Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Vision of Students Today

Students Today...a must watch

Teaching Today's Learners...a must read

I came across this publication and was amazed at all the information it provides about today's learners. It is mainly targeting "Millennials," which would be a student born between 1980-2000 (which would even include me)...but I feel like the information applies to our current students as well. My students this year were born mostly in 2007, which only means technology has only become more of a influence on their everyday lives. The article is a little long, but has some very pertinent information for teachers today.
Learning in the 21st Century: Teaching Today's Student on their Terms

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Feast...for 85

There is a Thanksgiving tradition in my class that started when I was student teacher and continues many years later. We have a feast so that we can make a connection between the historical events that helped create the holiday Thanksgiving and the current ways we celebrate today. Every year our feast looks a little different, includes different classes, but is also an amazing experience (despite the chaos) for all involved.

This year was no exception. We had two kindergarten classes and two first grade classes that were involved and we split the feast up so that each class had a contribution. Mine was the bread. I make the bread every year. I have a wonderful, kid-friendly recipe that I received as a student teacher and even though I have made it 10 plus years it will be a tradition I will continue for many more to come. We begin the bread making process the day before (so the bread can rise overnight in the refrigerator) and finish the process the day of the feast.

This year we had a small dilemma as to where we would have this feast. We always want to do it somewhere a little different to make it special. Many years, we have crowded 40-50 kids in one classroom, we had it in our school barn another year, but this year there was no way we were fitting 80 plus students and then another handful of adults in a classroom and our barn isn't big enough. So we thought and thought...line a hallway with tables? hmm....then a fellow teacher and friend (who is always so creative and wonderful) wondered if we could use the church down the street. So the church was called and arrangements were made and the day before our feast I went and picked up the key and got the instructions and the gentleman that showed me around was so generous and appreciative that we had thought to use the church. He was so excited for us to be there. WE were so excited and appreciative that they were allowing us to be there. It had an amazingly spacious basement area with a kitchen and worked wonderfully.

So we spent the majority of our day there, preparing, cooking, creating, baking, eating and cleaning and it may have been the best school feast yet!!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!! I am off to cook another feast (for my own family)...for 6

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Overcoming Barriers

As I have begun to form my idea of what I would like to focus my master's project on I have really tried to be subjective. I want the positives and the negatives, the advantages and disadvantages, the pros and the I am trying to use an open mind about everything.

This article really lines out some of the reasons why integrating technology is so difficult. It also possibly doesn't give all the reasons why it isn't integrated more. Implementing Technology

The one statement I continue to say over and over in my head is that we are teaching 21st century students in a 19th century style. They are not growing up in the same world that many of us why teach them the same way we learned? They are different learners. Technology has changed the way we do things, but teaching has been slow to change. I am hoping to work on that starts the hard work!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Moving Forward

This was a long week and hoping that next week goes much smoother. I started off last weekend with two sick kids at home and then I got it on Tuesday and it took much of the week to recover. Then once I went back to work, it has taken me until today to feel somewhat caught up.

But, the point to all of that is that this week we also started having discussions about the future of our school. We are a rural elementary school located in the small town of Walton, KS, but we are a part of the Newton USD 373 district. The majority of our students are bused to us. Several years ago we made the move to a charter school with a project-based agriculture focus in order to keep our school viable. Our enrollment has since exceeded our space and now we have to figure out what we need to do next and what we can do next. Every inch of space is being used at our school. We have no more room for any classrooms, but have a waiting list of students waiting to get in. Students from our district and many students from other districts. At this point, our district has made no commitment to help with additional space or funding. Everything we are doing is completely on our own efforts and with the help of some parents and community members. We have visitors often...from other schools, districts, other towns, from families, from other states and even from the United States Department of Education who shot a video at our school on best practices. We aren't real sure why our own district is taking more of an active role but nonetheless something is going to have to happen soon and so this week I have started pondering and worrying about the future of our school and then deciding that my efforts need to be on my current students and their best interests and that the worrying will not help anyone.
So stay posted for more on moving forward...