Saturday, July 28, 2012

Let the Humor Begin!

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” -Charles Dickens

Innovative educators are always trying to make each and every class as meaningful and relevant to their students as possible.  They create, they collaborate, they ask, they solve....they innovate.  It is clear to most of them that it is what they model, what they represent as a teacher and as a human that will impact students´ lives other than the content they could possibly deliver.

One great tool innovative teachers should use in the classroom is:  humor.  Yes, the kind that comes out spontaneously and actually creates a delightful atmosphere in the classroom.  Doesn´t mean you can´t practice some comedic lines in front of the mirror and try to look like Jim Carrey...

Laughter is so relaxing, it is even said it´s medicine to the soul.  Your students stare at you as someone they can take hand of in difficult moments some times.  They need to see you as a caring human being, as one that went through or is going through some of the same things they are.  Use your best charisma to approach them.  Tell them a little joke from time to time.  Make fun of yourself; nothing makes you more human to students than when you make mistakes and actually learn from them.

Here´s a secret:  Students will laugh at your jokes even if they are really bad.  There are two main reasons for that:
  1. They will laugh out of respect.  But it still works, they are laughing after all.  Too worried about mockery? 
  2. They will laugh harder at the fact that it is you, their teacher, actually telling a joke. 
Share an anecdote of your own experience.  Tell them about that embarrassing moment you had at the bus station with this person once.  Talk to them about that time when you were in second grade and the teacher had you in detention after school time and you  peed on your pants. Wait, that actually happened to me...

Don´t overlook the power of humor within your classroom.  Humor humanizes, makes you approachable and reliable.  It allows you to connect to your students at a more personal level.  Be spontaneous, be surprising, be fun.  In the measure of the possible try not to be the teacher students groan about at the knowledge their next class is with you.   May God help you as you try to bring joy, jolly, and happiness into your classroom using humor.  

So, a teacher walks into a bar....
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photo credit: horizontal.integration via photo pin cc

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Enhance your Social Media presence

So you´ve got yourself into Twitter and have been building a succesful PLN right there.  You have built a nice community in which you get and give useful information.  As a connected educator you are, you have a blog in which you share your thoughts.

One of the best ways to get attention to your blog post is sharing through social media.  If you are using Twitter, you might want to include popular hashtags; this will share your content with other than only your followers.  Let me introduce you some tools that might help increase your social presence, driving more traffic to your content, and therefore increasing your audience.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Email still rules!

Despite the uprising of so many websites and applications that make our lives easier, the email still rules and is the boss! We still need it and will still be using it. Most of these innovative sites we sign up for require for us to provide an email address so, who's the boss?

In most cases we still rely on the email to communicate with parents, for instance. Newsletters are not going anywhere. When it comes to communication nothing yet is as effective and, very importantly, as targeted as the email, maybe except for FB messages... Will we see the death of email shortly? I dare to say that not likely.

This last Wednesday I attended #toolschat, a Twitter chat that takes place weekly at 10 pm EDT (GMT-4:00). Topic this week was about emailing and tools to optimize email experience. Usually, this chat is attended by Social media experts and gurus, as well as marketeers. I got inspired into sharing with you fellow educators some amazing tools to optimize communication through email. Grab a grip!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Useful Web Applications for Virtual Teaching

It seems to be that blended learning has almost become an obligatory part of the teaching/learning process, at least in a 21st century settings. But you as a classroom teacher can easily blend your teaching if your particular context allows for it.

I'd like to suggest some sites that you could use for when virtual learning is required. I am talking about the days in which, for example, you have to be absent from school because you broke a toe (or a nail...) . Or maybe you would just like to give your students a brief after–school reinforcement of the content for a test (yes, you care about them enough).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On International Projects

English: blank world map
English: blank world map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I obviously do not consider myself an international connections expert or a global projects "guru" or anything like it.  However, with my short experience on global collaborative international projects with students from other countries, I think I have picked up some ideas that I would like to share with you.
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