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Speed dating for teachers

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If you aren’t quite ready to go prime time with a blog, consider starting with a private one.Most blogging platforms let you refrain from publishing your blog until you’re ready. Just the act of writing blog posts—even if you never show them—can be cathartic and bring out ideas you never knew you had.

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Develop a mission, establish a timeline, or set up an “individual exploration plan.” ✔ Do focus on student learning.Dee says books “create a non-threatening way to have important conversations, without them becoming personal.” Also consider forming a club to discuss the latest teaching memoir, pop-psychology book, or education documentary—and enjoy the fruitful conversations that result.Chris Aviles, a K–8 education technology coach for New Jersey’s Fair Haven School District, found a bold way to keep tabs on his teaching.“It seems obvious and simple,” Hernandez says, but the decision was “game-changing.” With the newly freed-up time at their disposal, teachers began hosting meetings in their classrooms; giving “Ignite” talks (in which they present a topic of interest for five minutes while slides auto-advance every 15 seconds); discussing TED talks (like Temple Grandin’s “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds”); inviting guests to speak; and holding workshops to help one another create professional development timelines.“I’m always amazed at the way books can spark deep conversations about important topics.” Or, he suggests, try two tools for a limited time.

“See which tool feels more intuitive and offers you more value, then ditch the other one.” In 20 years of teaching, Andrea Hernandez (now cofounder of amplifi EDucation) of Jacksonville, Florida, sat through a lot of long staff meetings.

He straps Go Pro video cameras to his students’ foreheads!

This helps him see what their day is like and how his lessons went.

All of these strategies can give you a fresh look at new teaching styles and ideas—and reveal different ways your students learn.

They’re also great for expanding the range and diversity of perspectives available to the kids in your class.

“Try something for two weeks, and pay attention to how much time you put in and the value you are getting out.