Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Reading Books and Incorporating the Ideas in the Classroom

When I read I tend to write in my books or jot notes in a journal. I plan on continuing to do this. When a journal fills up I get a new one. At one time I had many different journals for different aspects of my life and now I just keep one. It has a leather cover and the inside can be refilled. I recently talked about using Google Notes to keep track of a few things. I am currently using it to track progress of my goals for the year. I am also beginning to use it for keeping track of ideas from books. I titled one of the notebooks Research and Development. The nice thing is that each notebook can have sections with notes in them. I believe this way I will be more able to implement ideas from books. I can keep the same types of ideas together or I can keep all the notes from a book together. I can move my notes around. I can access them from any computer. I can easy copy and paste things from the internet that I see into my notebook as well. I can also share my notebooks with others.

Do you ever read a great book that has lots of ideas and things you can implement in the classroom? What do you do with the information you learn? How do you incorporate it?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Can It Start So Early?

I have a few comments and a few questions. Tonight, I was at Ambercrombie with my niece. I had gotten her a shirt there recently but it didn't fit so we had to go back to get a larger size. She is an average nine year old. (Please keep in mind that the smallest pants size there is a ten which she is beginning to wear. ) She will be 10 in May. I had picked out one og the t-shirts assuming she would be a small because she is only 9. When we went back tonight, we had to buy a large. I know that sizes are just sizes because I am an adult. But do all young people get that? And we wonder why we have young women with eating disorders.
Another thing I should mention is that we would not ever let our girlies wear skin tight clothing even if that is the look. There are already people in the world that we have to protect our children from because they are unnaturally drawn to them. Why dress our children in a fashion that draws the wrong kind of attention? Perhaps, I have no business being in that store feeling the way I do. However, at the same time it is just one of the many stores that are like that. I do not want my nine year old niece or any other girl developing the idea that she doesn't look the way she should.

What are your thoughts? What can be done?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Book Recommendation

I would like to recommend Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students By Their Brains by LouAnne Johnson. She is the author of the book My Posse Don't Do Homework. It covers subjects from classroom management, being prepared for a new year, motivating students, and shares some time and energy savers. I am currently re-reading this book and getting more out of it the second time. You will probably see me post about different things she has reminded me of or taught me through the book.

Student Participation in Discussion

Most often I am finding that the same students participate in discussions or respond to questions in the classroom. One thing that I have seen in some classrooms is an action that students do when they agree with something said or were going to respond in a similar fashion. A few actions I have seen include snapping, giving two thumbs up or patting themselves on the head. I like this because it gives the students an opportunity to do something instead of blurting "I was going to say that." I believe that it demonstrates who is tracking along with the discussion and who is thinking the same thing.
I have also found that there are different ways that I would like students to respond in different situations. There are times I would like students to raise their hands. Other times I want to hear the first thing that they think by saying it spontaneously. Yet, at times I would like students to think before they respond. LouAnne Johnson recommends teaching all three of those ways in Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students by Their Brains. She discusses it on pages 90-92. She suggests explaining each and making a visual to display for what types of responses you expect in a discussion. I am going to implement this in my classroom.
She also talks about how beneficial wait time can be in some discussions. It is amazing the type of responses that you can hear after giving students some time to think. She states that "Students who normally didn't respond began raising their hands, and their thoughtful comments inspired deeper thinking from the quick thinkers." (pg. 92) I have found this to be true even in an early childhood classroom.

How do you get students to participate? What kind of procedures do you use for classroom discussion? Do you have any stories or comments about using thinking time before allowing students to respond?