Missed Days

Well this week has been full of weather surprises.  Who was really expecting that much rain?  We left work Friday, leaving everything on our desk to return for Monday’s lesson.  Little did we know that we would be returning on Thursday.  We missed three days of academic learning with the STAAR test only being three weeks away.  This is a scary thought if you are at a testing grade level.  Everyone’s lessons are all out of order now, picking out what is crucial to teach rather than teaching everything leading up, and then the cramming.  Let the cramming begin for our little children.  I know the students were probably excited about missing school for three days, but they do not see all the valuable time that was missed.  Even if we did have to make the days up, it would not help with giving the days back missed before STAAR.  Granted, sometimes working under pressure pressed for time is when the students start to take things more seriously.  Below is a link in regards to making up the missed days.

http://www.khou.com/news/local/tea-exempts-local-school-districts-from-making-up-classes/145535595

Dress Codes

Dress code is an issue that teachers and administration typically have to deal with in spring and summer seasons.  How annoying is it to have to send you kinder or first grade student out of your class, missing instructional time to change or go call home? For me, this topic is a topic that I play the fence on.  I am all for making sure that the student are not coming to school half clothed, but at the same time, does it really matter if their shorts go all the way to their knee, or that their shirt is exactly three inches, or that when they reach for the sky their tummy doesn’t show?  For High school that is a different story, but even then, that can be carried away at times but for elementary children?  All they know is that you are sending them out of class due to clothes.  Young children so not comprehend that is it violating dress code.  I am thankful that yes we have a dress code, however if it is just a tad under what is allowed, that we just leave it alone.  There is no reason why we should interrupt a child’s day of learning to make them change.  below is a link to a blog in regards to what they think about dress codes.

 

 

 

http://blog.sfgate.com/

After School Programs

Most districts around the Houston area have some sort of an afternoon program, some of which provided from the school or provided by a federal grant.  However there are some districts that do not have an after school program and I just could not imagine that due to the long hours parents now have to work to make ends meet. If these children do not have an after school program, where are they going?  Are they going home to watch themselves until mom or dad get home? Are they running the roads bored and finding trouble?  There are so many answered questions.  Having an after school program for these kids gives an opportunity to be in a safe environment with fun activities and some time for homework with people in the building that are able to help with any questions.  Some children are not able to finish homework at home because either home does not know how to help them, or because they are not home to help them.  It is so important for schools to have this program and I would like to see all schools in Texas with one, one day!

http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/ 

Attendance

We all know how hard it can be to get your class 100% present at lease 95% of the time.  It can also be frustrating at times because usually the students that are always missing, are the students that need the instructional time the most.  Here at TES we have an attendance Bulldog (Bulldog is our mascot).  Whichever class per grade level has perfect attendance for that whole week, gets the Bulldog to carry around and bragging rights.  Our higher grade levels such as 3rd-5th, yes they like the bulldog to be silly but in all that is not what they work for.  Our higher grade levels get a popcorn party supplied by our administrative.  We also have some teachers that do their own incentive on top of that for their particular classroom, such as; if everyone is there all week, there will be no homework on Friday, lunch outside with the teachers, double recess, or my favorite Kiss the Donkey.  We are always coming up with silly ways to get them to come to school.  I do not think the students realize how important it is to come to school.   Below is a link that has all different kinds of incentives for you in your class or you as a the whole school.

http://www.houstonisd.org/domain/15935

Is recess important?

For most teachers recess means they have to go outside in the heat or the cold and watch kids play.  What is recess really for?  To adults it is just play time, but to the children it is a break and a nice breath of fresh air!  Recess gives the children a chance to be a kid, not have to think or worry about what they do not understand.  Recess also helps them get all the jitters out that could be causing behavior problems in the classroom.  When I was younger, we had a full 30 minutes for recess.  Today our kids get 15 minutes.  We need to let them be kids.  We put so much pressure on them everyday in school to do their best, try harder, do new things, and be creative that sometimes they are just overwhelmed.  They do not have the time to be a kid and use their imagination and be creative.

