Saturday, May 13, 2017

Who Gave You Siblings?

Johann Gottlieb Hantzsch
Moms do.
Mother's Day 5/13.

Educational Links 5/14/17

Evidence is important, but great teaching is still an art

Classroom Management to Stay Healthy and Fit

Foundational Literacy Skills with Newcomers

Do You Know Enough About the Impact of Screen Time on Students?

I’m Concerned My Child Might Have Slow Processing Speed. Now What?

How Can We Help Kids With Self-Regulation?

Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and behavior in accordance with the demands of the situation. It includes being able to resist highly emotional reactions to upsetting stimuli, to calm yourself down when you get upset, to adjust to a change in expectations and to handle frustration without an outburst. It is a set of skills that enables children, as they mature, to direct their own behavior towards a goal, despite the unpredictability of the world and our own feelings.

You'll Always Just Be Mum To Me

Kate Middleton and George

Spice Girls - Mama 

Happy Mother's Day, May 13!

Summer Activity: How Does Your Garden Taste?

(from top L) Rosemary oregano, sweet marjoram,sage at the bottom.

What is a full-on sensory experience in your backyard?  Gardening! You can spice up your life through the tastes, smells and textures, get exercise through digging and squeezing the soil through your fingers, and feel the wind and sunlight, listen to the birds, see the sunrise (morning people), the sunset (night people) and generally be a citizen of nature in good standing--there in your backyard (or deck, patio, or even windowsill.)

In the grocery store!

 Where do I find something to plant in the garden? Home and garden stores, even your grocery stores,  frequently have living plants in the veggie area, such as rosemary, mint, and more. They aren't much trouble to grow, neither are tomato or squash plants.
Squash plant.
Roma tomatoes!

Violas in a garden salad.

 Cooking With Your Own Herbs From the Garden 

Even flowers like violas are edible! Who knew? Violas have a faint radishy taste.sprinkled Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing over this salad. We liked it quite well, and, of course, it is beautiful.

 Let's Go Mexican! Use Herbs From Your Garden

Chives, oregano and marjoram.
Grow some peppers!

Tortilla Feliz (Happy Tortilla) I learned to make my own! 
This is who came out!
Fresh Sweet Basil, oregano, garlic. Yummy.


Cooking really helps keep the summer slide at bay, too, using all that math. Measuring math (especially fractions), time measurement, and then you get to eat the result. That's the best STEM ever!

Your Own Home Grown Herbs! Let's Go Italian! 

Garlic, easy to grow-vibrant when fresh!



 Garlic is really, really easy to grow. So delicious. How many recipes love a clove of garlic? And it keeps vampires away, too. what a health benefit!


 Mint is so easy to grow, you have to be careful it doesn't take over your garden!

Fragrantversatile mint--really great for hot tea, iced tea garnish and sun tea.

Maman, Let's Take A Walk

'The Stroll,  Madame Monet and son' Monet
Did you go on nature walks?

Mother's Day, Sunday May 13.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Why Do You Keep Harping On That?

Lady with Harp by Sully

...because it's beautiful.

Handel Harp Concerto

Who Thought You Were Cute Even When You Were Annoying?

Jackie and John John
Mom thought you were adorable all the time.
Mother's Day May 13.

Educational Links 5/13/17

Teacher Tip: How to Help Your Child Pay Attention (Just Think SLANT)

How We Stopped Sending Students to Jail

Report: Educators emphasize importance of home reading in maintaining literacy progress

Peer Power: Get More from Group Work

'The classroom fads that illustrate education’s often unhealthy relationship with the evidence'

Understanding Confidentiality Requirements

Students’ Best Tech Resource: The Teacher

Growth in learning does not typically occur through technology used in isolation. It’s when instructional strategies and human interaction are used simultaneously with digital tools that learning experiences are best seeded for growth.

Summer Activity: Red, White and Blue Flowers for Memorial Day

Lobelia, red verbena, and alyssum.
Summertime and the living' is gardening. Kids enjoy going to the home improvement stores on various DIY excursions--how fun to check out the gardening section and create a festive color bowl for the front or back yard, patio, deck or even the picnic table. Color bowls are simple but pretty. 
Here are some Memorial Day favorites. 

Red pentas lanceolata, red dianthus, white alyssum, blue lobelia.

A friend said this arrangement looks like a colorful display of fireworks bursting in air...

Hurrah for the red, white and purple.

 Hanging basket of petunia, red, white and blue. Sometimes you can find them striped. Very perky.

