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Volume 3 Number 10

"Everybody loves hummingbirds, and they are wonderful tools to excite students about learning."

That quote from a classroom teacher is the basic premise of Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project...

Meet our Antarctic Guide - A conversation with
USCG LT Marshall Branch
by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
The Responsive Classroom: A Practical Approach for Teaching Children to Care by Dr. Belinda Gimbert
Attitudes Toward Numbers Through History by Daniel Chang
Classroom Photos by Members of the Teachers.Net Community
How Many Environments Does a Child Have? by Judith Rich Harris
The Hurried Child, Book Review by Sonja Marcuson
There IS a Printer and a Xerox Machine in Your Classroom That You Can't See! by Dr. Rob Reilly
What's Your Name? by Joy Jones
The funny thing about control: Or to gain control you have to give up control by Karin Ford
Through the eyes of a child - Reflections on teacher and student motivation by Sheree Rensel
Non-Conventional Techniques in Teaching Science by P R Guruprasad
Word Wall Tips from the 4 Blocks Mailring
Teaching Gayle To Read (Part 8) by Grace Vyduna-Haskins
Operation RubyThroat by Bill Hilton Jr.
Dear Old Golden Rule Days, Chapter 4 - Creative Writing by Janet Farquhar
Simple Science Center Ideas from the Early Childhood Mailring
The Freedom Box, Technology for the Blind and Visually Impaired by Dave Melanson
Librarians, Deaf Students and Hearing Students by Linsey Taylor
Pumpkin Math and Writing Activities by Michele Nash
Take Home Literature Activity Bags by Paulie
Favorite October Activities for the Classroom from Teachers.Net Mailrings
Fun Facts
October Columns
October Regular Features
October Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

The Next Texas Test
Author Unknown

Posted by Carl Webb on the Texas Teachers' Mailring

If you're getting tired of test updates, you might like this message.

Since the average half life of previous state-wide tests (TABS, TEAMS, TAAS) has been 5 years, "we" have decided it is not too early to plan the next test.

To tie it into the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills (TEKS) we have the Motivationally Effective Kit of Surprises (MEKS) (thus...TEKS - MEKS).

The new instrument will be the Texas Assessment of Cognitive Operations (TACO). It will have a remedial version (soft TACO), a regular version hard TACO), and an advanced version which has so many pages it is quite fat (the Gordita).

It will be graded on a normed curve (the TACO bell).

Districts will be offered a final report of their standings: the Summative Administrative Assessment Survey (SAAS--pronounced sauce).

Ratings may be excellent (TACO bueno), satisfactory (mild SAAS) or unsatisfactory (hot SAAS).

Districts receiving the latter will be put on probation with a Basic Educational Appraisal - Not Satisfactory (BEANS).

A second failing rating earns the dreaded supplement: REmediation FactoRs IdentifiED (REFRIED BEANS), which will cause a lot of hot air at meetings.

Teacher Feature...

Take Home Literature Activity Bags
From the Building Blocks Literacy Mailring

Paulie posted these ideas for easy to make take-home Literature Bags.

She lists a book or other piece of literature then some materials and activities children can do at home to extend and enhance learning.

