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a professional organization of educators and individuals actively engaged
in the development of literacy throughout the Greater St. Louis Area.

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Utilizing Video in the Classroom Mary-Eileen Rufkahr




Most of us, of a certain age, remember the thrill of seeing our teacher wheel a movie or film strip projector into our classroom.  The sight of that now outdated technology meant that our lesson for the day was going to be presented differently than it normally was.


Today’s students have been plugged in since birth.  The click-click-click of a filmstrip presentation just won’t cut it.  These students know all about YouTube as a place to see the latest dance craze, friend’s postings and some videos that defy explanation.  However, as a teacher, you can tap into the power the site offers for educational purposes.


As with all educational materials, pre-screening is vital; so is teacher familiarity with the site before using in the classroom.  Once you are comfortable with your own YouTube skills, the site will offer thousands of resources to tap into.


Begin by creating a YouTube playlist as part of student assignments or recommended extra resources.  A playlist puts it all into an easy, well-organized format for student consumption.


For those who instruct at the high school or university level, record class lectures and save them for future viewing.  Students who are absent from class, or need a review, can link onto the lecture for further study.


Video instruction doesn’t begin and end with YouTube.  Many other quality sites exist as well, including:



TeacherTube is similar to YouTube in how it works and what it has to offer, except for being exclusively devoted to educational content. Browse videos by common core standards and individual state standards, and also check out its library of other types of content, like audio and photos.


Neo K-12

Neo K-12 has a large collection of educational videos for K-12 students in a variety of subjects, with an emphasis on science content. The website also includes games, quizzes, and other interactive activities.



Explore.org shares live animal cams so students get a glimpse into nature at work while sitting in the classroom. They also provide a number of pre-recorded educational films.


Zane Education

Zane Education is a resource for subtitled videos, making them especially valuable for any hearing impaired students, but also for any students that learn better when able to combine visual and textual learning.  The subtitles are also useful for our English Language Learners.  Students can access over 260 curriculum topics while improving their reading, literacy and English Language skills.

Legislative Report Submitted by Mary Eileen Rufkahr



The 2016 legislative session for the Missouri House began at noon on Wednesday, January 6, 2016.   Both chambers are now led by new presiding officers.  House Speaker Todd Richardson replaced former Speaker John Diehl, who resigned just days before the end of last year’s Regular Session.  Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard replaced Senator Tom Dempsey, who resigned during the interim.

Richardson emphasized, among other things, the need for quality educational opportunities for all students.

The Joint Committee on Education met on February 17 to discuss matters relating to the University of Missouri with the UM President, UMC Chancellor and Board of Curators.

The House gave final approval (Third Reading vote) to HCS/HBs 1646, 2132 and 1621 (Swan) on February 18. The bill would add additional state requirements for the required testing on institutions of government. The bill allows districts to continue to require a locally-determined test regarding the Missouri Constitution and U.S. Constitution and institutions of government and adds a requirement to also use questions similar to those in the citizenship exam used by the U.S. government. The committee adopted an amendment for each bill to continue the existing requirement regarding testing on institutions of government and require instruction regarding American civics. The House adopted two technical amendments. The House rejected HA 3 (Ellington) to require every high school student to pass a world history course.

The House Select Committee on Education met on February 18 and voted to approve several bills already heard by the education-related committees: HCS/HB 1451 (Wood) modifies many provisions relating to charter schools, including financial stress, closure, academic performance standards, approval of charters and expansion of the transfer law to include charter schools.  The HCS will add the provisions of HB 1667 to provide that charter schools become eligible to receive state funding for early childhood education at the same time as the district in which they are located becomes eligible.

HB 1611 (Swan) requires school districts to establish comprehensive guidance and counseling programs for students attending school in the district.

HB 1643 (Hicks) makes CPR instruction a high school graduation requirement. The bill requires students to participate in a 30 minute CPR program at some point in their high school program in either physical education or health class.

The House Rules Committee met on February 17 and approved several Consent bills, including: HB 1710 (Lair) to apply the existing 550 hour limitation on PSRS retirees working for a school district to teaching in a district while employed by a third-party such as employment services.

HB 1602 (Ruth) changes the laws regarding the appointment of school board members in the event of vacancies.

HB 1610 (Swan) broadens the definition of schools allowed to cooperate with public high schools to offer post-secondary course options.

HB 2186 (Ross) allows school districts to develop policies on student recognition for participation in the Constitution Project of the Missouri Supreme Court.

The Senate Education Committee met on February 17 to hear several bills:

SB 777 (Munzlinger) would allow students enrolled in approved virtual institutions, such as Western Governors’ University, to participate in the Access Missouri Financial Assistance program.

SB 941 (Dixon) exempts yoga teacher training courses, programs, and schools from provisions regulating proprietary schools.

SB 996 (Pearce) excludes funds designated by taxpayers in an urban district as local early childhood education funds from the local tax revenue calculation used to provide funding to charter schools that have declared themselves as a local educational agency.

SB 997 (Pearce) establishes several provisions relating to higher education.

The committee also approved several bills on February 17: SCS/SBs 586 and SB 651 (Wasson) to revise the definitions used in calculating state aid for schools. SB 827 (Sifton) creates the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia.

SCS/SBs 857 and SB 712 (Romine) revises the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program by adding eligibility requirements much like those required under the A+ Schools program and requires the Coordinating Board for Higher Education to establish a procedure for the reimbursement of the student’s portion of fees for any dual credit courses.

SCS/SB 855 (Pearce) establishes a tuition grant program for spouses and children of war veterans.

SCS/SB 638 (Riddle) adds additional state requirements for the required testing on institutions of government. The bill allows districts to continue to require a locally-determined test regarding the Missouri Constitution and U.S. Constitution and institutions of government and adds a requirement to also use questions similar to those in the citizenship exam used by the U.S. government.

The House Elementary and Secondary Committee heard a number of bills on February 16: HB 1429 (Sommer) would add an additional school formula weight for each gifted student to the calculation of the school district’s weighted average daily attendance.

HB 1656 (Dunn) will require board policy and staff training in suicide awareness and prevention for public school teachers.

HB 2178 (Higdon) requires high schools to offer driver’s education courses and grant a unit of elective credit.

HB 1614 (Swan) will authorize a 50% tax credit for contributions to school foundations that provide funding for unmet health, hunger, and hygiene needs for children in school. The committee then voted to approve the bill with a technical amendment.

HB 2379 (Swan) requires that public schools shall screen students for dyslexia and related disorders.

HB 1888 (Dogan) establishes education savings accounts. The accounts would be funded by diverting the school district’s state formula funding to a personal account to fund home school or private school tuition.

The committee also voted to approve the following bills heard previously:

HB 2241 (Dohrman) requires coursework addressing the Bill of Rights in secondary schools and in college and university introductory courses in American government and American history. The committee approved a technical amendment to the bill.

HB 1750 (Roden) specifies that the Pledge of Allegiance must be recited at least once per school day in schools supported by public funds.

HB 1871 (Cookson) requires school financial audits to contain certain information relating to extracurricular activities within the school district.

HJR 59 (Lauer) proposes a constitutional amendment regarding when and the amount that a school district in a first classification charter county can become indebted.

HB 1928 (Burlison) creates the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia and requires DESE to employ a dyslexia specialist and develop professional development programs for school students.

The committee postponed action on HB 2123 (Spencer), as several amendments are being considered for the bill. The bill would establish the Missouri Course Access Program. The bill establishes a new course access program related to MoVIP. The program is available for students enrolled in public school.

The House Emerging Issues in Education Committee heard HB 2388 (Fitzwater) which would change provisions of law related to youth sports brain injury prevention.

The committee also voted to approve the following bills:

HB 2238 (Gannon) authorizes financial assistance to cover part or all of the cost of the Missouri high school equivalency examination for first time test takers.

HB 1792 (Lauer) adds making a terrorist threat and statutory rape to the list of offenses that school administrators must report.



The House Higher Education Committee heard several bills on February 16:

HB 1678 (Solon) would require public colleges and universities to implement memorandums of understanding with law enforcement with respect to sexual assaults on campus.

HB 2237 (Rowden) regards University of Missouri extension councils.

HCR 62 (Peters) urges the UM board of curators to present the original Lloyd Gaines collection to the Smithsonian Institution for the purpose of national preservation.

The House Ways and Means Committee heard HB 2307 (Bahr) on February 16. The bill would establish education scholarship accounts. The accounts would be funded by tax credits for donations to third-party organizations that would administer the education savings accounts used to fund home school or private school tuition.

On the national front, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law.

The previous version of the law, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, was enacted in 2002.  The law was scheduled for revision in 2007; in 2010, the Obama administration joined a call from educators and families to create an updated law that focused on the goal of fully preparing all students for success in college and careers.

Key points included in ESSA are:

  • Holding all students to high academic standards that prepare them for success in college and careers.
  • Ensuring accountability by guaranteeing that when students fall behind, states redirect resources into what works to help them and their schools improve, with a particular focus on the very lowest-performing schools, high schools with high dropout rates, and schools with achievement gaps.
  • Empowering state and local decision-makers to develop their own strong systems for school improvement based upon evidence.

Reducing the burden of testing on students and teachers, making sure that tests don’t crowd out teaching and

Poster Contest for 2016


State Poster Contest
by Kathleen McDonnell

Theme: “For the Love of Reading”
* Procedures: Follow rules of MSC-IRA.
* Each school may submit their best posters in each category.
* Posters may be submitted between 4:30 and 5:30 pm at the St. Louis Suburban IRA April 13th Spring meeting.
* Posters NOT submitted to MSC-IRA state poster contest will be returned the evening of the judging.
* Judging of posters will take place at the St. Louis Suburban IRA April 13th meeting.
* The three winning posters in each category will be submitted to the state level of the poster contest. Winning posters will be announced in the Missouri IRA newsletter as well as the St. Louis Suburban IRA newsletter.

Teach More, Test Less, Empower Teachers and Students: Nov. 2015


Teach More, Test Less, Empower Teachers (and Students!): Musings of a Retired Reading Specialist

By Dr. Sam Bommarito

For the past several years I’ve contributed articles to the St. Louis Suburban IRA newsletter designed to give teachers good ideas and resources to try out during the school year. Now that I have just retired, I am continuing that tradition, using slightly different formats (op-ed/memoir) to talk about a volunteer reading project I am currently carrying out at a private suburban school. I am doing a weekly meeting with selected students in grades 3, 4, and 5 and supporting the learning specialist in that building with her students in grades 1 and 2. My group size is 6.  All the students have been identified as needing extra support in reading. As I describe what I am doing for them I will also tell you about my methods and resources. I hope you will find that some of those methods and resources might prove useful to you and your students. More information about the methods and resources mentioned in this article can be found in a Goggle Drive folder accessible at https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B5yrrnpuy5mjWHlnRTRxbzdVNWs&usp=sharing

Teach More:

How you spend your class time determines what kind of student performance results you get. Time is your most valuable commodity. Over my career I’ve found that following a Reading/Writing workshop format helps me to maximize my use of teaching time. Key components of workshop organization include whole group, small groups, sharing, ad hoc strategy groups and conferencing. Mini-lessons can done within these frameworks. The key to successful mini-lessons is that they are based on effective “kidwatching” (instruction the students really need!) and that they are short and focused. In my project I plan to make use of three teaching resources for strategy lessons. The first is The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo. This book includes one-page lessons for 300 different reading strategies, both word recognition and comprehension. The lessons are inspired by e-mails, tweets and requests from readers of her other Heinemann books. The next resource is the second edition of Lori Oczkus’s Reciprocal Teaching at Work: K-12. My final resource is the strategy lesson book found in the companion program to Raz Kids called Reading A-Z. These lessons have one key advantage–each lesson is tied directly to the Raz Kids Leveled Library (e.g. a Level E book around which the “main idea” lesson is built). Strategies are best learned if the student uses them in appropriate text immediately after instruction. The organization of this Raz-Kid resource makes that very easy and there are multiple leveled texts for each strategy. (links in folder for all resources, including a link where Serravallo gives an overview on how to use her new strategies book).

Test Less:

A common complaint that is heard in virtually every teacher’s lounge in the nation is that so much time is required for test practice that very little time is left for teaching. Just today, the New York Times reported that the White House “declared Saturday that the push had gone too far, acknowledged its own role in the proliferation of tests, and urged schools to step back and make exams less onerous and more purposeful.” (link in folder). My solution to that is to limit test practice to that which is needed to get students used to the question formats they will face. The remainder of my teaching time is spent teaching. In addition to using strategy lessons I also plan to do weekly workshop conferences with each child. My mentor text for conferencing is How is It Going by Carl Anderson. This highly recommended book carefully explains the teacher’s role in conferencing (Chapter 2, p. 25 ) and conferencing basics (Afterward p. 185). Conferencing can and should be an important form of teaching. Many times teachers I’ve worked with have said “Dr. B., I don’t have time to conference.” My retort is you don’t have time not to. You don’t have to start with your whole class. I suggest picking one or two of your very highest performing students and one or two of your very lowest performing students and to conference with them every 2-3 weeks. I think you will like the results of that experiment enough to expand your conferencing. This can be done whether you use a workshop format or not.   Anderson’s book gives you what you need to get off to a good start in conferencing. I would mention that Carl is coming to a conference in Columbia Missouri next year. (link in the folder!)

