teachhub-blogs

Is it just me or is rudeness EVERYWHERE?

 

No teacher would ever abide a student screaming insults at another student giving a presentation. Nor would you allow a student to interrupt someone talking during a class discussion.

Yet that’s the example coming from pop culture to the Capitol building, setting terrible examples for students.

 

Teachers aren’t even immune to this. On the Ms. P’s Place blog, Ms. P tries to argue the need for respect in the blogosphere in Beware the Darth Commenter. The simple post somehow garnered harsh accusatory comment that seemed to have nothing to do with the post and merely proved Mrs. P’s point.

 

Discourse and discussion at this level does no one any good. It shows disrespect for the speaker and demonstrates just how little people actually listen to other people.

 

The bright side of these stories is that people recognized how rude and counterproductive these outburst are. It’s the wrong way to get a point across, proving just how essential it is to be able to argue intelligently and respectfully.

 

In an Ed Week article this week, argumentation as a skill also came up. A University of Chicago professor is calling for schools to focus less of knowledge of facts and more on learning to argue.

That students need to learn how to argue may come as a surprise to parents of strong-willed children… But logical arguments differ from the kinds of emotional arguments families experience, experts say, and most students possess only weak knowledge of how to recognize, understand, and construct one…

A 2007 study judged 12th graders persuasive writing ability:

  • 26% were marked “excellent” or “skillful”
  • 34% were marked “sufficient”
  • 27% were marked as an “uneven” performance  
  • 13% were marked “insufficient” 

I’ve seen this a lot when teaching my college composition class. Students have strong opinions, but they don’t know how to organize their ideas, support them with examples, or anticipate the opposing viewpoint. Logical arguments can become even more clouded when the topic is something they care deeply about like religion or politics.

 Teaching to Argue NOT Fight

In my class, the goal of every writing assignment or discussion post is to create a clear assertion that will persuade your reader with examples and evidence from the text. It’s all about argumentation. 

 

It’s so important to teach students that they can care, be passionate and believe in something without taking it personally.

 

Someone else’s ideas and beliefs are not an attack on you as a person. And if you really believe strongly in something, listening to another person’s ideas shouldn’t jeopardize those beliefs. The best way to make your argument stronger is to anticipate and hear the other side. That will force you to come up with answers to those questions intelligently and persuasively.

 

You don’t have to be an English teacher to teach arguing in your class. Any subject lends itself to debate and discussion.

 

If you’d like to integrate argument into your class, try:

  • Play devil’s advocate in class discussion
  • In-class debates 
  • Include essays debating hot topics in your subject on exams and in class
  • Write essays from the opposing viewpoint
  • Mock trial to enhance use of evidence

How do you teach students to argue NOT fight in your class?

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Is it just me or is rudeness EVERYWHERE?

 

No teacher would ever abide a student screaming insults at another student giving a presentation. Nor would you allow a student to interrupt someone talking during a class discussion.

 

Yet that’s the example coming from pop culture to the Capitol building, setting terrible examples for students.

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Teaching is a marathon, not a sprint.

As an educational shout out to everyone running the Chicago marathon, I'm tracking 26 monumental teaching milestones.

26 Memorable Teaching Milestones

 

  1. First day of student teaching
  2. First time a student calls you Mr./Ms. _______
  3. Realizing your bathroom break schedule makes morning coffee a big mistake
  4. First call home to parents
  5. First (of many) happy hour with your co-workers
  6. First “Oh my goodness, they’re getting it!” moment
  7. First parent-teacher conference
  8. First time you had to clean/deal with student bathroom issues
  9. Being told you’re a student’s favorite teacher
  10. First time school makes you cry
  11. It feels like a milestone EVERY time you finish being observation!
  12. First field trip
  13. First time a student knows more than you (and it’s a great thing!)
  14. Getting your Masters
  15. First time a parent calls to say how much their student is improving
  16. First time you saw a student outside school
  17. The first day of your first summer break!
  18. First time you fail a student
  19. Feeling totally comfortable and in control in the classroom
  20. Moving up the pay scale!
  21. First time you train/mentor your fellow teachers
  22. Getting tenure!
  23. Deciding whether to stay in the classroom or go administrative route
  24. Being visited by a previous student who is all grown up
  25. Meeting a previous student in the teachers’ lounge
  26. Retiring & wishing you could start all over again

What milestones have I missed? Share you most memorable teaching moments in the comments section!

