“Why I won’t buy one extra box of tissues for my kid’s school supplies; signed, a frustrated parent” is the title of the blog post that I recently came across on Facebook. At first I was taken aback by the content of the blog post. This is the time of year when teachers put out school supply lists for parents to purchase supplies for their child in the classroom. The tone of the blog post seemed very critical of teachers listing items on the school supply list. Take this paragraph from the blog post and think about it for just a minute.
And let’s talk about that list; shall we? I mean, who in their right mind thinks it’s a good idea to request that our kids purchase Expo markers in bulk or boxes of Kleenex that should be supplied already? ESPECIALLY when those might not get used by my kids? Who thinks it should be my job to bring Ziploc bags to school?
I was appalled to read this, nevertheless, I kept reading. I noticed the text taking a turn for the better.
Well I’ll tell you who. I am. I’m not going to buy just the one extra box of tissues because (let’s all be honest here) I can afford more than that. And “gasp” what if someone other than my precious Timmy uses them? Well, then, haven’t I done a good deed for the year for less than the cost of a coffee? We should all be interested in what will create the best learning environment for all these kids, for all these little people who will be making big decisions some day like what to do with YOUR Social Security or how to fix YOUR city infrastructure or how best to treat that cancerous mass in YOUR body.
I know there are times when teachers ask for a great deal of supplies that the school should be supplying. When I was teaching in the classroom there were many times that I spent my own money supplementing what the school did not supply for my students and I. That included Ziplock bags and Clorox wipes sometimes or hand sanitizer as mentioned in the blog post. Regardless, the burden of supplying glue, markers, etc. ends up with the teacher and school supply lists help ease that burden.
The blog post asks parents to approach the teacher if something seems like an outlandish request. As teachers we recognize not all parents can afford to buy school supplies for their children. Your help is needed so that we can teach and reach our students with innovative teaching strategies. I encourage you to buy extra supplies while the prices are so cheap as the prices will be back to their regular prices during the school year after the initial mad rush for supplies ends. Teachers go out of their way to reach their students so hopefully you can do the same in return when it comes to purchasing school supplies.
The blog post I referenced (https://butimeanwell.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/why-i-wont-buy-one-extra-box-of-tissues-for-my-kids-school-supplies-signed-a-frustrated-parent/) has many comments sharing pros and cons for purchasing school supplies. Many were from actual teachers sharing their reasons for including items on the school supply lists. What are your thoughts on the school supply lists created by teachers? Are we asking too much of parents? Please feel free to leave a comment below.
I came across a blog post shared by @thechalkface on Facebook of a letter sent by a group of second grade teachers to parents for an end of the year incentive party based on scores on the high stakes state tests. The students could attend the incentive party for various periods of time based on the scores made on the state standardized test. Below is the letter that lists the criteria to attend the party.
This concerns me a great deal. I know there are teachers that say external factors do not ‘factor in’ to test scores but students have off days or family issues that affect their performance on standardized tests. The above criteria are punitive in nature in my opinion. The blog author, @thechalkface, called for naming which school and teachers this letter originated.
I, too, would love for the school to come forward but with the backlash that will ensue I can understand why the teachers would remain silent on their actions. I find this insulting and belittling to the students involved. Passing on the pressure and the results of teaching the students tested concepts throughout the past school year and burdening the students with that pressure is beyond my comprehension.
Incentives such as the ones featured in the letter are contemptuous at best. Students can only do their best and should not be penalized for poor performance unless a student deliberately tanks it as a measure to get back at their teacher. I seriously doubt this kind of behavior would result from a second grader. Also, scores are to be kept confidential. If a student only got to attend the party at the specified time for not doing well on the test, then everyone knows how well that student did or did not do on the test. That is a blatant disregard for the confidentiality of the results of the test scores.
I agree and also ask for the parties to come forward that came up with this idea. Not to throw rotten tomatoes but to request they attend training on confidentiality and test scores as well as sensitivity training. Being caring and sensitive to the emotional, physical, social, behavioral and psychological needs of each student probably cannot be taught but it is worth a try on my book. Those skills are definitely lacking in this instance.
What is your take on this letter? What if your child received this letter? What would be your response? We need to take a stand on issues that occur like this and this situation should never have occurred in the first place. Feel free to comment below.
I have had to regretfully pull out of presenting at the Council for the Advancement Mathematics Teachers conference held in San Antonio, Texas this week. It does conflict with the International Society for Technology in Education but that is not why I am unable to present.
