From the Desk of Kelly Harmon

May 2015 Newsletter

Dear Educators,

May has come! I know this is an exciting month for educators as you wrap up and reflect on your school year. It's also time to celebrate all that your students have learned this year and to set goals for the upcoming year. We hope that you consider our summer 2015 workshops when setting goals and planning for the next school year!

Happy Teaching,

Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson

End of Year Activties

With the end of year fast approaching, here are a few ideas for a memorable end of year!

Celebrate Success

Focus on the the positive! Plan your end-of-the-year party as a "Success Celebration" or as a "Hall of Fame" day! Let students know how proud you and their parents are of all they have accomplished this school year.

Make a Virtual Yearbook

It is fun to look back at old pictures. With your students, create a virtual yearbook using pictures, including favorite read alouds, work samples, and student messages. Let students use technology to plan, create, and save their memories for years to come. Have students write captions or paragraphs telling about the learning that is depicted in each photo. Some great apps you can use to make the yearbook are Shadow PuppetsEDU, Book Creator, and Flipgram.

My Best Memory

Everyone has a different take on their favorite activity or time during the past school year. Ask your students to draw or write about their favorite day, activity, or project this year. Take a picture of the drawing or writing and insert it into the background on the app Tellagami or TellagamiEDU. Then record each student telling or reading about this memory. Put all the videos together in the app Shadow PuppetsEDU and play the video for the students on the last day of school. You can share the individual Tellagami videos with each student's parents. This makes a great "souvenir" for the year and it is fun to see what everyone enjoyed most!

-Randi Anderson

Take a Virtual Field Trip....For FREE!

Looking for a way to get students out of the classroom and into the real world? Try our virtual field trip to the San Diego Zoo. Scan the QR codes given to take students to the South African Penguin exhibit and the South African coast! Students will complete a reader's response and take their learning to a new location. Download for FREE today.

Try our Virtual Field Trip to the White House too!

Meaningful Reading Responses

Reading responses are a great way for students to comprehend, reflect, and write about their reading. It is crucial to make reading response an integral part of daily reading practice. Here are some ideas for creative reading response activities.

Character Selfies

With "selfies" being a popular current trend among social media outlets, let's use them as a learning tool. Have students illustrate a "selfie" portrait of the character or real person from the text they are reading. Then create hashtags to show character traits, thoughts, and inferences about the character. Display your students' character "selfies" on an Instagram Wall or bulletin board! Get a FREE character selfie sheet here!

Post Cards

Post cards are a great way for students to write from the point of view of a character or author. For nonfiction texts, have students write about the topic as if they are there on location or off on a research trip interacting with their topic. Use the book Traveling with Anna-Postcards from New York City as a mentor text for creating the postcards. Click here for an activity for this book.

Choice Boards

Nothing motivates students to work and learn more than giving them a choice. A great way to give students a choice is by using choice boards. Choice boards are a table or chart with various activities to practice reading and writing skills. Check out a choice board to use for FREE in your classroom here!

-Randi Anderson

August 2015 Workshops

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Kelly Harmon's Book is Available!!!!

Kelly Harmon & Robert Marzano teamed up to writePracticing Skills, Strategies, & Processes. The book is part of the Essentials for Achieving Rigor Series and will be available for purchase in May 2015. You can Preorder today Here!

Practicing Skills, Strategies, & Processes: Classroom Techniques to Help Students Develop Proficiency explores explicit techniques for mastering this crucial strategy of instructional practice. It includes:

  • Explicit steps for implementation
  • Recommendations for monitoring students’ ability to develop fluent thinking
  • Adaptations for students who struggle, have special needs, or excel in learning
  • Examples and nonexamples from classroom practice
  • Common mistakes and ways to avoid them

For more information click here!

Essentials of Rigor Experience Day

Save The Date!!!!

Join your colleagues on August 3, 2015 at ESC-13 for a day of exploring essential strategies that prepare your students for the cognitively complex tasks presented on the STAAR and EOC tests. The Essentials of Achieving Rigor is a comprehensive instructional framework based on Dr. Robert Marzano's research of pedagogical strategies. From kindergarten to high school, these strategies help teachers design meaningful, student-centered instruction. You will definitely leave this workshop wanting more!

Visit the Marzano Center website to download the white paper on Teaching with Rigor to learn more. I'd love to talk to you about how this instructional framework can complement your current curriculum and assessment program. Please contact me for more information. ~Kelly

Free Teacher Products

Our website always has FREE teaching tools available for you to download and use! Browse our Teaching Resources page to find games, lessons, anchor charts, and much more! Visit today!

Kelly Harmon & Associates Educational Consulting

Kelly and Randi provide educational consulting specializing in providing literacy-based staff development, coaching, and curriculum planning for campuses and districts. We provide professional learning opportunities on a variety of topics and can customize workshops and seminars based on your campus goals and needs. Be sure to stay in touch through our website