Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Different Way of Math Instruction

I was talking to a fourth grade teacher today about her style of teaching and math.  We both agreed that she is so strong when she teaches small groups and is really able to pinpoint students' strengths and weaknesses.  We talked about her trying to do a daily five type format for math, and use her Acuity math results to really drive her small group and individual instruction.  I am so proud of her to be willing to take the leap and try things a different way!  When I go home and am not blocked by pinterest, I want to look up lots of ideas for her to support her.  In the meantime, I found a fourth grade teacher's website online where she talks about doing this same thing.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Universal Themes in Literature

Here are some sources for universal themes, which I started looking for since I was talking with the 5th grade teachers about it last week.

Themes in literature
An example of a grade level theme hallway - how cool is this!

A Flipped Classroom

Here is an interesting article about a flipped English classroom.  I wonder what kind of results we could get trying this in an elementary classroom?

9. A New York City Teacher Flips Her English Classes

            In this AMLE Magazine article, New York City educator Pooja Patel describes how she and her colleagues successfully “flipped” their classes. In her seventh-grade English course, Patel decided to flip all the instructional lessons on essay writing. She created 5-10 minute podcasts on each essential element of the essay (e.g., What is a thesis statement? Where is the thesis statement in an essay?) and posted them online ( Many of the podcasts required students to bring a completed activity to class for discussion. For example, after listening to the podcast on connecting body paragraphs, students had to write a conclusion sentence or sentences for each paragraph that connected it to the next one and then create a concluding paragraph that met specific criteria. Class time was used discussing students’ products, answering questions, and honing skills.

            Students reacted favorably to the flipping, saying the podcasts were a powerful resource, there was more time for processing information, more time to write, and class time was used better. Patel concludes with several pointers:

-          Don’t reinvent the wheel. Lots of information on flipping is available on the Web.

-          Keep podcasts short and simple.

-          Link videos to classroom instruction. Podcasts should have a specific purpose.

-          Hold students accountable for watching and following up on the podcasts.


“An Experiment in Flipping” by Pooja Patel in AMLE Magazine, October 2013 (Vol. 1, #3, p. 31-33),; the author can be reached at

Friday, January 18, 2013


Here is a link to a website that has books on it that children have written.  Kids can choose the book they want to read and either read it on their own or click on the words to have them read out loud.

January 29th is Amelia Bedelia Day!

Nice resource for teachers to watch other teachers in action:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Prefixes, Roots & Suffixes, Oh My!

What a document!  Here is a preview:

Building Vocabulary: Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes Page 1 Developed by Judith Wilde, PhD for Beta Group – Albuquerque, NM and Arlington, VA (rev 8/06). Reprinted by NCELA with permission. Multiple copies permitted for educational purposes and with this credit line.

Building Vocabulary: Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes

Many studies show the importance of building children’s vocabulary. One study has shown that a set of 20 prefixes and 14 roots, and knowing how to use them, will unlock the meaning of over 100,000 words. A similar study showed that a set of 29 prefixes and 25 roots will give the meaning to over 125,000 words. Imagine adding suffixes! Below are lists of prefixes, suffixes, and roots – with their meanings and example words.

Reviewing these also can help many ELL students to see relationships between and among languages. Many prefixes have a basis in Latin – also the basis for Spanish, French, and Italian – or Greek.

Table 1: 32 Prefixes

Example words and meanings

a, ab, abs

away from

  1. absent
  2. abscond
  1. not to be present, away
  2. abscond – to run away
ad, a, ac, af, ag, an, ar, at, as

to, toward

  1. adapt
  2. adhere
  3. annex
  4. attract
  1. to fit into
  2. to stick to
  3. to add or join
  4. to draw near


  1. antifreeze
  2. antisocial
  1. a substance to prevent freezing
  2. refers to someone who’s not social
bi, bis


  1. bicycle
  2. biannual
  3. biennial
  1. two wheeled cycle
  2. twice each year
  3. every two years
circum, cir


  1. circumscribe
  2. circle
  1. to draw around
  2. a figure that goes all around
com, con, co, col

with, together

  1. combine
  2. contact
  3. collect
  4. co-worker
  1. to bring together
  2. to touch together
  3. to bring together
  4. co-worker

away from, down, the opposite of

  1. depart
  2. decline
  1. to go away from
  2. to turn down
dis, dif, di


  1. dislike
  2. dishonest
  3. distant
  1. not to like
  2. not honest
  3. away

upon, on top of

  1. epitaph
  2. epilogue
  1. writing upon a tombstone
  2. speech at the end, on top of the rest
equ, equi


  1. equalize
  2. equitable
  1. to make equal
  2. fair, equal
ex, e, ef

out, from

  1. exit
  2. eject
  3. exhale
  1. to go out
  2. to throw out
  3. to breathe out
in, il, ir, im, en

in, into

  1. inject
  2. impose
  1. to put into
  2. to force into
in, il, ig, ir, im


  1. inactive
  2. ignoble
  3. irreversible
  4. irritate
  1. not active
  2. not noble
  3. not reversible
  4. to put into discomfort

Thursday, November 15, 2012