Writing my way through the school year!

Archive for the ‘Classroom Management’ Category

Student Voice = Student Passion: TED Talks Part 2

I could have assigned the Natural Disaster Research report

It would have been soooo much easier.

It’s already written. We’ve used it before.

It has a rubric, complete with strict guidelines on what must be included in order to get the best grade.

But I couldn’t do it.


After getting my feet wet with TED talks last year, I couldn’t do it.

Last year, I allowed my more “capable” students to create a TED talk presentation.

This year, I included all of them. Out of 28 students, only one did not complete it.

One. (Yeah, he completed his over the weekend!)

And they had a ball!

Not only did they complete their presentations, but they also got a chance to present to their peers, the principal, our reading coach, and their parents.

Here were my guidelines:

Choose a topic you are passionate about or interested in.

Write a speech, not a research report.

2  minutes or more.

Research must be included to support what you are sharing.

Create a slideshow that correlates with your speech. It may include video and/or images.(No random images or video) OR a title page.

Write the speech and post script on Telemprompter. (Teleprompter Pro is better because it has unlimited scripts)

Cite the sources.

Practice your speech out loud. They videotaped themselves with our Swivl when they practiced.

Although the students chose their topic, there was a teacher component. You have to break them out of the research report mode. The “just the facts” mode. Or the “What do you want me to say?” mode. One on one conferences are a must or this is not going to work.

They were amazing! They were awesome!

As I sat, and listened to their presentations, I was in awe.

An example of awesomeness; the adults learned about an app that would freeze their child’s phone screen during the “Too Much Screen Time” presentation. Immediately the adults in the room began writing down the name of the app!  Needless to say, her peers weren’t too happy with her.:)

They did this.

They worked and worked, and the product was stupendous.

Things I would do differently:

28 presentations in one day is too much. I ended up dividing the days.

Make sure all the scripts are on the same Ipad.

Practice public speaking all year.(One of my students was so nervous, he kept one hand on his head throughout his entire presentation. I don’t think he was even aware of it!:))

Use the stage. More authentic feel.

I didn’t grade them.I felt that placing a grade on this would diminish  their work. However, what they learned during this project, can now be applied to the Performance Task they have to complete, which will be graded.

Looking forward to the passions a new year brings!


How Can We #Rethink Discipline?


On July 22, 2015 educators gathered at the White House to Rethink School Discipline.

“The conference sought to advance the national conversation about reducing the overuse of unnecessary out of school suspensions and expulsions and replacing these practices with positive alternatives that keep students in school and engaged in learning, but also ensure accountability.”

As I participated in the Twitter conversation #rethinkdiscipline, I began to think about ways we could avoid reaching the point where we have to suspend students. Just as we find ways to prevent illness using preventive measures, there are preventive methods we can use to reduce suspensions and expulsions. These methods are not a cure-all, but it can help stem the tide…READ MORE

Everybody Get Up! Using Brain Breaks in the Classroom!

GoNoodle pop se ko

If you are still teaching in the traditional, “sit down, be quiet, don’t move”method, it is time to let it go!

Research has proven that, just like adults our kids need to move, young or old. The fact that we, as adults, don’t want to sit in one place for hours on end, should give us a clue that we shouldn’t do that to our students.READ MORE

“Techfully Yours” Youtube Series- Sharing My Passion for Tech One Tool at a Time!

I learned about Snagit right before school ended, trying to make up those snow hours. But, it was PD I wish we had more often, something productive that I can use!

Take a peek, or two. Share with friends. Use it. Watch for new episodes. Episode 1 is about the fake tweet generator by Classtools.net. READ MORE…

A Mini Christmas Math Project- “12 Days of Christmas!”

Christmas is here!
Or the holidays, or whatever you call it.
But one thing is for sure, whatever you call it, the kids are excited, and you still have to teach!

So I figured, why not use something that goes with the theme? Something the kids could get excited about? Something that involved Math, but not endless computation or word problems?

The PNC Christmas Price Index was perfect for what I wanted to do.
They have a site for educators complete with lesson plans.
It’s geared toward middle and high school students, so I modified it for my 5th graders.READ MORE…

Why Do I Have to TEACH Reading?

I watched my kids today after we came in from Recess and loved what I saw.They were sprawled all over the room. Some were in the Sponge Bob duct taped “used to be my sons'”video chairs. Some sat on the fluffy pink and aqua bean bags I purchased in Five Below. (They were on sale.:)) Others grabbed the carpet strips I begged asked my local Home Depot for last year.

They were reading. READ MORE

Classroom Management Skills to Help You Survive the Year!


Is it really that bad? You’re doomed? Don’t panic, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a chance to turn things around. You always have another chance. Some can turn it around during the school year, and some have to wait for a fresh start. Either way, it’s not hopeless.:)   READ MORE

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