The governor of California has vetoed a bill that would make kindergarten mandatory.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Get the child to start developing a routine at home. Doing the same things at the same time during the day help the child to adapt to the routines of kindergarten. These activities can be getting up in the morning, dressing, bathing, meals, nap time, etc.
Start reading to your child. The earlier the better. Get them interested in words and pictures. This also preps them for instruction time in kindergarten. Give your child their own big picture and word books to look at whenever they want.
Play thinking games. Ask questions about their day, their pets, or when shopping. Ask them thinking questions, like, should we wear sandals or shoes today, and why. Get them involved in preparing a meal.
Coloring books and drawing time. Children should start using crayons and other appropriate things to color and draw. It's not about perfection or realism, it is about the skill of using a writing and color instruments. It also fosters creativity.
Start them on the road to being independent. Start dressing themselves. Put their toys away. Wash their hands. Of course they should be feeding themselves and picking up their own dishes. These are things they need to be doing when they start kindergarten.
And that of course means not turning to you for help each and every time. If they drop something, they pick it up. If they make a mess, they clean it up, or at least help. Hang up a coat, put boots away, etc. If something they can do needs to be done, they are encouraged to do it themselves. Perfection is not needed, but attempts are a must.
Give them chores and responsibilities. This could be picking up all dishes after eating. Sweeping a floor. Wiping off their own faces. Getting a tissue and using it for themselves. If you go on a picnic, have them carry something. Anything the family does, they have a part in.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
All feet are different, and you might go through several shoe brands before settling on one that suits you. We have compiled a list of the top five shoe brands that many teachers attest to.
Allbirds Shoes: They say they are like walking on air! Visit: Sustainable Shoes & Clothing | The Most Comfortable Shoes in The World | Allbirds
Sanuk Shoes: Teachers claim they are easy on the feet! Visit: Women's Sidewalk Surfers | Sanuk® Official
HOKA Shoes : A durable and very comfy shoe. Visit: Women's Recovery Sandals & Shoes | HOKA®
UGG (Not just for boots!) Visit: Women's Fashion Sneakers & Slip-Ons - Pay Later with Afterpay | UGG®
Hot Chocolate- Chocolaticas: Support, comfy, and oh so cute! Perfect for a teacher of younger children. Visit: Women's Slip-Ons – Hot Chocolate Design
Monday, September 19, 2022
Wallethub has compiled a state by state ranking for places best to teach. So, if you thinking of relocating, this might be a start. The rankings take into account things like salary, pensions, tenure, turnover rate, and enrollment. The top 5 states were:
The bottom 5 states/areas were:
Remember, this is only a guide. Teachers are individuals and these states might not suit you. There are things like climate, commutes, and what you may or may not like as far as living conditions and attractions nearby. Many of these rankings are subjective.
To see the whole list, and where your state ranks, visit:
Wallet Hub's Teacher State Rankings: 2022's Best & Worst States for Teachers (wallethub.com)
Other articles of interest:
Sunday, September 18, 2022
The students you encounter today probably will not know how to read cursive, let alone write with it. And they get by just fine. So, what happened, and are there any consequences of this?
If you go back to the history of writing, humans hand wrote for centuries. Then inventions like the printing press changed writing. No longer was all printed material hand written.
As time went on from there, other things came along. Like the typewriter. Soon type written correspondence and manuscripts became the norm. Teachers demanded students turn in perfect, typed essays and reports.
The implementation of computers in every walk of life ushered in the word processor. Those computers led to communicating more and more electronically. Email first, then the explosion of texting.
Cursive was now rapidly becoming an unneeded skill. The student of today has little need for cursive. No matter what your feeling on cursive is, that is the honest truth.
Over 10 years ago, updated standards, like Common Core, the cursive requirement was entirely eliminated. The cheer around the world from young kids learning cursive was deafening.
So, we now live in a world where people just do not do cursive, and have no need for it.
If that makes sad or mad as a teacher, just think about things we no longer teach or use in modern classrooms. Latin, slide-rules, film projectors, record players, slate and chalkboards are just a few.
And let's be frank. Like it or not, writing throughout history has always an evolving technology.
Let's not kid ourselves and over-romanticize cursive. It really is a fading talent.
