Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Attend the Teaching Resources Summer Conference for FREE!

Were you planning to attend the Teaching Resources Summer Conference in Virginia Beach this July? Maybe you'd LOVE to attend, but you just don't know how you can swing it since your school won't pay your way.

Don't give up hope, because if you're a public school teacher in the U.S., you might be able to get your registration, food, travel, and lodging covered with a DonorsChoose grant! They've just announced a program to allow teachers to submit requests for professional development funding.

If you're interested, drop everything and write that DonorsChoose proposal now! You need to submit your proposal as soon as possible in order to get it funded before the conference which takes place on July 28th and 29th.

May 29th Update: The DC guidelines say that you must submit the proposal 2 months in advance, but I found out that this isn't a firm deadline. They will approve projects for our conference if we will work with them on accepting payments closer to the workshop date. If you submit a proposal before June 5th, you should be fine as long as your project amount is less than $500. After June 5th you should email us to let us know that you're planning to submit a DC proposal so we can advise you about the best way to proceed.

Get Energized at the Teaching Resources Summer Conference
What??? You didn't know I was presenting a workshop this summer? No worries! Just click over to the Teaching Resources Summer Conference page to read about it. I'm teaming up with Pat Calfee, a former elementary teacher and awesome presenter, to offer an exciting two-day event that's sure to get you pumped up and energized for the 2016-2017 school year.

The Math Toolkit: Engaging Strategies for Success session will take place on July 28th, followed by Literacy Toolkit: Engaging Strategies for Success on July 29th. In both sessions, we not only share WHAT to teach, we dive into best practices and explore HOW to teach that content effectively. The outcome? Your students will love to learn and will soar to success!

How to Apply for DonorsChoose Teacher Development Funding
First, visit this page on DonorsChoose to read the requirements for submitting a teacher development project. If you haven't written a proposal recently, you'll be glad to know that DC has made proposal writing a LOT easier.

Tips for Writing Your  Proposal
I've compiled a few tips that should help you write a winning proposal with the best chance of getting funded. If you have any questions about how to write your proposal, head over to the Caring Classrooms Facebook page and post your questions there.
  • When you start writing your proposal, choose the Teacher Development option as shown here. As you write your description, explain how the information and strategies you expect to learn will impact your students next year. To help you with this part of the proposal, visit the Teaching Resources Summer Conference page to find specific details about what we'll be covering in each session.
  • Do NOT include technology in your project proposal. I know you wanted to ask for an iPad for taking notes, but you'll have to save that for another project! 
  • Unless you are experienced with DonorsChoose, keep the total amount of your proposal under $500 for the best chance to get it fully funded. Remember that if your project doesn't fully fund, you'll lose ALL the money donated to it! For example, if you plan to attend both days, the registration cost will be $300. If you request the full travel, lodging, and food allowance, your total cost will be over $600. If you only get $400 in donations before the project expires, you won't get ANY money at all! However, if you had originally only asked for $400, you would have at least gotten that amount.
  • Before you submit your proposal, ask your school administrators or PTA if they will pay part of your expenses or match what you get from DC funding. For example, perhaps they will pay your registration fee if you can get DonorsChoose funding for the other expenses. 
How the Caring Classrooms Community Can Help
Here's more good news! The Caring Classrooms community might be able to help you get your project funded when the total amount remaining is less than $500. Francie Kugelman and I are the admins of the Caring Classrooms Facebook page, and our mission is to help teachers get funds for their DC projects. Francie keeps us posted about the latest DC news, and that's how I found out about this teacher development funding opportunity.

To get help from the Caring Classrooms Community, participate in Fund-day Sunday each week until your project is fully funded or selected for our page. When you submit your project link, be sure to mention that the project is a request for funds to attend the Teaching Resources Summer Conference. If we select your project for our page, your funding is guaranteed, even if I have to fund it myself! We are wrapping up our 3rd year, and every single project added to the Caring Classrooms Giving Page has been fully funded!

If you do submit a proposal to get funding to attend this conference, please post a link to your DC proposal in a comment on this post along with your name and email address so that Pat or I can contact you with more details about how and when to register for the conference.

Good luck! We hope to see you in Virginia Beach in July!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Task Card Tales Plot Twist!

Who knew that planning a webinar could turn out to be such an adventure? Here's the backstory about why Rachel Lynette and I had to cancel our task cards webinar. You can also find the dates and times of our next TWO task card webinars!
Who knew that planning a webinar could turn out to be an adventure! Maybe that's stretching it a bit, but I sure felt like I was in the middle of a crazy adventure last night when a severe storm blew up at my house hours before Rachel Lynette and I were supposed to go live with Power Up Learning with Task Cards!

