I’ve been ill since Friday. What a way to start my vacation!
While ill and feverish, I had this amazing dream.
All of my students have an internet connected laptop. I have a laptop as well connected to a projector. Together, we are beginning a new unit and exploring the internet for ideas, questions, pictures, concepts relating to the new unit. We then use clipmark to clip important ideas to our blogs to share with each other and comment on each other’s findings. Throughout the unit, we would add our learning to our blog, clipmark each other’s works, leave comments. What a real world use of technology in the classroom that would build content knowledge, language art skills, writing with a purpose, just WoW!
It’s an unattainable dream it feels like, but not so farfetched. I shall start by asking Donorschoose.org for a laptop and a projector for myself. Then, I shall start asking for one laptop at a time for my students. It’ll take time, but eventually, I will build a class set!
This was the pre-writing activity that helped my Special Ed. student get to his finished friendly letter.
There’s an opening sentence, two main ideas, and a closing sentence.
As you can see, he did this himself, as he was taught to use Thinking Maps to plan his writing. The structure of his writing, though lacking in details, is pretty much there because he used this Flow Map.
I honestly wish that I was trained to use these “Thinking Maps” sooner. I was trained in November of 2006 and have been using them in my classroom since. I’m such a better teacher and my students are such better writers because of these graphic organizers!
Originally uploaded by cityteacher.
This is the first draft of a letter by one of my Special Ed student who is mainstreamed into my classroom. He’s the arsonist from last week.
This is a tremendous improvement from him! You have no idea how proud I am of him and his progress. At the beginning of the teacher and for the next four months, I was lucky if I got two words out of him. Usually he could get his name on top of the paper and that was it!
This piece of writing was independently done as part of his writing assessment. He needed me to remind him to stay focused and to write about earning and saving money, but other than that, all these sentences came from his brain!
Dear Ms. XXX
You should save money and you should also save money to buy a car. It is important to earn money and save money because you need things.
He corrected his spelling mistake. He spelled “should” correctly except for the backward “d”. No punctuation marks, but plenty of content. He got a complete piece of writing, from beginning to end, though it lacks details.
This piece of writing is in response to the prompt: Convince a friend to earn and save money. Describe in details how to earn and save money. Tell why it is wise to earn and save money.
How did I get him to this point? I can’t even describe the amount of work and the tremendous progress he’s made!
This is a present I received on my desk this morning from my amazing student, Auburn (not her real name, I’m not using any real names, protection of course). She’s always quiet in the class, but she becomes an amazing personality out of the classroom setting. In the class, she’s a workaholic!
So, Happy Easter everyone! Underneath the picture, she wrote, “A present for Ms. A, for Joe, and for everyone.” So there you are, a gift from the mind of an incredible child. 🙂
Crayola sent me a bag of 30 of the new crayola twistable colored pencils for free, probably as a way to brand my students. I learned about the giveaway through an e-mail they sent out. If you haven’t done so, sign onto their newsletter so you can grab goodies like this.
I hardly care what crayola’s marketing objectives are. I got 30 colored pencils to give out to my students. We used them to grade each others work today and then I sent them home with the kids. The kids were so excited!
“You’re the best!”
“These are the coolest!”
“I’m going to draw you a picture!”
We work so hard every single day. They deserve so much! It’s nice to give them something interesting and frivolous every once in awhile.
A mother came up to me today and, through an interpreter, tearfully poured out her hopes and dreams for her son, my student. He is her only child. She is divorced from his father, working three jobs to raise her son. She only gets to see him a few minutes each day, but she will try very hard to come see me more often to keep an eye on his education. She then handed me an invitation, purchased from the 99cent Store, to his birthday party this Saturday.
I cannot wait to go! I will not understand a word of the Spanish that they will speak, but I’ll be there with a brightly wrapped present to give to my student who carries the whole future of his family on his tiny shoulders.
Every day, he wakes himself up, dresses himself, and walks himself to school early so that he can eat the school breakfast. Everyday, he dutifully sits through my lessons, though much of it is over his head because he barely speaks English. He gets excited during Math because there, he can show how successful he is. At lunch time, he asks if he can return to the classroom to spend time with me and I always feel terrible when I have to turn him away if I have errands to run. Afterschool, he spends the rest of his day with his babysitter, an elderly woman who doesn’t speak any English either and who has far too many other children to look after. At night, he tucks himself in. If he was lucky, he got to see his mother before he falls asleep.
It is a lonely life for a boy who loves his mother dearly and whose mother loves him dearly.
I ask you, can YOU carry the whole burden of your family’s happiness on your adult shoulders? My students do it every day. I am humbled by the knowledge that they entrust ME with their education.
For the last year, I’ve been getting free stuff from Donorschoose.org, a website that connects donors to specific projects that teachers wish to fulfill. I’ve gotten a photo printer and a digital camera, I’ve gotten a Xyron sticker maker, 20 hard-bound journals, and several Quantum Leapfrog Leappad (expensive stuff). They were all mine for the taking!
I’ve been trying to get the teachers at my school to visit donorschoose and request anything they want. Only one teacher have taken me up on my offer and is now getting a photoprinter.
What really does it take to get free resources from donorschoose.org? A half hour of your time typing up a short paragraph.