Archive for category New Teacher Tips & Training

Four Ways to Keep Your Students Attention

student-engagementHere at Quantum Learning, we know how important it is to communicate effectively. As an educator, making sure you are not only teaching the correct material, but doing so effectively can be harder than it seems. Everyone learns differently. We all know some people are more visual, while others may be more auditory or kinesthetic learners . But how can you make sure you are reaching your students 99 percent of the time?

Engage
The dictionary defines engage as, “to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons).” How do you engage your students? Are you making sure you reach them visually, auditorily, and kinesthetically (VAK)? Are your lessons interesting and reach them in their reality (schema)? If not, how can you not only teach them the content, but in an engaging way?

Command attention. Not in a drill sergeant sort of way, but in an exciting relevant way. A student’s schema is what they relate to. For instance, if you see the Golden Arches, you know that there is a McDonald’s. This is because your schema told you so.

To get inside a student’s schema, you need to stay current on trends that relates to whatever age your students are. Listen to how they talk, pick up what’s exciting in their world, and see if you can explain your lesson plans in their world.

Interact
How many times have you been in a classroom and the teacher simply stands up and talks for an hour? I’m sure you all have sat through a class like this. Where you excited to get to class? Did you enjoy the monotone lecture? Chances are, you didn’t. Take a step back and ask yourself if you are inadvertently doing the same thing.

What can you do to interact with your students? How about moving around, making your students have to work to see you. This gets their blood flowing, and yours as well. Get them involved in the conversation. Have them help demonstrate something too. The more they can interact, the more you are keeping their attention.

Relevant
This goes hand in hand with schema. Being relevant is extremely important to your students. If you talk about things that are going on currently, you are more likely to get them engaged and interacting with your lesson. Teaching history? Find a way to use current news stories as a parallel to what may or may not be happening in your lesson for the day.

Tone of Voice
This may seem like a little aspect to your delivery, but tone of voice can be a great tool. Using slight inflections in your voice can keep your students attention, and auditorily highlight key points. In the same respect, you don’t want to sound angry or offensive in your delivery. Too many highs and lows can also be distracting, and sound less professional. It will take time to get your voice exactly the way you want it, but you can do it.

What techniques have you found useful to keep your students attention? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit: eHow Family 

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Foundation: Starting the School Year off Right

Last  week, we talked about the new school year sneaking  up on us. Setting a strong foundation is pivotal in the first few weeks of school. It is a time where your students are learning you, and you are learning them. Here at Quantum Learning, we start our teacher training’s with a system we believe  makes great teachers greater.  Our acronym FAD²E (the core of our methodology), stands for:

  • Foundation
  • Atmosphere
  • Design and Delivery
  • Environment

Each one of these points is a pivotal role for teachers, and how to create the best situation in their classroom.  Foundation needs to be strong if you want any other aspects of the model to work as well. Like anything all parts of this system need to be working at top notch.

In effective classrooms, a strong Foundation creates an aligned community of learners through a shared vision, intentions, values and principles and clear expectations. These are not just posted on a wall. They are taught, discussed, modeled, and consistently reinforced. For example, the educational vision and values of the school are understood and shared by everyone and are made relevant in the classroom by the teacher. There is a clear understanding regarding expected behavior, quality of work, interactions, and daily procedures. These FOUNDATIONAL elements are communicated clearly and reinforced each day.

To get started on your search of what foundation you want your classroom to be set on, you can take a personal activity we have set up on our site here.  Sometimes just taking a step back can help us see something we normally wouldn’t have.

Once you have set up your own clear idea of foundation, it is then time to deliver the information to your classroom. What expectations do you have for your students? What is the correct way to turn in their homework? All of these things need to be told in a clear way at the beginning of the year. Once you set your foundation, your students will understand you better, and know what you expect from them. Besides the great personal activity, we also have three short lesson plans to help set up foundation in your classroom.

How do you set a good foundation in your classroom? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit: Riverstone International School

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iPad in The Classroom: Taking Learning to the Next Level

Educators are always finding ways to improve their skills, and the best way to reach their students. As technology evolves, the opportunities to reach students on their level becomes easier and easier. In a world where 21st century skills are crucial for student achievement, tablet PCs like the iPad are becoming a staple in schools across the country.

We asked our Twitter followers what their favorite iPad apps where, and we found five we think you’ll love.

Flipboard
Besides being named Apple’s iPad App of the Year, Flipboard is a great way to catalog many publications in one setting.  In addition to  regular publications, you can turn your social media updates into magazine format as well. According to the App store, “See your social media in a magazine layout that is easy to scan and fun to read. Catch up on the latest stories, videos and posts from popular publications and people such as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Wired, Rolling Stone, Oprah, Forbes, Robert Scoble, and Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova.”

Chris Fancher, a Math/Engineering teacher at Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas, is excited to use this app in his classroom.

Keynote
Adding a little pizzazz to a presentation is done much easier with Keynote. Once you have created your presentation in the app, you can hook up your iPad to a projector, and you are set to go! Some of the features Keynote boasts are:
• Animate objects on slides with more than 20 builds.
• Choose from over 20 professional-quality slide transitions, including Anagram, Page Flip, Mosaic, and Twist.
• Use the predefined text styles or choose text options to personalize your slides.
• Quickly add your photos and videos from the Photos app using the Media Browser.
• Organize your data with beautiful charts and tables.
• Skim through your presentation, add new slides, and reorder slides with the slide navigator.
• Work without worry — Keynote automatically saves your presentations whenever you make a change.

