Category Archives: Sharing the Good
A very special thank you to all of our faithful supporters who have encouraged us and helped this blog surpass 50,000 posts read since 2012.
Since I took a position as an elementary principal, our posts have been random as I acclimated to the new role. However, I am working on a new academic eBook book for summer publishing, and the Unlock the Teacher team is currently sending out proposals on a resource book for early childhood parents and teachers.
The goal of this blog is to share the good in education for the betterment of our future…our children.
This blog has seen parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, publishers and a few Department of Education and government leaders comment and support its efforts. Thank you for your support.
Here is to another great year…cheers!
May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~
Given that Unlock the Teacher was founded on the principle of sharing the good in education, we look for this good where ever we go. In the grocery store, at Starbuck’s, the local library and most importantly at the schools we are blessed to work in.
St. Regis Educare – An Innovative Program for Helping Students Succeed
St. Regis Educare (SRE) is a newly created program serving the students of St. Regis Catholic Elementary and Academy, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The SRE program is staffed by three certified teachers who are dedicated to supporting the varied needs of St. Regis students. Based on the premise that each student has unique gifts and talents, with different learning styles and academic abilities, SRE supports teachers in providing differentiated instruction within and outside the classroom. In keeping with the St. Regis mission: Respect, Educate, Give, Inspire, and Support, SRE is dedicated to respecting individual students’ needs and supporting and inspiring them to reach their fullest academic potential.
The service provided in this program is more than a library of resources for teachers and parents. It is more than a place where students can come for help with their homework. It is a professionally staffed center for learning, where students attend workshops, join literature circles, compete in Math competitions, and follow academic plans designed specifically to meet their individual needs.
St. Regis Educare provides three different types of assistance/enrichment for students. They work with individuals and small groups needing assistance or enrichment in academic subject areas. They provide workshops to help students with concepts such as grammar or study skills, and work with individuals and small groups on specific skills such as comprehension strategies or counting money. In order to make the concepts they are enhancing engaging, they integrate technology, and utilize manipulatives, hands-on activities, and use modeling to help students achieve their goals.
With all this, they also provide the following benefits for teachers: assessments, which they will design and/or administer upon request; a central repository for teacher resources and reference books; and documented processes and forms to make using our services less complicated. To help bridge the ever widening need between parent and school, they provide a central repository for parent resources, and are in the process of planning workshops for parents, so they can learn new ways to help their children succeed in school.
Development of the Program
This school year, St. Regis Educare has evolved from an idea and an empty office, into a focal point of learning for students in need of assistance or enrichment, as well as a central location for student, teacher, and parent resources.
Some highlights include:
- A room that is now both inviting and functional for assisting students
- Resource materials, games, technology, and manipulatives that are arranged by subject matter on labeled shelves for easy access
- Documented processes and forms that are based on research of best practices and collaboration with professionals both in and outside the school
- An extensive list of services designed to meet the varied needs of our students
As of this writing, at least one student or group from every grade, is being serviced by SRE, and they have had an abundance of positive comments from students, parents, and teachers who are grateful for the expertise and supportive of this team’s efforts. It is too soon in the development of the program to provide concrete results; however, I plan to monitor this program’s progress …stay tuned!
If your school or community is doing something great to help students, teachers or parents, please share. It is in the collaborative model that we all rise to the level in which we have the potential to be.
May we all continue to seek knowledge in all things~
It is almost January, and educators and parents start the “Science Fair” discussion with children and students. This year, there are some cool science contests out there and Google Science tops my list.
Regardless if Science was your thing or not, if asked, we all could probably pull forward one science fair memory from the recesses of our minds. Volcano eruptions, eye ball blinks, inertia, plant growth with various musical tunes you name it, science fair time can be an exciting time of discovery or a mad dash to finish a deadline imposed by the ominous science teacher.
