Tag Archives: teaching

A Great Way to Get Kids Thinking about Plagiarism

Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Here’s What Happens When Your Joke Goes Massively Viral On Twitter

Caroline Moss

Jul. 15, 2014, 10:57 AM 798,639 40

via Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Man, I wish Scott hadn’t used the F word in his original tweet.  However, I think that we can still use this as a really relevant case study on plagiarism (with a little, um, censorship).

The gist is this: a random guy tweets something funny.  Other people steal his tweet and repost it as though it were their own.  Even famous people.  One comedian even accuses Scott of plagiarizing him.

Scott’s thoughts on the experience are fascinating- I loved that he said that he doesn’t understand how people can read something, relate to it, and then say “yup, that’s mine now,” without giving one thought to how it effects the person who created it.

I think that this example is so much easier for kids to “get” than what we’ve used in the past.  I love it.  It’s mine now — with proper attribution, of course. 🙂

 

 

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Stay Sane at Work! Strategies for Dealing with Workplace Dissatisfaction

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Recently, I heard of an employer who announced plans to change a crucial procedure for doing things in a department of a small company.  They did not enlist any of the employees who actually do this job (of which there are 54) to aid in the decision-making process.  The executives who chose the new procedure have never actually worked in the position that would be effected by the decision.  Now, the employees are left with a procedure that they are held accountable for that doesn’t make sense and doesn’t get the job done as well as the old procedure.

Whatever your reason, the fact is that many of us feel undervalued and unhappy at work.  The last thing we should do, however, is sabotage our own success over someone else’s shortcomings.  For this reason, I have compiled a list of five tips for dealing with a less than ideal working environment.

1. Bite Your Tongue.  Sadly, it seems, in most cases speaking out just doesn’t seem to be the best solution.  Middle and upper management seem to need to create ways to justify their positions in such a volatile marketplace, and letting them know that it isn’t working just isn’t the best decision for your own job security.  No matter how painful it may seem, just sit back, do things the way they want you to do them, and wait for it to all crash and burn.  When they start doing damage control and change things, yet again, go home and crack open a bottle of wine.  Toast yourself with a hearty “Told ya so!”  But under no circumstances should you actually voice that at work.

2. Get a Hobby.  Too often these days, our jobs consume our thoughts outside of the office.  Go find something else to occupy your thoughts outside of work.  Better yet, find something that will get you so excited that you can think of it at work as well to get you through the day.  A friend recently said that if he is getting really worked up about work, then his home life needs some serious adjusting.

3. Create A Happy Place. Your desk (or cube, or where ever it is you work) should be your sanctuary.  Create a serene environment, filled with as much evidence and reminders of your life outside of work as you possibly can.  Don’t skimp on nice frames for pictures, add a nice table lamp to your desk; really make it your space.  That way, when you sit down at your unique space, you feel comfortable and at home in your surroundings.  You will be amazed by just how much more you are able to get accomplished when you feel comfortable.

4. Forgo Negative Energy.  Stay away from the employee cafeteria if it is a breeding ground for negativity.  Don’t get wrapped up in water cooler talk that is sure to get you worked up.  Remember the words once spoken by…somebody: “Don’t insult yourself by saying bad things about someone else.”  Live by that at work, and some of the bad stuff will simply slide off your back.

5. Be a Terrific Actor or Actress. Plaster that smile on your face at work.  Wear clothing that is just as professional as your boss.  Act like you love your work.  Pretend that everything is fine and that whatever your bosses decide is fine with you.  They are the experts, after all!

The bottom line is this- and we don’t have to like it, but we do need to hear it.  There are many people lined up to take a shot at our jobs.  Our bosses can find someone who will do what they want with a smile.  Perfect working environments are incredibly hard to come by- especially in a tough economy.  Those jobs at Facebook and Google don’t exist outside of Facebook.  And Google.

But all hope is not lost.  The funny thing about the list above is that it actually does help.  You’ll find that as you are using those strategies to pretend that everything is okay, things will start to be kind of, well, okay.  And okay is pretty damn good these days.

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Reading Strategies: Posters for Middle School and High School (that aren’t cheesy!)

