Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting." -Edmund Burke

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hats off to the Class of '09

MTSU's commencement ceremonies were this morning, and my family went to cheer on my good friend, "Ro" who received her degree in education. Thank goodness I love her cuz it's almost not worth it. It was hot, LOOOOONG, and what drove me nuts is that EVERYBODY (ahem, the family & friends) talks through the entire ceremony. I could feel my temperature rising and was actually getting a headache from trying to hear the speakers through the noise that consumed that gym. AAAGGGGHHHH!! It is totally one of my pet peeves for people to talk while others are talking. It's rude to the speaker and it's rude to those wanting to hear. I finally gave up trying to hear which is probably why my headache never got too bad.

I wish I could've done more for my friend, cuz I really am proud of her. She is going to be an EXCELLENT teacher!

Side note: I start summer classes Monday and I'm so dreading it!

Go Class of '10 !!!!! :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Quote of the Day

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." -Ray Bradbury

I think this is a good one for today and the future to come. We live in a world of TV, video games, computers, cell phones, Ipods, etc, etc. I think anybody reading this knows that we have found many ways to entertain ourselves with these gadgets. We use them for our news too. If we don't want too, we never have to open another book, newspaper, dictionary, encyclopedia, or magazine to find out news, information, meanings...or whatever again. So what does this say about the culture of America? The world? We are so "plugged in" today and that is our lives...it IS our culture. If we took those things away, what would happen? How would we cope? Could we? I've often said, "What did we do before cell phones?" It's hard to remember now. I use my cell so often and feel I NEEDED it. Would we say that if books were suddenly gone? Would we feel life couldn't go on WITHOUT books? I know that books are still a viable consumer product, but I would like to know if or how much book sales have dropped when TV was created? Video games? Internet?

I love to read and many of my friends love to read, so I would be very sad if books were no more, but even I use the internet alot to find out just about any question I have. Getting through college without the net....I don't know how people used to do it....honestly. I feel so priviledged in that regard.

At any rate, this is just thoughts to chew on for the day. I hope we all find the time to pick up a good book and pass it along when you're done.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers."
-Joseph Albers

Why should you read to your students?

Why should you read to your students? How will you choose the books that you read? What kinds of books will you read?

This is one multi-part question from my final exam (READ 4015- Language & Literacy in the Elementary School, K-6)

Here is my answer:

There is no greater way to create a love for books in children than by reading aloud. Reading to children sparks their imagination and gives them a sense of wonder. It will help them appreciate the gift of literature, develop and enrich their own language, and build implicit concepts about reading and writing. Reading to children helps them learn to read in subtle but important ways. It is through reading that children develop a scheme or a sense for stories. Children can use their schema for stories to comprehend material. A story schema is developed early in the lives of children who have been read to frequently. Reading to children also provides models for writing as they develop a sense of plot, characterization, mood, and theme.
When selecting books and other materials to be read, I will keep in mind my students' age and interest levels. I will select materials at times so that they will coincide with other daily or weekly classroom activities. There may be times when a child requests a certain book and if appropriate, I will be honored to read it to the class.
I will incorporate many different types of literary genres: fiction and nonfiction books, fairy tales, nursey ryhmes, newspapers, biographies, plays, etc. I will read books that talk about families of different ethnicities, race, and culture, especially making sure that I read about the types of families of the students in my class at that time. The reading-to-children time must be for enjoyment only. There may be a moral in the story and that's okay, but I will not have this time become a structured lesson.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" -Frederick Douglas

Monday, May 4, 2009

Boost Your Child's Test Scores

I saw these on a teacher's desk when I was helping proctor the TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) Achievement Tests a few weeks ago:

1. The breakfast for better grades- instant oatmeal helps you to have better spatial memory.

2. Visualization that calms nerves: Tell child to imagine their favorite place if they get frazzled during test. Visualizing something calm and happy triggers the brain to produce relaxing alpha waves in less than 30 seconds, slowing heart rate and breathing.

3. The finger game that beats brain freeze! If your child goes blank during the test, tell him to draw a spiral on scratch paper and trace it with his finger 5 times. Freezing during a test is due to the "fight or flight" response, a biological reaction that shuts off clear thinking. But focusing on something else- especially a spiral- clears the head!

4. The eye move that triggers memory instantly! Your child studied the facts but suddently can't remember them? Teach him to move his eyes back and forth from left to right several times. This stimulates communication between the two sides of the brain -the logical left and creative right- so your child will have better recall and be able to solve problems more easily.

5. The tongue trick for better concentration! Does your child find it hard to concentrate during a test? Have her place her tongue up against the roof of her mouth and breathe deeply three times. Brain scans show this simple movement affects the brain's limbic system, which is responsible for feelings and emotions, and triggers the release of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin, so she'll have less anxiety. And within 30 seconds, her mind should be clearer.

I don't know that I'll ever remember to tell my kids these and am still a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of some.

I had a history teacher that passed out Tootsie Roll pops every time he gave us a test. I think it helped me relax. I noticed teachers handing out pieces of gum during the TCAP. I think having something to chew on can help relax you and give you an outlet for stress.

How about a pack of Smarties for each kid with a note:
Be a "Smartie"! Do your best on your test.

Quote of the Day

"The good teacher must relate his teaching to the world of his students as it is, not as he would like it to be." -Herbert Foster