Friday, November 4, 2011

Let's talk about S.E.S.

Free Love is in the air!


Check to see if your child's K - 12 school offers a S.E.S. program.  

Supplemental Educational Services are offered in low performing schools throughout the nation mandated by No Child Left Behind. If your child qualifies, you can receive top notch tutoring services for free!  Remember your child need not be struggling to enlist a tutor or a coach.  The rule of thumb (don't remember where I first heard this) tutoring starts at 80 not at failing.   

Sign up for the program.

Read through the providers one page summaries.

Choose a first, second, and third provider based on your child's individual needs.

The tutoring coordination will be determined after these steps are taken.




It's free! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Salman Khan talk at TED 2011 (from ted.com)

Mathway: Algebra Problem Solver

Mathway: Algebra Problem Solver

Blog Mommas: New Blog of the Week!

Blog Mommas: New Blog of the Week!: "Congratulations to our NEW Blog of the Week Winner!!! FREE Cotton Here are 3 recent posts from FREE Cotton! Wishbone: Bark to the Fut..."

AlphaTapp!

This school year will you use AlphaTapp in your educational worlds?  Our kids are tech savvy.  We need to meet them.  We know that visual learners respond well to visuals.  It is equally important to appeal to students that have words of affirmation or gifting as a love language.  The app costs $2.99, the same as the newly updated books.  Unlike the books they can be only used with iProducts (iPod Touch, iPhone and the iPad).

People have asked how does one use this app.   The short answer is - how do you normally use flashcards in the classroom.  The long answer includes parts of our vision for the good word revolution.

Administrators & Counselors can create climate change.
  • Email a positive word card to colleagues, parents and students.
  • Email a card to yourself then display on an interactive white board during inservice or during the breaks.
  • Allow students app play during cool down times, waiting periods or focus sessions.  They can even spell their feelings.

Teachers can encourage word exposure.
Email a card to yourself then display on an interactive white board for the following: 
  • Paint the room use as a word wall.
  • Use a card for writing prompts.
  • Post a new positive word for the first 100 hundred days of school.
  • KWL each word for daily journals.
  • As an individual or group warm-up (look up etymology, definition and add visual representation).
With the app as a handheld:
  • Practice spelling words with the spell feature.
  • Alphabet and alphabetizing exercises.  (Each deck is A to Z).
  • Email a good word to a colleague or student.
  • Shake a word with the jumble feature show student to positively reinforce good behavior or remind of not so desired behavior.  
The premiere app comes with six different A-Z good word decks.  There are six categories.

  • Angel - Feel good words for all ages.
  • Canvas - Art based.
  • Explore - Math and Science derived.  
  • Imagine - Advanced level learners.
  • Nothing - Can be about anything.  
  • Wellness - Well living.
Please try AlphaTapp in your classrooms and eclassrooms alike.  Share your thoughts and results.  

t h a n k s & l o v e 

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alphatapp/id442982046?mt=8# link to app

Friday, July 22, 2011

Johnny Did WHAT?!: Words Surely Matter

Johnny Did WHAT?!: Words Surely Matter: "A teacher reminds us that what we say really makes a difference: I had just acquired a young Russian man about a month earlier as a student..."

Wishbone: Bark to the Future Part 2

Monday, July 18, 2011

Johnny Did WHAT?!: When fake lives take over....

Johnny Did WHAT?!: When fake lives take over....: "Online 'living' can sure be a distraction for our students, especially when we've got laptops as part ..."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cotton Trivia

Inservice / Staff Development?  Yes or No?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cotton Trivia

Should students take summer learning breaks?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Many Genres Educational Tip from Heidi Ruby Miller

EDUCATIONAL TIP FOR WRITING:
WHAT ARE BE VERBS?
The group we refer to as BE verbs are all forms and tenses of the verb to be. (am, are, is, was, were, been). It is one of the first verbs we learn in speech because it allows us to show identity simply and easily.

WHY SHOULD I AVOID OVERUSING BE VERBS?
They spoil the clarity of a character's actions.
They cause repetition within the work.
They often lead to passive voice.
They make your prose less interesting and engaging.
They make the work more difficult to read.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M OVERUSING BE VERBS?
Use the find feature in MS Word to find all of your BE verbs by clicking on FIND in your tool bar, then typing in the verb form: If you write in past tense, start by finding was; if you write in present tense, start with is. Go through all the forms and tenses and highlight all of your BE verbs so you can get a visual of the distribution.

HOW CAN I REPLACE BE VERBS?
It's simple: Change the BE verb to an action verb. It may be one you already have in the sentence with an –ing at the end of it (I was running through the streets. – I ran through the streets.).

For extra practice, try writing a paragraph in your current work without using any BE verbs. If you apply this guided practice over and over, eventually it will become a good writing habit.

NOTE: Sometimes BE verbs are necessary, especially in dialog. Make a judgment about whether a form of BE is the best verb to use in a particular sentence.

Contributor: Heidi Ruby Miller

Articles in MGOC: "Tomorrow's Kiss: The Duality of SF Romance"
"The Shifting Grail: A Quest for a Good Read"
"Be an Archetype, Not a Stereotype"
"I'll Scratch Your Back and You Promote My Book"
"Touring Virtually"

Links: http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com

Other Work: Ambasadora

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You can order Many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller, through any of your favorite book sellers, including Amazon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Many Genres Educational Tip from Natalie Duvall

EDUCATIONAL TIP:
I currently teach 11th grade English and various adult writing courses. You might think that 17 year olds and grandmothers have nothing in common, but when it comes to writing, they do. Writing is inherently personal, and students of every age can be very sensitive when it comes to their own writing. If students feel attacked, they won’t be able to grow in their writing.

Because of this, it’s important that writing instructors (or critique group moderators) don’t allow anyone to be swamped under a deluge of criticisms. Writers should instead be judged on only a few items at a time. In secondary education, this style of editing is called “focused correction areas.”

The general idea behind this is that student work should be evaluated on no more than three areas. These areas are specific and identifiable. As a writing instructor, you should determine what will be evaluated and then assess just for that. For example, one session could critique character development, while another worked on showing and not telling.

By doing this, teachers ensure that no student feels overwhelmed. It will also make the revision process seem more manageable.

Contributor: Natalie Duvall

Article in MGOC: "Talking About Dialogue"

Links: http://www.natalieduvall.com
http://www.finelivinglancaster.com
http://www.thecaloriecountess.com

Other Work: I write Regency-set historical romance. This is the kind of genre Jane Austen would write in if she were alive today... and wanted to show people kissing. I’m also a columnist and feature writer for the magazine, Fine Living Lancaster.

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You can order Many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller, through any of your favorite book sellers, including Amazon.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Many Genres Writing Tip from Jason Jack Miller


EDUCATIONAL TIP FOR WRITING:
WHAT ARE CONCRETE NOUNS?
Concrete nouns help authoritative authors establish dominion over setting by showing readers that the action isn’t taking place in a fluffy, generic anywhere. Concrete nouns show without telling. Time period, seasons, political climate, socio-economic situations and social mores can all be demonstrated by the nouns an author utilizes to animate his settings. Timons Esaias, a mentor in Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction program, says that "every concrete noun paints a picture".

WHY SHOULD I USE CONCRETE NOUNS?
Being more specific with nouns can transform your prose into a much more concise and believable product. If nothing else, let this lesson provide a more systematic approach for writers who have yet to develop their own method of formulating vocabularies for their projects.

HOW DO I USE CONCRETE NOUNS?
If a reader has ever been to a place a writer hasn’t, it’s evident to the reader almost immediately. Authenticity is tough to fake, but good writers do it all the time. And they do it by thoroughly researching subjects to provide themselves with a vocabulary of the region and culture they are writing about.

Make your own, extensive lists of concrete nouns. Jump into the book knowing how characters speak, where their parents went to high school, what they ate on Fridays growing up, how they describe local weather phenomena, what their neighbor’s favorite sport is. It may seem excessive, but by creating your own, extensive vocabulary for your novel you can leave much of the telling out, and stick to showing.

Among the nouns your list should include are:
Colloquialisms - a regional way of speaking
Slang - less regional and more about social groups
Local culture, holidays, and customs
Local food, drink, and restaurants
Music
Famous events in local history
Smells
Stereotypes and archetypes
Place names and local landmarks

This exercise isn’t meant to be totally inclusive or even mandatory. It’s a starting point for compiling concrete nouns that should be used throughout a story to make the setting more vivid and authentic. The checklist should be fluid and amendable, and writers should feel free to adapt as they see fit.

Contributor: Jason Jack Miller

Articles in MGOC: "Painting Your Setting with Concrete Nouns", "Setting Limits: Working in Small Spaces", "Magical Realism as Genre: Or, Waiter, There's an Angel in My Soup", "Essential Magical Realism"

Link: http://jasonjackmiller.blogspot.com

Other Work: The Devil and Preston Black
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You can order Many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller, through any of your favorite book sellers, including Amazon.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cotton Trivia

How can we best engage in the classroom during the last weeks of school?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Many Genres Writing Tip from Michael A. Arnzen

EDUCATIONAL TIP FOR WRITING:
The other day I stumbled upon a website that made these neat pieces of art by compressing every frame of a film down to a teensy ribbon only one pixel in width, then lining these ribbons up side-by-side, sequentially in the frame. The site (http://moviebarcode.tumblr.com/) calls these images "movie barcodes" but it's much cooler than that sounds: the result is a beautiful curtain of color and shade. It's artful because it changes the way you think about the movie, compressed down into a visual summary that you can't really sort out logically, but upon closer study nevertheless effectively captures the "feeling" of the entire feature-length film.

[ Example: Blade Runner from http://moviebarcode.tumblr.com/post/4438993828/blade-runner-1982-prints]
This capture of the emotion of an entire story in a single frame is very compelling to me. In a way, it's sort of like our memory of the whole movie, condensed down into one inexplicable image that captures our experience. It is an emotional summary. These compressed films, these "movie barcodes," reveal the way the cinematographer and director used a spectrum of color and composition across the whole movie to shape our emotional responses to what we see (whether they intended to or not). The patterns are fascinating, and imply a great deal about the subtle ways our reactions were shaped. Scanning one of these movie barcodes from left to right, you can tell at a glance when the film may have slowed down in pace (therefore creating straight horizontal "bars" of repeated color, or clusters of similar tones) or you can see when the director may have intensified the action (resulting in rainbow effects or chaotic diagonal-lines suggesting shifty camera movements). There are moments when lighting darkens, suggesting doom and gloom, followed by brightening bars of light, suggesting a change in the characters or world. And we see all this in the patterns of color alone.

Change is everything. As colors change across the picture, the image implies different moods that emerge from various regions of the plot, as the story moves from beginning to end.

I wondered what my novels might look like if they were compressed and rendered in the same way.

The lesson here is that sometimes it is what we don't see, but what's still there, that gives shape and structure to our stories. Writers might consider outlining the mood (or other subtle elements) of their story in the same way that they outline their plots. Color code it. It pays to think about how expository cues--like colors, symbols, shapes and other images--change over the course of the novel, giving shape to not only the mood you hope to set in any one scene, but how that mood moves the reader across the whole book. Too often we put all of our attention into the obvious actions and the external character changes when plotting out our books. It's all foreground. We shouldn't forget to think about the chronology and coherency of the background, too.

One time-tested trick for setting a mood, for instance, is to use the weather in the setting to suggest the emotions of any given scene. But that scene is just one ribbon of time. Don't just think about the weather in isolation--weather is constantly in flux, moving one season to the next. Seasons can change over the course of the book, depending on the chronology of your story. Have you thought about these? Have you chosen the best span of months to set this story? Map the motion of time--these changes in weather patterns--out carefully, and your book will have a natural and more meaningful feeling that the reader will intuit. Likewise, time of day for any given scene can transform a setting from "dark" to "light." Pay attention to this from scene to scene. Avoid writing a story that--if compressed in the reader's imagination--would just be one big emotional bar of the same color. The last thing you want to do is put a lot of work into something that emotionally flatlines. As characters change, so too should the backdrop that we see them framed within. Construct your book so that it creates a curtain of emotional color and it will feel more three dimensional, more transformative, and more natural in the way the stories moves over time than it otherwise might.

Contributor: Michael A. Arnzen

Articles in MGOC: "Genre Unleashed"
"Tuning Up Your Writing"
"The Element of Surprise: Psyching Out Readers of Horror,
Mystery and Suspense"
"Making Modern Monsters"
"Working the Workshop: How to Get the Most Out of Critique
Groups (Even the Bad Ones)"
"Persist!"

Link: http://www.gorelets.com

Other Work: 100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2007)

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You can purchase Many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller, through any of your favorite book sellers, including Amazon.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cotton Trivia

How can you use social media in the classroom?

Many Genres Marketing Tip from Sally Bosco


EDUCATIONAL TIP FOR MARKETING:
The purpose of Tweeting isn’t really to sell books, it’s to build relationships, have a dialogue with writers and readers, to pique potential readers’ curiosity about you, and to gain their interest. They’re gaining access into your secret world. Make that a place people want to visit.

If you’re new to Twitter, start by following your friends. They know people who know people, and this will widen your circle. Do the same for any writers you know or writers’ associations that interest you.

Find groups who hit your target market and friend them. Just Google "Twitter + your subject matter." You may want to do this gradually so it won’t appear that you’re spamming people.

Follow people and organizations who are relevant to your writing. If you are writing a novel about, oh, I don’t know, cross dressers, try to make contact with people who are interested in that subject matter. A simple Google or Twitter search will yield that info.


Contributor: Sally Bosco

Articles in MGOC: "The Manga Explosion" and "From Far East to West"

Link: http://sallybosco.com

Other Work: AltDeath.com
--

You can order Many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller, through any of your favorite book sellers, including Amazon.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Many Genres Educational Tip from Matt Duvall

EDUCATIONAL TIP FOR TEACHING:
One area many teachers (myself included) struggle with is assessing whether students are actually understanding what we're teaching. Formal assessments, such as tests, take time and effort to create, grade, and return. Worse, there are some situations where a test just isn't an option--like when you're teaching a writing workshop. Here are a few quick ways to assess student comprehension in almost any teaching setting.

The first technique is student self-assessment. Have the students give you a "thumbs up" if they're very confident in their understanding, a "thumbs sideways" if they feel so-so about it, and a "thumbs down" if they're completely lost. This gives you a quick, immediate sense of how your students are feeling.

The second method is to pose a simple question based on the material you covered. Have the students write three sentences, max, to answer the question. You can quickly read these over during a break or while the students work on another activity, and decide whether there's anything you need to clarify.

The third method is to have a volunteer share with the class a paraphrase of what you've said. Then, the students can discuss if anything was left out or different than what you taught. This allows students to learn from each other, and also gives you feedback on areas where students are still confused. (You can also break the students into small groups, where each group does this--it can help for shy students or large classes.)

There are many ways to check for understanding--these three are just some that have worked for me. Regardless of the method you use, make sure you are checking and not just assuming that because you've said it, students got it.

Contributor: Matt Duvall

Articles in MGOC: "Powerman Writes Women's Fiction: On Writing What You Know"

Link: http://facebook.com/therealduv

Other Work: "Writing Hell" to appear in The Chiaroscuro re-launch mega-issue (April 2011)
"Writing Hell" is a reprint of Matt's humorous horror story that originally appeared in Seton Hill University's Eye Contact magazine.
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You can pre-order Many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller, through any of your favorite book sellers, including Amazon.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cotton Trivia

What's your standardized test day specials?  We always have waffles, protein shakes and peppermints.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Writing Tips From Authors Coming Soon!

Contributors from the only writing guide you will EVER need, Many Genres, One Craft, will be sowing f a b u l o u s cotton seeds around here the next few months.  Score!

Cotton Seeds #14

The Treasure
Find a used a book store and play there!  


One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cotton Seed #13

The Reading Scene
Are there awesome spots in your home to read?  Make one! Or make another one!  

Set a scene with good lighting and comfortable seating.  Pick a basket or a crate and fill it.  Filler items include, but are not limited to:   highlighters, book marks, magazines, a newspaper, a dictionary / thesaurus, sticky notes, snacks, H2O...

Be c r e a t i v e!      


One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Monday, March 21, 2011

College Prep!

The week of blog silence for Japan coincided with Texas Spring Break.  I missed you guys!  I have a fabulous link to share for parents of prepping for college.  It's a jewel!

http://www.mycollegecalendar.org/explore/freshman.aspx

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cotton Seed #7

Play Read
Pick a play, assign parts and perform! 

One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cotton Seed #3

The CC Read
Turn on the Closed Caption.  Decide on a thirty minute television show. 
Turn down the volume.  Read  

One, Two, Three - GO!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Study Soiree

Words we choose paint and frame our experiences.  
 
I love using 'question' instead of 'problem' when talking math.  You can build excitement (engagement) around any subject by adding the word 'party' and an exclamation mark to the end.  
 
This works at any age.  The Alphabet Party!  The Math Party!  The SAT Party!  The Divorce Party!  Not so much on the last one, but the party is better than The Divorce Lamentation Fiasco.
 