But now we get to the heart of this post. Like all fading "technologies" and skills, there are bound to be repurcussions.
First, how about signatures? We can't worry about much. Your signature was never about cursive, although that was common. So signatures today, for our young students, are some amalgamation of the letters they have learned to make.
But one of the biggest consequences is reading and interpreting old-style documents, manuscripts, and art work. Students who do not learn to write cursive, will most likely have a hard time reading it.
Showing a copy of, oh let's say The Declaration of Independence, becomes an excercise in futility. It's hard enough for a normal human to read the old-fashioned letters, but what about the modern student? They are now looking at that document as just an old piece of paper. They need a printed, typed out copy to get anything out of it.
It's a shame to admit it, but soon anyone working in a museum will probably be taking a night course on reading cursive. Similar to what a person needs if they are going to need to read Latin or some ancient writing.
The student of today needs to concentrate on modern skills, and keyboarding is at the top of the list. So please don't lament the loss of cursive instruction too long.
Those who go into history, or want to truly be a history buff, will need to learn to read and write cursive. Cursive skills won't die out completely, but sooner or later, people will not even be discussing it. It won't be there. Out of sight, out of mind.
Other things are going the way of the dinosaur as well. Some you probably never learned if you are part of a newer generation. Like dial phones. Film cameras.
You might not have even thought about shorthand, as you yourself may have never even seen it, let alone heard about it. That too has been almost eradicated by modern recording devices. Court reporters still use some shorthand machines, but they too will be phased out by artificial intelligence and digital recording devices.
As technology takes over tasks, it just creates a whole new skill set that students need. Don't lament the loss of cursive too long. And if you know how to read and write it, think of yourself as having a talent that can actually be valuable in many situations.
Someone, someday, might come up to you, hand you a letter from their great-grandfather, and ask, "Can you read this for me?"
You might be interested in: Should Teachers Assign Homework?
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Disruptive kindergartners are likely to be bullied later in elementary schoolPaul L. Morgan, Penn State
Kindergartners who act out, disrupt classrooms, get angry and argue with their teachers are especially likely to be bullied once they reach third, fourth and fifth grade, our research group has found.
We continue to investigate bullying in U.S. elementary schools, but our initial findings indicate that the odds that disruptive kindergartners will be shoved, pushed or hit, teased or called names, left out, and have lies told about them are roughly twice as high as for kindergartners who do not act out in classrooms. We observed this in analyses accounting for many other risk factors.
Our findings are consistent with, but also extend, prior research documenting that children who are from poor families or who are struggling academically are more likely to be bullied than their peers who are from wealthier families or who are more academically skilled.
As with older children, we find that young boys are more likely to be shoved, pushed or hit, while young girls are more likely to be teased or called names, left out, and told lies about. Children with disabilities, particularly boys, are more likely to be frequently bullied. Black boys more frequently experienced other children telling lies about them than white boys, consistent with prior work finding that Black children are at greater risk of being bullied in adolescence.
We believe our study represents the first analysis of a nationally representative sample that identifies which kindergartners are most likely to be bullied later in U.S. elementary schools. We hope the information helps parents and school staff identify and support young children who are especially likely to be bullied.
The harms of bullying
Schoolchildren who are frequently bullied are likely to later be depressed, anxious and suicidal as well as to be unemployed, impoverished and abusing substances. These risks are as large as those associated with being placed in foster care or experiencing maltreatment.
Early identification can help support those children who are being bullied and so limit the potential damage. Screening and prevention efforts are more effective when delivered while children are still young. Mental health supports may be needed for those being frequently bullied.
And looking at specific types of bullying may help schools and parents more directly serve the different psychological needs of children experiencing physical or nonphysical bullying.
[Interested in science headlines but not politics? Or just politics or religion? The Conversation has newsletters to suit your interests.]
Get Help With Dealing With Kindergarten Problems Here
Friday, September 16, 2022
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Brain breaks are to be used to break up the tedious tasks of learning. Brains get worked in different areas, and sometimes these areas need a break to reset and refresh. Brain breaks are short, movement involved, and may require a different (fun?) way of thinking.
The two brain breaks here not only involve movement, but stimulate in other ways as well. The second brain break below not only is a true brain break, but can also be incorporated to be a regular learning task as well. The best of both worlds!
