Writing my way through the school year!

Archive for the ‘Lessons’ 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!


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…

Paper,Pencil,Crayons, Learning, and Fun Projects Without a Computer!

Cause and Effect Game board

This was not my idea.

It was one of the ideas suggested for the “Green” group in the Harcourt Storytown series. I think it is a marvelous way to extend thinking! I gave it as a home assignment, but I also gave them a chance to work on it at home.READ MORE…


Who Doesn’t Love Shopping? Adding and Subtracting Large Numbers!

Adding and Subtracting Large Numbers
Hmmmm…How can I make adding and subtracting large numbers fun? What do I love almost as much as new technology? Shopping of course! And my students loved it as well!READ MORE…

“Getting to Know You Game” and “Fotobabble!” More “Getting to Know You” Activities!

I found FotoBabble in The Alice Mercer Daily. The one I made below will be embedded on our class blog and Edmodo. My students will create one as well. I will use their Fotobabbles to produce a slideshow…Read More

New Post:Top 5 Popular Posts of July 2012 on Blogger!

Jeopardy and Photopeach:Beginning of the Year Activities! I got this idea from the facilitator of a workshop I participated in last week. This is how she started the class, different categories of course, and I thought it was so cool! I asked her for a copy, and then realized I could use the online version of Jeopardy. Of course, you can use whatever Jeopardy you are comfortable with. I really like this one because you can edit easily, download, and/or share it. I left Textbooks blank because I would love a category that is more fun and /or interesting. Any ideas?...Read More

Boring Lessons? Revamp With Videos!

(Updated blog post)


I wanted to spice up my lesson on fact and opinion, but I wanted to make sure I was in the upper echelon of Bloom’s Taxonomy. At this point in their schooliverse, my students are well versed in writing F and O on a worksheet. Not because of me, because you know how I feel about worksheets. I wanted to step it up! What to do? What to do?…Read More


Jeopardy and Photopeach:Beginning of the Year Activities!

Two ideas to jumpstart the beginning of the year!

Pleasantville 2012-2013 Year Begins! – Jeopardy
I got this idea from the facilitator of a workshop I participated in last week. This is how she started the class, different categories of course, and I thought it was so cool! I asked her for a copy, and then realized …Read more

Skype in the Classroom:A SlideRocket Presentation!

Resources for Teaching Dr. MLK and Beyond!

Here are great resources you can use all year long! 

Black Media Archives podcast – You can find speeches from Dr.King. Great primary source! via @rolandsmartin

Tips, Tools, and Technology for Educators – MLK Resources

WGBH American Experience– Freedom Riders film (via FreeTech4Teachers)

Youtube Playlist of MLK videos via @jamestsanders

MLK Human Rights Lesson: Top 12 Quote Game via TeachHub

All About Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. and MLK Day – Internet4Classrooms

Black History Resources – Internet4Classrooms

Prominent African-Americans

 Best Websites to Teach and Learn about African-American History/Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day

Learn It In 5- MLK Digital Archives

Smithsonian Education- Black History Teaching Resources

EducationWorld- Black History

Please add any sites you use, or are aware of, to the comments section!

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