Why Won’t You Go to Just for New Teachers This Year?


So you just got a flyer for the MTA’s Just For New Teachers Conference on November 19 hosted by the New Member Committee. Now what? Why won’t you go?!

Are you concerned about the content of the workshops offered?

Don’t be! There is a plethora of workshops to choose from for all new educators. You can choose to attend a workshop on anything from technology to classroom management to dealing with students with trauma. The workshops also range in content area and level. In addition, we are putting on an entertaining panel discussion full of teachers who will be talking about their experiences in education.


Are you concern about the cost?

It’s actually only $65 and that covers breakfast snacks, lunch, and all the workshops! That’s a bargain when it comes to full day conferences! Still concerned? Remember that $65 is like a mediocre dinner for two or a pair of sneakers you’ll never wear or something else not worth the $65 you spent on it. So put your money to better use by coming to this conference. Still concerned? Since this conference covers part of your district’s responsibility to provide new teachers with 50 hours of mentoring beyond the induction year, you could even ask around at your local and they might reimburse you for the cost. Give it a try! No promises, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Even better, JFNT is free if you are a member of SEAM!


Are you concern that it’s on a Saturday?

We used to hold this conference on a Friday, but many new teachers don’t like missing a day of school. So now you don’t have to worry about leaving sub plans! Also, you can bring a bunch of your new educator friends from all over the state since you know they’ll be available. Everyone in their first 5 years of teaching will be able take something away from this conference.


It’s easy to get to since JFNT is at Worcester Technical High School this year. Worcester is a nice central location. Well it’s definitely easier to get to than having to drive to Western MA from the Boston area (or the other way around which I am VERY familiar with…).


As an added bonus, we are putting on a book swap! Bring your books related to professional practice and you can pick up a new book.


Going to the Just For New Teachers conference is a great way to connect with other new educators just like you around the state. I always appreciated the reassurance that I am not alone in the overwhelming tornado that is being a new teacher.


Here is the link to register right now: http://www.cvent.com/events/2016-mta-just-for-new-teachers-conference/event-summary-e0eca911a83c416aa70fede2e33ccfcc.aspx


So, why won’t you go to JFNT? What’s your excuse now?


Post written by NMC member Kathryn Procter

You can follow Kathryn on Twitter: @señoraprocter

Follow MTA New Members on Twitter: @MTANewMembers and find us on Facebook!


Michael’s Space: A High School Teacher Reflects on Setting Up His Classroom

“This is going to be your classroom next year.”

My mind went in overdrive when I first heard this. My own classroom. Here. In this room. No more traveling. A place to decorate. A space to create.

How should I make it? How can it be set up?

The room itself is on the smaller side. With the 26 desks in rows (as I had seen it), there was just enough room to walk. But that is not how I planned to set it up anyway. It felt way too cluttered. Plus rows are not really my style.

But what is my style? Small groups? Horse shoe? Facing each other? How could I best use the space? How could I make it mine? Ahh!

Feeling a bit lost as I was thinking about it, I decided that the only logical way to set it up was by a replica and test out seating patterns. It just seemed to make more sense. Besides, how often do you get to make a diorama. With my decision made, I went to the school with a measuring tape not only to get the room measurements, but to measure the seats and door too!

After creating my model, I decided that I did not want just one room set up. But really needed a few. With the, I created 3 different major formations.

Formation 1

Formation 1

Formation 1 is my main formation. While all are facing forward (towards the door), this easily allows students to work independently or in a small group (across). This allows for plenty of space to move about the class.

Formation 2

Formation 2

Formation 2 is set up for cooperative grouping. When making groups, I do try to ensure that they are with students from around the room – to vary the people they work with than simply those who sit near them.

Formation 3

Formation 3

Formation 3 is for testing. You can see the issue with spacing. This is how the room was initially set up.

There are also a handful of miscellaneous formations for debates and trials, but they get lumped into variations of Formation 4.

By the end of the second week, students become familiar with the different formations and can rearrange the room in about 2 minutes – which gives me flexibility to use a variety of them in the same period.

Formation 1 TVFormation 1 Yellow Wall

Above is a look at my classroom today! Literally this morning! This is Formation 1. Ideally you can see that there is space to move about.

With this, I’ll point out two things.

  1. In the front of the classroom is a rather large television. Instead of a projector, last year I was given a TV for the front of my classroom. As we are a 1:1 iPad school, I connect to it through an Apple TV. This makes it easy to project via my or my students iPads – or by using my MacBook Pro. This has been a rather neat set up and my students have been happy at the resolution. We’ve been able to examine artwork like we never could using the screen.
  2. Last week, I painted an accent wall! This has made my room pop with colors. It also provides a neat background for the posters that I made this past year – here is a link to more of my silly digital creations. [There is also space for a contest that I will be running for students to design their own digitally altered images, but that’s for another day.]

So that is my space! It’s always developing as I do.


Post written by New Member Committee Member Michael Milton

You can follow Michael on Twitter: @42ThinkDeep

Follow MTA New Members on Twitter: @MTANewMembers and find us on Facebook!

A High School Teacher’s Experience with Keeping the Pace after Snow Days

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 1.25.01 PM

With February break approaching and the school days dwindling due to the onslaught of snow, I had to figure out how to get to a natural stopping point on the Friday before break. I do hate to end for an extended period of time on a cliffhanger.  I debated speaking at twice my normal rate and cutting out a few activities, but that seemed rather tedious and dreadfully boring.  “There’s got to be a way,” I thought as I watched the snow continue to drop out of the sky.

As I continued to ponder, I came across a video that I had made two years prior when I had to miss class for a Student Council meeting. To ensure that all of my classes were around the same point, I recorded a brief lecture that my students watched and responded to in class. The video began with a “Do Now” to get the students thinking and had a series of questions throughout the presentation. When I returned to class, we discussed their material they had just covered. I decided that I was going utilize the idea of this video lesson to help me find my natural stopping point prior to vacation.

Flipped Classroom is when students listen to lectures outside of class and complete activities based upon those lectures in class. It is an interesting concept of which a few of my colleagues are advocates. As I am in the Social Studies realm, I have heard of Massachusetts middle school teacher Elizabeth Miller’s experience flipping her classroom and I wanted to try it out. By flipping one of my lectures, I would be able to complete the week with an active lesson!

To do this, I tried out both Explain Everything , an iPad app, and Snagit, a Chrome extension and app. With Explain Everything, explain everything was relatively easy to use. I converted a presentation to PowerPoint and loaded it to Explain Everything. I then recorded and sent the video directly to Youtube. While I was going to do this for the next lecture, it could not play videos from Youtube. I sought out suggestions from my education friends on Twitter and a fellow high school history teacher recommended Snagit (Snagit is also a free Google Chrome App and Extension – you need both). Snagit works on my desktop and could record Youtube videos. It also allowed me to use Google Slides similarly to the way I use them in class. (I’ve also utilized QuickTime for Screencasts, but wanted to try out some new toys for this.)

Today, I assigned one of the lectures to my students to have completed by Friday. This way, they have plenty of time to watch them at school if they would like.

In the future, I am going to keep this in mind as an option and possibly may use these vides to help students who were not in class.

Want to see a Screencast in action? Watch the video below!


Post written by New Member Committee Member Michael Milton

You can follow Michael on Twitter: @42ThinkDeep

Follow MTA New Members on Twitter: @MTANewMembers and find us on Facebook!