Got An Itch? Try my SCRATCH Program!

On my first day at the conference, I built a program that quizzes students on division concepts.“>Check it out!

Here’s the presenter’s notes, as well as the shared resources from other attendees.

Teaching as Art: Sparking Curiosity and Facilitating the Hero’s Journey

This is the 3rd session I’ve sat in today at the 2015 Illinois Computing Educators Conference.  Ramsey Musallam is the presenter.

Educator vs. Entertainer…which one are we, or is there a choice?  As educators, we often put information before application. We need to flip those two, and draw a two-way arrow between them.  It’s a constant exchange of application and information. In movies with great teachers (Good Will Hunting, The Karate Kid), the teacher does not appear until 25 minutes into the movie or greater.  We do not need to come first for learning to take place.  Think of ways to get students to develop questions before lecture/teaching takes place.  Issuing challenges is one method of doing this.  And…you do not have to provide the answer!  It’s ok to leave things open-ended.  That adds curiosity.

Cognitive load theory of multimedia learning focuses on motivation and cognitive focus.  It helps teachers to find ways to organize task to maximize learning.  It explores ways to balance curiosity and information.  Withholding just the right amount of information can peak curiosity and increase learning.

Use Google Docs to allow students to anonymously evaluate your class.

Day 4 – Motivating Students with Engaging Tasks

Today is the last day of the conference.  My workshop today is Engaging Students with Engaging Tasks. Mike Muir is the presenter.

The great thing about today’s workshop is that technology is not a requirement.

Here’s the link to the resources we’re using today.  Scroll down to Motivating Students with Engaging Tasks.

P.S.  If you teach middle school, Mike is a member of  the Association for Middle Level Education.  Membership is FREE.  Consider joining.

5 Resources for Every Teacher

From Jamie Kanas’s workshop at the 2014 ICE Conference

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

#4: – 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.

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

Exit Slips…for Teachers

Teachers often use exit tickets to informally assess what students have learned either in a particular lesson, or over a specific period of time.  It allows for students who are afraid to ask questions aloud, to ask them in writing.  It also allows students a chance to reflect on the lesson and give their feedback.

While teachers use exit tickets as a way to assess student learning, it can also be a useful tools for teachers to assess their teaching.

At the end of a lesson, ask:  did this lesson accomplish its attended objective/goal?  What went well?  What didn’t go as well?  What can I do differently next time?

At the end of each week, list your students.  Next to each name, write one strength they exhibited for the week and one area of concern.  For the strength, think of a way to praise them for it and further develop that asset.  For the weakness, find a way to turn it into a positive in the upcoming week.  Also, the students that you have difficulty remembering as you make the list or have difficulty coming up with a strength for, those are the students you want to pay more attention to in the upcoming week.

As the motto of this page states, hindsight IS 20/20 and being reflective in your teaching can help develop not only better students, but help you develop into a better teacher.