The Important Role of the Science Teacher
Given the teacher and they way material is presented, science can be fun! The world of science can open many doors for children. Doors to worlds that can increase awareness of saving our planet, living a healthy life, or even saving a life one day, by creating a cancer-saving cure…imagine. Many children in this country have limitations on travel and are limited to specific environments and economic resources. However, science is that one area where it is “cool” to recycle, utilize imagination and create! Memories of utilizing paper towel and toilet roll holders to demonstrate magnetic pull, keeps bubbling up to remind me that in science, the sky is the limit on creativity and ingenuity.
Science Fair Contests
*Google Science Fair 2012
- Children must be 13-18 years old
- Individual or groups allowed; groups can consist of two or three teams only
- Children “Scientists” must create a Google account and submit a Sign-Up form online
- Once confirmation is given, plan, execute and cite results, remembering to follow directions given and complete all sections outlined on the Google Section Submission Site
- A two minute video or 20 page slide presentation giving an overview of project are required to enter contest…entries are due by April 4th with submission form
This is a great contest that can allow educators to collaborate from various schools to come together with “Science Teams”, churches and or youth groups to utilize science as a way to spark the imagination of our children and enhancing team building while instilling (hopefully) a love of science.
The International Online Science Contest website has a wealth of resources for teachers and parents. This site offers a variety of science contest that run all year. Students can visit this site to view other science projects and read judging tips to get an overall appreciation for the “Science Fair” process. Parents can visit site to read and download a Parent Guide that provides step-by-step instructions, parent testimonials and defines the roles of parents throughout the “Science Fair” process. This is a one-stop shop for learning all about Science Fairs and a great resource for classroom teachers as well.
Science Buddies website is an all encompassing site that provides its reader with a list of various science competitions. Competitions are broken down by grade levels, format, eligibility and if teams are allowed. This is a great site for young people who might be interested at ages eight or nine in science and can watch some “advanced” science fair project videos on various projects to plant a seed for the future. For schools who do not have a “gifted” or advanced science program, this might be the site for you.
“Out of the Box” Teaching
A school, with a very creative, “out of the box” science teacher, could utilize the contest found here or at any of the mentioned websites, and take students who demonstrate an aptitude for science to the next level. Teachers who are looking to collaborate or parents who want to take more of an active role in this process can find science community blogs as well at http://www.sciencebuddies.org to glean insight and support throughout the Science Fair process or to even supplement or increase the love of science in the life of a child.
Science Fair Project Ideas
Happy creating and for additional science fair project ideas, check out the following sites to ignite the imagination:
- http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/ ~a complete “How To” guide
- http://www.sciencebob.com/sciencefair/ideas.php ~fun for all ages
- http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas.shtml ~ideas broken down by topic
- http://scienceclub.org/scifair.html ~from beginner to advanced science project ideas
Imagine if we could ignite the imagination, plant a love of learning for science via writing, creating, utilizing music, labs, nature and utilize all the other multiple intelligences, there is nothing we could not accomplish or overcome.
May we seek knowledge in all things,
The holidays are quickly upon us and I have received emails asking for educational gift recommendations. The following sites I feel are user friendly for parents and provide items that are educational and fun for children of multiple ages. The sites were chosen because I feel after reading and researching more about theses companies, that they themselves help play a positive role in educate as a whole because it is the right thing to do. When we come together for the common good for the right reasons, amazing things can happen and at Unlock the Teacher, we are all about sharing the good!
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ~One of my favorite publishers!
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Group
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group encompasses three award-winning imprints as well as the HMH franchise line and the Graphia and Sandpiper paperback lines. Houghton Mifflin introduced its first list of books for young readers in 1937 and has published such luminaries as H. A. and Margret Rey, Virginia Lee Burton, Bill Peet, Holling C. Holling, Scott O’Dell, and James Marshall; its contemporary authors and illustrators include Chris Van Allsburg, Lois Lowry, Steve Jenkins, Joyce Sidman, Brian Lies, Sy Montgomery, and Allen Say. Houghton Mifflin is also home to some of the best-loved children’s book characters: Curious George, Lyle the Crocodile, George and Martha, Martha of Martha Speaks, and Tacky the Penguin.
