Archive for the ‘Best Practice’ category

Learning Stations and Cranberries

November 10, 2016

cranberriesLearning stations engage students in active learning. “Learning stations can be used for myriad purposes—to teach concepts, integrate subject matter, build interest, and allow for inquiry—the possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the teacher and the supplies available” (Jarrett, 2010, p. 56).

Learning stations are designated areas in a classroom, hallway, cafeteria, or community room where students complete tasks. Everything the student needs is available at each station, which could include handouts, activity sheets, experiments, photographs, videos, music, artwork, food, cranberries, etc. There are step-by-step directions at each station. Students move from station to station individually, in pairs, or small groups. The number of stations can vary as well as the time estimated at each station for students to complete the station task. And, students can work at their own pace.

Learning stations work for all grade levels. Consider inviting parents, older students, or preservice teachers to help with setting up stations, guiding students through stations, or even be part of a station, giving interviews, clarifying instructions, doing demonstrations. For example, a parent helper might serve samples of cranberry juice at a tasting station.

Check out Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities to use as a template for developing and setting up learning stations in your own classroom. It’s a great example of the types of stations you might set up as well as what you need for each station. It’s a delicious example of using learning stations!

Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities includes

  • 19 page-teacher guide
  • Materials and picture guides for each center
  • Answer key for student journal
  • Optional QR codes or print resources
  • 14-page student journal
  • 11 center signs for each learning station

Jarrett, O. (January 2010). Inventive learning stations. Science and Children 47.5: 56-69.

Visit our Teachers Pay Store and look at the products we have available–you just might find something perfect for you and your students.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

The One and Only Ivan

The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Surviving to Thriving TPT

Seven Ways to Use Free Bookmark Quotes for Teachers

August 3, 2016

To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching.  George Bernard Shawbookmark

Even teachers need reminding of how critical they are to the education of students and to maintaining a democratic way of life. We collected 16 quotes to share with teachers that reflect just how important teachers are.

Visit our Teachers Pay Teachers store, Surviving to Thriving LjL and download a free set of 16 bookmark quotes for teachers. And, here are seven ways you might use those bookmarks:

  1. Display the bookmark quote where you can see it from your desk to remind you your work as a teacher is appreciated.
  2. Copy bookmark quotes on colored card stock and cut out. Write personal notes of appreciation on the backsides of the bookmarks and place the bookmark quotes in faculty/staff mailboxes.
  3. Distribute the bookmark quotes at a faculty/staff meeting. Use bookmark quotes to form pairs, trios, or quads by directing teachers/staff members to find one, two, or three other teachers/staff members who have the same bookmark quote. Invite pairs or groups to discuss the quote and/or work in groups. Nice way to start a faculty/staff meeting.
  4. Make mini-posters out of the bookmark quotes and display them on a bulletin board near the main entrance where visitors will see them.
  5. Place all 16 bookmark quotes in a box, pull one out during lunch, read it aloud, and discuss the meaning of the quote with your colleagues.
  6. Challenge students to find inspiring quotes related to education or a topic related to the content area in which you teach. Make your own bookmark quotes for students, using the quotes that they find.
  7. Use as a bookmark.

Other FREE bookmarks to check out:

FREE Teacher Bookmarks with Homework Quotes

FREE Esperanza Rising Bookmarks

 FREE Friendship Bookmarks

FREE The One and Only Ivan Bookmarks

HOMEWORK: Show What You Know

July 25, 2016

I like a teacher who gives something to take home to think about besides homework.human-face-with-flower

Lily Tomlin

If you have looked at the research about homework, it generally does not support a connection between time spent on homework and grades (Kohn, 2012). The challenge for teachers is the expectation of homework from both families and students, but not all homework is created equal. Homework is appropriate for preparing, checking for understanding, practicing, rehearsing, and/or processing including analyzing, evaluating, and/or reflecting (Vatterott, 2009).

Meaningful homework assignments should:

  • allow for student choice and personalization;
  • provide opportunities for students to share things about themselves;
  • tap into emotions, feeling, and/or opinions; and
  • be aesthetically pleasing (Vatterott, 2007).

Meaningful homework assignments should engage students and be fun to do. We have compiled various homework assignments that can be easily adapted to a variety of subjects for intermediate and upper level grades. And, there is a list of alternative homework assignment ideas. Check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Homework: Show What You Know includes:

  • Name Lists
  • Rounding Up: Adjectives
  • Rounding Up: Adverbs
  • Survey. Note. Conclude! Homework Assignment
  • Using Graphic Organizers to Show What You Know
  • 8 Alternatives to Traditional Homework Assignments with Mini-Activity Slips
  • Teacher Bookmarks with Homework Quotes (Something to share with colleagues and start a conversation about homework.

References

Kohn, A. (November 25, 2012). Homework:  New research suggests it may be an unnecessary evil. Huffpost.

Vatterott, C. (2007). Becoming a middle level teacher:  Student-focused teaching of early adolescents.  New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Vatterott, C. (2009). Rethinking homework:  Best practice that support diverse needs. Alexandria, VA:  ASCD.

Homework Bookmarks!

June 28, 2016

Idea BulbWhile I was teaching preservice teachers, I wanted to model another way for teachers to communicate homework assignments to their students. The homework bookmark was born. I simply started with a new word document, ½-inch margins, landscape orientation, and added a table of 1 row and 4 to 5 columns. In each column, I typed in the homework assignment and added a quote and a graphic. Copied them onto plain white paper, easily cut them with a paper cutter, and distributed them to my preservice teachers. They loved them, and better yet, they started to use them in their field placements. Their students loved them.

