“Something you want, something you need, something to eat, and something to read.”
By Celeste Behe
This time-honored formula for writing a Christmas gift list is our guide for this month’s compilation of teacher resources. “Something you want”? How about inspirational posters for your classroom and an inclusive guide for physical education? “Something you need”? A time-saving app and a soul-saving program. ‘Nuff said. “Something to eat”? Stay salad … er, solid … with these lunch ideas. “Something to read”? Tuck this gem into your desk and delve into it when you need a boost.
Ready to treat yourself? Read on.
Stay informed with SchoolMessenger
SchoolMessenger is a no-cost tool that facilitates communication among members of the school community.
Winner of a Tech & Learning magazine International Society for Technology in Education (“ISTE”) 2017 Best of Show award, SchoolMessenger is available both as a mobile app for iOS and Android devices and as a browser-based application. The app keeps teachers informed of the latest school news, including emergency notifications, early dismissal notices, modified holyday schedules, and school closings.
SchoolMessenger can also be used by teachers to send class assignments, field trip information, and permission slips, as well as files, images, and videos. One-to-one messaging enables teachers to securely confer with individual parents, while the group chat option enables discussion.
Optional add-on modules include SafeArrival, a reporting tool that allows parents to communicate with schools about a child’s attendance and alerts the school staff to students who are unaccounted for.
Motivate your students with posters!
The Daily Bible poster features a different image and Scripture verse each day. Click on the day’s image or select from the archive of over 400 posters. Save posters to your hard drive or print them out for immediate use. Interested in posting basic prayers for your First Communion class? Choose from three different poster designs featuring the Lord’s Prayer. Want to inspire your students with a quote from the saint of the day? Check out the John Paul II wallpaper and the Wisdom of Saints and Mystics posters. A handy Christian Posters Index will direct you to the resource best suited to your classroom.
“The Catholic Church has the greatest product in the world, with the worst marketing department!” As “marketers” – or evangelizers – of the Faith, Catholic teachers often fall short in their mission due to a lack of good formation. Going Deeper, a weekly online staff formation program, aims to strengthen educators’ Catholic identity and, in so doing, help them fulfill their “noble vocation.” Founded by Jonathan and Karen Doyle, the program is based on the Doyles’ post-graduate study at the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. Going Deeper offers weekly online content in the form of videos and supporting materials, all steeped in Church teaching and rooted in core principles. Each video runs about five minutes, and is accompanied by resources for both personal reflection and group discussion. A program designed to “make a deeper connection between [teachers’] Catholic identity and a sense of mission to young people,” Going Deeper inspires, educates, and challenges.
Inclusive PE for students with varying abilities
SPARK, a program of the San Diego State University Research Foundation, has produced an exciting physical education resource for K-12 teachers of students with disabilities. The SPARK Inclusive PE Guidebook offers over 200 pages’ worth of information and strategies to help teachers create a “can-do” PE environment for classes that are comprised of students with a wide range of physical abilities. The guidebook includes two dozen sample lesson plans plus instruction for 14 skill-building activities, along with tips for modifying and adapting the activities for students with disabilities. Included in the guidebook are fact sheets containing background material for twelve disability categories, along with helpful information on the learning style typically associated with each disability.
The SPARK Inclusive PE Guidebook is available in digital-only format, print-only format, and a combination of both digital and print format.
Mason jar salads
If Mason jar salads aren’t already on your brown-bag list, they need to be. The talesof3teachers blog shows you how to prepare a week’s worth of lunchtime awesomeness in the time it takes to grade a handful of “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” compositions. But if you spent the weekend at an NCEA Convention and have no time to prep for the week, you can pick up a few ready-made salads at Trader Joe’s. Its enticing Salad Palette Super Greens creation contains broccoli, walnuts, edamame, green beans, feta cheese, spinach, kale, green leaf lettuce, and celery leaves, with an avocado citrus dressing to top it all. If southwest flavors are your thing, grab a handful of protein-packed nuts to pair with Trader Joe’s Mango Jicama Slaw, made of green cabbage, jicama, mango, cilantro, and a spicy mango-lime vinaigrette. Are you hungry yet?
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by a profusion of assemblies, assessments, placements, and paper-grading? Does teaching sometimes seem less a calling than a penance? Called to Teach: Daily Inspiration for Catholic Educators will help you to rediscover the joy in your vocation. The book contains 366 brief reflections, each opening with a Scripture passage. Each reflection takes no more than one minute to read, so that even the busiest teacher can find the time to pause and be refreshed. A convenient subject index groups the reflections according to theological, doctrinal, pedagogical, and educational themes (“Administration, Apostolic Succession, Athletics, Beatitudes, Catholic Identity, Clarity…”), and a scripture index lists specific passages and notes where in the book they are referenced. Called to Teach: Daily Inspiration for Catholic Educators is a beautifully written book that no Catholic teacher should be without.
Celeste Behe is a blogger, speaker, and ardent Toastmaster. She lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with her husband Mike and eight of their nine children.