Thursday, March 19, 2015

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Learning Ed Tech? Feel Lost At Sea?

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Learning Ed Tech? Feel Lost At Sea?: I won't say the 'average' teacher has issues with the rapidly changing ed tech classroom. I would say 'normal' teacher...

Learning Ed Tech? Feel Lost At Sea?

I won't say the 'average' teacher has issues with the rapidly changing ed tech classroom. I would say 'normal' teachers do. The complexities of the nano-second ed tech progress confuses even the techies. Now the Common Core requires testing online soon and very soon K-12.

Try not to panic, 92% of teachers that are floundering with these all pervasive, complex, overwhelming classroom changes. Don't cry. You are not alone. Not really.
  • Where can I find help? We're going to Chromebook.  I'm a teacher with not much tech expertise.  
Google Chromebook is a good deal for many districts. And the students can really learn to write with it. I have an affiliation with a district that I feel represents the complexities of rural, poor, and tech challenged students and their teachers. They have just acquired 1:1 Chromebooks in the classroom for grades 2-12 . Just weeks ago. The only required training for teachers was the very first level for Google Certified Teachers, and they are walked through it district assistance. Is that enough? For the great number of average teachers who only go online maybe for Facebook, no. What should I do if I'm a teacher in this category? Here are some resources: 

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Understanding Google Certification 

Chrome: Getting started

This is a quote from this page. DON'T YOU FEEL BADLY after reading it. If you are a teacher, such as myself, who has actually spent 24-7 planning and teaching and not sitting in your computer chair--this isn't that simple to you. So here is the smug quote:

It’s easy to get started with a Chrome device, whether you are an IT administrator, a teacher or a student. There’s no steep learning curve standing in the way of learning, teaching and sharing, and the web-based management console makes it easy to administer a fleet of Chrome devices.

I really despise the stuck-up attitude given by some of the ed tech community. We are not stupid, and we have legitimate questions. Don't you tell me, sonny, there's no steep learning curve. Anywho, ask for help, from your grade level, from the tech person, from family. You could pray about it. Don't give up. Some teachers I spoke to said they were retiring because of the changes with ed tech. Retire if you are ready, not to avoid learning something new.

  • I'm a Principal and my teaching staff has the deer-in-the-headlights-look when we talk about ed tech at staff meetings. Its just about an emergency. What to do?
Be reassuring. Remember teaching? Evaluate your students (staff) and differentiate instruction. Organize trainings lead by compassionate ed tech savvy staff that won't embarrass or leave the teachers behind. Maybe there's a Special Ed. teacher who knows ed tech and could do this for you. I'm actually not joking about that. Don't take the teachers' word that they understand ed tech, (their jobs depend on this, they'll smile and nod just like a student), check for understanding through walk-throughs, demonstrations, asking the right questions in a non-threatening environment. Just like a good teacher. Grade level reports with evidence of success. Remember teaching? Check for understanding and, as we all know, teachers (and everyone else) don't do what you expect, they do what you inspect. Ed leadership has to actively support ed tech learning with your staff. Your future test scores depend on your teachers knowing ed tech. Here are some resources:

Office of Education Technology 

Why Teachers Hate Tech Training ... and What to Do About It 

Training Teachers to Integrate Technology
  • I want to use ed tech in my class, but we are not getting the ed tech equipment. I teach Special Education, and also need time for training in ed tech.

Red flag here. By my informal observation, special education classes are not receiving current ed tech. In the past, special education classes customarily received out-dated textbooks, inadequate or inferior classrooms, no equipment or it was shoddy, and somehow funding earmarked special education did not make it to the student even when in an IEP. I'm not naming names, or stating it happened under my watch (it didn't because I'm kind of a watchdog about that.) I have recently been in a Special Education for the Severely Handicapped/Autism Classroom that very effectively used iPads with the students. I would be very interested to see how Chromebooks with the simplified writing opportunities work with this student community. Do Special Education students have a right to ed tech like the other students? How about the teachers?

This is a Special Education legal website. Don't tell anyone I sent you.

Technology and Assistive Teachnology 

Chromebooks for Special Education and Assistive Technology 

What does edtech look like in the special ed classroom?

  •   Ed tech looks so exciting online. Why does seem so dull in a real classroom?

News from Skype in the Classroom
Ed tech is absolutely, mind-boggingly exciting. We have lived to see the future! And the kids are launched exponentially, literally launched into a future of success, productivity, equity, and fascination no one can even dream about. Some teachers are like the explorers of the 'New' World, the New Digital World. What are they reporting back? How can all teachers get in on it? First, all teachers need to board the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and launch into the unknown. Shake up those lesson plans from 1989 (or even 2011) and incorporate the communication values of the internet. Skype. Email. Virtual tours. TED talks. Research using curiosity. Poetry Slams. Virtual Art Shows between schools. Dance Festivals. School Gardening Shows. Sing offs. Pen pals--an online community for your class from anywhere your district will let you skype. IMAGINATION will drive the best teachers to learn ed tech. Truth be told, not all teachers need to be ed tech experts. Collaborate with ideas for educational experiences within your PLN--how exciting to have all that enthusiasm and expertise united for learning fun. The best part is no one is bored, not the kids, not the teachers. The Common Core is reinforced with teachers reaching the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy. Principals can arrange for collaboration time. Go beyond CoolMath and Accelerated Reader. The teachers that don't want any change? Let them retire or find another profession.

Exciting Ideas for the Implementation of Educational Technology in the Classroom 

Learn the Ins and Outs of Google Classroom from an Expert 

Cool Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

Teaching Is Learning Ed Tech
Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech

Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech II


Teaching Is...Learning Ed Tech II



Friday, March 13, 2015

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Women's History Month: The Bronte Sisters

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Women's History Month: The Bronte Sisters: Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë, by their brother Branwell. He painted himself among his sisters, but later removed the image so as no...

Women's History Month: The Bronte Sisters

Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë, by their brother Branwell. He painted himself among his sisters, but later removed the image so as not to clutter the picture.
The three daughters of a minister in rural England almost two hundred years ago do not seem like candidates for authors of strong female characters in near-horror gothic novels-but there you have Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte.

Their real lives in the moors of Yorkshire germinated the seeds for Jane Eyre, Cathy and Heathcliff, and what some consider the first feminist novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. 

The unusually bright girls were surrounded by nurturing, attentive adults. But life in the beginning of the 19th century was difficult. At a young age, the girls lost their mother and two older sisters, had a difficult experiences at boarding schools, and their beloved brother suffered from alcoholism. However, they had been permitted creative outlets, and despite the social expectations to become a governess, teacher or wife, the three Bronte sisters adopted nom-de-plumes and wrote extraordinary novels.

Brontë family

If you travel to England, you can visit the sister's home.

The Bronte Society and Bronte Parsonage Museum

Jane Eyre was published in 1847 by the eldest sister, Charlotte. It is the compelling life story of a girl orphaned and navigating through a treacherous series of difficult relatives, boarding school tragedies, a Byronic figure making for tense moments while governess, stressful marriage proposals, and a denouement of  crashing finality. Jane proves an indomitable taking-charge-of-her-life female character. Charlotte Bronte initiated literary insights that influenced James Joyce's stream of consciousness almost a hundred years later.

Jane Eyre has been produced in film and miniseries. This is my favorite version:

Jane Eyre (2006 miniseries) /wiki/Jane_Eyre_%282006_miniseries%29  


Linton/Earnshaw Geneology

Encouraged by the success of Charlotte's novel, Emily published Wuthering Heights. This is another doozy of a book. The story takes place in an isolated location on the English moors. Intense emotions ferment between and within the two families in the story, one fairly normal (the Lintons) and one pretty much dysfunctional (Earnshaws). Of course romance is involved. Also, profound unforgiveness, jealously, rage and several more of the seven deadly sins that makes for an enjoyable and memorable gothic novel. Heathcliff and Cathy are unforgettable. 

Sadly, Emily Bronte passed away shortly after the book was published. It is considered a classic of English literature.

