ENGAGE, EQUIP, & EMPOWER: Lesson Ideas for the Chinese New Year

dogFebruary 16th will be the first day of the New Year on the Chinese lunar calendar. Each year of the calendar’s 12-year cycle is represented by an animal. According to the Chinese zodiac, people born during a given year share traits with that animal. This year, 2018 is the year of the Dog. Those born in the Year of the Dog are said to be very sincere and they’re very loyal to friends.

Check out the following lesson ideas:

Boars & Baseball: Making Connections with ReadWriteThink

In this lesson, students will make text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections after reading In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. After sharing and discussing connections, students choose and plan a project that makes a personal connection to the text.

Click the image below to order a copy of the book for this lesson. Clicking my Amazon affiliate link does result in a small commission for me  at no extra cost to you.

$5.99

Read Works is also an online reading resource with multiple text selections about the Chinese New Year! You could also choose this time to do a culture study about China. Read Works also offers several FREE text selections to fill that need as well!

Happy Teaching!

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ENGAGE, EQUIP, & EMPOWER: Lesson Ideas for the Winter Olympics 2018

olympicsThe Winter Olympic Games, held every four years, include competitions in biathlon, bobsled and skeleton, curling, figure skating, hockey, luge, ski and snowboard, and speedskating. According to The Olympic Museum, the purpose of the Games is to create a “better world through sport practiced in a spirit of peace, excellence, friendship and respect.” In celebration of the world event students participate in a variety of activities centered on the 2018 PyeongChang Games. – ReadWriteThink

Follow THIS LINK for all the great ideas from ReadWriteThink!

This official website for the 2018 Winter Olympics contains information, schedules, news, photos, and video for the Winter Games. CLICK HERE FOR 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS OFFICIAL SITE

Click on any of these books to order resources for your class. These images are affiliate links to my Amazon site. Making a purchase by following the affiliate link will result in a small commission for me and helps to support this blog.

 

Happy Teaching!

 

ENGAGE, EQUIP, & EMPOWER: Black History Month Lesson Ideas

mbwThe function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. – Martin Luther King Jr.

February is Black History Month. This blog contains links to some of my favorite ideas and books to use when designing lesson plans to celebrate and learn at the same time.

First, here is a round up of some great resources from Teachers Pay Teachers.

bio

Designed with third and fourth graders in mind, this biographies resource includes materials for students to use while conducting research, as well as materials for the presentation of their final writing piece, in a Biography Lapbook. Click HERE to find this product, Biography Lapbook!

 

 

bhmLooking for some new and fresh activities for Black History Month? This pack includes writing, reading, vocabulary, crafts, and more! Click HERE to find this product Black History Month Activities!

 

 

 

Below are a few FABULOUS books to read to students during Black History Month. Click on any image to order from my Amazon site.

The following links are affiliate links to Amazon. If you choose to make a purchase, I do receive a small commission. 

Happy Teaching!

ENGAGE, EQUIP, & EMPOWER: Teaching about Elizabeth Blackwell

elizabeth-blackwell-3Looking for an interesting topic to discuss next week in class? How about teaching students about the first woman to ever graduate from medical school “way back when” on January 23rd of 1849?

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a M.D. degree from an American medical school. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and colleagues founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Read more about this amazing woman here.

One easy way to engage students in a lesson about Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell is to watch a quick intro video about her. Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell — Weston Woods

You can also find a read aloud of Scholastic’s book here: Tami Reads “Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell” By: Tanya Lee Stone

For K-3 students, engage them in meaningful, thoughtful discussions about courage and self-confidence. You can tie the discussion to a read aloud of Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman. Students can discuss how both the character and Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell displayed courage and self-confidence. Empower students by having them write about Dr. Blackwell and how they can apply her example to their own lives!

Click here to see lesson plan ideas!

For 4th – 6th grade here is a link to a TpT resource about Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell.

Happy Teaching!

 

 

Dream Big. . .Just Like King!

This post is a “reblog” from several years ago. This is still one of the BEST lessons I ever taught in the classroom!

mrswilsonsclass

130823150654-01-color-march-on-washington-restricted-horizontal-galleryEvery teacher has days when they reflect on a lesson and think, “Wow, that did not work out like I expected.” Then there are the days when everything clicks. The students respond in amazing ways and you know that you hit a “sweet” spot. Today was one of those “sweet” spot days!

In honor of the upcoming Martin Luther King Holiday, we conducted a close read text about his life and his most famous speech. We started the class by dreaming. Yes, we were dreaming. I asked students to think about what their BIG dream would be for our country or even our world. I was amazed at their answers!

After discussing their dreams, I introduced someone else who had BIG dreams, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The students watched this mini-bio about Dr. King.

The class conducted their close read and responded to the text through a series of…

View original post 29 more words

Education Class: Multi-Sensory Magic

MS.pngUsing multi-sensory instructional techniques is not new. We have done it for years. Think about the song “I’m a Little Teapot.” I can always remember that song because I can still do the motions with it. That is multi-sensory instruction!

My son is dyslexic. For the past 2 years, he has received multi-sensory language instruction therapy. When he was in the 7th grade, he only read at a 2.4 grade-level equivalency. He is now a 9th grader. In December of 2017, his grade-level reading equivalency was 8.3!!! This multi-sensory, systematic approach is the ONLY thing that has worked for him. I am incorporating more and more of this instructional approach into my own work with struggling readers.

“Multisensory teaching isn’t just limited to reading and listening. Instead, it tries to use all of the senses. Every lesson won’t use all of a child’s senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing and movement). But in most multisensory lessons, students engage with the material in more than one way.” -understood.org

Read More Here: Multisensory Instruction: What You Need to Know

How about multi-sensory in physical education to teach other content areas? Take a look at my colleague’s approach to teaching Skeletal Anatomy to PreK students!

Multi-Sensory Instruction in PreK with Coach Chris Tolbert

Happy Teaching! Go make some Multi-Sensory Magic!

 

 

The Smart Start for 2nd Grade

smartStartIs your student ready for 2nd grade? How can you tell?

Simple: Can your student read fluently?

Reading fluency is the first step to comprehension. Together fluency and comprehension are the #1 indicators of future academic success. Reading builds knowledge, exposes students to proper grammar and exemplary writing techniques, helps develop writing skills, and develops essential critical thinking skills.

In other words, READING IS THE HOLY GRAIL!

Learn more about reading fluency and helping your student succeed here:

How can I help my student learn to read fluently?

I designed this Smart Start test for parents.

smartStart

Can your student read these sight words automatically?

Can your students read 68 words per minute with a 96% accuracy rate?

If not, take a look at what you need to do at home.

11 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Read

 

 

 

Engage! Writing Workshops with Rick Shelton

hoggles
Hoggle’s Christmas by Rick Shelton

Peanut butter and jelly . . .

Grits and eggs . . .

RC and a moon pie . . .

Certain things in this life are meant to be enjoyed together. Two of those are reading and writing.

My past few blog posts have focused on student engagement. Writing is an excellent engagement strategy. Students WILL write when the writing is authentic and purposeful. Writing will strengthen their reading skills. The more reading your students do, the better writers they will become. Reading and writing were meant to be taught together. When America forgot that important fact, I simply do not know. I do know that it is high time we have our students writing again!

Allow them to write about what is important to them. Teach them to write about what interests them. Model for them how to SHOW and not just TELL with their words. When we teach them to write by giving them opportunities to write in meaningful ways, they will know how to write when it is time to begin essays, analyzing complex informational text, and citing text evidence. We expect them to pick up a pencil in the third grade and eloquently compare or contrast two complex text passages when they have never even written two complete sentences. We must model writing for them and model it early on!

I have always believed this. This week, our staff was treated to a series of writing workshops led by author, Rick Shelton. It was amazing! His workshop has awakened our little school to the many authentic and purposeful writing opportunities we can provide for our students.

If you are interested in having Rick Shelton at your school, here is his link:

Rick Shelton’s Writing Workshops

 

 

 

Engage! Hook ’em!

hookEvery fisherman needs the right hook to get that big catch. Every good writer knows that they need a hook to grab the readers attention and keep them reading.

Every instructional lesson needs a hook! Effective teachers “hook” their students at the beginning of each lesson. The “hook” engages students and motivates them to remain actively engaged in learning.

Why would you even begin without a hook when it has been proven to be essential?

Student engagement has been found to be the key to preventing dropout (Alexander, Entwisle, & Horsey, 1997). They don’t dropout because they:

  • earn higher grades,
  • perform better on tests,
  • report a greater sense of belonging,
  • can set and meet personal goals,
  • persist on tasks,
  • expect success, and
  • value educational outcomes (Christenson et al., 2008; National Research Council, 2004).

Meaningfully engaging students solves a large number of the “issues” currently debated in education. We must make the material matter. We must enable students to make connections between the literature and life. We must make math mean money! LOL! It’s true!

The most important type of engagement is cognitive engagement. This type of engagement is students’ belief that schoolwork is relevant to real life and their future. Congnitive engagement is about setting SMART goals, using effective strategies, and being truly motivated to learn. Students who are cognitively engaged feel that they can succeed. Most importantly, students who are cognitevly engaged WANT to succeed!

The next few blog posts will focus on strategies for student engagement.

Click here for image: engage

References
Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D. R., & Horsey, C. S. (1997). From first grade forward: Early foundations of high school dropout. Sociology of Education, 70(2), 87-107.
Christenson, S. L., Reschly, A. L., Appleton, J. J., Berman-Young, S., Spanjers, D. M., & Varro, P. (2008). Best practices in fostering student engagement. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best  practices in school psychology V (pp. 1099–1119). Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.
National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. (2004). Engaging schools: Fostering high school students’ motivation to learn. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.