Tag Archives: United States

4th and 5th Grade Teachers Share Great Trade Books to Utilize when Teaching Personal Narrrative Writing

Mrs. Snyder and Mrs. McNish are two teachers that are sharing this wonderful list of trade books to be utilized at home or in the classroom when teaching personal narrative writing.

"Apple Picking Time" by Michele B Slawson

This is a wonderful story about a little girl named Anna, who is determined this year to fill her apple apron.  It is sure to delight all ages.

"Lost and Found" by Le Marche

This wonderful book includes three short stories that incorporate a dog. It is full of emotion and descriptive details.

"Painting in the Wind" by Patricia and Emily MacLachlan and Illustrated by Katy Schneider

This is a beautiful book in both words and pictures.  The paintings allow the reader to see the story come alive.

"The Trouble with Wishes" by Stanley

This is a weird but funny story sure to make your class laugh!  However, it is a story that comes with a real message that we should be careful with what we wish for, that sometimes what we need most is right in front of us.

"Up" by LaMarche

I loved reading this story to a group of 4th graders and to my daughter who is in 2nd grade.  This is a beautiful story about a boy named Daniele, called Mouse.  Imagination and determination is delicately woven throughout this tale and is a pleasure to read.

In all of these books, students while listening, can identify emotions, small details, dialogue and descriptions as the words are creatively placed together to tell wonderful stories that have something to teach or remind us all.

Thank you to Mrs. Snyder and Mrs. McNish at St. Mary’s School in Royal Oak, Michigan for sharing these great books with us.

We encourage any and all to please share ideas, suggestions, lessons and recommendations with us here at our Unlock the Teacher blog.  It is in the collaborative process, that we will succeed in preparing a better tomorrow for our children of today.

Have a super week!

Denise

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Patriotic Lesson Plans for the Classroom or Home School Parent

In order for our students and children to learn pride in our country, then we must model the expected behavior.  I have selected a few sites that I find informative and useful when teaching American History to students k-12.  If you have a great resource that you utilize in your classroom, please share.  It is in the collaborative process that we will succeed!

Patriotic Symbols

http://www.history.ctaponline.org/center/hsscm/index.cfm?Page_Key=1386

Developed by Dr. Priscilla Porter in conjunction with Carol Ann Fullam, Bellflower Unified School District; Lynne Lords, Los Angeles Unified School District; Carrie Tokunaga, Culver City Unified School District; Elisa Field, El Rancho Unified School District; and, Sharon Beatty, Compton Unified School District under the auspices of the Center for History-Social Science Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills

American Government

From the 13 Colonies to Constitution Amendments

http://www.mrdonn.org/government.html

F-R-E-E Power Point Presentations in American History (I love this site!)

http://americanhistory.mrdonn.org/powerpoints.html

Free Video Clips to Accompany Your Great Lessons

http://videoclips.mrdonn.org/index.html

Lesson Planet Lessons

http://www.lessonplanet.com/search?keywords=patriotism&media=lesson

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise

www.unlocktheteacher.com

denise@unlocktheteacher.com

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Unlock the Teacher Offering Free Anti-Bullying or ePublishing Student Workshop

“There is no work more important than preparing our students to compete and succeed in a global economy,

and it is to the credit of these states that this work is getting down.”

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

Unlock the Teacher is offering an unprecedented preview workshop in August and September of 2011 to present the CCSS alignment process for ELA
and Mathematics. This one-hour presentation will explain the process and the benefits of the Alignment Program that Unlock the Teacher has
created.

During this professional development overview, we will:

  • Give a “Basic” overview of CCSS with a breakdown of each of our
    workshops
  • Show how we will collaborate with all educators throughout the
    year via email
  • Explain the Unlock the Teacher team-based method of alignment
  • Demonstrate the needs and benefits of alignment
  • Preview your current curriculum alignment package

Since Unlock the Teacher is constantly striving to share the knowledge, this CCSS Preview Workshop is being offered at minimal cost. Visit
our website and book before September 1st and receive a special bonus. We will give you a FREE educational training session for your students in either
ePublishing or Anti-Bullying. www.unlocktheteacher.com

We are a  company that was founded to help teachers do what they do best teach! Our unique method allows educators to focus on teaching while our team works with aligning and customizing teacher and building curriculum to the Common Core State Standards. I am a certified educator with over seventeen years in education. I have a BS and MA in Curriculum and Instruction and have worked with many schools on curriculum alignment, get ready for state accreditation and develop funds via grant writing workshops.

Unlock the Teacher this past school year created many student workshops that were very popular with both students and educational staff. Please visit our website for more information and testimonials.

Workshops Synopsis of Unlock the Teacher Workshops (c)2011

Teachers and Educational Staff

Common Core State Standards Workshops:

Cornerstone for Successful Implementation –District Leaders,Principals

Cornerstone for Successful Implementation – Building Leaders

Common Core State Standards “Nuts & Bolts”

Curriculum Alignment Part I

~Collaboration is Key!

Curriculum Alignment Part II

~Presentation and Mini-Group Workshop

How to Utilize ePublishing in the Classroom~ Writing Workshop for Grades 1-12 (Given for Grades 1-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12)

ePublishing as an Educational Revenue Resource Workshop

Student

Teen ePublishing Workshop

Anti-Bullying “Words Hurt” Workshop Session I (Grades K-3)

Anti-Bullying “You Can Make a Difference” Workshop Session II (Grades 4-6)

Anti-Bullying “Words, Action, Character” Workshop Session III Grades 7 & 8

Anti-Bullying “Getting the Big Picture” Workshop Session IV (Grades 9-12)

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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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Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Student Workshop Responses Have Been Great…Thank You!

Response to our Common Core State Standards Workshops has Been Amazingly Successful…Thank You!

Unlock the Teacher workshop pictures in schools for the 2010/2011 School Year

Although we worked in schools this past school year 2010/2011 to help align building curriculum to the Common Core State Standards , since we posted our workshops to prepare our calendar for next school year, the response has been amazing!  We are thrilled with the response and inquiring emails are great…we are happy to answer any questions and we work with all schools to include but not limited to public, private and charter.

On this blog alone, we are averaging 40-100 views a day for our workshops and our subscriptions for our blog have doubled.

As we continue to prepare for next year’s schedule, we are also finishing up a few academic eBooks.

We are also finishing up a year’s worth of research, needs assessments and writing…many months of collaborating with  Dr. David Lick, Associate Professor, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Assistant Clinical Professor, Wayne State University School of Medicine and Dr. Joslen Letscher, Professor at the University of Detroit Mercy.  We are hoping to send proposals to publishers for this project in September.

Outside of our Common Core State Standards Workshops another hot topic of inquiry from our readers is our Anti-Bullying Workshops.  Brief examples of these workshops will be posted soon.

The positive responses from educators has been so rewarding, as they are my colleagues. To have such great emails commenting that you like what we are trying to do is very humbling and synergistic.

We appreciate all the emails, comments and questions.  We are also trying to write grants now to be able to provide workshops for those schools who have asked but cannot afford it for their staff or students.

Thank you!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise and the Unlock the Teacher Team

For further information on our student or teacher workshops, please email us at teachme@unlocktheteacherllc.com or denise@unlocktheteacherllc.com

www.unlocktheteacher.com

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Filed under Achievement Gap Blogs, Blogs that Inspire Us, Common Core State Standards "Nuts & Bolts", Curriculum Resources, Student Workshops, Teacher and Administrator Workshops

Unlock the Teacher has Regained Control Over our unlocktheteacher.wordpress Blog

Wow, what a long week of trying to figure out why someone would manipulate our system, to take over our blog.  However, once we figured out the who…all it took was effort.

We want to thank Google Security and the WordPress team for working so diligently on our behalf and in such a professional manner.

We realize that our logo has been modified as well as many lost articles.  We will get our blog back into shape and appreciate your patience.

Give us a few days to repair and we have some exciting articles to share with you on utilizing Google in education and some great educational conferences coming!

For all of the well wishes this past week, knowing that someone had hacked our blog, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Our goal is to be a beacon of light and to help make a difference for children, parents and teachers.

Have a super weekend…we will be getting our tools ready to repair our blog 🙂

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise and the entire Unlock the Teacher LLC Team

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Common Core State Standards Workshops

Common Core State Standards Initiative ~www.corestandards.org

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Mission Statement:

“The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”~  www.corestandards.org

To help teachers successfully implement the standards Unlock the Teacher has begun to provide support and training to schools this past
school year. (Please visit our website for testimonials.) Teachers in the 44 adopted states will need to begin to provide instruction related to the standards by the fall of 2012.  It is anticipated that students will be assessed on the Common Core Standards beginning in 2014.

Unlock the Teacher providing teacher-friendly curriculum alignment that allows our teachers to do what they do best... T-E-A-C-H!

Common Core State Standards

Curriculum Alignment

Multiple Workshop Model

(c) 2011

Cornerstone for Successful Implementation

-District Leaders, Principals

Overview: District leaders and key decision makers establish a plan for the successful implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the curriculum alignment process.