Clarion Books became an imprint of Houghton Mifflin in 1979. Clarion’s award-winning authors include David Wiesner, Linda Sue Park, Paul Galdone, Russell Freedman, Karen Cushman, Katherine Paterson, and Gary Schmidt.
Harcourt Children’s Books, known for classics such as The Hundred Dresses and The Little Prince, features notable authors and illustrators such as Avi, Janell Cannon, Lois Ehlert, Mem Fox, Gerald McDermott, Han Nolan, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel, and Don and Audrey Wood.
I recommend that readers young and old check out this online educational store. Notice the authors listed in their bio…amazing! This is a great resource for schools, teacher and parents. Regardless if you are shopping to put a gift under the Christmas tree or enhance the classroom or school library, this is a great resource tool!
Bio: Read everyday. Lead a better life.
I recommend this site and this company. It is cost effective and one can shop and know that most if not all products will enhance a child’s education. I also like the way this company helps schools…I am a HUGE fan of this practice and Unlock the Teacher believes in giving back to the community too!
Bio: Educator, parent & kid testing goes into each product considered for an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award. We don’t accept ads or charge “review fees” from manufacturers or publishers, so you know you’re always getting independent opinions. We have awards for the best toys, books, videos, and audio for kids.
I encourage readers to check out their book and toy recommendations.
Bio: Oceanhouse Media, Inc. is a leading publisher of more than 270 apps for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android and NOOK Color devices. The company’s mantra is “Creativity with Purpose,” developing apps that uplift, educate and inspire.
I recommend that readers check out their amazing book apps! My children own many…they are educational, affordable and fun! A great 21st century tool for the parent.
Bio: Big Idea Entertainment is a leading studio and producer of children’s and family programming, characters and brands. Big Idea’s best-selling series VeggieTales® is the #1 animated home video series in the US with moms of pre-schoolers*. Since 1993, VeggieTales® has sold 54+ million videos, 13 million books and more than 7 million CDs. VeggieTales® and Big Idea’s property, 3-2-1 Penguins!®, enjoyed four seasons as top-rated series on NBC Saturday mornings, Telemundo and ION TV via the qubo® children’s programming block. The studio’s two theatrical releases, Jonah-A VeggieTales Movie® (2002), and Universal Pictures’ and Big Idea’s The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything®-A VeggieTales Movie® (2008), are distinguished among the most successful faith-based films of all time. Big Idea also maintains an extensive presence in publishing, licensing and live entertainment arenas.
I am a huge fan of this company, their vision and their products. They have a range of products for children from pre-K to teenager. I also like their education online games that they offer for children too. If you haven’t taken a look at them or their products, I encourage readers to do so.
I recommend this site because…the learning toys at this site are amazing! The prices are a little higher than one might find in a local reatailer, but the learning potential is high. The goal would be to try to find a toy that your child or student might be able to utilize for a few years to make the purchase a true investment.
These are some of my favorite sites to shop and explore for new educational discoveries. Please share your favorite places to shop this holiday and I will post them here so we can all benefit from positive collaboration.
Have a super day!
May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,
In one of our Writing Workshops in May, I was thrilled to spend time with Amy Foret. She is a young mom who is a wife and a mother of two. Her articulate and well-read daughter is 7 and she has an amazing son who is 5.
Her daughter started reading when she was only 3 1/2, and has been writing stories since she started kindergarten. Now she is in second grade. She reads about a book a night, and writes at least one short story a week.
Please check out and welcome these new writers to WordPress and the writing arena.
For all of our readers who love to get great ideas on books to utilize in classroom or read to your child, we highly recommend Amy’s blog MY Garden Patch of Books.
Please check it our and share your thoughts here on your great reading finds 🙂
I am on my way to VA to meet with Trisha and conduct some Unlock the Teacher LLC “How to ePublish” Workshops…
You learn something every day if you pay attention. ~Ray LeBlond
May we seek knowledge in all things,