Archive for March, 2010

April in the Ozarks

There is something magical about April in the Ozarks–the smell of damp earth, the light green of new leaves, and the feel of the warm breeze on my face as I get outside as much as possible during this time of the year.  And of course, there is the smell of the meat on the grill from the many decks across the neighborhood.  Most of us can’t wait for warm weather.

April also brings state testing.  Teachers and students are geared up and ready for the long days of MAP testing.  Schedules and routines are changed as students tackle the reading, writing and math assessments.  A good way to help kids relax before and after testing is with Read Alouds.  Find books you love to read and share them with your students.  This is a good time to listen for enjoyment, letting kids get swept away with the story and not focussing on a particular reading or writing strategy.  To get you started, here are the 100 books everyone should know, along with a short summary of each book.

http://kids.nypl.org/reading/recommended2.cfm?ListID=61

Another good resource this month is for primary teachers.  The Writing Fix has 6 free lessons for K-2 teachers.  Here is the link to that.

http://writingfix.com/6_Traits/Primary/Writing_Rainbows.htm

Enjoy!

Rainy Saturday Mornings

I love early Saturday mornings when it rains.  Everything at home slows down.  Breakfast is later.  Special coffee is brewed.  The Rainy Day Jazz CD fills the air with quiet rhythm.  I let the week roll off me and begin to relax.

Relaxation for me also includes reading.  I eagerly opened up my online journals and was immediately immersed in the  top 30 sites listed in Choice Literacy.  The early hours of the morning slipped away as I ventured from site to site.  All 30 sites have wonderful things in them, but here are a few I especially found interesting.

Video Read Alouds (Can we take this further by having our kids create the video Read Aloud?)

Video Book Trailers (Can we take this further by having our kids create their own trailers for their favorite books?)

The Boy Reader Blog

Five Great Book Blogs

How a Poem Happens

The National Writing Project–30 Ideas

Web Tools 4U2Use (Great site for helping us integrate technology and curriculum)

Here is the link to the Choice Literacy list.  http://www.choiceliteracy.com/public/1110.cfm

Rainy Saturday mornings, Hazelnut coffee, favorite journals, and jazz–what can be better than this?

Education for the XYZers

Today I sat in on several sessions that talked about educating today’s children–children that learn differently than we did while we were in school.  The one thing that stood out was the fact that, yes, children are different than we were when we were in school, but our challenge is the same:   to help our kids develop the critical thinking skills they will need to be successful in tomorrow’s jobs.  Technology will play a big part in helping our kids be successful, but it must be implemented with the idea that critical thinking is built into the problem solving process. 

Here is an article that talks about educating children for the 21st century.http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/sept09/vol67/num01/21st_Century_Skills@_The_Challenges_Ahead.aspx

I hope you are enjoying the challenges we face as we try to integrate the thinking skills and the technology that makes it easier.