Workshop addresses integrating school improvement items, establishing a timeline, designating overseers of specific tasks, clarifying
the district’s vision for success, as well as creating a process for developing, sharing, and publishing curriculum alignment plans.

Focus: Customize and set various options in curriculum alignment timelines to be accessible by all users.

Expected Participants: District leaders and key decision makers

Session Length: Half or full day

Cornerstone for Successful Implementation

-Building Leaders

Overview: Building-level administrators define how Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Curriculum Alignment is to be implemented: using reports operationally, developing a communication plan, establishing timelines, as well as creating feedback to
balance instructional design with the needs of the teachers and students.

Focus: Design a plan to support educators as they collaborate with Unlock the Teacher LLC team to develop curriculum alignment packages to include the CCSS.

Expected Participants: Principals and building administrators

Session Length: Half or full day

Common Core State Standards “Nuts & Bolts”

-Teachers and Administrators

Overview: The What, When, Where and Why of the CCSSI documents.
How to look at the standards given, based on International Best Practices to create a meaningful, living curriculum to benefit our children and our future.

Focus: To gain a better understanding of the process behind the Common Core State Standards and to learn how to utilize these documents as a classroom resource.

Expected Participants: Teachers and administrators

Session Length: Full day

 

Curriculum Alignment Part I:  Collaboration is key!

-Teachers and Administrators

Overview: Participants reflect on their current teaching practices and work with Unlock the Teacher team to design a curriculum package that meets and exceeds state and national standards, incorporating the Common Core State Standard.  Educators will collaborate with team to create customized curriculum that is comprised of living documents, adjusted regularly to meet the needs of all learners.

Curriculum mapping templates are designed to allow teachers to reflect and journal on “what worked and those lessons in need of modification.”

Focus: Utilize the Common Core State Standards as a skeletal outline to fill in to design a customized curriculum to meet the needs of all learners and to follow guidelines outlined at the state and national level.

Session Length: Two Full day

 

Curriculum Alignment Part II-Final Presentation and Mini-Group Workshop

-Teachers and Administrators

Overview: Participants come together to receive a complete aligned curriculum binder.  This is a celebration of the educational team’s hard work on behalf of their students.  Grade levels and/or disciplines are divided and “Break Out” session occurs where educators are guided through a professional learning community exercise.

Focus: To find strengths and weaknesses to work on in the new aligned curriculum. Create professional learning community tools in curriculum development.

Session Length: Half day

Expected Participants: Teachers and administrators

*Please note, that Part I and II takes approximately 3-6 months with the Unlock the Teacher LLC Team collaborating via email and phone
with educational staff to customize aligned curriculum. This process includes two full days and one half day of instruction.
This is a proven effective method that takes STRESS off the teachers and allows them to do what they do best, TEACH!

 

Stay Tuned~ A Summer Special

Unlock the Teacher is offering an unprecedented preview workshop in August and September of 2011 to present the CCSS alignment process for ELA and Mathematics.

This one-hour presentation will explain the process and the benefits of the Alignment Program that Unlock the Teacher has proprietorially
created.

During this professional development overview, we will:

  • Give a “Basic” overview of CCSS with a breakdown of each of our workshops
  • Show how we will collaborate with all educators throughout the year via email
  • Explain the Unlock the Teacher team-based method of alignment
  • Demonstrate the needs and benefits of alignment
  • Preview your current curriculum alignment package to determine needs

We look forward to hearing from you, together we can make a difference for our children, our future!

Denise Ball, Trisha Vaughn and Sue Atwell

The Unlock the Teacher LLC Team

Unlock the Teacher LLC

teachme@unlocktheteacherllc.com

www.unlocktheteacher.com

www.unlocktheteacher.wordpress.com

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Filed under Common Core State Standards "Nuts & Bolts", Unlock the Teacher LLC Creating Curriculum and Training for Any Person

From Basic Facts to Fractions…Great Online Learning Math Games for All Learning Styles

BASIC FACTS
A+Math

Online flashcards and games for math practice.

Cool Math Games
Fun math games.

Funbrain.com-Math Baseball

Fun game teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and elementary algebra.

Math Fact Cafe-Flashcards

Online flashcards for the elementary grades.  *** I really like this one!

Math Magician Games

More online flashcards, but in a timed setting and a progress report can be printed when finished.

Factor Game

Play this online version of the “Factor Captor” game in 5th Grade Everyday Mathematics.

F-R-A-C-T-I-O-N-S

AAA Math 

Covers all fraction topics.  NOTE:  I think this is a fabulous site for scaffolding the learning process for all things fractions!

