Saturday, March 31, 2018

Educational Links 4/1/18

National Poetry Month: Poem #1

The Curious Blackbird by Maureen Ida Farley

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

The Beatles - Blackbird

Happy Easter! God's Grandeur

God's Grandeur

By Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Monet and Vivaldi: Tulips, Music and Spring

Claude Monet Tulip Field with the Rijnsburg Windmill

Here is the first cousin of Monet's tulips in my garden.
I was hoping to give you just a little blast of Spring--the brilliant blue sky after a spring shower, the shocking, vibrant red, yellow, purple of bulb flowers blaring through the winter's end grey, the enthusiastic chirp and twitter of the birds now activated for the season like an army just getting out of boot camp. I can just about do it with Monet and Vivaldi--but I can't send you the still-chilly-but-not-freezing breeze on a finally sunny day or the scent of earth unfreezing. You'll have to go outside for that.

Wish you could smell these narcissus!



Oh those spring showers!

Vivaldi Spring




Friday, March 30, 2018

Educational Links 3/31/18

Every single teacher on a crowd-funding site just got their wishes fulfilled

You Can’t Learn If You’re Anxious, Stressed, or Scared

Professional Conversations Around a Tch Video

What's Your Passion? High School Enlists Businesses to Help Students Decide

5 Good Story Starters for Students

“Best” Lists Of The Week: Resources On The Environment

More Progressive Ways to Measure Deeper Levels of Learning

How do we measure learning beyond knowledge of content? Finding that winning combination of criteria can prove to be a complicated and sometimes difficult process. Schools that are pushing boundaries are learning that it takes time, a lot of conversation, and a willingness to let students participate in that evaluation.

Teaching Is Learning Ed Tech

How Technology Helps Teachers to Manage Their Classroom 

Free Technology For Teachers

Tech Savvy Teachers Talk Less about Technology and More about Teaching

Survey highlights changing teacher opinions on ed tech 

Ten Ideas for Teaching Teachers Technology 


How to Help Teachers Integrate Assistive Technology in the Classroom 

50 Education Technology Tools Every Teacher Should Know About 

The Teacher’s Guides To Technology And Learning 


Are You Managing Your Classroom, Or Is It Managing You?

Five Persistent Behavior Problems and How to Handle Them (Grades 6-8) 

If student behavior problems have you frustrated, rest assured that you are not the only new teacher who feels this way. It comes with the job description . . . even seasoned professionals sometimes have trouble quieting talkative types, avoiding power struggles, and redirecting overly demanding students.

Redirection \

Simple redirection is very effective with most students and gets them back on track ... Improves students' attention and focus.

Teachers' redirection needs to be consistent and reasonable--but with consequences if you don't have the needed student response.

Strategies for Students Who Refuse to Work 

Make all students feel welcomed, even if you are feeling frustration with certain behaviors.  Let all children know that you believe that they can succeed and that you will support them in the process. 

 Look for ways to lessen distractions.  Do not place  students who are having trouble doing class work in an area where they will be distracted, (e.g. facing a window or door, next to an equipment shelf). 

It is extremely important to avoid negatively labeling a child.  Remember to dislike the behavior, not the student.  As was pointed out in the section on classroom atmosphere, pupils need to know that you believe in their ability to be successful.  They need to feel that you are “on their side” if you are to be able to develop a relationship that is conducive to learning and encourages a students to put forth their best efforts. 

There are lots of reasons a student isn't working--this article thoroughly outlines the possible reasons and some many excellent responses. 

Why You Should Never Argue With Students; And How To Avoid It 

But with the right strategy, avoiding arguments with students isn’t difficult. It can even be a means of strengthening your classroom management effectiveness.

Be consistent--the class will stay on task--with redirects, then the classroom management systemof consequents kicks in. All students have a right to an effective learning environment, and teacher is the boss of that! 

Creative Teaching Ideas to Fix Student Whining 

Student whining in school can challenge any teacher’s ability to engage her class with creative teaching ideas.

Working With Defiant Kids: Communication Tools for Teachers

Conflicts are social power struggles and must always involve at least two parties. As conflicts between students and teachers appear to be so widespread, it might help to examine what factors tend to push each party into these power struggles.

Don't be tempted to debate--get to know the parents right away, go over classroom rules frequently, and be consistent and fair. Those are the qualities students crave for and respond to. Everyone is judged by the same measure of discipline. How to keep a class learning? Be consistent and fair in your administration of the classroom rules. You'll save time, enrgy, and emotion. The students will be grateful. 

  New Classroom Questioning Techniques for the Best Year Ever

Teachers ask 400 questions a day -- 70,000 a year, according to The Guardian. While preparing so many questions is a lot of work, you can save time by using some of the questioning techniques (QTs) described below.

Know your class.use techniques to allow student to take turns answering, even using methods to require every student to answer a question or respond to the instruction at least once in a specific length of time for grading points. Create a learning environment where students are empowered to speak to a group.  

These are the rules for teachers who always wanted classroom conflict, parental disagreements, and not-so-hot teacher assessments. 

This is irony--post this only if you want chaos in class.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Educational Links 3/30/18

Video: Why Executive Function Is So Important for Your Child

Agents of Their Own Success: Self-Advocacy Skills and Self-Determination for Students with Disabilities in the Era of Personalized Learning

Why it’s Not Just the Teachers Who Hold the Onus of Education Reform?

How Read-Aloud Can Improve Behavior And Instill A Lifelong Love Of Reading

Minds matter: Psychology of language learning

The Difference Between Projects And Project-Based Learning

“Projects” can represent a range of tasks that can be done at home or in the classroom, by parents or groups of students, quickly or over time. While project-based learning (PBL) also features projects, in PBL the focus is more on the process of learning and learner-peer-content interaction that the end-product itself.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Educational Links 3/29/18

Why It's Time to Rethink School Science Fairs

App of the Week: Writable

7 grants for STEM and technology

Laptops, Chromebooks or tablets? Deciding what’s best for the nation’s schools

Download: Endrew F. Advocacy Toolkit

How to Differentiate Through Rubrics and Learning Goals


In order for early intervention to serve students better, an appropriate relationship between early intervention organizations and schools is absolutely necessary. The transition procedure from early intervention to school should be streamlined. There is also a need for far greater consistency between early-intervention programs and school-age programs, as well as between programs in different regions, including across school districts and states.

Teaching Is Having A Sense of Humor

1. What's So Funny About Teaching 

2. Why a sense of humor is key to surviving as a teacher 

Just keepin' it real.

3. A Teacher's Sense of Humor 

4. Why is having a sense of humor important when it comes to teaching? 

 5. Sense of humour 

6. Why Use Humor in the Classroom? 

7. Using Humor in the Classroom 




Writing Prompts to Sooth Kids' Toxic Stress

Tell it like it feels.
We've heard of talk-therapy. In a class, writing can serve as an emotional release for students. Having a voice, using it in a confidential framework--a personal release of events and circumstances that a kid may really need. That is a gift from a teacher.

Research indicates children need practice expressing their feelings, identifying what is an appropriate response, and who is their support system. Writing assignments can really help.

Writing is a powerful outlet.
As a middle school teacher, I would ask the students to follow the pattern of a five paragraph essay (with appropriate preparation and explanation.) Each of these prompts includes a 'three' for the internal paragraphs. Yes, I'm practical enough to want to prepare them for the California State Writing Examination for Grade 7 in March.

Writing, however, can function as an outlet for a student's deep feelings.

 Here is my Number One All Time Favorite Writing Prompt; it works especially well at the beginning of school. The students are given a promise of confidentiality.

"Three Things I Want You To Know About Me."

