Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quit Making it About RACE!

I have to let you in on a secret. I’m a black parent.  My parents are black, as are my grandparents.  My siblings and I have experienced academic success, as have many of the black students with whom we went to school.  As an educator, I have plenty of black students who are successful.  Some of them come from more affluent homes, and some come from homes where resources are low.

My sister reading to her children, niece, and nephew at a recent family gathering

So when I read this article, I became very angry.  The point of the article was that there are factors that affect educational outcomes for poor children.  However, as I was reading, I came across the paragraphs that state:

White adults spend 36 percent more time than black adults reading to young children, and three times more time talking with and listening to them, according to research Morsy and Rothstein cite. White parents not only read more to their children, they offer more guidance and are more strategic about helping children build their literacy skills.
By age 6, white children typically have spent 1,300 more hours engaged in conversations with adults than black children have. White parents also tend to offer their children more choices in daily life, helping them to think through decisions and consequences, which are important skills that prepare them for critical thinking, according to the research.
So are they trying to say that black parents are inferior to white parents and black children to white children? I don’t believe that was the point at all.  The researchers based their data on black children from low income families and white children from more affluent families.  This is where they made a mistake.  In their attempt to better understand the role of poverty, they focused on RACE.  It would have been better to eliminate the race factor and compare (black) children from low-income families to (black) children from more affluent families. [Sub any other race in the parentheses.] 

I am sure that the authors meant well when writing this article.  But we as educators must be careful when tackling issues like this.  After all, it isn’t a black/white issue that affects educational outcomes, but a poverty issue. 
I am blogging over at The Gavit Educator.  See this post and many others from my Gavit family.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

I'm Having a Giveaway!

This giveaway has ended.  Be sure to follow me on my blog so that you don't miss the next giveaway.

I am undertaking my first major giveaway!  I have been challenged to increase the number of followers I have in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and the number of likes on my Facebook page, so I am asking for your help.  After helping me in this endeavor, you will receive my Library Organization Mega-Pack (Value: $10) for free.

Get all of this for free! Just complete the three tasks below. 

Complete these three tasks to receive your free gift:

1.  Click here and become a follower in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  (Bonus: New products that I post are marked down 75% for the first 48 hours as a thank you for being a follower.  You will receive an e-mail notification when I post new products so that you can be among the first to preview them.)

2. Like my Facebook page.

3.  Fill in this form and hit submit.
That's it!  You should receive your link to download my Library Organization Mega-Pack within 24 hours.

Thanks for participating in my first giveaway.  This giveaway is open until Wednesday, July 29th.  Be sure to tune in for my next giveaway!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Test Prep and Interactive PowerPoint Series: Fairy Tale Edition

For too many years, when I faced an educational dilemma that seemed unsolvable, I shrugged my shoulders, thought, "Oh well.  What can I do?" and moved on with my teaching to the best of my ability.
Teacher image by Clipart Panda

After examining several costly alternatives to the aforementioned dilemmas, the Lord gave me the knowledge and skill to create my own system that could be used with middle school students in order to address each of my concerns.  Here are the highlights of my Test Prep and Interactive PowerPoint series:
Teacher Image by Phillip Martin

Since this program was created in PowerPoint, using it is as simple as opening the presentation and running it.  Most teachers and students are familiar with PowerPoint, so there is no need to spend extensive time learning the program. Additionally, using PowerPoint eliminates the need for internet access to run the program.  This alleviates the problem of wasted class time due to internet crashes or slow connections.

Click the image to download your free preview of all four installments. 

The four part series is now available here.

Click the image to go to this product in my TpT store. 
I encourage you to partner with other teachers in your building and use this system across grade levels. This way, teachers can pool their financial resources and provide students with research-based, best practice instruction without breaking the bank.

 Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  I am more than happy to help in any way that I can.

Friday, July 17, 2015

ANOTHER NEW ASSESSMENT?!?! (For Hammond Schools)

Sometimes we feel a little bit like this.  The overwhelming number of tests, data, and changes made to our already organized curriculum sometimes make us want to ________________________.

What if I told you that we were no longer going to administer Acuity and SRI?  What if we could give a combined assessment that gives us information about exactly what our students have mastered and what they are ready to learn?  Imagine if the data were based off of more than just one or two questions.  Well, guess what?  That’s what’s happening during the 2015-2016 school year! 



Read the rest of this post over at The Gavit Educator.  
***Ideas for the first part of this post were taken from a presentation put together by a group of teachers from Hammond High. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Let's Get Organized!

Now that we’ve had an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate, it is time to start thinking about the upcoming school year.  I like to take a bit of time before students return to reorganize my classroom.  Are you the same way?  As I am organizing, I love to have everything I need at my fingertips.  This includes letters, numbers, and symbols to set up by bulletin board displays, labels for the inside of my books, and larger labels for book bins.

 When it comes time to set up my bulletin board displays, I like to have all of the letters, numbers, and symbols I need.  Too many times, I’ve had to sort through my letters only to come up short by one or two letters. That is extremely frustrating!  I either have to stop what I’m doing and run to the store to purchase an additional set---for just one or two letters, or change my display.  Now, I simply print out what I want to spell, laminate the letters, and I am good to go.  This cuts down tremendously on the time it takes to set up my classroom.  (Since they are laminated and I sometimes use the same words each year, I don’t have to take the time to reprint and re-laminate everything.)

As a reading teacher, I am constantly adding new books to my classroom library.  It is so nice to have labels ready to go so that I can put in the genre and the reading level and get it into the correct bin.  Taking the time to do this cuts down on the amount of books students leave laying around.   Since my bins are labeled as well, student helpers can easily put books in their proper location.

After ten years in the middle school classroom, I created an organizational system that helps me quickly and efficiently label my classroom library.  I’ve bundled my organizational products and listed them at a discounted price in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Download your free sample here

Click the picture below to go to this product.

Have a great year!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Why Does Poverty Affect Student Learning? -Part 3

Naomi was watching something on her iPad the other day and the video ended.  She begin furiously pushing on the screen in hopes of bringing back the video.  She also started yelling in frustration.  Imagine that.  My sweet girl acting in such a manner!  This is not the first time she's exhibited inappropriate behavior.   Sometimes when she wants something, she says, "Mommy, I want juice now!"  She will continue to repeat the phrase in a whiny tone, even if I am talking to Ben or trying to finish up a task.  Furthermore, if someone is playing with a toy that Naomi wants, she'll say, "It's mine!  I want it!"  I was aghast to find out that when Naomi was playing with her cousin last week ...

Read the rest of this post over at The Gavit Educator. 
My sweet girl-It's hard to imagine that she would behave in such a way!  Just kidding.  She is a toddler who must be taught proper responses.