Kristine (Bestbook), Lucy Calkins, Maren Koepf (author of Synchronizing Success and new friend from Coaching Institute)
Play Teaching to the Test A 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy who wanted to play school managed to order a batch of the state’s standardized assessment tests, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. State education officials were apparently in disbelief. “Only the school district’s test coordinator can order tests,” said the State Education Department’s spokesperson. “It’s a very secure system.” Well, maybe not: By reports, the boy simply faxed an order to the test-production company from his house, using two special codes he got from the education department’s Web site. The tests, however, were mailed to his school district’s warehouse rather than to the boy’s home—a measure that officials say validates the system’s safeguards. Officials in the boy’s district are confident that he was simply exercising his imagination and not attempting to cheat. “He purposely requested the tests to come on the last day [of testing] because he didn’t want to see the test before he took it,” said Rebecca Costello, director of pupil services for the Hempfield School District. “He wants to be a teacher. He wanted to play school.” In any case, Costello added, the education department has indicated “they will look at [their] Web site because they may have an issue.” Meanwhile, we are left to wonder: Does it say something about schools today that a kid who wants to play teacher thinks he needs to have authentic standardized tests on hand?
Earth Day books and read-alouds April 20, 2009
Looking for an Earth Day read-aloud? Here are a couple of my favorites!
All ages: Read alouds
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (How can you go wrong with Dr. Seuss???) There is even an old video of the book, but you should read the book!
Evangeline Mudd and the Golden-Haired Apes of the Ikkinasti Jungle by David Elliott (a great chapter book that is a blast to read aloud and has a wonderful environmental theme. My students begged for this book every day-probably grades 3-6)
The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry (classic!)
10 Things I Can Do To Help My World by Melanie Walsh (great for everyone-kids of all ages love the flaps! Adults of all ages will love the message!)
Old Turtle by Douglas Wood (beautiful fable, but definitely religious overtones)
The Earth and I by Frank Asch (Moonbear author-beautiful illustrations-good message for younger kids)
Our Big Home by Linda Glaser
Children of the Earth by Schim Schimmel
Our Big Home: A Poem by Linda Glaser
There is also a great little short story book just released in March called Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children’s Authors Tell You How to Go Green Edited by Dan Gutman. Each story is one to three pages. My fourth grader and first grader love it!
We had a darn good time at the first Mother-Daughter Book Club. Here are four of the seven girls who are participating (plus a little sister). We had a great time discussing Scat by Carl Hiaasen. It was the first Hiaasen book for all moms and daughters. I just now thought of this, but all three families represented today, have a mother who was/is a teacher:) Here is a link to Maggie’s review (She’d love a comment if you have time?)
Maggie wanted to have a door prize, so she picked a little magnetic bookmark that she gave out through a drawing of names. Next month Little House in the Big Woods was picked by the next member and I am really excited to re-read one of my favorite childhood books!
|Make a Smilebox slideshow|
Welcoming Bo to the White House April 19, 2009
My friend Robin alerted me to this great website. It’s perfect timing for Poetry in April as well as the welcoming of the “First Dog” to the White House. Kristine O’Connell George is a poet with beautiful books that kids will just devour. Her “Little Dog” Poems welcome Bo and all of us to enjoy poetry. Here is just one great example…
Here’s another little excerpt that I also love. Check out this poet and website! You and your students will love it!
"The teacher holds my hand and opens a special box of things with secret voices..." Excerpt from "Music Class" The Great Frog Race
I guess it was inevitable: The Hunger Wars-the movie April 16, 2009
Check out this link, but don’t you dare enter the contest-the lunch and pin are mine! You do have to write a creative 500 word essay, but I’m willing to give it a shot! When I met the author at NCTE she had a Mockingjay pin on I admired and yes, she is incredibly nice!
September 1st is way too long to wait for book 2-Catching Fire.
The Cafe Book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser “The Sisters” April 15, 2009
I became a fan of “The Sisters” with their publication for The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence. Even though the book was aimed at more primary students than my fourth graders were, I was game to give some of their strategies a try. I had been a huge proponent of individual reading conferences for many years, but the management of the rest of the class as well as the organization to ensure I was meeting with students in a way that met their needs was still a challenge. The Sisters got me with their quote, “Did those things (centers, projects, worksheets…)just keep our kids busy or were they engaged in literacy tasks that will make a difference in their literate lives.” Their concerns mirrored many of mine.
You can read the entire Cafe Book book online. I made it about halfway through before my copy arrived in the mail Friday. You can also hear a blog interview on Stenhouse to see some more information from the sisters. They do also have their own website-part free, most subscription.
The Cafe system makes record-keeping and organization accessible for teachers who feel often feel overwhelmed by the management of workshop or conferences.
They are coming to Columbus, Ohio this summer for some workshops in conjunction with Choice Literacy and I am thrilled a few of the elementary teachers I work with will be in attendance. They did a great job presenting at the Dublin Literacy Conference-very engaging and had me laughing quite a bit. My favorite story was from the one sister who tried to make post-it notes into wearable jewelry so she wouldn’t keep losing them.
Many of us have made their “Pensieve” notebooks and love having all our records in one place. It’s a nice complement to any reading or writing workshop, not just one new thing to try.