Classroom Solutions > 54 posts categorized "Family Communication"

Art and Poetry Through the Year: Notebooks and Keepsakes for Your Students

How Do You Do

Students in 1st grade need to have many experiences in language arts to become independent readers and writers. Shared reading is a great way for students to “play” with language to become fluent readers. Fluency is further developed when children have ample opportunities to read text that is familiar and easy for them. In my class, we love to use poetry to build our fluency. Read on to find out more about our poetry notebooks and our yearlong poetry keepsake project.

 

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Comments: 2

Motivating the Unmotivated: Tough Kid Tools That Really Work

Toolbox At some point in your teaching career you will have a "tough kid" in your classroom. You may even have several at the same time. These students send you home exhausted, often in tears, and raise doubts about your career choice. The tough kid changes the dynamic and mood of the room in an instant, and you may find yourself wondering what to expect from minute to minute. The tough kid may come to you with a prior history, with warnings from your colleagues, and with a cornucopia of labels such as "at-risk," "difficult," "attention deficit disorded," or even "lazy." How do you deal with tough kids, and what can you do to restore order to your classroom? Read on for the top five ways to motivate the seemingly unmotivated. 

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Take-Home Reading

Child readingTake-Home Reading is a special program for 1st grade that helps each and every child become a better reader. Learning to read takes a lot of practice, and I expect my students to read at home. In just twenty minutes per day, parents and family members help their 1st graders by listening to them read.

Read on to learn more about Take-Home Reading programs and to find out how to set one up in your classroom. 

 

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Comments: 2

Tips on Creating a Kindergarten Classroom Blog

Blogaholic Designs”=This year I'm creating a classroom blog for the first time. Needless to say, I simply love it! I have truly become a blogaholic. Creating a blog for your classroom will unlock the doors to a new world of communication. Read on as I introduce you to this virtual learning community and guide you through the steps for creating your own classroom blog.

 

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Comments: 1

Tips For A Great Back-to-School Night Presentation

School 2 Back-to-School Night is one of the first events on the school calendar. It is an evening where parents come to school to find out specific information about the grade-level curriculum, classroom rules and policies, year-long goals, special events, and the teacher’s philosophy. For most teachers, Back-to-School Night can be stressful. Carefully organized planning will allow you to feel confident and to convey a great first impression. Read on for tips to make your Back-to-School Night a success.

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Comments: 4

Simple Ideas for Establishing Classroom Rules and Manners

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What do we want our classroom community to look like? How do we want our classroom community to sound? These two questions begin our group discussion on sharing ideas, making decisions, and solving problems in our classroom. One of the earliest conversations we have focuses on good manners, appropriate voice levels, and classroom rules. This week, I am going to share a few of the books and activities I use to introduce our classroom behavior chart.

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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: 6

Tips for Creating Strong Teacher-Parent Relationships

 

 FcEffective communication is essential to create strong teacher-parent relationships and parental involvement. Students need the support of both teachers and parents in order to succeed academically, physically, and emotionally. Read on as I provide you with a few tips to help establish a strong relationship with your most powerful ally: parents.

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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: 4

Promoting Summer Reading

MBlow053111_iStock_000015552020GirlReadingBeachAvoid the summer slide and encourage your students to read this summer. Summer reading is a time to read for fun. Students who read self-selected books are more apt to finish reading the books. So this year, instead of providing my incoming students with a summer reading list composed by teachers, I decided to go to the experts on motivating middle schoolers to read, my 6th grade students. Read on to view their list of books that are sure to hook even the most reluctant readers.  

Photo: iStockphoto © kotengens.

 

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Comments: 4

Planning for the End of the Year

DSC00606Mother's Day and Father's Day are around the corner, and for some teachers, testing is over.  You're working on assessments, report cards, and cleaning up. The students are hyper, happy, and having a hard time focusing on classwork. The yearbooks are ready, and summer is in the air. Now is the time to prepare for the end of the year, to reflect back on the year that's ending, and to plan for next year. Read on to get some great ideas and printables for Mother's Day, Father's Day, and the end of the year.

 


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Comments: 4

Cool Web Tools for Teachers and Kids! Part Two

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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: 6

I Love to Read! Surefire Ways to Create Lifelong Book Lovers

I Love to Read Month February is “I Love to Read Month,” the perfect time to assess if your students do, in fact, love to read. Are they captivated by good stories? Does reading fill them with excitement and enthusiasm? Do they play with the sounds of language in a literature-rich environment that promotes active learning through highly engaging activities? If the answer to any of these questions is no (and even if it’s yes!), it may be time to arm yourself with a repertoire of techniques guaranteed to get every child in your class saying “I love to read!”

