Thoughts About Children

The Hearts of the School…

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I have learned through all my experiences as a teacher, there are those special individuals besides the classroom teacher that enhance a warm and caring climate …for children…One of those is a strong support staffThese special people interact with the children out side of the classroom… And their interactions are extremely beneficial to the care and welfare of children…

The first I need to recognize are those busy, caring office personnel; never too busy, to handle the many situations that occur each and everyday… Even before the day officially starts…These wonderful people utilize their talents to answer concerns that adults may have, and that particular child needing assistance, and moreover they will always find the time to wipe away the tears when a child needs some love…The office personnel are most times, the first to meet parents and make that initial important contact, even before they meet with their child’s classroom teacher…

Another caring person we teachers can not say enough about is the importance of the school nurse… she or he is that loving pair of hands that is there for those medical needs of children … Along with the many medical talents and duties a school nurse is responsible for, besides the dispensing of the medications and taking care of cuts and scrapes … is taking that extra time to be a good listener to that child in need or just may need to look for a warm jacket on a cold morning to finding dry clothes if a little one has an accident…

A warm and caring climate would not be successful without the caring support of the custodial staff...They not only have the important task of keeping the school clean and safe…Being many times understaffed, they are utilized to their full talents and capacity…They also are another pair of hands or heart, when a child needs just that…love…

Through my experiences. I must add how the cafeteria and cafeteria staff affect the climate of the school…They are the providers of nutritious meals for the children prepared with love and care… The cafeteria is that meeting place in the mornings where all the children are provided breakfast… For many children this meal is free and most need to get the day started on that full tummy…and warm hearts…Helping with their success in the classroom…

Lunch time too is a very important part of the children’s day… The cafeteria staff provides another nutritious meal, however now due to government constrains will no longer be so nutritious, and may be no longer free for those children in need… Lunch time is a favorite time for children to socialize appropriately… Caring support staff monitors children’s needs giving them loving attention…

In addition, I can not forget the many other support teachers who reinforce curriculum… providing academic support for those children in need, and moreover another loving heart…

When children have the opportunity to play out doors, a strong Physical Education Program provides just the right skills children need to learn; how to play cooperatively with a love and appreciation for good health through their exerciseHowever, because of funds and schedules, this may just be once a week… A physical education teacher provides this important knowledge and the necessary skills children need with the awareness of each child’s abilities and development…

However, children may get another opportunity to free play at recess, which they need and love…and gives them more time to practice cooperation and social skills … This free play time releases their pent up energy from the hours in the classroom…Sadly, recess may not be allowed due to governmental constraints…

Art and music are wonderful programs where children have an opportunity to utilize their creativity and release emotions constructively… These creatively talented, loving teachers who teach the arts, give their time to children to enable free expression …Many children who may not be strong in academics, may find success, love and passion through the arts!!!! Music and art teachers are a strong support to enhance this creativity and free expression children…

We can not forget to recognize bus drivers who are a special group of men and women… who are responsible for children getting to and from school each day…Our bus drivers must take extra precautions for the welfare of children…. Children safety is the utmost importance…Children may have had a hard morning or a challenging day… The bus driver, with a loving heart and driving skills, must utilize all his or her talents making sure the children will arrive safe and sound…And we must say thank you!

A warm and caring school climate impacts the hearts of children hopefully enabling them to have a successful education….And feel loved!!!

Reflections, Thoughts About Children

Celebrate…100 days!…

Monday, February 3rd  will be our “100 days”  of the school year celebration… This is a milestone for us… On this special occasion, learning activities, especially in math will    commemorate this special milestone…

” What can we count using the magical number”100″?

“If you were given $100.00, how would you spend the money?

At this time, first graders are realizing they can do  more learning becoming active in their learning; listening and following teacher directions; becoming more independent…I can read!

Now, we  are more than half way on the path to becoming a second grader!

Continue reading “Celebrate…100 days!…”

Reflections

Our Classroom…

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Teaching since 1972, I have taught first grade for over twenty of those years; learning from my vast experiences with children ; to which I have acquired such knowledge associated teaching grades ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade, in addition to teaching student teachers at the college level…I have formed strong feelings about how important the first grade is, in a child’s education…

It  is my opinion,  first grade lays the foundation for learning…Especially when teaching children of diversity,  I feel it does take a strong, nurturing, effective teacher…A first grade teacher begins the process of taking  the child from kindergarten; which has the responsibility to socialize and begin  the process; into being more formal and structured…This process, not every child is ready nor willing to make…It is the teacher’s role to help facilitate this process…I feel it does take that strong, loving, structured approach…

