5 Tips for Taking Care During the Summer Holidays
Photo courtesy of Pexels, Pixabay
The holiday season can often bring all kinds of extra responsibilities for educators and others in the industry. Most schools are taking stock of the last year while simultaneously preparing for the next, which often means jam-packed working days and even a few late nights. Also, many things around the house may have had to go into neglect because of the stress that a school year can often bring. But being productive during the summer shouldn’t mean giving up all your time with loved ones and overworking yourself at home — it doesn’t have to! Here are a few tips for striking the balance between work and leisure this season:
Outsource tasks that don’t require you personally
If you had endless time and no holidays to consider, you might be able to accomplish everything on your own. Unfortunately, time isn’t on your side during the holidays, so establish which duties you can afford to delegate and assign them accordingly. There are likely at least a handful of responsibilities that you usually perform but don’t necessarily require you to be the executor, plus you’ll want to save your energy and focus for more urgent issues. Find ways to assign personal tasks as well. For example, if you don’t have time to run home on your break, hire a dog walker. No time (or patience) to assemble the playhouse you bought for your kids? You can even hire an assembler!
Give yourself a break — literally
When work is chaotic, many educators have trouble justifying a break. But giving your brain a little time to rest, even if it’s only 15 minutes, can actually make you more productive. Try to get up and get moving if you can, perhaps taking a walk outside or even through your office space. Do some stretches, practice meditation, or sneak in a few chapters of the book you’re reading. Breaks are especially important in the busy season, so don’t be afraid to take them!
Divide and conquer tasks
In addition to delegating entire assignments, see if there are any large projects you can effectively break up and divide amongst yourself and your co-workers. Utilize your people according to their strengths — some might be better with numbers, others may be stronger with creative skills, for instance — and consider making some responsibilities a group effort. In addition to breaking your summer projects down into more manageable steps, you’ll be able to come together as a team and present work that was truly a group effort. (And don’t forget to say thanks!)
Focus on one area at a time
You’re only human and can only handle so many things at once. Don’t let your mind wander to “everything else” while you’re trying to complete a task. It’s not going to shorten your to-do list, nor will it make the task at hand any easier — in fact, it’ll only add to your stress and potentially distract you from giving your current project your entire focus. Concentrate on what’s in front of you and don’t get distracted with trying to multitask. Your work (and your family time) deserves your full attention.
Do something special with your loved ones
It could be date night with your spouse, taking your children to a holiday festival, treating your mother to the ballet, or catching a basketball game with your sibling. Even better if you can surprise someone! Go to events you’ve been looking forward to and participate in activities you genuinely enjoy. Your hard work deserves to be rewarded, and your loved ones will appreciate special time with you even amid your chaotic work schedule.
It can certainly be a busy season in the summer for teachers as you catch up on all that you may have had to neglect being busy during the school year, but the summer holidays can still be the most wonderful time of the year. Keep these tips in mind, and don’t forget to show appreciation every step of the way and you will hopefully be well-rested and come out stronger for the coming school year!
Ms. Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways.
In today’s world, it’s almost criminal not to take advantage of all that technology and the internet have to offer teachers and students. When you use technology to teach, you’re speaking a language your students inherently understand. Many students will be more apt to participate in lessons by the sheer fact that it takes place in the online sphere and/or on a device that they’re used to using for fun and leisure. Here are some ways to give your lessons some extra power through technology.
Bring the world to your class
Technology, specifically the internet, has shrunk the world. It’s now easier than ever to travel to faraway lands and interact with people of different cultures without ever leaving the classroom. One option teachers have is to take their students on virtual field trips. Your class may only be able to go on one or two physical field trips per year, but with the internet kids can experience dozens of places from their desks. There are many sources that you can use to let kids explore museums, natural landmarks, historic sites, and even the wonders of outer space. All you need is an internet connection and a projector.
Various video chat and teleconference services also allow kids to talk to people from all walks of life. You can use video chat to set up class-to-class meetings with kids in other countries or schedule guest speakers from whatever fields of study you’re currently teaching.
iPads in the classroom
Tablets are one of the best ways to bring technology into your classroom. With iPads, students can play educational games, study with interactive textbooks, and watch informative videos on YouTube. If iPads for your classroom are part of your school budget, then you’re lucky. But even one or two iPads per class can be beneficial.
Use blogging and social media as a lesson enhancer
Sure, social media may be seen as a distraction to learning, but you can actually use it to your advantage.
“Ever have your students write a diary from the perspective of a character or famous person? Why not have them create a blog instead? Take a look at various blog sites and create a template for your students to fill in. Want students to summarize information? Ask them to tweet the lesson – that is, have them write summaries of 140 characters or less, as if they were writing on Twitter,” suggests TeachHub.com.
