Friday, January 22, 2010

A Week Full of Firsts

When my now teenaged daughters were in preschool, they had a particular videotape that they viewed over and over and over again. I mean like ten times a day. No kidding. It almost drove me crazy! The video was called "Baby's Firsts", and along with a catchy little tune, it featured babies experiencing the world for the first time: baby's first toy, baby's first tooth, baby's first steps, etc.

After all these years, I'm thinking about that annoying video once again. This week I've experienced a whole string of firsts myself. It was my first week as principal! Bear with me as I list my brand new encounters from Week One. Catchy tune not included.

  • Tanny's first morning announcements
  • Tanny's first fire drill
  • Tanny's first bus discipline
  • Tanny's first thank you note from a 2nd grader
  • Tanny's first use of a walkie-talkie
  • Tanny's first office referral
  • Tanny's first lunch duty (since 2001)
  • Tanny's first walk-through with the Board president
  • Tanny's first week as principal, filled with satisfaction
A "text cousin" to this blog post is Marla Frazee's beautiful picture book, Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages (Harcourt, 2006). This is a perfect book for anyone, learning anything, at any age.

Check out Frazee's book here!

Tween Tribune

I introduced Tween Tribune to my class last week and was blown away by how engaged they were.
TweenTribune offers teachers and students an opportunity to read high interest news stories about everyday people from around the world.  Introduced in such an appealing way, Tribune stories are interesting to middle schoolers and are a great way to get students to read newspaper articles—and then to hear them comment. 

After reading the stories, the students are able to post a response.

Students log on in a very safe manner and are able to access TweenTribune at home. I’m able to check the blogs before they are published and able to print them.   

My students were sharing stories with each other and having a great time writing a response. They are proud to be published writers. I introduced this website on Thursday and many students logged in at home over the weekend! 

The responses have to be at least 25 words.  At first students were unhappy with that number, but as they started to respond, they realized how easy it was to accomplish.  Students came in the next day and asked if we’re going to read new stories again. 

In response to the article, “Suspended over long hair. Is it fair?” Korie posted: I don't think that it is fair that a four year old would get suspended for having long hair. There are students in my middle school with hair longer hair than him that don't get in trouble for it.

I recommend this site to all teachers.  The students are engaged and they are reading and writing at the same time.  Check it out:

Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK Day: What ONE Can Do

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Do all you can
With what you have
In the time you have
In the place you are.

What ONE Can Do
PowerPoint by Michael Gott
Do All You Can by Robert Anderson, performed by Devotion, used with permission

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Metaphorically Speaking, x = y

According to James Geary, we utter six metaphors a minute. “Metaphor is a way of thought before it is a way with words,” he says. It's about the brain's disposition to patterns and connections. 

Watch Geary teach us more about this cognitive function and shake up our own ideas a bit in this TED Talk about metaphor.

In our professional learning sessions on Similarities & Differences, teachers especially enjoy Silver, Strong, and Perini's resource, The Strategic Teacher. Math teachers are surprised to be includedin fact, the focus ofChapter 10 Metaphorical Expressions. In the chapter, middle school teacher Susan Billows says, "Metaphors and math go together better than most people imagine." 
Not surprising, once you hear Geary's definition of metaphor. Simple. It's x = y.

See also: Similarities & Differences: Part 2