Tag Archives: K through 12

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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Unlock the Teacher LLC Gives the First Year Donation to Support Literacy Fund to Local Elementary School

“Katie’s Farm Adventures” an academic eBook

We are happy to report that we were able to give a check to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School this past month in support of the Literacy Fund.  Last March, we donated one of our Academic eBooks, “Katie’s Farm Adventures” to support the OLQM Literacy Fund.  In April 2011, we went into the school and conducted one of our “Writing Workshops” with Mrs. McMahon’s amazing 1st grade class.  This group of students through a brain-storming exercise, drafted a book idea, wrote the story as a group, colored the pages and published two eBooks for their school’s literacy fund.

“Katie’s Farm Adventures” an academic eBook

Katie’s Horse Adventure” BN ID: 2940013605886

This twenty page book is written and illustrated by 1st graders. It is the third book in the “Katie’s Farm Adventures” Series. All proceeds go to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School Literacy Fund. The academic focus for this book is sight words. It is a great book for children ages 4-8 that are working on building their cornerstone for reading. It is also a great example of what children can do if only given an opportunity. These students attended a writing workshop from Unlock the Teacher LLC and their teacher Mrs. McMahon learned how to utilize students work to create an eBook and promote literacy throughout their school.

Katie’s Exploring Adventure an academic eBook

Katie’s Exploring Adventure” BN ID: 2940012471550

This 23 page book is written and illustrated by a 1st grade class. “Katie’s Exploring Adventure” is the second book in “Katie’s Farm Adventures” series. In this book, Katie goes on a hike through the woods with her parents and discovers some colorful insects, falls into a huge pile of mud and through it all maintains a great sense of humor and sense of adventure.

All proceeds from these books go towards promoting literacy at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School at http://www.olqmcatholicschool.org For further information about having your class participate in a “Writing ePublishing Workshop” please contact Unlock the Teacher LLC at or visit our website at www.unlocktheteacher.com.

Given that these books are on sale for $2.99-$3.99 and the school receives 100% of the profits earned from the sale of these academic eBooks (keeping in mind each book profits 65-75% of the value via Barnes and Noble), we are thrilled to be able to continue to see the fruits of our labors as we strive to be the difference in education!

Thank you to all those who support our work in schools, purchase our academic eBooks and share the good in education.

Together we can make a difference!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under "Katie's Farm Adventures" eBook Series Donated to Promoting Literacy, Curriculum Resources, Promoting Literacy

Educational Websites to Utilize in the Classroom for Grades 4-12

At a recent principal’s meeting, the Web 2.0 presenter showcased some fabulous online resources that any 21st century educator could utilize to enhance classroom instruction.

www.qwiki.com

This site includes multimedia components and visual displays for presentations.  *Very user-friendly.

www.lessonstream.org

Present information to students integrating a multimedia format.

www.vocabahead.com

Identify real-life connections between words and their use.  *This is a great tool…words with videos!

www.khanacademy.org

This is a site where students can retell stories to demonstrate an understanding of concepts.

www.bitstrips.com

This is an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G site for teachers to utilize really grades 2 on up.  Students can create animated cartoon strips by utilizing a combination of drawing, dictating and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events. This site also has a homework component…great vocabulary builder and speaks to the visual learner.

www.60secondrecap.com

Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings or events in a story or drama. *neat site

www.visuwords.com

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

www.owl.emglish.purdue.edu

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

www.froguts.com

Great virtual dissects to utilize in class with students.

www.jeapardylabs.com

Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

www.storybird.com

Add drawings to displays and stories.

This is just a few of the many resources available online.  I will post some more here next week as Unlock the Teacher continues to find ways to share the good!

We would love to share some of your sites, so please email us or send them in via a comment. 🙂

 

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Themed Lessons Online for F-R-E-E…When we Share the Good in Education, we ALL Benefit

Given all the many online resources available to both educators and parents alike, one can spend a whole week educating our youth on days like today…President’s Day and answering the who, what, where and why questions that arise.

The Teacher’s Guide is a fabulous resource site, that provides lesson plans, tips on integrating technology, White Board lessons and so much more.

Hot Chalk is another amazing online resource.  This site is broken down by Classroom, Community and Lesson Plans. One can even sign up for a free eNewsletter too.

A to Z Teacher Stuff is a neat site that has theme-based puzzles, lesson plans and great educational resources to utilize at home or in the classroom.

Education World is one of our favorite online resources.  This site offers lessons broken down by discipline and has a wealth of lessons to choose from.

Here are four of our favorite online resources.  We would love to hear from you, what sites you find valuable when planning your lessons at home and in the classroom.  When we share the good in education, we all benefit!

 

May we continue to see knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Wonderful 8th Grade Literature Scrapbooks through the Eyes of the Characters

Utilizing Character Journals/Scrapbooks in the Classroom
Sue Martin, a middle school language arts/literature teacher has allowed us to utilize these great pieces of student’s work.  Students were given a rubric to create a scrapbook/journal in the eyes of one of the characters in the book they were reading.  As the pictures demonstrate, this is a unique and fun assignment for student and teacher and can be modified for various age groups.

