Am I on the wrong side of the War?

 

This video sincerely voices my concerns for the boys in my class. I’ve always said that “school wasn’t made by a boy”. The very structure of MY class doesn’t encourage boys and really restricts them. That’s right I include myself. I’m just as guilty of trying to get my students to do exactly what I couldn’t do when I was 7-8 years old.

The part that struck home more than anything in this video was helping boys become readers. Every week we go to the media center and grab a new book to read. And just like following a script my girls get fiction feeling books while my boys get non-fiction books about snakes, cars or records. I didn’t think about how much they’re telling me with their book selections. Even when they’re allowed to go online with little direction most of them find material that’s about animals, cars, and the such. I have to do a better job of letting my male students be, boys.

The way school is organized it almost requires that I (a big boy) have to require these 10 boys do what they’re not even wired to do. However, the 6 girls in my room are almost perfect according to my classroom set up. I’m an accomplice!

My one area of concern is a missing cog in this machine. Parenting. The video didn’t seem to address any of the parenting methods that add, subtract or create some of the battlegrounds that boys must compete. We certainly need to discuss all our roles in helping boys be boys along with being functional parts of society.

I have to research and read more on how to organize my class to be more Boy Friendly. What do you think about this? Do you notice any differences in our society in regards to boys? Let’s talk about it.

 

What happened last year

The new school semester has started off so strong I haven’t had time to blog or to recount what happened last semester. Thankfully, I have a day off to think about it. Here’s what happened last semester in no particular order.

  • I don’t have a filing system. However, my crazy paper mess makes sense to me. I don’t LIKE it, but I can usually find things within a matter of minutes.

  • BOWTIES! What else is there if not bowties? wpid-20150109_175519.jpg

  • My charts are ROCKING! I’ve found them so useful this year. I do have them hanging in a system. System is to easy to understand! I think my co-workers have been poaching my charts!wpid-20140513_110035.jpg

  • My progress monitoring of struggling students is working. I can see where each student is and a have a plan for each one. I’ve even got a shout out a couple times for having my paper work on point.

  • When I saw that something didn’t work I didn’t try to make it work. I just dropped it and kept it moving.

  • My centers are so/so. I overhauled my Centers chart and now it just doesn’t make sense. Should have left it well enough alone. That being said the kids have great center time. They like it and they’re learning. I simply have to have a better rotation schedule.

  • I didn’t do a great job laying down the rules/procedures of the class. Some have picked them up, but the vast majority aren’t trying to do right.

  • We don’t go outside AT ALL!

  • I find myself busy most of the day. Not a lot of down time. That’s good. That’s bad.

  • MEAL PREP! Excellent idea. I don’t know who I picked it up from, but I’m glad I did.wpid-20141007_095025.jpg

  • My class isn’t on auto-pilot. I think this is a goal that I should let go of. My students more than likely aren’t going to be the kinds that will follow a schedule without someone pointing out to them to do it.

  • Keeping all homework in a spiral notebook was a great idea! Keeping all classwork in 1 spiral wasn’t as good an idea.

  • I’m so glad that they started the 4 week lesson plan. It makes it so much easier to plan.

  • Speaking of planning, I’m doing a pretty good job planning. I could always do better.

  • Class Dojo is perfect! So glad I didn’t give up on this.

  • I stopped asking dumb questions. Here are a few.

    • Did that make sense to you? (Of course it made sense to a 7 year old!)

    • Why didn’t you do ABC? (Because I didn’t want to!)

    • Do I need to call your mother/father? (Just call ’em don’t prime the pump)

2015 has started off perfect. I realize that last semester I spend a lot of time trying to get 4-6 students to do while the other suffered. This semester the 4-6 are going to have to get in where they fit cause I’m focusing my energy on those who want to be prepared. We only have 80 days of school left! No time to patty cake with those who aren’t trying to do what needs to be done.

No matter what I have just about 640 school hours to get as much info into the minds of these students. 3,2,1…go!

New year surprise

Last week started out excellent.  My students came back really trying to learn. I was surprised cause it’s the post-Christmas blah. So proud  them.

This month is going to be a haul. We honestly only have 80 days left in this school year. It’s gone by so fast.

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A great week of new ties

Had some great bowties this week. Also lots of grey in the beard. 

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Meal prep has been excellent! I picked up this little scale last week. Sadly I found out my favorite bacon has straight up been lying to me. 

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I may do another in depth discussiin of meal prep post soon. This scale is excellent.  I still have my analog scale. This was so h a deal and had so raves I had to give it a check.  Wow. I will talk about it again soon. *Let me make sure my new plan actually works.

About to tackle another week of teaching and learning.

Summer is for reflecting

I’ve had a little time this Summer to think about what I’m going to do next school year to really bring change in my class. I could really enjoy the rest of the time off and relax. But I chose to spend a little time thinking about the next school year. Here are some things I thought about.

  • This year I’m going to spend a lot more time budgeting time. I have been blessed to work with some new teachers this summer. The only sliver of advice I believe I was supposed to give them was to not try to manage the kids, cause you can’t. Manage resources, opportunities and privileges to steer the students where you want them to go. Last year I feel I wasted a lot of time putting out small fires and not pouring water on my garden. A lot of my mental energy and resources were wasted doing other things that didn’t add to my students learning. This year it’s going to be very, very different. I have to be intentional. Watch.
  • I’m not going to do a classroom theme this year. This kind of stinks cause I have a great plan laid out and I think it would win awards. However, I don’t think it will help my students learn. Last year’s 7 habits theme was a bust to say the least. I will take 100% of the blame cause I don’t believe my students left that room with 1 better habit than the walked in with. I let them down. So this year I’m going to have a great room. It’s going to be inviting and it’s going to be engaging. But it’s not going to be a theme. I need to spend more of my energy on getting as much info in the minds of these kids and doing all I can to get them to love learning. Help me Lord.
  • This has nothing to do with education but, I regret wholeheartedly switching my blog from Typepad. I know that WordPress is supposed to be the business, but I haven’t found the “ahha” that’s WP. I’m sure it’s me, but I think I’m going to have to go back to TypePad. If anyone wants to give me a call, text, email or Skype me please do. I’m about to switch back to TypePad cause this for the birds. (That rant really felt good.)
  • I’ve resolved to remain a classroom teacher and God willing a 2nd grade classroom teacher. I like the idea of being out of the class, but the practical truth is I want to be in the trenches rubbing elbows with the kids who’ll one day have to make decisions that may effect me. I salute all those who want to and are outside the classroom.
  • You all know I’m not he meeting guy. I am all about collaboration. So this year I’m going to join some blogs and some online forums to share ideas and get new insights. At the moment GA is all in on Common Core so I need to make sure that my students are getting the best that they can get.

I have had such a restful few weeks off. I know that next week starts the slow build up to Day 1. I’m actually excited. I have a belief that things are going to work out a lot better than last year and that this year is going to be the start of something great.

2013-14 School year. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

Is there a  school out there that does an end of the year survey of what worked, what didn’t and what certainly doesn’t need to happen again? There has to be some value to hearing what the staff thought about the last 170 or so days. Deep down inside I fear it would become a gripe session for some and the most constructive comments won’t be shared for fear of reprisal. So this year I’m going to talk about what happened in my little slice of  APS. Room 157.

The Good

  • BOWTIES!
  • More times than not, I kept my cool. Once I made a slight change in my perspective it really became easy.
  • Everyone is moving on to 3rd grade. Except me, Thank You Jesus!
  • I started with good systems in place.
  • Homework and classroom journals, ROCKED!
  • Time management.
  • College road trip
  • I stuck to my AM schedule like a champ.
  • I stayed true to Jason. I didn’t let anyone impress me to be someone else.
  • Lesson plans in general were on point.
  • I was able to roll with most of the changes that come with working in a school.
  • I remained true to a lot of my physical goals. All be it they hit a deep pot hole.

