives, and the hectic pace and many demands can often create stress. Teach your students to be more mindful, which will help them feel calmer, more grounded, and more attentive. Huntington offers a few tips for embracing mindfulness that you can share with your students:

  • Focus on yourself. A big part of mindfulness is bringing awareness to your actions, like your breath, movements, and reactions.
  • One thought at a time. We all have a lot to think about. It’s important to declutter the mind periodically, observing every moment and staying “in” those moments while they are happening.
  • Pause and look around. Mindfulness is also about paying attention to what’s around you: sounds, sights, smells, and other people. Train the mind to stay with and commit to each thought, even if briefly.
  • Acknowledge the past, but don’t dwell. Past experiences and difficulties offer the opportunity to learn and grow, but they shouldn’t interfere with our forward momentum in life. Teach the mind to recognize things as they occur, but accept what cannot be changed. Focus on the present.

Mindfulness has many benefits, from decreased stress to increased information processing speed, from better focus to improved communication. Encourage your students to adopt some of these practices and watch them become stronger, more effective students.

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Tips to Minimize Digital Distractions One of the unfortunate realities of teaching in the digital age is the volume of distractions. From smartphones with all kinds of tools and games to many different types of social media platforms, there are lots of ways for students to get sidetracked in class and when doing homework. What can you do?

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Fri, 15 Mar 2019 13:53:28 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-minimize-digital-distractions https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-to-minimize-digital-distractions Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center One of the unfortunate realities of teaching in the digital age is the volume of distractions. From smartphones with all kinds of tools and games to many different types of social media platforms, there are lots of ways for students to get sidetracked in class and when doing homework. What can you do? Huntington recommends the below tips to offer your students:

Set and stick to a schedule. The more your students structure their days, the better they will be at minimizing wasted time – including technology time. Encourage them to develop a detailed daily schedule that blocks out time for all of their have-tos as well as their want-tos, including online and phone time.

Establish classroom expectations. You must outline rules for digital devices, including when students are allowed to have their phones out in the classroom and when they are prohibited.

Encourage parents to set rules. Your students are only with you for part of each day, so make sure you communicate your classroom expectations to parents. Hopefully, this will inspire some rules and guidelines for responsible phone and technology use at home as well.

Help students build good habits. Try teaching the Pomodoro method, which has students set a timer to work for 25 minutes and then take a break for five minutes – a simple but effective way to maximize productivity. Those short breaks can be used for checking social media and replying to texts. The benefit: students will grow accustomed to staying focused when it’s time to work.

Suggest helpful apps. There are many tools that can help students be more aware of what they spend their time on and quit wasting it on unproductive activities. Check out RescueTime , a program which runs in the background of computers and mobile devices, and SelfControl for starters.

There’s so much to distract students today. Help yours embrace good habits so that the many digital tools and devices out there help and do not hinder their lives.

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Tips for Building Students’ Essay Writing Abilities Do your students know the basics for writing effective essays? Here are a few simple tips to offer, which can be applied to all essay types:

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Fri, 15 Mar 2019 13:41:52 -0400 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-building-student-essay-writing-abilities https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/tips-for-building-student-essay-writing-abilities Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Do your students know the basics for writing effective essays? Here are a few simple tips to offer, which can be applied to all essay types:

Know the goal. Can you ever overstate the importance of reading the directions? Remind your students that they must adjust their approach depending on the type of essay they’re writing and its purpose. For example, there’s a big difference between a persuasive essay presenting an argument and an expository essay meant to compare and contrast ideas.

Outline first. It’s always best to plan out the essay structure before writing, jotting down some thoughts for the introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Fine-tune the introduction. Whether writing an opinion piece on a certain law or a story about a personal experience, students must hook the reader right away. The first few sentences need to grab the reader’s attention, and the first paragraph should conclude with a thesis that frames the rest of the essay.

