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Last year, the seven-year itch hit me hard, and after being quoted many times saying, “I was made for first grade,” I decided that it was time for me to make a change and move up, way up to fifth grade. I thought my transition would be cut and dried, like how you end dinner and begin dessert — but as with a lot of other changes in life, it was much messier than that. Now, seven months later, I’m still finding myself stuck somewhere between the lower-grade and upper-grade worlds, with a savvy co-teacher and 25 eager ten-year-olds by my side.
With middle school on the horizon, fifth grade is high stakes, and while I’m enjoying myself, I’m not sure how long I’ll stay. But there’s one thing I know for sure — this experience has taught me more about early childhood education than another year in first grade ever could have. Teaching some of the same kids in the same school has created the ideal conditions to constantly wonder, “What did I do (or what should have I done) when teaching first grade to prepare these kids for this stage?”
Over the past seven months, here are six things I’ve learned that early childhood educators should do every day:1. Be clever with your compliments.
Some of the same students who were once saying, “I’m bad at math” are still saying, “I’m bad at math.” Statements like these are signs of a fixed mindset. They trick you into believing you are either “good” or “bad,” and that growth isn’t possible — which is why it’s important to tell them exactly what they are good at in each subject area, starting in the primary grades. Then they will understand that they have strengths along with their areas for growth, and by the time they get to fifth grade, hopefully they won’t be saying, “I’m bad at math” any more.2. Teach into being an ally for everyone.
Recently Danny hasn’t wanted to come to school. He puts is head down for most of the day. Last week, he walked out of the classroom without permission — twice. I’ve had lots of conversations with Danny, and in each one, he reveals that nobody likes him and he’d rather stay at home. My co-teacher and I pulled the class together, presented them with this problem, and asked, “What should we do?” It was Maria who took out her soapbox and said, “We need to start treating him with more respect. It’s not that you have to be best friends with everyone. It’s that you have to support everyone, because learning is hard.” And there you have it. Maria said it best.3. Talk about diversity.
In my class, we talk at length about Eric Gardener, why girls might not be playing football at recess, and what it means to be middle class. Research shows that fifth grade students need to talk about these things, but we must prepare them to do so by starting this conversation in kindergarten. My students are prepared — they came to me that way, because every teacher before me has taken the time to bring up topics of diversity in strategic, logical, developmentally appropriate, thorough ways. In kindergarten, they study skin color. In first grade, they define diversity. In second grade, they analyze who has access. . . and so on.4. Trash your assumptions about their families.
In first grade, Felipe was angry about a lot of things including his parents’ divorce. Fast forward to fifth grade, Felipe is still angry (although less so) about a lot of things. Starting on day one, we decided to address this situation differently. This time, we included both Mom and Dad in our conversations about Felipe. In first grade, we assumed that living with Mom meant Dad had less insight to offer and less of an impact on Felipe’s daily life. Wrong! Now, we talk to both Mom and Dad, and while Felipe is still angry, he feels more secure in my class today.5. Keep your eyes on the prize: the big ideas.
I’m both in love with and overwhelmed by teaching history! Luckily, John, the fifth grade teacher across the hall, is nothing short of an expert and reminds me every time we meet that it’s less about the details and more about the big ideas. For example, while it’s not important to learn each and every Jim Crow law, it’s important to know how those laws affected the daily lives of people in the South and how they affect our lives today. We only have ten months with our students, so what exactly do we want them to learn?6. Celebrate hard.
The saying “work hard, party hard” is legit. In fifth grade, we’re always finding reasons to celebrate because the expectations feel so high — but I’m starting to realize that they always were. My first grade class learned how to read! They did more mental math in ten months than my grandmother does in ten years. In September, they told stories in pictures, and by June, they were telling stories with words on lined pages. And we forgot to party. What a bummer.
I encourage all of you to make big changes, to stretch yourself far beyond what you thought you were capable of doing, to leap out of your comfort zone, from early childhood to upper grades — for the sake of your students, yes, but also for the sake of learning more about this profession we love so much. If you have done that, well, please tell us, what did you learn? How did it go?
You're reading 6 Early Childhood Tips. . . From A 5Th Grade Teacher?