"The Lying Game""The Lying Game" scrapbook on the inside"Wait till Helen Comes""Wait til Helen Comes" scrapbook on the inside

"Wait til Helen Comes" Character Scrapbook"Harry Potter" Character Journal

 

"Wicked" Character Journal

 

"Wicked" Character Scrapbook on the inside

 
I find these pictures creative and I have no doubt that the students had a great time identifying with the characters in the books they read as they created these wonderful assignments.
 
If you would like to share your Best Practices, we would love to read them and share them with our readers.  Please email documents to denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com
 
May we seek knowledge in all things,
Denise
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Recommended Holiday Gifts for Teachers

The time of year is upon us, when we take time out to show the teacher(s) in our lives, just how much we appreciate them and all they do for our children…our future!  During the school year, on average a child spend 7+ hours a day with his/her teacher.  This is 35 hours+ a week.  Once we get our children up, we might have one rushed hour a day before school then maybe (and this is a stretch) we might have three quality hours after school before they go to bed.  That is approximately 4 hours a day we have with our children. This is 20 hours during the week from Monday-Friday.

Given all this, it is clear to see the importance of choosing just the right school (because our children spend a lot of time in them) and appreciating the wonderful teachers who give of their time and talent to help prepare our children for the future.

The following are our recommended gift ideas (NOTE: Many are items I received and appreciated 🙂 over the many years in education.)

  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Sharpie Pens ~All Colors ~Thin, Regular and Poster Tip (a true treasure)
  • A camera donated to the classroom is a gift indeed (*I received this one year and it is a gift that still gives back to education!) Kodak Easy Share is cost effective and reliable.
  • Colored Printing Paper
  • Target Gift Card (most teachers use for classroom anyway)
  • Office Depot Gift Card
  • Visa, Mastercard or Amex Gift Cards…gives educators the choice to shop at teacher stores, online etc.
  • Barnes and Noble Gift Card~ I have not met one teacher in my years in classroom or now working with many, who do not purchase books for their classroom…Given that we sell our academic eBooks at BarnesandNoble.com, we are bias and LOVE this book store!
  • An Electric Pencil Sharpener
  • An Assortment of Purple, Red and Green Pens
  • An Assortment of Yellow High Lighters
  • A Case of Clorox Wipes…no kidding, unless there is a child allergic, teachers LOVE this item…we all want to be germ free!
  • A Case of White Printer Paper
  • A Packet of Assorted Construction Paper

These are just a few items we would recommend here at Unlock the Teacher.  However, we would love to hear your favorite items that you have received.  Please post in our comment section or email us at denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com and I will post for all our parents and teachers to read.  Collaboration is what education is all about!

I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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6th Grade Teacher Makes Science Fun with Cell Process Cartoons

Who said science wasn’t fun?
While in a school today (St. Mary School Royal Oak, Michigan), I stopped to look at these fabulous displays of creativity.  Not only was this hallway display colorful and creative, it was educational and funny!
 
 A simple, yet effective and creative way to teach the process of a cell.Students after reviewing lesson with their teacher Mrs. Lapenta, they were given the rubric for a “Cell Process Cycle Cartoon”.  Students had to incorporate the vocabulary given and create a cartoon strip displaying the process reviewed in class. Thinking “Outside of the Box” can take learning to new and exciting places for you and your students.
 
We would love to share your classroom Best Practices with our readers. Please email me at denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com a brief synopsis of lesson and a jpg or two.  It is in this collaborative process, that we all grow as educators…as parents…as a society!  Good ideas are meant to be shared.  We try to share them as often as we can!
 

"Outside of the Box" teaching is good for all stakeholders in the learning process!

 

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,
Denise
 
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Odyssey of the Mind and Team Building Lessons for the Classroom and Home

As the school year has just begun and we are busy in schools, I thought I would share a couple of great sites that offer “team buildinglessons for students.   We are excited to hear from and meet new teachers this year.  I think that these sites provide  great problem-solving scenarios for students to work through and can enhance any lesson in any discipline and be modified for any age to meet the needs of all students.  Enjoy and have a super school year full of many new discoveries!

Odyssey of the Mind

http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/

Computer Science Unplugged

http://csunplugged.org/

Computer Science Unplugged  is a great site to utilize in the classroom because it offers creative scenarios to solve or work through without utilizing a computer.  This site has various activities for both teachers and parents to utilize with students to enhance team building and higher-order thinking.

Would love to know your thoughts, ideas or lessons found successful in enhancing these skills. Together we can make a difference!

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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F-R-E-E Educational Webinars for Teachers and Parents

Given our economy, professional development has been slim for many educators. There is a plethora of free webinars online. Have fun learning!

