By Diana Knudson December, 2014
The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. Plutarch
This quote was on the cover of “Ed Leadership” in September and has stayed with me. I am especially thinking about it as we look ahead to the Smarter Balanced Test in the spring. By now all teachers should be working with students, helping them understand how to analyze complex text in their content area and respond through writing where they practice backing up opinions with evidence from the text. Text is anything we read and some of the better forms would be articles from journals or selected parts of books. When students master these skills and can analyze, synthesize, and evaluate, they are on their way to College and Career Readiness. If we do not do our part readying our students for this task, it will surely show up in the test. Far worse, these are the reading and writing applications young people need to hone his/her thinking skills. It is time to take a look at how we are teaching. No English teachers can accomplish this alone. Remember, “IT TAKES A VILLAGE.”
And then, math should be taken to higher-level thinking and application, too. All math teachers are expected to help students build their conceptual understanding of math. But all teachers in a school should be looking for ways to cement math ideas in different content areas. Talk to your math teachers and make connections that you can take back to all classrooms. All teachers should have up-to-date math training. Take advantage of our Summer Institute math classes as well as the reading, writing, and technology applications.
Wendy McDunn from Montana School For the Deaf and the Blind is the winner of the $100 gift card. Look for it in the mail, Wendy, and Congratulations!
As always, I am so willing to help. Have a great holiday season and vacation. How did Christmas sneak up on us?
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Upcoming Committee Meetings & Events...
The December 9 meeting with Golden Triangle and the art and music teachers is cancelled. Golden Triangle will bring the OPI specialist in the Arts to a meeting to explain the new Montana Arts Standards as the time gets closer for their release, which will probably be 2016. Thank you for notifying your teachers about this development.
for Music, Drama, or Library
Please notify Music Instructors, Drama coaches, and/or Librarians within your district.
The Montana Masonic Foundation (MMF) would like to offer an opportunity to enhance educational opportunities for Music, Drama, or Library students. Grants of upwards of $2500 will be awarded to approximately six Montana school programs to improve student achievement in these targeted areas. Please complete the MMF Grant application available at this link:
Please direct inquiries
Thom Chisholm, Superintendent Plains Public Schools
Mobile Phone -- 406-396-9208
Email -- email@example.com
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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