Saturday, June 25, 2016

Algebraic Thinking in Kindergarten?

We have all seen those words in our standards....algebraic thinking. You might be thinking...WHAT?!...these kids are in Kindergarten. Yep. You are right. They are and guess what? They CAN do algebra. In fact, it is really easy for them!

 I have had the honor and privilege to be in the presence of some really amazing math gurus and I have to tell you, Greg Tang, by far is my most favorite because he recognizes that we do not need to limit our students based on what the standards depict, but rather going with that they know, what they want to know and what they are capable of learning and doing. This leads me to a time when Greg, or Greggy (as my groupie self likes to refer to him as) approached the subject of algebra in the primary classroom. He started by saying his pen was 5 and his cell phone was 3 and if we put those together how much do we have....8, we have 8 and THAT IS ALGEBRA!

See the amazing thing about this is that with the little ones, in most cases, no one has told them that algebra is hard or dumb or SCARY! With this in mind, I have worked long and hard to figure out a way to put this on paper for students. I think that I have figured it out.

Check out my latest creation!

 Click on the cover
This is just the start of mind working on getting students comfortable with algebra!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

What is going on?

I spent that last school year serving in the position of Teacher On Assignment, much like being an Assistant Principal, but without the title or the pay. (LOVED IT!)  In this role, I learned so many new things. Many about leadership, but more so about how the emotional and social behavior and lack of support there is in our schools. This monumental discovery is what fueled my fire to move into learning about how we can better support our students and teachers with behavior. I am shocked to see how much has changed in the few short years since I left the classroom.

***To be clear, I do not mean that this applies to all students or even all schools.

When did educators become so punitive? When did handing out punishments begin to happen more often than smelly stickers? (I miss smelly stickers!!?)

I remember having students who misbehaved and no matter what I tried, I couldn't get them on track. BUT, that was few and far between, while in recent years we are seeing an increase in behavior situations in our schools.

In elementary schools, I most often see students who do not like being told no, they leave the classroom when things do not go their way, they can't cope with structure and routines and throw room destructing tantrums. I think it is safe to say that it is not just the students who are lacking skills. Teachers need help too!

The middle schools are effected in a whole different way with the influence of social media! Bullying has been raised to a whole other level. The majority of students aren't viewing their educational experiences as important or vital to their future success.

An overarching pattern that is in all of the age groups and grade levels is the lack of caring about learning! Students are not motivated learners. Teachers are frustrated. Administration is running out of options to keep students in school as the severity of infractions is on the rise.

We all need help and we need it now. "Be the change you want to see in the world." RIGHT?! So....I took a leap of faith and applied to become a district specialist focusing on behavior in the district. I am committed to supporting administrators, teachers and students. (I got the job!!)

One thing I know for sure is that we need to focus on building relationships with our students and I mean really getting to know them. We need to be kind. Kindness is vital. Empathy is vital. Believing in our students is crucial. It is time for prevention, intervention  and collaboration.

If not me, who? If not now, when.

Well I say ME and NOW!