Monday, September 27, 2010

Cool School Tool #5:
‘Superteacher’ Site a
Treasure for Your Teachers

It’s a syllables worksheet…
It’s a math puzzle…
It’ a brain teaser…

Add to your super hero status by sharing this great resource with your teachers: the Super Teacher Worksheets site presents veritable Kryptonite for student boredom!

Super Teacher Worksheets is the labor of love of Tim Wei, a third-grade teacher in upstate New York. Some time ago this mild-mannered educator took time to browse through the games and printables he had created over the years for his own students. He had accumulated a hard drive full of them!

“I figured I would upload the printables to share with other teachers,” Wei told Education World. Today, his site presents hundreds of free printables for teachers.

“The Web site is my hobby,” says Wei. He makes money from advertising that appears on the site, but most of the money he earns goes to pay for server space and additional printables.

“The site just took off and grew and grew,” Wei explained. “I am overwhelmed by the positive response I have gotten in emails from teachers and on my SuperTeacherWorksheets Facebook page.”

“The site isn't flashy -- no bells and whistles,” said Wei. (Hmmm. Not flashy. Kinda conjures up an image of Clark Kent, doesn't it?)

“It's just text, links, and pdf worksheets for teachers,” he added.

Which is just what teachers want!


“Learning math is fun when you're solving puzzles and riddles,” says Tim Wei. That's the secret behind two ebooks he offers for sale on a separate Web site.

"The two books offer fun ways for kids to build the math skills they'll need throughout their lives,” added Wei.

If you’re looking for a nice resource to add to your teachers’ professional development libraries, browse these ebooks today:

The Math Riddle Book
Kids complete a set of math problems. The answers to those problems help them to decode the answer to a laugh-out-loud riddle.

Secret Code Math
Kids use a picture-symbol key to decode math problems.

Monday, September 20, 2010

'Thank a Teacher' Video Has Many Uses

The folks at Mudpies and Butterflies contacted me a few days ago to share a cool little video they created to thank teachers in schools where parents use their free communication tools. As I watched the video [above] I thought of the ways busy principals might use it in their schools. You might use it to…

Open -- or end -- a staff meeting. The video’s inspirational message is one that will resonate with teachers. Viewing it might be a nice “reward” after a particularly focused meeting where teachers have worked or debated hard. It will be an especially timely message if your session was focused on meeting the needs of all students.

Welcome parents to Open House night. Open House is coming up. This video might play in the background as parents gather, or in select hallway locations as parents wander from room to room to meet teachers. Play the video in rotation with a photo montage of your students busy at work in their classrooms.

Share during American Education Week. If your Open House has already passed, American Education Week (November 14-20) is not far behind. This video will pay a nice tribute to teachers’ efforts on behalf of students all year long!

Play in your school’s main office or Parent Welcome Center. There, the “Thank a Teacher” video might play on its own or in rotation with a video about your own school and its mission.

Inspire student writing. Share the video with students and ask them to write about ways in which a teacher has inspired them. You might ask permission to share some of their essays with the school community during Teacher Appreciation Week next May.

While you’re considering how you might use the video to inspire students, parents, or your staff, you might also take a quick tour of Mudpies and Butterflies to learn how their tools might add value to your school’s mission.

Monday, September 13, 2010

NBC Embarks on
‘Education Nation’ Summit

NBC News is about to embark on its much heralded “Education Nation” Summit, the September 27-28 centerpiece of its weeklong “Education Nation” initiative that begins on the “Meet the Press” broadcast of Sunday, September 26.

The Summit will convene the foremost plicymakers, educators, members of the business community, and engaged citizens in a national discussion about the challenges, potential solutions, and innovations spanning today’s education landscape.

“The response we’ve received from leaders in education has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Lisa Gersh, President of Strategic Initiatives at NBC News. “The experts we have convened at ‘Education Nation’ will highlight some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in education in this country, jumpstarting a national conversation about one of the most pressing issues of our time.”

For the entire week of September 27, all NBC platforms -- “Nightly News,” “Today,” “Your Business,” MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo,, and -- will highlight educational success stories, uncover staggering truths and myths about education, and demonstrate how poor education cripples our economy and society.

