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Be sure to actually turn your computer on before you start writing. Similarly to headlines, there are two main approaches to writing a blog post. You can either sit down and write an entire draft in a single sitting my preferred workflow , or you can chip away at it gradually over time. There is no right or wrong answer here — only whatever works for you.
Even if you work more effectively in short bursts, try to maximize the amount of writing you get done in those sessions. Get as much done as you can in a single sitting even if you prefer to draft a blog post over three or four writing sessions. Like most skills, writing becomes easier and more natural the more you do it. A lot of people struggle with writing introductions. A great strategy is to write the introduction last. Just get into the meat of the blog post, and worry about the introduction later.
Here are five easy ways to write a great introduction. Writing for the web is an entirely different animal than writing for print. One of the most important reasons to include images in your blog posts is to break up the text. Many people scan blog posts rather than pore over every word, and interspersing images throughout the copy will make your post seem less intimidating and more visually appealing.
Everyone likes a good laugh, and a well-chosen image can help lighten the tone of your posts and inject some much-needed humor into a piece. Actually writing a blog post is hard. Editing a blog post is harder. Although sentence structure and grammar are both very important, editing is about seeing the piece as a whole and, sometimes, being willing to sacrifice words and the hours it took to write them for the sake of cohesion.
I will, however, offer some self-editing tips and suggestions on how to tighten up your writing so that it packs a punch and keeps your readers scrolling. Few things are more jarring to read than repetition of certain words or phrases. This is a word that, no matter how carefully they might try, the writer simply cannot help themselves from including in their work. This is a trick that many writers learn in workshops.
It might seem a bit weird, but force yourself to read your post aloud to check for wordy bottlenecks or contrived sentences. Find yourself struggling with the flow of a sentence? Rework it until it rolls off your tongue.
This is crucial for inexperienced or casual bloggers. Ideally, ask someone with editing experience to proof your work. Do your points come across well? Is your position on a contentious topic clear?
Does the piece prompt the reader to think or challenge an existing belief? These are all questions that having another set of eyes read your work can help answer. Nothing will intimidate or outright anger a reader faster than huge walls of text. Sentences should be as short as possible. Shorter sentences also reduce the likelihood of going off on tangents.
For example, I recently came across a sentence in an opinion piece in Wired that had no fewer than seven subordinate clauses, an editorial sin of almost unimaginable magnitude.
Paragraphs should also be short and sweet. The shorter the paragraph, the more likely your readers are to keep going. I am saying, however, that even the best blog posts could always be better, but time is always against us. You may have forgotten, but I originally included a section in the example outline for this post that dealt with optimizing blog posts for SEO. I fully intended to write this section, but when I looked at how my first draft was shaping up, I realized this was too substantial a topic to tackle in an already lengthy post.
Of course, it is also important to ensure that these foods are permitted by parents and the school. Additionally, cushions with bumps or other textures and rocking chairs can be soothing and can provide some needed sensory input to students who need it. Sensory Area in the Classroom Some classrooms have a special area for sensory time. The area may have beanbag chairs, a trampoline, an exercise bike, or a net swing, among other things.
It may also have any of the small items that students can use at their desks or tables. Sensory time is often enjoyable, but students need to know it has an end time. Visual timers are great, and for some students, adding counting down from ten when time is up can help them transition.
Full-Class Sensory Activities Websites such as GoNoodle are great resources for calming activities as well as energy-building ones.
If possible, turn down the lights and have a quiet time. Breathing exercises are also a great calming tool. Separate Sensory Room in the Building In some schools, the room where students have occupational therapy may be available to use when the therapists are not busy with students.
Schools also may have other rooms set up where you can bring students to calm themselves or get out some energy. Unfortunately, this may not be an option in all schools.
Other Options Some students may just need to be active for a little while, and activities such as push-ups, wall push-ups, or a supervised walk in the halls may be helpful. Students may also need a weighted vest or blanket to help them self-regulate. Some students with autism respond well to deep pressure, and the weight of the vest or blanket can provide that pressure. These are just a few of the sensory break options that you can use to help students navigate their day.
Feel free to add more ideas in the comments section. He has worked in education since in private, public, and charter schools as both a general and special education teacher. His thesis focused on methods of teaching social skills to children with special needs. The process for evaluating teachers has greatly changed in the last generation. Teachers today live in the age of accountability. My school system uses a rigorous evaluation method encompassing observations, student performance, teacher goals, and artifacts that teachers upload to a computer system for their principals to review.
Teachers who score poorly also have to write a detailed plan of improvement. Evaluations can be very stressful for new and experienced teachers. All teachers can reflect on past lessons and find a few they would not have wanted their principal to observe. Here are some tips that may make your life easier as you prepare for your next evaluation. Review Expectations Does your school system use a rubric?
Is your evaluation a simple checklist? You should be provided a copy of the district expectations during your new teacher orientation.
While you are doing this, start forming a plan for how you can meet, or better yet exceed, expectations throughout the course of the school year. Have a Discussion with Your Principal The evaluation process at all four schools where I have taught left a great deal of discretion to the principal who was performing the evaluation.
