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Summer School pt. 2

The second session of summer school begins next Monday. I'm going to take a few days away from Blogland and get my lesson plans in order, and focus on teaching ideas. This has been consuming a lot of my time lately, and I want to make sure I'm effective.

I'm looking for some more good teacher links. If you know of any, please let me know in the comments section.

I've also seen this on another blog, but not sure if you did, so here's something I had e-mailed to me once... kind of neat:

"Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Txes M&A Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe." (Anonymous)


Coaching and Teaching

I started coaching volleyball before I started teaching. I was lucky enough to get a job coaching high school volleyball while going to college. It was a way to make some extra money, work on my teaching skills, and be around the sport that I love.

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Looking back at that time period, I realize now that I really learned a lot of great teaching strategies, and a lot of patience. Coaching in a way has molded me into the type of teacher that I am. I guess in essence, I look at it as a competitive thing. I want all my students to succeed, and I challenge myself, and them, to achieve goals. Just the same with volleyball. I have had much success in regard to wins and losses. I have also had players tell me that they learned to love the game, which means a lot to me.

In volleyball, the things that I stressed were that if we use our heads, and play smart, we already have an advantage. Then we go on to strategies that will give us more advantages, which of course involves fundamentals and skill-building.

In teaching I go through similar conversations. "Yes, you will need to know how to multiply, because you're going to be working on more complex problems next year." A very important aspect in the classroom, at least for me, is a positive attitude. Believing something can be accomplished.

I feel the same way on the volleyball court. The team has to believe in me, and I in turn come up with techniques that will get us above the competition.

I really do feel that coaching and teaching help each other out. I know for sure that coaching has molded me into a more passionate teacher. And I do feel that my teaching strategies have helped me get my ideas across more thoroughly on the court.


Current Scenario for Teachers

I'd have to say that after teaching for nearly a decade, I'm glad that I got a job when I did. Having seen what's been going on in my state, and then hearing about similar things happening nationwide, I'm sure glad that I have my tenure, and I have a secure job.

So many schools today are having budget difficulties. Why did this happen all of a sudden? Well, I don't want to start pointing fingers, but when so many schools are having trouble with finances, maybe there's a problem regarding the funding?

Because of financial woes, many schools are searching for ways to cut costs. One of the first ideas for many school districts is of course to eliminate the largest portion of the budget, a position, or maybe even more than one. Heck, cut 3 positions and you're looking at $100,000.

What I'm getting at is that when I went to college, there were a lot of teachers that were near the end of their careers. They were about to retire, and there was supposed to be a big influx of new teachers. I wonder if the schools are still talking about this same topic now? When whole schools are being closed, when 8-10 positions are being eliminated. Instead of hiring someone new when a teacher retires, they often just don't hire anyone.

Not only are there less teaching jobs posted every year, but there also are more stipulations in becoming a teacher. Not that there weren't enough guidelines and regulations before. I had to take about 10 tests to get my teaching certificate, before I even started teaching, and it appears they're looking for more documentation and proof that I'm qualified.

Now with all this extra work the teachers are being asked to go through, you'd think that there would be some benefit to it, but I haven't seen anything good to come out of it for the teachers. NO extra pay, no extra certification... just more time put in for basically the same job.

I'm not trying to persuade anyone not to go into education, because there are benefits, and it is a very rewarding profession. I'm just trying to clarify, and make anyone reading this aware, that government is making it so that it is really nothing but one hurdle after another to become a teacher. And then you get paid less than the work you put in, and you're still constantly criticized.

I hope things change for the better sometime soon. I really think the latest efforts toward bolstering the Education system have had good intentions, but they just weren't thought out fully, and really have some loopholes. I'll save my thoughts on NCLB and some of these other ideas for a later date.


A couple of funny cartoons

These made me laugh



Elementary Teacher Quiz

Are You A TRUE Elementary School Teacher?

Let's Find Out:

1. Do you ask guests if they have remembered their scarves and mittens as they leave your home?

2. Do you move your dinner partner's glass away from the edge of the table?

3. Do you ask if anyone needs to go to the bathroom as you enter a theater with a group of friends?

4. Do you hand a tissue to anyone who sneezes?

5. Do you refer to happy hour as "snack time"?

6. Do you declare "no cuts" when a shopper squeezes ahead of you in a checkout line?

7. Do you say "I like the way you did that" to the mechanic who repairs your car nice?

8. Do you ask "Are you sure you did your best?" to the mechanic who fails to repair your car to your satisfaction?

9. Do you sing the "Alphabet Song" to yourself as you look up a number in the phone book?

10. Do you say everything twice? I mean, do you repeat everything?

11. Do you fold your spouse's fingers over the coins as you hand him/her the money at a tollbooth?

12. Do you ask a quiet person at a party if he has something to share with the group?

* If you answered yes to 4 or more, it's in your soul -- you are hooked on teaching. And if you're not a teacher, you missed your calling.

