Day in and day out I hear people ask “Is there no adult in Washington who will stand up and speak truth to power?” All indications revealed there was no one to do it – that is until articulate, knowledgeable student Emma González presented the following amazing speech. If politicians think they can get away with the same stale excuses they give for not passing common sense guns laws they are sadly mistaken. Emma’s generation is speaking up and they are fast becoming of voting age. I am impressed by hearing so many of these students speak up for themselves in the absence of so many lawmakers unwilling to do so. I am proud to know that students like Emma will soon become the adults in the room who “speak truth to power.” If you have not taken time to listen to Emma, consider doing so. It just might leave you feeling better about our country’s future…
I used to think of my classroom as a safe place for my students and told them as much. So many students these days need to experience a stress-free environment even if only for a few hours every day.
Yesterday, hundreds to thousands of students went to their supposed safe place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen of those students lost their lives there. Still another fourteen experienced physical trauma from gunshot wounds. The emotional scars inflicted on those who survived will remain for years to come.
Today, politicians offered their well rehearsed lines – the lines they have uttered at the hundreds of other school shootings since the tragedy at Sandy Hook. Tomorrow we will probably hear elements of blame placed on reasons for why still another school shooting happened.
There has become a pattern of violence and insincere resolution in our country perpetrated by those having easy access to guns that have no earthly reason to be on our public streets and those who allow them to have access to them…
- Tragedy – shootings
- Political condolences
- Blame game
- Gun issue debate
- Debate drags on
- People forget
- Brief respite from shootings
- Another tragedy
There is no one reason on which to place the blame for these senseless crimes but rather a myriad of reasons that need to be discussed in a rational way without political affiliation or money generated concerns to guide ethical decisions. That said, it’s obvious that present administration politicians cannot satisfactorily meet en mass to discuss anything pertinent to the health and well-being of the people of the United States without adding a political bent to it. It should be obvious to all that after hundreds of school shootings since Sandy Hook that nothing will change unless the American voters start speaking up. Speaking up is done in any number of ways but the two most easily accessed is phoning and writing your representatives and senators. Be mindful that just one letter or call won’t suffice. If you want to be part of change in this country you have to be persistent.
To contact your elected officials find them at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
If you’re not convinced your voice will make a difference – consider this quote by Margaret Mead…
… and take a look at the statistics below…
Posted in child safety, classroom safety, Grades 6-12, Grades K-5, guns, guns in classroom, life lessons, making a difference, school shootings, Schools, Students, teacher awareness, teacher responsibilities, teacher safety
Tagged Florida, life lessons, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland
Not just in Kent! My goodness! This has been going on forever! When I was in fifth grade I remember a very mean boy punching my teacher in the face. Working as a teacher, the first time a child threw furniture in my classroom was in 1997. No one knows what teachers’ work involves and until politicians and others step inside the classroom and spend time with teachers no one ever will. Then again, those spending time in classrooms might not even admit to what they see. We might call this “feigned ignorance” or “an easier way to blame teachers for all of the ills in society and education”. It’s time to wake up and admit that all of us have a great deal of work to do! Parents, guardians, teachers, politicians, and others. Not only are society and our political system collapsing – education is too! So – is teaching all bad? Heavens no! I wouldn’t trade a moment of my experiences – good or bad – for anything! Every experience in life is a lesson learned. I am not blaming! I realize that all any of us know is what we’ve been taught to a given point in our lives. It takes an effort to change experience for all. While we can’t change the past, we can do something about the present and future. It takes courage to speak up and out. Will you?
Posted in child safety, classroom safety, education innovation, Everything old is new again..., Grades K-5, life lessons, making a difference, Schools, teacher responsibilities, teacher safety, why teachers leave
Tagged classroom safety, classroom violence, speak up, student safety, teacher safety
According to Maslow, a child’s first need is physiological. Children need food, water, clean air, and a safe, warm place to sleep. How can parents and teachers meet these needs?
- Make time to meet these needs in a “family” way – no matter how big or small your family may be.
- Set the breakfast table together the night before.
- Ask your child to help you plan a healthy menu while teaching him or her about nutrition.
- Pack a healthy lunch instead of buying one. Include an “I love you” note for your child to read when the lunchbox is opened.
- Find time for a home cooked evening meal and eat together around the table to discuss everyone’s day.
- Keep the air in your home clean. Avoid exposing your child to cigarette smoke, excessive dust, and toxic fumes.
- Provide a clean, restful slumber environment void of technological distractions.
- Teach your child to be responsible for his or her own physiological needs over time.
- Allow time for snack breaks each day. Children can’t learn when hungry. Ask parents to donate healthy snacks.
- Allow children to drink water as needed. If no classroom fountain is available, let children bring a water bottle from home.
- Create a warm and inviting classroom environment.
- Provide students the opportunity to design and keep up the classroom environment.
- Classrooms are dusty places. Try a Friday cleaning day and include students in the process. This makes for a great way for all to begin new Monday morning. If needed, bring in an air purifier. Be sure to clean the filter as required.
All of these suggestions are easy to carry out and need very little time. If you have other suggestions, feel free to comment and add to the list. Thanks!
