Saturday, April 9, 2016

Educational Links 4/10/16

Teacher Development 

Treat Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms Through Writing 

9 Terms to Know If Your Child Struggles With Writing Issues 

The 7 pillars of today’s digital leadership 

Why We Want Our Students to Ask More Questions in the Classroom 

How the Maker Movement is Opening Eyes to STEM 

How to Develop a School Culture That Helps Curb Bullying 

 Ensure that teachers, coaches and school administrators aren’t modeling bullying.When kids see adults at school mistreat one another, they can’t help but conclude that such conduct is actually OK, regardless of what they’re told. Of even greater harm is when teachers and coaches oppress the kids they’re instructing; screaming at athletes for making mistakes, for example, or humiliating kids in the classroom, underscores a message that harsh interpersonal behavior is the way of the world.

Friday, April 8, 2016

National Poetry Month: Poem #6

Diverging roads.

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost
 Robert Frost 

Educational Links 4/9/16

10 THINK-ACTION STEPS when thinking about diversity - See more at:

Ten Think Action Steps When Thinking About Diversity

10 THINK-ACTION STEPS when thinking about diversity - See more at:

 Why Teachers Shouldn’t Ignore Literature’s Emotional Lessons For Students 

50 Earth Day Activities for Kids 

The Power of Using “Yes” in Your Classroom

Why Kids With Executive Functioning Issues Have Trouble Starting Tasks 

Maybe Free-Range Students Isn’t the Way to Go 

What is Asperger’s Syndrome? 

School Gardens for Beginners
School Gardens for Beginners

School garden programs are on the rise: certainly a growing trend!  Teachers and academic communities across the globe are capitalizing upon the hands-on experience, curricular connections, and natural engagement these projects can inspire in students.  However, to the agricultural novice and green thumb alike, the idea of initiating such an endeavor can certainly feel daunting. - See more at:
School garden programs are on the rise: certainly a growing trend!  Teachers and academic communities across the globe are capitalizing upon the hands-on experience, curricular connections, and natural engagement these projects can inspire in students.  However, to the agricultural novice and green thumb alike, the idea of initiating such an endeavor can certainly feel daunting. - See more at:

Books and Poems Everyone Should Read and Write

California 10th Graders Improve Their Writing Skills—Through an Interactive Fiction Game 

Primary Sources + Found Poetry = Celebrate Poetry Month 

How do I check out the front wall?

Libraries and Authors 

shakespeare online 

Poetry Foundation  Caroline Kennedy on Learning Poems by Heart 

Popular High School Literature Books 

Poems for High School Students

7 Things That Will Doom Your Novel (& How to Avoid Them) 

 Quoth the raven, “whatevermore”!



Thursday, April 7, 2016

National Poetry Month: Poems # 4 and #5


By Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up

      like a raisin in the sun?

      Or fester like a sore—

      And then run?

      Does it stink like rotten meat?

      Or crust and sugar over—

      like a syrupy sweet?

      Maybe it just sags

      like a heavy load.

      Or does it explode?

Mother to Son
By Langston Hughes
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Educational Links 4/8/16

How Innovative Educators Observe, Reflect, and Share 

Teachers call for greater focus on tidying up poor handwriting 

Libraries and Learning 

What Inattention Feels Like 

Equity is Fostered Through What We Teach and What We Don't 

 There are many ways that educators can interrupt inequities and build equitable schools. We can disaggregate classroom and school data to see which groups of students are thriving in our school and which are not.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Don't Like Poetry? Betcha Do

...don't forget all those Valentine's rhymes!

 You say you don't like poetry--I doubt that. We just have to establish what we mean by poetry.

Yes, you enjoyed a movie that is all poetry.
That come-on line is nothing but poetry.

Romeo + Juliet 


The Cat in the Hat--even my name is poetry.


You can't say you never liked Dr. Seuss--what's that--you forgot it was poetry?

The Cat in the Hat 


Betting you have quoted poetry, though maybe not all at once.

Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all  Tennyson To err is human; to forgive, divine  Alexander Pope  A thing of beauty is a joy forever  Keats And miles to go before I sleep  Robert Frost Hope springs eternal in the human breast  Alexander Pope To be or not to be: that is the question Shakespeare I know why the caged bird sings Maya Angelou O Romeo, Romeo; wherefore art thou Romeo Shakespeare...there's no joy in Mudville, the mighty Casey has struck out. Thayer

You probably chuckled at the Limerick about the girl from Venus, but I won't print that since this is a family edublog. But this poem  might make you smile, especially noting the poet.

