Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reading Homework : Bloom's Style

I have been getting rather bored with the pattern of homework assignments I have given. I have noticed the kids have been bored too. I decided to get creative with this, and thrown in some of Bloom's Taxonomy.
If you would like a copy of the chart below, click the download link.

This video is an example of what some of my students made.


This form below is used for assignments the kids do online. This allows me to get notice of assignments I need to check online.

Please post a comment on how your students have responded to this type of homework assignment. You can also email me and share the news.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Most Difficult Task for Educators

Let's admit it, as teachers we have really become quite presumptuous. Yes, I am a teacher. I make this statement because I find the attitude creeping into my own heart, and I breathe it from the exhale of my colleagues.
The presumption I am talking about is this belief that we are quiet deserving. By deserving I mean that we believe we have full authority to speak into our job assignments, our wages, and a thousand other topics. Yes I am part of the teachers union.
I completely understand the reason that the union was established, but haven't we gone a bit far? Too often I can sense myself cowering behind the power of a unified front. If I want to be complacent, stoic, and repetitive for the next 25 years, I could assume those roles with little opposition. Are we cheating the next generation?
The reason I am writing this post is because I have done something a bit crazy. I have relinquished some of my power. What would your principal's face look like if tomorrow you walked in and said, "Boss, I am willing to submit to you. You can place me in the job assignment you see most fit." Tell me they wouldn't be stunned.
The crazy thing is, most other jobs, an employee walks into work each day already submitting to the wishes of their boss. The things they ask of you are not danced around or negotiated.
This pattern of thinking did stem from a passage I was reading in the Bible. It was Matthew 8:9, where the Centurion is essentially telling Jesus he can submit to Him, because He recognizes his authority over him.
Check it out for yourself.
What keeps us from surrendering to the leadership in our lives? Do you have leadership over you, you can trust? Do you play it safe because protection allows us to play it safe?
photo credit: Nikhil Kirsh via photo pin cc.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Beautiful Send Off

Maybe I get too sentimental. Maybe I am a softy. Whatever the case, this year I am teaching 4th grade. This is the top grade in our school, and without some major changes, it will be the last time I see these kids. When I started to think about a way to send them off, I kept coming back to the idea of an Exit Interview. This interview will be a chance for the kids to brag about the mark they have left on the school.
I have designated a place in my classroom that I am calling, "The Office." The kids think it is weird/funny that I have partitioned off a part of my room, but they are kind of used to my antics.
Each kid has been given a set date and time for their meeting. (They may bring their parents if they want.) I have also given the kids the questions a head of time so they know what I will be asking them.
For some of the kids, they will blow this off, and that is okay. In many ways, this is my Schindler's List. This is my last moment to create an impact on a bunch of twenty two kids that I adore. Maybe this is mostly for me.

Here is the invitation I created:
Exit Interview

Can you share your end of the year plans? How do you gracefully say goodbye to a great class?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Great Mission: Working with Dads

I am a father of one amazing little boy. When we adopted him from Ethiopia, the caregivers assured us that he was calm. That was a huge lie! It turns out we have a very strong willed and wild little boy. The truth is I love being a dad. It is a huge responsibility, but I love it.
When I survey my students in school, I can within a day or two get a good picture of what their dads are like. I can read it in their mannerisms and actions. It is revealed in their body language, tone, and inclinations. For some of my students, a dad is a missing entity, and for others a dad is a hero. Whatever the case, every year I have been trying to celebrate dads, and to get them into my class for at least one day.
I have labeled the special day, Project Day. The main goal is to get as many dads to come in and work with the kids to build some type of furniture. We usually try to recycle some kind of materials so that there is little cost involved. This year we are going to use pallets for all the projects.
One of the greatest plagues I see creating a huge paradigm shift in our country is in the role of the father. The father is no longer assuming the traditional roles that create stability that a family bank on. Getting dads to come in and work with the kids within a school setting is just something I can do as a teacher to facilitate one of those traditional roles. How do see the current role of the father effecting your students? How are you responding to these changes?

Great Resource: The Mentoring Project

Pallet Projects

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Please check out a new page I am building.

There is recognition by Brian Selznick and Wendy Orr.

Click here.