Heathcliff and Cathy. (1992 version with Ralph Fiennes)

This is my favorite production of Wuthering Heights, even more than Olivier as Heathcliff. Guess you can tell I like my Masterpiece Theater.

Wuthering Heights (2009 television serial) 82009_television_serial%29 

Anne Bronte's novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is considered the first feminist novel. Her protagonist, Helen Graham, is an abused wife who chooses to defy her alcoholic husband and takes her son with her as she flees, breaking several English laws that prohibit any women's rights. The story includes a shocking scene in which Helen slams the door in his face. (Remember, this is 1847 in Victorian England.) Where would Anne get such ideas? Interestingly enough, her father, although an Anglican minister, at one time had counseled an abused wife to leave her husband. There were many instances within the 'dissenting' churches of the time that empowered women more than traditional churches, and Anne's aunt was a Methodist. Though even now, sadly, many churches of many faiths would not support this move. So, this is still a shocking novel. The main character encounters a variety of interesting persons, observing hypocrisy in both male and female. Helen maintains her strong mores and even comes out with a happy ending. This Bronte sister also died almost immediately after her book was published. (Tuberculosis was rampant.) There was such a hubbub about this book that Charlotte Bronte did not want it republished, thinking to preserve her sister's reputation.

Surprisingly, I have not seen this production. It was on Masterpiece Theater while I was working on my masters and not watching much television.

But Netflix has it! It is now at the top of my queue. (Update--it is very good.)

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996)

 After meeting the Bronte sisters, we will watch how our little girls play make believe with more interest.


MzTeachuh's Classroom: Monet and Vivaldi: Tulips, Music and Spring

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Monet and Vivaldi: Tulips, Music and Spring: Claude Monet Tulip Field with the Rijnsburg Windmill I was hoping to give you just a little blast of Spring--the brilliant blue sky af...

Monet and Vivaldi: Tulips, Music and Spring

Claude Monet Tulip Field with the Rijnsburg Windmill

I was hoping to give you just a little blast of Spring--the brilliant blue sky after a spring shower, the shocking, vibrant red, yellow, purple of bulb flowers blaring after the winter grey, the enthusiastic chirp and twitter of the birds now activated for the season like an army just getting out of boot camp. I can just about do it with Monet and Vivaldi--but I can't send you the still-chilly-but-not-freezing breeze on a finally sunny day or the scent of earth unfreezing. You'll have to go outside for that.

Vivaldi Spring 
My contribution to the jamboree! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Take a Walk With Ludwig

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Take a Walk With Ludwig: Vienna Woods, lessing-photo,com A picnic would be lovely. A class can illustrate the music after a brief introduction to Beethoven...

Take a Walk With Ludwig

Vienna Woods, lessing-photo,com
A picnic would be lovely.

A class can illustrate the music after a brief introduction to Beethoven's habit of walking through the Vienna woods to plan his music. The music presents birds, thunder, water sounds, even frolicing deer.

Beethoven - 6th Symphony - Pastoral

Toscanini Conducts Beethoven Symphony No. 6 "Pastorale" (1/7)

MzTeachuh's Classroom: What Is Up With That Kid?

MzTeachuh's Classroom: What Is Up With That Kid?: Classroom problems are obvious: the student is not successful academically or has behavior issues. The solutions are not so obvio...

What Is Up With That Kid?

Classroom problems are obvious: the student is not successful academically or has behavior issues. The solutions are not so obvious. Here is how GenEd and SpecEd can work together for solutions for the student (and the classroom.) Honesty, transparency, clarity between colleagues will produce true solutions for students. Be ready for candid interaction, my GenEd and SpecEd colleagues! There will be questions!

Scenario #1: The student makes an effort, but remains well below standards despite effective interventions.

SpecEd will ask (or should) for documentation of the intervention. The parent should already know how many hours per day for how many weeks the student has been in the intervention--and have products of the work accomplished. The data of the student's further need should not be a mystery to anyone. Parent contact should be regular.  GenEd needs to be organized for this. Hopefully, the intervention classes at the school site are coordinating and use the same result templates so a parent or SpecEd teacher can readily identify the strengths and needs of the student during a specific time period. If there is other, more unusual input over a period of time about the student, GeEd needs to document this with type of behavior, date, and class activity.

