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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
K: "Gotta Go! Gotta Go!" by Sam Swope
1st: "See Pip Point" by David Milgrim
2nd: "The Bug in the Teacher's Coffee and Other School Poems," by Kalli Dakos
3rd: "Mosquito Bite" by Alexandra Siy
4th: "Pizza, Pigs and Poetry: How to Write a Poem" by Jack Prelutsky
5th: "Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow" by James Sturn
6th: “Al Capone Does My Shirts" by Gennifer Choldenko
7th: "The Summer of Riley" by Eve Bunting
8th: "The Clique: A Novel" by Lisi Harrison
9th: "Spellbound" by Janet McDonald
10th: "The Andromeda Strain" by Michael Crichton
11th: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon
12th: "The Freedom Writer's Diary" by 150 anonymous high-school students.
What is the best book you’ve ever taught? Please share it with us in the Comments section.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Public school teacher Jack Fontanella even created a "No NCLB" blog (nonclb.blogspot.com) to discuss how the failing system can be changed. He writes:
The tests themselves have become a major obstacle to improving struggling schools. They are not providing useful data for better instruction; they are providing junk data for bad policy or telling us what we already know: that public schools are swamped by the same inequality that exists all around them. Testing every kid every year and measuring the results against benchmarks that no real schools have ever met is not an "accountability" system. It's an enabling instrument for imposing privatizing sanctions and pushing more democratic and promising school improvement strategies to the sidelines. One activist compared NCLB's out-of-control testing plague to the difference between giving a patient a blood test and draining the patient's blood.New studies are now showing that anti-NCLBers may be right. Based on a study of California schools, researchers predict that the NCLB targets will not be met by the 2013-2014 deadlines, The results also show that schools are struggling most to get English Language Learners and economically disadvantaged students to meet NCLB targets, especially in language arts.
It seems that the government is blaming teachers, or the lack of "highly qualified" teachers for this failure to meet NCLB goals.
So what do you think? Is it teachers or it it a flawed system? Post your answer in comments or complete the poll to the right.
The main reason is that schools failed to comply with the NCLB law’s mandate to hire “highly qualified” teachers in schools serving disadvantaged students, said Amy Wilkins, the vice president of governmental affairs and communications for the Education Trust, a Washington-based research and advocacy group that was instrumental in designing the law, which Congress passed in December 2001.
“We haven’t provided the help to struggling schools, and we haven’t provided the teachers they need,” said Ms. Wilkins. “Good teachers dramatically change not just the learning trajectories, but the life trajectories of students, and we didn’t do that.”
Read the whole story at: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2008/09/25/06ayp.h28.html?tmp=775034543
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Since some students retain more through sound than sight, podcasts can provide an alternate study aid to traditional book chapters. You can record entire lectures, classroom discussion, review games or short topic summaries. The most effective podcasts are typically 6-10 minutes long.
Audacity offers free podcasting software and an easy-to understand tutorial for beginners:
Now is the time to expand a child’s iPod world. Audiobooks can make reading a more recreational activity for busy students. They can listen while exercising, driving or sitting on the bus. Make "reading" a habit!
Using the same techniques detailed in the podcast section, have students produce their own music, old-fashioned radio broadcast, theatrical readings of plays and stories, or news shows. They can record video or audio as an MP3, post it online, and share it with the class.
An extra bonus: parents will love being able to share their children’s work with friends and family.
Whether you’re working with ESL students or teaching a foreign langague, bringing a language to life will make it infinitely easier for students. Students can listen to fluent speakers for extra practice outside class or record themselves to work on pronunciation.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
“People picked the Democrat over Republican John McCain to catch a game with by 50 percent to 47 percent, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll released Friday. Asked which they'd choose to be their child's teacher, Obama was the choice by a more decisive 55 percent to 44 percent, including a markedly stronger performance by the Illinois senator among whites.” http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5ja245uG5DkJq6zSlin6EVr04vOkAD939UJOO1
What qualities would a teacher bring to the Oval Office? Post your thoughts in the Comments section!
Monday, September 22, 2008
How do you deal with students showing up late to class?
Post your tips and techniques in the comments section.
For those teachers who aren’t trading big money on Wall Street, the obvious concerns are likely retirement funds, the education budget and the tax-repercussions of these government bailouts. [Who knew a nation so in debt had $85 billion to $1 trillion dollars just laying around?]
Our friends over at EdWeek talked with the experts to get some answers.
The word on your pensions:
“Nationally, public-employee pension systems covering educators, including K-12 and university employees, had assets totaling $2.37 trillion in their trust funds as of January, according to the National Council on Teacher Retirement.”Worried about your 403b?
According to Dan Otter, a former teacher who now runs and the teacher retirement advice site 403bwise.com, teachers are nervous about their financial future. He posted a memo from AIG assuring 403b-ers that their investments are underwritten by a “strong insurance company.”
For more info: see the full article at
The state of the Ed budget and our future taxes are less predictable, but will doubtless exist.
How do you think the financial crisis will affect you and the education community? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section.
For more info: check out this article on the New York Times Freakonomics blog that breaks things down to a level that non-brokers can actually understand. http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/18/diamond-and-kashyap-on-the-recent-financial-upheavals/
Friday, September 19, 2008
Nevada superintendent Bob Dolazel instituted the four-day week to maximize class time for athletes. He detailed the advantages in this www.eschoolnews.com report:
"Our motivation at the time was improving the amount of instructional time our students have," said Dolazel, schools chief since 2000. Sporting events, he said, cut down on students' class time because some games were more than 100 miles from White Pines, meaning teams would have to leave with several hours left in the school day. With only 115 students in the school, having a couple dozen leave for an athletic event was detrimental, Dolazel said. Now, all athletic events are scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays, meaning class is not interrupted by team schedules.
It's a hit in rural areas, but could it also work for you?
Things to consider:
- Students and teachers have a longer school day four days a week to complete the state’s required instructional hours. Will kids be too burnt out by the end of the day?
- Will working parents struggle with daycare?
- Will longer weekend and more free time be better or worse for students?
Weigh in with the poll on the right or in comments!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Macaroni artwork for the Early Childhood crowd
Feeling superior to materialistic corporate suits
And lots of teacher discounts!
Here are some of the major deals out there:
Barnes and Noble – 20% off anything “for the classroom” (I trust that you can be creative enough to make that fit just about anything.)
Ann Taylor – initial 20% discount and special deals throughout the year
Electronics & software– Apple, Dell, HP & PC people all offer special deals for teachers
Apple - http://www.apple.com/education/
Dell - http://www.dell.com/content/segmenter.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=eep&cs=2244
HP - http://government.hp.com/content_detail.asp?contentid=1084&agencyid=135&state=AZ&jumpid=reg_R1002_USEN
PC People - http://pcpeople.com/pricelist/Pricelist-Acad_Retail.htm
Also check out iUniversity on iTunes for free classroom downloads
Joann Fabric – for the crafty ones out there
Office Depot Star Teacher Program
What else is out there? Leave your favorite teacher deals in the comments section!
I want to get the word out to the teachers on Teachhub with a discount directory, so please let me know what phenomenal teacher discounts you’ve come across.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
What can I do for you?
No really, please tell me!
I’m just a lowly little web editor working with a grassroots teacher organization in the outer suburbs of Chicago and I need some help. Our organization is launching a website, Teachhub.com, that will be K-12's one-stop shop for top recommendations, resources, ed news and classroom tips for teachers by teachers.
Here is the thing….we need some help with the whole “for teachers, by teachers” part. We have been working with a team of amazing local teachers. These teachers have been unbelievably helpful, but want to hear from more of you! We need as much teacher input as we can possible get.
We want to help teachers from all over the country from every grade level and specialization. We also want to make Teachhub.com a fun site that you’ll actually enjoy visiting.
So what am I actually asking you to do?
Simply check in with the blog when you can and leave us your comments. What do you hate?
What do you love? What are you positively obsessed with?
We’ll have daily polls, quizzes, hot teacher topic requests, and updates on how we are working your ideas into the site.
Let's start with a kickoff question: What is your all-time favorite teacher movie?
Please post your answers in comment!
(Personally, Dangerous Minds is battling Dead Poet’s Society for my top spot).
P.S. Have extra input? Want to write for Teachhub?
Of course, I’m dying to hear any other advice, ideas, stories or expertise you’d like to share with me. We are also looking for writers for daily articles on the site, so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com