Book reviewer extraordinaire!

Posts tagged ‘Elementary school’

ASL for Pre-K

So, I am teaching my students sign language. Not the “normal” job of the ‘library media specialist’? In the world of education today library teachers, teacher-librarians, media specialists, librarians, whatever-you-call-us do not just check out books and read to students any more.

I begin each school year with six lesson plans; PK, K, 1-4 level. As the weeks progress the lessons adjust to meet the scheduling issues, students issues, and whatever else that may interfere with out plans. In my case, and many others’, I only see my classes once a week. If they miss a class we are behind. By the end of the school year each of my 26 classes could have a different lesson being taught in one week. Crazy but true.

So, why ASL? Because my Prekindergarten students are not on top of their alphabet this year. I have tried working with PK teachers to get the list of letters they cover each week – no, they do not start at A and end at Z, this would be too easy. So I am conducting an experiment to use a different portion of their brains to identify the alphabet. It is working! I had a couple of little ones’ say good morning to me, as they got off the bus, in ASL. AWESOME!!!!

I put up a letter, they sign in back to me. We are moving onto colors and basics like thank you and good morning. Next week we will practice alphabet with words (A is for Apple) and have them sign along as well. I love having them show off for others to build their confidence. They are reciprocating with initiating the signing to me. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

I will be signing to my pre-k from the get-go next year! This year, I am tired. Thankfully, only two more weeks and we will not be seeing each other for much of it as I proctor state exams. Crazy as it seems, the library closes in many schools across the US so we can watch teachers to make sure they don’t cheat. This must happen a lot right? Teachers cheating on state exams? Actually, no. We don’t. I’d venture to say less that .001% of teachers assist or out-right cheat on state exams … but that is another rant. I won’t see my PK students for the next 30 days – well, hit or miss. Wish me luck as we keep moving on.

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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.

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