An anecdotal report might go like this:

10/5/-- Margaret began classwork, but after 10 minutes was drawing rather than writing the assignment. The picture was of a child, but it was one big circle with a smile. She did this for 10 minutes, then sat still, not working, despite many prompts to write.

With accurate data, Admin, GenEd and SpecEd should meet with the parents and may then suggest Special Education testing to the parent, if the parent has not already requested it.

A situation once arose at a Middle School where I was RSP for Grade 6. The structure was four teachers on a team, and I worked in the classrooms of Math and ELA. A Soc. Science teacher clued me into two transfer students she noticed may be SpecEd but perhaps their paperwork hadn't arrived yet.

One student had created an illustration for an essay that struck the teacher as disturbing. She showed it to me, I was able to observe and speak to the student. I contacted the Ed. Psychologist, and the Grade 6 Counselor. After getting contact info from his previous school across country, we discovered the parent had not informed us the student had been identified as ED (Emotionally Disturbed) and had a serious incident the previous school year. We couldn't clarify why the parents did not inform us, but because the Social Science teacher actually checked and read her classes' assignments every day we could get him to the proper placement quickly.

Another student was not able to understand the work at all, but was very popular despite a stutter. Again, the team of Counselor, Ed. Psychologist, SpecEd and GenEd did a search of his records, spoke to the parents (who needed a translator, the Ed. Psychologist was fluent in Spanish) and we found that due to frequent school changes, he had never been tested for SpecEd, or Speech Therapy. I tested him from my end, the Speech Therapist from his end, the Ed. Psychologist from her end, and we were prepared for a meeting which resulted in a better placement.

Scenario #2: The student has shown grade level ability, but is too disorganized to function in the class.

Again, do we have a record of  this behavior?
An anecdotal report might go like this:

Luis does well when he has his supplies and brings his homework and outside reading book. But he is missing important items at least 3 times a week. Dates of missing work for March: 3/3, 3/5, 3/9, 3/10, 3/14 etc.

Has GenEd contacted the parents about this lack of functioning? Is there something unusual at home that might be the cause of the disorganization? Now I'm going to get personal, only because I have had to ask myself this question. How organized is the class? How's your classroom management? Are enough cues and directives given to end one activity and start another? Is the class tidy and organized so this student has an appropriate amount of space to function? If the lack of function is not the result of parents or teacher--there could be a Special Ed. reason. Executive functions (ability to be organized) can be impaired by learning disabilities. But not always. If the student's previous teachers are available for comment, ask how little George did last year. So if previous answers to these questions show a need for testing, the SpecEd team will find out--is it ADHD? a learning disability? or just a future Absent Minded Professor who needs a personal assistant? (Kind of kidding about the last, but sometimes parents and teachers feel like they are in that role.)

In my experience as RSP (Resource Specialist) we tested many more students for learning disabilities than qualified for Special Education programs, particularly in Grade 6. That is due to the fact that the huge change in schedule created a perfect storm of confusion for awhile until the kids got their sea legs. But a lack of executive function could well show a need for Special Education support, so please document the need so the student can be fairly evaluated.

Scenario #3: The student is a behavior problem.

Now we are to the real issue to solve. Why do students act up? For attention, for control of the class, or to escape the class through disciplinary action that takes them to the office or maybe to the ramp outside the door (btw, that last strategy is an illegal move and should not happen. Students need supervision.) 
Again, do we have a record of  this behavior?
An anecdotal report might go like this, and not necessarily only in a referral:

Student (Kayleigh) got out of seat three times in fifteen minutes, and moved around the classroom. She then whacked Angelica on the back of the head, disrupting class.

For a behavior referral for Special Education, you record all instances, and contact with the parents. The team of professionals that is your school and includes you, will research everything about the student, test the student, while effectively managing a positive behavior contract. 

