Holes Unite Plan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly0d82Jd0Pk&context=C4482053ADvjVQa1PpcFOZ4u50a9qjgXuVADDyETpdRM9GyENYbhE%3D

Redshirting just in sports? Wrong now in schools!

While watching 60 minutes  on CBS I recently saw a piece on “Redshirting” kids. The term redshirting originally referred to postponing a college athlete’s participation in regular season games for one year to give him an extra year of further growth and practice with the team in the hope of improving the player’s skills for future seasons.

Academic redshirting for young children refers to the practice of postponing entrance into kindergarten of age-eligible children in order to allow extra time for socioemotional, intellectual, or physical growth. This kind of redshirting is most often practiced in the case of children whose birthdays are so close to the cut-off dates that they are very likely to be among the youngest in their kindergarten class. Young children of the same age vary considerably in terms of their overall development. By adding another year to this age range within the classroom, the learning and behavioral challenges posed are going to be that much greater. Some young children with summer birthdays have a difficult time adjusting to school … some do not. Some children come to school “ready to read” or with good counting skills…some do not. Widening the gap of “cans” and “can not’s” in this pool of children can create unwelcome competition and pressure within the classroom, and intensify the range of emotions that ordinarily help to make the kindergarten classroom such a special and welcoming experience.

Ask any child who has had to repeat a grade how they feel about having been “left back” and you’ll quickly realize how serious a decision this is for parents and educators to make. The 60 minutes reported that while the positive benefits of starting school late seem to fade during the subsequent two to three years, the emotional baggage of having been retained lingers on. An early study asked young students to rate a series of stressful events, and being left back ranked third, immediately following “going blind” and “losing a parent.” Point made! What do you think?

Pre-Student Teaching….

As I left Indiana County, aka “Christmas Tree Capital of the World”, I approach entering Punxsutawney, PA I see a sign that reads, “Weather Capital of the World”. I was placed at Punxsutawney Middle School, in Mr. Carlson’s fifth grade math/social studies classroom. I have been there for three visitations and have just recently started to learn all of the student’s names. It has been hard because I have yet to visit on a “normal” day, if they even exist in a middle school. The first visit was interesting to view how well the students following classroom procedures, but I felt it was because I was in the room.  After every visitation I feel as if I am starting to get to know the students and how they are going to act when I teach there every day for a month.  

As my lesson plans are very close of being complete I feel a bit excited to finally teach a class for a period of time. For the past year it has seem that I have only taught them to either my peers or to imaginary middle level students. It is nice to teach social studies lessons beacuse I was a social studies major at one point in my college tenure. I hope to use what I learned in my middle level college classse in during my pre-student teaching.  It is pretty scary to think that in a year I will be pretty much done with college and looking for a job!

I hope to use what I learned from pre-student teaching in my everyday classroom.

Failure… pshhh

One of the problems I think we have in schools is that we train students to fear failure, to avoid it at all costs. Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting people to  go out and teach failure  in classes. But I am suggesting that you should take some risks in your learning. That instead of avoiding things that are hard (because you might fail), you challenge yourself to step up and take on things that is difficult. I was recently working in a book that a teacher taught his students something that wasn’t sure and the students thought it wasn’t even true, but did not fight it. The teacher when graded them ( it was only 10 point mini quiz) he failed most of the students. The students then said, “well you told us in class…” The teacher rationale was that, “if you know it is wrong then fight for it, don’t always believe what you hear if you don’t think it is right”. The students asked, “ohhh well are you going to give us a retest?” The teacher then responded, “no”. The teacher wanted the students to truly learn not to be scared to stand up and not be afraid of failure! 

I think sometimes students would rather not try (and fail) than try and fail. In the first option it’s easy to say, “Oh, I just didn’t try.” But in the second option it’s much harder, because you have to admit that you did try and still weren’t successful. But here’s the key – almost anyone who has done anything worthwhile has failed. Not just once, but multiple times. We often learn more from trying something and not succeeding than we do from trying something and succeeding, especially if we limit ourselves to only trying “easy” things that we know we’ll be successful at.

 

 

Backwards Classrooms…

Most of us have  spent most of his our typical class class time in a  lecture and demonstrations in how to work through problems. Then we are sent home to do our homework alone. There is currently a new classroom setting called the “flipped classroom”. In this “flipped classroom” the teacher uses homework time in the classroom and the lecture for homework. The switch lets the students watch the lectures online outside of the classroom and then bring their homework to classroom to work on it under the teacher’s supervision.

I found this to be a very very interesting concept because it does focus on progressing the student in doing better in the subject area. I think it will help the student grow and help them with work.  I think it is a great use of technology and will grow in the upcoming years. I think by having the lecture video at home, the student can watch it many times over, and learn at their own pace! I think that the only problem is that if a student does not understand the lecture, their is no real help right then and there and the student will then have to waste lecture time in the school to understand.

It is always interesting to think though, that there are many things that need to change in the classroom. I am very eager to see what will turn out with this and other NEW programs in the schools.

Reflecting on Memoir

As I reflect on writing my memoir it was a very fined oil process similar to any other written paper in most regards. I started out in thinking about writing my memoir about my choice in attending IUP because it was part of my journey and probably the most important journey of my life so far. It is something that will perpetually be valued to myself. I think that while writing my memoir and I got to express the story in my point of view made me rethink exactly how important it was to me. I think it was VERY easy to write about because it made so much to me.

As I stated before, the writing process was similar to every other written piece that I have created except for a few things. The first being a digital version. I think it was a strength to have to on paper what you were going to do. I think that in every piece of writing you should have a blueprint in what you will write, however, the blueprint for this piece of writing was different, it was a multi-media production.  I thought the multi-media draft was a very useful idea to have a general outline. I think especially in middle level education, the teacher has to change up the daily process.

I think I would use this, but in a more bigger idea I would use more technology in my English/LA class because from what I got out of this memoir was that their are different ways, steps, and items that I can use in the writing process. Everyone is set in that writing process that you have to do steps 1-2-3-4-5-6 and I think that steps 3-1-4-2-5-6 can work too. It also depends on the student  learning to write, because I think too many times we restrict the learner from writing and we tell them how WE write. I think the way WE write is stressed because it is the way WE learned. I think the focus should be on the student more, with yes, some structure. Teachers have to see the big picture and that each learner is different.

I think that I could have put more voice into my memoir, and I think my personal philosophy with writing is that it takes more than a few months for a piece of writing to be fully done and sometimes even longer.

IUP… not my first choice

 

Check out my digital memoir

So the story of “me” choosing Indiana University of Pennsylvania was similar to the United States Civil war. On one side was my parents looking for me to get the best buck for their money and me looking to go to a school that society respected more. Let me remind you that I was a young, dumb, and naive high school senior that thought he knew what he wanted. Once I graduated high school and was looking into what schools I wanted attend, I always stated that IUP would not be my first choice. I got accepted to CalU, University of Virginia, Penn State, and of course IUP. The reasoning of my hatred of IUP was that my sister went to IUP. My brother went to IUP. My other sister went to IUP. My father went to IUP.  My neighbor went to IUP. My mom’s best friend’s daughter went to IUP. My old neighbor’s brother’s girlfriend’s son went to IUP.  Do you get the picture? Everyone that I knew went to IUP and as my father would tell me, “it is a teacher’s college”. He could not be more wrong, it is more of a business college, or even a criminology college more than a “teacher’s school”.  I know what you are probably thinking right now because you are right, IUP is a very good teachers’ school and remember I was a senior who thought I knew everything. The side in the war that has the most money typically wins the war and my case thats how it turned out.

As I started my college tenure at IUP, I started as a secondary social studies education major and I loved it until I learned that high school students mostly don’t share the love of history like I do. I felt that social studies was exciting and the great minds like Abraham Lincoln should be loved by all. I even got an opportunity to do an internship at the US Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C where I worked at their education center. I remember thinking, wow IUP history professors are the best in helping me obtain this opportunity. However, when I told the other interns, that came from prestigious universities like Vanderbilt and University of Florida, that I went to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, they responded by asking “so is that in Indiana?” I kindly responded, “No it is in Pennsylvania in a town called Indiana”. I really was tempted to tell them about the beloved Jimmy Stewart was from there, but I chose to tell them that someone else came from there. I held my chin up, and asked them, “Ever hear of YouTube? Yea, the guy that created YouTube, Chad Hurley went to IUP.” I still felt  lost and out of place though that I didn’t attend that big name university. I wanted to go to Penn State, so I began getting information on how to transfer! As I read more into it and started to talk to Penn State, they told me I would have to graduate from Penn State Harrisburg. “HARRISBURG!?”, I remember asking myself. I knew if I went to Penn State Harrisburg that it would probably be worst then going to IUP and I wouldn’t be able to chant, “We Are… PENN STATE” in Harrisburg, PA. So after rethinking it, I agreed that I would stay at IUP.

