Monday, April 7, 2014

Check out the books for the Global Read Aloud 2014

I blogged about the Global Read Aloud at the beginning of the school year, here. We had six classes participate here at Triggs ES: Rurtledge, Lucero, and Cervante's second grade classes, and Brock, Harenberg, and Buechler's third grade classes.

The books for the 2014 Global Read Aloud have been selected. This year they have decided not to assign specific books to specific grade levels. Instead, teachers are left to use their own judgement to decide which books to read with their class.

  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
  • One for the Murphy's by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Take a moment to sign up for the next Global Read Aloud and check out the FAQ for further information.
Read More »

Adventures in student blogs and comments

I worked with a 2nd grade class today to get started on their blogs. We had been using a class login to make simple blog posts about what was happening each day. Students took turns writing the daily blog post. This gave them experience with the blogging format. Today we unleashed them to write their own individual blogs.

Before we started with individual blogs, I wanted students to have a good understanding of how to comment on each other's posts. Using an idea I read about from Pernille Ripp, Paper Blogs: A Lesson In Commenting On Student Blogs, Ms. Schrimpf, the classroom teacher, had the students write out an initial blog post on paper. I then talked with the students about what makes good comments: asking questions, sharing experiences, using details. I then gave each student a pad of Post-It notes and had them rotate around the class, writing their comments on the Post-It and then placing it on the paper "blog".

During this time the student engagement was 100%! There was total silence while the students were totally focused on reading their blog posts and writing their comments. 

After about 15 minutes the students came back to their own paper blog and answered any questions that someone may have asked. I put a few blogs and their comments on the document camera as we talked more about what makes a good comment and how students could have a "conversation" on their blog.

In the afternoon we went to the computer lab where students received their Kidblog login and made their first blog post. They were also allowed to comment on their classmates blogs. We only had 50 minutes for this part, but, again, there was 100% engagement!

Hopefully we can continue with this activity as students create more blog posts, either as a center rotation or as a homework assignment. Their initial enthusiasm and engagement is certainly exciting to watch!

ISTE NET-S Standards

  • 2.a Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media
  • 2.b Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats


Read More »

Friday, April 4, 2014

Join the testing conversation

image from
It's that time of year! I got the letter from my son's school to make sure he got enough sleep, ate a healthy breakfast, and came prepared for....not learning, but testing! Schools all across the nation have stopped any learning that they were supposed to be doing and started those standardized tests that are so important for some reason.

Students in my school where I teach haven't yet started taking the CRTs - that will happen after their return from Spring Break. They are going through CRT preparations though (even though we are not supposed to teach to the test). At my son's elementary school they started the CRTs this week. Some states are piloting the SBAC, others the PARCC, and others are using state created assessments.

Whatever your role in education (parent, teacher, etc) or whatever your opinion is about standardized tests (I'm completely opposed), your opinion and experience about them should be heard. 

Enter the newly created Testing Talk website. It was created by a committee of experts from various fields in education. Right up front the homepage spells out the site's mission:
This site provides a space for you to share your observations of standardized tests your students are taking this year. What works? What doesn't? Whether your district is giving its own, CC aligned test or is piloting PARCC or Smarter Balanced, we want to pass the microphone to you, the people closest to the students being tested. The world needs to hear your stories, insights, and suggestions. Our goal is collective accountability and responsiveness through a national, online conversation.
Your opinions can be completely anonymous, but still provide important feedback about these tests. Don't just complain and criticize the tests. Offer authentic experiences about what the tests and questions are like, how the students are responding to the tests, and the affect they have on your instruction. 

Take the time and be a part of the conversation! And spread the word so others can join the conversation as well.
Read More »