Sunday, October 22, 2017

How to be an effective teacher?

Notes from the inspiring book by Harry Wong and Rosemary Wong.

The successful teacher must know and practice the three characteristics of an effective teacher.
The three characteristics of an effective teacher
An effective teacher…
  • Has positive expectations for student success.
  • Is an extremely good classroom management.
  • Knows how to design lessons for student mastery.

These apply to all teachers. Note that none of the characteristics have anything to do with grade level or subject taught.

The first day of school can make or break you. Student achievement at the end of the year is directly related to the degree to which the teacher establishes good control of the classroom procedures in the very first week of the school year.

Control does not involve threats or intimidation. Control means that you know (1) what you are doing, (2) your classroom procedures, and (3) your professional responsibilities. It is urgent also that your students know that you know what you are doing.

You must have everything ready and under control when school begins.

Efficient: Doing things right
Effective: Doing the right thing
The effective teacher affects lives.

The Effective Teacher
Establish good control the first week of school
Does things right, consistently
Affects and touches lives.

Be friendly, caring, loving, and sensitive, but do not be their friend. They have enough on their hands with their own friends. The students of today need you to be an adult role model that they can look to with admiration and pride.

It is better to be a paragon than a pal.

Education is not teaching people what they do not know. Education is teaching people to behave as they are not already behaving.

Effective teachers affect lives.

For instance, what is the difference between a student who is tardy and a student who is not tardy? Between one who turns in the homework and one who does not? Between one who studies for the test and one who does not?

It is not height, age, sex, race, religious affiliation, or socioeconomic background.

It is behavior or attitude. You change or affect the attitude of a student, and you suddenly have a student who is not tardy, participates in class, does the homework, and studies for the test.

You were hired to affect lives. You were hired not so much to teach third grade, history, or physical education as to influence lives. Touch the life of a student, and you will have a student who will learn history, physical education, even science and math to please you.

The beginning of school is the most critical time of the school year. What you do in the first days of school to affect the lives of your students will determine your success during the rest of the year.

Positive expectations - high expectations, should not be confused with high standards. Having positive expectations simply means that the teacher believes in the learner and that the learner can learn.

The belief in positive expectations is based on the research that whatever the teacher expects from the learner is what the learner will produce. If you believe that a student is a low-level, below-average, slow learner, the student will perform as such because these are the beliefs you transmit to the student. If you believe that a student is a high-ability, above-average, capable learner, the student will perform as such because these are the expectations you transmit to the student.

It is essential that the teacher exhibit positive expectations towards all students. It can only benefit both the teacher and the student, as well as the total classroom environment.

Classroom management

Well-ordered environment + Positive academic expectations = Effective classrooom

The teacher must establish a productive and cooperative working environment. 

Lesson Mastery

To teach for mastery, an effective teacher must do 2 things:
Know how to design lessons in which a student will learn a concept or a skill.
Know how to evaluate the learning to determine if the students has mastered the concept or the skill.

Student success in the subject matter of the class will be the result of how well the teacher designs lessons and checks for mastery.

Teaching is a craft. It is a service profession.

Improving Student Achievement
Cooperative learning: students in small, self-instructing groups can support and increase one another’s learning.

Extensive reading of material of many kinds, both in school and outside, results in substantial growth in the vocabulary, comprehension abilities and information base of students.

Wait time: pausing after asking a question in the classroom results in an increase in achievement.


Humans have a success instinct.

There is absolutely no research correlation between success and family background, race, national origin, financial status, or even educational accomplishments. There is but one correlation with success, and that is ATTITUDE.

An expectation is what you believe will or will not happen.

All Children Can Learn!

Teachers who set and communicate high expectations to all their students obtain greater academic performance from these students than do teachers who set low expectations.

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” ~ Haim Ginott

What parents and teachers convey to young people in their formative years as expectations will influence young people to achieve accordingly.

Who you are and what you do and say will greatly influence the young people who will be the productive citizens of tomorrow’s world. Your expectations of your students will greatly influence their achievement in your class and ultimately their lives.

The effective teacher
  • Has a statement of positive expectations ready for the first day of school.
  • Creates a classroom climate that communicates positive expectations.
  • Goes to professional meetings to learn.
  • Has a personal goal of high expectation.

You do not get a second chance at a first impression. You are treated as you are dressed. It may not be fair. It may not be right. But people tend to treat other people as they are dressed.

In an ideal world, viewed through rose-colored glasses, it would be wonderful to be accepted for ourselves alone, not for our appearance. In the real world, however, our all-too-visible selves are under constant scrutiny.

We are walking, talking advertisement for who we are. 
We are walking, talking advertisement for who we believe we are as professional educators.

Every time you act, you validate who you are.

When you allow teasing in class, you are making a statement. When you refuse tolerate teasing in class, you are making a statement.

When you walk into class early, the room and materials are ready, there is a positive classroom climate, you are standing at the door with a smile and an extended hand of welcome, and the assignments are on the chalkboard, you are making a statement.

The statement that you make influences how the students will behave and achieve in class. And how students behave and achieve in class will determine your success as a teacher.

Dress for Respect
Clothing may not make a person, but it can be a contributing factor in unmaking a person.
Preparing Students for the World.

The Effective Teacher
  • Come to work appropriately dressed.
  • Is a role model for students
  • Thinks and behaves globally

All of us need to convey to our students and our colleagues every day that “you are important to me as a person.”

Inviting verbal comments
How can i help you?
Tell me about it?
I appreciate your help.

Inviting personal behaviors
Smiling, listening, holding a door, thumbs up or high five, waiting your turn.

Inviting thoughts
Making mistakes is all right.
I could learn to do that.

The effective teacher
  • Has an inviting personality
  • Creates an inviting classroom environment.
  • Work at being intentionally inviting.
  • Maintains an inviting stance.

The Five Significant concepts that enhance positive expectations:
Thank you

When you look at the truly effective teachers, you will also find caring, warm, lovable people.

High expectations have nothing to do with getting A’s in class, finishing college, making a lot of money, or having a great marriage. High expectations have to do with attitude or behavior, and it is this behavior that gets us the A’s in class, helps us finish college, or gets whatever else we want in life.

“Life is not a destination.
Life is a journey.
As long as you continue the journey, you will always be a success.”
~ Albert Camus

How a person behaves in the journey of life is directly related to what a person expects to happen in life. There are five significant concepts that will help you achieve whatever it is you want in life. They are addressing a person by name, saying “please” and “thank you”, smiling and showing care and warmth.

Repetition is the key

For a child to learn something new, you need to repeat it on the average 8 times.
For a child to unlearn an old behavior and replace it with a new behavior, you need to repeat the new behavior on the average 28 times.
~ After Madeline Hunter

I really appreciate what you did. Thank you.

A smile is the most effective way to create a positive climate, to disarm an angry person, and to convey the message “Do not be afraid of me; I am here to help you.”

As you smile and speak, use momentary pauses. This is called timing. Every performer knows that the key to delivering a speech, telling a joke, or giving a performance is timing. This is the pregnant pause before speaking an important or emotional line.

Love what you teach, and love whom you teach.

Only two things are necessary for a happy and successful life: being lovable and being capable.

The sincerest form of service comes from listening, caring and loving.

There will never be a shortage of love
“Love is the reason for teaching.
It costs nothing, yet is the most precious thing one can possess.
The more we give, the more it is returned.
It heals and protects, soothes and strengthens.
Love has other names such as
And cheer.
Love is, really, “the gift that keeps on giving.”
Give love in abundance - everyday.


Dear students
I believe in you.
I trust in you.
I know you can handle life’s situations.
You are listened to.
You are cared for.
You are very important to me.
Ms. Daisy

A well-managed classroom is a task-oriented and predictable environment.

The effective teacher
  • Works on having a well-managed classroom.
  • Train students to know what they are to do.
  • Has students working on tasks.
  • Has a classroom with little confusion or wasted time.

Readiness is the primary determinant of teacher effectiveness.

