ABC's of new literacy

Sunday, February 25, 2018

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TITLE: If You Really #LoveTeaching Then You’ll Admit It’s Hard as Hell
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We’re halfway through the school year. Halfway through the essays, assignments and tests. Halfway through the assemblies. Halfway through the fire drills. Halfway through the observations and debriefs. Halfway through the parent phone calls. Halfway through the conferences, conventions and PD (professional development) sessions. Halfway through tardies and absences, detentions, suspensions and expulsions. Halfway through unit plans and lesson plans. Halfway through rubrics and exemplars.
It’s February, and we’re finally, painfully and thankfully (only) halfway through.
IT CAN BE HARD TO ADMIT, BUT I’M TIRED.Scanning the education media landscape, with its pedagogical superheroes and indefatigable warriors, it can be hard to admit, but I’m tired.
I’m tired of arriving in my classroom no later than 6:30 a.m. I’m tired of putting on my armor of positivity and excitement in order to engage more than 100 recalcitrant, hormonal, and understandably distracted teenaged students who have far more going on in their lives than simply my English lesson.
I’m tired of hearing countless stories of trauma and feeling powerless in their wake. I’m tired of having barely enough energy to engage my two little boys at home or enjoy dinner with my wife, who spends her equally stressful days as an intensive care nurse in a trauma one hospital in Camden, New Jersey. I know how important my work is. But I’m tired.


We wouldn’t do this work if we didn’t love it, and to me there is no better way of honoring #LoveTeaching Week than acknowledging how difficult the work is.
Every day, teachers all across the country open their eyes to alarms that surely must have gone off too early, take a breath, and get up for another day of service for their communities. We go to school, prepare our lessons, and engage our students with honor, care, love and respect. We provide spaces of safety and comfort and dependability, spaces where our kids make the mistakes that help them learn to be successful adults.
THIS IS SIMPLY ONE TEACHER’S NOD TO THE SERVICE AND EXHAUSTION FELT BY OUR NATION’S CORPS OF EDUCATORS.This isn’t another piece about the angelic devotion and sacrifice of teachers. This isn’t a piece about the need for higher teacher salaries. This isn’t a piece about building respect for the teaching profession. This is simply one teacher’s nod to the service and exhaustion felt by our nation’s corps of educators.
When the bell rings and I take my stance on the threshold of my classroom, I acknowledge my fellow educators posted up and down the hallway. We can all see it, the tiredness in our countenances, the yearning for just one minute to catch our breaths.
Then the kids arrive, and one-by-one our teacher faces appear, exuding our openness and willingness to connect with our young people. We extend our individualized greetings for our students as they enter our rooms, and as we close the doors behind us, our voices carry with warm welcomes and do now instructions. There is no rest for the weary, teacher and student alike.
Fellow educators, we are halfway through. We are tired. We are drained. September’s impenetrable layer of patience, caring and compassion has begun to show signs of wear. But we are here together. We will count down the days together and push one another to keep putting our best selves in front of our students. And when that merciful June day arrives, we will raise glasses together to a job well done.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I is for Ipod. Apple has created a mp3 player that not only allows people to listen to music and watch television shows or movies. The iPod has brought about the podcast also. A podcast is a Web-based audio broadcast via an RSS feed, accessed by subscription over the Internet. The popularity of the iPod has increased the amount of podcasts available. Professors have created podcasts of lectures to be made available to students. At Apple's iTunes Store people can also purchase books in mP3 format to be listened to through the iPod. This allows people to "read" books at anytime, even allows a person who is not the best reader to read a book that may be above his/her reading level.

H is for - -- This is an amazing resource for homework help and much more. This website has an amazing supply of resources that deal with every subject educational subject matter that our students use in school.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

P is for... Professional Development

Technology changes faster than buzz words in education. In order for teachers to keep up with and effectively use technology, they have to receive quality professional development.

"Lack of professional development for technology use is one of the most serious obstacles to fully integrating technology into the curriculum" (Fatemi, 1999; Office of Technology Assessment, 1995; Panel on Educational Technology, 1997).

One time workshops can't do it. Technology evolves too quickly. Professional development must be on-going.

Some links about professional development for technology:


Literacy of future mothers has a profound affect on the health of their children. Women who are literate/educated are more likely to wait to have children until they are physically and financially able. The children of educated mothers are more likely to succeed in following in their mother's footsteps.

Although the articles below focus on developing countries...especially Sub-Suharan Africa...

Link to some articles on Women/literacy/health

...we need not look that far, but to our backyards in Bed-stuy, Bushwick, the Lower Bronx, Chelsea, etc. Although our students might not be earning the best grades on their regents, the fact that they are becoming educated - usually more so than their parents - means that their children will be healthier and probably better educated.

