Sunday, January 30, 2011

Great Quote 4

"I have written a great many stories and I still don't know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances."

- John Steinbeck

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Setting Up a College Class

I have no idea if anyone even cares about hearing about all the work it takes to get a college class up and running.  But our household has been turned upside down the past few weeks getting me ready for school. I thought I'd share a little bit about how I go about setting up a class.

Professors have a variety of ways to organize themselves when it comes to teaching college.  I've seen teachers put all the files on CD-Roms which you can borrow, copy and then return.  I've seen teachers insist on you reading large amounts of the textbook which you have to buy, only to never refer to it in class or on a test.  I've seen teachers use binders with sleeves stuffed with topics, example's and notes to use.  I've seen powerpoints that are very cut and dry, read from word for word, and classes spent entirely with presentation from the class on each chapter with no additions from the instructor.  The thing I've learned in the 6 years teaching college at 6 different colleges with over 60 different courses is that usually you are given your course, sometimes given the required text, sometimes asked to choose one from the hundreds out there, and then told, "Go."

I kind of like it that way.  I like to have the freedom to use my own style, a variety of resources and then be left alone to just teach.  Like any teacher, you'll know that a good teacher is a good planner.  With balancing family, church and other responsibilities, I have found that I like to be completely planned out before the class begins, then each class session, just grab my stuff and go with very little prep.

So this time around, here is how I've planned the three new courses I'm teaching with Utah Valley University right now.

1.  Get the basic course objectives, course description, and an example of syllabi from who ever is willing to share.

2.  If the text is required, get the text book and read it, looking for how you want to plan out the course according to the number of weeks.

3.  If the text is not required, get desk copies from various publishers to review and after reading them all, choose one that matches the kind of course you are creating.  You get to keep the desk copies, so I have quite a collection of texts to use as additional resources.  I always tell the students whether the text we are using is a "keeper" or not.  I remember the days of selling back books and am pretty good at judging if it's something a teacher would want on their shelf later rather than getting a few bucks back now.

4.  Create the syllabus.  Most colleges don't have a standardized format, so I make mine look nice with added logos, charts, and the college's mission statement.  I also add in a page about professionalism for those students out there that eventually bother me with their texting in class and showing up in their pajama's.  Syllabii are considered legal contracts that bind the college to it's contents and so I include things that might come up as a grievance later like class attendance, participation guidelines, and professionalism.

5.  Create a course schedule including assignment ideas, due dates, any assessments that I want to do, and the topics for each session.  One thing I always add to each course is one long term project that has the objective of practicality...something they can take and use in a classroom right away.  The long term project involves choice also so they have a bit more freedom.  Projects in the past have been things like a menu, a bingo board, a tic tac toe board, a timeline, etc.  which choices within to complete by a deadline. 
I like these also because the creativity of the student shines through.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Author Corey Green Interview

"Thank you for thinking of me.  
Here is something I didn't know we had in common--we both love the Muppets!  I have Muppets dolls in my classroom, making the area by the calendar cheery.  Last week, we had to do community builders about helping kids get along (and make it to break without being written up.)  I showed the "Why Can't We Be Friends" skit from the John Denver episode.  The kids loved it!  They were more interested in the historical soldiers than the theme, but eventually we got around to discussing how to get along.  (If the link doesn't work, just search "Muppets why can't we be friends" on google or YouTube.)



How do you know Michelle?  I met Michelle through my local reading council, part of the International Reading Association.  I was impressed with how much she knows about education—Michelle is a teacher, professor, and was president of our council.

Tell me about your books and what types of readers would relate to it.
I write funny middle-grade books (grades 4-6)  with lots of mischief.  In Managing Stan, the new kid in class creates "Stan" to hastily cover up a prank gone awry.  The whole class helps to turn Stan into the ultimate scapegoat—kids can play any joke and blame him.  The kids soon find that inventing Stan was easy…making Stan behave is impossible!


My newest release is a CD, Best Multiplication Songs EVER!  In just eight minutes, you can learn the times tables to tunes you know.  This professionally produced album grew out of songs I sang with my third graders last year.  Our class set a challenge for every student to know all the time tables.  These songs helped us do it!  We were the talk of the school.  Listen to clips of the songs and download free practice software (it's the best ever!) at abligio.com


Do you feel that educators make the best authors?  Why or why not?  I think educators know more about kids than anyone.  Parents and editors know their own kids, but teachers work with all sorts of kids, all day, every day.  Teachers understand the big picture—social interactions, typical problems, issues with academics, and what really happens in the school lunch line.  Teachers also understand individual students.  We can tell our students by their handwriting, their walk, their favorite snack, what they play at recess, how they solve math problems, and who their friends are.  I think that translates to an above-average ability to create characters that really connect with kids today.

