Reading Literacy from A to Z

As a kid, I loved to read.  Every opportunity I could get to read aloud in the classroom while coming up was golden to me.  I believe it was because I knew I was good at it.  My self-confidence was extremely high in the academic realm because I was such a great reader.

When the teacher asked me to read, I always hoped to be able to read pages at a time.  I use to ask to read the entire story even though my classmates deserved a turn at reading.  Now, as a teacher, I see the students in my class that are the same way.  Although I want to hear from everyone, I love to feed the ego of those who love to read!  I know the doors that will open in the future for that student because he/she is not afraid to communicate.  That’s right – great reading leads to great communication skills!  That’s my opinion and I am sticking with it!

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So, in addition to the A to Z Challenge I am doing on my personal blog, I am going to take the challenge on my education blog this month and blog daily (except Sundays) on reading literacy.

This is going to be fun!

EDU270 – Lesson 4: …to be relational as a teacher?

One of my favorite movies is “To Sir with Love”.  In this movie, Engineer Mark Thackeray arrives to teach a totally undisciplined class at an East End school…He starts implementing his own brand of classroom discipline: forcing the pupils to treat each other with respect. Inevitably he begins getting involved in the students’ personal lives, and must avoid the advances of an amorous student while winning over the class.

Sir

I cry every time I see this movie because I love the relationships he develops as their teacher.  When I decided to teach, this movie came to mind several times.  I could see myself coming into a tough school situation and winning the hearts and minds of the students with a goal of improving their lives – not just academically, but all around.  It’s a tall order – but one of the most important jobs you could have.

It means the world to me to be relational with my students.  I work to have their trust and confidence while fostering their growth and development.  Yes, it is entirely possible to do this and still hold them accountable to stay on task and do what it takes to learn.  Not only do they need relationship, they need structure and guidance too.

While I’m no Sir…I love it when my students say, “Ms. Lyons…?”

Photo Credit:  IMDB “To Sir with Love” 1967

 

EDU270 – Lesson 3: Attention, Emotions, & Learning

“Please pay attention…get on task…focus!  Do you hear me?”

As a mother of a teenager who struggled with attention deficit disorder (a label he hates even now), I thought I had the best information and tools in my arsenal.  I read many of the books and even became certified to coach parents of attention deficit disorder or hyperactive disorder ADD/ADHD children.

What I did not realize is the real root cause of inattentiveness; nor how to positively impact my son’s environment enough to support him in developing attention skills.  I also needed to view some of his behaviors as normal because his brain was doing something that would prove invaluable later on in his life.

The parent coaching certification program I completed never addressed infant or child brain development or research – it was simply so long ago.  Back then, the focus was on mainly behavior outcomes and educational reform advocacy.

Today, I know so much more!  Some of the behaviors infants and toddlers display is actually necessary for orientating, maintaining, and controlling or regulating their attention skills.  Patience and understanding is what is needed during the so-called terrible twos.  Although it looks like an unnecessary tantrum, the brain is busy at work in reconstructing that child’s neural patterns.  This is when the child is developing their patience, controlling emotions, and directing their focus.

As a middle school teacher with this understanding, I am grateful for the opportunity to positively impact my student’s environment by:

  • providing opportunities to make the best of their attention skills with curriculum and activities that consider their specific needs
  • passing on my knowledge and encouraging parents to reinforce healthier nutrition and  regular bedtimes (proper sleep is vital to brain cell development)
  • providing a safe environment in my classroom – free of the big 5 (fear, hunger, abuse, neglect, or depression)
This mean social/emotional learning is taking place in addition to academics.  In my opinion, this is the real ‘no child left behind’ initiative – because they all matter.  Not an easy undertaking but a necessary one.  I am responsible for teaching in a manner that raises the bar for them socially, emotionally, and intellectually.
As for my son who is now 18 years old, it isn’t too late to positively impact his growth and development.  All it takes is to continue to provide a structured nurturing environment, and encourage consistent open communication.  So far, it’s going well.

Photo Credit:  Quinn Dombrowski