Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homophone and Commonly Confused PowerPoint Four in A Row Game

This 37-slide PowerPoint game has students choosing the correct word to complete each sentence.  This can be a two-person game or a classroom game. One side is red and one is black.  It is a fun game to play using the white board on can be used on a computer and played by two students.

This plays just like the Connect Four game in a box, except you can choose spots anywhere on the board.

If the team gets the correct answer, they get the marker representing their color.  If they are wrong, the other side gets the marker.

The questions on this game deal with homophones and commonly confused words.  This is fun practice of words for mandated testing. 

Homophone and Commonly Confused PowerPoint Four in A Row Game

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Homework or No Homework?

There has been a discussion for years about the value of homework and whether it should be given or not. 

Many years ago I was given the following guideline to help "judge" the amount of homework to give nightly.  The guideline was 10 minutes per grade level.  For instance a first grader should get about 10 minutes of homework a night total.  A sixth grade should get about 60 minutes a night. 

It was not until the last ten years or so that  have I ever been told homework was MANDATORY.  I couldn't believe my ears when I was told it was policy!  Then, another principal told to me that NO homework should ever go home.  I couldn't believe my ears on that one either. 

As a classroom teacher, I believe that is part of our job to make the determination of what should go home, etc.  As a professional in our field and as the adult in our room, we should have the best idea of what is necessary to help our students learn to the best of their ability.

Part of my normal homework is reading from a book they have chosen, and some years I have the parent's sign on a bookmark daily after their child wrote a one or two sentence summary of what happened in the reading they did that day.  The bookmark had a week's worth of  reading documentation.  At the end of the week, we changed out receiving a different color bookmark to mark the weeks.

Many of my students started reading aloud to a parent while dinner was being prepared or to younger siblings.  Some parents began questioning why their child didn't read better than did.  (They suddenly realized they weren't reading sixth grade level books.)  This made reading on grade level an important issue.  They also began questioning their child and realized they could pronounce words, but comprehension skills were very low.

I also send homework home in Math.  This is the time for my students to work 100% on their own to show what they know.  I know as a student and even as an adult I think I understand something completely at the time, but when I get home to put it into practice I don't.  I always tell them to write down any questions or at what point they started getting confused, so we could discuss it the next day.  Many mornings I have sat in the cafeteria while they ate breakfast and worked with students on the exact spot of their confusion.  I have also had my students tutor each other during breakfast.  No, they weren't copying they were explaining. 

I also weekly send home lessons from  language arts, science, or social studies for the class to work on.

One of  the favorite weekly homework lessons I  have sent home we call "Parent Homework."  The kids think it is great to be able to take homework to their parents. :0)

Parent homework is a lesson the parents and students work together.  It is reading lesson that the student reads to the parent and then they work together through different kinds of questions.  It also explains things to the parents. I give it to them on Monday and they have until the next Monday to turn it back in.  That way it gives them a week to complete it because not all parents have the weekend off, some work second shift, and many work two jobs.

I have only had one parent ever refuse to do them.  The child and I did them at lunch so she didn't miss out on the experience.  (My ELL parents worked them as well.  The students read it in English, then they summarized the story in Spanish to their parents or read it to a relative or neighbor who understood English.) The vast majority have told me by the end of the year that they looked forward to the one-on-one time with their child and they learned something in addition!  A win-win.  This is the book I use.  I am not endorsing it, I am just sharing.
As a student, I needed to do homework.  I needed to do it in the quiet and with no distractions.  When I am learning or practicing something new, I need quiet to be able to process it.  That was true when I was a child and is also true today as an adult.  I also would have never read a book for school if I had to read at school and not at home.  Look at the love of reading that I wouldn't have developed.
So is homework, necessary?  In my personal case, yes. 
Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  I know many will disagree.  That is okay, but as we all know every child and every situation is unique and different.  As professionals, we all need to recognize the value of different learning styles and the place of learning each of our students is in.  I think we all need to look at homework on a daily basis based on the needs of our students as professional educators.  Homework for the sake of homework is ridiculous to me, but so is the idea of never having homework.
Just my thoughts,....
Have a great day!
Vintage Teacher