Below is an example of quote bookmarks from The One and Only Ivan. Homework bookmarks are similar except they also include an assignment. They really are easy to make. Try them, you and your students just might like them!

ivan bookmarks

We love bookmarks. Students love bookmarks.  And so, in many of our products, we include bookmarks.  We even offer free bookmarks to teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers. Check out our store, Surviving to Thriving LjL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Love Bookmarks!

June 14, 2016

We love bookmarks. Students love bookmarks.  And so, in many of our products, we include bookmarks.  We even offerIvan Bookmarks free bookmarks to teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers.

7 Ways to Use Bookmarks

  1. Form pairs, trios, and/or quads. Distribute the number of different bookmarks equal to the number of pairs, trios, or quads you want to form. For example, to form quads, reproduce four copies of each individual bookmark. Distribute bookmarks and direct students to form a group of four by finding three other students who have the same bookmark they have.
  2. Use as a writing prompt. Distribute bookmarks. Direct students to read and ponder the quotes. Next, ask students to write a short reflection on what the quotes means to them. Invite students to share their reflections with an elbow partner.
  3. Investigate the speaker. Use the bookmarks to form student trios. Direct trios to read and ponder the quotes. Ask trios to answer the following questions: What kind of person would say this? To whom would this person address this quote? What kind of situation would be appropriate for this quote? Invite trios to share their quotes and their responses to the questions.
  4. Review the text. After students have read the novel, story, or play, distribute a variety of bookmark quotes. Direct students to read their quotes and jot down the incident in the text connected to that quote. Next, direct students to find another student who had the same bookmark quote and compare responses.
  5. Choose a favorite. On a table, lay out bookmark quotes and as students enter the classroom, invite them to choose a favorite bookmark quote. Ask students to jot down a few notes on the back of the bookmark quote what this quote means to them. Invite students to share their responses. Consider this activity for a morning meeting or talking circle.
  6. Make your own bookmark. Distribute blank bookmarks and direct students to write a favorite quote from a text you are currently studying in class. In addition to the quote, ask students to include a graphic or illustration that connects to the quote they chose. Invite students to share their quotes with the class. Consider collecting the bookmark quotes and displaying them on a bulletin board in your classroom.
  7. Use as a bookmark

We hope you love our bookmarks!bookmark this

Free bookmarks for The One and Only Ivan

Free friendship bookmarks

Free bookmarks for Esperanza Rising

Unique Approach to Teaching Esperanza Rising

June 14, 2016

Esperanza Rising

As many teachers know, novelty catches students’ attention. Once you have students’ attention, readiness for learning increases. This was our thinking in creating enrichment activities for Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

Food plays an important role in this novel, literally and figuratively. Enrichment Activities for Chapter Foods are designed to increase students’ connection to the novel through food. There are two or more activities for each chapter. Activities are connected to the food in the chapter title and/or foods mentioned in the chapter. Each lesson plan also includes Chapter Connections, which help students think about the significance of the foods in each chapter and find connections of those foods to their own lives. There are suggestions for preparing food for student sampling and additional resources connected to the various foods. The food activities are fun and may introduce students to new foods or honor the foods of their families.

Product Contents:

  • 14 Individual Lesson Plans (1 per chapter)
  • 1 Culminating Activity: Chat Stations Activity
  • 1 Chat Sheet
  • 7 Chat Stations Questions Mini-Posters
  • 12 Food Cards for Forming Student Pairs, Trios, and Quads
  • Permission Letter to Parents/Guardians
  • Common Core Standards and Best Practice Connected to this Novel Study
  • 1 PowerPoint with 58 Slides

For more resources and ideas, check out our Pinterest Board.

Surviving to Thriving LjL: Pinterest Board on Esperanza Rising

Here’s a list of some of our collaborative work:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  • Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Son by Lois Lowry
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Visit our Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

 

Spread a Little Kindness and Avoid Teacher Burnout

April 6, 2015

Quotation-R-J-Palacio-right-choice-Meetville-Quotes-221996

According to Ben Johnson, author of 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout, making someone’s day by extending a small kindness is another step to avoiding teacher burnout. His suggestions include calling a parent or guardian to share something good about a student; complement a struggling student on something he or she is doing well; or just show gratitude to a staff member with a note, hug, or even a small gift. Here are 11 more ways to spread kindness for you and your students:

  1. Set up an appreciation day for custodians, school secretaries, bus drivers, or administrators.  Ask your students to write a thank you statement.  For example, thank you Mrs. Smith for keeping our classroom clean; thank you Mr. Brown for getting us to and from school safely; thank you Miss Thomas for saying hello to us when we come to school, etc.  Place all the thank-you statements in a large envelope and deliver them.
  2. Bring treats in for the staff on a Monday morning.
  3. Buy a dozen roses from the grocery store and give 12 staff members each a rose.
  4. Send a note to someone on your staff that has shown you kindness or has helped you.
  5. Surprise your students with a fun activity.
  6. Explore the resources listed below and commit to doing some of the acts of kindness with your students.
  7. Smile at your students and your colleagues.
  8. Organize your professional books and materials and give a new teacher books or materials you no longer need, but still have professional value.
  9. Leave a generous tip the next time you dine out.
  10. Call someone who has been in your thoughts.
  11. Watch the movie, Pay It Forward.

Below are some excellent resources and ideas for you and your students to consider when choosing kind. Wonder is a great novel that deals, among other things, with the power of kindness. Consider it for a read-aloud for your students. Check out our unit and read-aloud guide on Teachers Pay Teachers.wonder book bites

Resources for Spreading Kindness

15 Random Acts of Kindness

The Great Kindness Challenge

Conspiracy of Kindness

134 Random Acts of Kindness

Acts of Kindness Student ActivitiesSurviving to Thriving TPT

50 Random Acts of Kindness


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