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Comments: 8

Educating Teens About Drugs — The National Institute on Drug Abuse

DSC01340Drug and alcohol abuse continues to plague teenagers, and parents and teachers are often at a loss about how to handle this important issue. I grew up in the '70s, when there was a great deal of glorification of drug use in the media and very little information about the dark, dangerous side of drug use and addiction. With the advent of the information age, however, there are plenty of resources to help educate and inform students about the dangers of drug use.

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Comments: 20

Literacy in Kindergarten Dramatic Play Centers, Part 2

Kindergarten Literacy CentersOne of my students' favorite dramatic play centers is a bakery. It's not only fun, it's also full of ways to practice literacy. And with a good name and logo, all it costs is a little effort.

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Comments: 8

Ten Books on Your Teen Boy's Holiday List

DSC01193 Buying gifts for teen boys is especially challenging, so I've made a list of ten books that will most surely engage your teenager. I've tested these books out with boys at my own high school, and I can assure you that they will interest even the most jaded teen.

 

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Comments: 6

Ten Books on Your Teen Girl's Holiday List

DSC01191There are few things harder than shopping for a teen. Let me make it easier for you by suggesting books that I guarantee your teen girl will love. Read on for my top ten holiday gift suggestions.

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Comments: 6

10 Ways to Be Ready for Parent-Teacher Conferences All Year Long

Parent-Teacher Conferences An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you do the following things all along, you will not have to rush around at conference time.

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Comments: 5

A Feast of Sorrow, Thanks, and Celebration

Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast - The First Thanksgiving A week or two before Thanksgiving break, my class holds a feast. We see our humble classroom feast as a way of expressing sorrow, giving thanks, and celebrating differences. 

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Comments: 9

Thanksgiving — A Time for EVERYONE to Give Thanks

DSC01144 High school students today are tremendously overscheduled. They go from school to clubs, sports, and work. They take Advanced Placement classes, SAT prep courses, and they volunteer and do community service. And once they leave middle school, the Thanksgiving-themed assignments and activities completely disappear, and with them, the opportunity to reflect and take stock.

 

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Dealing With Angry Parents

Be-angryHave you ever had to deal with an angry parent? They are yelling, screaming, steaming, verbally attacking you, and you freeze, with a blank look on your face. Is this really happening to me? WHY?? Your instincts might tell you to defend yourself by yelling back, or you might be the one to break down and cry, or even flee the scene. Here are some DOs and DON'Ts to help you handle the situation with grace and dignity. Read on to learn some fabulous tips for dealing with an irate parent.

Image courtesy of TopNews.

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Comments: 1

Student-Led Parent-Teacher Conferences

Conferences 006When I was a kid, I always worried about Parent-Teacher Conference Night. What would my parents say to embarrass me? What would my teacher say I was really like at school? I like to reduce that anxiety in my own students by inviting them to lead the conference. Below is my anxiety reducing recipe for student-led conferences.

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Comments: 14

Score! Teachers and Parents Team Up to Reach a Common Goal

SHC01If a child's teacher and parents have the same goal — to help the child succeed at school — then they are a TEAM that needs to communicate and cooperate with each other. After all, nothing exists in a vacuum. What affects the child at school will affect the child at home, and vice versa. The two-way school-home connection is the most important factor in the child's education.

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Comments: 10

Helping Behaviorally Challenged Students

AngrygirlLying, stealing, fighting, running away, using profanity, physically hurting other people (on purpose), and kicking, screaming tantrums. Have you ever felt battle weary after a long day with a child who is considered "behaviorally challenged"? I've been there. Here are some tips to help you and that child make this school year a productive one.

Image courtesy of ZetaBoards.

 


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Comments: 8

Easy Halloween Tricks & Treats Across the Curriculum

Masks As if teaching weren't chaotic and stressful enough, there's holidays to deal with. The first major holiday of the school year is Halloween, and aside from all the projects, parties, and pigging out you'll have to consider, there's also the question of whether you should celebrate at all. First of all, 5-year-olds don't always like spooky things. And second, some parents don't approve of the holiday. What's a stressed-out teacher to do?

 

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Comments: 3

Waiting for "Superman"

   

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 What's the status update on an American education? Waiting for "Superman" is worth discussing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments: 6

Fire Safety With Smokey, Sparky, and Sesame Street

TheGang   :

 

Hello, readers! I know this is the last day of fire prevention week and many teachers have had enough of fire prevention activities. If this describes you, then these ideas could come in handy next year. If you haven't started yet, you're probably wondering how you can do anything in one day. One day is better than none at all, but I think it will be okay if you break the rules and teach fire safety next week, too. It's relevant all year round, and you can use any opportunity, like when a fire engine goes by or just after a fire drill, to talk about fire with your students. And Smokey Bear, Sparky the Fire Dog, and the Sesame Street muppets are all iconic, loveable characters who can help you.

