Thursday, June 25, 2015

I heart Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales!

In doing work to complement the New York State Social Studies framework, I've recently discovered this series: hilarious and approved of by my history colleague. It's hard to believe someone could make the Donner Party funny, but it's a must read! I recommend checking out the Correction Baby and the youtube videos!! (If you like this, also check out the Horrible Histories!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Weebly for easy web site creation

My colleagues have introduced me to Weebly: what a great platform for creating a web site! In the old days, we used to give participants a paper copy of a list of web resources. Then we moved to listing them on a power point. At a recent workshop, I tried giving out my diigo link of fluency resources, but some of the participants were a bit overwhelmed when they saw all of my tags. Some people still want paper copies or binders, but I really want to move away from that. With Weebly, we've been creating simple web site with lists of resources for a specific workshop. It takes no time to set up and there are lots of attractive options for backgrounds, buttons, etc. (much better graphics than what many school web sites have to offer.) A colleague of mine who is working with a group of students used it as a central place for students to go to for a project they were working on. Here's an example of one we used for a technology tools workshop.

Friday, May 15, 2015


I'm experimenting with Thinglink for a workshop on technology tools. Kind of like Glogster or Voicethread, but a cleaner look and a bit simpler to use. I easily created this one with a picture from my photos.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

S.M.A.R.T. Reading Goals in Middle School, Part One

I've been working with a group of seventh and eighth grade co-teachers in ELA and reading teachers on student goal setting for reading. We started with having students write in journals about personal experiences with goal setting: either a goal they met or a goal they didn't succeed in meeting. There was such an array of goals from improving in parcours to becoming a chef to quitting nail biting. We created an anchor chart about what helps us meet our goals. We connected that conversation to goal setting in reading, teaching students categories they could use to select reading goals from the CAFE menu. (I'm such a fan of the Daily Cafe web site!!)

After students selected a goal area for themselves, we taught a lesson about growth mindset and referred back to our anchor chart on what helps us meet our goals.We used clips from Eduardo Briceno's TED talk and this brief video from the University of California to introduce the idea of mindset, but I haven't found a video that I love for growth mindset yet. (Someone needs to make one!)

The next step was to teach a mini-lesson on writing SMART goals. I introduced the idea with this Edutopia video clip to a teacher for her own knowledge. I was a bit surprised when she suggested showing it to the students, but it ended up being a short way to introduce what each letter in the acronymn stands for. Since it shows a fifth grade class, I made sure to emphasize to the seventh and eighth grade students before showing the video that we see SMART goal setting in college and in the working world. More on what happened to come!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Scratch and coding!

Solana is teaching me Scratch! She's been creating and collaborating on Scratch this year, and it keeps coming up as a recommended site for students to start learn coding. I had told myself I was going to follow Cornelius Minor's advice to sit with a student for at least a few minutes a week and ask that student to teach you something new. (Yes, I'm part of the Cornelius Minor fan club!)

Of course that was back at the TCRWP Reunion in October...somehow my once a week goal didn't get off the ground for a while. More on SMART goals to come! Here's my project: once you get started, it's hard to stop. Now I understand why I have to drag her off of it! I know it's not that artistically impressive (!), but can't you see the great potential for creating with students while also addressing learning to code?