Classroom Solutions > 85 posts categorized "3-5"

Beware of Bias -- Graphing With a Critical Eye


Calories Tricky GraphMy students studied graphing during our first math unit this year. Graphing lends itself to get-to-know-you activities — students can survey each other to collect data — and it provides an entry point for students of all math abilities.

Once my students understood how graphs work and how to create accurate graphs, I started to wonder how I could up the ante. How could I promote critical thinking with this relatively straightforward math unit? 

One of my students handed me the answer when he brought in a graph that he had clipped from the newspaper to add to our graph collection. As I looked over his graph, I thought, "Hey, wait a sec! This graph is downright misleading." As I pointed out the graph’s flaws to my students, their eyes widened at the idea that a newspaper might seek to mislead with a graph.

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My Reflections on the Education Nation Teacher Town Hall

Town Hall PhotoEvery year just before our December vacation, my school’s entire faculty takes a celebratory “field trip” to Rockefeller Center. We skate around the iconic rink and then feast at a nearby restaurant. Over dinner, we discuss our successes and challenges from the first semester and our goals for the second semester. I always leave with a deep appreciation for my creative, dedicated colleagues and a renewed enthusiasm for our profession. 

This past Sunday, I visited the Rockefeller Center skating rink for another gathering of passionate educators, this time foregoing ice skates and a winter coat. Instead, I joined several hundred teachers in a tent for NBC’s Teacher Town Hall, the kickoff event for their weeklong Education Nation initiative. So many interesting ideas were explored during the two-hour freewheeling conversation, and I left just as inspired as I am after my school's December outing. Read on for my thoughts on just a few of the ideas we covered.

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Comments: 2

Extra, Extra, Read All About It! Current Events in the Classroom

Reading News on the SubwayOne of my personal goals this year is to read the newspaper every single day, regardless of how many student essays I need to read or how crazy my morning commute. I want to be aware of the world around me, and I am committed to living a more news-literate life. I bought a newspaper subscription for my Kindle, and at the very least, I am going to read the news while I take the subway to and from school.

While working on myself, I also consider my students’ current events literacy. I want to help my students to become informed young citizens and lifelong news readers. However, finding time for current events during our jam-packed school day has always posed a challenge. In this post, I'll share some of the solutions I've found. However, my current events curriculum is very much a work in progress, so I would love to hear how you cover world events in your classroom. 

Photo: One of my students reading a newspaper on the subway during a field trip. I need to learn from her!

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Comments: 4

Organizing my Classroom Library: The Never-Ending Story

Library OverviewAs I set up my classroom this year, I was so proud of myself. I had carefully organized when I packed up my room in June, so my room looked “livable” in just a few hours this fall. “Wow, this is smooth sailing,” I thought smugly. Then I approached my classroom library, and I didn’t emerge until 8:30 p.m.! 

The hours disappeared as I labeled book baskets, leveled new books, culled through my collection, and planned new library routines. This was certainly time well spent, but I have to tell you, sometimes my “librarian hat” feels heavier than my “teacher hat.” That said, I feel that much of my success as a reading teacher can be attributed to my classroom library. Join me on a photo tour of my classroom library, as I reflect on my organization systems and what works for me.


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Comments: 2

Poetic Beginnings: Four Poetry Lessons to Get to Know Your Students

Amys PoemMany curriculum guides would have us believe that poetry and April are conjoined twins, never to be parted, but we teachers know better. Poetry is powerful stuff, and cramming it into a single month is unfair to our students and to poetry! In my class, we read, write, and publish poetry throughout the year, and I frontload the first two months of school with even more poetry. We gain deep insights about each other while sharing our poetry, we luxuriate in words, and we celebrate creative risks –- important back-to-school practices. Here are four of my back-to-school poetry lessons that I use to get to really know my students.

 

Amy shares one of her published poems.

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Comments: 6

Celebrating Community Heroes: September 11th in the Elementary Classroom

FDNY Let me be honest with you: Teaching my third graders about September 11th makes me a little uncomfortable. My students weren’t even born in 2001, and this historic tragedy just doesn’t seem all that relevant to their lives. On the other hand, September 11th has become a permanent part of our collective consciousness. As New York City gears up for the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, my students are inevitably curious about it. It wouldn’t be fair to my students if I didn’t help them understand 9/11 in a way that honors their intellectual curiosity, yet is appropriate for their age as well. Thank goodness for the picture book Fireboat by Maira Kalman! Here’s how I use this amazing book to discuss the facts about 9/11 and then shift into a lesson about heroes.

