Tag Archives: Teacher

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

An Exciting New Teen Writer

Please check out Lindsay Gallagher's new book!

Please check out Lindsay Gallagher’s new book!

Hello Everyone,

I know it has been a few weeks and your patience is appreciated.  It is that time of year to look at next year’s school budget and to prepare for Open House.  We are also booking now to teach ePublishing workshops this summer.

However, among all the many things the Unlock the Teacher team has been doing, we are thrilled to share a new teen author.  Please help us welcome Lindsay Gallagher, a thirteen year old student who loves to write and share the good with others.  Her first book will be on sale this Thursday at Barnes and Noble.com Please check out, “Are you a Good Friend” and share it with the teenager in your life!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise and the entire Unlock the Teacher Team

P.S. Please share your favorite young author with us, as you know we LOVE to share the good!

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Filed under Curriculum Resources, Teen Authors who Write for Teens

Unlock the Teacher is Thrilled to Share a New Teacher Author

"If I Could be a Monster" Written by RoseAnn McHugh~2nd Grade Teacher

“If I Could be a Monster” Written by Rose Ann McHugh~2nd Grade Teacher

 

The Unlock the Teacher team is proud to share If I Could be a Monster a creative eBook written by one of our favorite 2nd grade teachers Rose Ann McHugh.  Rose Ann not only wrote this book, she illustrated it too!  She has been sitting on all these wonderful book ideas for years and one day her and I had a conversation about Mysteries on the Beach and how fun it is to write and publish and eBook… and before I knew it she was sharing this very special book with me; it is sure to delight the minds of many young people.

Please check out Rose Ann McHugh’s first book, “If I Could be a Monster” on sale now at Barnes and Noble.com

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise

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iPad Apps for Creative and Fun Learning Presented by Local Teacher

I was listening to one of my teachers present today to my faculty of 40 and thought that the apps shared were so good that I would share them with our Unlock the Teacher blog readers.  I feel blessed to work in a building with such creative energy and passion for teaching and work with a professional development team at Unlock the Teacher LLC that I sometimes have to pause…and remember to whom much is given, much will be expected.  Thank you to all the teachers out there who sacrifice and share their time and talent for our children…our future!

Classroom Management

Class Dojo: www.classdojo.com (FREE App)

Showing Student Growth

ThreeRing: www.threering.com (FREE App)

  • Capture student work in a virtual portfolio
  • Take a picture, audio or video
  • Share with parents and peers
  • Students can upload various works

Quizlet: www.quizlet.com (FREE App)

  • Set up vocabulary flashcards
  • Students can access cards from any SMART device
  • Do NOT need access to Internet once cards are downloaded

A+Pro: www.A+Pro.com (FREE App)

  • Similar to Quizlet
  • Flashcard application
  • Cards can be placed in groups or topics…great for vocabulary or research papers 🙂
  • Cards can be separated into “know”, “unsure” or “don’t know” piles to help with memorization

Educreations: www.educreation.com (FREE App)

  • Ability to make presentation videos with voice over…FUN!
  • Great to use when student is absent from a class
  • Students can create presentations to demonstrate mastery…THINK Bloom’s Taxonomy

If you have some great apps for learning, please share.  It is in the collaborative process that we all learn! When we share what we know, the students benefit.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

P.S. Thank you Karina for allowing me to share with our Unlock the Teacher readers. Mucho Gracias! 🙂

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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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Summer is a Time for Play…Learning can be FUN too!

During the school year, we reflect on summers past and the next one to come and we remember treasured times of relaxation.  However, sometimes we get so caught up in our scheduling and planning of events, that we forget to just pause, relax and allow our children…and ourselves to play.

If you find upon reflection that you and your family fit into the latter category this summer, I want to encourage you to pause, choose two good books to read and “schedule” some time into you weeks ahead to just “be”…to allow your children to play with some containers and a water hose in the yard, to research finger foods online and allow your children to make dinner for the adults in the house one night…they will have so much fun and you will be amazed at how much they have grown. 🙂

Our team has collected some helpful tips to ensure that summer is indeed a time of relaxing and learning, for you and the child(ren) in your life.

Moms who Think

Moms who Think, is a great site for recipes, diet and nutrition, holiday and celebration ideas and so much more.

Kid Recipes

Easy and Kid-Friendly Recipes from Kraft Foods

Kid-Friendly Recipes

Rachel Ray Everyday …a great family website!

Rachel Ray’s Kid-Friendly Recipes

Martha Stewart and Summer Activities for Kids~We like the summer housekeeping and garden in a jar 🙂

60 Activities for Kids this Summer

Great Schools, Involved Parents, Successful Kids is an amazing website!

Ten Ways to Keep your Child Learning this Summer

Given that we like to promote the good in education, we would like to share the Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement‘s recommendation for parent/child involvement this summer:

Every Day…

  • Give your child a hug and say “I love you.” Do not forget to look them in the eye, to ensure that you make that special connection with them.
  • Praise your child. We all like to hear that we are doing a good job…it is o.k. and encouraged to tell your child(ren) often.
  • Talk with your child. Our Unlock the Teacher LLC team encourages you to not only talk with your child, but read the same book they are reading independently, specifically if your child is 7-18.  This will always give you something to talk about with them…a common ground.
  • Read and write with your child for at least 30 minutes every day. Our Unlock the Teacher children keep journals and we write and share about what we are passionate about. (When children are little, pictures in journals versus words are just as good…let your child explain their pictures to you.)
  • With your child, make a dictionary of new words and add to it every day. Studies have shown that the more words we learn, the higher our IQ…make it a family activity to choose a word or few words a week and have some fun at the dinner table uses them 🙂
  • Count with your child. Math is everywhere, in the grocery store on labels, on the road as we drive…make it a fun exercise to play Eye Spy math or numbers with your child.  The more that children can be exposed to numbers in their world and what they are utilized for, the more understanding they will have for math.
  • Share news with your child. Our Unlock the Teacher team believes that if you talk to your children as if they are intelligent, they rise to the occasion; it allows them to broaden their scope…sans any handicap or disability that prevents this from occurring.
  • Listen to music with your child. There are many positive studies on why this is important. Studies have shown, that memory retention and learning is enhanced while studying and listening to classical music.

May your summer, or what is left of it, be a time of renewal and rejuvenation for both you and the child in your life. Learning can indeed be fun and relaxing, it just might take a bit of planning.  We encourage everyone to live in the moment and choose to be the difference in the life of your child.

Please share your tips and favorite websites with us and we will post it here for all of our readers.  Together we can make a difference!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~

Denise and the entire Unlock the Teacher Team

Comments and Ideas Posted by our Readers:

Thank you for the great tips and links, but if I might add another great recipe site it would be; http://www.allrecipes.com on this site you can also share your own wonderful recipe ideas and rate others as well. Kid friendly, vegetarian  and even tips and advice I just love to see the creativity on this site! ~Melanie Osborn

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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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Filed under Best Practices from Awesome Educators, Curriculum Resources, Recommended Books to Read, to Learn, to Inspire

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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