Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Being Different is Okay

Every day I see students trying to fit in and be like everyone else. The sad part is that they don’t realize that no one is like everyone else. Like fingerprints, every person is unique and it is impossible to be exactly like someone else.

I want students to know that as they continue in life they will belong to many different groups, They might end up in groups according to work skills, hobbies, common interests, and even age groups. Yet, even though each group has something in common, every person brings their own individual strengths to the group.

I have a young friend that so comfortable in her own skin that she doesn’t mind being different than the majority. This doesn’t mean that she can’t fit into whatever group she wants to fit in with but if her goals take her in a different direction than her groups, she is willing to go on her own. She might even go in a direction that leads her to different groups. If she didn’t have the courage to face some times outside of groups, she might miss many opportunities to enjoy life. So, she doesn’t let being part of a group impede her joy for living.

However many people don’t realize this until they are much older and have missed out on many opportunities. I want my students to understand this and learn it earlier than I did. I want them to have more time to enjoy life than others who realize this later in life.

When I was teaching, I realized that I had a different philosophy than a lot of teachers in my school. This didn’t mean that I was wrong or that they were wrong. It just meant that we looked at teaching students a little differently. I liked being a facilitator in my student’s learning rather than the lecturer imparting all my knowledge. I liked having parents be a part of my time on a regular basis rather than as an observer looking in. I wanted my students to have input and choices concerning their learning rather than dictating what and when they would learn the material.

Even in the workforce, the employer is looking for someone who will fit in with the team. Are they able to work with others and pull their own weight? Yet, they are also looking for someone different who can add a new strength to the team. They are not looking for someone who is exactly like someone they already have because they don’t need another person like that.

How do you get students to understand that it is okay to be different? Please share.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Monday, May 17, 2021

Connie Chung

Connie Chung was born in Washington DC on August 20, 1946. Her family emigrated the year before from China and Connie was the youngest of ten children. Her father was an intelligence officer in the Chinese Nationalist Government.

She went to high school in Maryland went got her journalism degree from the University of Maryland in 1969. She married Maury Povich a talk show host, in 1984. When they married, Connie converted to Judaism. They adopted a son in 1995.

In the early 1970s, Chung was a correspondent for the CBS Evening News during the Watergate scandal. She left to anchor evening newscasts in Los Angeles. She also anchored primetime news updates.

Chung anchored NBC News at Sunrise in 1983. She also anchored the NBC Nightly News on Saturdays and filled in for Tom Brokaw at times during the week. She also co-hosted two news magazines with Roger Mudd.

Chung left NBC for CBS in 1989 and was the host of Saturday Night with Connie Chung and was the anchor for the CBS Sunday Evening News. She also co-anchored with Dan Rather. She became the second woman in history to co-anchor a network newscast in 1993.

In 1995, Chung left CBS and went to ABC to cohost 2020 with Charles Gibson. She began doing independent interviews. She interviewed Gary Condit on Primetime Thursday in 2001 about his relationship with Chandra Levi who had been murdered. Chung was also a guest host of Good Morning America but didn’t want to make it a permanent position.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 5/14/21

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Short and Curly - “SHORT & CURLY is a fast-paced fun-filled ethics podcast for kids and their parents, with questions and ideas to really get you thinking. It asks curly questions about animals, technology, school, pop culture and the future. Thanks to our two fabulous hosts, there’s lots of time for silliness too. We are also helped out by resident ethicist Matt Beard from The Ethics Centre, a brains-trust of school children and some special high-profile guests like sporting stars and famous musicians.” (L:G;SA:A)

Barrett Farm and the Start of the American Revolution - “April 19, 1775 is undoubtedly one of the most important days in American history, but how do we know what happened that day nearly two hundred and fifty years ago? Historians use primary sources as a clue to determine what happened in the past. Many of the events leading up to and on April 19, 1775 in Concord relate to town resident Colonel James Barrett. Using primary sources your students will become historians and answer the question, “What was Colonel James Barrett’s role on April 19, 1775?” (L:H;SA:SS)

Rebels, Redcoats, and Homespun Heroes Curriculum Materials - “These curriculum materials include key Revolution vocabulary words, and activities on soldiers, women, and the spread of the Lexington alarm. Activities included in these materials can be used in conjunction with a ranger-guided field trip or on their own in the classroom or at home.” (L:E;SA:SS)

Who Shot First? Curriculum Materials - “These curriculum materials ask students to read and analyze primary source materials about the Intolerable Acts and the Battle of Lexington. Students are challenged through the construction evidence-based arguments about the fighting at Concord's North Bridge.” (L:H;SA:SS)

Lexington and Concord: A Legacy of Conflict Lesson Plan - “Students examine primary source materials to better understand the events of April 19, 1775.” (L:E;SA:SS)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Giving Choices

Recently someone mentioned that I stress how important it is to give students choices and asked me for more examples of choices that I give my students. When I give the students choices, they seem more engaged and the amount of work that they complete is much higher. I do not usually give more than three choices because more than that can be overwhelming for the student. When they are overwhelmed, they tend to not do anything rather than making a choice.

  • Choose which order you want to do the assignments. All assignments need to be completed but you can choose which one you want to do next.
  • Choose if you want to sit at your desk or in the reading corner or a private area with the desk.
  • Choose if you want to listen to music while you work.
  • Choose one of three writing prompts.
  • Look at one of three pictures and write a story about it.
  • Choose one of three books to read.
  • Choose if you want to read alone or find a group to read with.
  • Read to yourself or record yourself reading.
  • Choose one of three assignments (all on the same skill) to complete.
  • Choose one of three projects to complete using math skills.
Social Studies or Science:
  • Choose a topic that we have studied so far and do more research on it. Present it to the class by making a brochure, poster, commercial, or movie trailer.
What other choices would you give students? Please share.

Photo by Burst on Unsplash

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Is It Working?

In “But how will you know?” from Seth Godin's Blog, Seth Godin shares,

"So the question: “How will we know if it’s working?” is a powerful one."

I have helped a few teachers set up behavior management plans for their classes. Each one was different because each one involves various amounts of time and energy required by the individual teacher. Different plans work for different teachers. Some involve extensive planning before implementation and may involve a lot of record-keeping during the implementation. That is just the first part though. Just because a plan is manageable for the teacher to implement, it doesn’t mean that it works.

I also advise teachers that they may attempt one plan but it doesn’t work so they should be willing to try something else if needed.

Of course, how do you know if it is working or not?

I had one teacher that tried a plan for two days and scrapped it saying that it didn’t work. Then she’d try something different for two more days and be frustrated when that didn’t work.

Whatever you chose to try, you need to try it for more than two days! I would give a plan at least two weeks before evaluating it for effectiveness. During these two weeks, students will test you to see if you really will follow through with the plan. It is important that you be fair and consistent with all of the students while implementing your plan. Students will want to see if you let someone else get away with something but enforce it with them. If this happens, your plan will never work.

During these two weeks, keep a daily frequency chart of the negative behaviors that you want to get rid of. At the end of the two weeks, this will help you decide if the plan is working or not.

At the end of two weeks, you can look at the frequency charts to determine if your plan is effective. You may need to do some adjustments to your plan but make sure your students know about these changes before implementing them.

What else would you do to see if a behavior plan is working? Please share.

Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash