Saturday, June 7, 2014

Maya Angel

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Under The Surface / Golden Rule

<iframe src="//" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="">"Under The Surface" - Empathy Film</a> from <a href="">Austin Wideman</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wreck this p i c t u r e l e s s book!

Consider using the I CAN Alphabets as a journal for your classroom.

I is for Invigorated
dynamic characters.
Dynamic characters change and grow throughout our stories. They go from this to that. After completing each story, flip through the pages of Invigorated. Did any of the characters shift from being one word to another? Why? If they didn’t change they were static characters.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a ‘g’. He travels from green to grace. We can write his name on the ‘g’ page of Invigorated. Scrooge was primarily concerned with his riches (green). By the end of Dickens’s  A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is full of grace.
Words you are not familiar with, find the definition and record them right on their page.

C is for Character
literary terms.
Record the definitions of writing / literary terms on pages of your pictureless papers above each word. Below the pictureless word, draw or document examples from the assigned text.

A is for Apple
your pictureless pages.
For your reading notes for this class. Paper clip the first page of A is for Apple for easy access. On pages of Apple, take your class notes, make your own notes, ask your questions, scribble on the page, color, record, collage. You may even tear out a page or two and give to a friend.  There is a message from me to you on each page. l o v e

N is for Never Night
your Alphabet Book.
From one of our literary selections or all, write your own alphabet book at the bottom of each Night page. Words you love. New words. Words from a few different reads. One or many! Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Share with us on facebook!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

free inspiration

h o w d y lovelies,

do you need w o r d s to brighten your w a y?
have a free book, and play!
it's f r e e until Tuesday!!!
y a y!

we will be sharing words at EPCC's 5th Annual Literary Feista this saturday from 11:30-5:30. p l e a s e leave review l o v e

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cotton Tools Around the Home

When considering a Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine question, I asked my children now eighteen and thirteen what items did they love having at home when they were wee. 

Here's what they reported:

Cotton Digging Tools
Perfect for planting, shaping new worlds, or discovering old ones, kids will spend hours digging in terrain.

Cotton Building blocks and PVC

Kids connect these items to their imagination’s limits.

Cotton Tents

Private and magical arenas can begin with a pop-up shelter inside or outside of the home.

Cotton Noise Makers

Encourage your kid to compose and arrange melodies by having a variety of musical instruments and noise makers on hand.

Cotton Costumes

A wardrobe of dress-up inspires kids to become what they desire.

Cotton Maps / Globes

A strong display of ‘all the places one can go’ grants your kid’s mind to experience wanderlust.

Cotton Magazines

Keep a collection of recycled magazines for projects, collages and picture themed journals.

Cotton Magnets 
Magnets of all shapes and sizes make for sticky scientific discover, and endless hours of refrigerator play.

Cotton Art Supplies

With a grand assortment of writing utensils, palettes, and canvases, a kid can create their own galleries for your home and others.

Cotton Tape

Kids desire to express with new varieties of adhesives that promote endless sticky possibilities.

Allow your kid to imagine stories, settings and characters penned in pages of pictureless ebooks, audio books, and print versions.

See what other readers and parents keep around their inspiring worlds.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Lesson Plan W.A.L.T.Z. - ZING!

An educator with whom I discussed this piece entered my office and asked, “What’s the fifth step, the ‘Z’?”

“You know? The Zing!” I responded. 

She instantly knew.

The ‘Z’ stands for the Zing, the non-tangible component, of this acronym that will allow you to let the zing ring. The zing is whirling engagement. The zing is when the pupils of pupils light. The zing is when the learners take responsibility, pride, and ownership for their learning. It seems that in order for students to become vested in their work and take responsibility of their learning, they must be included in the planning piece.

The moments of true content mastery look different in every classroom, but it should be seen. Results should show in assessments. Quality models of student success should be displayed on the walls of the classroom.

One school year I allocated a separate same-sized bulletin board to each period. After grading each assignment I displayed quality work from the class. I marked an asterisk next to a student’s name when their fabulous work went on the board, to ensure that each person had an opportunity. The work executed became so quality the decisions became brutal. Students began to note mentions at the end of their turned-in work telling me that their work was board-worthy. Administration often toured my room with guests to display the boards. The boards allowed the student additional input into the lesson planning even after we completed the task. The boards worked one year, a blog in another. Of course, the students decided where and how to display their work.