Additionally, I think that educators understand how kids read.  We know their true reading level, which parts they skip, which books they claim to read, and which books they really read.  The answers would surprise anyone who isn't in the classroom every day.

Tip for writers: learn about how kids really think, act and learn in today's classrooms at my blog, ClassAntics.com.  Peek into the world of school: the truth about the lunch linehow the Accelerated Reader program affects what kids read, and the intricacies of managing a classroom pencil supply (a three part series).

What has surprised you about the publishing world?  In many ways, it's nicer than you think.  Publishing is a business—one that depends on authors, readers, and teachers to connect the two.  Agents and editors gladly share information with would-be writers at conferences of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  When I gave a presentation to discuss classroom uses for Random House's Tapestry series at the International Reading Association conference in Phoenix, author Henry Neff inscribed a book for one of my students, and Random House marketing execs gave books for my classroom. 

Which authors do you know well?  What's your favorite children's books?  When I lived in Reno, Ellen Hopkins was regional advisor of our local chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  Everyone was thrilled to see her achieve such well-deserved success.  Growing up, I loved reading books by Beverly Cleary and Ann M. Martin.  I learned a lot about writing by studying Beverly's autobiographies and Ann's biography.

Describe your writing regime.  I do most of my writing on the weekends and during school breaks.  Every once in a while, I get something done on a school night.

Do you feel that using an agent is helpful rather than going the slush pile route?  I've heard arguments for and against.  Whatever works!"

Thanks Corey for your time!  I can't wait to see what you do next!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hogwarts

My son got a special gift from Santa this year that he generously said he'd share with me.  The Lego Hogwarts Castle.  It took him only two days to build, which is pretty fast for the number of pieces it included.  Our favorite parts of it are the hidden room, Sirius's face in the fireplace, the figures that came with it, and the chamber of secrets.  When he's outgrown legos, I think I'll "borrow" it for my future office.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Teachers in Children's Literature

Here is an interesting List I came across from an old blog posting at Readingyear.blogspot.com from SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2006.  Why is my font doing this today?  Who knows?



100 Cool Teachers in Children's Literature

On July 23, 2006, the idea to try to list 100 Cool Teachers in Children's Literature was born. Franki wrote,
"We're looking for thoughtful teachers who understand kids and learning and are active, intelligent people who love their work."

Here they are, in alphabetical order by author's last name. Most all of them were nominated by our readers, which you should take as a disclaimer that we haven't read all of these books, and we acknowledge that there may be (a very few, unintentional) errors in this list. If you see something that doesn't look quite right, be sure to let us know!

And by all means, as you encounter a teacher we don't have on our list, nominate him/her -- we'd love to collect MORE than 100 Cool Teachers!!!

1. Jo March in Little MenJo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
Professor Bhaer in Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott
John Brooke in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Mr. P in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Miss Nelson in Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
Ida Bidson in The Secret School by Avi
Ms. Isabel Hussey in Chasing Vermeer and The Wright Three by Blue Balliett
Mrs. Kempezinski in Good Luck, Mrs. K by Louise Borden
Mrs. Morrow in The Day Eddie Met the Author by Louise Borden
the teacher in The A+ Custodian by Louise Borden
Mrs. Mallory in The Last Day of School by Louise Borden
Ms. Shepherd in Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
Miss Hawthorn in Willow by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan
Miss Parker in Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
Miss Perry in I Remember Miss Perry by Pat Brissom
Miss Temple in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Mr. Ratburn in the Arthur books by Marc Brown
Mr. Carter in the Jennings books by Anthony Buckeridge
Mr. Terupt in Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
Mr. Magro in The SOS File by Betsy Byars, Laurie Myers, and Betsy Duffey
the P.E. teacher in The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales
Mr. Champion in Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charley? by Rebecca Caudill
Miss Binney in Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
Mr. Maxwell in A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements

25. Mrs. Granger in Frindle by Andrew Clements
Ms. Clayton in School Story by Andrew Clements
Ted's teacher in Room One by Andrew Clements
Miss Pointy in Sahara Special by Esme Codell
Miss Frizzle in the Magic School Bus books by Joanna Cole
Miss Stretchberry in Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Mr. Birkway in Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Miss Hendrickson in I Know Here by Laurel Croza
Iqbal in Iqbal by Francesco D'Admo
Miss Honey in Matilda by Roald Dahl
Mrs. Hartwell in the First Day and First Year books by Julie Danneberg
Ms. Finey in The Cat Ate My Gym Suit by Paula Danziger
the teacher of "Law for Children and Young People" in Can You Sue Your Parents For Malpractice? by Paula Danziger
Mr. Foster in Kat & Mouse by Alex deCampi
Mrs. Bowers in The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola
Nicholas Nickleby in Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Mrs. McBloom in Mrs. McBloom, Clean Up Your Classroom by Kelly DiPucchio
Mrs. Howdy Doody in Dessert First by Hallie Durand
Madge Bettany in the Chalet School series (UK) by Elinor Brent Dyer
Miss Annersley in the Chalet School series (UK) by Elinor Brent Dyer
Ms. Sarah Melton in Mail Order Ninja by Joshua Elder
Mrs. Brook in Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Miss Malarkey in Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler
Mr. Fabiano in Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher
Juniper in Juniper and Wise Child by Monica Furlong
50. Miss Lupescu in The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Miss Smith in Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook by Michael Garland
Mr. Kowsz in Happy Kid by Gail Gauthier
Mr. Felix in Thursday's Children by Rumer Godden
Mrs. Coleman-Levin in the Zack Files series by Dan Greenburg
Mrs. Dunphrey in Don't You Dare Read This Mrs. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Olana in Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Miri in Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Ms. Washington in Ida B. by Katherine Hannigan
Miss Grey in the Betsy Brooks books by Carolyn Haywood
Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle in Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Mr. Slinger in Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Mr. Carey in Naked Bunyip Dancing by Steven Herrick
Miss Meadows and Mrs. Rossi in Remembering Mrs. Rossi by Amy Hest
Miss Agnes in The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill
Mr. Beggs in Mountain Whippoorwill by Suellen Holland
Miss Loupe in Operation YES by Sara Lewis Holmes
Ms. Snickle in The Secrets of Ms. Snickle's Class by Laurie Miller Hornik
Great Aunt Arizona in My Great Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston
Madame Lucille in Brontorina by James Howe
Mr. Blueberry in Dear Mr. Blueberry by Simon James
Mr. Lema in The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez
Anna in Amber on the Mountain by Tony Johnston
Mr. Meyer in Greetings from Planet Earth by Barbara Kerley
Erica's teacher in Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein

75. Guy Francis in the "Regarding the..." series by Kate and Sarah Klise
Mr. Sam in the "Regarding the..." series by Kate and Sarah Klise
Mrs. Olinski in The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
Mr. Theotocopolous in The Young Unicorns by Madeline L'Engle
Mr. Thompson in Trevor's Wiggly-Wobbly Tooth by Lester Laminack
Miss Fowler in the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace
Mrs. Pidgeon in the Gooney Bird books by Lois Lowry
Mr. Franka in Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
Mr. Rover and Mrs. Katz in Mr. Rover Takes Over by Grace Maccarone
Ms. Crowley in The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Ms. Minifred in Baby by Patricia MacLachlan
Ms. Mirabel in Word After Word After Word by Patricia MacLachlan
Sister Mary Louise in Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Mr. Todd in the Judy Moody books by Megan McDonald
Miss Farley in Caddy Ever After by Hilary McKay
Mr. Gee in Once Upon an Ordinary School Day by Colin McNaughton
Miss O'Grady in Busing Brewster by Richard Michelson
Mr. Ali in My Name is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin
Miss Stacey in the Anne books by L.M. Montgomery
Anne Shirley in Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Mr. Carpenter in the Emily books by L.M. Montgomery
Monsieur Noel in A Book of Coupons by Susie Mogenstern
Mrs. Willis in Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls
Mr. Boldova in the Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo
Mr. Scary in the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park

100. "Mrs." in the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park
Master Min in The Royal Bee by Francis and Ginger Park
Miss Edmunds in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Miss Barbara Harris in The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
Miss Dove in Good Morning, Miss Dove by Frances Gray Patton
Mrs. Spitzer in Mrs. Spitzer's Garden by Edith Pattou
Mr. Collins in All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall
Miss Tansy Culver in A Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck
Mr. D'Matz in the Clementine books by Sara Pennypacker
Ms. Raymond in Dotty by Erica S. Perl
Mr. Faulker in Thank You Mr. Faulker by Patricia Polacco
Mrs. Peterson in The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco
Mr. Tripp in Justin Fisher Declares War by James Preller
Ms. Lilly in Noonie's Masterpiece by Lisa Railsback
the teacher in My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
the art teacher in The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Mr. Brunner/Chiron in The Lightning Thief by Rick Riorden
Miss Plumberry in Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry by Michael Rosen
Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
Professor Lupin in The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
Mr. Hon in Tofu Quilt by Ching Yeung Russell
Mr. Lee in Tofu Quilt by Ching Yeung Russell
Miss Jewls in the Sideways books by Louis Sachar
Mrs. Baker in The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