One of my favorite quotes is "When something goes wrong in your life, just yell 'Plot Twist!' and move on!" That saying describes what happened perfectly! Rachel and I experienced a plot twist in our webinar plans, and we've just moved on!

Task Card Tales and a Plot Twist
Before I tell you the story, I have to admit that we went a little overboard in packing the webinar with loads of activities and strategies for teaching with task cards. We just couldn't help ourselves! The more we talked, brainstormed, and  planned, the more tips, strategies, and resources would come to mind that we HAD to include!

So even though the presentation should have been finished long before yesterday, we were still working on it hours before the live webinar. Our plan was to combine them into one PowerPoint before the presentation, which seemed reasonable at the time. In retrospect, it wasn't the brightest plan in the world!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Task Card Talk: 6 Strategies to Boost Learning

Discover 6 cooperative learning task card strategies to foster meaningful discussion. You can also sign up for a free live webinar with Laura Candler and Rachel Lynette, Power Up Learning with Task Cards.
Register for a Live Task Cards Webinar!

Lately it seems that task cards are everywhere! If you don't believe me, search for teaching resources on virtually any topic, and count the number of task card sets that pop up in your results!

If you're new to task cards, you might not realize that they've actually been around for many years. Back in the day, task cards didn't look as cute as the current Pinterest-worthy creations. However, no matter what they look like, task cards are really nothing more than worksheets in a fun format! Because the academic content has been divided into manageable chunks, task cards seem less intimidating than a paper-and-pencil assignment.

This handy format makes task cards perfect for partner work and team work because they help kids focus on one problem or one question at a time. Years ago, I created task cards by writing questions or math problems on index cards. But that method was too time-consuming when preparing enough for each team to have a set. To make the process easier, I created a blank template with 6 or 8 empty boxes and I wrote or typed the questions directly onto the page. Then I printed one copy per team and cut the cards apart with a paper cutter. Those task cards weren't pretty, but they worked!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Math is More Than a Numbers Game

Math is more than a numbers game! Read this post to discover the key to math vocabulary instruction and to sign up for a free webinar with Laura Candler!
Have you ever considered the importance of vocabulary instruction in math? If you think about it, success in math often hinges more on the ability to read and understand the language of mathematics than on the ability to perform mathematics computation. In other words ...

Math is more than a numbers game. 

Years ago, standardized tests consisted of page after page of computation, but today's math tests require students to read challenging word problems and understand precise mathematical terminology in order find  the solution. For example, upper elementary students who don't know the difference between factor and multiple or range and median are going to struggle to perform well on tests. Geometry is another area where accurate knowledge of the key vocabulary is closely tied to understanding of the essential concepts.

It's pretty clear that mastering the language of math is just as important as mastering math facts or being able to solve complex computational problems.

So what's the best way to teach math vocabulary? I can assure you that having kids is memorize words and definitions is NOT the way to go! Besides being extremely boring, rote memorization does not provide students with the opportunity to explore the complex nuances of meaning inherent in math terminology.

The good news is that the most powerful strategies for helping kids learn the language of math are also the most motivating and fun! Why? Because those methods encourage kids to TALK about math concepts and practice using the vocabulary correctly as they take part in hands-on activities and math strategy games.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Don't Miss the Teaching Resources Summer Conference!

Join Laura Candler and Pat Calfee in Virginia Beach this July for the Teaching Resources Summer Conference! You'll walk away with the tools and strategies to power up learning and ensure success for all students!
July 28 - 29, 2016
Virginia Beach, VA

"This teacher workshop went above and beyond my expectations. It was practical, tangible, and inspiring. The most valuable aspect was seeing the practical and effective strategies used to not only further education but make it a whole lot of fun. I truly enjoyed this - it was the best workshop I've had in 28 years of teaching!"  
With today's rigorous curriculum standards, teachers are expected to do more - and take students to a higher level of excellence - than ever before. Planning effective lessons and preparing the resources to meet these challenges can be exhausting! If only you had toolkit of teacher resources and strategies to reduce your planning time and put your students on a fast track to success.

Your wish will be granted if you attend the Teaching Resources Summer Conference in Virginia Beach this July! Pat Calfee and I are teaming up to offer you an exciting two-day event that's sure to get you pumped up and energized for the 2016-2017 school year.

We not only share WHAT to teach, we dive into best practices as we explore HOW to teach that content effectively.

The outcome? Your students will love to learn and will soar to success! 

If you join us for this event, you can look forward to...
  • Recharging your batteries with fresh teaching strategies 
  • Experiencing an exceptional networking opportunity
  • Exploring a wide variety of teaching tools to ensure success for ALL students 
The first day will be devoted to math, and the second day will focus on literacy strategies. Register for one day or both days together at a discount. We expect these sessions to fill up, so sign up now to reserve your spot and receive the early registration discount!