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Time for Seriousness

I had written a light-hearted entry about the attacks on teachers comparing our benefits to the teenage babysitter, but I feel the following is of a great need of seriousness. 
Even if you don't teach in MO, or anywhere else, all should be concerned.  This is huge attack on the people working in schools and the teaching profession as a whole, in my opinion. 
It may only be proposed for the great state of Missouri, but if it passes it will surely spread like wildfire throughout the country.  This bill is not in the best interest of students, schools, or teachers. 
To learn of what is being proposed for MO teachers regarding tenure, contracts, job security, and salary click on the link at the bottom of this post.

A Very Concerned Vintage Teacher

Article regarding bill

Thursday, March 24, 2011

GCF and LCM PowerPoint Four-In-A-Row Game

This interactive PowerPoint game has students choosing the correct GCF (Greatest Common Factor) or the LCM (Least Common Multiple) of a set of numbers.

Four-In-A-Row  is great to use with pairs of students on an individual computer or on a interactive board for the whole class.

Many slides have both the GCF and the LCM listed requiring students to carefully chose. Many students confuse LCM and GCF so playing this game as a class gives another opportunity to have discussions about the difference in each.

Click here to go to the

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Study Skills Game Posted at Teachers Pay Teachers

I have posted a new game to review study skills.  Dictionary skills such as alphabetical order, using guide words, etc. are just a few of the skills being reviewed while playing this game.  Put some fun into reviewing for mandated testing.

Watch out for versions with more questions, different topics, etc.   

You can see the directions and find out more details if you click on the link on this page to the Vintage Teacher Store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Thanks and have a great day!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are you a "Vintage Teacher"?

 Being a "Vintage Teacher"  is, in my opinion, something to be proud of and we all should strive to be.  Look at the following meanings of vintage: 
  • representing the high quality of a past time
  • old-fashioned
  • being the best of its kind

Being of a past time isn't a bad thing.  Look at all the lessons that you have learned in the past from your students and/or when you were a student.  I have learned many lessons in my past, some of which I hope not to repeat. :0)

I am old-fashioned.  I admit to it.  It is my belief that there has to be some amount of order and attention for my students to learn.   (For the record, quiet and order are not synonyms.  Additionally, learning and having fun are NOT antonyms.) 

I especially like the being the best of its kind.  Don't we all strive to be the best kind of teacher for our students?

Are you a "Vintage Teacher"?  I hope I am!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's the Purpose of the Vintage Teacher Blog?

This blog will share websites and resources that I have found useful.  I hope to be able to share things from other teachers as well.  If you have a website or resource that you would like to share, please let me know.

Additionally, my weekly sale item in my Teachers Pay Teachers store will be posted here.  Sales will begin on Thursday and end on Saturday.  Be sure to come back each week to see what new item will be on sale.

Teachers Pay Teachers is a website that specializes in selling lessons, etc. made by real teachers.  There are tens of thousands of things posted there for all different levels and subjects in education.  Joining the web site costs nothing.  It is easy to join, just click on the link at the bottom of this page. There are thousands of free lessons and resources posted.  Check it out, you won't be disappointed.  Did I say it was FREE!! :0)

If you are looking for more classroom lessons that are on sale at the Teachers Pay Teachers site, the Teacher2Teacher blog is a good resource.  You will find a wealth of knowledge there as well as a list of items that are on the Thursday Round Up. 

Vintage Teacher will also post occasionally "Writing on the Chalkboard". Writing on the Chalkboard is what I like to call "food for thought".  It might be a short video, a Vintage Teacher memory, etc.  And yes, I taught when all classrooms had chalkboards and you had to use a mimeograph to make copies! :0)

Link to join Teachers Pay Teachers-It is free!
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