Happy Halloween! Hopefully your students are able to contain their excitement for the few hours they are at school and allow you to teach. More importantly, I hope that all your students will return safely to school tomorrow with only small doses of sugar in their systems! If goblins and ghouls have taken over your classroom and you're finding it hard to get energies focused on academics, take a break with my twitter link love resources.
Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite,
All are on their rounds tonight;
In the wan moon's silver ray,
Thrives their helter-skelter play.
A Silicon Valley School That Doesn't Compute via @NYT
Why do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard send their children to tech-free schools?
Study: More than half of young children use digital media via @eschoolnews
Do infants and toddlers use digital media twice as much as they read books?
12 iPad Apps for Storytelling in the Classroom via @web20classroom
A list of apps that assist students to particpate in the long and rich history of storytelling!
A Teacher's Guide to Using Newspapers to Enhance Language Arts Skills via @ReadingRockets
Discover new ways to use newspapers to enhance language arts instruction.
Jarrett Krosoczka is awesome! His kid’s book Punk Farm and the sequel, Punk Farm on Tour, are hilarious (farm animals rocking beloved kid’s tunes) –and my three year old has been doing an air guitar/drums while we read them every night since I bought them.
He is also a fantastic kid’s lit author with his graphic novel-esque books about a Lunch Lady who is secretly a spy who fights crime –I love the premise and the books are excellent!
He had had a very full day when I finally sequestered him for a brief interview and was incredibly kind to answer all my questions in his awesome, fun way. His answer to “What is Erudite Lexicon?,” is my personal favorite thus far (throw down for all future authors).
Thanks again to Jarrett (check out his books, blog and touring schedule-quite impressive!) and to Pudd’nhead Books for hosting him and letting me interview him.
You can also follow Jarrett Krosoczka on Facebook and Twitter!
Can you believe it is almost the end of October? Where has the time gone! I sincerely hope that all you amazing educators have spent some time enjoying the changing season. There is a sense of renewal when the temperature shifts to a crisp cool, the scent of pumpkin spice fills the air, and you can start cooking hot soups! To go along with my favorite education tweets from last week...
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
~George Cooper, 'October's Party'
Pumpkin Carving Writing Prompts via @TeachHub
Get into the Halloween spirit with these pumpkin-themed writing prompts!
Ten ways schools are using social media effectively via @eschoolnews
eSchool News readers share how they use social networking in their schools!
Transition Words via #engchat paperli and @wscottcheney
What are transitions and how are they used? This is a great resource to share with students.
Vocabulary Game: Use a word (orally/written) get a sticker! via @verystillnorth
One teacher shares her strategy for enhancing vocabulary. With this vocabulary game, vocabulary words become more than an assignment! Hint: My Reach for the Stars printable would be great to use as a reward system
Have you ever noticed how many vocabulary words are in brands? Every year, my kids will walk up to me with a blank CD, DVD or jump drive and say, “Hey Ms. Ressler-it says ‘verbatim!’” Then we get into a cool conversation about why their vocabulary word “verbatim” makes a great company name for products that you use to save information in its original form.
Later, when we get to the word “pinnacle” I always ask about golf brands-and inevitably a student will say, yes, there is a golf ball brand named ‘Pinnacle.’ Of course, most students will tell me the brand isn’t actually that great, but it sure sounds like it is —as do all the signs for the “Pinnacle Development Company” down the street –or, when googled, the companies Pinnacle Sports, Pinnacle Management and Pinnacle Airlines.
I also like to point out to students that I own “Vanguard Mutual Funds” on the day “vanguard” is our vocabulary word. I tell them I actually didn’t know what “vanguard” meant for a long time, but it makes me feel that much more secure now that I know a ‘vanguard’ is at the forefront of new technologies as well as at the head of an army—my company is touting itself as number one (kind of like those pinnacle guys).
So for a fun vocabulary activity, consider asking your students to create their own company name and a slogan using a vocabulary word; the results can be serious or farcical. For example, if a student suggested “Mountebank Investments-have we got a good deal for you!” –clearly the student has to know a mountebank is a charlatan and that only charlatans promise really great deals. On a more conventional route, “Assent Car Sales-we always agree that you need a new car, no matter your credit!” uses the word assent with it’s synonym “agree” in the slogan-and we know car salesmen always want us buying new cars!
Kids should have some fun and you can post their brand+slogans around the room (hint: asking for a slogan that hints at or defines the vocabulary word is imperative-otherwise kids’ could just google their words and find a company name).
