Beyond the Red Pen: Meet Kevin, High School Science

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Meet today’s grading expert, Kevin. He teaches several different types of science in Charlotte, North Carolina. Read on to find out how he uses Pandora, timers, class points to increase engagement and achievement!

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What is your current location?
I teach at the LIFT Academy, an alternative school that is a part of West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, NC

What subject and grade (s) do you teach?
All science subjects.  This includes Earth/Environmental Science, Biology, Physical Science, and Forensic Science this semester.

What is your favorite teaching accessory?
My favorite teaching accessory would have to be Pandora and a timer.  I love chunking my class and various parts of a lesson into 3 minute/5 minute/10 minute sections and these two items in partnership with one another make this very simple and effective!

Tips and tricks on making the best “teacher lunch?”
Pack it the night before.  Other than that, it doesn’t even matter for me! But I know that no one wants to get up at 5:30 and make a lunch.

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Kevin likes to keep all of grading all in one, centralized place.

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He uses Google Drive for students to turn in assignments.

What’s your favorite time to grade and why?
My favorite time to grade is right after school or even during the day if I have a chance.  It’s even better if you can also manage to get it into the grade book at that same time!  Then you can get home and not worry about grading or getting behind.  Grading assignments are like dishes in a kitchen sink.  Once you get a little behind, all is lost for that week!

What is your must have grading tool/utensil? (Can we have the brand and color if it’s a pen/marker?)
Definitely a wet erase Vis-a-vis marker.  Any color! But these are clutch for grading!

How do you find grading “zen?”
Pandora – Vitamin String Quartet station and peace and quiet away from students!

What is your super secret tip to grade faster that you wish all teachers knew?
Flubaroo with a Google Doc exit ticket.  Automated grading and no paper!  I don’t use it nearly as much as I should!  But I’ve seen it been done well and it’s super legit!

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What is one strategy that has worked to increase student motivation?
Visible public display of class points with a competition among all blocks.  They love it!

What is the best teaching advice you’ve ever received?
Have fun and be yourself.  Kids feed off of your energy and if you’re not enjoying yourself, they won’t either.  Furthermore, kids can read a disingenuous teacher, you’ve got to know yourself and be yourself.

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Do you have specific teaching shoes? If so, what are they?
Rockport – brown dress shoes? Totally worn out but they have support like no other!  If only I could find another pair somewhere!

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Kevin’s sturdy teacher shoes – you know how important comfortable, stylish ones are.

What’s the last thing you bought for your classroom?
Christmas lights!  Easy way to create a calm, cool, and collected culture in your classroom.  That was unintentional alliteration!

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Kevin, in his natural habitat.

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