Saving the World Through Literacy!

Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook


Discovery Education has a new Social Studies Techbook, which is like an online interactive textbook!

It covers US History from the Civil War to the present. There are great reference materials, an atlas, and clickable interactive components. It really rocks!

Discovery Education is offering a free webinar on March 20. You can check it out and sign up by clicking here.

This would be a great way to begin a flipped SS class for sure!

If you use it, I’d love to hear from you!

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Common Core: Woes, Oooohs, & Yos!?

Common Core is Coming…Ready or Not!

education newspaper

I’m curious as to your Woes, Oooohs, and Yos! What do I mean? Let me explain:

Woes: What are you worried about? What is aggravating you? What do you need?

Oooohs: What are you wondering about? What have you heard that needs clarification? What is your “Oh! It would be awesome if …”

Yos: What have you found that is so awesome that you want to yell, “Yo! Check this out!”

I’d love to gather your Woes, Oooohs, & Yos and share them. Together we can do anything!

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Summer Reading Lists #1

I simply cannot wait to have days & days to read this summer, but I know many of my students don’t feel the same way.

I can’t (as much as I try, wish, pray, & dream) make anyone love reading or use magic to zap my non-readers into Reading Rock Stars!

What I can do, and really love to do, is share awesome book titles with students and parents. Maybe one (or two, or three, or more) of those books will click with a kid, or inspire them, or lead them to other books. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

I am not a fan of summer reading assignments for my students. I have tried a million different things (well, maybe not a million, but quite a few) to get kids to read over the summer. Assignments that force reading just don’t work for my students. It’s hard enough to get some of my kids to read during the year, so I sure don’t have any pull over the summer! Most of my kids don’t think about school at all during the summer. Summer assignments get ignored, forgotten, and unfinished. Then they start off a new school year already behind. It is huge DISLIKE all around! So, it doesn’t happen in my classes. I always suggest books, have lists available for students and parents, and hope that they read. If your kids (and parents) participate in summer assignments, YAY YOU! Do what you know works for your students!

Here are a few of the Summer Reading Lists that I’ve seen floating around. I’ll keep posting them as I find more.  

Be sure to check out your local libraries and book stores, too. They always have super awesome things going on-most with prizes! 

If you have a great list or a book you think kids will love, do send it my way. 

Scholastic Summer Challenge

The Teacher Report: 20 Summer Reading Picks

Georgia Children’s Book Award Nominees for 2012-2013 (great list of awesome reads!)


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Silly & Fun Testing Day Slides & Treats!

I always like to post something fun on the board in the mornings before we take one of those dreaded bubble tests.

The kids, even though they are super tough 8th graders (they think they are super tough, but they’re totally still my babies!) LOVE to see what silly thing will be on the board each morning of testing. I also give them a little treat each day at the end of testing. Just something small to tell them how much I appreciate their focus, hard work, and attention to details and procedures during the test. I try to make this yucky thing into something fun!

I know they’ll do well. I’m not concerned about that. We do WAY more than will ever be covered on any bubble test. I’m not bragging, either. I just give them what I know they can do w/o limitations. My awesome kids are amazing. They rock. I make sure they know it all the time! =)

Here are the slides I made this year.  All of the fonts are free from The purchased the images from Lettering Delights (they are so good to teachers-you should check them out! I used to change the words daily, but so many students kept asking what the ones from previous days said. So now I just put them all up on day one and change the silly title and picture every day.

Here is the whole thing, if you want it: Attack that test It is a pdf so you’ll have the fonts.  Attack that test


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Nicholas Kristof’s Contest on Bullying @TeenInk for ages 14-19

Check out this awesome contest open to ages 14-19 which closes on April 30, 2012.

Nicholas Kristof’s
Contest on Bullying

You must be aged 14 to 19 to participate.

Nicholas KristofEarlier this year I reported on Lady Gaga’s campaign against bullying, and learned that experts and the federal Department of Education increasingly see bullying as a huge education problem. So I’d like to consult the experts — American teens — by holding an essay contest about bullying.

Please help spread the word by encouraging young people to apply by writing an essay of up to 500 words about bullying or how to address it. Teachers are welcome to make this a class assignment. It can be cathartic to share these experiences, but also embarrassing, so think this through carefully. And remember, too, that this is for a newspaper and must be the truth – no exaggerations whatsoever! If you’re talking about someone else, you can use just a first name or initial, to protect their privacy.

So, teens, help us understand the problem by sharing your experiences and insights. In all seriousness, we have a major national problem with bullying, and we need your help to understand it and figure out how to make headway against it. That’s where I’m hoping your essays can help.

I’m holding the contest in partnership with The New York Times Learning Network and with Teen Ink magazine. Send in essays of up to 500 words by the end of April. Teen Ink, which has lots of experience publishing teen writing in print and online, will select finalists for me, and then I’ll choose the winners. There’s no real prize, except immortal glory: I’ll publish excerpts from the best essays in my column or blog. Some winners will also be published in Teen Ink and on The New York Times Learning Network.
— Nicholas Kristof, op-ed columnist, The New York Times

Submissions must be received by April 30, 2012 and cannot exceed 500 words. One submission per person. Nicholas Kristof has sole discretion to select which submissions, if any, will be posted.

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Confessions of a Bad Teacher…a MUST READ!

Angry me after reading this article!

Please stop what you are doing and read this. Really! Right now!

It made me angry. It made me sad. And then I just sat there with that “what the what?!” look on my face. So I read it again!  I don’t get mad often-I’m actually a look on the bright side 99% of the time kind of person, but this makes me ANGRY!

This really has to stop! I wish I knew the answers to things like this. I know that moving schools saved me, but that isn’t (and shouldn’t) be the fix. Thankfully, I am now in a school where I am expected to teach all day long–really, that’s my job and what is expected of me. I call it teaching nirvana! My administration knows what our kids need and they love our kids. This should be the case at every school, for every teacher, and for every student! Ugh!

At a time when teachers are constantly under the microscope and under the gun, I think we need to make the shift to looking at the absurd things we are often forced to do by administrators that (all too often) left teaching because they weren’t good at it.

Teachers: You are doing an amazing job. If you really aren’t happy, get out. Administrators, so many of you are awesome. Help those that aren’t!

As always, your thoughts, experiences, and feedback are welcome!

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Flipped Classroom Follow-Up!

I really like the Flipped Classroom idea!

I wrote about Greg Green’s Flipped School successes here:

He’s back today with a follow-up to answer the most common questions about the Flipped Classroom/School concept.

Check it out here:

You can see my original post by clicking here.

What are your thoughts on the Flipped Classroom?

I’d love to hear from you!

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Edutopia’s Resources for Understanding the Common Core State Standards

Here is a great list of Common Core Resourses from Edutopia!

Check out the links at the bottom of the page, too. You’ll find great things like this:

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From Ed Week: Assessment Consortium Releases Final Content Frameworks

Catherine Gewertz, of Ed Week’s Curriculum Matters, shares new information from PARCC on the Common Core Content Frameworks.

Read about the frameworks and what she thinks here:

Check out PARCC’s frameworks for yourself here:

While you are on the PARCC site, check out the Sample Instructional Units and Sample Assessment Tasks, too!

Keep fighting for what matters most–our students!

Have a great day!


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Straight Talk on Common Core: Sue Gendron

Check out this video from Scholastic Administrator!
Straight Talk on Common Core: Sue Gendron explains what’s coming and details how to prepare your district for the curricula changes.


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