parents

Our pregnancy announcement!

Posted on January 10, 2017. Filed under: about me, baby, parents |

(I just found this is in my drafts folder from May, so I am posting now!)

When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, we thought about how we wanted to share the news with our friends and family.

I teach grade 1, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a couple of my student’s help to make a Kid Snippet announcement. If you have not heard of Kid Snippets before, you are missing out! Kid Snippets are when children are recorded telling a story or acting out a scenario. Then the children’s voices are used overtop of adults acting out the story. If you search Kid Snippets in YouTube, I guarantee you will find at least a couple that will make you laugh out loud.

I asked two of my students to act out a couple different scenarios. I secretly recorded them and let them act away. The only prompt I gave them for this one was- “Ok C, you pretend you are the husband, and A, you are the wife. A, you are pregnant and you have to tell him.” The rest is all theirs. ūüôā

Enjoy!

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Digital Citizenship in Grade One

Posted on November 29, 2015. Filed under: behaviour, collaboration, digital citizenship, Eci832, edublog, educational, Grade 1 & 2, Masters, online safety, parents, reflection, Social Media, Social Networking, teaching and learning, Technology |

There are a few ways that I try and teach digital citizenship in the primary classroom, and after my #eci832 class, there are some new things I am going to try now. In this post, I will share what I am doing, and what I want to try to incorporate into Health later this year. I will bold each tool or instruction method I am discussing.

Twitter– For the past 3 years, I have been using Twitter in the primary classroom. (@mrsmaleysclass) ¬†I use it to teach sentence structure, grammar, and conciseness. ¬†BUT, Twitter is good for more than that! In fact,¬†Twitter is a perfect tool to talk about online safety. Every time someone follows our class, we look at their profile and decide if they are a) safe b) someone we can learn from c) a company. ¬†We have decided as a class that we are only going to follow other classes or people that will be posting stuff applicable to grade one. ¬†We don’t follow individual teachers, and we don’t follow every class that follows us. We look at their profile, their profile picture, their bio and their tweets, and we vote on if we should follow them. ¬†You wouldn’t believe how many times kids choose not to vote on a class because their profile isn’t interesting enough,¬†they don’t have a profile picture, or they haven’t tweeted consistently or often enough. ¬†This in itself has shown students what a creative/positive online identity¬†can look like.

The students have also learned about hashtags through Twitter. This is a year long learning curve as they don’t always understand the contextual underpinnings or language play that happens with hashtags, but they have learned some hashtags that are safe to use, and some that aren’t as good. For example, one day one of my students wanted to wish another student a happy birthday in his tweet. He wanted to use the hashtag #happybirthday. ¬†We decided against it after checking out the hashtag and realizing that there was some inappropriate content there. ¬†We decided we¬†didn’t want to promote that content to other classes that might be following us.

Twitter is also¬†an excellent avenue to look at advertising. ¬†Since 2013, Twitter has used targeting advertising towards¬†its users. This has been a great opportunity to show kids the difference between our regular home feed tweets, and those used as promotional tools. Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 7.07.13 PM¬†The children can easily recognize the little yellow “promoted by” arrow and we often talk about what they are trying to sell us. ¬†My goal is that students (even in grade one) should be taught critical thinking. They should be questioning what they see and¬†who they follow. They can’t assume that everything is safe or trustworthy because we have a¬†class account.

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An example of a tweet we got last year where students were encouraged to think critically.

That being said, I do have MULTIPLE students who have joined Twitter since being in my class. I haven’t encouraged any children to get their own Twitter account, but once they have used it in the classroom, they like it so much they ask their parents if they can get Twitter. At that point, it’s out of my hands, and all I can do is be a good online example for them. ¬†I must say, it is neat to watch them interact with each other online though!

