Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Freebie: September Newsletter

This year I'm sending a monthly "Literacy at Home" idea in our school's newsletter.

September's idea ties literacy in with family time and math skills:

You can download your free copy of the newsletter here: September Literacy at Home


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Monday, August 26, 2013

August & September Common Core Writing Prompts

Here are some newer products in my iHeartLiteracy store:


August & September Writing Prompts draw on the seasons of the months, the holidays (well-known and not well-known), and inventions patented during these months.

They are available for 1st-5th grades:
August & September Writing Prompts - 1st Grade
August & September Writing Prompts - 2nd Grade
August & September Writing Prompts - 3rd Grade
August & September Writing Prompts - 4th Grade
August & September Writing Prompts - 5th Grade

Each grade level packet has 15 narrative, 15 explanatory/informational, and 15 opinion writing prompts that are aligned to the Common Core Standards. Plus, 3 rubrics are included, one for each type of writing.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

11 Teaching Strategies For Spotting The Blind Spots In Your Classroom

Here is a great article about find the blind spots in your classroom: 11 Teaching Strategies For Spotting The Blind Spots In Your Classroom.

There are some really great tips in there like watching other students while one student is talking.  I know I often look at the student who is speaking, but watching other students during this time can help you understand whether or not other students are comprehending the discussion or are engaged.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Resource Round-Up: August 20, 2013

Play is important!  It is how children learn.  Think about all of the skills that go into building a fort or connecting a racetrack and racing cars or running around with friends on the playground. 

All of these activities fosters creativity while learning: 
  • If I put too many pillows on top of my fort, it collapses.  
  • If my car isn't going fast enough, it won't make it around the loop. 
  • If I tag my friend too hard, he'll fall down and be upset with me.
Often, times for play are being cut to make way for more rigorous standards and demands on students.  Here are three resources that highlight the benefits of play:

1.  Play and Children's Learning from NAEYC

2.  Play Creativity and Life Long Learning

3.  Why Games Are Good For Learning Infograph

Don't forget that play is good for adults too!  So make sure to have some fun today. 

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Why Aren't More Girls Attracted To Physics?

Here is a quick four and a half minute story from NPR: Why Aren't More Girls Attracted To Physics?

The one factor that effects whether more girls take physics in high school:  the number of women in the community whose work relates to math and engineering. 

Seems like a Catch 22:
To get more women involved in STEM there needs to be more female role models who are involved in STEM. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Sale - It's on Now!

The Back to School Sale is today and tomorrow, August 18-19!

Head on over to my store iHeartLiteracy for HUGE savings!  (Use promo code BTS13)

Back to School Giveaway at A Tale of Two K Teachers

Today is the last giveaway from A Tale of Two K Teachers and it is a Back to School Giveaway.

All of the giveaways end today, so be sure to sign up and good luck!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back To School Sale on TPT!

It's that time of year again - Back to School!

And TeachersPayTeachers is celebrating with a HUGE sale on August 18 and 19 (Sun. & Mon.)!

All items in my store iHeartLiteracy will be 20% PLUS enter promo code BTS13 and get another 10% off the new price!

Best Sellers:
Handwriting RTI 
1st Grade Common Core RTI Reading Assessments 
2nd Grade Common Core RTI Reading Assessments 
Literacy Centers (Common Core Aligned) - Bundle 1 
Literacy Centers (Common Core Aligned) - Bundle 2 

New Items:
1st Grade August & September Writing Prompts
2nd Grade August & September Writing Prompts
3rd Grade August & September Writing Prompts
4th Grade August & September Writing Prompts
5th Grade August & September Writing Prompts

So head on over to my store, stock up on items, and get ready for Sunday and Monday!

And don't forget to use promo code BTS13.

Here's the math on your savings if you're interested:
  • Regular price: $10.00
  • 20% off Discount: $8.00
  • BTS13 - Extra 10% off: $7.20
  • Total: 28% Savings! 

*The cute graphic is provided by Ink n Little Things - she's got some great clip art!


Language Arts Giveaway at A Tale of Two K Teachers

It's my favorite of all Giveaways over at A Tale of Two K Teachers!

The Language Arts Giveaway!!  Woohoo!  Head on over to enter.

P.S.  One more day for the Math Giveaway and the Science/Social Studies Giveaway.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Flash Freebie! Short i

***Flash Freebie is Closed***

Okay, this is my first attempt at a flash freebie.

My Short I Posters & Activities Pack is free right now for the first 20 people who download it.

Aaaaaannnnnnnnddddd... if you  get the freebie, I'd love to know what you think about (leave some feedback).


Five Great Picture Books Your Students Will Love

Here are five picture books that your students (and you) will love.

5. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
*What happens when Duncan wants to color, but his crayons have quit?

4. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Gary Rubinstein and Mark Pett
*Beatrice NEVER makes mistakes... until now.  Her first mistake!  How will she deal with it?  A great book for those students who do not do well when they make a mistake.

3. Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown
*Jasper Rabbit loves carrots.  He eats them all of the time.  But... have the carrots started following him??

2. Dear Deer by Gene Barretta
*A fun homophone book that will get kids thinking about language and the meaning of words.

1. That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
*A hilarious cautionary tale! 

I personally really enjoy all of these books and I'm looking forward to reading them to my students in the first week.  Who doesn't enjoy a funny book?

