By Diana Knudson December, 2013
Happy Holidays! As we look ahead at the Smarter Balanced test this spring, I know you often feel frustrated and feel there is so much to do. Yes, there is so much to do, but we must also know that our students feel the pressure, too. It will take years to get where we want to be. We are just beginning with our new standards. So make the obvious changes now, start with small steps, but do start. Making sure students understand the math concept you are teaching right now is one step. Using writing to explain what they are studying every day is a way to build writing fluency for all students. Practicing reading and responding to short pieces in groups and individually is something we all do with our students. Just add questioning that is text dependent; students have to look back in the piece to find evidence to back up their answers. For the next couple of weeks before the break, just add these simple practices to your lesson plans at any grade level and the time will be worthwhile.
The winner of our November contest is Justin Barnes at Cascade Schools. Congratulations!
I will see all of you in 2014. What a joy it is to work with the expert professionals in GTCC. You are the reason Montana continues to have such successful students.
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Library Information Literacy
I would love to see every teacher go into
SmarterBalanced.org, the consortium designing our new state test. That
sight has practice tests for the new Montana Common Core Standards’ test. Math
and English Language Arts tests and performance tests are given for every grade
level 3-8 and 11. Every high school teacher should take the English
Language Arts tests to really see what will be expected of our students for
reading and writing at grade 11. Now is the time to begin the learning
curve to understand how to teach complex reading strategies and how to teach
writing strategies so students can succeed on these tests. Elementary and
middle school teachers can each take tests for their grade level and then work
together with other grade levels to build continuity with what happens from one
year to the next.
Smarter Balanced Practice Test
Smarter Balanced Practice Test
COMMON CORE RESOURCES LIST
COMMON CORE RESOURCES LIST
(Deadline: January 20, 2014 - C-SPAN)
Up to $5,000 for students in grades 6-12 (up to $1,000 for their schools) who create winning video documentaries.
Solve for Tomorrow Contest (Deadline:
April 16, 2014 - Samsung)
Up to $140,000 technology grants for teachers (grades 6-12) who describe how STEM can help improve the environment in their communities.
Free Cyberbullying Toolkit for Educators (Deadline:
Ongoing - National Cyber Security Association and CyberSmart!)
Free materials for K-12 schools to build a sustained cyberbullying prevention campaign.
Have you struggled with a student who openly defied your authority, became aggressive if confronted or was a threat to other students? Do you feel that you have been seeing more of these students recently? Much of what you may have previously thought about oppositional students may not be completely accurate. For example, rewards and punishments typically don't work. Nancy Hall's Educating Oppositional and Defiant Children combines research with teacher-tested tips for working with these students. (ASCD Books)
Check lists of standards that you can print off and sign and date for when each student mastered the standards...
Wonderful website for teachers.... Choose the 'iPads in the classroom' on the left
Teaching Channel is a video showcase—on the Internet and TV—of inspiring and
effective teaching practices in America's schools. They have a rapidly growing
community of registered members who trade ideas and share inspiration from each
Teaching Channel is a video showcase—on the Internet and TV—of inspiring and effective teaching practices in America's schools. They have a rapidly growing community of registered members who trade ideas and share inspiration from each other. www.teachingchannel.org
Do all your students look forward to each grammar lesson? We didn't think so. With NoRedInk, your students will get differentiated instruction based both on their skills and their interests. (So Miguel Cabrera and One Direction may show up in questions.) If students get stuck, they'll see tutorials to help. You can get charts showing your students' strengths and weaknesses. You can also view their quizzes and homework. The site offers free content for everyone. (www.noredink.com)
Learning about simple machines is a way to introduce students to basic physics. Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry has created Simple Machines, a game to help students learn about of levels, pulleys, planes, axles and wheels. A robot named Twitch roams the museum collecting the parts needed to create a simple machine. But that involves climbing over things (inclined planes), lifting (pulleys and levers) and moving heavy objects (wheels and axels). (www.msichicago.org/play/simplemachines/)
Text messages to parents can be efficient--and more reliable than crumpled messages at the bottom of a backpack! But you may not want parents to have your cell phone number. ClassPager provides you with a free way to contact up to 25 parents. When you register on the site, you will receive an enrollment code. Share it with parents, who then send a text message to opt in. Every text message will go to those who have joined your group. (www.classpager.com)
The Library of Congress should be your go-to site for primary sources. From photographs and films to maps and books, you are sure to find material for your students. The Library has also developed a series of resource guides to help students understand how to use each of these documents. The guides suggest questions to ask students about documents, sound recordings, political cartoons, images and more. All are available online or as PDFs. (www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/guides.html)
There is no question that today's kids aren't active enough. Rates of childhood obesity are skyrocketing. That's why the National Football League launched NFL Play 60. It encourages young fans to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. The Play 60 website has a collection of ideas for how teachers and schools can be part of the effort to get kids moving. The site also includes fun activities targeted especially at children. (www.nfl.com/play60)
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