Google, YouTube, PowToon, Padlet and Kahoot! These are just a few of the resources Matt Miller's website "Ditch That Textbook" points out will help teaching staff make the change from textbook to technology. The image to the left has a link to a specific article Mr. Miller wrote as a guide to help quickly implement ideas for change in the classroom.
One highlight of impactful ideas include utilizing the fact that some students learn better visually, so try visual notetaking with images either on paper or by using an app such as Paper by FiftyThree.
Another highlight is to help analyze a writing sample easily by using the Hemingway App, it analyzes paragraphs, sentence structure, word usage, character count, hard-to-read sentences, and much more.
One last noteable idea has your classroom act as a news anchor, interviewing a guest via Google Hangouts or Skype who has information relevant to the subject that is being taught.
This article helps by giving many resources and ideas that will help differentiate a lesson and may even lend supportive tools to help students with disabilities.
Walking through the halls at Highland Park Renaissance Academy (HPRA) is like walking through an art museum. Mr. Ernest Parker, behavior interventionist at HPRA, expresses his creativity by making paper cutouts colorful and relevant to the students to display on the bulletin boards throughout campus. His drawings are a pleasure to see, and he renews the bulletin boards at least every month, sometimes every other week to keep things fresh.
Often, the boards are a collaborative effort between Mr. Parker and teachers or staff members. However, the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) boards are mostly his creations. He says he is inspired by the students when he chooses the topic to be covered. The students who have grown up at HPRA, they got excited about the bulletin boards in elementary school, and they continue to give Mr. Parker ideas as middle school students. He asks the students what cartoons they like, and then he tries to draw characters that will support good behavior.
Despite being the master artist on campus, Mr. Parker says that while drawing gives him an outlet for his creativity, the best part of his job is working with the kids. He guides them to solve problems and express their feelings in productive ways, and that is his greatest reward. "This is the best group of teachers, students and staff we've had so far, we're really enjoying this school year," said Mr. Parker in his closing comment.
One of the most challenging tasks for an inclusive classroom teacher is determining what to teach, and how to teach, to students with cognitive disabilities. The classroom teacher may feel that lesson planning for these students requires additional resources, and an additional lesson plan. This need not be the case.
Several states, including Michigan, have developed and designed a series of standards aligned to the Common Core Standards. These standards, known as the Dynamic Learning Map Essential Elements, "are specific statements of knowledge and skills aligned to grade level expectations identified in the Common Core Standards." They are meant to be a bridge from the Common Core Standards for students with the most severe cognitive disabilities. The Dynamic Learning Map Essential Elements list the Common Core Standard and then list the essential elements that extend the standard to students with cognitive disabilities in various levels of complexity.
The essential elements are found on the MDE website on MI_ACCESS page. These standards can assist in developing lesson plans for all students in the class with efficiency, and eliminate the frustration in planning for our most academically challenged students.
Courtesy of The Leona Group's department of academic aupport, special education division.
School leaders, assistant leaders and instructional coaches were asked to submit their nominations for monthly Teacher Hall of Fame candidates. We have a primary teacher category for grades K-5 and a secondary teacher category this year for grades 6-12. These nominations are based on the observations the school leaders make in their locations. It is up to them to honor a teacher who they feel embodies the mission of their school. Once the nomination is sent electronically to The Leona Group Department of Academic Achievement, the team reviews the nominees and base their decisions on who best embodies the spirit of The Leona Group and academic success. Congratulations to the 2016 November selections:
On Friday, November 11, Tunkers International hosted students from Highland Park Renaissance Academy at their new location in Warren, Michigan. The students, as part of a sponsorship with the international company, submitted artwork for Tunkers holiday card.
As the students entered the facility, their artwork was framed up on the wall for everyone to see. Three winners from grades 6th through 8th were selected with one grand prize winner from all of the grades.
The grand prize winner was Kenedi Madison, a 7th grade student. Her artwork was selected as the cover of the Tunkers holiday card, which will be sent out worldwide. At the end of the celebration, the school was awarded with a check and informed that Tunkers would like to continue the partnership for another three years.
Many Leona schools have integrated flexible seating into their daily classroom experience. For example, the fourth grade team at Northridge Academy has embraced flexible seating in the classroom by creating an environment that is free of desks. Ms. Beaver and Ms. Casteel have transformed their classrooms this year and are seeing the results in both student engagement and student achievement.
We asked them to share their journey with flexible seating
At a surprise event on Oct. 19,Achieve Career Preparatory Academy's new gymnasium was dedicated to founding school leader, Kerry Keese. Students, staff and other Leona Group support personnel, representatives from the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, and Keese's family gathered to dedicate the gym in her honor. Ms. Keese was recently named vice president of Ohio operations for The Leona Group; she has been with The Leona Group for 15 years.
As the founding school leader at Achieve, where she had been since 2009, Ms. Keese brought to life a the vision of a career preparatory program where students create a 1o-year career/college plan, study and may work in their area of interest while gaining valuable job experience and training. They also have the opportunity to earn college credits, high school credit for work experience, and recover or accelerate credits through online courses or additional courses offered after school.
School tours following the dedication revealed there's a lot going on at Achieve. With more than 20 years of school administration experience, new school leader Cindy Wilson is leading the charge. The academy is getting settled into its fantastic new campus at 3981 Martha Avenue. The highly anticipated new gymnasium is completed - and has now been dedicated. The new 3D lab is up and running. Students are engaged and learning, and the new school store is operational in support of positive behavior.
Gallery: Gym Dedication
Gallery: School Tour
To learn more about Achieve Career Preparatory Academy in Toledo, visit: http://www.achieveprep.com/