What Makes a Good Teacher

An article from The Washington Post recently was published describing the attributes of a great teacher. After being in several classrooms, grades, and school districts, I agree that the top two characteristics of a teacher are love and grit.

  • Love-Focusing on the emotional, social, and academic needs of a student
  • Grit- Refusing to give up on a student

Another important emphasis was the idea that teaching is both an art and a science. While there are definitely effective strategies teachers can implement on a day to day basis, it takes the skillful teacher to properly entwine research based practices in the classroom with specific students.

Although our current education system is focusing on the science behind teaching (which is appropriate within limits),  the art part can be overlooked in the process of collecting hard data. While hard data is important, I believe the art part of teaching can be measured from student wellness. For example, 1. How students feel about themselves as learners 2. The excitement students feel in the classroom 3. The overall happiness of each student. While I acknowledge that a lot of external factors (such as home life) can heavily influence these feelings, all students, to some extent, should be able to feel the magic of the classroom and the love of learning. If not, our school systems should be focusing on self-health so students are engaged in the beauty of living.

What do you think? Read this article to engage in the discussion.


Celebrating the One Year Anniversary of Beyond Disabilities Week

Beyond Disabilities week started as an idea. And an email. And one year ago it became a reality. 

Leah Serao disability curriculum and resources college awareness

Today we are celebrating the one year anniversary of Beyond Disabilities week at Gordon College. It was a great week that challenged students, faculty, and outside community members to think about disabilities in a new light.

In remembrance, a Beyond Disabilities page on this blog was created to remember and relive the many discussions on campus. We hope for the conversation to continue through this electronic medium.

 Discussions have swirled at Gordon in recent years about perception, art, disability politics, and their impact on the disability community—and from February 17 through 21, those vital, intriguing issues were the focus of a symposium-style week of events at Gordon called Beyond Disabilities. It culminated with a talk by Temple Grandin, Ph.D., an acclaimed speaker, writer and activist on the topic of autism.

-Gordon College: Beyond Disabilities Week: A Week to Explore

An overview/review of the week:

1. A Shared Vision of Access for All (Huffington Post, D. Michael Lindsay, May 2014)

2. Beyond Disabilities Week: A Week to Explore (Gordon College, March 2014)

3. Students Launch Beyond Disabilities Week (The Tartan, February 2014)

4. Beyond Disabilities Week (Stillpoint Magazine, Spring 2014)

5. Beyond Disabilities Week Schedule (Gordon College, January 2014)

6. Beyond Disabilities: Strength in Weakness (Brett Olson, August 2014)

7. Beauty in Weakness: Examining the Mess Under the Carpet (Brett Olson, January 2014)

Team Sites:

Twitter: @gcdisabilities  (https://twitter.com/gcdisabilities )

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gcbeyonddisabilities

Instagram: http://instagram.com/gcbeyonddisabilities

Please visit the Beyond Disabilities page found on the top of this blog to view each event that took place over the week.




United States Regions (Fourth Grade)

My class recently explored the 5 regions of the United States. We had a lot of fun exploring the unique characteristics of each region. To have students become an “expert” in each region, I divided the class into 5 groups (each group responsible for one region). Each student then created a brochure on one region.

The requirements: Social Studies US Region Brochure

**This copy is a modified version from an original version my teacher team gave me

Rubric for grading: Social Studies US Regions Rubric

After students were done with the regions brochure, I gave students a choice board to extend the objective since some students needed more time to finish the brochure.

Students were able to:

1. Create a poster on a different region with a partner

2. Make a song/rap that included important information

3. Develop an outline or powerpoint for the class to use on google doc

4. Create a crossword puzzle of important vocabulary words

5. Make a region advertisement/commercial (30 seconds)

Once students were done, we completed a set of class notes. The experts were responsible for sharing their region’s information with the class. I am personally a fan of guided notes (fill in the blanks) since I prefer students to focus on the content rather than being responsible for writing all the information on their own. To me, I view guided notes as a time saver for the class since more energy and time can go toward discussion, rather than copying. Also for those with messy handwriting, this can be a life saver for parents when they study with their children.

Class notes are here to copy: Class Notes for United States Region