The marriage of poor Kim Kardashian
Was krushed like a kar in a krashian.
Her Kris kried, "Not fair!
Why kan't I keep my share?"
But Kardashian fell klean outa fashian.
—Salman Rushdie 

Maybe you didn't realize you were accessing poetry during spiritual moments. The Psalms are poems, like the most quoted Psalm 23.
Lena Moore Psalm 23 Quilt ca. 1930 Collection of Janet M. Green "Talking Quilts" American Folk Art Museum
Remember when you were in ninth grade and you kind of liked that wild story with the Greek guy and all the monsters like the Cyclops and the crazy-haired Medusa? 

That was poetry, thanks to Homer, not Simpson. The Odyssey by Homer.
Cyclops AKA Claymation

Achilles AKA Brad Pitt.

 And don't forget Achilles, not the heel. The Illiad (and the story of Troy) was  a poem, too.

 Speaking of Homer Simpson, here is my last evidentiary item. You enjoyed "The Raven: the Simpson's Version." I know you did. Though they did a really Poe job of it. (Ha, English major joke.)

The Raven: The Simpsons Version like poetry. Told ya so.

The Raven:The Simpsons Version [117,615 views] 
The Raven:The Simpsons Version [117,615 views]


Social and Emotional Learning-- How Do You Feel About That?

Empathy: The Most Important Back-to-School Supply 

 Empathy starts with putting yourself in someone else's shoes -- a key step in understanding perspectives that differ from your own. This isn't just a nice thing to do; it's an essential, active skill. It's foundational to embracing differences, building relationships, gaining a global perspective, conducting richer and deeper analysis, and communicating more effectively.

 As a further suggestion, living through literature creates empathy, such as journeying through 'The Story of My Life' by Helen Keller. All literature, and poetry, can serve this purpose.

Start Empathy Videos 

We know that a child who masters empathy at the age of six is less likely to bully ten years later, and that, for students, having one supportive relationship with an adult outside the family can be the difference between success and failure as an adult.

As educators, we need to support opportunities to be the 'one supportive adult relationship' outside the home through clubs, tutoring, sports, in-class support--however we can create a productive bond with a student to provide emotional support for healthy development. We need to 'be there' for the kids. 

Social and Emotional Learning 

Why educators must help students develop the skills to manage their emotions, resolve conflicts nonviolently, and make responsible decisions.

Can schools provide students (and teachers) with insight and support to develop empathy thus limiting bullying and violence to the end of growing tolerance, camaraderie and global teamwork? We surely must try.

It's Time for Social and Emotional Learning for All 



Educational Links 4/7/16

What Teachers That Use Technology Believe 

Does Too Much “Screen-Time” Harm Kids’ Brain Development? 

4 Reasons to Write by Hand Rather Than Type 

Blended Learning: How Ready Are We? 

Classroom Management: Your First, Last 2 Minutes 

19 Big and Small Classroom Management Strategies 

Depression in the Home Can Significantly Impact Kids’ Grades

When parents suffer depression, there can be a ripple effect on children. Kids may become anxious, even sad. There may be behavior problems. Health may suffer.

Recently, a large Swedish study showed that grades may decline, too, when a parent is depressed.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Educational Links 4/6/2016

Is Your School's Culture
Toxic or Positive?

Is Your School Culture Toxic or Positive?

Autism in girls often unreported and missed or misdiagnosed, support group says 

The Adolescent Brain: Leaving Childhood Behind 

One Problem, Many Approaches 

Report: Writing Skill a ‘Gatekeeper’ and ‘Ticket to Work’ - See more at:

Report Writing Skill a 'Gatekeeper' and 'Ticket to Work'

Report: Writing Skill a ‘Gatekeeper’ and ‘Ticket to Work’ - See more at:

21 Reading Strategies And Activities All Teachers Should Know 

The 7 Types of ADD – and How to Treat Each One 

Every school has underlying assumptions about what staff members will discuss at meetings, which teaching techniques work well, how amenable the staff is to change, and how critical staff development is, adds Peterson. That core set of beliefs underlies the school's overall culture. - See more at:

ADD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, autism, and other conditions are not single or simple disorders. They all have multiple types. ADD affects many areas of the brain—the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum primarily, but also the anterior cingulate, the temporal lobes, the basal ganglia, and the limbic system. The 7 types of ADD that I studied are based around three neurotransmitters—dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.

