Hello you! How I’ve missed the outlet of writing. Last year, I kept this blog for substitute teachers as I was subbing while seeking my own classroom. Some of you know that this past fall, I was blessed beyond belief with my dream job of teaching 5th grade Language Arts to roughly 100 kiddos. This job has kept me extremely busy and my blogging days had to be put aside. Well, I have started another blog
…Come check it out!
Completely exhausted from the ramblings of a 5-year-old boy, who is always on the go, I melt into my favorite blue lawn-chair and I listen to the birds sing their love song to me as it pours from the heavens. What are they singing? Are they groaning their daily doings? Perhaps their shopping list? Their recipe for dinner? Their list of errands? Are they discussing my ramshackle little dingy white two-bedroom apartment with its quaint back porch that sports a handmade nuts and bolts rusty iron owl that I placed there with so much pride?
My first writing for camp! This was a two-minute free write describing a very specific place. Mine was my back porch. Enjoy!
What summer fun adventures do you have planned? I love summer and everything that goes with it…Arnold Palmer drinks, lazing in the pool, sitting and relaxing with a good books, and camping with my family. This year I have a found a unique camp for teachers that I thought you might want to join…
Kate Messer, award winning author whose books for kids have been New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections, is hosting a virtual summer camp for teachers and librarians who, in writing, believe that is important to walk the walk of writing themselves rather than to merely talk the talk in discussion of writing. Would you like to improve your writing? I know I do…come join me for Kate’s camp. It begun June 4th, but it is never too late to start…I started today! I will share my writing adventure and I hope you will too!
Are you saddened by the end of the year? I am. As a regular teacher you get to touch the lives of roughly 30 kiddos if you are an elementary school teacher or roughly 100 kiddos if you are a middle or high school teacher. I feel so honored that I have been able to bless the lives of hundreds of kiddos. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to have shared my life with amazing students and teachers. Some days were more difficult than others, but in the end I am grateful. I took a 3-day-job last week, outside of my content area, with a group of 8th graders that I have had several times throughout the year and at first was wishing I hadn’t gone outside of my content area, but in the end I was glad I did. I was able to say goodbye to a school, to students and to teachers, I love. There have been times when I wondered if, as a sub, I am making any difference in the lives of students and teachers. There have been times when I have felt like the “real” teacher, I so desperately wish to be, and there have been times when I have felt like the “fake” teacher…the just a sub teacher. This week I was blessed…I did feel like the “real” teacher when I walked into the classroom each day to receive these love notes.
Memorial day is a day about honoring those who have sacrificed their lives to serve our country. I believe teachers are veterans too, as the classroom today is a war. Thank you to all the teachers and the students whom have shared their lives with me this school year. If I travel down this road again next year, I hope to branch my wings into other districts.
Although the school year is over, it is not for me. I will continue to bring you great resources as I find them. Until then, I wish you many blessings.
Bringing you a fantastic find, http://www.masteryconnect.com/learn-more/features.html. Mastery Connect connects you to teachers from around the country who are also implementing the common core. Find “just right” activities and assessments already aligned to the common core. Best part its free and you can access it anywhere through their website or through their app. Have Fun!
Have you wondered if your actions or reactions as a teacher are actually perpetuating your classroom management issues? If not, you should. My rant for today begins with an intervention specialist that I met today whose main form of classroom management was belittlement. If this were my classroom I might have talked with the intervention specialist about her actions. Imagine you are sitting in a meeting and your boss stops and starts yelling at you to focus. This is where many students are coming from. Many act badly because they believe they are bad because you believe they are bad. Trust that your students will be and do great things and they will. Treat others how you want to be treated is the motto. Students deserve respect too. Give what you want to receive.
If you need a boost on the Common Core standards as I did, fell free to take this free webinar series from the Marzano Research Group. Two sessions have passed and there are two more live sessions to go, but you can get access to all archived lectures. I found it very helpful.
Common core standards is the hot topic in education today. Google “common core standards” and you retrieve 32,000,000 results. For me it is mind boggling. Not being a regular-ed teacher I am left a bit out of the loop and have some deficits in knowledge on the subject. I feel as though I should be against the common core standards, but I am not. I share the concerns of many that the new standards may further standardized testing, narrowed curriculum and hierarchical control of what happens in the classroom, but I think that the standards represent the greatest opportunity for all subjects to be re-imagined as global subjects. I am excited about their mission statement to “be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.” I am excited that the standards demand very high levels of performance from all students, as I think our nation has become too settled in our mediocrity. I am excited about students having to apply their knowledge to real-world situations with high level thinking through performance events beyond the usual multiple-choice and short-answer low level thinking. The truth education in the U.S. is behind. In reading we rank 14th in the world, in math we rank 25th in the world, and in science we rank 17th in the world. This is outrageous. If we expect our students to compete globally post-graduation then we need to revamp our education system and start preparing to implement to core standards.
So how do teachers begin to align their instruction to common core standards? Educators should:
- Focus on content depth
- Integrate the concepts and skills from reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language into instructional units. Avoid teaching skills in isolation
- Use formative instructional strategies and assessments K through 12
- Develop the students’ ability to view themselves as effective readers and writers-as effective communicators.
- Use resources that connect the English Language Arts concepts and skills in the classroom to the outside world, which adds relevance to what is being taught.
- Become familiar with the Content Elaborations and Enduring understandings found in the model curriculum that is posted online.
- Promote performance-based assessment.
- Plane and implement appropriate professional development for both teachers and administrators, building both content and pedagogical knowledge for students as well as educators.
What does this mean for a sub? If you are in prime job hiring time like me then it is likely that they will ask questions related to the common core and how you will prepare students. These are some suggestions. I hope you can find ways to support the common core as a sub. Peace be with you!
Rather than sheltering our students from technology, I believe we should embrace it and teach them how to use it responsibility.