Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tier Two Vocabulary

I am officially back at work and attended my first meeting with my fellow department chairs.  One of my school's initiatives this year is cross-content literacy and we decided that we can support this initiative with an increased focus on vocabulary.  I explained the concept of tier two vocabulary, or words that are used across content areas to my colleagues.  I advocated that we concentrate our efforts with these types of words.  I used the word table to illustrate my point.

At this point, we are still undecided about how to go about rolling out this piece of the initiative.  However, we decided that the first step was obtaining a list of tier two vocabulary words.  I found this list and will share it at the next meeting.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Building a Free Classroom Library

One of the things that I love about social media is the ability to connect with educators from around the world.  I recently received a Twitter message from a new teacher seeking help building a low cost (i.e. self-funded) classroom library.  While I dream of being rich enough one day to just write someone like this a check, I was able to provide this individual with a link to an article entitled 15 Ways to Get Free Books.  The National Education Association also has a list of resources as does Reading Rockets.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Onion: Teacher Accountability

The Onion has joined in on the teacher accountability movement.  Check out New Statewide Education Standards Require Teachers To Forever Change The Lives Of 30% Of Students.  Tell me that I was not the only person initially convinced that this was indeed a real bill dreamed up and passed by politicians instead of merely an attempt at humor...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Making Students Feel Welcome: Learn their Names

Several weeks ago I posted an article on Twitter entitled: The first thing schools often get wrong for English language learners is their names.  The article details how schools often either out of confusion or plainly making a typo inadvertently change a student's name for their entire academic career.  As a result, these students lose their connection with the the cultural significance that their name holds.

While I always make it a point to spell a student's name the way he or she writes it on assignments (regardless of how the computer system spells it), I have mispronounced some students' names over the years (and not just because I'm from New England).  In these cases, the student never corrects me and I learn the correct pronunciation by listening to the students interact with each other.  I always apologize, only to be reassured by the student that "Americans are unable to pronounce his or her name."  I also sadly learn that I am often the only teacher that bothers to learn the correct pronunciation. 

If you have not done so already, I recommend that you take a look at this article and even share it with your colleagues. Sometimes all it takes is a little extra attention to make our English language learners feel welcome.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Epic Reading

I apologize for being MIA for a few weeks.  I have been wrapping up my month long travel adventure as well as getting situated at home.  I am gearing up for in-service training next week followed by the beginning of the school year.  Where did the time go?

To prepare myself for the horror of waking up to an alarm clock, I attended an optional technology training today.  I won't bore you with the details, but I will share the Epic Reading app that I learned about.  In a nutshell, this app is the gateway to a one thousand plus book library.  Families can sign up for a paid subscription, but a classroom subscription is offered free to educators (that say that they work at an elementary school, wink wink).  The books cover a variety of interest and lexile levels.  The app is available for both iPad and Android.  Check out the video below.