UTF8&qid=1336599040&sr=8-18" title="First Year Teacher">First Year Teacher.” The contest sought collaborative input from teachers across the United States to share ideas and best practices on incorporating digital and blended learning into the classroom. The practice of blended learning reinforces academic concepts through multiple modalities, creating a more integrated approach for both teachers and students.
Submissions from Vickie Elswick of Boyd County Middle School (Ashland, Ky.), Loi-Natalie Laing of Miami Edison Senior High (Miami, Fla.) and Jessica Pilgreen of Wesclin Senior High School (Trenton, Ill.) were selected for publication as part of Kaplan’s effort to share best digital practices in the classroom. The winning submissions are featured in the new edition of “First Year Teacher,” now available in e-book form in the Apple iTunes Store for free throughout the month of May in recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11). The book also will be available for free on Amazon.com starting on Mon., May 14 through the end of the month.
Below are some excerpts of the three winners’ ideas:
- Vickie Elswick, Boyd County Middle School, Ashland, Ky.: “We have always known that communication between home/school makes all the difference, and technology gives the teacher so many ways to easily share. As a teacher we have: e-mail, tweets, epubs, webpages, blogs, texting – and that's just the short list … One of best things about these digital learning tools is that they are available 24/7, and they are efficient in a time of shrinking budgets … Teachers use their digital tools to provide that extra communication and individualization that students need to perform at high levels. That might take the form of online directions for a project the student is doing at home. It might be a vodcast of a lecture that students can watch from home. Technology can provide that enrichment activity for the advanced student, and it can provide remediation that a slower student needs.”
- Loi-Natalie Laing, Miami Edison Senior High, Miami, Fla.: “The most important thing I've come to learn as a first year teacher is to utilize great technology that is readily available, and not try to reinvent the wheel. All my classes use Edmodo and my students have embraced being able to communicate with me outside the classroom … I can email individual or class reports to administrators, which students can use to accumulate points for our school store ... After discussion with administration, I allow my students to use their phones to do research in class. Students who may not be vocal in the class are often the ones who ask for clarification via Edmodo, email, or text ... It started as a struggle, especially since the kids at my school were not used to digital learning. However, they understand that I am trying to educate them for the world that they live in, and not the one I grew up in.”
- Jessica Pilgreen, Wesclin Senior High School, Trenton, Ill.: “Find a screencasting tool that you like and use it…I've saved lots of time by recording myself set up the technicalities of a Microsoft Word document. The time that I'm not visiting each student to help with margins, headers, and font issues becomes time that I can devote to drafting introductions, incorporating complex sentences, or adding descriptive details. This is also a great way to provide intervention strategies for students who benefit from viewing something at multiple times or at their own pace … This is a great method for sharing what is happening in your classroom with parents. You can also have students record their own screencasts, making them the creators of digital media.“
“Today’s classroom is a laboratory of innovation, and the ideas and best practices we received from teachers around the country were inspiring and exciting. We thank all those who participated and offer our special congratulations to our three winners,” said Jieun Choe, executive director of Kaplan K12 Learning Services. “During Teacher Appreciation Week, we join all those in saluting the millions of teachers across the United States who every day help build a stronger America by inspiring students to learn, develop new skills, and reach their full potential.”
To download the e-book, visit the Apple iTunes Store or Amazon.com.
About Kaplan K12 Learning Services, LLC
Kaplan K12 Learning Services (http://www.kaplank12.com), a unit of Kaplan Test Prep (http://www.kaptest.com), partners with schools to measurably propel student achievement. Kaplan K12 offers state test readiness programs to help students meet and exceed state standards, and college preparation solutions that support students as they prepare for college entrance exams and the admissions process. Its solutions also provide teachers with robust Kaplan K12 resources and professional development support to impact achievement in their classrooms. WPO).
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