College Ready

Sharing strategies for student success, college readiness and academic coaching


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27 Ways to Be an Effective Classroom Teacher in one Education Infographic

Try something new during these last few weeks of the school year. It can be like a dress rehearsal to see if you want to blend it into your “teacherly bag ‘o tricks” for next year. I like this education infographic from the amazing Mia Mac Meeken.

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Exploring the Idea of Happiness as Part of School Work

Luca Nisalli

I’ve been exploring the science of Happy and happiness research for the past two years in my college composition classrooms. We look at the work of various psychologists and psychiatrists, (like Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar and Professor Dan Gilbert, both of Harvard) who are writing and teaching on the science of happiness.

This article from PBS Mind/Shift, “Exploring the Idea of Happiness as Part of School Work,” discusses what that looks like in the classroom, and why “happy matters.” I agree wholeheartedly. After all, the brain on positive is 31% more productive than at negative, neutral, or stressed.


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How to be a Scholar. 6 Steps to Encourage Critical Thinking

As we get to the end of the semester and school year, we are expecting our students to demonstrate higher order thinking skills, or Critical Thinking. I like this infographic from Learning Commons at the University of British Columbia.

Critical Thinking Toolkit

Thanks to its simple flow chart style, students can use it to clearly reflect on their own thinking. Students need to constantly question their own process, and those of others. They need to ask questions about the text they read, test possibilities, and allow for new discoveries.

Higher order thinking skills (HOTS) push our students beyond simple responses and elevate them to scholars and critics in their own right. Part of what’s vital in education is for students to learn to trust their own voice, while still questioning their thinking. What strategies do you use in your classroom to encourage critical thinking?

 


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Empathy in Education: 3 Simple Steps

Here’s a simple and easy to understand definition of Empathy:

See…Listen…Feel

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. We all need this reminder… children and adults, alike.

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When kids understand and practice empathy, bullying decreases, in the classroom and online. Community and compassion increases. We need more of that–that’s the good stuff.

Take some time to help the young people in your life understand what empathy really is. And don’t just tell, but show. Some simple suggestions: start a random acts of kindness campaign on campus, have older kids serve as “buddies” to the younger students, collect pennies for peace, or suggest another easy community service project that gets the whole school involved. Kids helping kids is a constructive way to foster empathy and watch it grow. Kids-Helping-Kids[1]

Best way to teach empathy–show empathy. Best way to affect change, not only in our classrooms, but in the world…be the change.

xo~Lisa, aka: The Happy Teacher


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8 Tips on How to be a Writer

The Zen of Writing:

Let go of fear of rejection.

Write Everyday. Get Feedback. When not Writing–READ. Read everyday. Full list:


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Wise Words: Imagination is Power.

As we continue to push our students to become critical thinkers, we allow them to direct their learning, focus on their interests, and use their imaginations. This is more and more what we need to remember:

Imagination is Power. 

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Creativity leads to connection. Social-emotional learning, project-based learning and inquiry learning all come from an authentic, student-centered place. In each of these, for creativity & imagination to blossom, we must allow & encourage students to follow their natural curiosity.


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5 Quick and Easy Steps to Make your LinkedIn Profile Irresistible

Add some SWAG to your LinkedIn Profile in 5 Easy Steps.

Here’s why:

LinkedIn is THE most popular social media site used by recruiters in all professions. That’s right. A recent survey from “Jobvite found that 93 percent of job recruiters tap into LinkedIn to find qualified candidates,” according to CNET. 

Make sure you are making the most of your profile page. You want to be Irresistible…don’t you? Of course you do! So, start with these 5 simple steps to getting found!

5 Tips to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Irresistible


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Trends | Preparing Students for 21st Century Success

Preparing Students for 21st century Success. These are the “skills necessary for students to be able to learn effectively and live productively in our increasingly digital world,” according to learning.com. We all need to help prepare students to succeed in college and/or career.

EdTech Digest

Preparing Students for 21st Century Success - aLearning.com Infographic

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Less Us, More Them: Creating Authentic Learning Communities

It’s Time:

Less Us, More Them: Creating Authentic Learning Communities

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What are you doing in your classroom to focus more on student-led and student-centered learning?

Engaging students in authentic learning, and encouraging students to use high order thinking skills will prepare them for the world, whether that world includes a college classroom or future workplace. Learning for the sake of the knowledge gained, not grades or points, is what drives, motivates and spurs students to discover greatness. We want students who can analyze, evaluate and create their future…

The time has come.

Trust. Trust your students to be capable of driving their education. It can be challenging, and even messy, to let go but when we do, great things are bound to happen. Trust yourself and your own background and experience as an educator, to be able to navigate this new uncharted territory.

Less Us, More Them.


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Read, Write, Connect. 18 Weeks in the Life of an English Prof: Week 1, Day 1

CONNECT

Week 1, Day 1 of the semester. Welcome to 18 weeks in the life of a college English professor…or, what I’m affectionately calling “High Heels & a Highlighter.” I have committed to sharing my experiences with all of you. You’ll have a front row seat here in my college English class this semester. As an “Insider” you’ll be privy to lesson plans, learning goals, successes, and (likely) some occasional bumps along the road that happen to us all, not so much failures as, oh, let’s call ’em “learning opportunities.” 🙂

We spend a lot of time at the very first class establishing connections, getting to know each other, and laying the foundation for our Learning Community. One active learning exercise we do is called Common Ground. Students get into groups of 6 and come up with a list of 10 things they all have in common. It is a great way to get students interacting from the very first class!
Fast & Fun Ice Breaker

Fast & Fun Ice Breaker

And of course, I introduce myself, the course objective and overall theme. Along with all of that, I also introduce my students to the concept of Metacognition: thinking about your thinking, or learning about your learning. When students use metacognition strategies, it increases their learning outcomes. Students need to recognize that the brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, and flex it, the stronger it becomes. You can literally build the brain you want. The very latest neuroscience backs this up. Here’s what Judy Willis, MD, had to say in a recent Edutopia article:
“To reduce anxiety about new “stuff” in the classroom — whether related to Common Core State Standards, struggles with reading, or something else entirely — you can find opportunities to emphasize students’ ability to literally build the brains they want. Remind them that, when they turn in a story, demonstrate a science principle in a skit, or even raise their hand to respond to a question, they grow more dendrites and add new layers of myelin to their axons. To them this may sound gross, but it’s actually good news. By activating these brain networks, they continuously use their executive functions as they apply new learning. Like a muscle, the brain responds to interaction and activity.”
Sure, there’s more, but I’ll be keeping these posts more like a “snapshot.” So, that’s a taste of Day One in my classroom. We Read, Write and Connect. In fact…that’s the title of my class! Post a comment on what you do on your first day-I’d love to hear from you. xo~Lisa