It’s time for the TCRWP Institutes!

The TCRWP Reading and Writing Institutes, along with the Content Area Institute, are summer highlights.  Some describe them as “teacher camp!” Educators come from all over the world to enhance their instructional practices and be part of the Institute experience.  Many of our new students will launch their coursework with the Institutes…and then there are graduates and participants who are attending for the 5th, 6th, 10th time!

Welcome and enjoy!  Consider these tips and tricks to make your week even better:

  • Bring a sweater, some rooms get chilly!
  • Arrive on time — you don’t want to miss a minute
  • TC is a tricky maze, so rely on your Trail Guide map and the posted direction signs to help you navigate
  • Post-its, pens/pencils, and extra paper may come in handy
  • Bring a lunch if you can to avoid long waits at local spots
  • Charge your computer during lunch so it’s ready for the afternoon
  • If you love a chart or a slide, ask to take a picture
  • Bring a phone charger
  • The keynotes are amazing — be sure to attend them all!
  • Choose your closing sessions beforehand and have backups just in case
  • Make friends and ask questions; get contact information
  • Start a booklist; you will be glad you did!

Friday Book Favorites: Unlikely Friendships

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

1Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge is a young boy who lives next door to a nursing home. He is friends with all of the people who live there and visits them often. His favorite person is Miss Nancy and when she loses her memory, Wilfred Gordon goes on a search to find her memories. A quest to help his beloved friend turns into an inquiry into the definition of a memory. Wilfred Gordon learns the power of memories, and even more so, the power of being a true friend.

Flora and The Flamingo by Molly Idle2

This wordless picture book won the Caldecott Honor and is the first in a series, which includes Flora and The Penguin and will soon include Flora and the Peacock. Humor and heart fill the pages of this book as these unlikely friends join together to perform a dance of friendship. Idle’s use of flaps and foldout pages allows the reader to interact with the story on another level, bringing the dance to life.

City Dog Country Frog by Mo Willems

3While Mo Willems is typically known for his laugh out loud humor, his book, City Dog Country Frog, takes a more serious approach to meaningful friendships. He tells the story of a city dog who visits the country and befriends a solitary frog. The wonderful combination of Willems’ brief but carefully chosen prose and Jon Muth’s expressive watercolors will tug at the heartstrings of young readers – and older ones, too!

Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff4

The 2004 Tsunami left baby hippo, Owen, stranded and orphaned in Kenya. During his rescue and recovery, he developed an unlikely and amazing friendship with a 130-year old tortoise named Mzee. Owen and Mzee catalogs the true story of an inspiring relationship that blossomed despite tremendous differences and overwhelming obstacles.

Tech Tip #6: Slidely – Congratulations Graduates!

Congratulations to all of the May graduates from the Literacy Specialist program! Below is a collection of pictures from graduation. Click the video to watch.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 11.06.09 PM

Do you want to make a quick and easy video slideshow of pictures? Slidely is a very simple video creation tool. Here are the steps!

1) Create an account on Slidely.

2) On the top left corner of the window, press the +CREATE button.

3) Choose photos. You can connect Slidely with your Facebook, Instagram, Google Account, Picasa, Dropbox, Flickr, or, you can simply upload photos you have from your computer. Once all your pictures are uploaded, click on them in the order you’d like to see them play in your video. As you select photos, they will have a blue check over them.

4) Press the Next button on the top left side of the window.

5) Select music. You can search for songs through YouTube, SoundCloud, Dropbox, POP, TV, HITS or by uploading a song from your computer. When you choose a song, Slidely will let you listen to it. If you like it, click Use this Song.

6) Lastly, preview your slideshow, write the title and description and then press Save my Slidely to publish it.

Friday Favorites: It’s Graduation Time!

Picture Books For Milestone Moments

yay you

Yay, You! Moving Out, Moving Up, Moving On by Sandra Boynton

walk onWalk On! A Guide For Babies of All Ages by Marla Frazee


If I Never Forever Endeavor by Holly Meade


The Three Questions by John J. Muth


Stars by Mary Lyn Ray

north star

The North Star by Peter Reynolds


The Wonderful Happens by Cynthia Rylant

suessOh the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

courageCourage by Bernard Waber

ideWhat Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada

Tech Tip #5: Google for Education

Looking for more opportunities to learn? For FREE? On the Google for Education website, you can learn about the following tools for teaching and learning. The lessons that Google offers introduce what they are and then also how to apply them in the classroom. Google offers lessons for the following applications:

Each lesson includes a Getting Started in the Classroom section, a Training Video, and a Module with lessons, self-check questions, and much more.

If you are especially interested in Google for Education, you can even become a Google Certified Teacher, not only can doing so help you expand your knowledge of educational technology, but it is super marketable! For more information, see this site.

Google for Education also offers this site for more training resources.