One thing I always struggled with in the classroom was finding posters that weren’t too young for my kids.  There are so many resources out there for elementary teachers.  For middle school teachers? Not so much.  Thank goodness my husband is a graphic artist, right?

We made up these strategy posters a few years ago, and I absolutely loved how clean and nice they looked on the wall.  I went for a homey, interior design look in my room, so these helped.

 

 

Synthesize Visualize Ask Questions

 

 

 

 

Determine Ideas Infer Make Connections

 

 

 

 

I don’t use them anymore (more into the READ posters now, of course!), and I love to share.  I thought it would be a shame for these to go to waste.  They print up nicely on 11×17 paper.  I went to the office store, and I think it cost me like 2 bucks a piece to print them.

I couldn’t figure out how to link the file right to the image, so click below for the PDFs.

Enjoy!  I hope you like them!

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Visualize copy

Synthesize copy

MAKING CONNECTIONS copy

Infer copy

Determine Imp Ideas copy

ASK QUESTIONS copy

 

Five Titles I Can’t Wait to Book Talk This Year

With the school year almost upon me, and a lot of free time on my hands (I am sitting in my recliner, recovering from a septoplasty), I am starting to get really excited about all of the great books I have read over the summer. Net Galley has certainly been kind to me.

While I have definitely worn out the new “New Adult” genre this summer (I kinda hate it now), I have also read a ton of great books in my favorite genre- Young Adult. I love reading YA for two reasons- first, the YA authors out there are putting out some really great stuff that isn’t all depressing or pretentious like adult fiction can get. Second, I LOVE being able to bring YA to my middle school readers that is just appropriate for them… that’s the stuff that they really get excited about reading. My eighth grade boys were drooling over titles like World War Z and Rot and Ruin a couple of years ago, and I like to keep it coming.

Without further adieu…

41TzYsSC84L._SY300_Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone. So many sequels fall flat or completely lose the tone of the first book, but this is an awesome sequel to Time Between Us. Since I am Bennett’s age, I love reading from his point of view, too. Going back to 1995, in my hometown (Chicago), is pretty cool- and I love the fact that teachers and librarians can talk to kids about when we grew up without sounding stupid.

51ZhFCzTS9L._SY300_The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. This is another sequel, but I have to say- Maggie Stiefvater is probably the best paranormal writer for teens out there right now. The Shiver series sees a ton of circulation every year, and now the Raven Boys has seen the same kind of popularity. I like the fact that Stiefvater’s heroines aren’t weak and her narrative voice doesn’t make kids sound stupid.

41SzknL9faLKindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman. So many books touch on the insecurities of girls, but not many capture the real emotions that go through boys’ heads these days- and so realistically. I actually felt the dirt under my fingernails as I read this one. The tone of the book is so gritty and the way in which the protagonist interacts with the world will resonate with introverts everywhere- whether down-and-out like this guy, or not.

51xb9EOj5HLThe Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston. I have read a couple of Witness Protection program books lately, and I watched My Name is Earl from start to finish with my son this summer, so I feel like an expert on the genre (insert sarcasm icon here). This one surprised me. I love the fact that this isn’t action- it is a classic mystery. Mystery is a genre that so often gets bogged down by paranormals and sci fi. When I find a good one that is just a good mystery, I hang on to it. I will be hanging on to this one for sure.

51g07mPX-7LBeing Henry David by Cal Armistead. Like number three, this is a “boy book” that isn’t cheesy. Even boys can only handle so many teenage spy books.  I loved this book when I read it a while back, and it stuck with me. Who doesn’t like a good amnesia mystery? The fascinating thing about this book is the fact that it is a mystery and a coming of age story wrapped in one beautiful, lyrical package. When I want boys to read deeper and experience more, I will turn to this one first.

I hope Net Galley keeps em coming, because I get a lot of my best stuff because of them.  I can’t justify buying YA for my middle school library unless I have a chance to read it first, you know?  If you like hearing about YA that is just appropriate for middle schoolers, let me know in the comments or “like” this post and I will keep the suggestions coming.  🙂  Thanks!

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Freebie Friday! Reader’s Workshop Minilessons!

Happy Friday!