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Here’s a few examples of kids who have joined Twitter since being in my class. You make your own judgment. Do you think I exposed them to it too early? ¬†Or perhaps are these the type of kids who would have joined anyways? I think we have moved beyond the question, “SHOULD students this young be on social media?” ¬†The fact of the matter is, THEY ARE.¬†Payton, Bayan, Greyson, Rayka, Minwoo, Justin, Maguire, Brody, Jed,

Research– Even though the students are young, I still think one of the best skills I can teach six year olds is how to research. ¬†Gone are the days where the teacher is the giver of all knowledge. ¬†Children need to be good at finding the information they want to know at the click of a button. A useful skill for student of all ages is Googling information and finding research¬†that is safe, informative, and appropriate. ¬†Why wouldn’t we start teaching this skill as young as possible? ¬†We do Genius Hour in my classroom, and the kids get to learn about any topic they would like. ¬†This involves gathering information, and researching their topic. I have tried different kid friendly search engines, (Safe Search Kids, KidRex¬†etc.) ¬†and I have come to the conclusion that Google is actually easiest and has the best results. ¬†A lot of the time the kid safe search engines have pre-set filters that try and sway results to things that have to do with kids, but that aren’t¬†always helpful. ¬†For example, if a kid is interested in cars, these are the top results the child would get if he/she typed “cars” into KidRex’s search engine:

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The top results have to do with car seats, and buying and selling cars. ¬†If a child typed “cars” into Google, these are the top results:

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Google’s¬†results¬†are already more appropriate and easier to navigate than the kid friendly search engine. ¬†Google’s results bring up the movie Cars, which many children are familiar with, and it provides the Wikipedia entry that would have lots of information about the history and the make up of cars. ¬†This is just one tiny example of how Google outdoes the other kid friendly engines, but there are many.

What I have learned is that for the students to be great researchers, they need to know how to type key words like +kids/ for kids when necessary. ¬†Depending on their reading level, usually the BEST¬†option for them is to click right on the Videos tabs so they don’t have to read at all.

 

 

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One thing I haven’t ventured into yet is copyright. ¬†It was hard enough to teach grade one students how to find a Google image, save it to camera roll, and then use it in their Genius Hour presentation. ¬†If anyone has any great ideas or kid friendly tools on how to find creative commons images that would be easy for grade one, I am all ears!

Blogging– Another way I try and promote a positive online digital identity is through our class blog. ¬†I use the student blogging platform, Edublogs. (Mrs. Maley’s Class Blog) Every couple of weeks the students blog. ¬†We talk about not sharing personal information in their posts like address, phone number etc. Sometimes the students are prompted with writing tasks, but a lot of the time they are allowed to blog about whatever they want. ¬†I have found that this type of writing becomes much more authentic than students only printing in a journal for me to see. ¬†The kids know their audience is global, and their writing improves drastically over the year.

Last year I also started a blogging buddy program with grade 11 students from Campbell Collegiate. ¬†The grade 11’s would comment on my student’s blogs and in turn, my students would grade/rate their narrative essay assignment where they wrote a children’s book. The collaboration between both classes was neat, and through specific feedback, my students were able to improve their writing and digital identity.

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Things I want to do: After watching Sext Up Kids a couple weeks ago,

http://www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?mediaId=2200745858
I decided that I wanted¬†to address some of the¬†gender, body image, and sexual content issues mentioned¬†in this documentary with my grade one class this year. ¬†Obviously I can’t address a ton of the sexual content that Sext Up Kids talks about, but my eyes were opened to the fact that kids in grade one are¬†definitely not immune from this type of exposure even at an early age. ¬†In the documentary, Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, suggests that it’s not a big jump to make between girls wanting to be “the prettiest little girl” to “the hottest little girl.” And THAT is something that we can talk about.

In the Saskatchewan Grade One Health Curriculum, one of the outcomes is based solely on Pedestrian Safety.

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Though I will definitely cover this during my Health class, it already seems a little out of date to me. How much time do kids really spend outside crossing streets/dealing with traffic without an adult?  My guess would be not as much time as a child might spend unsupervised on a device/computer inside the home. I have decided that I am going to devote a large chunk of time during my Health block to explicit digital citizenship/sexualization/gender lessons.  We know that digital citizenship must be taught all throughout the year in different ways/contexts, but I also think this might be something I need to add into the curriculum on my own.  I plan on using puppets to help create dialogue on this sensitive issue.

I plan to look at different children’s books and movies as a starting point. ¬†The students will look for¬†different gender/sexualization themes. ¬†I want the students to have discussions and think critically about what it means to “be a boy,” or “be a girl.” I want them to start unpacking their own identities and discuss how this might affect online behaviour. Today’s Meet is a great tool I have used in the past to create a back channel for students to share their ideas while watching a movie. They can be recording what types of stereotypes they see as they watch.

