Summer Schooling: Frameworks in the Wild

There’s a ghost tree at the bottom of Lake Crescent. It reaches grey and leafless from the nearly barren bottom up to just close enough to the surface so that on lucky days campers in their canoes can look through the sparkly turquoise water and see it. It was a lucky day on the final morning of our Family Camp a few weeks ago. Eleven of us in our canoe—parents, one 72-year-old grandmother, a three-year-old, two teen girls, and a collection of budding environmentalists of ages in between, plus … [Read more...]

Making Connections in Science

I have been spending much of this summer reflecting on the past year and thinking of new ways I can help my students understand that science is not an isolated subject, but that it is all around us, all of the time. I want them to recognize the science they see outside of the classroom, and I want them to use science skills they’ve learned in class, in other areas of their lives. I want them to make connections which will help them analyze and explain phenomena. Connections! Years ago my … [Read more...]

Melding TDQs and LDC into what works for me…

My husband and I recently bought a home and have been wrapped up in all of the work involved with moving into and making ours a new (to us) home. A new home, like some professional development, comes with those quirky surprises that result when you try to make what was someone else’s yours. There is the mystery switch we can’t figure out; the odd little closet door in the corner that leads to a storage space designed for itty bitty people. One size fits all is never an accurate descriptor. … [Read more...]

Dear Charlotte: My Hopes for my Daughter’s Educational Inheritance

Recently, I read a response post to the changes in federal laws surrounding NCLB on the Stories from School blog by Tom White, who also writes for our Corelaborate blog.  Tom’s thoughts on the future of the Common Core started me thinking about all the students who currently are in the public education system, and all those students who will soon be entering our system.  What I really started to think about is my soon to arrive daughter, Charlotte, and what she will face in her education world … [Read more...]

Teaching Empathy with Young Adult Fiction

When I talk to other people, both those who teach and those who do not, about my responsibilities as an educator, I always say that my number one job is to help my students be better humans than when they entered my classroom. That is definitely not to say that they are bad humans when they get to me; far from it in fact. However, I believe as educators we have the most amazing opportunity, and in my eyes a professional and social responsibility, to teach our students to show grace, be kind, and … [Read more...]

Never Enough Time? Be Intentional, Integrated and Standards-based!

Happy summer, fellow teachers! I hope you’re enjoying your time away from the hallways of a school building and rejuvenating yourself for a new year. If you’re anything like me, and I’m sure you are, you’re probably thinking, “There’s not enough time!” Even in these summer months I’ve managed to commit myself to so many tasks - school-related and otherwise. However, when September rolls around, I know that feeling will be amplified. I’ve never met a teacher that brags they’re bored or just don’t … [Read more...]

Summertime Online PD (for Free!)

My favorite thing about summer vacation is the gift of time. I have time to go bicycling in the morning. I have time to have fun in the sun with my family. I have time to take some meaningful professional development to improve my teaching practice.  The Internet offers us educators a whole array of professional development opportunities. The best part is many are free. Below is a list of some of my favorite podcasts, video libraries, and discussion boards: 1. Podcasts: I have always enjoyed … [Read more...]

Dabbling in Choice menus

This year in my district, there is a big push for differentiation. The new laws regarding highly capable as well as the widening skills in the general education classroom call for teachers to address the needs of more than ‘the middle’. The leaders in our district turned to the research of Dr. Tomlinson. Dr. Tomlinson, “advocates active planning for and attention to student differences in classrooms, in the context of high quality curriculums.” While I always knew that I needed to teach to … [Read more...]

Reading in the Heart of Summer

It's the heart of summer.  You've finally gotten used to sleeping past  5:18.  Your teacher clothes have been pushed to the side of the closet.  You haven't worn actual shoes for weeks.  Your school lunch bag is shoved into a bottom kitchen cupboard.  You finished the June workshops.  The August workshops are still a calendar flip away. Before the school year ended, you taught several lessons about making a plan for summer reading. They probably went something like this. "How do you get … [Read more...]

SBA Results: Better than Expected!

Like most teachers in Washington, I’ve been nervously awaiting the results of my students’ SBA tests. In fact, I’ve become something of a “Homeroom Junkie.” Homeroom is the platform on which my district stores and displays assessment results, and for the last month I’ve been compulsively logging in to watch the results trickle in. It’s still a little early to draw conclusions, but I’m doing it anyway. First of all, it looks like Washington State has done better than expected. A little over … [Read more...]