Check it out!
If you try this, come back here and tell us how it went in the comments. This is how this website can become a real Professional Learning Community!
|MCC ELED PLC||
If you teach older students, say 4th grade and up, I think this would be a good strategy to help you teach several communication and speaking skills simultaneously. Dave Stuart is a high school teacher/blogger, and in this entry, he provides a 300-word guide to help you make them a part of your classroom. Don't forget to click on the active links, especially the one about Erik Palmer's PVLEGS strategy for effective oral communication. As they point out, we don't spend enough time teaching our students how to orally/verbally communicate, and speaking is one of the 6 modes of Language Arts that we have a tendency to shy away from. Here's the link: http://www.davestuartjr.com/pop-up-debate/
Check it out!
If you try this, come back here and tell us how it went in the comments. This is how this website can become a real Professional Learning Community!
I saw this bulletin board on Facebook earlier today (ht to Volunteer Spot) and it really made me stop and think. I know that this is directed toward children to help them develop a more positive approach to their issues and problems, and that's great. However, two things came to mind. First, children who respond negatively to problems or challenges they encounter are often those who have lived with a constant barrage of negativity all of their lives. It's unrealistic to think that one teacher using one bulletin board can quickly effect a real change in such a student's attitude. That doesn't mean we shouldn't make the effort, of course. It just means we should be realistic about the potential outcomes.
The second thing that crossed my mind was how many of these statements have I have heard versions of coming out of the mouths of teachers. As teachers, we too must make a concentrated effort to avoid the sense of futility and helplessness that the statements on the white papers indicate. Often we don't understand and want to give up, but rephrasing the issues may help us put the problem in a different perspective. Yes, I blew that lesson plan, but what did I learn from it? We need to plan ahead and allow ourselves enough time to be the best we can be--and we can always be better! We are unique individual teachers each with our own strengths and when we "borrow" things from teachers we admire, we need to make it fit our talents and gifts--and even make it better. We may not be where we want to be, but we're moving forward if we keep the important goals in mind.
So...if you think you might want to use this bulletin board in your classroom, that's awesome. Just remember, a positive mindset is just as important for the teacher as for the students.
Have a Good Word Day!
Many years ago, right out of college, I took a job teaching in a rural high school in Eastern Colorado. Although I had taken a few education courses, I had finished college without completing the requirements for certification in Texas, the state I lived in at the time. I truly thought I was a born teacher and that could handle the job I was hired for without any problems. How naïve I was! I got through the year, still convinced I was meant to be a teacher, but with the clear realization that I was not as successful as I had fully intended to be. I doubt seriously that any of my former students remember me with any fondness, if they remember me at all.
About ten years later, I tried my hand at teaching again, this time to finish out the school year for a teacher on maternity leave at a private Christian school. What became clearer to me at that point were the specific areas in which I was weak. I knew my content (English), but I had no clue how to design engaging lessons (I wouldn’t have phrased it that way then) and I didn’t know how to manage the classroom—not just discipline, but the everyday procedures that oil the machine.
Still more years (and four kids) later, I decided to try it the “right” way—I went back to college and completed a teacher education program as a “post-bacc.” I took all the courses that were required of undergrads and took all the tests to meet the state requirements and was subsequently awarded a teaching certificate—one of the last lifetime certificates Texas issued. I knew I still had a lot to learn that only experience could teach me, but this time around I felt much better prepared. I knew what was expected of me, I knew how to plan lessons, and I had a pretty good handle on how a classroom should “work.” I taught in public schools for ten years before moving to the realm of teacher education, and my knowledge and confidence grew every year, built on the foundation I received in my post-bacc classes. However, I was surprised to learn in one of my graduate classes on teacher education that the path I had taken was not traditional; it was called an “alternative path” because I did not complete it as an undergrad, despite the fact that I completed all the same courses and work.
Oklahoma, along with many other states, is experiencing an horrific teacher shortage. Desperate administrators are looking at all options available to them to fill classrooms. Recently blogger okeducationtruths posted a piece (find it here) on the situation and included the charts* below which reveal in graphic manner the various paths to certification in Oklahoma. The blogger pointed out that the 182 emergency hirings announced by the State Department of Education last week would not even meet these criteria.
