This summer middle grades teacher Mary Tarashuk is diving into the deep end of the technology pool, accepting a challenging online leadership role. Yet she’s determined to protect the beach time she needs for family and reflection on the school year ahead.
Category: Kids on the Cusp
What’s a teacher to do when vacation doesn’t begin until late in June and the classroom is hot, hot, hot? NJ teacher Mary Tarashuk tells how she’s planned so her 4th graders will stay focused & engaged, with the help of a just-in-time PTO gift.
Having helped her students visualize scenes and characters during read alouds, Mary Tarashuk tries the same idea with writing. She and her students “write aloud” as they create text to match the opening illustrations from The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Then they envision their own stories.
Now in her 16th year of teaching – and administering standardized tests – Mary Tarashuk questions their value in measuring student learning or judging teacher performance. She does not question their ability to suck the joy out of Springtime. Thank goodness for Miss Bonkers and Dr. Seuss.
Upper elementary teacher Mary Tarashuk – who has always viewed “teach” as an action verb – is learning to step back and let students pursue their interests and passions more often, with the help of laptops & content-specific anchor activities.
Applying literacy workshop principles, Mary Tarashuk discovers new ways to blend ELA & social studies content. She describes how a novel about the Old West exploits of disguised woman Charley Parkhurst increased 4th graders’ interest in American history.
How to cope with teacher evaluation rubrics that don’t work in the real world? Shift your thinking and find one that does. That’s what Mary Tarashuk is doing by adapting a student rubric created by Michael Fisher & Nancy Cook to reflect on her own practice.
Continuing a long tradition, Mary Tarashuk reads a novel aloud to her fourth graders after lunch. But this year, in pursuit of “close reading,” she tries out several graphic organizers to help them probe deeper into the dramatic novel Red Kayak.
“It’s hard to come to terms with the digital dinosaur in myself,” writes 5th grade teacher Mary Tarashuk, who’s been asked to help create online courses. “Technology benchmarks are a bit vague for this novice traveler on the Information Superhighway.”
It’s report card time again – when carefully constructed comments join all those letter grades to say something to parents about each student’s progress. Mary Tarashuk shares some of her “eggshell” observations, and lets us in on the translations.