Teach the importance of editing. A first draft of an essay should never be the final draft. Students must learn to review and edit their own work. Teach students to check that they’ve achieved the following before finalizing their essays:

  • No spelling or grammar mistakes or other errors
  • Clear and vivid examples
  • Word and sentence variety
  • Logical flow from paragraph to paragraph
  • Concise sentences
  • Avoidance of passive voice
  • Overall clarity (answers the question posed)

Becoming a good writer takes practice. Help your students build these skills now so that they are ready for the onslaught of college essays that will be required of them in a few years. They’ll thank you for it!

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4 Essential Ways to Help Your High School Students Get Ready for College It is the job of every high school teacher to prepare students for college. Of course, you must teach your students the grade-level content knowledge they need to progress in your subject, but there are other important aspects of developing college-ready students.

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Tue, 05 Mar 2019 09:07:29 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/4-essential-ways-to-help-your-high-school-students-get-ready-for-college https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/4-essential-ways-to-help-your-high-school-students-get-ready-for-college Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center It is the job of every high school teacher to prepare students for college. Of course, you must teach your students the grade-level content knowledge they need to progress in your subject, but there are other important aspects of developing college-ready students. Huntington recommends focusing on four of them:

  1. Encourage independence. College students absolutely must be able to think on their own, work independently, seek out resources, and motivate themselves. Teach your students to take ownership of their work, self-advocate, and communicate effectively with you and their classmates.
  2. Foster good study habits. If your students don’t have solid study skills/habits by the time they graduate high school, they’ll struggle in college. Work on developing organizational and time management skills and show your students how to create detailed work plans for projects and ongoing assignments.
  3. Teach note-taking skills. Another essential study tool is note-taking. Notes should summarize concepts covered in class and not simply repeat a class lecture or the textbook. They need to be organized and easy to read. (Check out the Cornell note-taking system if you’re not already familiar.)
  4. Build critical thinking. You’ve heard it plenty: today’s market demands professionals who are adaptable and able to solve complicated problems. That requires critical thinking, which you can nurture by encouraging your students to analyze information thoroughly, share their reasoning, engage in debate, and connect ideas.

You have a big opportunity to help your students make a smooth transition to college. Go beyond teaching your subject and you’ll give your students a solid foundation for long-term success.

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Using Case Studies in the Classroom If you teach an advanced high school class, you’re always looking for opportunities to help your students apply what they know and put theory into practice. Using case studies in the high school classroom can do just that.

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Tue, 05 Mar 2019 08:54:08 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/using-case-studies-in-the-classroom https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/using-case-studies-in-the-classroom Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center If you teach an advanced high school class, you’re always looking for opportunities to help your students apply what they know and put theory into practice. Using case studies in the high school classroom can do just that.

What are case studies? Commonly used in business schools, law schools and medical schools, case studies set up real-life problems and ask students to answer questions about those problems. They can be short or long and are often based on actual situations, but their objective is to give students information to discuss, dissect, and use to develop solutions to the problem at hand.

Below are some suggestions from Huntington for how to use a case study in your classroom:

  • Have students identify the main problem or problems in the case study, possible courses of action, and obstacles.
  • Give students direction on how to think about and analyze a case based on your different course objectives. For example, you might have students think about how they would have approached a situation differently than those in the case study or weigh the pros and cons of different potential solutions to a situation.
  • After dividing students into groups, assign members of each group different perspectives to take.
  • Have groups present to one another after they have developed their analyses/positions.
  • After all groups present to each other, have a group discussion about common viewpoints and arguments made by your students.

Case studies are a great way to innovate in your classroom and prepare your students for college-level academics. Read more about case studies as discussed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation.

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Ideas for Teaching Outside the Classroom Sometimes, your students need a change of scenery. Taking your students outside the classroom can be highly beneficial, energizing students and giving them the chance to interact and learn in a totally different way.