  1. Who's Counting? - small ziplock bags of things to count to 10 (20 or whatever) like buttons, keys, spools, bottle caps, bread ties, marbles. Some bags could have exactly ten and some less or more than 10. They could have an activity card to count the number of objects in each bag---one at a time and then make tally marks on a pad for which ones were ten and which ones were less.
  2. "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" - Bag of glow in dark stars for temporary use; black construction paper for them to make a star design and "name it." You might give them some stars to stick on the paper or use chalk or white crayon.
  3. Ten in the Bed - Send a tape of the song so they could learn it, and ten bears (or anything else that are living) that could roll over and fall off when singing the predictable song. Sheet of paper that has tally marks on it or maybe even rubber stamps of the kind of thing you chose (bears, etc.) and they could mark off each one as they fall out of bed during singing/retelling. They would be doing subtraction, counting how many are left after each one falls off.
  4. Clifford's Good Deeds---they could make a card with already folded paper and stickers and crayons for a neighbor or someone they know who could use a card of good wishes or thanks.
  5. Clifford's ABC - With parents write and list one thing for as many as they can of the alphabet they have around the house. A=apron and student draws an apron; B= broom and student draws a broom. If done on 26 little pages, it could become a book if you stapled them or put the papers together with some kind of binding.
  6. Any other Clifford book --- Send play dough and a bone cookie cutter for a math activity. They can make 5 bones from play dough and then use for adding or subtracting to 5, etc.
  7. Arthur Writes a Story - Journal and marking pens.
  8. How Do Apples Grow? - paper with 4 trees on it, one for how an apple tree looks each season and materials to make it. It could be 4 small papers and make into a book with a cover and backing. You could send a sample, if you wish, for how to do it.
  9. Ollie Goes To School --- Paper lunch bag to decorate with stickers. Send ten stickers and have them choose up to 5. They could bring something in it for show and tell the next day.
  10. The Crayon Box that Talked - Send crayon shapes cut on die cut machine in different colors -- the student can make them into a book with pictures they find of things that are the same color by pasting onto that crayon page. The book could already be assembled and children just paste in the pictures of matching colors. If a child doesn't have magazines and newspapers to cut up, you could send some in the bag. Ask parents for their old magazines at beginning of year.
  11. "The Itsy Bitsy Spider"- Black paper and chalk or white crayon. Have them make a spider web. You could also send a laminated piece of paper that has a spider web drawn on it. The child can put glue on all the lines and let dry---then remove from the laminated paper design page and have their own spider web.
  12. The Wheels on the Bus - Name things that have wheels besides a bus. Could cut pictures or draw them. Could even sort them if you send them with 1 wheel, 2 wheels, 3 wheels, 4 wheels and more than 4 wheels---but don't glue down.
  13. One Hundred Hungry Ants - 100 plastic ants to sort into piles of ten so they can realize that 10 piles of ants = 100. You could include a 100 grid or box with ten sections.
  14. A Special Kind of Love - Paper and scissors to cut out a valentine heart. You could have paper folded and outline drawn on to cut or the whole outline on flat sheet. Child could then give it to someone they love.
  15. The Pledge of Allegiance - Make a wind sock with a paper that is colored first that looks like our flag. Glue or staple on streamers from one side before rounding it and punch three holes in top and hang with three pieces of cord/yarn.
  16. Chicka Chicka Sticka Sticka book - (like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, but it has cling on letter stickers children can move up and down the tree)
  17. Any book about dinosaurs - Dinosaur game...make a sheet of paper with a track [game board] on it evened off with partitions, a die to roll and move that many spots to get to the end.
  18. Any book about the changing process of a caterpillar to butterfly -Puppet of caterpillar with butterfly inside. Send a paper plate on which the child can make the four stages, egg, pupa, larva and adult with pasta shaped like the stage {except the egg could be two or three kernels of unpopped pop corn): the larva a curly noodle, the pupa, a shell noodle (about the size of a dime) and a bow tie noodle with twist of colored pipe cleaner around it for the body and antenna for the adult butterfly. They can glue paper down first, then glue the part that goes in each section illustrated by the story.
  19. A fish book - Little pole with a magnet on end and cardboard fish with magnetic backing or could put in between two of the same fish so that it would really look like a fish. Maybe the fish could have numbers on them from 0 through 5 and the student could add two at a time.
  20. A bird book - Coloring sheet for a certain kind of bird or several and the child can choose one to color.
  21. A frog book - cardboard frogs that have either "A" or "a" (and rest of ABC's) on them and student matches upper and lower case ABC's---could have a paper that shows answers too, for self-correcting.
  22. A book about how apples grow - Send a journal so they can draw and write about what they would do with their apples they grew: eat raw, cook into applesauce, bake into a pie, etc.

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