A couple of years ago, I compiled a number of sources to come up with a minilesson PowerPoint that I knew would last for weeks. I did NOT present this entire PowerPoint in one day. I used a couple of slides each day for weeks.

shrek2_big

In order to really understand this PowerPoint, you need to watch Shrek. I know, I know… but really! Shrek is an awesome point of reference for pretty much any literary device you can possibly think of. When I started teaching, I could count on the fact that everyone had seen it. Later on? Not so much! So… I showed Shrek. Early in the year. It was great! For the rest of the year, we all had a common point of reference when talking about literary elements and devices. So, these slides all refer back to Shrek.

It worked. Really. The kids totally, totally got it. Trust me. 🙂

Reader’s Workshop Minilessons

Have a great weekend! Check back next week for another Freebie Friday!

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Five Reasons Every Teacher Should Use Evernote

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I have been using Evernote for almost a year now, and I love it.  I feel like I constantly find new and exciting things to do with it, too.  I don’t really get the whole recipe thing, but I don’t cook, so that explains that!

There are ten main things that I do with Evernote, and that any one of us could implement immediately to make life a little easier.  That’s always good, right?

Evernote is a free app that is compatible with every device you have.  Here’s a little video from the Evernote folks that explains some of the basics.

So, for my Top 5 Reasons Every Teacher Should Use Evernote…

1. Penultimate.  Penultimate is a really good handwriting app that syncs directly to Evernote.  Whenever I have notes to take, I just open my iPad, take out my Bamboo Stylus, and take notes.  I really like being able to take notes by hand, and then Evernote lets me organize them however I like.  No more notebooks filled with notes that have nothing to do with the ones before and after them, never to be seen again.  I can even add tags to my notes so that they are searchable later- even if I am not looking in the Evernote Notebook where I put them.  If that helps me, just think of how much that would help kids.

2. Class Notebooks.  You can create a notebook for your classes and then share them with your students.  When you put class notes, printables, resources, homework, whatever- in the notebooks, they are immediately accessible to the kids from their own Evernote account.  It sure beats the process you have to go through on most websites to upload assignments.  And the media choices are endless- you can upload videos, pictures, audio, any kind of document- anything you can think of, really.  Want to record an important lecture?  Just hit the record button in the Evernote app on your phone, give the lecture, stop the recording, and touch the appropriate notebook for the class.

3. Student Portfolios.  Just as you can create notebooks for your classes, the kids can create notebooks of their work.  They can take pictures of drawings, add video, audio- all of the same things you can do.  They can share their work with you, their friends, their family, the world, or no one at all.  The best part is that they can take it with them.  They don’t lose it when they leave middle school or high school- they have it forever.

4. All of the Note Taking Possibilities.  I already mentioned Penultimate, but how cool is it that kids can just snap a picture of the work on the white board at the end of class?  Or record a brainstorming session for a class project?  One great idea is for kids to create a notebook for a research project, and then use Evernote’s web clipper to grab just what they need from a site rather than the whole page.  All of their research is stored in one place, without barfing from their folders and backpacks.  Pretty cool.

5. Digital Textbooks.  Instead of asking kids to lug a big book around, you can create a notebook and add all of the stuff you would normally want them to access from the textbook right in there.  Do it once, and it is there forever.  So, if you use certain content every year, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every year.  Unlike those big textbooks, you only keep the content you need- not all of that extra stuff that just gets in the way in the textbook.  And, when you need something that the textbook doesn’t have, you add that too.  That way, kids don’t have a million different places to look to find that one thing they need tonight.

I use Evernote at home, too- I take pictures of receipts, scan important bills, scan and take pictures of all of my children’s artwork; I use Evernote Peek to practice states and capitals with my son.  I use it as a librarian and I use it as a student.  Like I said, I come up with new ways to use Evernote every day.  Give it a try!

Have a great weekend!

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A Brief Overview of Gamification

I am on a huge Gamification kick.  I love it- I think that there is a way to Gamify almost anything.

I had to create an infographic for a class that I am taking, and I wanted to embed it here, but I can’t figure out how to do that. 😦  If you are interested in learning more about Gamification, click the link below!

Gamification

Have a great weekend!

:)K