The effective teacher
  • Prepares, prepares, prepares
  • Prepares the classroom  for effective work.
  • Maximizes proximity to the students
  • Maximizes proximity to materials

Right or wrong, accurate or not, your reputation will precede you. Protect your reputation and create a positive image. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The Effective Teacher
  • Cultivates a positive reputation
  • Communicates with parents and students before the school starts.
  • Greets the students with positive expectations.
  • Has the seating assignment and first assignment ready.

The ineffective teacher begins the first day of school attempting to teach a subject and spends the rest of the year running after the students.

The effective teacher spends most of the first week teaching the students how to follow classroom procedures.

Students risk failure because of the lack of structure.

Procedures and routines create structure.

The only way to have responsible students is to have procedures and routines for which the students can feel responsible.

The effective teacher
Have well-thought-out and structured procedures for every activity.
Teaches the procedures for each activity early in the year.
Rehearse the class so that procedures become class routines.


Teach your children the value of hard work in school.

Let your children know that their success and satisfaction in any field or endeavor is achieved only by diligence and hard work.

The Effective Teacher
  • Teaches students, not a subject or a grade level
  • Maximizes academic learning time
  • Keeps students actively engaged in learning.

Stop asking: “What am I going to cover tomorrow?”
Start asking: “What are my students to learn, achieve, and accomplish tomorrow?”

“Education is not a process of putting the learner under control, but putting the student in control of his or her learning.

The greater the structure of a lesson and the more precise the directions on what is to be accomplished, the higher the achievement.

The ineffective teacher covers chapters, find busy work for the students.
The effective teacher has students learn toward the criteria, teaches to the criteria.

The teacher who constantly learns and grows become a professional educator.

How to achieve happiness and success as a teacher

How a person chooses to behave will greatly determine the quality of that person’s life.
Leaders choose.
Life comes from within me.
I will generate my own happiness.
Life is better when I share or serve others.

What a person choose to do will greatly determine the quality of that person’s life.

The effective teacher chooses rather than decides

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Global Citizenship Lesson Plan

This lesson is designed to introduce students to Global Citizenship through the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals and by leveraging the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC) membership in the Atlantic Provinces. There are three stations that present Global Citizenship from a number of different angles.
Each of the PDFs below is three pages, the last of which is a “sources” page. Only the first and second pages need to be printed (one double-sided handout) for the students in each group. You can download a zip file that includes all of the station handouts and the worksheet HERE.
  1. Divide your class into 3 groups (or 6 groups if it’s a large class)
  2. Begin the scrollable presentation (
  3. Distribute the printed handouts accordingly.
  4. This class is planned for 60 or 75 minutes. It’s been tested successfully for each time period.
  5. Collect the worksheet for grading or assign optional homework/projects based on the resource links at the bottom of this page.

Download and print the PDF: Malala Gender Education Case Study

Download and print the PDF: Coffee Fair Trade Case Study

Download and print the PDF: Photo Station Clean Water
Download and print the PDF: Photo Station Energy Climate
Download and print the PDF: Photo Station Life Below Water
Download and print the PDF: Photo Station Life on Land
We’ve found it works well to print only the number of copies needed for each (single) station. Collect and reuse these as the groups switch.

Download and print the PDF: Citizenship Student Worksheet

If you’re interested in having a guest speaker from a local organization come to your classroom to talk to students about the work being done on local and global issues, check out the ACIC MEMBERS page at the following link:

This workshop has been developed in agreement with the Department of Education’s definition of citizenship as described in the Atlantic Canada Framework for Essential Graduation Competencies in Schools for the 2016-2017 school year. This lesson particularly complements the following courses and units of study:
  • Grade 9 Social Studies “Atlantic Canada in the Global Community”: Units 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Global Geography 12: Units 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8
  • Global History 12: Units 2, 3, 4 and 5


Sharing a Small World

Sharing a Small World is no longer in print but you can download the full packet below. Updated versions of these lessons are now included on the Counting on People: K-5 Activities for Global Citizenship CD-ROM.

Young children are natural-born explorers and are especially curious about their place on the planet. Sharing a Small World is collection of nine engaging hands-on/minds-on activities that help them discover the web of life and how to be a helpful member of a community. All the activities are interdisciplinary and activity formats include cooperative games, role-playing, craft projects, and learning from some of the classics in children's literature.