R is for...Research

Internet research is used so frequently everyday with in school. Much of it is used to help with homework and some of it IS the homework. But when students are to write a formal research paper, they must know how to write the information and how to present the information in the proper format.

W is for.......... Webquest.

A webquest is an authentic task to motivate students using the World Wide Web. Students work together to solve a problem, task, or create publications. Students use research based information to help them in their usually team orginated journey. It is a great tool to use as a post activity, to check for understanding, or as a joint assignment with the lecture. Teachers and students can create webquests. The keypoints to webquests are that they motivate students, enhances differentiated learning, prompts thematic instruction, and is a tool for authentic assessment.

A Workshop for Webquests

Samples of Webquests

Monday, November 13, 2006

E - is for Education. Yahoo's Education website gives information on all levels. The site includes resources, sample tests, informative articles, college searches, k-12 searches, etc. Having many resources available are necessary for all students to gain the best Education.

image from

Saturday, November 11, 2006 for Phonics.
Phonics is a method of teaching elementary reading and spelling based on the phonetic interpretation of ordinary spelling.

Phonics plays a very important role in the students' reading fluency and comprehension. According to Educators Publishing Service (EPS), its research indicates that students who learn phonics do better in all aspects of reading - word identification, accuracy of oral reading, and silent reading comprehension and fluency - than those who do not learn it. This is also true in spelling.


Children are very lucky nowadays. Phonetics exercises are readily available online.

V is for video games -

Children can use video games to reinforce what they learned in school.

F is for FUN!

If you make reading fun, kids will read more.

Here are some entertaining Literacy Activities and Games.

C is for .....Clear communication

Clear communication encompassing a variety of media is comfortable and natural for today's students and engages them in creative thinking and planning.

DigiTales - The Art of Telling Digital Stories. Crafting and sharing personal, emotional stories with today's digital tools.

D is for......Digital Storytelling

We as teacher's can employ (PowerPoint, multimedia, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc), which are great ways to integrate technology into the curriculum. Not only do the students learning basic computer skills, but also incorporating language arts and writing skills. The objective of integrating technology into lessons is for the students to gain competency and confidence in the use of technology.Digital Storytelling is a another great way for students to combine writing (a script, presented in a voice-over), images or short video clips, sound effects, and music into a movie, students can find a way to become producers of content as well as consumers.

Center for Digital Storytelling

Friday, November 10, 2006

L means Literature Circles

We have to value this important technique to produce results when promoting reading among student teams. Literature Circles enables participants to have a wider ..."from distance" view of the material and topic of a literary piece. For example, by role playing each member assumes roles as: Summarizer, Discussion Director, Investigator, Illustrator, Connector, Travel Tracer and/or Vocabulary Enricher. Facitating collaboration and knowledge sharing.

I believe role playing is always a good promoter for engagement and critical thinking.

Best regards,

Carlos Ramirez


B is for...

Part of Speech: noun
Definition: an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog, Web log
Example: Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.
Etymology: shortened form of Weblog

This is my first blog. It is a great way for students to really share their knowledge with each other. You can use blogs in all curriculum areas and have students discuss and share ideas interactively.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A --- for Adult literacy... It is important to keep in mind that young adults need resources that they connect with to improve on their own. This site provides great resources for adults on topics like money, buying a house, using technology, etc.

The Adult Literacy Resource Institute

V is for Video Games!
Video games are used more and more to promote learning. Educational games like Leap Frog and V-tech are available for children starting as early as a few months. Educationaly-based video games are used in schools from pre-school to college. Even companies are using some form a video game when doing training!
I am still not sure how much video game is too much. Everything in moderation I guess. My four and five year olds know how to use those game controllers and I have no idea!

Here is a blog testimonial from a mom of a 12 year old boy

D is for Distance Learning

The Monster Exchange is a program where students from around the world come together to share reading comprehension, descriptive writing and art.
Students from a classroom work in groups to design a picture of a monster and then create a description of the monster.
The students then swap the descriptions via email to a partnered class (in a different school somewhere) and each class re-creates the monsters using the only descriptions provided by the original artists.

There are some lesson plans, chat rooms and a discussion board available for educators to utilize.

M is for "Music"

Promoting Literacy Through Music

Did you know that Language in music and language in print have many similarities, such as the use of abstract symbols? That both oral language and written language can be obtained in the same manner? Emergent readers will attempt to "read" along in a shared reading of a familiar text, just as they will join in a sing along to a familiar song.

Explore the sidebar areas for songs and materials. Some of it is sales, but there are some materials available on the website.

O - is for Online Book Reading - allows you to read full text of classic books online. You can search for books by author or by title. It's a great way to enjoy a book in the comfort of your own home, work and/or on your personal computer without having the books build up on your shelf.