 

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Comments: 2

Read-Alouds to Launch Reader’s Workshop

Reading_on_Rug During the first few weeks of reader’s workshop, the focus is necessarily on introducing routines, building stamina, and exploring the classroom library. At the same time, I need to immerse my students in the culture of reading by getting lost in good books together. There isn’t a moment to waste in initiating my students into our reading cult! How do I accomplish both goals at the same time? I use picture books that celebrate reading as a springboard into our discussions about reader’s workshop routines and expectations. Read on for my favorite picture books about reading and how I use them to launch our reader’s workshop.


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Comments: 9

My Classroom Management Must-Haves, Part 2: Float Jars and More

Float Jar1Last week, I wrote about the color chart that I use to help my students manage their individual behavior choices. The color chart is my saving grace, but it is not the panacea for all behavior woes. This week, I am going to share some more of my favorite management strategies: The Float Jar, Table Stars, and my Homework Black Book.

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Comments: 4

Meet the Teacher: Ideas for a Successful Open House

Screen shot 2011-08-02 at 3.47.01 PMMany schools offer an open house prior to the start of the school year. On this day parents and students come to the school, tour the classroom, visit with friends, and meet the teacher. The furniture is in place, the classroom is organized, and new friends hop, skip, and jump through the classroom door. Ready or not, here they come!

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Comments: 16

My Classroom Management Must-Haves, Part 1: Color Charts

Jon Color ChartAt the beginning of each school year, I revisit the question that is central to my beliefs about classroom management. How do I structure a classroom environment where my students actively nurture the community because they believe in the importance of co-creating the world in which they want to work and play? Over the years I have experimented with several systems, and I continue to grow and refine my management style. However, I’ve stumbled upon some keepers that I use from year to year. This week I am going to share one of my go-to management strategies, The Color Chart.

 

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Comments: 15

Classroom Setup: Arranging the Physical Space

classroom setuupIt won’t be long until summer is behind us and we are back at school. I’ve spent hours imagining the perfect classroom setup, and in about three weeks, it will be time to transform my thoughts into reality. Experience has taught me that details matter. How quickly I am reminded of the sheer exhaustion of classroom setup when I see furniture piled high, boxes stacked one on top of another, and closets packed full of materials. The classroom space is clean, fresh, and anything but organized! I begin my classroom setup wisely by reflecting on student learning and my teaching practices.

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Comments: 38

What’s in a Name? A Back-to-School Literacy Unit

NametagDuring the first few weeks of school, I always find it challenging to come up with a meaningful unit of study so that my students can feel as though they are accomplishing something beyond learning a bunch of routines. There’s the obvious imperative to build our classroom community. On top of that, the empty bulletin boards in the classroom are glaring at us, demanding student work so our classroom can begin to look “lived in.”

Last year, I had wonderful results using a name unit as our first shared literacy experience. Read on to find out what my students did. (This post includes a list of read-alouds and graphic organizers to support the unit.)

 

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Comments: 4

Director's Edit: Final Thoughts on the Year

Vasicek BrainThis is my farewell post. Before getting to the content, I'd like to thank Scholastic for allowing me the opportunity to share the magic that occurs behind the scenes in a classroom. I'd like to thank Special Days Camp, the students of Studio 24, and the Integrity Bros. for the continued inspiration and ideas. I'd like to thank any teacher, friend, student, family member, colleague, reader, or human that ever sparked an idea in my mind. From John Medina to Spencer Kagan, and from the author of The Hunger Games series to the inventor of spray paint, I thank you for your contribution to my classroom. Lastly, I'd like to thank you, my faithful readers. Your overwhelmingly positive comments, emails, and suggestions have made me a better teacher.

Although I could write at length about the value of all of the ideas that follow, the time is short. So the CliffsNotes version appears below. Here are a last few gems, for seasoned teachers or rookies, on which you can meditate this summer.