In February I had a surgery and on June 9, 2016 I had to go back in to remove a hematoma that was very large. I am attached to a wound vac and have to go for treatment in a hyperbaric chamber for two hours every day for up to 30 days. Then every other day that packing that is in my right breast has to be removed and replaced which is painful.
I didn’t expect and wasn’t prepared for any of this so I am making the resources available that I would have shared had I presented. I will upload the videos another day so that you can view how the tools work on another day. There is no audio at this time as they are demo videos only and thought I would be speaking while they played during my presentation. So check out the resources and feel free to leave comments or questions and I will do my best to respond to them very soon.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding during this difficult time.
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No, it isn’t a scam or spam email. You really can win $1000 for you and $1000 for your school by sharing your story of how an educator inspired you. I received an email through this blog about this awesome opportunity and wanted to share it with you.
The website, http://www.insp2ed.org/, is where you submit your story about an educator who has inspired you and encouraged to do great things in education. By doing you have the opportunity to win some spending money and earn some money for your campus as well.
Inspired2Educate is a national recognition program that encourages current K-20 educators to honor the teachers or administrators who inspired them to embrace education as their life’s work.
Tell us your story in a video or in writing! Each month, PeopleAdmin will award one person with $1,000 for professional development and $1,000 for their educational institution.
#Inspired2Educate is a program designed to recognize and praise educators and the people who inspired them. Each month $2,000 is awarded to someone who shares their story with us. So what are you waiting for? Hopefully I inspired you to share your story with #Inspired2Educate!
In July 2016, I will be visiting THE Googleplex in Mountain View, California! If you live/lived in that area please let me know how hot it usually is so I know how to dress for the Google Geo Teachers Institute (GTI). I have been selected to visit Google for the two-day professional development session and become one of the elite GTI teachers!
I know several ed tech teachers and tech specialists who have been at previous GTI sessions and will be attending this session. Excitement is running rampant in our Google+ community! I am honored to have been selected and know that part of the reason I was selected was my online presence and reach via this blog, Twitter and Facebook so thank you in contributing to me being selected for this opportunity!
When late July rolls around, think of me and celebrate with me as I make my journey to California! Thank you to all of my connections, readers and those who made this opportunity possible – I can never thank you enough!
Quite often teachers want students to acquire collaboration skills and create group project assignments requiring students to work in groups. This is definitely a needed skill to learn and requires students to use critical thinking skills and the upper tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy when collaborating on a group project.
Having students in online learning programs participate in group projects is a lot more challenging to structure. Finding a time that is convenient for everyone and some type of meeting platform must be used like Skype or a VOIP platform like Blackboard or Adobe Connect. There are many other platforms for students to use to meet but those are the most prevalent ones. I keep a wiki on web conferencing platforms so feel free to review the wiki page for alternatives if you are looking for a meeting solution: http://caisefiles.wikispaces.com.
One of the frequent challenges that arises is that one person doesn’t show up or contribute to the project. One blog author, Torria Davis, Ph.D., shared that one of her colleagues recommended the “Survivor’s Clause” where the student is ‘voted out of the group like on the Survivor TV show.
How do you handle this situation regardless of whether you are teaching online or face to face classes? Do you give that person the whole assignment and they do everyone’s part? Do you counsel that student or colleague and hopefully they come around in time? I would love to hear your thoughts on how you handle this situation. Please share in the comments.
Personally, I am a huge fan of online/blended learning both as an instructor and student. In the past though, my interaction has primarily occurred through the use of Moodle or some type of LMS as the instructor of the course and student taking the course. One important goal of online learning that I consider paramount to student success as a result of my past experiences is the importance of the instructor facilitating the course to create engaging lessons and opportunities for discussion and interaction among students and the instructor. The courses I created and participated in didn’t encourage or foster engagement with other students as much as engagement with the content and I felt something was lacking. Through my experiences teaching and participating as a student in recent online learning opportunities, my goals as an instructor in online learning have changed and are centered around discussions and lessons where students have to internalize, conceptualize and actively participate in the activities and discussion forums for successful achievement of course goals. Engagement is my key goal for my students and a new experience and focus for me via online learning courses as a result of not having experienced this to a large degree in previous online learning courses.
Engagement with other students is a critical component for students to learn and experience as much as they can in this type of learning environment. Creating and structuring opportunities to interact with one another is most important and I hope to gain more information on how to create motivating and engaging lessons for my students. Interaction will be a critical component as well as activities that focus on critical thinking and communication. Although interaction will be asynchronous, I hope to structure and facilitate discussions so that students get the feeling of participating in a synchronous course. This is another factor that I feel is critical for students to experience and is something I hope my students participate.
