Friends & Followers,
After over a decade with the Post Falls School District, I recently made the tough choice to find a teaching position closer to home in Spokane. I am ecstatic to say I have happily landed in Washington state and I have spent the past two months ramping up and preparing to meet 44 eager kindergartners this fall! Believe it or not, it feels like my first year of teaching all over again and I’ve been welcomed with open arms by a wonderful team of teachers.
In my previous position as an ELA Curriculum & Technology Specialist, I had the privilege of working with two fantastic educators. Together we started on a joint blogging journey and I hope to continue it as I tackle a brand new school, brand new curriculum, and brand new position. I will no longer be posting to the Curriculum & Technology blog.
If you would like to continue receiving literacy and technology updates from me, please visit Digital Kinders and sign up for email updates by scrolling to the bottom of the page. You can also follow my adventures on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Digital Kinders is my own site and not associated with any school district.
Schools across Idaho can apply for a share of $3 million in technology pilot grant money.
Three million dollars is up for grabs through the second round of the Idaho Technology Pilot program. Last year eleven schools statewide shared in three million dollars of technology money. The program asks What does a next-generation classroom look like and how would you put it into action?
The state is hosting four informational webinars on April 22 and April 23. For more information visit the state’s website. I am available to help your building team brainstorm ideas, write the grant, and put together a budget.
Only one application can be submitted per school. The state will accept multiple applications from a district. All grant proposals need to be approved by the District Office before submission. Grants are due by June 11th.
Scholastic’s Action was designed as a high-interest magazine intended to boost the reading and writing skills of at-risk middle and high school readers. Like StoryWorks and Scope, each issue is directly aligned to the Idaho Core ELA Standards and includes informational text, reader’s theater for building fluency, paired texts, and argumentative writing prompts. Many English Language Arts teachers at both River City and Post Falls Middle School currently use StoryWorks and Scope magazine. Scope magazine is an integral part of the Middle School Summer School program as well.
Teachers who subscribe to Action magazine receive additional lesson planning materials and online resources. However, many of the informational text passages are currently available online free of charge.
Like Newsela, each Action article is written at a low, a middle, and a high reading level which allows teachers to easily differentiate instruction for all types of readers. Multiple levels of texts allows all students to be included in the instructional process and contribute to the in-class learning environment. Currently, passages can be found anywhere from 420L to 1060L allowing teachers to meet the needs of all learners. Scholastic Action has made the lower and higher Lexile passages available for teachers to print. The middle Lexile passages are available for digital download and also include an audio option for those students needing additional support. Digital companion videos and links are also available.
Know another great source for secondary level text? Let me know!
Earlier this week teachers at Ponderosa Elementary put on their dancing shoes! Skip to 1:09 to check out their awesome moves to Katy Perry’s “Roar!”
The video was produced by music teacher Sarah Windisch and will be shared with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students prior to next month’s S-BAC testing. Teachers Kelly Howard, Stacey Peppin, and Becky Rice recently came up with the idea after attending a workshop focused on helping kids develop GRIT and GRIP. The presenter gave teachers the lyrics to “Roar!” and suggested sharing them with students in a lesson about perseverance. The Ponderosa team took it a step further and made a video. Thanks for inviting me to be part of the fun!
Over the past month, I have been asked several questions about the Basal Alignment Project. More specifically — “What is the Basal Alignment Project?” and “How can I access it?”
The Basal Alignment Project started as a way for teachers to share Common Core aligned resources with other teachers for use with common basal readers throughout the country. Teachers worked to create a bank of text-dependent questions as well as resources focused on specific comprehension strategies and Tier 2 vocabulary support. The result was the Basal Alignment Project.
The Basal Alignment Project does not address the spelling, phonics, or grammar portion of textbooks and is only available for grades 3-5. However, almost each lesson contains culminating tasks and classroom activities that align with the more rigorous standards. Paired with our District’s TIA StoryTown documents, the Basal Alignment Project is a great tool for teachers to use while planning instruction.
The Basal Alignment Project can be accessed two ways:
By visiting the AchievetheCore.Org website
- Select grade 3, 4, or 5.
- Scroll down to find StoryTown.
- Select the appropriate story title.
- The Word document will open and save to your computer.
By creating or logging into your Edmodo account
- Join the Basal Alignment Project group with the join code “F4Q6NM.”
- Click on the folder icon on the left side.
- Choose the “HMH StoryTown” folder.
- Click on appropriate story title.
- The Word document will open and save to your computer.
Informational text is a major focus of the Idaho Core Standards, but one of the hardest struggles for teachers is wading through all the resources available online.
During the months of March and April I will be visiting several Post Falls schools to help teachers navigate the world of informational text and locate high-quality text online as well as open educational resources available to teachers and how to use them.
During these 30-45 minute session teachers will visit several free online sites and be given the opportunity to team with others and share resources.
I will be at the following buildings in March and April.
- West Ridge Elementary – March 10
- Prairie View Elementary – March 24
- Ponderosa Elementary – April 28
- Seltice Elementary – TBA
- Mullan Trail Elementary – TBA
- Post Falls Middle School – TBA
- River City Middle School – TBA
Want to get started early? Check out these resources!