Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year 2060: Education Predictions

I admire Sal Khan--I believe his educational videos will help to revolutionize traditional education. I will reflect on this New Year's Eve about how I can reach more of my students.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Lesson Cloud: Native Americans for K-2 kids!

The Lesson Cloud: Native Americans for K-2 kids!: I think that it is important for young children to learn about the great culture of Native Americans. Our Illinois state mandate for soc...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Math Snacks

Math Snacks This is a great math site with mini-lessons for visual learners.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Autumn Leaves and Fall Colors - Why do autumn leaves change color?

I recently traveled to Pittsburgh, a 5-hour scenic drive from where I live, and was inspired by the beauty of the trees. I found an easy way to explain to my students why the leaves change colors.
Autumn Leaves and Fall Colors - Why do autumn leaves change color?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Patriot Day Printables | September 11th Worksheets

It is hard to find student-friendly information about September 11th. Many of my fourth-graders who were not alive at the time, have no idea what happened on September 11, 2001. This site helps a little: Patriot Day Printables | September 11th Worksheets

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Kid Should See This.

The Kid Should See This. The video clips that the blogger chooses are great, but my problem with this site is that videos are not organized.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Blog Hoppin': Classroom Community

Blog Hoppin': Classroom Community: Hey Everyone! This is Anna from Crazy for First Grade ! I've loved reading all of the awesome classroom community ideas this week! *Finally*...


Love this website; This is great for students! Math

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is it That Hard to Fix Our Education System?

The Education Nation exhibit, which was at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, ended today. Why can't we fix our education system?! I learned from the exhibit, that in Finland, there are THREE teachers in every classroom; two for teaching and one for discipline. In many of our urban schools in Philadelphia, many teachers have 36-plus students. That number will rise next year as the district is laying off 1500 teachers. People seem to be so horrified at the inequities of the system...yet no one seems to have the right solution. Throwing money at schools is not necessarily the answer, either. Sometimes, I think we just need to get back to basics!

Sunday, June 05, 2011


At this late date...I have discovered that my children really love mysteries. I've read them the 'Bella Mysteries'. Now, some are clamoring for me to read the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries. And...they love me to read to them! I am always amazed when I look up from reading to see nineteen pairs of eyes on me. I am glad that I can find some things that interest them -- because with just twelve days of school left, they are getting a little antsy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Father's Garden

Now that we can all take a exhale and be thankful for another day as the demise of Earth did not take place, this is a video that makes one grateful for all the beauty of this planet. I try to instill this appreciation of beauty in my students as often as I think about it.

My Father's Garden from Mirko Faienza on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Challenging Year

In my eleven years of teaching, I don't think I have been more tired at this time of year. This school year has been my most challenging yet. The students came into my class at a lower academic level than most that I've had, and I have worked very hard to bring them up to grade level. One of my students 'hated' math at the beginning of the school year - that was because he didn't know how to do it. His math test scores made me very unhappy. However, yesterday, he received his first 100%. Woohoo! Though we didn't get along at the beginning of the school year, he recently told me that he wants me to be his teacher in EVERY grade until he graduates! I have seen remarkable gains in some students, and I hope my work has paid off for the other students.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Make A Difference Movie - The Teddy Stallard Story - by Mary Robinson Reynolds | The MasterMinding Maven® - Full Length Version

The Make A Difference Movie - The Teddy Stallard Story - by Mary Robinson Reynolds | The MasterMinding Maven® - Full Length Version
This short video reminds me of a situation I had when I first started teaching ten years ago. I was teaching third grade at the time (in public school) and I had a student who seemed lethargic and spent every morning asleep in my class. However, he woke up at lunch time, ravenous! I found out through a parent volunteer that he slept in a mattress on the floor with eight other people and his only meal consisted of the meal he received at school. (His mother was a crack addict, according to the volunteer.) Although you are not required to know the history of students to help them (and in many states it may be illegal)...sometimes, it may be helpful.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Most Dangerous Thing You'll Do All Day

The Most Dangerous Thing You'll Do All Day
I recently started standing more...anyway, how effective a teacher can I be while sitting?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Khan Academy Helps Students with Math and Science

