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Write About It: Celebrating National Letter Writing Week

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Every year during the second week of January, our country celebrates National Letter Writing Week. The art of letter writing may seem foreign—or antiquated—to a generation surrounded with instant messaging, texting, and social media platforms that make communicating with people across the world almost instantaneous. Once you review the basic parts of writing—heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature, students can write letters of all kinds to anyone! Check out the ideas we have below as you celebrate National Letter Writing Week!

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Celebrating the New Year: Resolutions that You Can Keep


new-years-day-1924606_1920.jpgWow, what a year this has been!  Many things have happened in 2016 to transform our lives and to shape the way we teach and learn our students.  At the beginning of the year, many of us made promises or goals that we wanted to reach.  Hopefully, you were able to carry out or revisit those goals to make them more effective for you.  As we are looking forward to welcoming in the new year, I’d like to suggest some resolutions that, at least with your students, you can certainly keep–with a bit of planning and dedication.

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Has Popcorn Reading Become Stale? Reevaluating A Reading Tradition in Classrooms

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How many of you reading this article can relate to the following as a student or teacher? I remember as a student loving to be called upon to read. The eagerness and excitement of reading aloud gave me a sense of pride [maybe too much at times], and because I was your typical high achiever in school, was frequently called upon to participate in this activity. I also remember the dreaded sigh when one of my classmates who wasn’t as fluent a reader was called. Snickers and sighs of boredom or surprised reactions after a spell of daydreaming were some of the responses I remember kids having in class. I wondered why but never really gave it much thought. Fast forward a few years and I am standing in the classroom teaching students reading skills. The culture of this particular school is to use popcorn reading as a strategy for developing fluency with the students. I’m long-term subbing and notice the students have been trained to do this activity. Certain students are noticeably more excited than others, and there were certain students who were always the last to read. I noticed that these students were also the ones prone to misbehavior. I wondered how to reel these students in without losing the enthusiasm the others had for popcorn reading?

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Celebrating Bill of Rights Day

We the People.pngOn December 15th, many places across the United States celebrate Bill of Rights Day. Intended to remind Americans of the rights granted to them by the Constitution—freedom of the press, religious rights, and due process to name a few, the potential for students to truly grasp the importance of these rights are virtually limitless. Incredibly, these 10 amendments were chosen and voted on from over 80 contenders proposed by states who ratified the Constitution in the early years of our nation. These rights served to protect our freedoms and deter government overreach, two concerns many of our founders had during the early days of our country. For more facts, view the Bill of Rights Chapter in The US Constitution & Bill of Rights by Charles Pederson, one of several books found in Big Universe’s digital library!

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

bus-698688_1280.jpgImagine 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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