One great way to teach a lesson is to frame it around social media. What Facebook status updates would X book character be posting? Who would “like” those posts and what comments would other characters make? It may sound hokey at times, but it’s something that today’s youth can really relate to.
The continuing lesson
When it comes to continuing your students’ education when they’re at home, you should get creative and use the internet to your advantage. There are various sites that allow teachers to build homework into an online framework, allowing teachers to have at-home access to students’ progress and provide real-time or at least quicker responses to any questions they may have.
Educators should never see technology as a fad or distraction in the educational world. The opportunities provided by tech and the internet cannot be ignored. Students now have access to more information, on-demand, than ever before, and it can help them learn how to apply it to real-life scenarios. You must find creative ways to bring them that available info in ways they can relate to. This is why you must embrace things like social media, YouTube, and podcasts, and become comfortable with the fact that just because your student is buried in a screen, it doesn’t mean they’re not learning.
Lawrence Mager believes exercising the brain is just as important as exercising the body. He enjoys writing about mental fitness games, puzzles, and other resources. He created ReadyBrain.net to help give people the mental workout they need to have a healthy brain.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
Advanced technologies promote an effective use of learning tools, holding all the subjects in classrooms equipped with aids, literature, didactic materials, technical equipment, and extracurricular pursuits. This system facilitates a rapid “penetration” in the subject, studied in the class; creating better opportunities for the use of visual aids, and conditions for the organization of interesting extracurricular subject work and extracurricular educational work with students. Here are some advantages of technology in students:
- A way to better memorizing.
The technical training plays a significant role in remembering the information, creating bright basic points to help capture the logical thread of knowledge and organizing necessary material.
- To attract and to retain.
The most pressing and complex problem in the educational interaction between a teacher and a pupil is the attracting and retaining of children’s attention throughout the lesson. It ‘s hard to force a kid to be interested in teaching lessons. However, according to the novelty, dynamic objects and image contrast – all the options, reproduced by means of technologies, it would be easier. Moreover, it promotes the involuntary memorizing the material.
- An easy practice.
The significant role of technical training is in the application of knowledge. There are special exercise equipment, new computer programs aimed at developing skills.
- A useful television.
An educational TV is a way of transmission of a learning visual and audio information via open and closed television systems on distance. It is a set of programs, created on subject of the curriculum and are designed for the use directly in the classroom and during extracurricular activities. The use of television in teaching of foreign languages is appropriate to enhance speech activity of students, creating three-dimensional situations, which can improve their foreign language communicational skills and students mastering the foreign language as main means of communication in the proposed circumstances. The unique TV features (immersive, documentary) give the impression that a program is personally addressed to the audience.
- The communicational relevance.
Using records for speech improvement helps your teacher to find an elusive for students’ speech mistakes, analyze and eliminate them. An accurate speech recording allows to correct and expressive the tone, tempo, to achieve the ability to apply breaks and to correct substantive errors.
- A contribution in self-education.
The use of methods and means of forming a self-control and a self-entry among students getting the knowledge and skills.
- To save some time.
The use of technology in the classroom saves time, teacher’s and students’ energy, by sealing educational information and accelerating the pace. Reducing the time spent on learning is by shifting functions that technique performs better than the teacher.
- A step into the future career.
Students gain knowledge of the computer for later use in a future profession, but they do it today. They illustrate the relationship between theory and practice.
- A higher productivity of the study.
Technical training aids improve the efficiency and productivity of educational process only if they are properly applied methodically. In other words, if that teacher imagines and understands the psychological basis of his application well.
- To make the senses work.
Multimedia allows you to use the maximum number of channels of perception through the transfer of information in multimedia form with the help of computers, thereby significantly improve the effectiveness of training. According to UNESCO – when a person listens, she remembers 15% of verbal information when watching – 25% of the visual information, sees and hears – 65% of the received information. Thus, the need for modern technologies, such as audiovisual may affect different senses, no doubt.
Nevertheless, many teachers do not use the visual and technical equipment. Some are simply afraid to use them or do not know how they work. Therefore, teachers decide not to mess with them. In these cases, the child studies worse, lose the interest in the subject, doesn’t develop personality traits. Those pupils were taught without the use of visual and technical facilities in secondary schools lag behind those who were deprived of their application. It turns out that every new technology for classrooms is necessary for learning because it helps to prepare children better for later schooling.
Voki, our popular EdTech software, is celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week by giving away a school license to three lucky teachers!
Using Voki, students and teachers can (1) create dynamic, customizable speaking avatars using their own spoken voice (2) utilize exceptional pre-curated lessons using the Voki characters (3) manage the Voki lessons via an easy-to-use classroom software.
