Saturday, August 28, 2010

Passive Collaboration...Poetry in Motion

Combine some emerging poets, some photographers and a musician willing to share and you get a great finished product.  The best thing is that not only were the children beginning to learn how to create haiku, but they were also beginning to analyze photos and font styles and colors and beginning to learn how to share their message most effectively.  (Even better is when they can use their own photography or artwork of course.) Enjoy!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little Me and Report Card Comments - Is It Too Late to Request a Conference?

Here is a reflection, as best as I can get it, of my report cards from elementary school.  I don't remember much about my report cards.  But, as I wrote about previously, luckily I have some saved documents to help with the foggy parts.  

I don't know about you, but in the elementary school where I teach writing report card comments takes a lot of work.  It takes weeks of reflection, review, and careful crafting of words.  But, I guess when you only have a five-inch line and a pen as your comment tools, there just isn't that much to say.  Here are seven years (my eighth grade report card seems to be missing) of report card comments.  I bet I can type them faster than it takes me to write one report card comment for one of my second graders!  I am not meaning to be critical of my teachers - only pointing out how different things are now.

Grade One
Maryann is a pleasure!!
Maryann is doing 100% work!!! (Notice how I improved as shown by the extra exclamation point.)
It has been my pleasure working with you and Maryann.

Grade Two
Maryann is a very good worker but tends to be too serious. (I'm pretty sure this isn't a good thing!!)
Maryann seems much more relaxed.
Everything is fine! Maryann is working very well.

Maryann has been a pleasure to teach.

Grade Three
Despite a few bouts with illness, Maryann has kept up in her work and is doing a very good job.
I am pleased with Maryann's work.
Maryann is a good student.

Grade Four
Marianne is a pleasure to teach. (And apparently I changed the spelling of my name.)
Marianne helped to make this year a pleasant one for me! (Glad I could be of service!)

Grade Five
Maryann is a joy to teach and to know. (Usually I'm a pleasure to teach, but OK, I'll be a joy this year.)
Maryann continues to do very well.
Maryann adds much to the spirit of the class.
Maryann has been a joy all year. (Whew!  I was going for a record - one full year of joy!)

Grade Six
No comments...Maybe they were on another piece of paper?  Or maybe I was just not that memorable!

Grade Seven
Maryann is a pleasant and industrious student.
God bless you, Maryann!  Happy summer :) (Two exclamation points and a smile - the original smile emoticon)

So, I didn't find much out about me by reading my old report card comments.  I did discover I got a "C" in religion in first grade - what is THAT?  I really don't get C's, but I don't think my religion teacher knew that during the first marking period of first grade (She switched to B's for the rest of the year.)  So I do have some questions for my elementary teachers.  I wonder where they are these days and if they're taking appointments!!

One thing I did learn is that I will NOT be using pleasure or pleasant in any of my report cards comments this year, for sure!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Watch Out for Stupid!

It took me a while to realize that the "S" word to second graders is not the same as it what adults might think.  I used to be horrified when a student would report, "Mrs. Molishus, Betty said the "S" word!"  But now I know that the "S" word to second graders is "stupid."  To young children, this is a terrible word, an awful thing!  And, in education, for sure, they are right.  But, if the word fits...

Over the last few years I have gotten into the habit of doing a Google search for "stupidity in education" sometime during the summer, before the start of the new school year.  There's always something interesting to read.  It's a great way to reflect on what kind of teacher you want to be and what kind of teacher you don't want to be.  And, hopefully, it will remind you to be active in bringing about change when you encounter situations that are, well, stupid.

You don't have to agree with these pieces, but they will get you thinking...

Is Stupid the New Black?

On Stupidity, Part Two

Engineering in Elementary Schools (some harsh language)

Productively Stupid (a good thing actually)

Have a great school year!