Vocabulary Brand Design Rubric:
___/5 Business name makes sense with the vocabulary word
___/10 Business slogan hints at or defines the vocabulary word
___/10 Design of ad is thoughtful and reflects the vocabulary word in font style and graphics
*Note to students: Feel free to explain on the back of your illustration how your design reflects the vocabulary word if you worry that it won’t be implicitly understood
Common Core Standards
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use Standard 4: Determining Word Meaning. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues...
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use Standard 5: Nuanced and Figurative Word Meaning and Usage. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meaning. Interpret figures of speech in context. Use the relationship between particular words to better understand each of the words. Distinguish among the connotations of words with similar denotations.
Reading Text (Literary and Informational) Standard 4: Craft and Structure. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text…
Are you celebrating the National Day on Writing this week? Hopefully you've been able to organize a celebration of writing either at your school or in your community for October 20th! In honor of National Day on Writing, todays Education Link Love post is going to be slightly different. Recently I've been following the hashtag #NCTE11 on twitter in anticipation for the NCTE Annual Convention this November (which I will be attending). Multiple tweets have led me to information about the National Day on Writing and amazing resources available on the NCTE website! Many of these writing resources can be used all year long to enhance writing instruction in your classroom.
How Can I Get Involved? via @NCTE
Want to celebrate the National Day on Writing? Here are ways you can get involved and get writing!
The National Gallery of Writing via @NCTE
Read, contribute, and search through this digital archive of compositions!
Determining What to Write About via @NCTE
One key to successful writing is picking the right topic to write about! Check out these strategies for coming up with ideas for writing.
Finding the Writing Process That Works for You via @NCTE
Another important aspect of writing is determining which writing process works for you. Discover what process works for you with the following questions and resources.
So You Want To Be a Better Writer? via @NCTE
Help your students strengthen their writing skills with these 10 ideas.
My friend Misty shared with me a game she created as part of her work in brain studies at Johns Hopkins –yes, she’s that awesome! I am grateful for her idea that I will share with you here-it makes a great deal of sense and who doesn’t love playing a game of Memory (I always find myself becoming addicted when playing with my three year old, but maybe that’s just me)? Playing Memory with words can be easily incorporated into a vocabulary lesson plan!
Students create 5-15 visual representations of key vocabulary words (or concepts if you want to use literary ideas or tell your friends in other disciplines about this great approach). This can be done using index cards or other paper provided by the teacher (you could use the template grid I created if you wanted) or let students create the concepts at home on paper or computer.
When the visual representations are completed for each vocabulary word, one student partners up with another student who has the EXACT SAME WORDS and they share their drawings and explanations.
Each student takes turns flipping over two cards, one at a time. After each card is flipped over, the student says the vocabulary word aloud (reinforcing the connection between the word and the visual). If a student flips over two cards with the same word, then s/he wins that pair.
As my friend Misty explains, everyone is a winner because they all learned the vocabulary, but the winner of the game is the student with the most pairs once all cards are turned over.
Misty created some example cards using math and social studies terms (see below) but the game works just as well for all disciplines, including English. She also suggests that teachers could play this game several times and keep track of points, thereby have a reining class champion and runner up.
Because Misty wrote up this concept for a brain class, she has a very academic explanation of why this game is so successful in the classroom. Feel free to bring up her points if a student (or administrator) wants to know a cognitive rationale for playing this game:
“…Symbols and images are an integral part of literacy and can lead to a connection between word and image for the student. The brain functions related to reading involve the visual cortex and symbol recognition leads a reader a reader toward fluency. The auditory cortex helps for recognition and discrimination of words by their sounds. The temporal lobe guides the retrieval of memories to assist with comprehension. The hippocampus attaches a personal memory to relate readers to the text, the creation of personal images to the vocabulary should strengthen this. It has been reported that larger vocabulary allows the frontal lobes and temporal lobes of the brain to work together. [emphasis added by Vocabgal](Lewis, 2011).”
Common Core Standards:
Language Standard 4: Determining Word Meaning. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues…
Language Standard 6: Acquire and Use Words Accurately in Specific Situations. Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases…
Lewis, M.E.B. (2011) What is literacy? [PowerPoint slides}. Retrieved from the Johns Hopkins ELC site: http://cte.jhu.edu/login/home.cfm?r=218622
-Excerpt written by Misty Swanger, as part of her Johns Hopkins University School of Education Graduate Certificate in Mind, Brain, and Teaching.
