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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Monitor this!

Posted 04-21-2010 at 06:26 PM by Speced9

Once upon a time, way before King George the W and No Child Left Behind, special educators were underfunded, mostly ignored, and blissfully ignorant to the stresses of accountability.

I was one of the blissfully ignornant....

Back in the day, we were separate, yet unequal and we liked it. (Fiddley Foo!)
We taught what we thought was the most beneficial for our students, and measured progress using CRTs and the Woodcock Johnson. We did this for one purpose only- to help us write goals for IEPs. We didn't have to be accountable to anyone, especially The Powers That Be. They were oblivious.

Then, one day, King George made the famous NCLB proclamation known to the masses. Special education administrators ran amuck looking for a way to show the progress that our students made during the course of the school year. Oh, we could have continued with our CRTs and Woodcock Johnsons, but they didn't really have what we needed to...
Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

On The Worship of Data

Posted 06-10-2010 at 06:43 AM by BigwigRabbit

There is a new deity within education. Its name is Data. Now this data that is being worshiped (mostly by administrators and bureaucrats) is electronic, for the most part. It is often generated by computer based programs such as those offered by Renaissance Learning.

I wonder how many of those that worship at the altar of Data have actually looked closely at the questions the student's are asked in these assessments. I wonder if certain facts have been considered before passing judgment on a student based on the results of these tests.

I have not seen a single computer based reading test that truly and accurately tests comprehension. Accelerated Reader tests the recall of minutiae. I took an AR test for Charlotte's Web, a book I am quite familiar with. There was a question on AR about why Avery was sent to bed early with no dinner. This never occurs in the story.

Multiple choice tests have two inherent biases. The first is correct...
Rating: 6 votes, 5.00 average.

Like a Caffeine Addicted Hamster

Posted 06-16-2010 at 05:03 AM by Speced9

Chipmunks. They're small, cute and look cuddly (though I doubt anyone has been able to catch one for a quick hug). You can look at them and say, "Awwwww..." in the same way you gush over a newborn baby. Yeah. I used to be that way until I realized that they're just rats with a total body makeover. They're nature's smallest example of a wolf in sheep's clothing. They are the ENEMY.

Before I begin, I need to do a little something to satisfy the Blogging FCC. In order to have this post on the main PT blog page, I have to have this post categorized as teaching related. How do you categorize a blog post about chipmunks as teaching related? You start your post off with this:


There. Justification of categorization complete. Now, onward.

My first contact with chipmunks of...
Rating: 9 votes, 5.00 average.

Word Walls 411

Posted 06-27-2010 at 04:58 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 10:00 PM by Mariely

Here's some information on Word Walls to refresh my mind and keep in my arsenal of references and resources.

The following is based on information about Word Walls that I acquired after attending an incredible Reading Institute for teachers at the University of Miami back in 2006.

Word Walls are an essential part of the literate classroom environment. Word Walls foster and support the development of written language. Word Walls should also be interactive by allowing students to complete Word Wall related activities on a daily basis.

Word Walls may be organized in various formats. A common organization for word walls is placing words in alphabetical order. In the upper grades, however, word walls may be organized based on parts of speech for example. Regardless of the organization of the word wall, teachers should include words that are meaningful to the learning content of the classroom. Some suggested word listings...
Rating: 27 votes, 5.00 average.

Reciprocal Teaching

Posted 06-27-2010 at 05:02 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 10:00 PM by Mariely

Here's some resourceful information about reciprocal teaching.

I initally learned about the Reciprocal Teaching Strategy while completing one of my reading endorsement courses a few years ago. Reciprocal Teaching is a reading comprehension strategy meant to help students become more independent during reading. The strategy is first introduced by having the teacher model each step in the process and doing it along with the students until students are able to take ownership of the strategy and use it independently. The Reciprocal Teaching strategy has four parts which are: Predication, Clarify, Question, and Summarize. My school district added a fifth part to the process called Visualize or Make a Picture.

As a result of my reading endorsement class, I created a set of reciprocal teaching cards that are used by the students while implementing the strategy. Along with the cards, I created a reciprocal teaching worksheet which the students may...
Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.

