Book reviewer extraordinaire!

Posts tagged ‘Education’

Dear Google, You Should Have Talked to Me First

Dear Google, You Should Have Talked to Me First.

via Dear Google, You Should Have Talked to Me First.

I love the passion of this article. I plan to share it with my teaching staff and ask their opinion as to whether or not we should keep it and eventually ask to have it removed. Kids need to read and not test. Our students are so tired of being tested. I would love to reward the time and effort put into reading. I hate telling students they cannot check out books that aren’t on their “level” but, for now, it is expected of me. I do not require students in PK-1 to take AR quizzes. I use it as a means for me to help students monitor their own reading but do not push 2nd grade. I use it to print awards for those who are intrinsically motivated to “get to the next level” and those who wish to challenge me, or any number of teachers involved in the library reading program. Frankly, I would rather have the money they spend on AR to buy more books and create better plans and events around reading. When I came to my current school, my students did. It read “chapter books” (aka novels). They were burnt out on AR.

Now, my kids read one book in each genre every nine weeks so they can explore what is in the library. I have number of students who have finished their 3rd nine weeks required genre reading and a couple who have finished their 4th nine weeks. They can read whatever they want when they are finished. What has this achieved? Students now tell me they like different kinds of books. They know where to find their own materials. They discover we have a lot of books on all kinds of things. They help each other find materials and have even started suggesting materials to their classmates.

Next year, I will add a couple of other genres not included this year. Next year, I will include 2nd grade. Next year, I will let students check out whatever they want and compare the growth in reading of those students. Maybe, for this last nine weeks, I will let them choose books based on genre alone and not levels … . My hypothesis? Students will experience greater growth when checking out materials based upon genre and personal desire than genre and level. Radical? I hope not!

 

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The Letter D

I have been reading books to my PreK and Kindergarten students. Big surprise. The authors all have last names that begin with the letter D. This week I read a great book to them called Sody Salleratus by Aubrey Davis.

I had no clue what sody salleratus was or meant, all I knew is the author’s last name began with a D and it looked cute. We actually learned that sody salleratus was also known as baking soda. This story is not really about baking soda. It is an Applachian Three Billy Goats Gruff. The Old Woman decides to bake biscuits and needs her sody salleratus. She sends Boy to the grocer to buy some, which he dutifully complies. On the way back home he crosses a bridge only to be accosted by a large grumpy bear. Once the bear eats Boy the story moves on. The Old Woman proceeds to send Girl, then Old Man, and then herself to find out what has taken them so long to return home. All are eaten by the bear. Oh, did I forget to mention that they had a squirrel living on the mantlepiece? Yep, and squirrel goes last to find Old Woman, Old Man, Girls and Boy only to discover the bear and his boasting at eating them all.

Squirrel ends up outsmarting the bear and … well, there is a happily ever after to this story that includes the biscuits, thanks to the sody salleratus, and a bear skin rug.

The kids love the repetitive story line and begin to “read” it with me. They love the roaring and growling of the bear. Sody Salleratus is a fun little tale great to share.

School is getting back in session

English: Louise Arnold, a writer of Children's...

English: Louise Arnold, a writer of Children’s Literature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Four children reading the book How th...

English: Four children reading the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posts will be coming! I have read a couple of kids books over the summer. Mostly in preparation for the school year and teaching students about the library and its various uses. But, fun reading will ensue. I will plan to do reading club this year. Not like in years past but a real reading club. We will see what happens!

Charters Won’t Help

Okay, let’s face it. As parents, as educators, as administrators and as politicians we are concerned with the state of education in America and in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods.

Here is my take:

1. Class sizes in these areas are TOO BIG. That being said, I will concede that I grew up in large cities that bussed and we had large class sizes. There were thirty plus kids. So, what is making this a problem today? Teachers? Parents? Kids?

a. Parents are not parenting. Kids are not being taught to be respectful and follow rules at home. Why would we expect them to do so at school? When I call a parent about their child swearing and the parent swears at me for “bothering” them I understand that I now have to ‘parent’ the child at school. When did it become my job to raise other people’s kids?

