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
Sadly, this is not the first time I have written about a senseless act of gun violence. Having been a near gun victim myself, these events always stir in me a sense of helplessness against the blasé indifference of far too many politicians and gun enthusiasts who refuse to see the need for a major overhaul of gun laws and the mental health system our society is crying out for.
The purpose of this post however, is to praise the two teachers hailed heroes for having the presence of mind to save many more lives at the Grand Theater Complex and to remember the victims. Teacher Jena Legnon Meaux jumped in front of her colleague Ali Viator Martin taking the bullet headed for Ali. That action gave Ali the chance to pull the fire alarm prompting all theater goers to evacuate.
My first thought when hearing this is that their actions were not out of the norm for teachers. Split second decisions, but decisions that teachers train for. How can I save as many students as possible if I need to? Teachers are always aware of surroundings and thinking ahead in any arena.
It will come as no surprise to me if both Jena and Ali say they knew exactly where that fire alarm was. If fact, it will be no surprise to me to hear them say they chose their seats on the basis of where that fire alarm was.
Though their instinctive actions could not save the lives of two beautiful young women that night, their actions did save the lives of many more who might have unwittingly fallen prey to the shooter’s troubled soul.
Thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by this tragic event – those killed, those wounded, and their families and friends. Hopefully, we will all remember the lesson that teachers Jena and Ali so artfully taught us – to always be aware of our surroundings in today’s increasingly uncertain world.
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…
Posted in child safety, Grades 6-12, Grades K-5, life lessons, making a difference, Maslow, nurture children, parent involvement, parenting
Tagged child safety, Maslow, parenting, safety prevention
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
Looking for a jumpstart with STEM integrated instruction? Think about involving parents and the community in classroom activities.
Surveying parent talents and skills is a great place to start. You can actually find a place for all parents regardless of past work experience. Be creative! Enlisting parents as STEM helpers includes community workers naturally. So – how to enlist these helpers? A note explaining STEM and the need for parent involvement in STEM instruction will help. List some talents that could help students and STEM learning in the classroom. Some might be:
- Lawn maintenance
- Hospital worker
- Office worker, etc.
Parents may feel that their abilities won’t help in the classroom but a brief description of how they can serve is a real motivator to get all involved. Don’t forget Career Day in November! This might just be the perfect day to STEM recruit!!
Posted in Classroom Management, education creativity, education innovation, Employment, engineering, Grades 6-12, Grades K-5, Lesson Planning, mathematics, Motivation, parent involvement, science, STEM, teaching and STEM, technology
Tagged career day, Classroom, engineering, K through 12, mathematics, parent involvement, science, STEM, Teaching Resources, technology
This is my favorite time of year! Students work so hard throughout the year (regrettably – intently focused on test taking) that they deserve to have opportunities to “shine” while enjoying the activities (once considered best practice) that they should have learned with throughout the year.
Some of the activities in my classrooms have been:
- Survey students – ask them what they would like to learn about in the last weeks that you may not have touched on during the year.
- Review favorite stories and/or units taught throughout the year using the arts and hands-on activities that scheduling may not have allowed time for during the year.
- Presenting plays
- Creating scenery backdrops
- Create puppet stages using file folders, pvc pipes, and cardboard boxes
- Writing songs that review content learned
- Publish a class magazine featuring student writing and illustrations
- Plan a concert for grade levels featuring individual classroom presentations
- Involve parents – invite parents to an end-of-year pizza or ice-cream party
- Plan interesting field trips – unique to your school’s geographic area
- Plan unit instruction unique to geographic areas – i.e.: Ocean/sea life studies, mountain/wildlife studies, desert habitat studies, etc.
Closing out your school year with enjoyable learning activities will leave you and your students eager to come to class the last few weeks and looking forward to returning in the new school year. Enjoy!
Posted in education creativity, education innovation, end of the year, Grades 6-12, Grades K-5, learning fun, Lesson Planning, Motivation
Tagged Arts, concerts, dramatics, field trips, laugh, music and learning, puppetry