The day you needed to smile

So a few months ago I noticed something in my eye.  I brushed it off and did not think much of it.  It wasn’t until a few days ago that I noticed it starting to get bigger.  I made an appointment with my eye doctor, and she told me that is was a fluid cyst on my eye and that I would need steroid eye drops, sunglasses in the sun at ALL times, and no contacts for three weeks.  I can do the drops and I can do the sunglasses, but no contacts?  That was a problem.  I HATE my glasses, I hate the way look on me, I hate everything about them.  Doctors orders! So over the next few days, I am wearing my glasses and not liking it one bit.  I walk into one of our fourth grade classrooms to speak with the teacher when I hear “Mrs. Terrell, you look really good with glasses on!”.  That student had no idea what that meant to me.  It made my whole day and put a smile on my face.  I still have two weeks left of wearing my glasses and I am perfectly fine with it!  Working with children really is a blessing.

 

 

Classroom Management

I never really thought much about classroom management as a student. I also never really thought about they my teachers had us do some of the certain things they made us do.  However, being in a classroom environment now as an adult, I have realized that there was a reason for everything.  Such as; we all had jobs, now when we were kids we all thought we had jobs just so our teacher could be lazy and not have to do anything.  However, we really had jobs to keep us busy and stay out of trouble.  Having jobs also gave us something to work for because like a real job, we could get fired.  Throughout this whole education process, I am finding more and more that without classroom management, there would be no productive school learning.  I would love to go to a few classroom management training’s to get different ideas on what the students could work for and to have a more productive classroom.

Thinking outside the box

In the past two years, I have noticed quite a bit of change in the way teachers are teaching.  Compared to the way it was when I was in school.  In today’s education world the students are becoming bored a lot faster and more frequently.  Teachers are having to research different types of strategies to make the lesson they are teaching, a little more interesting to get the students engaged.  I have noticed teachers making fun little scavenger hunts out in the hall way, a lot more outside teaching, more projects, and a lot of students teaching students.  I believe this  is a great way to keep students involved and more into “wanting to learn”.  This also keeps the educators more involved with their students, rather than just giving them a book to read or just standing there and lecturing.  Teaching our students to think outside the box is a great way of keeping our creative minds more creative.

Teacher of the Year

I once sat down with one of our teachers and asked her if I could ask her avery simple but important question in regards to her teaching style.  Mind you, every single day I walk by her classroom and her students are all in just “aww” when she is in a lesson.  I wanted to know how she did that.  How did she get the students that eager to learn and that engaged for that long of a period? Her answer was simply “When I am that excited to teach, they are that eager to learn!”  I would hear different parts of the students conversation in the hallway and I have heard on many different occasions “I want to be like Mrs. Conklin when I grow up.”.  How inspiring is that?  It was no surprise to me when the school announced that she was our teacher of the year.  In my mind, I had already knew that title was hers.  You could not sit in her classroom and not get wrapped up in her lesson.  It was impossible.  She made me want to go back to fourth grade and learn all over again.  It makes me smile that we still do have some really great teachers out there, that are still in it for the kids and not just the state!  In the following link, you will find our Teacher of the years biography, and just in reading that, you can really see her passion for teaching. http://conklin.tes.wallerisd.schoolfusion.us/modules/tt/profile.phtml?profile_id=201387&sessionid=2f9ad446c6721835c9a09d2e1d10d449

 

Social Media

Turning to social media for educational purposes, has became this new huge deal within the past 3 years.  I personally feel like it is a great way to share cool ideas that our outside of the ordinary “teaching style”.  Here at Waller ISD, each faculty and staff has a twitter account.  With this twitter account it gives us the ability to see what teachers are doing that is so great in their classroom.  It also is great for parents to see, and watch what types of neat stuff their students are doing.  We also have a “techi” of the month, which is whoever tweets the most on their account that month wins. You can follow my twitter page here at https://twitter.com/cookcharlie14 , to see all the different cool things that I do here in my science lab.  Social media has just blown up in the educational world and I feel that it has helped a lot, in the fact of keeping every one up to date on the times and technology uses these days.  Even in a elementary setting, the students happen to know more about technology than the teachers, so we need to find different types of ways to keep them engaged and learning.