This one time, I met Paul O. Zelinsky.

The credit all goes to Julian Hector.

Julian, in addition to being an excellent advisor on men’s clothing and home goods, is also an all-around encouraging chap, personally and professionally. So when I sent him a message FREAKING OUT that Paul O. Zelinsky suggested we meet up in New York, Julian told me I should totally go for it. “But for reals?” I think I probably squealed. “YES FOR REALS.” He said, but probably not in all caps. I’m the one who’s heavy on the shift key.

So on April 2, I met Paul O. Zelinsky! (Toby says he hates it when I refer to Paul by his full name. He’s taken to calling him “Paulo” with an Italian accent.)

Paul suggested I meet up with him to see him speak at the Gateway School, the first private school I’ve ever been inside.

On my way to the school, I accidentally entered the AMDA building, located next door to Gateway (there was scaffolding up, so I couldn’t see what was written on the storefront). “Hi there, I’m Shannon Houghton, here as a guest of Paul Zelinsky?” I said. “Ashley?” The woman asked me, handing me a name tag with Ashley Somethingorother printed on it. She gestured me toward a staircase. “We’re ready for you, you’re going to head up the stairs to the left.”

Apparently I was about to perform an audition at my potential educational institution. I TOTALLY SHOULD HAVE GONE and posed as Ashley, but instead I said, “No, wait wait wait, I’m SHANNON, and I’m looking for the Gateway School?” “Oh, next door.” I hurried out, bumping into a nervous-looking young curly-haired woman, who was presumably Ashley. “Good luck!” I said, earning a perplexed look.

I went up to the 6th floor and wow. What a facility. Then I met Paul, who was setting up for his presentation. YAY! Meeting in person!!!

An aside that I haven’t had a chance to blog about yet so whatevs, I’ll just make this into an enormously lengthy post. I had “met” Paul in late 2012 when he Skyped with our classroom.

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Which was glorious in and of itself. We got to see his studio AND EVEN his grandmother’s painting that inspired his version of Hansel and Gretel (which I learned about in the excellent biography Show and Tell). He even wore a Yale sweatshirt because I told him we’d be Skyping on our school’s college dress day. Little things like that make me so impressed with humanity.

So having communicated with Paul and having him read aloud The Story of Mrs. Lovewright and Purrless Her Cat, I wondered how today’s presentation would be different. Turns out, it was TOTALLY DIFFERENT, and also different between the upper and lower school. The upper school presentation was my favorite — I was so interested I forgot to take photos. Paper engineering has been interesting to me ever since I had the chance to interview Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart.

With the wee kids, Paul talked about Z is for Moose and read it out loud (amazing). He explained the difference between tight and loose art.

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He collaborated with students to create a ZMoose.

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Seeing someone draw in person is breathtaking. The kids applauded Paul’s rad charcoal sketches.

After the presentation and a book signing (And isn’t it remarkable when someone is able to put people at ease even if their companion is obviously kind of nervous? Mr. Schu told me that’s something Paul does well, and he was right), we took the subway to Brooklyn and then we had snacks at Paul’s studio, where I had a chance to hold a thumbnail book mockup (!!!!!!) and all sorts of original art.

Did you know that the veneer sheets that Swamp Angel and Dust Devil were so super-thin and flexible you can see light through them? They’re gorgeous. GORGEOUS. The cover art for Rapunzel made me all weepy, and the gold thread on the cover for Rumplestiltskin (my favorite POZ book) absolutely glowed.

You may have seen that Julian dropped by…


So in addition to seeing Paul draw earlier in the day, I also had a chance to see him use Photoshop. <3

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We took a circuitous walking route to lunch that took me by amazing buildings (the entire neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights is protected as a historical site) and an incredible view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

The view of the city from Brooklyn Heights is probably the best I’ve ever seen. I didn’t bother taking a picture because I knew I’d just be disappointed that I didn’t capture it right. Not to get all John Mayer circa 2001 on you, but it’s true.

We ate, then we parted ways! And that was my day! (Well, there was actually more, there was also ridiculous dress-purchasing at Hooti Couture and seeing All in the Timing. It was kind of an insane day.)


I don’t know how to end this post! Other than to thank Paul for being so generous with his time; for being such a friendly and talented and charming human being. And to thank Julian for giving me permission to not let fear stop me from going on adventures.

#nerdybookclub FOR LIFE!!!

Seeking Bookroom Advice

Our school guided reading leveled bookroom needs some love. And I need some advice on where to start. How do we make the bookroom work for our teachers, rather than making our teachers work for the bookroom?

We began a major overhaul of our bookroom in 2009 as we began our schoolwide transition from SFA. We were asked not to get rid of the SFA resources we had at our advantage, so we kept everything. (SFA sets usually include 30 copies of a book and a teacher’s guide)

Here’s a (novice) video I put together to give staff a tour of the resources available.


So that was good. But then it became apparent that having 30 copies of each SFA text was a little excessive. Because if six boxes were full of Level M texts, we might not suspect that we actually only have 20 different titles.

We’re trying to weed out extra copies we have, but we’re starting from a rough starting point. This month, when I entered the bookroom, there were six paper boxes of donated book sets (woot woot) stacked up inside the doorway.

Items donated to the school bookroom; transferred to the “bookroom annex” to be processed.
Book sets to be processed.
Book sets to be processed.

PISH POSH, you say. USE SKILL GROUPS, then you won’t need all these pesky sets of texts! Yes, perhaps one day. Sometimes. But for now, we’re meeting teachers where they are, and where we are is at guided reading groups.


Surprise! Bookshelf is broken. Didn't realize until months(?) later...
Surprise! Bookshelf is broken. Didn’t realize until months(?) later…
Book sets tossed on top of a filing cabinet.
Book sets tossed on top of a filing cabinet.
Entire buckets of books taken out of bookroom without being checked out.
Entire buckets of books taken out of bookroom without being checked out.

What should we do? I understand that people are busy, so I know why things might not be left in fantastic condition. But WAT DO?

Rigorous Math Every Day

The open-ended math from the Wall Street Journal a week or so ago was pretty rad. But lessons like those are admittedly woefully rare in my classroom. It’s a huge shame, right? Learning like that shouldn’t just be a once-a-month or even (eep) once-a-semester event.

So I started pondering why doesn’t math look like this in our classroom every day. I needed to keep myself real. Here’s what I came up with:

I’ve purposely chosen those phrases because I think we teachers sometimes use them as ultra-self-deprecating or unproductive language and the conversation just stops there. But I want to explain why these really are often valid concerns (or at least, valid-feeling concerns) and then focus on how I’m personally working to move past them.

Perhaps you’ve already heard me rail against people who say “I’m just not a math person” and seen me express frustration that the idea “math is sooo hard” is a bunch of bunk. That said, I’m still thoroughly unconfident in my own math abilities. I was mortified when I transposed two numbers in our soccer math. I freaked out when Mr. Brown informed me I HAVE BEEN DOING ORDER OF OPERATIONS TOTALLY WRONG. So it’s fair to say that when I deviate from our district frameworks, it’s a little stressful.

I’m moving past this excuse by being willing to really lean on my secondary-level colleagues. I love collaborating, but I don’t particularly love admitting that I need help. So this is a huge area of growth for me. Also, taking the leap to put detailed lessons online has given me a chance for feedback from folks from across the nation, like from my favorite ladies in the Midwest.

I was euphoric when our class completed its project last week. I was also exhausted. I can get sucked into manic cycles really easily. Although spinning my way into a cycle can be absolutely exhilarating. I need to be honest with my body and realize that it’s not healthy for extended periods of time.

“The management is hard.” That’s what people tell me when I share our latest project. I agree, but not in the way they intended. Teachers often mean, “I’m going to have children stringing stuffed monkeys from the room if I open the lesson to exploration.” I share with my kids the explanation from Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit that in order for creativity to take place, it happens within a system of order. A dance studio is essentially a bare floor and mirrors. An artist can’t create a masterpiece if she can’t dig out the right paints in her chaotic mess. And we can’t have deep, meaningful conversations about math in our lives if we’re not already solid in our class expectations.

So, the management I’m talking about isn’t the student-secretly-reading-under-the-table-instead-of-doing-math business. And it’s not because issues like that don’t exist in our classroom — the aforementioned situation actually happened last week and was dealt with swiftly. I’m talking about the mental gymnastics I put myself through as I’m wandering about the classroom facilitating conversations. Although the brain only takes up 2% of our body weight, it uses 20% of our energy, according to Bill Bryson‘s A Short History of Nearly Everything.

So I’ve gotta keep myself mentally in shape. That means reading tons of books I love even when other teachers tease me. That means blowing off grading homework for a night to paint my nails. That means making time for my physical health and not necessarily devoting hours of lesson planning each day.

Not enough hours in the day. I’m, frankly, super-pissy when I hear teachers say this, and then five minutes later I’m nodding at the truth in it. Because yes, our job is impossible and yes, there are insane demands coming at us from all angles. But I feel like you can’t automatically default to complaining about time without carefully looking at how you currently do spend your time.

For me, this has meant a intentional devotion to super-quick transition times and an up-tick in the priority I make in keeping my room clean so I don’t have to scrounge for materials. Now, my goal is shifting to providing great math instruction by still letting me be a human.

Among neuronormative folks, the general consensus is I’m an overachiever. *I* don’t feel that way, but apparently the speed with which my brain works and the resulting efficiency I have in completing mental tasks makes me one. When I think of overachievers in my mind, I definitely don’t want to be someone who spends hours constructing the perfect math centers that can only be used for a week or two. I’m certainly not that extreme, but I admit I’m still working on this. Mainly because I get sucked into interesting information online and can’t pull myself out. But limiting myself to a half-hour of prep time before class begins seems to have been a good boundary to set.

I want a system, whether it just be an internal mental process or a procedure I can use in my classroom, to ensure that I’m pursuing great math with my kids but I’m not spending hours in the staff lounge or on the Internet to do it. I suppose a time-hog that others might forgo would be the time I spend documenting my process and further questions I have through blog posts here, but the writing-about-it part is just fun.

I could continue writing, I suppose. But I’m off to redo my nails. Because I’m only going to really be a good teacher if I know when it’s time to let go.

Air Time

When you take time for yourself, good things follow. In this case, it was some REALLY AWESOME MATH.

Friday morning, I missed the bus (oops) and was able to drive to work at a legal speed.

I had an opportunity to drink some nummy nummy coconut mocha coffee and read my Wall Street Journal. And lookie what I found!

The art of the slow-motion soccer goal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Dan Meyer commenting on how we spoon feed each step to a problem solving situation, and so today, I went out on a skinny limb and used this graphic to help us work on our measurement skills. I wasn’t sure where our work would take us, but we’re early on in the unit, so many of my students are still working to measure accurately using a ruler.

I showed them the graphic, and Samuel helped me pronounce all the players’ names. He was our resident expert. Then I opened the floor to mathematical questions.

Here’s what we brainstormed as our big questions.

 The questions with green dots to the left are the ones we decided to pursue.

Then, people started asking more “nitty-gritty” questions, which we identified as being the “questions along the way” you had to answer to get to your big ideas. We kept this poster up as we worked. I stayed near my computer so I could capture students’ comments.

“You need to know how big the field is,” Savanah spoke up. I handed her my iPad so she could find the field size. She paused. “Do I need to know like, how BIG it is or how long the sides are?”  “I think you’re asking me whether you need the area or the perimeter?” “Yeah… ohhhh, I need the length of the sides.” Here’s the information she found.

After checking another site to verify the accuracy of her information, we added the dimensions of the field to the poster. (Yes, I know I could have taken a screen shot of the iPad, and I did, but I couldn’t get the image sent to my computer. Hrmph.)

“But what’s a yard?” “Who can answer that?” “It’s three feet,” Ivy answered. “How can you check to see if you agree?” “Well, I could look in my math book, but I remember what yard sticks last year look like, and I know there are three rulers.” (I knew we’d need to convert from yards to feet to inches so they’d be able to convert the lengths they measured on their papers into the actual lengths)

“Well, then you need to multiply by three to get the length – 120 times three.” “Woah. How’re we going to do that?” “Use a known fact, 12 x 3.” “36?” “Yeah, 36.” “So it’s 360 feet.”

They did the same for the other side. Then a group of students wanted to determine the linear distance the ball traveled for each player. I asked how many inches long their picture was, and Marcos stopped us all.

Marcos: WAIT. You blew up the picture from your newspaper article. So our picture isn’t the same size as yours and the distances will be all different. (I photocopied the graphic at 121% so it’d be easier to read than my original copy of the newspaper.)

Me: Nice. That would be a problem if the image were STRETCHED like a rubber band and warped, but since it was enlarged to scale, we’ll be okay AS LONG AS you don’t let me use my original copy, okay?”

Marcos: Okay. So the field is 11 inches long.

“You know, if they would have just included a map scale on this picture, we wouldn’t have to do ANY of this measurement.” “I guess that’s why Miz Houghton wants us to be able to use map scales in social studies.”

