Teaching 411

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Stress and School May 7, 2009

Filed under: 1 — rubino87 @ 5:05 pm

As I finish all my final assignments and finish studying for the finals I have left it really made me think. As a future teacher I should really take time into consideration for my students. I should always make sure not to load them up with too much homework. I’m going to have to keep in the back of my mind they may play sports or instruments and be in plays. I will also have to remember to find that balance. They will have to have homework to practice what they learn in class but I don’t want to be responsible for them being stressed out in third grade because they have too much homework. I know how it feels now to be stressed out about getting all my assignments done and I wouldn’t want a third grader to feel uneasy because of an assignment or I put too much emphasis on a test.


First Day Activity

Filed under: Classroom Management — rubino87 @ 1:31 am

Opening day activity


a box of multi-colored crayons, because it doesn’t matter what we look like, we are part of a set; an eraser, because it is okay to make mistakes in our classroom; a gold star, because everyone in our classroom is a star; a small kaleidoscope, because there are many different ways to see a problem and find a solution; a piece of wrapped candy, to remind us to keep our words sweet when we speak to and about our classmates; a glue stick, because as a class we need to stick together and stick up for one another.



I was surfing through lesson plans and I happened to check this one out. This is a great opening day activity. Give each student a bag to fill with one of each of the ingredients above. Have the students put them together in a bag explaining what each on means. This is such a great activity because it will build a sense of community among the class. They will know they have something in common because they are in the same class and have to same bag as everyone else but they are different because they are themselves and they have a different colored crayon. I think the first day of school is one of the most important ones; it really sets the tone for the rest of the school year. A classroom may not have a great sense of community after the first day but activities such as this one can help the sense of community strengthen.


School is the New Home

Filed under: New School Rules — rubino87 @ 1:17 am

Schools now offer more then they ever have to their students. Today students may eat two out of the three meals a day in school. Schools offer breakfast programs whish is when students who sign up for it eat their breakfast in the cafeteria either brought from home or bought in school. This program assures that students have a proper meal before they start their day. There are also after school programs offered. These programs are for children of parents who work late or may single parent homes and there is nobody to watch the children after school. These programs include fun and games but also have homework help. I bring this things up because in one of my education classes I was told I have to be more then a teacher. I will wear many hats in this profession. I may sometimes have to be a motherly figure maybe even a fatherly figure and friend and even sometimes an enemy. Schools are a place where students are not just coming to learn but to grow. Some student will spend more time with their teacher than they will with their parents in a week. Yes students will still bring who they are from home, but school now helps shape them when before it was primarily done by children’s parents at home. I’m indifferent in how i feel about this issue. I think it’s great because students who may need extra care are getting it but they aren’t getting it from their parents. It is becoming the schools job.


Vocabulary Lesson May 6, 2009

Filed under: Children's Literacy,Creative Ideas — holmes77 @ 1:19 pm


 I used this lesson in my second grade class when I was observing. I love this book and the students really enjoyed it! I hope you do too

Lesson Plan


  • Title: “The Ugly Duckling”
  • Subject: Vocabulary/ Reading
  • Grade level: second grade
  • Time frame: 20 minutes
  • Background: Spring lesson plan, phonics words
  • Materials:

– “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Anderson

– Worksheet

– Construction Paper

– Crayons/ markers


3.1.2 B. Phonological Awareness (includes phonemic awareness)

1. Add, delete, or change middle sounds to change words (e.g., pat to put).

2. Use knowledge of letter-sound correspondences to sound out unknown words.

3.1.2 C. Decoding and Word Recognition

1. Look for known chunks or small words to attempt to decode an unknown word.

2. Reread inserting the beginning sound of the unknown word.

3. Decode regular multi syllable words and parts of words

4. Read many irregularly spelled words and such spelling patterns as diphthongs, special vowel spellings, and common endings.

