Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Vocabulary Instruction At The Home Depot!

"Comprehension is the reason for reading, and vocabulary plays a significant role in comprehension" (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000). 
The question is, what kind of instruction do you think best promotes the development of comprehension and vocabulary?
I came across this video on Tch or otherwise known as The Teaching Channel while looking at some Common Core videos.  This is a great idea that could really be applied to any grade level K-12.  I really do believe that this could go cross grade level and be used in some really neat ways!  Not to mention we can get the materials for free at your local Home Depot, Menards, or paint store!

How would you use paint chips in your classroom?  Are there any other ideas or methods you use in your room for vocabulary enrichment?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Universal Design for Learning

I just got done teaching my final class of the semester at our local community college.  I teach in the Early Childhood Education Department.  I loved the group of girls that I had this semester.  There were lots of great moments and of course lots of laughter.  As they reflected on what impacted them this semester, I found a common theme.  They all walked away knowing that they needed to be a teacher that looked at every students as an individual. 

I talked a lot about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) verses Traditional Teaching.  Do you know what UDL is?  There are pockets of educators that don't know what UDL is but apply the practices that  are encompassed in UDL.  Then there are other pockets that are strictly traditional and do not have any idea what or why we should be looking through the UDL lens.  

One of the best crash courses in UDL can be found on the Iris Center website that is put together by Vanderbilt University.  It takes you through a module with videos, interviews, and real life examples.  It is a module that I would recommend for any educator to do on their own but it could also be used for new teacher orientation, PD, PLC, or a classroom for education students.  Hopefully this short post leaves you wanting to find out what exactly UDL is or gives you some extra resources (found below) that you can use in your own classroom or to send to another educator that may need a resource.  Below you will also find the outline that was one of the options that I created for my ECE students to use when going through the module.

If you have any tips or tricks on how you use UDL in your classroom or school please share!!

More UDL Resources

  • Outline I created for my students using the Iris Module Click Here to view on Google Drive
  • CAST is a nonprofit research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning. This site has information for you on assessing your current status of implementing UDL and also provides examples of how to use UDL in your classroom.  
  • Teaching Every Student provides information on Universal Design for Learning, as well as links for downloading a free book on UDL.
  • Scoop it! is a curated site that offers a treasure trove of UDL resources, including narrative, video and more.
  • WestEd's Using Technology to Support Diverse Learners contains links to a slide show, handouts, and related materials for professional developers (technology coordinators and inclusion teachers) that are helping teachers integrate technology into the curriculum to support diverse learners.
  • Packet that can be used when going through the IRIS Module.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My First Year of Being a Teacher Bloggess!

It has been an exciting year!  I have just began to explore blogging and selling the products that I create for my classroom in the last year.  During this time I have been blown away with the amount of support and community that is in our online world!

I would highly recommend to ANY teacher that they become a part of at least one online community or at least follow some fabulous blogs!

So her is what has inspired and supported me in my first year of being a bloggess!

+Rachelle Smith at What the Teacher Wants.  This was the very first blog that I started following and inspired me to begin to create materials and introduced me to Teachers Pay Teachers (I will tell you more about that later)! Rachelle and Natalie have done such a great job support their followers with great ideas, tons of freebies, and a great platform for educators!
LadyBug's Teacher Files  This site has great ideas for classroom decor, organization, lessons, tech tips and lots of free things!  I have always found their organizational ideas to inspire me!
School Girl Style- I love this blog!  She has great ideas and awesome links to other bloggers that inspire!!
Here are a few other honorable mentions that I have followed over the year!


I love using these websites to learn more about blogging and getting fonts!

As a celebration of becoming an official bloggess (only in my mind) I am giving away a product that is typically sold in my stores for $8.99
For the next week A Reading Teachers Essential Set Up Packet will be free in my Teachers Notebook Shop!

Happy Blogging!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Free To Be Passionate

When was the last time you allowed a choice… I mean a real choice for your students, teachers, or administrators?  When were they allowed to explore, do, or create something that they were talented in and passionate about?  Do you regularly feel supported and empowered to achieve in the areas that you are most excited about and proficient?
It is hard to not put constraints on a job, lesson, assignment, project or initiative. Our educational system seems to believe that without those constraints one will not learn anything, produce enough, or create the right thing.  They are sure that  without these structures, a person will fail if they are not told what to do and how to do it.
We need to step back and realize that by giving them the freedom and trust to create in a way that THEY are passionate about and gifted that they will actually learn more, perform better, and build the confidence to be not only the person that they want to be, but should be, for the benefit of all those around them and the rest of mankind.  We must squelch this desire to micromanage our administration, staff, and/or students and empower them to pursue their passions and creatively add to and improve our education system and, by doing this, our world.
Learning to follow rules, step by step processes, and or proven curriculum has a place, but what place should it hold?  Should we do we do the unthinkable and let people excel at what they do best by helping them find and live out their passions?  I believe that we should… our organizations, cities, country and world will be much better off if we do!