Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A CLASSROOM Teacher Goes to ISTE2019!

On May 15, 2019, I received the information below in an email. I had applied for the ISTE scholarship after a friend posted the information in our FB group. (What would I do w/o my PLN?) Shout out to Regina S!
I was thrilled, because if it was not for this scholarship, even though ISTE19 was only an hour commute, I could not attend. I had no funding, that $500+ registration fee was no joke! I am not a Tech coach, or a Technology insructor, I am "just" a classroom teacher with a HUGE appetite for integrating technology in my classroom, and sharing what I learn with others.

As I sat in workshops, all I could think about was how I was going to USE these things I was learning in my classroom. I thought about how I could share them with my colleagues.

My mind spun with the information that I gathered from each session. Here's the thing. I know a lot about integrating tech in my classroom, but I will be the first to admit, I don't know everything, Each session, whether workshop, poster, or playground, was a chance to "Ooooooh", "Aaaaah", and "Gasp". Oh, and don't forget, "So, that's how you do it!" or "I never thought about using it that way."

All I thought about were the innnovative changes I was going to make when I got back to my classroom. I am already meeting with my admin to discuss two programs I want to bring to our school, not to mention resources I will be able to pilot.

Attending ISTE is an amazing experience for anyone, but it's especially amazing for a classroom teacher!

A special thank you to those sponsors who provided our scholarships,sources like DonorsChoose, and others, who are willing to send a classroom teacher go to ISTE!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Tell Me WHY You're Awesome!

I was at a session and we were talking about getting students' feet wet with podcasting and someone said he tells his students to record themselves via a podcasting tool, explaining why they are awesome.

I haven't been able to get this out of my head.

Not tell me if you think you're awesome, or what you can do to be awesome, but tell me WHY you're awesome. This teacher is not leaving any doubt that the student is actually awesome! LOVE it!

His message to his sudents?

You are awesome. I know you are awesome. I just need you to tell me why.

What a delicious way to start off the school year, having your students believe that you know that  every single one of them is awesome, no matter what happened the year before, or the year before that.
No matter what stories Negative Nellie or Negative Ned whispered, texted, or emailed, to make sure that teacher "knew what they were getting."

When a student is given the opportunity to tell why they are awesome, it's the building block to beginning a meaningful relationship because you trust them to tell what's good about themseves.

No matter what happened in the previous years, this is their chance to describe their awesomeness, and through podcastng, no less! You can even use Flipgrid, if podcasting is not your thing.

I never got a chance to ask the presenter what happened if the student did not believe in their awesomeness. Hopefully, they all do. And if by chance, I come across one who doesn't, I hope I can help them find at least one way in which they are.

Hey Teach, tell me why YOU'RE awesome!:)


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Advice to a Future Fifth Grader... A Letter For My Future Students!

Most years, I have my students write a letter to the incoming 4th graders. As I read the letters, it made me reflect on their viewpoint of our classroom.

Dear Future Fifth Grader…

I’m K_______, I am a fifth grader in Mrs.Mims class. I'm giving you some information for YOU when you come to the 5th grade. Here’s some advice.

1. FOLLOW RULES! If you don’t, you will have a consequence.

2. Try not to get in trouble.

3. Mrs.Mims expects you to act like a 5th grader, not a 2nd grader.

4. DO NOT LIE! Mrs.Mims loves when you are honest. And lying will get you in WAY more trouble.

5. You can hang out with disrespectful kids, it's not my choice, but be the positive influence.
6. Please try to be nice to any students or teachers.

7. Apologies are nice if you’ve done something wrong.

8. Don't be disrespectful.

9. Don't talk, while the teacher is talking.

10. Last but NOT least, try your best when you go to the 5th grade. 

You’re welcome for the help I’ve given you!Sincerely,

Monday, March 25, 2019

Actions Have Consequences: Letting Students Own Their Consequences!

"You're always picking on me."

Maybe you've heard this before.

I have tried, on many occasions, to explain to some of my students that their actions have consequences.

"I am not picking on you. Your consequences are in direct correlation to your actions." Well, I don't use those words exactly, but you understand what I am trying to get them to understand.

It doesn't help when parents stand behind this thinking, and add their voice to the idea that my day is made when I get to "pick on" a child.

Well, after Student-led conferences I felt that maybe the consequences in our room weren't clear. Maybe that was the problem. They understood there would be consequences, but just felt that they were not dealt out fairly. We do have a brief list of Expectations hanging on our wall, however, that doesn't seem to be enough.

So during Morning Meeting, we came up with a Rules and Consequences form, which I have since changed to Actions & Consequences. We sat as a group and worked on the form. I added two actions, but they came up with the rest. ALL the consequences are theirs. ALL.

We did not list positive actions because no one has ever accused me of "picking on" them for positive things. They know the consequences of positive actions, they experience it every day.

I printed the document. You will notice there is a place for the child to sign AND their parent. They are to bring the document back and keep it in their desk, notebook, somewhere where they can access it if needed.

I have a great group of kids, but, this is a lesson I need them to take with them as they follow their path.

Your actions have consequences.

They can be positive or negative, but our actions, young and old alike, have consequences.

Credits: I found the quote above on FB. Applebaum Training Institute

Saturday, February 16, 2019

"You LIKE Reading"? Is Reading for Pleasure Obsolete?

The other day I was teaching an economics lesson on Supply and Demand.
The students had to write a list of 4 things they like to do when they are home.
I modeled the ist with a list of my own, and I started with reading. (Which I really shouldn't have because the lesson was about getting paid to read, so... but that's how much I love to read.)

One of the students stated increduously, "You LIKE to read?"
I replied, "Yes, that is part of how I got here, haviing this job," or something like that.
He said, "That's not what I mean. You just LIKE to read?"
I said, "Do you mean for pleasure?" Yes, I do, and I'm mad that I don't get to do it as much as I would like because of work."
At this point, he just laughed and shook his head.

Many students don't read for pleasure. Many adults don't read for pleasure.
video games
lack of diversity in books
books are not present in the home or classroom
school has sucked the joy of out of reading

So, what should we do to get our kids reading for pleasure?

  1. have diverse books in your classroom
  2. stop killing books with worksheets (What's the Main idea?)
  3. give kids time to just read 
  4. Let students choose their own books 
  5. allow students to read books, not just passages with questions
  6. allow students to read above or below their "level."
  7. participate in projects like the Global Read Aloud
  8. connect with others in the world who are reading the same book.
  9. use tech to let students "talk" about their book
  10. connect with authors
  11. read picture books
  12. allow audiobooks
  13. let them read digitally with Epic and Readworks.

My kids are tested at the end of the school year, so I am not going to tell you that I never use worksheets or teach reading "strategies." But, I have found that the ideas I have listed above have created students that actually enjoy a book, who read for pleasure.

My best moment of our day is whe my kids sprawl out all over the room in video chairs, the Yoga balls, at a desk, or the round table and read. The room is quiet and and the majority of them are actually reading! Sweet!:)