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Comments: 8

One Look Back — Two Steps Forward

F81935817Where did the year go? It seems as though I was staring at a sea of unfamiliar faces just yesterday. In a few weeks, I'll be sending them on to 7th grade. Before sending them off, I take a few moments to have them reflect on the year. What was their favorite unit? What was the most important thing they learned? How could I make their learning experiences better? Then I collaborate with colleagues for about an hour, comparing notes, celebrating our successes, and discussing areas to target.

As hectic as these last few weeks are, it is important to take time to reflect on the year and create personal and professional goals while everything is fresh in your mind.   

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Tommydickson.

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Comments: 2

Celebrate Writing and Young Authors!

DSC00722Every day in my classroom students spend time writing, either by themselves or with partners. Some students illustrate books while others peer edit or meet with me. Every week, we have Writers Workshop in our classroom, and when a student has a completed book, they present it at Author's Chair. I am pleased to share with you a fun Author's Chair video featuring several of my students. Enjoy!

Giveaway winners announced at the end of this post!

 

 

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Cementing the Year With Jeopardy

Jeopardy Vasicek Categories 2It's near the end of the year. Some of the students are getting squirrelly. You are running out of steam, but this is the time that you need to push your hardest. What to do . . . what to do?

To be honest, right now you are not going to get much new material delivered in a memorable way. Brain research does not support cramming, so I prefer to concentrate on cementing what I have already taught. I do it with several rounds of Jeopardy. In the true spirit of the Kagan teachings, this maximizes student engagement.

 

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Comments: 3

Greek Mythology and Readers Theater

Greek Vasicek Zeus Cake Covering Greek mythology can be very confusing. For one thing, the family tree for the Greek gods makes the family situations on Jerry Springer and The Maury Show look normal and tame. Mythology is not my strong suit, and the end of the year is not necessarily the time to cover topics that you are not completely confident with. So when I stumbled across a Greek mythology readers theater book, I was ecstatic. Read on to find out how to incorporate this activity into your classroom.

Photo: One student made a cake for the "God and Goddess Bake Off" play. This was a great way to celebrate the day!

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Comments: 12

Common Core State Standards

MBlow0510_iStock000012975998_tortoisehareThroughout my career, I have done extensive research on world folklore. Aesop, the father of fables, has blessed us with an infamous fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” cautioning against hurrying to reach a goal and suggesting that the slow and steady will win the race. I cling to the wisdom of this fable as we begin our journey toward educational reform. 

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

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Comments: 1

That's a Wrap: End of the Year Celebration

003The brain likes clean beginnings and clean endings . . . and, calendar check, the end of the year is quickly approaching! Questions begin to form in my mind: Will all the curriculum get covered? Will the assessments and report cards be completed on time? Did I make a difference? Despite all the year-end chaos, it is important to take time to celebrate the educational and emotional journey you and your students will soon be completing. After all, that last day of school can be like a divorce for students who find a haven of belonging and structure at school. 

In the course of my teaching career, I have ended the year in a variety of ways. Below are some of my favorites. I tweaked a few to accommodate the entertainment theme I used in my classroom this year.

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Comments: 4

Conquering Test Anxiety

Brain_lead_photoWhether it's a unit test, final exam, or high-stakes state assessment, some students will suffer from test anxiety. Ironically, it is often the student who has the least to worry about who suffers the most. Other students will tell me that they are better at math. Their brain just doesn't like to write. I use brain exercises and music to help my students conquer test anxiety and wake up both sides of their brain. Included in this post is a video demonstrating activities that activate both hemispheres of the brain and reduce stress.

Photo copyright iStockphoto/Glepi.

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Comments: 1

What We'll Do Differently Next Year

DSC01483 One of the greatest things about being teachers is that at the end of each year we can evaluate our past teaching experiences, change what didn't work, and plan new strategies with the hope of perfecting our practice. Even after sixteen years of teaching, I find that every June I ponder the passing year and decide what to get rid of, what to work on, and how to change curriculum and instruction so that come September, my classroom runs more smoothly.

I did an informal survey of teachers in my district and teaching friends across the nation, asking them, "What will you do differently next year?" Responses ranged from working on classroom management and time management to creating projects that tap into higher order thinking skills.

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Simple and Impressive Planet Art

Vasicek Final PlanetMy art skills were arrested at about the 4th grade level: My students can attest to that! So, when I was able to produce a pretty impressive planet scene in under 15 minutes, I was very proud of myself. When I told my students that I used spray paint to do it, they were impressed as well.

