5 Great reads for teachers

It amazes me how many teachers choose to read books about teaching during their vacation.  Quite frankly, I like to distance myself from work during breaks, but each to their own...

Since returning to work, I have been recommended a number of books by colleagues and readers of Edgalaxy who speak very highly of a few.  I though I would share a few of these with you.

I have just ordered two of these books listed below which look interesting and worth a look, but certainly have not read any of these on the list.  So I'd love to hear some feedback from those those have, 

Even better, if you would like to recommend something please post a comment below.

Good-Bye, Mr. Chips
By James Hilton

5 great ways to motivate students without bribery

The fact is that from a students perspective the school year can seem incredibly long and their attention span can be very short. So there has to be a compromise between teachers and students from each to make an extra effort to make learning time an enthusiastic and positive experience.

I have put together 5 great motivation ideas that might just make the school day seem a little shorter and in turn make teachers levels from disenfranchised students a little lower.

1. Make learning visual.

Even before young people were raised in a digital environment, it was recognized that memory is often connected to visual images. In the middle ages people who memorized the Bible or Homer would sometimes walk around inside a cathedral and mentally attach certain passages to objects inside, so that remembering the image of a column or statue would provide the needed stimulus to remember the next hundred lines of text. Similarly, we can provide better learning by attaching images to the ideas we want to convey. Use drawings, diagrams, pictures, charts, graphs, bulleted lists, even three-dimensional objects you can bring to class to help students anchor the idea to an image.

It is very helpful to begin a class session or a series of classes with a conceptual diagram of the relationship of all the components in the class so that at a glance students can apprehend a context for all the learning they will be doing. This will enable them to develop a mental framework or filing system that will help them to learn better and remember more.

2. Make it real.

In order to foster intrinsic motivation, try to create learning activities that are based on topics that are relevant to your students' lives. Strategies include using local examples, teaching with events in the news, using pop culture technology (iPods, cell phones, YouTube videos) to teach, or connecting the subject with your students' culture, outside interests or social lives.

3: Expect and Celebrate Excellence

Set high, yet realistic expectations. Make sure to voice those expectations. Set short terms goals and celebrate when they are achieved.

4. Be Human and Care.

Students respond with interest and motivation to teachers who appear to be human and caring. Teachers can help produce these feelings by sharing parts of themselves with students, especially little stories of problems and mistakes they made, either as children or even recently. Such personalizing of the student/teacher relationship helps students see teachers as approachable human beings and not as aloof authority figures. Young people are also quite insecure, and they secretly welcome the admission by adults that insecurity and error are common to everyone. Students will attend to an adult who appears to be a "real person," who had problems as a youth (or more recently) and survived them.

5. Mix it up.

If you do what what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got. Even if you have the most amazing classroom in the world you still need to shake things up and take students in and out of their comfort zone. They'll thank you for it and you'll elarn new tricks along the way.

Dr. Randy Pausch: His final Inspirational lecture for students

This guy has a lesson for all of us to learn.  And every student needs to see this.  I won't bore you with a heap of drivel about him.  Just sit abck and listen to his last lecture.