EdA2Z2016 – Huh?! I didn’t see that in the study guide…!

Yesterday , I took my midterm exam at the college.  Initially I was in total panic mode because the amount of information and types of questions that could be on the exam seemed infinite.  Studying for it even increased my anxiety level for some reason!

The very first essay question threw me! I was staring at the screen in a paralyzed state thinking, “Huh?! I didn’t see that in the study guide…!”

Then, I thought about my students taking their AZ Merit and Galileo (State Standardized tests); and how tough it must be for them. In my empathetic mood, I took a deep breath, smiled, and resumed testing – because in that moment, I remembered why I was there – for them.  

After a few more questions, I went back and answered the first one that stumped me.

Decluttering my head: Letter H

EdA2Z2016 – Humiliation 

Now sometimes you get a student who you think deserves to be taken down a couple of pegs, to be put in their place, and public humiliation might really teach them a lesson. But I believe it is only a skilled few who can accomplish this with enough finesse that they actually help that student become a better person. And isn’t that what our goal should be, ultimately? If we are true masters of our craft, shouldn’t we be able to effectively shut down a disruptive student and maintain our own dignity? Shouldn’t we model the behavior we want to see? 

~Jennifer Gonzalez, Cultofpedagogy.com~

On my road to becoming the best teacher I can be -this reminder to be careful in how I respond to my students is essential to my success!  To read the article this quote was excerpted from go HERE.

EdA2Z2016 – Grammar

According to Dictionary.com, here is the history and origin of the word GRAMMAR:

late 12c., gramarye, from O.Fr. grammaire “learning,” especially Latin and philology, from L. grammatica, from Gk. grammatike tekhne “art of letters,” with a sense of both philology and literature in the broadest sense, from gramma “letter,” from stem of graphein “to draw or write.” Restriction to “rules of language” is a post-classical development, but as this type of study was until 16c. limited to Latin, M.E. gramarye also came to mean “learning in general, knowledge peculiar to the learned classes” (early 14c.), which included astrology and magic; hence the secondary meaning of “occult knowledge” (late 15c.), which evolved in Scottish into glamour (q.v.). A grammar school (late 14c.) was originally “a school in which the learned languages are grammatically taught” [Johnson, who also has grammaticaster “a mean verbal pedant”]. In U.S. (1860) the term was put to use in the graded system for “a school between primary and secondary, where English grammar is taught.”

EdA2Z2016 – Fear

Student:  “Ms. Lyons, someone is talking stuff about me.”  

Teacher: “How do you know?”

Student:  “Someone told me.”

Teacher:  “Who told you?”

Student: “_______ told me.”

Teacher: “Now what?”

There is so much that today’s adolescents deal with on their journey to be educated.  Sometimes the classroom doesn’t feel like a ‘safe’ place – not because of the teacher. It has to do with the interactions amongst themselves and what the teacher is most often unaware of.  Many students live in FEAR because of being bullied.

I called a meeting today to settle a dispute between a group of girls who have been rumored to have fight planned soon – to “jump” a girl.  We started with a casual discussion about community and where each of the started in Elementary school.  Then, I asked trust and loyalty.  If they trust me, I will do the same for them.  That means honesty.  They were open about the things they had said and done towards one  another. There were apologies and more importantly they asked if they could come back and do this again.  

I committed to a once a week ‘sit down’ with the girls.  I was extremely proud of them!  

EdA2Z2016 – Empathy 

I remember what it was like in my adolescence to go to school with a heavy mind and heart. Anticipating the mysteries of adulthood – desiring freedom.  

As a teacher, if I am worth anything, I must have EMPATHY for my students.  On some level, I must be mindful and identify with my student’s feelings, thoughts, and attitudes.

All it takes is a bit of inquiry.  It’s worth it.

Photo Credit: EKG Technician Salary

EdA2Z2016 – Desire to…

As a teacher, I wish I could walk in the classroom and impart knowledge and students get it right away! I wish I could see their reading Lexile scores go above and beyond grade level with nominal effort on my part.  I wish that when I asked questions, there would be a sea of hands waving in the air – anxiously desiring to answer my questions.

I simply wish that a higher percentage of my students possessed the DESIRE to learn.

The reality is so much deeper.  What do they have to look forward to? What inspires them to desire education? Who are their role models? Why would reading literacy out trump their basic need for nurturing and safety?

As a teacher, I must move away from wishing and deal with reality.  It’s tough…

EdA2Z2016 – Comprehension

As a teacher, there is nothing more exciting than when your students “get it!”  When you see their eyes light up because they have finally grasped the concepts you are so desparately trying to teach.  It’s one thing to realize that the students are getting it and following along with you during whole group instruction, but what about when they are reading to themselves?

When they read aloud, you can kind of tell when they do not comprehend what they are reading.  It’s their body language, pace, pitch, and what they do with their eyes.  Sometimes they come to a word they do not understand and just – STOP reading.  While they are uttering the words, they are lost in the meaning of those words.  

My biggest win in the classroom comes when I can help my reading students improve their comprehension skills.  There is so much involved in that process that it is tough to communicate in one post.  It is, in my opinion, the foundation of reading literacy (comprehension really matters).

As I seek to help my students improve their literary comprehension skills, I will also grow in my ability to comprehend the needs of my students. 

#A to Z Challenge

Photo credit: Pinterest 

EdA2Z2016 – books, books, books…

I remember a time when given the option, I would choose to read a book over playing with a doll.  I was a little girl that recognized that books were an escape to a world that I could not yet physically visit.  Books provided information that allowed me to have great conversations with others as I grew and matured.  

My first bible was a set of several books like an encyclopedia.  The pictures and stories came alive for me.  My Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries, Archie Comic Strips, and first antique Webster’s dictionary (a gift), The Thornbirds, Flowers in the Attic, and Gone with the Wind – take me back to a time when I was devouring books on a regular basis.

I love reading.  In fact, it was always a dream of mine to have an in-home library.  There is something about seeing books on a shelf that makes me feel comforted.  Perhaps it is the wisdom contained on the pages that are within my reach that makes me feel good.

Once the Amazon Kindle came along, my dream library started to fade away.  I adjusted to the fact that now I can conveniently carry 100 plus books in my purse without breaking a sweat.  I have a much more intimate relationship with my mobile library.  I can touch the screen and stroke the pages that take me where I want to go as I read.  

I am seriously considering donating all of my hard/soft-back books to the “Friends of the Public Library” cause – all except collectibles or those autographed.  I love my books and it will be difficult to part from them, but I want to embrace the new era of eBooks.  This is a part of my effort to de-clutter my home.  Stay tuned…

EdA2Z2016 – AFFECT

I bet the English language is one of the most difficult to learn.  When it comes to reading literacy, decoding words has to be a number one priority.  Words like AFFECT make it difficult to figure out at times.  This one always stumps me!

Affect versus Effect – that is the question!

According to Dictionary.com, affect is defined as: to act on; produce an effect or change in something.  Effect is defined as: something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence of something.

To simplify it, I say affect=change and effect=results.

That’s it!  Memorizing this will effectively affect me!

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!