I absolutely adore Reading Rockets. They have such great information. There’s a great article right now on how to teach text comprehension to students. It’s a really great read. If you’re interested, here’s the link: http://www.readingrockets.org.
Since I am implementing a new RTI program at my school, I’ve been researching various programs. One such program that I’ve come across is the H.E.L.P.S. Program or Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies. It was developed by Dr. John Begeny. You can either print the materials for free or pay the company $45 to bind and ship everything for you. I like the option of paying the company to bind it and ship it because the thought of printing out a 156 page manual, buying a binder, putting them in page protectors, and hole punching them is not something I want to do. If the school secretary is willing to do it, that’s fine with me.
So, check it out. If you’re interested, click on the link & tell me what you think. Here’s the link: H.E.L.P.S. Program
I am sorry to inform you that this is not a book review of The Little Engine That Could. It is a review, or rather preview of my professional year to come. It’s the reason I am so worried. I am beginning to feel overwhelmed and I haven’t even begun. What is worrying me and threatening to overwhelm me? Well, I am really nervous about finishing my program because… well, I didn’t finish the first time. I was overwhelmed then as I’m thinking I will be now. I simply did not have the energy to teach full-time, go to school full-time, & be a full-time mother. Though I have to admit that my husband and sons took over the duties of cooking and cleaning during the school year. It was still too much for me. And (I know I’m not supposed to start the sentence with and, but I did), to tell the truth, nothing has really changed. Oh, and did I mention that I am implementing a school-wide RTI and doing the tutoring for the at-risk students? I know I put all of “this” in my plate, but that’s not the point. The point is that I need to get it done. I need to finish my Master’s degree & get my teaching credential. I can see this is gearing up to be a rather productive (albeit challenging) year for me personally & professionally.
One part of me knows that I can do it, while another thinks I can. I am definitely the little engine that could. Now, all I need to do is make it up that hill!!!
I am plodding on slowly but surely on mapping my curriculum. It’s a really involved process, but it’s so worth. I can see the whole year planned out at a glance. So far, I’m about 1/4 of the way through 5th grade Social Studies. I’m having a pretty easy time with this because I have all my lesson plans, complete with MUST DO Packets & tests in a big binder. I’m adding projects as I go along. I’ll give it another 2 days of working on this until I move on to the 4th grade Social Studies. I know I have my work cut out for me with Science & Math since they are my weaker subjects, but I am going to do it. I have to go up to my job on Friday to get the Science books so that I can get started on Science next week. I surely have my work cut out for me, but I am determined.
So, bye for now!
I was thinking about my former principal the other day. I can remember a time when I wouldn’t cross the street to spit on her if she was on fire. However, I would have crossed the street just to spit on her. If she happened to be in front of me while I was in the driver’s seat, I honestly don’t know what I would have done. Well, that’s over. I harbor no ill feelings for her anymore. Everything that happened is in the past. What happened, happened. It actually helped me get to where I am today. So, even though she wasn’t trying to help me, I still owe her a debt of gratitude because if not for her, I would probably be stuck in a job in a high crime neighborhood where I feared for my life on a daily basis. But, thanks to her, I’ve moved on to bigger and better things.
Here’s a link to a Reading Rockets article regarding Story Maps: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/story_maps/. Enjoy!
Well, I finally started mapping my curriculum today. I’d been putting it off because I was a little intimidated by the whole process. But, I’m all about conquering my fears. So, I dove in this morning. It’s slow going. I knew going in that it would be. I also know that it’s an ongoing process, so I will not be too hard on myself. So, bye for now, as I get back to the business of mapping.
Unstructured time for my students during class time is soooooo not a good idea. Unstructured time during the summer, for me, is soooooooo not a good idea. I have to go out of my way to make sure I do NOT have too much of it. I am fighting a daily battle with myself. I lost for about 2 weeks. I did better this week because I refuse to let my children be affected by the summer slide. So, I’ve been fighting the good fight for both of us. I know this is an ongoing battle, so I need to be strong. Here’s to fighting the good fight and not letting the summer slide happen with my children!
I can remember waiting, with bated breath, for summer vacation. There was simply nothing better in the world. Why? Because I got the chance to do absolutely nothing. It used to be my favorite thing to do. Now, ehh, not so much! I see all the things I’ve missed out on for so long. All I need to do is get my van fixed and I’ll be good!
Mrs. Rubinstein’s Beauty (2006), by Pep Montserrat. Since Mrs. Rubinstein is no ordinary beauty, she is sometimes overlooked. No one notices her lovely eyes, her wonderful nose, her delicate hands, or, most importantly, her graceful and generous spirit. That is, until she meets the extraordinary Mr. Pavlov. He notices much more than the one VERY peculiar feature that everyone else has trouble ignoring. Their chance meeting proves to them both that beauty lies in the eye- and heart- of the beholder.
Boy, can I empathize with this story. Since I have the cutest little short haircut (think Toni Braxton), and not a long, ridiculous weave down my back, I am sometimes ignored. Let’s not even talk about the fact that I’m modest and like to cover my lady parts up, as opposed to putting everything on display.
I cannot believe I stole this book for the unbelievable price of $1 @ Crown Books’ going-out-of-business sale.
There are so many ways to go with this book. It could be used to teach that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. It could teach about differences. It could teach about interracial love. What you do with it is up to you! So, do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book. Run, don’t walk to your local bookstore or library.
So many people today think that Wikipedia is a great source. It’s NOT! I remember one of my professors @ APU, Dr. Lampkin, had the same disdain for Wikipedia as Paul Giamatti’s character had for Merlot. To him, it was the lowest of the low; not even worthy of his consideration. Your grade was automatically lowered if you used Wikipedia as a source.
