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Showing posts from July, 2011

New Home for the Gecko

Tiger is going to be in a middle school science class this year!  I have a feeling that the students will love him.  Animals have a way of reaching the students who are tough to reach - somehow this little lizard can break down walls that humans can't.  I have seen the meanest kids in my class talk to animals in an incredibly loving manner. The gecko is also good for teachers.  Nothing quiets a class down faster than "Well, I guess I'll have to take Tiger home because this class is too loud for him."  He's a good pet. Four years ago: Back to School Specials

You're OK

I'm working with a teenage girl right now who's having a hard time.  There's custody issues and anxiety and probably depression and definitely ADD.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were some other mental health diagnoses as well.  Recently her guardian (another family member) decided that she didn't need her ADD medication.  This guardian decided that the girl was just "dramatic" and would be fine without the medication.  She didn't consult the doctor, the therapist, or the child. When I saw this student, she had been off her meds for a couple of days and was really upset.  She probably was being dramatic - teenagers tend to - but I think she was also going through some withdrawal.  After all, if you're going to go off any medication, it's a good idea to do so in a doctor-prescribed way and not just have it yanked away from you.  She had also been doing really well on this medication and was feeling stable and calm, so to have it taken away


I really liked this kid.  The school he went to before ours was George W. Bush Elementary School (in another city).  He told me "I don't know why they named a school after him.  He didn't do nothing for education.  A wise 8-year old. Friday, July 20, 2007 Meet a Child: "Kobe" This is a kid who moved away mid-year because his mom was terrified of all the violence - especially after someone came and threatened his teenage brother. Writing about himself: My name is Kobe. I am 8 years old and my birthday was born in 1998. My eye is dark brown and my hair is black and I like to play footbal. I like to play with my best friend. I am very talkative and honest. I am very cook and I am very nice. I make friends. I like school. Sometimes I get to change my card to Green that mean I am in trouble. Sometimes I stay on Blue. I got friends and we went to the coliseum the A's won the other day the other day the raider lost. I like school. I hav

All These Kids

This pos t is something I want to say every year.  at least. Monday, July 19, 2010 All These Kids Are Ours A few times a month, I find that I can't sleep because I am worried about foster kids.  This might seem strange, because I don't currently know any kids in foster care.  I used to when I was teaching third grade - and I knew a great many more who maybe should have been in foster care - but I don't currently know any.  I don't think it's strange though - in fact, I think we might be better off if we all worried about kids in foster care, and not just a couple of times a month.  Not because worrying really helps anything, but because it would show that we really do value all kids. We don't, you know.  Of course, everyone will say that they believe that all kids are worth the same but it's not true.  It's natural to value your own kids above everyone else's - I'm not saying that it's not.  But I think we also value kids t

Teaching Tolerance Blogger!

Exciting news - I've been accepted as an official blogger for Teaching Tolerance (a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center) I have one blog published that can be found here .  (It was edited, I find it important to point out that I don't write beginning sentences with "so") If you have been reading my blog and you have noticed any stories you want to see featured there that have to do with differences/diversity in the classroom, please let me know!  I've got to come up with some more topics. Two years ago: Extra Work, Extra Money Four years ago: Back from Vacation                          What Do They Teach You in School?


Every good teacher knows that teaching involves a certain amount of strategic dishonesty.  Not necessarily outright lying, but trickery.  I've definitely been known to tell kids that the flashing red light of the motion sensor (to turn the lights on) in the classroom was a camera recording their behavior so their parents and the principal can see how they are acting.  Yesterday, I was working with a particularly difficult teenager on writing.  She has ADD and anxiety, and a bunch of other diagnoses, but I think the main problem, as it often is, is that she doesn't feel like anyone wants her.  She gets shuffled around from guardian to guardian and it's entirely possible that some of them have told her outright that they don't want her.  She is constantly trying to distract me and complaining and telling me she can't do things. We've been working on writing and she's getting pretty good at writing about what she's experiencing.  It was time to introduc

Aren't All Children Worth the Same?

I wish the answer was yes. I had a conversation recently with a friend about why the police always took so long to respond to calls at our school... like attempted kidnapping .  I was so angry and so confused why none of the people around me were angry - they all seemed resigned to it.  The custodian explained to me. She said, "Oh, honey, they don't care about us?  We all just n-----s to them."  I think the acceptance was harder for me than the actual problem of the slow response time.  The fact that these kids and their families were so used to being treated like this that they didn't even think to question it any more.. .that's the problem. I wrote the post below two years ago but nothing's changed.  I wish it would. Wednesday, July 08, 2009 WHEN are We Going to Stop... ...teaching kids who aren't white that they are worth less than white kids? Minorities not allowed in a Philadelphia club's pool Black dolls priced less than white do


The thing I like the most about teaching is not teaching; it's finding ways to connect with the kids, especially the kids who don't think that teachers have anything in common with them.  It's not that hard - I really do enjoy a lot of different books, movies, music, etc., and I'm very curious, so I've learned about many things even if I don't necessarily enjoy them. When I assess a new student, the first thing I ask them is what they like.  Of course, there are different ways to do this depending on how old the child is.  If the student is little, I ask them what they like to play and who they like to play with.  If they're older, I might ask them what they like to read or what movies they like to watch.  Sometimes it takes a few questions and sometimes they look at me like I'm saying the dumbest thing they've ever heard... until I get to the question that is something they love.  With my newest student, it's Harry Potter.  She is 12 years o