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Classroom management

New reality series: Kindergarten Teacher

Congratulations to Patricia Raina, from Suisun Valley K-8 School in Fairfield, California! Ms. Raina was one of three teachers from across the nation selected as winners of an NBC Education Nation essay contest.

Her idea? A new reality show: Kindergarten Teacher. Ms. Raina's essay is cleverly written in the form of "rounds" Contestants try to move from round to round, although certain things disqualify a contestant immediately.

Feeling overwhelmed?

As the new school year starts, the reality of the classroom really sets in. The kids and their personalities, the mounds of paperwork and homework, and all the careful watching and listening easily adds up to a 50 hour day! I clearly remember how overwhelmed I felt during my first year of teaching.

What does good homework look like?

Teachers give homework just about every night of the week. A good homework assignment can provide students with practice with a skill already taught, can prepare students for an upcoming test, and can extend a project or topic under study. A poorly designed homework assignment can bring tears and frustration and a lost opportunity to build a bridge between what's being taught in school and talked about at home. Homework struggles are particularly real for struggling readers and for students with LD.

New school year resolutions

I recently had dinner with some teacher friends who are preparing for the new school year. The conversation turned to "New School Year Resolutions." With their permission, I thought I'd share three of the resolutions with you and also find out what sorts of teaching (or parenting) resolutions you're making at the start of this school year.

Revisiting silent reading

Those of us familiar with the 2000 National Reading Panel report remember that the report did not support teachers' use of silent reading in the classroom. The research evidence that it had any effect on reading achievement just wasn't there. Some school districts and teachers greatly reduced or stopped providing time during the instructional day for silent reading. Other teachers continued to provide daily DEAR or SSR time, citing the benefits of such a practice.

Estar aqui, estar listo

I had the good fortune to spend a few days in a classroom outside of Chicago. I spent lots of time watching one of those teachers you just hope your child gets. You'll get a chance to see Cathy in action when we add our clips to the classroom strategies section of our website. Until then, trust me when I say that this is a teacher who has created and nurtured a real community of learners.

Teaching and managing the kindergarten classroom

Suzanne, a friend and neighbor, just started her student teaching in a kindergarten classroom. She's a career switcher, having gone back to school after 15 years as a nurse and a Mom to 4 kids, including one with special needs. Student teaching is turning out to be a ton of work to juggle on top of being a Mom and a wife. Long days of teaching and long nights of homework and planning. Remember those early days of teaching?

Three things of interest to teachers

What 10 picture books could you not live without? That's the question behind the 10 for 10 Must Have's project. It's well worth checking out! Many bloggers posted their lists with short annotations and explanations. I know I added several titles to our library queue, and I'll bet you will too! One picture book I couldn't live without: I Like Me.

First day of school activities

As teachers, we know the first few days of school are all about getting to know your kids and settling into a routine. It's too early to do any assessments (except informal observation sorts of things), but it's a great time to engage kids in some fun activities that get them talking, reading, and writing. Here are some ideas I've seen recently that caught my attention.

Reading Buddies

Kids love to read to someone. It's good for kids to read their writing out loud, to practice their Reader's Theater scripts with, or to rehearse a book they want to read to the class or to their reading group.

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"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain