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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Readings, Wanderings and Technology

Allergies hit in full force this week.  Needless to say, I feel that my sinus cavity is revolting and trying to push its way out of my forehead. This to shall pass ...

Great Classroom Read:

Kate Messner has always been one of my favorite authors.  First, she's a teacher, so she totally gets kids and writes what she knows they'll love.  She also thinks about the teacher when she writes the book.  She provides materials for the classroom, suggests cross curriculum ideas and her books are filled with great words that kids need to know.

Capture the Flag is quickly becoming my favorite Kate Messner novel.  Written for the 3 - 7th grade student, the book could work with students who are older because the content is engaging, or as a read aloud to younger students.

The plot revolves around a group of kids who are stuck in Washington, D.C. due to a major snowstorm.  They learn that the America Flag that inspired the song "The Star Spangled Banner"  has been stolen and realize that the culprit must be snowed in as well.  What follows is an adventure that highlights great moments in America history while engaging the reader in an action filled 240 pages.

The cross curricular tie ins in this book are so amazing, that it would make a great school-wide read.  One of the great things about novels produced by teachers, is she created her own discussion guide. (seriously this woman is amazing!)


Professional Development Read:

A while back I read DON'T Teach the Canaries NOT to Sing  as part of my Principal Certification Class.  After the whirlwind read of graduate school,   I placed it on a shelf to look over later and kind of forget it was there.  I was reminded of the awesomeness of this book when it became the book study we're doing at CFHS.

Simply stated, this book is about creating a school culture.  Culture doesn't just happen, it is created by the staff.  This book offers great ideas on how to assure that your campus is one with a friendly, we love having you here kind of vibe!  The type of campus that your students will love as much as the staff loves to be there.  If you are in education, or if you are not and want to borrow some ideas for your business, this book is a great start.

Tech Tip:

Do you like the idea of texting parents announcements but you know you can't share personnel info with them?  Would you like to tweet with students but you don't like the" publicness" of Twitter.  Then try Remind101. 

Remind101 allows you to send one way communication to parents or students to remind them of tests, project due dates, upcoming events on campus or anything else that I can't think of right now.  Imagine being able to text all 180 of your students' parents to let them know that Science Fair sign up is next week, or that report cards will be out soon.  That is what Remind101 does for you.  You also don't have to share your phone number with parents.

It's also FREE!

You simply set up the account, share the login information with your parents and then approve them to receive your texts.  They can't reply back to you, so you don't have to sit around waiting to answer questions, it is one way communication that allows you to remind them of things.

I'd like to say that I found this awesome resource, but actually Bridgett,  my wonderful friend and Tister found it for us.   (Did I mention that she is awesome?)

TCEA is right around the corner.  I've heard from a few people that you are going.  In the next two weeks I'll post what I'm going to see.  I'd love to see and hear everything, so I am hoping a "share the wealth" action will happen.  I'll share the best of what I hear with others!

Have a great week, happy reading!  Please feel free to share great books or tech tips with me.  I'm always looking for input.

Doris
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