writetolearn

Lesson Plan: Foods of Summer (or Winter)

The lesson plan Foods of Summer by Elaine Newberry aims to encourage writing through food– and who doesn’t love food!? Students can write down their eating experiences in a journal, and then share those foods with classmates at a celebration. This lesson is a great opportunity to inspire healthy eating habits!

Description

I teach a class of students with learning disabilities who will return to me in August. My teaching idea is to give the students a Summer Foods journal. As the students eat the foods of summer, i.e. watermelon, homemade ice cream, hot dogs, etc, they write about the experience in their journal. I would use a majority of the money and the Flip camera to record our Foods of Summer celebration. The celebration would be a taste sampling of all the foods each child wrote about in their journal.

Education Level(s)

3-4

Subject(s)

Curriculum & Instruction, Health, Wellness & Physical Education, Reading & Literacy, Student Engagement & Development

Learning Objectives

Students will learn to write about personal experiences, how to appreciate other students’ cultural foods, to use technology to record and publish a class movie concerning Foods of Summer celebration to share with parents and others.

Materials

Roodney’s Junk Food Summer fiction book - $15.00 It’s Summer. What’s in Season Now nonfiction book- $12.00 Food Writing Journals - $15.00 Foods for Celebration - $158.00 Flip Camera - grant Microsoft Movie Maker - at school Class Web Page to publish results

Other Information

This project is something that everyone loves…food. All food, eaten in moderation, can be enjoyed. This project is an opportunity to connect with the children personally, culturally, and academically. It is particularly exciting to peek their interest for the year to come with the promise of the Summer Food Celebration through literature and writing.

Image from iStock

Stretch Those Writing Muscles! (guest post by WriteToLearn)

For some of you, school is right around the corner and for others it’s already started. Any guesses as to what your students did over break? Did they go on vacation? Did they visit grandma? Did they attend camp? Chances are none of them will say they spent the summer working on writing good transition sentences. If they do, count yourself lucky. If they don’t we have tips for returning teachers to help you and your students ease back into regular writing. And they thought they wouldn’t learn anything on the first day…

1. Summer is undoubtedly as fresh in their minds as it is in yours. So why fight it? Give the students some creative limitations and set them loose. Have students write about their favorite day that they spent at home, the day that they woke up latest, or the first day that really felt like summer. Sharing these stories with partners or the class can be a good first-day icebreaker.

2. Tap into some of that leftover summer creativity by partnering students up and having each student write the first sentence to a story about their summer vacation. Then have students exchange papers and finish each other’s stories. The more outrageous the better! As fun as it is, this exercise is a great way to demonstrate the effectiveness of good introductions and organization for the reader and the writer.

3. The only thing that can compete with the vivid memories of students fresh off vacation is their vivid imaginations. Write a sample summer sentence on the board, even something as simple as, “I went to the pool.” will work. Ask students to use synonyms and descriptive language to change or add as many words as they can to the sentence without losing its meaning. A little friendly classroom competition will ensure that students dust off their school-year vocabularies for this one.

We hope these ideas get you and your class in the writing mood for the rest of the year. If you have any ideas to add, tweet us at @Write_To_Learn and we’ll share them with our Twitter followers. If you’re looking for more ways to improve writing, check out WriteToLearn 8.0, which releases August 22nd. It includes all-new vocabulary exercises, along with the same great, automated essay and summary scorings tools that complete the literacy trio of reading, writing, and vocabulary.

1. https://twitter.com/Write_To_Learn

2. http://www.writetolearn.net/

Assessment of Learning vs. Assessment for Learning

Last Friday, I joined the #a4learn (assessment for learning) discussion on twitter. During this chat, a group of twitter-savvy teachers came together to discuss the prepositional differences between Assessment for Learning and Assessment of Learning, more specifically, the benefits that Assessment for Learning can have on a student’s ability to comprehend and understand. Though Assessment for Learning is not a phrase that gets thrown around WriteToLearn headquarters very often, it is a concept that we’ve been using since our inception.

Both of the terms mentioned above start out with assessment. Assessment in this context means almost exactly what it does in any other situation: the interpretation, analysis and feedback of a piece of work. WriteToLearn and teachers alike perform many assessments of a student’s work. When a teacher writes ‘B-’ across the top of a paper, that’s an assessment. When WriteToLearn analyzes a student’s essay and gives a 3 in ‘Sentence Fluency’, that’s an assessment.

