Sunday, February 18, 2018

I Am a Teacher And You Want to Arm Me?

I will NEVER carry a weapon, concealed or otherwise, in my classroom.
I will NEVER keep it locked in a safe.
I say this with the utmost certainty.

There is a huge debate going on about whether teachers should be armed in order to protect their students.
As usual, teachers' voices are muted by the roar of non-educators who believe they know better.

There are teachers who say they would quit or retire.
I wouldn't.
I wouldn't give up my passion because someone says I must do something I am vehemently opposed to. I would fight. I hope enough of us would do the same.

Everyone knows a teacher would give their life for a student.It happened again in Florida. But arming me? Having to be trained to use a weapon? Not going to happen. There are way too many things that could go wrong with this scenario.

I will continue to fight for my students as long as I am teaching. But a gun will not be my weapon of choice. I will not be armed.

Monday, January 15, 2018

My Students, Dr.King, and the Civil Rights Movement.

They don't understand.

When they discuss Rosa and the bus boycott, see the photographs, and videos, their voices echo, "But that's not fair!"

 As we study Dr.King, they question, "Why?"

I explain to them that it was the law. Segregation and Jim Crow laws. I explain to them that not everyone was like that. That people of different races came together to defeat this awful thing that made one group think they were better than another.

It is so hard for them to wrap their minds around it.

I am fortunate enough to work with a diverse group of kids. In all the years I have taught, very rarely have I had to deal with racist attitudes from my 4th and 5th graders.

I believe hate is learned.

Which is why, right now, my students have such a hard time understanding why people would do that to one another, treat each other that way.

I hope when they grow up.

Grow up?

I hope when they get to middle school, they still find it hard to fathom why this happened. I hope that as they are bombarded with opinions  from the media, the Internet, family, and friends, they are able to make up their own minds.I hope that they remain friends, despite their differences. I hope that they fight against the ignorance, always.

I hope that the only thing that separates them is distance and time, and never race. And most of all, I hope that they never stop asking, "Why?"



Monday, December 18, 2017

Building Relationships with Students That Last Forever!




A colleague ran into a former student of mine. He was in my class 10 years ago. She shared how he felt about our school, but she added, "His favorite teacher was Mrs.Mims because  I knew she cared about me."

"She cared about me."

 Let it sink in.

 We need to understand, and remember, that we are dealing with children.

Many of our children come to school with issues adults couldn't fathom, much less handle. When they walk in that door, many need a respite, a safe place, from wherever, or whatever, they came from.

They don't need to hear that they are late, again. They don't need to hear that they have been absent for X many days.Why tell them how much work they need to make up before saying, "Good morning, glad you are back?" It's the little things.

And I,am by no means perfect. There are those kids throughout the year that no matter how hard I tried....it didn't matter to them, and it made our relationship, difficult.

With my students, there is no question that they are loved. They know that I care. They know I will "fuss" when it is needed. I will hold them to high standards. I will listen to them. I will have fun and be serious. I won't tolerate "mess." I give and expect respect.

Is it easy? No, not always. I have had instances where I had  to bite my tongue so I don't say something I have no business saying to someone else's child. They will take you there.

But I keep working on it. I have become better at building the relationships in my classroom over the years.

Because 20 years later, they will remember that I cared.







Sunday, October 29, 2017

5 Top Reasons I Am an EdTech Ambassador.


Hi, my name is Lisa and I am an Edtech ambassador

Top 5 reasons, I am an edtech ambassador.

1. I LOVE the resource.
I use it. Often. That's why I was chosen. Whatever the edtech tool or resource, it is a part of my classroom toolbox. It works for me and my students. It's a tool that helps me, help my students. If it did not accomplish that task, I would not use it, and I definitely would not be an Ambassador.

2. I get to provide feedback that someone actually listens to. 
Think about it. Who wants feedback from a classroom teacher? Hardly anyone. The teachers in the classroom are rarely asked what they think, how they feel, how could we make this better? We are given the latest books written by authors who are not in the classroom, scripted curriculum, and orders about what next "new"thing we are to do with absolutely no consideration of our experience.

As an ambassador, teachers provide feedback, and get this...the edtech companies listen to us. We get to tell them what is working, what isn't working, and what we would like to see happen with their product. We get to Beta test new features and give them our opinion about how it would work in our classroom. They are asking the advice of the people who are in the classroom, taking our advice, and making the product we use better!

