Welcome to my Blog! Hello, my name is MaryLouise and I am a Special Education Language Arts Teacher. I have utilized my lesson plans and other original teaching material to create picture books, workbooks, nonfiction and fiction articles and teacher's guides for educational resources.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Today's Topic: Free Resources for Writers and Illustrators

Consider your local library as a source for help in
completing your writing and/or illustrating projects!

The Mercer County Lawrence Branch Library offers a variety of informative computer classes facilitated by MaryLou Byer, Library Associate and Computer Instructor and Robert Bee, Senior Librarian and Computer Trainer. I recently attended an open lab time class where I spoke to the above mentioned computer experts to obtain information and instruction about blogs.
What are some of the computer classes offered by the library?
The classes that we offer range from beginner to very advanced. We usually run between 25-30 per month. The Beginner and Intermediate classes are repeated every month, while the Advanced classes will rotate every few months. In the Beginner Level, the classes include Mouse Basics, PC Basics, Internet 1, Library Catalog and Open Lab Time. In the Intermediate Level, the classes include E-Mail 1 and 2, Excel 1 and 2, PC Essentials, Internet 2, and Word 1 and 2. The Advanced Level classes include Blogging, Digital Audio and Overdrive, Digital Photography 1 and 2, Dreamweaver 1 and 2, eLibraryNJ, Excel 3, Facebook, Family History, Internet 3, Legal Resources Online, NoveList, PC Advanced, PowerPoint 1 and 2, Publisher, Resume Makeover, Twitter, Web 2.0, and Word 3 and 4. Tutorials which are Internet-based lessons done at your own pace are available at practice sessions and through your own internet connection at www.mcl.org.

For a more complete list and description of classes offered at the Mercer County Lawrence Branch Library visit www.mcl.org.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Today's Topic: Math Teacher Created Products

Tangible Teaching Tools
Today's interview is with Dr. Cathy Campbell who has a PhD. in Educational Psychology, 12 years of math teaching, curriculum planning and teaching for 1st-12th grade, college tutoring experience and 4 years system -centered leadership training.
How has your PhD. in Educational Psychology helped you teach math?My degree has helped me to pay attention to what's going on with my students...to see where they are getting off track both emotionally and academically and to help them find methods to get themselves back on track.
Can you explain your process for creating tangible math teaching materials?
It starts in the classroom, when I see that students are struggling with the usual way a topic is being taught. The first thing I do is look at the concept being taught and break it down into micro steps. Then I look at the students to see how many of the micro steps they already know. I then go into a space inside of me that I consider my creative space and I concentrate on the concept and what it is about the concept that the students need to understand. In this space I can create a method that helps my students develop the new pieces they need for themselves. So, I create materials and environments for the students to explore and discover the next steps in the math that they need to learn.
Why did you create the Disguise The Unknown product?
When I was first teaching equations about eight years ago, I wanted to demonstrate to my students why equations need to stay balanced. I also wanted to be able to represent an "unknown" on a balance scale. I saved up small M & M containers in which to hide the "unknown" amount and use on the balance scale. I quickly discovered that the M & M containers had a weight of their own and distorted the balance of the equation. After that, I was on a quest to find something in which to hide the "unknown". I searched on line and found small, black, plastic ziplock bags which were lightweight enough so as not to distort the equation. At that point I was ready to write down all of my ideas which had been formulating over the years for demonstrating and solving equations on the balance scale. When using this product, the students can visualize the algebraic equation rather than just solving through steps.
To learn more about Cathy and her Tangible Teaching Tools (which contain lesson plans)
go to www.zeroinginonmath.com

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Today's Topic: Reuse, Recycle and Reinvent

Chris and Jon under the young Kwanzan Cherry Tree.
Yesterday my doorbell rang and I was pleasantly surprised to find 3 young gentleman offering to cut my Kwanzan Cherry Tree for free! I was very skeptical at first, but they said they were from Sykesville Flower Farm and were interested in the branches. Why? They explained that the branches would be placed in a greenhouse with high humidity and forced to bloom. I was told that my beautiful double blossomed branches would be used for weddings, parties, and even TV commercials. Wow! I never thought that those overgrown branches could be used that way.
This caused me to reflect on all of my stacks of writing and artwork that I could be sifting through to revise and submit to alternate publishers.

Jake Durr, Robert Probeck and Dylan Butchin from the
Sykesville Flower Farm in Burlington, New Jersey. (609-723-6264)