Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tweets of the Week

What a global concept: being bilingual in North America!
What a busy week for all of us!

This link reminds me that 'Uncle Ronnie' (that is California Governor at the time, Ronald Reagan) put me through college with a State Scholarship. I am a supporter of California's recent legislation called the 'Dream Act.' Our kids, all of them, are the future. With our kids, the future's so bright we need to wear shades.
Bright, bright futures.,0,3710148.story

Helpful articles for teaching English as a Second Language.

'Know thyself,' and thy learning preference also. A colleague of mine asks his seventh graders every year to figure this out to assist their study habits. Me, I'm visual. Got to write it down or draw it.

 For natural beauty through the science eye:
Super! Nova! Hubble Spacecraft. Going where no spacecraft has gone before
 Please, please, please, President Obama, can we go to the moon again? Pretty please?
'A thing of beauty is a joy forever.' Keats

 Natural beauty we appreciate and can maintain for the future. Kids love that assignment.  We  have green kids!


This website is a clear and thorough presentation of basic reading. Lots to click on for help.
Teacher giving the gift of literacy.

The struggle of No Child Left Behind is a decade long arm wrestling match; we hope (and pray) the kids aren't left behind while the adults argue.

This is my favorite Beethoven, the 6th Symphony; taking a walk with Ludwig. The animation really catches the natural theme; especially the avian qualities of chirping, birdsong and flight. And its wonderful for math students learning to graph. The creator of this video has many more lovely classical music videos.
The Vienna countryside where Beethoven loved to walk two hundred years ago.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Every Teacher Is A Reading Teacher

Your credential could be elementary or secondary. Your classroom could have algebra all over the board, or pictures of the Civil War on the wall. Your students could be taking Cornell notes on the scientific method. You are still a reading teacher.

Creative visuals for Pre-algebra. Math 7
 Effective teaching includes opportunities for auditory and visual instruction, throwing in activities to solidify the lesson through verbalization by the students in teams and maybe kinesthetic involvement also, like my math teaching collaborators, creating a foldable pamphlet. Many students in the US are now learning English as a second language, and what teachers in the higher grades would normally assume the students had down solid in reading may be necessary to introduce.

Reading academic language (or actually, any material) is a new experience for many kids. They were not exposed to the basics of reading the English language. And let's face it, English is a booger to learn, full of rules and then rules that don't apply. Ay yi yi!

Connecting words and symbols.Math 7
A word rich environment never goes out of style, no matter what grade. Hurrah for the word wall! The students can see the words, and the importance of words, and correct spelling. And  in our world learning is increasingly auditory, so kids have marvelous working vocabularies of words and concepts from the Discovery Channel or the History Channel--but have never seen the words written down. Therefore, they usually don't recognize hundreds of words for which they know the meaning because they've only heard the word, never seen it written and connected it with the meaning. And the reading skills necessary to access the word may not be in their skill set.
It is interesting to find out your personal learning preferences, and help students to identify her own.

What can a teacher do without sacrificing crucial academic time? Give kids lots of opportunities to read, read, read. Every teacher has new vocabulary at the beginning of the chapter. Take a minute to
Academic vocabulary in plain view.Science 7
write the word, syllabicate the word, decode the syllables for the kids, and then have them repeat it. Having students syllabicate, decode and read make the kids less anxious about words with several syllables. I know that literacy coaches with reading certificates can get high and mighty about the precision of syllabication, but if you're teaching a seventh grade science class that is having difficulty with the academic vocabulary--just go for it! Quick and dirty--infer in fer, support sup port, formulate for mu late....and if the students don't remember the essential decoding phonics--what the hey-- just tell them the sound er makes, or what silent e does, or when two vowels go walking the first does the talking. For heavens sake, if they need it, they need it! It truly doesn't take long for kids to catch on to decoding. And reading is so very empowering.

Power lessons handwritten on giant sticky notes. Social Studies 8
 Lessons to SYLLABICATE  DECODE CONTEXT are used for kids to analyze unfamiliar words in passages. They could be reading along, then boom! an unknown word of scary length. What's a kid to do? Skip the word? NO! Syllabicate the word, sound it out, then read the surrounding context for clues as to the meaning. There are many, many techniques for reading comprehension. But reading fluency also needs to be addressed, and most instruction is supposedly completed in elementary. Frequently the kids need to be reacquainted with decoding and it is so very empowering for the students to read words fluently; the brief and frequent reminder to syllabicate, decode and read is totally worth the time and effort for all teachers.
Reading advice displayed in Math 7.

 Every teacher teaches reading. It is a privilege for me to collaborate in classes where literacy is propagated and honored. My colleagues train constantly for perfection of methods, and meet very frequently to co-plan lessons. What a huge job. What a huge privilege.

The last three years in our middle school I have collaborated with several math teachers, usually seventh grade. They incorporate all methods for the kids' progress in language, reading, and writing as well as Math standards. It is amazing how thoroughly they coordinate instruction for all students (including my students.)

So, although the official Pi Day is not until March 14, I honor my colleagues, who for reasons unknown to me are obsessed with Pi.
This Pi poster in Math 7 pretty much surrounds the room.

Just loved this picture. A Pi Pie.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tweets of the Week

Another week driving down the information highway. Here are my stops along the way.

 A sweet story of a little guy meeting the snow in New York, and he just happens to be black.
This is the child who inspired the author/illustrator.
  'It's good to have the child exposed to the same curriculum standards as students without disabilities because those are the standards they're being held accountable for.' I agree.

I agree with the resources of this next one--but remember we are not slaves to our hereditary or environment.
  • Children’s reading scores improve dramatically when their parents are involved in helping them learn to read.
  • Low family income and a mother’s lack of education are the two biggest risk factors that hamper a child’s early learning and development.
Adult literacy program, plus some cool testimonials.

The next several links are related to autism and Asperger's symdrome. This is the fastest growing area of Special Education teacher training. In the state of California, all Special Academic Instructors are now required to earn a specific certificate.
Here's something beautiful to listen to from a little girl who loved to practice the piano and became very famous--Mary Johnstone of Cornwall, aka Moura Lympany interpreting Debussy's 'Clair de Lune.'
"Music isn't the notes. It's the spaces between the notes." Debussy