Neither is anywhere for that matter. The election shouldn't change what is or is not acceptable in your classroom.
Every year they ask the same questions when they get back from summer.
Another year comes to an end and another group of students try to avoid summer school with last minute work.
Sometimes parents can't find their kids and it sends the whole community into a panic.
You know something is going well when students and teachers don't want the day off.
Is there anything more infuriating than a kid blatantly turning in something they copied directly from the internet? What is cheating?
I often use food shows (Bizarre Foods, Parts Unknown, No Reservations, etc.) to show the effects of trade and conquest over time in different parts of the world. I call it “video vacation” and I think it’s a great opportunity for our students to see places and people that are different from them.
I started doing this after giving an essay prompt that required the students to choose to live in a city or a town. Not only did the students not understand the difference, but it quickly revealed that some of them had never even been downtown despite being able to see it and walk there if they wanted.
Many people grow up, live, and die within a few miles of where they were born. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I want my students to have an idea of how big and diverse the world is even if they never get to see it.
In order to bring our video lessons to life, I had a contest where I randomly drew names of 8 students that achieved a 70 or above on our test and took them to a restaurant where they could try some unconventional foods. They tried bone marrow, lamb, different vegetables, and the only rule was that they had to take one bite and explain why they did or didn’t like something. They had a blast.
While we ate, we discussed the history of the food and cultures where it originated. We talked about the different people that influenced the dishes. The wait staff was extra helpful and answered questions and concerns from the kids about dishes and ingredients.
They all only nibbled at things. The restaurant atmosphere was a tad overwhelming and the food was strange, but they tried it and had fun. I got everyone McDonald’s after so nobody would go home hungry. They were extra excited about that surprise.
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Dallas Teacher Spring Break Podcast
Eat Food with Dallas Students
Food and Education with Chef David
Top Ten Positive and Negative Moments in Dallas Education 2015
Positive 03: Food Adventure
Positive 04: Social and Emotional Health Negative 04: Trouble with TEI
Positive 05: Trustees Stop By Negative 05: Student Mother Kicked Out
Positive 06: Supportive Principal Negative 06: A Bad Spot Observation
Positive 07: Department Chair Respect Negative 07: Principals Lying
Positive 08: DISD Student Has Her Baby Negative 08: Parent thinks their child is stupid
Positive 09: Thanked by a Parent Negative 09: Blamed for a DISD Student Fight
Positive 10. Alex Hales and Retired Teacher Negative 10. Promising DISD Student Gets Pregnant
I hope everyone brought their walking shoes to school today because it's about that time! Active monitoring is so fun isn't?
One of the many countermeasures in place to halt student dishonesty, active monitoring is a band-aid solution to a larger issue with the way we use tests, talk about tests, and treat our students and teachers.
Instead of focusing on the school culture that encourages dishonesty to happen, we tighten down on teachers and students, increase the severity of penalties, and continue to ignore everything that cheating actually means.
Why do kids cheat? Low Self Esteem.
Why do Dallas students cheat?
Testing anxiety in Dallas Students
Dallas Teachers assuming kids are cheating just because they do well
Positive relationships with DISD students
Why do DISD Teachers and Students even bother with homework?
How we are sending the wrong signal in Dallas schools
Changing our view of success in Dallas schools
I've never been so angry and proud of a student at the same time.
I've talked about my frustration with grading essays. They take a long time, I struggle with how much to put, and they are generally a pain when they aren't that good. Are they supposed to be? Not necessarily. They are learning. I get that. It doesn't make them any more enjoyable to read for all of my limited free time at night/during the day.
They got done and passed back. One kid came to me and asked for more detail. "Go away," I thought to myself and no doubt displayed on my face. Is this kid serious? He got the check marks, he received an A because it actually wasn't so bad and according to the rubric, he earned his 90. Why is he bothering me?
The kid said he wanted more detail because he didn't understand why he didn't get 100. Instead of blowing him off and saying "because nobody is perfect," I took my general grumpiness to the paper with a marker and gave him the feedback he wanted. More than that, I gave him the feedback he deserved. He eagerly took it and asked if I'd be open to reading a revision.
OF COURSE! His effort disarmed me. Yes, he's making more work for me, but he's improving himself which makes me proud. What makes me even more excited is that he had a goal, advocated for himself, and is now putting in the work to achieve that goal. Good for you annoying but driven child. Don't stop being you. I'm annoyed because of me not because of you. You're doing everything right. I was getting angry at positive behavior because of adult selfishness.
Parent teacher conference week gives everyone a chance to reflect on how well the students are doing. You print out progress reports, explain your class, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of people you're charged with shaping for 180 days 50 minutes or so at a time.
I've mentioned a few parents that are convinced their students are "dumb." Their words not mine. When you have people that are supposed to believe in you the most telling you that achieving your goals is impossible, of course your grades and self confidence will reflect that more times than not. What do you do? How do you look at a kid and say "your parents are wrong, listen to me?" Well, depending on your personality and commitment, pretty darn easy.
