Posts Tagged ‘teacher created resources’

One Size Does Not Fit All (Grade Levels)

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

In a recent post, I wrote about my wife (“Mrs. M”), a substitute teacher who needed to be always prepared for the mysteries and challenges her day might present.  For Mrs. M., knowing the grade level and age range of the students she is about to teach is probably the most essential piece of the puzzle.  Which resources to use, which strategies to employ, even which clothes to wear—these are all influenced by the expectations she has of what a kindergarten-classroom experience will be versus what a day in sixth grade might bring.  (For example, Mrs. M. brings plenty of stickers and picture books for younger students, while she likes to assign writing prompts and read Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories books to grades 3 and up.)  Sure, there is some commonality to the two experiences, but if you were to create a Venn diagram with “Teaching Kindergarteners” and “Teaching 6th Graders” as your labels, the center-circle overlap would not need to be nearly as large as the outer areas.

This is not so different from how we approach our work in the world of educational publishing.  One of the first questions to ask when reading a manuscript or beginning the editing process is, “What grade level is this for?”  Once this question is answered, several other answers fall into place:

•  Which point size to use:  12 pt. vs. 14 pt.  (The younger the audience, the bigger the letters should be.)

•  Which font style to use:  serif vs. sans serif.  (The younger the audience, the fewer frills and flourishes those letters should have.  And it even goes further than that:  a font may seem perfectly suitable but then have a strangely-shaped lowercase “a” or capital “Q,” for instance.  Young students have just learned their letters a certain way, so it wouldn’t be fair to ask them to recognize alternate versions.)

•  Which write-on lines to use:  regular vs. primary  (Primary write-on lines are those big, wide ones that have a dashed guide line going across the horizontal middle.  They take up a lot of space on the page, and many are needed for each question.  Young learners write with such large letters that they can only fit a few words on each of line.)

•  Which art style to use:  cartoon vs. realistic.  (A smiling, whimsical walrus would most likely be inappropriate for an upper-level science book.)

These are just a few of the cosmetic things we try to keep in mind when we design the layout of our pages.  Content, of course, must also be considered and tailored to the specific learning level we are aiming to reach.  In the end, we are hoping to create the perfect balance between what best helps teachers teach and students learn.

We do get occasional feedback about some of the finer points of page layout, and we would love to hear from as many teachers as possible.  Do you have any suggestions for ways we can make our books easier and more practical to use for the grade level that you teach?  Here’s a topic to get you started:  name lines.  Would you prefer to have a designated space on the page that says “Name:  __________,” or would you rather that space used for an extra question?

Welcome to Teacher Created Tips

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

You are a teacher. You’ve learned the ins and outs of child psychology, effective classroom management, curriculum development, and even how to create a PowerPoint presentation—but now what? Now you’re in the classroom, on your own, and all that wonderful training may not seem like quite enough to get you through the real world of teaching. Rest assured, your teacher training is excellent groundwork for the path ahead; however, your real training is about to begin—in the classroom.

Written and compiled by veteran teachers, this blog contains useful information that will help make your first year a smooth and comfortable one. You’ll find tried-and-true tips, lesson plans, and other resources for every new teacher, covering such topics as:

classroom management, organization, and decoration

educational and discipline techniques

teaching tips for reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and art

suggestions for whole-class and independent learning

student behavior management

motivational ideas

parent and student communication

how to use a substitute effectively

cross-curricular worksheets and activities

lesson plans and ideas

and lots more!

Of course, even an experienced teacher will find a great deal of support and new ideas in the following posts. It is never too late to learn something new!

When all is said and done, learning how to create a PowerPoint presentation is one thing, but knowing when to use it and who to rely upon for help is even more useful. With the supporting ideas here, you will have the time and energy to put all your classroom training to effective and positive use.

Good luck and best wishes as you embark on this exciting and rewarding new career! Teacher Created Resources will be there to help you along the way.

A few books we reference: