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Showing posts from 2015

Twas the Night Before and AP Student's Christmas

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" AP version
Link to Google doc of text-author unknown

     I enjoy mystifying my scholars with this version of the text. In groups, my scholars attempt to read the one paragraph that is assigned to them. They are allowed, nay, encouraged to use dictionaries to help them comprehend what they are reading. Interestingly enough, in our diverse school, there are students unfamiliar with the original text which makes the analysis difficult. Eventually, the scholars will piece the text together and read it chorally.  (Warning: smiles will happen!)
'Twas The Night Before an AP Student's Christmas 'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus musculus . Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the wood burning…

Advent hope

The season of advent leads me to paths of deep thought. As we enter the darkest days of the year, mass casualty shootings continue to occur.  We need to keep our eyes on the light and look for the
good in the world. Here are a few uplifting songs for the season.

I want to dedicate this blog to @Tzrunkle, a dedicated educator yearning for the light.

Oh Holy Night-Pentatonix
Silent Night-Pentatonix
Little Drummer Boy- Pentatonix
Mary Did You Know-Pentatonix
Angels We Have Heard on High-Pentatonix

Teacher Practice Networks- How Teachers Can Create CHANGE


December 3rd, 2015
Imagine it!  Teachers can create CHANGE!  Yes! It scares teachers to think about putting themselves out in the public.   Matthew West's lyrics say "If not us, then who?"   If we want change to happen, it IS up to us!  We must be comfortable with breaking out of our comfort zones to create change.
@sylviaduckworth's image presents 6 easy ways for #teacherleaders to create and harness change. *Present ideas to peers *Share resources *Encourage others *Become Leaders *Observe colleagues *Harness personal interests
Pick one and try it today! We can do this! Make your positive voice heard!
Suzanne Rogers, M.Ed  I am a parent of two college cubs, an AP English teacher, ELA Coach and PD facilitator. I've taught 1st grade, MS, and HS in public, private, and charter schools in 3 states.


Teacher Practice Network

Recently, I applied for and was selected to be in what Barbara Hunter Cox of APSRC terms the "first cadre of Teacher Leaders representing Arkansas in the Gates’ Teacher Practice Networks." This opportunity to grow as a Teacher Leader is intended to inspire the cadre to "use our collective power to improve education in Arkansas" according to Cox. 

I am grateful to Barbara Hunter Cox and Teresa Chance for providing my invitation to the @APSRC Teacher Practice Network, TPN. These women are movers and shakers in education in Arkansas. They have received numerous Gates Education grants to help sustain the work of @APSRC which provides educational support and technical assistance to schools in Arkansas.
My colleague Jessica Wright and other APSRC identified Teacher Leaders designed and ran the first #ECET2AR conference. #ECET2 intended to harness the power of teacher leaders to deepen learning and improve the teaching practice to better serve students. The process to apply…

Anticipation of "The Great Thanksgiving Listen"


So many of our holidays are best enjoyed in anticipation. The day or moment of the holiday is rarely as wonderful as the anticipation. This year it changes. I am currently enjoying the anticipation of my students and my own participation in @StoryCorps The Great Thanksgiving Listen. 

We all know the importance of history. We all know the wise words of Elie Wiesel:  “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”   The Great Thanksgiving Listen is inspiring the younger generation (sometimes for a grade) to interview, record, and publish the stories of those around us. @StoryCorps is, "the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered.  Recordings are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress so that future generation can hear the stories-and the voices-of today." @GoogleforEdu has provided an excellent Common Core aligned template for using @StoryCorps.
I am happily anticipating interviewing my parents with their cho…

Being Reinvigorated

The Arkansas Curriculum Conference is an opportunity for teachers reinvigorate and again find their spark for teaching. My colleagues and I chose to attend many sessions together.

We all very much enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with author Zetta Elliot @zettaelliot  through 3 different sessions. We used her Sankofa postcard ideas to write postcards to veterans for Veterans Day the next week.  We blended the idea of reaching for the veterans and remembering so that we never forget their service.

Also, our ELA department is working to build our classroom libraries to more closely mirror our student body. Zetta Elliot spoke from personal experience about the lack of reading material with characters that looked like she did. We want our students to feel that they are reflected in the books they read. She spoke about the positive experience of self-publishing. Which led me to finally attend a session about the National Writing Project.

Another session that I attended was for the Na…

November: 9 days of Gratitude

So many adults tend to think that students, particularly teenagers, are ungrateful. So, I began to look at my own teaching to see if I was modeling gratitude. What could I do help students begin to express gratitude in their daily lives? Then, I saw this tweet:
8 hours ago 30 Prompts that Help Writers Practice a Month of Gratitude

I decided to have all of my students choose one prompt a day for each school day in November (only 9). These pieces of writing could then be polished into a Gratitude booklet as a gift for their parents. Elementary parents/guardians are continually receiving gifts from their students. I think it is time for our HS students to provide a lovely gift to their parents/guardians.
I know that I will personally benefit from this writing exercise in GRATITUDE. It is important to remind ourselves to be thankful. If I have a flush toilet and a warm bed, I have more than 2/3 of the world'…

Why Annotate a Text?

Why Encourage Annotation?

Teachers often require their students to annotate in a specific format. My students routinely annotate for a colleague. In fact, they say they do it ALL the time. SO, when I asked them to annotate an AP passage to help them answer the questions, they sighed in anguish.  Annotations should be personal and should avoid three common pitfalls.

1. They highlight or underline EVERY word.
2. They inconsistently annotate.
3. They sweat the small stuff.

Weareteachers recommends a way to help each of these common pitfalls. Their infographic may be helpful in implementing annotation in a class.