Local garden shops have variety of cute containers. This is for cafe ole fans. Here are lobelia (you can suspect they are my favorite for the patriotic blue), red verbena and white alyssum. And here is a good word for Sweet Alyssum--it smells really good, hence the moniker.

Teaching Is Making Sure You Have Their Attention

1. Keeping Kids Focused

A Few Tips From the Pros on Maximizing Class Attention 

2. How to Keep Kids Engaged in Class

Strategies to Help Children Pay Attention in Class

Read more: Strategies to Help Children Pay Attention in Class | How to Keep Kids Engaged in Class 

3. 25 Ways to Obtain Children's Attention in a School Setting 

4. Teaching tips: How to gain kids' attention 

 5. Gaining Attention 

6.  Top 10 Ways to Wake-up Students in Class 

7.  50 Actions that Will Grab Your Students’ Attention 

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me.


Let's Read, Read, Read!

Importance of Reading Aloud 

Parents should read aloud to infants every day, pediatricians say 

Parents who read to their children nurture more than literary skills 

Themed Booklists

Sometimes it just takes one wonderful book to turn a kid into a reader. Tap into what interests your child. Browse these book lists selected by Maria Salvadore, our children's literature expert. These books are for kids up to 9 years old, focus on new titles, and emphasize quality. Happy Reading!
 Teachers' Picks: Top 25 Picture Books

Top Read Aloud Books Starring Mighty Girls

Who Loves You Through Thick and Thin?

Dorothea Lange, Dust Bowl Photos
Your mom does.
Mother's Day, May 13.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

IEP Meeting? Do I Have To Go?

That confusing enough for you?
Am I required to attend IEP meetings if I am not a Special Education teacher?
I've been asked that more than once as the Special Education teacher, and especially as a Resource Specialist, also known as Special Academic Instructor. The answer in our state is that at  least one general education teacher who has the student on his/her caseload needs attend any IEP (Individualized Education Program) whether it be qualifying (evaluating to see if the student will enter Special Education), annual (the once a year assessment), triennial (every third year the educational psychologist also assesses), or an addendum which is called for a unique reason at any time. However, the better school sites have the entire teaching team there. The teachers at my middle school were very dedicated (and wanted to keep their positions) and supported the Special Ed. kids very effectively with attendance.

What should I bring to the IEP as the General Education teacher?

1.  Bring a calm and caring attitude. Parents are always concerned about their kid. Even if you as the classroom instructor have concerns, even serious ones, about the child performance or behavior, a general education teacher must show a caring attitude and a calm demeanor. Even if you must fly out of the meeting at the speed of heat to finish your day's responsibilities--you are so very important to that parent and child that every bit of body language as well as spoken words means the world, and focusing on the positive will get things done better.

2. Bring your expertise and evidence of it.  All teachers have grade books (on-line or otherwise), lesson plans, records of phone calls and communication to the parent, and copies of referrals and time-outs. Just be ready with this information and how to explain the ebb and flow of your classroom. Please have some positive comments to show you know little Johnny and how well he demonstrates a skill, reveals a talent or interest, or did something right in class. If little Janie is lacking, the parent should already have communicated with you because you called, or sent information home. The Special Education teacher should already know, too, if this is a big deal (actually, even a little deal.) The team of teachers plus family can really make it happen for a kid, and communication with coordination is the key.

How Should I Interact At The Meeting?

3. Be ready to explain your testing and grading system, including homework. The child's future hinges on what you do, how you grade, and do you offer help. The parent needs to know how you grade. Is there make up work? A Special Education student usually is not an independent learner, even if they have the intelligence, because of a visual or auditory learning handicap. Do you offer homework help? Test retakes? Tutoring? When and where? The Math Department at my last school was remarkable in the regular, systematic help for all kids. And it got results.

I Don't Feel Prepared For This--What Should I Do?

4. Coordinate with the Special Education teacher. I cannot adequately explain how complex, detailed and mind-boggingly intense all this Special Ed. stuff is. But it is to your advantage as a general education teacher to share information with the RSP or SAI teacher. Most Special Ed. teachers are type B personalities (myself included) and won't bully or force anyone to do anything. But there is such expertise there, one suggestion may change a classroom situation for the better. And frequently there are Behavior Plans to implement for a rascal. The teaching team wants to keep this side of legalities, having i's dotted and t's crossed. Of course, first and foremost, we want to help the kids. A Special Education teacher has district personnel resources and knowledge that can really help.