The Bad

  • Paperwork management.
  • My “7 Habits of Happy Kids” theme didn’t help with good habits.
  • Still think I talk to much. I repeat myself a lot!
  • Paperwork.
  • Sad face for science.
  • I didn’t vocally encourage my student’s as much as I mentally thought it.
  • I relied on copies a lot more than I intended.
  • Some of my systems fell apart by year’s end.
  • Drumming up parental buy in.
  • Waste
  • I didn’t start one new project in the building. I have nice ideas, but I didn’t stick my neck out there once.

The Ugly

  • The system of identifying struggling students didn’t work well.
  • Creating plans for struggling students just became blah. Nothing exciting. Nothing that pulled them into the lesson.
  • I wore a horrible bowtie/shirt combo once and my coworkers still dog me out about it.
  • There are a few days where I know I didn’t even remotely make the sale. I didn’t get the kids to WANT to learn.
  • I don’t hug my students. They probably needed a hug more than I realized.
  • I left Crossfit. Major sad face.

Please feel free to give your feedback on your year in the comments and take my “scientific” poll.

10 things to do while waiting for The Walking Dead season to start again.

I want to go on the record and say two things. I dislike mid seasons of TV programs. And second of all, this post has ZERO to do with education. A few weeks back I said Good bye for now to my favorite show, The Walking Dead. I like the writing. It’s not just like the comic. It’s shot here in GA and it’s very, very stressful. If you’re like me you may need some consoling. Here are a few options for you.

10 things you can do while waiting for season to begin again

  1. Read The Walking Dead comics and graphic novels.
  2. Go online and start discussions with fan boys about what you think Rick and the team will do in October.
  3. Drive around town looking for places you’d secure if the Outbreak happens.
  4. Have a mini marathon of TWD.
  5. Watch “Breaking Bad” on Netflix and identify all the similarities between both.
  6. Take up crossbow shooting.
  7. Buy a poncho.
  8. Count down the days until the new series begins.
  9. Assess what skills you have that would be useful in the Outbreak.
  10. Read my ramblings and make fun of them.

A couple of bonus options

  • Rock back and forth in a dark room asking “why?”
  • Read a book.
  • Go outside and have some fun.

What do you do when your favorite show goes into mid season break?

No goals left behind

I like this time of year, December-February. I enjoy planning, thinking and setting goals for the year. I always set aside time during this season to just think, dream and plan. 5 out of 7 years I set and accomplish the goals I set. This year I'm going BIG. I'm going to accomplish 100% of my goals. And, I'm not going to set only 2 goals so I can get it done. I have 9 good, strong, SMART, life changing goals set out with a plan to get each of them done. There are 2 elusive goals, however that have evaded me for YEARS. This year the year I turn 40 I will see them accomplished. No goals left behind. Here we go. Want to know what my goals are for 2014? Just watch…you'll see them soon enough. 

Here's my plan. I will share my goals at the end of January. 

1. Research my goals. I like to know what I'm getting myself into. I'm not GREAT at research, but I'm pretty good. 

2. I Decided that either I'm going to obsess over this or not. If I'm not going to obsess over it, then I'm not going to do it. 

3. Reduce the picture. Small bite sized pieces, daily steps, weekly steps, monthly steps you get the point. 

4. Make it public. I chose to blog about it. You can ask me questions about my goals. I'll gladly share where I am. 

5. Seek accountability. I LOVE to surround myself with people doing stuff. I want them to intentionally and unintentionally prod me on. 

6. I now expect it to be hard, but along with the struggle I expect, seek, look for the strength to get this thing done! 

7. Encourage and seek encouragement. 

8. Visualize the goal completion. I spend a little time daily thinking what it will be like to be as fit as I can at 40, to be debt free, to make my job the career I never hat to work at ever again, to be a multi book author. I like the picture now I need do it so you can see it, too.  

9. Learn from failures. If the goal is worthy of my time then failure isn't a STOP sign. It's a This ain't the way sign. 

10. Focus on 1 goal at one time. I need help on this. I tend to keep my goals in a family so I can do more than 1 in at a time cause they're related. 