I have a colleague who teaches older grades who has shared with me that she doesn’t talk about sexting much during her digital citizenship lessons because she is worried about what the parents of her students will say. ¬†This is a very real concern at our school because we have high parent involvement. ¬†Often times parents at our school have very strong opinions about what happens in classrooms, and sometimes¬†what they say or want goes. ¬†Obviously I will have to be very careful about how I address these issues. ¬†In the past, my¬†daily class blog post has been a great place to debrief parents on certain conversations we have had throughout the day. Sometimes grade one students ask questions about death, war, or school shootings and we have to gently address those issues without scaring them or giving them more information than they need to know.

As a public school teacher, this might be dangerous to say, but overall, I think the best thing I can teach students is how to look at/listen to their heart.¬†As Jen¬†Stewart Mitchell discusses in her blog post, citizenship is citizenship. ¬†It doesn’t matter if it’s online or offline. Children and students young AND¬†old need to listen to their¬†conscience, and make choices based on what they know to be right and wrong; and that, I believe, is what makes you a good citizen. Sure we are all going to screw up and make mistakes, but¬†our job as teachers isn’t to make or limit the student’s choices for them, but rather give them opportunities to reflect on, and learn from their mistakes. ¬†And if we as teachers don’t give students an opportunity to peel back the layers of their heart and critically look at the reasons they struggle or desire¬†certain things in¬†life, how can we expect them to do this on their own? Are they supposed to “just know better?” It’s something to think about…

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Moralism and Digital Citizenship

Posted on October 16, 2015. Filed under: cultural, digital citizenship, Eci832, educational, Masters, online safety, parents, Social Networking, teaching and learning, Technology |

After reading Jason Ohler‚Äôs Character Education for the Digital Age, I was intrigued by the idea of moralism in schools. He explains that before the 1960‚Äôs, it was common to teach moralism in schools. ¬†Post modernism enters, and “what’s right for you may not be right for me” comes into play. We are now in a place where no explicit¬†moralism is taught in public schools, but we still know that each teacher is teaching their idea of right and wrong. It’s the hidden curriculum¬†after all!

In his article, Jason Ohler suggests that there is still a place for teaching moralism when it comes to digital citizenship. ¬†I know I¬†believe there is a right and wrong thing to be doing online at school. ¬†If we truly believe that students aren’t living two separate lives: a school life and a home life, then teachers can play a part in shaping the student’s moral compass when it comes to online behaviour.

Jason Ohler has 5 digital citizenship issues that are easily addressed in the classroom:

Balance. Understanding past, present, and possible future effects of technology. Cultivating a sense of balance that considers opportunity as well as responsibility, empowerment as well as caution, personal fulfillment as well as community and global well-being.

I like that he addresses the past and future of technology. We can’t look forward without looking back to where we have come from and the technological advances we have seen thus far. When classrooms only used slates/chalk and quills/ink, I imagine there would have been some very upset people¬†at the prospect of moving beyond that. It was probably the way things had always been done, and it was opening these children up to the new “horrors” of technology. To me this parallels what I am seeing with some parents now. ¬†This year I had a parent send me an article that basically¬†says technology is one of the causes of mental health issues in children. Some parents still believe there isn’t a place for technology use in schools.

I also like that Ohler addresses the future, as we do not know what jobs/careers the next generation will have. We have no idea what technology will look like, and in what ways it will play into people’s day to day lives. I think he offers wise advise when he suggests “cultivating a sense of balance that considers opportunity as well as responsibility.” Without that balance, the pendulum swings too hard one way or the other.

Safety and security. Understanding how online actions might lead to harm to yourself or others. Includes protecting your own privacy, respecting that of others, and recognizing inappropriate online communications and sites (such as sexual material and other resources intended for adults).

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Photo credit: Eric Constantineau

Though teachers should be teaching digital citizenship and technology as a tool for learning throughout their practice, not everyone is that comfortable. ¬†If a teacher is wanting to find a way to teach a digital citizenship “unit,” the health curriculum is a perfect way to do that. ¬†Digital safety ties so well into the Health curriculum’s safety outcomes.

Students need to understand how vast and awesome the internet is, but they also need to understand how to navigate¬†through it safely. I don’t think I would show the video below to my primary age students, but I think it might be good for middle year’s students to watch this social experiment:

The ease at which these children are willing to meet with strangers is terrifying.  In my opinion, children need to hear from their parents and teachers about how to be safe.

Cyberbullying. Understanding the potentially devastating effects of cyberbullying and how it violates ethical principles of personal integrity, compassion, and responsible behaviour.

