Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nonfiction Text Resources

As we begin to plan for the launch of unit 3 Bridget Leonardis shared with me a resources completely in line with my teaching philosophy and supportive while I start a new curriculum.  A link to some of the resources follows:

Harvey Daniels and Nancy Steineke on Nonfiction

Even more text-set resources from the same site!

Subjects Matter by Daniels is another resource.

Teachers' College Reading Writing Project
This site is a wealth of resources for engaging students with nonfiction text.

Text Features powerpoint

Friday, October 04, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Main Ideas and Determining Theme

Strategies that Work - resources for teacher PD in the area of teaching Main Idea and Theme.

Teaching Channel - Videos of instruction tied to the Common Core State Standards - some really great videos of instruction tied to CCSS.

The Circuit by Jimenez- I am using this story at the beginning of the year to review and reinforce work with levels of reading, main idea and determining theme RL 1-3

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Poetry Resources

Poetry Foundation

  • Wondering about using this poem. Thinking about an excerpt at the beginning of our unit and then revealing more over time. Thoughts?
  • Theme for English B

    The instructor said,

          Go home and write
          a page tonight.
          And let that page come out of you—
          Then, it will be true.

    I wonder if it’s that simple?
    I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.   
    I went to school there, then Durham, then here   
    to this college on the hill above Harlem.   
    I am the only colored student in my class.   
    The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,   
    through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,   
    Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,   
    the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator   
    up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

    It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me   
    at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what
    I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you.
    hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page.   
    (I hear New York, too.) Me—who?

    Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.   
    I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.   
    I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
    or records—Bessie, bop, or Bach.
    I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like
    the same things other folks like who are other races.   
    So will my page be colored that I write?   
    Being me, it will not be white.
    But it will be
    a part of you, instructor.
    You are white—
    yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
    That’s American.
    Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.   
    Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
    But we are, that’s true!
    As I learn from you,
    I guess you learn from me—
    although you’re older—and white—
    and somewhat more free.

    This is my page for English B.

Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts - Medieval Art

MetMuseum Teacher Resources for Medieval European Art

Cooperative Learning Techniques

After 8 years out the of the middle school classroom, I am re-entering on Wednesday.  In preparation I have been thinking about the resources and materials I need to collect and catalogue here on my blog.  One of my teammates reminded me of Pens in the Middle for equalizing discussion in a small group as well as a way to share with students who will be selected to share from the group.  Here is a summary of the technique:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Innovation on Earth

Global Connections
A blog for teachers interested in Global Education and competency.

Great Section from the Marshall Memo on YA Reading


-    Have teachers this year done anything that made you interested in reading a certain book? What was it?

-    Have you read something this year that was so memorable you keep thinking about it or you told someone else about it?

-    Have other people this year helped you decide to read certain books? Who? What did they do or say that made you want to read?

-    Do you talk with anyone about the books you read? Who do you talk to, and what kinds of things do you talk about?

-    Have you started to read a book in school that you found confusing? What happened with that?

-    Tell me something about your reading in classes other than English (social studies, science, math, etc.). What has been interesting or challenging about those experiences?

-    How has your reading at home changed this year?

-    What will happen with your reading this summer?

-    What did you learn as a reader this year?

-    Is there anything else you’d like to tell me about your reading?


“Engagement with Young Adult Literature: Outcomes and Processes” by Gay Ivey and Peter Johnston in Reading Research Quarterly, July/August/September 2013 (Vol. 48, #3, p. 255-275),; Ivey can be reached at

Friday, June 21, 2013

Social Studies - Common Assessment Resouces

Model Units - Common Core State Standards - Literacy in History and Social Studies

This unit on the U.S. Constitution provides an example of a Curriculum Embedded Performance Assessments (CEPA).  Possible example for DDMs?

National Council for the Social Studies

I liked this site for a couple of reasons.  It provides links to work that districts and teachers have done to create performance based assessments as well as a Criteria Worksheet for Selecting Assesment Measures.  I think this worksheet could be helpful as we look at our current assessments as well as newer ones for revision.

National Council for Geographic Education

World History Association

World History for Us All

District Determined Measures

DESE Guide on District Determined Measures

This is one a few resources provided by the DESE to guide districts in developing or identifying District Determined Measures.  If you find others, please let me know!

Expanded Explanation of DDMs

Technical Guide A from DESE

Technical Guide from DESE

Webinar's on the development of DDMs

These look to be useful but probably more than most folks want to dive into.  I aim to view them prior to meeting and talking about DDMs

Digital Nonfiction Text Sets - Teachers' College

Summary from the Reading and Writing Project Site at Teachers' College: "We have gathered a few digital resources to support your students forming cause groups and doing some outside research about these causes in the last bend of this unit. As always, we suggest previewing these texts before giving them to your students in order to find ones that are best suited for your particular students. This list is ongoing. We have tried to find a range of topics and levels, and welcome your suggestions for additional texts. Please email with any other resources you find to add to this list."

Sunday, March 10, 2013


During our professional development early release last month, there was a lot of talk about rubrics.  Teams looked at shared rubrics, discussed what had work and what was frustrating and then also looked at some student work. Below are some resources that summarize some of the rubric tools implemented as well as the underlying concepts behind these rubrics. If you have others to share, please do!

Rubrics and Authentic Assessment - This site offers an explanation and comparison between analytic and holistic rubrics.

Designing Rubrics for Your Classroom - This article is older, 2001, but it offers a discussion of some of the team's challenges discussed last month. One are is the idea of how time consuming some rubrics can be. It also talks about why you might want to choose one type of rubric over another.

Marzano's Framework of Learning Goals and Scales - The PowerPoint linked here makes a point to tie the learning objective of the lesson and the assignment to the scale or rubric. All of the examples only provide holistic rubrics but provide clear examples.

Moving teaching to thinking in Math

good-brawls-and-honoring-kids-dissatisfactionLong but good discussion about the truly perplexing, at least to me, elements of math that I think get glossed over sometimes for the sake of they concept or the formula being taught. This is worth a read.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Leaf Cutter Ant Highway!

Throughout our trip we have been thinking a lot about the life of leaf cutter ants and what we can learn from them. They make an impact on their environment just like we do. Can you spot their highway?