Monday, May 30, 2016

What Do You Want to Know about Me?

Last week I wrote about meeting a blogger I follow in real life.  I shared some questions I want to know about you, my readers.

Today, I want to turn that around.  What do you want to know about me?

My frequent readers already know that I have been teaching in the public schools for twenty-five years.  I took a break from teaching last spring thinking I was never coming back.  Just after Christmas, I returned to the same district as a substitute teacher.  I have worked every day but three doing a variety of jobs.  I love it.

I live in a suburb north of Seattle with my husband, my stepdaughter who is home from college this summer and my cat.

What else do you want to know?


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Quote of the Week--May 29, 2016

"Directions are instructions given to explain how. 
Direction is a vision offered to explain why."

Simon Sinek

Have a good week,

Friday, May 27, 2016

Personification Freebie

What if your recorder could speak? What would it tell you?

Personification -- the attribution of human characteristics to an inanimate object -- is one of my favorite literary devices to teach.  Today's freebie is the page shown below with lines for writing and one without.  It can be used for students to imagine what an object might say if it could speak.

To download this Personification Freebie, please click here.

I have a collection of personification lessons with printables for illustrations. 

Exercises in Personification is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Exercises in Personification is also available in my Teacher's Notebook store.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel was a fascinating read.  Deborah Hopkinson includes the facts of the cholera epidemic in London and what she invented to tell a good story.  Eel is an orphan with a secret who seeks out Dr. John Snow's help when cholera invades his neighborhood.  

I confess I will read almost anything with the word mystery in the title.  This one is worth reading aloud to middle school students.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Seven Questions I Want to Ask You

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a writing conference.  A blogger I follow sat down next to me at lunch and started asking me questions.  At first I was flattered and then I realized that if I were to meet one of you, I would probably do the same thing.

I know only a few of my readers in real life.  A few more comment consistently.  I really don't know much about who reads my blog, but I am hoping to change that.

When I started blogging, I hoped for more of a conversation about teaching.  If we were to have lunch together, here are some things I would want to know:

1. What grades/subjects do you teach?
2. Where do you teach?
3. How long have you been teaching?
4. What type of Artistry of Education posts do you read?
(Sunday quotes, Polite Rants about Teaching, Wednesday book reviews, Freebies for Friday.)
5. What type of posts do you wish I would write?
6. What is your biggest challenge as a teacher?
7. What else would you like to tell me?

I have created a Google Form with these questions and a place for your contact information if you wish to continue the conversation.  I promise not to spam you or give your information to anyone else.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Quote of the Week--May 22, 2016

"Where you start is not as important as where you finish."

Zig Ziglar

Have a good week,

Friday, May 20, 2016

Theme Freebie

Students often confuse theme with main idea.  The graphic organizer shown above has students gather information about the life lesson a particular book teaches.  This same theme can be found in other books.  Main idea, on the other hand, is specific to a particular book.

To download the graphic organizer shown above, please click here.

The theme graphic organizer is a part of my paid product Graphic Organizers for Reading Literature.

Graphic Organizers for Reading Literature is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Graphic Organizers for Reading Literature is available in my Teacher's Notebook store.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. by Greg Pincus

Gregory K. loves poetry yet lives with his family of gifted mathematicians.  To please his parents and get a better grade in math, he enters the city wide mathematics competition.  As someone who loves both poetry and math, I enjoyed every single part of this book.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Quote of the Week--May 15, 2016

"The thing I lose patience with the most is the clock.  Its hands move too fast."

Thomas Edison

Have a good week,

Friday, May 13, 2016

Playing with Words: Terse Verse

What kind of chore must you do to get a costume ready?  
A mask task.
About month ago, I shared a free sample of Terse Verse Volume 1.  A Terse Verse, like the example above, is a riddle that is answered with two rhyming words.

One way I use Terse Verse in my classroom is like a modified game of hangman.  I create a set of dashes on the white board that match the number of letters in the answer.  Then I ask the question and have students guess letters until they guess the answer.

To download the free sample of Terse Verse Volume 2, click here.

To purchase the full 105 Terse Verse Volume 2, please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store or my Teacher's Notebook store.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena has already won several awards including the 2016 Newbery Medal and the 2016 Caldecott Honor Book. C.J. and Nana ride the bus home from church. C. J. wonders why they don't have a car.  Nana shows him beauty in places C. J. doesn't look.

I thought about using this book to illustrate theme.  Previously this spring I shared Mogie: The Heart of the House and Gaston with a graphic organizer to teach them. 

I decided to create a graphic organizer to have students collect events in the story to illustrate the main idea.  I teach my students that the main idea of a book is specific to those characters and plot, but a theme represents the life lesson the book teaches that could be found in other books.

To download the printable for recording the main idea and supporting events, click here.

Here is the graphic organizer for theme.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, May 9, 2016

SBA Testing Starts Today

SBA testing starts today.  My job this year is to make sure the technology is working correctly.  The next three weeks should be hectic.

I've written several posts about testing over the years.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Five Obvious Observations about Standardized Testing

Measurables: Who Did I Help Today?

Another Innovation Designed to Save the World

Some Concerns about Test Scores 

What Are We Measuring?

Despite the recent changes at the federal level, I don't see any of this going away.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Quote of the Week--May 8, 2016

"When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."

Wayne Dyer

Have a good week,

Friday, May 6, 2016

Odd One Out Place Value

Last Friday, I shared an Odd One Out freebie with support for ELLs.  Today's freebie for Friday is Odd One Out Place Value.

To download Odd One Out Place Value, click here.

Odd One Out is a small group activity where students discuss which number of a set of four doesn't belong.  They must justify it with mathematical reasons.  I designed the activity for students to practice their math vocabulary, first orally and then in writing on a group chart.

For this lesson, I would make sure that students have access to base ten blocks to see relative amounts.  For ELL students, I would make sure they know the words: tens, ones, and hundreds place.

Odd One Out Measurement is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers and my Teacher's Notebook stores.  There are six activities for the metric system and six for conventional measurement.  I included a bonus scavenger hunt activity to use as an in class station or homework page.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sick Simon by Dan Krall

Simon is spreading his germs everywhere. He is making everyone else sick. Will he ever learn?

This book would fit in well with my Healthy Habits poster project which you can download free at my Teachers Pay Teachers store and my Teacher's Notebook store.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Obnoxious Advertising

A blogger I have met in real life writes about homesteading.  I love her blog and used to enjoy visiting.  Recently she signed up for a ad service.  The ads overwhelm the site and interfere with loading the content.  Sometimes I can't even read what she has written because the pop ups cover her words and won't go away.  Don't get me started on the competing videos that are unrelated to her topic.

Teacher Tube used to be a wonderful resource.  I was trying to show a two minute video to a class I was working in.  There were so many ads that the browser crashed and the virus software was set off.  Yes, I know I can pay for an ad-free service, but to be honest I don't use them enough to justify that. Their "free" service was useless and they have lost me as a customer.

I understand that people are trying to monetize their blogs and sites, but when the ads cover the message and prevent it from loading, there's a problem.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Quote of the Week--May 1, 2016

"If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time."

Zig Ziglar

Have a good week,

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