Saturday, May 30, 2009

Activities for the Last Day of School

My last day of school with students is June 23rd. I've purchased books as 'end-of-the-year' gifts for my students. Last September I created a Time Capsule of my student's handwriting, their likes and dislikes, etc. I can't wait to show it to them! Since they love to collect autographs by scrawling on each other's white shirts, I just created an 'Autograph Page' for them so that they can share their burgeoning cursive writing skills. Here are some more ideas for the last day of school. Check this out:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Looking Towards Tomorrow

It's not the end of the year, yet I find myself reflecting on this past year with my fourth-graders. (I really wanted a sixth-grade class, but no openings were available in my school.) However, I enjoyed the challenges that fourth-grade gave me. As an educator, I have heard so much about the fourth-grade 'slump' and I tried to read as much about as I could from books full of educational theories.

Each year for different reasons, the fourth-grade team at our school loses 1-2 members; some staying only a few months. However, I was truly blessed to be working on such a great team with a good team leader. This year, the gender make-up in my class was 15 girls and 5 boys. Until this time, I was clueless about the dynamics of having so many girls in my classroom. So much drama! I have seen my 'future' class, (3B becomes 4B) and the class make-up is just the opposite; 15 boys and 5 girls! To be honest, after this year, I am looking forward to having a class with mostly boys! There are many things that I would like to do differently. I intend to 'hit the ground running' in September.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Reviewing Landforms

I was reviewing landforms with my students and found these worksheets. Although it says for third grade, I would use it with my fourth-graders.
3rd Grade | Landforms Worksheet 3rd Grade | Landforms Worksheet Totally3rdGrade This worksheet is one of many resources available at and that are built upon the music of Teacher and the Rockbots, an educational rock band specially created for 3rd grade.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Longer School Year?

Every year, in the educational arena, there seems to be a new idea--or a new twist on an old idea, to enhance student learning. To that end, a longer school year has been suggested in the Philadelphia area. One area school has tried this and experienced little academic growth. I am not sure what the school used to measure this 'academic growth', but I believe it was the results of standardized test scores. But must EVERYTHING be measured by standardardized test scores? Yes, I realize that state tests are necessary to ensure accountability and to measure student achievement, but student learning can not and should not always be qualified in terms of standardized test scores.

To me, the real problem with student learning is the mediocrity that we are forced to accept. In many schools, teachers have to give passing grades and endure 'social' promotions. I am not of believer of giving a lot of 'A's, but students and parents expect it--even of shoddy or incomplete work. When I was a student, which was decades ago, getting an A was akin to seeking the Holy Grail...and when I received an A, I knew it was deserved.

Would a longer year help student learning? Would it reduce the acceptance of mediocrity. Here's another author's take on it:
Tweaking the American School Year
The American school year should be longer, with shorter days, and more vacations, because students could then acquire the sufficient amount of rest necessary for success.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Seven Things to Look for in an Online University

What to Look for in an Online College or University
Education is changing for elementary school-age students as well as for adults. Adults are looking for schools with more convenience and flexibility and online learning institutions are proliferating. There is so much more to consider when looking into an online college or university than touring a traditional college campus.