Saturday, September 13, 2014

This kid is my hero!

So I can't believe I didn't see this video a year ago when it happened, but I am so glad that I have seen it now. I viewed it via Facebook earlier this morning and I just can't get it out of my mind.

You can view the video and a candid interview here.

I think I have watched it at least ten times.

My first reaction was "Way to go kid!"

Then, I admit that I became a little bit emotional. You can hear and feel the frustration of the student. The more the words sank in, the sadder I became that students in America are exposed to this kind of teacher each and every day in classrooms.

Honestly, I think more students should take a stand and fight for their education. Now, I am not trying to start a riot, or encourage students to go at their teachers, but use their voices and be honest about what goes on in classrooms.

In the video, Jeff, the student, talks about how he is meeting with school officials. Although not much detail was given on the nature of the meetings, I really hope that it was because the administration took the time to hear what Jeff had to say. He speaks the truth.

I instantly thought back to a time when I was in high school and I refused to take a "pop quiz" in an English class. I had been absent and did not know the material on the quiz, but the teacher insisted that I take the quiz as it was not HER fault I wasn't at school. Yep. You read that right. I refused. I, too, was kicked out of class. I didn't take the quiz and was not given the chance to make it up. I got a big fat ZERO. The zero grade was my punishment from administration. I remember my parents even had to meet with the teacher, but I don't remember how that panned out.

Jeff's outcome was much better than mine. Why? He got the attention of the administration and well....a lot of people. It only takes one.

In my position, I have the ability to walk in and out of classrooms all over the district I work in and I most often see wonderful and amazing things. (I keep telling myself to carry my phone with me so that I can take photos and put them on here to brag about the amazing teachers I see!) Unfortunately, I do see teachers like the one that Jeff confronts in the video.

Teaching is hard. It is a full time, even off the clock job that takes a lot of preparation and planning. I don't pretend that it is an easy job. Teaching is not for everyone. You must be committed, determined, knowledgeable, nurturing, and so much more. More importantly, you must be supported by the school staff, administration, and district. Most often what I see is that when teachers don't know a better way to do something they fall back to the traditional packet "teaching" style that Jeff is against in the video.

This video does serve a higher purpose. It is a reminder to teachers, support staff, administrators, directors, and all educational leaders that we must support teachers and offer on-going professional development.

I am glad that Jeff's video moved me like it did when I viewed it this morning and ten times since. It is honest. It is raw. It is the reality of what is going on in some classrooms. This is one kid that changed his view of school and what he wants out of life. He sees the value of education.

But this is only one student! I hope that kids see this video on Facebook or YouTube and take a stand. All students deserve a QUALITY education, not someone who just throws information at them.

Plus.....packets kill trees! Save the trees!!!!!

Thank you, Jeff Bliss.

I am done........For now.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

New Math game......We LOVE Math!

I have finally finished the last touches to the sister product of my We LOVE Math Addition game and now have the SUBTRACTION edition!

I am always looking for strategies to engage ALL students. So often when our students play games in centers they are not engaged until each time it is their turn. After a few brainstorming sessions with my good pals, Andrea and Azure, I have finally created a math computation game that keeps all players engaged and computing with each players turn!

Each player gets a game board. Cards are shuffled and placed face down. Players take turns drawing a card. The card might have a subtraction sentence on it, or the difference. If the card has a number sentence on it, all players have to compute the difference to see if they have that digit, or the difference, on their board to cover. If a player draws a card with the difference then each player computes number sentences on their board to find one that goes with it to be able to cover it.

The winner is the first person to cover all spots on their board.

The ONLY time that all players do not compute is when someone draws a WE LOVE Math card and exclaims WE LOVE MATH! This is considered the 'wild' card and the players who draws it gets to cover an open space on their board, but the other players do not.

You should really check it out! I am planning on creating multiplication and division editions in the near future!

I would love to hear your feedback on my newest product! Please feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I'm just so darn proud!


Today I was a part of a team that presented to the site-based coaches in our school district. I just have to tell you that I am so in love with what I do in  the world of education! I feel honored to be a part of a group that gets to present to the coaches. I remember not so long ago that I was one of the coaches attending the trainings. Today we examined our True Colors and managed to totally surprise a few of the new coaches as we pulled off a skit playing the roles of the colors. We also talked about teamwork and did a team building activity. If you want a great activity check out YouTube and look for helium hula-hoop. A crowd pleaser and totally works!

My colleague, Andrea, presented on algebraic thinking and focused on 1.OA.D.7, the only standard in any grade that focuses on the equal sign. It was mind blowing! We had the chance to visit the class that I taught for the first three weeks of school and interview 2nd graders to see their understanding of the equal sign. It was shocking. Of the 8 students, only 2 were able to answer the questions in a manner that we knew they understood the meaning of the equal sign. The videos we were able to take of the students really showed the coaches how one standard and the misunderstanding of it, can totally effect learning.

In honor of this standard, I am offering my S'more About the Equal Sign Math Center for FREE for the next 24 hours! If you download it, I would love to hear your feedback, so please take a moment to leave a comment. You can access it here!

I am working on creating even more versions of this center for the older grades to reiterate the importance of the equal sign!