It’s that time of year again: desks have been assigned, daily routines are being established, and September is in full swing. The dynamic of the brand-new school year is powerful. The lingering summer allows for a gentle transition into the newness, and positive energy abounds. The school year has started.
Only this year will be slightly different than past years, because this year, you have decided to take on a student teacher. A bright-eyed, eager, engaged young adult who has found education as their calling. Who is looking at you with a mixture of enthusiasm and uncertainty. Whose career is just around the corner, but not quite here yet. You have been trusted by their college or university to bridge the gap between their classroom learning experiences and real world, practical application. Along with the daily rigors of classroom teaching, you have graciously agreed to become a mentor, a guide, and a leader to the future of the profession. Whether you are a seasoned supervising teacher, or this is your first go at it, here are 5 useful hints for making the most of this unique mentoring experience, for both you and your student teacher.
1. Get Connected. The majority of student teachers will enter the experience slightly anxious. Will they have what it takes? Will the teacher and students like them? These questions, and more self-doubting fears, often underscore their first few weeks in the classroom. In our world of constant connectedness, it is important to find a comfortable way to reach out to your student teacher early in the experience, outside of school hours. During the first day, or even beforehand if possible, reach out and ask your student teacher their easiest form of quick communication. Most will prefer text messaging. If this is the case, send them a text that evening: a friendly welcome, making your excitement for their presence known. This will form a positive connection early, and also open an easy and direct line of communication. It can be a quick way for your student teacher to check in, asking questions about lesson plans or content. Furthermore, if a problem arises later, it can be more easily resolved through the relationship you’ve developed.
2. Be Direct. Because of their tentativeness, many beginning student teachers will wait until they are asked to do something before they do it. This is not because they are lazy; rather, they have an innate fear of stepping on your toes early in the experience. Like your younger students, they are also acclimating to the routine and gaining understanding of your expectations. When you’d like them to do something, directly ask them. They will eagerly perform any task you ask of them, and most will begin to come out of their shells quickly.
3. Be a learner. Enter the experience with an open mind, willing to let go of the reigns a bit. Your student teacher has spent the last 3- 4 years studying current pedagogy and newest practices. They have read countless articles and texts, and been exposed to cutting edge classroom technology. While they are there to learn from your expertise, you may find that you’ll learn from them as well, if you’re willing to step aside at times.
4. Model the reflective process, and give honest feedback. It is critically important for your student teacher to see your mistakes, as this will allow them to better reflect on their own. As all educators know, an enormous part of the teaching and learning process is trial and error, reflection and revision. Let your student teacher be a part of this. Think out loud when your lesson doesn’t quite go as planned. After the lesson, talk to your student teacher about what you will change for the follow-up. This will create a safe space for your student teacher to take an active role in the reflective process after their own lessons. After they teach, tell them your opinion about what they did well, and be positive but honest about improvements they could make.
5. Treat your student teacher like a peer. Unless you have a non-traditional college student who is in the middle of a career change, you most likely have a young adult student teaching in your classroom. This young person is on the brink of true adulthood, and all of the greatness and challenges that come along with it. They want nothing more than to be trusted by you, someone they see as a superior. Confide in your student teacher, set high expectations, and value their opinions and ideas about the learning environment you are co-managing. Treat them like a trusted colleague. The more they feel like a “real” teacher, the more they will actually begin to become one!
Please remember each day that your service to the future of our profession is incredibly meaningful. Happy School Year, to you and your student teacher!
Businesses that are still yet to transition to remote work may only be doing so to avoid difficulty. After all, changing work environments requires a lot of changes and adjustments.
Some organizations that just made the move are still struggling to adjust and are dealing with a myriad of issues, from communication barriers to collaboration challenges.
That said, with the right strategies and resources, you can make the most of remote work and boost your workers’ productivity.
This article covers different tips on running a remote team efficiently.1. Set Clear Expectations
Setting clear expectations allows everyone to understand your organization’s goals and strategies, ensuring cohesion and putting workers on the right path.
But you’re not just showing workers the company’s broad objectives and long-term projections; you’re also outlining what you expect them to achieve as individuals.
