Annexure II- V

Annex II – Format of Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan Title

Course Time: 150 min.
03/24/08
1)     Learner Outcome: This is not read to the learners. Instead, use the Objective and Course Requirements below. This is to help the developer build the lesson plan.
a)     Task: Starting with a verb, describe the observable performance or behavior.
b)    Condition: Describe the actual conditions under which the task will occur or be observed.
c)     Standard: State the level of acceptable performance of the task in terms of quantity, quality, time limitations, etc.
Time: 5 min
2)     Introduction: Introduce yourself – name, authority (why should the learners listen to you), interest device (war story, humor). Special instructions, facilities, etc.
Time: 3 min
3)     Objective: Help them to visualize a clear goal, such as what will this learning help me to achieve? What will I be able to do in the future? Why am I spending my time in this class?
Time: 2 min
4)     Course Requirements: What must I do to pass this course? How do I know I can perform the task correctly?
Time: 5 min
5)    Course Description: Give the big picture (Global). The instructional outline will list the details (Liner).  Some people prefer large-scale concepts (over-all view of the material). Others prefer one-step at a time instructions.
a)    Stimulate recall of prior learning: Show how this lesson is built upon prior lessons or pre-course requirements.
6)     Instructional Outline
Time: 25 min
a)    First learning Point: For effective learning, use the full range of Howard Gardner’s work on Multiple intelligences.
i)     Linguistic-verbal learners tend to think best via words (word smart). Use activities that involve hearing, listening, impromptu or formal speaking, tongue twisters, humor, oral or silent reading, documentation, creative writing, spelling, journal, poetry.
ii)    Logical-mathematical learners are questioners who think best by reasoning (number or logic smart). Use activities that involve abstract symbols/formulas, outlining, graphic organizers, numeric sequences, calculation, deciphering codes, problem solving.
iii)   Visual-spatial learners employ images and pictures (form mental models of the world). Use activities that involve art, pictures, sculpture, drawings, doodling, mind mapping, patterns/designs, color schemes, active imagination, imagery, block building.
iv)   Bodily-Kinesthetic learners use somatic sensations (body smart). Use activities that involve role playing, physical gestures, drama, inventing, ball passing, sports games, physical exercise, body language, dancing.
v)    Musical-rhythmic learners tend to think via melodies and rhythm. Use activities that involve audio tape, music recitals, singing on key, whistling, humming, environmental sounds, percussion vibrations, rhythmic patterns, music composition, tonal patterns.
vi)   Interpersonal learners think by bouncing ideas off of each other (socializers who are people smart). Use activities that involve group projects, division of labor, sensing others’ motives, receiving/giving feedback, collaboration skills.
vii) Intrapersonal learners think deeply inside of themselves. Use activities that involve emotional processing, silent reflection methods, thinking strategies, concentration skills, higher order reasoning, “centering” practices, meta-cognitive techniques.
viii)                                                                                                 Naturalist learners are connected to the intricacies and subtleties in nature. Use activities that involve bringing the outdoors into the class, relating to the natural world, charting, mapping changes, observing wildlife, keeping journals or logs.
Time: 15 min
b)    Second Learning Point: Normally, each learning point will last about 15 or 30 minutes (lectures only will run 5 to 10 minutes), depending upon the complexity of the subject and the type of activities performed.
i)     Use teaching aids for long term memory, such as mnemonics, visualizations, mind maps, or activities – get the learners involved!
ii)    Invoke positive emotions such as excitement, wonder, or challenge. Ask about concerns and then relate them to past or future achievements. Help them to visualize goals and encourage positive actions.
iii)   Use all sensory channels – Visual, Auditory, & Kinesthetic (VAK). Using all three will reinforce the learning concepts.
Time: 20 min
c)    Third Learning Point:
i)     Theorist – Abstract Conceptualization – lecture, papers, analogies, how does this relate to that, case studies, theory readings, thinking alone.
ii)    Pragmatist – Concrete Experience – laboratories, field work, observations, how can I apply this in practice, peer feedback.
iii)   Activist – Active Experimentation – simulations, case study, small group discussions, peer feedback.
iv)   Reflector – Reflective Observation – logs, journals, brainstorming, time to think about this.
Time: 15 min
d)    Forth Learning Point: Normally, there should be about 4 learning points for each hour or two of instruction depending upon difficultly…the learners need time to “absorb” the information.                                  {To enter another learning point, press the [Tab] key.}
Time: 30 min
7)    Elicit performance (practice) and provide feedback:
a)    Avid Beginners – The learners are enthusiastic to learn a new skill and may be somewhat apprehensive because they are about to enter a change process. They need clear instructions and lots of feedback because the task is new, and a little support.
b)    Disillusioned Beginners – The level of technical support becomes less so that they may experiment with their learning style that works best. They have reached failure a few times which means emotional support must increase to help with their confidence.
c)    Reluctant Learners – They have become capable in performing their new skill. The amount of guidance drops to a few pointers so that they can experiment. They are still not confident so emotional support stays high to help build confidence.
d)    Task Performers – Little direction and little support are required. They begin to take ownership of their new tasks and responsibilities.
Time: 10 min
e)    Review: After about 1 or 2 hours of class, depending upon the complexity of the material, perform reflection or review activities.
i)     Reflection is an active process (the doer must think) – do it in pairs, groups and individually.
ii)    Reviews can also be an activity, i.e. toss a nerf ball around, the receiver of the ball then explains or lists what he or she thought was a major ideal or concept. The ball is then tossed to another…
Time: 20 min
8)    Evaluation: Know what behaviors are to be looked for and how they are rated. These behaviors MUST support the learner oucomes (learning objective).
9)    Retention and Transfer: How will you ensure that the training will be used upon the job? There is absolutly no use in training if they are not going to use it (we loose what we do not use).
Strategy:          Programming to be administered will be guided through a planned

