K-5 Teacher Talk February 2020

Teacher Tip: Craft your calling.

Chase Mielke, author of "A Letter to New Teachers", reminds teachers to go with your strengths and find ways to shore up your weaknesses– for example, he enlisted a student to help straighten out his own disorganized desk. Spend more time with the people who build you up and make teaching worthwhile and minimize unhelpful interactions. Be explicit about your teaching philosophy – the why of your work. And pursue passion projects; Mielke says that among the most important things that have kept him from burning out are volunteering to run after-school fitness and music clubs at his high school, building a positive psychology program, and leading PD workshops in the summer.
Do small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

2020 Calendar

This calendar stretches the entire 2020 year and has a different theme each month. Share with your students or make it into a morning work activity or brain break! Topics vary from writing prompts to Dr. Seuss quotes to teacher self-care to ice-breakers.

Spread Love all year!

You are already so great at this, but here are some cute classroom posters to help remind others to be kind and spread love.

Upcoming Professional development opportunities

Extend Your Learning with Online Courses

The Learning Technology Center of Illinois is offering FREE online, self-paced trainings to learn more about Google's GSuite. They are currently offering 6 trainings now through May 4, 2020. Choose from the following: Google Form Essentials, Maximizing the Power of Google Classroom, Organized Google Drive, Transforming Instruction with Google Tools, Google Slides: More than Presenting Content, or Understanding the Power of Google Docs.

Close Reading Questions

Students must have a basic understanding of what the author is telling them before they're ready to move onto analyzing the text in greater detail. These questions help monitor comprehension.

  1. What is the author telling me here?
  2. Who is speaking in the passage?
  3. Who seems to be the main audience?
  4. What is the first thing that jumps out at me? Why?
  5. Are there any hard or important words?
  6. What does the author want me to understand?
  7. Is the author trying to convince me of something? What? How do I know?
  8. Is there something missing from this passage that I expected to find? Why might the author have left this out?

"How a text is written is as important as the content itself in getting the author's message across." The following questions help students uncover the author's craft techniques.

  1. How does the author play with language to add meaning?
  2. What does the author mean by __________? What exact words lead me to this meaning?
  3. Is there a message or main idea? What in the text led me to this conclusion?
  4. How does this sentence/passage fit into the text as a whole?

For more information on close reading, visit this ASCD article.

Illinois science assessment

FROM the ISBE Assessment Office: In alignment with the Illinois Learning Standards for Science, the 2020 ISA extended response items will lean heavily on students' abilities to explain science phenomena utilizing the claim, evidence, and reasoning process. Here are several resources with more information on claim, evidence, and reasoning. CER is also a great method for teaching mathematical reasoning and argumentative writing.

Be the Best Educator You Set Out to Be (Part Five)...Be awesome! Always remember that every day is a new opportunity for you and your kids to be awesome. ~Steven W. Anderson www.web20classroom.org

additional information and resources

  • Want to engage with every student, every day? PearDeck is a Google Slides add-on that makes any powerpoint or slides presentation interactive. It increases engagement, gives immediate feedback to the teacher, and takes participation to an all time high. Check out these ELA slides for FREE!
  • Free posters from Woodburn Press- SEL, attendance, motivational, bullying, growth mindset, and more!
  • New Meridian Released Items- this site was shared earlier this year but has recently been updated with items from the 2019 assessments for grades 3-12.
  • 24 Books for Teaching the Holocaust- Did you know that since 2005 Illinois has mandated a unit of instruction on the Holocaust in both public elementary and high school across the state of Illinois? Here are some grade level appropriate resources.
  • Looking for a fun, educational Valentine's Day activity? Check out these BreakoutEDU games.
  • Know someone with a four year degree or a college senior looking to change careers? The Golden Apple Accelerators program helps individuals attain a teaching license in 15 months AND awards them a $30,000 stipend for housing and coursework. Share this website or direct them to goldenapple.org.


Created with images by Laura Ockel - "My fiancee got these for me one February when I had the flu. I wanted them as a photo prop, hoping I’d get better in time to shoot it for Valentine’s Day, but… at least they looked just as pretty the next year. What you see is the contents of 9 little boxes. I was surprised that so many were needed, but fewer just didn’t have the right look." • freestocks.org - "untitled image" • Thought Catalog - "Woman reads a book on a wooden desk" • Markos Mant - "untitled image"