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Tue, 05 Mar 2019 08:51:24 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/ideas-for-teaching-outside-the-classroom https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/ideas-for-teaching-outside-the-classroom Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Sometimes, your students need a change of scenery. Taking your students outside the classroom can be highly beneficial, energizing students and giving them the chance to interact and learn in a totally different way.

Below are a few ideas from Huntington to help move your teaching venue beyond the traditional classroom:

Field trips. The field trip is the most obvious way to take students into the real world, but don’t think that your only option is the art or science museum. Tour your city’s sports arena. Explore your area’s trails, hiking spots, rivers, or lakes. Visit a historic site. Check out a college campus.

Take science outside. What’s on or near your school’s campus? A grassy field? Trees? A body of water? Wildflowers? Use the area as a learning ground to study plants, rocks, or insects.

Team up with other classes. Could you pair older and younger students for a mentorship or book buddies program? Could you let small groups of your students observe another class that is covering a topic your class is also studying?

Use the weather. The changing weather and seasons create obvious teaching opportunities for science teachers, but English teachers might take students outside for creative writing or poetry units to let the sounds and sights inspire them. Math teachers could have students track and graph rainfall, wind direction, and temperature.

Make it active. Use the spaces within your school to make your learning more active when feasible. Could you invigorate a lecture by moving to the auditorium or library? Could the gym serve as an occasional venue for student discussions or group presentations?

Understandably, most teachers feel best equipped in their own classrooms. However, you can boost your students’ growth and enrich their learning by periodically changing things up. Try something and see how it goes!

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4 Tips for Team-Based Learning If you’re a believer in having students work together to practice what they learn, you definitely need to explore team-based learning.

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Tue, 05 Mar 2019 08:49:33 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/4-tips-for-team-based-learning https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/4-tips-for-team-based-learning Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center If you’re a believer in having students work together to practice what they learn, you definitely need to explore team-based learning. As described by the Team-Based Learning Collaborative (TBLC), this instructional strategy divides classes into three steps: preparation, in-class readiness assurance testing, and application-focused exercises. 

Here are a few tips from Huntington to help you get started incorporating team-based learning into your classroom: 

  1. Assign pre-reading. These might include textbook chapters, articles, audio or video lectures, or other materials that help students get up to speed on the work you will cover in class the following day (or a week ahead of time). 
  1. Follow a readiness assurance process. A critical part of team-based learning is making sure students are prepared to learn. The pre-class preparation is important, as is the individual and team readiness assurance testing, which holds them accountable for acquiring foundational knowledge that kicks off the learning process (more about this on TBLC’s website). 
  1. Form teams based on important criteria. Your goal should be to group students (four to six students is the ideal group size) so that there is a fairly even distribution of skill. These teams should stay together throughout each unit so they can grow together. 
  1. Develop activities that allow students to apply what they learn. Working in teams, students should solve problems that let them demonstrate what they did in the readiness assurance process. These activities should encourage students to defend, challenge, and discuss each other’s thinking and problem-solving processes. 

For more guidance on team-based learning, read TBLC’s Introduction to Team-Based Learning.

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How to Help Students Improve Their Notetaking Skills Maybe you’ve encouraged your students before to “take good notes,” but do they know what that means? Here are a few tips to help your students improve their notetaking skills:  

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Fri, 22 Feb 2019 11:59:33 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/how-to-help-students-improve-note-taking-skills https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/how-to-help-students-improve-note-taking-skills Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Maybe you’ve encouraged your students before to “take good notes,” but do they know what that means? Here are a few tips to help your students improve their notetaking skills:  