We've all had students that are working their tails off and getting "nowhere." They don't see a change, the numbers aren't changing, and it isn't getting easier. As a teacher, you can tell the kids they are more than numbers. Help them see that even though they can't see immediate results, they're getting experience and becoming more comfortable finding the answers they are seeking. You can show them that identifying and overcoming weaknesses is part of growing up.
Again, kids need to know that failure doesn't mean they are worthless, stupid, hopeless, or anything other than that they have not mastered a particular subject. It can be overcome, and it will. Success is not only possible, it's probable if we change the way we talk with our kids.
Normally not so cheery over here, but something about parents not believing in their kids gets me fired up.
Dallas Parent Teacher Conferences
Dallas Student Emotions
Yesterday was a blast. I spent all day wishing Monday wouldn't come, squeezing every last ounce of weekend out of the one day I had. Part of yesterday was spent doing "homework." Work in preparation for an extracurricular event this weekend, work in preparation for my students the coming Monday, and grading that I didn't finish last Friday that is adding to my overall workload. I wanted to blow it all off and watch football. Last night was The Walking Dead season premiere, so obviously I couldn't work through that right? I wondered out loud if my principal would accept "mister this is too much" as a reason why I wouldn't be ready to teach today. Probably not.
I woke up this morning and realized we'd have a special guest coming and talking to all of our classes. Not only does that give me a small reprieve from work, but I get to sit and learn just like my students. Yes, I stayed up and finished what I needed to get done, but now I'm so tired I don't even feel like teaching. I know it's important and I know my kids depend on me. That's why I came to work. I just happened to get lucky today. Now I get to learn too.
Yesterday I sprung a quiz on them. There was much wailing and rending of clothes over an unexpected quiz over a reading they should have done anyway. We were all yelling, laughing, preparing for the quiz, talking football, etc. This is the first five minutes of class and I tend to enjoy a bit of ordered chaos. Then in walks my principal. Smiles are on faces, except his of course.
Here's the problem. Our fun was disrupting everyone around us. It was my fault. I got us all in trouble. They looked like they just got yelled at. They didn't, my principal was nothing but professional. He didn't reprimand me in front of the kids or "usurp my authority" or anything like that; however, he did remind all of us that we weren't the only ones in the school and that we could be heard down the hall.
Fair. Sorry class. Sorry other teachers. I apologize for being disruptive. I don't apologize for the enjoyment of the students though, just to be clear.
I hate seeing the defeated look on my students' faces when I tell them an answer is wrong. I hate it even more when I watch them shut down because they didn't do something perfect the first time the tried it. Why do they think they will get everything right? Why do they think they have to? Part of it is our fault, part of it is their age, part of it is human nature.
We as adults sometimes react very harshly to wrong answers. We excpect them to be perfect so that rubs ofon them. We need to be ok with them falling then helping them get back up. We need to remember ourselves as students, especailly when we are having bad days, and not let that influence how harsh we grade or treat our kids. We need to stopusing grades as punishments. Grades matter, but assignments are supposed to be formative. "Bad grades" shouldn't end at just that, but rather should lead to conversations and practice to help students master skills and concepts.
Teenagers are self conscoius and generally speaking have low self esteem. Even the ones that seem confident are trying to fit in or maybe even trying to create a group and lead it. That causes pressure on thier end towant to be better or perfect. The competitiveness that many of them have drivesthem to put pressue on themselves. We have to harness that energy as teachers and show them how to make that energy healthy and productive, not harmful and stress inducing.
Human nature plays a part because, generally speaking, we want to please someone who has "power" over us. This puts pressure on our students too. That may not be your teacher, it may not be your boss, it may not be your parent, but there's someone you want to tell you you're doing a good job. Everyone has had someone like that. If you think you don't you're lying to yourself. Maybe that person is not around anymore, but at some point you wanted to please someone. Wanting to prove someone wrong is the same thing. Different side of the samecoin.
I try to help my students see that being wrong is ok. Continuing to be wrong about the same thing is not OK. Get better. Learn. Improve. This is the goal. There's no way to do that if you don't try, fail, speak up, and get help.
In seconds I think of the students that teachers hate but are great in my class. The student that causes disruptions, will not do their work, will not listen and gets written up every day, but in your works hard and tries. I can think of three kids at the top of my head that fit into this category. Kids that are smart, capable and do well on my exams but need more encouragement because they have been told no, told they cause problems, and told they can't.
If we start dividing kids into groups, these are probably the kids that would be put into the "extra needs" group. We do not need to be dividing kids further and creating more separation in the school system. We are already trying to overcome huge gaps that created lasting differences between student achievement. We have least restrictive environment for a reason. These students can and want to succeed, removing them to the "special" unit is not going to achieve this. Put all the disruptive kids in one class and what expectation are you setting for that period? What message are you telling the students, they can't learn?
Is the goal to help those students or remove them so others can learn. Sure, other classes will run more smoothly, but these will fall far behind. Yeah, it worked in the Wire, but schools are not Emmy nominated TV shows. Who will teach these students? If teachers can't handle three at a time, how will the teacher handle 26 at a time? It is not about separating out the bad, it's about supporting teachers, additional resources and the bigger issues in schools to successfully instruct all students in a classroom.
These kids do not need to be removed, they need positive motivation, encouragement and a school that believes in them.