* If you answered yes to 8 or more, well, maybe it's *too much* in your soul -- you should probably begin thinking about retirement.

* If you answered yes to all 12, forget it -- you'll *always* be a teacher, retired or not!


My All-Time Favorite Novel

I've read many books in my day, and I have many that I truly adore. But one of them sticks out for me above the rest. Luckily I get a chance now to read it in my classroom, and I can honestly say, for nearly half of my class this year, this is now their favorite book too. I'm referring to the wonderful story of Billy Colman, and his two adoring coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. Of course, it's Where the Red Fern Grows.

I've read this novel so many times now, but once again this past school year, the story hit me like a ton of bricks again. I picked out some more things in the story that made me love it even more. Such well developed characters. Such a portrayal of true love, devotion, dedication, honesty, hard-work. So many good values are depicted in the novel. There is great action in many scenes, and it takes you on quite an adventure.

Wilson Rawls did a marvelous job laying out the story. It keeps you wanting more, and he gives you such visual imagery. I can picture myself in those Ozark Mountains, lying with Billy among the Sycamore trees. I can hear the baying of Old Dan as the dogs tail another elusive coon. I can hear the Illinois River as I walk among its banks.

If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it, just for the pure sake of it being a fantastic read. Not to mention the fact that it'll open your mind and heart to a lovely story. If you are a dog lover like me, I can almost guarantee you'll add this as one of your top book picks.


In respect and gratitude

I had very influential teachers when I went to school. If I didn't have such a positive mindset about my education, I doubt I would have went into the field myself. As a gesture toward all of my past teachers, I share this poem I found:

making the difference
long, long hours
creating a sense of family
being the keeper of dreams
pleasing a lot
using good judgment
teaching for learning
making reading fun
being the wind beneath my wings
that sensitive touch
teaching class
never giving up on anybody
believing in miracles
respecting each other
taking responsibility for all students
keeping a tight rein on disciplines
triving for excellence, not perfection
being bravesmiling a lot
never depriving our children of hope
being tough minded but tender hearted
showing enthusiasm even when you don't feel like it
keeping your promises
giving your best
your wisdom and courage
being punctual and insisting on it in others
providing creative solutions
avoiding the negative and seeking out the good
being there when students need you
doing more than is expected
never giving up on what you really want
remaining open, flexible, and curious
being a friend
keeping several irons in the fire
being a child's hero
going the distance
having a good sense of humor
being a dream maker
giving your heart


Everyone is Important

During Mark's first month of college, the professor gave his students a pop quiz. He was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until he read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. He had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would he know her name? He handed in his paper, leaving the last question blank.

Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward the quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They each deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'". Mark never forgot that lesson. He also learned her name was Dorothy.

- In a similar fashion, I've always tried to keep strong rapport, and relationship with everyone at my school... the janitors, secretaries, cooks... everyone. They are important to the education, and to the school, just as much as the teachers are.


Many Links Added + How to tell if you're a Real Teacher

Yes, I've added many links... Educational, Blogs, and some advertising.

Check them out if you have a chance.

If you'd like to have your blog listed on mine, send me an e-mail, , or comment on one of my posts.

How to tell if you are a Real Teacher
Real teachers grade papers in the car, during commercials, in faculty meetings, in the bathroom, and (at the end of the six weeks) have been seen grading in church.

Real teachers cheer when they hear April 1 does not fall on a school day.

Real teachers clutch a pencil while thinking and make notes in the margins of books.

Real teachers can't walk past a crowd of kids without straightening up the line.

Real teachers never sit down without first checking the seat of the chair.

Real teachers have disjointed necks from writing on boards without turning their backs on the class.

Real teachers are written up in medical journals for the size and elasticity of kidneys and bladders.

Real teachers have been timed gulping down a full lunch in 2 minutes, 18 seconds. Master teachers can eat faster than that.

Real teachers can predict exactly which parents will show up at Open House.

Real teachers volunteer for hall duty on days faculty meetings are scheduled.

Real teachers never teach the conjugations of lie and lay to eighth graders.

Real teachers know it is better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.

Real teachers know the best end of semester lesson plans can come from Blockbuster.

Real teachers never take grades after Wednesday of the last week of the six weeks.

Real teachers never assign research papers on the last six weeks or essays on final exams.

Real teachers know the shortest distance and the length of travel time from their classroom to the office.

Real teachers can "sense" gum.

Real teachers know the difference among what must be graded, what ought to be graded, and what probably should never again see the light of day.

Real teachers are solely responsible for the destruction of the rain forest.

Real teachers have their best conferences in the parking lot.

