Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Avoiding Burn-out - What's Your Advice?

The pay is low.
The hours are long.
You're almost guaranteed to catch the "cold of century" every year.
We welcome new people to the profession every year and we see almost as many leave it every year citing "burn-out."
Also every year we celebrate the folks who have made it ten, twenty, thirty, or more years in the classroom. You're the people we want to hear from. What's your advice for avoiding burn-out as a teacher?

Doodlers Unite! The Positives in Doodling

In the TED Talk embedded below Sunni Brown, author of Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers, presents the case for encouraging rather than discouraging doodling in the classroom and in the boardroom. Her talk might give you some new ideas about why your students are doodling in your classroom.

Warning: Ms. Brown does use one analogy in her talk that is not appropriate for the classroom.

If you're interested in learning more about using sketches and doodles as thinking exercises, I also recommend Dan Roam's The Back of the Napkin.

Google Search Lesson Plans and Webinars

Give your students any kind of research assignment and for better or worse the first place they're likely to turn to is Google. As educators part of our responsibility to our students is to teach them how to search more effectively. To that end the Google Search Education Evangelism site has a selection of lesson plans that you can use and modify to teach search techniques to your students. On the Search Education site you will find nine lesson plans covering the basics of search through advanced techniques to get students beyond the first page or two of search results.

If you're not sure what exactly Google offers for advanced search options or how you will teach them, check out the archived webinars Google offers in which many of the techniques and strategies are explained.

I have previously shared some resources of my own on the topic of advanced Google search tools. You can see one of those resources below.

Thanks to Alice Barr for Tweeting the link to the Google Search Education Evangelism site.

What's Delicious Doing Now? Making Stacks

Delicious, the popular social bookmarking site whose future has been in limbo since last December, just relaunched with a new feature they're calling Stacks. Stacks is a new way to display and share your bookmarks with others. Stacks are essentially multimedia previews of links that you have organized according to the tags you assigned to them. The video below provides a nice overview of Delicious Stacks.

Another change to Delicious that you should note is that you can now tag your bookmarks with phrases rather than just one word labels.

Applications for Education
Delicious Stacks could be a good visual way for students to explore a set of links that you have shared with them about a topic. You or your students could create multimedia playlists about a topic to share with each other.

If you're wondering why you should use an online bookmarking service at all, just consider the time and frustration you'll save yourself if your computer ever unexpectedly crashes on you taking all of your most important bookmarks with it. By saving them online, you can always access your favorite bookmarks from any Internet-connected computer.

"Classic" Educational Videos

As I mentioned on Google+ this morning, even old videos can be informative sometimes. This morning my students were working on a quick in-class research assignment about the branches of US government. As I circled the room to talk with students, one of my typically "less-focused" students said, "hey Mr. Byrne have you seen this?" What he was referring to was an old School House Rock video about the branches of government. There is an entire 44 set playlist of old School House Rock videos available on YouTube.

Thanks to my student Brad for reminding me about these.