I have been challenged in several ways in some of the online courses in which I have been a student or teacher. As an instructor, giving neutral feedback and knowing how much to respond to a course discussion forum have been very challenging for me. I know with time the challenge will lessen as I refine and develop my skills in these areas. Practice, practice, practice is the key solution for me. That and the guidance of my instructor. Without that guidance, I won’t know if I am straying off task and not effectively instructing and engaging my students.
For those of you that teach online/blended courses, what are your thoughts and goals for instruction in your courses? What do you want your students to accomplish? Feel free to leave a comment below sharing your thoughts and opinions.
In early March 2016, the Florida Senate voted to approve a proposal that would allow classes that offered coding and programming to count as foreign language credits for graduation. This is exciting news!
I don’t know if it passed the Florida House and if the Governor enacted the proposed legislation or not. Democratic Senator Jeremy Ring, former Yahoo employee, was asked if coding is bilingual and Senator Ring indicated that he felt it definitely was.
The article went on to state,
It’s interesting logic that some district officials might find hard to swallow. In a state like Florida, where Spanish is spoken heavily in many cities and towns, creating a system in which computer science and foreign languages compete in order to exist might not do students any favors.
Hopefully the legislation passes and other cities follow suit. Coding and programming is a language in itself and is becoming increasingly necessary for many jobs that today’s students will hold in the future. Having the coding knowledge and skills will definitely give some students an advantage by being able to demonstrate coding and programming skills.
Several cities, like Houston and Los Angeles, have plans to offer computer science to all students and want to include coding/programming as a requirement for graduation. It will be interesting to see how many other cities join forces with Houston and Los Angeles.
What are your thoughts? Please respond in the comments area as I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.
Do you want to learn how to easily implement technology in the classroom? Do you use streaming services including Discovery Education Services? Well, I have just the resource for you! You need a how to book of ideas on using technology with students and my book is just what you are looking for!
To honor the Easter holiday, I am offering a special of only $15 for an autographed copy of my book, ‘Kid Detectives Classroom Learning Activities: Mystery Adventure Quests’. To purchase fill out the contact form and let me know you are interested. That includes shipping and I can also send you a very brief sample of the book as well. If you purchase on Amazon, the book is $20.00 so don’t delay in getting your book on sale!
Recently I received the honor that I was part of the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Community. I received the following email sharing the good news and I wanted to share this with my readers as you helped me reach this goal by providing an avid audience for me to publish the treasures I find and learn about:
On behalf of PBS and your local PBS station, I am thrilled to welcome you as a Local2016 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. Please accept this email as your invitation to join our growing community of hundreds of educators like yourself who share a passion for integrating digital media and technology into the classroom.
As a Local Digital Innovator, you will receive a year of professional development and training, access to exclusive resources and membership into a robust professional learning community.
The official kickoff of the 2016/2017 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program will take place in a virtual event in May 2016.
- In the coming months, you will be receiving an invitation to join our online community, as well as more information about exclusive virtual trainings and professional development opportunities for the next school year.
- Your acceptance into the program includes a free one-year substribtion to the PBS LearningMedia Custom service, an enhanced version of PBS LearningMedia that includes premium content and alignment to State Standards. You will receive details from a member of our team in advance of the 2016/2017 school year about how to activate.
- Follow us on Twitter at @PBSLrnMedia. The program hashtag is #PBSDigitalInnovator.
- Download and proudly display this PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators badge on your website, blog and/or social media!
About the Program
The PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program is a yearlong, free professional development program designed to foster and reward a community of highly engaged, tech-savvy K-12 educators who are using digital media and technology in classrooms. You have been selected to join the program as a Local Digital Innovator, with exclusive access to all affiliated virtual events and trainings and the potential to partner with PBS in-person at specific education events in your community. Another educator from your state has been selected as a Lead Digital Innovator and will attend the 2016 PBS Digital Summit and ISTE this June, in addition to the virtual trainings throughout the year. We encourage you to work with your Lead Digital Innovator heading into the next school year to learn from their experiences at these events.
Congratulations again and welcome to our community! You do not need to take any further action at this time to confirm your spot in the program, but feel free to reach out to me with questions.
Thank you to my readers and the PBS community that made this honor possible. I truly appreciate it and hope for more to come due to your support of my professional efforts.