 

 

 

 

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Comments: 2

Preparing for Parent Conferences

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Parent conferences can be intimidating, nerve-racking, and fast paced, but I can show you a few simple tips to make it run smoothly and painlessly. The first meetings with parents, at Back to School Night or Meet the Teacher Night, are usually quick and light. You introduce yourself and acquaint the parents with their roles in your classroom and with your class policies. You might touch on your teaching background and philosophy, your discipline plans, the way you celebrate special occasions, and the curriculum for your grade level, but you don't discuss the goals, needs, or behavior problems of individual students. You save those detailed conversations for parent conferences, which is why they require more planning. Here's how I do it.

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office Word.

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Comments: 10

Using Web 2.0 Tools in Your Classroom

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There are many teachers at various levels of tech savviness that are charging into the classroom armed with awesome tools from the Web. Many of these programs can be used with kids and adults in many capacities. Your imagination will determine how to use it. The sky's the limit!

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com.

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Comments: 4

Curriculum Night

003 In Chippewa Valley, and most of Michigan, the first day of school is the Tuesday after Labor Day. As we prepare for the arrival of the students, we also need to gear up to meet the parents. Schools do this in a variety of ways. Some schedule a casual Open House while others schedule a more formal Curriculum Night. Below are some tips that may help you make a positive first impression.


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Comments: 10

Parent and Family Engagement in Low Income High Schools

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Parental and family involvement has already been proven to be a key component in a student's academic success. However, educators  especially those in urban high schools  face a huge problem when they hope to engage parents and families in their children's education.

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Summer Reading: Battling the Achievement Gap

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Most educators already know that the summer months can often be the most detrimental to their students, especially when dealing with kids from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. The truth of the matter is that an at-risk child's summer often includes a home without books, no way to leave a dangerous neighborhood, no routine for being exposed to new experiences, and parents who don't know how to impact the educations of their kids. The scary part about the summer is that student growth does not only stop, it actually begins to regress! To make matters worse, the drop off is cumulative, meaning that 2 or 3 years worth of regressive summers can actually set a student back a full grade level in terms of reading ability.

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Comments: 3

Kindergarten Readiness Resources

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"What can I do to get my child ready for kindergarten?" Are you a teacher looking for some great resources that you can pass along to prospective students' parents? Are you getting registration packets and kindergarten orientations all setup? Click read more to find some great resources on the web that teachers or parents can use to assist students in getting a jump-start to kindergarten.

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Comments: 6

Ensuring a Tremendous End to a Memorable School Year

Scrapbook2 In just three weeks, the 2009-2010 school year will be coming to an end, and prior to then, I plan on doing a few things to ensure it is a memorable time. This week, I invite for you to read about my plans, some of which you can incorporate on your own. Some you will be able to incorporate this year; others you can try for next year!

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Use Student Publishing as a Hook for Summer Reading

IMG_5922 As the end of the school year approaches, my students will be working on a book publishing project next month. The project was discussed in an earlier post, yet now that my students are aware of what they will be publishing, I am ecstatic to begin the process. Read on to see some creative writing samples from my students and to see how using a book publishing project in your classroom will keep your students hearts and minds engaged and ready for Scholastic's upcoming Summer Reading Challenge. 

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Holding End-of-the-Year Conferences

Fd62 Whether it feels like it or not, the time for end-of-the-year conferences is approaching. Over the course of the next month, my students and their parents will be coming into my classroom for one-on-one meetings for fifteen minutes each to discuss the progress students have made this year, as well as expectations they will need to meet next year.

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Earth Day is Just Around the Corner!

50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth Earth Day is just around the corner! Help your students learn more about the environment with these "green" classroom activities.

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Census Day: April 1

Photo 2 Today is Census Day (April 1st) and also April Fool's Day – go have fun! Census Day is used as "a point of reference for sending your completed forms back." See 2010.census.gov. You can find lots of different activities to use in your classroom here at Scholastic.com/census as well as www.census.gov/schools. I've briefly outlined a few ideas from these sites that I will use in my classroom when I go back on track.

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Comments: 1

Utilizing Classroom Web Pages for Student Engagement: Part II

Top of mrantuna Here's an idea for organizing your classroom website to make it more meaningful for students and for their parents. 

