Friday, November 30, 2012

Freebie: 15 Terse Verse

My students and I have been having fun with Terse Verse riddles.  In case you don't know, Terse Verse is a question that is answered with two words that rhyme.  For example:

What do you call a letter that arrives by train?
Rail mail

I created a freebie called 15 Terse Verse to share the fun with you.  This product is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers storeThis is also available in my Teacher's Notebook store.

I hope you and your students enjoy.

Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dumpling Days by Grace Lin

I discovered the author Grace Lin the year my niece was adopted from Taiwan.  I enjoy reading her Pacy Lin series which is somewhat autobiographical.  I have learned a little about Taiwan and one family's celebrations through Grace Lin's writing and subscribe to her newsletter. 

Dumpling Days is about the Lin's family month in Taiwan visiting family.  Pacy is honest about her struggles with being Taiwanese and American.  Her descriptions of the food make me hungry.

Here is a descriptive writing graphic organizers based on the five senses.  Students can use it to analyze Lin's description of a family gathering or use it to develop their own writing.

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Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Unusual Thanksgiving Part 2

I gave myself the writing prompt from November 16: My Unusual Thanksgiving List Poem.
My result is a list poem called Thanksgiving on My Uncle's Farm.  I published it on my poetry blog Poems of Silliness.
I know I teach writing better when I write regularly.  I know I teach reading better when I read the books my students are interested in.
Next year I may give this writing prompt as homework.  I found when I needed to write a poem about my experience to share with my class, I pay attention to the details

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Quote of the Week -- November 25, 2012

"Here's a hint: learning is not done to you. Learning is something you choose to do."

“Here’s a hint: learning is not done to you.  Learning is something you choose to do.” 

Seth Godin from Stop Stealing Dreams section 16 “School is expensive”

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Teachers Notebook Sale

I know many of you have Teachers Notebook accounts.  I just wanted to let you know that Teachers Notebook is having a sale and I'm joining in.  Everything in my store is 25%. Hope you find something you need for your classroom.

Friday, November 23, 2012

As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins

Ry misses a train and begins a journey that may not be totally believable, but is a lot of fun to follow.  While he is trying to get home, we get scenes from other family members and their adventures.  I enjoyed how the plots and points of view worked together to make a whole.

Update June 2014: I created a free printable worksheet to analyze an event from multiple characters' points of view.

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Find me at Goodreads.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Monday Sale

Next Monday and Tuesday, Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting a Cyber Monday (plus Tuesday) Sale.  Many sellers will discount their stores up to 20%.  If you use the Checkout Code CMT12, you will receive a total of 28% off.

My entire Teachers Pay Teachers store is 20% Monday and Tuesday.  This discount includes my brand new items:

Scenarios for Sequencing and


Scenarios for Making Inferences.

The 3AM Teacher is having a link up with other sellers who are participating.  You can visit her blog to participate in the link up.  Below are other sellers who are participating in the sale.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Test Scores Don't Measure What We Really Want

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Math Night at our school and watched as our students engaged in math through games and stations.  It is so different from the way our adopted curriculum expects us to teach.

The next morning, I read Seth Godin's blog post called "Avoiding the False Proxy."  The idea is that when we can't measure what we need, we invent a proxy.  "Once you find the simple proxy and decide to make it go up, there are lots of available tactics that have nothing at all to do with improving the very thing you set out to achieve in the first place."

Those of us in education have experienced a long list of these tactics.  Quality education is difficult to measure.

How would you measure eduction?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quote of the Week -- November 18, 2012

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” 

Will Durant

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Unusual Thanksgiving List Poem

Write a list poem called My Unusual Thanksgiving.  Try to include images and events that are not typical of a Thanksgiving dinner on TV.  What makes the way you and your family celebrate Thanksgiving unique?

This writing prompt was inspired by a parent who shared her poetry with our class.  Her Thanksgiving includes Hawaiian and East Indian traditions.

Thanksgiving in my family means getting an advent calendar from my grandmother.

What are your unique traditions?

If you need more directions to write a list poem, I have a free download at my Teachers pay Teachers store. 

Update:  I added on to this idea here.  My poem about My Unique Thanksgiving is on Poems of Silliness.
Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

I love to read a good mystery and I was excited to discover this series that I can recommend to my students.  Unless you just came out of a Rip Van Winkle like slumber, you know that John Grisham writes for adults.  I enjoyed this series, because he explains the legal system in terms my fourth, fifth and sixth graders will understand.  The suspense is appropriate for this age group.  What I appreciated the most is that the main character talks with his parents when faced with challenges.  It doesn't take away from his ability to solve the problems.
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Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, November 12, 2012

100% Participation

I just had to celebrate something that doesn't happen very often -- at least in my world.  This year I had 100% participation in parent conferences.  I can't remember a year when every child in my class had a parent who came to parent teacher conferences.  There are some children whose parents I never met.  I would try to contact them, but we never connected.

The other half of this celebration is that no parent was surprised at what I shared at the conference.  Some years I have shared evidence that a child is not at standard and received anger.  (Then I went to the previous teachers to find out this was a habitual response.)  I am excited about what can happen in a class where parents and teachers are truly working together.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quote of the Week -- November 11, 2012

"When those in charge give resources and guidance to those not in charge, then let go to allow them to take responsibility, that's leadership."

Simon Sinek

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rounding on the 100s Chart -- Free Math Tool Kit

I was reviewing rounding with my students the other day when I had this idea for remediation that worked with several of my struggling students.  I gave them each a 100s chart that I modified to look like this:

We practiced rounding to the nearest 10 with the chart like this.  Then I added zeros to one of the rows like this:

I showed how they could round to the nearest 100 this way.  I asked each student where they would find a three digit number on this modified chart.  Once they could do that, they could see how to round.  I was able to talk them through rounding to 1000s this way.

I know this lesson was successful, because one of the students was able to explain this method to another student coming back from Learning Support.

For a Free Math Tools Kit, visit my Teachers pay Teachers store.

My Free Math Tools Kit is also available in my Teacher's Notebook store.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Airman by Eoin Colfer

This book reminded me somewhat of The Count of Monte Cristo.  A man is imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit and he must overcome many obstacles to claim his rightful place.  Airman might be a challenging read for some students, but I know several intermediate students who will be pulled along by a good story.

If you want to discuss this book in class, you can use my Elements and Events as a means to determining the important characters and situations in the book.  Click here for a free download.

To find out more about my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vote Because You Can

Last week one of my students shared a little about how her parents left their country for the United States because the government was killing its own people.  In the middle of political advertising season, it was good for me to take a moment and appreciate what we have.

Tomorrow we decide many issues.  We can approve the current government, or we can peacefully choose a new one.  I won't use this blog to tell you how to vote, but I encourage you to vote.

I do have to say, I still can't wait for Wednesday morning when I can be free of the political ads.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Quote of the Week -- November 4, 2012

“An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know.  It’s being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.”

Anatole France

Friday, November 2, 2012

Word Central

Have you explored Word Central?
Merriam-Webster has a website for students where they can build their vocabulary and it has resources for teachers too.
Build Your Own Dictionary is a feature where students invent definitions for words and can read what others wrote.
Daily Buzzword is this site's Word of the Day.
The Games are ones I would allow my students to play during the school day.
I like the Browse section where students can explore new words.

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