Spelling Homework Ideas

September 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Posted in homework | Leave a comment

Joanne Griffin has some fabulous spelling homework ideas listed in a doc file.  Today, I grabbed it and formatted my own list of spelling homework choices.  Take a look, you might like!

Click to visit Joanne Griffin’s website.

Never enough time

September 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Posted in personal | Leave a comment

How is it that on the third day of school I am already behind?

My boards are empty but my to be graded pile is full. My materials for tomorrow is copied, thank god, but I can’t reach my construction paper for the leaning tower of junk guarding the closets. I am already three days behind on spot checking homework but the parents have already asked me if their children are turning them in.

I need a day in between each day of teaching in order to keep up.

Goal setting

September 14, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Posted in best practices | Leave a comment
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I like to begin the school year with helping my students to set some goals. As the year progresses, we do more and more goal setting and continue our discussions about goals and objectives until all of my students have internalized their own academic goals and breathe it everyday.

This year, we begin with a quickwrite about what they want to learn in third grade. It was the very first thing they did, before I even introduced myself as their teacher.

To make it interesting, we put it in the form of a peek over book. The kids love it.

Welcome back!

September 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Posted in education, elementary, third grade | Leave a comment

Welcome to a new year of school! It is only the second day of school, but there is an air of excitement, possibility , and hope I have never felt before at my school. Past readers may know that my elementary school was classically bad. And I mean hopelessly bad.

But the last year has brought about many changes, and now, we have a staff of motivated and enthusiastic teachers, a staff made up of primarily the exact same teachers as before. What do I attribute this major change in culture and attitude to? The abrupt replacement of our now ex-principal with a knowledgeable and able leader who shares power and demands that her teachers wields that power in service of students’ education.

So, let us raise a glass to a wonderful year where both students and teachers learn!

How do you feel today? (via “the Pierian spring” – ramblings of an English teacher)

June 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This blog always has highly useful and interesting postings. This one is timely for me because of students have been more than a little bit crazy lately. See my previous posts on my little caged monkeys.

This tool, “How do you feel today?” would be a particularly useful counseling tool for my students and I. My students, second graders, may not have the maturity to express their feelings appropriately and act out instead of stating their feelings. In particular, because it is the end of the school year and a lot of things are going on, my students are stressed and undergoing a lot of anxiety. With this tool, I can understand their emotions and teach them to react appropriately.

How do you feel today? Working at a school this Friday, I came across a resource that I really liked but I could see that, with a few tweaks, it could be even more useful. So, I've made my own version of it. Each 'emoticon' has beneath it a strip of five boxes that could indicate intensity or that could be used to track emotion over a period of five lessons. The sheet is purposefully made using outline drawings so that colour might also be used to develop an emotional … Read More

via “the Pierian spring” – ramblings of an English teacher

THWACK! Keep those kids in line!

June 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Posted in behavior, best practices, culturally relevant teaching, inner city, learning modality, strategies | Leave a comment

It’s the end of the school year.  The students are tired.  You are tired.  The kids act more like caged monkeys than students.  And by golly, three weeks can last an eternity.Students act more like caged monkeys.

At this point, I don’t know who’s behavior is worse, the students or the teachers!

Now is not the time to slack off.  For the last few weeks, I noticed a definite pattern.  When I feel tired and plan for “fun” activities so that kids are “enthusiastic” about school is when I have the most behavior problems.  When I plan and execute rigorous lesson plans, my kids revert back to their pleasant, well-behaved student mode.

Here’s a link to a Responsive Classroom strategy, Interactive Modeling, that I’ve been using to remind my students of proper behavior.  I’ve noticed a significant difference in my students behavior after I’ve started using this strategy.  At the very least, my students don’t act as if I’ve never taught them rules and routines before.