125. Ms. Hill in 4 Kids in 5E and 1 Crazy Year by Virginia Frances Schwartz
Mrs. Fibonnaci in Math Curse by Jon Scieszka
Mr. Newton in Science Curse by Jon Scieszka
Miss Bonkers in Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss
Miss Bindergarten in Miss Bindergarten Goes to Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
Miss Palma in After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Kit Tyler and Mercy Wood in The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Mr. Duncan in White in the Moon by Gretchen Sprague
Mrs. Appletree in Mr. President Goes to School by Rick Walton
Miss Cribbage in My Kindergarten by Rosemary Wells
Stuart Little in Stuart Little by E.B. White
Merlin in The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White
Laura Ingalls in the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Eliza Jane Wilder in the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Oliver's teacher in My Teacher for President by Kay Winters
Miss Lesley in Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop
(Miss) Alina in Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Mr. Isobe in Crow Boy by Taro Yashima

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Winner Reactions

You HAVE to read this article from publishers weekly about what the winners were doing when they got their phone call saying they won the big award.  


It's at http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-authors/article/45781-hello-it-s-the-ala-calling--stead-and-vanderpool-on-winning-the-big-prize.html?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly's+Children's+Bookshelf



But here are some excerpts from the Award Winner Interviews in the New York Times:
Ms. Vanderpool, the Newbery winner, said she wrote “Moon Over Manifest” over five years, beginning in 2001, stealing bits of time while raising her four children.
“I would write during nap times, during ‘Sesame Street,’ that kind of stuff,” said Ms. Vanderpool, 46, by telephone from her home in Wichita, Kan., where she was born and reared. “It was just a nice little escape, a nice hobby. Then fortunately this year it got published.”
As part of her research, she traveled to Frontenac, Kan., in the southeast corner of the state, a town she called “the bootlegging capital of the Midwest.” (It also happened to be the home of her mother’s side of the family.) There she read newspaper articles on microfilm at the library and scoured old yearbooks helpfully supplied by local residents.
“As I started doing research, that’s when the story started to take off,” Ms. Vanderpool said. “It really is the story of a young girl looking for clues of her father, wondering if he’s coming back to get her and trying to figure out for herself what home means to her.”
The book was published by Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, an imprint ofRandom House Children’s Books. It has sold 12,000 copies so far, a spokeswoman said.
Though “Moon Over Manifest” did not appear on the New York Times best-seller list, it was selected as a pick by IndieBound, an American Booksellers Association initiative of independent-store owners; it is a cherished stamp of approval. Sarah Bagby, the owner of Watermark Books and Cafe in Wichita, said the store had sold “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of copies.”
“Clare took her experience of growing up in a neighborhood in a square mile in Wichita, Kan., and she took that experience and made it universal,” Ms. Bagby said. “It has a historic voice that connects the past to the future.”
The winner of the Caldecott medal, “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” was also a debut by its authors, a husband-and-wife team in Ann Arbor, Mich. It is the story of a zookeeper and his tender friendship with the animals, and was published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
Mr. Stead said he and Ms. Stead conceived the project in 2006, when they were living in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. (They first met in a high school art class in Dearborn, Mich.) Now they work together in the same studio in Ann Arbor, when Mr. Stead is not teaching graphic design at Washtenaw Community College, a side job.
In a telephone interview from Ann Arbor, he wondered aloud if the book’s simplicity made it stand out among the hundreds of other possible candidates.
“We were a little concerned before the book came out that it was too quiet,” Mr. Stead said. “It is very simple. It has very muted colors. It’s a quiet story with a very simple story arc. In a weird way, maybe that was what made it stand out. Maybe people were ready for a story about kindness.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/books/11stonewall.html?_r=1&ref=books

Friday, January 21, 2011

And the Winners Are:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature
“Moon over Manifest,” written by Clare Vanderpool 

Four Newbery Honor Books also were named: 
“Turtle in Paradise,” by Jennifer L. Holm 
“Heart of a Samurai,” written by Margi Preus 
“Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night,” written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen
“One Crazy Summer,” by Rita Williams-Garcia

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children
“A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead 

Two Caldecott Honor Books also were named: 
“Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill 
“Interrupting Chicken,” written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults 
“One Crazy Summer,” written by Rita Williams-Garcia

Three King Author Honor Books were selected: 
“Lockdown,” by Walter Dean Myers
“Ninth Ward,” by Jewell Parker Rhodes 
“Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty,” written by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award recognizing an African American illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults
“Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill 

One King Illustrator Honor Book was selected:
“Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix,” illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, written by Gary Golio

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience
“The Pirate of Kindergarten,” written by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Lynne Avril
“After Ever After,” written by Jordan Sonnenblick

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. 
The 2011 winner is Tomie dePaola, author and illustrator of over 200 books. 

Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults
“The True Meaning of Smekday,” written by Adam Rex and narrated by Bahni Turpin.

Four Odyssey Honor Recordings also were selected: 
“Alchemy and Meggy Swann,” written by Karen Cushman and narrated by Katherine Kellgren 
“The Knife of Never Letting Go,”written by Patrick Ness and narrated by Nick Podehl
“Revolution,” written by Jennifer Donnelly and narrated by Emily Janice Card and Emma Bering 
“will grayson, will grayson,” written by John Green and David Levithan, and narrated by MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl

Pura Belpré (Author) Award honoring a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience
“The Dreamer,” written by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sís

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience
“Grandma’s Gift,” illustrated and written by Eric Velasquez

Three Belpré Illustrator Honor Books for illustration were selected:
“Fiesta Babies,” illustrated by Amy Córdova, written by Carmen Tafolla
“Me, Frida,” illustrated by David Diaz, written by Amy Novesky
“Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin,” illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh

Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children
“Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot,” written by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop 

Two Sibert Honor Books were named: 
“Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring,” written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca
“Lafayette and the American Revolution,” written by Russell Freedman

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book
“Bink and Gollie,” written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile 

Two Geisel Honor Books were named: 
“Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!” written and illustrated by Grace Lin 
“We Are in a Book!” written and illustrated by Mo Willems

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens
“The Freak Observer,” written by Blythe Woolston 


 FULL AWARD LIST HERE

Monday, January 17, 2011

School Improvement doesn't Improve, a study says...

Ran across a very interesting article in Education Week found at

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/12/14/15fordham.h30.html?tkn=LSRF3O3aMbQIaMKzrIxjRk/dHkhcNOgr8vVX&cmp=clp-edweek&utm_source=fb&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mrss

that shares the findings of a few of the studies done regarding schools that were under improvement, the options they had, the closing of some of them and what ended up happening often to the kids from the closed schools.  None of the findings were good, and every teacher I know could have told you it would happen.

Having been a teacher in a school that closed a few years after I had moved on to teaching college, I know the hard working teachers that try all the interventions available and still have little influence on the ever changing "family" and demographic they work in and have no "say" over the type of learner that walks through the door.  They teach all children and scores come as they may.  A very interesting read, I'd say!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Everyday Science Experiments:

CEREAL BOWL SCIENCE 
Other Investigations With the Newspaper
Created by Anne Coburn-Griffis of The Lima (Ohio) News

Whether students realize it or not, they loosely apply the scientific method throughout a typical school day. From the simple act of transferring force from their hands to close a door (Newton’s third law) to empowering fluid dynamics to send water through pipes to wet a toothbrush or rinse soapy hands, students benefit from scientific exploration.

This Newspaper In Education (NIE) curriculum guide, “Cereal Bowl Science and Other Investigations With the Newspaper,” invites teachers and parents to help students look more closely at the science behind everyday activities.

The material is divided into five modules that open with commonplace activities experienced during a school day. Each activity includes an experiment that employs the scientific method steps of investigation, specifically:

1. Observe 
2. Predict 
3. Experiment 
4. Findasolution 
5. Communicate results

The five modules are:  

1. CerealStory  (everydayphysicalscience) 
2. FogDel ay  (everydayearthscience) 
3. EyeSpy (everydaylifescience) 
4. TechTrek  (everydayscienceandtechnology) 
5. GetReading,GetRecycling...GROW!  (environmentalscienceandpersonal
social perspective enhancement)

Go HERE for the complete guide of experiments and science materials from the NAA:  Newspaper Association of America

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chocolate Tasting in the Classroom

Before the break began, I was a guest reader in Carter's classroom on the last day of school.  I choose to read the new Christmas book by David Shannon and showed a picture of when I met him last summer.  Then we did an experiment with the varying degrees of cacao in chocolate.  The kids got a quick lesson on percentages and then we did a chocolate tasting with the different kinds of chocolate.  There were a few who liked the darker chocolate (70%) but it was agreed collectively that 90% was GROSS!  Kids were racing to the water fountain.  One weird fact is that no where is it revealed how much cacao is in a hershey's kiss.  We predicted due to taste and the research we did find that it has between 30-35% of cacao.