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National Student Volunteer Day

recycling-704504_1920.jpgNational 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:

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Teaching Students with SEBD

Children-using-digital-tablet.jpgAs 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.

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Freedom Writing: Students Expressing Ideas About Current or Controversial Events

to-write-774648_1920.jpgHow can we support kids as they process their feelings about current or recent events happening in our world? Today’s students had a front-row seat to school shootings, terrorism events, political conflict, and drug-related deaths for example within recent years, and they might have feelings of confusion, fear, or frustration. Educators have to navigate discussing these conversations and encourage students without promoting their personal views. Though it may be challenging to do, you can take these moments that have real impact students’ lives and make it a teachable moment for students.  Here’s how I’ve done this in the past when working with my students.

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Freedom Writing: Students Expressing Ideas About Current or Controversial Events

to-write-774648_1920.jpgHow can we support kids as they process their feelings about current or recent events happening in our world? Today’s students had a front-row seat to school shootings, terrorism events, political conflict, and drug-related deaths for example within recent years, and they might have feelings of confusion, fear, or frustration. Educators have to navigate discussing these conversations and encourage students without promoting their personal views. Though it may be challenging to do, you can take these moments that have real impact students’ lives and make it a teachable moment for students.  Here’s how I’ve done this in the past when working with my students.

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STEM Integration- Celebrate National Inventor’s Day

desk-912577_1920.jpgToday we will be discussing STEM and the process of implementing it into your teaching. Many schools are using STEM to enrich their students. STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This is not a program that is implemented in schools, but a philosophy based on problem-solving. By doing STEM activities, you are promoting problem-solving skills. These components are vital to teaching 21st century skills that  involve your child’s ability to cooperate, collaborate, and communicate. You can build these skills and teach STEM through everyday activities. National Inventor’s Day is celebrated on February 11th. We will brainstorm ways to get ready! These activities are meant to be simple, yet exciting to your preschool all the way to your high school students. Students will learn that by working together through their answers it promotes life-long learning and leadership.

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Safer Internet Day

aHKb3UyL.jpg.partHow 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:

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Black History Month – Civil Rights

Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 8.36.19 AM.pngWas John F. Kennedy a civil rights hero, or was it Lyndon Johnson? One of the most important things to communicate to students about the Civil Rights Act is why it was needed. Legislation focusing not only on public acts of discrimination, but also on private prejudice. The comprehensive civil rights bill won the endorsement of House and Senate Screen Shot 2017-02-04 at 10.44.43 AM-1.pngRepublican leaders, but it was not passed; however, before 22 November 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated. The bill was left in the hands of Lyndon B. Johnson. Before becoming vice president, Johnson had served more than two decades in Congress as a congressman and senator from Texas. He use his connections with southern white congressional leaders, and with the assistance of Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department and the outpouring of emotion after the president’s assassination, the Civil Rights Act was passed as a way to honor President Kennedy.

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Writing a Legacy: Celebrating Black History Month

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How does a culture survive through the ages?  The written word’s impact on politics, faith, education, science, history, and more certainly demonstrates why it’s a critical component to sustaining any culture.  Black American poets, playrights, authors, composers, and philosophers contributed many works throughout American history, so we at Big Universe want to recognize some of those who, through their talents and words, captured the essence of their times and diversified the perspectives of African American culture.

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