November 2017 archive

The Best Music for Working from Home During the Holiday Season


As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m not normally a big fan of jazz music, but for some reason I absolutely love it when I work. I have no idea why that is, but if it helps me enjoy working, and also keeps me productive, I’m all for it.

While I’m grading papers or checking emails, I  tend to go to YouTube, type in ‘Jazz music’ and randomly click on whatever appealing option pops up (I rarely listen to the same thing twice- and it’s not uncommon for these ‘videos’ to be removed, so try not to get too attached!). However, during this holiday season, I’ve found 3 new favorites that I’ve listened to repeatedly (and there are so many more like these- especially the Christmas jazz!).

So if you’re anything like me- working from home, and wanting to be productive while simultaneously enjoying the holidays- light your Pumpkin Pie or Fraser Fir scented candle (those are my favorite- especially with the crackling wood wick for an extra wintry feel!), plug in your earbuds, and listen to some of the music below to make your work day that much better.

New York Jazz Lounge (because who doesn’t love New York during the holidays!)

Autumn Coffee Music

Christmas Songs Jazz & Bossa Nova

Happy listening, and happy holidays!

The Sandwich Method: The Best Way to Give Feedback to Online Students

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It’s hard to convey emotion and create a positive environment when teaching online, but I’ve found one way to give feedback that I feel is effective, encourages students, and makes the online environment a more positive place.

I call it The Sandwich Method. Quite simply, you construct assignment feedback in the following way:

  • Something (or a few things) the student did well
  • Something (or a few things) the student can work on (constructive criticism)
  • Something (or a few things) the student did well

For example (if you’re giving feedback on a student’s speech):

You did a great job here with eye contact and vocal variation- you were dynamic and engaging as a speaker! In the future, be sure to start with an attention-getter at the very beginning of your speech, organize your thoughts a bit more, and orally cite at least 3 scholarly sources. Work on those content elements for your next speech, but overall you had a great delivery!

Again, it’s super easy to structure feedback this way (although it may take some time for it to become a habit), and I like to think it leaves the student feeling good about at least one thing they did in the assignment.

Happy teaching!