Visiting with a colleague, she passionately shared with me the amazing difference that a book called The Daily Five had made in her literacy instruction. My colleague, who is a veteran teacher, learned about this at a differentiation conference, and she tried using the methods for the first time this school year. Other teachers have come into her room during her reading workshop and see the quality of student engagement. They insist that she share what she is doing to have students so engaged. The Daily Five improves students’ stamina to read voraciously on their own and to independently work on their own while the teacher pulls small groups. The small groups are more targeted to individual needs because the teacher spends less time with each student and doesn’t have to attend to students who are working independently. To read more about “The Daily Five” visit this link: http://www.thedailycafe.com/public/department38.cfm.
Do your students get restless sometimes during class? Try aerobics during math class–geometry aerobics. These aerobics consists of using your body parts to symbolize geometry terms. These movements are great to review and stretch during testing practice. See below for a list of possibilities.
Parallel lines: Both arms extended straight and parallel from each other
Intersecting lines: legs crossed or arms crossed
Line: arms extended horizontally with index fingers pointed out to represent arrows.
Line segment; arms extended horizontally with fists on each hand to represent points.
Ray: arms extended horizontally with a fist on one arm (point) and index finger pointing on the other arm to symbolize an arrow
Turn: model turning a doorknob or steering wheel
Flip: Flip body
Slide: slide feet
If you have other additions or suggestions, please comment.
Wow! Walking into the Container Store exudes endless possibilities of organization to a classroom teacher, or anyone for that matter. Now walk into the Container Store with a little more confidence in your purchasing power. They offer a 15% discount to educators. Follow this link to sign up for your discount card: http://www.containerstore.com/teachers/index.htm.
Gerry Garibaldi, a former Hollywood screenwriter and now an English teacher at an urban high school in Connecticut, authored an article in the local newspaper. Garibaldi has witnessed the wealth of funding that is lavished upon low income population schools (Title I funding) which translates into books, modern tools, and facilities such as Smart Boards, Elmo document cameras, computerized libraries etc. However, one problem money cannot solve in Garibaldi’s classroom is teen pregnancy. In Connecticut unwed mothers are bestowed with many state and federal benefits–medical coverage when the mother is pregnant, medical coverage for the baby and mother after birth, child care, Section 8 housing, Nutrition Assistance Program, cash assistance, and a $35/hr. tutor before and after the baby is born. These mothers often drop out of school reading on a 5th grade level yet more money is spent on these services, and the bureaucracy wonders why the system continues to fail. To read more of Garibaldi’s article visit: http://www.city-journal.org/2011/21_1_teen-pregnancy.html
I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I photographed this clever capacity tool from a classroom teacher. I told her to save some items to hang on the wall for visual learners to reference pints, cups, quarts, and gallons. I mentioned having one of her students save a milk carton from lunch to represent a cup, however she went a step further. She made a cup, pint, quart, and gallon all from milk cartons. Students are able to see how many milk cartons or cups are in each type of measurement.
If you are getting spring fever with the sunny spring weather and want to buy a new outfit, then save a little money with an educator discount available at New York and Company. Just show your teacher id at New York and Company to receive a 15% discount off of your total purchase.
Educators, at this time in the year, you and your students are most likely tired of preparing for testing. If you work in an under performing school, you are certain to have spent much time teaching your students test taking strategies and having them practice test taking formats. All the while as teachers, we feel that we are “burning students out” on test taking and wonder if they will be so tired of test taking that they neglect to perform on the real state test. A new study shows that test taking practice actually helps students learn. The data from this test shows that the more often information is recalled from the memory, the easier it is to remember and thus improves learning.
If you would like to read more about this study, follow this link. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2010/10/15/sorry-kids-tests-help-learn/.
As a teacher your words convey an atmosphere and create the classroom environment. Genuine praise, belief, and high expectations in your students will make students believe in themselves and work harder in the classroom. Some teachers create an atmosphere of happiness all around them by their attitude and praise of their students. You will recognize these teachers because listening to them will make you smile. They get genuinely excited about students using vocabulary they have learned and about them explaining their thinking. You will hear phrases from these teachers such as, “Did you hear that? Jordan used the word dimensions and vertex! Wow! I’m going to have to put a smiley face on you.” On another occasion, this teacher I have in mind had her students ask her, “Can we stay in for recess so we can practice our 5′s times tables?” These students were so engrossed in learning from the encouragement and high expectations their teacher had for them. Focusing on building up your students will give you more positive results and leave you less worn out at the end of the day.
I recently observed my mentee teach an engaging lesson that reached auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. She used the Yarn-Length Hunt lesson in Vicki Bachman’s Sizing Up Measurement: Activities for Grades K-2 Classrooms. In this lesson students compare string to their group members’ strings. They also form a line and compare their string with each student in the class. Then students are supposed to go on a hunt for objects that are shorter and longer than their string. Instead of students going on a length hunt my mentee had tubs of objects awaiting students at their tables for them to compare with their string. We decided on this instead of the length hunt to keep the students more focused. Students compared the objects with their string and traced or drew them on paper underneath the headings shorter or longer (than their string). All of these activities were very beneficial and led to students using rich math vocabulary with their peers. In reflection we thought instead of students drawing their objects, it would be better for them to trace them. Alternatively, students could use clip art objects that represented the items in their tubs, and then students could glue them down underneath the headings shorter or longer. When students draw their objects, they are difficult to decipher and to compare with the string for assessment. This lesson is excellent for its simplicity to reach kindergarten children. With just a few tweaks, we found it to be an excellent lesson that resulted in mastery of the vocabulary shorter, longer, and compare.
Never underestimate the power of using your garbage as learning tools. A college professor once told me that a teacher is only as good as her tools. With this in mind when teaching capacity, I make sure I save some garbage–an example of a gallon, half gallon, quart, pint, cup, ounce, liter, and milliliter in containers students are familiar with. All of these container sizes are easy to find in a store, and if you make your colleagues and family aware that you are collecting trash, they will be most obliged to donate to your cause. Below I will show you some pictures of trash I have collected along with a description of items you can use.
- Gallon: Milk jug or Hawaiian Punch jug
- Half Gallon: milk jug
- Quart: Buttermilk, creamer, chocolate milk
- Pint: half and half cream
- Cup: students’ milk cartons from lunch
- Ounce: I had to go to the Container Store for a small ounce container
- Liter: water bottle
- milliliter: measuring spoon (1.2 mL) or eyedropper