There is an amazing resource that can help students with math and science: Khan Academy features its creator, Sal Khan, with 'homemade' lessons (in what looks to be the Paint Program). I love his conversational tone, and I believe if I had someone like him to teach math to me, I might have enjoyed it more. His videos appear on his own website, Khan Academy, on YouTube, and on Windows entrepreneur, Bill Gates has discovered his videos, and he has awarded Sal Khan the 2009 Microsoft Tech Award in Education.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Online Reading Help

I have a student with an I.E.P. and was looking at different sites for the student, as the student has a hard time reading. I found a (free) site called Progressive Phonics. The site has a series of ebooks that teachers can use to help students learn to read. I thought this site would be a good site for my student since he loves sitting at the computer. After you register (registration is free), you, or the student, can either read the book online or print the book for the child to read at a later time. Ebooks range from beginner to advanced (recommended up to age 10). The site is attractive and easy to navigate.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Site That Helps Me Teach Better

There are a lot of video websites. However, Brightstorm is better than most because because the videos are top-notch and there are no advertisements AND the site is free. Though it is for older students, I find myself watching them to help me formulate my own ideas for teaching the same subject. The videos are in a lecture format. This website, along with WatchKnow are definitely two of my favorites.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weary...But Determined...

I am getting a little weary of all these 'bash the teacher' movements around the country. "The teachers aren't doing this...they aren't doing that...We need to replace them all...Teachers are lazy."

Anyone who blames teachers for the state of today's education crisis is just ignorant of several facts. For instance, the teachers on my fourth-grade team work 10 to 12 hours a day...PLUS, we take home work for the weekend. I arrive at my school at a little after 6:30 in the morning and try to leave by 4:30 in the afternoon. Most of my summer is spent preparing for the next school year. AND, I work at a much lower salary than the $80,000 that my surburban colleagues earn.

I work with some children who are dirty, hungry, tired, and abused. I am teaching with books that are twelve years old. The students don't have their own workbooks to write in--I have to create them. I teach in a school where my students cannot concentrate because the walls are thin and the other teachers' voices are heard. I teach students who may not have parental support at home. Long ago, I stopped counting the money that I was spending on my students to supplement the curriculum.

Yeah, you can blame the teachers for today's crisis in education. But, while you're at it, make sure you blame the curriculum, the parents, the culture of today's society, inadequate technology in the classroom, and aging textbooks.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Better Early Than Late...

Larry Sanger, who started Wikipedia, taught his young child to read at an early age. On his blog he states that his son, at age 3 years, 10 months, could read the First Amendment of the Constitution. Now, of course, he couldn't understand every word that he read, but, it's still pretty impressive. Wait, before you say to yourself, 'Yeah, right...', take a few moments to read his essay. Dr. Sanger has several videos of his son reading. As an educator, I am all for teaching children to read EARLY! And, who's to say what 'early' is, anyway?!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Incredibly Beautiful Snowflakes

Everyone on the East Coast is tired of snow--but we must stop to see the beauty in it. This a slideshow of beautiful snow crystals (snowflakes). These still images were taken by a professor at Cal Tech and they are mesmerizing. The music is a ballad by Hayley Westenra. (03:14)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spelling City is a Great Resource

It seems as if I am ALWAYS on the Internet looking for new resources. Sometimes the best resources for teachers are found by accident. Spelling City is one such resource. A teacher, student, or parent can use the site for FREE. However, if one wanted an automated gradebook, one could pay the fee of $50.00 for a classroom of 30 or $25.00 for a family of 5 (as of this writing). But for free, a teacher or parent can create their own spelling lists and a teacher or parent can use the interactive games on the site for their own lists. They have a word scramble, a word search, and many more games (at least ten). (I don't make anything for recommending this site or any site--I just like to pass along a good resource.)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Site Where Teachers Pay Teachers

There is a great site called Teachers Pay Teachers. I go there from time-to-time...mostly to download some of the free lesson plans. The site is well-organized and user-friendly. One can even see a 'snapshot' of some of the pages before downloading them. However, it appears that many teachers are doing well there, financially. For the first time, one of the members has earned more than her teacher's salary. I am not sure that I would let that information beocome public knowledge, the the owner/website manager assured its email readers that the teacher was okay with this information being disclosed. It will definitely take a little work, but it may be worth looking into for a few extra dollars....