Tag Archives: #teaching

100 Years

It is Teacher Appreciation Week this week, and we certainly appreciate our teacher candidates!! It’s hard to believe another academic year is coming to a close with finals week and commencement this weekend.

This is always a bitter-sweet time for us ol’ profs. We are elated to have “passed” yet another year. We are excited for all of our teacher candidates’ accomplishments and for them to begin their next chapter. On the contrary, we are sad to see our seniors go! During the busyness of the end of the semester, it is easy to get caught up in our to-do lists and forget what this means.

What does it mean? It means it is time for us to take the next giant leap. It is time to get ready for the next set of intriguing minds. It is time to shape yet another bunch of teacher candidates to work hard and do their very best.

One way our teacher candidates showcase their very best is through an Action Research project— a project carried out over the course of the academic year. Our teacher candidates were paired with area classrooms, selected a topic of study, thoroughly researched it, carried out the action for a specific outcome, and then reported their findings in a poster presentation grand finale. One of our teacher candidates stated “these poster presentations are like the Emmys of our education program.” Yes, we rolled out the red carpet for our kids. 🙂

Action Research provides our teacher candidates opportunities of growth and change based on literature and research. It involves meeting students where they are, and helping them to learn and grow. A few of the Action Research topics this spring included:

The Effects Recess has on Fifth and Sixth Grade Students’ Behaviors
~Researched by: Tyler Glynn

The Impact Written Feedback Has on Student Improvement in Mathematics
~Researched by: Ms. Katie Kienitz

The Effects of Teacher and Student Feedback on Lessons and Homework
~Researched by: Ms. Morgan Peterson

The list of great research goes on…. Great job, Action Researchers!


Action Researchers

Keep on keepin’ on, action researchers, and keep on keepin’ on graduates. Every day is a new day…a gift! Each day brings us a chance to change and make improvements in our teaching. The journey lasts a lifetime, and the future is counting on all of us. “100 Years…there’s never a wish better than this.”


Stay Calm & Lead On!

Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Practice Makes Perfect Practice Teachers


Going for the Gold in 3rd Grade

The best way to become elite teachers, the best of the best, is to practice…so practice, practice, practice, practice teachers! 🙂 Our SMSU teacher candidates just successfully completed a 2-day clinical field experience which consisted of a complete 2-day takeover of a local elementary school. Yes, the classroom teachers leave, the paraprofessionals along with the principal stay (thank you!!), and our “practice teachers” become the real deal!

This 2-day take over is one of our main culminating events that allows our junior level teacher candidates to put into practice all they have learned in their methods classes. They select and write 14 or more age-appropriate lesson plans based on their chosen theme (which can be anything from Construction Workers to Olympics to Dr. Seuss to Detectives), craft a classroom management plan based on their theme, create a welcoming environment according to their theme, and do everything for two days that the “REAL” classroom teachers are expected to do.

Education professors become the supervisors…observing and evaluating each group of practice teachers. This magical two days becomes one of the finest field experiences for our teacher candidates, and it also is the most exhausting—for everyone involved!

Dr. V. supervising the “Construction Crew.” 🙂

Practice makes perfect (when practiced perfectly…otherwise, practice just makes permanent) and perfect gets gold! That’s where we “teacher educators” fit in. We believe our teacher candidates are golden, and we are so very proud of them! Check out a few pictures from our 2-day theme based clinical field experience, and you be the judge. We know you will like what you see! 🙂

Teaching Under Construction


Gold Stars


Guess Who?!


One in a Minion


Achievement: just another ninja skill


Teaching Stars


Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

That Is NOT A Good Idea!

Books tell stories—real or fictional. They share their knowledge and wisdom with us as they tell their stories. One children’s book that we want to share with you is That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems


You know how the story goes… The sly fox temps the wide-eyed damsel-goose-in-distress. Doesn’t she ever learn? Well, apparently, she actually does learn this go around!

Things aren’t always what they appear to be. The goose and the fox show us that what we expect to happen may not always be the outcome. If you want to know more, you will just have to read the book. 🙂

As we read this and thought more about how it relates to our teacher candidates (because they are always on our minds), we decided that there are many “foxes” out there trying to lead them astray. Here is our take on how to keep our teacher candidates going in the right direction. They do tire of us ol’ profs preaching the rules and high expectations to them over and over and since we love to tell stories… We brainstormed a list of “That is Not a Good Idea” for our teacher candidates or anyone in the professional world really…all of us! Or if you aren’t professional and you just don’t want your goose to get cooked, then read on! We have five “NOT good ideas” to share with you.

1. Avoid Facebook and any social media when having too much fun! Future employers will check you out so be on your best behavior. Posting inappropriate pictures, comments, anything that you do not want your grandma to see is not encouraged. That is NOT a good idea!

2. Avoid interview mayhem! It is interview etiquette faux pas to respond to a classroom management question with a “I’ll get my mom in my classroom to handle discipline problems because she is good at that.” …Unless of course this is a lead-in to a joke. True story…really happened. That is really NOT a good idea!