Interactive Modeling uses several forms of modeling to teach rules and routines.  The teacher models, the students model, and then the students practice.  The interactive and physical modeling is far more successful at teaching rules and routines than simply telling students what to do.  This is particularly true of inner city kids, many of whom are English Language Learners and Standard English Learners and need the scaffolding that Interactive Modeling provides.

I’ve only discovered this strategy in April when this article came out, but I have added it to my repertoire of teaching skills.  I definitely intend on using this strategy repeatedly at the beginning, middle, and end of the next school year.

Technology and the At-Risk Student

May 30, 2008 at 10:00 pm | Posted in education, technology in education | 1 Comment

Teachers may find that their students’ interest in education is waning, which can be detrimental in an inner-city setting. At-risk students have the highest dropout rate, as we all know, so it is crucial that we keep students engaged and active. Technology can be a very effective way to keep at-risk students interested in their studies.

When it comes to the type of technology used within the classroom, computers are often preferable to televisions. This is because televisions offer only a passive experience, whereas students can interact with computer technology. The problem with this, of course, it the cost of outfitting each classroom with even one computer, let alone enough for each student.

Inner city schools often lack the funding necessary to really integrate technology with traditional education. However, teachers who can bring a computer into the classroom experience should definitely be taking advantage of free, open source software. Such software is readily available to the public and serves as a great alternative to expensive, commercial software.

If you would like to pursue a blended curriculum that integrates cutting-edge technology with traditional instruction, I recommend the Open Source Education Foundation Website. There, you will find many resources for free software that is designed for a classroom setting. SourceForge.net is also a great place to find open source software of all kinds.

Integrating technology with classroom instruction helps inner city children in two ways. One, it keeps children active in their learning, giving them the ability to hone their problem-solving skills firsthand. The other way technology improves the classroom experience is by giving children technological skills that will help them in the future. It is the digital age, after all, and most adults depend on computers every day.

© 2008 Heather Johnson.


This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who is an industry critic on the subject of university reviews. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

Land’s End Teachers Light the Way Contest

March 17, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Posted in education | 1 Comment
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Just got this information.  I say everyone nominate their most excellent teachers!

Lands’ End is announcing the Teachers Light the Way Contest.  The company will recognize outstanding teachers that have made a difference in the life of a student, a school or a community.  45 teachers will receive the coveted Lands’ End Lighthouse Award – representing the company’s 45-year history – as well as the chance to win the grand prize of $5,000 for the winning teacher and $5,000 for the nominated teachers’ school.

Lands’ End will accept nominations at www.www.landsend.com/teachers beginning March 13 through midnight April 17, 2008.  If your readers would like to recognize an extraordinary teacher, they can fill out the online entry form and submit a 50 to 500 word essay.

During Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9, Lands’ End will recognize and award the winning 45 teachers with a Lighthouse award. Three outstanding teachers will receive grand prize status: First Grand Prize Winner receives $5,000 for the winning teacher and a $5,000 school award; Second Grand Prize Winner receives $3,000 for the winning teacher and a $3,000 school award; and Third Grand Prize Winner receives $2,000 for the winning teacher and a $2,000 school award.  The nominators of the Grand Prize Winners will receive a $500/$300/$200 Lands’ End gift card, respectively.  The remaining 42 teachers will each receive a $100 Lands’ End gift card and those that nominated them will each receive a $25 gift card.

Will be teaching night school!

February 27, 2008 at 7:00 pm | Posted in education | 2 Comments

Hey!  Good news for me!

I will be teaching English 10 (tenth grade English) at a night school for adults and high school students starting next Monday.  It’s only a temporary, 3 weeks position, but I get to see what the other side of the tracks look like.  I’m excited and scared!

I wonder how much of my experience in the elementary level is relevant to this new setting?

Hold On!

February 11, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Posted in life | 3 Comments

I have not been posting at all in the last few months as I sort things in my personal life.  I’m almost ready to get back into posting, but I’m considering moving to a different blog elsewhere.  So, hold onto the thought!  Things might change in the next few weeks!

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