I am deeply saddened by the events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Those events should have never have happened. Yesterday as I came back to work at Olds Elementary School I could not bring myself to blog, and I wanted to offer silence and prayers to the families, staff, community, and nation.
Education changes each day. As educators we must make our own pedagogical and personal shifts in order to stay current and provide the best possible learning experiences for our students. I was thinking of how the staff and students at Sandy Hook Elementary have had to make shifts right along with many educators in the nation in regards to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). They have faced the challenges and excitement that has occurred because of all of the changes that comes along with the CCSS. As educators, we have so much in common (no pun intended). I hope that the events in Newton will give us all a chance to sit back and reflect on all of the many positive things we have going for us in our schools. I hope we notice the positive things that have happened in your teaching and in student learning. Educational shifts and changes can be challenging. It is important to remember that as educators we are in a community of with others educators around the nation working toward common goals of educating our young learners. Moreover, I feel it is time to really be thankful that we are educators, and that we have to opportunity to make positive changes in the lives of the students we teach.
I send much peace to the families and staff at Sandy Fork Elementary and to ALL educators around the nation as I know these events affect you deeply. Change happens in education daily. Let's make the most of it and strive to be HERO's in the eyes of the students we see each day. Thank you to Sandy Fork Elementary Teachers and Staff. You are truly HERO's!
Every morning when I walk up the stairs of Olds Elementary on the way to my office, I am greeted with a positive note, quote, or challenge of the day. The greetings are posted on a white board outside of one of my colleague's classrooms. Yesterday the white board said "Today's challenge is to practice one random act of kindness." Lately, I have really been thinking about the white board greetings and its use as an effective instructional tool. The white board greeting is positive, encouraging, and a great moral booster for the students and teachers. I appreciate the white board and look forward to its message daily. Thank you Mrs. K. I wonder how else white boards can be used instructionally. Any ideas?
Feel like haveing an author study during the month of January? If so, check out and share this great resource. FREE activities from Ezra Jack Keats books. Share the joys of reading to your students!
I just added a strategy of the week tab. I hope to post a new strategy each week that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. This week the strategy is "Picture of the Day Inferences". I found this ideas from Jennifer Jones at HelloLiteracy (she is full of great ideas). I think visualization activities are great instructional tools that can be integrated into many Common Core Standards and North Carolina Essential Standards. I aligned some ELA Information and Literature Standards with the strategy for K-5. If you would like a copy please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On another note I found that the New York Times Leanring Network is posting a picture of the week. This would be a great way to incoporate 'Picture of the Day (or Week) Inferences" in your class. For more ideas check out the following link http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/category/lesson-plans/whats-going-on-in-this-picture/.
I wish you all a great weekend! This new 21st Century learning experience is pretty cool!
Happy Friday! I think students will love this video! What a great musical and media integration tool!
A Quote to help you get through the "hard days"...shared with me by a Colleague who lifted herself up...
Things don't go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.
The other day a teacher asked me if I knew of any good books for read aloud that focus on empathy. The first thing that came to mind was The Grinch by Dr. Seuss. I immediately thought of this because I had watched it the night before and remember thinking how empathetic Cindy Lou was to the Grinch. This question however, has stayed in my thoughts. I kept thinking how wonderful it was for the teacher to recognize that her class needed some interventions based on being empathetic. I think recognizing student needs is really an important factor in teaching. Many of the lessons we teach each day are not just content based but also social and emotional lessons. Moreover, I am so pleased to know that third grade students are learning such important life skills. Moral and ethical education is so important.
In my adventure to find more books with the theme of empathy I stumbled upon the following site: http://www.librarything.com/
This site allows you to type in any theme and will provide you with a list of text that match.