Teaching Tips Text Alerts Archive

Our teachers seem to really enjoy “The Toilet Paper,” a weekly newsletter I put into staff bathrooms  that gives teaching tips and ideas for the classroom. As a way to continue bringing PD to the staff in a way that doesn’t disrupt their day, I started a Remind101 account. Remind101 allows you to text or email your subscribers a 140 character message without using your phone number. Subscribers’ numbers are also kept private and the account holder cannot be messaged back, making this an ideal tool for teachers to use with students or their parents.


I thought it would be fun to have teachers subscribe to an account I run, in order to receive daily teaching tip texted right to their cell phone! Because Remind101 allows me to schedule texts in advance, I do not have to remember to send a message each day. I spend very little time once every week or two scheduling the upcoming messages.

I decided to post an ever growing archive of the tips I send out each day. Feel free to use them to start your own Teaching Tips Text Alerts!

  •  The best ?s to ask: are open-ended, call for reflection, stimulate thinking, provoke more ?s, promote discussion, challenge preconceptions.
  •  Model grit by leading students through a think-aloud about how to navigate complex tasks, mistakes made, and the process of perseverance.
  • Grading formative assmt is like punishing Ss in the learning process. Grit requires that there are multiple stages in the learning journey.
  • Have Ss create authentic products about the content. When they create real work that has value, it is more likely to be high quality.
  • If we want Ss to value grit, they need to see learning as a journey. Give time to reflect about challenges, and mistakes and revisions.
  • If you want Ss to value grit, then you must take time to celebrate as part of the reflection process! Ss should celebrate their perseverance
  • This week is about “reflection.” Reflective Ts ask themselves if their actions truly represent their beliefs and opinions. Do yours align?
  • Reflective Ts accept the fact that what once worked perfectly, might not be the best approach now. Are you still evolving?
  • Reflective Ts include others as they reflect and grow. Are you open to collaboration? Asking for advice? Receiving assistance?
  • Seek opportunities to serve on committees that affect your school. Seeing the big picture can challenge and affirm your own beliefs.
  • Really want to reflect? Ask your students for an anonymous evaluation of the learning environment you have created for them.
  • This week and next we will be learning the “10 commandments” of innovative teaching by AJ Juliani, chief editor of “Education is My Life.”
  • Innovative teachers give students REAL choice. Choice gives students the ability to go above and beyond our curricular limitations.
  • Innovative teaching allows for failure. If u create a culture where it is accepted & embraced, Ss won’t be afraid 2 challenge themselves.
  • Remember mentors come in all forms. Innovative educators expose their Ss to a variety of learning tools from the internet to one another!
  • Innovative educators use technology – with a purpose. Allow learning objectives to guide tech use; don’t design a lesson around a tool.
  • Allow Ss to work through problems, come up with solutions, test those solutions, debate whether or not they can improve upon that solution
  • Innovative Ts allow students to interact with the real world, both locally and globally. Check out Skype in the Classroom!
  • Standards are a guide; you are the architect. Use standards as a starting point for creative projects that promote learning experiences.
  • Model life long learning to your students. Remember, it is what you do, not what you say that speaks volumes.
  • Innovative Ts have high expectations, but also have the flexibility to go with what is working and change paths if need be.
  • Don’t fear the f-word “FUN” Ss won’t remember all of your content; they will always remember how they felt while they were learning it.
  • This week will be dedicated to “conversations you need to have in your school” based on blog post by Justin Tarte
  • Are we offering enough opportunities for dads to take an active part in their child’s learning experiences?
  • How do we ensure we are keeping educator on educator crime to a minimum so new ideas aren’t crushed before inception?
  • How often do we remind our Ss of their deficiencies rather than their strengths, interests, and passions?
  • Are we doing a good enough job of sharing our moments of ‘genius’ or are we keeping them secret bc we are afraid of what others might say?
  • Have we created a safe and supportive environment for teachers to take risks and chances? (As leaders AND as peers?)
  • Are we providing opportunities for the ‘invisible’ students to become visible, find their voice, and their niche?
  • As an educator, are you modeling appropriate use of technology and social media or are you avoiding it altogether out of fear?
  • How are we using technology to RESHAPE and REDEFINE learning experiences rather than doing the same of what we have always done?
  • Are we doing enough to honor the work of our Ss by ensuring it’s published and view able by the masses or are Ss only working for their Ts?
  • Sick of winter and the foul moods that come with it? This week, us will be presented w a ‘dare’ a day. Do them & watch the positive impact!
  • Dare one: stand outside your classroom door each period and greet each student by name and with a smile.
  • Dare two: choose your words carefully w/Ss and Ts. When a complaint makes it’s way to your lips, look for a positive to talk about instead.
