Tag Archives: Student

Odyssey of the Mind and Team Building Lessons for the Classroom and Home

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 buildinglessons 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!

Odyssey of the Mind

http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/

Computer Science Unplugged

http://csunplugged.org/

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!

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under Curriculum Resources, Science

Teachers are Planters of Seeds…What Kind of Seeds are you Planting?

As I sit and review my notes for Unlock the Teacher‘s first professional development session for the 2011/2012 school year, I reflect and wonder, what
words can I provide that might inspire and instill hope for all the amazing teachable moments that will happen in the life of the teachers with whom I will be speaking to tomorrow. Teaching is SO much more than a job, I honestly believe it is a calling; an urge that a person feels to make a difference, and is played out in the classroom.

We often think about all the teachable moments that happen throughout the school year for our students, our future. However, I also think of the amazing teachable moments that occur for the individual teacher. I hope that at this time of year, the teacher is reflecting and writing a curriculum map for the school year that will be used as a master plan.

The teacher, who starts the school year, is often different from the one who finishes it. Hopefully, this is the case, as a true reflective practitioner will evolve throughout the year as his/her students will…keeping in mind no two students are alike, no school year should ever mirror another for a teacher.

In regards to a teacher’s master curriculum plan, this is just a tool that is utilized to create lessons full of discovery for each quarter, with one scaffolding on the next to ensure that students are maximizing their potential. However, this is just a plan, as all good teachers know, true
“teachable moments” sometimes just happen and must be capitalized on in the moment.

I have chosen the theme of “Teachers are Planters of Seeds” for tomorrow.  I have had the pleasure of working with this staff on curriculum alignment and I am honored to be asked back into their building on their first day back to school before their eager students arrive next week.

I think as teachers, we have the awesome power to create new worlds in our students’ minds. We can take them to places they might not ever get an opportunity to experience, tell them and show them how to achieve the impossible dream OR we can crush the human spirit with one angry glance or snide comment.

Think about what kind of world we hope to have in the future and remember that it all begins with how we treat our children today, what opportunities we provide, what words of encouragement or defeat did we choose to utilize at the moment of chaos in the classroom. When we train our eyes to see the good and choose to use words to share the good, amazing things can happen!

 

Children Learn What They Live

By Dorothy Law Nolte

 

If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.

If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.

If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.

If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.

If children live with acceptance,
They learn to love.

If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.

If children live with honesty,
They learn truthfulness.

If children live with security,
They learn to have faith in themselves and others.

If children live with friendliness,
They learn the world is a nice place in which to live!

 

What kind of seeds are you getting ready to plant this school year?

May we all continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

 

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Filed under Curriculum Resources, Professional Development Workshops for Educators

Recommended Dolch Phonetic System for Emerging Readers

Example of Teacher-Generated Sound Chart to Help Emerging Readers with Phonics
Dolch Phonetic System Classroom Materials Organization

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.

Dolch List 1


the to and hea I you it ofin was said his thatshe for on they but had

List 2


at him with up all looks her there some out as be have go weak then little down

List 3


do

can

could

when

did

what

so

see

not

were

get

them

like

one

this

my

would

me

will

yes

List 4


big

went

are

come

if

now

long

no

came

ask

very

an

over

your

it

stride

into

just

blue

red

List 5


from

good

any

about

around

want

don’t

how

know

right

put

too

got

take

where

every

pretty

jump

green

four

List 6


away

old

by

their

here

saw

call

after

well

think

let

help

make

going

sleep

ran

brown

yellow

five

six

List 7


walk

two

or

before

eat

again

play

who

been

may

stop

off

never

seven

eight

cold

today

fly

myself

round

List 8


tell

much

keep

give

work

first

try

new

must

start

black

white

ten

does

bring

goes

write

always

drink

once

List 9


soon

made

run

gave

open

has

find

only

us

three

our

better

hold

buy

funny

warm

ate

full

those

done

List 10


use

fast

say

light

pick

hurt

pull

cut

kind

both

sit

which

fall

carry

small

under

read

why

own

found

List 11


wash

show

hot

because

far

live

draw

clean

grow

best

upon

these

sing

together

please

thank

wish

many

shall

laugh

The blends are: bl cl, fl, gl, pl, br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr, sk, sl, sp, st, sw, spr, cr, str

The vowels are: a, e, i, o, u,

 

Objective:

The students will read word cards with accuracy.

Materials:

• Word cards with words that contain familiar spelling patterns (or blends, rimes, digraphs, etc.)

Lesson:

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.

Adaptations:

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!

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise 🙂

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Filed under Dolch Phonetic System and Sight Words to use with Emerging Readers, Interesting Topics, Learning is Fun Lessons/Activities, Promoting Literacy, Recommended Learning Blogs

USA Today Education a Great Resource for Parents and Teachers

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 Grant funded 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,

Denise

PS I almost forgot USA Today Education is also sponsoring a Space Shuttle Art contest now for grades 4-12.  Check it out!

