Writing my way through the school year!

Archive for the ‘Student Issues’ Category

Ability Does NOT = Zip Code!

FLL Robotics Competition

I have worked in schools that have been defined by a number of labels. High poverty, large percentage of free and reduced lunch, low income, those types of labels.

When those labels are used, although they shouldn’t, they tend to define a school, their students, and the parents.

Generalizations are made.

Well, you know, because the school is  high poverty, the free and reduced lunch percentage is high, and there are many low income families


Those generalizations lead to beliefs.

Beliefs that lead to an excessive amount of reading and math instruction.

More intervention.

More worksheets.

More computers, just so we make sure these kids don’t miss out on all the adaptive programs that are available to them.

But many of them do miss out.

They miss out on STEAM programs, global collaboration, plays,  passion projects, student ownership, being allowed to think!

This year, thanks to a friend of mine and her connections, (Shout out to Michelle!),I was able to obtain a grant for a LEGO Robotics kit. With the Robotics kit came the responsibility of getting a group of  kids ready to compete in a FIRST LEGO League Robotics competition. I never doubted they could do it.

These kids.

I looked at the LEGO kit when it arrived, and wanted to cry.

They looked at the LEGO kit and began to build.

They built Mission models, a robot, and programmed it.(Shout out to Home Depot for building and donating their practice table)

They studied their Core Values and completed their Animal Allies research project. (Shout out to Jillian from +Sharks4Kids!).

Our, the other coach and I, faith never wavered. We believed in them.

These kids from this “high poverty, large percentage of free and reduced lunch, low income” school went to the competition and did their thing.

They went, worked as a team, behaved respectfully, and showed what they are capable of.

They got points on the board for getting their robot to complete 3 missions! (Shout out to to Mr.Bill from Caravel Academy!)

They won the award for the Research category. YES!

I’m  still grinning.:)

Let’s give our kids, no matter where they attend school, a chance to be exposed. A chance to experience all that life has to offer. Give them a chance to shine!

Zip code. Does not.  = ability.


“My Name is Idiot.”


My heart broke when I read the story of this  4 year old abused girl. When the officers asked her what her name was, she responded, “Idiot.” The other child living in the house said that she was called that in place of her name.READ MORE

Just Because Our Students Are Living in Poverty…

 Ban Ki-Moon

Many times we allow stereotypes to rule our perceptions of others, whether it’s race, gender, or socioeconomic status. We allow these perceptions to cloud our judgment, and we make decisions based on these misconceptions. We believe if it is true of one, it is true of all. How unfair to the students who walk into our classrooms every day.

A child “living in poverty” seems to be a hot button issue right now, and rightly so. But how much do we let the fact that any of our students are living in poverty affect how we relate to them? How does the fact that our students are living in poverty, change the way we teach ALL of our students? READ MORE…

Kids on the Way to the Park: Is Joy Stifled in School?


There is a playground in my development.

kids in park


During the summer, I have the pleasure of listening to children as they travel to the playground.


The excitement can’t be contained, talking, laughing, running!


“Come back!” “Don’t go too far!” “Wait!”, parents trying to contain them, understandably, not wanting them to go too far ahead.


The pure, unadulterated joy of going to the playground, of knowing what is a few feet ahead. The jungle gym, swings, seesaw, grass to run in! READ MORE…

Childhood, Where Art Thou? Why Can’t Kids Be Kids?

My girls are coming in with highlights in their hair.
I’m not even thinking about the damage coloring can do to one’s hair, it just seems to me to be one of those things you wait to do when you grow up.
You know.



photo credit: roseannadana via photopin cc

I Wish I Could Clone You: A Teacher’s Dream Child!

I have at least one every year.

That child  I wish I could clone.
The kid that is so sweet, respectful, polite, works hard, helpful, gets along with their peers, an absolute delight!

photo credit: Blue Skyz Media via photopin cc

Every Kid Needs a Champion: Rita’s Words and This Little Girl!

That quote inspires me.

This little girl handed me a paper with her Dad and Mom’s contact information on it. It had their home phone number, cell phone number,  job number, and email addresses. I said, “I already have this information. Why are they sending it to me again?”

She responded, “Mrs.M, you have to understand, (this is how she speaks), for the past 4 years, my parents have been called for every single thing I did. They can’t understand why you are not calling them.”

I began on the path of champion for this little girl before she even entered my classroom.  Our relationship began the year before when she approached me with sheets of paper with her ideas for her magazine. Afterwards, I was asked to mentor her, and I tried. At the end of the year, I asked to have her placed in my class. I knew she was a “handful”, but I also suspected that this image of her was not all there was.

This little girl stood up at Morning Meeting on Friday, and announced that she had the application form for staff for her magazine(“KRM Magazine-Kidz Rule!”) ready. She wanted to know who was interested, 1/4 of the students raised their hands. I suggested Google forms and a student willingly agreed to help her set it up.

At the end of the day, she announced that the application was embedded on Edmodo and could be filled out over the weekend. Today, she announced who she had hired. My heart swells with pride about what she has accomplished, how she has turned around.

This little girl is by no means perfect, and neither am I. We understand each other. I care for her, and she knows this. She knows I want the best for her.

As we packed up today, I felt arms grab me from behind in a hug. This little girl. I am her champion. We are connected.

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