At the first, and I mean first, sign of defiance, contact the parent and document. The most effective teachers I worked with, and later emulated, did this simple thing, and ran a peaceful classroom. Also, document the conversation. Is this tedious? Yes, GenEd, it is. I know, I was GenEd, too. But a behavior issue is the most vital to document. If, deep in your heart, you feel this student has an emotional or serious behavioral issue--contact SpecEd, the Counselor, or the Ed. Psychologist. Maybe the student doesn't have serious problems that may lead to self injury or injuries to others. But maybe so, and you could save injuries and lives if the student gets help early.

In one high school class during a reading intervention, a student was doodling on his work one day. We discovered it was a rather graphic picture of  two young people, one threatening the other with a knife. Taking the picture to the Ed. Psychologist, and having a meeting with the parent led to counseling for the student who had been bullied and assaulted the previous year. His uncle had been murdered in a gang initiation 18 months before. The student was affected. He received counseling.

To be transparent, a positive behavior plan is the most challenging to coordinate with a team of teachers for effective implementation. Really hard. But we don't give up. Good results help everyone. 

When GenEd and SpecEd collaboration really works, there's nothing finer in the school system.

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Principal's Suggestion Box Letter #5

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Principal's Suggestion Box Letter #5: These letters are absolutely fictional (to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.) But, with the hint of truth, maybe we can make som...

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Principal's Suggestion Box Letter #5

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Principal's Suggestion Box Letter #5: These letters are absolutely fictional (to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.) But, with the hint of truth, maybe we can make som...

Principal's Suggestion Box Letter #5

These letters are absolutely fictional (to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.) But, with the hint of truth, maybe we can make some adjustments. Principals have the best chance to do that.

Dear Principal,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this school year. My daughter Yolanda had the best year ever. Mr. --- ran such a fun, interesting class, her Fifth Grade couldn't be better. Her grades were up and her IEP goals met. We are so grateful.

Yolanda loves to help, and Mr. --'s style of classroom management gave her lots of chances to be busy, up and about, not just in her desk. She loved the projects in class and activities outside. The school garden was heaven to her. And she was so excited to meet the PE goal in the fifth grade mile.

Her previous teacher (in another district)  felt that the active kids needed to learn to be quiet and controlled, and Yolanda's desk was lined up facing out the window with about six other students. When she told me, I wasn't sure if that was really happening until I brought treats for the holiday party, and there there they were, segregated from the class, and couldn't even see the board. It wasn't just the Resource kids, or the bad kids, either. Just the talkative ones who had trouble focusing on the workbooks. I am so relieved to have found your school.

I hear great things about the Sixth grade teachers--projects, PE, afterschool clubs. Yolanda is interested in computers (her older brother has a computer business.) I understand the kids learn to code.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. I will volunteer as I can. Yolanda's brother, Angel--the computer guy--is interested in helping also.

Your Truly,
Yolanda's Mom

Why Is Project-Based Learning Important? 

Teaching Techniques for Inattentive and Overactive Children 

Physical activity may help kids do better in school, studies say 

My suggestion: Creating a well-balanced class is crucial for kids, they are like Renaissance learners and need daily experience in STEM, ELA, the Arts, PE, and throw in a school garden while you're at it. All learners (IEP or not) deserve a well-rounded, healthy experience. A sedentary, punitive classroom does them harm.

If a teacher has active kids, diagnosed ADHD or not, the classroom management needs to match the need. The very opposite of what active kids needs is isolation--it makes matters worse as their brains crave activity. Teachers can collaborate by grade level or subject to provide resources for the classroom all kids need. Special education teachers have important strategic input for kids with ADHD as well.

Principals must be aware of the functioning of all classrooms. That is surely part of  leadership. I have observed both classroom scenarios described above. The brilliant classroom outcome was a direct result of staff working hard together under the leadership of a good principal. The other was the isolation not only of the kids, but the teacher from schoolwide and district resources to aid in the design of a better schedule of activities for this specific group of kids. The principal didn't have a clue what was happening.

