As part of my graduate studies, I had to enroll in a class that focused on children’s literature from different cultures. It was not a class that I had high hopes about, but I was pleasantly surprised! For instance, did you know that your local public library carries an array of children’s books that focus on Middle Eastern and African cultures? I was not aware of this until my class assigned me a scavenger-type hunt of books that reflected different cultures. Many of the books I located had won several high-profile awards. You definitely have to search I think this is a fabulous way to celebrate diversity. As an adult, many of the stories were captivating.
It is getting to be that time of year, again! Nope, not Christmas! Not summer, either! Wait a minute…I just realized that I could not say it is almost testing time because the reality is that we are testing the majority of the time in one form or another. Testing has become a staple of our education system. The information we can learn from testing can be invaluable. If your students experience test anxiety though, their results may not be a true measure of their ability and knowledge. We all know students that participate in class and exhibit higher-order thinking about subjects, but when they begin their tests, the panic clearly shows on their faces and they freeze up. In some cases, you will have extreme behavior due to the test anxiety. On my very first time administering a state examination, one of my students became so anxious that she vomited and fainted. Emergency personnel had to be called. Due to this one experience, I definitely believe in the seriousness of test anxiety.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is the latest instructional method for classroom management. PBIS is designed to support students in achieving social, emotional, and academic success. It was developed from the idea of behavior analysis and has roots in educational law since the 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
National Proofreading Day is March 8, 2017. The purpose of the day is to promote mistake-free writing. If you are anything like me, you may be familiar with several editing marks and you would definitely love to be able to use them on social media posts! The reality is that we (the public) do judge individuals based upon their writing skills. Maybe we shouldn’t grammar-shame, but every individual is provided with an education that will improve their writing skills if they choose to take advantage of it. Students should be aware of the image they are projecting by any of their writing selection structures, whether that be on resumes or social media posts. There may not be much we can do about the content, but we can teach the importance of proofreading your writing and editing as needed. The following website has many resources that can assist you with this: http://nationalproofreadingday.com/
Read Across America was established in 1997 by the National Education Association. It has been recognized since 1998 on every March 2. This also happens to be Dr.Seuss’s birthday. The goal of Read Across America was to encourage literacy. The ability to read is an important skill that each student needs to be able to do. Read Across America was designed to bring awareness to literacy skills and motivation to read for every individual. How can you participate in Read Across America?
National Student Volunteer Day is normally recognized in the United Kingdom. This year, it will be honored on February 20. I think it would be something easily adapted for use in the United States. I feel that volunteer work definitely leaves a mark on your heart. I can remember the first time I worked as a volunteer. That experience definitely changed my worldview. My mother had always provided me with a good Christmas. Both the experience and the presents. The year that I was fifteen, she signed me to be a volunteer at our regional children’s services offices for their Christmas toy collection. I was not happy about being asked to rise early on my school holiday, so I reluctantly accompanied her there. I was amazed at the amount of toys, but I would sadly learn how quickly the pile dwindled. I was assigned to double check the list of toys requested with the packaging other volunteers completed and then, hand to the families waiting outside the door. It still brings me to tears how excited and appreciative the parents/guardians were to receive these packages. One family actually brought their children in and allowed them to receive some of the presents beforehand. I will not forget the young daughter crying since it had been years since she had received a present or anything for herself. I give thanks that I was able to share in that experience since I learned not to take anything for granted. It feels humbling to volunteer and expands your view of the world. How do we get our students involved? Some ways that I’ve thought of are:
As any teacher is aware, there are many tiers of student groups in education. In most schools, students are separated by grade levels. In classrooms, they may be grouped by academic ability. In many special education classrooms, they are categorized by need. Special education teachers are familiar with the spectrum of needs for their students. One particular category is students with severe emotional behavior disorders. This type of disorder can manifest in many different forms. One student may be a loner and below typical academic ability. Another student may have multiple outbursts in a day, but be of average or above academic ability. The behaviors may be extreme. Behavior is not always indicative of ability though. Severe emotional behavior disorder can affect a student’s academic progress, interpersonal relationships, classroom behavior, and self-care. So, what happens when you are responsible for this type of student in your classroom? Ideally, you would want the support of guardians, administration, and co-workers. That does not always happen as we think it should. Here are some ways that you alone can make a difference in the student’s life.
How many individuals do you know that do not utilize the Internet in any form or fashion? I would say that you would be hard-pressed to name even one. The Internet has taken over our society. Although it has its pros, there are also cons. We’ve seen an increase in cyberbullying as well as the broadcast of material previously thought to be private. How do we prepare our students to utilize the Internet effectively and safely? One way is to acknowledge Safer Internet Day that is celebrated on February 7 this year. This day of recognition began in Europe over a year ago. It was designed to promote the safe and responsible use of the Internet and other digital technology to children and young adults. Safer Internet Day was officially recognized in the United States in 2012, but became a highlighted day of recognition beginning in 2013. This year’s theme is “Uniting for a Better Internet.” The idea is to recognize and feature good deeds and leadership of children and young adults. Some ways that you can get your students involved:
National Kid Inventors Day is celebrated on January 17 each year. It honors the original kid inventor, Benjamin Franklin, who designed the first swim flippers at only twelve years old! National Kid Inventors Day exists to encourage creativity in our youngest members of society. As anyone knows, kids can come up with the darndest things! Of course, some of it may be outlandish, but children have a unique perspective of not being burdened down with the details that adults can’t help but acknowledge. The best thing about National Kid Inventors Day is that it can be celebrated school-wide. Inventions occur every day. From new building materials to applications, even the sky is no limit! Here are some ways to encourage your students’ creativity:
Teaching students to enjoy literature is a great practice. It can foster a love of books or allow their imaginations to run wild. For everyday purposes though, students must learn to dissect a text. This ability will be something they will utilize in adulthood. Think about contracts, legal documents, and employment applications that students will someday encounter. In order to make informed decisions, students must be able to read these documents and understand what they are placing their signature on. This exact example is what I preach to my students. You may not like reading, but it is a critical skill to have in adulthood. I ask students how they would feel if they were to rent a house for an assumed amount, only to find out that the lease states XYZ charges will also be applicable. If they did not read it and clarify those statements, the burden will be theirs to carry.