Teaching is a marathon, not a sprint.

 

As an educational shout out to everyone running the Chicago marathon, I'm tracking 26 teaching milestones.

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The deadline for TeachHUB's fall giveaways and contests is THIS WEEKEND!!! Get your entries in today.

 

I know it's a crazy week with Halloween and report cards for some of you. But since we're gaining an hour with Daylight Savings Time, you can spend a quick minute to win some cash for classroom supplies and/or school clothes.

 

Enter the $250 Classroom Supplies Giveaway to win... $250 for classroom supplies. Not a clever title, but you get what I'm saying.

 Last Chance to Enter $250 School Supply Giveaway & Best Dressed Teacher Contest

AND/OR

 

Last Chance to Enter $250 School Supply Giveaway & Best Dressed Teacher ContestSend a pic of you in your cutest school outfit for the Best Dressed Teacher Contest!!! Email it to: acondron@teachhub.com.

 

Five finalists will be chosen, then people can vote for their favorite over the next two weeks. The winner will get a $100 gift card to the work-clothes store of their choosing. Just in time for the holidays!!

 

Get your entries in by Monday!! Good luck :)

The deadline for TeachHUB's fall giveaways and contests is THIS WEEKEND!!! Get your entries in today.

 

I know it's a crazy week with Halloween and report cards for some of you. But since we're gaining an hour with Daylight Savings Time, you can spend a quick minute to win some cash for classroom supplies and/or school clothes.

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Every week, TeachHUB features one of the hottest YouTube videos with writing prompts for each grade level. Here are our Top 5 favorites. Check out the Teacher Tips page to find the archived prompts (just click the arrows under the prompt) and check back every week for the latest videos to get your students writing.

TeachHUB Video Writing PromptsMarshmallow Test Writing Prompts

K-2: If you were given the marshmallow test, what do you think you would do? Why?

3-5: Why was it difficult for the children to resist eating the marshmallow?

6-8: Describe what is going through one of the kid's mind as (s)he tries to resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow.

9-12: Our culture is one fueled by immediate gratification. What are some other examples of people being unable or unwilling to wait? Is this a positive or negative trend?

TeachHUB Video Writing PromptsModern Day Pirates Writing Prompts

K -2: How are real life pirates different than fictional pirates you’ve seen in the movies? 

3-5: Write a story as if you are one of the characters (a passenger on the US ship, a pirate, a Naval officer retaking the ship).
6-8:  What other times in history was piracy a problem? Why do you think there is a rise in piracy now?
9-12: Where is Somalia? Using a map, plot the places mentioned in the video.  Why is that region difficult to defend against pirates?

TeachHUB Video Writing PromptsPut a Ring On It Writing Prompts 

K-2: Do you like to dance? Draw of picture of you doing your best move.

3-8: How did dancing help the football team score a touchdown? Create a name for this strategy.

9-12: How does this dancing football sequence overcome high school stereotypes? Is there a high school stereotype that applies to you? How are you different from that stereotype?

  

TeachHUB Video Writing PromptsBeauty Before and After Writing Prompts

K-2: What do you think makes someone beautiful?

3-5: Would you recognize the girl in the beginning from the final billboard photo? Would you ever want to change so much people didn't recognize you? Why or why not?

6-8: Is your image of your body and your looks affected by how models and stars look? Is that a good or bad thing?

9-12: Do you think the media should represent beauty more realistically or should they stick to these airbrushed models? What is their responsibility to the impressionable people (young or old) whom these images affect?

  

TeachHUB Video Writing Prompts9/11 Student Tribute Writing Prompts

K-2: What adjectives would you use to describe the 9/11 police officers and fire fighters?

3-5: What would you say to someone who lost a loved one on 9/11? Write a letter expressing your concern.

6-8: Do you remember where you were on September 11? Describe your experience.

9-12: How is the world a different place than before Sept. 11?

  

Find the videos to accompany these prompts & more TeachHUB video writing prompts on the Teacher Tips page!

