Thursday, June 6, 2013

Teacher Evaluation Rubric

there has been a lot of talk lately about the new teacher evaluation system. I know many schools, including my own, in NYC are using the Danielson Framework and Rubric for teacher observation and evaluation.  The link above is for a site that explains the rubric andevaluation requirements and expectations.  I hope it is helpful!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Assessment- Ticket out the Door

FREE! Ticket Out the Door Sign Topper

Here is another great idea from  This teacher displayed a chart on the door and uses is as a place for students to post an exit slip with the answer from a question written on the board at the end of a lesson.  Students complete the problem and post it as they leave.  This is a way for the teacher to know who completes the assignment and after reviewing it, who needs to re-learn the concept  or who is ready to move on.  The number boxes on the chart correspond to  a set student so the teacher knows who has completed it without much effort or students names posted.
I love this idea!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ben Swann Exposes Common Core Curriculum

 I thought the video clip below (posted through YouTube by vision liberty) was very informative.  There are some points made here that I was not aware of and did not think very much about until viewing this.
 I was not aware of the development for the Common Core by private interest groups  in Washington DC.  I also learned, from this clip, that states who have adopted it, did so to remain eligible for certain funding.  Would funding be cut if states decided not to align with the Common Core?  Also, I thought that it was interesting that the Common Core now states that the standards are no longer internationally benchmarked but are informed by standards of other countries.  What are these standards, which countries and how did they "inform" the new Common Core?
I think that this video is worth taking a look at... It got me thinking a bit more!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Best Children's Chapter Books

The link above gives a comprehensive list of children's chapter books from  "Children's Book Guide."  There are many great books listed that would be wonderful classroom read-alouds, book club reads or independent student selections. I have read many of these myself and have also used quite a few in my classroom such as, "Bridge To Terabithia", "Pippi Longstocking", "Frindle" and "The Giver". Along with the list, there is a brief summary/ description of each book.
The list provides titles I have not yet heard about also, so I am excited to read some of these titles and preview them for my students.  I see this as a great resource for possible summer reading as well so teachers and parents should definitely check it out!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Make Your Teaching SPARKLE

I enjoyed the ideas that were shared here, originally from "Teaching Matters", to remind teachers how they can get their students engaged and keep them interested and motivated.  Although, I think most teachers do many of these things everyday, its always good to get reminders about the teaching practices we know help students and really make a difference.
With all of the pressure and responsibility right now, this is a refreshing look at the fun we can provide our students while learning and can also have ourselves, as teachers.
Let's all make our teaching SPARKLE!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mr. Nussbaum's Educational games

The link above is to a website that contains numerous interactive and educational games for students at all different grade levels.  There are games for math, science, geography, spelling, etc.  There are even some in Spanish.  There are great graphic and detailed instructions for each game so students will be engaged and able to understand what they are playing and learning. 
My favorite game so far is Tony's Fraction Pizza.  In this game, customers order pizza with different toppings (1/2 pepperoni, 2/5 mushroom, 1/10 cheese) and students need to show that on a pizza to serve the customer. 
An added bonus to this site is that it includes lesson plans and standard correlations with the games so that teachers can plan the games to go along with units of study and supplement or reinforce concepts for their students.
I highly recommend checking out this great site and trying some games with your class!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Free Educational Apps

I just came across this list of links for free educational apps with corresponding grade levels.  With technology playing such a key role in the lives of our students, it is imperative that we bring fun technology into our classrooms as well.  This list gives sites/ apps that we can use to motivate and engage our students in their own learning while keeping us in line with the digital natives that we teach.
I have used a few of these apps but the majority of them are new to me so I thought I would share and get the word out about them.  The fact that they are all free allows us to download them and explore before introducing them to students, without any expense out of our pockets.
Enjoy and let me know what you think, if you try these apps.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Free Teaching Resources

The Link above is to a website that I recently found while looking for new lesson supplement resources. is a wonderful website with hundreds of resources ranging from math and reading worksheets to classroom posters and educational games that reinforce skills and concepts taught.  All you have to so is register and set up a user name and password and you can download what you are interested in.  There are a great deal of resources for free and there is even an option to sell or purchase other ideas and resources from other teachers as well. This would be a great place to check for ideas when you are thinking of new and innovative ideas and approaches in your classroom.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Classroom Chart Ideas