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Comments: 6

Cut Your Report Card Comment Writing Time in Half

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Does your "To Do" list look like this around report card time? Do you procrastinate or dread writing comments for your students' report cards because they take so long? If you would like to cut down on the time and frustration spent writing comments, take a look at this free program called Teachers Report Assistant. I have included two "how to" videos in this post to get you started.

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Comments: 1

Utilizing Classroom Web Pages for Student Engagement Part I

School website For those of us that have classroom computers in our rooms or with computer lab time, sometimes we find ourselves struggling to get students started at centers/groups, especially when using computers. I have found that managing a class web page can be very helpful to keeping students focused on what they need to do and minimizes the need for questions like: "Where do I go!?" or "What do I do!?" Here are a few tips that all teachers can use.

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Comments: 2

Helping Parents Prepare Their Children for State Assessments

IMG_5549 Every January, our school hosts a standardized test preparation evening for parents of students in grades 3-5. In March, the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) will be administered to thousands of students in Florida. During this meeting we encourage parents to help prepare their children for their most important and challenging academic task of the year.

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Comments: 4

Conquer the "Fourth Grade Slump" in Reading!

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Nationally, there has been a baffling trend that has concerned educators and researchers called the "fourth grade slump." This realization came to my mind today when I was talking to a parent. Her daughter, exceptionally bright and quite motivated, possesses interests in a great deal of areas, yet her mom is slightly concerned about her general enthusiasm for reading. Very understandable. Quite interesting, in my opinion, is that there are several parents across the country who share the same exact woes. We as intermediate teachers need to help parents to understand this issue and find ways to overcome it in our classrooms.

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Comments: 3

Outside of the Classroom Management

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In my opinion, one of the most unfortunate situations is when a teacher feels as though he does not have any support when dealing with behavioral issues. During my credentialing program, I was surprised at how many educators said that when they first began teaching, they didn't want to send too many students to the administration for fear of being seen as incapable. Some teachers also pointed out that irate parents often call schools to complain if they feel that their child is being treated unfairly. Here are three ways for teachers to avoid such problems:

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Comments: 5

A Hearty Thanksgiving Feast and Candle Centerpiece

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Would you like to plan a Thanksgiving feast for your students and their parents? Are you feeling like you can't because of your district's food policy? Well, you still can! A few years ago my district changed their policy on food at school. Now we are only allowed to have store bought food instead of food prepared in students' homes. Because of allergies and other safety reasons, many districts are adopting similar policies. It makes planning celebrations like Thanksgiving feasts more challenging, but they are still possible! With this new policy in effect, take a look at how we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving at school and make a fun candle centerpiece to take home in time for the holiday!


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Comments: 1

Parent conferences are just around the corner!

IMG_0926 It’s that time of year! The trimester/quarter’s winding down. If you’ve had a week like mine, you need to dust off the papers to be graded from earlier in the week – yikes! Grades are lurking in the back of your mind. Pretty soon parents and family members will be knocking on the classroom door. What will you do to get ready?

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Comments: 9

Interactive Bulletin Board: Tell Me All About It

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If you teach young children you know they always have something to tell you and to share with the class. Kids would walk in the door and run right up to me telling me millions of things all at the same time. I love hearing their news and funny stories, but it was taking a lot of time away from getting started with our instructional day. A few years ago I started to think about how I could use their excitement about sharing their news to enhance their reading and writing skills. The result was the “Tell Me All About It” bulletin board. Read more to see how this interactive bulletin board is used in my classroom and why it is a class favorite!

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Comments: 1

Currently in Jasztalville- Read-a-thons and parent/teacher/student conferences...

IMG_3876 This has been a very busy week in Jasztalville and it is going to be even more busy during the next few weeks because of fall-related festivities. I tell myself in the midst of times like these "...Take a deep breath." Sometimes my mind races at 120 miles per hour with loads of creative ideas, yet reality has me steadily going at 50 miles per hour. Let me tell you about this very important time of read-a-thons, conferences, and preparing for the many fall-related festivities to come.

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Comments: 12

Classroom Website 101

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It all started when I visited Heather Renz's website in 2004, I believe. Mrs. Renz (http://www.mrsrenz.net) is a fourth grade teacher in Redmond, Oregon who has a plethora of resources for her students and teachers as well as a motivational club called the Mastery Club. She focuses on math brain teasers and has photos of her students' projects. After one visit to her website, I was hooked on the concept of having my own site. I had been designing websites in general since 1998, so it was not going to be a challenge, necessarily. I just needed to think about the content I would include. In July 2005, http://www.teachingvision.org became a reality in cyberspace.

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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.