Monday, March 14, 2011

Commercials for Teaching

I love using commercials in the classroom. I came across these two and had to share my ideas:

This is a great commercial to use when teaching personification. Any of the latest Geico commercials would be great in a lesson for Idioms/Cliches.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tom Barrett's Interesting Ways Presentations

Tom Barrett has created numerous helpful presentations for using tools (such as Wordle) in the classroom. Now, he has all of his presentations in one spot:


Monday, January 31, 2011

ELearning Tools for Schools and Learning

The Bright Ideas blog shared this mindmap of Web 2.0 tools used for various aspects of learning and education:

"Click on titles such as ‘communication’, ‘presentation’, ‘educational games’, ‘teacher resources’, and ‘mobile applications’ to find lists of online tools. Jesper has used Mindomo (online mapping and brainstorming software) to create this resource. What makes this mindmap so wonderful, is that Jesper updates it regularly!"

Here is the link to that map!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Neat Grammar Lesson

I received this email from M.Adamcik. Look at the many uses and contexts for the word "UP".

This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is 'UP.' It is listed in the
dictionary as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky
or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do
we speak UP, and why are the
officers UP for
election and why is it UP to the secretary to
write UP a report?
We call UP our friends,
brighten UP a room, polish UP the
silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We
lock UP the house and
fix UP the old car.

At other times this little word has real special
meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets,
work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one
thing but to be dressed UP is

And this UP is confusing: A
drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at
night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP,
look UP the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary,
it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can
add UP to about
thirty definitions

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may
wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is
clouding UP . When the sun comes out
we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it soaks UP the
earth. When it does not rain for a while, things dry UP.

One could go on & on, but I'll wrap
it UP, for now time is UP !

Send this on to everyone you
look UP in your address
book..or's UP to you.

I'll shut UP

It would be neat to extend this by having students write something similar for other words in the English language that have multiple meanings. The teacher could create a list of words and (in groups) students could write something similar for their assigned term. Here is a list to help you get started:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Video Ideas for Teaching Parodies

Teaching parodies is so much fun, and thanks to You tube, there is much material available. Here are just a few videos I would show:

Then show

Friday, January 21, 2011

More Ideas from @Learngamer

There is a scene in Inglourious Basterds where they are playing a card game. Each person has written something on the card, passed it to the person to the right and stuck it on his/her forehead. The person must guess what is written on the card.

I love the idea from @Learngamer for Human Sticky Notes. Students place sticky notes on their bodies and guess the terms. I thought about tweaking this two ways:

1. Have students in groups do something similar to the movie. Seated, students write one term (vocabulary, a character from a story, or a part of speech) on a sticky note. The student then passes the note to the person on the right and that person immediately sticks it on his/her head. They spend the time trying to figure out what is on their heads.

2. Have students place sticky notes on each others' backs with terms written on them. Students walk around the room, asking peers for clues as to what is on their back. Once the student figures out the term, they move it from their back to their front. The student with the most on the front wins.

The other idea I loved is the Basketball game. This is how I would tweak it:

Have students in groups complete a short worksheet (4-5 problems). Each group has a runner. The runner brings the worksheet (once completed) to the teacher. The teacher briefly checks it; if correct, the student can ball it up and shoot it. The student then gets another worksheet to do the same thing. The group with the most worksheets in the hoop wins. You could have two hoops, one designated as 2point and one for 3 point.

Thanks again @Learngamer for the inspiration and creative make learning so much fun!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Teaching Parodies?

I love this video by Weird Al Yankovic . I do not think it is school appropriate but, you could definitely use the song to help teach the definition of parody:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Engaging and Interactive Ideas

I LOVE Learngamer. I think it is my new favorite site. There are so many great ideas, and @Learngamer shares many more on Twitter. I want to share my thoughts about a few of his ideas:

1. Pull it out of your Brain - Have the students read sentences out of the "brain" and write them correctly. This is great practice for complex, compound/complex, and other sentence structures. This would also be a great way of practicing punctuation, such as commas and end marks. Prize to the one who gets the most correct!

2. Chopstick Game - Have students draw vocabulary words out of the bowl, and define them correctly. If the student cannot, another student can try and steal the paper. The one with the most papers wins. Or, have the student draw a generic word out of the bowl (such as like or very). The student must come up with another word they can use in their writing instead of that generic word. Same concept here as before.

3. Hopscotch - Make your own hopscotch mats out of old sheets. Number them as you would a regular hopscotch mat. Then, write the numbers on your chalkboard and what they mean. For example, number 1 could be from a vocabulary list they must define. If they land on number 2, they must shout out a preposition. Have different tasks for the numbers they land on.

4. Frisbee - Have post it sticky notes on 4-5 frisbees. Toss them to students. If the student answers the question correctly, they keep the sticky note. The student with the most sticky notes wins. Take it a step further by having a student write a new question on a sticky note, stick it to the frisbee, and toss it next.

Thank you @Learngamer for the great ideas and inspiration!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Random Links

Here are some random links I collected over the break: (alternative to Wallwisher) (research/search engine for kids) (convert photos to cartoon) (writing prompts great for ELA) (group storytelling) (neat journal writing site) ( a peaceful place for students to write) (play a YouTube video at a certain time) (can’t seem to get it to work at MISD) (a great history site full of resources)


Thursday, January 6, 2011


I came across this thread on Twitter yesterday and simply had too much fun coming up with alternate titles for popular novels. Then today I had a fun idea. This would be a great inventory to use with your students at the beginning of the school year. Give them a small list of books they should have been exposed to at this point in their school career, such as "The Outsiders" (The Insiders) and have them in teams correct the list. The groups who correct the most win.

Then, take it a step further and have the students (in groups) create their own #LessAmbitiousBooks. We could then guess them as a class and vote (usingPolleverywhere) on our favorites. The favorites could then be tweeted out in this fun thread. What a neat way to conduct a reading inventory and expose students to popular novels and stories.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

More Ideas for Digital Camera in ELA Classroom

Here is the original tweet from @kellyhines :

Doing a #365photo project? Here are some neat ideas

After looking through the ideas, I came up with a few of my own. For the photowalk, have students take pictures of their school campus and develop a type of "survival manual for incoming freshmen" or do an "all about our community project" and take pictures of the community (including members). These would both lend themselves to great writing projects.

For the strangers project, tweak this to include people around school or the community. I could see students interviewing janitors, cafeteria staff, and bus drivers and creating a type of "Who's Who at our School" for teachers and admin new to the campus.

For the A-Z project, have students take pictures of A-Z items that apply to a novel or play. For example, the students could take all sorts of pictures that tie in to the drama Romeo and Juliet. These could be themes (such as love or death) or other terms examined in the play.

For Go Mono and Pick a Something projects, these could both easily tie into novels or short stories. Students, while reading "The Scarlett Ibis" or "Mask of the Red Death" could take pictures of red items. When studying To Kill a Mockingbird, students could take pictures in black and white and discuss the symbolism of seeing things only in black and white.

Thanks @kellyhines for the great idea!