Then a few of us worked to create this poster.

We knew the field was 11 inches in our image, but we wanted to know how far just ONE inch would be because then we could find out how far Jone Samuelson’s 6-inch kick actually went. We also knew how long an actual field was, so we tried to find the relationship between the two.

Using a fact family (the triangle drawn above) helped us figure out the ratio. Or. What I initially THOUGHT was the ratio. DO YOU SEE MY GLARING ERROR??? I didn’t notice until lunch. I neglected to convert the 240 feet into inches so the units matched. Drat. I frantically called AP Calculus teacher James Brown to make sure I didn’t make any further errors.

So after lunch we converted 240 feet into inches, THEN used the ratio and found out that one inch in our picture equalled approximately 33 feet.

Some students switched to using calculators for these larger computations, which gave us a chance to talk about how calculators represent 1/2, equivalent fractions (5/10), etc. Above, Alejandra calculated how many feet David Villa kicked the ball (5 inches, according to her measurements, making the kick 165 feet). I asked her about the “33 in. in a inch” she wrote, and she said, “Oh no no no, it’s not 33 INCHES or that would be like a mini soccer field.” So she was also looking at reasonableness of answers.

Another group wanted to know how far the balls would have gone if they were kicked on the moon. Again, I told them to ignore the parabolic motion and just look at linear distance. I know the physics of this aren’t entirely correct, but I didn’t think it  hurt the integrity of the original problem situation.

Oh, actually! Selam originally asked how far the ball would go in SPACE, but Maya pointed out that if the they were in space, the player and ball would both push off each other and the ball would never land (AMAZING INSIGHT, RIGHT???). So we clarified that the ball would be kicked on the moon, where there was still a force acting on the ball, but a lesser force than what we’d find on Earth.

Adam went to the classroom library to find out what the gravity was on the moon. Here’s the passage he found, from the DK Eyewitness Book UNIVERSE.

Eayn: It says the gravity is one-sixths of Earth!

Me: So the gravity is 1/6 of the gravity on the Earth. So if we are converting from the moon, what would we have to do to the distance we calculated for the ball kicked on Earth?

Adam: Multiply it by three?

Me: Where did you get three from?

Adam: I dunno.

Milena: Multiply it times five.

Me: Five? Where did you get that from?

Milena: If the moon’s gravity is 1/6, then the rest of the fraction that’s left is 5/6.

Me: Ohhh, I think I see what you’re picturing in your head. But think of the gravity on the Earth as being one whole, and the gravity on the moon being 1/6 of that whole. You’re not looking at the other 5/6ths.

Vy: You’d multiply it times six.

Me: Where did you get six from?

Vy: If it’s dividing by six to get the pull on the moon, then you’d multiply by six to show how much further the ball would go when it has a sixth of the gravity slowing it dowwn.

Me: So you’re saying that fractions can be a way of dividing.

Vy: Yep. And then the opposite, er, inverse, is multiplying, so you times by 6.

(It is perhaps worth noting that Vy has not voluntarily spoken in front of the class in the past year and two months)

Wow. So now that we knew how to find distances on Earth and on the moon, we plugged away, with at least three people needing to agree on their measurements to the nearest half-inch before we would post the results. (reviewing our estimation and rounding unit from earlier in the year)

As we approached second recess, we posted what we’d come up with so far.

We also reflected on what we’d learned over the course of the day, and on the math we used.

As you can see, we didn’t finish everything, so some students asked if they could finish the calculations during Math Daily Five. UM, YES OF COURSE.

What suggestions or modifications do you have to offer me and my students? Where can we take things from here? Other thoughts?



I’ll start with a quote that resonated with me so I can begin on a positive note. Despite my best efforts at having positive intent, this conference unfortunately didn’t meet many of my needs.

“We need to stand up to the politics of learning that do nothing to benefit kids.” ~Roger Fisher

I started off my day with the stereotypical edtech presentation that Dan Meyer talked about at #nctm12. You know the presentation I mean.

It’s the one that starts out with the picture of the baby with the iPad next to the picture of students back in the dizzay looking tortured by their lives in the dark ages. Then there’s a video with sinister, throbbing music or heartbreaking overly calm music that incites panic that we’re JUST NOT DOING ENOUGH.You know, like this one:

Then the edtech presentation goes on to hit all the overworked, oversimplified tropes that education presenters like to trot out when they want a quick burst of laughter or nodding heads. You know, things like:

“Not all of us can have the technology that Bellevue has.”

