The start of a new school year is so exciting, even shopping for school supplies. It could be a teacher trait – the thrill of the smell of books, enjoying the sound of a school bell, anticipating the Pledge of Allegiance – simply love it all. I meant to blog this summer, but I took 9 hours, plus kept 4 children busy (I also managed a cruise in Alaska). My favorite two classes were Special Education and Math for Middle Grade Certification 2. Both of my math certification classes were potentially the most valuable classes of my career, certainly to date. Why? In high school, I made A’s and B’s in honors math, but was considered average at best. It was a competitive magnet program. I never felt confident or particularly enjoyed the subject. However, I found my two education math classes to be fascinating. I discovered this amazing world of patterns and relationships. Instead of inserting a formula for a grade, I found why different applications work. I’ve since bought, I don’t know, 5 or more math professional development books, as well as two college dvd courses. Because I now feel enthusiastic about the subject, I am able to share that joy with future students. Hence, the value of the two classes. This coming semester, my final math course is the one I most anticipate. Special Education was a favorite due to the professor and my wish to learn as much as possible in this area. It was a beginning- once I work through my books about math and literacy previously bought, I will further my SPED journey.
Here are websites that engaged my spare time this summer. The final two were not new discoveries, but deserve mention anyway.
This one is a free professional resource with a plethora of plans, tools, visual graphics using mentor texts and 6 + 1 traits.
This one has downloads available for plans, posters, graphics, games. Many are free for download. I’m currently making a bottlecap literacy game using consonants, vowels, and dolch words from pre-k through 5th grade.
I’ve known about this one for awhile, but feel it deserves mention because it’s that good. Math is presented in an engaging, inquiry based manner. I can’t wait to use picture books as stimulus for math investigations. This is how I will present math to students, never simply math, but always math investigations. We are detectives searching for the patterns and relationships to solve problems. I’ve already begun my math book collection. My next purchases will be Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! I know – now you want all my resource information for fantastic math investigations – that can be another post.
This site is consists of interactive activities to learn Latin/Greek root words, plus prefixes/suffixes. I strongly believe this is key to vocabulary development. I observed spectacular vocabulary growth in my oldest with high school Latin courses. Imagine, beginning at the elementary years in a developmentally appropriate manner.
What I’m searching for now are history sites – not museums, but sites which inspire children to explore our past. This past week, I discussed the Declaration of Independence with my 8th grader. She commented on my animation, “Wow, I look forward to seeing how students respond to you. You get into this.” I’m not sure it was a compliment so I asked her if she would prefer an enthusiastic teacher or disinterested one. She chose enthusiastic, but with a rather bemused expression lingering on her face.
Soon I’ll share current/recent books with my personal corresponding thoughts. Perhaps more websites: I made some math games this past summer and printed literacy wall posters which may be helpful. I begin 15 hours this coming week so life should be full. Bring on the chaos.