Friday Link Up!

Friday Link Up

10 Back-to-School Tips for Teachers Using Google Docs via Te@chThought

Cultivating Creativity in Standards-Based Classrooms via Edutopia

“Interactive Sites for Education” Roundup from Larry Ferlazzo

Why Are There Silent Letters in the English Language from Mental Floss (via Larry Ferlazzo)

Ten Free Apps and Tools for Starting Out (and Staying) Organized via Edutopia

Favorite Pins

Setting Up Your Classroom: 9 Practical Things You May Not Have Thought Of via Teach 4 the Heart

Practice Makes Perfect: Citing Textual Evidence via Lesson Planet

53 Ways to Check for Understanding via Edutopia

Friday Link Up!

Friday Link Up

1.  What to Read Next: 100 Timeless Books, Poems, and Essays by Terry Heick

P.S. Here is a list of titles that have immediately gone on my To-Read List:

  • Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
  • Jack Kerouac, On the Road, the Original Scroll
  • Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time
  • Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
  • Henry David Thoreau, Walden
  • Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

2.  10 Truths About Building School Teams by Elena Aguilar

As ELA department chair, the two areas of focus for me this year are:

3. Who you are as a leader has the greatest influence on a team.
Your emotional intelligence as a leader is the key knowledge and skill set from which all others emerge. Leaders must learn to recognize and manage their emotions — and recognize and manage the emotions of others. We need to make friends with feelings. They exist. The more we battle or avoid feelings, the bigger the mess. When we meet them head on, we can make progress toward building healthy teams and meeting the needs of kids.

9. Communication between team members is the thread that connects everything.
It always comes down to what we say and how we say it. But teams in schools never seem to pause and discuss the kind of communication that we aspire to have. We complain to each other off line, we bemoan the grumpy colleague or the one who dominates conversations, but we never deal with it head on. It’s time. We need to address communication in teams — down to the granular level of the words that we use with each other.

3.  Is This the Beginning of the End for the SAT and ACT? via NPR


NACAC’s [the National Association for College Admission Counseling] own research has found that some schools are considered “selective” because of their lofty SAT or ACT average scores. But it’s not at all clear whether performance on those tests is a reliable predictor of future academic success.

4.  The Re-Debut of “Reading Rainbow” on Netflix on August 1st via

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 4.01.17 PM

5.  Key and Peele

Establishing Classroom Norms PLUS

Part of my Beginning of the School Year routine is establishing classroom norms with my students.  I included this in my Top Ten Classroom Resources for 2014-2015 list and wrote about my experience in August of 2012 when I first attempted this strategy with freshmen.  One of my favorite educational resources has always been Edutopia, and Tuesday, they released an article by Todd Finley titled, “The Science Behind Classroom Norming,” that included the Why and several Hows to create classroom norms with your students.


After reading this article, I am going to be updating my approach to establishing classroom norms.

1.  I will be updating my definition of “norms” to include, “those that pertain to safety and health (no shoving), moral norms (help peers), and discretionary norms(clean your desk before leaving for the day).”

2.  Because I will be working with students I taught last year, I will be able to jump into the establishment of classroom norms sooner than the classes that I will be meeting for the first time.  I am intrigued by the T-Chart approach to addressing issues within the classroom:

Problem/Norm T-Chart
In previous semesters or during the last two weeks, what has interfered with your learning?
What reasonable norms could prevent that from occurring in this class?
1. When students laugh at kids who make a mistake, we are reluctant to participate in a class discussion. 1. Don’t make fun of mistakes. Class is a gloat-free zone.
2. 2.
3. 3.
4. 4.
5. 5.

3.  I’m a proponent for students assessing and analyzing their personality and learning styles, so I do plan on having them take the Kiersey Temperament Sorter assessment.

Exercise #1: What You Should Know about Us?

Purpose: Help learners accommodate classmates’ needs.

Before norming day, have students take the Kiersey Temperment Sorter, a personality assessment, and ask them to form groups with peers who have similar scores. Ask the groups to a) identify what their teammates have in common and b) decide what outside groups should know about them. You’ll need to ask the extroverts to talk quietly and the introverts to simply talk. Then ask the groups to report on their discussions.


Question: Have you ever utilized norms and/or norm establishment activities in your classroom?  If so, how did it go for you?

I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave your comments in the Comment space below.