Life is busy and for those of us who do not have time to attend a class for learning or pleasure, webinars can be just the tool needed to achieve our goal. Given technology, webinars can be the next best thing for teachers too.

PBS Teachers Live Should be in Every Teacher’s Toolbox

PBS Teachers Live offers a wealth of webinars in many areas across the disciplines. For example, if a teacher were interested in educating students about Earth Day in April (hopefully), then PBS Teachers Live would be
a valuable tool. Teachers sign up for free and log on to various webinars, full of ideas, lesson plans and across the curriculum connections, to name a few.

Webinars, an Awesome Resource for Educators

After doing some research, here are a few webinar sites across the Internet that is recommended by those within the world of education:

Education Week (one of my personal favorites) offers many enlightening webinars. Check out “E-educators’ Evolving Skills”…talk about relevant!

American Statistical Association offers various webinars…currently hosting a K-12 “Meeting within a Meeting” for Science and Math Teachers

Exploring Middle School MiddleWeb is a blog powered by Typepad. They are a promoter of 21st Century Learning and offer live and archived webinars. Check out the latest webinar: The National Middle School Association is teaming up with the NSF-funded Middle School Portal to offer “Free math and Science Webinars”…the goal was to not only make the training affordable but user friendly; teachers could watch from home.

Webinars and Educational Professional Development

The life of a teacher is very demanding and organization is necessary. This is also true for those entrusted to lead and provide professional development for their educational staff. Given this amazing age of technology, regardless of budget, there is no reason that professional development is not occurring within schools.

All of the webinars posted here in this article, can be utilized to strengthen and enrich any school faculty. Time can be manipulated and educators can watch at their own pace or educators can be assembled and view webinar as a whole and collaborate in groups afterwards. This type of professional development is only going to increase not decrease as we progress further into the world of technology. There are many curriculum developers/professional development trainers, who utilize programs like these mentioned to create meaningful professional development for educators around the world.

Given our economy, we are going to need to be more creative with our training. Training cannot stop due to funding. Teachers still need to be prepared to teach the 21-Century student, we just need to be creative. MSN as created a fabulous tool for any organization looking to create “living” documents. For educators, this tool can be multi-faceted and utilized with students or within a building for aligning curriculum. This is just two of unlimited possibilities with OneNote. Check out the free OneNote Webinar below for further details.

OneNote and Education:
This MSDN blog was created to have a dialog about OneNote and education, including sharing ideas, resources, and building community with teachers, students and faculty.

Parents are the first teachers. All of these webinars mentioned are open to anyone interested in learning and changing the life of a child. This will be one of many articles written on the topic of professional development within the world of education. There is a plethora of free programs out there for all of us to learn and use, to meet the needs of our children,
our future.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

 

Please visit our website for our wonderful workshops for students and teachers. Our Anti-Bullying Workshops for students 1-12 is quickly gaining steam. We will gladly provide recommendations from parents, teachers and principals.

Unlock the Teacher

www.unlocktheteacher.com

Denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com

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We Found a Great Blog for all Things Curriculum by Carolyn Starkey ~”The Common Core Daily”

As a teacher and now component of Unlock the Teacher, I read, write and work with schools on curriculum and curriculum alignment projects.  I was taught early on in my career and I also believe, that if a school  has a good curriculum base (a living curriculum), then  the sky is the limit for teachers in the classroom.  Once a curriculum cornerstone is in place, the framework is there and this makes scaffolding curriculum to meet the needs of all learners in a building so much easier.

  • Teachers can collaborate more efficiently, knowing what grade level expectations are.
  • Lessons can be more enhanced, working within guidelines vs. shooting from the hip or from the dark.
  • Teachers then do not have to feel they need to teach by the text but utilize textbooks as they are meant to be…tools to enhance the learning process.

Don’t get me wrong, textbooks are an essential component of the learning process.  Good textbooks, written to speak to multiple learning styles, can change the way a student feels about any given subject. However, textbooks are but one piece of the learning puzzle.

That is why, when I stumble upon a good book or curriculum materials from authors like: Solution Tree, Elaine McEwan, Thomas Lickona (Educating for Character~ I highly recommend), Rachel Kessler (The Soul of Education) and Maxine Greene (Releasing the Imagination), I love to share it.  The collaborative process is one of my favorite aspects about teaching and working within schools.

Given all this, I wanted to share with all of our readers, a blog I find a wonderful tool for all things curriculum: The Common Core Daily by Carolyn Starkey.

Carolyn’s blog is a great resource for teachers, administrators, curriculum publishing companies and any parent who enjoys reading about curriculum being taught in schools across the United States. She highlights all views on the Common Core State Standards Initiative and shares great tips she finds online. It has become one of my favorite blogs to read and I highly recommend it. 🙂  It is also a great resource for meeting and adding those who work within the world of education to your Professional Learning Network (PLN).

Let me know your thoughts…

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

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Filed under Blogs that Inspire Us, Common Core State Standards "Nuts & Bolts"