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Teach it Forward

Maurna Rome

March Madness 

Ask any 3rd-8th-grade teacher about “March Mad­ness” and there is a good chance you won’t hear much about bas­ket­ball. You may, how­ev­er, get an ear­ful about a top­ic that is about as near and dear to our hearts as stand­ing out­side for 25 min­utes of recess in bone-chill­ing, zero-degree weath­er. In Min­neso­ta, the acronym is MCA. In

Maurna Rome

Juxtaposition 

jux·ta·po·si·tion | jəkstəpəˈziSH(ə)n/ | noun the fact of two things being seen or placed close togeth­er with con­trast­ing effect. Exam­ple: “the jux­ta­po­si­tion of these two images” Jux­ta­po­si­tion.  The word has been swim­ming around my head for sev­er­al weeks. The best month of my entire career filled with some of my proud­est moments as an edu­ca­tor hap­pen­ing at the

Maurna Rome

I Love to Read Month 

Why would we employ read­ing ini­tia­tives that derail inter­nal read­ing moti­va­tion and divide kids into read­ing win­ners and losers?” —Don­a­lyn Miller I’ve been think­ing about this ques­tion from lit­er­a­cy guru Don­a­lyn Miller ever since I read it last May. It struck a chord and made me chal­lenge some of my past prac­tices as a cham­pi­on of moti­vat­ing read­ers. What

Maurna Rome

One Word 

by Mau­r­na Rome This year I resolve to for­go the typ­i­cal New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Truth is, they rarely make it past Dr. King’s birth­day in mid-Jan­u­ary. Begin­ning this year, I’m com­mit­ting to a much sim­pler idea. It may seem trendy with a lot of recent hype, yet a quick Google search reveals a 2007 blog post by Chris­tine Kane intro­duc­ing the

Creating a Curriculum and Culture of Kindness in the Classroom 

by Mau­r­na Rome “When giv­en the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” ― R.J. Pala­cio, Won­der Wouldn’t our class­rooms be grand if stu­dents were giv­en oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn about and expe­ri­ence what being kind looks like, sounds like and feels like on a dai­ly basis? Wouldn’t life be grand if we could all sim­ply choose true collaboration

The Book That Saved My Students and Me 

by Mau­r­na Rome A rough start to a new school year can be unset­tling for rook­ie teach­ers. It can pro­duce feel­ings of self-doubt and immense stress.  Inex­pe­ri­enced edu­ca­tors may ques­tion every­thing from the qual­i­ty of their under­grad teacher train­ing to whether or not edu­ca­tion was a wise career choice. The lack of prepa­ra­tion for man­ag­ing chal­leng­ing behav­iors, dealing

Creating a Classroom Community with 31 Letters 

by Mau­r­na Rome Long gone are the days of “Don’t do this or that or the oth­er thing” lists of class­room rules. At least I hope they are long gone… The influ­ence of “respon­sive class­room,” greater aware­ness of the pow­er of being pos­i­tive and much research on effec­tive class­room man­age­ment have ush­ered in a new approach to establishing

Summer School 

by Mau­r­na Rome The bumper stick­er reads: “Three rea­sons to be a teacher; June, July and August.” This may be true for some, but it was nev­er my mantra, at least until this sum­mer. This sum­mer I decid­ed to par­tic­i­pate in sum­mer school and what a good deci­sion that was! My class of “sum­mer kids” includ­ed the most diverse,

Cardboard box

Cardboard L.I.T. Club: Linking Imagination & Text

by Mau­r­na Rome. Each year I intro­duce my stu­dents to a young man named Caine. This cre­ative entre­pre­neur had spent the entire sum­mer in 2012 build­ing an elab­o­rate card­board arcade in his dad’s auto shop garage in Los Angeles.

Ready for the World with Powerful Literacy Practices 

by Mau­r­na Rome I believe whole-heart­ed­­­ly in the impor­tance of read­ing aloud dai­ly to my stu­dents. On days I fail to meet this goal, I go home feel­ing like I’ve let the kids down. I recall the fren­zy of Valentine’s Day with the excite­ment of school-wide bin­go, spe­cial class projects and more than enough can­dy — but no time spent reading

Graphic Novels: A source of inspiration and mentor texts 

by Mau­r­na Rome Flash­back to the first week of school … we were pass­ing the micro­phone around our large cir­cle of 29 third-graders. It was easy to see that many stu­dents were shy and ner­vous, but one young man was appar­ent­ly look­ing for some shock val­ue. He began with “My name is Michael” then non­cha­lant­ly added,

Sandwiches

Lit Lunches:
Promoting a love of reading one bite at a time! 

  by Mau­r­na Rome I admit that I am some­times envi­ous of my friends who work in the busi­ness world and get to enjoy fre­quent din­ing out excur­sions dur­ing their lunch breaks. A 20 – 25 minute rush to digest school cafe­te­ria food, microwav­able left­overs or a brown bag sand­wich isn’t the most appe­tiz­ing mid-day meal expe­ri­ence. How­ev­er, once a month I do

Book Talk, Book Shop & Book Swap 

by Mau­r­na Rome As my stu­dents pass through our class­room door, the morn­ing buzz begins. The kids are already remind­ing me… “It’s Fri­day, Mrs. Rome!” We all know what that means. It’s Fri­day Fun Day! It’s time for “Book Talk, Book Shop, and Book Swap.”  The kids in Room 132 do not seem to care about missing

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