Monday, August 21, 2017

Back of the Book Blurb #72 Challenge

From Sioux's PageSioux offers this challenge.

She posts a picture and you need to imagine it as a graphic for a book. You choose the genre and book title, and then write a blurb that might appear on the back of the book.

The blurb should be 150 words or less (not including the title). The genre is wide-open.
Each blogger should include their blurb on their own blog, and link back to this post. Have fun with it. Go to the other posts and comment on the other blurbs.  You can do fancy techy things with the photo.

(Join in if you dare...! It sounds like fun! I think this would be a lot of fun to do with students especially since they would be expected to write 150 words or less!)

The Attention Getter

Dobby was amazed what his humans will do for attention.

He watched the mother dress in fancy clothes and put lots of make-up on to get her husband’s attention. The husband was so focused on his job and was busy trying to get his boss’s attention. Ginny was just a little baby and cried all the time so she learned how to get everyone’s attention. Little Jimmy wanted attention too so he had done something really bad.

Dobby knew what Jimmy had done and that he had done it to get his parents’ attention. Jimmy would be in so much trouble when they found out what he had done.  If Dobby could talk, he could find a way to help Jimmy. He could tell the adults what happened and that Jimmy didn’t mean to do it.

So, Dobby had to figure out a way to help Jimmy.  (147 words)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 8/18/17

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

Nanospace -  NanoSpace is a web-based, virtual theme park for children of all ages! Explore the world of atoms and molecules with games, activities and short animations in a fun-filled amusement park and learning environment launched in 2012.” (L:G; SA:S)

What happens when you have a concussion? – Ted-Ed talk; “Each year in the United States, players of sports and recreational activities receive between 2.5 and 4 million concussions. How dangerous are all those concussions? The answer is complicated and lies in how the brain responds when something strikes it. Clifford Robbins explains the science behind concussions” (L:H; SA:A)

Map of Play – “find parks and playground near you.” (L:T; SA:A)

FlipAnim- “create flipbook animations online” (L:G; SA:A)

Mapping History – “interactive and animated representations of fundamental historical problems and/or illustrations of historical events, developments, and dynamics.” (L:G; SA:SS)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Communications with Parents

“What aspects of communication are most challenging for you? What frustrates you about communication?”

I think the hardest part of communicating is when I can’t reach a student’s parents. There may be many reasons for this. The contact phone numbers on school records are not always the most accurate. Phone numbers change or numbers may be recorded wrong. I also get very nervous every year during the initial contact. I want to put my best foot forward and hope the parents like me.

Many are afraid of hearing from their child’s teacher because of previous bad experiences. Maybe their child has been in trouble in the past and the only time they have heard from the teacher is to hear what their child has done wrong.

Some parents may feel that the teacher is judging them or criticizing them. Suggestions that may help the child may make some parents feel as if the teacher is telling them that they are not doing a good job.

I usually ask the students to give me the best phone number to reach their parents and I try to call on the first day. If I get a wrong number or a disconnected number, I have the student call their parents with me present so that I can get a number to reach them. If I can’t get them to do this, I explain to them that I will have to make a home visit if I don’t hear from the parents by the end of the week and usually most of them will call me. If I still don’t reach the parents I make a home visit.

I start off the contact by introducing myself and telling them how excited I am about having their child in my class. I also tell them that I will be contacting them often to share with them news about the class and about the good things their child is doing in class. I then offer a phone number for them to reach me (I usually give them my personal phone number but I encourage other teachers to give them a google voice number if they don’t want to do this) and ask that they don’t call me before 7 am or after 9 pm. I also encourage them to call me if they have any concerns or problems rather than waiting for the next day of school. This has helped de-escalate many potential angry situations because the student has not told the whole story when they got home.

I also explain that we are a team and it will take all of us to help the student be successful this year. That is my primary goal and I want the parents to know this.

Once I can establish a rapport with the parents, regular contact is usually not a problem. I ask the parents if they haven’t heard from me that they are free to call me and check on how their child is doing. But it is the initial contact that is the hardest and most challenging.

How do you communicate with your students’ parents? What do you find the most challenging? Please share.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Call in a Substitute

Recently I had a friend who is a new teacher and is expected to have substitute plans. She has no idea where to begin so I thought it was time to write a post about this.

I decided to put my substitute plans in a 2 in. three ring binder.

I had separate sections for the following items:
·      Teacher schedule
·      Class attendance
·      Class routine
·      School procedures
·      Classroom and School discipline
·      Emergency procedures
·      Notes
·      Class and Student Activities

Teacher schedule – I list if I have any morning, lunch or afternoon duties and which days these take place.

Class attendance – I keep a list of the students and their class schedules. This is updated every time there is a change in my class roster or if the student’s class schedule changes.

Class routine – I include the routine for each class. This includes, taking attendance, 5 min. opening journal writing, whole group instruction, individual seat work, and any other things that happen routinely in my class.

School procedures – I give the school daily schedule and any special events. I also include the school calendar for the year.

Classroom and School discipline – I give the list of my class rules and consequences. I also include the school discipline policy. If there are discipline forms, I include these in a plastic sleeve.

Emergency procedures – I explain where to go in case of an emergency and the procedures to follow at that time.

Notes – I includes sheets of paper for the substitutes to leave me notes about the class behavior or anything else the sub feels that I need to know about.

Class and Student Activities – I include emergency plans for three days. I explain what instruction to give to the students, and any worksheets that the students must complete. I put each day in a separate folder and slip it into the back of the binder.

This binder is kept on a bookshelf by my desk or in a drawer in my desk. If I’m ever absent, I just have to notify someone at school where it is located and ask them to put it on my desk for the substitute.

When I return, I go through the book to make sure nothing is missing other than the class activities. Then I replace the activities with new ones for the next time I need to be absent.

What do you do when planning for a substitute? Please share.