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.