Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Welcome Back to the Common Core!!

You are now back in the grind now for a few days!!! I am sure you are tired, you are not used to getting up early, getting everybody off in the morning, and driving to work before 7:30 a.m.!!! Well you know what? Neither are the kids or the parents used to it yet either!!

By now you have set your classroom expectations, are establishing routines and procedures, and beginning to teach your first units for the year.

Things may be a bit chaotic, due to the implementation of the Common Core standards, and you wanting to get your units, outcomes and assessments aligned to the Common Core. Most of you worked on "unpacking" the standards last year and will continue to do so this year. It is so critical that you do this "unpacking" with your Professional Learning Community or team/grade level so that everyone is on the same page. Remember the Common Core outlines the knowledge and skills that all students must have, but the Common Core does not outline HOW teachers do that. Working collaboratively will help everyone so much on the HOWs of implementing the Common Core. Don't forget about the Common Core website,!! The website has many resources that can assist you in the implementation.

Robert Marzano has a website that also has some great resources that will come in handy when implementing the Common Core,

Itunes has several apps that you can download for free, whether a teacher or principal:

Check them out and see what you think!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Do you know what Khan Academy is?

If you read my Facebook page on The Teacher Guru, I post a lot of links to articles on technology: uses, apps, flipped classroom, sites, podcasts, IPad uses, etc.

The Khan Academy at is an academic site with over 180,000,000 video lessons! The goal of Khan Academy is to provide education for free, world wide, thus there are lessons that can be viewed by anyone with a computer and the internet on many academic subjects. The videos can be used for initial instruction, or for students for review OR for parents trying to help their kids on a specific math problem or science concept that they have no memory of!!!

Students can get practice, get feedback on how they did on a specific problem or concept, it keeps track of what you have accomplished and keeps track of everything you have learned.

Teachers can have students watch a lesson the night before the lesson will be introduced by the teacher the next day. Teachers can also use the site to have students practice and then see how students have done on a specific problem or concept in order to provide the necessary supports for their students.

Check it out!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bloom's Taxonomy

Are you familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy? I hope you are!! in 1956, Benjamin Bloom and a group of educators completed this hierarchy of cognitive levels of complexity. Today it is still alive and well!! It has been revised, thus changing the words in the taxonomy from nouns to verbs,

Teachers use the taxonomy to plan and teach their lessons as well as to assess their student's learning. As the new Common Core Standards require students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways, Bloom's can assist teachers in making sure that their lessons build up from "remembering" to "creating."

This link can assist teachers in the development of their lessons and assessments so that students can demonstrate their learning at the highest, most complex level. One criticism is that teachers do not always incorporate higher level, complex learning activities and that learning is rote and mundane. To ensure that students grow intellectually, teachers should keep the taxonomy handy for lesson planning and assessment and be accountable for the higher levels of student learning.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

School Starts in About 2 Weeks!!

New teacher? Are you ready?? Well you better be!!! By now you are planning on attending new teacher orientation and learning the ropes! In the meantime, have you reviewed and prepared:

* Written your introduction to parents, telling them about you and the classroom
* Reviewed the curriculum maps for your grade level or content area
* Reviewed your students in your class(es)
* Reviewed which students have IEPs or 504 plans
* Interacted with your principal
* Interacted with the school custodian (always a big help!)
* Interacted with the school secretary (always another big help!)
* Connected with your grade level or department team
* Have your room arranged, with seating arrangements
* Established your classroom routines and procedures
* Know what your curriculum materials are and how to get them
* Understand how you will be evaluated and who will evaluate you
* Know the safety procedures for fire, tornado/severe weather and school intruders for your classroom
* Know general school procedures: arrival and dismissal, lunch, bus riding, lockers
* Developed tentative lesson plans for the first two weeks of school
* Know who your mentor is, if you have one
* How to get help if you need it!!

Are you ready to have an exciting year?? And work very hard, but it will be worth it!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Late on my Blog!!! Are you an Olympian teacher?

My sister has been in visiting from London for the last 3 weeks and I got behind on my blog!!! My sister returned this week to London and will be trying to attend some of the Olympic events; she initially was trying to get out of the chaos, but after watching the events over the last 6 days, she got caught up in the excitement and is now getting tickets for some events!

As I watch the Olympics, I am amazed at these young people who have dedicated their lives to a dream, "to be the best in the world," even if they don't achieve that dream. What can we learn from them as educators? A GREAT DEAL!

1. A Vision and Focus: where do I want to be at the end of the week? End of the month?
End of the year? As educators, how do I dedicate my life to one goal, being an
excellent teacher? Do you love what you do, in order to go the extra mile to be the

2. Perseverance: Never giving up, even when you fail or have disappointment. As
educators, how do you push through difficulties, always wanting to do better?
Keeping a positive, optimistic attitude and rebounding after something that has
happened that is not so good. Are you willing to do the hard work that is needed to be
the best teacher you can be?

3. Confidence: Olympians have confidence in their abilities and believe in
themselves to reach their dream. How do you build your confidence, even when you
are under incredible pressure? Are you patient as you develop your knowledge and
skills as an educator? Do you take feedback constructively? Do you seek out
feedback? Do your reflect on your abilities so you have a realistic view of

4. Individual Growth, yet Team Player: Can you imagine the disappointment of Jordyn Wieber, the world champion at the Olympic trials, not making the finals? She has personally developed her skills to be top in the world, yet she could not compete. However, she had her cry, then supported her team in winning the gold medal for the team finals. How do you work toward your individual growth as an educator, yet work with others for the growth of all? Are you a coach or a mentor? Do you support others and hold everyone accountable for the good of the whole? Do you respect your colleagues?

5. Handling Success: Olympians know when they are in the zone!! 17 year old swimmer Missy Franklin is a great example of someone under extreme pressure as people are predicting her success. She is humble, complimentary of her competitors and teammates, articulate, and she is a BIG winner so far at the age of 17!! She represents her country and sport well! How do you handle your own success when your students accomplish great learning goals? How do you represent your school and district? It isn't just the skills that you have as a teacher, it is the qualities the you possess as you grow that make you great!