102 things to do this summer

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I don't know all the back story of Little Free Libraby, but I do know the little boxes are adorable. I've seen them a couple of times and noticed one near Trina's Summer Camp. So we stopped. Trina loved the idea of getting a free book. She later suggested that we bring some books to put in the library. My mind started racing. What if we did a Free Little Library crawl. Hit up 3 or 4 of these little buddies one weekend dropping off and putting in books! Our 101 things to do this Summer list has just grown. 

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Summer Learning

Homework doesn’t work if Home doesn’t Work

I'm through with homework. I'm not sure where I fall in the ranks of the on going war over homework, but I'm sure I made someone mad with that statement. I've worked a lot of angles with HW and I'm surprised how few really panned out. My new school does the weekly homework. It's a culture thing and I thought it was on point. 

    The problem is my student's don't care about homework and I have a very limited amount of time on Friday to check it and give feedback on what's missing or what wasn't done correctly or if the student needs help. It tends to just pile up. And if you know a teacher you know that we're great at making piles of paper and not so much as getting those piles dwindled down.

    Here's the problem. I am really flustered that my students just blew off the history project we did as a 2nd grade. It was cute and I envisioned each year being able to use these as teaching tools for the next class. When I tell you after 3 weeks of planning and a lot of conjolingmy class only turned in 2 projects, I was fit to be tied. Yeah, I was disappointed in the kids. *I sincerely don't think they realize how important education is. But even more I was just to through with the parents. I called, wrote notes, emailed and text. The result was 2 projects on time.

    If I were sane I wouldn't be shocked. I usually get 4-5 COMPLETE homework packets a week. Mix in there 4-5 that are imcomplete and you have my class is consistent. The next two days after the projects were due, I got 2 more. One looked like it had been done on the bus, in the dark, but he was bold to turn it in. 

So, I'm thinking about doing something different. I'm going to stop doing homework. I'm going to go back to a book in a bag and nothing else. The kids really responded well to the book in the bag. But since it was something they were doing before I came to this school I didn't invest in it and let it slip away. 

    What tends to happen is at the end of the day I read a book to the class or we watch a reading story. This that cool down time usually 15 minutes or so. I know for a fact that their homework isn't that long so I could have them breakout out their "end of class work" and do their particular days homework as an end of the day project, know it's done, give support to those that need help and keep it moving. Sending this home and getting a montage of half done work isn't working at all. 

I know I need to read up more on this debate. I used to believe in homework and really make a lot of noise about it. Now I'm not sure that's the best way to get things done cause right now very little is getting done.

 

March 7th is the end of our crossfit challenge. I feel good, but I'm certainly not eating everything as I should/could. I got 10 days to clean it up. Juicing is certainly helping me. I feel strong and haven't had an iced coffee in two months. *Even though as I'm writing this I'm debating getting one just to break up the eating. Stronger than ever, I expect to win this challenge. 3,2,1…Go!

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Cooking and Teaching

I think I've told you how much I like grilling. Since getting my Big Green Egg for Father's day I've cooked some great meals. It's a relaxing and enjoyable experience for me. By no stretch of the imagination am I  a chef. I'm a weekend warrior at the best description. Mainly because I'm using others recipes, ideas and techniques. I'm not creating my own. I'm having a grand time, but I'm not waiting for a call from Food Network. 

What could I do to get them to enjoy the academic process and even grow to the place where they're creating new projects and so on? Right now they're just consumers. They sit in the seat and wait to be fed information that they may or may not take fully. My task is to get them to move from the dining room and get into the kitchen. Then once there I need to get them excited about the kitchen so much that they want to create new dishes and meals. 

My family raves about my creations. In my daughters and wife's eye I'm the best. Their involvement makes it easy to plan and grill. This is what makes the entire thing enjoyable for me. 

How can I get my students and their families into education as such? 

Teachers will appreciate

Election day humor. Not about election day. 

Only teachers appreciate being able to take attendance, check homework folders, greet students and SERIOUSLY NEEDING TO GO to the rest room! 

Wanting to keep just about everything you find because "I can use that in my classroom".  *Teachers are secret hoards. New show on TLC I'm sure. 

That look in a student's eyes when they do finally get it. Sit down means, sit down. 

Technology in the class is good and all, but a working phone number for all parents is even better. 

I see your ream of copy paper, but if the copier doesn't work I guess I'll use it for…

No, really what did they feed you in the cafe this morning? SERIOUSLY!?

Perfect attendance is highly over rated. 

More later, but for now….go VOTE!

 

Shame on parents

    I've been talking to a few of my teacher buds who've shared with me some sad news. Many of them are meeting parents of students in their class for the first time DURING AWARDS DAY or End of the Year parties. That's just sad. Many express that they've reached out to them, called them, left messages, but they've never met the parents. That is until the end of the year.

    I have another friend who told me that she has a child in her room that really requires a lot of Love and Grace. He's a handful. Come to find out that he has a sister in a lower grade and she's a jewel. Here's the kicker, the mom has volunteered in the sister's room as recently as this week! Never has she done so for the brother. SHE'S BEEN IN THE BUILDING WHEN MY FRIEND HAS CALLED HER ABOUT HER SON'S BEHAVIOR. Amazing. 

    Now, I'm not calling for the OverDue parents that over due everything. They fuss and cuss about everything under the sun about their child. Such that you start to think this is a personal issue for the parent rather than the student. I mean the kid did miss 8 questions o the spelling test. A grade of "B" is the right call. Moving on. 