3. I get a little swag.
FREE. The word teachers all over the world love. Why? Because much is expected of us, little is given. I have NEVER, and I mean never, in the years I have been an ambassador for any company, felt compromised. See #1. I write blog posts about it, share on Twitter, talk about it in Voxer, but these are things I would do anyway. We get some swag, a tshirt or keychain, items to give out at presentations, and maybe upgrades on the resource we are using. I have never been given a trip to the Caribbean.

4. I share with others.
When  I came across an edtech resource that enhanced the way I taught the curriculum, I did not want to keep it to myself. I came out of my comfort zone and became an edtech presenter. At that point in time, there were no teacher ambassadors. I was a teacher who had the ability to make another person more comfortable with integrating edtech. The edtech companies realized how we could benefit from each other and took the steps to create Ambassadors.

By the same token, who do I want to hear ideas from? The edtech creator or the ambassador in the trenches? Kudos to the edtech companies for providing a platform for teachers to share their knowledge with others!

In a week, I will be presenting on an edtech resource I started using last year. This company doesn't have an ambassador program. If they get one, I will definitely take advantage of the opportunity to join. I am excited to share this resource with others because I am sure it is something they would love in  their classroom, as much as I love it in mine. And that's the point.


5. Networking/Building your PLN(Professional Learning Network)
Integrating tech in the classroom is not everyone's "thing." Sometimes it is difficult to find like-minded people in your physical space. Being an ambassador provides that link to like-minded people all over the country and the world. The connections are limitless. I know the feedback they have contributed has helped many of the resources I use evolve into what they are now.

I don't understand how teachers became villians for working with edtech companies as Ambassadors.

Here's the problem.

From the viewpoint of our naysayers, we are "endorsing" a brand. Actually, we are sharing something that works in our classroom, a resource that we use and like anyway.

Good teachers don't give up all other resources, and focus on the one(s) they are an Ambassador for.

It's funny that athletes recieve millions of dollars to endorse a brand, people in Hollywood get designer clothing and jewelery worth thousands, sometimes millions, to wear to celebrity events.

And teachers are horrible because they get a tshirt and a premium subscription to an edtech resource?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Participating in Global Read Aloud 2017! Why I've Done This 8 Times!


For those who don't know, Global Read Aloud is when students and teachers all over the world, literally, read a book together for 6 weeks. It started small and has become huge, due to the hard work and original idea of Pernille Ripp. And of course, all the other teachers involved in putting this together.

I am going to make a confession.
I am not really in it for the connections. Gasp!
I'm sorry, but it's true.
Do I make connections? Yes.
Do I enjoy the connections I make? Yes.
Am I connecting this year? Yes.
But that's not what it's about for me.

It's about the BOOK.
Whether it's  "Out of My Mind", "Tuck Everlasting", "The One and Only Ivan", "Fish in a Tree","The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane", "Pax"or this year's "The Wild Robot", it's about the BOOK.

It's about what the book does for my kids, my classroom, for reading.

The books that have been chosen always seem to resonate with my students. They REALLY enjoy the story. I LOVE reading to them, AND it has the added bonus of hitting all those skills we have to teach, without becoming laborious.

The last four years these books have created readers in my classroom. If some of them didn't read independently at any other time, they read during Global Read Aloud. The great part is my students always have their own books, with the exception of "The One and Only Ivan", due to the generosity of the donors on DonorsChoose. Nothing beats the pleasure of a brand new book that is just yours.
"Yes, it's yours. Yes, you can keep it!"
It's funny because I tell the kids they can donate the books back to the class, and I only get 4 or 5 books back every year. I don't mind, I hope it's because they will take the time to enjoy it again and again, or share it with someone else.

Global Read Aloud (#GRA14)just keeps getting better and better! The authors that are chosen have begun to participate, even those who have never used social media before. How cool! More books have been added so that various grade levels can participate.

For those of you who choose to connect, take advantage of the groups and information set up on Wiki, Edmodo , Flipgrid, Facebook, Seesaw,etc... Don't be scared, start small. Join a group, or not. Follow the pacing guide, or not. Most of all, enjoy reading aloud to, and with your class. Enjoy a good story!

As long as there is Global Read Aloud, and I am teaching, I will participate. Hopefully, you will consider joining as well, if you haven't yet. It's about that BOOK!:)