How Young is Too Young?

So, a couple of posts ago I created a poll about how much cell phone use my readers planned for on a weekly basis. I was saddened to find out that there are still so many districts that ban cell phone usage in school. I don’t understand this rule. I understand that if it is not monitored enough it can become a problem, however, it can also be one of the best tools used in the classroom. I, for one, would love more training on how I could incorporate them more frequently into my lessons.

Now, in saying all that….as a parent, I was against allowing my kids to have a cell phone prior to the age of 16. My reasoning was that up to that point my husband or I  would be the one driving them here and there. We would know their location, who they were with, etc. But I was convinced when my son was 11, and entered the sixth grade, to go ahead and let him get a phone. My best friend taught in middle school and said it would/could be beneficial to him. So, I caved and allowed it. It has become a precious commodity and therefore is an awesome bargaining tool. I take it when he doesn’t act right, at home and/or at school. The good side is if he has football practice and gets out early he is able to call me easier.

Here is my question, at what age would you allow your child to have a cell phone?

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How Much Info Do You Leave for Your Substitutes?

OK….. I am in the process of getting reactivated as a sub in my district.  Part of this process is watching videos and answering questions to show my understanding. One section was all about special education and the role of a teacher and a substitute teacher. Now, here is where it got interesting; It said that the everyday teacher is supposed to leave the accommodations of students with IEP’s and  504’s for the substitute.  In all of my years of training, I have been told those documents are for mine, the resource teacher’s, and administration’s eyes only.  Have I been taught wrong and been neglectful in leaving this information for my substitute teachers or was I taught correctly? The majority of substitute teachers are not certified and therefore have not been fully trained on any of these documents.

What are your thoughts??

Cell Phones in the Classroom..(Poll Entry)

In today’s classrooms, the majority of students have a cell phone in their possession. However, many educators stay away of incorporating them into the classrooms. Please answer the poll below to tell how much cell phone usage you incorporate weekly into your classroom.

 

Personal Narrative Essay (video entry)

This past school year my sixth graders learned about how to construct a personal narrative. This was rather confusing to them because they were used to the more formal way of five paragraphs, stay in the third person, etc. During this time I was taking a YouTube class at BSU, so I went there to help find something that would help teach the points of a Personal Narrative Essay or PNE!

I found many options but like I said in a previous post, many of my students liked the entertainment value especially when it came to an educational video. So, low and behold I found an awesome one! This lesson on personal narratives has all of the elements my students needed to stay engaged and participate in class discussion. I was very proud of them. Plus, they like the fact she used “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam to help illustrate all of the required elements on a PNE.

Here’s an Idea…Audio Post

So, if there is one I have learned is that keeping parents informed is more important in elementary and middle school versus high school. There are many different methods one can choose to stay in contact, such as email, the Remind 101 app, newsletters, physical letters sent home, and via a website.  A few semesters ago in one of my BSU classes, we were asked to create three podcasts, on anything we wanted as long as all three were related. So, I decided to create a newletter-style podcast. Many parents do not read all of the emails I send or even open the online newsletters. But I thought that if I could text them a no more than three-minute message they may listen. So the following links are the three podcasts I created. I actually used my newsletters I sent home with students.

Substitute Teachers….

As a certified teacher, I understand and know how important it is to get a GOOD substitute teacher.  I have had subs that acted like a warm body in the classroom and I have has subs that went above and beyond….so those are the subs I appreciate the most. I am not saying I am not appreciative of all subs in general because they come into my classroom and attempt to maintain control and ordinance. But to those subs that are accountable, are not push overs, and leave my classroom clean, those are the ones I ask to sub again and again.

This upcoming school year, I will be subbing again because I have not found a permanent teaching position. This saddens me, but I know what I look for in a sub when I am teaching and therefore strive to be the best sub ever when I am asked to do so.

When the school year begins I hope, if you are a teacher, you will find a substitute teacher that will be the best one you have ever encountered. If you are a sub please remember to go by the teacher instructions and do as they ask. Because if there is one thing teachers do not appreciate, it is a sub who decides to make a lesson of their own versus what the teacher needs them to do!

 

P.S. to teachers …..always leave a seating chart! It makes a sub’s life so much easier. =)

To Be or Not To Be….a Digital Native?

In this week’s reading, there is a notion that students today are considered “digital natives” because they have grown up surrounded by computers and video games. It is believed by one of the authors, Prensky, that the students of today (the Digitial Natives) have different “thinking patterns” versus previous generations, such as the Baby Boomers.

I am of the generation that is considered “Generation X.” There were not many computers when I went to school. My first computer lab was in 8th grade and “Oregon Trail” was da bomb! LOL  My school still had a Typing Class, not a Keyboarding Class….and yes there is a difference! So, to suffice it to say I did not get much training on computers until my college years and beyond. Therefore, more of my teachers and my own learning required me to use actual books and dig for answers.  Now, I say all of this because I don’t think today’s students have a different thinking pattern they just have a new way of gathering answers. This is why it so important for teachers to change their instructional strategies in the classroom. Not because they think differently but because their way of searching is different.

I know this to be true just from observing my own classes. Students would much rather scour several different websites versus sit in a library and find books on their subject. Also, there is the instant gratification that is prevalent in today’s students….thank you Google. Many strategies have a kind of “entertainment” value. I know for my own classrooms I have looked for such items as a YouTube video, Powtoons, or something else animated to use in the classroom versus me just handing out the information for them to copy.

So, on the notion of Digital Natives…I agree and disagree. I disagree with Prensky when he said, “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” (2001, Pg. 1). I think our educational system is designed to teach all students no matter what generation they were born. I do think they are digital natives because of the different instructional strategies that need to be employed by educators to reach today’s students. The use of more technology whether it is different hardware, software, or applications replace yesterdays pen, paper, encyclopedia, dictionary, etc.

Comment below and let me know what you think!

 

References:

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants – Part II: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon, 9(6). Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf