Writing my way through the school year!

Archive for December, 2010

iLearn Technology

Apparently, during one of my forays of technology websites, I discovered iLearn Technology . 

I must have enjoyed it because I became a subscriber.  However, until yesterday, when I was supposed to be cleaning out the desk in the hallway, I rarely opened the email notifications I received from the site. Well, before I tackled the desk, I decided to get rid of all the work email that had piled up.  As procrastinators do, I began opening the email instead of deleting it, and I was glad I did.  ilearn Technology is wonderful!  This site is a wonderful resource for technology nuts such as myself.    I ended up in the archives because I was opening older emails, but it allowed me to find new sites I had not been privy to.   Every time I opened the site, the Featured Post had changed, offering me another site to check out, and another addition to my Delicious links. I really got stuck on the 31 of My Favorite  Digital Storytelling Sites page.  Yes, 31!  I was familiar with a few of them, but not all.  My mind raced with how I could apply these sites in my classroom,   PiclitsSmilebox, and the other 29 sites that were listed. Even now, as I type this, the Featured Post is a distraction. 🙂  You can’t go wrong with this site, you can be overwhelmed, but like they say, just try one new thing. They have a search engine, and they offer applications for education for each suggested site.  I also love the fact that the authors thank contributors from their PLN for some of the sites they listed.   I never did clean out that desk yesterday, so I’m going to stay away from ilearn Technology today, at least  until that desk is clean!


“Just” a Teacher!?

view detailsAs I prepared dinner the other night, my son and I talked. Somehow, our conversation steered to  how smart I was.  In order to prove my point, I bragged to my son how I had been in gifted programs all my life, and had even skipped a grade. 

He laughed and said, “If you’re so smart, how come you’re just a teacher?” 

 “Just a teacher?”, I thought.  I was flabbergasted! Yet, at the same time, my mind raced, questioning my chosen occupation. An occupation I had loved for 26 years. 

 He continued, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you a doctor or a lawyer?”  Ouch! I told him, “I am that smart, but I have chosen to teach”. It brought to mind part of that horrible quote, “Those who can’t, teach.” I asked him who  he thinks taught those doctors and lawyers. 

 He responded, “Bill Gates didn’t go to college, and he’s a millionaire!”

 I answered, “But he did attend Kindergarten through 12th grade, right?” Who do you think taught him everything he knows? A teacher!” 

 We continued our conversation and I think I changed his opinion, maybe.  I have to admit, what he said stung. I went to college, I have a B.S. and a M.S., but my son thinks I’m not that smart because I’m “just” a teacher. 

Maybe this is why teachers have such a hard time getting respect.  Maybe this is why so many young teachers I’ve encountered, don’t really learn the craft, they worry about how long it will be before they “get out the classroom.”

I love teaching, I don’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, principal, etc…, I want to be a teacher, even if I’m “just” a  teacher!

Top 10 Things a Parent Can “Give” a Teacher for Christmas!

10.  A notebook, pencil, and paper for your child. If they have a Wii, I’m sure you can spare some change for these items.

9.   Dress your young  ladies, like young ladies. I don’t need to see your child’s cleavage or half of her butt.

8.    Make sure your child is on time for school. You are setting up bad habits for life when they are consistently late.

7.    Make sure your child is in school every day!  A 1 week  family vacation during the school year is not recommended for a failing student.

6.     Discipline your child.  If they do something wrong, there should be consequences.

5.     Be the parent!  You are not your child’s best friend! And no, you do not have to be the “cool” Mom or Dad.

4.     Have your child READ at home.  I do not have a magic wand, if they don’t read beyond the classroom, how will they become better readers?

3.     RESPECT the teacher.  If you call me a ” “b$#%&” at home, how do you think your child will treat me?

2.    Stop blaming the teacher!  Sometimes events are beyond the control of the teacher, but can be controlled by you and /or your child. 

1.    Make your child’s education a priority! Trust me, it will all pay off in the end.

Youtube version – Enjoy my video version! 🙂

“Hot Chocolate and a Movie”

The Christmas  holiday have become a hotbed within schools. You can’t say “Merry Christmas”,  a Christmas tree is a no-no, and the list of political correctness is endless.  However, teachers are industrious souls and we always find a way around.  The tree in our lobby is “The Giving Tree”.  It’s filled with hats, scarves, and gloves for needy families in our school community. We don’t have presents under our tree, we have  canned goods donated by our families, who choose to give to those who don’t.  Most of my students celebrate Christmas, but I have a few who don’t, because of their religious beliefs.  I respect that, and do not push my views on them.  However, they are children and deserve a little  holiday fun!  I don’t have a Christmas party  anymore, I host “Hot Chocolate and a Movie.”  The kids  bring the mugs, they love this part! 🙂  I supply hot chocolate, chips, and a movie.  This year we watched “Toy Story 3”. They sit with their friends. watch a movie, and sip hot chocolate while eating chips.  Life is good for them, they are content.  The great part is, all my kids can participate, as we enjoy time together before our Christmas, ooops, I mean Winter break.:)

R.I.P. Dress Code!

When I saw her outside the office, I wanted to pick up the phone and call someone and say, “Good morning, Natalie will not be allowed in class this morning until someone brings her a change of clothes.”  She had on a waist-length shirt, leggings(they were tights), and calf-length boots.  I really believe she did not have on any underwear,  if she did, they were thongs.  Her “cheeks” were in full view of everyone.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t be sent home, she was a teacher. Yes, a teacher.  You could tell she was uncomfortable, because she kept trying to pull the shirt down over her butt.  I wonder what her thoughts were as she looked in her mirror that morning?   The next day, another teacher, maybe in competition, came in with the same outfit, only her shirt was a little longer.  A student teacher remarked, “She looks like she’s going to a bar.”  She did.  What happened to the dress code? W hen did it become “anything goes?”  My principal did discuss the dress code at the beginning of the year, but maybe these teachers are confused with the term, “dressing like a professional.”  We used to have casual Fridays, but when teachers came in with dirty sneakers and holy jeans, Jeans Day became a special occasion.  There is a male teacher in my school who always wears a shirt, dress pants,shoes, and  a tie.  He says he does it to inspire his students.  Other teachers have mocked him, he doesn’t care, I love that he does that. And no, we don’t always have to wear ties, or heels, or dresses, but dress in a matter that allows someone to look at you as the professional you are and show you the respect you deserve.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve read plenty of articles where teachers say it doesn’t matter how they dress, all that matters is how they teach. They say their dress doesn’t make them any less professional.  However, in the real world, people do judge you by the way you look. If you look sloppy, people think you’re sloppy, if you look like you’re dressed for the bar…

Pardon the Interruption!

Due to the restrictions bought on me as a result of my robot teacher status, my Math lessons are taught at the end of the day.  In other words, I don’t have a choice, because my schedule is decided for me by administration. Teachers pretty much aren’t allowed to make any decisions nowadays, but I digress.

My Math lessons have become a constant stream of interruptions from parents who feel that 3:05 is too late for whatever urgent matter is at hand. I’m teaching, getting a point across, and then, “Mrs.M, could you send TS for dismissal?” One day, I had three students leave halfway through the lesson.  There is a correlation between being there for the lesson, and doing well, am I right?  Funny enough, these are the same students whose parents say their kids are struggling with math. 

And of course, the student doesn’t just get up and leave without interrupting or causing interruptions.  “Anything I have to take home?” Or the reminder I have to pass on before they exit.  Or the students who feel the need to watch this student pack up and leave, even if I begin teaching again!  I lose a number of my students as this one student whose parent didn’t feel like waiting on the car line leaves. I know there are times when students have no choice but to leave early, it happens.  However, I feel we need to go back to making education a priority.

I wrote a small reminder to my parents today about the importance of their child being in school until the end of the day, hopefully they will understand.

Carrotsticks Online Math Game!

No not the food.  Thanks to “Free Technology for Teachers”. I have set my students up on the website Carrotsticks. I am a technology nut with a class set of laptops.  Anything I can use that engages my students, and integrates technology is a win-win for me. I like this site because it provides my student with drills in subtraction, addition, division, and multiplication.  My students LOVE it for so many reasons. The most important reason is that they can compete against each other, they love this.  We had indoor recess today, and you know what they did?   The majority of the class was on Carrotsticks Online Math Games.  It has everything they love, an Avatar they create, competition, and points, lots of points!!!! It does what I need it to do, drill my students on Math,  it can be accessed at home, and it’s safe.  I am going to see if this helps improve their mathematical ability.  The only drawback is that I have students playing at 9 p.m., when they should be in their beds! 🙂

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