5 Resources for Every Teacher

From Jamie Kanas’s workshop at the 2014 ICE Conference

#5: Padlet – post-it notes for digital collaboraration.

#4: Bubbl.us – graphic organizers.

#3: Vocabulary, Spelling City – spelling and vocabulary review.

#2: Weebly – classroom website templates and hosting.

#1: Tagxedo – word clouds.


Visit these and share in “comments” how you plan to incorporate these in your classrooms.

Defrost Those Test-Taking Tips

If you’re like me, you’re home today because of the frigid temperatures and snow that have blanketed the Midwest.  These undesirable and untimely conditions come on the heels of us already being off  two weeks for Winter Break.  While we may have unpleasant thoughts about making up these days in the spring, we should be equally as concerned with the “brain drain” that’s occurring because our students have been away from class for so long.

Typically we begin to push test preparation around this time of the year.  As you thaw out today, take some time to defrost those test-taking tips.

  1. Visit the Board of Education website for your state and see what has been posted regarding 2014 testing.  In Illinois, there aren’t any test prep guides for Math and Reading, however, since the Science framework hasn’t changed, the guides for those are available.
  2. Visit the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) website.  PARCC will be providing the testing framework beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.  Some schools are participating in sample assessments this year.  Visit the sample assessment questions there, and begin to incorporate them into your lessons this year so students are familiar with them.
  3. Common Core is all about “the big picture.”  Mastery is demonstrated when students can apply skills and concepts consistently and across curriculum.  There’s no more “teaching to the test” so to speak; it’s more like “teaching to tasks.”  Students should understand how the skills and concepts they learn apply to everyday life.  Create projects and problems that help students make these connections.  Ask yourself: what are students at my grade level typically interested in and/or concerned about?  Use that question to help select text, questions, problems, and projects that engage students while teaching skills.
  4. As you thaw out pieces of knowledge, SHARE!  Student success doesn’t have to be a weight on your shoulders.  Collaboration allows us to share the blessed burden of educating our future.

I may not be able to help you shovel out physically, but I hope these few suggestions help you to thaw out mentally.

Stay warm!

My Students Need Your Help!

My Students Need Your Help!

What do you remember about 6th grade Social Studies.  Chances are, if you’re not a history buff, you don’t remember much.  Why?  Because if the lessons were not made to be exciting and relevant, we remember just what we need to in order to past test and quizzes, and then forget it.

Scholastic News helps makes Social Studies exciting and relevant.  It’s an excellent resource that is aligned to Common Core standards.  However, it’s a resource my school can no longer afford due to budget cuts.  As a result, our subscription has been cancelled.

I’ve created a DonorsChoose proposal to obtain the magazine again.  I now need donors.  Won’t you consider donating?  Will you share it with your friends and family so they can donate?

Help bring Social Studies to life for my students.


Mrs. Richardson

360 Degree Math

I quickly glanced over an article on this topic recently.  It was such a quick glance, that I can’t even remember what source I retrieved it from.  In my quick glance, however, I got the idea of trying this in my classroom, using whiteboards.  I tried it today and it went well!  The students enjoyed it and it allowed me to see where students were struggling in some of the concepts we were reviewing.  I plan to try it again, with whiteboards, or perhaps even chart paper.  Here…read about it for yourselves and tell me what you think! Andrea http://news.yahoo.com/stand-360-degree-math-revolutionizes-classrooms-220024511.html http://www.360degreemath.com/