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Cute and Effective Teacher?
November 14, 2013

Cute and Effective Teacher?

What is cute isn’t always effective.

What is effective isn’t always pretty.

I think I have said this more often in the past few months than any other quote.

When thinking about your classroom – you want it to look like there are students learning in the space, not that it could be in a cute classrooms magazine.

Let’s discuss a few points that revolve around this idea.

Anchor charts

Oh, anchor charts.

What is the purpose of anchor charts?

To be fun?

To make Pinterest pretty?


They are used to track thinking.

Specifically, to track student thinking.

What happens so often is anchor charts turn into cute posters that display what a teacher’s thinking.

When a teacher creates an anchor chart without her students being involved, they do not have ownership in the learning and do not retain the information.

So, when thinking about anchor charts we need to get students involved, share the marker, track what they are thinking, record what they say and keep them involved in the process.


Learning centers are a big “cute” culprit.

Many times we get sucked into fun clip art and attractive pictures…

But, when that happens sometimes the learning is compromised.

Centers should be based on student need, not what was visually appealing to the teacher.

Centers can often be student created. Those centers will have much more meaning to the children that use them.

When planning a center think, “What do my students need to learn or practice?” and try to avoid, “What will be fun and cute?”

So, think about what will be effective for your students… and their work will make it cute.


Printables fall into the same trap.

So many times I see teachers using a worksheet because it’s visually appealing instead of using student need to guide the resource choice.

Remember that we only get our students about 180 days and every minute counts.

If we get into the trap of “Oh, it is just a fun activity”, we lose instructional minutes.

Those minutes turn into hours.

Those hours turn into days.

When planning the use of a printable think, “What learning will occur with this page? It is what my students need?”

But, Where’s the Fun?

I’m not saying that your classroom should be a sterile, boring, ugly box of misery.

But, that’s a funny visual…

What I’m saying is, “Are you providing an engaging education that is highly effective for your students?”

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See you next month!

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