Face it! Anyone can make a Wikipedia page. This is not to say that they do not contain scholarly information. It’s just that there is no checks and balances. It’s no one’s job to police Wikipedia articles.
So, in honor of proper research, here are a couple tutorials on how to evaluate sources:
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/students/find/evaluatebooks.html (How to Evaluate Books, Journals, Magazines, & Newspapers)
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/students/find/eval.html (Evaluate Web Sites)
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/students/find/popularvscholarly.html (Popular Magazines vs. Scholarly Journals)
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/lsl/help/modules/research.html (What’s a Research Article, Anyway?)
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/lsl/help/modules/review.html (What’s a Review Article?)
Do not get me wrong. I do NOT dislike Wikipedia. I love it. I use it all the time on this blog. But, I do not use it for my scholarly papers. So, bye for now!
After looking around the blogosphere, I’ve come up with ways to improve my system. I got some ideas from Beth Newingham for my classroom store. I will write about that in a later post. Here’s a sample of my update classroom management/class economy system. I used to give the students checks and timehseets every three weeks. Not anymore. Everything they need for the year will be bound with comb binding or spiral binding (if I get that new machine). I’ve also learned how to make personalized checks for the students. I am going to have a good time introducing these systems to my new students. So, here is the Check Ledger. I will post the personalized checks in another post. If you would like to know how to make your own personalized checks, just drop me a comment and e-mail me @email@example.com.
Check Ledger (more…)
- San Diego Quick
- High Frequency Word Inventory
- BRI (Basic Reading Inventory) by Jerry L. Johns
- Words Their Way inventory
- Dibels (Dynamic Inventory of Basic Early Literacy Skills)
- The DIBELS measures assess the 5 Big Ideas in early literacy identified by the National Reading Panel:
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This is my first step towards mapping my curriculum.
Open Microsoft Word or Word Starter Edition. Open a blank document.
Click the “Page Layout” tab on the Word toolbar. Click “Orientation.” Click “Landscape” from the drop down box.
Type “Curriculum Map Template” at the top of the blank page. Press “Enter” twice.
Type “Teacher:” and then press the “Tab” key three times. Type “Grade:” and then press the “Tab” key three times. Type “Subject:” followed by “Enter.”
Click “Insert,” then “Table.” Click “Insert Table.” Click “7″ for number of columns and “11″ for number of rows. Click “OK.”
Type “Month” in the first cell of the table. Press the “Tab” key to move to the next cell. (more…)
Yay! I found another online book site. This one is housed at the University of Pennsylvania. It boasts over 1 million books online. This is the third site out there that I’ve found. The only difference being, this site is for adults, while the other two are for children. Here’s the link. Check it out!
A couple of months ago, I attended a Curriculum Mapping training that was fantastic. I’d been wanting to take my teaching to a higher level, but was unsure of how to do that. Well, that Curriculum Mapping workshop did that for me. It answered so many questions. The training was crystal clear. The only problem I had was one unanswered question: What is the difference between a goal and an objective? Well, I found a answer on (you guessed it) on the University of Texas, Austin’s website. It answered my question. That was the only thing stopping me from getting started on mapping my curriculum. So, here’s the article with examples. Enjoy!
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This summer is soooo different from other summers in that it is a working summer. Even though I’m not getting paid for it. I don’t mind because my focus is on improving my instruction. With the amount of research I’ve been doing on my quest to implement a School-Wide Intervention System at my school, I realize now, more than ever, that I really need to step my game up. So, to help me along on my quest, these are the three Professional Developments I will be focusing on this summer:
- Curriculum Mapping,
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL), &
- How to Implement School Wide Intervention Systems
While searching the web, I came across a Pearson Foundation Initiative called Read a Book. Give a Book. For every book read online, the Foundation will donate a book to your choice of five organizations. It’s pretty easy. You just sign up and read. You get your own page that keeps track of the number of books read.
I think this site is especially good for children who do not have their own books. There are currently 2,920 books on the site. I just read Before You Were Here, Mi Amor by Samantha R. Vamos, before writing this post. I would recommend this book as a gift for an expectant mom or as a first book for a beginning reader.
In fact, most of the books on the site are picture books and appear to be no more than 3rd grade level. Even so, to support the cause, when I return to school, I am going to have my students sign up for this. Here’s the site, go ahead and give it a look-see: http://www.wegivebooks.org
The University of Texas, Austin has loads of great tutorials. I went through them and thought they were very helpful. So, I will be posting some of them. Here’s one about finding an article from a citation: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/students/find/articlecitation.html
Should “a” be capitalized in a title? I have been wondering about this for awhile, so I decided to google it. Well, I found this excellent blog post about it on About.com. I’m sure I knew this at some point in time, but I get confused about it now. It’s a good (but confusing) read. Here’s the link. Let me know if you figure it out!
Children’s Picture books (ages 3-8)
- Snuggle Mountain by Lindsey Lane
- Maxi’s Bed Magician by Werner Blaebst
- Fenwick’s Suit by David Small
- Mr. George Baker
- I Like Myself By Karen Beaumont
- Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
- Douglass Frederick and the House of They by Joe Kelly and Ben Roman (ages 9-10)
Beginning chapter books (ages 7-9)
- A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy
- Wayside School by Louis Sachar & Adam Mccauley
- The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
Chapter books (grades 5-8)
- The View From Saturday by E.L. Konisburg (grades 5-7)
- Lulu Atlantis AND THE QUEST FOR TRUE BLUE LOVE by Patricia Martin