If twitter is any indication, October is panning out to be an exciting and busy month for educators everywhere. With holidays, midterms and education conventions approaching, it is safe to assume that schedules for teachers won't be slowing down anytime soon. Hopefully you will be able to keep your eye on the "academic prize" and keep classroom instruction exciting.
Teaching Secrets: After the Honeymoon via @edweekteacher
Now that students are settled into the classroom routine, the school year's honeymoon is officially over! Check out these tips to keep you- the teacher- excited and enthusiastic throughout the year.
Research Supporting the Benefits of Technology in Reading and Writing via @InnovativeEdu
This article from the Innovative Educator shares a compilation of research that outlines the benefits of technology in supporting readers and writers.
50 Ways To Use Technology via @Start_Teaching
Don't miss these 50 activities that teachers can use to integrate technology into the classroom!
Telling Our Stories for We Must via @ncte
We're gearing up for the National Day on Writing! Tell your teacher story and don't forget to tweet #whyiwrite
Top 10 Ways to Wake-up Students in Class via @SimpleK12
This guest post from Michelle Doman, a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher, share 10 fun and unique ways to keep kids attentive! I think my favorite ideas are number 9 and 7!
Battle Bullying by Connecting with Students via @TeachHub
Did you know October is National Bullying Prevention Month? Here are some simple tips for battling bullying in your classroom!
Do your students ever find it creepy how you teach them a word and then it shows up later that day, or that week, in their own lives? Do you have students who come rushing in the room to share that they heard yesterday’s vocabulary word on America’s Next Top Model or The Simpsons? Do you have students who take photos of billboard ads because they proclaim vocabulary words?
I hope so. If not, I urge you to foster these behaviors by instituting a “Scavenger Hunt for Vocabulary.” If students find words in print, they can take a picture of them or bring the ad/text to you. You can have an ongoing bulletin board with the words kids found (see my own classroom board and examples below). If a student hears a word being used, they can write down and share it with the class then put it on the board (or even bring in the video clip if it’s a short one).
In terms of a reward, students can get credit or stickers or points toward a star on the ceiling for their efforts. The goal is to have a merit system that even the cool kids want to be a part of-often a star chart showing who has the most gold stars is motivation enough (the stars never have to lead to an actual reward).
This is an easy, little to no work on your part activity. Simply by reveling in (or feigning revelry if you lack caffeine) the everyday use of elevated lexicon, we can reinforce meaning and show students that the words they study do have purpose and value.
I know I got excited just last Thursday when I found the word “respite” being used in the Missouri History museum exhibit about the legacy of African Americans (see picture below).
Just last night, we were watching the DVD of The Big Bang Theory Season 4, episode 4, and the word “brobdingnagian” was used several times by Sheldon in a conversation about Raj’s oversized desk. Due to copyright issues, I can’t show you the clip, but I’m sure you can find a student or fellow teacher with the disk.
Once you get a copy of Season 4, disk 1, just pop it in, click on “The Hot Troll Deviation” (I know, the title is crazy) then skip to Chapter 3 and the scene begins immediately. All you need to watch is the first 40 seconds where Sheldon uses the word, Raj asks for clarification (note: Raj does say “big-ass”), then Sheldon explains the word is British –yeah humorous etymology!- says brobdingnagian several more times and finally concludes with “fine prank, very amusing-hehe-now get it out” –you can stop after that. Note: the size of the desk is pretty darn Brobdingnagian so it adds great context!
Happy Monday! Hopefully you all had a wonderful weekend and were able to get caught up on grading and lesson plans. Does the work of a teacher ever end? I can imagine there are quite a few of you saying "No!" to your computer screens.
As I compiled my favorite tweets for today's link love post, I noticed that many of the articles emphasize reading and writing. I guess I wasn't completely unbiased when picking out articles from the thousands of education tweets published last week! Despite the reading and writing theme, these articles are incredible resources for any educator.
Student 2.0: Blogging is the new way to journal via @edmodo
Blogging can be a powerful writing tool for students. See how blogging can become not only a creative escape for students but cultivate a love for writing!
Seven Reasons Why Every Educator Should Blog via @WiredEducator
These seven reasons will get you itching to start your very own blog!
103 Things to do Before/During/After Reading via @write_to_learn
A collection of activities for enhancing reading and writing instruction in the classroom! The only thing missing is a vocabulary activity!
Moments That Make Teaching Worth It via @TeachHub
A feel-good article about the moments that make being a Teacher worth it! It's the little things that make being an educator awesome!
Are you ready to Read for the Record? Pledge to read here! via @sadlierschool
Jumpstarts' Read for the Record is October 6th! Have you made the pledge?