Every week, TeachHUB features one of the hottest YouTube videos with writing prompts for each grade level. Here are our Top 5 favorites. Check out the Teacher Tips page to find the archived prompts (just click the arrows under the prompt) and check back every week for the latest videos to get your students writing.

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Terminating Text Books?Hasta la vista, text books.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is launching a state-wide initiative to encourage schools to explore online, open source instructional materials instead of textbooks.

 This is both a move toward the current trends in digital media and a desperate attempt to confront the $24 billion budget deficit in the state. Existing online resources are being screened to determine if they meet state standards.

Kathy Christie, chief of staff at the Education Commission of the States, said Schwarzenegger's plan appears to be the most ambitious of its kind in the nation, although Illinois is also studying digital textbooks. [GO ILLINI] 

The future of this initiative is still “cloudy” (pun apologies, but I couldn’t resist). It still needs to pass, the budget savings probably wouldn’t be noticeable until well into the future, and Cali schools don’t have the computers to sustain this shift.

Regardless, Cali might be starting the trend for the rest of the country to follow. 

As evidenced by another pending bill in the Golden State, the latest version of the Amazon Kindle is shaping up to be a hand-held version of this vision that could help in the transition.

Terminating Text Books?The Kindle is a wireless reading device that lets you download books, newspaper, blogs, etc from anywhere. It store up to 1500 books, most classics are even available for free download and more digital textbooks are being made available. As an added instructional bonus, there’s a text-to-speech feature that would assist struggling readers and help with pronunciation and fluency in ESL students. 

The biggest appeal for me, personally, is that the Kindle mimics the feel of a book (I LOVE the physicality of a book and would really miss it – Luckily, no rich benefactors are offering to buy me one, so that’s a worry for another day). These 2.0 iStudents may be used to working on computers all the time, but there is a need to maintain the mobility of books you can carry everywhere with you. Otherwise, "the dog ate my homework" will just be replace with "why don't you ask Comcast why I couldn't read that chapter?" as the go-to student excuse.

I’m not the only one that thinks the Kindle (or products like it) will be wave of the K-12 future.

Practically speaking, there is no way that any district 10 years from now is going to be able to resist buying a $200 Kindle for their students at the beginning of their 7th grade year and then simply buying textbook updates as the student progresses. The money saved and hassle avoided will be tremendous.

~Chris Edwards, teacher

Are you ready for the digital revolution to terminate your textbooks or do you like things the way they are? Share in the comments section!

Hasta la vista, text books. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is launching a state-wide initiative to encourage schools to explore online, open source instructional materials instead of textbooks, according to an eSchoolNews report.

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Lessons Inspired by Iran ProtestsThe charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different. – Aldous Huxley

 

Following the protests in Iran as we approach Independence Day has me thinking about the consistency of progress. More than 200 years ago, a revolution took place that brought us to our current moment in history, one in which we’re still, little by little, achieving the idealized equality and freedom declared by Thomas Jefferson and company. The women-led protests in Iran force us to recognize that people are eternally struggling against those that treat them unjustly and take away their freedom.

 

Experts liken the current movement more to civil rights movements, ones that seek justice within their current system rather than establishing a new government.

 

Drawing connections between the past and the present makes history seem less static and decided – not like something printed in a text book with dates and facts to be recited on a test. With current events, students see the struggle, the human component of these conflicts and have more freedom to consider all sides and make up their own mind about what’s going on.

 

What a teachable moment in the making.

 

Background

Reformists are protesting the results of the 2009 Iran presidential election that declared the sitting president President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a clear winner over the reformist candidate.

 

In the last few weeks, 20 protestors have been killed and 1000 have been jailed. Women have played a large role leading demonstrations, setting this movement apart from those that came before it. A highly publicized video of a woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, being shot and killed at a protest has brought even more global media attention to the dispute. Read More

 

K-5

Discussion: What is fair?

People need to make sure that their government, or people who have some kind of power over them (like a teacher) are being fair.

 

Questions for discussion:

How do you know what is fair and unfair?

When was a time that you felt you were being treated unfairly? What made that unfair?

Are there certain rules that help you know what is or isn’t fair?