Outliner
How do you keep track of your to-dos? Outliner is a great app that lets you stay on top of everything going on in your crazy world. Outliner has the following features:

  • Create outlines for structured notes, lists, tasks, tasks with subtasks, projects, etc.
  • Search through all your outlines, or find text in the current outline.
  •  Create items as tasks (with checkboxes) or not
  • Add notes to items
  • Get a quick view of the progress of a parent task – each shows pie charts to indicate what percent of child items are complete

Attendance
Appadvice.com recently did a review for iPad apps geared to teachers. They recommend Attendance because it’s a, “solution for quickly taking attendance, identifying students via photo, recording tardies, and emailing students or classes with progress reports. It integrates with your address book to import student data, or allows for direct download of course .csv files from the web. It is not particularly pretty to look at, but what it lacks in form, it makes up for in function. With an inexpensive in-app purchase you can also sync data between iDevices.” You can read more in Apple’s App store here.

Cram
You might not want your students to cram your content the night before a big test, but Cram is a great app for teachers. Cram is actually a flash card application to quiz your students. Teachhub.com goes on to say, “the multiple choice, flash card format saves resources, time, and energy when it comes to whipping up a quick assignment, quiz, or test. In addition, users are granted the ability to access an online database of questions as well as pre-established assignments. Cram boasts its own benefits for all elements of education, though, making it a well-rounded application to download and use.”

Do you have an iPad app you can’t live without? Let our readers know in the comments below.

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Orchestrating Your Classroom to Its Full Potential

OrchestratingFoundation is what holds everything together—metaphorically and physically. How solid your foundation is can set you up for success or failure. Here at Quantum Learning we understand this, and we constantly educate our clients on how important foundation is in the classroom.

A strong Foundation of aligned principles, beliefs, agreements, policies and rules (community) will make the teacher/student relationship run much more smoothly. While easier said than done, there are many ways you can build a strong foundation each and every school year.

First Day of School
The first day of school is exciting, potentially nerve racking for the students, but most importantly, it’s where you can start to establish that strong foundation. Letting your students know the  rules and beliefs you have set in your classroom will set a strong foundation from day one.

As soon as your students set foot in your classroom they are already getting a sense of who you are as a teacher. Is your classroom inviting? Does your room have posters and colorful pictures as opposed to stark white walls? A good Atmosphere helps to create a strong foundation.

Classroom Management
When you have a strong foundation, classroom management is much easier. Incorporating an atmosphere of engaging  traditions and other strategies will help create a sense of belonging and safety, focus attention and motivate students to increase participation in learning.

Design
How are you designing your curriculum? Are you putting in enough student engagement? How many times have you sat in a class and the teacher/professor was lecturing—not engaging you? Coming up with creative ways to Design a lesson can make the difference in your students’ engagement.

Verbal and Non-verbal Communication
As you probably know, there are two types of communication—verbal and non-verbal. You could be teaching the most important information of the year, but if you aren’t energetic in your voice, or if you’re yawning the entire lesson, you could lose your students’ attention.  Your Delivery is everything.

Classroom Setting
The way you set up the physical space that supports the classroom culture can enhance learning.  The ideal classroom Environment is inviting, comfortable, and stimulating. Because everything in the classroom sends a message about what is important, the environment is purposefully constructed with the use of plants, lighting, décor, furniture arrangement, content-related and inspirational posters, and student-generated work.

An acronym to easily remember these points is FAD²E (foundation, atmosphere, design, delivery and environment).  Using the FAD²E model we build effective teaching by having:

  • a strong Foundation of aligned principles, beliefs, agreements, policies and rules (community)
  • an empowering Atmosphere of trust, safety and a sense of belonging
  • a dynamic and engaging curriculum Design and a great way to Deliver the material
  • a supportive Environment that enhances the learning

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Why Quantum Learning?

QL-Stats

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Quantum Learning for Teachers Summer 2011 Public Workshops

At the QLN Campus in Oceanside, California

Quantum Learning helps bring passion and fun back to teaching. It works because QL-trained teachers learn the how and the why from top facilitators who model effective QL classroom methods throughout the workshop.Teachers leave our programs with tools they understand and know how to use in their classrooms. As a result,students with QL teachers attain higher achievement levels and gain improved attitudes toward learning.

Choose between two 5-day public workshops (click on either date for the informational flyer and registration form)

June 27 – July 1, 2011
QLN Campus – Oceanside, CA

July 25-29, 2011
QLN Campus – Oceanside, CA

 

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Character Education Conference

At the upcoming Character Education Conference in San Francisco, Quantum Learning representative Cami Eiskamp will be hosting a workshop.  Cami has worked with administrators, teachers, students and parents as an instructor and trainer around the globe for more than 13 years.  Her witty, outgoing personality — combined with her highly interactive training approach — keeps audiences energized and engaged.  She models applicable instructional/leadership strategies that all attendees can use immediately when they return to school. Cami is a San Diego native, currently in her seventh year as a high school Spanish and leadership teacher.  She was voted Teacher of the Year by staff and students.  If you are attending the conference, you can join Cami on Thursday, 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

 

 

 

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