We can endlessly dance around the issue of accountability, rigor and best practices. One thing is certain we can’t be successful teachers without successful students. Without their presence, buy in, and input, we stand in classrooms alone. We must WALTZ.


Mrs. Hanson (formally known as)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Lesson Plan W.A.L.T.Z.- t e a c h

Each week we have added another component to this lesson plan W.A.L.T.Z. I love acronyms! We are finally here... at application!

In step four, teach. The classroom can be seen as a reciprocal environment. My rule:

I will teach you, if you will learn. 

I’m responsible for the first, and you the later.

Prior to starting class, post the daily objective in the same place each day. Students can often refer to this note to stay on track, and to prepare for the learning that they helped create and are responsible for receiving.

Design a schedule that allows for your many findings to at least be done within the week, if not daily. Having a time associated plan helps with this process, as do procedures. Students can also be included in this creation. One student is assigned to keep me on time because the schedule is posted on the board. The student holds up a finger that means it’s time for the next item on the agenda. I have found the more that students share in the classroom responsibilities, the easier it is to manage the plan.

Zzzz - next week!


Mrs. Hanson (formally known as)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Lesson Plan W.A.L.T.Z- l i s t e n!

Thanks for following along. Let's listen. Together let's be very silent...

Listening to their answers is the third step. Many companies claim to abide by the mantra, “The customer is always right.” We can make an assumption that businesses that use this philosophy listen to their customers. Our customers are our students, and they are right.

What have you learned from the Waltz’s W and A? Often we build many types of feedback into our design, but don’t use the feedback. Listen with grace.
In the listen step, add student input into the plan. Lesson plans can include the following:

* Curriculum’s Essential Skill

* Student Expectation

* Materials or Resources used

* Bell Work / Warm up Exercise

* Bloom’s Target

* Learning Style

* Sensory Impact

* Explicit Instructions / Active Student Participation

* Assessment

* Modification / Adaptation

From the watching and the asking, one needs to compile data and plug it in to the plan immediately. I have found that short answer data is more accurate in that definite student-thought went into the answering, but all data will do.
Remember this type of planning doesn’t take much longer than the already extensive process. If target plans are already outlined the new information can be implemented easily. It should feel like a piecing together a puzzle. This goes here, and that there.

Teach 'em next week!


Mrs. Hanson (formally known as)

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Lesson Plan W.A.L.T.Z. - Ask 'em

“Why don’t you let them decide?” Much like I asked the young mother, I ask you. “Why don’t you let them decide?” Step two: Ask the students.

The state designs the curriculum of what is to be covered in a school year, but you and your students can design the implementation. Focus on what needs to be learned. When looking at the essential knowledge and skills required, break up elements into smaller parts that contain all of the required components of the lesson. This can be done with all categories. Allow the students to decide either in whole group by vote or by individual choice which direction to go.

Each grading period, after studying biography snippets of authors, I requested that students pick from one of five American authors in the year that familiarity with American authors was required.

My own children love when a teacher gives them choice. My son reports that one of his teachers offers him and his classmates the choice to either take notes or to devise games with the same information. According to him they don’t always choose games.

My daughter’s teacher allows them the discretion to record notes in their own way. She likes to color-coded Cornell. Note taking is now her favorite activity.
If one cannot deviate from assignments taught, possibly ask the students--with options available--sort of extension activities could accompany a particular subject matter. Make sure to allow for technology utilization and creative artistic suggestions. As long as extension tools allow for the student to express skills being learned or already learned the tool is valid.

Begin each semester with a personal inventory. The questionnaire can include thoughtful questions to summarize student likes and dislikes. It can also retrieve
information pertaining to home life and history. Students should affix this page near the front of their journals or notebooks and receive a perfect participation grade. When sitting down to plan, study their answers to assist with semester lesson planning.

A more orthodox version of asking is to pre-test students. They subtly show you what to include in your planning, by releasing what they know or what they don’t know. Begin school years, semesters, or even units with a good old fashion pre-test. People don’t know what they don’t know. Pre-tests or pre-assessments can take a myriad of forms. KWL graphic organizers or variations work just as well. What do you know? What do you want to know? What have you learned? Include students in your planning--even the ones with a small voice.

L - next week!


Mrs. Hanson (formally known as)