This is an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G site for teachers to utilize really grades 2 on up. Students can create animated cartoon strips by utilizing a combination of drawing, dictating and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events. This site also has a homework component…great vocabulary builder and speaks to the visual learner.
Given all the many online resources available to both educators and parents alike, one can spend a whole week educating our youth on days like today…President’s Day and answering the who, what, where and why questions that arise.
The Teacher’s Guide is a fabulous resource site, that provides lesson plans, tips on integrating technology, White Board lessons and so much more.
Utilizing Character Journals/Scrapbooks in the Classroom
Sue Martin, a middle school language arts/literature teacher has allowed us to utilize these great pieces of student’s work. Students were given a rubric to create a scrapbook/journal in the eyes of one of the characters in the book they were reading. As the pictures demonstrate, this is a unique and fun assignment for student and teacher and can be modified for various age groups.
"The Lying Game""The Lying Game" scrapbook on the inside"Wait till Helen Comes""Wait til Helen Comes" scrapbook on the inside
"Wait til Helen Comes" Character Scrapbook"Harry Potter" Character Journal
"Wicked" Character Journal
"Wicked" Character Scrapbook on the inside
I find these pictures creative and I have no doubt that the students had a great time identifying with the characters in the books they read as they created these wonderful assignments.
The time of year is upon us, when we take time out to show the teacher(s) in our lives, just how much we appreciate them and all they do for our children…our future! During the school year, on average a child spend 7+ hours a day with his/her teacher. This is 35 hours+ a week. Once we get our children up, we might have one rushed hour a day before school then maybe (and this is a stretch) we might have three quality hours after school before they go to bed. That is approximately 4 hours a day we have with our children. This is 20 hours during the week from Monday-Friday.
Given all this, it is clear to see the importance of choosing just the right school (because our children spend a lot of time in them) and appreciating the wonderful teachers who give of their time and talent to help prepare our children for the future.
The following are our recommended gift ideas (NOTE: Many are items I received and appreciated over the many years in education.)
Visa, Mastercard or Amex Gift Cards…gives educators the choice to shop at teacher stores, online etc.
Barnes and Noble Gift Card~ I have not met one teacher in my years in classroom or now working with many, who do not purchase books for their classroom…Given that we sell our academic eBooks at BarnesandNoble.com, we are bias and LOVE this book store!
An Electric Pencil Sharpener
An Assortment of Purple, Red and Green Pens
An Assortment of Yellow High Lighters
A Case of Clorox Wipes…no kidding, unless there is a child allergic, teachers LOVE this item…we all want to be germ free!
While in a school today (St. Mary SchoolRoyal Oak, Michigan), I stopped to look at these fabulous displays of creativity. Not only was this hallway display colorful and creative, it was educational and funny!
We would love to share your classroom Best Practices with our readers. It is in this collaborative process, that we all grow as educators…as parents…as a society! Good ideas are meant to be shared. We try to share them as often as we can!
As the school year has just begun and we are busy in schools, I thought I would share a couple of great sites that offer “team building” lessons for students. We are excited to hear from and meet new teachers this year. I think that these sites provide great problem-solving scenarios for students to work through and can enhance any lesson in any discipline and be modified for any age to meet the needs of all students. Enjoy and have a super school year full of many new discoveries!
Computer Science Unplugged is a great site to utilize in the classroom because it offers creative scenarios to solve or work through without utilizing a computer. This site has various activities for both teachers and parents to utilize with students to enhance team building and higher-order thinking.
I love to know your thoughts, ideas or lessons found successful in enhancing these skills. Together we can make a difference!
Given our economy, professional development has been slim for many educators. There is a plethora of free webinars online. Have fun learning!
Life is busy and for those of us who do not have time to attend a class for learning or pleasure, webinars can be just the tool needed to achieve our goal. Given technology, webinars can be the next best thing for teachers too.
PBS Teachers Live Should be in Every Teacher’s Toolbox
PBS Teachers Liveoffers a wealth of webinars in many areas across the disciplines. For example, if a teacher were interested in educating students about Earth Day in April (hopefully), then PBS Teachers Live would be
a valuable tool. Teachers sign up for free and log on to various webinars, full of ideas, lesson plans and across the curriculum connections, to name a few.
Exploring Middle School MiddleWeb is a blog powered by Typepad. They are a promoter of 21st Century Learning and offer live and archived webinars. Check out the latest webinar: The National Middle School Association is teaming up with the NSF-funded Middle School Portal to offer “Free math and Science Webinars”…the goal was to not only make the training affordable but user friendly; teachers could watch from home.
The life of a teacher is very demanding and organization is necessary. This is also true for those entrusted to lead and provide professional development for their educational staff. Given this amazing age of technology, regardless of budget, there is no reason that professional development is not occurring within schools.
All of the webinars posted here in this article, can be utilized to strengthen and enrich any school faculty. Time can be manipulated and educators can watch at their own pace or educators can be assembled and view webinar as a whole and collaborate in groups afterwards. This type of professional development is only going to increase not decrease as we progress further into the world of technology. There are many curriculum developers/professional development trainers, who utilize programs like these mentioned to create meaningful professional development for educators around the world.
