March 29, 2010

Nice comment sheets - not just for students!

Every year I have my 8th grade students write one nice comment about each other, and I include my name at the bottom (hey, it's necessary). I remind them that it is important to be able to say something nice about everyone - even if they have to DIG DEEP. :)  My cadet then compiles a document for each student (without the name of who wrote the comments).

I laminate each sheet and send them home for them to keep, love, and cherish forever (or to lose on the bus ride home).  I put mine inside my closet door so when I hang up my coat and bag, I start my day of with a smile (my students say it's the coffee that makes me smile - shhhhh....maybe it is...).

Anyway, it's been a ritual for 4 years, and my 7th graders can't wait to do their "nice sheets" when they are 8th graders.  Here is my sheet for this year...remember, they HAVE to write something nice...even if they have to "dig deep." :)

March 11, 2010

Some things should stay the same!

Everything is changing in education. Everything.  Am I excited about that?! Yes…and no.

Let’s talk about yes.
I love that classrooms are headed toward blended instruction, that grades are becoming less important, and the fact that children master benchmarks is what matters. I enjoy student-led instruction, and teaching for understanding. I am thrilled that technology is a huge part of my students’ lives and above all, it’s satisfying to know that I am finding passions in young people and encouraging them to pursue what they love. I could go on and on…

As for the no.
I feel like some “things” are foundations needed to build morally sound, quality people.  Things like respect, responsibility and dedication.  It seems like by breaking out of some traditions (that need broken out of) we let a few important things go with them.

I think it’s important that as we welcome in this new way of education we hold tight to things that matter.  Students seem to forget that adults are still adults. Yes, we value their opinion, their direction, and their passions.  We love their ideas and we understand the importance of their knowledge, but there will forever remain a general need for children to respect adults in positions of authority.  It will always be vital for students to take responsibility of their actions. Without these things, we lose any reason for classroom teachers, for parents, for adults or authoritative figures.

We (educators, administration, parents, adults) are becoming lenient and almost careless in regards to the basic expectations we have for the children we encounter.  I feel like it is time to step up and demand what is important. I don’t care if “times are changing” - some things shouldn't be.