As I came back to Indiana, PA I started to rethink if I really wanted to teach high school students after doing observations. The road that I was traveling in life was so foggy and I wasn’t sure where I was going on it. So I began to panic because it was going to be the end of my sophomore year from college and I was switching my major. I remember e-mailing Dr. Susan Fello and asking her if it was too late for me to switch my major. Dr. Fello seemed to possess a beaming light through the fog that I saw on the road. Dr. Fello that I have learned to love, told me and I can see her beaming smile through her typed words in the e-mail that read, “No Tom it is never too late to switch and become a elementary teacher”. So I agreed to meet with her at her office and I expressed my love of the middle age students and I could see her stare at me with her beaming smile because she knew something that I did not know. She told me that I am lucky because IUP was starting a middle school education program at IUP; however, it is in math education. MATH EDUCATION!? I dealt with the news and I chewed it the best I could.

It was the first step into finding what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was also the beginning of me learning that IUP’s education department is something special. I learned that Davis hall might look like a weird and ugly building, but inside has classrooms filled with devoted and kind professors who care. No other program at IUP can compare to the education program, especially the middle level program. If I would have not attended IUP I know I would have missed out on so much in my life, and the lessons I have learned will perpetually be with me. My peers in the middle level program are goofballs reflecting clearly the students that we want to teach. My road to finding what I truly wanted to do was sort of goofy. Yeah goofy, yeah I will take it and would never regret it.

Its my story and I am sticking to it…

So the story of  “me” choosing Indiana University of Pennsylvania was battle that I had with my parents and was an interesting road that traveled. Once I graduated high school and I was looking into what schools I wanted to go to, I always stated that IUP would not be my first choice.  I got accepted at CalU, University of Virginia, Penn State, and of course IUP. The reasoning of my hatred of IUP was that sister went to IUP. My brother went to IUP. My other sister went to IUP. My father went to IUP.  My neighbor went to IUP. My mom’s best friend daughter went to IUP. My old neighbor’s brother’s girlfriend’s son went to IUP.  Do you get the picture? Everyone that I knew went to IUP and as my father would tell me, “it is a teacher’s college”. He could not be more wrong, it is more of a business college, or even a criminology college more than a “teacher’s school”.  I know what you are probably thinking right now because you are right, IUP is a very good teachers school and I grown to love the education department.

As I started my college tenure at IUP, I started as secondary education social studies major and I loved it until I learned that high school students mostly don’t share the love of history like I do. I got an opportunity to do an internship at the US Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C where I worked at their education center. That summer when I told the other interns that came from prestigious universities like Vanderbilt and University of Florida. I felt out of place and wanted to go to Penn State, so I began getting information on how to transfer! As I read more into it and started to talk to Penn State they told me I would have to graduate from Penn State Harrisburg. I remember thinking, “HARRISBURG!?” I knew if I went to Penn State Harrisburg that it would probably be worst then going to IUP and I wouldn’t be able to chant, “We Are… PENN STATE” in Harrisburg, PA. So after rethinking it, I agreed that I would stay at IUP.

As I came back to Indiana, PA I started to rethink if I really wanted to teach high school students after doing observations.  So I became to panic because it was going to be the end of my sophomore year from college and I was switching my major. I remember e-mailing Dr. Susan Fello and asking her if it was too late for me to switch my major. Dr. Fello, being Dr. Fello that I have learned just love, told me and I can see her beaming smile through her typed words in the e-mail that read, “No Tom it is never too late to switch and become a elementary teacher”. So I agreed to meet with her at her office and I express my love of the middle age students and I could see her stare at me with her beaming smile because she knew something that I did not know. She told me that I am lucky because IUP was starting a middle school education program at IUP, however it is in math education. MATH EDUCATION!? I dealt with the news and I chewed it the best I could.

It was the first step into finding what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was also the beginning of myself learning that IUP’s education department is something special. I learned that Davis hall might look like a weird and ugly building, but inside is classrooms filled with devoted and kind professors who care. No other program at IUP can compare to the education program, especially the middle level program.  The next thing that I learned was about the other middle level students, they were the goofiest people reflecting the students that they want to teach.

As I look back, I could have transferred to Penn State, but then again I would not be a middle school education major and would have missed so much.

My Memoir

 

Writing about my legacy

When people writer their memoir, it is typically a very interesting part in someone’s life. It could be about their childhood, college experience, or maybe something that made them who they are today. Everyone is trying to make sense of who they are and what happened to them in their life. I think many people are surprised that similar things happen to one of another and people do not even know.  A memoir could also teach  people how they go through life’s problems and everyday struggles. It could be a motivational tool and assist others in dealing with solving issues.

I am thinking about writing my memoir about either my college tenure. I started off as a social studies education major and ended with going with middle level education – English/language arts. I think it would be an interesting memoir because it was a path that I did not really want to take and people don’t understand it. For one thing I never wanted/or thought I would be going to Indiana University of PA. I got accepted and was going to go to Penn State, but for reasons I chose to stay at IUP and I think that it has made all the difference.