One way to test less is to build ongoing assessment into your teaching, therefore expanding the time between summative assessments. I am using Learning A-Z’s Raz-Kids program.   The leveled books in the on line library include well-written fiction and non-fiction books. Each book comes with questions based on common core standards. These are automatically scored and the teacher can access both individual and group results. The bulk of the student’s time is spent reading the books, not answering the questions.   I will let the students pick their own books at their levels. The program allows me to control what levels they can access. So the students will be doing self-selected wide reading and I will be getting detailed information that allows me to discern student performance patterns in comprehension.

In addition, Raz Kids allows me to send my student messages and allows my students to send me recordings of their book reading. These features greatly enhance my ability to conference with students based on effective “ kidwatching.” Because of this program, my conferencing is not limited to my once a week face to face work with them. I can send timely advice at any time I wish.   Messages can be written or oral. The ability to send oral messages helps me give very specific feedback to them about how words work (e.g. pronouncing a word family for them, or pronouncing a digraph for them or demonstrating prosody to them). Messages can be sent to the whole group, selected members (ad hoc strategy group) or just an individual student. My hope is by the end of the project all my readers will be reading more like storytellers and will be comprehending and remembering the books they read.

Empower Teachers (and Students!):

My belief that teachers should be empowered is research based. Readers are invited to read the ILA book about the first grade studies (link in folder). That classic research found that no one method of teaching beginning reading works best, that every method benefited from a phonics supplement and that teachers accounted for more of the variance in reading performance than methods. That is why I shy away from “teacher proof” methods and materials and look for methods and materials that serve as tools for teachers. Such resources give teachers choice in how to use the resources in the most effective way. For the project I’ve looked for materials that empower me as a teacher to help my students become better readers.

Another thing I am doing in this project is promoting “reading like a storyteller”. I know our local ILA members are familiar with Tim Rasinski. I’ll be using his rubric for oral reading and providing the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students with copies of that rubric. Rasinski maintains that fluency is not a matter of speed, rather it is a result of the 4 components of prosody. His notion that fluency is the gateway to comprehension is a powerful one.   I will be using his materials , especially his rubric (link in the folder). As students read within the project, one of the things I’ll do is to ask them to do, is to pick a favorite book from the on-line library. They will record and re-record their reading of that book (or selected pages from that book) until they are satisfied that they are reading like a storyteller. Only then will they send the recording to me.

Read more, test less, empower yourself and your students. I hope this article has provided you some ideas about how to do that and some links to things that will help. I hope you are visiting (will visit) our St. Louis Suburban IRA website.   If you aren’t already a member please join! We meet three to four times a year and our planning committee always lines up great speakers. Over the years our speakers have included the likes of Tim Rasinki and Lori Oczkus. As a result of St. Louis being the site of the national ILA conference, our council is doing a read and feed literacy project which will result in thousands of books be distributed to children in selected Title one schools. Expect posting on our website about that!

I hope you will take time to comment on-line about this article. You will be able to do that on our website, (link provided). Most importantly, I hope you will include in your comments links to things that have helped your students with their reading. In that way we can empower each other as teachers. Have a good school year. Remember that research shows you know your students the best and that at the end of the day you are the one who will make the most difference in how your student’s learn.







President’s Message: St. Louis Suburban IRA Council: November 2015


President’s Message

Tamara Rhomberg

As the holidays approach, my mind naturally turns to one thing – CANDY! And because St. Louis Suburban Council is always on my mind, I began thinking about how two of my favorite things are so much alike. So here is what I am thinking-

When I look at a Baby Ruth bar (one of my personal favorites) I first look at the wrapping to learn a little bit about what is inside. I learn the name, the ingredients, some basic facts, and the company contact information. If I check out St. Louis Suburban Council (http://stlsuburbanreading.org/) I learn the Mission and Vision of the organization, I learn about some of the organizational events (past and present), and I benefit from the many professional articles and information sharing.

Taking off the wrapper of my Baby Ruth, I get to experience the joy of peanuts, caramel, nougat and of course, chocolate. So it is with St. Louis Suburban Council, once you get involved you begin to experience the rich flavor of professional networking, the excitement of professional development experiences, and savor the literacy service opportunities all wrapped up in one great organization. I invite all of you to take a big bite of St. Louis Suburban Reading Council and get involved and best of all – there are NO CALORIES just lots of fun!



St. Louis Suburban IRA Council: Officers and Board of Directors for 2015-2016




 President:Tamara Rhomberg, Zaner-Bloser Representative & MSC President

President-Elect: Leslie McKinstray, Hazelwood Schools, Reading Specialist/ Literacy Coach

Vice President: Dr. Betty Porter Walls, Harris-StoweUniversity, Professor & MSC Treasurer

Past President: Mary Eileen Rufkahr, St. Louis Archdiocese

Treasurer: Jill Lauman, SEMO Field Ed. Supervisor

Recording & Corresponding Secretary: Mollie Bolton, Special School District

Historian & Publicity: Steve Baybo, St. Louis Public Schools, Humboldt School

Membership:   Jody Rozbicki, Ladue School District, Reading and ESOL Specialist

Communications/ Website: Dr. Dan Rocchio, Maryville University, Professor Emeritus

Newsletter: Marjy Schneider, Bayles Schools, Reading Specialist


Dr. Sam Bommarito, St. Louis Public Schools, Retired Reading Specialist

Sandi Coleman, Affton School District, Retired Reading Specialist

Sandy Kettlekamp, Affton School District, Gifted Teacher & Reading Specialist

Kathleen McDonnell, NESI, Retired Reading Specialist



Social Media in the Classroom: November 2015


Social Media in the Classroom, Part 2

Mary-Eileen Rufkahr

Twitter is one of the social media outlets that you either “get” or “don’t get;” use or see no reason why it exists. Co-founded by St. Louisan Jack Dorsey, Twitter is not for the verbose among us. Say what you need to say in 140 characters (not words) or less and move on.

Yet those little tweets may be just what your curriculum needs to engage your students more fully in their lessons.

Some easy ways to get started with Twitter include:

  • As a class, follow a trending hashtag;
  • Connect with other classrooms – both near and far;
  • By-pass parents’ e-mail filtering and spam boxes and use Twitter’s direct messaging feature;
  • Live tweet parents (with text and photos) throughout the day when you are on a field trip, have a guest speaker or students are doing some type of demonstration/project;
  • Tweet about upcoming due dates or assignments;
  • Follow #educhat (https://twitter.com/hashtag/educhat) to connect with other teachers and keep up with the latest trends and philosophies regarding education.

Ready to learn more?

Here’s a great place to start. Educator James Gates has created a You Tube video called Twitter in 60 Seconds. In one short minute, Gates can convince you why Twitter is a plus for teachers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYz9M70KVR0&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1&safe=active.

Twitter has a quick start guide for those wanting to take the plunge. Go to https://support.twitter.com/ to learn more.

Once you have set up your account, check out these links for ways to make the most of your Twitter experience as a teacher:

Twitter for Teachers: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N0pSimJhevM6KEzE1ys4VhCzkSfcGoNW3jdq479A1Ng/edit.

Kathy Schrock’s guide for teachers: http://www.schrockguide.net/twitter-for-teachers.html.

Tom Whitby, adjunct professor of education at St. Joseph’s College in New York, has a guide for creating a personal learning plan utilizing Twitter: http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/01/11/twitter-strategy-101/.






 The International Literacy Association’s Local Arrangement Committee and Missouri State Council will be continuing their work on the ILA’s Legacy Project, Read & Feed.  St. Louis Suburban Council has joined this effort to put literacy materials in local Title 1 elementary schools in St. Louis County and St. Louis City.

We hope that you will consider being a participant in this Legacy Project that has now extended to three states (Louisiana, Illinois & now Missouri).  St. Louis Suburban Council members will be actively spreading the joy of reading by introducing reading strategies and giving away books to students from selected St. Louis area Title 1 elementary schools.

Our literacy materials for the project were provided by the ILA Conference exhibitors.  They have donated 6 pallets (each measuring 4ft. x 4ft. x 4 ft.) of new books, videos, teacher strategy books, and literacy kits.  In addition, Conway Elementary School ( Ladue District) and Ladue Middle School generously donated a total of 100 boxes of books.

Larry Winkler, Vice President of Operations at Color Art (1325 N. Warson Road, St. Louis 63132,) has donated their warehouse facility for storing these literacy materials, besides permitting our Council members to use the warehouse for taking inventory, and separating the materials by levels, genres, and themes. Color Art also provided the transportation of the materials from America’s Center Convention Complex and Conway Elementary to the warehouse facility.  Color Art has also offered to transport the materials to the elementary schools selected for the Read & Feed Project.

We hope you are excited about our Read & Feed Project.  We invite you to participate in this exciting service project.   It will provide new opportunities for our area students to enjoy and love reading.

We invite you to volunteer for this service project?

Please send an email to Jody Rozbicki and include times when you are available


Or call her: School: 314-983-5520       Home: 636-458-0004

 I would like to participate

(1) ______ Sorting materials and books at Color Art warehouse facility. Color Art is available between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm. Check available days.  We realize that this opportunity is only available to our retired teachers.

____ Mon. ___Tues. ____Wed. ____Thurs.

(2) _____ Delivering books to the children during times when St. Louis Suburban Council members are scheduled to work with students from the designated Title I elementary school. These times will be scheduled during winter, spring and summer breaks so all our teachers can participate in this rewarding opportunity.




Web Wonders September 2015


Web Wonders

Mary-Eileen Rufkahr,

2014-2015 President of St. Louis Suburban Council of IRA

Social Media in the classroom

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many more similar sites are as much a part of young people’s daily lives as TV and FM radio were (and are) to those of us from earlier generations.

To connect with students, you need to reach them on levels they understand and are comfortable with. Social media, when used judiciously, can provide a fresh, interactive aspect to lessons.

Some school districts have already developed guidelines for using social media or prohibiting it altogether. However, if your district allows you to use online media, take a look at some of these links for guidance on how to best implement it in the classroom.

Writers from the online site, Eduemic, provide guidelines for utilizing social media including how to create a class Facebook group, starting a topical Twitter feed, requiring students to blog, posting student videos to YouTube and showcase student work on Instagram. Check out the full article at: http://www.edudemic.com/how-to-use-social-media-as-a-learning-tool-in-the-classroom/.

Vicki Davis, Computer Fundamentals, Computer Science and IT Integrator, posts A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom, on the site Edutopia. In her article, she examines the relevance of utilizing social media in a classroom setting. Her full article can be found at: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/guidebook-social-media-in-classroom-vicki-davis.

On the NEA site, Emma Chadband, provides simple ways social media can enhance lesson plans. From incorporating Google Docs to productively using cell phones in the classroom, Chadband shows it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or time consuming for the teacher. Emma Chadband’s article is at: http://www.nea.org/tools/53459.htm. For a great info-graphic on social media use in schools, go to: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/schools-social-media-stats/488104.

Can elementary-aged students also be effectively exposed to social media in their lessons? Computer Teacher and Tech Coordinator, Chris Casal, thinks they can, even at that younger age. Look over her ideas for using social media in the lower grades at: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2014/01/practical-examples-of-social-media-in.html.

We’ve talked a great deal on the plus side of using social media in the classroom, but what are the disadvantages? On the School Is Easy site, Victoria Cumberland offers some aspects to consider on the downside of this technology.




President’s Message: April 2015



Recipient of the Honor Council & Show Me Awards

Message from the President

 The poet Robert Frost once said, “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”

Over this past school year, it is my hope that the St. Louis Council has been an awakener to you in some way. Perhaps you came to one of our meetings or the “Literacy for All Conference” and heard an inspiring speaker, discovered some fresh ideas for the classroom, or made a new professional contact.

Maybe you found something pertinent in our newsletter: one of the finely written professional articles, news from the library, the legislative report or the web wonders column.  Teachers understand that learning never ends, and every teacher I’ve met is a life-long learner. So as the final weeks of the school year hurry by, I encourage you to take a break for yourself, and attend our upcoming spring banquet on April 30th. Dr. Karen Burke, Director of Academic Planning for Scholastic Publications, will be our guest speaker. Dr. Burke’s talk will provide you with a few more ideas to implement before the final school bell rings for this year.

As my final letter to you as president of the St. Louis Suburban Council, I want to thank the many people who work tirelessly for our organization: the officers and board of directors of our group, our retiring newsletter editor Beth Knoedelseder, and, of course, our members. Please join me in supporting Tammy Rhomberg, as she takes the helm of our Council for the coming year.

I look forward to seeing all of you for our April meeting, and again, at the 60th annual ILA convention, to be held in St.Louis in July. Until then, happy reading!

Mary Eileen Rufkahr