    I'm sure any parent would be all over if their kid got into Harvard or some IVY league school on a full scholarship. There'd be a bus carry all the family members who'd show up when that same student became a doctor. You know like I know that if a student signed on with a professional sports team they'd have to have a security guard to protect them from all the family that would come out of the woodwork. However, a 7 year old can get on the bus, ride 10 miles to school, interact with 19 or so other 7 yr olds and multiple adults, eat 2 meals, and get back on the bus a all without a parent. Then the kicker is parents not show up until they do so with flowers and balloons for awards day? SERIOUSLY?!

    I can't believe that. Thankfully, I met most of my students parents at least once. I'd much rather more interaction with them, but that's another point. Being a parent isn't spectator sport. I'm not sure exactly what analogy I'd use, but I can certainly tell you that it's not drop in one time a school year. Being and Being Present are two different things all together.     

    Rant concluded. Jason steps down off his soap box to enjoy Day 99 of the Burpee challenge. Working my crossfit plan. I need to improve my eating, but that's certainly another post. 

It was one of those weeks

 That kinda weekWe either rocked like Rock stars or we looked mighty odd.  I choose to believe that we rocked like Rock stars. 

This week was interesting. My class did A LOT of projects and class work I'd hoped to be able to display. The issue is that what the kids gave me wasn't remotely what I was envisioning. Not to say it wasn't good. It just wasn't what I had expected at all. Take the project below. 

I wanted the kids to draw a Fact Family of the basic addition facts. The plan was to use these to compile into a book for them to reference every now and then. (At least until they got the facts down like second nature.) So I put this up on the Promethean board for them to look at. 

Photo (6)

I also did an example and passed it along around the room. 

Photo (5)

What the kids gave me was less than what I expected. Such that I didn't even take pictures of them. On Monday I'm going to have them redo this project as well as a writing assignment they did. Thanks to a good friend making the recommendation, I'm going to post two rubrics one for each project and have the kiddos reference back to them as they do the work. All I can think of is that since I didn't have a rubric for them to reference I didn't give them a clear idea of what I wanted. 

 

I've done rubrics before. Not certain why I stopped, but I'll be doing these more often for sure. 

Midweek grilling and chilling

It's Wednesday and I'm ready to grill. I love when Wednesday comes around. It's my grill day. On Wednesday I just drill, grill and thrill. We review, restate and re teach skills from earlier this week. I also have tutorial today and I hope those little dears are ready cause I'm going to push them for that hour for sure. I sure hope their appetites are in place cause I'm about to serve it up! 

Big green egg
Started bringing the hot fire by keeping all my parents in touch by texting them through out the day. That has been miraculous. The response and ROT (return on text) has been much better than just calling. (Besides I now have a text stream that I've talked to each parent to put in my notes for future conferences)

I have my menu ready, the grill is hot and the workshop will be smoking! Might even start wearing my grilling apron on Wednesday. 

The Entertainment Train has been derailed

Attention all passengers! This is your Conductor. I want to let you know that this train has jumped the tracks. Be not afraid. You're in no immediate danger. However, you will need to exit the train in an orderly fashion. You will be directed to the nearest manual rail car for you to operate to get to your new destination. I repeat the Entertainment Train has jumped the tracks!

These kids are going to learn something this year! I don't care if they write nasty notes about how ugly my shoes are. They are going to learn. They are going to be engaged in their learning. They're going to be able to show it in some meaningful way and most importantly they're going to get out of my room and go to 5th grade as a blessing. I refuse to hang my head when I see the 5th grade teachers because I know I sent them some do nothings. 

We have 12 days before Christmas, I feel a song coming on but I'll spare you. We have 12 days and we have a ton of good, solid reasons to not have quality instruction. My students deserve better than me making excuses. They need me to press in and help them as much as I can and even more.

Not sure if I'll do Wordless Wednesday tomorrow, but I think we'll do No Repeat Wednesday or Listen the 1st time I give directions Wednesday. 


I’m pushing the envelope

My school isn't the most affluent. My kids don't come to class with the latest and greatest gadgets, cell phones and wads of disposable income. So why did I just roll out on-line homework that can only be done from the class website? Because I don't embrace excuses, only solutions.

Each kid has to go to a particular website and complete 3 10 question math assignments by Friday. All assignments are within the kids abilities and just reinforce what they've learned last week. 

I did a non-scientific survey of the class and about 40% of my students have readied access to the internet. The others did the deer in the headlights when I told them "so what are you going to do, because your homework all needs to be turned in Friday." In all fairness I did give them the option of doing their homework in class or in the computer lab during the week. I have set up time for all kids to go to the media center to complete it during class time and on Wednesday during after school tutorial. I'm certainly interested in how many will go to the library, which is 2 blocks from our school and get it done. And even though I want to not have paper to grade, I made a few copies of the assignments to pass out on Thursday if I see that some kids aren't making the effort. Each week I hope to get fewer and fewer excuses and more solutions. I'm also interested in seeing how many parents call, write or visit me about my new project. Pretty sure they're going to find this a hoot. 

I have some "Go Getters" in class and I know they'll find a way and not come to be with reasons why they can't. I want those kids to rub off on those who are already thinking of reasons why they can't get the work done. I'm going to keep highlighting the solution finders rather than invest time in the excuses. 

The grade level is doing a two week project as well. Each kid is going to have to spend $1,000,000 in their community helping others and making their area better. The assignment ties in Social Studies, Math and it has to be written/typed out. We're giving them 2 weeks to complete, but the students have benchmarks everyday/week. This project doesn't get class time, but when we go to the library I'll certainly encourage them to use their time checking on various parts of their project.