Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's All About Them

As we all get settled into this new school year and into our routines and responsibilities I think it is important to remember that the more engaging we can make our instruction, the more invested our students will be.  True involvement brings less behavior issues and more avid learners at the very least so we need to make a concerted effort to keep them in mind for if they are happy, we are happy. I know it might seem like I am preaching to the choir but we often do things in a way that works for us which isn't necessarily the same as planning things with our students in mind. So I put forth this challenge to you: plan with students engagement and opinions in mind. My friends at Edutopia have a great little read directly from students on the engagement part. I've linked it here. As far as the opinion part in concerned, well, that's easy: ask them. While they might not have too much say on the learning goals, we can certainly ask them how they'd like to learn, what kinds of topics interest them, what types of projects they would be excited to do, how we can make our classrooms more student-friendly places, and so on. Ask on a regular basis, teach them to answer respectfully, and implement any suggestion you possibly can. Here's to an engaging school year!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dot Day Approaches

It's almost here- Dot Day! The Dot, by Peter Reynolds, is one of my favorite books so I just wanted to send a reminder that Dot Day, a celebration of creativity, will be here in a few weeks. Check out this link to sign up (it's free) and to see what kinds of activities you and your students can do to celebrate this international extravaganza.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Current Events by the Hour

Thanks to my favorite blog, Free Technology for Teachers, I've learned about another cool resource. Thanks Richard!

Here's what they say on their site:

Every hour, 10x10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading international news sources, and performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour's most important words. The top 100 words are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from the source news stories. At the end of each day, month, and year, 10x10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input.

When you open 10x10, you will see a grid of the top 100 world images that hour, ranked in order of importance, reading left to right, top to bottom. Along the right edge of the screen are listed the corresponding top 100 words, one for each image.

Move your mouse around the images and you'll see which words match which images. Move your mouse up and down the word list, and the corresponding images will light up. Click any word or image to zoom in and see the news headlines behind the word. Click the headline links to read the original news stories. Click the zoomed image a second time to see the image full screen.

I love this as a vehicle for exploring current events together on your interactive white board or screen or for older students to use for research/information. Every class period might look a little different because the folks at Ten by Ten update it each hour. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You Can Quote Me on That

I know. Nothing for two months and now two posts in 24 hours.  I finally have a few days to go through all of the goodies that have been lingering in my inbox because they piqued my interest somehow but that I could not give my full attention to. Hopefully, this will be to your benefit over the next few days.

Terra Tarango, who is the president of Staff Development for Educators, got a wonderful Mother's Day gift from her daughter - a handmade book full of personally selected (and maybe authored?) quotes. She posts one in her office window each day or week to inspire her colleagues. I love this as I have always been a quote person. I am the geek who has quote apps on her phone and tablet.

I was reading the most recent issue of Scholastic's Instructor magazine last night and came across free, full color, printable (either full page or card-size) quotes for each week of the school year. I have linked it here.  Post one each week and ask students to reflect on it. It's a great community-building activity and a critical thinking push all at once. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yup, It's Here

For some of you summer is already over and for others you can count the days left one one hand. No matter what boat your in, the new school year is here and that is reason for celebration and a chance to try something new, start fresh with a previous attempt at something, or just maintain your course towards a particular goal like integrating more technology or boosting the prominence of writing in your daily schedule. A link from the folks at the Teachers Gazette crossed my email today and I thought I'd share it with you. I've linked it here. It contains some thoughts from our old friend Harry & Rosemary Wong. If you've never read their works, consider it. If you have, this will be  nice refresher. Try to enjoy all of the possibilities that a new school year brings.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Long Time, No Post

I know, I have been neglectful...I've been quite busy, visiting schools from Michigan to Texas to Florida and conducting all kinds of PD for teachers. This week I am off to SDE's Reading, Writing, Math, and More Conference in New Orleans. One of the sessions I'll be doing is about using technology to reach struggling learners. As I was putting the last minute touches on my presentation, I came across an really comprehensive resource produced by the Florida DOE that I just had to share. I think it will have value to any teacher, not just those with students who struggle so check it out. I've linked it here .

I'm off to Las Vegas for SDE's I Teach K!, I Teach 1st!, Power Up, and Differentiated Instruction Conferences. Maybe I'll see you there!

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm Not a Math-er But This is Great

Okay, so let's just say that math is not my strong suit. I can do sale math (this skirt is 25% off) and I can do recipe math (doubling or splitting), but that's about where it ends for me. This morning, however, I saw Richard Byrne's latest blog post (his blog is fabulous - check it out!) all about a math and photography project some third graders are doing in Canada. I love it and am going to share it with anyone who will listen including my Singapore Math friends at SDE (Staff Development for Educators) in hopes that they will share it with participants at the Singapore Math conference in Las Vegas in July. Read about it here - there's a calender of things you can do for the month of May. Happy clicking!