Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Figurative Language Video

All-You-Can-Read Buffet to offer food for the mind

In a twist on the standard All-You-Eat-Buffet, the Ida Rupp Library in Port Clinton, Ohio, will host an All-You-Can-Read Buffet for teens on January 18. The library will serve great reads and food for three hours. Participants will read for 55 minutes of each hour, then get a five-minute break to stretch, use the bathroom, get something to eat or find something else to read. Anyone who reads for the entire three hours without breaking any rules will receive a prize. The event is for grades six through 12.  For more, read the brief in The Port Clinton News-Herald

How cool is that?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Reading Comprehension Strategies

This is a great site to brush up on some tried and true strategies that will help all readers improve their comprehension:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Story

Recently I posted a link to Kenneth's ESL blog, which has great resources. He's posted an audio version of him reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and a comprehension quiz to go with it. To download the MP3 file simply right click on it and hit 'Save Target As'



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Five New Articles

I've uploaded five new articles. These links should make it easy to read and/or download them.

1. Digital Storytelling: Extending the Potential for Struggling Writers:

2. A Lesson on Reading Fluency Learned from The Tortoise and the Hare:

3. What Teachers Need to Know about the "New" Nonfiction:

4. Examining Multiple Perspectives with Creative Think-Alouds:

5. Floating On a Sea of Talk: Reading Comprehension Through Speaking and Listening:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Teaching a People’s History

This site has a lot of great resources and downloads that can be used in the teaching of history or English:

It is definitely worth checking out.

Literacy 2.0

IRA has posted a very informative podcast. It is well worth a listen:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Using Technology in 21st Century Classrooms

This video was made several years ago, and there are a lot of other similar videos out there that you may have already watched. Does it contain a bit of propaganda? Sure. However, it should definitely make educators stop for a minute and think about the students we serve.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Grammar Chants

Grammar chants are probably already being used, especially in the younger grades. They seem like a great, quick strategy that would benefit all students. Here is a link to a bunch of chants that could be beneficial:


Great Link

This guy (Kenneth) has a great ESL blog with a variety of resources. Check it out here:

A Tongue-Twisting Language Arts Lesson Plan

Beyond "Toy Boat" And Into Powerful Descriptive Writing

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers!

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore!

Toy Boat! Toy Boat! Toy Boat!

Try saying these words several times quickly and you'll see why tongues twisters can be a totally terrific part of your Language Arts curriculum. Not only are they silly, but these funny phrases focus on phonics, parts of speech, oral language, alliteration, reading, writing, and more.

For the full lesson plan go to:



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Teaching Strategy: Exit Slips

Exit Slips

Exit slips are written student responses to questions teachers pose at the end of a class or lesson. These quick, informal assessments enable teachers to quickly assess students' understanding of the material.

Why use exit slips?

  • They provide teachers with an informal measure of how well students have
    understood a topic or lesson.
  • They help students reflect on what they have learned.
  • They allow students to express what or how they are thinking about new information.
  • They teach students to think critically.

When to use:

Before reading

During reading

After reading

How to use:


With small groups

Whole class setting


How to use exit slips

  • At the end of your lesson ask students to respond to a question or prompt.

    Note: There are three categories of exit slips (Fisher & Frey, 2004):

    • Prompts that document learning:
      —Example: Write one thing you learned today.
      —Example: Discuss how today's lesson could be used in the real world.


    • Prompts that emphasize the process of learning:
      —Example: I didn't understand…
      —Example: Write one question you have about today's lesson.


    • Prompts to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction:
      —Example: Did you enjoy working in small groups today?


    • Other exit prompts include:
      —I would like to learn more about…
      —Please explain more about…
      —The thing that surprised me the most today was…
      —I wish…


  • You may state the prompt orally to your students or project it visually on an overhead or blackboard.
  • You may want to distribute 3 x 5 cards for students to write down their responses.
  • Review the exit slips to determine how you may need to alter your instruction to better meet the needs of all your students.
  • Collect the exit slips as a part of an assessment portfolio for each student.


Content area exit slip examples

  • Write one thing you learned today
  • Write one question you have about today's lesson
  • Write three words with the long "o" sound
  • Why are the North and South Pole so cold?
  • Explain why Canada is not considered a melting pot
  • Draw a quick diagram that shows perspective
  • Of the 3 graphs we studied today which one did you find most useful? Why?
  • Name one positive and one negative thing that happened during group work today
  • Multiply 3 by 4

Click on this link to find out more or download a blank Exit Slip form:

National Board Certification for Principals

Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Join NBPTS in Launching National Board Certification for Principals

December 2, 2009

ARLINGTON, VA – The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) will launch National Board Certification for Educational Leaders, which includes the development of National Board Certification for Principals, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at the Ballroom of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. NBPTS will be joined by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan as well as a cross-section of funders and stakeholders to publicly announce the design and development of this initiative.

Click here to read the story in its entirety:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Grammar Girl

Grammar Girl is a great resource for your classroom. Her emails and podcasts are succinct little nuggets of grammar greatness. One idea is to play one of her podcasts for your students while teaching them to take notes. This practice engages the students in the task of practicing their note-taking skills while brushing up a few grammar tidbits.

Her site ( ) has archives of podcasts, etc. and is really easy to use. You can also sign up to receive daily tips through your email.

Here is a link to a free download of the first chapter of Grammar Girl's new book, The Grammar Devotional:

A Great Article You’ve Probably Seen Before…

Written by Claude Goldenberg, the article is entitled, "Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does – And Does Not – Say"

Click on the link, download the pdf and then read at your own leisure:

ELL – What’s All the Hype?

Effective Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners

What's All the Hype?

By: Karen Pellino

Students with English as a second language (ESL) constitute a significant percentage of the population of our nation's schools. This population continues to increase more rapidly than that of native English speaking students (Shore, 2001). The language minority population has a high drop out rate. These students are also among the lowest ranking in academic achievement and expectations. They represent an at-risk population faced with a wide range of challenges (Thompson, 2000).

This presents a unique challenge for teachers as we strive to help these students achieve in learning the English language and the academic material specified in our content area learning standards. Every teacher who teaches subject matter in English to ESL students is not only a teacher of the content area but is a teacher of English as well. As educators, we must continually reflect on our teaching and update our practice to address the needs of this population, placing a strong emphasis on the human side of teaching. We must continually focus on these students and find effective ways to arrange their learning to help them achieve.

This tutorial is a summary and critical analysis of four recent journal articles on the above subject. The articles focus on the challenges ESL students face and how they translate into challenges for teachers. Following the summary of articles, strategies that teachers can use to help overcome these challenges will be discussed.

Learning English and Learning America:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Children Who Use Technology are Better Writers

Children who blog, text or use social networking websites are more confident about their writing skills, according to the National Literacy Trust.

Click here to read the entire story:

Thanks again to Lo!

Wiki Opens Brave New World to Young Writers

The Boston Globe recently ran a great story about how one school is using Wikis:


Thanks to Lo Lyness for this story!

Mt. Whitney Webcam

This might not be news… but is sure is a cool thing to use with your students:

There is a webcam posted on the roof of the Whitney Portal Hostel. To access its view use this link:


The owners have also posted quite a bit of information about the camera itself, how it works, etc.