ESSA Updates

Posted by Reine L. on Feb 27, 2017 12:21:00 PM

It has been a year since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESSA, replaced No Child Left Behind, NCLB, as the nation’s new K-12 federal law. States are working to implement their plans so that classroom teachers will be prepared for the changes that will become effective in the 2017-2018 academic school year. In a letter to all state schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provided clarity to ESSA implementation instructing states to continue to move forward and that the Department will work to ensure that state education leaders have the state and local flexibility that Congress intended. States should continue to follow the timeline for developing and submitting their plans for review and approval and those are due on or about March 2017.

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Topics: Personal Experiences, Common Core

Building Bridges: Partnering with Families to Support Reading at Home

Posted by Rashawnda Atkinson on Feb 24, 2017 11:45:00 AM

This is the second of three articles about building bridges between the school and home/community.  Read the first post here.

In my early years working in an urban school district, I had caregivers come to me all the time asking for ways to help their kids at home after school.  These parents had varied education backgrounds, and I had to get really creative so I could meet the needs of some of my families. Some parents were homeless, spoke a language other than English, worked multiple jobs, or were stay-at-home and could only meet me in school (where I tutored) during after hours. How could I make sure to meet the needs of all these families without burning out or being time/resource consuming?  Below are some tips to give caregivers and to keep families involved and invested in your student's learning process.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation, Literacy

The Flier that Changed the World- Teaching Jo Ann Robinson in Black History Month

Posted by Rachel Tapling on Feb 23, 2017 11:38:00 AM

This is part three of a series on lesser-known heroines of the Civil Rights Era for Black History Month.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Writing, Literacy

The Flipped Classroom: Benefits Students with Special Needs

Posted by Reine L. on Feb 22, 2017 12:28:00 PM

How does Flipped Learning benefit students with special needs? In 2009, Cole and Kritzer wrote an article in Rural Special Education Quarterly, 28 (4), 36-40, titled Strategies for success: Teaching an online course explains that the reason the flipped model is considered a strength amongst educators is that it allows for a more efficient use of class time. “. . . In the flipped classroom, students can get the most out of class time by spending it on practical application, not on inactive lecture.” Cole and Kritzer add that lecture content can be provided through electronic means, and this modality allows teachers to improve the quality of their video lecture or short instruction to a manageable length with an emphasis on important points and less extraneous information. For example, teachers support and enhance lessons by assigning reading selections through an eBook library, such as Big Universe, on specific subject matter content material in areas taught throughout the quarter. In doing so, students read ahead and prepare for active learning in the classroom, whether a writing activity, classroom discussion, or project-based learning, this is just one example of the framework in a flipped classroom model.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Writing, Technology, Literacy

High Museum of Art - Curriculum Connection

Posted by Reine L. on Feb 20, 2017 12:31:00 PM

Students who have never been to an art museum may require some background knowledge about fine art and antiquities. Engage students by first assigning Art Museum, found in the Big Universe online library collection, this way students will begin to formulate some idea and begin to ask questions about art, such as: Who are the artists? What part of the world does the artists’ work come from? This nonfiction book has vibrant, full-color photos, and students read it as if experiencing an actual field trip experience!

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Literacy

Building Bridges: Making Guest Readers Work In Your Classroom

Posted by Rashawnda Atkinson on Feb 17, 2017 12:36:00 PM

This is the first in a 3-part series about ways to strengthen communication between school and home/community.  If you don't do so already, incorporate one or more of the strategies shared during the series and reply with the results below.

Looking for ways to get your students parents and caregivers involved in the learning process?  One way I've found very engaging is having parent or community volunteers come into my classroom and read to students.  Having your student's caregivers come in to read provides lots of benefits for your students, the volunteers, and for you as a teacher.  Students, through read alouds, develop their decoding and fluency skills along practicing comprehension strategies.  Depending on how volunteers choose books, volunteers share parts of themselves as well as their interests with the kids.  They also contribute to buidling a positive classroom and school environment. As an educator, you see how their students respond when hearing another adults read, build positive rapport with the volunteers, and get a moment to relax during a long day of learning! You might even learn about some new series or author you can use in the class, which was always a great thing for me, especially in my early years of teaching.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation, Literacy

Teaching as Resistance: The Septima Clark Story

Posted by Rachel Tapling on Feb 16, 2017 12:08:00 PM

If only I could catch some of her spirit.”

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Literacy

Fact vs Fiction: A President's Day Lesson

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Feb 15, 2017 1:14:24 PM

With increased access to information, students need to understand how to select appropriate resources. President’s Day is a great a time to teach about research and the selection process. I teach my students this simple acronym RADCAB!  This helps them to remember criteria for finding information.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Literacy

National Student Volunteer Day

Posted by Kristie J. on Feb 14, 2017 11:10:00 AM

National Student Volunteer Day is normally recognized in the United Kingdom. This year, it will be honored on February 20. I think it would be something easily adapted for use in the United States. I feel that volunteer work definitely leaves a mark on your heart. I can remember the first time I worked as a volunteer. That experience definitely changed my worldview. My mother had always provided me with a good Christmas. Both the experience and the presents. The year that I was fifteen, she signed me to be a volunteer at our regional children's services offices for their Christmas toy collection. I was not happy about being asked to rise early on my school holiday, so I reluctantly accompanied her there. I was amazed at the amount of toys, but I would sadly learn how quickly the pile dwindled. I was assigned to double check the list of toys requested with the packaging other volunteers completed and then, hand to the families waiting outside the door. It still brings me to tears how excited and appreciative the parents/guardians were to receive these packages. One family actually brought their children in and allowed them to receive some of the presents beforehand. I will not forget the young daughter crying since it had been years since she had received a present or anything for herself. I give thanks that I was able to share in that experience since I learned not to take anything for granted.  It feels humbling to volunteer and expands your view of the world. How do we get our students involved? Some ways that I’ve thought of are:

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Topics: Classroom Ideas

Teaching Students with SEBD

Posted by Kristie J. on Feb 13, 2017 11:10:00 AM

As any teacher is aware, there are many tiers of student groups in education. In most schools, students are separated by grade levels. In classrooms, they may be grouped by academic ability. In many special education classrooms, they are categorized by need. Special education teachers are familiar with the spectrum of needs for their students. One particular category is students with severe emotional behavior disorders. This type of disorder can manifest in many different forms. One student may be a loner and below typical academic ability. Another student may have multiple outbursts in a day, but be of average or above academic ability. The behaviors may be extreme. Behavior is not always indicative of ability though. Severe emotional behavior disorder can affect a student’s academic progress, interpersonal relationships, classroom behavior, and self-care. So, what happens when you are responsible for this type of student in your classroom? Ideally, you would want the support of guardians, administration, and co-workers. That does not always happen as we think it should. Here are some ways that you alone can make a difference in the student’s life.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation, Special Education, Literacy

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