Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Three Ways to Survive Back to School Meetings

I hate meetings.

I don't enjoy talking about the work.  I want to do the work.

We talk in circles for the designated amount of time. We accomplish nothing.  

Sometimes I think we have a meeting so we can check off that we have had a certain number of meetings.

Today is the day of back-to-school meetings.  I thought I would share a few of my strategies I use to survive.

1. Drink plenty of water.  This keeps me alert and also gives me a reason to excuse myself every 45-60 minutes.

2. Bring a pen and notebook.  I do take some notes, but I also can write my own to-do list in the margins.  This is the old school way of having an extra browser window open.

3. Focus on the people in the room.  There are some good reasons for having face-to-face conversations.  I adore my colleagues and will be glad to spend time with them.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Quote of the Week--August 28, 2016

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."

Frederick Douglass

Have a good week,

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Case of the Stolen Sixpence by Holly Webb

I was checking out a stack of books from the local library and found a book from this mystery series by Holly Webb.  The Case of the Stolen Sixpence is book one in the Mysteries of Maisie Hitchens.  Maisie is an aspiring detective who uses her investigative skills to help others.  First she must finish her chores in her grandmother's boarding house.

The stories are set in Sherlock Holmes' London.  They are appropriate for middle grade readers who like mysteries.

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

Monday, August 22, 2016

Artistry of Education Announcement

Artistry of Education

For the last four years I have posted four times a week following this pattern:

Sunday-- Quote of the Week
Monday--Teacher Tips and Polite Rants about Teaching
Wednesday--Book Reviews

It's time to adjust this schedule to twice a week.  I love sharing ideas on this blog, but it is a huge time commitment.  I'm entering a new season in life and need to direct that time in other places.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Quote of the Week--August 21, 2016

"Go as far as you can see. When you get there, you'll be able to see farther."

Zig Ziglar

Have a good week,

Friday, August 19, 2016

Science Experiment Posters

In Washington State, fifth graders have to take the Science Measurement of Student Progress--M.S.P. for short.  The scenarios follow a certain format: question, prediction, materials, procedures, data, and conclusion.
 I make sure that the science experiments we do in class in fourth and fifth grade fit these six steps.  I created the posters you see in this post to put up in the classroom and refer to during experiments.

When it comes to listing the materials and procedures, I talk to my students about the importance of replication.  When scientists publish their results, they must include all the information necessary for someone else to repeat the experiment and get the same results.  Something isn't considered proven until many people follow the directions for themselves.
 All of the science units I have created for my Teachers Pay Teachers store follow this format.
To download this free set of science experiment posters, please click here.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dash by Kirby Larson

Before Pearl Harbor is bombed, Mitsi Kashino had a happy life with friends, family and her dog Dash.  Afterward Mitsi is mistreated at school and in her neighborhood.  Then her family must move to an incarceration camp with others of Japanese descent.  Mitsi has to leave her dog behind. What will she do?

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Classroom Management Strategies

Today's post may help me more than it helps any of my readers.  I am going back to full time teaching after taking last year off.  In the next few weeks I need to recreate a classroom management system.  I am so glad I blog.  I don't have to remember what I did.  I just have to look it up here.

After reviewing my posts tagged "Classroom Management," here are a few strategies I plan to implement this year. 

Privileges and Coupons: An Incentive System for Good Behavior
I know many teachers implement similar systems.  This post explains how I use it in my classroom and gives you free downloads.
 Classroom Procedures Review-- Here is where I list the procedures I teach students at the beginning of the year.  I leave a filled out copy in my substitute folder.

I will definitely use Rights, Responsibilities, and Privileges in setting up the culture of my fifth grade highly capable classroom.  Students define each term and come up with examples.  It is a good place to start creating classroom rules.

 For students who need a reminder of the correct behavior in class, I have them write sentences--not the old-fashioned way of filling a chalkboard, but one to three sentences to get them back on track.  Read the posts about Sentences to find out how I use these and get a copy of my reminders.

My post on If...Then charts was popular last year.  If you have a student that needs a behavior intervention, this helps.  I anticipate needing this strategy again this year.

Another strategy I have used with individual students is a buddy class.  Read this post here if you want to know how buddy classes worked for me and download a free printable form.

You can click here for all of my posts on Classroom Management.  I'm sure I will add to this topic this year.

If you have questions about any of these strategies, please include them in the comments.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Quote of the Week--August 14, 2016

"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."
Albert Einstein

Have a good week,

Friday, August 12, 2016

Reset Button Revisited

When I originally shared this writing prompt, it was at the end of a school year and my idea was to have students write what they would change about their school year.  This year I was thinking about using it as a twist on the "What I Did This Summer" writing assignment.
 To download the printable form shown above, click here.

When I first created this assignment, I had just turned in my resignation as a teacher.  I didn't think I would be back.  

I took a year off and I am returning to the classroom this fall. It's my own version of the reset button.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

Zane is visiting his grandmother in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hits the city.  He is separated from her and spends the next several days surviving and learning about the community where his father grew up.

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

Monday, August 8, 2016

ELL Book Study Wrap-up

This summer I shared the eight features of the SIOP model as presented in the book Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners.  Here are the eight features linked to the posts for each one:

Lesson Preparation
Building Background
Comprehensible Input
Practice and Application
Lesson Delivery
Review and Assessment

I highly recommend the book and/or the class if you get a chance to take it.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Quote of the Week--August 7, 2016

"Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots."

Victor Hugo

Have a good week,

Friday, August 5, 2016

My Most Popular Picture Writing Prompt

Every week for awhile, this picture of my cat has gotten high traffic from Pinterest.  It started with a writing assignment I created called The Case of the Missing Goldfish.  (No goldfish were harmed in the creation of this assignment.)

This was my original picture, but the one of my most likely suspect was more popular.

If you are studying mysteries, here is a printable copy of a police report.
Here is a printable copy of a missing poster.
The one shown above works well for a bulletin board.
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Author/illustrator Cece Bell lost her hearing as a young child and had to wear a bulky hearing aid to school.  She shares her experiences in a graphic novel memoir.

I don't usually share graphic novels as a read aloud, but this book develops empathy for students with disabilities.  I would share it with a document camera with the whole class.

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

Monday, August 1, 2016

Reviewing and Assessing an ELL Lesson

The final feature of the SIOP model is Review and Assessment.  It is important to review the objectives from the beginning of the lesson at the end.  The students need to recognize that they have learned the goals for this unit of instruction.

Of course assessment can be informal and ongoing.  Most teachers can see who understands the material and who doesn't by roving the room, listening to conversations, and looking over shoulders at student work.  This helps me know if I need to reteach the whole group, review with a small group, or just make an adjustment for a student or two.

Because of the system we are in, at some point I need to give a final assessment for a grade.  It is important that students know what they are expected to do to earn a particular grade.  Because I have separated the language and content expectations at the beginning, I can assess each and communicate the results with students and families.

To review all of the posts in this series, please click here or the tag marked "Comprehensible Content."  I would love to hear how you incorporate this strategies in your classroom.

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