Real teachers have never heard an original excuse.

Real teachers buy Excedrin and Advil at Sam's.

Real teachers will eat anything that is put in the workroom/teacher's lounge.

Real teachers have the assistant principals' and counselors' home phone numbers.

Real teachers know secretaries and custodians run the school.

Real teachers know the rules don't really apply to them.

Real teachers hear the heartbeats of crisis; always have time to listen; know they teach students, not subjects; and they are absolutely non-expendable

*From Inspiring Teachers


Top 100 Kids books, according to Kids

What do children like to read? I found a list of the top books according to a survey done by the NEA.

The National Education Association (NEA) published this list in 2000: Here are the top 100 books as of the year 2000, when kids were surveyed. I'll list some of the top books since 2000 in a future post.

Keep in mind, these books are multiple age levels. I asterisked ** the ones I've read. Just about all of the books that I read are books geared toward the young adult. I apologize if the list is long.

I linked them all to, if you wanted to purchase any of these books for your children, or children you know. If you don't have children, or don't know any, then this post isn't for you. I just love reading. You can also get a synopsis of the book there, which gives a good description of subject area and content.

1. Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling **
2. Goosebumps (series) by R. L. Stine **
3. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss **
4. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss **
5. Arthur (series) by Marc Brown
6. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White **
7. Shiloh (trilogy) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
8. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen **
9. Holes by Louis Sachar **
10. The Giver by Lois Lowry **
11. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
12. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (series) by Judy Blume
13. Sideways Stories from Wayside School (series) by Louis Sachar
14. The BFG by Roald Dahl **
15. The Boxcar Children (series) by Gertrude Chandler Warner
16. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss **
17. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (series) by Beverly Cleary
18. Pokemon (series) by Tracey West, Maria S. Barbo
19. The Babysitters Club (series) by Ann M. Martin
20. Ralph S. Mouse (series) by Beverly Cleary
21. Little House on the Prairie (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
22. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein **
23. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl **
24. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein **
25. Clifford the Big Red Dog (series) by Norman Bridwell **
26. Stuart Little by E. B. White
27. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls **
28. The Adventures of Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
29. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg **
30. The Berenstain Bears (series) by Jan and Stan Berenstain **
31. Animorphs (series) by K. A. Applegate
32. The Witches by Roald Dahl **
33. Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene
34. The Hobbit (series) by J. R. R. Tolkien **
35. American Girls (series) by Susan Adler, Valerie Tripp, Connie Porter, Janet Shaw, et al
36. Matilda by Roald Dahl **
37. The Call of the Wild by Jack London **
38. The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss **
39. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss **
40. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl **
41. Junie B. Jones (series) by Barbara Park
42. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner **
43. Falling Up by Shel Silverstein **
44. A Wrinkle in Time (series) by Madeleine L'Engle
45. Brian's Winter by Gary Paulsen **
46. Amber Brown (series) by Paula Danziger
47. The North Star by Peter H. Reynolds
48. Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks by Mick Foley (Mankind)
49. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry **
50. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein **
52. Chicken Soup for the Soul (series) by various authors
53. Curious George (series) by Margret and Hans Augusto Rey
54. The Teacher from the Black Lagoon (series) by Mike Thaler
55. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff **
56. The Bailey School Kids (series) by Debbie Dadey, et al
57. The Hardy Boys (series) by Franklin W. Dixon
58. The Mitten by Jan Brett
59. Amelia Bedelia (series) by Peggy Parish
60. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
61. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell **
62. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
63. Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater
64. The River by Gary Paulsen **
65. Magic Tree House (series) by Mary Pope Osborne
66. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieszka
67. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson **
68. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss **
69. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne **
70. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt **
71. Redwall by Brian Jacques
72. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
73. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
74. Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
75. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
76. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
77. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
78. Sweet Valley High (series) by Francine Pascal
79. The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley (series) by Judy Katschke, Cathy Dobowski, Lisa Eisenberg, Nancy E. Krulik, Nina Alexander, Frances Lin Lantz, et al
80. Garfield (series) by Jim Davis
81. Magic School Bus (series) by Joanna Cole
82. Math Curse by John Scieszka
83. White Fang by Jack London **
84. I Spy (series) by Walter Wick, Jean Marzollo, Diana Noonan, et al
85. Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch **
86. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
87. The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
88. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech **
89. Draw 50 Airplanes, Aircraft and Spacecraft (series) by Lee J. Ames
90. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
91. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain **
92. The Rock Says by Dwayne Johnson (The Rock)
93. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
94. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
95. All About Sam by Lois Lowry
96. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
97. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
98. Hank the Cow Dog (series) by John R. Erickson
99. Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
100. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan **