Sunday, December 9, 2012

Feeling Lucky!

I just realized that the title of this post is a button on Google search . . . :) BTW, did you know that you can toggle over the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button and it spins like a slot machine for another "I'm Feeling . . . " tag.  

Anyway . . . to my post.  A couple weeks ago I created a survey and asked teachers on TPT if they'd take the survey. Many graciously did so. What I learned was that we are very lucky in our district.  Very lucky. We have COWs (Cart on Wheel) at our schools, every teacher in the district has a MacBook, every school has a computer lab . . . the elementary schools have iMacs . . . I think the high schools have PCs labs, but I'm not sure. We have very robust Internet in our schools, we have a fully manned Help Desk, we have staff development opportunities (not as many as in the past, but still) and we have SO MUCH MORE than other schools. 

I think that I do pretty well in integrating technology into my curriculum, but I think I can do better.  When I helped create the Juniper Technology Magnet School plan, one thing that we heard over and over from "the experts" was, "Don't do anything with technology that you can do better the traditional way," and, "Do with technology what you cannot do the traditional school way."

So . . . I'm going to remind myself that I'm really lucky to have so much access to technology . . . and then make the integration happen!

On another note . . . I'm working at integrating more and more of the Common Core Standards into my daily lessons and I thought it would be helpful to have some slim little posters with the target skills written in kid friendly language.

What I was up to this weekend . . . I'm trying to ease into the Common Core Standards and wanted a way to let my kids in on the secret. :0) I've created planning documents and that's helping.  I also created posters for posting the standards that I'm using in my classroom.  The posters ended up being too cumbersome so I streamlined them into slim and trim "I-Can" statements on legal-sized paper.  I think that they'll take up less room on my already crowded walls, and I'm hoping it will help my kids internalize the purpose of the lessons they are attached to.

I've created the posters for all of the fifth grade ELA standards.  The images below are linked to my TPT shop.

Sample of poster . . . lighter background and simple font:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Linky Party!

Random Act of Christmas Kindness

I was inspired to try this with my students after seeing a blogger-mom post regarding doing this with her own family. This is a very low-tech activity . . . more than low-tech, I'd say no-tech. :) . . . no matter though, as Jewel sings in her song "Hands":  In the end, only kindness matters.
I will let you know how it goes with my students and I would love if you post your experiences as well! 
Christmastime is the perfect time of year to teach kids about giving without expecting to get anything in return. Depending on the age of your students, the following books are great read-alouds:  
  • Random Acts of Kindness by Rose Kingma  (for older kids)
  • Kids’ Random Acts of Kindness (Conari Press). 
The idea (in case you are unfamiliar with the concept) is to do something unexpected for someone without any expectation of anything in return. Often, the RAK is completely anonymous. Those who make a frequent practice of Random Acts commit to doing an act at least once a week. 
The cards in this file are meant to be left as an explanation . . . for example, if you pay for the person’s coffee behind you in line, then you ask the cashier to hand the recipient the card as an explanation when the individual’s turn comes to the register.   
Here are some ideas to get you started: 
  • Hang candy canes on a tree in a neighbor’s yard
  • Fill a parking meter, then tape a RACK card to the meter
  • Write your bus driver a thank you note
  • Offer to clean the desks in another teacher’s classroom
  • Compliment a student that you don’t know well
  • Make a card for a person and explain why you are grateful for that person
  • Clean your room without being asked
  • Create a book exchange at your school 
  • Shovel snow for a neighbor
  • Practice giving sincere compliments
  • .Pass out poinsettia plants to passers-by
  • Smile at at least 10 people in a day
  • Read a picture book to a younger friend
  • On the back of the RACK cards in this file write, “We hope you have a wonderful day!” and then put the cards under cars’ windshield wipers
  • Make Christmas cards for Veterans and take them to a local VFW
  • Take children’s books to a local hospital’s pediatric unit
  • Leave a note for the mail carrier telling him or her how much you appreciate his or her hard work
  • Tell a restaurant manager about an outstanding employee
  • Take flowers to a senior citizens home
  • Leave red carnations with a green bow on every teacher’s desk in your school
  • Bring cookies to the office secretary 

What ideas do you have that your students could complete? 

Technology in the Classroom Survey

If you are a classroom teacher, do you have a couple minutes to complete a ten-question survey about technology in the classroom?  Thank you!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.