Back to School: Start Your Year on a High Note!

Illustration by Kate Moore

Illustration by Kate Moore

This week is the first installment of our three-part back-to-school series. Follow along as we help you craft this year into your magnum opus!  

Back to school. Isn’t that phrase just music to your ears?

Being a teacher is a lot like being the conductor of an orchestra. In its rawest form, an orchestra is a collection of disparate players, each with their own instruments and their own musical roadmap, journeying alongside their peers, all while operating under the expectation that they achieve a synchronized and unified outcome in the end. 

Doesn’t that sound a lot like a classroom? A room full of unique individuals with their own set of gifts, learning alongside their peers and arriving at the same academic outcomes by the end of the year? 

Both scenarios can be breeding grounds for utter chaos, and yet with a skilled conductor at the podium, cacophony is transformed into chords; a clarinet played in B-flat is tuned perfectly to the violin played in the key of C! And with a skilled teacher conducting her class, introverts can participate alongside extroverts; a visual learner can succeed as surely as an auditory learner.

As you transition back into school mode, imagine yourself as a brilliant conductor who can make every student’s mind sing. If there’s one thing Pear Deck is passionate about, it’s helping teachers create a harmonious classroom where every student’s voice rings loud and clear. Below are just a few ways you can use Pear Deck to ensure this school year is your pièce de résistance!

Making Arrangements

One of the great creative responsibilities of the conductor is deciding how a piece of music should be interpreted and then conveying that vision to his musicians. What liberties will be taken in the arrangement in order to highlight the extraordinary talents of each section? 

Being a teacher is much the same: You have your core curriculum, but how you deliver it is up to you. And it’s up to you to help every student become a virtuoso in her own right.

With a newly-expanded library of slide templates, Pear Deck has made it even easier to adapt your curriculum and content into an arrangement that will allow every student a principal part in your classroom ensemble.

 
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With this update to our Add-on in Google Slides, you have access to all the bell-ringer and exit templates you love, plus you can quickly expand your repertoire of engaging questions with one-click access to popular template packs such as SEL or Critical Thinking prompts. And of course, we’re sempre (that’s music-talk for always) adding something new to our Featured repertoire as well! 

Get In Tune

Teaching students vocabulary at the beginning of a unit is a little like getting everyone’s instrument properly tuned before a concert. One off-key cello can skew the sound of a whole performance. In the same way, a misaligned understanding of a key term can derail a student’s performance on an assignment or test, or even sour the tone of a class discussion.  

With Flashcard Factory, Pear Deck’s free vocabulary activity, you can ensure everyone is playing in the same key, so to speak. Begin by loading your list of terms (remember: you can easily add definitions with our Merriam-Webster integration!). When you launch the game, students will automatically be paired up as they join. After your little duos have created sentences and illustrations for each term, you’ll review and vote on each submission as a group. Export your greatest-hits list to Quizlet where students can play back their set of flashcards anytime!

Theory & Practice

A conductor doesn’t become a conductor without a strong background in both the theory and practice of music; and of course the same goes for great teachers! Administrators can help every teacher become a maestro of her own classroom by modeling and reinforcing great teaching practices themselves. 

Modeling these things is easier than ever with our collection of Pear Deck templates for deepening instructional practice as you plan your back-to-school professional development! Drop them into your PD sessions, or consider including one in your weekly faculty meetings to engage your teachers and demonstrate great pedagogy.

No need for a standing ovation just yet! Tune in next week for the second installment of our back to school series. In the meantime, here’s a playlist to make your classroom even more welcoming for back to school night!

This week's blog post was written by Pear Deck Program Manager: Education and Outreach, Risa Bennett.

Risa Fadenrecht