                        Interactive phases duly considered.

Annex III -IV

Annex III : Process Note –  Achievement Oriented: Identifies and accomplishes challenging objectives or personal goals.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Establishes challenging short-and long-term goals.
�     Tell me about the accomplishment you are most proud of and why.
�     Takes initiative, persists at tasks and pursues completion of objectives.
�     Takes reasonable risks.
�     Overcomes obstacles and resistance to change.
�     What risks were you willing to take to achieve goals you set for yourself?
�     Describe your future goals and the steps you plan on taking to reach these goals.
�     Engages in healthy competition.
�     Explain a project you undertook o your own initiative that made a major impact on your department.


Table 4.6: Analytical Ability – Reviews & analyzes a wide variety of information and recommends a specific course of action.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Grasps new concepts, approaches and systems.
�     Examines & interprets a wide variety of data/information and makes recommendations or decisions.
�     Tell me about a time you were asked to evaluate a situation and recommend a new approach. What factors did you take into consideration when analyzing the data?
�     Defines parameters of task and desired objectives.
�     Develops results-oriented conclusions.
�     Give me an example of a potential work problem that you anticipated and resolved.  What are some of the measures you took to prevent the situation from becoming a problem in the future?
�     Anticipates problems, opportunities and needs of the organization and the constituent.
�     How do you stay attuned to new trends in your area of expertise?
�     Organizes ideas and information in unique ways.


Table 4.7: Communication Skill (Oral & Written) Takes the initiative to communicate accurate, up-to-date plans and information to peers. The ability to Expresses thoughts clearly by means of suitable actions (both verbally and in writing). Listens and understands the views of others.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Writes in a concise and organized manner.
�     Writes results clearly & grammatically.
�     Appears knowledgeable & confident in communicating information.
�     When communicating with others, do you generally write them a memo, call them, or talk to them in person?
�     Tell me about a time when someone returned one of your reports or memos because they didn’t understand it. What did you do?
�     Shares information with others to help them perform their jobs & seeks information from others.
�     Is sensitive to the communication levels required by different audiences.
�     What courses have you taken in communication, business writing, effective speaking, etc.?
�     Describe a time when your ability to listen helped you communicate better.
�     Listens actively & speaks clearly and directly.
�     Conducts effective meetings.
�     This job requires you to spend a large amount of time writing. How would your supervisor describe your writing skills?


