National Poetry Month 2015

National Poetry Month 2015

writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ March 29, 2015
Recess Rewind

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”
  ~~Walt Whitman

We first featured National Poetry Month in a March 24, 2013 post titled “April is for Poets”.
We are featuring it again this Sunday with new links updating it to this year’s celebration.
With so many new friends finding their way to our blog, we decided that it was time to occasionally do a “Recess Rewind” with some “classic” TEC tips.
Enjoy…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is still time to plan for April and the National Poetry Month 2015.

National Poetry Month 2015

With the iPad and web tools, technology can take motivation and ideas to a whole new level.
To start, know that you can order a free copy of their annual poster for National Poetry Month 2015 from The Academy of American Poets.

Although posters are not guaranteed to arrive before April, it is a place to begin, and for $5, you can order past posters. The academy also offers a “Dear Poet Project” for upper grades on their website: poets.org. Included are four activities aligned to the Common Core Standards for grades 7-10.

Scholastic has a website to encourage writing poetry with published authors. Along with activities, students have the opportunity to “publish” their poems online to share with friends and family.

Another resource is from ReadWriteThink.org with online interactive poetry writing sites for students grades K-12.

Finally, a British website for “young writers” offers a list of different types of poetry with several examples of each. It is an excellent resource for student poetry anthologies. Students could choose their favorite types of poems to include in their personally created collection, or you could filter their choice depending on your students’ levels and abilities.

We hope this offers both you and your students some fresh ideas to motivate you as we enter the last months of our school year.

Enjoy your weekend! It’s chilly here, but the sun is shining and the crocuses are blooming. We are all looking forward to some April showers and more spring flowers!

Common Comments

Common Comments

classroom management Google tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 2-22-2015

Every day our curriculum and collaborative work are moving to an online venue, and we are encouraging our students to create and submit their work in digital form. Here is a tip we picked up at METC 2015 in the session, “Become a Google Ninja” presented by Michael McCann and Greg Lawrence . This was a new one to us, and we couldn’t wait to share it with you. Continue reading to find out how you can quickly add one of those common comments we all use when assessing student work.

We’ve seen and used the “canned comments” our grading programs provide, but most of us like to add our own comments that reflect our personal “voice”. Google Docs provides that option under “preferences”.

Common Comments 1

Just access that option under “Tools” where you can find the shortcuts that are there for you, and delete and add to personalize it even more.

Common Comments 2
Make sure you choose characters and combinations that you wouldn’t normally use, such as “qa”.

Stay warm, enjoy your Sunday, and hopefully the sun is shining in your corner of the world!

International Dot Day 2014

International Dot Day 2014

tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 8-31-2014


So excited! It is almost here.
That time of year again. International Dot Day.
September “15ish”. The very first time we wrote about
FableVision and the teacher resources this company provides
was in a “Back-to-School” post three years ago. For links to classroom
resources, we encourage you to revisit that post. It’s been a year since our
post detailing “International Dot Day”. This event was founded by our good friend,
T. J. Shay, and it has grown exponentially. We had the good fortune of meeting up with
him at ISTE this past July when we were invited to a FableVision event. We were so excited
to also finally meet Peter H. Reynolds, the author and illustrator of “The Dot”. He presented
both of us with a signed copy of “Going Places”, the latest book written with his brother, Paul
Reynolds. This book describes “maker children”, a little girl and boy with big imaginations. Follow
the link to learn more about this book and its classroom resources. And now it’s, once again, time
for “International Dot Day”. A week ago, the count was up to over a million participants from 64
countries. Every year the number grows and the message is spread. This year, Terry Shay has added
“Celibri-dots” with inspired “dots” from authors. The first post was on March 9, 2012 and features
the dot submitted by Sharon Creech. This little blog is an endless source of inspiration with dots
that reflect the special talents and personalities of their creators. It’s the perfect stage to share
ideas and inspiration. But first, where to begin? Begin at the beginning. Begin with “The Dot”
written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Read the story of Vashti and her reluctance to
share herself on paper. With the encouragement of her teacher, she finds her inner
creativity and enthusiastically fills page after page with her mark. Then use your
imagination to help your students make their marks. We have listed many
resources below to help you and your students celebrate International
Dot Day with us. We are looking forward to seeing what your
students create and hearing your voice on #DotDay.
Only 15 days left! Let the planning begin,
and join us in and make your mark.

 

 

Listen to Shannon as she shares her own version of “The Dot” and the colorful “Marks” of Tuscola CUSD #301 students…

Format Free

Format Free

tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 8-24-2014

Many times our textbooks have online resources that we would like to use as hard copy.

In the case of an online quiz, it might be more appropriate than your printed resource material,
and you would like to use scheduled computer lab time for more creative assessments than multiple-choice tests or quizzes.