Therefore, it is a good idea to have a discussion with your principal about her interpretation of the evaluation process. No matter how good your school system is at training principals to fairly evaluate teachers, every principal is a little different. Make Data-Based Decisions Data-based instruction is more than a popular buzz term. Whoever your evaluator is, chances are good that this person will be interested in knowing how you reach your instructional decisions. Keep notes on adjustments you make so you can discuss them with your evaluator.
Perform Well All the Time If your principal lets you schedule your observation, consider yourself lucky. There is no doubt that you will spend extra time planning a special lesson that showcases your talents as an instructor. While this may be the formal observation that your instructor scores for your evaluation, you need to understand that you are being evaluated on some level every time your administrator encounters you.
If you are using the same teaching strategies every time she pops into your classroom, she will notice. If your students are misbehaving every time he sees your class walking in line in the hallway, he will notice. It is great to try extra hard on your formal observations.
We all do it. However, performing well all the time should be your goal. Your classroom management should speak for itself. I usually tell my students that the principal will be stopping by to see how well our class operates and to continue with whatever we are doing as if no one else is in the room.
Volunteer for Extra Duties The truth is, you should be doing this anyway. All of us should be going the extra mile to make sure our schools run smoothly. Teaching is not a profession for people who want to perform the minimum duties outlined in their job descriptions.
The first school where I taught full time actually included a section on our evaluation rubric that scored whether we attended school functions or volunteered for extra duties. Pick a project that you can enjoy and run with it. Bosses in general appreciate when employees work hard to improve the workplace. Principals are no different. Ask for a Peer Review Reach out to a colleague for a peer review.
Choose someone you can trust to give you feedback that is both honest and constructive. Arrange for this person to observe you teaching, and listen to the feedback. Build Your Confidence My dad loves baseball. He pitched for his high school team. His senior year, his team won the state championship.
Dad has always told me that pitching is mostly about confidence. The same is true in teaching. How can you build your confidence? Of course, that answer will vary from teacher to teacher. In general, take out your degrees and look at them. Find your teaching license and look at it. Go get the scores from the state licensing tests you passed and remember how well you performed.
You must have passed, right? Many people stumble on their way to becoming a teacher. I watched two friends give up during our student teaching semester. You did not become a teacher on accident; the process is too long and too arduous. A principal believed in you enough to hire you.
Doing well on your evaluation should be no problem! Andrew Hawk has worked in public education for 16 years, starting as a teaching assistant in a special education classroom. He has taught first, second, and fifth grades as a classroom teacher, and for the past five years, has worked as a resource room teacher, providing services for fourth and fifth graders.
Working as a special education teacher has given him the opportunity to work with a variety of age groups and exceptionalities.
When Andrew is not preparing for school, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. Attitudes are blooming with new ideas and optimism after the stress of the holidays, the year is a blank page, and kids are feeling refreshed and eager.
As spring ramps up—with warm weather and increased vitamin D—keep students motivated with interesting, engaging, and workplace-relevant lessons that teach math, science, English, and social studies while building leadership and SEL skills, such as critical reasoning, interpersonal communication, respect, feedback, and conflict management.
But because you can have students work together to solve math problems or learn equations, math is great for helping them learn public speaking and clear communication. Asking students to explain solutions orally in front of a small group or, if appropriate, the entire class, instead of on paper helps them learn how to shift perspectives explaining what you know , eliminate assumptions not knowing what others know , and be patient learning what you need to know and respecting the struggle of others.
For this reason, however, science classes are perfect for teaching communication and feedback skills, which are incredibly necessary for successful relationships at work, at home, and with friends. These are two of the weakest skills I see when working with adult employees, regardless of age, position, title, or length of time in the workforce.
The more opportunities students have to apply and practice these skills, the better off they will be in any job they might someday hold. Leading Off the Page Language arts is a subject area where leadership education naturally fits. You can easily select leadership-focused essay topics or assign literature that emphasizes leadership-type character traits in positive and negative ways. In addition to reading, discussing, and writing about leadership in literature, practicing peer editing also reinforces communication and feedback skills.
As a teacher, you know this firsthand. Another fun way to inspire thinking about leadership is to assign monthly reflection prompts that require students to compose their thoughts in Google docs or another shared document platform where they can read what peers have written prior to adding their voice.
You also might invite students to brainstorm a list of words or quotes they associate with leaders and leadership. This activity is similar to Mr. Look for familiar words on the lists and spend a few class periods having students work in small groups to come up with a few statements that associate those words with leadership.
For example, if the word chosen is kindness , the class might come up with questions or statements like these: What does it mean to be kind? Why do you think this happens? Does being kind take strength? How does kindness connect to the leader you want to be? Local especially school boards where students can experience direct, personal impact , regional, and national elections are real-life civic engagement lessons that allow students to evaluate campaign tactics and apply critical-reasoning skills when observing leaders engaging with diverse constituents.
Social studies is also an excellent setting to teach conflict management, an important lifelong skill students will need in the workplace and in relationships with friends, family, coworkers, project partners, and so on. These are a few ways to teach leadership in every subject. How have you done this?
What go-to lessons or methods have you developed that nurture leadership in students while teaching academic content?
Pick up a copy of Leadership Is a Life Skill. Mariam lived in Colorado for many years, where she served as the school counselor and coordinator of leadership programs at an alternative high school and received honorable mention for Counselor of the Year.
She currently lives in Texas with her husband and three kind kids. Learn more about Mariam at mariammacgregor.
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