Sunday, December 27, 2020

Should We Let Go of EXPECTATIONS?

There was a post on Twitter about a mother who sent her kid to school knowing they had tested positive for COVID.

As I am wont to do, I dived into the comments.

 A constant stream ran through the thread, noone should be upset with the adult. Instead we should blame society, the school, etc...., anyone but this adult who made the choice to send a kid to school with COVID.

Have we gone too far with expecting very little, or nothing at all, from our students and parents?

Was it too much to expect this parent to keep her child home when he had COVID? A disease that could be fatal to his classmates, their family, the teacher, and his/her family?

And this "not expecting much",didn't start during the pandemic, this "low or no" expectations, started years ago. 

Why can't I expect my students to be on time? 

To complete their work and do it to the best of their ability?

To ask for help if they need it? 

To not lie on their beds while they are learning?

Why can't I expect my parents to read the notices I send home and respond?

To attend parent-teacher conferences?

To support their child to the best of their ability?

To ask for help if they need it?

And I know, we have to be flexible, especially now. I know everyone has a different situation, especially now. But this didn't start with COVID.

How many times have teachers found themselves blamed by a parent for their child's lack of progress, after not meeting any of the classroom expectations? And this, after the teacher has bent over backwards for the student and the parent?

What happens to our students later in life, when they have flowed through a world where noone expected anything of them? How do they adapt to a world where suddenly there are expectations that they are required to meet?

I have expectations for ALL of my students. Sometimes they are all able to meet them, and sometimes they are not.But the expectation is there. 

Here's an example. I start class at 8:45 a.m. I open my Waiting Room at 8:40 a.m. which has a timer counting off the minutes. I expect my students to be on at 8:45 a.m. because that is when I start Morning Meeting. In the beginning, they would wander in whenever. By the 2nd month, most, if not all, are there at 8:45 a.m. every day. (5th graders)

If they're late, I don't fuss, I greet them. I don't know the circumstance that made them late. If it becomes constant, we have a conversation. (That's why building relationships are so important.)

I will ADJUST where necessary, especially now. 

I will BE FLEXIBLE, especially now.

 I'm just not letting go.

Image provided by unDraw

Sunday, December 13, 2020

"12 days of Christmas" Mini Math Project - Christmas Price Index (CPI)

Christmas is here! Or the holidays, the break, or whatever you wish to call it.

But one thing is for sure, whatever you call it, the kids are excited, and you still have to teach!

So I figured, why not use something that goes with the theme? Something the kids could get excited about? Something that involved Math, but not endless computation or word problems?

The PNC Christmas Price Index was perfect for what I wanted to do.
They have a site for educators complete with lesson plans.
It's geared toward middle and high school students, so I modified it for my 5th graders.

I used the information they provided on the Price Index and created a table  for the students to fill out using the information in the Price Index.

We  sang the "12 Days of Christmas" before we began. (See video below).

They really enjoyed  creating their own "12 Days of Christmas" chart  I revised the chart again a little this year. Most of them shopped online. .
The holidays are always hectic. This is a great way to maintain structure, but also allow the kids to have fun!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Schoology Updates with a Dash of Bitmoji!

When I learned how to create a Bitmoji slide, it was a game-changer for me. 

When I learned how to add the slide to Schoology and post as an update, I was over the moon! 

Yes, it's the little things. 😎

So, every week , I change my updates. I saved the template, so all I have to do is switch out the image.Ta-da! 

My updates include the message on the board, our "quote of the week" poster, somewhere to sit, and myself,  via Bitmoji, with my motivating message. It's not interactive, just an image. If you want interactive, this video is great.

I change my Bitmoji every week, the walls and floor sometimes, and the furniture.

This week, I added a window because we studied moon phases, and I wanted to make them aware of the Penumbral Lunar Eclipse.

It's just something easy that I do to give my students something to look at when they enter Schoology for the umpteenth time. 

And a little creativity to help me keep my sanity in this virtual classroom world!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

"If It Was Raining Meatballs..."

I know DESMOS was made  for Math , but I have been using it for my Morning Meeting activities. I try to switch up the things that I post for them to do.

I found this list of "50 Icebreaker Questions for Kids" during my frantic search for ways to break the ice in September. 

The question that  most recently caught my eye was, "If it was raining meatballs, would you eat them?" 

Their responses made me laugh!

I needed to laugh. I needed to have that moment where the computer was my friend, and not my foe. Just that moment in time, where the stress melted away, and I sat at my desk, flanked by three computers and a monitor, and laughed at my kids' responses.

"No, because no one knows where it came from. And I don't really like meatballs."

"No, because you don't know where those meatballs been."

"I would not eat those meatballs because I don't know where they came from. Somebody could have put something in them."

"Yeah, I would get a plate and eat."

"I would not eat them because they are all on the floor. Plus the Coronavirus and all that is going on..."

"No, who knows where they have been. They might be rotten, taste horrible, be raw, who knows?"

"Yes, I would eat them, but straight out the sky, not off the ground."

"Depends on if they're cooked properly and if they're not vegan. If they taste good, and it's real meat, I don't see why not. I get it if you don't know where they came from...but it's free meatballs.' (My favorite!)

I need more moments like this. WE need more moments like this. 

If it was raining meatballs, would you eat them? :)

Monday, October 5, 2020


 I open my Zoom "door" at 8:40 a.m. every morning. Alexa helps me stay on track. My planning period is at 8 a.m., and sometimes, as you know, we get wrapped up in what we are doing and lose track of time.

Any way, one day as I was immersed  in the Bitmoji  FB group, and I came across a digital "Waiting Room."("Sharing is caring!"). 

 I was like, this is so cool, I want this for my students. I did what I so often do, I copied it and modified it a little. It had the rules, like "Mute Yourself" , a cool electronic timer, a Bitmoji character, and these really cool colors.

Well, a few days later a colleague of mine shared another digital "Waiting Room". No rules. Just a welcoming place to start the morning. And I was like, this is so cool, I want THIS for my students. And of course I copied it and modified it, but I kept the welcoming spirit of it, no rules like, "Mute Yourself."

So now, I have a very cool "Waiting Room". It has the very cool electronic timer, our Quote of the Week, our tools for the day, and of course, my Bitmoji character. (Don't tell anyone, but I change her clothes every week).😉I add messages when necessary.

My 5th graders hang out in there for 5 minutes before class starts. I am muted and my video is off, and that's their time. I sit in front of the screen, with my headset on, chilling, listening. And yes, they know I am there.

Sometimes they talk to each other, most times they don't. Except for my one darling who gets on, bright and cheerful every morning, and gives everyone a rundown of whatever he chooses. Every morning. It makes my day, his innocence.

Update: They talked to him today! Persistance is everything!:)

This was an easy way to make their mornings a little easier in this virtual environment. 💖