Table 4.8: Creativity Develops new ideas and unique and novel solutions to problems.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Challenges current procedures to develop other alternatives.
�     Give me an example of a unique and novel solution you had for a recent problem you encountered in your work.
�     Seeks ways to improve all aspects of the job.
�     Tell me about a time when you were creative and explored new ways of thinking.
�     Brainstorms to develop suggestions and new ideas.
�     Develops several approaches or solutions to a problem.
�     Describe a time when you broke away from the regimented way of thinking and developed a creative solution.


Table 4.9: Decision-Making Skills – Makes decisions while exhibiting judgment and a realistic understanding of issues; ability to use reason, even when dealing with emotional topics.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Identifies purpose and objectives.
�     What technique do you use in making decisions?
�     Gathers and analyzes data and develops rationale for decision.
�     As appropriate, involves subordinates and others in making decisions.
�     Describe, in detail, a situation in which you used your training and experience in making a decision that required sound judgment.
�     Considers alternatives and assesses their impact and potential problems.
�     Implements decision and evaluates results.
�     What is the most difficult business decision you have had to make?
�     Tell me about a time when you involved others in the decision-making process.
�     In you prior job, what decision did you ponder the longest before making? Why was it difficult?
Table 4.10: Diversity Orientation Recognizes and values the benefits in the diversity of people, ideas and cultures.  Encourages differences as a way to enhance group productivity.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Treats each person in the department as an individual with individual needs and issues.
�     How do you value the differences that employees bring to the job?
�     Maintains and enhances the self-esteem of others.
�     Understands and responds to others’ needs and priorities.
�     Values differences among team members.
�     What benefits have you seen in the changing demographics in your work environment?
�     How have you adapted your behavior to the changing workforce?
�     Promotes equal treatment while refusing to tolerate workforce bias or racism.
�     Gives equal time to all staff within department.
�     Give me an example of how you manage the members of your staff differently but equitably.
Table 4.11: Flexibility – Recognizes and responds to unanticipated events and requirements. Willing to do what is necessary to get the desired results.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Copes successfully with unexpected events.
�     Handles several projects simultaneously.
�     Describe a time in your current job when you boss assigned you a rush project even though you had other important priorities at the time. How did you feel and what was your response?
�     Adapts own behavioral and communication style to gain cooperation of managers, co-workers, peers, customers or suppliers.
�     Adapts well to, and supports, change.
�     Brings simplicity and order out of complexity and chaos.
�     Explain a situation where you adapted your behavior and communication style to gain cooperation on a team project.
�     Tell me about a time when you were able to adapt to a difficult-to-deal-with employee.
4.12: Initiative – Actively seeks opportunities to make a contribution rather than passively accepting situations. Takes action to achieve goals beyond what is necessarily called for; originates action.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Actively seeks solutions to problems before being asked or directed.
�     Tell me about a project you generated on your own & what prompted you to initiate it.
�     Questions the way a process is done and suggests changes.
�     Give me an example of how you made a change in a work-related procedure or process, why you made the change & the results.
�     Initiates self-development efforts.
�     Tell me about some new ideas and suggestions you have made to your supervisor in your current job. Which were accepted and why.
�     Seeks additional job responsibilities to assume.
�     What do you do differently than other employees in your current job?
�     Looks for new ways to contribute to the business.
�     What have you done to add value in your department?
4.13: Interpersonal Skills -  Establishes productive, cooperative relationships with subordinates, peers and management. Understands and responds to others needs and priorities. Resolves conflict in positive ways.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Resolves conflict in positive ways.
�     Gives and seeks feedback that will increase the productivity of relationships.
�     Give me an example of a time when you encountered conflict with another department. Tell me how you resolved it.
�     Deals with the diverse behavior of others in groups in order to increase the group’s productivity.
�     Describe a difficult employee relations issue you were involved with and how you managed it.
�     Maintains and enhances the self-esteem of others.
�     Tell me about a situation where you had to demonstrate empathy or sympathy to someone.
�     Recognizes strengths and limitations of self and others.
�     Explain a time when you were sensitive to the diversity of a team or group you were working with and how you affected the productivity of that group.
4.14: Job Motivation – Maintains a high level of interest and enthusiasm for job responsibilities. Has demonstrated record of being a self-starter and self-motivated.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Takes pride and derives satisfaction in one’s job.
�     Give me an example of when you felt the greatest sense of achievement.
�     Assumes ownership for getting the job done.
�     Enthusiastic about taking on challenging projects.
�     All jobs have their frustrations & problems. Describe an example of specific job conditions, tasks or assignments that have been dissatisfying to you. What did you do?
�     Goal oriented; concerned with achievement & doing better.
�     What gave you the greatest feeling of achievement in your job at _________________?
�     Makes plans and follows through.
�     What makes a job interesting to you?
�     What �turns off� your motivation in a job?