Given our economy, we are going to need to be more creative with our training. Training cannot stop due to funding. Teachers still need to be prepared to teach the 21-Century student, we just need to be creative. MSN as created a fabulous tool for any organization looking to create “living” documents. For educators, this tool can be multi-faceted and utilized with students or within a building for aligning curriculum. This is just two of unlimited possibilities with OneNote. Check out the free OneNote Webinar below for further details.
OneNote and Education:
This MSDN blog was created to have a dialog about OneNote and education, including sharing ideas, resources, and building community with teachers, students and faculty.
Parents are the first teachers. All of these webinars mentioned are open to anyone interested in learning and changing the life of a child. This will be one of many articles written on the topic of professional development within the world of education. There is a plethora of free programs out there for all of us to learn and use, to meet the needs of our children,
Dolch Phonetic System Classroom Materials Organization
Use a plastic file cube to store materials. One hanging folder for each Dolch list will hold all of the game and practice materials. Add a 2nd hanging files for each Dolch list to hold flashcard sheets to give to a student when he/she moves to a new Dolch list. The student takes this list home for practice. Keep your record binder in the cube too.
It might be helpful to print the materials for each list in a particular color. This makes it easy to get stray flashcards and other materials back into the correct folder.
laminate or use clear contact paper on the flashcards. Laminate or contact the whole sheet before cutting. This helps, because the students love to review with them and they can go home once completed for additional review.
Game boards, bingo cards etc. can be laminated or placed in plastic sleeves. Three hole punched plastic sleeves are very cheap at Costco. They are actually a much cheaper and a faster way to protect the game boards. (I hole punch the cards to and put on ring sometimes for the students.)
Give each student a practice booklet to keep. The student brings the booklet to testing sessions. The teacher can write helpful hints in the booklet for the student and “stamp, star or sticker” completed lists.
Record Keeping:Maintain a pocketed binder for student and class records.Store testing lists and or testing flashcards in the pocket of the binder.Maintain individual records, a class graph, and a status of the class.
Test each student every week or two. They will “bug” you to test them. As a teacher, you will begin to see their confidence rise. In a regular classroom setting, teachers can grab a couple of minutes here and there for testing: during SSR, during an art project, while at the computer lab or library etc. Regular testing does not have to be
built into the schedule.
I prefer to do my own testing, so I can observe errors and help the student by giving little individual mini-lessons. If you use an aide or volunteer to test, make sure you demonstrate to them how you want your testing done. You are seeking automatically with the words. If the student takes more than a count to 5 to read the word, he/she doesn’t know the word well enough.
• Word cards with words that contain familiar spelling patterns (or blends, rimes, digraphs, etc.)
Tell the students that they will be reading cards with familiar word patterns. Then,
1. Ask a student to read the first word card. Give the student no more than three seconds to answer.
2. If the student reads the card correctly, place it face down on the table. If the student cannot read
the card, tell him or her what the word is, emphasizing the pattern, and place the unread or misread card in front of the student.
3. Show the following word card to the next student, repeating step 2. Repeat until all word cards have been read or given to students.
4. Have the students who have cards in front of them attempt to read those words again. If they are able to read the card quickly and easily, take it back.
5. If a student misreads any words again, have the student keep the card and ask him or her to practice reading it.
To check for comprehension, ask students to use each word in a complete sentence.
Instead of using word patterns, use cards with sight words written on them, and have the students use the words in sentences.
This is a great activity for parents to use with their emerging readers at home too. There are many weeks left to summer, Happy Reading!
While in Virginia for some training, I have been reading USA Today every morning thanks to Hilton hotels. I forget what great resource of information it is. Given this, I wanted to check out USA Today online to see if there was any educational resources that could be shared here on our blog. Not to my surprise, the following information was given and is such a great resource for educators, that I decided to share:
High Schools That Work (HSTW) is an effort-based school improvement initiative founded on the conviction that most students can master rigorous academic and career/technical studies if school leaders and teachers create an environment that motivates students to make the effort to succeed.
USA TODAY Education sessions at High Schools That Work are designed to help school leaders and teachers find new ways to implement school and classroom practices that improve student motivation and achievement ~ so that more students graduate from high school ready for college, advanced training and careers in the 21st-century economy.
If this bit of information is not tailored to your classroom, this site also offers a Classroom Newspaper Grantfunded by Marriott Hotels. Newspapers are a great reading resource for students of all ages…
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam~ I’ll either find a way or make one!
May we seek knowledge in all things,
PS I almost forgot USA Today Education is also sponsoring a Space Shuttle Art contest now for grades 4-12. Check it out!
One of our readers would like to share their website. We love to collaborate and share, so check out this webiste and let us know if it was a good recommendation or not…
Dear Unlock the Teacher Team,
I’d like to share our website brightstorm(www.brightstorm.com). We cover most math, science subjects of junior/senior high students, and are going to expand it to other subjects. We have thousands of free high quality videos for every possible textbook topic and practice problems for every topic will be added this summer, too. Also, we’re now developing a convenient tool for teachers to create supplemental materials using our content. All this is and will be free as far as I know(I’m the CEO….). Seeing my daughter’s math teacher recommended our site during her back to school night presentation, I guess it will be helpful for other teachers and students, too.
Good luck Bumsoo and Unlock the Teacher LLC team wishes you much success! We hope many students prosper because of your efforts.