What Teachers Really Do – Winter Break Version

For the teachers who work hard throughout the year to take care of our nation’s children every single day, we honor and salute you.  Most of all, we wish you a well-deserved break doing what you love!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you from Secondary Solutions!

What Teachers Do - Holiday Version via www.secondarysolutionsblog.com

What Teachers Do – Holiday Version via www.secondarysolutionsblog.com


A Teacher’s Holiday Anthem

At this point in the semester, I am simultaneously exhausted and invigorated. I can feel the same sentiments coming from my virtual and school site colleagues. As teachers, we have been beaten down by the workload and frustrations of everyday teaching, but we’ve also borne witness the beauty that is student learning.  We have wanted to bash the copy machine in when it jammed again.  We have felt the utter satisfaction of reading a masterfully constructed student argument.  We have answered angry emails and rebuffed last minute requests for extra credit.  We have seen the light come on mid-Socratic seminar. We have wiped down every sneeze covered surface.  We have victoriously matched all papers with their respective owners.  We have created all necessary forms of final exams with appropriate accommodations.  We have battled all semester and now we have made it to the holy grail of winter vacation.  In the spirit of the season, today I am sharing my teacher version of a holiday favorite: 12 days of teachingWhat have your students left you with this semester?  We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

The Plagiarism Problem

Today we are sharing this great infographic from health informatics at The University of Illinois, Chicago to continue our discussion about the importance of teaching students about plagiarism.  Below is a creative lesson plan idea for helping students to connect meaningfully to the idea of academic integrity.  UIC_Plagiarism_InfographicThis infographic offers information and suggestions for stemming this growing issue.  We want to give a big thank you to The University of Illinois at Chicago for bringing it to our attention!  I also wanted to share a creative idea for helping students connect meaningfully with this crime that they often think of as victimless.  I’ve known a few English teachers to do a variation of this assignment and I think it could be adapted to work at many grade levels.  Here is the gist of the assignment:

1. Assign a creative assignment that can be presented in a 60 second class presentation.  (For example: creative writing or research with a visual aid)

2. Have students present their projects to the class so everyone gets a good idea of the quality of each student’s work.

3. Post assignments up around the room.

4. Give students post it notes and ask them to write their name on them.

5. Have students walk around and vote for the best projects by placing their post it notes on their favorite.

6. Cross out the original names on the projects and tell students that their grades will be based on the project that they selected and not on the work that they actually completed.

Inevitably, there will be projects that were completed with mindless haste and others that were created with care and critical thinking.  There will probably be a few students who didn’t do the assignment at all and will get credit. Students who put time and effort into their project will likely be outraged at the idea that others will get credit for their work.  With the face of outrage real in their peers, the students who are getting the undue credit will likely feel the pangs of guilt.  This is the perfect moment for a discussion of plagiarism that will hopefully stick with many students for a long time.

What do you think of this idea?  Do you or your colleagues do something similar? What have the reactions been like?  We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

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