4.15: Judgment – Weighs alternative courses of action and makes decisions that reflect factual information and are based on rational and logical assumptions that take organizational resources into consideration.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Makes sound decisions by considering alternatives.
�     Describe a decision you recently made and identify the process that led you to that decision. What were some of the sources you used to reach that decision? What were some of the issues you took into consideration?
�     Considers impact in other areas of the organization.
�     Give me an example of a good decision you made in the last six months. What were the alternatives?   Why was it a good decision?
�     Weighs alternatives and selects practical solutions.
�     What was the toughest decision you had to make in your current job? Tell me about it.
�     Reviews decision to see if it satisfies long-range plans.
�     Give me an example of a time when you had to ask your manager for assistance on a project or situation.
4.16: Leadership – Uses appropriate interpersonal styles and methods to guide individuals or groups toward achieving results.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Develops and communicates a vision of challenging goals, growth and progress.
�     Motivates others to work together toward common objectives.
�     Describe a situation in which you had to gain cooperation of others outside of your organization where you had no direct authority. What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
�     Successfully gains cooperation in situations where the person has no direct authority.
�     Have you ever developed a mission statement for your department?  How did you go about it?
�     Works effectively in cross-functional groups.
�     Describe the role you usually take in a task team situation.
�     Takes on a leadership role in school, work and/or community.


4.17: Management Skills – Motivates, trains, and develops a diverse workforce and provides an environment conducive to achievement and growth.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Delegates effectively and acknowledges accomplishments.
�     Responds positively to innovative ideas and suggestions from subordinates.
�     How would your staff describe you as a manager? What would they say are your strengths? Opportunities for improvement?
�     How would you describe yourself as a manager?
�     Resolves personnel problems quickly and effectively.
�     Communicates plans and information to staff in a timely & thorough manner.
�     Promotes teamwork and cooperation within the department.
�     Meets budget responsibilities.
�     Provides constructive, ongoing feedback.
�     Balances concerns for results, deadlines, tasks, and people.
�     Describe a personnel problem you had recently. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?
�     How do you communicate organizational changes and other relevant information to your staff?
�     What methods do you use to accomplish the projects that add value to your department?
�     Give me an example of a performance issue in your department and how you managed it.


