Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘student growth’

“Girls on the Run”

Remember the teacher from Charlie Brown? “Wah, Wah, Wah.”

 I know that’s what my students hear at times when I speak to them, and it can be frustrating.  That’s why I feel that some of our students need someone besides their teacher to get through to them.  A person who says the exact  thing we say 600 times a day, but for some reason, they hear this “other” person.

A colleague signed up for a program called “Girls on the Run.” Their mission is “to educate and prepare girls for a life time of self-respect and healthy living.”  I chose three of my students; one, who had just lost a  loved one, and two who have had “issues” the entire school year.   

The changes began when they were asked to be part of this program, at least for two of them.  The excitement they felt was contagious, I was excited for them!  Permission slips were signed that night and bought in the next day. After the orientation meeting, I was regaled with details about the program and what they would be doing. The behavior of one of them changed drastically after two meetings.  She has, literally, not given me one problem since she joined. The one, who lost a loved one, is excited about life again.

I took my colleague aside to share my excitement, and told her I was still a little worried about one of my chosen girls.  Her attitude really showed no change, it stayed the same, lip poked out, huffs, puffs, eyes rolled. We figured it would just take her a little more time, and hoped for the best.   

The following day, I am not making this up, as we walked down the hallway, this particular student smiled at me, and said, “Mrs. Mims, Mrs. F. told us that we have a negative and positive core, her hands demonstrated her words, “She said to take out the negative core and put in the positive core.”

I said, “Do you plan to do that?”

She responded, “Yes, and if I forget, G. (one of the other girls in the program) will pull it out for me.”   They beamed at each other, heads nodding affirmatively.

There’s also a essay contest sponsored by Secret. All 15 girls in the program agreed to participate in the contest! I willingly offered my help, because win or lose, they are putting themselves out there. One of them told me, she already knows what she’s going to do with the money she wins.:)

 I wish all our kids could have access to programs like this. I realize it won’t work with all of them. But the ones it does reach, it would make such a difference in their lives, and in our classrooms. Imagine the impact these types of programs would have on our students, emotionally, socially, mentally, spiritually, and physically.  All aspects of their life would be challenged to grow.  My girls will run a 5K race with Girls on the Run on June 4. I know they can do it, and I will be there, cheering them on!



The word that comes to mind, after today’s conference  is “rethink.”  I have used that word so many times between today and yesterday, it’s unbelievable. But trust me when I say I am not using the word in vain!  It is the only way I can describe what PLC is making me do.  It is making me RETHINK the way I have been teaching.  Now mind you, I consider myself a pretty good teacher, not perfect, but good.  I keep my students engaged, I maintain discipline,  I teach using a variety of methods, and hey, we’ve even begun incorporating PLC in my school .  However, this  PLC summit  has brought me to the realization that I have not done the best that I can for my students!

 I know, you’re thinking, isn’t this the same person who was trashing professional development about two posts ago? Yes, that was me. 🙂  But this summit, this is what I want! I don’t know how many people were in that room, but each presenter, and I mean, each presenter, had us engaged practically every minute.  If teachers were talking , they were talking about PLC, not about where to go for lunch.  We met so many teachers from so many places, and we learned, not only from the presenters, wait for it, but from EACH OTHER! Wow!

 I have to share what I learned, so over the next couple of posts, I am going to share some key concepts that were presented.  Hopefully, this will twinge your curiosity and you will  find out what PLC is, and what it can do for your school.  Tonight, I am going to the top of the Hyatt and eat at the revolving restaurant. I’ll be ok, my head is still spinning from all I’ve learned in the last two days. 🙂

PLC- “Please,Let’s Collaborate!”

That’s not what it means, it means Professional Learning Community, but it’s  the essence of this concept.  Teachers collaborating, working as a team for the better of our students.  I am in Phoenix, Arizona, attending the Solution Tree PLC Summit 2011, and boy has it changed the way I think. I honestly thought we were implementing PLC in our school, but, we aren’t there just yet. It was good to see that we are on our way though.  The biggest obstacle is CHANGE!  A lot of teachers resist it, and it makes it difficult to get them to see it for the good that  it can do.  However, my  colleagues and I  are going to try our best to persuade them to see the  benefits for our students.In future posts,  I will  share the concepts I learned from this workshop. For now, I’m hungry, and I’m going to go out and enjoy Phoenix! 🙂

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Tweaking “KWL” with Twiducate!

I know you are all familiar with the KWL chart.  It has been around for centuries, like Bloom’s taxonomy, and is always used as a great motivator for any and all subjects.   Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of the KWL chart, but something always bothered me.  What if the student didn’t know anything about the subject?  What if the student didn’t want to know anything about the subject?  Any way,yesterday I sat down with my small group, prepared to read a book about prairies.  I said, “Get your laptops and open Twiducate.” In 20 minutes, and I am not exaggerating, we knew so much about prairies, it was so cool! I twittered the question, “What do you know about prairies?”  One of the students Googled a link about prairies for kids, I had her post the link, and they all used it to obtain information.  They had to write at least two facts from the article about prairies AND paste an image.  Each wrote facts from different headings, for example, Prairie animals.  After typing and posting, we discussed, and what a lively discussion we had! The pictures allowed the students to “see” a prairie, and anything related to a prairie. I used their posts on Twiducate for our whole group discussion today,and they were very proud of their work! One of my resolutions was to engage my 21st century students, I think I can say I am working toward meeting that goal.

“Effective or Highly Effective? That is the Question!

I read an article in our union newspaper about student growth ,multiple measures , and labels.  Aaaargh! It made me so… argghhh!Teachers will be labeled Effective or Highly Effective based on what? And yes, I mean on what, because “they” still have not determined what the “multiple measures” will be.  Is this ridiculous or what? I have an idea, why don’t you just let us teach, like we used to do? “Multiple measures!” When will “they” learn that so many factors go into whether a child learns or not. If Charlie did not have breakfast this morning, he can’t hear you over the grumbling of his stomach! If Tannai had no electricity because her Mom beat up the neighbor they were stealing electricity from, she doesn’t really care about the difference between a prime number and composite. All of these factors have to be taken into consideration before we are labeled and “rewarded”. What an unfair, sucky, system!

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