WAT. Please don’t assume that schools in a wealthy area automatically have every resource necessary.

The presentation goes on to grumble about charters and questionable instruction methods.

The presentation then continues to say that Common Core doesn’t address thinking strategies, and he then went over Marzano’s strategies and said all sorts of “isn’t this a shame teachers can’t do this.” Well, MAD PROPS, FEDERAL WAY, because this is crazy-old news to me because you’ve been focusing on these strategies for the past three years. So this last bit was good information, I just happened to already have training in it.

And then, the end of the presentation.

I don’t need more negativity at conferences. I don’t need sarcasm and snark and negativity from PRESENTERS at conferences. I get enough of that during my everyday interactions with disgruntled educators. I came here to channel our collective energy into something effective. Diane Ravitch told me that public education is a negative place, and I kind of need to suck it up and just accept that, but I don’t believe that avoiding destructive negativity means I’m keeping my heads in the clouds or avoiding big issues. Anyway.

Then there were speed sessions, where we had a chance to talk with folks from other schools. I didn’t move around because I wasn’t ready yet. So I stayed at my table with my district folks. It wound up making me want to barf because of comments such as “none of my kids are actually gifted,” “I don’t even have kids who are able to do any work.” Thankfully, MY PEOPLE get me and they helped me not scratch any eyes out.

“A gifted child is JUST AS DIFFERENT from “the norm” as a severely handicapped child.” ~Roger Fisher.

Next session. “10 Things Students Should Know about Math and Science.”  Actually, I only got through two of the ten things before I had to evacuate. Our presenter was excellent at reading his slides out loud. I had an opportunity to read many Dilbert comics and plenty of cartoons of Albert Einstein. Then I saw this!

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I was fortunate to see Briana was enjoying her session a few floors down, so I hustled to join her. Surprise! Presenting was Lisa Van Gemert, Gifted Youth Specialist for Mensa. She covered lots of information about how gifted kids’ minds work. It bolstered what Dani and I had been saying earlier in the day when we were freaking out about the perception that “you can just put gifted kids in a gen ed class and all they need is harder work.” WAT.

Thankfully, Cheryl Steighner came and rescued us and took me to delicious soup.

The lunch keynote was another fascinating PowerPoint-let’s-read-the-text endeavor. I don’t remember what it was about.

I entered a session about “real-world high-level independent projects,” but then saw expensive binders bursting with color photocopies of a student’s pretend application to U of M, and an educational trip to Washington, D.C. Not really my bag. Not really my students. So I left.

I’m glad I did because I saw a pretty solid presentation by Adam Brock called The Beauty of Independent Technology Projects! The presenter was nervous and admitted to as much, but he had GREAT information! Rock on! Present again! “This is authentic, this is authentic, this is authentic!” Dani says. “I needed this session really bad.”

I doubt that I’ll attend WAETAG next year, or if I consider it, I’ll definitely take a much closer look at the presenters. Bring Brock and Van Gemert back and I’ll be back.

Anyway. More reflection to come. Did I leave with some new learning? Yes, but I had to dig really hard to get there…

NCTM Reflections: Day 1

Yesterday marked the first (half) day of the NCTM conference. I am SO very glad I took the extra day to fly in.

I can’t say enough good things about the Belmont Hotel folks. The shuttle service was low-drama and speedy, and everything I’ve inquired about has been answered kindly and efficiently. My greatest discovery was locating the blow dryer. Yessss.

Most of Wednesday was spent sleeping and doing final tweaks on my presentation. I ate delicious food at SMOKE, the restaurant connected to the Belmont (hangar steak salad, BBQ beans). I slept some more, then I headed down to the convention center.

The opening keynote was Scott Flansburg, the Human Calculator, a dropout savant who spent most of his hour-and-a-half presentation name-dropping all the TV shows he’d been featured on and all the famous people he met. The presentation was pretty mediocre, and I was forced to depart early due to excessive cologne application by my neighbor (who was three seats away). I found myself longing for a return visit from the brilliant and charming Jane McGonigal, who was our opening speaker at the Title I conference.


