5 Pinterest Collaborative Boards: Teaching & Education

I must confess that I am now an official Pinterest addict and I have spent more than an hour of my waking day to devote to building content of my awesome Pinterest teacher boards since its inception in November. The great news is that I'm now opening them up for collaboration!
What are Pinterest Collaborative Boards? They are actually boards on Pinterest that allow other pinners to pin content on the board. Yes, it's that plain and simple! I believe that I have great colleagues who are also Pinterest users (like YOU!) who would want to share pins centered around teaching and special education. Collaborative boards on Pinterest are a great way to share your information to other teachers and networkers, while also generating great back links to your blog or website.
My Pinterest boards are now open, please leave a comment on the latest post and I will certainly add you. Let's start sharing!
#1. Books and Reading Resources. This is all about the written word. Please leave me a comment on the most recent pin if you are interested in sharing your books and everything about books on this board.
#2 Great Ideas From Teachers. Need ideas for the kiddos? Get authentic teacher-made classroom resources, fun kid-friendly games, craftivities and more from our amazing teachers. If you want to share your awesome classroom pins, please leave me a comment on the most recent pin! We currently have 75 teachers collaborating on this board, join us!

#3 Social Media and Technology in Education. For social media savvy teachers, this board is for you! Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google + tips and tricks to make all of them grow and glow...follow this board! Let me know if you want to be a pinner to this board by leaving a comment on the most recent pin.

#4 100+ Education Quotes. Get your education quotes from the most political edreform sayings to the most inspirational wisdom laden and famous proverbs from this board! Same process, share your pins by leaving a comment on the most recent pin and I will add you as a collaborator.
#5 National Board Certification and Teacherpreneurship. When the going gets tough, what do you do? Here are some resources that you might need if you are going through the process of National Board Certification or are just looking for teaching standards and best practices for effective teacher leaders. If you have something to share about NBC or Teacherpreneurship, please leave a comment on the most recent post.


English Back-To-School Lesson Plan

LESSON PLAN for English Language Arts
For the week of Sept 1-7, 2008

Students will:
- Get to know each other
- Select various learning tasks
- Develop an appropriate learning contract
- Negotiate a contract with the teacher
- Read & understand the narrative: “A Mummy Mystery” from Houghton Mifflin
- Engage in a read-aloud by listening to the narrative The Mummy Mystery and participating in class discussions about the story
- Conduct a genre study by examining the common elements or characteristics of narratives.

DCPS STANDARDS COVERED: 6.LD-D.1 / 6.LD-0.6 / 6.W-I.1 / 6.W-R.5 / 6.EL.1

* the cart of laptops for the students (Day 3)
- students will learn to navigate the class blog and the grade book so they can access them at home

* Make overhead transparencies of the following materials:
a. "I Am" poem
b. Interactive Student Contract
c. Literature Response Activities (negotiable items)
d. SSR Extension Activities (non-negotiable items)
e. Reading Log

* photocopy of :
a. Getting to Know You Sheet (refer to this activity sheet).
b. "I Am" poem
c. Interactive Student Contract

* Houghton Mifflin Teachers Manual for:
a. Narrative: The Mummy Mystery

- Daily journal writing. Writing prompts will be given in class.

- Self introduction "Getting to Know You" game. Try to find at least ONE classmate in the room who fits into the following categories (refer to this activity sheet). When you find someone have that classmate put his/ her initials in the correct box. The object is to get as many sets of initials in every box as you can.

- We are going to write the "I Am" poem. An "I Am" poem is a good way to focus on our own characteristics. This is a poem that can be used to describe any character, setting, idea or concept found in literature from language arts, social studies, science, math, and art. It is a wonderful way to learn about nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Use two adjectives in each line if possible.

Here's how to do it:

I am (two special characteristics)
I wonder (something you are actually curious about)
I hear (an imaginary sound)
I see (an imaginary sight)
I want (an actual desire)
I am (the first line of the poem restated)
I pretend (something you actually pretend to do)
I feel (a feeling about something imaginary)
I touch (an imaginary touch)
I worry (something that really bothers you)
I cry (something that makes you very sad)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated)
I understand (something you know is true)
I say (something you believe in)
I dream (something you actually dream about)
I try (something you really make an effort about)
I hope (something you actually hope for)
I am (the first line of the poem repeated)

Follow up: Students will share their writings to the class seated in the “Author’s Chair”.

Student contracts give teachers a way to differentiate instruction in the classroom. By giving students the opportunity to develop a contract, they have the opportunity to become more responsible for their schoolwork and more enthusiastic about their education. Students begin to realize that what they want does matter. Instead of teachers dictating how students will learn, students are able to decide in what way their education will be structured. This lesson provides teachers with a basic contract format, sustained silent reading (SSR) extension activities, and literature response activities. Students develop contracts that focus on language arts education. Teachers and students negotiate and decide upon appropriate contracts for the classroom.

A learning contract is simply a written agreement between the teacher and the learner, in which the learner agrees to complete tasks in a prescribed amount of time or by his or her own initiative.

Learning contracts provide a balance between teacher choice and student initiative that is necessary for differentiation of instruction.

Under contracts, teachers can group and regroup students for individual and small-group instruction seamlessly, giving undivided attention without needing to manage or direct the bulk of the class.

Instruction and Activities

Whole-group instruction
1.Show students the interactive Student Contract on the overhead. Explain the various sections of the contract, including the non-negotiable items, the negotiable items, and the timeline.

a.Non-negotiable items. As shown on the contract, the "SSR Extension Activity" is included as a non-negotiable item. Students have the option of selecting which activity to complete; however, the assessment criteria for the activities are already established. Students can refer to the SSR Extension Activities for a detailed list of non-negotiable items, along with the stipulated criteria. As part of this section, students also complete a Reading Log. Briefly show students the Reading Log and explain that they should complete an entry every time they read from their SSR book.
b.Negotiable items. In this section of the contract, students choose activities from the Literature Response Activities and negotiate the assessment criteria. This exercise gives students the opportunity to select activities that interest them and decide what form the activities will take and how detailed or thorough they will be. Depending on the student's ability, this exercise also gives you a good opportunity to differentiate instruction.

Note: Duplication of selected non-negotiable and negotiable activities should not be allowed. However, since many students may have a difficult time choosing just one SSR Extension Activity, having some of the same activities on both lists will aid students with their selections.
c.Timeline. In this section, students negotiate their own due date for the completion of the contract. Discuss appropriate timelines with students. (Contracts are usually completed within one month.)
2.Next, share the Literature Response Activities and the SSR Extension Activities, giving a brief description of each item. If the class is already familiar with the learning contract process, you may wish to let them develop and pursue their own original ideas for contract and extension activities, with your oversight and approval.

3.To end this session, offer a Question & Answer discussion to clarify the various elements of the contract.

Independent work
Once students have made their preliminary activity selections, each student should work independently on the development of his or her learning contract on the computer. Upon completion of the contract form, each student should print out a copy and sign up for a time to conference with the teacher. ConferencingMeet with each student to negotiate and finalize the learning contract. During the conference, discuss the student's selection of activities, the stipulated or student-suggested assessment criteria, the student's rationale for selecting the activities, and an appropriate timeline for completion of the contract. Make sure that the student understands the tasks involved in their chosen activities, and that he or she is comfortable with the timeline and the level of difficulty. Once a final decision has been reached, both teacher and the student sign off on the contract form.

Read Aloud: “A Mummy Mystery” (Narrative)

Remind students of the characteristics of narrative writing. Teacher might show the information on the board so that students can refer to the list while working.

- Focuses a clear, well-defined incident or series of related events.
- Develops plot, character, and setting with specific detail.
- Orders events clearly.
- Uses description and dialogue as appropriate to develop setting and character.
- Shows events rather than just telling about them.
- Establishes and maintains a tone and point of view.
- Uses a logical and effective pattern of organization, such as chronological order, flashback, or flash-forward.
- Uses transitional words and phrases to maintain coherence and establish sequence within and between paragraphs.
- Analyze unfamiliar words in the story using the Frayer Model Graphic Organizer.
- Read the story in round robin. Summarize the Story and answer page 7 of the Reading book (Houghton Mifflin).
- Watch a video on The Mummy Mystery.


Each day, students will choose two from the list of activities (each day should be different):
· Use the word in an original sentence.
· Find and learn the definition of the word.
· Know how to pronounce the word.
· Which parts of speech is the word used as (e.g. noun, verb)?
· What are other forms of the word such as plurals or tenses.
· What are synonyms of the word?
· What are antonyms of the word?
· What is the origin or etymology of the word?
· What words rhyme with this word?

Spelling list for this week: Regular Long Sound of U, as in mute.
- sue
- lieu
- suit
- beauty
- cubic
- fluid
- juice
- beautiful
- cuticle
- mutiny
- purity

Additional homework during day 2-3:
As soon as a contract has been finalized, encourage students to bring the contract home and get a parent or guardian's signature. This is a great way to keep the lines of communication open between school and home. Parents like to remain informed of what is happening in the classroom; however, students are not always forthcoming with this information.
- Evaluation of the poem they wrote using the writing rubric
- Observation of student responses during contract development
- Negotiation of an appropriate learning contract
- Evaluation of completed contract items
- Anecdotal notes based on teacher observation of students' participation in class discussions
- Summarize "The Mummy Mystery", Page 7 of the workbook Houghton Mifflin
- Spelling quiz (Friday)

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WELCOME SY 2014-2015!

Teachers & parents tell me that this blog is like a "One-Stop-Shop", here's why ---

There are tons of lesson plans, printables, activity sheets and other resources that special education teachers can find in this blog! It's all for you to get the lil ones engaged in their seats and lovin' what they're doin'!

This blog is also our class portal to communicate information about our class, to archive course materials, to publish the course curriculum, syllabus, class rules, lessons, homework assignments, rubrics, and presentations. Yes, everything is in this blog for our students to review our lessons at home!

Parents love the transparency and the ability to access class materials in this blog. It's easy for parents to follow along as my students post their work. This holds true for their psychologists, social workers, general education teachers, and other special ed providers. This is another way for us to collaborate with the Multi-Disciplinary Team members of our students!

This class blog also serves as our students' e-portfolio. Our students collect the work they want to consider highlighting and then publish those that represent their best work. They then reflect on their work as they share them to their parents and teachers for positive comments and feedback. It's very easy for them to look back over their work and see the growth they've accomplished!

We invite you to please leave a message to our students. Beside the tiny envelope just after each entry is the comments link. Your positive feedback will surely encourage our students to do their best in school.

Thank you for visiting our class portal!