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Showing posts from February, 2016

I Am Grateful

I am grateful 
for
my two strong, wise daughters, my amazingly brilliant son, my partner in life and crime, my ability to think and reason, the students that I learn with every day, the rising  and setting sun, blue skies, and clouds, rain that soaks through everything and quenches thirst, afternoon walks, books that nourish me, words that declare and shout and feel and spread across the page. I am grateful.
Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday

Sometimes...

Sometimes,
when I'm teaching,
I look out at the sea of faces
that are my students,
and wonder if
I am
talking too much.
Or, if I am repeating myself ad nauseam?

Are my students learning?

Was the look of attention and interest on their faces
because they were captivated by the lesson?
Or was it because they were trying really hard
to understand what I was teaching,
but weren't being successful at all?

These thoughts have been lingering at the back of my mind for most of today.
I hope that by writing about them, however tentatively, I can lay them to rest.

Affirmation #1: I am an effective teacher not because I'm perfect, but because I strive to come up with better ways to engage and involve my students in their learning. I don't ever relax into thinking that my job is finished. In fact, my job is never done because even when most of my students are learning there will be some who need additional support.

Affirmation #2: I love what I do! The challenges that I face as a te…

Why Math Games Should be a Part of Every Math Class

This year, more than any other year, I've noticed that many of my students don't like math. Not just a little bit, but a lot. In part, it's a question of feeling confident about what they know and, in part, it's because I am asking them to not only give an answer, but also to justify their answer or their method. Too many of them simply want to follow the algorithm and be done with it. It doesn't matter if they can explain why this method works or not. They got the answer and it's correct. Who cares why it works. 

Other students have an ingrained sense that they are not good at math. Their parents were not good at math and that's why they struggle, too. Or so goes their logic. 
And, of course, in 5th grade we get into more thorny math topics that will follow kids through middle school and beyond. In a word, I think that when some kids hear me say, "It's time for math," they literally shut down their brains and their emotional filters go up. 
I…

Books, Books, and More Books

I've been absent from my blog for the past week, but for a good reason: I've been doing writing for my doctoral research. So much so, that my brain feels like it's on overload. I don't think I could extend any more brain power at the moment and, yet, I write some more.   

It is past midnight. I have my Kindle at my side, ready to read another chapter of my chick lit book. Yes. You read that correctly. Chick. Lit. Novel. Does that term even exist? You know, like chick flicks? Oh, well. Maybe I've just created a new term, even if only for myself. 
I can't wait to dig in and read more about Vanessa, Kate, and Dani and how the secret two of them harbor gets unraveled. How will it affect their relationships? Will they grow up, once and for all?  And, what about the men in their lives? How will those relationships pan out? As you can see, I've been thinking a lot about this, in between writing my literature review and completing the ethics application for my fiel…

New Habits in the Making

Today is the second day of a ten-day break. I don’t go back to school until Feb. 10th, so I’ve had time to read and write a lot. This always leads me to reflect about teaching and life in general. I start to think about what I can improve, both on a personal and a professional level, and make plans to implement those changes. So, here’s a list of the changes that I want to make, in no particular order. 
(1) Big confession: I don’t look forward to recess duty. Usually I stand in one spot during the 20 minute lunch recess, look around to make sure everything is OK, and then go back to being annoyed at having to do recess duty. Not fun! It bears mentioning that there are at least three teacher assistants on duty as well, so the kids are adequately supervised. This is a golden opportunity to observe the kids in a more natural environment: at play with their friends. So, instead I will walk around the field and engage in conversations with as many kids as possible.  When I take the time to …