Model teachers are willing to change

Classroom and Leadership Reflections

Shown is a bulletin board that outlined four major components of a social studies unit involving the Holocaust in a 7th grade classroom. Shown is a bulletin board that outlined four major components of a social studies unit involving the Holocaust in a 7th grade classroom.

Today’s blog post came from helping out a colleague during the end of the day. He needed to leave a few minutes early to attend his team photos. During that time I got to sit behind his desk and ponder around his classroom.

Evidence Bulletin Board
I was intrigued by his bulletin board (shown above) about four key parts of the Holocaust — letter (primary document) from a Jew to a Gustapo (SS officer during WWII), telegram sent (primary document), photos of events, and first-hand description of the riots in Dinslake (primary document).

Speaking with the students, they went over many the many events which occurred in the Holocaust. However, they focused on the many of the intentions of the Nazi regime, characteristics of the Gestapo, and…

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Poetic Prowess

Mrs. Walton's Grade 4 Class

April is Poetry Month! We’ve had a wonderful time reading poetry, listening to poetry, and creating our own poems. We’ve learned about couplets, quatrains, cinquains, haiku, and limericks so far. We know that poems sometimes rhyme, but not always!

We still have a few more kinds of poetry to explore in the next couple of weeks. Here’s a snapshot of a poetry-art project we created this week!

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Please label GMOs.

Silva's Students

IMG_4092 Fifth graders are asking the FDA to please label GMOs.

The fifth grade class has been working on Research-Based Argument writing.  As we were inquiring into genetics, we learned about genetically modified organisms and choose this as our research topic.  We read articles on both sides of the issue and then decided which one we agreed with.  All students felt that food with GMOs should be labeled.  Individually they wrote letters to the Food and Drug Administration stating their reasoning. Then while diving deeper into the debate over the labeling of GMOs, our class felt compelled to piece together our research and create a video to share their findings with the world. Please click the link below to hear their argument.

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Poetry Month

Sharing Our Learning

IMG_5704IMG_5703 April has been Poetry Month.  Most every year, we celebrate it school-wide.  This year was no exception.

Considering that many of the children I work with are just starting to develop their writing and reading skills, I did not expect this sustained interest for the entire month.  Yes, we offered some templates to demonstrate and support writing short, personally meaningful poems.  Yes, we did read a few kid-friendly poems to the class.  Yes, we did check in with each child individually to hear their poems, to giggle over word choices and to discuss ideas.  For the most part, this happened over the usual “Reading, Writing, or Word Work?” literacy station time.

Imagine my joy these last two weeks when more than half the class begged to read poetry during the PA announcements.  Many of them wrote out their own poems, more than once because we are working on keeping track…

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Teaching Math

Hot Mess Home-Schooling

For the homeschooling parent, math is often one of the scariests subjects to try to teach. Even if the teaching parent is a math whiz, they still have to find ways of breaking down complex concepts so that the student can understand it.

In fact, I have heard it said that the math teacher who is naturally skilled at math often is not the best math teacher. These kinds of people often have little sympathy for the poor sot to whom numbers and mathematical logic makes little sense.

In honor of all of us parents (and those precious teachers) who have to teach math, I want to share this video.


I’ve been there.

The blank stare.

The nonsensical answers.


Someone was watching me teach math when they created this video.

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Teaching When They Least Expect It

I'm just saying..... by Tracie Ezell

So, yesterday in Algebra one of my students managed to staple himself.  staple

Yes, that’s what I said.  Staple . . . himself.

This may not be odd or exciting news for those of you who have been teaching a while, but this wasn’t your typical “barely break the surface” kind of a stapling incident.  This one went beyond the bend on the staple.

It went something like this.

“Uh…Mrs. Ezell?”

“Yes, Riley?”

“I stapled myself.”

Now added to the list of things only a teacher hears.  “I stapled myself.”

This made me start thinking about all the other things I’ve heard…which almost caused this entry to go in a completely different direction…which could have been titled, “Your eyebrows look much better today, Mrs. Ezell” or “Did you mean for your hair to look like that?” But, that could have led to a bout with depression and a box of…

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