Name a time and a place, grab the tools, incorporate a themed movie and provide snacks.  Voila Party!  
 
This past weekend we hosted such an affair, the Second Annual Spelling Party - the weekend before the school's bee.  We called the girlfriends at the last minute and asked them to meet us at Barnes and Noble with their spelling list.  I thought this would be a great place because it enforces the authenticity of the issue.  At any point the girls would be able to look up and see others engrossed in their studies as well.  And of course the Starbucks snacks would be close by and on hand.  
 
Before leaving home, I set a timer and asked the hostess (my daughter) to collect the items we could possibly need.  She returned with a bag full of dictionaries, thesauruses, paper, pens, index cards and highlighters.  I asked her to bring her cell phone and iPad as well.  Out the door we raced, after reaching the end of the block, we had to turn around, she had forgotten her spelling list.
 
The ladies chose the bar in the coffee shop to set up.  They studied word rows individually, in pairs, and all together.  I let them dictate the event, but I stayed to pronounce words and give tips.  
 
Once I heard that a child’s age is the amount of minutes they could focus.  These fifth grade girls are all around ten.  Every ten to fifteen minutes they took a break, then began again with another row.  I threw in a few scavenger hunt items from the list.  I purchased biscotti and challenged each girl to spell the word before they could delight.  ‘Auburn’ was another word we intended to search the store for until we found a natural, thankfully, she was sitting close by.
 
Some of the plans didn't work out.  I wanted to have the girls text their spelling words to each other with their cell phones.  One didn't own one, one left hers at home (mine), one's was out of batteries.  There wasn't a place to show the movie or time.  I checked out 'Spellbound' this year, last year we watched 'Akeelah and the Bee'.  We watched it at home.

  Fabeelous time!  Everyone learned a word - even me!  I might update you on their performance.  From my list they are all first place! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cotton Trivia

Can you carve out thirty minutes each month to visit your child's school?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cotton Seed #12

Stop, Drop & Read Read
thatisall

One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cotton Seed #11

Cover to Cover or the Jacket Read
Grab a stack of books.  Read their covers- the titles, the authors, the bios, the book summaries, the ISBNs- whatever is on the covers.  What appeals to you? 
 One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Free Cotton / Free Rice

MY Favorite Addiction for ALL ages - Free Rice - Check the Link!  Use for MANY disciplines!


http://freerice.com/ 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Can you avoid segregation?

http://www.understandingprejudice.org/segregation/board1.htm

Cotton Seed #10

Parrot Read
Everyone in the room read the same paragraph in rounds the same way! Remember to completely stop at the periods, pause for commas and show w i l d expression with exclamation points!  Then continue with the next parrotgraph. 

One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Free Cotton / Free Rice

MY Favorite Addiction for ALL ages - Free Rice - Check the Link!  Use for MANY disciplines!

Cotton Trivia

To teach THE test or not?  That is the question!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cotton Seed #9

Destination Reading
Purchase, rent or borrow an audio version of a book.  Listen wherever you travel! 

One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Monday, February 28, 2011

I.F.S. Worked For Me!

People ask me what works when teaching children to read.  I answer trial and error, and to never give up.  I personally don't believe that people exist on this planet that don't like to read.  I'd rather think they just haven't met the right text yet.

My children read.  Believe me, it's not by accident, but more by design.  They started to read EARLY.  I wish I could take complete credit.  I cannot.

We were Hooked on Phonics.  I found a second hand set for my eldest after reading Why Johnny Can't Read.  We used it in our daily homeschooling.  When my youngest was reading ready, HOP had created a newer version sans audio cassettes.  Again, we chose this program.  Except she kind of taught herself.

This whole notion of what works led me to do the thing I do best.  Ask the babies.  A m a z i n g l y, they remembered!


One remembered the Bob Books and the Scholastic Sight Words Readers.  The other joyously recalled Starfall.

What, they didn't yell in unison, "Hooked On Phonics Worked For Me!"

Hey, wait a minute!

What I thought worked was completely different from the learner.  We had different objectives!  My objective leaned more in the direction of reading rule information distribution.

Their objective was reading fun and success!

I.F.S. are necessary!  Information + Fun + Success = Engagement.