4.18: Persuasiveness – Utilizes appropriate interpersonal styles and methods to gain agreement or acceptance of an idea, plan, activity or product.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Gains approval of a plan or idea by focusing on the benefits of the proposal to the audience.
�     When convincing others of your ideas, what skills or personal abilities do you use?
�     Persuades people from various levels, positions or backgrounds by using a variety of interpersonal techniques and approaches.
�     Improvises, thinks quickly on his/her feet.
�     Describe a situation where your enthusiasm persuaded a person(s) to your point of view.
�     Tell me about one of your toughest sales experiences and the steps you took to gain acceptance.
�     Sells ideas despite resistance.
�     Give me an example of a situation when you were unsuccessful in selling your idea to the customer and changed your approach to gain support.
4.19: Planning and Organizing Skills Establishes a course of action for self or others to accomplish a specific goal.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Develops plans to achieve objectives.
�     How do you ensure you meet your objectives?
�     Identifies resources needed to accomplish objectives.
�     Resolves conflicting priorities and accomplishes work on time.
�     Utilizes a to do list, calendar, or some type of planning tool.
�     Maintains a balance and awareness of status of all projects.
�     Anticipates obstacles and ways to overcome them.
�     Develops short-and long-range plans.
�     Give me an example of a project you were given and how you accomplished it.
�     How do you prioritize your daily, weekly, etc. responsibilities?
�     Give me an example of when you had conflicting priorities and how you completed them on time.
�     Tell me about a time when you used your organizing and scheduling skills to create a productive work environment.
�     What kinds of project planning and administration to you enjoy in your current job?
4.20: Presentation Skills Expresses oneself in a clear, concise manner during individual or group situations.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Presents in a confident and enthusiastic manner when addressing people in a large or small group.
�     Describe your presentation style.
�     What steps do you take before making a presentation? How do you prepare?
�     Demonstrates a sound knowledge of the subject matter.
�     Delivers information in a clear, concise, and logical manner.
�     Gains acknowledgment of audience and is able to understand the communication level required.
�     What has been one of your most successful presentations? Why?
�     How often do you present? To whom?
�     Describe a presentation where you had to persuade an audience on an idea, service or change.
�     Effectively uses various audio-visual media to enhance presentations.
�     Tell me about a time when you had to present information outside of the scope of your responsibilities.
�     Tell me about a time when a presentation did not go well and what you did to rescue it.
4.21: Problem Solving Skills – Identifies and defines problems through the gathering of relevant information leading to the development of alternative solutions.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Identifies the existence and cause of a problem
�     Do you use any particular problem-solving techniques? Please explain.
�     Brainstorms potential solutions.
�     Identifies conditions that solutions must meet.
�     Evaluates alternative courses of action.
�     Identifies key people involved in evaluating solutions to the problem.
�     Implements solutions and evaluates results.
�     Describe a problem you solved where you used your investigative skills to get to the heart of the problem.
�     Give me an example of a problem you dealt with that frustrated you.  Explain why, and what you did about it.
�     How much autonomy do you have in the problem-solving process? When does your manager get involved?
�     Describe a problem you identified and explain how you obtained agreement & support from key individuals as you developed solutions.
4.22: Team Building/Team Work–Promotes cooperation within the department and in interactions with other departments. Values differences among team members and can manage work groups with diverse influences.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Promotes open participation and communication within department and throughout the organization.
�     What sets you work group or department apart from others in your organization?
�     Shares pertinent information with all members of the team.
�     Adapts to other people’s behavior style in order to achieve the desired goals of the team.
�     Provides opportunities for subordinates to participate in project teams, task forces, etc., for development purposes.
�     Tell me about a task force or project team that you were a member of and the role you played in that group.
�     Give me an example of a difficult situation with another department that you need to work with regularly and how you resolved it.
�     Promotes a team spirit within and outside department; partners with other groups.


Table 4.23: Time Management- Manages a variety of responsibilities in a timely, efficient manner.
Key Behaviors
Questions to Ask
�     Effectively prepares and uses a daily to do list.
�     What methods or techniques do you use to help manage your time
�     Allocates time to planning, thinking and mapping out tasks.
�     Assigns priorities to tasks.
�     Controls time spent in attending meetings.
�     Controls interruptions.
�     Describe how you manage to maintain balance between accomplishing projects and attending meetings.
�     How do you handle interruptions to ensure that you complete your projects on time?
�     Describe a time when you had several projects to complete and how you prioritized your workload.
�     In your present position what limits your ability to manage your time? How do you work with these limitations?

