Friday, November 4, 2011


I have a child sitting in my room right now that I feel so bad for that I don't even know what to do. This child was kicked out of a room a block earlier because his shoes smell so bad that kids couldn't breath around him. He was able to get socks on...which helped, but he really needs new shoes. He's a bit autistic - but DEFINITELY not stupid. He's so worried that people will make fun of him because of what happened, he can't sit still...I have promised him that it will not happen in my class, but he has put his head down and is trembling....

Curriculum is thrown completely out the window when I have a situation like this. This is a kid that just needs someone to let him know it's ok. Thankfully, I do have a pretty nice class right now, who know my expectations of not bullying others or making fun of others in my room. They know if I hear or see them in the hallway what will happen to them if they are the ones perpetrating this act.

This is the definitive situation where people that say that teachers don't do anything for kids should be punched right between the eyes. This is the situation where people who think that we can just take little "pegs" and put them in the correct spot need to be hung upside down by their toenails.

These are the kids I teach everyday....I just wish people would understand that testing and curriculum aren't here right now and may not be until things are right in his student's world.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

one of my favorite things....

I love working with people....I love how creative people in my profession can be. Today I received things from two different people. One was a creative way to teach my students author's purpose. It was interactive, had really funny and cool youtube videos, and a great way to remember the purpose....PIE (Persuade, Inform, Entertain).

The second was a cool graphic organizer/model to help them start to think about ways to write persuasive papers in a 5 paragraph form. It was a kind of fill in the blank/recall method of doing it - but I was able to figure out if the kids really knew the story AND it was a model to show them what we would be looking for in their persuasive papers.

Again, later in the day I was able to meet with my Literacy team of teachers. We sat down and tried to figure out when to teach and how to teach 4 skills....we were able to come up with some really cool ideas and work together. I like those days when things work out and everything just clicks. I love the idea that we can sit together and commisserate, bounce ideas off each other and be creative.

Now, I know that was a lot of "teachery" talk - but it's just an example of what we do. It's another example of how teachers keep changing things up, reinventing the way we teach the kids and how we are trying to differentiate for different learners. It's what all the testing IS NOT doing.

As positive as I am about my day today...last week was something different. I wanted to blog about it, but it was still too close and fresh in my mind. It was still too painful and frustrating. Last week was disasterous in my opinion. We ended up our unit by assessing them...yes, they made gains, but it wasn't great. Then we had to pre-assess them for the next unit AND do a pre-writing assessment on top of this. There was no time for instruction, no time for them to learn new skills, no time for us to differentiate how we were teaching them.

In this new world of assessment driven teaching - there's no time for teachers to really sit down and collab with each look at how our students learn and come with ways to tap into their really make it interesting for them to acquire the information we need to teach them. I know that our testing is bad...our scores, while still above the national average for our state are dipping, but the way in which we did things has also changed. This year we will be assessing our students with a new "ITBS"'s revamped and, I'm hoping, will be more updated for them to take.

I hope that this year keeps having more positives than negatives....