Melissa Forney's 12 Steps of the Writing Process

Posted 06-27-2010 at 05:07 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 09:59 PM by Mariely

I wanted to post some additional information I gathered from Melissa Forney's 2009 Writing Conference. Here's her 12 Steps of the Writing Process.
  1. Think It
  2. Talk It
  3. Do It
  4. Draw It
  5. Explain It
  6. Gather Vocabulary & Put Money in the Bank
  7. Watch Modeling
  8. Write It
  9. Revise It
  10. Read it Aloud
  11. Edit It
  12. Share It
To explain the process a bit further I'm going to combine my notes from this summer's writing conference and last summer's writing conference.

Step 1: Think It
Students need some time to think about what they are going to write, so we must give them time to think about the topic.

Step 2: Talk It
Thinking and talking go hand in hand. Kids need to talk with their peers, with older kids, with younger kids, and with adults. The more opportunities we give them to talk about what they are going to write the better prepared they'll be when they start writing. Talking gives them an opportunity to brainstorm....
Rating: 9 votes, 5.00 average.

Reward Coupons

Posted 06-27-2010 at 05:10 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 09:59 PM by Mariely

I wanted to post on my blog the reward coupons I created for my students.

There are eight coupons per page and a total of 27 pages (27 coupons) to use. I created them in black and white so they are easier to copy. I copy my coupons on various sheets of color paper. The color of the coupon matches a price category the coupon belongs to.

My students are able to use their "Fin" dollars (earned in our classroom economy) in order to purchase coupons they want. I also award free coupons to students who consistently demonstrate super behavior and consistently turn in their homework.

Since the file is too big to attach to this post, I am providing a direct link to the PDF file of the reward coupons. I hope other teachers may find these coupons useful in their classrooms. Enjoy!

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

New Florida Math Standards

Posted 06-28-2010 at 07:42 AM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 09:58 PM by Mariely

I was recently trained in the new Florida Math Standards which we refer to as the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NG SSS) for Math. Basically, elementary grades are no longer going to cover all aspects of Math in each grade level (i.e. Number Sense, Geometry, Measurement, Algebraic Thinking, and Data Analysis/Probability). Instead, each grade level will focus on a few Math concepts which are referred to the Big Ideas.

In fourth grade for example, we will be covering Multiplication/Division, Area, and Decimals. We will also cover three supporting ideas which will help students review previously learned concepts and concepts they will learn in future grades. The state is moving from teaching a mile wide and an inch deep. Long gone are the days when we used to teach Math just to cover a topic without the students understanding it in depth. Now we will cover less but go much more deeper in the topic so students know it inside and out.

Rating: 16 votes, 5.00 average.

I P.A.W.S. for Word Problems

Posted 07-20-2010 at 01:05 PM by Mariely
Updated 08-02-2010 at 07:22 AM by Mariely

A few months ago I attended a workshop where a math teacher shared a strategy that she uses with her students to help them solve word problems.

The strategy involves a paw outline using the title "I P.A.W.S. for Word Problems." This is what the acronym P.A.W.S. stands for:

Problem Key Words
Analyze the Steps
Work it Out
Solve! Does it make sense?

Then on the actual paw part of the outline, the students would work out their problems. This area is called the "Work Pad."

This was such a creative idea that I decided to create a document for it. Attached you will find the PDF I created for "I P.A.W.S. for Word Problems." Let me know what you think.

Update: I realize that some of you were not able to access the attachment due to restrictions on your member level. I uploaded the document to my website and if you are interested, you may find it by following...
Attached Images
File Type: pdf PAWS-4wordproblems-compatible.pdf (180.1 KB, 2722 views)
Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Oh how I have missed professional development days.

Posted 08-20-2010 at 07:36 PM by Hifiman

I'm barely back to work. The school year is brand new. And I've already had my first professional development day. Well, a few hours in the afternoon really. But I've missed them. I had almost forgotten how much fun they can be. Almost.

I found out a few days before the training that admin wanted me to attend. Fine. I need it. I've been out of the classroom too long. I don't want to mention the training here on my blog, but I was curious about it. I had never heard of it before. I Googled it on the internet. That's when the fun began. It reminded what I love so much about this profession - steal, tweak ever so slightly to repackage, and charge an arm and a leg to any district that's willing to pay. And this practice is encouraged! Whatever. I'll play the game since it's not my money being spent. Well, not directly, but this sort of fiscal mismanagement is largely why teachers like me keep getting laid off.

I rushed out of school to attend the...

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