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Filed under Grants and Funding Resources, Hot Topics in Education, Science

A Reader Shares Their Favorite Educational Website…Check it Out and Let us Know!

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.
Thanks!

Bumsoo

Good luck Bumsoo and  Unlock the Teacher LLC team wishes you much success!  We hope many students prosper because of your efforts.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise and the entire Unlock the Teacher LLC Team

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A Fabulous Middle School Teacher Utilizing “Out of the Box” Techniques to Teach Peace

Unlock the Teacher Team travels into many schools and I always enjoy going into St. Mary’s School in Royal Oak.  The atmosphere is inviting and the teachers are friendly.  We wanted to tell you about a fabulous teacher utilizing “out of the box” techniques to teach peace. Linda Irwin teaches middle school literature and even if that knowledge wasn’t known, one could tell just by walking into her cozy room! 

 
While visiting this past week, I coud not help noticing this awesome bulletin board as I walked down the hall in front of this classroom.  I walked in and asked Mrs. Irwin all about it.  The students are reading, Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.
 
Students are working together by individually designing a quilt square that will be added to a “Quilt of Peace” created by the entire class.  I was fortunate to have witnessed one child designing one of these squares, that was beautifully done.  When asked, the students were so excited to share insights from the book and excerpts from the great discussions they were having in class generated around their reading.
 
As a certified ELA teacher, whenever I hear students excited about reading, my heart soars!  Great job Mrs. Irwin for passing on you passion and utilizing relevant and current books to engage your students. 
May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,
Denise
 
 
 
 
If you ever wonder if middle school and high school students are paying attention to business, politics and world affairs, we are in various schools and take every opportunity to ask students about their thoughts…they are very aware of the world around them… AND they have an opinion.
 
We will be utilizing the month of April to shower you with Best Practices we find as we wrap up this school year.  If you know a fabulous teacher and want to tell us about it, we will share it and celebrate with you.  We are blessed to have such dedicated educators in this country. Please join us in celebrating their efforts!
 
May we seek knowledge in all things,
 
Denise 🙂 and the entire Unlock the Teacher Team
 
Email your pics and favorite teacher bios to teachme@unlocktheteacher.com
 

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Six Attitudes of High Achievers…Are You a High Achiever?

This blog is about sharing the good found in all things. Today I read a great article I found on my bookcase in a Franklin/Covey’s Seven Habits Organizer on Noe’s, Peak Performance Principles.

NOTE: Organizer belongs to my husband and I am just realizing that it is chuck-full of great inspirational and leadership advice…this organizer has various inserts that he has pulled out of his planner for the last six years to make one awesome leadership reference tool!

Noe breaks down the attitudes he correlates to those who are high achievers into six easy steps:

  1. High achievers make no small plans. Although he states that big plans attract big people, he reminds his reader that a high achiever recognizes the small everyday choices that build the cornerstone for the big plans.
  2. High achievers are willing to do what they fear. “You don’t conquer fear with clichés, but with action.”  Personally, I love this.  When I was stationary in one classroom, I always had the Latin phrase, acte non verbe on my wall; it quickly became class motto.  Noe states, “That fear is fraud and that only 8% of our fears are legitimate.”
  3. High achievers are willing to prepare. We all can organize, plan and prepare for situations or events in our life, but Noe stresses that the high achiever, “gets more excited about what they are becoming than what they have done.”
  4. High achievers are willing to risk failure. “Failure is not the enemy of success.  It is the teacher-a harsh teacher, but the best if you are going to be a high achiever…you must learn to “fail” your way to high achievement.”  Imagine if we taught this to our children, our students… what a great lesson to learn early in life.  It could help individuals deal with or look at depression, stress and the plethora of negative influences we encounter daily, in a more positive fashion.
  5. High achievers are teachable. Noe explains in this article, that a high achiever seeks knowledge, spends time reading, observing and listening to those around them.  When I was in the Army, the Drill Sergeants in basic training would often state that “if you see another soldier doing something right, adopt it and make it your own.”
  6. High achievers have heart. This point stresses that when we look at the plot in great literature, we usually find conflict.  However, unlike literature, the conflict that often occurs in our lives usually does not have a detailed rising action, which hints to what is ahead…it just happens, in a flash of a second and we either crumble or inhale and rise to meet it head on.  Noe expresses in this piece, that he feels that it is during these times of conflict in our lives that we can be propelled to our highest goals…if only we demonstrate courage, persistence and perspective.

If I did not find the six detailed attitudes for high achievers motivating, Noe’s last paragraph in the article definitely did it for me.  To describe the algorithm of achievement, Noe utilizes the analogy of mountain climbing.  A mountain climber would not go from peak to peak, they would reach peak, travel down again, to experience the thrill of a new adventure with climbing up to another peak.  I found this analogy motivating and a visual reminder I can use when encountering a stressful situation.

If we dedicate ourselves over and over again to the goal of climbing one peak to the next…resisting the urge to become discouraged by the task-every one of us can become a high achiever. ~John R. Noe, Peak Performance

Have a great weekend and may we all continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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