Monthly Archives: September 2015

Coming Home

BLOG Coming Home 1
                  Ms. Chelsey Herrig

It has been one of those weeks. You know the kind?! The kind with a schedule so jam-packed full that you wonder on Monday at dawn how you might make it to Friday at sunset?

This week was filled with responsibilities, activities, and life. To be clear and frank (although we never know who Frank actually is) – it was an incredible week on campus. It is Homecoming week! If you are part of the festivities, you know what we are talking about! If you remember the festivities from years gone by, you know what we are talking about! Homecoming is coming home. It is time to celebrate the past, present, and maybe even the future. Homecoming is about celebrating successes and reflecting on challenges…and having some fun!

Our homecoming week was especially fantastic because we had a special teacher candidate return to campus after being away for a year. Who is she and where has she been? She is Chelsey Herrig, and she is located in Washington D.C. serving as the National Education Association (NEA) Student Program Chair of NEA.

Ms. Herrig is entering her second year of the two-year limit in Washington, D.C. She is making us proud with her leadership endeavors. She is taking up the “Degrees Not Debt” campaign and bringing a level of awareness to the nation to improve the state for teacher candidates – future teachers – future NEA. The student program serves approximately 60,000 teacher candidates and the NEA serves approximately 3 million teachers.

When sharing about her adventures over the past year, Chelsey shared with our teacher candidates who attended her speech that attending one local EMSP meeting changed her life. She became a member, became engaged, became the local chapter President, and is now the Student Program Chair for NEA. She is quick to note that she is more than the face of NEA; she is the voice and action; she is active and engaged and ready to take on a good cause in the name of learners and teachers.

The Southwest Minnesota State University Education Minnesota Student Program (SMSU EMSP) chapter is still active on campus, and under new leadership, Wilson Ebner, chapter president, who helped organize Chelsey’s coming home event. The SMSU EMSP is involved in community events, including: Relay for Life, Scholastic Books Fair that raises funds and books for others, and reading to students in schools during special reading weeks such as Read across America. The student-driven programming provides teacher candidates with opportunities to focus on professional development, including resume building, networking, developing the teacher’s toolbox of strategies, and assessment frameworks.

Ok – so where are we going with this you may find your inner monologue questioning. What is the moral of the story?

Get involved and make “home” proud! It is up to you to make the world the place it needs to be. Oh – and have a blast at homecoming! “…and make good choices” as Dr. V. and Dr. C. suggest at the end of the week to the teacher candidates.

BLOG Coming Home 2

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Tweet Like a PIRATE Day

BLOG pirate twitter 1

“AHHHH” (scream). “He just followed me!!!”

“WHAT??? He hasn’t followed me yet! Green monster over here…a little envious. Oh, wait…AHHHHHH (scream) he just followed me, too!!!”

Those were the screams echoing on campus during the first ever ED Social Studies Methods #SMSUtlap live twitter chat held last Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.  As their professor, I couldn’t help but laugh and then laugh some more. 🙂

BLOG pirate twitter 2

Who is he you ask?? THE one and only pirate of course…Dave Burgess. He jumped in on the #SMSUtlap chat, and the teacher candidates were very excited about that! Dave is the author of the book “Teach like a PIRATE” which is a required read in my class. He joined in on the conversation, and he started following the candidates. That is one of his strong points…Dave believes in building his PLN with “connected educators and meeting the new wave of life-changers!”

BLOG pirate twitter 3

The teacher candidates had never participated in a live Twitter chat before this class. Many of their friends on Twitter were sending them text messages during the chat asking “what are you doing???” One teacher candidate even apologized on her Twitter page for all the ‘random’ tweets she was sending out. Certainly a new concept to these young future teachers.

Fast forward to week #2 of our second-ever #SMSUtlap live chat… And, of course, the teacher candidates became very excited again to see Dave pop in on the chat for a little bit. Thanks for joining us, Captain. You made their day!

BLOG pirate twitter 4

#SMSUtlap teacher candidates were a lot quicker this week with posting their questions that were on creative posters using YES…they are tweeting like pirates. They even did a little dancing to YMCA. Multitaskers in the making—tweeting AND dancing! They have left their comfort zone! 🙂

BLOG pirate twitter 5

Next week will be our last live chat, and believe it or not, the teacher candidates are bummed about that. Join us if you can! Proud of all of you upcoming teachers!!! Keep tweeting like a pirate.

Below are a few of the posters made by these tweeters…enjoy!