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Helpful Hints for When Teacher Is Overwhelmed

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Helpful Hints for When Teacher Is Overwhelmed: Time Saving Tips for Teachers   Replacing Classroom Chaos with ...

Helpful Hints for When Teacher Is Overwhelmed

Time Saving Tips for Teachers 

Replacing Classroom Chaos with Control 

Understanding the Common Core

Understanding the Common Core
Dealing with Angry Parents

The Teacher’s Guides To Technology And Learning 

How to Get Along With ANY Teaching Colleague Classroom Management: 10 Ways to Deal with Difficult Students 

Solutions for Teachers Bullied by Colleagues 

A Curriculum of Concerns

Saturday, March 7, 2015

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Women's History Month: Two Irish Mums Won the Nobe...

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Women's History Month: Two Irish Mums Won the Nobe...: The Peace People Rally, 1976, Ireland, Betty Williams and  Maireed Corrigan  'The Troubles' in Ireland are well know, conflict...

Women's History Month: Two Irish Mums Won the Nobel Peace Prize

The Peace People Rally, 1976, Ireland, Betty Williams and  Maireed Corrigan 

'The Troubles' in Ireland are well know, conflict between two demographics (Catholic and Protestant) that share the same religous root: Christianity. Its been going on since Cromwell. But a lesser known fact is that two Irish mums won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for beginning a Peace Movement in Northern Ireland to combat the carnage.

To quote the Nobel Committee in 1976: We admire Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan for tackling so fearlessly the perilous task of leading the way into no-man's land, in the cause of peace and reconciliation.

Mairead (Corrigan) Maguire

'Gandhi taught that nonviolence does not mean passivity. No. It is the most daring, creative, and courageous way of living, and it is the only hope for our world. Nonviolence is an active way of life which always rejects violence and killing, and instead applies the force of love and truth as a means to transform conflict and the root causes of conflict. Nonviolence demands creativity. It pursues dialogue, seeks reconciliation, listens to the truth in our opponents, rejects militarism, and allows God's spirit to transform us socially and politically. '

 Maireed Corrigan Maquire 

Betty Williams 

"That first week will always be remembered of course for something else besides the birth of the Peace People. For those most closely involved, the most powerful memory of that week was the death of a young republican and the deaths of three children struck by the dead man's car. A deep sense of frustration at the mindless stupidity of the continuing violence was already evident before the tragic events of that sunny afternoon of August 10, 1976. But the deaths of those four young people in one terrible moment of violence caused that frustration to explode, and create the possibility of a real peace movement...As far as we are concerned, every single death in the last eight years, and every death in every war that was ever fought represents life needlessly wasted, a mother's labour spurned."

Betty Williams

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Vincent, Not Wandering Lonely As A Cloud

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Vincent, Not Wandering Lonely As A Cloud: Vincent Willem van Gogh, Dutch, 1853 ‑ 1890. Oil on canvas, 19 1/2 x 39 1/4 inches (49.5 x 99.7 cm). Cincinnati Art Museum, Bequest of ...

Vincent, Not Wandering Lonely As A Cloud

Vincent Willem van Gogh, Dutch, 1853 ‑ 1890. Oil on canvas, 19 1/2 x 39 1/4 inches (49.5 x 99.7 cm). Cincinnati Art Museum, Bequest of Mary E. Johnston
Daffodil dawn this morning at my home.
Daffodils are starting to blossom in my part of the world, and always remind me of Wordsworth's famous poem, 'Daffodils,' also called, 'I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud.' It is the narrative of an introspective poet taking a countryside hike and as he walks over a slight hill, encounters the serendipity of thousands of daffodils.

Vincent illustrates a similar encounter with a couple. Love the warmth of Van Gogh.

 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

By William Wordsworth 

 I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils. 
Check out the excellent resource that is the Poetry Foundation-- and maybe introduce a 'Poem of the Week,'  which is the quickest way to get to the top Bloom's Taxonomy.

