Why Keep a Books I Want to Read List?

Last post I wrote about the reasons students and teachers benefit when students keep a list of the books they have read.  And now, introducing the equally valuable Books I Want to Read List. Like the Books Read list, the Books I Want to Read List includes the titles of books and possibly their  authors.  You could also ask students to include a genre descriptor and my favorite, the "Why" column. Have students keep the list in a findable spot such as a readers notebook or the reading section … [Read more...]

Smarter Balanced LIVE: Overview

The now LIVE SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT SYSTEM prompts an understandable scramble for current and accurate information. OSPI’s Office of Assessment provides a Smarter Balanced website with up-to-date facts: http://www.k12.wa.us/smarter . Monthly webinars cover relevant topics in-depth, addressing challenges, updates and frequently asked questions. All past webinars are archived and accessible: http://www.k12.wa.us/SMARTER/Webinars.aspx The DIGITAL LIBRARY, now available, provides educators … [Read more...]

Answering a Prompt – 101

A scene from the documentary The War Room flashed through my mind recently when I was scoring writing samples from my sophomores. Fiery Campaign Manager James Carville goes ballistic while watching on TV, then, Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton in a debate. “What are you doing?” Carville screams incredulously in his spicy Cajun drawl. “If you want to win, focus on the economy stupid!” Carville is trying to communicate to Clinton that if he just focuses on the economy during the campaign, he’ll … [Read more...]

How Common Core and TPEP Helped Me Create Community

The first title I had for this post was, When My LDC Task Meets My Curriculum, Meets My Anchor Standards, Meets My Danielson TPEP Rubric, Meets My Life, Great Things Happen. This does actually accurately  explain this post but seemed too wordy for a title so I changed it. I begin my Contemporary World Studies course with a unit on media literacy.  I do this mostly because it’s imperative for my students to understand the various texts and sources I use in my class.  In order for my students … [Read more...]

NPR Tackles the Common Core

By Tom White I’ve been teaching for over thirty years, which means I’ve seen a lot of trends and fads; a lot of changes and lot of change-backs. Of all the changes I’ve seen, switching to the Common Core is probably the biggest and most important. For the first time ever, most teachers across the country are adapting their teaching to the same, rigorous standards. It’s hard to put into words just how momentous this is. But if anyone can do it, it’s NPR. They’ve covered the switch to the … [Read more...]

The Whole Megillah – TPEP, PLCs, CCSS, SMART Goals, COI, Oy Vey!

At a recent staff meeting I participated in a panel discussion about the Cycle of Inquiry (COI), an element of TPEP in my district. Last year I volunteered as a “TPEP Pioneer,” or guinea pig for my administration to test out the new teacher evaluation system. As I discussed in a previous post, despite two weeks of TPEP training, I was completely blindsided when my evaluator requested I demonstrate student growth throughout a semester-long COI. I was the poster boy of how this SHOULDN'T work. A … [Read more...]

What is ECET2 and How do I Say It?

Today I feel like a foreign correspondent. Usually, I pen my blog posts from the comfort of my home couch after several days of reflection and pondering. Today I’m writing In The Moment! Straight To You, The Reader! Today I’m attending the ECET2 Puget Sound Convening. How do you say ECET2, you might ask? ee-set-too But what does it mean, you might ask? Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers An ECET2 convening is an event planned by teachers, for teachers. I … [Read more...]

What do your kids need? Using a Universal Screener and Diagnostic Tools

You’ve perhaps read my blogs about RTI, or using the Pile Protocol. I now offer you the next step: using a diagnostic assessment to delve deeper. The Pile Protocol offers a way to sort students into groups: fluent AND accurate, accurate but not fluent, not fluent and not so accurate, not fluent and really not accurate. So now that you know kids can read fast (or slow) and well (or not so well), what do you do next? Now what?   I offer you the Diagnostic Assessment. There are … [Read more...]

Why Your Students Should Keep a List of the Books They Read

  A waste of time.  That's what I thought when a curriculum trainer suggested that all students should keep a list of the books they read as a way to develop their independent reading lives and to communicate about who they are as readers.  I could not see any useful purpose for such a list. I was wrong. What's included on a Books Read list?  The book title is indispensable. It's helpful to include the author, the number of pages, the date completed, and the genre.  Asking … [Read more...]

The “L” Word

"When we admit to ourselves that we love our kids, we're making a deep emotional investment in them." - Anna Baldwin, Montana State Teacher of the Year, 2014 A lot of ingredients go into making a great educator. Patience, knowledge, persistence, creativity, a sense of humor (in my humble opinion)...just to name a few. Is there room for love in that ingredients list? To answer my own question, I think there has to be and I was reminded of that this past weekend at the national Elevating … [Read more...]