Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well written tale of a girl's journey to discover who her mother is. Set in Oakland during the summer of 1968, the culture and national mood have an unsettling way of forcing children to grow up and adults to face their responsibilities. This book also reminds us that growing up often begins with the loss of idyllic childhood. Sadly there are children all across the globe who still struggle with these same issues.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016

ISTE Standards Pennants

Keep learning goals visible to remind students
of the expectations.
This year I decided to create pennants that list the seven main ISTE standards for students. Each pennant fits on a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. I used superhero color combinations to match my classroom theme.

The reverse of each pennant has the standard title, a superhero logo and the standard number. After color printing each pennant, they were cut out and glued back to back. I then had them laminated for durability. The last step was to punch a hole in the top corners and thread them on a line of string.

I have a couple data drops in the middle of the room, which is why I went with a double sided approach. They could have easily gone on the wall as single sided pennants. You can view the pennants here and make a copy to modify for your own class theme. Perhaps in the future I will add each of the indicators, of course color coding them to the standard.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yet I Will Rejoice

We've made some major systemic changes this week with technology and it has been trying at times - for every knot untangled there are two more found. I was reminded of a favorite passage in Habakkuk and had to make a modern version inspirational photo.

As the principal said, we don't need any of this technology to do what we do (teach). When it works, great. When it doesn't, we continue teaching. And while it is very frustrating when the tools and resources do not function correctly or we discover that data is lost or broken, I am so glad that my eternal destiny is not dependent on any electronics!

Are you a good person?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Book Review: Flotsam

Flotsam Flotsam by David Wiesner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Wiesner does more than illustrate, he tells an engaging story through his illustrations. His watercolor paintings are colorful and full of hidden details that allow for additional discoveries when reading again. This 2007 Caldecott winner is a wordless book so it is appropriate for all ages. I especially recommend reading it with children, and allow them to explain the story that they see.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review: Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure

Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since junior high I've been a fan of the choose your own adventure style book. Ryan North has done a fantastic job.

My only complaint is that there are so many variations and the tales so long that I had trouble tracing back to a particular point of decision. I found that numbered sticky notes would allow me to retrace my steps and see how the adventure would change based on a single different decision.

I also enjoyed how each ending was accompanied by an illustration drawn by a different artist. What a great way to emphasize different outcomes by using different drawing styles!

Check out the author's website for the book at

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How Coaching Works

This video explains what I do everyday: facilitate great teachers. #INCLC

Did you notice what the coach (in the hat) did? Or what they didn't do?
Special thanks to Erin Brown for sharing this video in her presentation.