Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Conference Teachings

My last blog went off on a little tangent, but now I wanted to talk about the conference-These are not my own comments-think about some of these things:

"Self discipline is a better indicator of ability than IQ"-how a kid sustains thought and takes information over a period of time is what counts.

Giving a test every unit is not teaching-think about it-how long does a kid retain that information? Not long-how are you engaging kids to sustain thought? School shouldn't be about, "Guess what the teacher already knows."

We are passing up kids because we have not enlisted kids' energy in learning-we keep going by them. We want kids to buy into the system of learning. We underestiamte what kids can do.

Why can't you give up content to focus on teaching kids how to think about content?

If I do not express care or interest in students, EVERY student, they will not learn from me.

We need to model every skill we want kids to learn-we need to be writing with our kids, showing them our own thoughts, giving them Background knowledge, setting purpose-

We the teachers are the chief interrupters that takes students away from that long-term thinking that they may be forming.

CCIRA Conference

I went to the CCIRA conference this year, a conference on literacy. There are some things I will be sharing in ournext meeting, but i wanted to throw out some ideas for oyu to ponder. I really want more people (especially in other content areas)to come to this next year. It is truly valuable and has changed the face of my teaching in some ways. Karl asked me to share some ideas. One major presumption I want to address here: We talk about "READING"! OOH, scary word, I know. But, I do not know how to teach phonics, decoding, etc.; but I do know how to teach my kids to THINK! Literacy is everything: reading, writing, speaking, listening and more importantly, THINKING and being aware of your own cognitive processes. I do not think there is one teacher who could refute that they don't do these things. So, maybe, we need to change our language. I teach Reading Strategies; I don't teach kids how to read or to decode words; I teach them how to think more engagingly, thougtfully and actively about texts they are given so that they can create meaning to utlimately understand what they read. I'll be honest, I've heard all too many times that, "I have too much curriculum to cover to teach reading." I too have certain content that I must cover, but I'm going to teach my kids how to think about it more. The one response is just an excuse and people think that they have to have a background in literacy or reading to get the big picture. YOU DON'T! We need to engage our kids and if you are just leaving them out there assuming that they can create menaing from the information you want them to learn, without giving them the tools or secrets to be successful, you are setting them up to fail and to be mediocre. By passing this by, we are defeating our kids; we aren't creating these kids that we all want to be thoughtful, questioning everything, coming up with their own conclusions (you know, the whole constructivist approach). I'm not meanign to sound cynical, but I am not a literacy expert; but I had to learn new ideas/concepts/strategies that were going to help my kids become successful. I think we all need tobe doing this, and we all proabably are, if we are going to make and create change. I guess all I am asking is for our group to keep an open mind, and not sluff off the idea because you have too many other things to cover. Sometimes, the skill is more important than the content. So, get READING out of your head; think about how teaching kids how to think more thoughtfully about the reading you give in your content area will benefit them in the long run. If you're doing just one thing, then you are setting your kids up to be more successful and not feel defeated by the reading given to them.

The Life of a Teacher

I don't know about you guys-but I have hit the time of the year where everything has come to a pinnacle of mass stress, grading, teaching,conferencing and everything that we do day in and out that continues to compile-So, for those of you who are keeping up with your blogs, answering prompts and so on, I applaud you. I know these are excuses, but to me they are pretty good ones. Yet, I am still blogging before we meet-better late than never I guess. Anyone else feeling extreme stress right now?