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Showing posts from January, 2016

Snow day-what should we do?

Schools across America geared up for a Snow Day beginning on Thursday last week. Record-breaking snow amounts were forecast. Students, Parents, and Administrators all have different ideas of what should be accomplished during a snow day. Not surprisingly, there is no consensus on this topic.
The New York Times Learning Network's Michael Gonchar asked students this question-"What would you do on a snow day?" (2015)  Not one student commented that they planned to do school work of any type. Imagine that! Students who took the time to answer the question did not plan to do any school work on a snow day.
Author Elizabeth Laing Thompson, a parent of 4 children, wrote a blog post about "How Southerners Do Snow Days." In her blog, Thompson never once mentioned the plan to have her children sit down at their desks and complete school assignments. More specifically, Thompson said, "Because of the Southern Snow Ethic, we can take two inches of ice and turn them into a…

Standards, standards, which are YOUR standards?

Standards, Standards, which are YOUR standards?

Teachers in Arkansas are required to teach to the Common Core standards, yet the students will be assessed by the ACT College and Career Readiness Standards and the teacher will be assessed by TESS, Teacher Excellence and Support System. So what is a teacher to do?  The ADE's says to continue to teach the Common Core.  Our ELA department uses the ACT Aspire rubrics to evaluate timed writing, and we are pulling focus group students for targeted ACT Aspire tutoring. But, we can do more!  A new member of my PLN on Twitter has provided me with a new idea to teach CCSS, assess with ACT, and still meet the distinguished level on TESS. (How cool is that?)

@nick_dressler's standards based project posters were retweeted by another member of my PLN. Intrigued, I reached out to Nick and requested more information. He kindly provided the details of his class project and then explained that he used the ACT College and Career Readiness Standar…

Literacy Starts at the Dinner Table

Literacy is difficult. The varied combinations of sounds, letters, and words arranged into sentences and paragraphs to form meaning can easily become overwhelming. I was blessed to grow up in a highly literate family. Both of my parents are highly educated and enjoyed reading for pleasure. More importantly, they valued the importance of family dinner.  Dinner and dinner conversations with adults enable the transference of background knowledge and elevated vocabulary to children.

Anne Fishel, a cofounder of The Family Dinner Project, says that as we gather around a family dinner table "we’re nourishing our minds as much as our bodies." She goes on to say even more astonishingly: "In fact, regular family dinner may be a more powerful vocabulary builder for young kids than reading." Dr. Catherine Snow, Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education, explains that "rare or sophisticated vocabulary are  the building blocks o…