Category Archives: making a difference

When students speak truth to power – Emma González – Marjorie Stoneman Douglas – Parkland, Florida

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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…

Gun violence in school – a child’s supposed “safe place”

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.

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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…

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… and take a look at the statistics below…

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Social Skills Instruction – Needed Now More Than Ever…

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In schools across the nation, violence has become a part of “daily life”. While it may be that we hear of it more often in secondary schools – violence is prevalent in all schools beginning in the elementary years.

When schools, administrators, and teachers are placed under microscopes to create readers and great test takers at all costs, developmental practices of teaching the whole child vanish from the curriculum. Pushdown curriculums frustrate learners who need to learn along a progressive continuum in order to establish self-worth, “I can” attitudes, and ultimate learning success.

We can’t assume that teaching reading and math for most of the day will lead to well-rounded learners. In order for children to thrive, they need to learn the fundamentals of being functional in society as well. This used to begin at an early age with social studies instruction, yet social studies instruction has virtually vanished from the curriculum. No time.

Children do not automatically learn how to behave. They learn by what they see and know to any given point in their lives. It takes everyone to provide appropriate behavior learning conditions and modeling. If it’s not happening in the home it needs to happen in the classroom. Unfortunately, teachers are so restricted by what and how they have to teach, they run the risk of poor evaluations if they step outside of the “box” they have been placed in.

We can’t blame children or teachers for what is happening in schools today. Perhaps it’s time to take a serious look at the curriculum being provided and offer a better path to higher student achievement through positive social interaction instruction which teaches children that morals, character, and compassion for others will lead them to being caring, successful, and productive members of society.

Call for articles – points of view…

!cid_3174513477_958480    To all my dedicated readers,

I thought about letting this blog go since I retired and then I decided to include retired teachers to the mix. New to retired teachers all have something to say and want to know what is happening nationwide in public and private education.There is much to be said about our educational system and much might be changed for the good if more people shared their great ideas, views, and great or maybe not so great experiences. Someone somewhere will be listening. So this is a shout out to all of my teaching and retired teaching extended family for experience and/or research backed posts to add to this blog. To this date my blog has had 7,878 hits and 344 followers and I haven’t posted an entry in two years. It’s time to get back on track.  If you’d like to be considered for site publication, you may choose to include your real name or use a pseudonym. There is interest in what you all have to say and bottom line is – children need our help inside and outside the classroom! Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  You can message me with any questions you might have. Hoping to hear from you soon!

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Physical assault on teachers?

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?

http://q13fox.com/2016/05/10/teachers-union-says-more-elementary-school-kids-are-physically-assaulting-teachers/

Today’s Child – Maslow and safety needs

Second on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is safety. Children thrive on structure, stability, and freedom from fear.  Knowing what comes next in their daily routine makes them feel safe and secure.

  • Set clear boundaries and learn how to say “no”.
  • Maintain a calm, cozy home.
  • Keep activities outside of school spaced and simple.
  • Be sure your child is supervised and not left alone.
  • Check that purchased products for your child meet national safety standards.
  • Children love to explore. Check your home often to eliminate items that could be potentially hazardous.

For more information on preventive measures, check the World Report for Child Injury Prevention at…

http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/child/injury/world_report/final_data_10.pdf?ua=1

 

Today’s child – Maslow at work or did we forget?

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…

Up and the Hierarchy of Needs/tiffanyx93’s channel

United States (U.S.) Constitution for Kids — Activities, Quizzes, Puzzles, & More | Constitution Facts


Us Constitution Pictures

Today is Constitution Day.  Are you teaching about the U.S. Constitution in your classroom today?  At a time when many – including adults – have no idea what the U.S. Constitution is or means to them, it’s more important than ever to include time in lesson planning for meaningful social studies instruction.  Include it in your reading time, math time, or anytime that a teachable moment presents itself.  Too late for today?  Not to worry!  There are still two more days in this school week and more teaching days in the months ahead!  Need ideas?  Click below.

United States (U.S.) Constitution for Kids — Activities, Quizzes, Puzzles, & More | Constitution Facts.

9/11- Feeling safe in the classroom…

Vector - Skyline US NewYork by DragonArtI was with first grade students on 9/11, that tragic morning the Twin Towers went down. Within what seemed like minutes parents were rushing to school to sign their children out early. There sat twenty curious children wondering why everyone was leaving class so early in the day.  I decided to speak with the children about what was happening before they left me. Knowing the time constraints on most parents, I wanted to ease as many fears as I could. I briefly explained the situation. I ended the discussion by telling my students that their parents might be upset. I told them if they were calm and well-behaved it would help their parents. I reassured them they would all be fine and we’d all be back together in the morning. The next day began with further discussion. Most of the children had seen the news and needed to talk more. We did. I felt they all handled the information very well and then one of my students raised her hand. “Yes Jenny?” I asked.

“Ms. Ellington, why do I feel safer here in the classroom than I do at home?”  Other children nodded. This question has played over and over in my mind since, while the world has become increasingly unsafe. For many students – the classroom is their only safe place.

How can teachers make children feel safe in an unsafe world? Communication is key. Being honest with children instills trust. Withholding information creates mistrust. Encourage classroom discussion on current events – tempering topics discussed with age appropriateness. This is easily accomplished by providing social studies curriculum as part of an integrated classroom experience.

There are many other ways to make sure that your classroom is a safe place for students. What strategies do you use in your classroom?

Obama Administration Sends Mixed Messages on Teachers and Testing – – Education Week Teacher

From Education Week Teacher Update

Obama Administration Sends Mixed Messages on Teachers and Testing – – Education Week Teacher.

What are your thoughts?