Annex IV: Format of Session Plans
Session  plans should identify the planning  of the session and should include:
Aim/s – the overall purpose or purposes of the session
For example, “To improve learners’ understanding of basic First Aid”
Learning Objectives – should show the steps to be undertaken to achieve the aim.  Objectives should:
·                  Answer the question “By the end of the session learners  will be able to …..”
·                  Specify what learners  will know how to, or be able to.
·                  Use verbs such as List, State, Describe, Calculate, Discriminate, Measure, Identify, Cut, Colour, Set out, Prepare, Make
·                  Avoid phrases such as Understand About, Appreciate, Gain a Thorough Grasp Of, Become Familiar With  - – as these are not specific enough to let you and your learners know when they have achieved the outcome.
·                  There should be a clear link between the session learning objectives and the  learning objectives in the Scheme of Work.
The plan should also show:
Section Timings:  the timing of each section of the session should be shown, indicating  approximately how long in minutes it will last.
Identify tutor activities:  see the Teaching and Learning Activities checklist  –this is not an exhaustive list so please add as appropriate.
Identify learners’ activities:  see the Teaching and Learning Activities checklist  –this is not an exhaustive list so please add as appropriate.
Identify assessment activities:  see Assessment Methods checklist – this is not an exhaustive list so please add as appropriate.
Identify teaching resources and learning aids:  see resources checklist – this is not an exhaustive list so please add as appropriate.  The plan should show for each section, what video / DVD, audio tape / CD, OHPs, CDs for computer use, PowerPoint presentation slides, graphs, charts, pictorial and other graphic material and handouts, will be used.
Skills for Life:  you will also need to identify on your session plan what  Skills for Life (ie Literacy, Numeracy, Language (ESOL), ICT) your learners will be utilising within the session.
Differentiation:  you will need to think how individual learners will participate in each part of the session and plan a range of alternative activities that meet the needs of all your learners .
Evaluation:  the plan allows space for you to reflect on the session and make notes on what went well, what changes you would make next time, what impact the lesson will have on your plans for the next session and what follow up activities are appropriate.
Your session plans should be sufficiently detailed to enable any suitably qualified tutor to understand what key components are to be covered in the section and the methods that would be used.
Examples of Assessment Methods
Question and Answer
Structured written task
Quiz
Sequencing exercise/ gap filling exercise/ error spotting exercise
Case study
Individual learner review
Group presentation/discussion
Individual presentation
Peer Assessment
Observation of skills
Other-please specify


Examples of Teaching and Learning Activities
Whole class teaching
Working in pairs / small groups
Role–playing exercise
Discussion
Presentation
Practical exercises/ practical demonstrations
Case studies
Resources
Books/handouts/materials/artefacts
Whiteboard/Flip chart
OHP
Video
Computer/internet access
Audio tapes
PowerPoint
Students themselves
Guest speakers

 


Session plan example

SESSION PLAN
Session plan (page 1)
Course:    Literacy                                                      Date:                                    Day/Time:                                Session No:
Topic/s:  Double negatives ; correcting common errors ; use of adjectives in descriptive text ; writing persuasive text
Learning objectives:
·         Proof read a document and show awareness of common mistakes
·          recognise a double negative and correct it
·         use interesting and varied adjectives and understand the need for these to add interest in descriptive text
·         identify a persuasive text
·         write a persuasive text
Skills for Life (ie Literacy, Numeracy, Language (ESOL), ICT) required by students during the session:
Time
Content
Tutor activity
Student activity
Resources
Assessment methods
9.00-9.10
Recap on previous week’s outcomes
Write this week’s outcomes on flipchart
Listening/responding to questions
Reading/listening
Flip chart
Q and A
9.10-30
Double negatives
Exposition on double negatives. Give examples
Organise into groups ; explain task ; organise feedback to whole class; give out answer sheet to all learners
Listening /asking questions
Discussion in groups and feedback to whole class. Listening to
answers and  commentin
Handout to check and correct errors
 Answer sheet
Group feedback;  to check all learners confident of rules;
Confirm through individual answer sheets
From pair feedback
9.30-9.55
Proof reading
Explain task;
Help individuals and pairs/ Go through taking answers from pairs
Answer questions
Give out corrected version
Hand out corrected version
Learners work on own ; then compare with partner
Version with errors and
corrected version
Dictionaries
And so on …..
Individual needs: 
JB will need large print version of handouts;  AB is likely to finish persuasive text early – prepare extension exercise;   CN – will need help with vocabulary in descriptive text exercise –make sure she has dictionary
Session Evaluation:
Class:                                                                                               Date:
How did it go? How do I know? (learner feedback, colleagues, informal conversations, group atmosphere etc.)
What would I do differently next time?
What do I need to go over again? (and, when?)
What follow-up work do I need to plan?
Any follow-up activity?

