Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween with No Candy

Halloween and candy go together like apple pie and the 4th of July.
Maybe not.  Maybe we'll have good, clean fun.  We'll have tricks without the treats.
Bats made with circles and wings, to trace and cut.
Free-style pumpkin masks.
A number chart robot with stickers or construction-paper faces.

If you absolutely must have Halloween candy, at least turn it into a math lesson:  
"OK, kids, stuff your goody bags... counting the correct number of Halloween candies off each tray."
And don't feel like a party pooper if you go the no-candy route.  Kids will get it--get it---get it?--come Halloween or high water.

One of my local shop-keepers confided that he spends $800 on candy for all the local kids who come calling. 

Is that appalling?
...or, appealing?

You're the grown-up--you decide :)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Teacher's Observation Lesson

Are you being observed?
It's teacher observation season.  Many teachers are going through round one of a teacher observation and evaluation.

Here comes the supe (-ervisor).

Whether you’re a new teacher eager to put it all together or a seasoned pro looking to keep up with changing times, The Perfect Lesson will guide you through your best observation lesson and Danielson Teacher Evaluation, step-by-step.


• A One-Page Cheat-Sheet Lesson Plan to help you get started
• How to write a lesson
• How to present a lesson most effectively
• A detailed look at the parts of a lesson
• How to prepare your students for an observation
• Pre-observation meeting
• Post-observation interview questions and how to best answer them
• Danielson demystified: the gold standard checklist for teacher evaluation
• Evidence of Teaching Mastery Artifacts: A list aligned with the Danielson Components
• Sample lesson plans in reading, writing, and math
• Editable lesson plan templates
• Editable Curriculum Map for a Unit of Lessons
• Educational buzzwords explained in plain language
• Using technology in your classroom
• Job interview tips so you can present a mini-lesson and sound like a pro

A detailed look at each part of a lesson:

• Learning target
• Teaching point
• Check for understanding
• Questioning techniques
• Follow-up questions
• Depth of knowledge
• Active engagement
• Accountable talk
• Turn and talk
• Small group work
• Differentiation
• Reading conference
• Writing conference
• Guided reading
• Multiple points of entry
• Next steps checklist
• Lesson sharing
• Brain breaks
• Exit slips
• Co-teaching
• Curriculum mapping
• Behavior management
If you're being observed, please give yourself the confidence that you'll put your best foot forward.  

I'll be thinking of you, and wishing you the best possible observation lesson, when your supe walks through the door.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New Kindergarten Teacher’s Red Tag Sale

Are you a new kindergarten teacher? 

I know the challenges of kindergarten.  After more than 20 years of teaching, I know that great routines, behavior, and rapport don’t just happen.  They have to be carefully planned and cultivated.

I also know that no matter how difficult the challenges, any teacher can start on a better path—at any time during the school year.

That’s why I’m offering a red tag sale, at 50% off, on select products.
Although this resource was created for the first week of kindergarten, there are many elements that may still be useful to you--long after the first week is over.

The First Days of Kindergarten is much more than a kindergarten teacher's guide.  It's a step-by-step, moment-by-moment, account of what to do and what to say when you start teaching kindergarten.  It includes School Rules and Bathroom Rules.
It will be a resource you can return to all year, to reinforce rules and procedures for the most effective kindergarten class possible.

If you'd like a super-bundle of kindergarten resources, which includes the above AND will add song, dance, laughs, crafts, 3Rs, and brain breaks to your year, it's here:
The red tag sale is this weekend only: through October 17th.
So, if these two resources have been on your wish list, or if you are just now discovering them, and thinking they’ll be helpful to you this year—and for years to come—now’s the time to invest.

I'm wishing you a CALM and CONFIDENT, pleasant and successful year in kindergarten!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Halloween Number Chart Robots

Halloween and robots--broiling and bubbling; with math, literacy and art.

What do you get?  A weird and wonderful Halloween Hybrid that kids love. 

I have to admit, I kinda love my Frankenstein, too.  He’s so cute, horrid, and interesting.

Here’s how it works.  Kids can create their number chart robot, then design, color, decorate and write about it.

They can write as much as they like.  I have lined Halloween paper and writing prompts, for kids who like to prattle on and on—and don't you love it when they do?!
Think of the delicious possibilities.  A robot Frankenstein, Dracula, witch, ghost, skeleton, mummy, Wolf man, zombie, crow, cat, bat, winged monkey, or orange and black checkerboard.

Now tell me all about him--or her.  Where does he live?  How does he speak and what accent or words does he use?   How does he move?  What does he wear?  What accessories does he like?  What does he do all day?  What does he do on Halloween?

Please bring Halloween into the 21st century, with your Halloween Number Chart Robot.

Here’s the early childhood version of Number Chart Robots 1 - 30 for younger kids.

Robots, advance!
...and then do it all again next holiday.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Halloween Creative Writing with Halloween Characters

Halloween creative writing is a natural.
 Can you really be uncreative on Halloween?  Of course, kids have to be guided and taught how to write creatively.
What would Dracula say? 

“I vant to suck yourrr blooood!” 

Now get creative.  What else might he drink?  

“I vant to drrrink a chocolate shake—ASAP!”

What would a witch say?

“I want to fly on my broomstick!”

What else might she fly on?

Get me my mini-drone and animal cam!  I’ve got to post these kiddie costumes on facebook!”

What would a skeleton say?

“My old bones ache!”


“All me old bones need is a mani and a pedi—with sparkles!”

If you teach kids to write creatively, they’ll give you the moon—a full moon with a cherry on top.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Halloween Poetry: Creative, Free-Verse

Halloween poetry captures the essence of Halloween.
It’s silly, creepy, and creative all at once.
I can’t think of a better time than Halloween, to unleash the power of poetry.

Just think of the deliciously awful textures, sounds, similes, and questions you could tap into!  Halloween is...

Tangerine and smoky, whispering and roaring, echoing and clanging, woodsy, pungent, earthy, rough, slippery and slimy, feathery and leathery, bubbling and boiling, furry and sharp, prickly and velvety, squishy and pointy, hairy and fairy…

Spinning, flying, creeping, crawling, thumping, climbing, flickering, smiling…

I’d love to see poems titled:

 Witch, Dracula, Frankenstein, Cauldron, Candy, Bats, Mask, Ghost, Midnight…
The beauty of teaching creative free-verse poetry in October is that, by the time poetry month rolls along in April, your kids will be old salts at poetry.  They’ll be thinking like poets all the time.

You’ll think: what a wonderful world!  And it will all have started on Halloween.