We’ve made a quick video tutorial to show you how to copy online material quickly and easily into a Microsoft Word® document.

If you have a website or blog, you might want to use Microsoft Word® to write your draft using spell and grammar check. It is always best to avoid copying directly from Microsoft Word® since it also contains formatting that might conflict with your website’s or blog’s settings. Copying it into a plain text document before your website will remove that formatting.

We hope this makes your life a little easier.
Wishing you a wonderful Sunday and a great week!

Snapguide

Snapguide

tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 6-2-2013

Don’t limit yourself.
Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do.
You can go as far as your mind lets you.
What you believe, remember, you can achieve.

~Mary Kay Ash

Shannon and I have often relied on YouTube videos for step-by-step visual directions when we need to learn how to do something new. The men in our households have relied on these to learn how to use the smoker and the best way to sharpen knives. When I’ve forgotten where to find the templates for address labels in Microsoft Word©, that’s where I go.

Now wSnapguidee have a new resource.
Snapguide.com has thousands of “how-to” guides, and is growing every day.

The Snapguide Blog features the best daily and weekly guides, and if there is something you need to know,
this is the place we recommend to get step-by-step visuals that include a “how-to” manual that is written like a recipe. It is organized to include supplies, it often includes videos, it includes images, and if you have a blog or website, an embed code is available for easy posting.

Below I have embedded a  Snapguide that explains how a  Snapguide can be used in the classroom.
Not only is it a valuable resource for both teachers and students,
but we recommend it for students as an alternative assessment for those “how-to/steps-in-a-process” writing assignments.

~~Check out How to Use Snapguide by Tabitha Johnson on Snapguide.~~snapguide.app

Snapguide is both web-based for easy access on your computer, and there is also an app for both the iPad and your iPhone.
Of course it is free.
You know how we love “free”!

We have also included a YouTube video from the Snapguide team that explains a little more about this great little app.

And yes, I did find a guide to sharpen knives and to smoke a brisket.
I guess it is up to me to make a guide on “How-to Make Labels Using Microsoft Word©”.

There is the possibility of sunshine today.
We hope you make the time to get outside to enjoy your Sunday and find some “Vitamin C” this morning.

April is for Poets

tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 3-24-2013

“Poetry is an echo,
asking a shadow to dance.”
  ~~Walt Whitman

There is still time to plan for April as Poetry Month.
With the iPad and web tools,
technology can take motivation and ideas to a whole new level.

To start,
know that you can order a free copy of their annual poster from
The Academy of American Poets.
Although posters are not guaranteed to arrive before April, it is a place to begin, and past posters are still available.

The academy also offers a “Dear Poet Project” for upper grades on their website: poets.org. Included are four activities aligned to the Common Core Standards for grades 7-10.

Scholastic has a website to encourage writing poetry with published authors. Along with activities, students have the opportunity to “publish” their poems online to share with friends and family.

Another resource is from ReadWriteThink.org with online interactive poetry writing sites for students grades K-12.

Finally, a British website for “young writers” offers a list of different types of poetry with several examples of each. It is an excellent resource for student poetry anthologies. Students could choose their favorite types of poems to include in their personally created collection, or you could filter their choice depending on your students’ levels and abilities.

We hope this offers both you and your students some fresh ideas to motivate you as we enter the last months of our school year.

Enjoy your weekend! It’s snowing here, and even though the crocuses are blooming, it still feels like winter. We are all looking forward to some April showers and more spring flowers! 😉

Collaborating with Stixy

classroom management tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 10-21-2012

We’ve talked about “Wall Wisher” and “Linoit”,

and now we’re here to present yet another “wall” that is very useful for collaborating and sharing.

Stixy.com has even more options than what we’ve described in the other “walls”,

and we love the ease that it allows in sharing.

To quickly sum up your “Stixy Experience”,
I’ll just quote from the “Welcome Email” I received after making a free account.

 

From Stixy:

“Here are a few examples on how you may choose to use Stixy.

 

  • Keep track of your family’s schedule.
  • Collaborate and share in projects at work.
  • Gather online research; images, links, screenshots etc.
  • Organize an upcoming holiday with your friends.
  • Share photos from your last bike trip.

But it is really up to you as to how you want to use Stixy.”

Only you, your needs and imagination, set the limits.”

Once again, “FREE”.
Yup.
We love “free”.

Visit our "wall" and let us know what you think!

I’ve created a “Stixy Wall” this morning,
and we invite you to visit it and leave us a “note” in the form of a photo, a short “to-do list” of what you want to accomplish today, or even a note suggesting how you might use “Stixy” in your life.

Prompting Needed

SMARTBoard tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 9-2-2012

Writing. 

For some of our students, this is difficult at best.

“How long does it have to be?”
“Does this count for a grade?”
“How many words do I have to write?”
“Does this have to be in cursive?”
“Does spelling count?”

In my classroom, journaling often began with a struggle,
but it was the one writing activity where I could see student growth.

By the end of the year, I could hear their voices,
but it was only as I read what they had written,
because while they were writing,
the room was completely silent.

Sometimes Shannon and I would provide assigned prompt suggestions,
and if these did not fit their needs or feed their imagination,
we would include suggestions from which they could choose.

I saw this “Imagination Prompt Generator” tweeted last week,
and after looking at it,
I knew it was something I would use.

The only problem was the advertising and “peripheral” distractions around the outside edge.

With that, I thought of a perfect example of how to use the new “SMARTBoard Internet Browser” element that was added in Notebook 11.

By adding a “frame” to cover the distractions on the webpage,
students can focus on the prompt and the task.

Feel free to download this Notebook file I have attached,
and tweak and change it as you wish.

Start out your first hour of the new week with a ready-made slide to bring on the “quiet”.

Stay dry,
and rest.
We love the 3-day weekend anyway we can get it!

Poems for the Poet

News tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 4-15-2012

April is “Poetry Month,
and with rain in the forecast,

(It IS April…)

why not help your students start their personal “Poetry Anthologies”.

The website www.readwritethink.org is an old friend,
and can make the task fun and easy.

When searching the theme, “Poetry”, the site offers 163 results,
including online tutorials, templates, and guides to many types of poems:

  • Acrostic
  • Catalog
  • Diamante
  • Haiku
  • Rebus
  • Riddle
  • Shape/Theme
  • Sports

as well as lessons to identify and teach poetic terms:

  • Alliteration
  • Assonance
  • Metaphor
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Rhyme
  • Simile

Need more help?

www.creative-writing-now.com

offers a list of poems that students will enjoy adding to their poetry collections
and a page filled with “how-to’s”.

It includes a free downloadable Microsoft “Sestina” template that can be used to guide your students’ writing.

(I know! I didn’t know what a “Sestina” was either!)

So, if you’re looking for something fun to teach,
and something fun for your students to learn,
try poetry.

It just sounds like a “Spring Thing” to me…

Kikutext

classroom management Conferences email tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 4-1-2012

As many of you know,

I’m back in the classroom.

My “anchor” was thrown over the side of my little “retirement boat” when I agreed to finish the year for a very special friend who discovered that she was expecting her first baby.

Teaching the last five weeks of the school year in what was my own classroom, 

in my own school,

teaching the same curriculum,

(Well, sort of…)

seemed very doable.

Until the doctors decided that bed-rest was required for the expectant mother.

The five weeks turned into eleven, as in a full quarter, of what is the most beautiful spring I can ever remember.

The hardest part of this teaching assignment has been working without the technology that I had in place,

and the connections that I had built with parents that were used to support and enable student achievement.

Last Thursday, my dear friend was scheduled to deliver her new baby boy.

All day we checked our text messages, Facebook updates, and emails.

Finally on Friday, we received pictures and a text announcing the arrival of a beautiful red-haired 8 pounds 5 ounces baby boy. His mother had to have an emergency C-section, but good news prevailed with Lucas Kyle’s arrival and the news that everyone was healthy and happy.

It was checking my texts that made me think about a student that I had last year.

His mother would not answer phone calls from “unlisted” numbers, which is how our school number appeared to the Caller ID.

One day, Alex suggested that I “text” her.

“That is the only way my dad can get her.”

As reluctant as I was to text a parent from my personal cell, I felt it was worth it.

I can honestly say that the impact texting Alex’s mother had on his success in my classroom was amazing.

So, finally, I present this “tip” for my morning “Sunday Sit, Sip, and Sync” post.

Kikutext is one site that would be on the top of my list for implementation in my classroom.

For years I had emailed parents daily, and it was one way that enabled communication and connection that helped foster student achievement and growth.

Email, however, is no longer the only option, nor is it the best use of technology in terms of communicating.

Both Shannon and I check our email on our phones,

and a text will be answered much sooner than an email or a “call-back” from a message left on our voice-mails.

Just this Friday an important note went home from the nurse’s office,

and if I had Kikutext set up and running, I could have sent a text to parents notifying them to expect the note before their students got on the bus.

Students, in turn, would know and expect that they would be responsible for delivering the note, and expectations for student accountability would be raised and reached.

Kikutext is

  • free,
  • and easy to use.
  • It is web-based, so teachers can type and send texts from their school computers.
  • Parent contact information remains private and cannot be seen by anyone but the teacher.

The little video will explain a bit more,

and after watching it,

I encourage you to check out Kikutext and give it a try.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

I’m planning on a bike ride and a visit to my favorite garden center.

Whatever your plans are, I hope it includes unplugging and enjoying the day so you can return tomorrow fresh and motivated for your kiddos.