Friday, August 28, 2015

Welcome to Our New Blog

As we kick off another school year, teachers make up to 2,000 decisions a day in an effort to meet all of their students' needs. The joy of technology is that we have access to a plethora of resources that will help us make all those decisions. The challenge though is weeding through the glut to find the right resource for the right standard and student need. Many of us have found that lesson planning has gotten more complicated as we look for material that is not only engaging, but also research based strategies addressing Common Core Standards.   Never fear....IRC is coming to your rescue!

Illinois Reading Council's Educational Initiatives and Professional Development is tasked with promoting understanding of and advocating for effective literacy practices. As the committee members worked together, we realized that we could add another layer of support for educators by creating a blog as a repository for resources, book reviews,  and timely topics. Our goal is to help do some of that weeding for you. We will share a variety of articles, links, videos, and websites to help you integrate effective literacy instruction and assessment into your classrooms, districts, and communities.

With that in mind - here are a few "cool tools" for the teachers who are making the switch to a one-one environment or just looking for ways to incorporate technology skills with literacy activities

Edublogs -
Kidblog –

Blogging can improve students’ writing skills and build their confidence as writers. Students are often more conscientious as writers because their writing is public (or at least partially public depending on how you set your privacy settings) and take ownership of their pieces. Both of these sites offer free or paid versions and are very user-friendly.

News ELA

Finding informational texts that are engaging and at the reading level of your students can be challenging. News ELA not only has a great variety of current news articles, but you can adjust the lexile levels so you can differentiate for your students while having them read the same content. Izzit offers a variety of articles, videos, activities, and kid zone for students to explore. Wonderopolis offers articles on a variety of topics (great for STEM) with support for vocabulary work and extension opportunities.

No Red Ink
 Vocabulary Spelling City

Both of these sites use games and practice in spelling and conventions as well as building vocabulary.

 Speaking and Listening

Do you have kids who love to hear themselves? These sites are great resources for students to record themselves making a presentation. Teachers can also use it as part of a flipped classroom or to use in differentiated stations. These are very useful for building vocabulary, background knowledge, and many other literacy skills embedded with speaking and language.

We hope you enjoy our new blog and add to it by leaving comments and sharing your own resources or questions.

Thank you for your dedication and passion to our children.