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: 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

Cross-Curriculum Literacy

Posted by Kristie J. on Nov 2, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Let’s face it. Literacy is an integral part of being an effective citizen of society. Accommodations are sometimes necessary (and should be provided when required), but the most important skill you can encourage a student to pursue is literacy. Sometimes, you have to be creative when encouraging literacy. One way to do is by planning cross curriculum literacy. It doesn’t have to be complicated and overwhelming when the planning process begins. Similar to our students, you should build upon your knowledge and skill by providing a good foundation. Here are three ways that you can incorporate literacy across all curriculum areas.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Common Core, Literacy

Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA: Standards

Posted by Reine L. on Oct 31, 2016 12:02:00 PM

Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, responds to the recent political controversy surrounding federal endorsement of academic standards, specifically Common Core. 

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Common Core, Literacy

Breaking Down the Standards

Posted by Kristie J. on Sep 27, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Gone are the days that teachers decided what to teach in their classrooms. Now, we are left with the “How?”  Generally, your state provides your standards which are a list of items that must be taught for a particular year. Some states may provide timelines as well as resources. We all have now been introduced to a little thing referred to as “Common Core.”  As a first year teacher, it is easy to become overwhelmed with a stack of papers set before you that dictates everything you must cover in the school year. Breathe. Standards may be ambiguous in some ways. There is not always a clear-cut directive on what the student must learn. An example may be that a student must be able to recognize and formulate figurative language. In this case, you may want to teach similes, metaphors, and onomatopoeia. It is not stated in the standards, but using inference skills, you determine the details. Here are some tricks to help you understand exactly what you are expected to teach:

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Common Core, Integration Ideas

Building Bridges: Making Initial Contact with Students' Families

Posted by Rashawnda Atkinson on Sep 23, 2016 11:40:00 AM

Now that the school year is in full swing, educators must find a way to connect with the families or support systems of the children they serve. Establishing early contact with families promotes a healthy school-community partnership and demonstrates that you are not only concerned with the child’s success this school year, but also value their insight into how to best support their learning development. Listed below are some suggestions that may help you in making the most of this valuable time.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Special Education

Is Blogging in Your Technology Toolkit?

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Sep 12, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Helping students find and use information is vital for their future success in the workplace. By providing various learning opportunities that use technology, you will see an increase in their reading, writing, and problem solving skills. This post will focus on how blogging can benefit you as well as your students.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Reviews, Publisher Preview, Writing, Technology, Literacy

Classroom Management for Special Education

Posted by Kristie J. on Sep 2, 2016 11:00:00 AM

What defines a good teacher? Students will provide you with a variety of responses. In reality, there is no set criterion for a “good” teacher, but I believe the most essential tool for an effective teacher is classroom management. Our methods of teaching may vary. Some rely heavily upon direct instruction while others may experiment with a flipped classroom. Each element serves its own purpose and engages the children. Classroom management affects ALL the students. You can be a “good” teacher, but if your classroom management skills are lacking, your talent may be overlooked.

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Common Core, Differentiation, Special Education

Differentiation: not just a buzz word

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Aug 26, 2016 11:00:00 AM

As I listened to our opening day Back to School speaker, something the speaker said hit me. He said, “we need to make it a one to one!” He wasn’t referring to the one to one initiatives we all hear about, he wanted teachers to develop meaningful relationships with our students. The more I thought about this concept, the more I saw how it fits into the model of differentiation. Basically, when we get to know our students, on a personal level, our teaching can be more effective.  So how is this possible in a classroom of 30 students?

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Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation, Special Education

Please BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to School

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Jul 13, 2016 10:13:35 AM

One to one initiatives are no longer a futuristic thought. Many schools have successfully implemented programs that have a ratio of one computer for each student. These programs alleviate computer lab scheduling and ensure that students have immediate access to information. But what if your school lacks money to support a one to one program? There are many schools that would love to try a 1:1 initiative, but lack the funds to fully support such an effort. So what are schools doing?

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Topics: Personal Experiences, Integration Ideas, Technology

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