11. Practice walking goal out every single day. I have to obsess about being the man God wants me to go. It has to consume my thoughts, words, actions and deeds. Then it will become easy.

12. Take responsibility for all of it. It's all mine. The success, the failures, the set backs the set ups. They are all mine. 

Lucky Number 13. Celebrate cause the journey was well worth it. 

Bullying

It's been all over the news. It's been everywhere and it seems like it's getting worse and worse, bullying. When I was a kid it was called being a kid, but what's happening today is pretty rough. 

A parent came to me today to tell me her child was being bullied. I told her to have him stop by my room tomorrow and we'd talk about it. I chose to write out my thoughts cause I think this speaks to a much deeper issue in the Bully and those being Bullied. Here we go. 

    You are not going to like what I have to say. You're going to be mad and you're going to maybe cry, but I'm only telling you this because someone told me this same thing multi-decades ago. 

    You're a man. You may not like it and you may not feel like it right now. If the Lord allows, you're going to know that you are a man one day. And the only thing more sure than that is that Life is going to do her very best to kick your butt every day from this until the end. 

    You're going to have to resolve one day and it better be soon that you're going to stick in there and keep getting up and keep moving forward every time she knocks you down. Oh and she will. She's going to knock the wind out of you more time than you can count. You're just going to have to keep getting back up. 

    One day you'll have a family, kids, job and all those wonderful things that come with being "grown". Along with that you'll have scars, a lot of them. The thicker your skin the more surface those scars and the less deep wounds they'll be.

Some will hurt and some will cut you pretty bad. You're welcome to come to my class when they get real bad and we'll talk, heck we'll even cry about them. What you're also going to do is walk out of here, stand up and fight another day. 

People tend to want to delittle those they see as a threats to the norm or just "too big for their britches". You have a choice to let them drag you down into the small space they fill or to rise above them and shine like a star. I think you know what I want you to do. 

You're going to have to look many a person in the face and let them know who you are and who you're not. You're not defined by anyone, but yourself and your God. If you allow every person you meet to validate and define you, you're in for a life of struggle and pain with no growth or end. That would be hopeless and sad.

But if you know who you are then anyone else's definition of you can only be to small. You're so much more than what people see and because of that they have to try to box you, define you…contain you. 

Bullies are only powerful if we cheris their words. Actually, they're crying out for the same attention they want to give you. They need somone to validate, define, honor their words. You don't realize just how much power you have and your bullies DO! 

You're going to have to walk away from a lot of folk and stand up to some as well. You're going to ball your fist up and want to scream.  But this will still be true. You're a man. You're going to have to rise above this and whatever else comes at you. 

I hope I didn't undersell this. I hope I didn't make you think that this was a walk in the park. Lady Life has taken many a better man then me out. She does do her job well. You're better than you know and you're stronger than you figure. Stand up to her and her attack dogs. Let them know that you aren't some soft serve on a hot day. You're here and you plan to remain well after their words have faded. 

The Longest days

The Longest days are those that the kids tend to grasp the least information. But also I'm teaching, grouping and talking a lot. I did not expect after this amount of time and practice my students would still be struggling with double digit addition with regrouping. It's tough. I just didn't think I wasn't reaching them that much! Wow! Got to moved on and start other skills, though. 

I'm amped up that we're doing a College and Career day in a few weeks. I've been gathering various college banners from friends. I'm decking out my classroom door to look like a huge Morehouse College application. I'm getting my Cricut ready for some grade A cutting. Got a lot to do in a few days. Pictures will follow. 

My foray into the 7 habits has been hit and miss. I'm not getting the students excited about anything. I've tried to review the 1st four habits a lot to no avail. I'm looking at me and my style to see why I'm not getting them on par. There are a ton of good, high quality excuses, but I have to find a better solution. We're just in November. 

How are you keeping the motovation high in your class? Are you? I'm putting up the SOS for new ideas and plans.