  • Take down key ideas. Your students should write down information that is obviously significant. You can help by pointing out during class work or lectures when something is important.
  • Paraphrase, don’t replicate. Remind your students that notes are for summarizing big ideas. Trying to write down every word you say won’t help them remember it. Bullets and abbreviations are better.
  • Jot down terms/formulas/definitions. Have your students write down words/formulas that they should study or memorize.
  • Record questions. Putting down questions in a margin is a great way for students to remind themselves of topics to clarify later. These cues can serve as a useful study guide.
  • Explore notetaking apps. Your students are digital natives. They might like using a notetaking app that allows them to store their notes and sync them across multiple devices. Check out GoodNotes, Microsoft OneNote or Evernote.
  • Keep notes organized. Teach your students to date their notes, label sections, use a highlighter or different colored pen to call out important information, and use visual cues like boxes to highlight key words or arrows to connect ideas.
  • Notetaking isn’t finished when class is over. Your students need to get into the habit of looking over their notes each evening to fill in any blanks, add or correct information, and neaten things up. 

Adopting a good notetaking system will help your students retain and recall information you cover in class. Done right, notes can enhance your students’ learning and make studying easier. But don’t assume your students inherently know how to take notes effectively. Give them some guidelines and in-class practice!

 See how Huntington can help your students succeed.

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Building Your Students’ Problem-Solving Skills Like life, school is a journey filled with twists and turns. Problems arise, but students who learn to confront them early will be happier and more resilient as they approach college and the real world. Here is a framework to help you build your students’ problem-solving skills.

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Fri, 22 Feb 2019 11:57:53 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/building-your-students-problem-solving-skils https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/building-your-students-problem-solving-skils Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Like life, school is a journey filled with twists and turns. Problems arise, but students who learn to confront them early will be happier and more resilient as they approach college and the real world. Here is a framework to help you build your students’ problem-solving skills:

  • Start with identification. In assignments or projects, teach students to identify the task in front of them, then define the problem(s) they’re trying to solve.
  • Articulate possible solutions. An important part of the problem-solving process is brainstorming solutions—as many options as possible.
  • Weigh the options. Encourage your students to consider the ideas they’ve come up with: what are the possible problems with each? Which alternatives are most and least feasible?
  • Create an action plan. Before diving in, students should decide what they’ll do first to work toward solving the problem. This should involve thinking through the strategy, steps and desired outcomes
  • The execution phase is where your students should attempt to try out a solution by carrying out the steps that they defined in their action plan. To build on their learning, they should evaluate their progress as they go.
  • Lastly, it’s time for evaluation. Encourage your students to reflect on their efforts, problem-solving process, what worked and what did not. They might decide to go back to the drawing board if the problem didn’t get solved as planned.

One of the best ways to prepare your students for college and the real world is to teach them how to identify and solve problems on their own. Regular practice doing so will help them be more confident and independent no matter what academic challenges they face.

See how Huntington Learning Center can help your students succeed.

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Four Ways Students Can Use Technology to Show What They Know There are many tools, apps and programs you can use to take your teaching to the next level, but don’t forget about those that allow students to share their work and knowledge with you and their classmates. Here are four types of tools—and examples of each—that go beyond the traditional to achieve 21st century learning.

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Fri, 22 Feb 2019 11:58:36 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/4-ways-students-can-use-technology-to-show-knowledge https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/4-ways-students-can-use-technology-to-show-knowledge Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center There are many tools, apps and programs you can use to take your teaching to the next level, but don’t forget about those that allow students to share their work and knowledge with you and their classmates. Here are four types of tools—and examples of each—that go beyond the traditional to achieve 21st century learning:

  1. Online presentation tools – Tools like Google Slides let your students create, edit, collaborate and present what they learn. They can snazz up their presentations with embedded video, animations and design.
  2. Mind mapping tools – The mind map helps students boost those brainstorming, idea organization and visual learning aptitudes. Check out mind mapping tools line Coggle and iMindQ.
  3. Digital publishing tools – Your students can transform their hard copy projects into digital books or “zines” with tools like Flipsnack or iSpring Flip, which convert and combine various documents into online flipbooks.
  4. Interactive writing tools – Transform that essay or book report into something visually exciting. Storybird uses illustrations to inspire students to write and publish their stories. Quill offers writing and grammar activities that you can weave into your lessons and discussions—plus you can add independent practice opportunities. ReadWriteThink is a great resource for all kinds of interactive, online literacy tools.

