Tag Archives: K through 12

We are Called to Inspire our Students even in the Last Few Weeks of School…Remember the “Why” in Choosing to Teach


(Picture posted on Facebook by Teacher2Teacher #T2T)

We have limited days left with our students.

What a blessing it has been to greet them each morning as they enter our building, our classroom. To be able to tell them they can learn the impossible and see that which is not visible. Be a caregiver, boo-boo healer, magician, entertainer, disciplinarian and mentor. To be a dispenser of hope and a well of motivation and inspiration. Provide them examples to model after and to strive to emulate.

What a blessing it has been to be all we are called to be to them this school year.

We as educational support staff, teachers and administrators  have modeled for those placed in our care more than we will ever know.

Hopefully, we have modeled positive conflict resolution, how to demonstrate and hopefully deal with disappointment and frustration, how to be kind in words and actions and how to forgive.

Our students have watched and listened to our words and actions.

As one who who chooses to work within the world of education, teach and inspire our future leaders of tomorrow, this is so very important for us to remember.
Let us have faith that the seeds and examples we have planted and provide will be watered to bear fruit for many years to come.

May the last few weeks of school be all that you hoped this school year would be …on the first day of school!
May we continue to seek knowledge in all things-

Denise

Principal

St. Augustine Catholic School

Twitter:

@dballwriter and @principal567

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Never Underestimate the Power of Believing in a Child

As educators, we have been blessed with an awesome responsibility to educate the whole child to become productive citizens and leaders of tomorrow.

As an administrator, one of the blessings of my job is to help my faculty and staff be the best they can be in the lives of those placed in their care.

Simple reminders:

*to greet students at the door and actually “see” them each day

*to remember that as an educator, we are the rational adult called to model behaviors for our students…forgiveness, flexibility, humor, compassion etc.

*it is okay for students to know that mistakes have been made or something is not “known” …demonstrate how to build the muscle of “recovery” and “collaboration”

Never underestimate the power we have in lifting up our students to new heights…if you BELIEVE they will ACHIEVE!

 

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise

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Filed under Blogs that Inspire Us, Curriculum Resources, Inspiration, Team Building/Positive Work Environments

Five Week Syllabus for Literature Utilizing the “Ranger’s Apprentice” by John Flanagan

Week of July 15

  • Lesson 1-Identify three main characters and provide a description of each
  • Lesson 2-Provide a chapter review for chapters 1-4 (minimum five sentences per chapter)

Week of July 22

  • Lesson 3-Write a paragraph summary for each of the following chapters: 5-10

Week of July 29

  • Lesson 5-Write an essay, minimum five paragraphs describing chapters 11-20
  • Describe what was exciting; What are the characters doing; How is Will holding up?

Week of August 5

  • Lesson 7-Create a graphic organizer describing chapters 21-29 (a few images are nice too 🙂

Week of August 12

  • Lesson 9-Write an after action essay, in the voice of “Will” on how he feels after all the experiences he has had in the book.

When done, visit John Flanagan’s great website and E-N-J-O-Y!

http://www.rangersapprentice.com/

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise

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Online Virtual Tours …A Wonderful Classroom Resource

Hello Everyone,

Our Unlock the Teacher LLC team has been very busy writing but we are always on the lookout for great educational resources to share.  Below is a list of A-M-A-Z-I-N-G online virtual tours that parent or teacher can utilize as a curriculum resource or for some learning fun!  Please check them out and let us know which tour your child(ren) or students liked best.  When we all come together and share best practices, it is our students, our future who benefit.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise

A Hotlist of Virtual Field TripsAn Internet Hotlist on Virtual Field Tripscreated by Group Project

Introduction | Math | Science | The Arts | Social Studies | Language Arts


Introduction

Need to spice up that old lesson?…..check out these great virtual field trips…


The Internet Resources

Math

Science

Language Arts

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An Innovative Program for Helping Students Succeed…Sharing the Good in Education

Given that Unlock the Teacher LLC was founded on the principal of sharing the good in education, we look for this good where ever we go.  In the grocery store, at Starbuck’s, the local library and most importantly at the schools we are blessed to work in.