Daniel G. Amen, M.D. 


Every school has underlying assumptions about what staff members will discuss at meetings, which teaching techniques work well, how amenable the staff is to change, and how critical staff development is, adds Peterson. That core set of beliefs underlies the school's overall culture. - See more at:


National Poetry Month: Poem #3

Photo by Shane, Wargave, England

 Summer Song

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning,–
a detached
sleepily indifferent
smile, a
wanderer’s smile,–
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?

- William Carlos Williams

Teaching Is Finishing Strong

Finishing the School Year Strong 

End of Year Activities

Tips to Wrap Up the School Year! 

Top 12 Effective End of the Year Activities

The Last 40 Days Until Summer 

End Of School Lessons and Teacher Resources

Fun Last Day of School Activities 

10 Ideas for Teaching on the Last Day of School 

8 Activities to Make the Last Days of School Memorable and Fun 

How to Stay Charged During the Final Weeks of School 



Monday, April 4, 2016

Educational Links 4/5/16

 Can Handwriting Make You Smarter? 

Why every kid should start the day with a poem 

Neurotoxicity: The Impact of Lead Exposure on Learning 

What Happens When The Online Bully Is A Child With Special Needs 

The Fatal Flaw of Educational Assessment 

Teaching Teens Who Struggle With Reading: What Can Help 

Teach Kids, Not Just Math 

The New Face of STEAM

  • Students and teachers collaboratively explore 3D modeling, design, electronics, digital media, and fabrication.
  • Artscience curriculum focuses on human microbiome led by TERC researchers and supported by the National Science Foundation.
  • Students from underrepresented minority groups (UMGs) connect with creative techniques and computational tools that are usually in the exclusive domain of professional designers, artists, and engineers.





National Poetry Month: Poem #2

The Fall of Icarus by Bruehgal
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
William Carlos Williams 

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring 
a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry 

of the year was
awake tingling
with itself 

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax 

off the coast
there was 

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning 

 William Carlos Williams


Jim Henson's The Storyteller Daedalus and Icarus


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Educational Links 4/4/16

Why Is Arts Education Important? Here Are 3 Benefits Of Arts Education For Students 

Interpreting Ancient Art in Social Studies 

10 tips for conveying bad news in a parent-teacher conference 

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Every Student Succeeds Act, But Were Afraid To Ask 

8 Strategies To Improve Executive Functions Of The Brain 

Getting More Students to Eat Breakfast at School 

5 Ways to Build a Strong Relationship With Students Affected by Poverty 

It’s heartbreaking to see children who live in poverty struggle in our classrooms. They face challenges on so many fronts that it can be overwhelming to know how to help. But when we’re able to connect with students from low-income families, we can make a difference—a big one.

Learning Ed Tech? Feel Lost At Sea?

I won't say the 'average' teacher has issues with the rapidly changing ed tech classroom. I would say 'normal' teachers do. The complexities of the nano-second ed tech progress confuses even the techies. Now the Common Core requires testing online soon and very soon K-12.

Try not to panic, 92% of teachers that are floundering with these all pervasive, complex, overwhelming classroom changes. Don't cry. You are not alone. Not really.
  • Where can I find help? We're going to Chromebook.  I'm a teacher with not much tech expertise.  
Google Chromebook is a good deal for many districts. And the students can really learn to write with it. I have an affiliation with a district that I feel represents the complexities of rural, poor, and tech challenged students and their teachers. They have just acquired 1:1 Chromebooks in the classroom for grades 2-12 . Just weeks ago. The only required training for teachers was the very first level for Google Certified Teachers, and they are walked through it district assistance. Is that enough? For the great number of average teachers who only go online maybe for Facebook, no. What should I do if I'm a teacher in this category? Here are some resources: 

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Understanding Google Certification 

Chrome: Getting started

This is a quote from this page. DON'T YOU FEEL BADLY after reading it. If you are a teacher, such as myself, who has actually spent 24-7 planning and teaching and not sitting in your computer chair--this isn't that simple to you. So here is the smug quote:

It’s easy to get started with a Chrome device, whether you are an IT administrator, a teacher or a student. There’s no steep learning curve standing in the way of learning, teaching and sharing, and the web-based management console makes it easy to administer a fleet of Chrome devices.

