Verizon offers a teacher discount off of your cell phone service. Try signing up at the following link: http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/employee/emaildomainauthentication.jsp. If the previous link doesn’t recognize your email address, just show your pay stub or teacher id when you walk into your local service store and they will help you obtain your discount.
The New York Times recently wrote an article about a new learning center called Kumon which is emerging on the horizon of U.S. education. Kumon is similar to a Sylvan learning center as it gives students individualized sessions to meet their areas of need. They also help school aged children (K-12) become more advanced in math and English skills. Some controversy surrounds the learning center because they accept three-year-old students or any child “out of a diaper [that] can sit still with a Kumon instructor for 15 minutes”, states Joseph Nativo, the CFO for North America. Many parents believe that a child that young should learn by exploring and playing instead of the drilling methods to learn letters and numbers that Kumon uses. Kumon believes that learning basic skills increases children’s self esteem which leads to success in their learning. To read more about this article, see the following links: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/pushing-kids-in-public-and-private/ and http://www.nytimes.com/pages/education/index.html “Fast Tracking to Kindergarten”.
When teaching students to tell time, first have students make paper plate clocks with only ONE hand–the hour hand. Approximate time can be told with only an hour hand. Discuss that when the hour hand is half way between the numbers on the clock that it is on half an hour. For example, if the hour hand is halfway between the two and three, we know that it is 2:30. If the hour hand is between the two and three and closer to the three we know it is probably 2:45 or later. Then show students different times with only the hour hand and have them tell if it is before or after whatever hour. Giving students quality time to learn the function of the hour hand will help dispel misconceptions that may form from learning time with two hands at once and not truly understanding each hand’s function.
Donald Trump’s lack of political correctness is refreshing in a culture where political correctness is the mode of operation in the political arena. Who knows? Maybe a lack of political correctness is just what America needs a jolt of. Reading the blunt truth of Trump’s views of education couldn’t help but bring a smirk across my face. He says what other politicians seem to avoid–the cold hard truth. Here is one of his quotes from his book The America We Deserve, “Our schools aren’t safe. On top of that, our kids aren’t learning. Too many are dropping out of school and into the street life-and too many of those who do graduate are getting diplomas that have been devalued into “certificates of attendance” by a dumbed-down curriculum that asks little of teachers and less of students. Schools are crime-ridden and they don’t teach. How long do we think the U.S. can survive schools that pretend to teach while our kids pretend to learn? How can a kid hope to build an American Dream when he hasn’t been taught how to spell the word “dream”? To read a few more of his quotes visit: http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/donald_trump_education.htm.
I learned this valuable classroom advice from a former colleague who learned it from her master teacher. Set up your classroom using Bonus Bucks. Bonus Bucks are the size of Monopoly money in the denominations of $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills. Bonus Bucks can be earned from rewards of good behavior, classroom jobs, turning in homework etc. Students must be responsible enough to save money for paying desk rent at the end of the month. The rent is equal to the number of days in school for that month. So, for most months the rent would be about $20. Students are required to pay for privileges such as getting a drink of water, going to the bathroom, getting a new sharpened pencil, extra recess, trips to the treasure box, etc. Students may also be fined as a consequence for bad behavior. If students don’t have enough money at the end of the month to pay for rent, they must be in debt and find a way to work it off such as picking up trash, or helping the teacher, etc. Students learn the importance of saving their money and some bring in their own wallet to keep their Bonus Bucks in.
If you would like to purchase the Bonus Bucks Classroom Economy System, I have placed Bonus Bucks, a parent letter, a cooperative Bonus Buck, classroom job tags, and directions for using Bonus Bucks in your classroom on Teacher’s Pay Teachers. Click the image below to see more.
If you want to find your school’s test scores easily, try this website: http://www.education.com/ and click on “Find a School” on the top green bar. Then input the school’s zip code to find your school. This will give you a list of schools. Just click on your school and scroll down to the section that says test rating. Here you will be able to compare your schools test scores from 2007 to present against the state and district test scores.
Two years ago I was introduced to math number discs and began using them in my classroom. I have come to rely on teaching regrouping using the math number discs after modeling regrouping with base ten blocks on a mat. These number discs (which are really expensive to purchase) are marked with 1′s, 10′s, and 100′s. An inexpensive alternative to using the ready made number discs is buying colored bingo chips and writing numbers on these yourself. Every place value position is a different color. The ones are white, the tens are red, the hundreds are orange, and the thousands are yellow. Students group the discs to represent a number on their place value mats and then take away the needed discs. Moving the discs around on the mat themselves does not seem to help students make the connection as much as having them draw and mark out the discs as they subtract. When they notice there are no more discs to mark out in the tens place for example, students realize they have to borrow from the hundreds place, mark out a hundred disc, and draw ten tens discs. If you scaffold this understanding to the actual borrowing and show students that when you borrow from the hundreds place to bring over ten tens, students have a light bulb moment and see the connection to all the marking out and rewriting of numbers that occurs in the abstract algorithm we call subtraction with regrouping.
Also, I am including a link below to my July 14th post in which I am showcasing a Smart Board lesson and practice pages that I created using interactive number discs.
Besides changing your students’ lives, teaching has several perks such as a discount on purchasing a new wardrobe. This discount can be obtained at J Crew which offers a 15% discount to teachers and students off of full priced merchandise. To see for yourself follow this link: http://jcrewaholics.com/discount/changes-to-jcrew-student-teacher-discount/.
That is what the city of Norwalk Schools seems to believe. This past week a homeless woman was charged with larceny and conspiracy for sending her six year old to the Norwalk school system in Connecticut. She may suffer the consequences of up to 20 years in prison and a $15,000 fine for using the false address of a friend to send her child to a better school system. Follow this link to read the rest of the story: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/04/26/2011-04-26_homeless_woman_tanya_mcdowell_due_in_court_on_charges_she_illegally_enrolled_son.html