  • Dare three: call two parents today just to tell them how wonderful their student has been doing in your class.
  • Dare four: take three minutes of your day to compliment a colleague with a character counts referral. Pick up the form in the dean’s office!
  • Dare five: eat a distraction free lunch with a colleague. Instead of working & eating, take time out to share successes with one another.
  • This week, you will receive quotes from actual high school students about what makes a great teacher.
  • “A great teacher is compassionate, driven, understanding, helpful and patient.” Do your Ss see these traits in you? Be awesome today!
  • “A teacher should be enthusiastic when teaching. If a T doesn’t believe in what he or she is saying, then the students won’t either”
  • “Teachers are meant to be great. They’re like superheroes when they are always there for you!” Who might you be a superhero for today?
  •  “A great teacher is one who cares about their Ss. If they care, they will do whatever they can to ensure their Ss receive a good education.”
  • “Be dedicated to your students, actually listen to their feedback, be creative, and most importantly, have respect for them.”
  • Welcome back from break! This week, you will receive important tips for providing students with effective feedback.
  • Effective feedback occurs DURING the learning, while there is still time to act on it. -John Chappuis
  • If students know the classroom is a safe place to make mistakes, they are more likely to use feedback fro learning. – Dylan William
  • When we give a grade as part of our feedback, students routinely read only as far as the grade. – Peter Johnson
  • Most of the feedback students receive about their classroom work is from other students, and most of that feedback is wrong. – John Hattie
  • Students need to know their learning target, otherwise ‘feedback’ is just someone telling them what to do. -Susan Brookheart
  • This week’s texts come from the Twitter account, “Blunt Educator.” Can his harsh truths help you grow as a teacher?
  • If you’re bored with your job, there’s a 100%chance your students are too. @BluntEducator
  • Advice to all educators: Never, ever, ever give in to cynicism, no matter how comfortable some jaded people around you make it look.
  • When instruction stops after high stakes test, it’s hard for anyone to believe your argument that teaching is more than a test score.
  • If you oppose an initiative that’s best for kids bc secretly you know you’ll have to work harder then maybe it’s time to find a new career.
  • This week you will get texts asking you to try a new “phrase” in your classroom in place of ones teachers commonly use.
  •  Instead of “do this” try “what do you think?”
  • Instead of “I’ll tell you all about it” use the phrase “why don’t you try it out?”
  • Instead of “here are the steps” ask “how are you going to tackle this problem?”
  • Instead of “this is how you must demonstrate understanding” ask students, “what can you create to show me you get it?”
  • Instead of “you got an F: the end” reassure students that “mistakes are learning in progress, so let’s try that again”
  • Check out some more “Instead of” phrases here!
  • This week: 5 thoughts for Ts to consider when planning instruction in the final stretch
  • Revisit your expectations: remind Ss of those routines, procedures and behavior guidelines you set the first week of school.
  • Check the standards; examine data you have collected until this point. What meaningful instr. can you provide to fill skill gaps?
  • Give your Ss some freedom to own their learning and explore a topic of interest w/your support if you have “covered all your content”
  • “People will forget what you said, and what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel” So keep a + attitude & have fun!
  • Here are some “Habits That Make Thinkers.” How can you facilitate these in class?
  • Thinkers value questions over answers and ask “why?” almost annoyingly.
  • Thinkers can move back and forth from micro to macro thinking and can also think laterally, connecting this to that, here to there.
  • Critical thinkers can see situations from multiple perspectives and ask what they’re missing or what they haven’t considered.
  • Critical thinkers see learning as inseparable from living and demonstrate an insatiable curiosity for SOMETHING.
  • Thinkers socialize thinking for collaboration rather than approval & reflect for analysis rather than judgement.
  • Critical thinkers can think with simplicity about complexity and with complexity about simplicity.
  • To read the rest of the 32 Habits that Make Critical Thinkers, check out this blog:  http://www.teachthought.com/learning/32-habits-that-make-thinkers/
  • For the final days of school — tips FROM TEACHERS for avoiding teacher burnout.
  • Beat burnout by having fun with your students – daily. Listen to their stories, laugh together, smile, connect.
  • Avoid burnout by taking care of your health. Getting enough sleep? Eating a healthy breakfast? What’s good for kids is good for your too!
  • Avoid burnout by learning something new and then sharing with your students. Model what life long learning is all about!
  • Avoid burnout by making someone else’s day. Call a parent with good news, send home a positive postcard, compliment a coworker.
  • Avoid burnout by shaking things up a bit. Try a new instructional strategy, move desks, observe another teacher, eat lunch w/someone diff.
  • To read the entire article on teacher burnout, click here.

Published by Kristen Mattson, Ed.D.

High school Library Media Specialist with a passion for instructional technology, curriculum, and problem based learning. Join my PLN @DrKMattson on Twitter.

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