Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Polliwog on Safari: Top 10 Ways to Promote Science Inquiry

Polliwog on Safari: Top 10 Ways to Promote Science Inquiry

Michelle Cusolito compiled an amazing list that will encourage you to lead children in outside investigations. She has provided great tips for every teacher.  A recommendation is given for you to recognize when you need to research for additional information. I want to add, as the leader, you do not need to know the answers and give an explanation for every question. It is ok for children to understand that sometimes we must look for answers too. Your passion to observe and seek knowledge will spark children to begin to think like scientists.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pre-school Learning



I spent the morning with a group of 4 year old children at a pre-school. Their routine was fun and interesting. I forgot how much they have to learn. They lined up to walk inside and once coats were hung, said the Pledge of Allegiance. I was surprised they recited the pledge in unison, it was more difficult to get them to use the correct hand to cover their hearts.

Two boys were assigned the job of dressing the frog on the bulletin board for the day's weather. The class then chose words that describe the day. Because they had spent some time outside they decided the weather was cold. After looking out the window they agreed the day was sunny.  They counted how many days before Thanksgiving or Turkey Day as most of them called it.

The boys and girls were learning to raise their hands to respond to the teacher. I observed this occur approximately 10 times, with about half of the students raising their hand to be called on. They were learning to sit in their chairs and sit in a circle when appropriate. Some students were reluctant when required to change positions from sitting at the table to sitting in a circle. They were allowed to lag, be distracted and then encouraged to join the group.

Feathers and feet from a wild turkey were on display and I read them a story about the life cycle of turkeys. They knew quite a lot about turkeys: turkeys eat bugs and nuts, people hunt them to eat, turkeys come from eggs, and turkeys taste good. They listened intently to my story and were quite ready for snack time.

I also forgot how literal young children can be. When it was time to put on coats to go outside, one student commented, "I don't have a coat, I have a jacket."

Again they practiced forming a line to go outside. They offered suggestions about which activity they chose to participate. As they left, each said a goodbye with "Happy Thanksgiving."

I think I learned as much as they did today. I enjoyed their energy and excitement and found getting back to the basics refreshing.




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Highlight your Magical Teaching Moment

Goal #2 in the Teacher Reboot Camp 30 goals challenge for the educator.

Highlight a Magical Teaching Moment

Sometimes I forget to honor the special moments in the daily interactions with students. Thinking back to the different classes I've taken and taught brings me nice memories. I wish I had written about them as they happened.

I still remember the best piece of advice given to me by the teacher for my Education Psychology class, Mr. McElroy said, "Treat every child as if he or she was the mayor's child". It is a simple way to conduct yourself and I really believe that type of respect is the minimum each person deserves. When I became a teacher and later principal I worked to impart the leadership required to apply his sage advice.

I remember many students who made a deep impact upon my interactions with them. So many elementary students simply needed a supportive family unit and our classroom sometimes substituted for that family. Jenna was the oldest of five children. She loved to take a book from the classroom home to read to her younger siblings. I always used my teacher points to order extra books so I would have one to give her to keep at home. I watched her grow and become a serious academic student. As she left elementary and transitioned to junior high school she still contacted me for advice or a friendly chat.

Through the years I have had so many positive interactions with students that have enriched my life.  During the time I spent as junior high school principal, it seemed the negative interactions remained much stronger than any positive ones, therefore I was pleasantly surprised when I encountered a mother and daughter who shared a story with me. I had long forgotten but Karen had never forgotten because it helped her thrive in school each day. Sometime during most every day in junior high, to her dismay Karen was sent to my office so I could judge the length of her shorts or skirt. She told me I would read the note from the teacher, tell her the clothing was fine, answer the note and send her back to class. I don't remember that small action but it meant a lot to her. I thanked her for sharing that with me and told her she brightened my outlook.

I hope this story encourages readers to share a positive interaction with a former teacher or administrator. You, too, can make a difference by sharing your sentiment.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tribute Poem

As I read the post about creating a Tribute Poem by Two Writing Teachers, I was inspired to write a tribute poem about my Dad. It was near the first anniversary of his passing and I realize I still miss him every day.

For Dad I remember . . .

Your smile and laugh when greeting a friend or loved-one
Your deep voice and wide hands reaching to hug us
The care you expressed for others 

The interest you took in your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren
The support and love we felt from you
Your honest opinion and commentaries on the world.

Words . . .
 Farmer
Father
Traveler

 Things . . .
Songs
Cowboy Boots
Tractors

Stories . . .
 Working in the field
Funny jokes
Growing up in a large family

And how you would rattle your ice tea glass when you needed more tea
You kept a light by Mom’s grave so she wouldn’t be lonely
How you never met a stranger

And told us we were no better but as good as any other person
Your rugged individualism, determined to make it on your own
Yet, you would be the first one to offer help to your brothers and sisters

 We miss you, Dad, I will always love you.

A morning at Pre-school