There is a great online game¬†from Digizen that helps you learn about and scores you on digital citizenship. It plays through a cyber bullying scenario and you have to make decisions based on your friend’s actions.

Bullying can happen at any age, and though my students aren’t as active online as some of the older students in my school, cyberbullying can be addressed in any grade. ¬†It won’t be long before my young students will start messaging each other through their phones/iPods/iPads. In fact, since I have been using Twitter in the classroom, I have seen a rise in how many grade ones/twos have their own Twitter account. This is not something that I have encouraged them to do, but at least a few of my students every year ask their parents if they can have their own Twitter handle… and they get one!¬†I’m not saying this is good or bad, the fact of the matter is that these students ARE ALREADY on social media, or WILL BE SOON.

There has been a push to address bullying in schools the past few years, and though that’s great, Stephen Carrick Davies (former CEO of Childnet)¬†makes it very clear in this short video that we can’t forget to include cyber bullying in those conversations.

Sexting. Understanding the negative consequences of using a cell phone to take and transmit pictures of a sexual nature of oneself or others.

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Photo Credit: Mike Licht

Our society is getting more and more ok with nudity/sexual content/pornagraphy in general.  Sexual pictures are becoming commonplace, and people are more open to the idea of taking/posting pictures of themselves naked, or close to naked.

For example, a couple years ago I was at a girl’s night out get together where there were about 20 women ages 20-30. Some of the ladies were playing a drinking game called Never Have I Ever.¬†How the game works is that one person says a statement, and anyone who has done what the first player has not, has to drink. ¬†One of the women said, “I have never taken a nudie.” (I’m not even sure if that is spelled correctly! I feel so old!) And every one of the girls playing the game drank. I was kind of shocked. Looking back, I am surprised at a few things: 1)¬†That every single gal there has taken or transmitted a naked picture of them self. 2) That these types of pictures are commonplace enough that everyone felt comfortable admitting to it by drinking. 3) That something/someone in their life¬†has encouraged these women to openly exploit themselves with such pictures.

If sexual pictures are being taken and sent with such ease by adult women, I can only imagine what is happening at the pre-teen/teen age.

Feeling brave? Take the poll!

Copyright and plagiarism.¬†Respecting others’ intellectual property rights and reflecting on the legality and ethics of using online materials without permission (a complex and murky area of the law, bounded by “fair use” guidelines).

At the U of R, plagiarism is unacceptable. If you are caught plagiarizing, you are at risk of losing your place as a student and erasing your academic standing. This “tough on crime” attitude is a must in such a high level of education. ¬†What would happen if we adopted such high standards for our elementary and high schools? ¬†Is it that easy? Where does copyright law fit into student assignments? It may sound cut and dry, but it’s not.

In fact, just this week I was informed that I was impinging upon copyright laws! I received this email from Pinterest:

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When I tried to click on the link, it was broken! So I literally¬†don’t even know which pin was removed! How many times does this happen with students? We can teach them how to cite and how to give credit, but like Uhler says, “it is a complex and murky area of the law.” Sometimes we are breaking copyright without even knowing it!

I have enough trouble teaching¬†primary students how to even search for an image, is it reasonable to try and get them to find a creative commons image on top of that? Obviously we need to teach students about plagiarism and copyright, I’m not denying that… I’m just admitting that I don’t have all the answers on HOW to do that just yet!

Jason Uhler sums up digital citizenship into those 5 issues. I offered some ideas of how I think these can be incorporated into classrooms. There may be a time where teachers are not going to have the platform to share with students what things they should or shouldn’t do digitally, so until then, I hope to try and instil some of the ways I think they can be digitally responsible and… hope for the best!

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Split Grade Classrooms

Posted on June 3, 2013. Filed under: educational, Grade 1 & 2, parents, reflection, teaching and learning | Tags: , , |

“Your child will not learn as much in a split grade classroom”

Many parents hold this opinion and stand firmly behind this idea.  Now, is it true? Do children learn less and get behind if they are in a split grade?  What happens if they are in a split two years in a row; are they destined for failure?

You like the image I just whipped up in Paint when Google search failed me?

The answer is no! As a teacher who has taught split grade and straight grade classrooms, I can ensure you that your child is not worse off because they are in a split.  In some cases, they might be better off! Let me explain:

I will try to combat some of the prevailing assumptions behind split grade classrooms.

1) The teacher will spend less TIME with my kid.

Wrong.¬† The best indicator of how much time a teacher can spend with a student is not the grade level, but the class size.¬† Wouldn’t you agree that you would rather have your child in a class of 16 kids ranging in ages from 5-13 than in a straight grade class with 32 students?¬† In my own class, I structure my day so that there are specific times where I get to dialogue, check up on, and interact one on one with my students.¬† This is not determined by what task they are working on, or by what grade they are in, it is determined by the way I make-up my day.¬† Even if a teacher taught a lesson to one grade, allowed them to work, and then taught the lesson to the next grade, and allowed them to work, the teacher would still be constrained to the amount of children in the class; the amount of hands doesn’t change.¬† The positive aspect is that if your child is in the younger grade, an older child might be able to help answer their question while they are waiting for the teacher to come.¬† And if your child is in the older grade, they may have just strengthened their own understanding of that concept by teaching it to another child; learning by teaching. (By the way, this way of teaching a split is out-dated, and not a lot of teachers should do this anymore. If they do, send them to me and we will have a talk)

2) They will fall behind

It is true that in a split, the teacher has to cover two curriculums in one year, but it doesn’t destine your child to fall behind.¬† When I teach a split grade class, I find that it is much easier to cover the Science, Social, and Health curriculums by using an inquiry based learning approach.¬† Inquiry is where a teacher starts with an outcome (the thing a child needs to know) and then allows freedom in the ways that the child can get to that outcome.¬† It is learner directed, with a heavy emphasis on research and collaboration.¬† This type of learning encourages higher level thinking, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.¬† When the child gets to see the outcome from the younger grade and how it translates into the older grade, they get to hear/see/learn how the other grade’s concepts relate to their own learning.¬† They are either getting a solid glimpse of what is to come next year, or they get to reflect on how the stuff they learned last year applies to their learning NOW.

3) The older grade won’t be challenged

Unfortunately I have to pass the blame onto teachers for this one.  This myth is rooted in the idea that teachers always teach to the lowest level thinkers/learners in the classroom.  Unfortunately, sometimes this is the case.  Teachers have dropped the ball, and our students who need a challenge and/or enrichment, get left doing crossword puzzles because they are done their work early. This is due to bad teaching, not split grade classrooms.  This very thing can happen in a straight grade OR a split grade classroom.  If your child is not being challenged in the classroom, it is most likely not because they have been spending too much time helping the younger grade, or learning stuff they learned last year.  It is probably a combination of work ethic/behaviour on the part of the child, and/or teaching errors on the part of the educator.

In the last couple years, I have switched my philosophy regarding assignments in the primary classroom.¬† I used to give an assignment, and when I was evaluating it, I would look at how “hard” they worked, how nice of an assignment it was, and give them a grade accordingly.¬† There would always be that little child who would score extremely low because they had awful printing, I could barely read what they wrote, and they would only write one lousy sentence.¬† On the other hand, there would be the goddess of the classroom who wrote more than expected, and whose printing looked like it was Times New Roman itself, (only nicer because of the cutesy little hearts and swirls that scattered the paper).

goddess

The latter would always score the highest mark in the class, and the former would barely get 2 highlighted marks on their stapled 8 1/2 x 11 photocopied rubric attached to the front of their assignment.¬† The problem was that I was not evaluating either of their best work.¬† I was basically just grading on the curve, giving the 100% and 0’s where they were due.¬† I heard an educator once compare this way of marking to flight school; he had us imagine what would happen if pilots were let out of the flight simulator with a 23%, a frown, and a “this isn’t your best work” note scribbled on the top of their evaluation in red pen.¬† Would you want this pilot flying you to your next sunny vacation? …I don’t think so.¬† No, pilots don’t move to a real plane until they have mastered the simulator. In the same way, our students shouldn’t get to hand in their assignment, work, or project until it has met the qualifications.

If your child is a smart, capable, determined individual, they, (with their teacher’s guidance and support) should be able to challenge them self and push them self to their potential.¬† It shouldn’t and doesn’t matter if they have another grade in their classroom.¬† They have to learn how to expect the best out of themselves, and as the teacher gets to know them more, the teacher should only be accepting their best work.¬† If the outcome seems easy at first, then the child and the teacher find ways to go deeper.¬† Good learning is a mile deep, not a mile wide.