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BLOG pirate twitter 7

BLOG pirate twitter 8

BLOG pirate twitter 9

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

10 Reading Strategies for Use in Any Classroom

BLOG reading

Reading is one of the three critical pieces of learning; reading, writing, and discussion, as proposed by Mike Schmoker, are “…the foundation for a well-equipped mind: the key to equity, access, and economic opportunity” (2006, p.72).

The following are useful B-D-A strategies to use in any classroom:

Before Reading Strategies: used to motivate, build and activate prior knowledge, introduce vocab, and develop metacognitive awareness (Vacca, Vacca, and Mraz, 2011).

1—Anticipation Guide


3—Story Impressions


During Reading Strategies: used to connect reader to text with structured guidance so students distinguish importance between ideas, understand relationships, and activity respond to meaning (Vacca, Vacca, and Mraz, 2011).

4—Discussion Web

5—Admit Slip/Ticket to Enter

6—Guided Reading Procedure (GRP)


After Reading Strategies: used to clarify and extend emerging concepts (Vacca, Vacca, and Mraz, 2011).



9—Reciprocal Teaching


Drum roll, please…

10—Spread the wealth to others… share our blog and read again!
Happy Reading!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

From Summer Daze to School Days

So it’s true! We are head-over-tail in love with school! Literally! As a new school year gets underway, we are ready to learn – and to play! Meet this furry student, Stella. She is the newest member of class. The boys are her BFFs – also heading into another year of learning!

Meet Stella
                            Meet Stella
BLOG boys to school
                           Stella’s BFFs

Transitioning from summer to school can be tough. Even with the excitement of a new year, it can leave us out of sorts as we start a “regular” schedule and get back into the routine of school.

Here are some helpful tips to get us on the right track! This is for students, parents, furry friends, and maybe even professors as we head back to school. 🙂
Stella and her pals – human and furry – are sharing advice for school success.

First the basics…

*Be sure to think about looking your best. It can help you act your best. First impressions are important in this world of ours – so aim to make your first impression your best.

Bathe regularly :)
         Bathe regularly 🙂

*Drink lots of water. It is important for our brains to stay hydrated as we try to learn and understand new concepts.

BLOG dogs in the pool   BLOG dogs water    BLOG kids in the pool

*Get enough exercise. We need to be physically active to help our brains.

Walk & Talk - check!
                           Walk & Talk – check!

*Get some rest! The change in routine can wear on us so we need to establish an earlier bedtime and be consistent with it.


Once you have that down-pat, move on down the list to more advanced advice…

*Be comfortable with who you are. Don’t try to be anyone else but yourself. You are the best at being you. So Relax – you’ve got this!

Just chillin'
                   Just chillin’                     Stella gets “being herself” confused with her nap time it seems.

*Find a friend to talk to and share about your day. It’s important to be brave, but it’s also important to just “get it out of your system” with a friend.

This is how the story goes...
              This is how the story goes…

*Find something that you like and stick with it. The world will push and pull you in many directions; as it aims to shape you, stick with your favorites even with pressure to change. It may not make sense to other, but if it works for you, stay the course.

I wonder if they will notice if I take this gem for a cruise...????
I wonder if they will notice if I take this gem for a cruise…????  They keep telling me no, but I won’t give up trying…

*Play nicely with others. Enough said.

If Garfield and Ode can do it, why can't we?
If Garfield and Ode can be friends, why can’t we?

*Don’t forget to read – for learning and for enjoyment.

BLOG Jackson reading to Stella         BLOG Jonah reading to Stella          BLOG JR reading to Stella

*Take on a new challenge. Go for it. We dare you. If you aren’t learning and growing and stumbling along the way, the journey just isn’t the same. Make it worth it!

College life!
Katie at college! No puppies allowed though so we are sending out love the distance to her!

*Get your priorities set – include time to work and time to play. We aren’t mental health professionals, but we do know that all work and no play can leave us exhausted and without purpose.

BLOG JR swing       BLOG girls fun      BLOG doggie friend

*When you go out in the world, find a buddy. Life isn’t as scary with a buddy by your side to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

BLOG doggies
                             I’ve got you!
Woof! Woof!
              Woof! Woof!

Sounds like common sense, right? Even if it doesn’t, we are firm believers that even old dogs can be taught new tricks! Stella is excited to formally start doggie school next week… stay tuned for an update on her formal schooling experience. Wondering if they will be using 21st century teaching and learning strategies and integrate technology….hmmm….?

Enjoy the school year! Bark on! 🙂

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.