Sunday, September 8, 2013

Daily Assignment #135: Hiatus

To all my Faithful Followers and then some,

At last, I have decided to take a bit of a hiatus from writing my blog.  I thought the summer would be enough of a break, but I am finding I need more time.

I have posted over 100 effective teaching strategies and have published a book on effective teaching strategies.

Please continue to use both as a reference.  Also, if a question arises for you in teaching, please feel free to contact me.

Best Effort in the new school year,

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Daily Assignment #134: End of Year

I've been very lacks in writing my blog.  I feel like I am too late in offering ideas for the end of the year for a lot of you.  Even so, let me suggest a few ideas for those of you still plugging along:

  1. Portfolio day:  Daily Assignment #66
  2. Goodbye book:  Daily Assignment #67
  3. "What I Will Do This Summer" essay
  4. Students write and draw about their favorite experience during the school year. Tie them together to make a paper "Memory" quilt.
  5. Draw silhouettes of the students.  The students fill in the silhouettes with words cut out from magazines, newspapers, etc..., which describe them.
  6. Make a list of things they want to do or accomplish this summer--"Bucket List".
This will be my last blog for this school year.  I will begin again in August.  In the meantime, take a look at my book on for more effective teaching strategies.
Best Effort and thank you for your support,

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Daily Assignment #133: Common Core Standards

There is so much information out there on the Common Core Standards.  When asked a question in regard to the standards, I often cannot be specific enough.  I have a general knowledge but sometimes colleagues want more than that.  I would like to share an App I discovered:  Common Core Standards, MasteryConnect Education.  This App provides the standards in K-12 Math and Language Arts.  The standards are literally at your fingertips for quick reference.

Please share this blog with colleagues and friends.
I hope you will take an opportunity to check-out my book, on effective teaching strategies, on  Also, if you can write a review that would be great.

Best Effort,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Daily Assignment #132: Creating a Partnership with Parents of Students with Special Needs

"When parents and teachers work together, children do better in school."                            Janet Vohs, Director of Publications, Mass PIRC

I think we all know this, it just doesn't always translate into the parent-teacher relationship.  During the best of times communication can be difficult.  It can be even more of a challenge when a child has special needs.

For me, recognizing that I am not an expert on how to address all learning issues was the most essential step in working with parents of special needs students.  I believe letting the parents know that you are open to learning, understanding and working together to support their child is the next step in opening lines of communication and developing a productive, supportive relationship.

Now, having said that, I understand for some teachers it is very hard to let parents know that you have deficiencies in your skills and knowledge, especially if you are a new to the profession.  So, educate yourself, i.e., read the I.E.P. and understand it, speak with the previous year teacher and any specialist that worked with the student, list effective strategies that worked for the student in the past.  (These recommendations apply to season teachers as well.)

Let the parents know that you are both in this together.  Keep the parents informed. You will need to figure out how best to communicate with each other, e.g. emails, phone, notes.  Most importantly, be honest with the parents.

Please share this blog with colleagues and friends.
Also, take a moment to check-out my book on effective teaching strategies on
Best Effort,

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Daily Assignment #131: Pygmalion Effect

A teacher asked me if I had written a blog on the Pygmalion Effect.  In checking my archives, I discovered this Daily Assignment in drafts.  I hope I'm not repeating myself. 

Often teachers have an expectation, and a belief, as to how students will perform or behave.  It is called the Pygmalion effect, named after a Cypriot sculptor from Greek mythology, who fell in love with a female statue he had carved out of ivory, also known as the Rosenthal effect, after  psychologist Robert Rosenthal who studied this phenomenon and published a report in the 1968.
The Pygmalion effect is a form of self-fulfilling believe/perception, by a teacher, whether negative or positive, which impacts student performance.  
In Rosenthal's study he predicted that when given information that certain students had higher IQs than others, teachers may unconsciously behave in ways that facilitate and encourage the students' success and the inverse for lower IQs.
In the study, a number of teachers were informed that certain students in their class had scored higher on academic and intelligence tests.  The teachers were asked to track the progress of those students through the school year.  Not surprisingly, those students performed at higher academic levels. 
There was one snag in the experiment: The students that Rosenthal had said were academically gifted actually weren't any different from the rest of the students in the class. 
James Rhem, executive editor for the online National Teaching and Learning Forum, commented:  "When teachers expect students to do well and show intellectual growth, they do; when teachers do not have such expectations, performance and growth are not so encouraged and may in fact be discouraged in a variety of ways." 

Teachers send expectations and their beliefs about student learning through their words, actions, lessons/assignments, body language, attitude and responses to students' answers and questions.  Teachers must be vigilant in regard in all these areas and some I haven't mentioned. Please refer to Daily Assignment #97.  
  1.  Rosenthal, Robert; Jacobson, Lenore (1992). Pygmalion in the classroom.
  2. ^ "Pygmalion In The Classroom". Retrieved 18-Oct-2010.
Please share this blog with colleagues and friends. You can purchase my book on  Daily Assignment:  Effective Teaching Strategies.  Don't forget to write a review.  Thanks. 
Best Effort,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Daily Assignment #130: Setting and Communicating High Expectations

Recently, a teacher asked me how to establish and reinforce expectations for students.  First, I referred her to Daily Assignment # 1, 2, 3, 4...  When I began to number off each blog, the teacher realized that we are communicating our expectations in everything we do, from how we arrange the classroom environment to responding to students' answers.

Bottom line, after a semester break, begin by reviewing the expectations with the students, hopefully these are posted in the classroom.  It is important for you, as the teacher, to be firm, clear and consistent.  This applies to behaviors as well as performance.  Maintain your standards and expectations, especially on those days when it may feel like it is the first day of school.

Also, create Criteria for Success for assignments, (Daily Assignment #25).  Criteria for Success would be #3 on a rubric.  By posting the Criteria for Success and going over it with students, sends the message that this is bottom line and you will not accept less.  However, make it clear you will accept beyond this level.

Remember, everything a teachers does, during the course of a day, sends messages to your students as to your beliefs, standards and expectations.  When you respond to a child, react to a situation, give an assignment, interact with a colleague, a grade, feedback, and more, sends messages to your students.  So, be clear, consistent and firm.  They will get the message loud and clear.

Please share this blog with colleagues and friends.
If you haven't already, check out my book on effective teaching strategies on  I would appreciate a review as well.  Thanks.

Best Effort,

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Daily Assignment #129: Even More Do-Nows #3

As promised, here are some more Do-Now ideas:

  • Correct grammar of 2-3 silly sentences:  
  1.  the robot cow flew the huge whale under the small blue  bridge
  2.  look out for the train going up the building  
  3.  popsicles are good for painting the little wood house 
  • Jeopardy:  give students answers, they design questions:  
  1. On Sept. 1, 1715 Louis XIV died in this city, site of a fabulous palace he built.   (Versailles)  
  2. Around 1542 explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo discovered this island off L.A. and it's believed he's buried there too.  (Catalina)  
  3. This number, one of the first 20, uses only one vowel 4 times.  (Seventeen) 
  4. The United States President lives in this building.  (White House)  
  • Draw a pictures of Idioms:
  1. a wolf in sheep's clothing
  2. killing time; pulling you leg
  3. kicked the bucket
  4. talk to the hand
  5. bite the dust       
  • Check-It:  2 spelling versions, math problems

  • Quick math facts

  • Journal writing

  • Quotes, explain meaning:  
  1. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Dr. Seuss 
  2. “Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”  Bernard M. Baruch 
  3. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi  
  4. “If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” ― Mark Twain  
  5. “If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire   
  6. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”― Mahatma Gandhi   
  7. “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou
Please share this blog with colleagues and friends.
If you haven't already, take a moment to check-out my book on Amazon. com---
Best Effort,