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Marcello Sgambelluri

I am a fifth year teacher in San Jose with a Master's in Teaching from George Mason University.
125 Resources
16 Questions
35 Resource(s)
Description: A unit on learning addition and subtraction facts. Using addition to show combining numbers and subtraction to show comparison (how much more), equalizing (how much more is needed), and separation (how much is remaining).
7 Resource(s)
Description: A collection of documents I use in creating and implementing my guided groups in reading.
22 Resource(s)
Description: A lesson on 2D and 3D shapes along with shape attributes such as congruency and symmetry.
27 Resource(s)
Description: A writer's workshop unit centered around graphic novels (comic books).
24 Resource(s)
Description: Engage and involve parents in student data and action-planning around moving students forward.
by Dan Ochs
Description: Routines and procedures specific to RC block.
Added Answer to How do you implement new systems with students mid-way through the year?

The best ways I've found are making a statement with the change, packaging the new change, and slow release.

Making a statement-

This can come in many forms but it needs to be something poignant and impactful for the students, want to change classroom rules? Rip up the old ones. Wan't to stop kids saying "I can't"? Write it on a card (biodegradeable one) and take it to the school garden and bury it. Make a video of the system you want to change and watch it with your class critiquing and talking about it. 

Packaging the new change-

I usually start out with youtube videos, an example of two I use for failure as a positive thing (getting rid of complaining and not wanting to participate):

Some I use to show how classroom routines can be fun and awesome when orchestrated and planned: (usually start at 1:00 in)

The point is to invest students and show them the clear reasons behind why you are working on something (Not: I want you to do a routine because I want the class to be quiet, quick, and under control. Instead:WE want to do a routine so we look professional, awesome, and don't waste OUR time.) The routine change needs to be packaged as something positive and awesome. To that end make sure you have a clear goal and student's know what the end goal will look like (if it's a routine you should have each step mapped out and even written out where everyone can see it). Practice a lot but keep it fun and light, while controlled. The first day won't be perfect, and you may only get step 1 perfect and each step after it more perfect each day.

Slow release-

First you do the new system perfect acting as if you were a student, then do the system terribly and have them critique why they shouldn't do the non-example. 

Next a student shows it off (I usually pick one of my more "energetic" students, as the responsibilty and ownership makes them shine)

Now a group of students do it.

Then the rest of the class.

Then go back and have the whole class do it (or stop here and wait for the whole class to do it another day)

You can do this slow release everyday for the first week then start off at groups, then eventually whole class.

Voted Up Answer for What tips and advice can you give on how to lead an effective parent/teacher conference?

 I copied this from something our administrators sent us prior to our conferences we had last week.  It mostly touches on handling the difficult conferences.  I hope it helps!

*A line we came up with for using with irate parents: "I'm not comfortable with the tone of this meeting.  We can continue now, but I will need to have an administrator present. Or we can arrange to meet at a different time with an admnistrator."

Ideas for teachers during parent conferences

Discuss progress and growth: Starting with the positive, let families know about their child’s ability level in your subject and in relationship to his or her peers. Help families understand student data to demonstrate progress against learning goals and to identify areas that need to be addressed.

Use examples: Walk parents through the assignments and assessments that are particularly demonstrative of the student’s progress and abilities.

Ask questions and listen actively: Solicit family input into student strengths and needs, learning styles, and nonschool learning opportunities. Ask parents about their hopes and dreams for their child.

Share ideas for supporting learning:  Provide suggestions for activities and strategies families can use at home to help their child learn and grow.

Seek solutions collaboratively: Avoid judgments about what "they" should do and instead emphasize how "we" can work together to resolve any problems.

Make an action plan: Spend the last few minutes discussing how you and the family will support the student. Be specific about the kinds of things you will do, for how long you will do them, and how you will check in with one another about progress.

Establish lines of communication: Describe how you will communicate with families (i.e., through notes home, phone calls, email etc.) and they can contact you. Schedule a way to follow up on your conference in the next few months.

Ideas for after the conferences

Follow up with families: If practical, contact parents (either by phone or in a note) who attended the conference and thank them for doing so. Ask if they have further questions or concerns and send home materials that can help them support learning at home. Contact parents who did not attend, as well, and offer alternative ways to communicate about their child.

Communicate regularly: Communicate on an ongoing basis with families, with positive news as well as updates on student progress and challenges. Also let families know about other opportunities for them to be involved.

Connect in-class activities: Create responsive instructional practices based on what you learned about family cultures, home learning environments, and student strengths and needs.

For more resources on family involvement, visit

These tips are based on the following resources:

Henderson, A., Mapp, K. L., Johnson, V., & Davies, D. (2007). Beyond the bake sale: The essential guide to family-school partnerships. New York: The New Press.

 Lawrence-Lightfoot, S. (2003). The essential conversation: What parents and teachers can learn from each other. New York: Ballantine Books.

Pappano, L. (2007). Meeting of the minds. Harvard Education Letter, 23 (4), 1–3.  

Added Answer to How can I teach implied main idea to 6th graders?

Here are a list of resources and lessons

In general I would focus on first finding the topic/main idea, the clear focused point the piece is getting across. Then you want to identify all the details from the text, then start connecting those details and finding common themes (this can be done in a web, venn diagram, or table). Then you have to look at valuing those themes, which ones are definitely a point that is getting put across and what may be to shallow a connection. So break these down into steps and work as a class on a couple of passages then let students find passages that interest them and apply the steps:

1.State the topic
2.Identify other details connected to the topic
3. Connect those details with common themes
4. Re-read the text and see if your implied idea is supported by the passage 

Here is a good one pager you can look at:

Implied Main Idea Hints

As an example:

In this passage the topic is leadership styles

Autocratic leaders are hands-on leaders who keep strict control over group members and their activities. They ask few questions, make the decisions, give orders, and are likely to use coercion to make others carry out their assignments. Laissez-faire leaders are hands-off leaders who leave most of the decisions to the group and tend not to get involved. Democratic leaders encourage group participation in decision-making and problem solving. Their style falls between the other two extreme.

An implied main idea needs to be connected to the topic, so in this passage an implied main idea is that democratic leaders are better than autocratic leaders, though it never explicitly says it you can imply it from the description of each and the statment that democratic is an inbetween for laissez-faire and autocratic (the happy medium).

Here is the website with this example and more:

Added Answer to What does the number behind the skill means

In what context? Where are you seeing it?

Added Answer to How do you teach sequencing?

What grade level are you focusing on? (k-2, 3-5, middle school)

Added Answer to What tips and advice can you give on how to lead an effective parent/teacher conference?

I'd like to put a spotlight on giving activities to parents, I'd try to focus on the skills your students need most, for example in second grade it'd be comprehension and sight words. So make sight word cards or go over sight word lists and give parents activities to do at home to build proficiency (give them a pack of post-its and have them post-it 5 words a week on the front door, everytime they leave the house the student says all five). For comprehension give them open ended questions they can ask their student after every book they read. The more you can individualize (at least by groups within the class) the better this will work because the student will be getting exactly what they need and the parent will be invested in the activity. 

Voted Up Answer for How do you teach novels?

What grade are you focusing on?  I LOVE teaching novels!  The students love them so much more than the basal reader.  When I teach a novel I generally read part of the novel out loud and then have the students read part silently (we get through the novel faster that way - any more than 3 weeks on a novel and the students will be bored).  

I also teach mini lessons on the skills I am trying to teach in the novel - such as sequencing, retelling, summarizing, etc.  I then use my reading the novel outloud to model the skill for the students.  After I have modeled the skill, I then have the students read the novel and apply the skill I just taught. I try to have the students put a written response in their reader's notebook so that I can take a grade.

It is also fun to have activities that go along with the novel.  For example, we just finished, Dear Mr. Henshaw.  As an activity that goes along with the book, I had the students build lunch box alarms!  They loved it!

Here is a link to my Dear Mr. Henshaw plan - this is one way in which I have taught novels.

Voted Up Answer for How do I teach annotation skills to 7th graders?

I also use anchor charts to teach students how to interact with their books during reading class.  I use the link below and have the students create their own anchor chart.  Then I use a read aloud to model effective note taking while reading.  I teach my students to use post-it notes rather than writing in their books, but either format works.

I also have this article on annotation skills:

Added Answer to What is the best assembly for mid and high grades? Any ideas?

Class relays (4 kids from each grade level) compete in relays (spinning around a bat and running, balancing a ping pong ball on a spoon, bear crawl etc.)

Each grade level gets a chant created in their classes or homerooms, chant them to eachother competitively

Have everybody fold paper airplanes in class and bring to assembly (VERY RISKY, but I've seen this work at a school and it was amazing) and throw it at a target in the middle of the gymnasium, closest person wins a prize

School dance offs (preface school appropriateness with dancers individually first)

Cool science experiments (rockets, mentos and diet coke, lighting gas bubbles on fire, etc.)

short excerpt from an upcoming school play

band (hopefully you have one) doing an arrangement of a modern song or movie theme

Any classic game show (family feud, the dating game-obviously rebranded as something else like "the find a friend game" or "find the best teacher" and have a student pick from three teachers who's class they would take or a boy choose from three boys who he would want to be friends with, Jeopardy, etc.) Again culture is important here for students to be mature and also be engaged

On building culture: do school chants, classroom management games and techniques as a whole school, and competitions between classes for who can outshine the other classes.

Performances by groups of students (dances, singing, stand up, etc.)

Create a school commitee of students led by one teacher that designs and sets up assemblies

Do fun things with teachers (pie in face if a student achieves a goal or gets a question right, teacher vs. student sprint, arm wrestle, etc.)

Slideshows of pictures set to music

Look up local non-profit assembly performances in your area (science acts, speakers, plays, dances, etc.)

Hope this helps let me know if you want more specifics on anything.


Added Answer to What are some great non-fiction articles for teaching culture?

I usually go over people's lives who have overcome a lot, Obama grew up in Hawaii (literally the most isolated piece of land on earth with no internet or cheap flights to the mainland, then persisted through racism to go not only to college but Columbia and Harvard) I usually tell these stories without their names through powerpoints, then give their names at the the end, you can also just read the articles and talk about their lives. How did these people act when they were young? How did they get ahead? How could you be like them? Etc.

Talking about friends and bullying:


Talking about why we would want to go to college, which segues into how we start acting and learning now so we can get into college in the future. (making friends, being kind, working hard, focusing, being responsible for our own learning, etc.)

Added Answer to What are some ideas for introducing the novel Rules by Cynthia Lord to a class that includes a student with mild a ?

Sorry if this answer comes too late, but I would highly suggest talking to the student about it and even his/her parents. Also think about investing them in the idea of reading the book as a class. Ask them why they think it is a good idea, what might be some of pitfalls to think about before hand? (This should be a one on one conversation with you and them) Also, if the class culture is right, it would be powerful for them to actually be the one to introduce the book and talk a little bit about the positives and strenghs that come with autism. 

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