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?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I love the way Expeditionary Learning distinguishes fieldwork from field trips. "Branching out" is one of my favorite videos highlighting an "expedition." This is what authentic learning looks like!
Fieldwork and Experts: The Branching Out Expedition at King Middle School from Expeditionary Learning on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Learning about migration

We recently visited the Liberty Science Center and saw "Flight of the Butterflies" in the center's amazing dome theater. The film dramatizes the story of how the path of the Monarch butterflies was discovered, capturing both the excitement of scientific discovery as well as giving the audience a close look at the incredible journey of the Monarch. At home, we had been noticing the Canadian geese heading north. It was a perfect time to order "Winged Migration" from Netflix. We enjoyed both the humorous as well as gorgeous images of the  migration of birds all over the world. Solana says, "Sometimes the birds, especially the storks, look like they're dancing. They jut their necks out like pigeons." A great accompaniment to this film is the award-winning picture book North: the Amazing Story of Arctic Migration with its gorgeous illustrations of "the greatest journey on earth."