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

Planning Tools

My preplanning work station.

My preplanning work station.

A few weeks ago, I started organizing myself in order to tackle my curriculum planning for the 2015-16 school year.  I addressed developing a Classroom Bootcamp for the first quarter, and relied heavily on the difference between a bootcamp and a simple review.  There are a lot of ways to organize yourself, but sometimes, especially when you’re a new teacher, it can be overwhelming.  Whether you’re working on an entire curriculum, unit plan, or just a weekly/daily lesson plan, you can become distracted by all the options and resources that are available.  So here are a few tools that I use in order to relieve some of the frazzle-osity of planning.

Online Organizing

There are two types of  websites that I use to help keep myself organized.  The first is what I call the “Catch-All” and the other is “Application and Reflection.”


unnamedEvernote – I’ve blogged in the past about how much I love this website/app/program.  Evernote is a multi-platformed resource that allows users to accumulate notes, websites, media, and other information that they would like to save for later.  The organizational capacity is fantastic!  Categories are designated into Notebooks and within each notebook, notes are created that can be customized by adding your own text, checklists, bullet points, lists, etc.  Additionally, users can attach pictures or other documents that coincide with that particular content.

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Sample list of notebooks from my Evernote account.

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One example of a note created in my English IV Curriculum notebook.

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Sample checklist in my English IV Curriculum notebook.

Picture-7-2-2015Pinterest – I don’t think there is a soul out there who uses the internet that doesn’t know about Pinterest.  It’s more than just a way to waste a couple of hours planning weddings and dream homes; Pinterest has been one of the most helpful resources for developing everything from classroom management plans to creating posters/anchor charts for my walls to interesting articles about texts we are reading in class.  By being able to create specialized boards to organize each of these “pins,” I am able to efficiently incorporate their contents into my classroom.

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Obviously, “I am a runner” and “Workouts” don’t make too many appearances in my curriculum, but they do give me the endorphins to make it through my lessons. =)

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Application and Reflection

suite_transparent_largeGoogle Docs – I have found myself becoming more reliant on Google Docs over the last year, and I admit that I have A LOT to learn.  I have uploaded all of my curriculum documents and lesson plans here, but I also complete reflections on my lessons.  This is something I am setting up for the first time this school year, so I will keep you updated as to my progress.

Interactive Student Notebooks

Happy Saturday!

It’s been awhile since I have posted, and that’s nothing new to most of the readers of this blog.  I’ve learned to stop apologizing for taking much-needed breaks.  We are all human and need self-care.  The holidays are over, life has returned to “normal” and I’m ready to return to Within the Numbered Pages.

What’s New?

  • It’s 2015 and I’m keeping up on my goals of taking care of myself, listening to my body, and being more present.  I’ve also been writing in my gratitude journal on a daily basis, which I think has motivated me to stick with my 2015 goals.  I’ve gotten past the traditional family, friends, shelter, and health topics and learned to appreciate the smaller gifts.
  • I’m staying crafty and enjoying my time in my little haven.

Craft Room

In my professional life, I have become interested in learning more about Interactive Student Notebooks (ISN) and how they can support my students and their learning.

What is an Interactive Student Notebook?

The purpose of the interactive notebook is to enable students to be creative, independent thinkers and writers. Interactive notebooks are used for class notes as well as for other activities where the student will be asked to express his/her own ideas and process the information presented in class.  (interactive-notebooks)

Everybody is a Genius is another great resource for establishing an ISN.

What drew my attention to the ISN system were pins on my Pinterest dashboard that featured lessons or inserts that had been used in other content areas.  I know how important the role of connection to and hands-on interaction with manipulatives and content is to student learning, and what a clever, manageable method ISNs can be!

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Interactive Notebooks – English

Why use an ISN?

Interactive Student Notebooks is a research-based learning strategy that supports all student learning.  It incorporates:

  • High level of verbal communication between teacher and student, and among students
  • Integration of basic skills instruction with instruction in other subjects
  • Organization of instruction around themes
  • Use of collaborative learning groups

These strategies are impactful for all learners at all levels, including exceptional, gifted, those with IEPs, and ESOL/ESL students.

Additionally, ISN can be easily adapted to authentic assessments, which include:

  • Generally developed directly from classroom instruction, group work, and related classroom activities and provide an alternative to traditional assessments
  • Can be considered valid and reliable in that they genuinely and consistently assess a student’s classroom performance
  • Facilitate the student’s participating in the evaluation process
  • Include measurements and evaluations relevant to both the teacher and the student
  • Emphasize real-world problems, tasks, or applications that are relevant to the student and his or her community

ISN are one way to include peformance-based assessments:

  • Use meaningful, naturalistic, context-embedded tasks through hands-on collaborative activities
  • Show what students know and can do through a variety of assessment tasks
  • Support the language and cognitive needs of ELLs
  • Allow for flexibility in meeting individual needs
  • Use criterion-referenced assessment for judging student work
  • Provide feedback to students on strengths and weaknesses
  • Generate descriptive information that can guide instruction
  • Provide information for teaching and learning that results in improved student performance