The difference arises in the middle of both phrases, the ‘of’ and the ‘for’. Semantically, ‘of’ is a descriptive term, telling the student about their work. A ‘B-‘ is an Assessment of Learning. The letter grade give students a rough idea of where they went wrong but ultimately it’s just a description of the work as a whole. The Assessment of Learning starts and ends with a single essay.

Assessment for Learning is entirely different. It’s the concept of using assessment in order to better teach and learn. If a letter grade is an Assessment of Learning, the notes in the margin are the Assessment for Learning. They offer prescriptive advice: specific suggestions on how to improve sentence structure and readability. The key to Assessment for Learning is a repeated back-and-forth between teacher and student. The use of multiple drafts allows students to receive multiple assessments along with suggestions for improvement. These assessments and suggestions allow a student to learn from their mistakes and apply those lessons to future writings.

WriteToLearn is based on the concept of Assessment for Learning. We suggest that teachers allow students to write six drafts of each essay or summary that the students submit to WriteToLearn. Our program gives essay feedback based on six popular traits of writing, along with suggestions for improvement and exemplar essays for each trait at each scorepoint. For summaries, WriteToLearn evaluates what students write, and gives feedback on how well they covered the main ideas in the reading passage. Selected reading passages include the “Hints” feature, which links to specific tips that emphasize important ideas that students may have missed when reading. These scaffolding tools show students where they were successful as well as where they can improve, and more importantly, what to do in order to improve. In the simplest terms, Assessment of Learning tells while Assessment for Learning shows. I know that will resonate with every teacher who has ever written ‘Show, don’t tell!’ at the top of an essay.

Lesson Idea: Snapshots

Brooke Webber shares a lesson idea that taps into the memories of students, and encourages them to create written ‘snapshots’ of those experiences. To inspire recollection, she will create an ambiance in her classroom that typically shares a theme with the written assignment. Since it is now spring, it would be a great time to use a summer vacation theme for the writing process. Read further to learn more about her lesson idea:

Description

I do detail-oriented 'snapshots’ of memories from past experiences (Christmas, vacations, etc). I give questionnaires to get the students thinking and in the right mindset, and I play themed music to provide mood. We do carousel outlines where you jump from group to group and tell a little bit about your favorite memory / tradition, based upon a memory outline and groups provide feedback on what should be included and what should be left off. The final paper is also a presentation and a party

Education Level(s)

9-10

Subject(s)

Reading & Literacy

Learning Objectives

The writing process is a big part of this project. Pre-writing, outlining, and peer-reviews are all disguised, for example, in red and green, font-heavy graphic organizers. Because these assignments are detail-oriented and from a first-person point of view, vocabulary and mood is also built upon, even for seniors who are used to writing papers by this time. It is a nice way to incorporate the excitement of the upcoming break with a writing assignment; they usually don’t even mind the writing!

Materials

I have questionnaires and journal entries to get them thinking. Anything I give them is themed - beach balls and sandals for summer break, footballs and falling leaves for fall break, etc. I also use a great radio station (accuradio.com) for themed music to set the tone. I might bring in a tart warmer with pumpkin pie scented tarts to make the room smell like Thanksgiving, and I always share my own snapshots at the very beginning (and refer to throughout) and give the rubrics first thing.

Other Information

This has really brought about some great personal essays for me. Some are sad, many are funny, but they all are hidden under the guise of celebrating the upcoming break. Those students who are distracted usually channel the energy into the project and have a great time with it. We go through conferencing and a few drafts, so the full writing process is covered. Also, for seniors, this is a great way for them to slow down and think back on special memories of this time in their lives.


image from iStock

School Without Walls

I really like this lesson idea, shared by Joselyn Anglin, in which students look beyond classroom walls to find inspiration. Check it out: 

Description

Students would be invited to study outside and interact with a student/class in another geographic locale: 1st-Observing their surrounding environment and recording observable sensory data. 2nd-Writing about their response to that data. 3rd-Publish their response and share it electronically with the partnering students/class. 4th-Draw or write a poem or music to accompany the other students’ experiences. 5th-Trade the creative projects back. 6th-See/listen/read how others perceive our experience

Education Level(s)

5-6

Subject(s)

Arts & Music, Math & Science, Reading & Literacy, Student Engagement & Development, Technology & Innovation

Learning Objectives

Students will practice making scientific observations, creative and expressive writing, electronic publishing, technological communication, reading comprehension and interpretation, and artistic/creative expression. Finally, students will receive feedback from the partnering students/class and see how well they communicate their own experiences. The most effective communication will receive back a creative interpretation/expression that most likely captures the essence of the originator.