3. Avoid signing more than one contract for the same school year. Lucky you should you be offered three contracts…that means we did our jobs. 🙂  However, a contract is a legal document binding you to a school district. Signing three contracts could cause alarm, a lawsuit, and a revoked license. That is really, really NOT a good idea!

4. Avoid offensive slang when communicating with parents…especially at conferences. Consider the proper etiquette of euphemisms. Instead of saying “Your kid doesn’t shut up!” try instead “Your child has above average communication skills.” Also, it is important to talk about the correct child to the parents. 🙂 To mistakenly talk to parents about someone else’s child is frowned upon. That is really, really, really NOT a good idea!

5. Avoid toxic teacher lounge talk. Research shows that it only takes seven seconds to become negative. Do not be negative; do not contribute to the verbal vomit, and do not just stand by and say nothing. Always remember that every student is someone’s special “Jackson” or “Warren.” Trash talking in the lounge is not acceptable. That is really, really, really, really NOT a good idea!

A key ingredient is missing in this teacher soup… have common sense and never jump into a pot of boiling water. We told you that is NOT a good idea!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.




Top 10 Teacher Traits by Our Top Teacher Candidates

Blog ED Majors

SMSU Teacher Candidates are EDU Rock Stars.  We get to know our students from the time they arrive on campus in the fall of their freshman year until that final year they make their way across the stage to accept their diploma. Wow!! What a difference in maturity level as these young teacher candidates travel through their teacher prep program. It is inspiring to see their growth—both personally and professionally.

During their freshman year, our education majors are required to take an Introduction to Education course. At the beginning of this course, they are asked to list the top ten teacher traits they believe are the most significant traits to own as a teacher. These freshmen base their answers on those teachers they just left behind in high school or from their elementary days.

Now that these same students are currently teacher candidates and juniors here at SMSU, and have hopefully gleaned a thing or two from us wise ol’ profs, we posed this same question to some of them. Their answers demonstrate to us that they have indeed grown both personally and professionally since that day way back in Intro to Ed. This makes our hearts burst with joy!

Like David Letterman shares his top ten on the Late Show, below we share with you our top ten teacher traits by our top teacher candidates:

10. Prepared – Our teacher candidates are taught over and over and over again that if they fail to plan they plan to fail! In his book, Teach Like A Champion, Doug Lemov wrote “champion teachers excel at planning.”

9. CompassionateDictionary.com defines compassion as “a feeling of sympathy to alleviate suffering.” This verifies what we tell our teacher candidates—“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” ~Anonymous

8. Creative – Being creative is one of the four C’s in the 21st Century Learning Skills. Not only is it imperative for our teacher candidates to be creative but the ability to teach their students to be creative is also a big deal.

7. Flexible – Snow days, field placement changes, and even an unexpected broken leg are all reasons our future teachers are learning to be flexible. Curve balls are thrown at them all the time so as they learn to be flexible, they learn to bend without breaking. No pun intended!

6. Patient – Patience is a choice, and because we are professionals, we are expected to make smart choices at all times. When issues cause us frustration, irritation, or pain, we must remind ourselves that we have the choice to stay calm and be patient. The top teacher candidates are perfecting their skill of being patient with students and each other.

5. Respectful – If we give respect, we get respect. Respecting others is a key ingredient when building rapport with students. We have respected our top teacher candidates thoughts and opinions and in return they have respected ours.

4. Leadership – Future teachers must be leaders in their classrooms. Becoming reflective practitioners to self-assess their teaching, influencing their students by the instructional techniques they choose, and completing action research projects are just a few ways our top teacher candidates learn to lead.

3. Organized – “Organization is the key to effectiveness” states Harry Wong in his book First Days of School. Organization is important whether teachers are novice teachers or seasoned teachers. Our teacher candidates learn the importance of organization during the many hours of field experiences they are required to finish along with their rigorous junior methods year.

2. Passionate – We can all agree that passion is contagious. Passion will make lessons more engaging which will elevate student achievement. In his book, Teach Like a PIRATE, Dave Burgess writes that ‘passion is like an intoxicating drug but without the dangers and side effects. Once you get the taste of it, you’ll always want to come back for more.”

Drum roll please—The number one teacher trait that our teacher candidates believe to be the most significant is…

1. Communication – In this era of emailing, texting, Instagram, and Snapchat, we were delighted to read that our teacher candidates still believe in communication and its importance. Communication is one of the substantial 21st Century Learning Skills so we are pleased that they chose this as their number one trait.

Hang on for the time of your life, future teachers. Teaching is THE best profession on Earth! Commit each school day to your students. After all, those children are the reason you are there. Without them, you wouldn’t have a job. Apply your top ten teacher traits in a positive manner and you will become a top-notch teacher! We wish you all the best!!

Blog SMSU ED Majors

Stay Calm & Be Top Notch!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.