July 10

Creating engaging summaries

creating engaging summaries gif

Summarizing requires students to determine what is important in the text. Paraphrasing requires them to translate the text into their own words. Manipulating the text helps students remember what they read because it requires them to:

  • Identify or generate main ideas
  • Connect the main or central ideas
  • Eliminate unnecessary information
July 10

Creating Interactive Images

creating interactive imagesAfter students read text have them create memes or gifs regarding the themes, characters, main ideas, concepts, etc.  They use critical thinking skills to find ways to create the parodies/associations.

Here are some How To slides to help you and your students create artifacts.

Students can create memes or gifs in any of their classes. It’s not just limited to English class.

Math or Science

  • Highlight an important inventor, mathematician or scientist and publish a quote or relevant biographical information.
  • Demonstrate measurement, angle, and percentage concepts.
  • Create a riddle or question for a mathematician or scientist.
  • Summarize the main idea of a text over a snapshot of a book’s cover.

Social Studies

  • Illustrate a region’s strengths, weaknesses, geographical markers, etc.
  • Highlight an important historian and publish a quote or relevant biographical information.
  • Promote political figures.
  • Debate controversial issues

Create a slideshow, assign students slides and have them to paste their memes on their slides.

Many CCSS anchor standards are addressed when students create interactive images.

Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening
December 31

Group Responses – way to TEACHtheTEST

How do we Teach the Test without really teaching the test?

Question for the ages! !!

How do we?  

I dunno????

What I feel intuitively as a Professional Educator is that

YES, our students will benefit from exposure to testing environments : timed (or untimed with focus), textual rigor, test format, etc.

NO, our students will not benefit from taking 1 test,  2 test,  3 test,  and more. That is NOT going to help our SCHOLARS.

YES, there is way to teach a / ‘The’ test without really TEACHING THE TEST.

H O W !!  You may ask (as do I by the way)

I know that if we stimulate our Scholars, they can read, comprehend and discuss complex texts.

They can.

They can do this if I allow them the opportunity to explore and analyze text in an unthreatening manner.

Hmmmmm….  What ? How?

I dunno. It is my goal that my Scholars will be able to read, relate, revise, present, dissect, remash, publish, discuss and  record the written, visuaL and oral texts that they will be examining.

Step one: How do we eliminate the threat of failure when we ask our Scholars to read and respond?

The only way that they can do any of this is if they feel comfortable enough to share and engage.

They often feel too uncomfortable to respond and if we are going to have a class that is student driven, their has to be student contribution.

Group Responses are often a way to lessen the threat of openly failing. Failing is a part of learning but it is more palpable to possibly fail in front of a few and not many.


Take a TEST (a cold read selection with multiple choice questions and a written response component) and have them complete an individual testing session before they get into learning communities to share answers and select the group’s Best Answer. Their Group Answer can be recorded on mini whiteboard, via Kahoot response, Google Doc,  worksheet, etc.

Playing Kahoot

Playing Kahoot

Object of the activity is to individually take test, discuss answers with others and then get immediate confirmation and feedback for answer choices.

Group response worksheet

Group response worksheet

Posted from Edublogs for Android as I sit and wait in COX CABLE!! 

More to come.

Will check back in soon. ♡♡♡

December 9

We are finished reading. Now what?

Let them Create!!!!

Here are presentation materials.

Sign In Sheet so that we can remain in contact.

I am working on this “Show Me What You Know” handout that allows my Scholars to create something that allows them to demonstrate their understanding of a text.
Screenshot 2015-12-09 at 4.34.16 PM


Here are my presentation slides from today. 


Click Here for a Livebinder with more resources.

Livebinder with lots of resources

December 6

From marshmellows to Google viewfinders



We have had a long year and we have done some wonderful things. And some not so wonderful things. I am stoked that my application to Google Expeditions was accepted and I can’t wait for them to come.


I started off the schoolyear with my scholars developing classroom management rules by working together in a marshmallow challenge and I end the year taking a vacation with them to Brazil, India and Nigeria.

We are going places

PhotoGrid_1439518180751 PhotoGrid_1439517996959






August 22

Monster Mystery

As we begin this schoolyear, I decided that one of their first writing assignments would be to compose a descriptive paragraph. NO descriptive writing is NOT something that is tested but…… as a Professional Educator, I decided that having them focus on “showing” was an effective way to start of the year.

Their mission was to decorate a figure from the selection of Go Noodle coloring sheets and write a description that is accurate enough that someone reading it could recreate their monster.

Some of them did better job of accurately describing their monsters than others and it was obvious when we compared the original monster to the recreated one. Those students who received skimpy descriptions immediately expressed their frustration about not being able to effectively recreate the monsters. I reminded them that the purpose of the assignment was to show how important it is to use words wisely.PhotoGrid_1439520912949I am glad that I gave them that assignment. It ws a great way for them to realize that when describing something that they need to be accurate and succinct.


August 15

Week One is Over

Today we will


  • Objectives: Get acquainted
  • Assignments: 1. Complete ‘Find Someone Who’ 2. Starburst Writing
  • Products: 1. Completed ‘Find Someone Who’ chart 2. Responses to Starburst Writing


  • Objectives: Highlight importance of being descriptive when writing
  • Assignments: 1.Respond to … I know. I feel. I believe  2.  Color ‘go noodle’ coloring sheet, describe it, exchange descriptions and try to recreate someone else’s monster.
  • Products: Original monster, description and recreated monster


  • Objectives: Getting to know one another
  • Assignments: Students will decorate a Mandala that represents some of their ideals
  • Products: Decorated Mandala


  • Objectives: Team building
  • Assignments: Build the tallest and strongest structure possible using spaghetti, marshmallows, string and tape
  • Products: Final spaghetti structure