Thursday’s Tip: Improving Instruction with Digital Images

A digital camera (with video capabilities) is a piece of hardware that every eMINTS classroom gets and seems like one of the most under-utilized tools for instruction. Teachers and students are using the cameras to take pictures at assemblies, field trips, and classroom parties but are they being used during lessons?

Here are some pictures I’ve taken over the past month that might inspire some lessons. In what ways might you use these images in learning activities and lessons in your classroom? Feel free to copy any of them and use them freely or go out and take some of your own, or even better, have your students take them.

Your challenge is to answer this…..How might teachers and students use images as part of units/lessons on a daily basis? Please leave comments and share your thoughts and ideas.

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read more at her blog Higgins Helpful Hints Blog.

Friday 4All: Planning For Next Year

Whew! The school year is over. We collapse in our favorite comfy chair, put our feet up, and relax with not a care in the world except how to spend our summer vacation.  We put school and planning in the back corner of our minds not to emerge again until August.   All the while humming to ourselves the old Alice Cooper song; School’s Out.

Who are we kidding?  We’re teachers.  We never truly stop thinking about our past school year and the new school year coming up.  We are constantly refining our skills as educators and as soon as one year is complete we start planning for the next year.

Planning is a crucial piece of the education process.  We can analyze past challenges and successes to build for the future.  We work on our skills as educators identifying our strengths and planning how to strengthen our weaknesses.  We seek out professional development opportunities and organize our thoughts, strategies, and time so that our students receive the best education they can possibly have.

In a previous post, we shared some possible reflection questions to help you identify what you have learned from the year and how you might apply those new learning’s to future situations.  Now we continue on from that reflective process and move into the planning process.  Here is a series of questions that may help you as you look ahead to the upcoming school year.

  • As you think about the new students entering your classroom, what might be some of the goals you want to focus on?
  • What might be some ways that you will know that you are successful?
  • What might be some strategies you are considering?
  • What will guide your decisions about these strategies?
  • What criteria might you use to determine which are most beneficial?
  • How might these strategies support student learning in other areas?
  • What do you want to make sure that you do very well in this new school year and how might you know you are doing it?
  • How might you incorporate this thinking process in other areas?

Carmen Marty, Terri Brines, & Brooke Higgins are eMINTS Instructional Specialists and Cognitive Coaching/eMINTS Agency Trainers. For more information about Cognitive Coaching and upcoming related seminars visit the eMINTS National Center events page.

sntgmdm (Photographer). (2007). Twyfelfontein Binoculars. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotos_medem/3399096196/