Month: November 2013

ELA: Literacy & Technology Training

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Reading teachers and paraprofessionals from across the District were busy learning this morning. Ask them for a Web 2.0 tip or two!
ImageDistrict teams met this morning at Prairie View Elementary to explore the S-BAC testing portal and discuss ways Title I can support the Idaho Core Standards. Teachers also visited several interactive phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension websites that can be used to support explicit instruction. Teams logged onto informational text sites such as Discovery Education, Read Write Think, ReadWorks.Org and Wonderopolis before receiving more specialized iPad and Kindle Fire support. What a collaborative and hard-working group of professionals!

Want to try a new app or two? Check out this teacher-vetted list of iPad apps put together by Ponderosa Elementary counselor Laura Kast. — Teacher App List

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ELA: Close Reading in Action

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We caught a fifth grader reading his science assignment very closely! Can you guess where?

Post Falls teachers at both the elementary and middle school level have recently been using this Close Reading graphic organizer with students. (Available from Scholastic  free of charge.) This and other reading tools are also available during our grade level S-BAC Sessions on Thursday afternoons at Ponderosa Elementary. For more information email Jennifer OlsenJennifer Signature

ICS: Parent Guides

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With parent-teacher conferences next week, you might find yourself looking for handy guides to the Idaho Core for parents. Try these on for size!

3 IdeasEngageNY has a simple “Parent’s Backpack Guide” to the Common Core Standards. It guides families through each ELA and Mathematics shift and what might be coming home in their child’s backpack to support this change. The guide also features ways to support the Common Core at home. They have made a “Working with the ‘Shifts'” handout with more detailed ways parents can help as well.

The National PTA offers two-page parent guides to the Common Core for each grade level including High School. They also have an Idaho specific guide to the new S-BAC assessment that includes sample questions. A PDF can by downloaded be following this link: PTA Idaho Assessment Guide

And lastly, Hello Literacy features a “3 Key Ideas for Parents” one page guide available for free on their Teachers Pay Teachers website.

Happy Conferencing!Jennifer Signature

Earn Money for Your School or Classroom: Best Practices in Classroom Assessment Recognition Program

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Looking for a way to earn money for your classroom or school? Participate in the Best Practices in Classroom Assessment Recognition Program. Applications are available now!

By participating in the program you can earn money for your classroom or school. Last year three teams from the Post Falls School District participated in the program; each team earned $2000! The three teams were:

  • Jana Michelle Faucher-Sharples, Kelly Kiser, and Team Captain, Jessica Lamb-Mullan Trail Elementary, Post Falls School District
  • Nancy Hicks, Brad Harmon, and Team Captain Deborah Tierney-River City Middle School, Post Falls School District
  • Lisa Hoffeld, Sara Lewis, and Team Captain Breland Tommerump-Mullan Trail Elementary, Post Falls School District

Check out the information below from the State Department of Education if you are interested in participating.

The State Department of Education has released its application for the Best Practices in Classroom Assessment Recognition Program. This program rewards teachers for innovative and balanced classroom assessment practices and sharing those experiences and practices with other Idaho teachers. Information and applications are available at There will be an informational webinar to review the program and answer any questions teachers might have on November 19, 2013 at 3PM MST.  The webinar will be archived. For more information, contact Nancy Thomas Price 208-332-6988 or

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Ed Tech: Wordle Wordle Wordle

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Wordle is a fun and educational tool with ENDLESS possible uses! Wordle-MLK

So what is Wordle? According to, Wordle is a web tool for “generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.” I created a Wordle on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream.”  I plan to use my “I Have a Dream” Wordle as a starting point for a discussion as we analyze Dr. King’s speech.

Marla Hulce at Seltice Elementary created a quick reference guide for her staff. Marla offered the following suggested uses:

1.  Character Web

2. Context Clues for vocabulary words or topics.

    • Teacher provides clues.
    • Students find the answer.

3.  For Editing

    • Students type in a paragraph and they can visually see if they are overusing words.

4.  Synonyms/Antonyms

5.  Main Idea of stories or paragraphs

6.  As a pre-reading exercise, give students a Wordle of non-fiction text and have them think of a title or heading.

7.  Classroom Polls

8.  Compare and Contrast

    • Students make two different Wordles.

9.  “Flashcards” for vocabulary words for science or social studies topics.

10.  Create a Wordle from spelling words.

11.  List of sight words.

Thank you for sharing Marla!

How do you or how might you use Wordle with your students?

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Ed Tech: The Teaching Channel

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But what does it look like in the classroom? The Teaching Channel can show you!

Literacy in Physics: Reading a Primary Source

Sometimes it is  difficult to envision classroom instruction aligned to the Idaho Core Standards. The Teaching Channel is an excellent resource for videos of actual teachers actually teaching. Many of the example videos also provide links to lesson plans, readings, and handouts. The site is searchable by grade level and subject and teachers can register to receive a weekly newsletter.

Yesterday I stumbled upon this video of a Louisiana Physics teacher using primary sources, close reading, and vocabulary instruction in her science classroom. She also shows how to use Google Docs for student assessment. Check out her other videos for great ideas!Jennifer Signature

ELA: Social Studies Primary Source Resource Guide

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To piggyback on Jennifer’s post, here is a Primary Source Resource Guide I put together with the help of River City Middle School first-year teacher Janey Ortega. The guide features thirteen primary source resources that include readings, photographs, images, graphs, maps, videos, audio, artifacts, lessons, and much more. Check out the resource guide below:

Primary Source Resource Guide 

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