The classroom is where this “magic” takes place… The process begins at the very beginning of the school year when you meet your students with parents during “Meet the Teacher”…This is a wonderful time to informally evaluate the children, and their interactions with parents, in  the classroom…This is where I start assessing through my observations…I can find out just in that brief interaction if they may be outgoing or a reserved  child…Questions about their likes and dislikes get answered, as well…Will they be ready or apprehensive about their first grade experience…This first meeting with the child is just an indication…Not all children get to come, nor have a parent that comes to this event…And moreover, every child is different….A teacher must be flexible to “go with the flow”…

Teaching children from diversity,  the preparation, and how I will provide the structure is essential…Room arrangement with displays with books, computers, literacy stations in writing, science, social studies, math, and ‘eye catching’  bulletin boards need to be part of this preparation to make the “room”  a warm, fun “eye-catching”, safe place to learn…

Having a strong plan for behavior management  that goes along with the school plan, must be flexible enough to  meet the needs of the children, is essential for success…Every child is different, and how I would handle these particular issues in a positive and proactive plan needs to help facilitate  the learning that may interfere with our learning and keep our classroom safe…

Successfully teaching first grade does take many hours to prepare..Much of this preparation is before the new year begins…My goal is to facilitate learning that will inspire my children to have a great year and a strong foundation in the curriculum…that will carry them on their journey; love school and learning….

Reflections

Teaching and Technology

Today teachers do need to be proficient in technology; demonstrating their expertise utilizing  all that is necessary to teach children… 

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We have smartboards that have taken the place of the chalk board;white board….  We utilize the computer to communicate with teachers, administration, and even with parents through our webpages ..Lesson plans and grades are all required to be done on the computer where information can be shared….Children are required to learn math and reading skills on the many websites that are available on the computer…along with learning to access information for  research on the computer …Keeping lists of websites and computer resources are a must for today’s teacher…

When I first began in 1972,  all I had to be concerned with was a ditto machine  and overhead projector…Even back then,  I was not comfortable utilizing  technology…And now, a teacher of today must be able to keep up with all the demands of technology…I have had to learn…

I was not a willing participant…I am a Baby Boomer, not savvy in this new technology…When I taught fifth grade, my students helped me boot the system up and access what was necessary back in the “nineties”…I was even known to take out a computer… destroy the Mother Board…My reputation on my faculty was that I needed to stay away from computers;  I was  quite dangerous…

I  am proud to say with the turn of the century in this new millenium, I have learned how to become somewhat computer literate…I am not too proud to ask for help, and I have been determined to teach this “old dog a new trick”….As I have told my children many times: “Never Give Up”!

Reflections

Being a Role Model

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I have always believed my being a teacher,  I would  be in such a position to influence the many children I teach…

Accepting  and implementing  this realization;  My  being a positive role model, is a very important responsibility; not which I take lightly… Moreover, because I have taken on this responsibility;  It has been my opinion that I  need to demonstrate through my style and even my appearance , essential values that would teach my students how to balance their need to belong and be social to become a critical thinker, a person of integrity, and one who who would respect and accept our differences…

I have believed to accomplish this; I have had  to utilize my  flair for drama, art, and my professionalism thus making my  classroom warm, structured and a safe environment  that would foster such values as: having a strong work ethic;  practicing kindness with our classmates and others ; learning to be honest and speaking the truth; learning how to cooperate and work through conflicts with their words; and especially the understanding and acceptance of our differences…

Hopefully, the outcome for my students would be to learn and appreciate values that they will need to become  active and productive adults…living a true life… 

I feel the children of today who live in poverty, many  of the children that I teach, do not have positive role models to guide them with the choices they make ; Therefore, I have had to be  that  strong influence in their  lives…Hopefully making that difference…

Reflections

Facilitating Teaching Through Inspiration

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When I first began, I found  children were more ready to learn…They came to school in a time when lives were less  complex, and there was not a definite distinction of those that have or those that do not…I really did not have to worry so much about my creativity,  and  it was not an issue to utilize any definitive skill in my teaching…Children learned and were inspired…I could just teach and enjoy…

It was a simpler time… And moreover, this was during the  time when children of color finally were “permitted” to attend; during Integration and Civil Rights; early ’70’s…. It was understood the every child was there to learn and wanted to learn… Parents sent their children to learn… Those  were  the values shared by “all”.

Today’s world is so much different ;and  my teaching has had to meet those needs to continue to  facilitate this love of learning…Our children may not always come prepared, and not by their choice but because of some economic or parental instability in their home life…They may come to school hungry, sleepy, or ill prepared because they did not have a time to do  their homework….These precious children  live in chaos… 

I am a stronger teacher…My love for my children and passion for teaching is all that  is important… I will provide these essential  skills,  safety, and enthusiasm in my classroom  …I will facilitate their learning and love for  learning….