While they clearly know their job descriptions, you should elaborate on performance standards, expected results, and work behavior. That way, you’re eliminating confusion and telling them in clear terms what is accepted and what they should achieve.
Your expectations should serve as a working blueprint that they can always refer to whenever they’re unsure about the next steps in the work process.2. Encourage Teamwork
Teamwork is a great productivity fuel and one of the defining success factors for any organization. Employees have to work together to execute large and complex projects, especially when deadlines have to be met.
But working as a team is more than passing on tasks from one team member to the other. Instead, it involves a deep level of communication and understanding.
Teamwork can be a serious challenge for work-from-home employees. That’s because remote work environments lack physical elements that foster collaboration. That said, with the right strategy, you can increase the bond between remote workers and get them to do things as a unit.
5 Best Resource Capacity Planning Tools for TeamsOrganize Team Building Activities
Team building activities can significantly strengthen your team’s bond and make remote workers more comfortable with each other. Organizing activities outside conventional work environments can help workers socialize better and break down communication and collaboration barriers.
While setting up these activities is more challenging with remote workers, you can make them happen. There are different team-building events suited to work-from-home employees that you can leverage.
Some activities include:
A home-office tour session where workers take turns in showing off their workspaces.
Virtual group workout where you can engage a personal trainer to oversee workout sessions.
Online gaming allows remote workers to collaborate in teams against each other.
Show and learn sessions where each worker teaches the rest of the team a unique skill.
Food reveals sessions where workers show each other their dieting plans and energy-boosting hacks.Create a Virtual Break Room
The casual chats that happen in a physical officer’s break room are among the potent exercises that strengthen team spirit. They’re part of the biggest differences between remote and in-house teams.
While the in-office break room enjoys the perks of physical presence, you can make a virtual break room a lot of fun.
You can create a virtual room where team members can log in and enjoy casual conversations not burdened by work decorum. They can use the room to catch up on different things, from a team member’s vacation to plans for a baby shower.
Include Team Members in Decision-Making
Whenever you want to make a decision on how to move a project forward, consult team members to get their input. Since you’ll be establishing processes and policies that affect how they work, keeping them out of the loop will only backfire.
You can organize brainstorming sessions to figure out the best way to move forward with a complex change or a new project.
That way, remote workers will feel more inclusive and valued, boosting worker morale and strengthening the team bond.3. Support and Foster Communication
Teams can’t function without communicating. You need employees to talk to each other to get things right and meet deadlines. But communicating is more than merely exchanging words and ideas.
Without effective interactions, team members can misunderstand themselves and make costly errors as a result.
Effective communication is even more crucial in remote working environments. Since they work alone, employees may find it more difficult to reach out to colleagues to clarify critical issues. They may also end up working in silos due to the many communication barriers and lack of instant replies that come with remote work.
But there are things you can do to turn the tide and promote effective communication in the remote workplace.
Top 7 Work Operating Systems of 2023Establish Communication Channels
Establishing communication channels allows workers to know how to communicate. For example, each Slack channel can be dedicated to a particular purpose, and messages sent via Skype can be tagged critical.
Using defined channels for different processes allows your team members to:
Know when a message demands an immediate reply
Understand the kind of message that came through
Know how to deal with or use a request, inquiry, or information
Know the right way to reach out to other team members
Get comfortable with communication and know what to expect
You should also consult team members to know which communication channels they prefer and set up your policies according to those preferences.Provide Communication Tools
There are a handful of tools designed to boost communication in remote teams. From text-based platforms to audio and video communication tools, you can equip workers with the right communication resources.
But before you go about choosing communication tools, make sure you communicate with team members and get their input. There are also factors that you must consider before choosing remote communication platforms.
These factors include the size of your team, your nature of work, how frequently you need to communicate, and your business’ budget.Encourage Asynchronous Communication
In-office environments enjoy synchronous communication where feedback happens immediately. On the other hand, remote workspaces have to lean towards asynchronous communication where there’s a slight delay in replies.
You should prepare your workers for this reality and tell them to organize their schedules around asynchronous communication. That way, they can learn to expect replies later. This method means they won’t have to disrupt their colleagues’ workflow.
