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"Its lesson, really,
about not being what you’re born into
but what you’re born to be,
even if that means
not caring about the capes they wave in your face
or the spears they cut into your shoulders."
This excerpt from the poem, "The Story of Ferdinand the Bull", by Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason, reminds me of what we do every day as ELA educators. How often are we sadly touched by the stories of trauma that accompany some of our students throughout their school days? And how easy it would be to perseverate on those waving capes and cutting spears that can and often do get in the way, if only temporarily? Imagining what our students are born to be is a unique lens through which we view those tender and sometimes timid souls who inhabit the desks and tables of our classrooms. Knowing what our students are born to be, we provide the tools and inspiration with which they can achieve that birthright. How lucky are they? And how lucky are we?
As we near the end of yet another school year, I want to thank all of you for the "born to be" moments you provide for our students every single day. While the skills of the English language arts are the core of what we do, we also have the rare opportunity to share and learn with our students what it means to be human, to care for one another, and to value each other despite our differences. I extend my sincerely gratitude to you all.
Have a great summer!
NDE is still in need of Nebraska educators to help develop and review NSCAS items.
ELA Item Writer Workshop June 11-13
ELA Item Content and Bias Review July 23-25
Both events will take place in Lincoln. Stipends will be paid to non-contract individuals, and all experience and grade levels are welcome to submit an application.
Here is the link to apply:
Thank you kindly!
Marissa Payzant, Ed.D.
English Language Arts Specialist
301 Centennial Mall South, PO Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509-4987
NE Shakespeare 33rd Season
Mark Your Calendar - Season 33 at a Glance
Nebraska Shakespeare's Female-Forward 33rd season promises to be another year of amazing Shakespeare. Mark your calendar and check back for a few surprises throughout the year. Don't miss out!
Fine Lines Summer Camp
Fine Lines 2019
This is our 20th year of creating Fine Lines writing summer camps for students of all ages. Join writers who add clarity and passion to their lives with the written word. We have fun with sentences, learn to play while developing poems, stories, essays, and discover creative corners of our minds that we did not know existed.
Oxbow Writing Project 2019
2019 GIPS/NSLA Summer Institute
Save the Date
Summer Institute, July 16, 2019
NSLA and Grand Island Public Schools Partnership
Authors Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris, authors of “Who’s Doing the Work?” will offer the keynote address. Additional speakers and topic sessions will occur throughout the day.
Articles of Interest
7 Strategies to Make Grading Easier
Grading is time-consuming but necessary, so two teachers share some hacks for making it more effective and efficient.
How Dialogue Journals Build Teacher-Student Relationships
How well do we know our students? They sit in our classrooms five days a week, we certainly spend lots of time with them, but how well do we really know them? How well do we know their thoughts, their worries, the things they obsess about? And how well do they ever get to know us beyond our role as a teacher?
To learn more about how dialogue journals can help answer these questions and more, read the article!
Using Mood and Imagery to Engage Kids with Text
You have about 10 minutes of class time. Is it possible to help students…
Find Key Details
Synthesize Key Details
Use Evidence to Support Thinking
Identify Possible Themes
Make Meaningful Strong-link Connections
Make Reasonable Predictions
Explore Story Structure
Explore Writers’ Craft?
Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is yes....
Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn?
This article explores how to spot imposter projects - those that are fun and engaging, but really don't support learning standards.
DID YOU KNOW...about the professional learning tools in myHRW? They benefit both you and your students. You can access them via your dashboard - click on the Professional Learning icon. Select a topic form the menu and then click on STUDENT TOOLS. You will see a variety of strategies and graphic organizers to help you scaffold for your students. Pssst....these could also make good sub plans!
Checks for Understanding
Looking to jazz up your checks for understanding? Or how to spend the last five minutes of class in a meaningful way? Check out this list of 53 Checks for Understanding from Edutopia.
Video Use in the Classroom
Using Video in the Classroom to Stimulate Critical Thinking
We want our students to be active viewers. But why stop at comprehension?
Active viewing is great, but it isn't enough. When it comes to videos in the classroom, students shouldn't just get it; they should also have something to say about it. Students need to be active and reactive viewers -- comprehending and critiquing, reading and reacting, getting and giving knowledge. Below you'll find great tools, tips, and strategies for helping to foster both of these essential media-literacy skills.
Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).
Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).