Students can describe sports' preferences, music, family life. With seventh graders, I found they would frequently write about very serious things, too, that their dad was in prison, or how their mom had been diagnosed with cancer but is okay now. Kids can be eloquent, if someone just asks them something important. As a teacher I got to know the students very quickly, and I don't just mean that they couldn't spell or punctuate. It felt good for them to write about something important, something they chose to tell Teacher about.

Kids can be eloquent if allowed.
Although it is not just kids suffering in poverty that need a release through writing, here is more research on the importance of giving students access to expressing their personal thoughts as a release to toxic stress, and the tools to deal with emotions.

Angels' fan in the midst of Dodgers' fans.

Let's not be always so serious all the time. Life for kids now is pretty stressful in general. So here is a topic that can generate fun, friendship and comradery. If you wish, the students can create powerpoints. One year I did a powerpoint of my own, the students thought it was pretty funny.

"Three Of The Coolest Things I've Ever Seen."

The Chivas forever.
Its amazing. Some of my students have seen the pyramids in Mexico City. They can describe, in detail to make Howard Cosell jealous, a header in a soccer game that scored the winning goal. A homerun completely unexpected. A teacher can also learn a lot about music from essays like this. The students want to share these essays, so I set up groups for them to discuss; we have a good time, showing respect for other's opinions is our number one goal. (Always Dodgers and Angels fans describing a homerun or great catch. Lots of debates between these two groups as to who is best.)

Here's a link with so many other ideas for fun in class.

 Middle school kids have a very basic sense of humor, so teachers had better be ready for this one. Actually, age doesn't really mature a sense of humor in most people. So I just tell the kids to keep it 'G' rated, and try to minimize the bathroom humor with this topic.

"The Three Times I Laughed The Hardest"

I laughed so hard...
There's  lots of falling, farting, and SNL skits with these essays, but sometimes a kid's just got to be silly, and laugh awhile. Everybody does. That will sooth toxic stress for a bit.

Here's a link for help with explaining the technicalities of writing.

 The anecdotes the kids can come up with.

Can't Touch That

Oh, the Three Coolest Things I've seen?

Close runner up--Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation."              

So cool.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Educational Links 3/28/19

When Pushing Boundaries in Math Education, Where Can Teachers Turn For Help and Camaraderie?

Try Coding in Your Classroom: Dash & Dot Club Pack Giveaway

School librarians fear a 'quiet crisis' is endangering their place in the education world


Teachers Must Encourage Students to 'Make Meaning Together'

How vulnerable are you to a data breach?

growth mindset

Download: Growth Mindset Activities for Kids

Is your child willing to take on challenges and keep working on them despite setbacks? That’s a sign of a growth mindset—believing that abilities can improve over time. But some struggling learners have a fixed mindset. They think that their abilities are set and won’t ever improve, even with effort.

Teaching Is Using Proximity


1. Effective Room Arrangement 

2. The Effectiveness of Teacher Proximity as an Initial Technique of Helping Pupils Control Their Behavior. 

3. Quick & Effective Teaching Strategies: Proximity Control 

4. Proximity & Modality 

5. Suggested Classroom Interventions For Children With ADD & Learning Disabilities 

6.  How to Use Proximity to Manage the Classroom 

7.  Proximity and Mobility 

Proximity to help during guided practice!


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Educational Links 3/26/18

One Future of K-12 Education: From the Factory to a Personalized Model


Debunking Myths About Resilience

How Reading Novels in Math Class Can Strengthen Student Engagement

March’s Most Popular Posts

Promoting Self-Regulation in the First Five Years: A Practice Brief

How Google Classroom Prepares Students for the Future of Work

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about a skills gap in the workforce. Every time there is a major shift in the economy there are always people who are left behind. During the last industrial revolution those whose livelihoods depended on the ability to get a job performing menial labor were left behind as automation took over. Now we’re facing the fourth industrial revolution in which artificial intelligence will be replacing a lot of the menial digital labor, and the workforce is again unprepared for this shift. Combating the skills gap in the workforce needs to start with education, and unfortunately there are many classrooms that haven’t yet caught up.