Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'll do anything for writer's workshop




I had to wash Maddie and Pumpkin this weekend. My pets are frequently the subjects for the writing I do with students in writer's workshop. I'm pretty sure Maddie would rather be dirty and not the subject of my writing. If you have seen the movie, Wet Dog is one of the oderants that Mike Wazowski tries out in Monsters Inc. Is there a movie to self connection?

NY Times article about reader's workshop

Today's NY Times contains an article about reader's workshop. This would be an excellent article for middle school PLCs to read.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Long form of state tests released

Here is the link to the long form of the newly released state reading and math tests.


Instead of saving this until March, think about using these items throughout the year as part of your reading workshop. Test items are their own genre, and students need to become familiar with them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Great Teachers Make All the Difference

Mortimer Zuckerman, editor of US News and World Report, has written an editorial that talks about how teachers make all the difference in the classroom, but also touches on how technology has the potential to spread that good teaching.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point, wrote this article (Dec. 08) about what makes a great teacher.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fourteen Things That Matter Most

This is from Todd Whitaker's book, What Great Teachers Do Differently:

1. Great teachers never forget that it is people, not programs, that determine the quality of a school.
2. Great teachers establish clear expectations at the start of the year and follow them consistently as the year progresses.
3. When a student misbehaves, great teachers have one goal: to keep that behavior from happening again.
4. Great teachers have high expectations for students but even higher expectations for themselves.
5. Great teachers know who is the variable in the classroom: They are. Good teachers consistently strive to improve, and they focus on something they can control-their own performance.
6. Great teachers create a positive atmosphere in their classrooms and schools. They treat every person with respect. In particular, they understand the power of praise.
7. Great teachers consistently filter out the negatives that don't matter and share a positive attitude.
8. Great teachers work hard to keep their relationships in good repair-to avoid personal hurt and to repair any possible damage.
9. Great teachers have the ability to ignore trivial disturbances and the ability to respond to inappropriate behavior without escalating the situation.
10. Great teachers have a plan and purpose for everything they do. If things don't work out the way they had envisioned, they reflect on what they could have done differently and adjust their plans accordingly.
11. Before making any decision or attempting to bring about any change, great teachers ask themselves one central question: What will the best people think?
12. Great teachers continually ask themselves who is most comfortable and who is least comfortable with every decision they make. They treat everyone as if they were good.
13. Great teachers keep standardized testing in perspective; they center on the real issue of student learning.
14. Great teachers care about their students. They understand that behaviors and beliefs are tied to emotion, and they understand the power of emotion to jump-start change.