To enter the Teacher’s Week giveaway and share the creativity of learning, e-mail gvinton(at)oddcast(dot)com with the subject line TAW Giveaway and write a brief sentence in the e-mail on how you would use Voki in the classroom!
When it comes to the environment, many schools’ curricula are already full of positive lessons about protecting the earth. Core topics such as recycling, waste reduction, energy efficiency, and the natural world contain important messages that children should learn as early as possible. At Modernize, we believe that teaching the next generation about caring for the environment is one of the best ways we can minimize the negative effects we have on the earth. Important topics like the ones mentioned above can never be repeated too often, so we’ve come up with a few creative ways to help bolster green lesson plans for all ages.
Fortunately for educators, recycling is a topic that is well-rehearsed and fleshed out in most school curricula. Lesson plans tailored to a variety of ages are available from many online teaching sources and include the basic concepts of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste. If you want to expand upon your current recycling curricula, modeling recycling and waste reduction in daily classroom activities is an excellent way of helping children understand these processes in a tangible way. Placing used classroom materials in a classroom recycling bin or reusing them in a creative way instead of throwing them away will give your students ownership over their behaviors. Take this daily lesson one step further by establishing a classroom—or school-wide—recycling team or committee with regular collection schedules. You can also try hosting a school-wide recycling competition to see who can recycle the most over a period of time.
Learning about recycling doesn’t have to end with the classroom, of course. Plan a field trip to a local recycling center and learn about the recycling process from start to finish. Set take-home activities in which students can log their household waste and recycling over the course of a week (or month, etc.), then tally up the results in class and discuss ways students and their families can change their at-home habits and the potential benefits of these changes. Finally, link your recycling lesson plans to local and national government lessons by discussing current recycling regulations and debating whether or not the government should mandate recycling.
While talking about energy efficiency during science lessons can help your students to understand the basic principles of energy consumption, pollution, and global warming, the best way to teach them its benefits is through your actions. Turning off lights, appliances, and classroom computers when not in use and making use of dimmer switches and timers is a fantastic first step to get your students thinking in a concrete way about conserving energy. If these features and recommendations are not already available or enforced at your school, consider having your class start a petition for them with evidence-based data and reasoning to back up their cause. Another way to get students thinking about the energy we consume on a daily basis is by monitoring usage through smart thermostats and energy meters.
Lessons about energy efficiency are not complete unless you discuss renewable energy sources, so make sure your energy lesson plans include plenty of conversations about wind, hydroelectric, and solar power. There are many interesting ways you can demonstrate the power of these renewable sources to your students, but solar power is especially important because of its highly technical specifications and the percentage of solar users throughout the United States. Incorporate solar learning into your curricula by studying solar panels in action (if possible), hosting professionals from a local solar company, or making your own solar cell or oven from a DIY kit.
Food waste reduction
As with all methods of green living, the best way to teach students about food waste reduction is by modeling positive behaviors in school on a regular basis. Using lesson plans, conversations with local municipal employees, or trips to local municipal waste plants, you and your students can discuss the basics of food waste collection, including what exactly is included in green waste and what happens to food waste after it is collected. If your school doesn’t already have one, request a green waste bin for your cafeteria and/or classroom.
Putting theory into practice for food waste reduction can seem difficult, but the process of composting is actually fairly straightforward and provides an excellent learning opportunity for students. If you want your students to understand exactly how the process of recycling food waste works, consider making your own compost bin and turning your school’s green waste into fertilizer for school flower beds and monitor the decomposition project as an ongoing earth science experiment. School kitchen gardens made from homemade compost provide another excellent way of connecting students to the earth, teaching them how to grow and cultivate their own produce—if your garden is successful, you can even use your harvest in school meals.
The natural world
While talking about energy efficiency, recycling, and waste reduction are essential parts of environmentalism, a connection with the natural world is perhaps the most important thing you can provide for students in their green learning journey. Speak frankly with your students about the importance of the natural world and how our energy use and actions affect the environments and ecosystems of plants and animals. Linking to Earth Day resources already in place in curricula, you can begin ongoing activities such as investigating your local ecosystems, experimenting with gardening, and creating an outdoor classroom. While outdoors, monitor and track the life cycles and behaviors of creatures from the natural world, including butterflies, worms, and other insects or larger animals in your school playground.
Bridge the gap between earth sciences and current affairs by opening discussions and debates about greenhouse gases, pollution, littering, and their effect on the natural world. Current environmental government policies, field trips to cities, areas directly affected by climate change, or a local veterinary surgery can give students a first-hand experience of the state of the natural world.
Lauren Pezzullo is a writer, editor, and musicophile who’s passionate about vegetarianism and sustainable eating. As an editor for Modernize, she writes about energy-efficient living in the home. She’s currently writing her debut novel.
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