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Friday
Jul252014

A word cloud created from teachers' exit ticket feedback in training this week captures many aspects of the learning potential in Dreambox Math. 
Friday
Jul182014

Updated Dreambox Learning Training Guide

I've updated my Dreambox Learning Training Guide for HISD workshops with K-2 teachers in upcoming weeks. Weebly is such a user-friendly platform to share online presentation resources. This should make it easier for everyone to access sequential page-to-page links, agenda, slides, flyers, & general resources now that they are collected all in one place! 

Sunday
May042014

Not All Superheroes Wear Capes...

Too often, I get caught up in a busy day’s work to notice all that is worthy of my gratitude and appreciation. Moving through this school year’s final month though, I have shifted into reflection mode.  I find myself stopping to take in these moments to fully witness and appreciate incredible work that teachers have done and are doing. These are ‘superhuman’ efforts delivering results that matter. Kids are learning and making critical forward progress (despite some of the odds stacked against them). No amount of funding, technology, or tutoring will ever supersede what great teachers create every day in hearts and minds of kids, toward bright futures ahead. 

Teacher Appreciation Week centered recently at my school on the theme of ‘Teachers--Every Day Superheroes.’ To say this resonates is an understatement. I know with conviction NOTHING could be closer to the truth. A highlight of my year has been filling our campus websiteTwitter, & Facebook stream with images of the great teachers and events taking place in my school. Education news is painted with negativity and grim realities. The tough challenges are very much there. But it should be balanced with celebrating great teachers and schools, and the profound impact they have on children. Shining our own spotlight over the education landscape on these bright spots is our collective responsibility, because if we don’t do it for ourselves no one else will.

An essential part of the equation also has to be supporting and mentoring teachers who are 'good' and clearly on their way to becoming 'great.' But too many are disappearing from the profession too soon, and from classrooms and schools where they are most needed. 

TeachingChannel.org is sponsoring some nice giveways May 5-9 for National Teacher Apprecation Week. Teachers sign up and complete a profile for instant eligibility for all kinds of cool stuff. Clips of of great teaching techniques are available here on a range of grade levels and topics. A few of my favorites are these below--illustrating how a range of ‘silent signals’ can help kids let us know they are thinking and learning.  

Thursday
Feb272014

Creating Custom Pathways in Think Through Math

When & Why: Think Through Math  indicates student(s) grade-level pathway is complete. They find this message: ‘Have your teacher create another pathway.’  Review the work on the individual lessons that student(s) completed and then create a new pathway that addresses gaps in their learning.

  • Creating a 'Custom Pathway' may also be done for specific windows of time for targeted skill preparation/remediation for STAAR (or summer school) 

Designing custom pathways will work around the programming of scope & sequence and built-in supports, but allow you to use TTM as compliment to what you’re doing in classroom instruction & customize to students needs.

Here are step-by-step instructions as well as an updated TTM lesson sequence...

 More...
Sunday
Feb162014

Kidblogs: Digital Writing & Navigation Tips

In the 21st century, no classroom should only write on paper! Digital writing amplifies students' voices. With an awareness of audience comes a greater focus on quality and motivation to write well. Immediate feedback (from teacher, parent, or classmate) is also a driver of critical thinking and engagement.

An easy and approachable starting place for classroom collaboration with student blogs is to partner up with classes in your own school. Then later, once you've gotten your feet wet, take it a step further and dive in. Quadblogging can elevate students' audience to an entirely new level. After signing up, classes can be matched up with 4 classrooms with similar preferences from from over 50 countries around the globe. Students blog, connect, and comment on one another's blogs over a 4-week cycle. Quadblogging Connects Student Writers with Global Audiences (via Edutopia.org) provides more insights on benefits of global empathy, perspective and audience expansion. 

Kidblog.org provides a simple user-friendly platform for kids to share their writing and knowledge across the curriculum and to develop and apply responsibilities of digital citizenship.

Here a few tips to support students and teachers getting started with navigation, writing and commenting.

* List of 20 Student Blog Post Ideas