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Friday, October 28, 2011

#Rockstar Meme Blog Award

Wow!  Can you believe it?  Me? A #Rockstar? Well, at least my friends, Denise Krebs, blog author of Dare to Care and Sheri Edwards, blog author of What Else? - 1DR think so, as they have both awarded me with this #Rockstar Meme started by Miguel Guhlin.

When one is awarded the meme, according to the originator Guhlin, they are supposed to Write a Post about how Blogging has Rocked your World then:
  1. respond to the meme and link back to this blog entry
  2. leave a comment on this blog entry and then ask 5 more people to participate
  3. Notify those 5 people by sending them a quick note (a tweet prob would work).
So here goes....

  • I wouldn't have met so many wonderful individuals from around the globe.  I have met (virtually, through their blogs of course) people from all across the United States, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, Australia and more! They have opened my eyes to worlds, cultures and ideas that I may never have had the chance to experience.
  •  I wouldn't have been as reflective in my teaching practice.  As a teacher we are always reflecting. But writing it down makes one even more accountable for their actions. I'll often reflect upon a lesson that was taught in class and write a blog discussing ways I could add/change resources or techniques that will make me a more effective teacher. 
  •  I wouldn't have explored resources and researched content with such ferocity.  Writing posts sends me on quests to find information, sift through what is helpful and fresh, and keeps me current with my teaching practices.  Always looking for new tools to share with my students and colleagues. Always looking to learn something new!
Presenting Global Learners Blog @ MassCUE11
  • I wouldn't have dared to present at a conference or workshop out of my district! Just recently I created a presentation that will hopefully get people interested in Blogging and was allowed to present at the Massachusetts Computer Using Educator's Conference 2011! I feel so strongly that everyone has something to share & wanted people to realize that everyone can BLOG! 
BLOGGING ALLOWS ME TO BE CREATIVE AND HAVE A VOICE! I love adding my photographs and touching them up with different programs.  I love trying to make my writing interesting to engage my readers.  I love thinking up ways to arrange my posts in ways to add to the content.  I love being able to share and hopefully make a difference!

Blogging Has ROCKED my World!   Thank you Denise & Sheri for awarding me this Meme to once again take the time to reflect! (I should be adding you too, but then the meme would be a cirlce, right! You both have given me so much!)

I am passing this #Rockstar Meme onto the following people:

  • Carol Ann Palmieri - My sister who has inspired me in so many ways with her wonderful talents - blogging among them: MA Homes Real Talk!
  • Laura Komos - A teacher who uses and shares ideas about the Daily5 & CAFE (which is a way to structure & teach reading) - Delightful Daily 5 Cafe
  • Laura Devlin - a fourth grade teacher who I met through Twitter & whose blog is just full of thought-provoking ideas and a passion for teaching: Teach Children Well 
  • Erica Shepherd - A fourth grade teacher with fabulous ideas and resources: Shepherd's Shining Stars
  • Heather Mathews - a teacher fairly new to blogging who reflects upon her teaching and is not afraid of change: Hot Pants Education
 Thanks to all those bloggers I follow in my Google Reader!  You have opened up a whole new world to me! BLOG ON!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Activities for Kids

Halloween is nigh upon us! The weather in the northeast finally feels like autumn! Ghouls, ghosts and witches are suddenly finding their place on front lawns and porches in our neighborhood.

My students are abuzz over what costumes they are wearing and which parties they are attending.

Here is a perfect time to capitalize on the children's excitement and provide them with some fun and engaging Halloween activities that are educational too!

Halloween Math Activities:
Spooky Sequences: Skip counting by 2's (by
Spooky Sequences: Find the missing 3-digit number in the sequence.
Spooky Sequences: Count backwards by 10!
Spooky Sequences: Find the missing SQUARE Number!
Ghost Blasters: Find the ghosts with EVEN numbers.
Ghost Blasters: Find the ghosts that are MULTIPLES of ten

Language Arts Activities:
Creepy Crossword: Online Crossword Puzzle (for older children-no word bank)
Spooky Night Mad Lib: Fill in the blanks to create a silly story.
Halloween Joke Bookmarks:  Print and share these halloween joke bookmarks for kids.
The Magic Pumpkin by HilaryWilliamson - This online story is about a boy and a magic pumpkin.
FrightBytes Halloween: Halloween stories that you can change the ending. (Some pictures may be scary for young children).

Coloring Pages:
Crayola Halloween Coloring Pages: Print out and color on your own!
The Halloween Pages: Choose a page to color online, print or share with a friend via email!

Virtual Pumpkin Carving: Practice Symmetry
Jack-O-Lantern Creator: Choose from different sets of eyes, noses, and mouths to make your own pumpkin.
Virtual Pumpkin Carving: Try your hand at designing your own pumpkin - you can print this out by taking a screen shot.
Pick A Pumpkin: Choose from 4 pumpkins and carve your own design at this Bloompetals site.

Halloween Tips:
Many sites remind parents about safety on Halloween night like this one, Fire Engineering which quotes the National Fire Protection Association.

Scary Movie Tips: This video from Common Sense Media talks about effects scary movies have on young children, young teens and older teens. (The video is not appropriate for young children).

Just for Fun:
Your local Bass Pro Shops are offering Halloween activities during the weeks previous to Halloween 2011. Check it out HERE!

DLTK'S Halloween Crafts Bat, Frankenstein, Ghost, Pumpkins and other fun crafts at this wonderful site!

Halloween Songs on Youtube: Some fun and funny songs with sound effects too for kids! See below!

Other Resources:  Cybraryman's Halloween Page

Please feel free to add your favorite Halloween sites in the comment section! Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Homework - Been there, Done that!

Some teachers give a lot!  Some teachers give a little! Some parents expect a lot! Some parents expect a little!  Homework! It's one of those controversial topics which is constantly being discussed by educators, administrators and parents alike!

Just this week I spoke with a parent about how she could help her child with the homework.  It then occured to me that perhaps I needed to rethink the type of homework being assigned.

According to Cathy Vatterott, homework "shouldn't be about rote learning. The best kind deepens student understanding and builds essential skills."   Was I giving this type of homework?  My goal for the remainder of the year will be to make homework a more meaningful experience!

Homework has been around for quite some time, but it seems that in the last decade there has been a greater push for students to continue the learning process at home.   The History of Homework mentions how the "launch of Sputnik changed education."  It also seems that homework was even to blame for acne, eye strain and other ailments.

A recent article in the Education Leadership Publication states that homework should be purposeful, efficient, offer choices, completed without help and is enjoyable or interesting.  Homework should allow for the differences of each child.  By offering choices the student is able to take ownership of his/her learning.

Teachers often feel obliged to give homework due to the policies of their district.  If it has to be given, it would be best if the homework is meaningful, reinforces concepts being studied in the classroom and engaging.  Check out: Homework Done Right by Janet Alleman, Rob Ley, Barbara Knighton, Ben Botwinski and Sarah Middlestead.  

In all likelihood, homework isn't going to go away.  Parents and teachers can help motivate children by following these 8 tips provided by News for Parents

For more information check out the Homework Debate resources provided by Cybraryman or the Flipbook below which has information provided by the Department of Education.

How do you feel about homework?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section!

Homework Help Resources:
Common Sense Media:  Online Math & Science - Games, lessons, videos
Discovery Education Student Resources: Homework help, Games & Interactives, Step by Step WebMath
Homework Spot Topics broken into levels for Elementary, Middle & High Schoolers
Scholastic's Homework Hub: Organize, Prepare, Practice and Research are some categories to help a student work on homework.

Blog Posts regarding Homework:
Before you Assign that Homework: by Jeff Delp