Climbing Back Up the Mountain

Basketball and baseball season completely derailed this little side project.  Here’s to hoping I can get my act together and stay on top of throwing my thoughts into the ring.  A little motivation came from this post.

This line especially:

I know that as educators we never ever can stop learning…

What percentage of teachers actually think this daily? Unfortunately, I’m guessing less than 50%.

The Presidency…

Today is a historic day. No doubt about it. Many words have been and will be written about this exact day. However, quite a few of those words will be filled with snark and jokes about our former leader, George W. Bush. If this is a time of hope and change, shouldn’t we let our former leader walk away? Maybe it’s just me, but what happened to the respect that was given to our highest office? Did it leave with the stains on the blue dress or was it more recent?

I’m not apologizing for some choices made in the last 8 years, but that man was our leader. He held the toughest job in the world for the last EIGHT years, let him walk away quietly and direct your energy to helping our current leader accomplish his goals.

Teaching Handwriting?

Being an elementary teacher, the question of whether or not we should teach handwriting occasionally comes up. Actually, it came up this year for our 3rd and 4th grade teachers, as they were handed a new curriculum that required 80 minutes a week to teach handwriting. To me, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Especially when they are teaching cursive and using the old fashioned “Big Red” type of sheets. You know, the ones where the lower case letters MUST hit the dotted line in the middle? But, I also know that I must be able to read a student’s work. So, I’m not complaining.

What got me thinking about this was an article I saw linked at Good. The post was titled “Stop Teaching Handwriting”, so I had to read it. The author is a college professor who is dealing with her 3rd grade son learning handwriting. She makes a lot of great points as to why we no longer need to teach the handwriting. Very few of these would be new arguments, but I still agree with her.

However, what really struck me was the comments. Comments are such a hard thing to judge on a site that seems widely read. The comments were made by people that found the article and I’m going to assume many of these people are parents and a few even claim to be educators. Here are a few and I’d like to know what you think about them.

Another Educated Idiot, evidently she has never had to decypher something important, like a password or e-mail addy that someone wrote like crap.

To even suggest that this skill should no longer be taught simply because you don’t seem to feel it is important speaks volumes. I’m sure he’s quite ready to stop trying.. after all, you are. And to make matters worse you are attempting to justify it. Don’t you think our youth has been dumbed down enough?

What a ridiculous article. Maybe you should purchase laptops and printers for every student so they never have to write anything with a pen or a pencil. Oh yeah, don’t forget to provide paper and ink for the printers.

I thought that one was funny.

If he isn’t taught cursive, what will he do when he has to write a letter?

That one’s pretty funny, too.
That’s all I can take of the comments. If you click to the article and dive in on the comments, good luck!

Thoughts?

Live Blog

Just had the idea hit me to live blog our high school basketball games for our school website. Cover It Live works great, why not use it? Now, I wonder if I can work in some pay?

Recognition

Recognition.  No matter how vague or discreet the recognition is, we all love it. My Curriculum Director actually sent my name to two different districts this week in response to inquiries about a state sponsored math project.  This may not sound like a big deal, but I’ve been openly critical of our local curriculum.  Here and here (recent examples).  As an example of why I’m critical, just this past week I was handed 5 weeks worth of lessons for my reading students.   Obviously, because I don’t know the standards that need to be covered before our state assessment.

Math standards though are somehow less demanding (I guess?), because I was just recommended to advise two other districts in their assessment prep!

Redemption

Had a bad afternoon. It happens.

Saved it the last two days by knocking them out of the park.

Great Morning, Terrible Afternoon

Yesterday we had a couple of inches of snow falling all day.  Obviously, the students start thinking snow day (as do teachers).  We weren’t that lucky. Now, I understand the students are worked up and not exactly engaged.  Set up a lesson with a math game to introduce coordinates for my math class, went great.  Students loved it and they understood the concept.  Reading follows math, started a book on the Solar System.  Again, engaged discussion and questions.  All is well with the world.  Then…

We derailed.  Badly.

Science follows lunch and we have been using a website to research various ecosystems around the world.  The students are working in partners and have been doing a good job of reading and finding the information needed.  BUT, today the website was down.  I found another website that has similar information, but it was a different.  The students didn’t handle this well at all.  Frustration for them and me.   Science ends and my writing class enters.

Speed is out of control.  Heading for the derailment.

We’re working on a research paper and just finished up peer revisions.  Before we write final drafts, I give them a quick glance to make sure we actually did the peer revisions.  Two students did nothing yesterday on their revisions.  Guess what guys?  You get to try again. Another student has been sitting on rough draft for 3 days.  Today, I warned him that if he didn’t get started on the last paragraph that he would be removed from class (student is on a behavior IEP).  He sat there for 5 minutes.  Gone.

One more student decided he was going to throw his notes (wadded up) at a student who was working to start his final draft.  See ya!

So, science lesson went to crap and I failed to have a backup plan, but we made it through it ok.  Writing, not so much.  It’s so hard to get elementary students who range from 2nd-7th grade reading levels working together on writing.  I let it get to me.  Damn it.  I failed this afternoon.

Two students removed from class between 2 and 3!  Three for the year.

How many more days until Christmas Break?