Posted in Classroom Management, classroom safety, Grades 6-12, Grades K-5, life lessons, Maslow, Motivation, nurture children, parent involvement, teachers, Uncategorized
Tagged Classroom, K through 12, Maslow, Methods and Theories, physiological needs
In 1954 psychologist Abraham Maslow developed his theory of Hierarchy of Needs. His hierarchy is based on the assumption that human beings have basic needs. These needs expound upon each other over time until self-actualization occurs. We’ve come a long way since this theory was developed. Though time and circumstance see our world a different place, the basic tenants of human nature and needs stay the same. Needs being met allude to learning taking place and meaningful life. Since learning and views on life begin in the home and continue in school, what better gift can parents and teachers give children than to truly understand and strive to meet their basic needs? Maslow said humans have physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization needs. These needs begin with infancy and continue through adulthood. Childhood then, is a critical time for all.
What about current childhood experiences? When Maslow stated his theory, most families had two parent households with one parent working and one at home. The steady rise of one-parent families and extended working hours has placed a strain on the amount of time available to meet the needs of children. Add to this increasing demands society places on all to achieve and it’s easy to see how the most important things in life may fall by the wayside.
That said, this will be the first in a series of posts based on Maslow’s Hierarchy, which is just as valid today as when first theorized. I hope you will add ideas and real world examples as levels are published. Children are our future and the most important adult task we have is to make sure children are nurtured substantively to encourage life-long learning that leads to meaningful lives worth living. Until tomorrow…
Posted in Classroom Management, classroom safety, Grades 6-12, Grades K-5, life lessons, making a difference, Maslow, Motivation, nurture children, parent involvement, reasons to teach, Students
Tagged Hierarchy of Needs, intrinsic motivation, K through 12, Maslow, parenting
With flu season in full swing now is a great time to search for those books on “germs” taking residency on your classroom bookshelves. Presenting tips to avoid catching the flu to your students through literature is a valuable lesson this time of year. Follow-up your readings with posting pictured tips on a classroom wall.
Preventing the spread? What teachers can do:
1. Inform your students – knowledge is power.
2. Teach students the importance of proper hand washing – lather top and bottom of hands with soap and rinse thoroughly.
3. Teach students to cough inside of the arm or elbow. Encourage use of tissues by having several boxes available at different classroom locations.
4. Provide hand sanitizer and encourage students to use it when entering or leaving the classroom.
5. Clean desks and doorknobs daily as well as any classroom items often touched by others.
6. Inform classroom parents of the steps you are taking in the classroom. These tips can help them at home as well.
Is it a cold or the flu?
||Common. Can become severe.
||Common. Mild to moderate.
||Usually high (102°-104°) May last 3-4 days.
||Rare except in young children.
|General aches and pains
||Usual. Can be severe.
|Sneezing/red, watery, itchy eyes
||Late August – April.
||Up to a month.
||7 – 10 days.
|Adapted/modified from:Balch, P. A., & Balch, J. F. (2000). Prescription for nutritional healing (3rd ed.). New York, New York: Avery.
Remember – a healthy classroom is a happy and productive classroom!
For other ideas see http://www.teachervision.fen.com/disease-prevention/resource/62164.html
For more information see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2013-2014.htm
Posted in Classroom Management, classroom safety, Grades 6-12, Grades K-5, Higher Education, Lesson Planning, Schools, Uncategorized
Tagged Common cold, Conditions and Diseases, Flu season, Flu Symptoms, Health, Infectious disease
This is a beautifully written letter – one I’m sure many of us would have loved to have written but just haven’t gotten around to. Thank you for sharing lisamyers.org!
To America from a Teacher.
It’s amazing that the NRA and gun enthusiasts eagerly tout placing guns in the hands of teachers in order for them to protect their students. Clearly, they have no concept of what a teacher is already responsible for in the classroom – especially when it comes to younger students.
A teacher’s role is that of educator, assessor, mother, father, nurse, counselor, nutritionist, self-esteem builder, protector, and role model in addition to a myriad of other roles. Regular education classroom student counts can range from 16 to 35 plus.
I have reflected on my classroom and my kindergarten students and as hard as I try to visualize a scenario where I would have to settle 17 frightened students long enough to retrieve a locked and loaded gun to better protect them, I can’t fathom it being physically possible.
Yes, I have a moral obligation to protect my students and I will always do that to the best of my ability. I also have a moral obligation to be the best role model that I can be for them. The thought of having my students see me or any other teacher or administrator (the good guys) with gun pointed at the bad guys is incomprehensible to me.
There are many strategies already in place in schools across the nation to protect our children. There are also many other cost-effective strategies that can be used such as bullet proof windows and entry doors which might buy the added time needed for a successful school wide lock-down.
The Sandy Hook tragedy has awakened the nation to the societal needs we all need to address to prevent future tragedies. Rather than escalate an already gun-infused society, let’s begin early on in a child’s life to identify and respond to the signs of impending future loss of control by focusing on a child’s physiological, social and emotional needs in addition to academic needs. A balanced approach addressing the needs of the whole child can lead to the successful completion of the educational journey in addition to providing the child a well-established sense of self-worth advancing a self-assured, productive member of society.
Posted in classroom safety, Grades 6-12, Grades K-5, guns in classroom, Higher Education, Schools, Students, teacher responsibilities
Tagged Classroom, Education, NRA, Sandy Hook, Student, Teacher, Utah