Category Archives: English

😁 😂 Emoji!!! 😁 😂


In a recent post, I spoke about the importance of speaking “kid” and touched upon the idea that our students communicate in ways that can be very different from the ways in which we grew up communicating (depending on your age of course). For me, my 4th-grade teacher didn’t have an answer for me when I asked how to cite Encarta as a resource, cell phones were non-existent until I was deemed old enough to vote, and the internet made a noise when you logged on.

But times changed fast. For my younger sister, she was texting in T-9 speak (yes I’m dating myself) by 10 in her social studies class and was expected to use the internet for research by high school. Fast forward 10 more years and my 8-year-old believes every piece of technology moves by touching the screen while YouTube, Wikipedia, Musical.ly, Instagram has the answer to everything! She also believes that the best way to communicate with me when she sends me a text message is through the use of a series of emoji’s that I am supposed to magically understand. Sometimes she communicates she is 😰 😥 😪 😓 😭 , other times she is  😁 😂 😃 😄, other times, she 😇 ➡️💲🍦 ➡️  😍 ❤️ 💁.  Regardless it’s a series of pictures strung together and when I do not respond correctly to their meaning, I am usually met with a series of 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 !!!

Continue reading 😁 😂 Emoji!!! 😁 😂

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Special Populations


As an educator I find that more students are coming with to me with unique situations filled with roadblocks that challenge their learning. Whether it be a learning disability, sexual identity, language roadblock, or socio-economic disparity,  It seems like when I was growing up there were two kinds of students – general education students and special education students – and these two populations of students rarely mixed.  Nowadays, students with all kinds of classifications come together in a classroom and sit before a teacher, some vested in learning, others completely disinterested and others desperate  to learn but can’t for one reason or another.

The more I talk to other educators, the more I find that they have to consider so many factors when planning a lesson, not just the standards that their given districts are expecting their students to master by the end of the school year.

FInd resources to support the diverse needs of these special populations has become a focus of mine this summer as I begin to plan PD for the upcoming school year.  In the past, I have simply picked a topic to focus on, like engagement or assessment.  And while that has served me fairly well, I have come to realize that it has not met the needs of all the students that walk into my school each day.  Therefore, I have decided to dedicate a new page to following special populations which will include links to the resources I have found.  Hopefully others out there will be able to use these resources to support their own individual learners within their classrooms and schools as more and more of these students continue to need our attention and support.

Transgender Youth
English Language Learners
Students with Disabilities
At-risk Youth
Addressing the varying needs of boys vs. girls

 

So please feel free to click on a picture above, it will take you to one of the pages under my new tab on special populations and will have more links, websites, videos,  and strategies to support students that are classified in these special populations.  As I come across more resources I will continue to update these pages, so check back often.

I do believe every child is unique.  Every child wants to learn.  It’s just a matter of figuring out how to help them overcome their roadblocks so they can.  Sometimes we need to learn from them, we need to have our own teachable moment so we can give them successful teachable ones each and every day!

On an aside: As make sure you check with your local district or state for their most current policies regarding protected classes.  In New York Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) went into effect December 31, 2013. DASA training is now mandated for all educators.  Many districts now publish their policies under DASA or laws similar for their protected classes.  For example, NYC policy for transgender youth can be found here.

Supporting DoK (and Bloom’s)


If you have read any of my earlier posts on Bloom’s and DoK you know by now that I have long since filed Bloom’s taxonomy under the section in my brain as antiquated. Long since replaced along side some other education strong holds such as;

  • Differentiation (replaced with Entry Point into Learning)
  • Rigor (replaced with Stamina)
  • Aim (replaced with Learning Objective)
  • Questioning (replaced with Scaffolding)

The irony of these changes is that regardless of the word or phrase the goal is the same – in some way, shape, or form – supporting students in learning.  Which is why it could be very easy for someone to argue that DoK is just a new way of presenting Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Its just a new circle, with less words, the goal the same to take kids from the lowest level and bring them to the highest.  In the case of Bloom’s its to move from the bottom of the famous triangle to the little section on the top.  While in DoK it’s moving from one side of the circle all the way around to the other side, again moving students from the basic to the advanced.  And while I could spend hours and write paragraph upon paragraph on why I push my teachers to support instruction through the lens of DoK rather then Bloom’s, I rather post documents and resources that support teachers in the transition and or implementation of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, especially when they hear their supervisor ramble on and on or quickly mention that the school is not going to use ” this wheel” instead of “that wheel.” 🙂

So to that end and without further ado – some DoK resources (which I find are not as abundant on the web as material to support Bloom’s)

Hess’s Cognitive Rigor Matrixes – The matrixes (which are subject specific are a great tool to support lesson planning and development when implementing DoK)

DoK Descriptors Descriptors for subject areas outside of the ones on the Matrix (though I am including a descriptor for writing that is too good to ignore.)

Blooms and DoK (side-by-side) and more thisis a great visual to support transition from Blooms to DoK (from the website Stancoe.org)

Visual Supports – while I am sure there are many video’s this one is easy to follow and to the point

NYC DOE’s website has a lot of great resources beyond this video on implementing DoK

One of the best quotes that I keep seeing over and over about DoK is that DoK is not a “target” its the “ceiling.”  As educators, we want to push all our kids to reach the ceiling, not just aim for a target.  By doing so every moment becomes a teachable one and every moment becomes great.