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Students are often called upon to read "chorally". That is, they read together,
simultaneously, as a group.
Repeating this practice assists young readers with reading fluency -
the speed, accuracy,
and inflection of oral reading.
Why not, since it's called "choral" reading anyway, actually read the chorus of a song?
Anyone who knows me knows I believe that words mean something. I guess that's why some words and phrases have made it to my list of pet peeves.
Let's begin a series of pet peeve paragraphs with this one: ELA. For those of you who do not speak education, that's one of those annoying government-style acronyms that take on a life of their own. As far as I can tell, this thing stands for English/Language Arts. To this, I say, Good grief.
To my recollection, when I started my teaching career in 1990, there were two "subjects": English and Reading. Very soon after, somebody started combining them into one subject - Language Arts - with special emphasis on Whole Language.
It didn't take long before we were all referring to Communication Arts, which seemed to stick for a while before, overnight, some college professor changed it to ELA without telling anybody who wasn't currently in undergraduate education courses.
ELA? Really? That feels like a real step backwards.
Nope, I'm not doing it. I'll teach ELA standards and give ELA tests, but I'm not going to give this pseudonym any more merit. In this day and age, I want students and their parents to be clear on what I expect, and an acronym doesn't cut it. Do I pronounce the acronym? Is it a long E or a short E? Do I use Latin pronunciations or those more suited to our Southwest Missouri dialect?
As Cousin Balki was fond of saying, "Don't be ridiculous." I have no trouble explaining that Reading and Writing, along with their supporting subjects, such as Spelling and Penmanship, are part of an umbrella called Communication. If we expect our students to communicate effectively, shouldn't we (educators) be effective communicators in the first place?
Just because KFC and IHOP shorten their names to make themselves sound cool and hip does not mean I have to rebrand my curriculum in the same manner. Call it what it is and stop trying to repackage curriculum to make it sound new and innovative.
You, too, may own your very own copy of our 2016/7 district calendar! No longer must you rely on someone to send you a note at the last minute to remind you of an upcoming day out of class. No longer must you look over someone else's shoulder to see their copy of the calendar.
Ownership has its privileges! Imagine a copy of the frame-worthy school calendar on your refrigerator (magnet sold separately). Or perhaps you want a copy for the glove compartment of your car. Maybe you would like a copy to place in your purse or in your wallet.
Have a spare bulletin board in your office? Stick up a calendar. Is there a special place on your bathroom mirror that's just screaming for a piece of paper to be stuck to it? Stick up a calendar (tape sold separately).
Don't come to school on Saturday again! Don't forget to pick up your child early on 1/2 days! Don't forget to expect your child's quarterly grade report! All of that information is available (Where else?) on the 2016-2017 school calendar.
But Wait! There's more:
Download your copy, today, and we'll provide you with unending convenience! With your download, we'll throw in the ability for you to print as many copies of the calendar as you would like. Put a copy on your bedroom wall. Tack one up in your workplace workroom. Give them as gifts for the holidays. Line your parakeets cage. Wrap fresh fish. The possibilities are endless.
What would you pay for the ease and convenience of this year's school calendar? $59? $79 $99? Think again! For an unlimited time, we're offering this magnificent scheduling tool for three easy payments of zero dollars. That's unlimited printing ability (printer sold separately) for an unlimited time for free!
Why would we possibly offer our product for free? It's all because we know the importance of the other services we offer. Quite honestly, we want our patrons to take advantages of our products: you may remember that we also offer such conveniences as: Hooked on Reading, Marvelous Mathematics, Exercise and You, Real History, and much, much more! Take advantage of this offer, now, and you may access all of our other programs for absolutely no extra charge (made possible through the generous, involuntary contributions of taxpayers like you).
I want my class to, collectively and individually, climb!
We speak, metaphorically, of climbing mountains, but this graphic describes our climb using a simple staircase. It is our intention to move children forward - upward - on the staircase, and not to allow them to hesitate, vegetate, vacillate, or take root on a single step along the way. Hoggatteers also recognize that in a particular skill an individual may be at the top of the staircase, while s/he may be nearer the bottom when faced with a different standard. While it's not a great visual, we must imagine that we are climbing many cases of stairs simultaneously, and that others may perform better than I do at times, and yet I may perform better than they do at other times.
And that's OK!
When it comes to using technology, whether a laptop projected onto a SMART Board or iPads in the hands of students, I must remain vigilant. There are these things to consider:
We continue to adapt our classroom as new technology is developed. As our district works to fulfill a PDSA model (See image.), I find myself reevaluating past practices in my teaching. I've always done that, but having a website really helps with this. I enjoy reflecting on activities and practices, finding the failures and the successes, and then tweaking things - or dropping them altogether - before repeating them. The same must be true when evaluating educational technology, while at the same time considering what's new.
Last summer, I posted Top Ten Web Tools for the Classroom. The article was as much for my own collection as it was advice for other teachers. Plus, it serves as the basis for a bit of PDSA for this summer. As I prepare to implement technology in a more structured manner, these are the tools (in no particular order) I will implement, or at the very least experiment with during our 2016/7 school year. No doubt others will rear their ugly heads.
I kept waiting for Lucy to drop her camera in the lake, but it never happened. It was interesting to here the ways that Lucy set up the angles for her photographs to match the mood or the content she wanted to portray. However, this book is more about dementia than anything else, and it is yet another I'm-the-New-Kid-in-Town-and-I-Don't-Fit-In tale. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the premise is way overdone in intermediate fiction.
Half a Chance is the latest of the Mark Twain Award nominees I've read, and I have to admit, I enjoyed reading it. It taught me a little bit about lake culture, which for many is a seasonal one. It also reminded me that there are people who attach themselves to causes. Mostly, though, it taught me that we must embrace our situation and not ignore the negatives in our lives. I doubt that was the author's intended theme, but it's an important one, nevertheless - that we are able to keep moving even when things try to stop us.
Here's one of the square bulletin boards in our classroom. Since the skeleton is already there, I finally used the DNA poster I've had for years and slightly modified our Declaration of Intelligence.
Not everyone can make a display like this - only those of us teachers who possess special black light technology can!
Would it be interesting to take a class in the dark while the instruction literally glows in your eyeballs? That's the idea as this teacher picks up his handy-dandy, fluorescent, dry-erase marker and highlighter to brighten up your day. Why settle for chalk on a chalkboard, or even green and blue markers on the white board, when you can save electricity by turning off the lights.
That's just one of the special effects that await fourth graders who are members of the very exclusive Hoggatteer Experience. Are you ready to shine?
Much can be said for the ability to read faces and facial expressions. What is it about the human face that can take us from anger to joy with just the curl of a lip or the raising of a brow? Here is a young gentleman who faced a split class, fraught with racial tensions among all of the normal stresses of being a high school senior, and yet he found a way to use his talents to bring people together, even if only temporarily.
Take one and a half minutes to watch this video.
Now for some questions:
Interested in more inspiring videos? Go to our Positive Behavior Conversations page.
"The hardest arithmetic to master
is that which enables us to count our blessings."
If you've never visited our classroom, this diagram will provide you with an idea of how we conduct business. I may tweak things, but this is the basic layout that we keep.
Students carry their chairs from the green, direct instruction, area to their tables, and back, depending upon our needs. When the chairs are in the table positions, we have a large central area that may be used as a floor work space or reading area.
The green area includes a Stage, created by removing the lower sections of the legs from a table. The table and a portion of the Control Center have been carpeted with the same material and pattern that covers our floor. For students who would like to work while standing, they may move (at appropriate times) to the taller demonstration table.
I have discovered that this floor plan gives us a great deal of flexibility in our instruction, cooperative teamwork, and student choice. Now that the carpet has been cleaned, I've replaced all of the furniture and rewired all of our special effects. This year, I angled the Control Center and table in order to block any innocent searches on my laptop from revealing any inappropriate images to students sitting in the room. In doing so, I've also opened an access point to the stage and SMART Board. Where, in the previous layout, I had to walk around the desk, now I can be in place much quicker and more naturally. We could probably start school, tomorrow, if we wanted to...but don't get crazy yet: we're still enjoying our time off, so let's not rush things.
Haven't met the new principal yet?
Still need to meet the teacher?
Want to see our classroom before we mess it up with a year of learning?
NOW'S THE TIME!
Tuesday, August 16, from 5:30 to 6:30 in the evening, is our Open House.
Let's score 100% involvement for this important event.
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