Annex V – Resource Centers

Annex 5 : Resource  Centers on Internet
Below are 20 blogs that have taught us a few things, made us laugh, made us cry, and reminded us that we are not alone in this sometimes stress-inducing, always awe-inspiring profession.
1. Best for Hands-on Activities
The lowdown: Canadian first-grade teacher Kathy Cassidy invites readers into the classroom to interact with students and her dynamic lessons.
Why We Love It: Besides sharing fun ideas like making fairy-tale characters out of clay, Cassidy lets us witness her students’ learning firsthand by posting lots of videos and photographs. And another bonus: We get to learn from Cassidy’s many guest speakers, too!
Why She Loves Blogging: “My favorite thing about blogging,” says Cassidy, “is that the students literally have a worldwide audience. They see themselves as writers because people can and do read and comment on their work.”
2. Best News From the Trenches
The lowdown: Teach for America teachers share the ins and outs of the sometimes controversial program.
Why We Love It: Whether you want TFA dirt (like how tough the boot-camp training really is) or warm fuzzies (like one blogger’s quest to get her student to love books by reading with her nightly over the phone), you’ll find the goods in this collection of blogs from TFA corps members working all over the country.
3. Best Student Teacher Blog
The lowdown: Galen “Mr. B.” Broaddus discusses his journey toward becoming a teacher.
Why We Love It: From tips for up-and-coming student teachers to his own reflections on his process, Mr. B. reminds us how far we have come. Perfect for those days when we’re feeling just a bit jaded.
Why He Loves Blogging: Broaddus enjoys the feedback. “Knowing that there are other teachers (or teacher candidates) out there who are working the front lines and having the same concerns that I have had is comforting, and we work through them together,” he says.
4. Best for Art Teachers (or Other Happy Finger-Painters!)
The lowdown: Teachers Hillary Andrlik and Theresa McGee cover useful resources (like the best iPhone apps for art teachers), classroom-management techniques, and art-worthy news.
Why We Love It: With arts programs always under threat, it’s nice to feel like there’s an online home for people who value the importance of watercolor and oil paints.
Why They Love Blogging: Both McGee and Andrlik enjoy the opportunity to connect with teachers nationally and internationally. Says McGee, “Art education has a unique set of challenges,
and blogging has created an online forum to share ideas.” Adds Andrlik, “Our readers often give us new insight on a topic or provide a fresh perspective based on their unique experience.”
5. Best for Tech Wannabes Creating Lifelong Learners
The lowdown: Tech wiz Mathew Needleman provides quick tips on
integrating tech into the classroom.
Why We Love It:: Needleman skips the jargon and explains how to incorporate iPhones in the classroom, clarifies podcast copyright laws, and discusses making digital movies, putting even the technologically challenged at ease.
6. Best Forward-Thinking Tech Blog
The lowdown: Pennsylvania teacher Scott Snyder is always ahead of the technological curve.
Why We Love It: Who would have thought texting, Tweeting, and chat rooms made for good lessons? Snyder uses all of these, plus Skype and Chatzy, to conduct discussions in the classroom.
7. Best Special-Ed Blog
Digital Anthology
The lowdown: Award-winning special-education teacher Maria Angala posts daily lessons and classroom videos.
Why We Love It:: There’s no hard-core pedagogy here—other than that determination can make all successful—but we get to see the kids’ creativity at work. And if you want something more theory-based, Angala keeps another blog at teachersol.blogspot.com.
Why She Loves Blogging: Says Angala, “Our social workers read the blog to understand my students’ inner feelings.”
8. Best for Super Science Ideas
The lowdown: Middle school science teacher Darren Fix entertains with science lessons and experiments.
Why We Love It:: Watch his Mr. Wizard––style experiments—like using a jellyfish to learn genetic engineering.
Why He Loves Blogging: Says Fix, “Posting stimulates my creativity and leads to new ideas. It’s a positive experience in a profession that unfortunately dwells on the negative too much.”
9. Best Superintendent Straight Talk
The lowdown: Illinois superintendent Michael Smith chronicles his days.
Why We Love It: Smith’s blog discusses everything from Ferris Bueller to teaching conferences to a surefire way for President Obama to fix education.
