Sunday, December 12, 2010

New for me...

I was looking for more information for story genres for my fourth-grade students. In doing so, I discovered a site called The Teachers' Corner. It is a fairly large site with printable lesson plans and CUSTOMIZABLE worksheets. Worksheets can be customized right on the website.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Spelling Words...Too Hard?

A couple of years ago, a parent told me that my fourth-grade spelling words were too hard. This year a colleague told me he thought they might be too hard, as well. Too hard for who?! Last week my words included: hypothesis, germinate, metamorphosis, etc. I get the students' spelling words from our literature textbook and our science textbook. One of my team colleagues uses words such as toast, most, grow, and coin. I believe she gets her words from a fourth-grade speller. BUT, my students ace their spelling exams every week. We probably drill the spelling of these words 2 to 3 times a week and by Friday (the day of our spelling quiz), they know them. I went to the Super Teacher Worksheets website and clicked on the Fourth-Grade Spelling List and the words just seemed too easy for my students. For now, I will continue using the spelling words I always use. Perhaps my expectations are a little different...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My View of the World has Changed

My Dad passed. Two weeks ago. It seems so surreal to type this. When he was born, the idea of an Internet where millions are computers are connected was science-fiction, and yet, I write of him here. I don't even recall my father getting the flu. He was always so healthy. Being a firefighter much of his life--he had no choice but to remain fit. I am trying to remain strong for my Mom, but I am depressed and grieve everyday.

He was well-known throughout the city. His friends told me he was a legend. But no none knew the 'legend' better than his own family. Though everyone tells me that time will ease the pain, I feel the pain is getting worse. I inherited my love of reading and my sense of self from him.

My view of the world is now skewed--I don't even see my students in the same way.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Autism Fact Sheet (Child Development Institute)

I have a special needs child in my room, and it never ceases to amaze me how other students will rally around another student that does not have the same abilities as they do. They help him, protect him, clean up behind him, and try to help him with lessons.
Autism Fact Sheet (Child Development Institute)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I should know by now that each class is very different...

I am always amazed at the dynamics of each class year after year. This class is not as academically ready as my last class, but, of course, it is my job to rectify that. I am doing my best without becoming frustrated. Basic skills are missing and I will work very hard to replenish them. I thought, perhaps, it was just me, but my lead teacher agrees.
While looking for something else, I found this website that has interactive games and customizable worksheets. I will be visiting it quite often.
Fourth Grade Science

Sunday, October 03, 2010


I will use the words at this link about sentence structure to help my students with their writing. I love the sentences: “The sentence is the hammer you use to drive your points home. Each blow must hit a nail." Hopefully, my students will appreciate the comparison.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Reading Rockets: First day of school activities

Reading Rockets: First day of school activities
These are good ideas for 'back-to-school' activities.

Monday, August 09, 2010

New Evidence of Racial Bias on SAT - Inside Higher Ed

New Evidence of Racial Bias on SAT - Inside Higher Ed. This is a very enlightening article. There are so many reasons for this that one could write an entire book about it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Have Fun Teaching Website

There are so many websites out there for teachers. This website looks like a 'Plain Jane' website, but if one digs deeper, you will uncover a few gems. I particularly like the science flashcards. The website is called 'Have Fun Teaching' and it can be found here.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Pacing My Summer...

I must admit that I am enjoying my summer vacation. There are many things I need to do this summer, but I would like to catch up on some reading. I find myself reading mostly children's books, as I try to read all books before I put them on my classroom bookshelves. (I read to make sure that there is nothing inappropriate in them.) I like the Harry Potter series but many parents have problems with wizards and magic (the supernatural), so I don't have that series on my classroom shelves. I recently noticed that several children's books these days are leaning towards the macabre with the Twilight series (which I would never place on a fourth-grade bookshelf). Many children's books have topics such as death and vampires. A parent recently complained about the movie (and book) 'Coraline'. She said it was too 'dark'. Currently, I am reading The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. One of my students could not put the book down--she would even read it while she was in line walking down the hallway. I am curious as to what kept her so enthralled. I try to keep more non-fiction books in my classroom than fiction, but we all enjoy a good fiction story!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Not One of My Students...

