Silicon Valley No Tech

This article is from a while ago but I think it needs repeating:

For centuries we taught and learned without computers.  While there is a time and a place for them (and I love using technology!) is every time and every place the time and place.

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Capitalism vs. Democracy

Posted at NY Times:

S. T. Fleming   Minnesota

When I lived in Latin America people would often say, “We are poor because they are rich.” The reference connected the poor of the global south to the rich of the global north. The popular wisdom (and authors such as Eduardo Galeano) had it right all along.

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Language Acquisition

How do children acquire language?  Lots of language, written language, spoken language?

Dr. Kate Kinsella gave an interesting talk last year at the Minnesota ESL, Bilingual and Migrant Education Conference.  Here is the link to her page from the conference.  Check out the handouts for some amazing ideas for language acquisition:

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On banned books

Thrilled was I to read in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) about the failed effort to ban a book, Eleanor and Park.  Books should not be banned.  Period.

Yes, there are difficult themes in books.  But there are difficult themes in life.  Yes, there are offensive themes in books.  But there are offensive themes in life.  In the hands of a skilled educator, a reflective parent, any book can be a source of learning; it can lead to discussion and consideration of life and what kind of world we want to live in and create, just by our living.

Read.  And read lots!

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Transition Words in Spanish

When writing realistic fiction (I teaching in 4th grade) there are ways to make your paragraphs flow more smoothly from one to the next.  One way is to use transition words.  I found and added to a list of transition words (palabras de transición).

Try them out in your Spanish writing and see how your paragraphs flow

Here they are:

Para demostrar secuencia

al principio                   luego                        antes       después                         en seguida

Para demostrar contraste o cambio de idea:

por el contrario            sin embargo            al mismo tiempo         en contraste              por otro lado de otro modo                   a pesar de (que)            al contrario        de otra manera                aunque 

 Para demostrar adición o complemento de una idea:

también                          lo siguiente                  seguidamente
de igual importancia           de la misma manera          igualmente
además / por otra par   del mismo modo

 Para demostrar resultado:

en consecuencia           obviamente

de tal manera que             en cualquier caso
por esta razón                 evidentemente
por consiguiente           además
como resultado de         de hecho

Para evidenciar tiempo:

inmediatamente            después
tan pronto como           a más tardar
posteriormente             antes de

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Reader’s Workshop Work Time

I have been working with a group of teachers to create a rubric for the reader’s workshop work time.  We are looking at the possibilities of ramping up our practice.  See what you think:

Reader’s Workshop Work Time Rubric

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Time Spent Reading


Have you seen this?  Amazing!  Let’s read more!

“Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding (1988) led one of the most extensive studies of independent reading in which they investigated the relationship of reading time to reading achievement. The study found that the amount of time students spent reading independently was the best predictor of vocabulary development and reading achievement gains.

“The research indicates that independent reading is probably the major source of vocabulary acquisition beyond the beginning stages of learning to read. Students who read more can learn the meanings of thousands of new words each year.

“The chart below shows the high impact of independent reading time to word exposure and the percentile of reading achievement.”

Percentile Independent Reading
Minutes per Day
Words Read
per Year
98 65 4,358,000
90 21.1 1,823,000
80 14.2 1,146,000
70 9.6 622,000
60 6.5 423,000
50 4.6 282,000
40 3.2 200,000
30 1.3 106,000
20 0.7 21,000
10 0.1 8,000
2 0 0


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