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    Students Starters Enhance Teaching

    Student Starters Now is a good time to plan on releasing more responsibility for learning to your students. The first quarter/semester is when you model reading and writing strategies, making, connections,

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    Thoughts to Share with Students

    Children’s Books Teach Us All We sometimes think children’s book are only for children. But there is wisdom to be gleaned for us all. Invite your students to bring in their favorite children’s

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    Prepare in the Fall for Spring Assessments

    Practice Debates ⇒Argumentative Essays Meeting Common Core State Standards is not the only reason to have students learn to think about claims, reasons, counter-aguments, and evidence.  The four major assessments

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    Maximizing Meetings and Maintaining Morale

    Department chairs regularly seek for ways to use meeting time more efficiently and to keep up the spirits of their department members.  Attached are ideas planned for the “Learning to

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Cross Curricular Resources

Computer Cartoon

Interdisciplinary - Cross CurricularUpdate Your List of Lesson Planning Web Resources

Please take a few minutes to explore these resources recommended by Rebecca Muller and Cindy Powell’s Daisy Scouts.

Note some of the sites designed primarily for elementary school may contain just the right resources to assist your below grade-level students in understanding a concept.  The visuals may be particularly helpful with students new to English as a language for acquiring new information.

As always, check them out before sharing with your students. Enjoy!


Online Learning: Math Resources for Kids

Writing and Talking Teach Math
Writing and Learning Groups in Math-Roseboro

ReadWriteThink Lesson Plans


Discovery Education | Classroom Resources

A Kid\'s Guide to Forest Fires

KidZone: Worksheets for Children

And, here is the link to our growing resource bank. We hope you’ll find this useful as well! :)
Fun Educational Lesson Plans, Activities and Printables

Fun Facts & Trivia for Kids

Fun Car Facts: Simple Machines in Automobiles

Free K-12 Lesson Plans

Calculators for Kids: Teach Children Math with These Free Calculation Tools

Evaluating Proposed Solutions

Educators today are using blogs as a way for students to practice writing persuasive and argumentative essays based on current events.  Some middle and high school teachers are not sure how to guide their students in ways that will assure the proposed solutions backed by solid evidence.  Some students are unclear about how to evaluate their solutions and to present their arguments in ways that will be compelling to their peers and to other readers of their posted blogs.
See options below and decide which direction you can go to design lessons to add depth to student thinking and clarity to aid others understanding the offered solutions if the students’ writing includes reasons they believe their advocated solution will solve the problems they’re addressing.
Scales - Persuasion
As a start, consider the challenges used in tournament debate.  These will work with pretty solid high school students.  See CRITERIA FOR JUDGING .
Here are some basic questions to ask about solutions offered for problems identified that can work with middle school students:
Is solution DESIRABLE? In other words, who would be helped by this solution? What harm would be diminished?  Says who? (quotes from experts in the field.  Examples of real people helped or harmed.)
Is solution AFFORDABLE? What would it cost to put solution into place? (Quote reliable sources.) Who will pay?  Is solution worth the cost?
Is solution ENFORCEABLE? Who would enforce the solution? Local, state, federal, international forces?
Is solution CONSTITUTIONAL? Quote from the US Constitution some tenet of that document that shows the legality of the student’s proposed solution.
 Even more basic, if there is no time for teaching the above approaches, is to encourage students to write more compelling arguments that appeal to audience (readers or listeners) in there ways.
That means using facts, statistics; stories of real or imagined people; and costs – savings, or worthwhile expenditures. See TO CONVINCE OR PERSUADE.
The value of this kind of instruction is that students will become more critical listeners/readers …. especially during the political election seasons.
To get them started, consider this in-class activity.  SPAR DEBATE

Hispanic History Month 9/16-10/16

Hispanic Month and Common Core

 What an exciting time to feature the contributions of Latina/Latino Writers, Speakers and Movie Makers!

  Lost for ideas?


Invite students to bring in picture books, poems, and selections for their history books to write found poems, Pantoums, an “I Am Frompoems about people, places and events reflecting the contributions of men, women and children of Hispanic heritage.

Image from Scholastic website with an interactive page celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.




High school and college students often have worried-af-am-malecomplex worried-womanschedules. Events in and out of school that are beyond their control can cause them to skip assignments or endure penalties for late ones. The issue may arise due to sports, arts, a big project in another class, work, family, or even religious or cultural observances.  One way to show you understand, while still maintaining high standards, is to offer students a one-time use OKAY LATE PASS.

This pass something the student can use for an assignment that does not impact the workokay-late-pass of other students.  For example, you may require students to turn in study guides or journal as a way for them to process new information and for you to conduct low stress assessments of their progress.  If these assignments are counted toward their semester grades, give students one OKAY LATE PASS per semester.  Turning in such as assignment late will have low impact on others in ways that contribution to group work would or on your own plans to grade and return drafts for students’ further work on them.  However, completing the study guide or journal could have significant impact on students learning and on your assessment of them, so offering the OKAY LATE pass can be a win-win option for yocalendaru all.

The pass should be limited.

  • One pass per student
  • One pass per semester
  • One week extension, maximum

Below is a sample of a printed pass.  If students turn in homework electronically, add the pass to your website and require students to include copy of pass with their late assignment.

In my experience, students usually save the pass all semester and use them at the last minute or not at all. Don’t worry about students abusing the privilege.  Being dishonest is their problem.  Yours is to be vigilant and generous. They appreciate having the option.



Image of woman: https://goo.gl/m062kj

Image of male: https://goo.gl/kq4Ln1

Image of teacher: https://goo.gl/mvAowZ


Digital Storytelling

Computers - Two

Cross-Curricular Writing

Teachers in elective courses sometimes struggle to INDISCIPLINARYdesign lessons that teach the content and skills of their courses when students are challenged by the demands of the required courses.

Consider drawing on content matter from other courses as you teach the information and skills related to your course.

Here’s an article, “How Digital Storytelling Improves Learning” that may inspire you to try that this year.  Remember, you do not have to be an expert in the science or social studies’ facts students utilize in their creative writing.  As students conduct peer edits, their classmates will confirm or question the accuracy of those kinds of details.

And don’t forget Bill Zimmerman’s free comic generator, MakeBeliefsComix.com, to include in our digital storytelling resources.

Even better, than working alone, collaborate with a colleague in another content area and design lessons for which your colleague reads for accuracy of content and you read for literary traits.

Either way, your students will be less likely to put assignments in their elective course on the back burner to fulfill assignments in their required courses and vice-versa.

Wishing you a wonderful school year.

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