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I am an elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Archive for the tag “Teaching”

This is our Sputnik moment.

School’s all across the nation are either starting or about to start a new academic year. It’s suppose to be an exciting time for students and teacher. However, this year may be much, much different.  This has been the summer of Trump. Our students  have been subjected to Trumpism all summer.

Before this weekend’s horrific events in Charlottesville, I was wondering where did we go astray. How could our nation elect someone like Trump? After this weekend, I think I have the answer.

As a teacher, it’s hard for me to admit this. I view this past year as a failure of our education system. As educators we have not fought hard enough to protect our curriculum, our methods, our standards and our public schools.

All too often we  observe teachers dutifully, following directives that they don’t agree with. We observe teachers, following standards that are not research based and often inappropriate for the children they teach.

I have watched  Social Studies lessons being put aside for high stakes testing skills and subjects. I have observed Social Studies standards morph into ‘big ideas’ that often lack correlation with history. For example, teaching about the Articles of Confederation without taking the necessary time to teach the events that led up to them.

Social Studies is being put aside. Now we hear STEM is the new ‘ big idea’. Science Technology Engineering and Math is turning into this year’s new focus. We’ve already witnessed literature, take a back seat to non-fiction in Common Core.  Look at the results, look at society, and ask yourself, “ can we really afford to abandoned the humanities”?

We need to refocus our teaching towards Social Studies. Link your lessons towards teaching history. Not a whitewashed version, but real history. The history of the peoples of the world.

We now have a President that has no understanding of our nation’s past. We have thousands marching in the streets protesting things they do not understand.

This is our Sputnik moment. We need to emulate the counter protesters of this weekend by resisting any attempt to water down our curriculum. We need to stand against those that want us to teach a revisionists version of history.

Forget the damn high stakes tests. It’s time to roll up our collective sleeves and do what we need to do to save our nation. Resist and teach like our future depends on it, because it does.

Teaching has nothing to do with the Common Core

This is not a story about the Common Core, this is a story that demonstrates what teaching really is. Teaching is not about tests and teaching is not about teacher rubrics. Teaching is not about college and career ready nonsense for third grade students. Teaching is  this…..

Janine Bonura is one of the best teachers I know. Despite having 28 students in her third grade class,  she somehow achieves success in each one of her students in remarkable ways. She shared with me this wonderful narrative.

The following is  a reader response from one of my third grade students who came to me in September as a non-reader and non-writer.  This student was adopted from another country at the age of 3 years old.  At the age of 5 years old it was discovered that she was deaf.  She had never heard a sound!  Interventions began right away but the gap in all areas was significant.

Reader Response from a third grade student after reading Fly Eagle Fly

During the story I realized that I used to be someone who couldn’t read or write or count.  So when I was 5 years old my mom and my dad teach me so, so hard, but I didn’t get it.  One summer my mom got me a tutor and then another tutor.  So my two tutors worked on me so, so hard and I worked so, so hard, but I couldn’t get it.

One day I was practicing so, so hard and then I got it!  My parents were so proud of me.  When my tutor heard she was happy.  When it was my first day of school I felt like it was too hard.  So I tried and I tried to use my brain but it was so, so hard.  My teacher said I should never ever give up.  So I kept trying and I knew I couldn’t ever give up.  Then I got it!  My teacher was so, so happy that I never gave up.  I got it!

Over this school year I have watched as this little girl began to grow in her speaking, reading and writing skills. The growth she has made across all areas has exceeded all expectations!  She has truly begun flying this year!  It has been a joy watching this happen and knowing that I along with so many others had a part is helping her take flight!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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