We wanted to share a wonderful educational program we are following and hope that it might plant a seed for another school looking to add a resource room to their school.

St. Regis Educare – An Innovative Program for Helping Students Succeed

St. Regis Educare (SRE) is a newly created program serving the students of St. Regis Catholic Elementary and Academy, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The SRE program is staffed by three certified teachers who are dedicated to supporting the varied needs of St. Regis students. Based on the premise that each student has unique gifts and talents, with different learning styles and academic abilities, SRE supports teachers in providing differentiated instruction within and outside the classroom. In keeping with the St. Regis mission: Respect, Educate, Give, Inspire, and Support, SRE is dedicated to respecting individual students’ needs and supporting and inspiring them to reach their fullest academic potential.

The service provided in this program is more than a library of resources for teachers and parents. It is more than a place where students can come for help with their homework. It is a professionally staffed center for learning, where students attend workshops, join literature circles, compete in Math competitions, and follow academic plans designed specifically to meet their individual needs.

SRE Services

St. Regis Educare provides three different types of assistance/enrichment for students. They work with individuals and small groups needing assistance or enrichment in academic subject areas. They  provide workshops to help students with concepts such as grammar or study skills, and  work with individuals and small groups on specific skills such as comprehension strategies or counting money. In order to make the concepts they are enhancing engaging, they  integrate technology, and utilize manipulatives, hands-on activities, and use modeling to help students achieve their goals.

With all this, they also provide the following benefits for teachers: assessments, which they will design and/or administer upon request; a central repository for teacher resources and reference books; and documented processes and forms to make using our services less complicated. To help bridge the ever widening need between parent and school, they provide a central repository for parent resources, and are in the process of planning workshops for parents, so they can learn new ways to help their children succeed in school.

Development of the Program

This school year, St. Regis Educare has evolved from an idea and an empty office, into a focal point of learning for students in need of assistance or enrichment, as well as a central location for student, teacher, and parent resources.

Some highlights include:

  • A room that is now both inviting and functional for assisting students
  • Resource materials, games, technology, and manipulatives that are arranged by subject matter on labeled shelves for easy access
  • Documented processes and forms that are based on research of best practices and collaboration with professionals both in and outside the school
  • An extensive list of services designed to meet the varied needs of our students

As of this writing, at least one student or group from every grade, is being serviced by SRE, and they have had an abundance of positive comments from students, parents, and teachers who are grateful for the expertise and supportive of this team’s efforts. It is too soon in the development of the program to provide concrete results; however, I plan to monitor this program’s progress …stay tuned!

If your school or community is doing something great to help students, teachers or parents, please share.  It is in the collaborative model that we all rise to the level in which we have the potential to be.

May we all continue to seek knowledge in all things~

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Filed under Educational Resources, Sharing the Good, Sharing the Good in Education

20,000 Views…we can do it!

Thank you to all of our readers, who have been supporting our work as we have taking the last 1.5 years to write our series of books…stay tuned, work on our academic eBooks and get back int he schools to conduct professional development and student workshops.

Our entire team feels so blessed to be able to do what we do for the betterment of the educational process…for parents, teachers and most importantly for the child(ren).

Please continue to share the good in education, share your favorite learning tool here with our readers and seek to see the good in the life of those children that are placed before you…they are our future!

Together we can do great things!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise and the entire Unlock the Teacher Team

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100 Positive Comments to Utilize when Speaking on Students’ Behavior

100 Positive Student Comments to Utilize with Parents

http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/profdev/profdev148.shtml  (Jan. 23, 2012)

Recommended by Jen J., a third grade teacher in Michigan.

Attitude

The student:

  • is an enthusiastic learner who seems to enjoy school
  • exhibits a positive outlook and attitude in the classroom
  • appears well rested and ready for each day’s activities
  • shows enthusiasm for classroom activities
  • shows initiative and looks for new ways to get involved
  • uses instincts to deal with matters independently and in a positive way
  • strives to reach his (or her) full potential
  • is committed to doing his (or her) best
  • seeks new challenges
  • takes responsibility for his (or her) learning

Behavior

The student:

  • cooperates consistently with the teacher and other students
  • transitions easily between classroom activities without distraction
  • is courteous and shows good manners in the classroom
  • follows classroom rules
  • conducts himself (or herself) with maturity
  • responds appropriately when corrected
  • remains focused on the activity at hand
  • resists the urge to be distracted by other students
  • is kind and helpful to everyone in the classroom
  • sets an example of excellence in behavior and cooperation

Character

The student:

  • shows respect for teachers and peers
  • treats school property and the belongings of others with care and respect
  • is honest and trustworthy in dealings with others
  • displays good citizenship by assisting other students
  • joins in school community projects
  • is concerned about the feelings of peers
  • faithfully performs classroom tasks
  • can be depended on to do what he (or she) is asked to do
  • seeks responsibilities and follows through
  • is thoughtful in interactions with others

Communication Skills

The student:

  • has a well-developed vocabulary
  • chooses words with care
  • expresses ideas clearly, both verbally and through writing
  • has a vibrant imagination and excels in creative writing
  • has found his (or her) voice through poetry writing
  • uses vivid language in writing
  • writes clearly and with purpose
  • writes with depth and insight
  • can make a logical and persuasive argument
  • listens to the comments and ideas of others without interrupting

Group Work

The student:

  • offers constructive suggestions to peers to enhance their work
  • accepts the recommendations of peers and acts on them when appropriate
  • is sensitive to the thoughts and opinions of others in the group
  • takes on various roles in the work group as needed or assigned
  • welcomes leadership roles in groups
  • shows fairness in distributing group tasks
  • plans and carries out group activities carefully
  • works democratically with peers
  • encourages other members of the group
  • helps to keep the work group focused and on task

Interests and Talents

The student:

  • has a well-developed sense of humor
  • holds many varied interests
  • has a keen interest that has been shared with the class
  • displays and talks about personal items from home when they relate to topics of study
  • provides background knowledge about topics of particular interest to him (or her)
  • has an impressive understanding and depth of  knowledge about his (or her) interests
  • seeks additional information independently about classroom topics that pique interest
  • reads extensively for enjoyment
  • frequently discusses concepts about which he (or she) has read
  • is a gifted performer
  • is a talented artist
  • has a flair for dramatic reading and acting
  • enjoys sharing his (or her) musical talent with the class

Participation

The student:

  • listens attentively to the responses of others
  • follows directions
  • takes an active role in discussions
  • enhances group discussion through insightful comments
  • shares personal experiences and opinions with peers
  • responds to what has been read or discussed in class and as homework
  • asks for clarification when needed
  • regularly volunteers to assist in classroom activities
  • remains an active learner throughout the school day

Social Skills

The student:

  • makes friends quickly in the classroom
  • is well-liked by classmates
  • handles disagreements with peers appropriately
  • treats other students with fairness and  understanding
  • is a valued member of the class
  • has compassion for peers and others
  • seems comfortable in new situations
  • enjoys conversation with friends during free periods
  • chooses to spend free time with friends

Time Management

The student:

  • tackles classroom assignments, tasks, and group work in an organized manner
  • uses class time wisely
  • arrives on time for school (and/or class) every day
  • is well-prepared for class each day
  • works at an appropriate pace, neither too quickly or slowly
  • completes assignments in the time allotted
  • paces work on long-term assignments
  • sets achievable goals with respect to time
  • completes make-up work in a timely fashion

Work Habits

The student:

  • is a conscientious, hard-working student
  • works independently
  • is a self-motivated student
  • consistently completes homework assignments
  • puts his (or her) best effort into homework assignments
  • exceeds expectations with the quality of his (or her) work
  • readily grasps new concepts and ideas
  • generates neat and careful work
  • checks work thoroughly before submitting it
  • stays on task with little supervision
  • displays self-discipline
  • avoids careless errors through attention to detail
  • uses free minutes of class time constructively
  • creates impressive home projects

Positive words goes a long way in educating a child and building relationships.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Suggested Summer Reading for Teachers and those who Play a Role in the Life of a Child

Having written my thesis on phonics, I found this book a good and reflective read. I am still a believer in the importance of phonics in the classroom and at home but I am and feel we as educators must be, open to others views and opinions. I learned a lot from this book and highly recommend it for your summer “must read” list.