I know that a number of the teachers in McCurtain County and neighboring counties have used some of the paths on the chart other than Path 1, which represents the traditional path. I think an interesting discussion might be had by asking some of you to share your path to certification, why it was or was not good for you, how your particular path may have met your specific needs, what problems you encountered and how you overcame them, what suggestions you might have for those considering a path other than the traditional. Although I’m sure you can guess which path I prefer, my own experience leads me to acknowledge that this is not feasible for everyone who has the potential to be a competent teacher. I would love to hear your thoughts! Please comment below.
*Unfortunately, in my blog you cannot click on the charts and make them larger. If you go to okeducationstruths' blog, however, you can do so, and it makes them much easier to read.
Sorry I have been lax in posting to this blog. It's been a very busy semester! Hopefully, this marks a return to more consistent entries. However, this entry is not my own. I have received permission to share with you a blog written by a fellow teacher, Stephanie Hime, of Clinton, Oklahoma. She has connections to McCurtain County, and I thought you would enjoy her discussion on how she uses technology in her third grade classroom. If you like what you read and want to learn more, you can find her at mrshime.com.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Teacher. Parent. Communication. Technology
As I was updating my weekly classroom blog I stopped and thought where it had began and what it has turned into... my next thought was, I need to share! There are so many teachers, just like me, who are afraid to make the move into technology, but if I can do it, so can you!
There are three ways that I communicate through technology each week to the Parents, Grandparents,Friends, and my Awesome Third Graders:
1. Classroom Blog: In October 2012 I began to write a blog each week (Hime's Homeroom) on the happenings in my third grade classroom. There is so much negativity surrounding education, writing a weekly classroom blog shines a positive light into our little world. There are many blogging sites, find one that you are comfortable with. Be yourself, there is no right or wrong way to blog. I had no idea if anyone would read mine, but I thought back to when my kiddos were growing up and how amazing it would of been to read about the exciting things happening in their classrooms. Parents, grandparents, friends and students have expressed how much they enjoy reading about our day, week, and year. If I can do it, you can too!
2. Twitter: I set up a twitter account (@mrshime) a few years ago and didn't do much with it, what in the world could an elementary teacher do with Twitter? Then, the summer of 2012 I began to read professional articles on the use of twitter for PD, so I thought I would give it a try. I have built an outstanding PLN on Twitter, it is amazing! I also set up a class Twitter account @himetimers. With this class account I only follow other classrooms, but anyone can follow us. At the beginning of the year I gave each family our twitter address so they can follow us throughout the day. The families that do not have twitter follow us using the 40404 method, they receive every tweet on their cell phone. I try to tweet at least twice a day, parents love to be in the know!
3. Shuttercal: My husband shared this amazing site with me that he actually discovered on Twitter. Parents can look at the amazing things happening in your classroom by the day, week, or even the whole year. I have had so many wonderful compliments from parents, they can even download the pictures of their kiddos!
Teacher. Parent. Communication. Technology. If I can do it, so can you!
I have recently been reading Jane McGonigal's book Reality is
Broken. Dr. McGonigal's very popular book helps us understand the draw and
the power of gaming in our society and in the cyberworld. In doing so, she highlights the work of a number of psychologists exploring the realm of pleasure and satisfaction in our lives. Reading it, I think I have discovered what may be the single most powerful force that keeps teachers teaching despite the exhausting stress of the job itself.
Although many decry "computer games" as a sign that we are no longer socially engaged as a society, McGonigal takes issue with that stance and provides a great deal of evidence to support her position. As a part of that evidence she cites something she calls "vicarious pride." This concept is based on the work of psychologist and game design expert Christopher Bateman, who coined the Yiddish term naches to describe the concept as it applied to the gaming
Naches was originally identified by a researcher on emotions, Paul Ekman, who explained it as the feeling of pride we feel when someone we have mentored or coached succeeds. Ekman saw this attribute as a vestige of the evolutionary process of survival mechanisms, since teaching the young the tricks of survival was critical to survival of the group as a whole. Those of us who are parents recognize this well and experienced it almost daily when our children were small. Think back to your baby's first babbling when you talked to him or the sense of accomplishment that swelled your chest when she finally mastered riding a bicycle without training wheels. Naches is a highly pleasurable and satisfying emotion.
But, as McGonigal points out, most of us quickly lose that daily sense of naches
as we focus on the "real" world, where most of what we do is highly
individualistic. Very little mentoring is experienced or offered there and we
typically lose that sense of social satisfaction, until and unless we become
engaged in teaching someone else to play a computer game that we ourselves have mastered. Even if you're not a player in a massive multiplayer online game,
perhaps you've been addicted to Farmville or Words with Friends and loved
enticing your friends to play and show them the tricks you've learned.
