Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday Sayings: Teacher Location

Is it possible that the location of the teacher in the classroom could be an indicator as to whether the activity really matters? 

Read on to find out what I think.

Proximity. It's very possibly the first thing every teacher learned in their classroom management course in college, and there's a good reason why. It works. Whether with first graders or adult drivers and police cars, proximity is an easy and effective management strategy.

This is one of the reasons why I never sit at my desk when the children are in the room. I acknowledge that the secondary world is a bit different. My cousin Laurie can sit at her desk while her AP seniors spend the class period independently writing timed essays, but I can't think of a time when using the teacher desk as a stopping place is appropriate in the elementary classroom. In fact, I would venture to say that if an elementary teacher is sitting at his/her desk, the children are not doing something worthwhile. If the activity matters, then the teacher will:

want to observe students
ask questions
take notes
check on understanding
prevent possible behavior issues
show students they're invested in every part of the day

None of this can happen without proximity and constant movement. And if the teacher doesn't need to do any of the above things and can sit at a desk instead, then the children obviously shouldn't be doing what they're doing either.

Is it possible that the location of the teacher in the classroom could be an indicator as to whether the activity really matters?

I say yes.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016


Anyone who drops by my classroom doesn't have to stay long to catch on to the fact that singing is what we do in my room. I use it as a management tool, and it works extremely well. Every so often an observer comments that they're not a singer, and I get that, although really, the kids don't know the difference. I want to ask though, "Then what will your strategy be? What will you use to help your kids efficiently transition throughout the day?" Anyway, I had to throw in something teachery, because this post is more personal than anything else. 

I don't just sing in my classroom. I sing in my car. I sing in my home. I sing at my church. I sing on CDs. My cousin and I have been working on two CD projects for two years now, and one of the two is now complete. It's called Good

My cousin and I wrote all the songs. We've been singing most of them at church, and putting them on a CD has been an exciting way of taking the worship we so love at our church and making it available to others. I think these songs are the kind that beg to be played in their car (loudly and repeatedly).

You can download the CD using the site below, but if you want a real live CD, cover and all, let me know. We'd rather personally send out real CDs than let the company do that. You who enjoy downloads are good to go though.

P.S. And if you enjoy Christmas music, be watching for CD number two this coming Fall.

Click on the graphic to listen to excerpts as well as download songs. 
And if you like what you hear, feel free to share. :)

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Summer Reading Share

The school year isn't even over and I'm already pondering how I can prepare next year's students to be readers who couldn't possibly stop reading during the summer between first and second grade. I'm already thinking about this because I know that preventing the infamous summer slide starts on day one of the school year. I'd better be ready.

In the meantime, I'm also thinking about this year's crew, and I've got a few things to help them along the way through their summer of books. A few years ago, I borrowed an idea from Miss Trayers. (She has many ideas worth borrowing. Click on her name and you'll see some of the ways she helps her readers during the summer.) 

I've modified her original idea a bit by specifically including trips to the library. Click on the graphic below and you can get your own copy. If I've done it right, you can edit.

I've also recently come to the conclusion that many parents don't quite understand how important the library is to their child's summer reading life and they might not even know how to best use it, so I'm also sending home information about library tips. Check it out here.

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