Archive for the ‘Site Updates’ Category

Rebranding and Reblogging

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Periodically, I like to reintroduce myself to blog/newsletter readers and (re)define the purpose of this blog/newsletter for those of who may be joining this program already in progress. In addition, a couple of recent developments will be new to almost everyone.

E-Mail Subscribers

I want to thank subscribers to this blog.  Many of you have subscribed via the e-mail newsletter link on Open Court or Treasures  You may not know that what you’re reading is a blog at all, but thank you!  Blog reading is pretty painless, isn’t it.

Who Am I?

I’m Mathew Needleman.  I’m just one guy, a teacher and sometimes filmmaker.  I write all the content on this blog and do not accept guest posts.  The most prolific periods of my blogging have been while serving as a Literacy Coach and Intervention Coordinator in the elementary grades during which time I blogged about things like reading comprehension, reading fluency, and writing with a dash of technology thrown in occasionally.

I was recently hired as an Instructional Technology Specialist.  I assist 130 schools with integrating technology into their curriculums particularly in support of the Common Core Standards and Language Learners.  I’m still focused on good instruction but my focus has widened to include not just language arts and all grade levels K-12.

The focus of my blogging going forward will likely shift to include more technology but only as it relates to instruction.  I’ve never been interested in technology for technology’s sake.  If you can do it better with a pencil and paper, please do.

My Other Sites

I maintain a number of additional web sites.  I’ve made the decision to revive my dormant independent digital film studio, at Needleworks  Needleworks Pictures hosts my personal  artistic pursuits unrelated to education and will have more information about my latest moviemaking project shortly.

I’ve spun-off all education endeavors (Open Court, Video in the, and this blog the most popular among them) and linked to them all from Needleworks All of my web sites are free but sometimes advertiser supported.  No advertiser support has ever influenced the content of any of my pages.  In addition to web sites, I also make iPhone apps which are not free and quite costly to produce.  More information about the apps is available at the Needleworks Education site.

My Outside Associations

Although I don’t intend to ever post anything offensive or controversial, it’s worth noting that although I work for a school district, everything I post here is my own opinion and not the opinion of my employer.

I am an Apple Distinguished Educator.  I was chosen for this program because of my fondness for Apple products.  I am not required to post about Apple and only do so when I choose to.  I am allowed to be objective in posting comments about Apple products.

I’m a member of the Adobe Influencer Program.  In exchange for passing on some information about Adobe news I’ve been given something akin to advanced press access to some Adobe announcements.


I thank everyone for sticking with me, particularly in this long dormant blogging period.  I hope to have new content soon.  If you have any questions, feel free to post them below., New Web Site for Treasures Reading Program

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Many of my blog readers have followed me from my web site Open Court ( which compiles resources for teaching the Open Court Reading Program.  I developed that site over eight or so years, starting with first grade resources I was sharing with teachers at my school site and expanding to include pre-K through 6th grade resources.  Eventually, teachers from across the country were submitting their own resources which I added to my own and made available for free to everyone.   The web site receives tens of thousands of visits each day and I am continuing to update it.

However, my school district has adopted the Treasures Reading Program and by popular demand I’m attempting to provide teachers resources for the new series at

The new program has different editions in every state and I’m trying as best as possible to make the site relevant to everyone.  Teachers from different states can use resources from other states because there’s usually at least a 40%-50% overlap in materials.

So far I have banners for the big question board, powerpoints, spelling and vocabulary activities, and much more.  Resources vary by grade level and I’m adding stuff all the time.  As always, everything on the site is free.

If you’re teaching Treasures Reading, I hope you find the site of use and will send in resources you’re creating.  Check it out and become a fan on Facebook.

Please Update Your Feed

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Please update the feed address you’re using to subscribe to this blog.  You should be subscribed to:

and not any of the needleworks pictures addresses.

Also, please update any links from to

Due to problems with my webhost, I’ve moved my site to its own domain at blog links will continue to work for awhile but will eventually go offline.  I am not posting to the old blog any more.  This is the only blog I’m updating.

Thanks for reading

Open Court Resources on Facebook

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

For teachers of the Open Court Reading Program, now has its own page on Facebook.  Please show your support by becoming a fan.  Click on “Become a Fan.”  It’s very cool to see and hear from web site visitors and if there are any special events going on with the site I may post an update to the page.

Click here to visit Facebook page (visit from home because it’s probably blocked in your school district).

A Bailout for LAUSD?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Happy New Year!

Over the three week holiday vacation, I moved and was without internet access for a couple of weeks. The first e-mail that came through once I was back online was from our new superintendent. I try to avoid being political in my blog but turmoil is happening throughout my district. I think I have a duty to report the facts.

1. About two years ago, the district hired a new superintendent, a retired Navy admiral with no education experience, to lead Los Angeles Unified School District, one of the largest school districts in the country.

2. About a month ago, the district fired the Navy admiral due to his lack of educational experience and inability to get things done.

3. While declaring that he “would always be [there] for their children of Los Angeles,” the fired Admiral demanded to personally be paid $500,000 plus expenses in order to leave his post at the district which is now facing bankruptcy.

4. Due to the state’s budget crisis, which is worse now than the one that faced California before the Terminator replaced an impeached Gray Davis five years ago, money is being taken from school budgets.

5. Our new superintendent is calling for mid-year cuts including letting about 2,300 probationary teachers go immediately with the required two weeks notice. (These teachers would also need to pay back money they’ve already been pre-paid for the coming school months). These cuts would save only a fraction of the $250 million dollar shortfall.

6. Literacy coaches, like myself, would be placed in classrooms immediately.

7. Our teachers’ union is calling for no cuts at all and is threatening job actions to fight the cuts.

8. Neither the district nor the union wants to trim the school year by a week which would save the entire amount of the $250 million that the district needs to cut.

I believe that no one wants to make cuts, particularly cuts to personnel, but it’s clear that cuts need to be made somewhere unless the state’s budget improves. Unfortunately, cuts to personnel and/or class size increases when done mid-year would be extremely disruptive, one might say chaotic, in terms of the shuffling of students and teachers.  I doubt whether this is a task that our district can handle purely as a matter of logistics.  None of our union contracts are even adequate to address the wide-spread shuffling and domino effect that might occur.

Even though my fiancé and I are both teachers in the same district and would be hit doubly hard by cuts to the school year.  I personally would rather see our year slightly shortened than see teachers lose their jobs.

Naturally, I suppose it’s too much to ask that someone bailout our failing school district.

For more info:  L.A. Times