Monday, June 27, 2011

Thoughts about Professional Development

Tomorrow, I'm heading off to a two day seminar at USC for the Summer Gifted Institute and Demonstration School.  A couple of days ago, I wasn't sure I would go after finding out that I may not actually be teaching fifth grade next year.  (Due to an increase in enrollment, there may be too many students for a GATE cluster.) But the fact of the matter is, professional development is always beneficial and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to learn first hand from Sandra Kaplan on "Scholarly Attributes" and "Think like a Disciplinarian" stuff.  So I will be heading out tomorrow with all the working people who travel to Los Angeles every day!

I think that no matter what, teachers can always benefit from professional development and collaboration with others outside their own school site.  When I stop learning more, that will be the day I know it is time to give up teaching!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Reading Blog

We always tell our students we want them to read over the summer; we know it's good for them to keep their skills honed during the long vacation months.  In the past, I've made summer homework calendars for students to track the number of minutes read and promised them some grand reward if they brought it back to me in the fall.  Well, needless to say not many have ever brought it back in September... (Actually the number is two out of seven years of teaching...)

As a result of our technology "infusion" of the 3rd grade curriculum this year, we had a few chances to use blogs as a way to respond to literature.  It dawned on me that most of my students travel during the summer and a blog would be a great way for us all to stay connected.  (It's been a great year, and I guess I didn't want it to end just yet!)  So, instead of the usual reading calender, I decided to set up a Summer Reading Book Club using  kidblog.org as a way for my students and I to share what we are reading over the summer.  The students suggested potential book titles, and a short synopsis of the books we wanted to read.  Then we voted.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that my students choose to read On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingles Wilder,  the sequel to Little House on the Prairie  that we just finished a few days ago at the conclusion of our Apple Valley Simulation. I didn't even suggest it!  So that is the book we are reading first, and I hope it will be a rewarding experience for all of us!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Moving on to 5th Grade

Considering it is three days till the end of the school year, it is time for me to share my news.  I have been asked to teach 5th grade English Language Arts and Math next year, in addition to Integrated Technology to 3rd-6th graders.  I am so excited!  I've already created a website for my class, to be known as ILM, which stands for Intensive Language and Math, and means "knowledge" in Arabic.  Pretty cool, huh?

The website is still a work in progress.  I'm not ready to share it yet, so that will be something to look forward to!

Mrs. Diaz

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What to teach ?

One of the things I've been thinking a lot about is: What am I going to teach these 3-6th graders next year?  I mean, I know what I've been able to do for my class this year and I expect to contnue to expand and add more tech integrated assignments for third grade, no sweat.  I am an expert on third grade content for sure, but not the other grade level standards. So where do I start?

Like a good teacher, I went to the standards.  ISTE has standards for students and teachers that outline how teachers should use technology with their students, but they are general.  I know CUSD has technology standards that outline what the students should be able to do at each grade.  After a quick search, I ran into a wonderful resource: CUSD Educational Technology that has specific standards for grades K-5 and lots of other links for resources for internet safety and digital citizenship.  The standards for each grade level are linked to the ISTE standards for students.

This will be a helpful resource for me as I sit down with grade level teams this summer to plan my curriculum!