Saturday, October 23, 2010

Know your facts!

Do your students struggle with their multiplication facts?  Learning these facts seems to be a sore spot for many students.  I have located a number of great sites you can access to help your students master their facts.  You will find games, timed quizzes, and printable resources to either remediate or enrich your students.

Great site for timed quizzes, instructional videos, online games, and even lessons.

Demonstrates clever tricks for helping students remember their facts using number patterns.

Fun baseball, themed games help students remember addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.  You can even mix things up by incorporating all four!

Printable copies of multiplication facts.

Great site for online multiplication games.  Students will love this site!

Very comprehensive site loaded with links to online multiplication games.  Something for everyone!

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences are upon us.  Here is a link to a great site with loads of information on how to conduct a conference if you are new to teaching.  There are also forms you can print out to use at your conferences.  Though much of the site is geared at newer teachers, there are still many great links for all levels of experience.

Here is the link:

Retrieved from

Sunday, October 17, 2010

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

Watch this clip from YouTube.  It is a fascinating and innovative take on the evolution of education.  Thanks goes out to Marge for introducing this into my consciousness.

RSA (2010).  Retrieved from on October 17, 2010.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reader's/Writer's Workshop

Reader's/Writer's Workshop has become the newest initiative in the district I work in.  I learned about another great site at a professional learning course I took last summer.  I have shared it with my grade level colleagues and many others teachers at my school.

Here is the link:

This site was created by two third grade teachers that co-teach at a school in Troy, Michigan.  These two outstanding educators have been kind enough to share a multitude of resources related to Reader's and Writer's Workshop.  There are even printables for you to use as well as photographs of every activity discussed on the site.  These two teachers are very inspiring and clearly value their role as professional educators. 

The link again:

Gordon, H. & Newingham, B.  (2010).  Literacy links.  Retrieved from

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interactive Story Elements!

A colleague of mine discovered a great site for teaching literary elements in an interactive format.  The website has an interactive story version of Cinderella that it reads to students.  After the story concludes, it navigates them through mini-lessons on each of the literary elements listed below and even includes a quiz at the end.  Elementary students will love the telling of the story (my 4th graders thought it was hilarious) and will be actively engaged in the mini-lessons at the end.  The students will learn what each element is, will apply it in context, and will be assessed over their comprehension of the elements at the end.

Here is the link:

Literary elements coverd on the site:
  • Setting
  • Characters
  • Sequence
  • Exposition
  • Conflict
  • Climax
  • Resolution
One more time...


Waiting for Superman is a new documentary focusing on educational reform and the crisis facing public education today.  I have mixed thoughts on this film.  I plan to see it at some point, but I have to force myself to keep an open mind when films like this feel like an attack.  I know the film is not attempting to find fault with every educator in America, but it sometimes feels like we are often misrepresented in the media.  It always seems like one scandal in the news gives us all a bad name, and clearly there are many professional educators who work tirelessly to impact student learning and achievement and promote lifelong learning that do not deserve to be in this group.  There are clearly issues that need to be addressed, but pointing the finger hardly seems to be the answer.  This film offers potential solutions and insights into some of the lives affected by schools who have failed to educate students.

What are your thoughts on this film? 

Are you planning to see it?

Do you ever feel you are misrepresented by the media?

What major issues regarding the future of education are you most concerned about?

Watch the trailer by clinking on the link below.

Halloween lessons

Click the link below for a list of lessons related to Halloween.  The link will take you to the NEA (National Education Association) website where you can choose the lessons you are interested in.

NEA - Scary Good Lessons for Halloween

National Education Association (2010).  Retrieved from on October 13, 2010.

Literacy Centers: A One-Stop Shop!

For those of you who feel the stress of having to constantly create literacy centers each week, this post is for you!  A colleague of mine recently discovered the Florida Center for Reading Research's website.

The site contains:
  • TONS of literacy center ideas that you can just print off...ready to use! 
  • Ideas related to comprehension, fluency, and phonics
  • Activities specific to grades K-5
  • Parent information
  • Interventions for struggling readers
  • Information regarding differentiated instruction
There are literally TONS of useful literacy centers on this site.  I couldn't even print them all (but, I plan to).  You can find them under the "Instructional Materials for Teachers" link on the left side of the main screen.

The link again...


Mission: The Evolving Professional is a Professional Learning Community where educators from varying backgrounds can gain insight into improving instructional practices, network with peers, and learn about issues/trends related to educational policy.  Contributors will be able to express ideas and share strategies focused on student learning and achievement.

This is an open forum and all contributions are welcome.  I look forward to evolving as professionals with each of you as we focus on lifelong learning!

Brian Sinyard