That said, you can establish protocols for urgent situations.4. Optimize Meeting Schedules
Meetings are important activities that bring the team together and boost collaboration. In remote work environments, they’re more important as they remind workers they’re still part of a team and give everyone an opportunity to communicate.
But meetings will backfire if you don’t organize them well.
According to reports published in Forbes, 55 million meetings are scheduled daily and at least half of them are unproductive.
So, ensure you optimize your meeting schedules so they can achieve their objectives and not disrupt workers’ schedules for nothing. If a meeting doesn’t have a meaningful agenda and emails can suffice, don’t schedule it.
You should also focus on organizing relevant meetings when everyone’s free periods intersect. That way, workers won’t be sacrificing important work for meetings.5. Leverage Remote Work Tools
From communication to collaboration and administration, there are different tools designed to make remote work easier and more effective. You can leverage these tools to run your team efficiently and boost their productivity.
Each tool serves different purposes and you have to choose them according to your company’s needs, your staff structure, and your budget. The good thing is that, for each category, there are many platforms to choose from. That way, you can find one that meets your budgetary arrangements and team size.
So, what do you need remote tools for?Employee Monitoring
You need a tool that monitors how remote employees go about work to promote accountability, calculate billable hours, improve focus, and track productivity. Automatic time-tracking tools can help you achieve that and more.
Automation helps you and your remote workers to free up your schedule by removing repetitive manual tasks. Automating your tasks also means fewer errors and mistakes.
Tools like project managers and time trackers can help you to automate different aspects of work.
A project management solution can help you automate your workflow so workers don’t have to manually hand over tasks.
Time trackers can automatically create timesheets and invoices, reducing accounting workload and getting rid of human errors.Collaborate Through Real-Time File-Sharing and Document Editing
File-sharing is important since you can’t physically hand off files or use workplace networks and servers. Tools like Google Drive allow you and your workers to share files and edit documents in real time.
These platforms can also integrate with your project management tools to make sure task tracking is more effective and efficient.Efficiently Manage Workload
For example, if you want to assign an urgent job, you can find out which remote worker is the most reliable to trust with that kind of work.6. Avoid Micromanagement
Micromanagement is one of the most unhealthy management practices in any workplace. As a remote work manager, you may be tempted to always follow up with your team members to make sure they’re on the job and are doing things right.
This management style will only weaken trust, reduce morale, and stifle creativity. Workers will no longer be able to work freely because you’re always looking over their shoulders and monitoring their every move.
So, trust your workers to do their jobs and remove yourself from their work process. Giving them autonomy over how they work will boost their morale and increase productivity.
Managing remote workers can be fun with the right tools, workers, and strategies. Remember to help workers find their work-life balance and prevent overwork and burnout.
IEP season can feel overwhelming for new teachers. These strategies smooth the path, providing step-by-step instructions for making the most of the end of the year.
The first year of teaching involves an overwhelming number of new things: work environment, curriculum, coworkers, and students, not to mention figuring out how to make the copier work after it’s jammed in three places.
For first-year special education teachers, the busiest time of year is often the spring, when students’ individualized education programs (IEPs) are due in quick succession.
Don’t Overestimate The Power of Scheduling
From there, determine the week when each meeting will be held. For any specific student, identify three times when the whole team is free, including service or administrative team members who need to be involved. Reach out to the parent or guardian and offer the most preferred date/time. If the parent or guardian is not available, provide the next two options. In most scenarios, having three times when all team members are free ensures that the family member has some choice and minimizes back-and-forth.
Create a System to Monitor Progress Toward IEP Goals
Choose one day per week to monitor progress, and be sure to get students excited and involved. Create systems for independent work within your room; for example, in a resource room setting with students working on academic goals, you might create a “Show What You Know” day. Students can choose an independent reading level book to read in the classroom while you work one-on-one with each student, monitoring their progress toward reading fluency.
Prepare General Education Teachers
You can be sure that new general education teachers are ready for IEP meetings by showing them the meeting agenda and indicating which sections they will be responsible for discussing. Share insight into the types of questions they might receive about accommodations or student progress to give them time to prepare.
Protect Prep Time
It is crucial to ensure that you are completing compliance work during the school day to avoid overwhelm during this busy time of year. As a special education teacher, you can easily lose precious prep time responding to student behavior or supporting a student in another teacher’s room. If you want to avoid writing IEPs at 9 p.m. or on a Saturday, work hard to protect your prep time. If there are paraprofessionals on the team, utilize them to support students in other classrooms. Alternatively, inform the leadership team of your heavy compliance workload, and request additional support with student behavior.
If needed, move to a different space in the building to have privacy to complete your work. You might need to get creative here; I have written IEPs in a back stairwell or a hidden corner of the school library!
Finally, be sure to batch your work. IEP season requires a significant amount of parent contact; complete these communications via email or text if possible during your prep time. Perhaps your district requires signed IEPs to be uploaded to a specific website; wait until you’ve held a few meetings, and then scan and upload all of the documents at once.
The spring semester can feel turbulent, but by taking a few proactive steps to organize and streamline work, special education teachers can spend their time and energy writing clear and legally defensible IEPs that truly showcase students’ abilities and needs, as well as indicate the services and programming needed to ensure students’ success.
You have many choices among photo editing software programs, whether it’s Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, Paintshop Pro, chúng tôi and more—all of which now have very similar feature sets. These basic photo editing tips will help you work in pretty much any application available.Working with layers in photo editing
Each time you cut and paste a flower from the photo’s field of flowers, Photoshop creates a new layer so you can edit, recolor, reshape, resize, add a filter such as Watercolor, or a style from the Styles palette, or a dozen other features. Only the “selected” layer is affected. This way, you can use different effects and filters on each separate layer–and a mistake on one layer doesn’t affect the other layers.Why you should keep your original intact
The number one, most important tip I can share with you is this: Never edit your originals. Always make a copy and save that copy as a layered file, if possible, because layers can be adjusted and edited individually.
The best layered formats are PSD (Photoshop) and TIFF (Tagged Image File Format). All the popular photo editing programs will either Save As or Export to one of these two formats.
Why not save images as JPGs? Because JPG is a “lossy” format, which means the image is compressed, which creates smaller file sizes (to accommodate applications with limited resources such as email and cell phones). Each time it’s re-saved, the image quality degrades a bit, and it does not support layers.
NOTE: RAW and DNG are in a whole different class of formats, generally used by professional photographers and not supported by all phones, cameras, or programs.Resize photos without losing image quality
To avoid this, never enlarge without adjusting the pixels to compensate. For example, if you have a 4×5-inch photo that’s 600 pixels per inch (or 2400×3000 pixels), you can enlarge the photo to 8×10 if you reduce the pixels per inch to 300 (note the pixels are still 2400×3000) and lose no image quality. If you enlarge to 8×10 and leave the ppi at 600, the image will blur slightly and continue to do so each time you attempt to resize larger without reducing the ppi.
JD Sartain / IDG
Enlarging low-resolution photos causes pixelated images
The paragraph above is an example of Resizing; that is, the number of pixels in the image do not change and; therefore, the image quality remains intact. Resampling changes the image by adding more pixels (upsampling) or subtracting pixels (downsampling), which means adding or deleting information and detail from your image. Unfortunately this is not a precise process, which is why Photoshop provides three Resampling options: Bicubic, Bilinear, or Nearest Neighbor. There is no “right way” or “correct answer” to this process. All you can do is experiment and save the image with the best results.How to remove busy backgrounds
Editing out unwanted background imagery is always a challenge. You can use the Polygonal Lasso tool to select the object in the foreground, then invert the image to make the background the active layer, then press the Delete key. Or you can cut-and-paste the image onto a new layer and choose a special effect to fill the background, such as Gaussian Blur or Motion Blur, or choose a nice filter.
JD Sartain / IDG
Use the Lasso tool to remove busy backgroundsHow to use the Clone Stamp to smooth and polish surfaces
The Clone Stamp tool, not to be confused with the Blur or Smudge tool, is all about the right brush style, brush size, and brush location. The brush should be smaller than the eraser head of a pencil (size 40 for an 8×10, 300 ppi photo is good), round, and slightly blurred. The location should be as close to the stamped area as possible.
Use the Clone Stamp with a small, fuzzy brush for editing faces.
