May 2022 Teacher Talk

Kelly Harmon & Associates Educational Consulting

Dear Educator Friends,

Can you believe we are already in the home stretch for the 2021-2022 school year? Just a month or two and we'll be able to exhale and take some personal time.

In this final newsletter of the year, I've included some ideas for summer learning opportunities for your students and their parents, as well as ideas for helping your students reflect on all they have learned over the year. I also included a link for making your own Wordle for your class.

Finally, I wanted to share upcoming professional development opportunities, along with my favorite podcasts, videos, and professional books.

Please reach out if you need any other resources or have questions.

Happy teaching,


Who is Going to Summer Camp?

As we wind down this school year, many of our students will need to participate in extended learning during the summer. But who wants to go to summer school? Just the thought of it brings to mind "failure." So, this summer, let’s disrupt what’s been known as summer school and let’s call it summer camp!

Start out by going to and looking at the five camps set up for student exploration. Camp Wonderopolis® is the free online summer-learning destination that's full of fun, interactive STEM and literacy-building topics boosted by Maker experiments!

You might also partner with community groups such as the Junior League to develop plans around cultural events or community celebrations. In 2006, I partnered with the Junior League of San Antonio to create a two week summer camp for students who were going to be entering third grade in the fall. We planned a two week, half-day curriculum that centered around being a zoologist at the San Antonio Zoo. Our goal for the camp session was to build background and to strengthen our students vocabulary, reading fluency, and writing skills. Each day included camp songs, science experiments, individual research on animals of interest and a culminating activity of going to the zoo. Even the snacks were related to nature or an imitation of something in nature.

Please reach out if you’d like any help planning your summer camp. I’d love to be a resource for you and your students!

Make a Wordle for Your Class

Playing daily word games can really help students discover and utilize the relationships of letter and spelling patterns. I recently ran across a great website for making your own class Wordles. Many of the teachers I work with are using Wordle to start whole group and small group lessons. It's a great way to get students into analytical thinking right from the start!

Parent Night on Zoom

A Title 1 school in New Jersey recently asked me to share ideas with parents of second grade children who are receiving reading interventions. As this was my first Zoom with parents and their children, I didn't know what to expect. Would parents show up? Would they turn on cameras? Would they participate? Well, I'm happy to report the answers were "Yes, Yes, and Yes!!!" The session was an hour of inquiry, games, and sharing fun books that families can use over the summer to keep the students practicing reading skills.

The Title 1 director asked me for a list of resources that she could purchase and send home with the children. As I shared ideas, students had an opportunity to use the resources that had been sent home a few days before. As we wrapped up the night, one of the students asked if we can meet tomorrow night again. I think we all left wishing for more time together!

If you are thinking of hosting a parent/child learning opportunity for your students, I'd love to help!

How to Get Students Thinking About Their Own Learning

If you know me well, you know that my passion is helping students to take responsibility for their own learning. This starts with students setting daily learning goals and monitoring their own progress. I ran across this article by Nina Parrish on Edutopia. She shares lesson routines that help students plan, monitor, and evaluate daily learning progress. These ideas frame each lesson and result in a 32 percentile increase in achievement. (Marzano, 2009) I hope you find the information in the article useful!

Summer professional Development Opportunities

Math Professional Learning Resources

Are you wanting to increase your expertise in math learning? If so, here is a list of workshops, podcasts, videos, and professional books that I recommend.

Summer Workshops

2‑Day Conference:
Using GUIDED MATH To Catch Up Students Who Have Fallen Behind and Accelerate the Progress of All

presented by Dr. Barb Blanke, Kelly Harmon, and Mary Peterson

Develop Growth Mindset in Mathematics to Increase Students' Perseverance, Engagement and Success (Grades K-6)

presented by Ryan Doetch

4‑Day National Train‑the‑Trainer Institute:
GUIDED MATH That Works (Grades K-6)

presented by Dr. Barb Blanke & Deborah Wirth

Making Best Use of DESMOS to Strengthen Your MATH Instruction (Grades 6-12)

presented by Rachel Mane


Dr. Nicki Newton and Ann Elise Record

Make Math Moments Podcast

Build Math Minds Christina Tondevold

Math is Figure-Out-Able Pam Harris

Building Thinking Classrooms-Peter Liljedahl

Big picture