Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Friday, January 31, 2014

Students Making a Difference

Do you need to be inspired by students today?  Just go to YouTube and search for "students making a difference."  You'll be rejuvenated and invigorated!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Five Myths about Rigor and the Common Core

Here's an article I just wrote for Middleweb:  Five Myths about Rigor and the Common Core.

Advice for New Teachers

This is a great article for new teachers, full of advice from veteran teachers.  There must be at least 20 links for information. The site also provides a wide range of resources for all teachers. 

Introduction to the page:
Below is a collection of resources and tips for new teachers on a variety of topics, from teaching methods to assessment. You'll find great advice from experienced educators in two formats: slideshows or text. We hope that every teacher who spends his or her days making a difference in the life of a child will appreciate these choice bits of wisdom from veteran teachers. A big thank-you to all of the teachers who contributed their sage advice to help make the lives of other teachers easier!

Friday, January 24, 2014

High Expectations and Reaching for the Stars

Reaching for the stars starts with high expectations!  How high are your expectations for your students today?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Top 50 Educational Technology Tools

I found a great list of 50 educational technology tools for teachers.  It's a comprehensive list, but I'm sure you'll find at least one that you didn't know about!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Webb's Depth of Knowledge

How familiar are you with Webb's Depth of Knowledge? Rather than focusing on verbs, such as in Bloom's Taxonomy, Webb's framework is based on complexity.  It's an excellent way to incorporate rigor in your classroom.

For more information, click here.  And for information as to how it relates to the Common Core, click here.

Finally, my January e-newsletter is on this topic.  Just sign up by clicking on the right.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

What I Didn't Know

I didn't know that years of school and a college degree would be of little 
consolation when facing a room full of bright little eyes on the 
first day of school. I thought I was ready...

I didn't know that five minutes can seem like five hours when there is 
idle time and an eight hour school day far too short for a 
well-planned day of teaching.

I didn't know that teaching children was only a fraction of my job. 
No one tells you about the conferences and phone calls, faculty meetings and committees, paperwork and paperwork...

I didn't know that it took so long to cut out letters, draw and color pictures, 
laminate-all for those bulletin boards that were always "just there"...

I didn't know that I would become such a scavenger, and that teaching
 materials would feel like pure gold in my hands... 

I didn't know that an administration and co-workers that support 
and help you could make such a difference...

I didn't know that there would be children that I loved and cared for 
and stayed up late worrying about, who, one day, 
would simply not show up. 
And that I would never see them again...

I didn't know that I can't always dry little tears and mend broken hearts.
I thought I could always make a difference...

I didn't know that the sound of children's laughter could drown 
out the sound of all the world's sadness...

I didn't know that children could feel so profoundly. 
A broken heart knows no age.

I didn't know that a single "yes ma'am" from a disrespectful child 
or a note in my desk that says "You're the best!" could make me feel like 
I'm on top of a mountain and forget the valleys I forged to get there...

I never knew that after one year of teaching I would feel so much 
wiser, more tired, sadder and happier, all at once.
And that I would no longer call teaching my job,
but my privilege.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tips for Evaluating Internet Sources

Do your students take internet sources at face value?  These questions are a helpful guide, especially for students grades 4-12.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Lexile Framework (the Common Core)

Are you aware of the Lexile Framework?  It's been around for a while, but has gained popularity since it is now used as part of the text leveling process in the Common Core State Standards (there are other formulas used as well, but the Lexile Framework was the original tool used).  Here's a basic overview with some key considerations.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Learning, Doing, and Teaching

"Learning is finding out what we already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers." -- Richard Bach

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Evaluating Internet Sources

Here's a few tips for evaluating internet sources.  They are great for helping students determine the usefulness and validity of sites for research.

Tips for Evaluating Internet Sources
What is the source? Who is the author?
Is the site associated with a company or organization?  What is the domain (.org, .com, .edu, etc.)?  What does that tell you about the site?
Is the focus of the site sales (are there ads and ordering information)?
If so, how does that impact the information/does it add bias?
What is the date, or is there a date listed? If there is no date listed, does that impact your research?  If it is an older date, does that matter?
Are there links to other information? Are the links helpful, or do they link to sales/ordering information?
Is there a reference list? 
What else on the site helps you determine if it is useful?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Welcome Back to School

I hope you had a restful winter break.  As you come back, I want to remind you of something I've said many times.  A friend of mine who coordinates an alternative school shared this with me about eight years ago.

On your worst day, you are someone's best hope!  

Have a great second semester.