Monday, June 30, 2014

How We Talk to Girls

I've seen two videos recently that have really made me stop and think about how we talk to girls in our society.   Here they are:

1)  Like a Girl

2) Inspire Her Mind

As a female, I know personally how the deck can be stacked against us in certain ways.  Also, as a teacher I see many of the same sayings, thoughts, and stereotypes placed on our young ladies today.

I know kindergartners who are concerned about wearing high heels (usually a small platform on the bottom of their shoe) and if they need more lip gloss.  I'm not exaggerating here.  These two girls that I am thinking of - ages 6 and 7 - cannot identify or write many of the letters of the alphabet, they used to struggle with even identifying their names if they were spelled out in front of them, and they cannot write or identify all of the numbers 1-10.

These girls are not stupid.  They are very intelligent, but the message they have been given from a very, very young age is that their appearance is more important than anything else, especially school or any kind of 'work' like reading or doing math.

When this message is made clear to girls, it also translates into expectations for boys.  While in kindergartner most boys think girls have cooties, as they grow up around girls who increasingly focus on their appearance, since that is what girls are directly and indirectly told is important, boys will start to conform and expect that stereotyped standard as well.

We need to be even more cognizant of the language we use with young children and the messages, intended or not, that we send them.

We can do more for our girls.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Internet in Real Time

I am well aware that the internet is filled with tweets, likes, pins, photos, and much, much more.  But it is incredibly impressive when you can see the accumulation of internet "stuff" pile up in front of your eyes.  

Here is quick snapshot of this internet accumulation for only 30 seconds from today:

It might be hard to see, but here is a break down of those 30 seconds:
  • Pins: 7,140
  • Tweets: 171,000
  • Facebook Likes: 1,565,880
  • Facebook Posts: 1,649,280
  • Hours of Video Watched on YouTube: 69,420

It baffles me!

If you want to check out the internet in real time, check it out here. The website starts accumulating the data as soon as you load it, so all numbers start at 0... but I bet you won't see many zeros.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Technology in the Classroom

Let's get some technology resources together for teachers. Here are just a few:

1) 27 Apps that have changed my Teaching and Learning Practice 

Educational Technology - 27 Apps that have changed my Teaching and Learning Practice

 2) What do you want kids to do with technology?

Educational Technology - What do you want kids to do with technology?

 3) 9 Powerful (And FREE) Tools To Boost Summer Learning

Educational Technology

 4) 10 Exciting Ways to Use Mobile Phones in the Classroom 

Educational Technology

5) Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved By Teachers

Educational Technology

What other resources do you love?
Add links in the comments section to articles, apps, blog posts, and anything that you think is a great technology-related resource for teachers.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Great YouTube Channel for Phonics, Sight Words, and More!

If you are looking for fun songs to help teach your students the alphabet, letter names, letter sounds, and even sight words, check out Have Fun Teaching.

I have several students who just start singing in class.  They are in kindergarten or first grade, and while they are still mastering letter sounds, they are able to sing out lines of text like, "Lately I've been, I've been losing sleep..."  While I'm sure they have little idea of what the lyrics from pop songs mean, imagine if that type of automaticity could be achieved for letter names, letter sounds, and even for spelling sight words!

Here are just a few of Have Fun Teaching's videos:

What Do the Letters Say? (What Does the Fox Say Parody)

Alphabet Song

Letter F Song

The "Are" Song

Monday, June 16, 2014

Team Building in the Classroom

It's important that students be able to work together as a team in the classroom.  Working as a team helps students see each others strengths while also building positive relationships and a sense of togetherness.

Here are a few team building ideas to try in the classroom:

1) Empty the balls from the top bucket into the bottom bucket

2) Mine Field: Students pair up.  One student puts on a blind fold and cannot talk.  The other student in the pair has to give verbal directions to the blindfolded student to help them navigate an obstacle course of your making.

3) I love my friends who... Place chairs in a circle.  Have one less chair than students.  One student starts in the middle and begins, "I love my friends who..." and completes the sentence.  Example: "I love my friends who wore jeans today."  Everyone who fits the category gets up and tries to find an empty chair (at least 2 chairs away from where he was originally).  Whoever is left in the middle leads the next round, "I love my friends who..."  This game gets students moving, sitting next to other students they might normally not sit by, and also lets students share their interests.  

4) Tent Pole: All students in group put two fingers on the bottom of the tenet pole.  As a group students must work together to raise the tent pole up to desk-height and then back down. If anyone's finger(s) come off, then students have to restart.  

5) The Human Knot: An oldie, but a goodie!  Have students stand in a circle.  Each student puts out one hand, grasping the hand of another student across the circle (this is a good time for students to introduce themselves).  Then student reach out their other hand and grasp the hand of a new person (again, introductions).  As a group, this tangled knot now attempts to unwind itself into a normal circle without letting go of each other's hands.  

As always, make sure to pick games and activities that work for your students.  Some of these games require a lot of close, physical proximity to each other.  Choose games that allow your students to work together and to get to know each other.  While some games can ask students to step out of their comfort zones, it's important to ensure that students are not embarrassed.

Do you have a favorite ice breaker or team building activity?  If so, please share it in the comments section below!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Father's Day Craft and Gift Ideas

Here are some Father's Day craft ideas that are great for any man in your child's/students' lives that you are looking to thank:

1) DAD Picture Frame

2) A Pup for Pop

3) Fishing Cupcakes

4) I Love You This Much

5) M&M Bow Tie

6) We Love You Because Photo

7) I Think You're Dandy Card

8) Father's Day Goody Bags

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014


I LOVE this easy four-square characterization organizer:

Characterization - FAST technique for understanding characters

The character's name goes in the middle of the page, surrounded by four squares that include the characters Feelings, Actions, Sayings, and Thoughts.

This graphic organizer will be great when reading novels to better understand characters and for student writing as they develop their characters.  

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