Technology has impacted education in every way. Make sure you’re incorporating it into your students’ learning experience from start to finish. Look around online—there are endless options!

See how Huntington can help your students succeed.

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The Importance of Planning and Preparation in Teaching o a little research into the best teachers out there and you’ll discover that they have several things in common: knowledge, charisma and care for students, to name a few. However, if there’s one element that makes for effective teaching, it is planning. Here are several reasons that lesson planning is essential.

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Fri, 22 Feb 2019 12:00:07 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/importance-of-planning https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/importance-of-planning Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center Do a little research into the best teachers out there and you’ll discover that they have several things in common: knowledge, charisma and care for students, to name a few. However, if there’s one element that makes for effective teaching, it is planning. Here are several reasons that lesson planning is essential: 

  • It gets you prepared. Some material you might know like the back of your hand, while other material might be new to you or more complex, and therefore more challenging to deliver successfully. Planning helps you get up to speed so you’re not figuring things out while trying to teach students.
  • It boosts your confidence. Confidence in the classroom is largely about having good control. Armed with a plan to impart learning upon your students each day, you’ll achieve learning objectives more easily and will avoid those “dead” minutes when you’re stalling or thinking on the fly (and your students get restless).
  • It solidifies you as a professional. When you are observed for performance evaluations, you’ll be graded on your effectiveness in the classroom. Thoughtfully prepared lessons are easy to spot, whereas “off-the-cuff” teaching can seem disorganized and unimpressive.
  • It makes sure lessons are meaningful. Arguably the most important reason to plan is that it ensures your students’ time in the classroom is worthwhile. As their teacher, you should tie all activities to specific learning objectives and connect your daily lessons to all long-term units. It is vital that everything flows together so you can help your students achieve grade-level standards. 

You might be a fun and energetic teacher, but remember that anything you do in the classroom must have a purpose if your goal is to guide your students toward knowledge acquisition. Planning is an essential part of your job and an investment in your success as a teacher. Be sure to take the time to do it. 

See how Huntington can help your students succeed.

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5 Tips for Motivating Students in the New Year Ready to get your students into school mode after holiday break? Here are five tips to start things off on the right foot in 2019.

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Fri, 22 Feb 2019 11:57:10 -0500 https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/5-tips-for-motivating-students-in-the-new-year https://huntingtonhelps.com/resources/educators-blog/5-tips-for-motivating-students-in-the-new-year Huntington Learning Center Huntington Learning Center  

Ready to get your students into school mode after holiday break? Here are five tips to start things off on the right foot in 2019: 

  1. Plan activities. Ease your students into school work with some post-holiday classroom activities. Those might include writing prompts, games to refresh students’ knowledge on units from first semester and hands-on activities. 
  1. Revisit those goals. If you had your students set goals in the beginning of the year, pull them out again. Encourage students to assess how they’re progressing toward their goals and have them write a few more for this month and the rest of the school year. 
  1. Develop a game plan. Don’t just set goals. Have your students lay out the steps to attain them. Talk about creating goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely). Together, come up with an accountability system wherein your students track their progress along the way. 
  1. Get (re)organized. Give your students a quick refresher on planner use and keeping track of projects and test dates as well as some reminders on how to keep the backpack, binders, locker and desk in order. 
  1. Talk about character. The New Year is one of the best times to commit to changing ourselves for the better. Spend time these first weeks back to school cultivating a classroom environment that is supportive and inspiring and encourages students to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and what they want to be known for. 

The New Year is an opportunity for all students to start fresh and take ownership of their school experience. Incorporate these ideas into your classroom and make the rest of the school year awesome! See how Huntington can help your students succeed.

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