Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

30/Mar/2017
by Denise Krebs
7 Comments

Individualized Spelling, Slice of Life #29

So, I got up early this morning. It’s 10:30 p.m. on the East coast in the U.S. I have almost made it through the month of March and my first Slice of Life, 2017. I don’t want to quit, so I’m writing this quick post. Quick because I also promised myself and my students that this day I would give them the list of spelling words that we made together. Individual students and I chose words based on ones they misspell in their work and vocabulary they chose for themselves from their last story.

Here is a partial list that I am now going to type up with names and print off for my students to add to their notebooks:

8 students

I know this is impractical. There has to be a better way because I won’t do it like this weekly or even biweekly. As is usually my style, I tend to experiment and then tweak it to improve.

I even realized if I would have written more neatly with space between, I could have just sliced this paper and given each a handwritten list after taking a photo for my records.

I just took a break and started looking online for resources:

In a blog post by teacher Angela Bunyi on Scholastic.com, the book Words Their Way came up.

I have some studying to do to find a way to make this work.

Any suggestions for individualizing spelling?

28/Mar/2017
by Denise Krebs
7 Comments

Owning Our Learning

In a Slice of Life post by Carol Varsalona this week, I was inspired to ask again my essential question about education:

How can I empower students to own their own learning?

Carol called questions like this burning questions. This is a burning question in my professional life. I’ve been saying it and trying it since 2011, when I first learned about Alan November’s book called, Who Owns the Learning? I struggle in my current situation because teaching and learning are much more traditional and academic than what I’ve been used to. I sometimes feel I am going uphill in a rowboat.

I don’t ever want to give up, but sometimes I struggle passing the learning torch on to my students.

I am trying to help students own learning, but to tell the truth I’m a little discouraged now. Here, perhaps as a reminder to myself, are some things I’m attempting:

  1. Self-assessment checklists of learning
  2. Tests can be retaken after students master the material
  3. Student learning presentations to parents by students instead of parent teacher conferences
  4. Students have a safe place to own their strengths and weaknesses, where they don’t have to pretend to be something they aren’t
  5. Authentic audiences for student work–pen pals, a global audience through global projects, Twitter, and our class and individual blogs
  6. Less emphasis on grades
  7. Figuring out problems instead of easy answers
  8. Student classroom jobs
  9. Students believe: “All are students, all are learners”

I would appreciate any advice. What am I missing that I need to try or renew?

Here are a couple of images that inspired me today:

Never stop asking questions.

A post shared by Edutopia (@edutopia) on

Image by Bill Ferriter with CC BY 2..0 license.

28/Mar/2017
by Denise Krebs
3 Comments

The Princess and the Pea

Last night, I was reminded of the old story, The Princess and the Pea. My husband is trying to heal a bad back and looking for just the right mattress.

Since we have a memory foam pad on our bed, last night’s experiment was for him to not use the memory foam. We just folded the pad over onto my side of the bed, and I fell into a big soft pillow, falling right to sleep like a princess.

However, like the princess in the story, my sleep was disrupted with a bit of tossing and turning. Unlike the princess, it was not because I felt some foreign object through all the mattresses. I felt a bit smothered by all the softness.

Tonight we’ll try something new.

26/Mar/2017
by Denise Krebs
7 Comments

Breakfast

“Another breakfast, Peggy!! Why are you so kind to me?”

“Where is your water bottle,” she asked, not worried about answering my rhetorical question.

“It’s on my desk. Right there, with the rose from our Mother’s Day assembly in it,” I answered.

“OK, you can’t drink out of that one, but you need some water,” Peggy told me this morning, as I enjoyed eating the generous and healthy breakfast she brought me–a cheese sandwich, yogurt, a kiwi, a tangerine, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, an egg, and a granola bar (from her daughter). Soon there was water too.

Yesterday, she brought me the breakfast in the picture below, and she promised another breakfast for tomorrow.

Why? My husband has been in the hospital for the last four days, and I’ve been with him. Of course, I didn’t have time to really cook, but I have certainly had time to eat thanks to the loving gifts of so many sweet friends–Peggy, Vinolia, Victoria, Molly, Georgina, and more coming in the next few days.

Thank you, friends, and thank you, God, for such a warm hospitable place I get to call home.

Delicious breakfast from my dear friend. #green #cy365 #t365project

A post shared by Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) on

25/Mar/2017
by Denise Krebs
3 Comments

So many blog posts!

I have been spending the last three hours publishing my students’ blog posts, with a few distractions. It has been my first year blogging with grade 5.

I never had so much enthusiasm with grade 7-8 when I taught them blogging. They were older, more capable, and native English speakers, but they were also more reluctant. Now I have 50 students, English language learners, busy with lots of homework and a testing kind of culture, yet so many of them choose to write and comment from home in the evenings and weekends. It’s been great fun!

Today, the busyness with my class blog, plus the fact that I spent the day in the hospital is making this my Slice of Life post. (I was in the hospital with my husband, who is recovering from some medical issues–not all resolved yet.)

 

 

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