If you don’t think something is fair, what should you do?

 

Classroom Bill of Rights

In America, our laws protect our right. As a class, brainstorm a list of 10 rights that all students deserve no matter what.

 

Optional: Break the class into 10 groups. Have each group illustrate one of those rights.

 

Organize your own protest!!

  1. What is something you think is unfair? In groups, decide on something you all think is so unfair that you should speak out against.
  2. You shouldn’t protest things just because you don’t like them. You need to have good reasons why things should change. List 5-10 reasons why the change you’re asking for is needed.
  3. Create posters for your protest.
  4. Optional: Stage a mock protest at lunchtime with your posters to show how students’ voices can be heard. (Though, I’d suggest checking with the administration beforehand)

 

6-12

Choose two movements/revolutions to compare

Consider: 

 

Movement 1

Movement 2

 

 

 

Date

 

 

 

Location

 

 

 

Leader (Side 1)

 

 

 

Leader (Side 2)

 

 

 

Main issue

 

 

 

Action taken (Side 1)

 

 

 

Action taken (Side 2)

 

 

 

Result

 

 

 

 

How are they similar?

How are they different?

Did the first movement seem to influence the second?

 

 

Journal Activity: Victims as Catalysts for Change

Neda has become a symbol that has people around the world rallying behind this movement. Can you think of any other people who have become symbols for change, as victims of violence, as martyrs or as those who struggled for their cause? 

 

Describe how one of those people impacted the movement before and after their death.

 

OR

Journal Activity: Media Responsibility

Media responsibility: Was the media right to air the video of Neda being shot and killed?

(Is it the public’s right to witness the government brutality or is it Neda’s right to not have her death used to garner big ratings?)

The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different. – Aldous Huxley. 

 

Following the protests in Iran as we approach Independence Day has me thinking about the consistency of progress. 

 

More than 200 years ago, a revolution took place that brought us to our current moment in history, one in which we’re still, little by little, achieving the idealized equality and freedom declared by Thomas Jefferson and company. The women-led protests in Iran force us to recognize that people are eternally struggling against those that treat them unjustly and take away their freedom.

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12. Lights out! Whenever possible, let the bright summer sun light your classroom rather than extra heat-inducing bulbs. As a bonus, you’ll win major green points for saving electricity.

11. Stay Cool in Style: Break out those cute skirts, dresses and light layers. Though you should make sure those skirts fall below the knee (both for propriety and to avoid sticking to your chair).

10. Put a fan facing out the window. Despite the temptation to point the fan directly in your direction, this tactic should expel the hot air from the classroom and hopefully some cool air will come through the other windows.

9. Buy a desktop fan.

8. Stay hydrated. Avoiding alcohol, sugar and caffeine.

7. Speaking of sweat, load up on deodorant, keep a spray can or two in the classroom and encourage your students to use as needed. You may not feel much cooler, but the “atmosphere” in your classroom will certainly be more pleasant.

6. A science teacher once told me that hot air rises and cold air sinks. Try sitting on the floor in a circle with your student.

5. Reward yourself and your students with cooling breaks. For a quick fix, run cold water over your wrist or a damp cloth on the back of your neck. 

4. The Great Outdoors – It may still be hot, but it certainly won’t be as stifling as your classroom packed with thirty drowsy, melting students.

3. Visit the computer lab as often as possible. Since apparently computers deserve to stay cool more than you do, you can at least visit their frigid headquarters with your class.

2. Embrace the tropic climate with a classroom luau. A few ideas: bring some leis for your students; only the student holding the pineapple can talk; get an answer right, get the fan until the next question comes around.

1.  Misbehaving students? Instead of handing out detentions, hand your trouble-makers a fan and bask in the satisfying breeze of their punishment.

What tips do you have to survive summer school (either beating the heat or any other issues)?  

12. Lights out! Whenever possible, let the bright summer sun light your classroom rather than extra heat-inducing bulbs. As a bonus, you’ll win major green points for saving electricity.

 

11. Stay Cool in Style: Break out those cute skirts, dresses and light layers. Though you should make sure those skirts fall below the knee (both for propriety and to avoid sticking to your chair).

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Teachers' Rights - Out the Window?Schools are taking a bite out of the Bill of Rights this summer.

Between gag orders on teachers and banning teachers from wearing "religious attire" in school, the First Amendment is being put to the test by school districts and state lawmakers.

 

Freedom of Speech

 

On the Confessions from the Couch blog, Miss A writes:

 

“I was informed today that teachers have a gag order from our Supe…  Release of information about the district, its students or disparaging comments to the media will result in termination. I think this applies to Internet/blogging, too! Although, I found the following [are] our union site:  Our contract “does not regulate teachers” speech.” Read more

 

There is a level of common sense about publishing disparaging remarks/complaints about your employer online. Just like it’s a bad idea to yell at your boss to his/her face, it is an equally unwise idea to rip your school or district a new one in a public forum.

 

I can also understand the district’s desire to handle their public image through PR professionals to send a single message. Let’s face it, sometimes people put their foot in their mouths despite their best intentions or exaggerate with less-than-admirable intentions.

 

With that being said, the district approach does not exactly demonstrate respect for their employees. Rather than explain their reasoning and request that teachers not speak to the media, the district threatened teachers with their jobs and banned them from sharing their opinions or venting their frustrations through social media.

 

I can’t help but be reminded of an NPR broadcast about China’s repressive control of the media and how even the new independent newspaper knows there are boundaries and that “no one is untouchable.”

 

As Americans, we tout the value of freedom of speech and freedom of the press to keep those in power honest and ensure that citizens are treated fairly. Doesn’t a school district have a responsibility to the community and their students to face criticism from within?

 

No one knows the problems in a school better than the teachers. How is anything going to improve without their honest input and opinions?

 

Freedom of Religion

 

Oregon lawmakers are voting on a bill that would ban teachers from wearing “any religious dress,” potentially including hijabs (head coverings worn by Muslim women), turbans (worn by Sikh men) and Jewish yarmulkas.

 

Specifically, the legislation states that "No teacher in any public school shall wear any religious dress while engaged in the performance of duties as a teacher." There is a similar law in Pennsylvania.

 

Despite a completely contradictory law ensuring this freedom everywhere except schools, bill supporters claim that the rights of the students to be free of religious influence are more important than the rights of the teachers to exercise religious freedom.

 

According to the Anti-Defamation League: “under such statutes, teachers are permitted to wear decoration such as necklaces bearing crosses or Stars of David, which some courts regarded as religiously "ambiguous." Without such a statute, a teacher's religious garb may still violate the prohibition on government endorsement of religion and should still be banned.”

 

The separation of Church and state precludes schools from bringing religion into the classroom. Great, I’m on board so far, but these laws seem to favor some religions and target others.

 

The spirit of the Amendment is to provide freedom to practice your religion without forcing your beliefs or impinging on that same right for your fellow citizens. Teachers can have a tremendous influence on children, so I can understand how important it is for teachers not to thrust their beliefs on their students.

 

On the other hand, merely wearing a hijab, yarmulke or other outward vestige of religious practice does not do that. It just shows children that there are different religions, traditions, beliefs and practices in the world. It is another example of diversity that should be embraced. In fact, it seems like a lesson in tolerance to know and respect people who are different from them.

 

Am I totally off the mark? Are the states and districts justified in their actions? Share your opinions in the comments section!

Schools are taking a bite out of the Bill of Rights this summer.

 

Between gag orders on teachers and banning teachers from wearing "religious attire" in school, the First Amendment is being put to the test by school districts and state lawmakers.

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Teachers who are interested in finding a few new resources for the upcoming school year can find almost everything they need online. There are sites for lesson plans, networking, communication, professional development, blogging, online course management, and much more.

Here are 20 free Internet resources for you should take advantage of this school year:

20 Free Internet Resources for K-12 Teachers 

 

Thinkfinity - Thinkfinity is one of the best resources on the web for K-12 teachers. The site hosts interactive games, classroom activities, and a search engine that can be used to find high quality lesson plans around the web.

 

EDSITEment - EDSITEment collects the best humanities sites, resources, and lesson plans from around the web and puts them in one place. Teachers can find resources for many different subjects, including art and culture, literature, language arts, foreign languages, history, and social studies.