That's when I made the connection. Teachers are never forced to give up naches!
Day in and day out, despite the 60-hour weeks (I know most people don't believe
that) and the pressures of testing and teaching to the test (which goes against
our professionalism) and the impossible task of bringing students up to speed
who have little or no support at home, we keep on teaching. We do it for naches, for vicarious pride, for the feeling we get when we see the sparkle in the eye of the student who finally "gets it," for the excitement we experience when students make out-of-the-box connections in a class discussion, for the relief and joy when the struggler finally passes his multiplication facts test after weeks of continued
encouragement and practice. And for the catch in our hearts reading the
handwritten notes at the end of the year that say in a child's third-grade scrawl "Thank you for being the best teacher I ever had," and the phone call that you get years later from a mom who says, "My son just graduated from high school and he says he never would have if you hadn't taught him to read in eighth grade." Yes, I think these instances qualify as "vicarious pride."
So maybe it's a teacher's selfishness in craving that kind of satisfaction. Maybe it's just a vestige of evolution. Whatever it is, I think we're the lucky ones.
For a couple of decades at least, teachers have been prompting their struggling students to "do what good readers do." Mountains of research had been done that outlined clearly the things that children who read well were doing, either consciously or unconsciously, that made their reading much more meaningful and less stressful. It was thought that by making these strategies explicit to those who had not learned to use them, strugglers would then consciously begin to imitate effective reading strategies. It is a snap to go online these days and find suggestions for teaching "Good Reader Strategies" or creating "Good Reader" posters. One can buy book marks that list the strategies, assuming I suppose, that the struggling readers to whom they were given could refer to them when they got stuck.
My purpose in writing this blog is not to suggest that we need to stop teaching struggling students the strategies they need to recognize words and make meaning of text. I am, however, going to suggest that we change our terminology. I will acknowledge immediately that this is not my idea. Unfortunately I do not recall exactly where I first read it. Nevertheless, the idea hasn't been widely publicized and I think it should be. The idea is this: when we use the term "good" to refer to a person, even if it is in regard to simple reading, the term is laden with moral implications we probably do not intend by using it. Children, however, are not that discriminating.
If we say to a young child, "Oh, you're such a good reader!" he very likely takes that as a validation of his character, not just his ability to read. If on the other hand, we say to a child, "No, that's not what that word says. What would a good reader do to figure this word out?" what that child may hear instead is, "Oh, I must be a bad reader." And just as "good" carries an unintended moral judgment, so does the implied "bad" in this case. The result is an even more negative self-image and a reduction in motivation--the exact opposite of what the teacher is trying to achieve.
I think it is time we get away from using "good" to refer to what effective readers do. In fact, I think the very word we should use is "effective." I would much rather have a teacher tell me that my strategies in reading were not "effective" than to say they were not "good", implying that I am "bad." Wouldn't it be just as easy to say in our teaching of strategies and on our posters "What Do Effective Readers Do?" Wouldn't this eliminate much of the potential for making unintended value judgments that can further demoralize already struggling students? I for one am taking the term "Good Reader" out of my vocabulary. Your thoughts?
Welcome to our website! I envision this site as an interactive space where teachers who have matriculated through the McCurtain County Elementary Education Program can reconnect, share their experiences, achievements, and disappointments, and help each other solve the knotty problems of the real classroom. If you have found this blog, you have probably already browsed some of the other pages. You will quickly see that it is a work in progress. It will take YOU to develop it and make it a truly useful tool for your teaching career. (And, by the way, your teacher friends who graduated from other colleges--or that campus 100 miles west of here--are welcome, too!)
I will be posting tips that I think you may find helpful, bringing certain topics to your attention, and occasionally reviewing books that can provide professional development. But our PLC (professional learning community) needs your great ideas and discoveries to post here. There are several categories set up in the Teaching Tips page, and I know that some of you have great ideas that need to show up there. Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see that they are posted.
Or perhaps you are experiencing a difficult teaching situation and would like some objective insight; email me the issue, and I can post it anonymously for others to share possible solutions. If you feel the need to "sound off" on a topic, email me a draft of your blog, and I'll do my best to upload it.
Another use I can see for this page is as a place to post job openings. If you are aware of school with a need, email me the details, and I can set up a page for that.
I am excited to contemplate how this page may expand and grow and how it can benefit teachers and students in Southeastern Oklahoma. I hope you will come along on the journey!