Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Saving Time: Time Management for your teaching & your life - 3 credits!

One of my most popular courses: Saving Time

When I enrolled in the Saving Time Course I hoped to find some practical tricks and tips for time avoiding wastes of time. What I ended up learning was not magical, but it was very helpful. I ended up learning a whole new way to conceptualize time.                          -Jed W.

SAVING TIME: Time Management for Your Teaching & Your Life (Course Number: ED440S)

Wonder where all of your time goes? Overwhelmed by everything on your school to-do list? In the course you will learn to work 'smarter not harder.' With simple strategies every K-12 teacher can use during planning time and at home, you will live a more balanced life, tackle your to-do list, and feel in control and satisfied at the end of each day.
Text provides immediately useful ideas. The required text is Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern is $11 new at and $3 used.
Click here to sign up for the class and finish your first assignment today.


How much does the class cost?
The class costs $285.
Can I take this class if I am subbing? Yes! These classes are designed for teachers both in the classroom and also those that need to keep their teaching certificates current.

How many credits is the class?
The class is for three continuing education 500 level or 400 level quarter credits. 

What Students Say . . .

The most helpful parts of the Saving Time course were the required exercises. Taking a closer look at how I spend my time each week, opened my eyes to seeing that I am not using my time wisely outside of work. It was also very helpful to pinpoint my energy boosters, so when I am in the middle of working on a task, or in the middle of a busy day, I can turn to one of these things to give me an extra spark to finish the job.
- Sara R.

This is my first online course I have taken from The Heritage Institute.  I found the format and flexibility very appealing.  I also thought the teacher was supportive and thorough.  She responded promptly to my emails and assignments.  Her assignments were all applicable assignments that a working teacher could learn and grow from instead of busy work without a  purpose.  I was very pleased.
-Wendy S.

Websites and Resources:

Six reasons to take online classes

  1. Knowledge - stay up to date on what works.
  2. Scheduling - you can finish the assignments when you want.
  3. Convenience - you can finish the first assignment today and already be finished with 10% of the class.
  4. Practical - earn graduate level credits to renew your license.
  5. Advancement - don't lose on the opportunity to make more money and move up the pay scale.
  6. Confidence - learn something new and become a better teacher.

Why sign up today?

Most students finish this class in less than three months. Some students even finish the class in 2 weeks. Now is a great time to sign up and earn some credits and learn new skills.

Click here to sign up for the class and finish your first assignment today. (Course Number: ED440S)

P. S. You can sign up for the class and change your mind anytime during the first 30 days.

You can easily cancel your registration, by phone, email or fax. No questions asked. Everything, minus a $20 fee, will be refunded (by the University). 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Should we still teach handwriting?

I have been thinking recently about if it is worth taking the time to teach handwriting. Let me be honest.  For the past four years, I have not taught any handwriting in 4th or 5th grade. There was no time. If the students are coming in reading 2 or 3 grades behind, and have poor math skills, I don't have the time to teach them to write.

This year, though, I have taking a different tact. I still don't teach much handwriting in school, but I've been sending home handwriting practice for homework. Over the course of the year, most of my students can now write cursive as well as manuscript. They like being able to write in cursive.

That is not the biggest benefit. Why do I now thinking teaching writing makes sense? They spend less time focusing on how to write the letters, and more time actually writing during our lessons. 

Learn to decode = now you can focus on comprehension

Learn math facts = now you can think about the problem and spend more time on higher level skills

Learn to form letters fluently = spend time on your story, not laboriously writing the words

Online classes I offer for teachers through

FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL: From Stress to Success
SAVE TIME: Time Management for Your Teaching & Your Life

Friday, January 20, 2012

Responding to Student Mistakes

What do you say when a student tries, but gets the wrong answer? How do you encourage the student to participate in the future, and at the same time make it clear that the answer is not correct?

I've started using the concept from Whole Brain Teaching of saying, "It's Cool."

If a student answers, and it is not correct, I say, "Say It's Cool." What that means is that the whole class is to respond, "It's Cool." It maybe took 5 minutes to teach this routine to the class.

How does this help?

For one, I feel freer to correct mistakes and know that I am not going to embarrass the child. Everyone now knows that when we say, "It's Cool," that the answer was incorrect. Secondly, the student feels supported. Students do not seem to mind being told that their answer is correct in this manner. They still seem excited to participate, but are clear about when their answer is not correct. Lastly, the students learn more. I am not accepting answers that are "half way there." Students are not confused about if an answer is correct or not.

This clarity increases learning, while supporting students at the same time!

Online classes I offer for teachers through

FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL: From Stress to Success
SAVE TIME: Time Management for Your Teaching & Your Life

Saturday, January 14, 2012

When anger flares up in students and the classroom

This year, I have been teaching social emotional skills on a weekly basis. My biggest challenge, though, is what to do with students that get fired up easily. Some of my students really seem to have a temper this year, and once they are fired up, it can be very difficult to dampen the flames.

I've found a very helpful book that is designed for parents, but has made a difference for some of my students. The book is called: What to do When your Temper Flares.

In the past, I have taught students to do things like deep breathes, but this doesn't always work out that well for some of the most easily angered. Since reading the book, I've been teaching my students a lot more effective techniques to cool down their tempers. Here is one of the techniques.

Cooling thoughts:

The book has all sorts of exercises for children, but one that I've taught my whole class is about hot and cool thoughts.
  • Instead of saying things like, "I hate this. I'm going to get back. ____ always does this. . ."
  • Writing down cooler thoughts, "I can get through this. Recess is in ___ minutes. I can write this down and tell the teacher."
I have some students who go to another classroom for reading. Unfortunately, they sometimes get worked up by other students and then come back flared up for the rest of the day. I now will talk with some of the students before they go to class.

  • "What sort of cool thoughts are you going to have if you start to feel angry?"
 The technique takes a few minutes, but has saved hours of learning time!