 

Education World - This comprehensive education resource provides help with lesson planning, technology integration, professional development, and common school issues.

 

PBS Teachers - PBS Teachers provides thousands of free resources for teaching and learning. Resources can be found for every grade level and subject.

 

FREE - This government website offers teaching and learning resources from several different federal agencies. Teachers can use the site to find lesson plans, classroom activities, and curriculum ideas.

 

We the Teachers - We the Teachers is a social network for teachers who want to share and find lesson plans, teaching ideas, classroom games, and activities.

 

TeachAde - TeachAde is a popular online community for classroom teachers. It can be used to connect, share, and chat with other teachers around the world.

 

Applebatch - This secure K-12 teacher community is a good place to find jobs, resources, and other teachers.

 

TeachStrong.org - Created for educators who are interested in implementing technology in the K-12 classroom, this online learning community provides a forum for teachers to meet and discuss new ideas.

 

TeachersCount - This nonprofit organization provides a wide range of resources for the education community. Specific resources include professional development advice, lesson plans, education grants, teaching aids, and classroom supplies.

 

Edutagger - Edutagger is a new K-12 social bookmarking service. It can be used to store and share web pages.

 

ePals - More than 11 million teachers and students in more than 100 countries use ePals to connect, send messages, and collaborate in a safe environment.

 

ClassScene - This site offers a safe and secure place for schools to post photos and other items they want to share with the school community. ClassScene can also be used to generate revenue for groups, classrooms, and school systems.

 

ClassChatter - ClassChatter offers free blogging tools for teachers. Tools are FERPA compliant and provide a private web environment for students.

 

21Classes - This free web-based service can be used to create a blog or online portal for classrooms. Groups can include an unlimited number of members and are easy to manage with this fully customizable platform.

 

Eduslide - Eduslide is a great site for teachers who want to create and deliver their own web-based lesson or courses. The site is also a good place to find previously-created lessons.

 

iTunes U - iTunes U is an ambitious Apple project that creates mobile learning opportunities for students and self learners. Teachers can use iTunes U to create and publish lectures, lessons, and other educational materials.

 

Moodle - Moodle is an open source course management system for educators. It can be used to create free online lessons, courses, and learning sites.

 

Engrade - This online classroom management system can be used to post assignments, grades, attendance books, class calendars and events, instant progress reports, and much more.

 

Sites for Teachers - This online directory lists thousands of websites for teachers that have been ranked according to popularity.

What free websites for teachers do you LOVE? Share in the comments section!

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the writer of the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about college courses online for OnlineCourses.org.

Teachers who are interested in finding a few new resources for the upcoming school year can find almost everything they need online. There are sites for lesson plans, networking, communication, professional development, blogging, online course management, and much more.

 

Here are 20 free Internet resources for you should take advantage of this school year:

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width=251Please help me get the word out about a part-time paid writing position for teachers!

We're looking for teachers to create web-based lessons for students grades 6-12 based on breaking news stories.  Some additional details are below.

Please pass this along to teachers you know, post it to your blog or just spread the word to teachers who are could use some extra money or another outlet to demonstrate their out-of-control curriculum skills.

Anyone interested in the position can email me for more information at pmurray@teachhub.com

GREAT SUPPLEMENTAL INCOME OPPORTUNITY FOR GRADES 6-12 TEACHERS!

• Write grade-level appropriate learning activities for a new daily online publication for schools

• Activities guide students in using the Internet to investigate breaking news stories

• Submit your activities electronically from home using guidelines provided by our editors K-12 Teachers Alliance

Employer Questions:

(1) What is your level of teaching experience?

(2) Do you have strong computer skills and are you able to successfully navigate the internet with ease?

(3) Do you have a strong command of language and are you creative?

Thanks for spreading the word! Looking forward to hearing from all the awesome teachers out there!

Please help me get the word out about a part-time paid writing position for teachers!

 

We're looking for teachers to create web-based lessons for students grades 6-12 based on breaking news stories.  Some additional details are below.

 

Please pass this along to teachers you know, post it to your blog or just spread the word to teachers who are could use some extra money or another outlet to demonstrate their out-of-control curriculum skills.

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