Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels. -author unknown

We've had our fair share of snow in Minnesota this year with two feet on the ground and piles up to four feet lining sidewalks and roads.  Along with the snow have been record cold temps, so the prospect of going out to either shovel or make snow angels - is, well, unappealing.

So if you're like me and stuck in an icy cold rut - the only thing to do is find what comforts you best and indulge.   I walked this morning at an indoor arena where the ice is where it's supposed to be:  inside the rink.  Now I'm headed for a second cup of coffee and good book. 

If you're in a classroom, remember to find great filler activities on tpt.com.  In this era of too much testing (forced labor - like shoveling) and too little creativity (snow angels) there's got to be a little fun in the day's weather forecast!

Inside looking out

Be well today and always,



Monday, February 17, 2014

The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Paying attention to each and every student isn't such an easy thing these days!  This latest trend (hope to God it's a trend, anyway, so it will move on) of overtesting and data collecting  has created classrooms that look more like factories than families.  Kids turn into numbers and teachers become testers and evaluators -  much like the business world we're supposed to be emulating.

So how much attention can we pay to individual kids - as kids - when we have to pay attention, first and foremost, to the numbers?

When our district first started following the "edicts" of No Child Left Behind - putting up data walls to measure progress and scripting teachers and kids alike and taking creative and personal interactions - the hallmarks of successful teaching and learning - completely out of the picture, I wondered what could be next -  Family metrics?  Collecting data at home on conversations at the dinner table? (Remember now, the standard requires complete sentences to answer our questions by age 5.  One syllable responses not allowed!)  hand washing? turn taking?  milk spills?

But no matter what they say, our classrooms aren't factories and our best teachers try hard to maintain warm, safe, "family-like" classroom environments, amidst the micromanaging.  And paying attention to each student - either by listening to what she says or watching what she does - will always be the most important thing teachers do, our "most precious gift."

Be well today and always,

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sticks and stones can break my bones but names will really hurt me.....

All the judgments we adults openly share and then broadcast about one another in the media and social media - too fat, too thin, too brainy, too vague, too self righteous, too Democrat, too Republican, too sweet, too sarcastic, too rich, too bossy, too talkative, too dumb, too quiet, too whatever! 

Just wondering how that behavior impacts our kids.  We tell them not to tease or bully kids who are different and then we rant on facebook about people whose views and lifestyles are.......different!  Isn't that the same as name-calling?  And taken a step or two further, bullying?

Bullying is a big deal, but not only in classrooms.  I made this sign to add to my own collection of words posted here and there around the house - just as a reminder.  Click here if you'd like a copy, too!

Be well today and always,