Materials

We will use our interactive notebooks, pens/pencils, markers for illustrations, computers, interactive boards (Promethean), recording equipment, CDs, posters, drawing paper, and video recorder to capture the activities throughout the project.

Other Information

My students are moderately tech-savvy, but need more exposure to students outside of our safe suburban haven. The opportunity to communicate with a distant group of students will be interesting and fun. I hope students will find it interesting that their initial observations of what they experience when they observe outside are so different, i.e. sirens vs. a babbling bayou. I think it will increase their level of understanding and respect for others and their experiences on our planet.

image from iStock

Embrace the Change

This lesson idea, shared by Jeff Cochran, focuses on the importance of reflection inside and outside of the classroom! Students will write down their observations every day, and will be encouraged to write reviews for products and films. By doing so, students will not only practice the art of reflection, but also gain critical thinking skills that are crucial for the English classroom.

Description

I have students write daily throughout the holiday. Reflection is a key element of what we do in my classroom, and that doesn’t stop outside of the classroom. Students can write their reflections, podcast, film, or otherwise. I want them to be aware of their thinking even in holidays. I plan on integrating Twitter into this soon.

Education Level(s)

1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, Special Education, College

Subject(s)

Early Learning, Library & Media, Professional Development, Reading & Literacy, Student Engagement & Development

Learning Objectives

Students will learn the importance of reflection in their daily lives, and gain critical thinking skills essential for English classrooms. In addition, during winter break, I have students write a review of a products, film the review, and post for public consumption. This is writing for a true and real audience and it is engaging writers in something they are already interested in.

Materials

I will need cameras for students, each student will need access to a computer or cell phone, and/or spiral notebooks for all of my students. The eventual plan is to have half a classroom set of cameras that two people can share. They then can write the video reviews together.


Image from iStock

What's the Reason for the Season?

This lesson idea, by Tracy Fox, takes advantage of a current season or an upcoming holiday. Students have the opportunity to make a holiday-inspired creation, and then write a narrative story to go along with it. When all of the students are finished, they can share their story and creation with the rest of the class. Not only do I love that this lesson idea incorporates narrative writing, but that it can also be applied during any time of the year!

Description

Halloween is the official start of excitement time for the students. It’s when things get pretty hectic around the school. To keep my students focused on writing, I have them to use art materials to create props, characters, greeting cards, tools, etc. that are related to the season or the upcoming holiday. Then I have them to write a narrative story about their creation and present it to the class. My students get to have fun, use their imagination, and practice their writing skills.

Education Level(s)

3-4, 5-6

Subject(s)

Arts & Music, Curriculum & Instruction, Library & Media, Reading & Literacy, Student Engagement & Development, Technology & Innovation

Learning Objectives

My students will learn about various cultures (depending on the student’s presentations and creations), and they will learn how to write a narrative story.

Materials

The students will need art supplies such as paper, crayons, color pencils, glue, scissors, rags, buttons, and anything else needed for their creative products.

Other Information

It is best to allow the students a couple of days to create their product and then have them present on another day. It will kind of be like a show and tell; only they create, write, and then tell.  

Image from iStock

Lesson Idea: Student Video Reporting!

This idea, shared by Sherry Flodder, captures students’ attention by having them earn the opportunity to act as a reporter during a class field trip. Not going on any more field trips this year? Not a problem! You can apply this lesson idea to any school events, class activities, or even virtual field trips. Or, have students break into groups and have them each create their own video report about their favorite subject learned this year. This idea has many applications!

