Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Share your teaching resolutions!

I am really excited to be hosting January's Blog Carnival for RTT. It is a great chance for you to share your blog with a different audience and really get the word out there! Carnivals are one of the highest viewed posts on my blogs, so we hope to get everyone some new readers.
Since the blog will be posted on January 7th, the topic is timely. You've taught for all of (or part of 2014)! Maybe you have a new class, or are in a new country. Now that 2015 is rolling around what's the resolution that you will make for your teach year of teaching (or traveling)?

That's it!
  • Do you want to try more of a new teaching method?
  • Give a new website a try?
  • Make students work with different people?
  • Get guest speakers to come to your class?
  • Have more (or less) patience with the students?
  • Introduce an imaginary student to your class?
Whatever it is we'd love to read about it. Of course, if your post is more about YOU, that's fine too!
  • Travel more
  • Grade less
  • Get a teaching certificate
Any questions be sure to ask!
To participate, I'll need you to e-mail or tweet me a link to your blog article by January 4th (just in time since my school year starts up January 5th) 

Be sure to include:
-The link to your blog post
- A short description of your entry. 
- A short bio of themselves
- A picture if you wish (otherwise I'll just use a screenshot of your blog)
To be sure others can participate please include an introduction that includes the following information (reword as you wish)

This post is part of the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival. The host for January is Carissa Peck over at mELTing Activities, so be sure to check out her blog January 7th to see everyone's great resolutions! If you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please get in touch with for information on how to participate!

I hope that everyone is having an AWESOME December, and that you will have an even better 2015.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My New Reading List

I've been lucky when at raffles lately. The last conference I went to I won two books! 

Ashfall and Rigorous Reading
Ashfall is a young adult fiction novel centered around our world after a super-volcano erupts. I am really glad I got a chance to read it, as I think my students will really enjoy this addition to our classroom library.

Rigorous Reading is part of my ongoing Professional Development. My supervisor and I are reading the chapters together and we have monthly meeting to go over what we've read. It's a great way to be sure that we are using the same vocabulary and background when designing our plans.

Yesterday I had a chance to attend a conference on understanding and creating Essential Questions to help students learn and understand more effectively. My luck kept up and I brought home a baggie of goodies. In addition to a cell phone charger and a USB, I received a whole bag of books which have now been added to my, "to read" list.

Grading Smarter Not Harder,  Essential Questions, How to Design Questions and Tasks to Assess Student Thinking,
and Learning From Coaching,  

I look forward to getting a chance to read these, and share the ones I find the most useful!

Has anyone read any of these? Any recommendations on which ones to read?

Pizza Project (Paragraph Writing)

I am all about playing with words and enjoying a pun, so when I began my unit on Julius Caesar, I immediately wanted to implement this pizza project using Little Caesar boxes.

What is the Pizza Project? I've seem them done a few different ways. With my high school students, I use them as a way to practice finding concrete details (or specific examples) from texts.

Essentially, students were each given a Little Caesar's pizza box. I think technically these cost $.45 cents each (plus tax), but if you politely explain that this is for a school project, then you may get your boxes for free.

"Project Pizza," as a call it, is composed of three distinct parts:The Pizza Box, the Pizza Slices and the Pizza Presentation.

The Pizza Box is the part with the simplest directions. Students decorate the pizza box ti reflect the themes and characters they choose to discuss on their pizza slices. 

Since, these boxes are from Little Caesar's and we were reading Julius Caesar, most students chose to keep at least some of the box visible.

Clearly, if your topic was unrelated to the name of your pizza chain you would have them cover all of it, but you can get creative. Pizza Hut could be used for The Painted House, The House on Mango Street. Da' Boys for The Body, or any other book about a group of boys.

The next part is more complicated. The Pizza Slices of course can vary based on your preferences and the level of your students.In this case, Each group received eight slices. They had to create individual slices of pizza. Each slice has a crust (the topic) and toppings (quotes, pictures, and other general facts).

As for topics. I have students choose from themes, characters, motifs, conflicts, the setting, and anything else that interests them. In the case of Julius Caesar this could be anachronisms, fashion, battles mentioned, historical inaccuracies, or anything else in the story that intrigues them.

I don't grade my students on artistic skill, but I do let them know that they will be graded on effort and appearance.

Finally, my students had a Pizza Presentation. For this students chose three of their slices of pizza and shared the information with the rest of the class. The topics were pre-approved to avoid listening to the same concept over and over again.

This acted as a great review and a way for my students to practice presentations.

You can make this more specific by having students replicate paragraphs more closely.

Hopefully you're inspired to have your students make their own pizzas!

If you want to see exactly what I did, I'll be sure to upload some worksheets later, but for now, here's a  Pizza Graphic Organizer: Only $.80

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