Voila!  The info part includes a lot of particulars, but e n g a g e m e n t is what works!  My new answer!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Quote from Educational Leadership, February 2011 p24

"It starts with a school and classroom philosophy of sharing, with the idea that without sharing, there is no education (Wiley, 2010).  A culture of sharing doesn't mean just providing content for others to read and learn from; it means sharing to connect with other people with whom we can learn as well."

Cotton Trivia

Should we pay kids for grades, test scores or to go to school?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cotton Seed #8

Label Maker
If you don't own a label maker grab some sticky notes.  Label up your house.  Be age appropriate- if you need to label the window, label it.  If you need to advance- label the credenza or the armoire.  Try different languages.  

One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TheStar Welcome to Global Voices

TheStar Welcome to Global Voices

Cotton Seed #7

Play Read
Pick a play, assign parts and perform! 

One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

Technolearning! Cotton Trivia

While visiting with a parent the other day, I watched her son prepare for an algebra test using flashcards self created with powerpoint.  One slide displayed the study term.  The following stated the definition of the term from the previous slide.  He enjoyed this technique!  

How are you using technology to enhance learning?


Thirty Minutes a Day / Cotton Seeds

While attending my child's basketball practice this past Monday a parent announced to me that she actually read to her child thirty minutes a day.  She couldn't believe that other parents did not.  Confession, I don't.  My tastes are not identically aligned with my children's and their's are not aligned with each other.  I imagined a parent of four spending two hours a night trying to meet the quota or beating themselves up for not.

Obviously, I'm not a purist when it comes to this nationally mandated read to your child thirty minutes a day.  I think what we as educators are intending to say or ought to be intending to say is expose your child to literature thirty minutes a day.  Create an environment that loves the read.  That's what the 'cotton seeds' section is all about.  


Check out the 'cotton seeds' page!  


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cotton Seed #6

The Studio
Grab your phone or another recording device and record a favorite book or book part.  Use your most animated reading voice! 

One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cotton Seed #5

Package Read
Read packaging and labels from everyday household items from the bathroom cabinets to the kitchen.  If you feel extra savvy- list unfamiliar words.

One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Answers First!

It’s test season.  We employ so many scientifically based testing strategies that our completed standardized testing books look like my Granny's used check out line puzzle books! 

Underlines, boxes, arrows, highlighted passages- many of them work for most of the students.  I KNOW one that can work for ALL students and you can teach it right now with my guarantee. 
Answers First!
This strategy was first presented to me in a nifty book, Six Way ParagraphsThanks, Robin!  Among the other ‘tricks’ presented the one that sticks the most is:
To read the passage’s answers first.
Begin with the end in mind!  I want to see those pumpkins turning straight to the end and reading the questions that will be asked and their corresponding answers. 
When testers do this they have some idea of what to look for when reading the actual testing passage. 
They can still use their toolbox techniques that have been presented in their classroom.  Adding one more! 
thatisall

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ooooh, The Possibilities!

f a b u l o u s!

Let's talk about S.E.S.

Free Love is in the air!


Check to see if your child's K - 12 school offers a S.E.S. program.  

Supplemental Educational Services are offered in low performing schools throughout the nation mandated by No Child Left Behind. If your child qualifies, you can receive top notch tutoring services for free!  Remember your child need not be struggling to enlist a tutor or a coach.  The rule of thumb (don't remember where I first heard this) tutoring starts at 80 not at failing.   

Sign up for the program.

Read through the providers one page summaries.

Choose a first, second, and third provider based on your child's individual needs.

The tutoring coordination will be determined after these steps are taken.




It's free! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cotton Trivia

If your child leaves home to school, with whom do they eat lunch?  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Malcolm Gladwell: What we can learn from spaghetti sauce

Cotton Seed #4

Crazy Read

Grab something to read.
Find a funky place.
Read in a crazy position.

Try reading a magazine in an empty bathtub. 
Or a book in a tree?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Options Are: Save, Spend, Donate, Invest

Teaching Money, Too!

School Attendance and Thanks

My son had a doctor's appointment yesterday in another city in VERY interesting weather.    


The first item on the Wednesday advocate agenda is to fax the excuse note to the school.  Yes, I'm still faxing.  I always keep the original note and send a faxed copy.  This can work either way- send the orginal, keep a copy- das macht nichts.
 
After checking the grades online, I've decided to email a thank you note to my son's teachers.  My son had a serious wrist break this summer, that resulted in few months of medical treatment.  His doctor released him from his post surgical monitoring yesterday!  



The doctor's office sits exactly TWO hours away from my son's school and THREE on a Texas snowy day.  Weekly check-ups meant making sure this high school freshman Manchild made daily attendance, then whisping him away to an entirely different town and lots of follow up (for him) communication with teachers.  


He did a great job keeping up with everything!  


It's quite frustrating to educators to finish grading the entire stack of essays and realize you're really not finished- the non present students still have to be graded.  


When is ADA
To find out the attendance reporting time... call the school.  Many of you know this and some schools openly share that the ADA time is when the school reports their daily attendance.  



In grade school- push the EASY button.  If the time is 10:00 AM, make sure your child is present and accounted for until that hour.  This means cough drops until ten and schedule appointments after that specified time.  Your child is still present for the day!  


This is vital information for parents of competitive perfect attendance fifth grade medal receiver pumpkins.  Or if you have a concern that needs timely attention.  


I refused to check him out before the reporting period.  Even the hospital scheduling staff knew the ADA.  


We respect the school enough to not mess up their attendance rating or their funding.  


It's not as easy post grade school- your child may be reported present for ADA, but if they are missing the same class over and over, they may not receive credit for that class.


What is the present percentage for credit?  Determine how many days your pumpkin can miss from each class whether they are counted during ADA or not.  If there are ninety days in a semester.  Your student might need to be in attendance for 90% of those days.  That means they can miss a class about nine times in a semester and still receive credit.  The percentage varies from state to state and sometimes school to school.  Check the school's handbook or ask to be sure. What types of absences are excused at your child's school?  Usually, medical, bereavement, and legal are a given, but there are others.  Remember to turn in documentation for these kinds of absences. 


Who gets the note?  Make sure the note gets into the right hands.  Schools generally have a person on attendance detail.  Look for the person in the office who knows most all the student's names!  


How many days are alotted to make up missed school work for an excused absence / unexcused absence? The school's handbook is a great resource for this one as well.  If it's online- bookmark it. 


Oh, and here's the note to the teachers.  BTW, it was well received:
 
To all,
 
I want to take a moment to thank you for the additional understanding and patience that you have given to my son.  His Lubbock doctor released him yesterday to use his personal discretion and continue therapy.  
 
No more mid-week trips to Lubbock!
 
Thank you guys for everything!
  



Advocate Hour, check!


Cotton Seed #3

The CC Read
Turn on the Closed Caption.  Decide on a thirty minute television show. 
Turn down the volume.  Read  

One, Two, Three - GO!

Check the Cotton Seeds Section for Elaboration.  Stay tuned.  New 'seeds' on Tuesdays & Thursdays!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Conjunction Junction....Best School House Rock

W.H.I.R.L. on Acronyms and Abbreviations

How many of you remember when l.a.s.e.r. was an acronym?  I mean I know that it still is, but I remember being tested on the letter's meanings.  Acronyms and first letters of list and processes are one of the best devices that can be employed in remembering.  

When learning lists or procedures- 
make something up;
then make it funny!

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.  This sentence is used to remind learners of the correct order of mathematical operations.  Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and then Subtraction.  Until this process is automatic students are often encourage to write it at the top of their papers.  If one of the operations is done out of order, the resulting answer can be wrong.  

This is how WE say it- Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally, she farted!  Yes, the more random and disgusting (especially for boys), the more memorable.  I always whisper, "She farted."  Does it add two more operations to the process?  No.  Have I ever encountered a student that thought it did?  No.  The extra two words have created a vision of that aunt full of flatulence and low on manners.

For those of you teaching in Texas, there is a little test called T.A.K.S.  Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills a standardized acronym in itself which will soon be replaced by a standardized abbreviation E.O.C. - End of Course.  In the T.A.K.S. E.L.A. (English / Language Arts) handbook there is guide to how the essay should be written.  


Peopletarians- Pretty Cows Really Eat People.  That's our way to remember Pre-Write, Compose, Revise, Edit, Publish.  Peopletarians!  

When one adds the funny summation word or sentence when explaining the process they can just use that phrase for assistance.  A simple announcement before an assignment of, "She farted!"  Will have students scribbling PEMDAS on their paper tops instantly.

Give it a w.h.i.r.l. (writing here in real life)!


P.S.  The F.A.N.B.O.Y.S. JOINED together to make a fabulous boy band!