Vocabulary Resources

I decided to post several resources I’ve made to assist in student’s learning of vocabulary. I’ll begin with Teaching the Critical Vocabulary of the Common Core: 55 Words That Make or Break Student Understanding by Marilee Sprenger. This became a useful book to me to think about ways to teach the words necessary in order for students to understand what was required of them. From this book, I formatted the synonyms, definitions, and jingles of the words used into small tables. This format allowed me to print and post the words in a more useful manner. The tables allowed me to create “lift the flap” cards to provide for better small group and individual learning. Plus, these tables provided a quick way to  assess student learning. They are available in the links below. The second resource within this post is to the cube vocabulary game. I feel this is a great compliment to the type of learning focused on in Sprenger’s book and simply a fun game overall. It would be a great addition to a center as well as partner or group learning. I would recommend printing on cardstock. Third is the vocabulary booklet. This 1/2 page booklet is designed for students to […]

Quality Resource: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Looking for resources to teach about the Holocaust? The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) provides a plethora of amazing resources for educators and families. Even if you’re unable to visit in person (it’s located in Washington, D.C.), the USHMM provides resources for educators in the form of: lesson plans teaching materials online workshops professional events They’ve even created a Holocaust Encycopedia and global classroom that are available in multiple languages. I was fortunate enough to visit this museum and attend several of their First Person: Conversations with Survivors programs in the summer of 2015. This is a series accessible to you online, as are many of their programs. The USHMM is a truly remarkable place. A place that demonstrates what you do matters. A place that shows why we must never forget. Please take a few moments to browse through their website and learn how you can integrate these ideas and concepts into your classroom or home. Here’s wishing you kindness. Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Students Rebuild

A wonderful organization I was fortunate to learn about at the SLJ Summit in the fall of 2015 was Students Rebuild. Students Rebuild is a collaborative program of the Bezos Family Foundation that was created in 2010 as a response to the devastating Haiti earthquake. Each year Students Rebuild creates challenges to tackle some of the world’s most difficult problems, issues that one cannot affect alone. They believe in coming together in order to make a collective impact and that every young person should have the opportunity to help others. The great thing about their challenges is that they require young people to create simple, symbolic objects that are then matched with funding by the foundation. Last year I worked with classrooms and students to create pinwheels at our school for Syria to help with the IRC’s Healing Classrooms program. This was a meaningful activity that allowed for a great discussion about refugees and helping others. That challenge ending up achieving 100% of the goal, sending $400,000 to help Syrian refugee children. This year’s challenge is Youth Uplift. Youth are challenged to make hands to send in. For every hand that is received, $1.90 will be donated (up to $500,000) […]

Quality Resource: Sandy Hook Promise

The mission of Sandy Hook Promise is to prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide, and accidental discharge so that no other parent experiences the senseless, horrific loss of their child. They are aiming to build a national movement of parents, schools, and community organizers engaged and empowered to deliver gun violence prevention programs and mobilize for the passage of sensible state and national policy. They are planning to accomplish this by: Building a national base Organizing at a community level Developing and delivering mental health & wellness programs Advocating for state and federal policy There are many great ways to get involved that are all available to you via their website of sandyhookpromise.org. Not only is their PSA, Evan, a must-see but they have some great fact sheets and prevention programs available to you, for free! Planning ahead to February 2017? Think about participating in the Start With Hello Week. It is happening February 6-10, 2107, for grades 2-12. Start With Hello Week brings attention to the growing epidemic of social isolation in our schools and communities, and empowers young people to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school or youth organization. Here’s wishing you a peaceful […]

The Simple Strength of Finnish Education

I commonly read about Finland’s education system and one of my favorite people to read from is Tim Walker. He’s come out with another piece titled: The Simple Strength of Finnish Education It’s a quick read where you’ll learn more about his thoughts on Finland’s sensible, independent, modest, playful, low-stress, and equitable (SIMPLE) education system. Have a lovely day! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Teaching with Word Clouds

Word clouds are a fun way to create images but also a great teaching tool. There are many ways to create a word cloud however I’m most familiar with traditional word clouds. These are the clouds that correlate the size of the word with its frequency or importance. I prefer this type of cloud in comparison to random clouds because of its potential for learning. I have found them to be a fantastic way to discuss popularity, frequency, and concepts within statistics. For example, the cloud below was created based on student responses to the question: What would you like to do for work when you’re finished with high school? / What job do you want when you’re older? (Students were in kindergarten, first, and second grade.) In terms of the logistics of creating a word cloud, my personal favorite is Tagul. I prefer to use this site because it’s free, user-friendly, and allows me to create a login in order to save projects for future use. For more information on teaching with word clouds, check out: Literacy in Science: Word Clouds from The Teaching Channel 5 Ways to Use Word Clouds in the Classroom by Siobhan Tumelty of Edudemic 200 Ways to Use Word Clouds […]

Quality Resource: MIA

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) provides quality online resources for teachers and families related to their collections. This FREE museum is located in Minneapolis, MN, and is open Tuesday through Sunday of each week (closed some holidays). MIA is home to some amazing collections and exhibitions; additionally, many of these works are available online for those of you unable to visit in person. Explore MIA by going to their homepage or clicking on one of the topics below: Teacher Workshops Youth & Family Gallery Maps Activities and Scavenger Hunts for Self-Guided Groups Online Resources Art Adventure On a personal note, I was fortunate enough as a student that our school was granted the opportunity for us to learn about some of the artists featured at the MIA as 4th grade students. We viewed works on slides and wrote about them in preparation for our field trip to see many in-person. We all received our own black 3-ring binder with loose leaf pages in it to sit and write in front of works of art. I vividly remember this unique opportunity to increase our writing skills through the arts and am grateful for teachers at my elementary school for providing us this experience. Thanks […]