Description

Engage students in learning by having them earn the right to apply for “reporting” positions for our Chicago Field Museum trip. Students would “apply” to be the reporter or capture footage on the iPod Touch video, for the ten topic areas that will be visited at the Field Museum. Part of the application reflects the students efforts to participate and cooperate in the classroom. This opportunity would motivate students to “earn the right” to apply for these positions!

Education Level(s)

5-6

Subject(s)

Curriculum & Instruction, Reading & Literacy

Learning Objectives

The students would learn how to write a summary about each of the ten topic areas that will be visited at the Field Museum. In addition, they would complete an application for a reporter or video position. Topic areas that will be visited at the Field Museum meet Indiana State Social Studies standards.

Materials

Resources that will be needed for our project include the Study Island program (on-line, standards based practice site); opportunity to research topic areas at the Field Museum; iPod Touch with video; $100 (or more) to cover the cost of transportation to the Field Museum & entrance fees; and writing tools.


image from iStock

Lesson Plan: Reading, Research and Creative Writing Books

The seventh lesson plan from our WriteToLearn microgrant on WeAreTeachers gets students excited about writing! Encourage creativity with writing books.

This lesson plan, “Reading Research and Creative Writing” was shared by Holly Yocum. 

Description: As a gifted teacher my 63 students in K- 5th were introduced to research, plays, poetry. To encourage creativity we studied wildlife. Each student started creating a writing book to be continued. The students dreaded these writings. The change in their attitude was amazing as their confidence was building and to their surprise they enjoyed it! By teaching some of the strategies during the school year they will continue in the summer working on comprehension and different writings. I am so proud.

Education Level(s): Pre-K/Kindergarten, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, Special Education

Subject(s): Arts & Music, Curriculum & Instruction, Early Learning, Library & Media, Math & Science, Professional Development, Reading & Literacy, Specialized Instruction, Student Engagement & Development, Technology & Innovation

Learning Objectives: Students will gain knowledge about different wildlife an area of interest for them. As we all know when students are excited about learning they learn more. For most this was their first experiences doing research both on line and from books. They also will gain different strategies to write both plays and poetry and creating their first books. Students are learning to feel comfortable presenting their information to the class which is a very important life skill.

Materials: This year and to be continued next I started incorporating computers and library books for our research. We discussed note taking. Each student was given a book the library discarded to add pages to making each book unique. Assorted paper frames are used to surround the different writings and art materials are available. The plan is that with student help to put in a butterfly garden and bird feeders outside our classroom to encourage wildlife to come. Adding wildlife viewing and creativity.


Image from iStock

Lesson Plan: We've Got Mail! Summer Reading Program

The fourth lesson plan we’re sharing from our WriteToLearn microgrant aims to help students who don’t have easy access to books. With envelopes and postage stamps, one teacher gives a new meaning to the phrase, “You’ve Got Mail!”

This inspiring lesson plan,  “We’ve Got Mail! Summer Reading Program” was shared by Amy Smallwood.

Description: I teach 5th grade in a school that is almost 90% poverty and 65% ESL. My students have little access to books over the summer. I am going to start my students off with 1 fiction and 1 nonfiction book on the last day of school. When they finish reading, they will write about the books and mail it to me. I will then mail them 2 more. This will go all summer. We will also have special “read in” days during the summer where the students can come to school to discuss what they read and swap books. 

Education Level(s): 5-6

Learning Objectives: They will practice strategies in independent reading with books that they chose before school was out. They will also practice their writing skills, especially summarizing. On our “read in” days, students will have the chance to create a video book review for other students to watch. This project will also encourage the enthusiasm and love for reading and writing. The free books will be a great incentive to keep kids reading all summer. Many of them would not otherwise have this opportunity.

Materials: The materials needed for this project are: an assortment of books both fiction and nonfiction, envelopes, postage, video camera for video book reviews, possibly snacks, etc for read in days. 

Other Information: We work so hard all year to help our students make growth in reading and writing. Unfortunately many of those skills decline over the summer because students don’t have books to read, they are not writing, and they are not speaking English at home. The read in days will also keep the students and their families connected to the school and encourage family involvement in education.

Image from iStock

The classroom of tomorrow

What will the classroom look like in ten years? That was the topic of yesterday’s #edchat discussion on twitter. Educators from around the world shared their thoughts on the future of education. There were a lot of amazing contributions that made me excited for new students. If motivated teachers and administrators are coming up with such great ideas now, then we can look forward to an educational future that will be better than ever.

Of course, why wait ten years if you don’t have to? With a little creativity, many of the ideas that were submitted can be accomplished today. Here are some of my favorite ideas from yesterday’s discussion and some cheap, easy ways to implement them.

@isteconnects In 10 years global collaborations will be more common too … I hope. #edchat

Why not start collaborating globally now? Many classes have had great success with class blogs. You can have an online pen pal program, exchange pictures, collaborate on writing projects, the possibilities are endless. Reach out to your personal learning network (PLN) or use a social networking site for teachers like Edmodo.com to connect to other educators around the globe.

@MisterD In 10 years, the best “schools” will provide 1-to-1 education across time and place. Students will be grouped only by interest.

Why not let students group themselves by interest now? You can set up a class hashtag for all the students to tweet to outside of class. If the students want to share something while they’re reading a book assignment, they simply send a tweet about it. Written communications allow shy students to come out of their shells and add to the discussion. Soon, students will be talking about the assignment in class under normal teaching circumstances, but also outside of class, based on common interests and not forced groupings.

@Cybraryman Exactly. I would like to see students more connected with people outside the classroom to answer their quesitons #edchat

Connecting students with people outside of the classroom is easier than ever. Twitter is full of generous professionals who are eager to share their knowledge with students. Take a little time to find someone who relates to the subject matter you’re teaching and ask them if they would be willing to answer a few questions. There are thousands of scientists, writers, professors, and even other teachers who would be glad to impart their wisdom. You can have the students ask them questions about the material at hand, which will certainly leave a larger impression than reading it out of a book.

If you have any questions about how to implement these ideas feel free to ask us here, on our twitter account (@Write_To_Learn), or on our facebook page.

WriteToLearn Webinar

Join host Sue Ann Towle for an informative webinar showcasing WriteToLearn on Thursday, July 14th!

                              

Meeting Description:

WriteToLearn is a complete online tool for building writing skills and developing reading comprehension for students in grades 4-12. This innovative web-based tool provides students the opportunity to practice their essay writing and summary writing skills. The technology built into WriteToLearn instantly assesses student work by evaluating the meaning of text, not just grammar and spelling.

With WriteToLearn, teachers can assign students more writing practice while reducing time spent on laborious editing and scoring. As a result, they can spend more time on lesson planning and focused, individualized instruction.

Register today! 

 

Show Off

What do students love most? To impress their very own parents! In this lesson idea, shared by Jennifer Shade, students are given an opportunity to show off their skills! Pictures and videos will capture students’ thought processes and achievements at school, then they will be emailed to their parents that very same day. As Jennifer mentions, students are more likely to feel motivated when they experience daily positive reinforcement, especially from home! 

Description

I would use an ipod Touch to take pictures and videos of the students and email them to their parents that same day. That way the parents would know what their child did at school and how they succeeded. Example: I could take a video of the student explaining how they solved our math word problem using the correct terms and vocabulary. That night the parents would be able to discuss the student’s thought process over dinner and the parents would know what areas the student is still unclear on.

Education Level(s)

1-2

Subject(s)

Achievement & RTI, Curriculum & Instruction, Math & Science, Reading & Literacy, Student Engagement & Development, Technology & Innovation

Learning Objectives

Students will learn how to explain their work using the correct vocabulary. This process challenges the student to use a higher level of thinking because explaining how to do a task is much harder than just doing it.

Materials

ipod touch, wi-fi

Other Information

Students are much more motivated to do well when their parents are involved and when their is daily positive reinforcement. Parents will also have a much easier time starting a conversation about school when they know what their child is learning. I would love to use an ipod Touch to give the students a reason to Show Off!!


image via iStock

Understanding Characters in a Story

Understanding the characters in a story is an important skill for students to learn. In this lesson idea, shared by Jonathan Nix, students use a ball of clay to help them ignore distractions while reading a story. In doing so, they are able to follow the background of the characters and understand their importance.

Description

When teaching first grade there are many distractions to students while reading stories. We are working on understanding the characters in a story. Each of my students are given a ball of clay while I am reading a story. The students create a character from the story. After reading we share our characters and act out a specific part of the story. I find that the tactile element keeps the students engaged and focused and creates positive experiences to talk about text.

