Saturday, October 29, 2011


Where is Mary Poppins when you need her?  Sometimes I think it would be great if we teachers could have access to a child advocate like her.  You know, someone we could send in to a child's home and help straighten out the parents. 

My students are elementary age.  They need help organizing their homework, knowing when to go to bed and when to get up.  They need someone to provide them (consistantly) with healthy food, clean clothing and medical and dental care.   But most of all, they need someone to make sure they get to school ON TIME!  EVERY DAY!!

I sat in on a parent meeting a few days ago for a student of mine.  In the first four years of his school career (three of which were not at our school), he has missed 59 days and was tardy 151 times.  Say what???  Holy Cow!! 

He's a great kid and I really enjoy his great sense of humor and kindness to others. But it's no wonder he's so far behind and struggling in school.  I have a difficult time sitting across the table from his parents.  I just want to reach over and say, "What on earth are you thinking???  How can a child succeed when he's either not at school or is tardy so often???  Hello!!  Wake up and start being parents!" 

Sigh...I need Mary Poppins.  Please. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Word Callers

At school we are doing a professional book study on Word Callers by Kelly Cartwright.  For next week's class, I have to assess three students.  One is supposed to be a higher level reader, another an average reader and the third a lower level reader.  I probably won't do all English Language Learners, though.  I have several classroom teachers who have offered to let me assess their students. 

We tried the initial assessment on each other at this week's class.  It's interesting to see how different people categorized the cards. There are at least seven different sets of cards that come with the book.  The initial assessment consists of watching students categorize a set of cards into four groups.  The students are timed on how quickly they catagorize the cards.  Also, the students tell the assessor why they chose the groups and how the cards are related.  

It should be interesting!  Stay tuned as I learn more about students who are "word callers" when they read. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hitting It Out of the Park

A friend of mine teaches seventh grade science.  (God bless takes a very special person to enjoy teaching middle schoolers!  I am NOT one of them.)  I love reading her blog, Mrs. Bluebird's Classroom.  She makes me laugh.  She makes me cry.  But most of all, I am in awe of her incredible creativity. 

I knew Mrs. Bluebird in another "life" before she made her mid-life career change and became a teacher.  It's been fun for me to watch her blossom in teaching and find her true calling in life.  She is a wonderful teacher and makes a difference in her students' lives every day. 

As an English as a Second Language teacher, I work with many teachers and see first hand how some teachers go above and beyond to help their students learn.  Mrs. Bluebird is a prime example of a great teacher who really cares. 

One of my favorite posts of hers, Hitting It Out of the Park, is about a wonderful hands-on science activity on tectonic plates and fault lines.  It's a superb example of a lesson that works for all students, but especially for English Language Learners.  Go read about it right now!

Hat's off to you, Mrs. B, for hitting it out of the park!!!