This week's Take5 is focused on working to understand each other better. Recognizing racism in education, promoting #OwnVoices books about indigenous peoples, communicating with middle school students, the changing nature of parenting and childhood, and combating perfectionism. Check it out!
At this time of year, my school-based team is focused on helping our new students transition from elementary to middle school. One of the things that we have identified that kids need help with is developing effective study skills. All too often, students will write down "study for test" in their planner but they have no earthly idea what studying should look like. They also rarely have identified what study techniques work best for them as individuals. Consequently, our team decided to teach these skills to our students in the month of September. Gretchen and I created an easy one pager to help kids develop study skills and find what works for them.
In last week's post Gretchen shared ideas about how to help foster reading at home. The experience in my home dovetails nicely with her focus on reading. My kid loves to read, but math is not her thing. She's good at it, but she'd rather spend time writing stories or reading. I was the same way. That doesn't bother me or really concern me as a parent.
What is troublesome is the negative talk that has crept slowly into our home. She declares "I hate math" or "I'm not good at math." I've done all the things the experts have told me to do: Talk about how much I love math. Focus on finding math in every day life (I could do better at that). Talk about how I'm good at math and she's good at math. But it isn't working. So I've done a dive into ideas for help. So here's a Take 5 with a math focus for teachers and parents alike. It's messy. Just as with real math, there is not just one method to answer the problem; but the more you know, hopefully the more you can help your own kid or the kids in your classroom.
My oldest son started reading early -- he was into chapter books before he started kindergarten. Reading came easily to him and is still, at 13, his favorite pastime. I assumed the same would hold true for my younger son. But as all parents quickly learn, each child is different. When reading hadn’t stuck by second grade, I hit the panic button -- met with teachers, studied articles on phonetics instruction, went through some testing, all the while reminding myself of the whole “each child is different” thing... I can comfortably say that now, entering fourth grade, my youngest child is a reader. He had support from fantastic teachers in second and third grade, but I also believe that as a librarian and a mom, what happens at home matters a whole lot too in terms of a child’s reading development. Here are some strategies I have discovered and rediscovered on my parenting journey. I hope they will help you continue to kindle a love of reading in your own home or even better, if you are an educator perhaps these strategies can be shared with your students' parents as a way of helping them foster a love of reading at home.
My son just finished seventh grade, his first year of middle school. As a middle school educator in the same school district, it has been fun to see the world of middle school in a different light -- as a parent and through the eyes of my own child. With that in mind, I thought it would be valuable to share some of the things I have learned.
Happy New Year! What better way to start the new year than with a Take5 (okay, it's really a Take9 because we just couldn't stop once we started) focused on all things kindness related? In 2018, let's help one another promote kindness, empathy and caring in our classrooms, within the hearts of our students, and in our school communities. 2018, we've got this.
I've worked as a middle school educator for almost twelve years. I can easily channel my inner twelve year old, jetting myself back to my own junior high experience (yes, I was in 7th and 8th grade back when it was still called "junior high"). This year, however, is different. My oldest son is now in seventh grade, experiencing middle school at another school in our district. He loves middle school -- he's having fun and learning a lot. And I too have learned so much in these first few weeks as a middle school parent, already transforming my thinking as an educator. So in no particular order, here are just a few of the lessons I've learned so far.
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