Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Facebook Profile Character Development Lesson

CCSS RL 9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

Students will analyze the characters’ multiple and conflicting motivations in “Hamlet” in order to determine how these interactions drive the plot. Students must have an understanding of internal/external conflict, plot and character traits.

Essential Question: 
How do the internal conflicts of certain characters affect the external conflict between other characters in the play and how does this advance the plot?

Fates Shackled to a Scantron

A hush comes over the entire building as the students sit in their janitorial rows. Harsh fluorescent lights cast an ominous glow of fear and nervousness over their quiet, innocent faces. The room looks like a prison cell since the brightly colored posters that once made the room look more cozy, were snatched down and now the children are bound to their desks. No there are no smiles, no happy sounds of children’s laugher—only solemn faces fixed with anxiety as if they have met their fates. And all I can do is look on. I have the urge to reach out and comfort them, but I’m not permitted to. Our fates are actually tied together on this day—a year’s work thrust upon them in one hour as they take the state standardized test.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Battle at Kruger: Community Comes to the Rescue

While reading, the founder of the Children's Defense Fund Marian Wright Edelman's,  The Sea is So Wide and My Boat is So Small, she wrote about this Ytube video. She used this video to illustrate just how important the entire community is to a child's life. Had only the mother attempted to protect her calf, it wouldn't have survived. It took the entire community of water buffalo to save this calf. In a world where there are plenty of the lions and the alligators in the world preying on our children, what role do you play in protecting them? If we all surrounded our children with love and protection, how many children can we save?  

It takes the ENTIRE community. We are ALL responsible for the children in our community--not just the parents and the teachers. What role are you playing in the children in your community's lives?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Teach a (wo)man to fish...

Oftentimes we assume that people without resources can't learn or have too many obstacles standing in their way to find success and happiness. Below is truly a story of teaching "a man how to fish." How often do we as teachers and parents control the learning environment instead of facilitating it? This really is a matter of trust. Do you trust your children/students to accomplish the task you set forth without your constant help? They will have to eventually.  we perhaps too impatient when it comes to our expectations of not what they learn but when? Ask yourselves this as teachers and parents. I certainly have and sometimes I didn't like my answer. Sometimes you feel pressured by administrators, pacing guides, other parents, heck even society to get your child/student "there" where ever there is in a short amount of time. Everyone learns at his/her own pace. Instead of pressuring them to retain the lesson, instill the value of it. Why should they learn this? Of what significance to their lives is this lesson? If you teach that, the learner will be more motivated to step up to the challenge. Watch the video below and see how a group of impoverished mothers went from not knowing how to read or write to becoming solar engineers in 6 months! The work that they trained for, helped them sustain their villages and empower other women. We are always trying to swoop in and save people when they are very well capable of saving themselves. If we don't TEACH people and we do the learning for them, what will they do when we leave?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Teaching Makes Me Smile

This is for anyone out there who is fed up. Maybe an observation didn't go so well, or maybe your planning was taken up today with an unscheduled meeting. I've had those days. Days that made me feel completely frustrated...made me even question my career choice to become a public school teacher, but then my students come into class and I'm quickly reminded why I'm there. Despite all the craziness outside of my classroom, my room is my sanctuary when my students get there. I just close the door, shut out the world and enter the new world of learning with my students.  Little gifts, notes and pictures from my students sits behind my desk, from all the years I've been teaching..."Even when I'm having a bad day, this makes me smile."

What are somethings you do to refocus throughout the day? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Those Who Can, TEACH

In matters of public education, it seems so many policy makers miss solutions completely because they are looking at the microscopic through a telescope. The problems are much more varied and complex than most people think. It's like looking up and out for a world ending asteroid while a plague wipes out a whole generation.

Thought of the Day

Monday, March 18, 2013

What Does School Really Teach Children?

What can we do to change this senario? At home, at school and in the community? What is your role in educating the children in your community? What are some more unintended lessons children are learning in school?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blackboard Wars

Anyone out there watching "Blackboard Wars" on Oprah's OWN? In a nutshell it depicts a struggling school from several different lenses from the administrator's prospective, private charter consultant, teachers (mostly new), counselors, community members, parents and most importantly student's! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the show. Does it mirror what you see going on in public education today? Just can be quite the heated discussion. Share your thoughts! 

Haven't seen it? You can catch up with full episodes here: Blackboard Wars

Maker's Educators' Award

Maker's is offering $10,000 to one trailblazing teacher. Entries must be in by 8:00pm EST March 22nd. Click to link to enter/nominate someone!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Obama Proposal Raises Issue of Pre-K Teacher Prep

Obama Proposal Raises Issue of Pre-K Teacher Prep

Should Pre-K teachers be required to earn at least a Bachelor's degree in order to be considered "highly qualified"?

They talk about the difference between being credentialed and keeping with good practice. If learning is a life-long journey, does earning credentials create a ceiling discouraging continuing education/professional development or does it motivate teachers to gain more knowledge through earning more credentials (degrees, endorsements, PLUs, etc)?

We are in desperate need of more Pre-K teachers. Do you think this new policy may discourage the recruitment and retention of current Pre-K teachers?

What's your take on this? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Great Educational Websites

Class Dojo
You can use to as a method of classroom management. It's basically a point system positive/negative and it tracks the class's as well as individual student's progress anywhere from daily to monthly. You can use these graphs in parent conferences as documentation. Sometimes tracking the progress during class can be tedious, I usually designate a student to manage it for me. They love it! There's also an app on the iPhone/Android

This site is a lot like Facebook, but for the classroom. You can posts comments, homework, websites, and videos just like a fb news feed. Parents can have access as well. There are also teacher resources available. You can also post grades and have students turn in assignments on there.

The Teaching Channel
This site has a ton a videos dedicated to teachers. Plenty of awesome ideas and resources for subject instruction to classroom management.

A healthy alternative to boring powerpoints.

Khan Academy
extend your learning experience from home. Great study resource.

iTunes U
on the itunes site...completely free Professors at top ranked universities provide their lectures on just about every subject you can imagine on here for free.

Poll Everywhere
You can create surveys about almost anything, even make multiple choice questions to poll your class on the day's objective. This does, however, require that students use their cell phones in order to participate.

What are some good educational websites that you use?