The wonderful thing about children is that they are so adaptable.¬† In grade one, I teach from the carpet… they learn.¬† In grade two, they have to sit in desks… they learn.¬† In grade three, they use pencils to write… they learn.¬† In grade four, they get to start using pens… they learn!¬† In grade five they have a teacher who uses worksheets… they learn. In grade six, they have a teacher who goes paperless and uses iPads… they learn.¬† One year the child is in a split class… they learn.¬† The next year they are in a straight… they learn!!¬† Children are EXPERTS at adapting to change and coming out ahead.¬† Please do not limit their life experience by thinking they can only learn in one straight grade class with the teacher who has the same teaching style you had growing up.¬† Support your child as a problem solver, and help him/her with the skills they are going to need to learn in ANY environment!¬† Your child will benefit… I promise.

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How does parenting affect a child’s behavior?

Posted on October 27, 2012. Filed under: about me, behaviour, cultural, Grade 1 & 2, Nature vs. Nurture, parents, personal, teaching and learning |

I am now at the age where my friends are having kids, and my grade one student’s parents are getting closer to my age. My husband and I don’t have kids, so I admit lots of the parenting questions I will bring up in this post¬†are all what I have seen, not experienced. But as I come in contact with more parents than I ever have in my life, I start to wonder some things…
(Warning: I have a feeling this post is going to turn into a nature vs. Nurture debate, but let’s see where it goes!)


The first thing I wonder is how much parent’s behavior towards their child affects the child’s behavior in school. When there is a child in school who just can’t seem to follow directions, I wonder where this behavior comes from. I have to admit, I don’t understand all the complexities of autism, ADHD, FAS, ODD, or other disorders that might cause defiance or lack of organization, so I will stick to the kids that have no visible or diagnosed disorder. Why does it seem impossible for some of these kids to listen and follow directions? Do they feel like these rules don’t apply to them? Do parents unintentionally teach these children to disobey by doing things for them, giving in to their every need, or allowing them to rule the roost at home? Yes, there might be developmental areas where the child is not as developed as other children in his or her grade, but then how do you explain the kids much younger who are able to follow directions and listen to instructions? Are these skills developmental or learned?

Anstruther Wedding 1950's - Arncroach School

Looking back on schools 50-100 years ago, we can clearly see that expectations were different and discipline was different. Were children able to follow directions and instructions better back then? I run a pretty tight ship in terms of classroom expectations and usually my routines and procedures work for most students. Why don’t they work for those few children? If I compared the kid’s parents¬†who follow directions¬†to¬†the kid’s parents¬†who don’t/can’t, would I see¬†a huge difference in how they run their household?
Kids Cooking Squad
My second wonder is how parent’s behavior towards their child affects behavior in newborns. We have close friends who have a 2 month old, and I honestly feel sorry for them sometimes! Our poor friends try their very hardest to get their daughter to stop crying, but it seems like nothing works sometimes! My friend has read all the books with different opinions about just letting her cry it out, or trying to soothe the baby, but she still ends up asking, “What is wrong? Why won’t you stop crying?”¬†I wonder how the parent’s behavior changes the babies. If parents run to their baby every time they cry, do they cry more often? If parents bounce and rock their babies, does it change the baby’s response and daily behavior? Seeing our friends parent sure makes me think about what I will do when I am a parent! Obviously it’s not as black and white as it seems. Will I be able to stick to one method, Baby Wise for example, or will I end up trying everything and anything?

If I’m completely honest with you, I err on the side of nurture.¬† I tend to think that parenting has a lot to do with how you behave in school or life.¬† I look at how I was brought up, and I see a direct correlation between my behaviour and my parent’s behaviour.¬† I think of what was tolerated in my home, and what wasn’t.¬† I look at the routines and procedures of our household and how they parallel routines and procedures at school. I like to think I was well behaved because I was raised to be!

This is me as a child. I am clearly well behaved- just look at me!

But honestly… I think it also just gives me an excuse and person to blame when I can’t seem to get some of my students to listen to my directions! Can’t be the teacher’s fault, must be the parents! LOL

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Dear parents…

Posted on July 27, 2011. Filed under: Blog on Blogging, edublog, educational, Kindergarten, parents, personal, reflection | Tags: , |

#Kinderblog

Imagine that a parent of one of your students, stumbling around the internet, happened to land on your blog. Not your class blog with your cute photos of all your munchkins and their amazing brilliant work. Your personal teacher-reflection blog, the one where your intended audience is mostly other teachers. Pretend that parent managed to figure out exactly who you were, and that you were their child’s teacher. What would you want that parent to know? What would you say to that parent? Write the letter that you would want that parent to read.

Dear Parents,
I want you to know more then anything that I love your kids. I really do! I try to tell them I love them at least every couple weeks so that they KNOW it and inadvertently, you know it as well. That said, you may have come across my blog, my Twitter account, or my Facebook statuses, and you may have seen that I sometimes write about your children.

I do in fact talk/blog/write about your kids often! They are important to me, and they are a huge part of my day, so of course I talk about my experiences with them.
I want you to know that I try to be very careful when I am talking about your kids. I try not to use their names, and I try not to write about anything that could be hurtful, embarassing, or confidential. That said, I have made mistakes in the past, and I have said and shared things that have later come back to bite me in the butt. I have learned my lesson, and thankfully, none of these things have been online. I am trying very hard to learn where discretion needs to be used, and who I can professionally talk to when I am struggling with a situation.  I will try to explain to you how and why I talk about your kids in the different outlets I use.


Speaking/talking in person: I sometimes have good days and I sometimes have bad days at work. You may or may not be surprised to hear this, but sometimes your 5 year old makes me go crazy! When I come home, I usually share with my husband why my day was crazy. He usually laughs with me at how crazy kids can be, and how I try to handle the tornado that is Kindergarten some days. Other days, something your child says really makes me think, or it makes me sad. Sometimes it has to do with what your home is like. Don’t worry, I’m not judging you as a parent or caregiver. I am just empathizing with your 5 year olds version of what is going on in their little world.¬† I’m trying to make sense of it in light of my own experience. On these days, I might share your child’s story with another trusted staff member or friend; it helps me gain perspective.¬† Sometimes, when your child’s story has really impacted my day, I pray for you and your family, and entrust you into God’s hands because we all know¬†my reach can only go so far.


Blogging: Parent, you may have stumbled across my personal blog and read some articles that talked about our classroom, my own teaching, or maybe even your own child. This blog post was probably written when I was unsure about something, and struggling with what I should say or do.¬†My blog is one of¬†the outlets I use¬†to talk things out. I quite often¬†ask for other people reading the post to comment and tell me what they think I should do.¬† Usually, I¬†hope another teacher reads my post and¬†leaves a comment¬†with¬†their advice on the situation. Sometimes people comment, and other times no one comments, and the conversation ends there. Either way, I hope you can¬†see that the topic I wrote about was important to me; whether that topic was¬†your child, our classroom, or my own teaching pedagogy.¬† Whatever it was, it¬†mattered enough to me to take the time out of my day¬†to write out my thoughts. I’m not the most consistent blogger, so when I do blog about something, it matters! Please don’t feel strange that I shared about your child, or my classroom issues online. It should make you¬†feel valued. I value your child and their peers enough to write about them and try and get a response that will help your child, his/her classroom, and the way I teach your child.¬† I promise you, I am blogging about the situation so that I can be a reflective teacher who has the best tools in hand to educate your child.


Facebook:¬†If you are a parent of my student, chances are¬†that I most likely don’t have you on Facebook. If you have¬†added me as a friend, I probably accepted because I feel like I have nothing to hide from you, and you’re probably a really cool person.¬† That said, I am not the type of person that goes out looking for Facebook friends usually ever, so don’t feel bad if you are not my Facebook friend. However, if you are, you have probably seen that I put “kinderquotes” up quite frequently. These are little quotes that your child and his/her peers say throughout the day. I try and¬†write them down because I think they are hilarious,¬†but I have no one to share them with during the day. I hope you understand that when I write these¬†quotes on Facebook,¬†I am not making fun of your child, or laughing at your child.¬† Instead, I am¬†enjoying them at this age and sharing that joy with others who don’t get to work with the wonderful age group that I do. I get so many¬†Facebook friends¬†telling me that they love it when I put up kinderquotes because it brightens their day. That’s how I feel. When your child says something funny or cute, it brightens my day as well!¬† And don’t all of us need a little sunshine in our day?
I hope this helps you understand why I talk about your children, and how I do want what’s best for them. However, if you ever have any issues with me putting information or stories about your child online, please don’t hesitate to let me know, and I will take them off immediately. Your best wishes for your child are most important to me.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Maley

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