Curriculum Tip Tuesday: It’s Time to Have Fun

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Schools everywhere are winding down the school year in May. It’s spring, and better weather is here. The sun is shining, jackets are thrown on the playground black top, and students and teachers are searching for ways to fill the long school days. The standardized testing windows concluded, but there is still more time to learn. What can schools do to keep up the school spirit in May and June?

Have fun!

This is the perfect time to do class projects you wanted to do all year, but were too busy. Students would love to read the books they want to read, practicing the skills and strategies they have learned over the course of the school year. Wouldn’t it be great to research something you have always wanted to know, but never had time to ask and find out? Students can do “I-Search” projects, smaller versions of the research paper, based on what they really wonder and question. Art projects can be more intricate — there’s more time for creating during the spring.  Another idea is to write letters of introduction to the kids in the lower grade levels. “Advice columns” can help students publish their writing authentically, and the younger students can practice fluent reading (of the columns) while finding out what they need to know about “survival” in the next grade. Math and science teachers can create games of skill and strategy and hold competitions, such as “Minute to Win It-“type games. There are so many ways to learn and grow in the spring!

Students should feel a sense of accomplishment, excitement, and wonder during the last few days of the school year.  Low-stress, engaging, and FUN activities can leave a student looking forward to summer, and maybe even hoping for school to start again soon!

 

 

WFMAD Challenge: Write 15 Minutes a Day — Public Post: Happy Labor Day!

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I am using my day off to relax, and to reflect on my opportunity to work as a teacher.  In this day and age, I am lucky to have a job — with days off, no less — and I thank all of those who came before me for fighting for my labor rights.

My right, as a woman, to work in the public arena and gather a decent wage (as small as that wage seems sometimes).

My right, as a teacher, to develop curriculum and assist students in becoming our future leaders.

My right, as a professional, to learn and grow as I see fit.

My right, as a citizen, to read, write, and continue to develop my own ideas and goals.

My right, as a leader in my field, to fight for our continued well-being. Bless all you teachers out there! I’m with ‘ya!

Happy Labor Day!

Curriculum Tip for August 13, 2013: Back to School Supplies are Expensive!

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I have learned to “write what I know.” As we prepare to enter another school year, one thing I know is that back-to-school supplies are expensive!  But as a parent and a teacher, I can tell you with confidence that shopping for school supplies doesn’t have to make parents, students, or teachers crazy if we all follow some simple guidelines.  Here’s my perspective:

1.  Shop the sales! I know, I cannot stand to think about school at the end of July, but that is when the sales start.  Stock up on paper, pencils, and folders. You know, no matter what grade or subject, you’ll need those.

2.  DO NOT buy what you DO NOT need!  Students, please don’t tell your parents you need those glitter pens, small staplers, colorful Post-it notes in all sizes, or fancy leather portfolios. Unless it’s on the school supply list from your school, you do not need any of these items! Parents: Don’t fall for it! Stick to the list from your child’s school.  Teachers: Don’t ask for what you won’t use in the classroom, either.  All those unneeded items just lead to clutter and chaos.

3.  If you don’t have a list, here’s a suggestion for standard supplies that WILL BE USED during the school year:

loose leaf paper (a LOT–you need it every day, maybe for every subject)

2 spiral notebooks (college or wide ruled, 70 sheets standard) for each subject

pencils (a LOT–students break them, lose them, give them to friends, and the school pencil sharpeners eat them up)

folders (2-pocket plain folders are standard)

reading and writing (and possibly science and math) notebooks (composition-type books work well for the most part)

small scissors, a pack of glue sticks, colored pencils (the 12-pack is plenty!)

2 large boxes of tissues (name brands not necessary)

2 rolls of paper towels (to help with cleaning the classroom, extras for washing hands before lunch, etc.)

This list of school supplies will get you started.  Seriously. If anything else is needed, parents, please help your student to buy the items, or ask your school for help. (Teachers don’t mind helping, when necessary and not perceived as wasteful or a way to take advantage  of them.)  Students, come to school ready with these basic items. Your teachers will love you, and you’ll be off to a great school year.  Teachers, remember our goal is to educate students. Think about the supplies you will really need, and create a thoughtful list for your families.

And of course, have a great school year!

Curriculum Tip: April 2, 2013

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Taking a Break

It’s spring break here, and I was just thinking about how great it is to have some time to read for fun. No homework, no lessons, no projects. Just reading. Research concludes that any time spent reading helps one to become a better reader. What are you reading?

Spring Break Book List — Feel free to share your list with us!

Life of Pi (Martel)

The Happiness Project (Rubin)

Liar & Spy (Stead)

The Last Lecture (Pausch)

My Beloved World (Sotomayor)

Sharing: Have a Reading & Writing Sort of Summer!

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I am so excited to share that my friend and colleague has started a wonderful business! Check out http://www.ANovelTime.com, featured in the community section of the South Bend Tribune (our local newspaper)! Students will be able to read, write, discuss, and share work through an online curriculum starting this summer.

What an exciting venture!

See the news story at www.southbendtribune.com/community/sbt-granger-woman-launches-online-summer-program-20130324,0,5550467.story