Who Showed You Who You Are?

Mother and Child, Andy Warhol
Your (fill in the blank) Mother.

You might choose:  Irish, Italian, Mexican, English, Russian, Philipino, German, Scottish, Chinese, Dine, Arab, Dutch, Puerto Rican, French, Welsh, Jewish, Chilean, Danish, Japanese, Basque, Canadian, Romanian, Indian, Mayan, Angolan, Brazilian, Navaho, Turkish, Costa Rican, Portuguese, Nicaraguan, Guinea Bissaun, Lithuanian, Nigerian, Egyptian, El Salvadoran, Omani, Norwegian, or all of the above (for us Heinz Fiftyseven.)

Mother's Day May 13.

Educational Links 5/12/17

School Bullying Is Down. Why Don’t Students Believe It?

'Alarming' Rise in Children Hospitalized with Suicidal Thoughts or Actions

The one crucial skill our education system is missing

A Plan to Kill High School Transcripts … and Transform College Admissions

Concentrating on Concentration

Major Funding Gaps Between Charters and Regular Public Schools in Many Cities

Student disengagement may be down to behaviour management techniques, says academic

'The magical qualities that make for exceptional teachers are being driven out of the profession'

  • Firstly, these teachers recognise teaching is a craft: one to work at and take the time, effort and attention to improve
  • They are always enthusiastic about teaching and also genuinely care and respect the role of a teacher
  • They also see they are learning all the time as well as their pupils. They never rest on their laurels and always want to get better. Every learning opportunity is grasped
  • They see risk-taking as normal
  • Fun is central to all they do
  • They all show a deep love of humanity,  evident in their teaching

Summer Bump Not Slump: MzTeachuh's Top 20 Movies To Watch

Maybe watching 'Rudy'?
You've got the time, you've got the audience. So share some of your favorite movies with your kids. It's almost, almost, like an important reading list. But films that were central to our growing up, and our cultural experience are worth sharing. And making a special occasion creates a lasting bond as the older generation shares experiences and preferences from your own life with your kids. Some of these films may be famous, but that doesn't mean your 14 year old ever heard of it. Let them know why you chose this film, what it represented to your generation at the time, why you want to watch it with them. Be conscious of appropriate ratings for your audience.

Here are some of my favorites, that I also think are important to view for a cultural background. I watch a lot of television and movies (documentaries, too.)
Hurrah for Hulu and Netflix!
Set a time to watch when it is really too hot to go outside, or you are replacing Xbox time. 

 In no particular order, here is MzTeachuh's Top Twenty Movies to Watch:

Forrest Gump (1994)

Lincoln (2012)

Men in Black (1997) 

Frankenstein (1931) 

A Hard Day's Night (1964) 

Selma (2014)

All in the Indiana Jones series, but especially  

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 

All in the series, but especially The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 

All Mel Brooks' films, but especially  The Producers (1967) 

A Patch of Blue (1965) 

Gravity (2013) 

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) 

Schindler's List (1993) 

Glory (1989) 

All Episodes--but definitely Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) 

The Sound of Music (1965) - IMDb 

Saving Private Ryan (1998) 

My Left Foot (1989)  

Gone with the Wind (1939)

  Here are a couple lists from experts:

The 55 Essential Movies Kids Must Experience (Before They Turn 13) 





Let's Read These Books This Summer

Book Review Newbery Award Winner: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry 

Book Review: Song of the Swallows 

White Fang by Jack London: Great Summer Read 

The She-Wolf leads the pack; One-Eye close behind.

Lederstrumpf: Iconic American Fictional Hero 

 Read! Classic Adventure, Romance, Mystery 


Book Review 'King of the Wind' Newbery Award 


Let's Read! Current Trends in Little Kid Books 


Books to Soothe Kids' Toxic Stress 

Teachable Moment: Book Review: Martin's Big Words 


Teaching Is Leading The Adventure To Middle Earth Tweets of the Morning 11/ 7/12 


Rosy-fingered Dawn Ὀδύσσεια 





Teaching Is Giving Grades

1. Abolish Grades? I Don't Think So 

2. Why Do We Give Grades? 

3. What to do when grading seems unfair

4.  No F's or D's Allowed?
What Does the Law Say About Passing Grades? 

5. Can Grades Be Helpful and Fair? 

6.  Evaluating and Grading Student Work


Do you think grades should be abolished? Check out this Facebook group discussion:

Teachers Throwing Out Grades