Education Level(s)

1-2

Subject(s)

Reading & Literacy

Learning Objectives

What I hope to teach my students is that characters add a great deal to a story. Characters are rich with backround and can lead to a better undertanding of a story. Understanding characters also leads to a better comprehention in fictional text. I would also like to expand into re-telling the stories using the clay characters. The interest level and motivation is also increased.

Materials

I will use several character rich text. Several containers of clay. Some type of quick capture video cameras. Video viewing tools.

Other Information

The idea of using tactile things to help students learn is a great way to engage all students at all levels. I am excited to expand and include as many teachers as I can in my idea.


Image from iStock

Photo+ Vocabulary=Photabulary

This lesson idea, Photo+ Vocabulary=Photabulary by Jo Barendse, interlaces vocabulary words with photographs so that students can make written and pictorial connections. I love that the idea stimulates students to learn the vocabulary of their science curriculum, while still remaining conducive to writing and technological skills!

Description

With the push of technology permeating our everyday world, students need the exposure and practice to implement technology skills at every opportunity. This project “Photabulary” is designed to integrate the acquisition of language and vocabulary with photographs to make a written/pictorial connection. Students will: Learn vocabulary for technology and science, and learn to integrate photos with vocabulary to define these words pictorally. Share their project via the world wide web

Education Level(s)

1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Subject(s)

Achievement & RTI, Arts & Music, Curriculum & Instruction, Library & Media, Math & Science, Reading & Literacy, Specialized Instruction, Student Engagement & Development, Technology & Innovation

Learning Objectives

My project of “photabulary” is an innovative, exciting way to help students learn the vocabulary of their new science curriculum as they integrate this learning with technology. Using an ipad2 and an application called “typedrawing”, students proceed through a series of steps that takes them from identifying a vocabulary word, defining that word, and then through images found on the web, label these images creating a “typedrawing” that pictorially defines the word and helps their comprehension

Materials

Type drawing application for each iPad2, iPad2-as many as possible–with a goal of 32 per school, internet connection, iPad2 covers, iPad2 display cable, iPad2 sync cart for storage/security, and syncing apps onto iPad2s iWork application for ipad2, iLife application for ipad2

Other Information

The idea of using iPad2, and the various iPad2 applications for teaching specific science vocabulary in very novel and innovative in both of the elementary schools where I teach. Students are eager to learn and especially eager when technology is involved. Since neither of these schools have any iPad2 for their use, introducing new technology into standard curriculum is very innovative. In addition, the iPads would be fully utilized by two school populations (close to 1,000 students)


Image from iStock

ISTE Day 3

Wow, what a great wrap-up to an awesome conference. We had so many people from all over the world come by the Pearson booth over the last three days to get personal WriteToLearn demos. Teachers, students, superintendents, directors and almost anyone else with a title learned how WriteToLearn could help them in the classroom and make their lives easier, either through a visit to our booth or one of Jeff Pence’s presentations on WriteToLearn today. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three days but looking back at all the photos, our new twitter friends and the armfuls of swag I saw ISTE attendees with, it’s clear that every one of the 12,000 attendees and exhibitors got something unique out of the conference.

Our first event today was Jeff Pence’s breakfast. Not that the food wasn’t amazing but muffins and fruit can’t hold an audience’s attention near as well as Jeff when he speaks about WriteToLearn.

Jeff imparting his experiences with WriteToLearn to the crowd at breakfast.

Jeff explaining the WriteToLearn essay scoring page at the breakfast.

After breakfast we headed back to the booth to meet anyone we’d missed on days one and two.

Sue Towle showing an essay that could use a little bit of improvement to the crowd at ISTE.

Sue Towle showing off WriteToLearn to some ISTE attendees.

Later in the afternoon, Jeff gave a more in-depth presentation about WriteToLearn to a sellout crowd.

Jeff warming up the crowd.

What an audience! This was 10 minutes before the conference even started.

Jeff takes questions.


If you were at ISTE I hope we got a chance to talk to you about WriteToLearn. If we missed you then you can always go to http://www.writetolearn.net/ for a product demo and if you have any questions, comments or just want to see more pictures of Jeff in action you can find us on twitter and facebook. I’m already looking forward to ISTE 2012 and seeing all of you there next year!

We are all Teachers

This idea, shared by Gitte Trejo, allows every student in the classroom to become a teacher! I think it would be great to encourage them to utilize various Web 2.0 tools to design and teach their lesson. There are a lot of approaches you can take with this. Check it out:

Description

In groups of four, each group prepares a short lesson on a text set. Criteria for lesson will be provided, but students have different options of lesson design. Each student must write down the lesson, including materials involved. Next class period, students will switch groups so each group will consist of one member from each of the original groups. Each student will teach his prepared lesson. Students will take notes as they will be tested later on one question from each subject area.

Education Level(s)

9-10, 11-12

Subject(s)

Reading & Literacy

Learning Objectives

The students will learn to depend on each other and share information in order to be successful. Also, the students will become teachers for each other, appreciating the importance of each step in planning and delivering information. Finally, they will learn to ask clarifying questions as they will learn self-reliance and pro-action in relying on peer to predict and determine the importance of the material the chose to cover in their lessons.

Materials

High-interest non-fiction text-sets with common themes and subject matters. A check list of criteria for lesson planning.

Other Information

Depending on the scope of the lesson, students might want to create Power Points, poster boards, or small textbooks for their lesson. Also, a third rotation of the groups would allow the third group formations to pick one test question each for the test.

Miraculous Marble Jar

A great way to combat the inevitable distractions in the classroom is to reward good behavior. Jim Jewell shares an idea that uses a marble system to keep track of student etiquette! 

Description

Incentivize these behaviors: Outside of room: straight line, complements on quietness, etc. - 2 marbles; Using advanced vocabulary words from word wall correctly as part of class discussion- 2 marbles; 100% daily attendance- 1 marble; 100% homework submitted- 1 marble; 100% AM/PM Participation- 3 marbles. With permanent marker draw a line at 25%, 50% and 75% full. Recess earned at each line and full, then movie @ 50%+, treats @ 75%+ and finally a party @ 100%. No rewards given otherwise.

Education Level(s)

1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Subject(s)

Achievement & RTI, Arts & Music, Curriculum & Instruction, Early Learning, Health, Wellness & Physical Education, Library & Media, Math & Science, Reading & Literacy, Specialized Instruction, Student Engagement & Development, Technology & Innovation

Learning Objectives

Self-control, focus, goal-setting, delayed gratification, inter-reliance, teamwork, school pride and responsibility in addition to the regular curriculum.

Materials

Miracle Whip 32 oz size with lid, round marbles or aquarium filler enough to fill the jar and bag to store marbles, permanent marker. Movies, Popcorn, Money for Pizza or a generous pizza place in on your deal.

Other Information

Apprise Administration that rewards are immediate and supersede any other all campus restrictions. Example: While no recess is permitted today only, your class may go because they do not get regularly scheduled recesses. When we did this I had a local pizza joint donating pizzas. I bought the movies and treats (popcorn, raisins, nuts, etc.) out of my own pocket, but PTA can help. Initially, it went slowly but once the kids figured it out the rewards were immediate the reward frequency increased.

Celebrating teaching at IRA 2012

We had a great time meeting so many passionate readers and educators at this year’s International Reading Association Convention. Many of you told us how much you love using WriteToLearn and many of you told us how much you would love to start using WriteToLearn. Then there were the throngs of people who wanted to pose with our cardboard cutout of author Jon Scieszka. 

We’d like to thank those of you who were able to make it by the booth for your time and attention. If you weren’t able to see a live demonstration, you can always check one out at our demo site. We had a great time at the conference this year (you’ll see why in the pictures below) and we’re already counting the days until the next one. Happy reading!

We were stationed right next to the wonderful people from We Give Books who, as of the conference, have donated 1 million books to children throughout the world. 

To our other side was the Love of Teaching board. Educators were invited to share why they were passionate about teaching. Answers ranged from helpful,

to inspiring,

to excessively honest.

Another common sight at the Pearson booth was Sleuth Hound. He took a break from sniffing out eager readers to pose for a picture with WriteToLearn product manager Sue Towle.

Thanks Sleuth! And thanks again to everyone who came by the booth. See you next year!