Monday, February 22, 2010

ISAT Preparation Resources

The Illinois Standards Achievement Tests (ISAT) will be upon us before we know it.  Please understand: I DESPISE the thought of "teaching to the test."  Hopefully, activities to prepare your students for these criterion-referrenced tests have been built into your lessons over the past several months.  so I thought it might be helpful to post a few links to resources that might be helpful to you and your students.

Illinois State Board of Education Student Assessment - ISAT page

2010 Interactive ISAT Sample Questions - good practice resource, especially for those who may have a bit of test anxiety or who have never taken a "bubble-test" before.  Thanks to Matt Warnsing from Nielson Elementary for the link.

Guides & Sample Questions/Prompts from Previous ISATs - PDF files that will provide sample questions and writing prompts to help your students prepare.  Samples from previous years are available there, too.

Assessment Frameworks - What types of questions will kids be asked?  How are the standards weighted, etc.?

Monday, February 15, 2010

World Math Day, Pi Day, and other links

World Math Day is an event that occurs on the first Wednesday of March annually (This year is March 3, 2010).  Students can participate at school or from home by competing in up to 500 sixty-second math-related games.  For a more detailed description, visit their blog.  (Many thanks to Nielson's own Celia Godsil for this tip!)

World Pi Day will be held on March 14 again as it is every year (π = 3.14 - get it? :) )Visit this Wikipedia article or try this Education World lesson plan  for links & ideas about how YOU can celebrate World Pi Day in your classroom!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Internet Safety Projects Due March 1

If you and your students would like to participate in the Illinois Internet Safety Contest, please have your projects completed no later than Friday, February 26.  The State requires that projects are turned in for District-level judging no later than Monday, March 1

Projects can be turned in to me in person, through school mail, or via email or other electronic means, but they must arrive at the Central Office no later than 4:00 p.m. on Monday, March 1.  (If you're putting them in school mail, send it on the Friday prior, please.)

Please remember that, beginning this year, the State of Illinois requires that we teach Internet Safety at least once per year to all students, Grades 3-12.  Participating in the Illinois Internet Safety Contest is one of many ways to demonstrate compliance with this new mandate.  Text of the mandate can be found here.

For more information about the contest, please visit:

To be compliant, the mandate states that a school must teach at least one lesson from at least one of the following topic areas in each grade level:

  • Safe and responsible use of social networking, websites, chat rooms, electronic mail, bulletin boards, instant messaging, etc.

  • Recognizing, avoiding and reporting online solicitations by sexual predators.

  • Risks of transmitting personal information on the Internet.

  • Recognizing and avoiding unsolicited or deceptive online communication.

  • Recognizing and reporting online harassment and cyberbullying.

  • Reporting illegal online activities and communications.

  • Understanding copyright laws on written materials, photographs, music and video.  

To assist teachers, lessons in these areas have been broken down by grade-level clusters:

Teachers:  Please report what lesson(s) you use, and approximately how much instructional time was spent on the lesson, to your principal each semester. An email from a Department, Team, or Grade Level representative, or from individual teachers, stating the topic, lesson, or activity used and grade level addressed will be enough to show compliance. (For example, compliance could be shown in an email to your principal stating, “4th grade D.A.R.E. lesson on recognizing & reporting harassment & cyberbullying; 35 min.”)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Black History Month Sites

February is Black History Month!  Here are some links to help you teach about the contributions of African Americans to our nation & the world.

Please see  the Social Science Mandates page of the Illinois State Board Of Education Web Site

The sites above were emailed to District #205 teachers on Feb. 1, 2010.  In addition, I've also been reminded of the following sites:

Comments Are Open! Feel free to add to this list by posting a comment below that contains your favorite links.  (We are only publishing comments from legitimate "galesburg-two-oh-five-dot-org" email addresses, so please don't use your home address to suggest a new link.)  Thanks for participating!

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