Have you read any of these?  What are your favorite new(er) picture books?

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Quote of the Week

Monday, August 12, 2013

Giveaway at A Tale of Two K Teachers

Christina Mauro over at A Tale of Two K Teachers is having a giveaway!

I really like the way this giveaway is set up: it's actually four giveaways and they each start on a different day!

Thursday, August 15th - Math
Friday, August 16th - Science/Social Studies
Saturday, August 17th - Language Arts
Sunday, August 18th - Back to School

I'll post each of the four days to remind you and give you the link, so get excited!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Here's Why Competition Doesn't Work In Public Education

I found this article by Bill Ferriter today and thought it was pretty interesting: Here's Why Competition Doesn't Work In Public Education.

He breaks down what competition in public education will look like.  It's a new angle (at least to me) on the charter school debate that has been brewing for some time now.

Just a quick sample:

Education at some schools could be as great as this fridge!
And then there's guys like Joe -- the landlord who showed up in my driveway when he noticed the delivery truck bringing our new refrigerator to our house.
"Hey -- have you got an old unit you're trying to get rid of?  I'd be happy to take it off your hands," he said.  I told him that he wouldn't want my refrigerator.  It was 20+ years old, had been sitting unplugged in my backyard for about two weeks, had been rained on three times, and barely kept anything cold anymore.
"That don't matter," he said.  "I rent houses out in the poor section of town.  As long as it blows a little cool air, those people will be happy.  I'll give you $50 bucks and haul this thing away right now."
Juxtaposing the education system next other marketplaces makes for a good comparison and definitely gives you something to think about.

Give it a read (Here's Why Competition Doesn't Work In Public Education) and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Resource Round-Up: August 6, 2013

Today's Resource Round-Up is devoted to Word Walls.

What is a Word Wall?
It's an organized collection of words that you display in a very visible way in your classroom.  It is a great tool for beginning readers and writers as it shows the phonemic relationship between words while also letting children learn and apply phonics skills. 

Different Types of Word Walls
Word Walls are very versatile.  Some common types are:
  • High Frequency/Sight Word Word Wall
  • Seasonal Word Wall
  • Word Family Word Wall
  • Content Area Word Wall
  • Spelling Words Word Wall
  • Frequently Misspelled Word Word Wall
  • Literature Based Word Wall
  • Student Created Word Wall

Here are a few examples of Word Walls:

1. Culture, Curriculum, Change!

2. Flamingo Fabulous in Second Grade

3. A Teacher's Idea

4. Hammond Indian School District

5. Classroom Teacher Resources

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Gender in Teaching

Often the media discusses inequities between genders in the workforce.  The current book Lean In caused some backlash as author Sheryl Sandberg discussed gender in relation to work and leadership.

In most of these discussions, however, the topic is almost always women.  What about men?  In a female-dominated field like education, the tables are turned and men are in the minority.

This infograph gives a quick overview:

The part that stood out to me the most on this image is that "pupils try harder for male teachers."  Anecdotally, I have seen some students work much harder for a male teacher than their homeroom female teacher.  However, I think teacher and student personality played a large factor in the situation I am thinking of.

Searching around, I found this article from the National Bureau of Economic Research: Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement.

The study is a little dated (1988), but it examined student outcomes (test scores, perceptions of performance, intellectual engagement like looking forward to class, finding it useful, and feeling comfortable asking questions) based on gender interactions in the classroom.

Some interesting take-aways:
  1. Dee finds that gender interactions between teachers and students have significant effects on these important educational outcomes.
  2. Assignment to a teacher of the opposite sex lowers student achievement by about 0.04 standard deviations.  
  3. Other results imply that just one year with a male English teacher would eliminate nearly a third of the gender gap in reading performance among 13 year olds… and would do so by improving the performance of boys and simultaneously harming that of girls. 
  4. Similarly, a year with a female teacher would close the gender gap in science achievement among 13 year olds by half and eliminate entirely the smaller achievement gap in mathematics.
  5. Boys were more likely to report that they did not look forward to a particular academic subject when it was taught by a female. 

But interesting... I'd like to see more research on the subject before jumping to conclusions.  However, I am willing to say that I actively support more men in elementary schools and more females in STEM positions.  It is important to have students see male and female role models (read teachers) in all positions.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Top US Problems - Not Education

*Alternative Title:  I've Got 99 Problems But Education Ain't One

A new Gallup Poll came out last week asking what the "most important problem" in the U.S. is. 

Here are the results in a nutshell:
  1. Economy in General - 23%
  2. Unemployment/Jobs - 19%
  3. Healthcare - 11%
  4. Government/Congressmen/Politicians - 10%
  5. Federal Deficit -8%
  6. Ethics/Moral/Religious/Family Decline; Dishonesty - 7%
  7. Poor Leadership/The President/Corruption/Abuse of Power -6%
  8. Immigration - 6%
  9. Education - 5%

Here are the results broken down by demographic group:

Education is dead last?  Woo hoo!  Right?

My feelings are mixed on the results of this poll.  While it is good that education is not perceived as a "major problem," I feel that education relates to all of the other concerns on the list.  At the very least education has a direct impact on the top two concerns - the economy and unemployment/jobs.

I'm glad education is not seen as our biggest problem.  However, if the country gave education more attention and placed a greater emphasis on its importance, then maybe we can help those other categories become less of an issue.

Off my soapbox...

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