Trundled back home, ate dinner at SMOKE (mac and cheese), read books, watched Sherlock, slept poorly. The only thing that kept me from freaking out about my lack of sleep was marathon guru Hal Higdon’s advice. He says that you probably will get an awful night’s sleep before the race (or presentation), so it’s actually more important that the two nights leading up to the night before the race are solid. Seeing as how I slept through most of Tuesday and Wednesday, each time I woke up, instead of panicking, I was able to tell myself, “Aren’t you glad you slept so much before?” 

Have I publicly mentioned how much I adore Skype? Because I adore Skype. In addition to the tremendous potential it has in my classroom, it’s also really freaking amazing to be able to see my sweet husband’s face before going to sleep when I’m away feeling insecure. Also, I got to see my kitty cat. Who is admittedly cuter than my husband. And equally furry, given the current unshorn state of Toby’s beard.

Reader’s Workshop Trading Cards

I recently led a mini-PD on reader’s workshop for my district’s new highly capable teachers. I was concerned about making the material relevant for them, as I knew they were already familiar with a five component model of literacy instruction.

I also know that personally, when I receive a handout on white paper, it will get lost. If it’s hole punched, that chance is reduced by about 30%. So I try to make sure any information I give out is either on nonstandard-sized paper or is on colored paper.

Back when I did SFA, I shamelessly bribed my students into being interested in texts they’d already read 289365 times by making and handing out trading cards related to the books they were studying. So the day before the HCAP training, inspiration struck! Literacy resource trading cards!

The document is available here: HCPguidedreading

They’re not the most beautiful cards ever, but they suited my purposes just fine. I was also able to use them as a mini-assessment when I asked teachers to hold up the card they were most excited about using and a card that didn’t strike them as particularly useful.

Let me know if these were helpful! Comments make me smile.

Book of the Week: Er-lang and the Suns

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Er-lang and the Suns, Retold by Tony Guo and Euphine Cheung

Er-lang and the Suns: A Tale from China is a text from the SFA Roots program. There should be one master copy of the Roots lesson plans in the bookroom. There are check for understanding questions on post-its throughout at least one of the three teacher copies.

This is an origin story covering how the Earth finally got reprieve from its seven suns that shone nonstop. There are plenty of other origin stories to compare and contrast with. As always, pre-read these texts before sharing them with students, as they are appropriate for different ages.

The end of the book contains a brief history of China and the Han people.

As mentioned earlier, there are three copies of this book if you want to use them as a grade-level team mentor text.

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

  • Make a picture or mental image. At the end of the book, there’s a brief passage that talks about how the illustrations were designed to match the tone of the story. Ask students to pick and sketch 5-7 of the most important images that they think are critical to telling the story. To take this a step further, then have them write a brief caption for each picture. Huzzah! They’ve now also used the strategy of…
  • Retell the story. See above.
  • Compare and contrast within and between text. See above for plenty of other origin stories. Perhaps students could select their favorite and document the similarities and differences with Er-lang and the Suns.



Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!


Classroom Update

I’m still working in my classroom. It still has lots of boxes, but at least I’m finally moved completely out of Room 103. To see what my room looked like last week, check out the post here.

Door to my classroom.
As you enter the room and look to the right. Still lots of boxes, but now there’s a cheery carpet!
Center of the room, pretty much the same as in the last post.
Front and center of room. ALL OF THE PURPLE BULLETIN BOARDS. You’ll notice I cropped out most of the remaining boxes.
CAFE board is ready to go. Also, letter and poster from Bill Thomson, and C.R. Mudgeon from Julian Hector!
Leonardo, all up in Lucy’s business. Also, rad ecological calendar.
Close-up of my math teaching corner / my “desk.” I need to fix Oodvar, my broken wooden stool. :(


Pathways to the Common Core: Writing PD Documents

Tonight is the second book study Twitter meeting for Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement.

As a member of the FWPS CC Transition Team, I have a few documents that I think might be useful to districts trying to disseminate information about the standards.

For the three types of writing (K-5), here’s a concept sort I made using definitions, book covers, and writing exemplars from CCSS Appendix C.

Download it as a Word document here: ConceptSort Modes of Writing.

Additionally, we’re going to give teachers time to explore writing resources by doing a jigsaw WebQuest.

Download it as a Word document here: WebQuest Modes of Writing.

I’m posting these because I assume some of my book study peepz might want to see them. If you use them, please acknowledge somewhere that they were designed by MOI!!! Shannon Houghton!!! for Federal Way Public Schools.

Another cool thing our district did was put together an “Intro to CCSS” video. Check it out here:

Send a note my way in the comments if you found any of this useful! Godspeed!