Simple Ideas to Build Student Read Aloud Confidence

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Dec 7, 2016 12:00:00 PM

As educators, we understand the value of reading aloud. It provides students with opportunities to increase their own fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. However, for some students it is a terrifying event.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Reading Lists, Literacy

Formative Assessments

Posted by Kristie J. on Dec 6, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Part of a teacher’s responsibilities are assessing student learning. This can occur before instruction, during instruction, and as the finale to instruction. Formative assessment focuses on the DURING instruction part. Formative assessment allows you to determine a student’s understanding of content and adjust as needed. If their understanding is on point, you may continue with current plans or even give higher level critical thinking activities. If some students are struggling, this is an opportunity to determine their weak areas and address it NOW rather than having to reteach. For me, formative assessments focus on choice and learning style. Summative assessments (the finale!) tend to be similar to standardized testing. Some students will always experience test anxiety and it may not always be a correct reflection of their ability or knowledge. For this reason, formative assessments should vary.  It should take into account a student’s strengths and interest. Examples of formative assessments are:

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Writing, Technology, Literacy

ESSA Increases Education Technology Funding

Posted by Reine L. on Dec 5, 2016 12:31:00 PM

A new competitive grant program within the Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, will fund the development and research of evidence-based innovative technology approaches to student learning. These grants are an additional resource made available to schools. This is an opportunity to begin or expand a grant program in addition to the general availability of new funds in the marketplace.

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Topics: Writing, Technology, Literacy

Success Story: Competition Fuels Spike in Nonfiction Reading

Posted by Big Universe on Dec 2, 2016 4:49:05 PM

Columbia, SC - During the 2015-16 school year Shannon Ryan, Library Media Specialist at Lake Carolina Elementary Upper Campus (LCEU) and Elementary District Representative for the Richland School District Two in Columbia, SC, set the goal to get more students reading nonfiction. In recent years, new standards have placed more emphasis on reading nonfiction and developing students’ research skills across content areas. With this goal in mind, Ms. Ryan decided to start a weekly trivia contest for students that would require them to read a nonfiction book in order to find the answer to the trivia question.

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Topics: Success Stories

Recognizing Rosa Parks: How One Act Transformed the Civil Rights Movement

Posted by Rashawnda Atkinson on Dec 2, 2016 11:56:00 AM

Imagine working at a laborious job all day long, often standing on your feet to cook or clean, sweating in the hot sun from outside work, bending over to wash clothes or shine shoes. Then, having to travel home on the bus if walking wasn't the most practical option or if you were unfortunate enough not to be able to afford a car at all, you had to sit or stand in the back after you paid your fare in the main entrance. If you were fortunate enough to get a seat, if someone considered "white" wanted your seat, they'd ask you to move. That is what life was like for many Black people living in the United States during institutionalized segregation over 60 years ago., and Rosa Parks, a seamstress working in Montgomery, Alabama, was no exception. Preceded by Claudette Colvin, another woman arrested nine months before Parks for refusing to give up her seat on the bus, Parks' action got the nation's attention. The NAACP seized this as an opportunity to begin the end of legalized segregation in public places, and after a year-long boycott that nearly crippled the busing industry in Montgomery and a ruling by the Supreme Court declaring this practice unconstitutional. Many non-violent boycott methods were inspired by the over one year of boycotting this injustice, to their success.   

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Writing, Literacy

Play-Based Kindergarten & Common Core Writing

Posted by Rachel Tapling on Dec 1, 2016 11:27:00 AM

Much has been written about the faults or potential failings of the common core writing guidelines for kindergarteners. Specifically, that students in Kindergarten are asked to do too much, too soon, and may not be ready—which is not only developmentally inappropriate, and could cause long-term trouble with motivation and self-efficacy. However, many of the concerns can be noted as implementation and interpretation problems. It certainly isn’t outlandish to expect: If Play-Based Kindergarten is the research-based and developmentally appropriate standard, then why emphasize literacy benchmarks at all? Because the didactic and rote- based, worksheet –emphasized structure of poor teaching is wrong no matter which standards you use.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Writing, Literacy

Beginning a Classroom Word Study Program

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Nov 30, 2016 12:00:00 PM

If you incorporate a Word Study program into your classroom, then gone are the days of the Friday spelling test! The concept of word study is that students learn strategies or patterns that will transfer to many words. Students are no longer required to memorize lists of unrelated or meaningless words. When I taught first and second grade, I utilized phonics and encouraged phonemic awareness. Little did I know I was using a new way of spelling called “word study”!   

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Special Education, Writing, Literacy

Differentiation: Environment

Posted by Kristie J. on Nov 29, 2016 12:15:00 PM

Differentiation is a one word description for a method to reach every student and provide them with access to the curriculum that fits their learning style and their interests. There are four areas that differentiation can occur: product, process, content, and environment.To me, environment is the most important. It is an essential part of effective classroom management and provides the foundation to every other area that can be differentiated. Plus, it can easily adapted to every classroom with no need for specialized technology or huge effort on your part. I have definitely embraced a differentiated environment in my own classroom by using the following guidelines:

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation, Writing, Literacy

Success Story: Giving Students Access to More Books In Spite of Tight Budgets

Posted by Big Universe on Nov 28, 2016 4:43:58 PM

Daphne, AL - Charlotte Lauderdale was no stranger to Big Universe when she interviewed with Principal Mark Doherty for the Library Media Specialist position at Daphne East Elementary. “I personally have been using Big Universe for about seven years, because I worked for another district that had Big Universe’s district license,” she explains. The digital library made an impression. “I mentioned Big Universe during my interview.”

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Topics: Success Stories

Goodbye, Core Academic Subjects, Hello, ESSA's Well-Rounded Education

Posted by Reine L. on Nov 28, 2016 11:45:00 AM

Teachers have felt tied up in knots, for more than a decade, due to the threat of No Child Left Behind, NCLB, sanctions for failing to meet unrealistic proficiency levels. Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, opens up many opportunities for states and local school districts to develop curriculum programs for a "Well-Rounded" education for all students. The term "Well-Rounded" appears 24 times in the law, and includes everything from Arts, Physical Education, Science, Civics and Government, Music and Foreign Languages – all of which are programs eligible for federal funding under ESSA.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation, Integration Ideas, Literacy

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