Participants in the Education Nation Summit will include
  • Michael Bloomberg: Mayor, City of New York
  • Geoffrey Canada: CEO & President of Harlem Children's Zone Project
  • Arne Duncan: US Secretary of Education
  • Byron Garrett: CEO of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
  • Allan Golston, President, US Program, The Gates Foundation
  • Reed Hastings: Founder & CEO of Netflix
  • Walter Isaacson: President & CEO of the Aspen Institute
  • Joel Klein: Chancellor of New York City Schools
  • Wendy Kopp: CEO and Founder of Teach for America
  • John Legend: Musician; Founder of the Show Me Campaign
  • Gregory McGinity: Managing Director of Policy, The Broad Education Foundation
  • Bill Pepicello, Ph.D.: President of University of Phoenix
  • Sally Ride: First Female Astronaut; Vice-chair of Change the Equation
  • Michelle Rhee: Chancellor, District of Columbia Public School System of Washington, D.C.
  • Margaret Spellings: Former US Secretary of Education
  • Antonio Villaraigosa: Mayor, City of Los Angeles, Californi
  • Randi Weingarten: President of American Federation of Teachers (AFT-CLO)

  • The Summit’s 11 panel sessions will present discussions on important topics in education such as:
  • Job One: Preparing America's students to compete in the global economy
  • The Innovation Gap: Bringing the technology revolution to the schoolhouse
  • Change Agents: How do we reinvent the status quo at all levels?
  • Good Apples: How do we keep good teachers, throw out bad ones, and put a new shine on the profession?
  • A Fresh Start: Leveling the playing field before school begins
  • Shrinking the Achievement Gap: Is education the civil rights issue of our time?
  • The Parent and the Village: Fostering a learning culture in our communities

  • NBC’s “Education Nation” mission statement states, “We will continue our coverage to hold our leaders and communities accountable for improving outcomes in the near and long terms. NBC News will follow this story until this mission is fulfilled.”


    What Is ‘Education Nation’? The Education Nation Summit will be held in the rink space at Rockefeller Plaza (New York City) on September 27th and 28th. Participants will come together for a series of panel sessions on the challenges of America's education system, the success stories, and the solutions. Learn more

    Learning Plaza. From September 26th-30th, Rockefeller Plaza will be transformed into a "Learning Plaza," an interactive experience open to the public that will explore some of the most innovative aspects of American education. Learn more

    Teacher Town Hall. Hosted by NBC News anchor Brian Williams, the Teacher Town Hall will bring together teachers from across the country, both in-person and online, to brainstorm ideas, talk about what works in the classroom, and highlight the challenges of today’s education system. The Teacher Town Hall will air LIVE on MSNBC and stream at,,, and at 12 p.m. EDT on Sunday, September 26th. Learn more

    For more information visit or

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Build Students’
    S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G Skills This Year

    Road workers in North Carolina won’t be winning any spelling bees. Their misspelling of the word S-H-C-O-O-L (in 10-foot tall letters nonetheless) has them r-e-d with embarrassment. The workers learned a valuable lesson from their error: misspelling school is not sh-cool. (View a video news report)


    Seeing that news report out of North Carolina reminded me of a new online spelling tool that I ran across a month ago. Maybe you have been to the Web site. If you haven’t been there, take a quick look around. BigIQkids is a cool tool to pass along to your teachers. They can use the grade-level word lists that are provided, or they can create their own word lists for students to use. Students practice or test themselves and earn “coins” they can use to play a wide variety of fun online games. BigIQkids’ spelling program -- and its other programs -- are free of charge. The site also offers premium programs that enable teachers or parents to monitor and receive emails about students’ progress.


    For more great spelling resources see Education World’s special Spelling archive. There you will find dozens of spelling lesson and game ideas, including these:

    Five Spelling Games
    Spice up weekly spelling-list study with these five fun activities. (Grades K-8)

    Earn Spelling Points
    More than 20 activities for spicing up your weekly spelling lessons.

    Those resources will help make your students A+ spellers. And what could be sh-cooler than that!