Electronic copy of booklet. © 2001


Sharing a Small World (pdf): Full booklet of the original lower elementary lessons.


Education for Development

Education for Development: A Teacher’s Resource for Global Learning is a core tool for teachers, containing a useful overview of development education, and teacher-friendly activities and lessons.

Part 1: Introduction
This introduction provides a general overview and explanation of the education for development approach; the five global concepts upon which the book is based: interdependence, images and perceptions, social justice, conflict and conflict resolution, change and the future; ways for taking action; and an overview of the learning process as presented in the book. The activities in the book are divided according to age levels as follows:
  • Level I: 7-11 years
  • Level II: 12-15 years
  • Level III: 16-18 years
Part 2: Interdependence
As citizens of a global village, the issue of interdependence has become increasingly important. Interdependence involves recognizing the world as a system and understanding the web of relationships that make up that system. It also involves appreciating the delicate balance between the various parts of this web and the reality of changes in any one part impacting on the whole.

Part 3: Images and Perceptions
The section on images and perceptions looks at stereotypes held around people from other countries, particularly the developing world. The activities are designed to challenge the roots of prejudice and promote understanding between groups and reduce stereotyping while developing an appreciation of diversity.

Part 4: Social Justice
Through the exercises and activities in this section, students will come to understand justice as an essential part of the development of individuals, communities and countries. A number of the activities refer to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Part 5: Conflict and Conflict Resolution
The focus of this section is on education about and for peace. Through these activities, students will gain a better understanding of the various types of conflicts, the range of solutions to conflicts and conflict resolution techniques, as well as how these principles can be applied to their daily lives.

Part 6: Change and the Future
Despite the fact that educational institutions aim to prepare their students for the future, a great deal of school curricula is heavily focused on the past. The activities in this chapter provide students with an opportunity to reflect on where they are heading and how they might apply the knowledge they are gaining through their education.

Part 7: Taking Action
The final section of the book provides ideas for ways students can take practical action on global issues as a way to extend their knowledge while practicing the skills and knowledge necessary for global citizenship. There is also an important discussion for teachers on handling controversial issues in the classroom.

Part 8: Bibliography and Index


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Resources for Teaching Growth Mindset

Understanding Growth Mindset

Strategies for Addressing Mindsets

Growth Mindset Within Math

Giving Better Student Feedback

  • Embracing Failure: Building a Growth Mindset Through the Arts: Learn how educators at New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico teach students how to integrate critical feedback. (Edutopia, 2016)
  • Nurturing Intrinsic Motivation and Growth Mindset in Writing: Review tips from a high school English instructor about how to conduct better conferences with students; take a look at specific examples of process praise and feedback that can encourage autonomy, purpose, and choice. (Edutopia, 2014)
  • Praising the Process: Watch this video of a writing workshop from a first grade classroom to see how to use process praise to encourage a growth mindset. (Teaching Channel, 2015)
  • Using Praise to Enhance Student Resilience and Learning Outcomes: Explore Do’s and Don’ts, FAQs, and other information about how to use feedback to alter student mindsets. (American Psychological Association)
  • The Secret to Raising Smart Kids: Read an article authored by growth-mindset researcher Carol Dweck about research into growth mindset, and learn how to give valuable feedback by focusing on the specific process a child used to accomplish something; at the end of the article, there are several useful examples of effective praise. (Scientific American, 2015)



I love to start the year with Peter H. Reynold's books like The Dot and Ish. Both books are great for teaching kids that it is okay to take risks and make mistakes. Those books also go very well with this growth mindset activity we worked on. Read on to find out how this activity worked out in my classroom.

I started this school year with an activity that I saw on Twitter. I wrote out these words on plain paper and then read each word to my students so they would know what each said. For each word I asked for a show of hands to see how many kids had an idea of what each word meant. The only ones that I didn't get every hand up for were persistence and dedication. So we talked about those words as a class and I shared what those words mean to me. I also gave a specific example for each of those words.

Then I spread each paper around the room with markers and asked students to go to each word and write or draw what the word means to them. I told them it had to be a silent activity so that their friends could really think about each word.