3.1.2 D. Fluency

1. Pause at appropriate end points (e.g., comma, period).

2. Use appropriate pace; “not choppy” or word-by-word.

3. Use appropriate inflection (e.g., dialogue, exclamations, and questions).

4. Read silently without finger or lip movement.

5. Self-monitor when text does not make sense.

6. Employ learned strategies to determine if text makes sense without being prompted.

3.1.2 F. Vocabulary and Concept Development

1. Develop a vocabulary of 500-800 regular and irregular sight words.

2. Know and relate meanings of simple prefixes and suffixes.

3. Demonstrate evidence of expanding language repertory.

4. Understand concept of antonyms and synonyms.

5. Begin to use a grade-appropriate dictionary with assistance from teacher.


Learning Experience

  • Introduction: What is one type of animal that comes to mind when you think of the season spring? ….

How many of you have read the story “The Ugly Duckling”

  • Sequence of Teacher Lead Activities:

–       Read “The Ugly Duckling”

–       Introduce the Vocabulary Words and Meaning

–       Have students partner read (fluency)

–       Circulate and listen to the students

–       Model how to read the longer sentences

–       Compare/ contrasting diagram

–       Modeling and going over the story

–       Students draw picture of a swan with descriptive words surrounding it

–       Using the vocabulary words making up their own sentences


  • The students will be able to uncover the vocabulary words used in the story and use them in context when writing their own sentences.










Vocabulary Words:

Curious                               Pecked                         Scorn

Understand                          Gaze                            appetite

Geese                                  inquire                       exhausted



Discussion Questions:

Why do the other birds make fun of the ugly duckling?

Why is the ugly duckling afraid to show his face to the swans?


Test Strategies for Students

Filed under: Children's Literacy,Creative Ideas — holmes77 @ 12:59 pm

I like many other students have a problem taking tests. I was always the student who had so much stress before and after a test. So I wanted to give students and teachers a way to strategize test taking. I hope you enjoy this!

It works for me!



Test strategies:

  • Read the directions carefully
    Know if each question has one or more correct option
    Know if you are penalized for guessing
    Know how much time is allowed (this governs your strategy)
  • Preview the test
    Read through the test quickly and answer the easiest questions first
    Mark those you think you know in some way that is appropriate
  • Read through the test a second time and answer more difficult questions
    You may pick up cues for answers from the first reading, or become more comfortable in the testing situation
  • If time allows, review both questions and answers
    It is possible you mis-read questions the first time

Answering options
Improve your odds, think critically:

Cover the options, read the stem, and try to answer
Select the option that most closely matches your answer

Read the stem with each option
Treat each option as a true-false question, and choose the “most true”

Strategies to answer difficult questions:

  • Eliminate options you know to be incorrect
    If allowed, mark words or alternatives in questions that eliminate the option
  • Give each option of a question the “true-false test:”
    This may reduce your selection to the best answer
  • Question options that grammatically don’t fit with the stem
  • Question options that are totally unfamiliar to you
  • Question options that contain negative or absolute words.
    Try substituting a qualified term for the absolute one, like frequently for always; or typical for every to see if you can eliminate it
  • “All of the above:”
    If you know two of three options seem correct, “all of the above” is a strong possibility
  • Number answers:
    toss out the high and low and consider the middle range numbers
  • “Look alike options”
    probably one is correct; choose the best but eliminate choices that mean basically the same thing, and thus cancel each other out
  • Double negatives:
    Create the equivalent positive statement and consider
  • Echo options:
    If two options are opposite each other, chances are one of them is correct
  • Favor options that contain qualifiers
    The result is longer, more inclusive items that better fill the role of the answer
  • If two alternatives seem correct,
    compare them for differences,
    then refer to the stem to find your best answer


  • Always guess when there is no penalty
    for guessing or you can eliminate options
  • Don’t guess if you are penalized for guessing
    and if you have no basis for your choice
  • Use hints from questions you know
    to answer questions you do not.
  • Change your first answers
    when you are sure of the correction, or other cues in the test cue you to change.

Remember that you are looking for the best answer,
not only a correct one, and not one which must be true all of the time, in all cases, and without exception.


Celebrate Diversity May 5, 2009

Filed under: 1 — laffer90 @ 3:38 pm

Teaching diversity is often considered a difficult task among teachers because of the sensitivity of the topic. The main difficulty in teaching about differences, however, is the fear and anticipation behind the effort. Use the six tips below to help you incorporate diversity into your curriculum.
1. Start Early. Young children begin to develop thoughts about themselves at an early age, usually before they begin kindergarten. Begin teaching children to love themselves at an early age. Studies find when people love themselves, they are less inclined to fear other people’s differences.
2. Emphasize Openness. Teachers should teach students to be forthcoming about their differences. Show them there is no shame in being different. Young people on every continent are changing their appearances through plastic surgery at alarming rates because they are trying to hide who they are.