There's now a new page to the side panel of this blog!  It includes pictures of classroom chart ideas for literacy and math as well as a link to a great resource for additional charts.  I am always intrigued, when visiting other classrooms and schools, by the charts that other teacher's have on display.  Everyone has different ideas and approaches so  I think the more we share, the more our students benefit.  The images that I found and shared are ones that I thought were useful and engaging for students.  Feel free to comment or add as well!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Great site for Younger Students is a wonderful website that is designed for younger students to aid with phonics development in learning to read.  I love that the stories are animated and illustrated with colorful graphics and there are options to hear the story sections read to you.  The words are also highlighted as they are read for help with site word recognition.
For math, students can practice with shapes, patterns and telling time on a clock.  The activities are engaging and sounds clips encourage students to continue.
Although there are some limitations in access unless you are registered members, there is plenty available for students to practice and learn with, without signing up.  I highly encourage teachers of lower grades, especially English Language Learners or students with IEPs to visit this site and have their students reinforce their learning with the activities provided here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Is Teaching a Profession Worth Entering?

The above article/ blog by Randy Turner, brings to light some of the current issues within the teaching profession.  Unfortunately, there are many valid reasons this authors has for why young adults should choose NOT to become a teacher.  With the new changes in laws and practices in regards to education, teachers are loosing their respect and are being belittled and devalued.  Our jobs are being dictated by standardized tests and our salaries leaning toward merit pay.  In these times, is this really a profession that a young person, starting a new career, would want to enter into?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Excellent Teacher Resource- Teachhub is an excellent resource that I have recently found.  On this website, teachers can find numerous lesson plan ideas for all grade levels in various subject areas such as Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Math.  This website also contains links to hot topic articles and 5 different teaching blogs along with contest opportunities for students and classrooms.  There is even a tab to find various professional development sessions in your area.
I found this website to very user friendly.  It is easy to navigate with the different tabs and pages included.  I also used the search engine to find numerous  links to websites and articles for specific concepts/ issues I wanted to teach or address in my classroom.  There is currently a link under the Hot Topics tab for the best 12 apps for students use on an Ipad.  I definitely reccomend checking it out if you have access to ipads in your school or classroom!
Explore this great resource if you get a chance. I'm sure you will find it helpful and very worthy of your time!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Teacher's Corner Resource

The Teacher's Corner is a wonderful website that I found as a resource for teachers. On this page, there are great lesson plan and thematic unit ideas as well as bulletin board ideas by month or subject. It also has numerous links to different collaborative projects and contests for students.  You can connect with teachers from around the world to share ideas and even set up penpals amongst your students.  There are also templates for students to use, such as a behavioral management student reflection.
I definitely think that this website is beneficial for classroom teachers and provides wonderful resources for both teachers and students.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Classroom Teacher's Job

We know that as teachers, we don't often get the recognition we deserve and there are many days when we are overwhelmed by the amount of students in our class, the varying needs we are faced with and the curriculum expectations that are set out before us.  Many people do not often recongize what we actually do on a daily basis but we don't do it for the recongition.  It is for the students and their potential benefits that we spend extra hours in the school building or in our own homes planning and grading just to get through the next day and although we dont often see the effects immediately, by then end of the school year, we are often amazed by the growth that we see in the students that walked through our doors in September.
It may not always be easy, but it's the classroom teacher's job and it takes a strong person to do it!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Read Alouds with Storyline Online

Recently I was discussing read alouds with a fellow teacher and I was reminded of a website that I've often used called "Storyline Online."  If you have not used it, I definitely recommend it.  This is a way to integrate technology into your classroom read alouds as well as to break up routines a bit and re-gain student attention and engagement.  On this website, there are links to various well-known books that are read by famous actors and actresses from the Screen Actors Guild. 
Students really enjoy seeing the book projected from a computer as well as seeing and hearing actors they know read those books to them.  Being that children are now very accustomed to television and computer usage for most of their day, this actually fits with their interests and keeps them intently listening to the story being read. 
I highly recommend looking it over and trying this with your class!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Everybody is a Genius... In Their Own Way

With the upcoming state tests in NY, I have been thinking a lot about how standardized tests are not always the best option for our students. This cartoon illustrates just how unfair testing can be for students with diverse needs and abilities.  For students that are not all equal in terms of their development and capabilities, requiring them to take the same tests as other students their age, does not fit with the idea of making students feel comfortable and confident in themselves and their learning.
As a teacher, who has taught in general ed., gifted programs, ELL and ESL classrooms, I have seen what a vast difference there really is amongst students that are the same age and in the same grade.  We fight for the rights of students to receive instructional accommodations that they need but then we test them all the same way.  This cause some students unnecessary anxiety as well as causes those students with various special needs to feel inadequate, in tern lowering their self- esteem.  I believe that we should be doing the opposite and making students feel that they are all talented and valued in their own special ways.  I would never want a students of mine to feel that they are "stupid" because of their performance on a standardized test given once a year. I think there should be some modifications to the testing system so that we really educate students and give them a sense of self-worth and accomplishment.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wonderful Website

I recently found/ re-discovered a great resource... is a wonderful website for teachers to gather ideas and texts for teaching reading lessons in alignment with the common core. This website offers lesson ideas along with texts that accompany the theme (ie. Authors purpose, cause and effect, etc.). There are both fiction and non-fiction texts in read aloud book or short passage formats. This would be a great way to make sure you address important concepts in reading before the state tests! It is definitely worth looking at!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Being a teacher is so much more than a job.  When you work with children everyday, you become involved in their lives and go through frustrations and celebrations along with them.  You are not always rewarded or acknowledged for your efforts but you do what you do because you hope to make a difference for your students. 
Teachers always have a story to tell about their day.  Good, bad, funny,etc.  our students are a big part of our lives and the times that we spend with them are always in our memories.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Standardized Testing- Opting Out?

The link above is a page that explains how many students and parents are against Standardized Testing under the No Child Left Behind law.   This site was of interest to me as I was unaware of how many movements existed that encouraged parents to opt-out of the state testing.  Some of the movements are asking administrators not to judge their children on these tests but on their year-long performance.  Other ideas include parents writing an opt -out letter asking administrators not to administer tests to their children but to provide alternative activities for their students on the days of these tests.

I agree that these tests are very stressful for students and teachers alike and that more emphasis is placed on them than should be but don't know what other alternatives would be best.... any thoughts?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Student Websites

As I have been thinking about this blog and how it can be more beneficial for students as well as teachers and parents, I have decided to add links to some student websites that I have used and noticed my students enjoying and learning from.
Take a look at the new page on the side panel, "Sites For Students" for links and descriptions of some great websites.
Feel free to comment about them or share more with us! Thanks...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Check out the pages along the side panel for some inspirational quotes and resources... Feel free to add and share ideas!

Frustrated Teachers are Being Driven to Leave the Profession

 I thought this was a local problem for my area but sadly, the following article from the Washington Post proves that effective and passionate teachers, all over the country, are being driven out of the profession because of the strict demands and unreasonably high expectations being placed upon teachers in recent years. 
In this article,  a veteran teachers explains the difficulties teachers are facing with regards to new curriculum, teacher evaluations and test expectations. She urges those that are criticizing teachers and making decisions in regards to education to substitute in a classroom for a day and try to do the job that teachers are doing everyday in order to open their eyes to the daily life of a teacher.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Balanced Literarcy not working?

News to me...I was sent a link to this article from the NY Daily News...
It explains how New York City is planning on taking another approach to reading education, different than the current balanced literacy, including Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project.  I know that the programs are changed every few years but right now, I know of a lot of schools that use this curriculum and it is what I have used since starting my career.  According to the article, however, it is a failing approach and was not recommended for literacy instruction since NYC students are not performing at proficient levels and haven't been in the past 10 years. 
What do you think?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Give Teachers More Freedom

I just read this article and thought it was worth sharing.  It is about an idea from the book "Trusting Teachers with School Success. " The idea is that instead of controlling teachers, administrators and school board leaders should allow teachers more autonomy and let them make more decisions about the education they are providing.  It definitely sounds like an idea that would work to me.  Empower teachers by giving them more freedom and decision- making capabilities since they are the ones in the classroom everyday.  Let's make learning fun again for the students and teachers too!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


It's not always easy but when you think about the impact that you can have (even if it's just one child), it's all worth it!

Friday, March 8, 2013


This blog was created in hopes to connect teachers and allow them to share ideas with one another.  It is a place to gather information, ask questions, share successes as well as frustrations and link thoughts with other educators. With various contributions, we can all help each other get through a difficult job that seems to be ever changing and challenging! Welcome to my blog.