Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Each Student (cont)

After writing the post for Tuesday, I was sent an article that fit right into the mission of the Valparaiso Community Schools that I mentioned yesterday.  This is a great article about Response to Instruction (although here they call it Response to Intervention) for students who are English Language Learners.  This is great reading...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's about Each Student!

The Mission of the Valparaiso Community Schools is to provide a safe and supportive educational environment maximizing the learning potential of each student.

I love the focus on "each student!"  Each student is unique and has their own strengths, gifts, talents, and needs. As teachers, it is a joy to get to know "each student" in a class.  It was one of my favorite things to do--and truly knowing "each student" meant I was better able to meet their needs--as a whole child.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately as we are finalizing a presentation to the board in April on Response to Instruction.  We've been working on this as a district for a few years--but the time has come to formalize a process.  This will be a process that will evolve--as there are areas where we can become even better at meeting the needs of each student.

Sometimes the needs we need to meet are for students who struggle academically, who need to be challenged through the differentiation of content, and for those working to integrate the Common Core.  Here are some great resources I found that may help you meet the needs of "each student", too!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Artwork on the VCS website

Do you love to look at student art work?  Karyn Wenger has been working to create a Virtual Art Museum at Memorial and Parkview.  The Memorial museum is up and ready for viewing.  To access the Virtual Art Museum, click on the VCS school website ( and then choose Memorial Elementary School.  Under the student tab you will see a link to the Virtual Art Museum.  On the left side of the page you can choose a grade level to view.  This is fabulous!  I'm imagining many family members that do not live in the area that would delight in being able to see this artwork!

Happy Friday--celebrate creativity today!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Teaching Channel

Have you found The Teaching Channel yet?  I'm not sure how I stumbled across it (usually I follow an interesting link to another interesting link to another interesting get the idea) but once I was there I was caught up in watching several short but awesome videos.  You can learn classroom management tricks, class engagement segments, differentiation ideas, see lesson ideas on particular standards, look for ideas for technology, there's a section for new teachers, and even a teacher celebration section--what a great tool!

If you check ont one thing this week from the blog--it would be worth it to make this it!

Check it out at:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

ASCD Webinars--for free

Have you noticed these days how many things happen through webinars?

As someone who does not fear public speaking, I can't actually imagine interacting through a webinar.  How do you read your audience when you cannot even see them?

All that aside, there are many days when I will have a webinar playing in the background as I'm answering emails, writing notes, signing paperwork, or other tasks that I can do while multi-tasking.  (My husband might tell you that multi-tasking is not a great idea as I apparently don't always hear everything he says to me as I'm usually working on something else, too!)

I recently discovered that ASCD has a library of free webinars.  As I tend to like to soak in lots of different learning...this is an exciting new hobby I have!  (yes, I know, I need to get out more often!)

Check out the list of webinars here:

You can see what is to come or check out some that have been archived!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Poverty and Learning

I've been in many classes over the years which have attempted to address the question of how socio-economic status impacts student learning.  Many debates have ensued over the idea of the "culture of poverty" and if one exists or does not exist.  As I love a good debate--I at times admit to taking positions I don't even hold just to stir the pot.  Many people hold many strong beliefs on this issue.

I've also taught in inner-city Kansas City, KS where I've been able to interact first hand with students and parents living in poverty.  Through these experiences I've had some real-life experience with this topic and it has shaped my beliefs on this topic.

My experiences in Kansas City taught me more than I could ever learn reading articles...but I have to admit I did appreciate this article from ASCD that I recently read.  Interesting thoughts/research...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hunger Games?

While yes, you may have been excited to read this post if you've been reading the Hunger Games books or recently viewed the movie--that was just the hook to draw you in!  I will admit that my favorite reading during spring break has been Hunger Games (and the books that follow) although unfortunately my posts won't be covering that material!  (although I will confess that I'm half way through the second book at the time I'm writing this post and I'm angry at the turn of events...)

The next few posts will be from some reading I've been doing over spring break.  It will cover a variety of topics--as I like to read lots of different things.

Today I'm starting off with a longer piece of research on how to instruct in literacy for the ELL student at the elementary level.  In my book--this is a must read for elementary educators.  It contains some suggestions that are worth consideration (start reading on page 19 for more information on these).

I'm a firm believer in self-reflection.  As I've been reading this I've been reflecting back on my days as a teacher--and thinking about how well I did (or didn't do) in some of these areas.  Food for thought.  Speaking of food...I'm off to find something to eat!  (confession--I often write these posts in chunks and then schedule them to post at later dates--so don't worry that I'm eating lunch at 8AM!!)