MzTeachuh's Classroom: ePLNs for Teachers –Getting Connected

MzTeachuh's Classroom: ePLNs for Teachers –Getting Connected: Teachers can find professional networking  online.  Educational sites afford convenience, privacy, and expertise in a variety of educat...

ePLNs for Teachers –Getting Connected

Teachers can find professional networking  online.  Educational sites afford convenience, privacy, and expertise in a variety of educational areas. There are also interactive activities for teachers joining an online community. Here are a few advantages to connecting online:

·         Current educational topics discussed by experts and educators in a timely, thorough manner.  For example, the latest input on educational technology use in the class, special education innovations, and school-wide interventions such as social and emotional interventions are hot topics currently inspiring teachers in their professional pursuits.

·         Convenience and privacy comes with networking online. Professional development is generally limited to scheduled on-campus staff or team meetings, conferences, or District trainings. A teacher may have a question or comment on a topic with no opportunity during these gatherings, or the teacher feels the question or comment is too basic or too sophisticated for the discussion. Educational sites can provide a responsive venue through articles, group discussions, webcasts, videos or a search by a teacher using key words at the teacher’s convenience.

·         Opportunities to investigate new teaching areas and/or extend teaching expertise abound through sites that are specific to educational technology, special education, or improved teaching methods. A teacher may want more information about learning disabilities, for personal or professional reasons, and find helpful information and professionals online.  Maybe a video demonstrating a specific lesson would be very helpful. There is an abundance of sites to enhance a teacher’s knowledge and methods.

Here are well-established educational sites excellent for teacher connections.

 Edutopia This is an attractive, vast website that is has numerous educational topics: experts and educators writing articles, groups to join, videos, classroom guides.  Edutopia is a great support for teachers.
The Teaching Channel  provides specific video demonstrations in K-12 classrooms and lesson plan points on basic curriculum areas, as well as information on implementing the Common Core.  There are also articles and blogs. The Teaching Channel provides a ‘Teaching Team’ feature for professional development.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) This site offers connections for parents and teachers in the complex, challenging area of Special Education. There is a diversity of articles that are thorough, clear, and understandable for those not trained in Special Education.  The site offers ebooks, podcasts, videos and current news about the IEP process, IDEA, funding, and interventions. NCLD is a tremendous asset for teachers and parents.

Edudemic is a clear, concise, and thorough guide to educational technology, blended and flipped learning, and educational innovation using technology. There are many guidelines on a wide variety of topics that a teacher may not even have enough background in ed tech to ask about. For a teacher wishing to deepen knowledge of ed tech, or a beginner hoping to catch up--Edudemic is very effective.

MzTeachuh's Classroom: IEP Meeting? Do I Have To Go?

MzTeachuh's Classroom: IEP Meeting? Do I Have To Go?: That confusing enough for you? Am I required to attend IEP meetings if I am not a Special Education teacher?   I've been a...

IEP Meeting? Do I Have To Go?

That confusing enough for you?
Am I required to attend IEP meetings if I am not a Special Education teacher?
I've been asked that more than once as the Special Education teacher, and especially as a Resource Specialist, also known as Special Academic Instructor. The answer in our state is that at  least one general education teacher who has the student on his/her caseload needs attend any IEP (Individualized Education Program) whether it be qualifying (evaluating to see if the student will enter Special Education), annual (the once a year assessment), triennial (every third year the educational psychologist also assesses), or an addendum which is called for a unique reason at any time. However, the better school sites have the entire teaching team there. The teachers at my middle school were very dedicated (and wanted to keep their positions) and supported the Special Ed. kids very effectively with attendance.

What should I bring to the IEP as the General Education teacher?

1.  Bring a calm and caring attitude. Parents are always concerned about their kid. Even if you as the classroom instructor have concerns, even serious ones, about the child performance or behavior, a general education teacher must show a caring attitude and a calm demeanor. Even if you must fly out of the meeting at the speed of heat to finish your day's responsibilities--you are so very important to that parent and child that every bit of body language as well as spoken words means the world, and focusing on the positive will get things done better.