b. Teachers are picking their battles. We do not want to punish kids. That is not why we are here. We chose this profession, this art, because we love working with kids. It is ingrained in who and what we are. BUT. Yes, a large ‘but’ has to go in here. BUT, we cannot do it all. We cannot compensate for every child’s lack of appropriate parenting. We cannot financially compensate for a child’s unpreparedness. We cannot be in ‘loco parentis’ (in place of parent) and educator, too. Large classes of students who do not follow direction and behave poorly impacts teaching and learning. Teachers must give and follow through with consequences.

c. Kids. Kids will do what they are taught to do or let do. Without guidelines and rules children will mimic what they see and hear. If they are allowed to scream at home, they will scream at school. If they are allowed to cry and get their way at home they will attempt the same at school. If parents do not give consequences for inappropriate or, yes I will use the “B” word here, bad behavior then children will not understand consequences at school.

d. Administrators MUST support the classroom teachers as well as the parents and children. When a teacher has attempted to correct behavior and parents have been involved but refuse to support the teacher, administrators must take the firm hand. At time, it may be the child is suspended for a lengthy period of time. Parents my need to be inconvenienced. Put the education and parenting back on their child. Require the parent to attend with the child and make certain their child does what he/she is supposed to do. THAT would cause a bit of an uproar but you would see parents pushing their kids to behave better in school. Administrators should substitute. I’d love to see a middle or high school principal sub for me for a week. I’d love to have the superintendents sub for me for a week. I think school board members should sub as well. That would change perspectives. Many of these have either never been in a classroom or it has been so long since they were in a classroom they have no clue as to how students really behave and how parents do not support the teacher.

e. Politicians. Come do my job for a week. THEN you can talk about my job education.

I am really tired of feds, state officials and parents talking about how educators and the educational system is failing them, failing children. This is not the educational world in which you and I grew up.

My daughter looked at my old 3rd grade school picture. She counted the students. “Mom,” she said “there are thirty-two kids in your class. They are all sitting at their desks and smiling and looking well behaved. Didn’t you have the ‘class-clown’ or the ‘bad kid’ in your class?”

“Yes, we had them. However, they knew if they misbehaved of clowned around when it was time to do work or get pictures taken they would be punished by the teacher and their parents.”

“Teachers spanked kids?”

“Yep. Not often because we knew our parents would do it a second time when we got home. We did not do things to make our teacher spank us. It was rare.”

“Wow.” My daughter contemplated that concept. “Teachers need to spank now.”

“I don’t want to spank someone else’s child.” (Grammar withstanding our conversation) “I want parents to parent their kids so I don’t have to spank their children. I want them to understand about consequences in school and at home. I want an educational partner.”

This is what teachers want. We want involved parents.

Throwing money at schools is sometimes frowned upon. But as a teacher of large class sizes I can tell you that I would benefit from an extra adult body in my room. That takes money. I would love to see smaller classroom sizes at the PreKindergarten through second grade levels. We can teach them manners and appropriate behavior if we have smaller classroom sizes.

😀 This is my rant of the day. Thanks given to Fox News for setting me off.

Related articles

David’s Drawings by Cathryn Falwell

** spoiler alert **

 

David likes to draw. He likes to draw what he sees. On the way to school, David sees a tree and finds it beautiful. When he gets to school, he draws what he sees. His classmates decide the drawing needs more and David allows them to add their own touches. He titles the piece “Our Class Picture” and hangs it on the bulletin board. On the way home, he sees the tree again. At home he draws the tree and his sister says it needs ‘something.’

I loved this book because of its simple messages. It appears David is quiet and reflective about his drawing but open to others’ interpretation. At home, his interpretation is perfect.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/davids-drawings-cathryn-falwell/1102416217

Don’t flog me, please!!!

I have had an eventful summer so my blogging has been limited. However, my reading has not!

I received a wonderful call from the assistant superintendent for our district asking if I could spend some money … FAST! A couple of hours later I had spent about 25K! As a result, I went back to work early and began reorganizing my library to accommodate the new materials and then to process the new materials.

The downsides (yes, plural) are 1) lack of work free summer – I have not had one of those before, and 2) I was asked to process the new textbooks for all of the new materials teachers were receiving. We had enough funding left over to purchase all new materials for every subject and every grade level. AWESOME! Well, except for the processing part.

We officially go back to work on Monday to get ready for the students after labor day. I still have 33 boxes to open and process in two weeks by myself. I don’t mind because the students will be excited!

Now, onto blogging about the books I read this summer!

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