If you want it to look natural and consistent, you must stamp the tool in a clean area directly above, below, or beside the blemish. Otherwise the skin tones fluctuate too much, and the results begin to look “stamped and blotchy.” Our sample removes the blemishes and freckles only, but it still needs an Image Adjustment feature such as Skin Smoothing to blend the cloned areas more evenly.How to salvage blurry, out-of-focus pictures
For blurred photos, use a Sharpen, Artistic, Style, or Brush Stroke filter.
You can also use one of the many Artistic, Brush Stroke, or Stylize filters, which make the photo look like a painting. Based on how much out of focus the original image is, and how much you really want to keep that particular picture, a “painted” filter can actually enhance the original photo.Learn more through exploring and doing
Beyond these basic tips, learning more about photo editing is as easy as exploring and playing around with your software. For example, ever notice that border of purple light around the objects in your pictures? It’s called Purple Fringe, and it’s now easily corrected. Chromatic Aberration Removal (caused by distortion of the lens), Backlighting, and a host of distortion corrections such as Barrel, Fisheye, Depth of Field, and Pin Cushion are all now easily repaired. Explore your photo editing program of choice to find the features to correct these flaws.
Repairability of Apple laptops is something that has evolved in recent years. Whenever a new product is released, there are a few websites that will do a teardown and discuss how it’s made. iFixit, a popular website for repair guides and parts, even publishes a repairability guide for laptops and smartphones. Is this something business/education customers still care about? How repairable are Apple’s laptops? That is what I want to look at this week.
When I first got into managing Apple products, I took the Apple Certified Macintosh Technician class. After passing the exam, I was granted access to Apple’s Global Service Exchange (GSX). This website keeps track of repairs of devices. If you’ve taken your laptop in for a screen replacement to an Apple Store or an authorized Apple repair center, it would be documented in this database. During that period, we were using the 13″ white MacBook . This model was released in 2006 with the transition to Intel, and it remained on the market until 2012. I purchased quite a few of them in 2009. We used them until 2012. During that time, I replaced a lot of hard drives. The hard drives in this computer were the old style (pre-SSD or flash storage). They were just bound to failure due to the way spinning drives worked. If you’ve never seen the inside of a hard drive while it’s running, watch this video:
After I saw this video for the first time, I was surprised hard drives even worked on laptops to begin with.
Outside of replacing at least 25% of the hard drives in our deployment, I didn’t have much else fail. The hard drive was an easy swap as well. I could buy a $40 replacement from Amazon, clone the failing drive to it, and swap it out in about ten minutes. Here’s a short video showing how it worked in the 2009 MacBook Pro. It was a similar process in the MacBook.
During that period, Apple laptops were much more modular regarding part repair. A lot of various parts were separated from the main logic board. From a repair standpoint, this meant that more things could be swapped out without replacing a $400-$500 part on a $999 laptop.
As we moved to deploying MacBook Airs in 2012 (and to this day), Apple laptops became much more integrated. There are now fewer things that can be repaired apart from replacing the logic board. Is this a negative thing? I know some would argue yes, but my counterpoint would be it’s been a good thing overall. I ordered 100 MacBook Airs in 2012. I deployed another 75 in 2023. In my entire time managing MacBook Airs, I’ve had to replace one flash memory module. I’ve had one display go bad. I would argue that as repairability has gotten more difficult, dependability (sans the keyboard of the current MacBook Pros), has gone way up.
One thing that has changed is how I manage repairs. Like I mentioned earlier, I have the ACMT certification where I can order parts directly from Apple. With the current laptops, I’ve found that I can send products off to Apple’s depot repair center and have any repairs (even accidental damage) done for less than I can order the parts myself. The downside to doing this is that I have to wait a few days to get the machines back, but I just keep a few spare laptops on the shelf to give to the users while their laptop is being repaired.
In summary, Apple’s laptop line has become a lot harder and more costly to repair in recent years. On the flip side, I’ve seen my need to repair machines go way down. In my experience, Apple’s laptop hardware (sans the current MacBook Pro keyboards) have become as reliable as iPad hardware. Unless you cause accidental damage, you are likely going to have a functioning laptop for many years.
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