 

 

 

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Comments: 14

State Assessments: Multiple-Choice Strategies & Activities

041911iStock_000005780399StndTestFormSometimes I question whether my students are taking a multiple-choice test or a multiple-guess test. By the time the 6th graders get to me, they have had three years of state testing. I worry about the blasé attitudes preteens sometime develop because they have "been there, done that." So how do we motivate our students and prepare them for high-stakes testing? Below are a few reading comprehension strategies and review activities that help our students succeed on the state tests.

Photo copyright Ryan Balderas/iStockphoto.

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Comments: 1

Celebrating Poetry

Vasicek Poetry Practice DrumsA recurring theme in many of my blog posts is the importance of providing students with an authentic audience for their knowledge and skills. Sure, some students will do a great job in school because they have that kind of work ethic, but others need to know that there is a bigger purpose. One of the top five memories in my class for the past six years is Poetry Night. This is a night that stretches comfort zones, demonstrates extreme teamwork, and allows students to showcase their creativity and poetic talents. And when it is all over, what a sense of accomplishment!   

Photo: Rehearsing the drums that are played in between poems.

 

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Comments: 18

State Assessments: Note-Taking & Writing Strategies

MBlow0411_shutterstock_63405031_girl_writing-2Last week, I received an email from a good friend who shared test-taking tips that she is using in her classroom. The other day, a 6th grader in an unidentified U.S. location wrote, thanking me profusely for the test-taking tips that I had posted on my Web site. She wanted me to know that she is “less nervous to take the exam.” The next email was from a fellow blogger, Renee, who was looking for paired passages to use for state test review. It is evident that teachers and students across the country are in state testing mode. Read on for some of the review strategies I use in my classroom.

Photo copyright Shutterstock/jeka.

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Nonfiction: Getting to Know Rachel Carson

Vasicek Carson CoverReading nonfiction is quite different from reading fiction. I find many upper elementary students have a hard time sorting through the facts and information in a nonfiction text. One series of books, Getting to Know the World's Greatest Inventors & Scientists, is becoming a hit with my students. These books are the perfect size for practicing nonfiction reading strategies, and the content is of high interest to the students.

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Paying It Forward

ParentteacherWhen I attend a conference, my goal is to come away with techniques, ideas, or information that will improve my teaching, and my greatest hope is to leave inspired. This year at the Computer-Using Educators conference, both my goal and my hope were realized. Today I want to introduce one of the people who made this happen last week. He's amazing both in how he uses technology in his classroom, and also in who he is as a person and as a teacher. He is one of the people that I aspire to be more like. His name is Brent Coley, and I'm honored to have him write a guest post for this blog.

 


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Comments: 2

Happy Spring

Christmas 2010 ClassThe Studio 24 crew and their director will be on hiatus this week. Spring has arrived and we need to re-energize our batteries for the final stretch. We will be back on April 13th to share more classroom adventures and activities with all of you. 

Some of our most treasured activities are yet to come, so stay tuned. They include Poetry Night, Spray Painting Planets, Overnight Camping Adventures, and more.

May your week be full of integrity.

 

Comments: 4

Cool Web Tools for Teachers and Kids! Part Two

NJang_0323111_iStock_000001186054_Websurfing
Last week at the Computer-Using Educators (CUE) Conference in Palm Springs I saw a ton of great presentations. This week I am excited to share what I learned during a great presentation called "Extreme Makeover: Web Site Edition" by Brent Coley, a 5th grade teacher in Murietta, California.  Read on for ten great suggestions for making your Web site interactive, informative, and useful with FREE, easy-to-use apps!

 

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Comments: 2

Building Trust in a Classroom

Vasicek Wind WillowTrust. It's the foundation of any great relationship. Trust. It can take years to build and moments to shatter. Trust. Can be the difference between a pretty good class and a pretty great class. So how do you build it? Read on.

 

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Comments: 6

State Assessments: Extended Response

SMART_Notebook_ER_picAre you feeling the pressure of state tests? With Race to the Top and looming state testing season, many of us are feeling anxious. At this point in the year, my goal is to help my 6th grade students transfer the skills they learned throughout the year to the state tests. This week's post includes resources and strategies for teaching the extended response, or essay portion, of the assessments. Included is a SMART Notebook lesson for outlining the essay and serving a little TEA to reduce anxiety.