1.  Show students that there is no difference between a passage that has not been annotated and a page that is completely highlighted or underlined. Annotation is meant to help us understand the passage better.
     Do not grade the annotations.
2.  Model a…

#ECET2AR Reunion at #APSRC15

#ECET2AR Reunion at #APSRC15

The ever awesome Jessica Wright, @JessicaMPitts  leads the #ECET2AR movement. Her welcome speech helped #ECET2AR teachers learn that it is up to the Arkansas ECET2  network to develop their own goals.
How do we become teacher leaders in your own school?
How do we ask for the support that we need from our school districts?
What is Your future story?

A big push/hope is to have 10 #ECET2AR members on the new Teacher Practice Network.

1.  An opportunity to put the ECET2 Mindset to work. Let's build a network, a strong network of Teacher Leaders.

2.  Focus:  Teacher Voice, Tech Awareness, and Capturing and Sharing Instructional Strategies

Change is in the air!

Summer time is ending and change is in the air!  Teachers, parents, and students are arriving at schools across the land. Is is always so refreshing to meet new colleagues, visit with returning colleagues, and appreciate how our students have grown in so many ways. Many teachers write about the horrible changes in the education field. This time for me is simply exhilarating! Socrates said, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but building the new."  Building a new life in the new educational landscape can be a challenge, but our students' shiny faces tell us that it is well worth the risk. Our school is fully implementing a new STEM strengthening Rigor approach this year. This includes STEM projects and PBL across the disciplines! How exciting! To know that we will all be strengthening the rigor in our classroom curriculum through PBL and 21st Century technology. So take a deep breath and lead the charge at your school and help b…
Statistics: What do they really mean?

     We've all run across statistics that do not tell the true story, or the story that we know. I'm curious why schools tend to cater to the 1%ers.  You know the saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."  It seems to me that the 1%ers are those that tend to make the most noise. Think about @realDonaldTrump  's campaign this summer. He is not predicted to win the nomination, but he is currently leading the Republican candidates. And, he has certainly been squeaky.       In education, the mandates tend to be about the GT crowd and the SPED crowd. Academic targets are based on advancing those students who can score advanced and nudging others closer to proficiency.  Neither of these groups is huge, but these two groups do tend to dictate time and resources spent in a school. I began to think about how a school decides what is best for the students.  Is it really based on statistics, or is it indeed based on a series of squea…

Mountaintop experiences

Mountaintop Experiences

This summer as I've read the tweets from various education conferences, I've noticed an interesting development. Dancing on tables and singing party songs all of which are intended to allow teachers to feel empowered and inspired.

Mountaintop experiences are enjoyable, but they simply are not sustainable. Sir Winston Churchill said, "Mountaintops  inspire leaders but valleys mature them."  Teachers go to conferences to learn new strategies to help their students. Being inspired and empowered by a mountaintop experience may help teachers return to their positions, but will it really change how they teach or approach education? Could it actually set teachers up for frustration when they realize that these grand ambitions may not work with their administration or state requirements? Mountaintop experiences are inspiring for teachers, but they need support within their school to find the inspiration to continue to teach.

I am not regularly a nay …

#notatiste again

June 27, 2015

I am #notatiste again in 2015!  I love that our Twitter and Google+ communities come together to support each other as they survive another ISTE event at home. Follow  @Jennifer Wagner and @ and +Craig Yen for fun inclusive activities for those in our PLN who are #notatiste.  There are even prizes from vendors!  JOIN THE FUN!

 Today, I planned to walk my lab, Pewter, around my lovely, home city crossing the river several times. A plot twist happened and we were blocked from crossing the Broadway bridge as pedestrians. So, we turned around and walked through a park.  My Tweets below show what we did next all because we were happy to be #notatiste.  All of this reminds me of +Arianna Huffington 's post. I am happy to be at home during ISTE2015!

5 hours ago LIVE on : When in doubt swimPmLJ

A plot twist led to seeing walking into courthouse for his…

Summer Blossoms of Blessings

Summer is supposed to be a glorious time for teachers. For me, however, it is often a time to catch up on so many things that I ignore during the school year.  It is a bittersweet time. Time to miss the connection that was created with students. But, it is also a time to envision  new relationships with new students and teachers. Ultimately, summer is a time for reflection.

First, I read the poet Rumi's quote in the introduction to Red Glass by @LauraResau.  Summer provides many blessings.  Red Glass is one of our summer reading choices for Middle School at LISA North.
Our reading list,, provides diverse options. This diverse list was suggested primarily by @akunce05  who will be one of our passionate ELA teachers this year at LISA North.

Next, as I begin to count the blossoms of blessings around me, I am thankful for the extended time to spend with my college cubs, my parents, and, of course, our lab Pewter. I'm thankful for the time to pla…

Academics and Athletics-an argument

Athletics vs. Academics

It is a perennial argument. Which is more important?  It is a false choice. I would argue both.

Research has shown that schools with strong athletic teams have high test scores. I believe that both academics and athletics can and should support each other. This is supported by the number of top ranked boarding schools which require students to participate in sports each season.  Additionally, if athletics was truly harming a school's academics we would expect to see that reflected in test scores.
Two students at the University of Arkansas, Daniel H. Bowen and Jay P. Greene, found the opposite. Their study observed student athletic participation compared to graduation rates and standardized test scores over five years in all public schools in the state of Ohio. They controlled for poverty, demographics, and school financial resources and still found a strong positive correlation between a school's commitment to athletics and a lower dropout rate and hig…