FUNBRAIN-Fresh Baked Fractions

A game for simplifying fractions.

Learning Planet.com-Fraction Frenzy

Use a game to practice matching equivalent fractions.

Visual Fractions

Practice identifying fractions and operating with fractions.  **This is my learning style 🙂

These are some great math sites I found while conducting research this morning.  The fractions sites are SO good, that I had to share.  I hope these sight help make the learning process fun for your math learner!

May we seek knowledge in all things,

Denise 🙂

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Filed under Educational Websites and Resources, Educational Websites that are FREE, Learning is Fun Lessons/Activities, Student or Industry

As a Curriculum Developer, This is my Impression of the Common Core State Standards Initiative by Denise Ball

Together we can make a difference!

As one who gets extremely excited about curriculum, I thought I would share some words of wisdom on education that I found from the Common Core State Standards Website. I understand after many years in the education system, how easy it can be for educators to get discouraged when a “new” trend or a “new” must follow philosophy comes along…that all must follow under the auspices of what is best for our children. However, after working with a few educational staffs this past school year on curriculum
alignment and aligning curriculum to the new CCSS ELA and Math model, I am even more impressed with the initiative and the direction it is pushing towards on behalf of our children.

A funny thing is, I believe the CCSS model is even more complimentary and gracious to us educators than many state standards. As an ELA
teacher, I find the comprehensive breakdown of grammar per grade refreshing…not to mention the recommendations of literary works to enhance lessons. However, the icing on the cake for me was the recommendation of utilizing Shakespeare in the classroom…I used Shakespeare’s plays for years in the classrooms I taught and the students just enjoyed it! In fact, one year
I had a group of seventh grade girls who found joy in practicing writing and speaking in Old English 🙂

With this said, I hope you take a look at the Common Core Standards with an open mind and look at them as a guide…as all curriculum is.
The true mastery is in the teacher and the reflective practices he/she uses to capture the unending teachable moments throughout the school year.

Great quotes taken from the Common Core State Standards Initiative
Benchmarking for Success documents:

“We are living in a world without borders. To meet the realities of the 21st century global economy and maintain America’s competitive edge into the future, we need students who are prepared to compete not only with their American peers, but with students from all across the globe for the jobs of tomorrow.”

“Nations around the world are facing a new education imperative, and many are seizing the historical moment to provide their citizens with better opportunities and stronger economies.”

“Governors recognize that new economic realities mean it no longer matters how one U.S. state compares to another on a national test; what matters is how a state’s students compare to those in countries around the globe. America must seize this moment to ensure that we have workers whose knowledge, skills, and talents are competitive with the best in the world.”

For additional information on Common Core State Standards that all but a few states have adopted visit http://www.corestandards.org/

For information on Unlock the Teacher LLC Common Core State Standards Workshops and/or recommendations from teacher, principles and superintendents, please feel free to visit our website at www.unlocktheteacher.com or email teachme@unlocktheteacherllc.com

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise 😉

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Filed under Achievement Gap Blogs, Common Core State Standards "Nuts & Bolts", Curriculum Resources, Professional Development Workshops for Educators, Sharing the Good, Teacher and Administrator Workshops

Workshop with Teens Produces a Great Insight into What They are Reading This Summer…Grisham, Patterson, Zusak, Riordan and Horowitz Were the Top Author Contenders

I met with a group of teens a few weeks back and asked them if they would like to share with all of our readers, the books they are currently reading and will read this summer.  The following is a list of books they provided.  I enjoyed teaching middle school and it is always refreshing to meet with young people and actually l-i-s-t-e-n to what they have to say or share.  This group of teens were articulate about their futures, the future of our country and the role they see themselves in helping make our world better.

So this is a shout out to that group of young people (that worked with Mrs. Ball ;-)), with whom I have no doubt will be amazing leaders of tomorrow. Acte non verbe!

Workshop Reveals What Teens are Reading

"Wolf Brother" by Michelle Paver was one of the group's favorites!

Grisham and Patterson were hot favorites for girls and boys.

"The Book Thief" by Zusak is an amazing read...highly recommend for literature teachers everywhere! Denise 😉

The whole team at Unlock the Teacher LLC is looking forward to an exciting teaching year with schools around the United States (and possibly abroad)…stay tuned as we will continually share what our children, our future is reading.  What we allow into our minds plays an important role of what and who we become, regardless of age!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,

Denise 😉

 

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Filed under Blogs that Inspire Us, Promoting Literacy, Recommended Book from Teens for Teens, Recommended Books to Read, to Learn, to Inspire, Student Workshops