Sunday, October 16, 2016

Video: Power Up Parent Communication

Parent/teacher communication
is not 1960s rocket science. 
Common Sense Media just released the following video with three great tips for improving parent communication. I try to notify parents every Monday through email, but sometimes wonder how effective my communication is.

I've toyed with Remind and was reintroduced to the app at the ICE Conference last week. I am also dusting off my class Google sites and adding announcements to keep everyone informed.

After watching the video, I plan to explore ways of combining the Google site feed with a push service such as Remind. This way information can be created and archived in a central location but parents and students will still receive mobile notification.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Video Playlist: Introduction to Reading Skills

Looking for a different way to introduce reading skills to your students? McGraw-Hill Education has a whole set of 45 cartoon style videos for a variety of reading skills. I have not viewed all of them but they appear to be in a variety of animation styles. As always, remember to preview videos for age appropriateness and relevance to your curriculum.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Invested Learning and Authentic Interactions

Learning "sticks" better when students are invested and have authentic interactions. For example, my daughter enjoys drawing and has started learning animation techniques. Her English teacher allowed her to create an animated movie for a Fahrenheit 451 report.
Not only did she spend ten hours working on an English report, she enjoyed every moment of it. But the part that I appreciate (even if she doesn't) is the comment left by one viewer. This person appreciated the connection made between the song lyrics and the way she had illustrated a particular plot point. Meaningful discussion can connect ideas and people in ways that a forced classroom discussion never can.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Skinny Margins

For me, blogging is like doodling in the margin. But when life becomes full, the margins shrink and blogging is one of the first things to go. For the past couple months my creative passions have been consumed with more prescient concerns. Gardening, which is a relaxing hobby for me, has suffered and the yard reflects it. And blogging has fallen aside.

It's been an interesting first quarter to the school year. For the past two to three months almost every aspect of my day has seen a shift. We have a new administration with a different  communication and management style. Both my kids decided to join their school's musical which drew me back into the set design. And we decided it was time to explore churches closer to home.

Yesterday, my daughter and I enjoyed an afternoon along the archery trail at Racoon State Park, a rare moment of respite in a hectic late summer. I also finished up the slideshow for my conference workshop later this week. And so my goal over the second quarter of school is to work at widening my margins. This requires an intentional disconnect or limiting of my attention as I attempt to widen the margins again.

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.

View all my reviews

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.