Tag Archives: Students

Endangered species?

cursive writing

This is a re-post, as I believe in the power of cursive……..

The above image of the alphabet is something I hardly see taught anymore—writing in cursive style. The kids that I work with  daily overwhelmingly do not posses the handwriting skills that had been drilled into me as an elementary student. Taking this practice away because of keyboards is like taking away math computation because of calculators. Therefore, the over-emphasis on electronics and social make writing by hand seem obsolete.

But the good news is—it’s NOT. Being equipped with this skills helps the kids have a better handle on written expression, and critical thinking, skills which extend beyond the classroom.

I’m told that we “don’t have time” because the focus of the day is on literacy and math primarily, and something like cursive handwriting skills are considered hardly necessary.

I’m making the case for families to help out more at home by:
investing ust 10-15 minutes a day to help your child in proper letter
formation, and the best posture for comfortable, more legible handwriting.

It doesn’t have to be  Palmer Method perfect, but with consistent practice, patience, and gentle praise along the way, there can be a difference made.

Advertisements

Endangered species?

cursive writing

This is a re-post, as I believe in its importance….

The above image of the alphabet is something I hardly see taught anymore—writing in cursive style. The kids that I work with  daily overwhelmingly do not posses the handwriting skills that had been drilled into me as an elementary student. Taking this practice away because of keyboards is like taking away math computation because of calculators. Therefore, the over-emphasis on electronics and social make writing by hand seem obsolete.

But the good news is—it’s NOT. Being equipped with this skills helps the kids have a better handle on written expression, and critical thinking, skills which extend beyond the classroom.

I’m told that we “don’t have time” because the focus of the day is on literacy and math primarily, and something like cursive handwriting skills are considered hardly necessary.

I’m making the case for families to help out more at home by:
investing ust 10-15 minutes a day to help your child in proper letter
formation, and the best posture for comfortable, more legible handwriting.

It doesn’t have to be  Palmer Method perfect, but with consistent practice, patience, and gentle praise along the way, there can be a difference made.

English Language Arts–Urban Classroom

Today, I covered a 2nd grade classroom during their language arts time. Now, these kids know me , so we’re past the “getting acquainted” stage. The teacher left their activity on using new words in original, oral  sentences.

Our first word was “police”. One student said, without missing a beat—“I saw that ‘police’ shoot somebody.”  Just like that. An 8 year old knows about shooting just like watching Niktoons everyday. Similar sentences followed from two other students. We finally decided on something a bit more Officer Friendly-type.

The next example used the word “life.”  Several hands went up, and the one student I picked said forlornly, “I have a bad ‘life’.” I felt compelled to ask her why. She responded matter-of-fact, “That’s because somebody’s always shooting and fighting by my house, and I don’t sleep.”

Sad, sad commentary, isn’t it? Where is the lightheartedness of early childhood? Of course, nothing is TV perfect, but when a violence lifestyle is accepted as norm in our yung, what does the future hold?

                                   

Are Manners Dead?

These six points shown above  are what I’d love to see more of in the classes that I encounter. I’ve noticed a growing, serious lack of these “little things” in contributing to a pleasant learning environment. It’s more than just doing the classwork; it’s also learning to be a humane, kindness-centered individual.  These are the people skills that can lead to greater success in life.

Politeness and respect OPEN more doors to experiences that can enhance student life. Why can’t we take a few minutes every day to reinforce this?

More Than Just A Letter Grade

school grades

 

Since I started back working for the current school year, my second assignment was at a a large high school for the first week, where there were over a dozen vacancies where no teachers had been placed. 

All of us had no classroom materials or curriculum guides to choose from. and the building was 90% without air-conditioning, including the auditorium. So we were filling time-slots with oft-repeated “ice-breakers” that had worn thin by the second day for the kids. Naturally, they showed their discontent in typical teenaged ways—by completely turning you off. One of my classes was termed “Leadership,” but nobody seemed to know what it entailed or what material so I tried another tactic; I asked them –as an open-ended discussion—what “leadership” meant to them.

As I had all boys, a handful of them started to respond, but one guy rang out with “What kind of grade do we get to answer?” I calmly told him that this was no grade, as their permanent teacher hadn’t been assigned uet, and we were just readjusting to the school climate.

He then replied, “Then, it shouldn’t matter, if you can’t get a grade; that’s what school is for. Learn the stuff, and get a grade—that’s it.” The majority around him agreed. In their eyes, if their was no letter designation, it wasn’t worth their efforts.

I asked them about exploring an area or topic without the premise of getting a grade, and they said that’s a waste of time, as ALL learning is a grade. Even when I showed them that the adult world was NOT graded, but one’s actions produced the results, they were  still unfazed. To them, learning for its own enrichment was bogus. The concept of spouting  an instructor’s “facts” and completing soon to-be-forgotten paperwork for these coveted letters was what education actually  meant to them. How sad—the system has already doused their flames of inquiry.

Hurray For Playtime!

After a decades long absence, most schools in my city are restoring recess—a much-needed break in the school day

school play

It’s been proven that unstructured play aids in strengthening social, and cognitive skills, along with giving kids time OUTSIDE, away from the ongoing screen time of computers and Snartboards. Moreover, physical activity truly helps in the fight against childhood obesity.

Since I’ve come back to work this year, I’ve noticed a slight decrease in that post-lunch crazies that can make afternoons drag like cement blocks. They seem to listen a bit better, and attempt at staying more focused. It remains to be seen how my kids fare this year.

New Twists On Old Excuses

It never ceases to amaze me at how my students still use the same, tired excuses for not turning in work. Back in the day, saying, “It got wet,” or “My brother ate it ,” were standard. But now, my kids have a whole new angle on avoiding turning in work.

When I asked one particular class why they hadn’t turned in an assigned poster  project, too many of them told me some high-tech one-liners: “I don’t have a printer,” “I can’t write this much information,” “We went on vacation, and I didn’t have time to finish,” “The laptop crashed,”  “No way to get to a public library [to use the free computers],” and “My subject wasn’t on the Internet.”

Things haven’t changed…….