Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 3 - Classroom Tips from Vegas

It's Day 3 of Classroom Tips from Vegas. In case you missed it, I just returned from and education conference in Las Vegas where I met some awesome teachers.   I am excited to share with you what I learned from them!

Day 3 - Jen from Hello Mrs. Sykes

Hello Mrs. Sykes

Jen was one of my favorite teachers I met in Vegas.  She is so down-to-earth and "real" that I can only imagine how awesome it must be to be a student in her classroom.  Reading through her blog is like opening a treasure chest of literacy loot.  Where do I start?

Jen has created an engaging way to introduce vocabulary to your students every day, called Mystery Word of the Week.  It is a strategy that she has created to encourage students to discuss words, their meanings, and share their reasoning.  

Each day, the students receive a clue to the mystery word.  

Day 1 - first letter, number of letters, and part of speech
Day 2 - synonyms
Day 3 - antonyms 
Day 4 - context sentence
Day 5 - The Reveal! including the definition and a context sentence.

How brilliant is that?   Let's try one of Jen's examples:

Day 1 - i _ _ _ _ _ _ _, adjective
Day 2 - bright, radiant, lustrous
Day 3 - dull, lackluster
Day 4 - The campers moved swiftly through the darkness, guided 
             _________ glow of their lanterns.
Day 5 - luminous: glowing or reflecting light; radiant
             The luminous full moon was clearly reflected in the water. 

Vocabulary is so important.  I love how this strategy shows students the different ways to find the meaning of a word.  

Visit Jen's blog learn more about literacy strategies in your classroom!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day 2 - Classroom Tips from Vegas!

Thank you for joining me for Day 2 of Classroom Tips from Vegas. In case you missed it, I just returned from and education conference in Las Vegas where I met some awesome teachers.   I am excited to share with you what I learned from them!

Day 2 - Kathy from Tried and True Teaching


This is the second year in a row that I got to spend some time with my sweet, California teacher-friend, Kathy.  She recently wrote a blog post about why it is important to integrate art into your lessons.  Consider this quote from the Kennedy Center's Arts Edge online resource center.  

It seems as though art integration is being abandoned earlier and earlier in a child's education.  Yet there are sound reasons that explain why we shouldn't do this.  

Kathy states "that, as teachers, we are always pressed for time (there's never enough), but planning integrated learning experiences that generate meaningful, in-depth creative projects for our students is so worth it.  To see the connections they make while engaged in the process validates the importance of life-long learning. Life is not lived in a bubble, and the arts should not be taught as such. Our students need to be given the opportunity to discover their own "elegant fits" across disciplines, and I believe this is possible through the arts integrations". 

Check out Kathy's post for more in-depth information about art integration.  There is also a Part 2 post which shows Art Integration in action

Don't forget to join me for Day 3 - Classroom Tips from Vegas tomorrow!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 1 - Classroom Tips from Vegas!

I just got back from attending an education conference in exciting Las Vegas!  I couldn't get to my computer fast enough to share with you some awesome tips for your classroom I discovered while talking to other teachers while I was there.  I will be sharing them for the next few here on my blog.

Day 1  - Tips from Karen from Cool School with Karen

Cool School with Karen

Karen uses engaging Powerpoint presentations to introduce grammar in her classroom.  Her favorite lesson is called "Contraction Surgery - Contraction General Hospital".  

Contraction Surgery is not a new concept.  But Karen explained to me why this product is special.

She used this approach for a few years, but could always imagine a more exciting video clip playing inside her head.  Her teacher partners say that she sees everything in life through Power Points. She says it took a LOT of work to create this slideshow, but it definitely had the desired effect.  Upper grade teachers tell her that her former second-graders still talk about Contraction General Surgery! They encourage their teachers to show it in class to the kids who are new and haven't seen it.  

The Power Point includes embedded sounds and actions. She always cracks up when the kids react to the excised letter turning red and dropping off.  

Karen also has a free download of a quick assessment you can use after the lesson.  Click on the picture below to print a copy. 

Karen told me that this approach has helped parents understand how to spell contractions.  She says that if she can play even a small part in the "War on Apostrophe Abuse," she will have lived a worthwhile life.  You gotta love a teacher with a sense of humor!

Stop by tomorrow to read about another Tip from Vegas!  And to learn more about the conference in Vegas, read the following Linky Party posts by clicking on the picture below. 

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