 

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Comments: 9

Cool Web Tools for Teachers and Kids! Part One

DSC00459
I just came home from a fantastic technology conference in Palm Springs called Computer-Using Educators, or CUE, and my head is about to explode (in a good way). I would love to share some of these fantastic cool tools and apps with you. If you ever do any projects online or offline, have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, or are just a tech geek like me, hold on to your heads for some AMAZING tools that you can use right away, to make teaching easier in almost any grade level or to make your life easier at home. Special thanks to all the presenters at CUE for inspiring others to bring tech into their classrooms! Read on to check out some super amazing techy things to do with your class and some cool apps for you!

 

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Comments: 3

The Historical News Broadcast

Vasicek ClapboardHave you ever wondered what a news report might have looked like if television had existed in the time of cavemen or Columbus? One of my favorite cross-curricular projects this year, blending technology and social studies, was a lesson I call the Historical News Broadcast.

 

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Comments: 2

Using Lyrics for Beyond Literal Comprehension

Music FilomenaHoward Gardner suggests that intelligence is not merely being able to read or do mathematical calculations. It encompasses several different components, one of which is music. I like to use music in my classroom to manage the day and to tap into the talents of those students who are high on the musical intelligence spectrum. One way to engage these students in reading is to use lyrics to teach the difference between the literal and beyond literal meaning of texts.  

Photo courtesy of Filomena Scalise.

 

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Comments: 2

Taxing Cartoon Characters

DSC01086Teachers are always hearing how their lessons should have real world applications. You don't get more real world than taxes, my friends! Many students think taxes are hard because they see the frustrations their parents experience. I like to counterbalance those negative impressions with a lesson on how easy taxes can be if you know how to follow directions.

 

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Comments: 8

Kid-Recommended Reading Series

DSC01090Spring break will soon be here. If it is anything like the winter break, students are bound to come back a bit rusty. To avoid this, I use the power of positive peer pressure and have the students recommend their favorite series books to each other. I find that once a student connects with a series, they tend to go to the school library each week with a positive attitude, knowing exactly which book they want to borrow next. Below is a list of book series recommended by 4th and 5th graders for some spring break reading enjoyment.   

 

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Comments: 4

Reading Month

DSC01095March is reading month. Each year our school tries to come up with a theme and activities to help promote the vital skill of reading. It can be tough to keep the ideas fresh, so I thought I would share the latest ideas from Miami Elementary here in good ole Clinton Township, Michigan.

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Comments: 20

Classroom Management: Tips to Make Your Class Minutes Count

DSC00410I love teaching, and I love teaching even more when I can maximize my academic minutes and minimize interruptions and distractions. When I was a new teacher, I can't tell you how many minutes were wasted every day because of children arguing over "cutting" in line or seats for read-aloud. Kids missed precious class time during trips to the restroom, where they played in the stalls and flooded the bathroom. Incomplete homework was another recurring problem. Many of the kids who didn't turn in their homework suffered from an overloaded social calendar, travelling between spilt parents, or had parents who were not able to speak English. I was at my wit's end. What could I do to solve these problems? Read on to find out!


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Comments: 5

Digital Communication: Student-Designed Commercials

Movie ReelBeing able to effectively communicate in the 21st century is essential. Advertisers have efficient communication down to an art. (And at $3 million for a 30-second Superbowl slot, they'd better!) They must pick the perfect story, image, background, words, and music to engage an audience and sell a product in under a minute. By creating their own commercials, students learn to pay attention to detail and discover some fun technology.  

 

Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

 

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Comments: 3

Danger on the Internet: A Lesson in Critical Thinking

Internet Danger SalvatoreArguments on Jerry Springer, cat fights on Jersey Shore, WWE wrestling — the line between reality and manufactured entertainment is forever being blurred. My momma always said, Don't believe everything you read. Don't believe everything you see. These phrases are more true today than ever before. With all the recent technological advancements, it is increasingly difficult to tell the real from the fake. We must arm our students with critical-thinking skills so they can separate the fact from the fiction and use the Internet safely.

Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono.

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Comments: 10

Celebrating the Hundredth Day of School

100th wormHAPPY HUNDREDTH DAY OF SCHOOL!