I really despise the stuck-up attitude given by some of the ed tech community. We are not stupid, and we have legitimate questions. Don't you tell me, sonny, there's no steep learning curve. Anywho, ask for help, from your grade level, from the tech person, from family. You could pray about it. Don't give up. Some teachers I spoke to said they were retiring because of the changes with ed tech. Retire if you are ready, not to avoid learning something new.

  • I'm a Principal and my teaching staff has the deer-in-the-headlights-look when we talk about ed tech at staff meetings. Its just about an emergency. What to do?
Be reassuring. Remember teaching? Evaluate your students (staff) and differentiate instruction. Organize trainings lead by compassionate ed tech savvy staff that won't embarrass or leave the teachers behind. Maybe there's a Special Ed. teacher who knows ed tech and could do this for you. I'm actually not joking about that. Don't take the teachers' word that they understand ed tech, (their jobs depend on this, they'll smile and nod just like a student), check for understanding through walk-throughs, demonstrations, asking the right questions in a non-threatening environment. Just like a good teacher. Grade level reports with evidence of success. Remember teaching? Check for understanding and, as we all know, teachers (and everyone else) don't do what you expect, they do what you inspect. Ed leadership has to actively support ed tech learning with your staff. Your future test scores depend on your teachers knowing ed tech. Here are some resources:

Office of Education Technology 

Why Teachers Hate Tech Training ... and What to Do About It 

Training Teachers to Integrate Technology
  • I want to use ed tech in my class, but we are not getting the ed tech equipment. I teach Special Education, and also need time for training in ed tech.

Red flag here. By my informal observation, special education classes are not receiving current ed tech. In the past, special education classes customarily received out-dated textbooks, inadequate or inferior classrooms, no equipment or it was shoddy, and somehow funding earmarked special education did not make it to the student even when in an IEP. I'm not naming names, or stating it happened under my watch (it didn't because I'm kind of a watchdog about that.) I have recently been in a Special Education for the Severely Handicapped/Autism Classroom that very effectively used iPads with the students. I would be very interested to see how Chromebooks with the simplified writing opportunities work with this student community. Do Special Education students have a right to ed tech like the other students? How about the teachers?

This is a Special Education legal website. Don't tell anyone I sent you.

Technology and Assistive Teachnology 

Chromebooks for Special Education and Assistive Technology 

What does edtech look like in the special ed classroom?

  •   Ed tech looks so exciting online. Why does seem so dull in a real classroom?

News from Skype in the Classroom
Ed tech is absolutely, mind-boggingly exciting. We have lived to see the future! And the kids are launched exponentially, literally launched into a future of success, productivity, equity, and fascination no one can even dream about. Some teachers are like the explorers of the 'New' World, the New Digital World. What are they reporting back? How can all teachers get in on it? First, all teachers need to board the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and launch into the unknown. Shake up those lesson plans from 1989 (or even 2011) and incorporate the communication values of the internet. Skype. Email. Virtual tours. TED talks. Research using curiosity. Poetry Slams. Virtual Art Shows between schools. Dance Festivals. School Gardening Shows. Sing offs. Pen pals--an online community for your class from anywhere your district will let you skype. IMAGINATION will drive the best teachers to learn ed tech. Truth be told, not all teachers need to be ed tech experts. Collaborate with ideas for educational experiences within your PLN--how exciting to have all that enthusiasm and expertise united for learning fun. The best part is no one is bored, not the kids, not the teachers. The Common Core is reinforced with teachers reaching the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy. Principals can arrange for collaboration time. Go beyond CoolMath and Accelerated Reader. The teachers that don't want any change? Let them retire or find another profession.

Exciting Ideas for the Implementation of Educational Technology in the Classroom 

Learn the Ins and Outs of Google Classroom from an Expert 

Cool Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

Teaching Is Learning Ed Tech
Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech

Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech II