Here’s the link for a Michaels 45% off coupon: 45% off
Here’s another one for 20% off your total purchase (including sale items): 20% off
Here’s a link to Scholastic’s article on avoiding the Summer slide (regressing in reading comprehension during the summer): http://shop.parenthood.com/blog/goodreadds/2011/04/26/avoid-the-summer-slide/
Attention, Elementary school teachers. Sign your class up for Scholastic’s Word Girl Definition Competition. Although there was a deadline of April 22, 2011 to sign up for the classroom kit, it’s not too late to sign up for the live webcast today @ 10 a.m. P.S.T. or 1 p.m. E.S.T.
Here’s the link if you’d like to sign up for the competition: http://www.scholastic.com/wordgirldefinitioncompetition/
Competition: noun (kom-pi-tish-uhn) a contest between two or more people
Inspired by the educational objectives of the WordGirl television show, which airs daily on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings), the WordGirl Definition Competition from Scholastic is a way to engage your students with vocabulary words in an entertaining and interactive context. During the 30-minute, live webcast, students will enrich their vocabulary and have fun in the process! And, as Scholastic’s official Ambassador of Summer Reading WordGirl will kickoff the Scholastic Summer Challenge to get students excited about books and reading all summer long!
The Definition Competition will consist of three short rounds plus a bonus round. In a game-show setting, students will put their vocabulary skills in practice as they are asked questions pertaining to word usage, definitions, using words in different contexts and reading comprehension. Your class will play along, in real-time, by submitting answers online during the webcast and may be called out during the event! Plus, by registering for the Definition Competition, your class and school will automatically be entered into the WordGirl Definition Competition Sweepstakes for a chance to win books and WordGirl prizes! Click here to learn more and read official rules.
Prepare your students for the Definition Competition! Register today to receive your Event Kit*, which offers kids practice with skills featured in the Webcast:
For more information about the WordGirl Definition Competition, read the Webcast FAQ.
Finally!!! As of 12:30 today, I am officially on Spring Break. It seems like it took so long. What am I going to do with myself, you ask? I’m going to do absolutely nothing, sleep, & volunteer at my daughter’s school. What I’m about to do right now is take a nap. So, good-bye for now.
Dear Spring Break,
I am upset with you. It’s even worse than my distaste for Friday. You only come around once a YEAR!!! The kids are so excited to see you that they become unruly. Then you only stay for one week. SERIOUSLY???? Do you even love me??? Even though I know the answer is a resounding NO, I am so ready for you. Unfortunately, so are my students. That’s the worst thing about Spring Break. They are particularly unruly. I simply cannot wait for Thursday. I guess I’ll see you then! I’ll be waiting!
Yes, I am harping on Friday’s mistreatment of yours truly. I know I’ve written about this before, but it bears revisiting. I have a bone to pick with Mr. Friday. I’m beginning to think he’s cheating on me. Just think about it. He’s never available on Mondays, Tuesdays or any other day during the week, for that matter. I can’t just call him up & have him drop by anytime I want him. He is constantly missing in action & never available when I need him. He’s only available at the end of the week.
Why, if I didn’t love him so much, I would just up & leave him. Why does he treat me so badly??? I really want to see him, especially since I’m waiting for Spring Break. I want to spend all my time with him. I was even going to introduce him to my friends Lazy Bone Jones and Leave-Me-Alone-I’m-On-Vacation! He really doesn’t know what he’s missing. I call him and call him, but, no return call. I have tried not to be so weak, but when he does finally get around to calling me back, I feel so special. You know what? I’m mad at him but I will still make time for him in a few short hours.
So, Friday, you treat me wrong and you haven’t called me in six days, but I will see you tomorrow. I LOVE YOU!!!
My philosophy: I believe in educating the whole child. I want to discuss what I mean by educating the whole child. When I assume responsibility for a student, I wear many hats. I take on the role of teacher, second mother, counselor, nurse, & a whole host of other jobs. I work on their social, emotional, & physical well-being. I make sure they: bring back their homework, do their class work, understand important concepts, get along with other students, eat, work on bad habits, etc. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I can think of for now.
I say/write all that to say that I put in a lot of work with my students. Students don’t leave my class the same way they came. I say that with all humility. They change for the better. I’m sure there are many teachers, also, that can say the same. That is why, I know it is not unreasonable to expect my students to behave, complete class work and homework, treat others fairly & do their best.
I’m writing today because of my student who stole from another. I have been working with him since September. I feel like I failed in some way. I always feel like this when something like this happens.I just feel that all of the religious concepts he’s been taught in my class & in CCD that he would show a little remorse for what he’s done. He has shown none. I feel like the small punishment I gave him (taking all his money & not letting him buy from the classroom store) isn’t enough. I feel he’s just going to do it again.
So I ask the questions again. Am I asking for too much? Should I expect them to do their class work? Their homework? Should I expect them to be better people? Should I feel this disappointed when they don’t? Am I asking for too much???
I know only I can answer the question that I’m asking, but I’m asking anyway. Am I asking too much of my student? I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. Am I so overworked because I’m asking too much of my students???
My answer: No, I am not!
One of the benefits of working at a Catholic school is getting to talk to the students about religion or religious concepts when they have broken a school rule or life rule. Thank goodness we are currently studying the Seven Sacraments in Religion. Today, of all days, we were studying Reconciliation. Can I just say that I love working at a Catholic school? If I were in a public school, I would not have had that to fall back on. I took advantage of that fact to get Chip to take the first step in Reconciliation, which is admitting what you did. I will get straight to the point and make a long story short, Chip admitted that he took the eraser. I took his money, banned him from buying from the class store for 2 weeks, made him write a letter to his mother detailing what he did, & left him with an admonition to think of a way to earn my trust again.
Quite frankly, I don’t know what he can do, but I am willing to give it a shot, as long as he doesn’t steal anything else. Boy, teaching is sure complicated!
Well, I’ve solved the mystery of who the thief is in my class. I wasn’t surprised. This kid in question, Chip, who tried to steal something today told me, awhile ago, that he’d stolen a book from a kid at his last school. He got a chuckle out of it & was quite proud of it. So, when the last items disappeared, I kept my eye on him.
Today, I was really mad about the stealing, so I sent two students to get the Principal. Once she told my class that they would have no Recess or Lunch play for the whole week unless the eraser miraculously appeared on my desk, we got results. Chip “miraculously” found the eraser right by his desk. This was, of course, after he rifled through his backpack.
I am so mad I could spit. I don’t want him thinking there is nothing he can do to win my trust back, but seriously there’s nothing he can do to win my trust back. I am not going to let him buy from my classroom store & since the penalty is the loss of all money, I will take all his money tomorrow. But, I need advice on this. Am I being too harsh? What would you do?
I’ve been working all morning. My plan is to finish up my 4th grade Social Studies Lesson plans & MUST DO Packets. I completed the outlining during Christmas break. Now, that that’s done, I am completing the MUST DO Packets for the last six chapters. As I write this, I’ve already completed the packets for Chapters 7-11. I just need to finish Chapters 12-13. Thank goodness they’re not very long. I’m going to take a break, then attack the last two chapters.
After that, it’s on to my Math & Science lesson planning during Spring Break. I’ve got my work cut out for me. As a matter of fact, I may not even complete any work during Spring Break. My children will be back at school, so that means a lot of time with my husband. I don’t know, Only time will tell.
Actually, the title is meant to be ironic. I am not complacent. I do not have time to be. It seems as if every time I get a little comfortable with my teaching methods, record keeping or otherwise, something comes along to knock that idea right out of my head.
My most recent tussle with complacency began because I was prett-ay impressed with myself. You see, I changed my Reading packet format and consequently was able to complete my reading lesson plans for the rest of the year. Not only that, I was so happy that I was able to move my 4th grade so quickly.
Well, all of that came to a crashing end today as I welcomed my new students. They are extremely low. This is not a problem though. I will simply do my job and work with them. It makes my job a little harder, but as always, I will do my job and do what I need to do. Here’s to complacency and not going there!
I am beat. I am SO looking forward to Spring Break. I need a break. David & Phillise get Spring Break the week of April 17. Unfortunately my Spring Break begins the week after. So, that means my children will be in school while I am on vacation. YAYYYYYY!!!!!!! I would like to spend some time with them. I’m not heartless. I do care, but I NEED a break. So, think what you want. I will be on vacation while my kids are in school. NAH, NAH, NAH, NAH, NAH!!!
This post is about two things. The first reason I’m writing this post is to explain how my classroom works. The second reason is because I am so proud of one of my students, who I’ll call Michael. Like to hear the story, here it goes. I make MUST DO Packets for my students for Social Studies, Reading, & Phonics. I didn’t make it up. It’s a remnant of my L.A.U.S.D. days when the students were required to do Independent Work Time (I.W.T.) to allow teachers to work with students who need extra help. I don’t work for L.A.U.S.D. any more but have borrowed the concepts and made them my own for my students since they need to work independently for each subject.
I’m not sure how other combination classes are run, but I’ve borrowed a little of this from L.A.U.S.D. and a little of that from other schools where I’ve worked. So, my classroom is especially suited to me.
This is how I set my class up. I teach two grades. I have MUST DO Packets for Social Studies, Reading, & Phonics. For the Social Studies Packet, the book is structured so that each chapter is split up into 3 or 4 lessons. So, I used to split the packet into three-four parts & give the students packets weekly. I realized it would be better for me to give them the packets in one big packet. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it has been working.
To get back to why I’m proud of Michael. I found his Social Studies MUST DO Packet and realized he he was on Lesson 1, while the rest of the 4th grade was beginning Lesson 3. “Umm, Michael?,” I said, “Why are you still on Lesson 1? We haven’t been on Lesson 1 for at least a week.
He just looked and said nothing. That was on last Thursday. By Monday, he’d caught up to the rest of the fourth grade.
“Good job, Michael!” I said.
Now, back to how my classroom works. I have the MUST DO Packets during Social Studies, Reading (Reading Comprehension Packets which I have recently changed to Vocabulary & Spelling Journal). I split the specified amount of time in half. In the morning, I have Religion (30 minutes) & Reading (45 minutes). So, I have to split the time in half & rotate for all subjects. That leaves 15 minutes with me for each group for Religion with 15 minutes independent time. That’s where the MUST DO Packets come in. The students have to have something to do. Firstly, to satisfy the time requirements for each subject & to keep them busy. Have you ever seen a group of kids with nothing to do? Yeah, I thought so! I have a table in back of the class where I can keep an eye on all the students as I work with the other students. For those students who get off task, that’s where my classroom management system comes in. There are various fees for disrupting the class and not staying on task.
So, that’s basically it in a nutshell. That’s how my classroom works!
After attending the training, I have been so inspired. The trainer, Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacob, challenged all in attendance to prepare their students for the year 2031 by becoming more computer savvy and introduce our students to an online source to replace a traditional source. I accepted her challenge by introducing my students to the Visual Thesaurus to complete their work for their Reading packet which I recently redesigned. I changed their weekly packets from Reading Response Journals to Vocabulary & Spelling Journals. Just as when I first introduced the Reading Response Journals, the students were having a hard time adjusting to the new packet. Here’s the schedule for the packet:
Looking in the traditional dictionary was too much for them. That’s why I introduced them to the Visual Thesaurus. Tuesday in the computer lab, I will introduce them to Longman’s Dictionary (We have one in the classroom). I’ve accepted Dr. Jacobs’ challenge and researched resources that will aid me in my quest to do that. With the limited amount of time to do so, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/lpd3.htm (Longman’s Dictionary)
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term= (online Etymology dictionary)
http://www.alphadictionary.com/index.shtml (Alpha dictionary)
http://www.visualthesaurus.com (Visual Thesaurus)
NOTE: All of these resources are free, except for Visual Thesaurus. It cost $19.95/year, but it is well worth it. My students love it.
Although I didn’t like the walk yesterday because it was too doggone hot, I am really pretty happy about my monthly library trips. There were three things that happened on Friday that mad me oh, so happy. To begin with, two of my students got their library card applications signed ahead of time & were able to get their library cards on the spot. Secondly, I was given information by one of the library employees that will save me $38. Did you know that you can replace a damaged or lost book? Well, neither did I. I’d actually asked an employee at another branch if I could do that and was specifically told that I could NOT. Color me happy to find out that I could. The book that I water damaged was going to cost me $45 to replace it. Not anymore!!! I found a website where I purchased the book for $7.26 with free shipping. Yeah, I was pretty happy about that!
The last thing that made me oh, so happy was when one of my students, Michael (who was definitely not a reader before this year, but who has since been devouring books), found the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage, that I was going to introduce to them, all on his own. Let me begin by saying the book has 608 pages. Let me say again that he started with Book 1. Big deal, you say? Yes, it is! When I began introducing them to series, they would read them out of order. I had to tell them that they would not get the most out of the series if they did not begin with the first book. He listened and began with Book 1.
“Michael,” I said. “Where’d you get the book? Did the librarian recommend that book to you?”
“No,” he said. “I saw and I liked it, so I got it.”
“Wow,” I thought to myself. I was just about to introduce them to that series. I had it in my Amazon cart.
I am so proud of them. My students are motivating themselves and going further than I thought they would. I love it!
I have been wracking my brain over how to take my teaching AND my students to a higher level. I don’t want them to be mini-machines, I just want them to be prepared for the year 2031. I know 2031 may seem like an odd number, but I’ll explain.
I got the year 2031 from a training I recently attended on Curriculum Mapping with Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacob. The information I received was the answer to my prayers. I have been trying to think of a way to” map” out my entire curriculum, but didn’t quite know the way. I was feeling a little lost because in public school, there’s a pacing plan and other plans. There’s a “plan” for almost everything. Almost everything is set out for you. It can be kinda’ restrictive. Although I didn’t like being so “hemmed in”, it had its’ benefits.
In order to find a “plan”, I looked at other Catholic schools website to try to see if there were any type of plan (pacing or otherwise) to be found. Alas, there were none. Since I am not a quitter and I want to be the best- a world class teacher- I knew I had to find a way. Although I haven’t even begun mapping my curriculum, at least I know that’s a tool I have in my arsenal that will help me get to where I want to be.
Now, back to preparing my students for the year 2031! During the Curriculum Mapping workshop, the presenter, Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacob, asked a question of the audience. “What year are we training our students for?,” she asked.
2011. 2020. 2015. 2017. Various people people yelled out. I’m sorry to tell you that you are all wrong. Look at your curriculum and you will see that most of it is from the late ’90′s & early 2000′s. Are you serious???
The problem, she continued, is that research takes at least 10 years to make it into the classroom. Another 2–3 years to clear all the red tape. And, if your school district is poor, it could take another 4-5 years. So, once school districts employ the “new” techniques, it’s already almost 13-18 years old. So much for “new” techniques!
To wrap this post into a neat little package. If you, like I, have been searching for a better way to do “things” and not make do with the same ole’-same ole’, then give curriculum mapping an old look see. It would help you with that pesky pacing plan & begin to start preparing your students for the years to come.
So, if the question has not already sprang into your mind, it should have. What are you doing to prepare your students for the year 2011? How are you preparing your students for the year 2031?
** I will write more on curriculum mapping in the days to come. In the next post, I will explain how curriculum mapping can help you prepare your class for the year 2031.**