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National Encourage a Young Writer Day

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 11.24.06 AM.pngReading and writing go hand in hand!  This month we celebrate libraries and today we celebrate National Encourage a Young Writer Day. What a great month for readers and writers!

According to the American Library Association website, “School Library Month (SLM) is the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) celebration of school librarians and their programs. First celebrated in 1985 (as School Library Media Month; the name was changed to School Library Month in 2010), every April school librarians are encouraged to create activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student’s educational career.”  This years’ theme is Libraries Transform. As we dig deeper, this statement is true regardless of which library you use: public, school, or even an online library.  You have access to information that can transform your life. You are able to visit far away places, learn new skills or information, which allows you to escape from the mundane tasks of daily life. How can you encourage students and allow books and writing to transform their lives?

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Acing the Test: 7 Tips for Writing Winning Essay Responses

girl-kids-training-school-159782.jpegWhen I was teaching, part of preparing students to succeed on the annual state exam was teaching them how to respond to open-ended essay-style questions.  Unlike some other question types where you can use strategies such as eliminating incorrect answers or comparing similar/opposite responses to the question asked, essay-style questions vary in response depending on the content area asssessed and the requirements one’s answer must meet according to the question.  Here’s some advice for making sure your responses get you the most points possible on these kinds of assessment questions.

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Building Bridges: The Power of Personal Narratives

fountain-pen-1851096_1920.jpgThis is the last of three articles about building bridges between the school and home/community.  Read the first two posts here and here.

The previous two articles discussed how to build external bridges with families, community leaders, and organizations. Now I’m going to talk about one of the most important “bridges” educators can build, and that’s with students.  One way to do that is through personal narratives.  I’ll share with my experience below.

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National Proofreading Day

Laptop Work-10.jpgNational Proofreading Day is March 8, 2017. The purpose of the day is to promote mistake-free writing. If you are anything like me, you may be familiar with several editing marks and you would definitely love to be able to use them on social media posts! The reality is that we (the public) do judge individuals based upon their writing skills. Maybe we shouldn’t grammar-shame, but every individual is provided with an education that will improve their writing skills if they choose to take advantage of it. Students should be aware of the image they are projecting by any of their writing selection structures, whether that be on resumes  or social media posts. There may not be much we can do about the content, but we can teach the importance of proofreading your writing and editing as needed. The following website has many resources that can assist you with this:

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Phenomenal Women Writers: Commemorating Women’s History Month

people-woman-girl-writing.jpgDid you know that women writers have a significant impact in shaping American history? From Phillis Wheatley’s writings about the Revolutionary War to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, women writers penned many important works that impacted society at large, with many continuing to do so in this present day. For this women’s history month, we at Big Universe want to highlight a few women who’ve used their writing to transform society throughout recent history.

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National Grammar Day Ideas

Little-Asian-Girl-With-Computer.jpgNational Grammar Day is a great way to get students excited about writing! Students often spend much of their time texting that they often forget the importance of apostrophes, punctuation, and the art of writing. Today we will discuss contractions, punctuation, and online writing tools.

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The Flipped Classroom: Benefits Students with Special Needs

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 12.08.57 PM.pngHow 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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Freedom Writing: Students Expressing Ideas About Current or Controversial Events

to-write-774648_1920.jpgHow can we support kids as they process their feelings about current or recent events happening in our world? Today’s students had a front-row seat to school shootings, terrorism events, political conflict, and drug-related deaths for example within recent years, and they might have feelings of confusion, fear, or frustration. Educators have to navigate discussing these conversations and encourage students without promoting their personal views. Though it may be challenging to do, you can take these moments that have real impact students’ lives and make it a teachable moment for students.  Here’s how I’ve done this in the past when working with my students.

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