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Posts Tagged ‘Enhancing Instruction’

Looking for a way to keep track of your grades, without the drudgery of figuring all of the percentages yourself? Check out this terrific Excel gradebook from Microsoft. It’s easy to use, and it’s free!
http://blogs.office.com/b/office-education/archive/2011/07/26/free-excel-2010-gradebook-template.aspx

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Today was painful.  My students are in the editing phase of a journalism assignment.  How much easier it would be if they each had a computer to work on.  Some of their writing is good – really good.  They just need to move a sentence from here to there, strengthen a verb, eliminate an extra adjective.  They would derive so much more pleasure from writing if the process wasn’t so hard.  Instead of “cut and paste” on the computer, their notebook papers are filled with red arrows, crossed out words, stars that link to a note on the bottom of the page, etc.  I fear that their enthusiasm towards expressing themselves will be dampened because so much energy is required to copy and recopy.  If only there was some way to convince the school board that the expense of computers in every room is worth it. 

I’m thankful that my students are learning self-discipline and endurance as they carefully write their final copies.  I just hope the joy of writing remains along the way.

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Mondays mean a crowd around your desk, with everyone hoping to fill you in on the details of their weekend.  If you manage to avoid that, then someone wants to share during Morning Meeting time.  You want to listen, but your schedule demands otherwise.  Two Word Weekend gives every student the chance to share and also forces them to think. 

Start anywhere in the room.  Each student has to describe their weekend in exactly two words.  Examples:  “Grandpa visited,” “Dad’s birthday,” “Great restaurant,” or “New puppy!”  It’s a great way for everyone to input in the space of one or two minutes.  If time, you can draw one or two names or numbers for elaboration.

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Let’s face it – most children are excited and distracted this time of year.  When their school work is finished, they may do more talking than reading the book you assigned for their next report.  It’s helpful to have some self-directed activities that will keep them busy.  Here are some websites with fun printables:

http://funschool.kaboose.com/fun-blaster/christmas/printables/christmas-puzzles.html

http://www.theholidayzone.com/winter/printable.htm

http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/holiday.html

http://www.free-holiday-word-search-puzzles.com/

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Want to use newspapers to teach current events or social studies?  Here are some great ideas from two different Internet sites:

“Use the whole newspaper to find pictures or stories of five people who have different jobs. Paste each on paper and then write a description of their jobs as best you can. Include any training you think they had.

  Be artistic – make a collage of pictures from the newspaper of different kinds of jobs. Include words or advertisements too.

From the newspaper advertisements, cut out items you would like to buy. Now, add up the cost of all of the items. Make a separate list of items you can afford to buy now and which ones you will have to save for. Can you think of a way to work for the items you want?

Choose one page from the newspaper and try to come up with how many different jobs are involved in creating that one page.”

http://www.angelfire.com/ny3/NIE/sample.html

  1. Take a sheet of paper. Label one side of the paper city and the other side country. Look through the newspaper and find things that happen in the city and things that happen in the country. Place them under the correct headings on your paper.
  2. Place news items or pictures about each state on a large outline map of the United States. See how many states you can find in the news in two weeks.
  3. Chart community crimes for one week using reports and articles in the newspaper. Chart the type of crime, age of the criminal, location, etc.
  4. Travel by means of the newspaper. Clip pictures of a country. Find articles about the country, then write a story about the things you might do and see if you visited the country.
  5. Write an editorial on a topic of controversy for the period of history you are studying. Study some of the editorials in today’s paper before doing this activity.
  6. Clip and trace a political cartoon from the newspaper. Write a new caption for the cartoon.
  7. Research good and bad relationships between the United States and other countries. Try to categorize the reason these relationships may exist.
  8. Using the newspaper, give some names and titles of international and political leaders. Describe their roles, as you understand them from articles you have read.
  9. Find and read newspaper articles concerning pollution, overpopulation or major social problems. Make a list of the various items or the social problem you have selected. List some reasons that these articles are carried in the newspaper. Prepare a poster or write an essay telling how you would deal with solving this social problem.
  10. From the library files compare newspapers from World War I and World War II. How do these differ from newspapers today? Evaluate the content with regard to the first amendment to the Constitution.

http://web.redding.com/community/nie/index_lessons_100ways_socialstudies.shtml

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In these days of shrinking budgets, free resources are more appreciated than ever.  Even if you don’t personally pay for a subscription, an e-mail to your colleagues will probably produce more newspapers than you can use in a month! 

Let’s look at some ideas of how you can incorporate them into your math lessons. 

Add up the prices for all of the items in a given advertisement.

Determine the unit cost of items from the grocery ads.

Calculate the average cost of a certain type of car.

“Give” students a certain amount of money.  Have them determine what they can “purchase” from the newspaper ads.

Let younger students cut numbers from the paper and put them into “even” and “odd” piles. 

Give younger students pre-cut numbers and let them paste them in order.

Let students create word problems, using statistics from the sports section.  They then trade and solve.

Calculate the amount of ingredients needed for a recipe using a different number of servings than those suggested.

Tomorrow we’ll look at current events and social studies.

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Teachers spend on average about $395 out of pocket annually, with first-year teachers spending an average of $770, according to a study by Perry Research Professional.  During the holiday season, when all of our budgets are straining, newspapers can be an inexpensive resource.  Most students love the novelty of the format.  Let’s take a couple days and consider the possibilities: 

Language Arts:

Separate articles from the headlines.  Students see if they can correctly match them. 

Cut off the headlines and have students create them, then compare with a classmate.

Find all of the nouns (or verbs, or adjectives, etc.) in an article.

Cut out letters to make this week’s spelling words.

Highlight words that begin with a certain sound.

Write captions for photographs.

Study the Want Ads.  Create one for a designated item in the room.

Compare and contrast articles written for two different sections of the newspaper.

List the main idea and supporting details from an article.

Start your own classroom newspaper.

Tomorrow we’ll look at ways to support math concepts with a newspaper.

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