I was dismayed--not one of my 21 students knew what Memorial Day stood for. For them, it is a day off from school.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


I feel as if I can finally exhale as all 6 of the fourth-grade tests have been administered to the students. My class and I will be be working hard, but without the shadow of the PSSA looming over us.

In reference to the last post, the father in question has called the front desk, the school administrators, AND the photographer about his son's pictures. I haved since called him back, and had a more rational conversation with him. He still holds me responsible for the school's choice of a photographer. I just have to realize that there is something else going on with this gentleman...I'm just not sure what it is.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two Down, One To Go...

One of my colleagues remarked on Friday that we have just 9 Fridays left. That surprised me. I have been so busy preparing for the standardized tests that I have
barely looked up to see the sunlight or smell the flowers! The fourth grade students just took the math and reading state tests last week (two down) and we will take the science state assessments this coming week (one to go). I probably won't exhale until my students finish the last question on the last test next Friday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tomorrow's the Day...

...Or, should I say next week's the week! PSSA Testing Week has finally arrived. I prepared them EVERY day, the best way I knew how. I am so proud of them -- even before I know the results, because the students and I worked hard, together. They are smart and capable, and I know that they will do well.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Beautiful: Tulips

I am enjoying my shortened Spring Break and I believe I have a touch of Sring fever! :-)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Well, It's Official...

Our school attendance days have been lengthened by 4 days. We are losing two days of our Spring Break, a Professional Development Day, and we are adding a day at the end of the school year. This is due to all of our record snowfall (22 inches-at-a-time snowfall!). I actually welcome the extra attendance days before Spring Break, because when we come
back, our students will be taking the PSSA (the annual Pennsylvania standardized tests). That just gives me more time for review. I want the same great results my fourth-grade team had last year!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Choice Boards - Can't Wait to Use Them!

I went to a Professional Development seminar this weekend. After all the snow days in my area, I was glad to get out of the house and go! It was actually snowing as I made my way to the seminar, Wow, I am so glad I went. I had never heard of using choice boards for differentiated instruction, and I spent the remainder of my weekend doing research on this. Choice boards allow a student based on his readiness level to choose educational activiites that the teacher selects. The activities are based on the following learning styles: visual,auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile.I love them! I can't wait to use them in the classroom. I hope my students will be as excited about them as I am. This is a great site to start as there are several examples of choice boards here.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

4B Raised Almost $400.00

I am so proud of my 20 students. Since January 19th, my class has raised $383.16 for the Haiti Relief Effort and the American Red Cross. That's in addition to the $416.00 we have raised for the homeless. I tend to think this current generation of children are selfish, but not my bunch!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I played the audiobook last week (in segments) and the students loved it. Roald Dahl (the author) is the narrator of his own book, Fantastic Mr. Fox. The students were practically spellbound. I am not sure why I hadn't thought of bringing audio CDs into the class before.

We are covering the parts of a story, so this was a different way to engage the students. It gives them a chance to hear modeled reading other than my own, and it gives my voice a rest.

We used the audiobook to discuss character, setting, plot, conflict, conflict resolution, and much more.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory plus James and the Giant Peach are the better-known books by Roald Dahl, but I recently discovered Fantastic Mr. Fox. I didn't realize that it had been recently re-introduced to the world as an animated film. I came across a CD audiobook of Roald Dahl reading his own Fantastic Mr. Fox! Since I am always looking for new things to engage my students, I purchased it, listened to it, and fell in love with it. I plan to introduce the CD audiobook (in segments) to my students this week.

I found a great site that has lesson plans, comprehension questions, vocabulary words, etc. I really liked the reading comprehension questions because the questions cover types of sentences, synonyms, and context clues. Click here for the site.