Why He Loves Blogging: Says Smith, “It allows a small-town superintendent to be involved in national or worldwide discussions on education issues.”
10. Best for Kid Book Reviews
The lowdown: Teachers Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn review new children’s books.
Why We Love It:: The reviews are always teacher-focused, pinpointing possible readers as well as how a book might be used in the classroom.
Why They Love Blogging: Says Sibberson, “The writing helps
us stay current on books and with teaching.”
11. Best Student-Written Blog
The lowdown: Students and their teachers participate in a “colossal ongoing discussion about everything” via podcasts, videos, and blogs.
Why We Love It: This blog turns the typical student-teacher relationship on its head with both parties acting as equals and learning from each other.
12. Best Tell-It-Like-It-Is Blog
The lowdown: A second-grade teacher with the pseudonym Mrs. Mimi dishes about the crazy side of teaching.
Why We Love It: Fantasies of throwing down with that colleague who –rummages through your desk? Horror field-trip moments that have carved a permanent groove in your mind? Faculty-room shenanigans that rule your day? Thanks to Mrs. Mimi, we never have to feel alone.
Why She Loves Blogging: Says Mrs. Mimi, “It’s comforting to know that I am not alone in my frustrations.”
13. Best Laugh-Out-Loud Blog
The lowdown: Anonymous elementary school teacher blogs about the students she loves and the job she hates.
Why We Love It: This blog gives you totally true antics of the elementary school kind and tips you can really use: Preview “educational” videos before showing and be alert for fourth-grade make-out sessions! Perfect with a good cup of coffee, when you need to block out irritating colleagues, and when you could use a good laugh to start your day.
14. Best for Media Specialists
The lowdown: Media specialist Cathy Nelson provides tips on incorporating library technology into lessons.
Why We Love It:: Nelson shares creative research ideas as well as humorous daily tidbits.
Why She Loves Blogging: Says Nelson, “It enhances my ability to be reflective, to see how I have learned from others.”
15. Best for Problem Solving
The lowdown: Hear straight from Scholastic’s team of teacher advisors on topics ranging from reader’s workshop to discipline and organization.
Why We Love It: All of the photos and videos! Almost every post features a photo showing exactly how the teacher advisor implemented an idea in his or her classroom. You can also subscribe to the posts for just your grade level.
16. Best Substitute Secrets
The lowdown: “Mr. Homework” tells harrowing tales of the substitute kind.
Why We Love It: Let’s be honest. Sometimes we’d rather come in sick than call in a sub. Mr. Homework, however, is one of the good guys. His outlook on the sub life (e.g., “Sometimes it’s not about actually teaching anything”) makes us wish he was in our district.
17. Most Entertaining Math Blog
The lowdown: Math teacher Michael Edlavitch uses games to teach math.
Why We Love It: The word games may conjure images of worksheets with cutesy pics and fill-ins, but Edlavitch goes way beyond that. His arcade games with Flash—complete with worksheets teachers can print out—are reminiscent of old favorites like Pac-Man. Kids will play video games anyway, why not sneak in some learning potential?
18. Best Classroom Use of Blogs
The lowdown: Brian Crosby discusses how he uses blogging and other technology in the classroom.
Why We Love It: Crosby’s creativity can’t help but draw us in. He has used Skype to broadcast a class visit from Christa McAuliffe’s mother and to communicate with a student who is on home instruction due to leukemia.
Why He Loves Blogging: Says Crosby, “It is the strongest resource I have experienced in 28 years of teaching.”
19. Best View of the Inner City
The lowdown: Artist, poet, and math educator Jose Vilson gives the inner city a human face by blogging about sometimes touchy topics.
Why We Love It: Vilson does not shy away from tackling the controversial, such as his entry about the shortage of black Latino male teachers like himself. He’s passionate about changing education and exposing inner-city reality, and his passion is contagious.
20. Best Blog From Outside the Classroom
The lowdown: A school bus driver fills us in on the insanity that goes on before students enter the classroom every morning and after they leave.
Why We Love It: We all have to multi-task, but try keeping order and driving at the same time! This blog gives us the dirt—from failing brakes to bus “heathens” like WhinyGirl. This is a side of school we often overlook!

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