Ira Cross Jr

Ira Cross Jr

I am an elementary educator working in Columbus, Ohio in the US. I have a passion for innovation in education and also for collaboration with teachers, parents, and most importantly students. Working together is the best way to achieve anything, especially in education

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Thursday, 30 November 2017 11:00

What The Grinch means to me as a teacher

It is wonderful to write again for Innovate My School. I miss having the outlet of letting my thoughts go onto a computer screen knowing that someone will read them and share them. Even my mom has gotten excited about my writing. So let’s dive into this topic of mean.

This Friday, 15th January saw us celebrate the imminent Martin Luther King Day. Dr King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is genuine love, caring, and hope that means so much to me. It means that a man saw injustice for some and worked with everything he had to get justice for all. I feel Dr King’s words push me to be a better person and teacher, to work toward my dreams, to make my dreams real. I think some people see his words as a dream he had for only people of colour. I don’t see this. Dr King was a man of the people. He worked tirelessly so that others would be able to live by his selfless interpretation of United States’ Declaration of Independence.

Tremendously fantastic editor James Cain wanted me to make sure that this article was "a different beast" from my previous Halloween article. My instincts would not allow me to title this article anything other than what it is. With Halloween 2015 fresh in our minds, my intention is to highlight some suitably authentic ways to incorporate the occasion into the classroom. These are things I have seen, some I have done, and some things I would like to do. I do not see any of these thoughts being limited to one grade level or group of grade levels since as a teacher flexibility is not only key but also a necessity. I also want to highlight why I feel that using Halloween in school and in the classroom is a good idea.

Game based learning (GBL) can be used in various ways, from assessment to guided practice. There are so many methods for implementing the use of GBL. Cards can be used and so can board games. Some teachers have even used video game systems, which are a great way to hook students into the lesson. Imagine students coming into the classroom to see an Xbox or a PlayStation ready.

The school day is done. The classroom is empty. The various after-school duties are finished. Now time to focus on those ungraded papers, the lesson for tomorrow, the emails to send to parents about their children, the emails to send to colleagues about meetings in the week, and go home. However, the day is far from done. Pack up all of your things, head to the locker room, change into that athletic gear, and get ready for practice.

Whenever I am with my girlfriend and we are both hungry there is always a discussion as to what to eat. She will say she does not know what she wants to eat. I will say “whatever you want is fine”, as a generically good boyfriend should. Then we each throw out suggestions with one person having reasons to not go to the other person’s suggested restaurant. “This place is too loud”, “that place has nothing I like”, “this place is always busy and not worth the wait”, “we went to that place last time”. The list could go on and on. One place that we always agree on is called Blaze Pizza. If you are not familiar with this establishment: You are pulled into this majestic place by the very smell of the greatness that awaits in food form. As you step towards the counter, you see a grand array of assortments. Choosing your delectable dish will be no easy task. Will you order a signature pizza or will it be a build your own? Of course you want to build your own!

Thursday, 26 October 2017 10:00

What can Halloween offer teachers?

Until writing this article, I had assumed that Halloween in America and in the UK were very similar. However, it has been brought to my attention by Mr. Cain, the editor of Innovate My School, that “Americans make British Halloweens look massively understated”. This fills me with a bit of pride. It is my hope to shed light on American Halloween in education by using bits of my own experiences as a student from College down to grade school, and also from my first year of teaching. This being my second year of teaching, and Halloween being upon us, I can only hope that it will be as much fun for the students.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 10:10

Teach like a game show host

My name is Ira Cross, Jr. and I am an elementary school teacher in Columbus, Ohio in the U.S. I am ecstatic to have recently finished my first year of teaching! I am very humbled and excited to have the opportunity to write this article, and have been told I have this fiery energy about me that fits teaching so perfectly, and it is rewarding when my excitement is noticed. I am always looking for, and thinking of, ways to show my passion and enthusiasm. One way that I love to share this energy with my students is by hosting game shows and other activities to review information taught and discussed.

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