“The Great Reading Disaster: Reclaiming Our Educational Birthright” by Mona McNee and Alice Coleman

Amazon’s Book Description:

 

“By the late 1980s half the nation’s children were receiving eleven years of progressivism schooling that failed to give them even the elementary basis of education that was completed by the age of seven in earlier days. This great reading disaster was caused by the ?look?say? method of teaching, which presented whole words not individual letters. This book explains the causes and provides the solution to this problem. In 2006, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills has ordered schools to use the phonic method but there seems little evidence that its implications are properly understood or that any serious re-training program for teachers is being put in place. The authors believe their explanations and recommendations in this book are thus needed just as much as ever.”

 

 

The next book is an excellent read and has sat in my office on my book shelve for a couple of years now. I have lent it out many times now in hopes that it might inspire those who read it to refuse to give into the easy path and CHOOSE to be the difference in the life of our children…our future! Our Unlock the Teacher team has talked on this before on how we feel ALL children are capable of learning. I know many have heard me tell the story of when I taught in the city and I was told that my students could not or would never understand Shakespeare, so I should not waste my time. Well, not only did my 8th grade English/Literature students learn all about Shakespeare, The Tempest became one of their favorite reads that year. Much of how our students respond in our classrooms or buildings depends most on how we choose to approach our environment and communicate learning expectations. I highly recommend this book for all educational staff and parents too!

 

 

“Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves but Can’t Read, Write, or Add”

 

Amazon’s Book Description:

 

Dumbing Down Our Kids is a searing indictment of America’s secondary schools one that every parent and teacher should read.
Dumbing Down Our Kids offers a full-scale investigation of the new educational fad, sometimes called “Outcome Based Education” the latest in a long series of “reforms” that has eroded our schools.
-Why our kids rank to, or at the bottom of international tests in math and science

-Why “self-esteem” has supplanted grades and genuine achievements

-How the educational establishment lowers standards and quality in our schools-while continuing to raise their budgets and our school taxes

-The dumbing down of the curriculum so everyone can pass-but no one excel

-How parents, students, and teachers can evaluate schools and restore quality learning.

 

If you have a good book to recommend or your staff has chosen a book to read as a team, please share and together we can learn from each other. It is in the collaborative process that we will make a difference for our children of today and the future of tomorrow.

 

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

 

Denise and the entire Unlock the Teacher Team

 

 

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A Glance Back at A Successful School Year

As many of schools are winding down for the school year, student energy is high, teacher energy low, it is important to look back, reflect and make notes on what worked and what did not, while your mind is still in “school” mode.

As an administrator, I find this is a helpful tool not only in regards to the building standard operating procedures, but in what worked in motivating my team or not. It is just important for an administrator to reflect as it is for a teacher, because it is in the exercise of being a reflective practitioner, do we  continue to grow and challenge ourselves to higher standards.

When I was in the classroom, I would spend the last week of school with my students and the last week after they were gone, to spend a few minutes each day writing in a journal.  I would reflect upon lessons taught, the differentiated tools utilized and next to each reflection, I would put IDEAS on how I could change it up for the following year to ensure more students’ needs were met.

I would spend time thinking about how I felt I impacted my building as a whole…did I contribute to the greater good, was I encouraging to those around me, did I spend most my time picking up versus putting down…This excercise helped me grow as a teacher and an individual.

Although it is easy to get caught up in trying to close down a building and get home to rejuvenate before it all begins again…in a matter of weeks…I encourage you all to pause, reflect and take a good look at how you made a difference this year in the life of a child.

To all the parents, children, teacher and administrators out there, our Unlock the Teacher team would like to say to you…”Job well done!”

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise

Recommended summer reading:

“Reeasing the Imagination” by Maxine Greene

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Great pictures and good utilization of adjectives…hint for all of you middle school and high school ELA teachers…very compelling blog and make all of us on the Unlock the Teacher team want to visit the Blue Lagoon!

Have Baggage, Will Travel

You can’t visit Iceland without checking out the Blue Lagoon. Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments against it: It’s a tourist trap. It’s a manmade attraction. It’s expensive. All these claims are at least somewhat true—but that doesn’t detract from the fact that the Blue Lagoon is still pretty freaking awesome.

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