I have a fairly chatty class but you could hear a pin drop during this activity. Some of the ideas they came up with were just so great.

The most important part of the lesson came at the end when we shared all of their ideas. I asked them to tell me why they thought we were talking about this, why was this an important conversation.

Here is the answer I got from one student, "...because it's okay for us to make mistakes. If we don't make mistakes we can't learn from them. And in order to make mistakes we have to have courage to take risks sometimes, even if we are worried we might get it wrong. In order to take risks we have to put in some effort and persistence and we will eventually be successful".


Just. WOW.

Kids are so bright!

Give this activity a shot in your classroom.

We are excited to announce that we have created two new group activities designed to help students practice, learn, and reinforce growth mindset concepts in a fun and interactive way: the Mindset Works Hot Potato Game and the Mindset Works Popcorn Game! And best of all, they’re free!
In the “Mindset Works Hot Potato” game, students review core concepts and ideas straight from the Brainology student curriculum. In groups, pairs or individually, students test their understanding of the growth mindset, how the brain works and learns, and effective study strategies. (Grades 4-12.)
The “Mindset Works Popcorn” game also introduces students to many of the main core concepts and ideas underlying the growth mindset, how the brain works and learns, and effective study strategies to boost learning. This game is perfect for students who have not used Brainology (or for Brainology students who would benefit from more scaffolding). (Grades 4-12.)
We hope you'll enjoy the brain-games. If you try them, let us know how it went and how your students liked them.
The Mindset Works Team

Friday, July 14, 2017

Highest Good Education

One Community is developing an open source and free-shared all-ages Highest Good education® program we call The Education for Life Program. This page is the overview of this program and includes links to all the major open source components. This page is organized like all our other open source portals and includes the following sections:

“Beliefs” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of diversity of beliefs (cultural, spiritual/religious, etc.)
“Caring and Kindness” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of caring and kindness
“Civilization” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of culture and civilization
“Cognition” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of cognition and learning
“Communication” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of communication
“Community” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of community
“Consciousness” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of thought/no-thought awareness
“Consensus and Decision Making” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of consensus and decision making
“Contribution” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of contribution
“Cooperation and Collaboration” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of cooperation and collaboration
“Cosmos” Lesson Plan: Structure, order, systems, organization, management, government
“Courage” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of courage
“Creativity” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of ideas, images, stereotypes, etc.
“Diversity” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subject in the context of diversity
“Dreams” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of both night-dreams and ambition
“Energy” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of the different types of energy
“Emotional States” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of emotional states
“Fall” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of the season of Fall
“Form” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of outside/our outer world
“Freedom” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of freedom
“Fulfilled Living” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of fulfilled living
“Happiness” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of happiness
“Harmony” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of harmony
“Highest Good” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of highest good
“Honesty and Integrity” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of honesty and integrity
“Human Body” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of our bodies
“Humility” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of humility
“Individuality” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of singleness and autonomy
“Information” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of information
“Love” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of love
“Matter and Materials” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of matter and materials
“Movement and Development” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of movement (physical activities (traveling, sports), mental activities (thinking), progress, direction, leadership, perspectives, experience)
“Nature” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of nature
“Open Source” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of open source sharing and collaboration
“Opposites” Lesson Plan: Day/night, light/dark, sensual (intuitive)/rational (logical), empirical/theoretical, male/female, life/death, good/evil
“Outer Space” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of everything outside of earth
“Personal Growth” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of personal growth
“Planet Earth” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of our shared planet
“Play” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of play
“Quality and Quantity” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of quality and quantity
“Reality” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of reality (idealism, subjectivity, and imagination)
“Recreation and Relaxation” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of recreation and relaxation
“Relative and Dimensional Space” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of relative and dimensional space
“Sharing” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of sharing
“Signs and Symbols” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of semiotics, symbolism, languages, etc.
“Social Relationships” Lesson Plan: Teaching within the relationship contexts of family, friends, business, etc.
“Spring” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of the season of Spring
“Summer” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of the season of Summer
“Sustainability” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of Sustainability
“Time” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of time
“Winter” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of the season of Winter
“Work” Lesson Plan: Teaching all subjects in the context of work and working