2. Bring your expertise and evidence of it.  All teachers have grade books (on-line or otherwise), lesson plans, records of phone calls and communication to the parent, and copies of referrals and time-outs. Just be ready with this information and how to explain the ebb and flow of your classroom. Please have some positive comments to show you know little Johnny and how well he demonstrates a skill, reveals a talent or interest, or did something right in class. If little Janie is lacking, the parent should already have communicated with you because you called, or sent information home. The Special Education teacher should already know, too, if this is a big deal (actually, even a little deal.) The team of teachers plus family can really make it happen for a kid, and communication with coordination is the key.

How Should I Interact At The Meeting?

3. Be ready to explain your testing and grading system, including homework. The child's future hinges on what you do, how you grade, and do you offer help. The parent needs to know how you grade. Is there make up work? A Special Education student usually is not an independent learner, even if they have the intelligence, because of a visual or auditory learning handicap. Do you offer homework help? Test retakes? Tutoring? When and where? The Math Department at my last school was remarkable in the regular, systematic help for all kids. And it got results.

I Don't Feel Prepared For This--What Should I Do?

4. Coordinate with the Special Education teacher. I cannot adequately explain how complex, detailed and mind-boggingly intense all this Special Ed. stuff is. But it is to your advantage as a general education teacher to share information with the RSP or SAI teacher. Most Special Ed. teachers are type B personalities (myself included) and won't bully or force anyone to do anything. But there is such expertise there, one suggestion may change a classroom situation for the better. And frequently there are Behavior Plans to implement for a rascal. The teaching team wants to keep this side of legalities, having i's dotted and t's crossed. Of course, first and foremost, we want to help the kids. A Special Education teacher has district personnel resources and knowledge that can really help.

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Don't Like Poetry? Betcha Do

MzTeachuh's Classroom: Don't Like Poetry? Betcha Do: ...don't forget all those Valentine's rhymes!  You say you don't like poetry--I doubt that. We just have to establ...

Don't Like Poetry? Betcha Do

...don't forget all those Valentine's rhymes!

 You say you don't like poetry--I doubt that. We just have to establish what we mean by poetry.

Yes, you enjoyed a movie that is all poetry.
That come-on line is nothing but poetry.

Romeo + Juliet 


The Cat in the Hat--even my name is poetry.


You can't say you never liked Dr. Seuss--what's that--you forgot it was poetry?

The Cat in the Hat 


Betting you have quoted poetry, though maybe not all at once.

Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all  Tennyson To err is human; to forgive, divine  Alexander Pope  A thing of beauty is a joy forever  Keats And miles to go before I sleep  Robert Frost Hope springs eternal in the human breast  Alexander Pope To be or not to be: that is the question Shakespeare I know why the caged bird sings Maya Angelou O Romeo, Romeo; wherefore art thou Romeo Shakespeare...there's no joy in Mudville, the mighty Casey has struck out. Thayer

You probably chuckled at the Limerick about the girl from Venus, but I won't print that since this is a family edublog. But this poem  might make you smile, especially noting the poet.

The marriage of poor Kim Kardashian
Was krushed like a kar in a krashian.
Her Kris kried, "Not fair!
Why kan't I keep my share?"
But Kardashian fell klean outa fashian.
—Salman Rushdie 

Maybe you didn't realize you were accessing poetry during spiritual moments. The Psalms are poems, like the most quoted Psalm 23.
Lena Moore Psalm 23 Quilt ca. 1930 Collection of Janet M. Green "Talking Quilts" American Folk Art Museum
Remember when you were in ninth grade and you kind of liked that wild story with the Greek guy and all the monsters like the Cyclops and the crazy-haired Medusa? 

That was poetry, thanks to Homer, not Simpson. The Odyssey by Homer.
Cyclops AKA Claymation

Achilles AKA Brad Pitt.

 And don't forget Achilles, not the heel. The Illiad (and the story of Troy) was  a poem, too.

 Speaking of Homer Simpson, here is my last evidentiary item. You enjoyed "The Raven: the Simpson's Version." I know you did. Though they did a really Poe job of it. (Ha, English major joke.)

The Raven: The Simpsons Version like poetry. Told ya so.