Monday, August 16, 2010

Language Arts & Education Links

At the end of July, I took a job teaching Language Arts to 7th and 8th graders at an elementary school in my hometown. I had been away from the education field for three full years, and while I enjoyed my time in social work & community mental health, teaching is really where my heart has been. Our school year began last Monday, but my last day at my previous job was only the Wednesday before. Needless to say, my mind has been fully wrapped up in education and lesson planning topics for the past two weeks.

My Word of the Day Tree ~ Words We Can't LEAVE Behind

Although after college, I was in the classroom for two and a half years, I taught high school rather than middle grades, and most of my classroom activities were literature-based. The class I'm teaching now is much more language-, grammar-, and writing-focused, as students take a separate course in reading. I haven't had much time for my own recreational reading as I plan for my next-day's class each evening (then drive almost an hour to and from work each day), but I have come across a plethora of websites for teachers that would be interesting to anyone who is a reader or a writer, not just an educator. Here are some of my favorites so far (and by the way -- my students would be very proud of my using the word "plethora" -- it was one of our Words of the Day last week & they love it when these words pop back up while I'm talking or writing on the board!):

  • Edutopia: I kept hearing commercials for this when I listened to NPR each morning driving to work. I decided I had to at least check it out; after all, Edutopia felt NPR was necessary enough to become a corporate sponsor, and any supporter of NPR is a friend of mine! When I visited the site, I was not disappointed. Edutopia is a site dedicated to innovation and reform in education. In addition to providing research-based teaching and learning strategies pulled from schools that work, Edutopia also provides educators with specific, focused message boards moderated by other educators. There are communities for levels and types (i.e., Special Ed, Art/Music/Drama, Middle School, Elementary, Administrators), but there are also specific communities dedicated to Online Learning, New Teachers, and Classroom Management.
  • The Learning Network: The New York Times education blog focuses on how teachers can use NYTimes.com in their classrooms, making learning more accessible and relevant to students. They feature a Word of the Day, mini-quizzes, and a forum for students 13 and older to offer opinions on current news. Additionally, they provide lesson plans divided by subject, but also links to how the same subject can be taught across the curriculum.
  • Web English Teacher: An oldie, but goodie, this is a site I frequented during my first teaching stint, almost six years ago. They have continued to add to this site, which features a whole host of links to lesson plans and teacher activities, divided into categories such as Drama, Journalism, Mythology, Shakespeare, Vocabulary, Speech, and Writing. Simple, but majorly useful.
  • Education World: This for-teachers site offers not only lesson plans, but also tips for classroom organization and management, discussions on teacher-related topics such as retirement benefits, and even suggestions for back-to-school supply lists.

I have managed to read a couple of books that will be posted for review in the next week or so -- Sarah Blake's amazing World War II novel The Postmistress and a review copy of Canadian writer Robyn Harding's latest U.S. release, Chronicles of a Midlife Crisis. I'm enjoying Harding's novel immensely, and just to mix it up I started a mystery last night, as well -- Linda Fairstein's The Deadhouse, an Alexandra "Alex" Cooper series novel. Also returning next week will be my Countdown to the Southern Festival of Books Monday feature. Until then, happy reading!

1 comment:

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