Wednesday, June 22, 2011

EBooks

Have you ever been planning a lesson and came across a book that would be great to use in a lesson, but you do not have time to go buy it or wait to order it and for it to come in? Well, I might be a little behind the time, but on the Barnes and Noble website you can download the NOOK software for your PC. So that way when you plan a lesson and need a book you can download it and have it within seconds! I am planning on buying books and projecting them on my Smart Board.
Here is the link to the FREE software:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/nook-for-pc/379002322/
I am very excited about this because I love incorporating literature into all subject areas.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monkey Cash - Classroom Reward System

So I am one of those crazy teachers that can not enjoy her summer without eating, sleeping and thinking about school! I have spent the good part of the first month off of school working on things for next year. I have been blogging and planning and spending way too much time on Proteacher.net. I guess I am just  a teacher dork ;)

So I have been going through my files on my two laptops and 6 jump drives and trying to organize them so I can find files that I need and I came across that works really well in my classroom and thought I would share. I am single and just purchased a house in the past 2 years so I am not "rolling in the dough".... Not that many teachers are. Anyway I had to come up with an inexpensive way to reward my students. I came up with Monkey Cash. My classroom theme is monkeys, just in case you were wondering. Here are the bills that I use.


Monkey Cash -

The kids earn the monkey cash by paying attention, winning games, turning in homework pretty much anything I decide. Some days I will load them up some days not. They save them up in their wallet (envelope). I post a sign that lets them know what they can purchase. Here are a few examples:

$25 Take shoes off in class
$30 Sit by a friend at lunch
$35 No Homework Pass
$40 Hat in class

These are things that do not cost me any money but the kids love! The kicker is that after I teach them money and making change and such, I get them to come and trade in their bills. They have to count them and tell me I have 10 ones and need a ten dollar bill. I open the bank every Friday and they can trade it in. It teaches them not only to save money, but they also have to use their money skills. I have used this in my classroom for 2 years and it has been more effective than candy and junk that I buy. I hope that you like and let me know if you have any questions :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Round Robin Reading" Pros and Cons

Many teachers have used oral reading to develop skills in reading classes and in other classes to get through text portion of particular lesson. In actuality what they may be doing inadvertently is destroying these students' self-esteem and tenacity for learning.
Oral reading is often done in a round robin type activity, and the students with the weaker reading skills can easily be spotted by the look of angst they have on their faces, while they are nervously awaiting their turn to read aloud. Because their skills are lacking they feel humiliation during the entire time they are responsible for the oral reading. The fact that classmates will taunt them because of their slow speed or constant mistakes is mortifying. Of course teachers train their pupils to not poke fun at these lower level readers, but the sighs and moans of rest of the class when the slow readers turn finally arrives can be deafening to the poor child. As a self defense mechanism most of these students will do almost anything to avoid having to read aloud to the class. They often will "suddenly" become ill, or they will have an overwhelming urge to go to the restroom. Some even misbehave so badly that the teacher will be forced to send them out of the room, and this will allow them to not have to risk the embarrassment of having lower level reading skills than their classmates. Soon, many students who lack strong reading skills and are still having to read orally to the class acquire such a deep anxiety for this activity that they quickly build up a wall to reading in general. For a few it is less painful to risk the punishment of refusing to read than it is to try only to fail in the eyes of their peers.
The educators are utilizing more and more small reading groups and creating interesting activities to help struggling readers gain improved reading skills. These approaches will help the child keep his dignity, too. The only time a teacher should actually use an oral reading program is when the class is ability grouped with students who have equal level reading skills. This method means that students will be less likely to taunt their classmate, and their anxiety level will not skyrocket, each and every time they must read. Teacher can use pairs for oral reading rather than whole class. This way the students still have the abilities developed by oral reading.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Do We Ever Stop Thinking About School??

Over the past few days, I attended a Differentiated Instruction Institute totally of my own free will... yes I know I am a dork! They had some great speakers and presenters there that really have made me think about how I teach. I have only been teaching 4 years and I thought that I was doing a great job, but when you go to these conventions and institute they make you think. I am ready to really implement some of these new ideas and strategies into my classroom. I have only been out of school like 2 weeks and already I am ready to hit the road running. I have been sketching my new classroom, looking through "Really Good Stuff" catalogs and planning/sketching out the next year. I am ready for the next school year to begin.

~Dorky Teacher