3. Discuss All Types of Differences. In addition to race and religion, teachers should also discuss gender, size, and learning abilities. Encompassing all differences will make students take a step back and look at themselves. The class environment will soon feel more like a family because everyone will relate to each other.

4. Let the Curriculum Work for You. Literature and social studies are great subjects to teach diversity because they deal with real life issues and people.

5. Use Real Life Examples. Employ parents and speakers to enhance your diversity teachings. You will find that most parents want to teach their students about diversity but do not know how to start. Tell parents about your lessons and have them reinforce it at home. Family discussions set around homework assignments is the easiest way to incorporate these lessons at home.

6. Leave the Classroom. Take a field trip or two during the year. Field trips can work miracles, because they invigorate students. Explore ethnic art and culture on your adventures. Local museums usually have exhibits highlighting cultural and ethnic influences of the local community.


I found these 6 Tips online at the following website:
Read more: “Six Tips for Teaching Diversity: Effectively Incorporating Diversity in the Classroom | Suite101.com” – http://teachertipstraining.suite101.com/article.cfm/six_tips_for_teaching_diversity#ixzz0Ef8RikPS&A


Happy Cinco De Mayo Teachers and Students

Happy Cinco De Mayo All!!!! Today, because of the holiday, I want to post a lesson and facts about the holiday. Hope you enjoy!

 Facts about Cinco de Mayo:

Cinco de Mayo (the “Fifth of May” in Spanish) commemorates Mexico’s victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Unfortunately, this initial victory was short-lived. The French onslaught continued, and French forces ultimately succeeded in gaining control of the country and occupying it until 1867.

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, as some assume. Mexico had officially gained its independence from Spain some four decades before the conflict with France . Mexico celebrates September 16 — the anniversary of the start of its War for Independence from Spain — as its Independence Day
In fact, Cinco de Mayo ranks as only a regional holiday in Mexico. It is not celebrated as a national holiday. But in the United States and in other parts of the world, it has developed into a celebration of Mexican heritage.


Lesson for Cinco De Mayo



A Day in Mexico

Use an almanac, an encyclopedia, and at least two other books to research life in the country of Mexico. What is the climate like? What is the food like? When do children begin school? How many years to most people attend school? What is the typical Mexican family like? What is housing like? What is shopping like? etc.

Based on this information, imagine yourself living in Mexico. In what ways would your life be different? In what ways would it be the same? Write about a typical day in your new life.

Against the Odds

The Mexican peasant army seemed to be taking on an impossible task when it went up against the much larger French army in the Battle of Puebla. Yet the smaller Mexican army emerged victor. When someone does something that looks difficult or almost impossible, we call it “beating the odds.” Think of a time when you have “beaten the odds” and share it with your classmates.


French forces outnumbered the Mexican peasants nearly 3 to 1 at the Battle of Puebla. The French forces were more experienced at war and far better armed. But the rag-tag Mexican forces under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza were fighting to protect their homes and families.

If you were a Mexican peasant about to enter into a battle in which you knew you were greatly outnumbered and outarmed, how would you feel? Write a journal entry describing your feelings right before the attack.

The 6,000 French troops approaching Mexico City had anticipated no resistance. How do you think they felt when they were confronted by — and lost to — a far smaller army? Write a second journal entry from the perspective of a French soldier after the battle.

Remembering Victory – Teach the students about the history of the victory/

¿Habla español? –Start having the students speak in Spanish

Take the opportunity to introduce students to some basic Spanish words. A printable 20-word collection of Spanish word/picture cards online.  Once students are familiar with the vocabulary, play pictionary, charades, or taboo using the words.

Game for fun:


Teach students how to count to ten in Spanish.





Play the traditional game of hide-and-seek, but direct the student who is It to count to ten in Spanish before yelling, “Here I come!” or “¡Ya me voy!”