When I was in 5th grade, I went to John Adams Elementary in Madera, Ca. It was the second year of three I would spend in Madera, and the longest time I had been in one spot for years.
Prior to this, I moved a lot. I moved several times while in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. I had gone to 3 different 2nd grades. I was one of those transient kids who moved around for whatever reason. Making friends became harder and the idea of school became a safe haven. Even in the turmoil of making (and losing friends), often being the ‘new kid’, the idea of school was a constant.
No matter where I went, there were teachers. There was school. No matter how long I was at any one place, it was often more home than home.
Mr. Latimer was my teacher in 5th grade. He had a neatly trimmed but full beard. He ran the yearbook class/club; he had a dark room (yes, with chemicals) in the back of the room, and we made plaster of paris masks of our face; he let us correct his ‘mistakes’ on the board (which may or may not have been planted). He sometimes played basketball with us at recess.
Those are just a few of the limited memories I have of him. I don’t remember worksheets or what curriculum map he may have used or what reading series or math or really anything school subject related. He probably used something, though this was 1987ish, so you never know. 🙂
What I was (and am) most influenced by was that he cared about/liked/loved us. I was likely a little jerk, but I don’t get the sense that he felt like I was. But somehow I knew he cared. I can’t think of anything he did that demonstrated that, but I knew.
My hope is that I can be that teacher for some kids. I know I am not always going to connect with every student, and my students are not going to give a rip about where I got my curriculum. They are going to remember, if anything, experiences, field trips, eating lunch with them on pizza day…They will remember, in their core, whether I cared/liked/loved them. It may not be any one moment but a collection of how they felt, good or bad, after leaving my class.
Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I don’t. My hope, like the first year with students and the first years with my own kids…Man, I hope I don’t mess these kids up too much.
What teacher has made a difference in your life (we ALL have one)? How is your life different because of him or her?
Back-To-School: Guided Discovery– I love the idea of starting super basic with procedures about classroom items. I modified this a little for my class. Procedures: do them right or do them all year…as Fred Jones says.
What Works For Getting Kids to Enjoy Reading?– What are you using?
Alternative Classroom Seating– Trendy Teacher answers some common questions about flexible seating.
5 Useful Productivity Tips for Busy Teachers– Just what it says. 🙂
Bringing Classroom Rules to Life– I have been learning more about Responsive Classroom. It seems like it has some cool ideas, but it requires some reflection and challenge to the way ‘we’ve always done it’.
I have been reading a lot from George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset and the blog, The Principal of Change.
One of the things he has talked about was the reason he writes. He said a main reason for writing is not because he knows everything or the best way to do things. He writes as a way to process his learning and share it.
I liked that idea, and I could say the same thing for mine. I often consider myself a curator of sorts. I read a bunch of stuff, and share what I think are the best of what I read, or simply the newest of the best. (I have a stack of unposted articles, that, frankly, I may never get to)
Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts in a blog or Twitter or other medium. You won’t always get it right. It won’t always be perfect, but it can be a cool part of the process. Try it.
Next step? Encourage your students in their writing, maybe even a class blog. They will not be perfect, but it could be a great way to refine their thinking and share their learning.
One day, folks. One day. 🙂
8 Strategies for Reducing Your Reliance on Homework– Matt Miller and Alice Keeler have a new book called Ditch That Homework. The cool thing about the idea is not just not doing homework, but how to be more effective in the classroom. I know I can always improve in this area.
3 Common First Day-of-School Mistakes– Good tips, even though it may not be the first day of school anymore.
3 Ways to Use Filing Cabinets When You’ve Gone Digital– I haven’t gone completely digital, but some fun tips. I like Lists.
George Couros had an interesting post recently about teaching the students until they mastered a subject/topic instead of them just working for a grade. A good conversation to be having. Certainly requires a change in thinking that goes against, in some ways, “how we’ve always done it”.
Design Thinking with Puppets– Sam Patterson has a cool set of videos he uses to help kids use design thinking to a specific audience…using puppets.
Gamification in the 5th Grade Classroom– This is pretty cool. A little out of my current time constraints, but I think it is a fun way to help kids. I love that homework is called a Side Quest and Tests are Epic Quests.
Progression Videos- Graham Fletcher– Fletcher has a series of videos that deal with the progression of learning for a variety of math topics. I haven’t watched them all yet, but could be useful.
Think Inside the Box- The Power of Creative Constraint– John Spencer offers a powerful look at innovation. We do not always (or often) have the ability as teachers/workers/students to simply think outside the box. We usually have constraints on us that cause some issues. But we can still be innovative…inside the box.
I start school next week and I look forward to the new year with a little anxiety, nervousness and an anticipation that wants to get started with my new group of 2nd grade kiddos. Happy Friday!
How a One-Second Strategy Can Motivate Your New Class– A fun thing to try. Learn Like a Champion!
The Only Classroom Rules You’ll Ever Need– Make it simple
Should Your First Consequence Be a Warning– Just what it sounds like. 🙂
10 Ways To Make Time-Out More Effective– Good ideas
Why a Letter Home Is and Effective Consequence My difficulty would be to remain consistent with the follow through.
I am looking at tweaking my classroom management this year, so I am reading up on it and I’m trying to do some last minute ideas before I work it into what works for me. Hopefully this helps someone else as well.