The hundredth day of school is a HUGE DEAL in the primary grades. But even though the celebrations may take place in primary grades, upper grades can join in the fun, too. Any holiday where you can have fun and encourage learning in creative ways is worth celebrating. So join my class and my school as I share 50 ways to celebrate 100 days of school!

 

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Comments: 2

Teaching about the Tension in Egypt

Deserto___There is a lot of excitement going on in Egypt these days. What is it all about? What would an elementary student need to know? What could you possibly connect it to? What lessons can be learned by discussing the situation? Below are some ways you might incorporate Egypt into your curriculum.

 

Photo courtesy m_bartosch.

  

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Comments: 4

Emergency Sub Plans

Emergency R KrishnanScar sings it in The Lion King and Boy Scouts repeat it ad nauseam. What is this magical phrase that I am referring to? Be prepared! Being prepared with meaningful sub plans can keep your classroom community on a forward-moving track when your personal life throws you a curve ball.

 

Photo courtesy of Renjith Krishnan.

 

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Comments: 4

Nonfiction Reading Sources and Strategies

Scholastic NewsHow on earth did elementary school teachers ever survive in the BG (Before Google) era? I am constantly looking to the Internet for informational text for my lessons or just my own general knowledge. Back in the day you had to actually go to the library, consult the card catalog, find the book, use the index, read the appropriate pages, and then cry because it was not the information for which you were searching. Okay, maybe that was just me, but even so today Google finds you millions of sources in under one second. Amazing!    

 

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Comments: 8

Why You Should Become a National Board Certified Teacher

DSC01296Teachers understand that being a lifelong learner is a core responsibility of their profession. Professional development opportunities abound for teachers, some of it very good and some of it, well, not so good. Of all the professional development activities that I have taken part in during my sixteen-year teaching career, the most powerful, rewarding, and informative one was applying for and receiving National Board Teacher Certification (NBTC). It was also the most difficult and challenging one, but in the end, the process greatly informed my practice, and I truly believe it made me a better teacher.

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Comments: 9

Mr. Vasicek's Classroom Music Playlist

Music 3 renjith KrishnanAfter reading my post "Music to Manage Your Classroom," some of you wanted to know some good tunes to play in your classroom. Grab your iTunes gift card and get ready to download some of the songs I use regularly in my classroom. Enjoy!

 

Photo courtesy of Rinjith Krishnan.

 

 

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Comments: 1

Sustained Rapport and Mentoring

Vasicek Integrity Bros 2i2

During the year I often take time to invite groups of students to eat lunch in the classroom. While chatting with the students in this relaxed atmosphere, I really get to know them better. Occasionally, we stumble into meaningful conversations in which I slip in bits of wisdom about making successful choices and leading a 2i2 life. The 2i2 life is a trademark of our classroom. It attempts to capture the importance of living a life of integrity (the “I” in 2i2) in which you push yourself to be the best you can be (see my 212 post). 

Photo of Integrity Bros. Group: Michael, Brendan, Brandon, Tyler, Tristen, Jacob, and Anthony.

 

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Comments: 14

Music to Manage Your Classroom

Music Renjith Krishnan

So, you are making dinner in the kitchen while the television runs in the living room. You have completely lost track of time. All of sudden, without even looking at the clock, you realize it is 6:00 and the news is starting.  What gave you this great epiphany? Was it your radio alarm clock? Or is your internal clock that precise?  My guess is that the news program theme music triggered a brain cell that alerted you that it was 6:00.

Music is a powerful tool, one that can tell you it's time to watch the news — or help you manage your classroom.  

Images courtesy Renjith Krishnan.

 

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Comments: 5

Student Goals for the New Year

Sparkling CiderNow that the parties and gift giving are beginning to subside, and you haven't had to do lesson plans for awhile, it is time to think about kicking off January right. Inspired by the movie Freedom Writers, I like to start January with a "toast for change."

Photo courtesy Luigi Diamanti.

 

 

 

 

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Comments: 6

Integrity

 


Vasicek Integrity 212 Band II

Integrity is, in my opinion, the most important life skill to teach. It is a theme that I weave into the classroom each and every day. What exactly is it, and how do you teach it? Read on!

  

Picture of the coveted Integrity 2i2 wristbands.

 

 

 

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The opinions expressed in Classroom Solutions are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Scholastic Inc.