Teachers have always known that the benefits of reading and writing are myriad and innumerable. What we know about what literacy does for the brain, the body, and for learning is always growing. And now we know that journal writing, reading, and specifically poetry reading & writing are all beneficial for students (of all ages) with mental illness. And since an average of 3 students in each classroom are likely to suffer from mental illness of some type, this is key information for all educators.
My children are very musical and I give all the credit to their music teachers. I tried to learn to play an instrument several times; I even pursued it as an adult. Yes, I enrolled in a "Community Adult Education" piano course. I thought maybe I needed a different instrument. Surely, if my own children can learn to play the trumpet, cello, flute, piccolo, and the piano, I certainly would be able as well. I found a clarinet on ebay and was excited to learn. However, it turned into an expensive duck call! Why couldn't I learn to play an instrument? I began reflecting on my own music education or better yet, my lack of music education. I remember learning to play the recorder. I was actually very good! Then I moved to another state that lacked funding for music education. My “music class” was watching a once-a-week production on our closed caption tv. We sang along with a bouncing ball! I love music, I appreciate music, I just can’t play music. So why all these music musings? Simply put, teachers are an integral part in music education!
This is my eleventh year teaching first grade and it has brought with it one of my most challenging students. Not a behavioral challenge, but rather a communication challenge. She has such severe speech impairments that those around her, including myself, do not know what she is saying; despite the hard work of her speech pathologist. It came to my attention that disorders affecting speech and language rank as the second most common reason students receive special education. As I write this blog, yes, she is being tested for special education services. These struggling children often perform poorly or insufficiently in school, they struggle with reading, have difficulty understanding and expressing language, they misunderstand social cues, miss school frequently, show poor judgement, and struggle with tests. As primary classroom teachers, it is often present in the classrooms, with the severity ranging. So, how can regular classroom teachers help these students achieve success not only academically but socially as well?
I was recently teaching a math lesson using addition with regrouping. During the second day of the unit, my classroom seemed to brighten as the light bulbs came on and my students were smiling with confidence. I quickly jotted a few details on a sticky note and stuck it to my reminder board. At the end of the day I reviewed my sticky notes to reflect on the fine points of the day. Reflection after teaching a lesson is vital for growth as a teacher and for your students.
We're in the swing of April, which for 21 years has been known as National Poetry Month. Poets all around the world gather to celebrate the genre, with activities, events, and more. Here at Big Universe, we've got you covered, and I want to introduce you to some great ways you could recognize this month using resources we have available. May this list make your planning easier and lesson more engaging.
Its likely that at least 3 of the students in your classroom right now suffer from mental illness of some type.
1 in 5 children between the ages of 13-18 suffer from mental illness. 1 in 10 children between ages 5-16 suffer from a diagnosed mental condition. These children are at higher risk of dropping out, substance abuse, trouble with the law, trouble learning, self-harm, and a host of lifelong struggles that are exacerbated when not addressed early.
As a teacher, you can help!
Reading and writing go hand in hand! This month we celebrate libraries and today we celebrate National Encourage a Young Writer Day. What a great month for readers and writers!
According to the American Library Association website, “School Library Month (SLM) is the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) celebration of school librarians and their programs. First celebrated in 1985 (as School Library Media Month; the name was changed to School Library Month in 2010), every April school librarians are encouraged to create activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student's educational career.” This years’ theme is Libraries Transform. As we dig deeper, this statement is true regardless of which library you use: public, school, or even an online library. You have access to information that can transform your life. You are able to visit far away places, learn new skills or information, which allows you to escape from the mundane tasks of daily life. How can you encourage students and allow books and writing to transform their lives?
In the education profession you often hear key terms such as, differentiated instruction, rigor, integration, and progress monitoring. Whether you are a full-time teacher or a school faculty member, you work in a wonderful profession that allows you to love and empower children everyday. Whatever your role may be in your school, you are an influential part of many children's lives.
As educators we often reflect on how to modify our teaching techniques to further serve those bright-eyed children everyday. Many schools provide Professional Development opportunities in a variety of ways. PD [Professional Development] could be an in-house workshop designed by the school administration and veteran teachers; or an enlisted outside resource with expertise in a specific subject or field.
When I was teaching, part of preparing students to succeed on the annual state exam was teaching them how to respond to open-ended essay-style questions. Unlike some other question types where you can use strategies such as eliminating incorrect answers or comparing similar/opposite responses to the question asked, essay-style questions vary in response depending on the content area asssessed and the requirements one's answer must meet according to the question. Here's some advice for making sure your responses get you the most points possible on these kinds of assessment questions.
This month is reading month, and I've been writing about literature circles: the problems, the tiny tweaks that make a big difference, and ways to increase engagement. This week I'm hand-delivering the freshest, most useful and printable links on the subject. Thankfully, the research is clear and the resources are plentiful.