Brain Break #1: Move Around
The goal here is to get the kids moving around, let off some energy. The class stands up and the teacher is the first to call out a movement. Let's say, "fish." When the teacher calls out fish, all students must start acting like a fish. After a few moments, the teacher calls the name of a student. That student then decides what to movement to call next. The class moves to that, and the teacher calls out another student's name. Repeat until your brain break is over. A variation of this is to let the students move around the room while doing the movements. It does not need to be an animal. It can be literally anything that moves, such as a clock, car, cloud, etc.
Brain Break #2: Which Would you Choose?
This one involves moving, so be prepared. Students all gather in the front of the classrom. The teacher asks a question with two choices. Such as, "Vanilla ice cream or chocolate." The students run/walk to the sides of the room that go with their choice. Tell them left for vanilla, right for chocolate. Have the students count how many are in each group, write the results on the board. Gather the students at the front of the room, and repeat the whole thing again with another choice question. Make up a bunch so you never need to ask the same thing twice. Do this as many times as you wish. Afterward, you could have all students maintain a journal and keep track of the results. They could make bar graphs, etc.
For more classroom games visit: Fun Classroom Games, and Variations on Silent Ball
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
1 in 10 teachers say they’ve been attacked by studentsCharles Bell, Illinois State University
Ten percent. That’s the portion of K-12 teachers in the United States who say they’ve been physically attacked by a student, a new survey has found.
Various news outlets have reported what has been described as a “wave of student misbehavior” since students returned from remote learning to in-person instruction. The purported surge in student misconduct is part of an upward trend in student assaults on teachers. The percentage of teachers who have been attacked by students has increased from 6% to 10% over the past decade, federal data shows.
As school districts across the country report critical shortages in teaching staff, some people worry that the attacks on teachers might push qualified candidates away from the profession. Such concerns are well founded.
In my research interviews with high school teachers who were attacked by students, I learned from teachers firsthand that these assaults have a negative effect on their morale and make them want to leave their jobs.
As I point out in my book “Suspended: Punishment, Violence, and the Failure of School Safety,” attacks are leaving teachers traumatized. In some cases, educators told me they started illegally carrying guns to school after they were attacked.
Teachers also told me they feel as if principals don’t have their backs. In fact, several teachers who have been attacked by students expressed fear of retribution from administrators.
Why would a principal not support a teacher for reporting being attacked? Teachers informed me the principals were worried about their schools getting a bad reputation, which could make it harder to recruit new teachers and students. At least one school in my study could not recruit substitute teachers because the school had a reputation for violence between students and staff.
When teachers reported to principals they had been victimized by students, the principals would minimize their concerns, according to the teachers. The principals would also shift the focus to what the teacher did or didn’t do leading up to the attack.
Call for tougher laws
Over the past decade, teachers have urged policymakers to create legislation that addresses violent student behavior. Teachers have spoken publicly about how being attacked by students hampered their ability to teach effectively.
Lawmakers have tried to come up with tougher laws to deter violence against teachers. However, many bills fail because of concerns that the bills would erode students’ right to due process. In turn, as I found in my book, many teachers feel powerless because violent students are being allowed to stay in their classes.
For example, in Connecticut, Public Act 18-89 would have allowed teachers to have students removed from their classroom if those students engage in violent acts. It would have also allowed teachers to set the standards for the student’s return to the classroom.
Although this proposal received substantial support in the Connecticut House and Senate, then-Gov. Dannel Malloy vetoed the bill, arguing that it ran counter to his efforts to reduce exclusion from the classroom and to cut off the school-to-prison pipeline.
The Teacher Protection Act in Minnesota would have compelled public schools to expel students who assaulted teachers. But the legislation failed to gain much traction because of fierce opposition from Education Minnesota – a nonprofit organization that represents educators. This particular organization wanted to prioritize restorative justice initiatives that seek to keep students in school to make amends rather than have students be suspended or expelled.
Thus, the challenge for policymakers and administrators is to find a way to protect teachers without jeopardizing students’ right to due process. The well-being and stability of America’s teaching force depends on finding the right balance.
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Teacher burnout hits record high – 5 essential readsJeff Inglis, The Conversation
Teachers in grades K through 12 are more burned out than workers in any other industry, according to a new Gallup poll that finds 44% of K-12 employees report “always” or “very often” feeling burned out at work. That number climbs to 52% when looking just at teachers.
Increased work duties during the pandemic, students with mental health challenges and political debates over masks and mass shootings are among the reasons educators say they are under unprecedented stress – and staffing shortages increase the pressure.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Conversation has asked several scholars to explain their research on various aspects of teacher burnout. Here are selections from their work.
1. Teachers most enjoy working with students
Nathan D. Jones from Boston University and Kristabel Stark from the University of Maryland interviewed teachers in early 2020 – both before the COVID-19 pandemic sparked school closings and lockdowns and after they began.
“Of all the things teachers do on the job, we found that teachers enjoy interacting with students the most – and that the positive feelings when working with students intensified once schools shifted to remote learning during the pandemic,” they wrote. As parents and communities rallied around teachers, they felt supported and encouraged to continue to support each child in their charge. But the researchers warned those feelings might be overcome by other responsibilities.
“As schools reopen, our research suggests that one way to keep teachers motivated and engaged is to ensure that they have time to build and maintain relationships with students. This is something we fear could become lost as school leaders are forced to focus on the health and safety aspects of operating schools as the pandemic continues.”
2. ‘Every day feels unsettled’
Sure enough, by the 2021-2022 school year, teachers were feeling stressed and burned out, as Laura Wangsness Willemsen and John W. Braun at Concordia University, St. Paul, and Elisheva L. Cohen at Indiana University found in their interviews with teachers and school administrators.
Lack of staff support was a major concern: “[P]ersistent staffing shortages are leading professionals to feel burned out and to worry about students missing learning opportunities,” they wrote. One assistant principal told the researchers, “Every day feels unsettled. I experience anxiety about how my day will unfold.”
3. It’s more than just individual
Australian education scholars Rebecca J. Collie at the University of New South Wales Sydney and Caroline F. Mansfield at University of Notre Dame Australia looked at sources of workplace stress among about 3,100 teachers at 225 Australian schools.
They found that school management was also a key factor in whether teachers felt stressed. “[S]ources of stress at work are not necessarily specific to the individual, but reflect a broader school climate as well,” they wrote. “So, teachers’ stress isn’t just an individual issue – some schools are more stressful places to work.”
4. Teachers look for other options
All this stress and uncertainty led to teachers’ rethinking their careers, according to research from Gema Zamarro, Andrew Camp and Josh McGee at the University of Arkansas, and Dillon Fuchsman at Saint Louis University.
“More than 40% of the teachers surveyed said they considered leaving or retiring, and over half of those said it was because of the pandemic,” they wrote. “In March 2020, 74% of teachers said they expected to work as a teacher until retirement, but the figure fell to 69% in March 2021. The proportion of teachers answering ‘I don’t know’ to this question increased by a similar amount, rising from 16% to 22%.”
5. The exodus may not be immediate
Changes in career plans for teachers are one line of research for Christopher Redding at the University of Florida, who along with Temple University’s Allison Gilmour, Boston University’s Elizabeth Bettini and Kansas State University’s Tuan D. Nguyen compared what teachers said about their plans to change professions with whether they actually did so.
“Based on our research, we think it unlikely that most teachers who say they plan to leave teaching as soon as possible will actually leave this school year,” they wrote. “However, if even one-third of teachers who say they’re leaving the profession do so, that would be significantly more than the 8% of teachers who leave in an average year.”
What it comes down to, they wrote, is that “[t]eachers are clearly sounding the alarm about stress, burnout, dissatisfaction with school and district leadership, and other working conditions – even if they do stay in their jobs.”
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
I no longer grade my students’ work – and I wish I had stopped soonerElisabeth Gruner, University of Richmond
I’ve been teaching college English for more than 30 years. Four years ago, I stopped putting grades on written work, and it has transformed my teaching and my students’ learning. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
Starting in elementary school, teachers rate student work – sometimes with stars and checkmarks, sometimes with actual grades. Usually by middle school, when most students are about 11, a system of grading is firmly in place. In the U.S., the most common system is an “A” for superior work, through “F” for failure, with “E” almost always skipped.
This system was widely adopted only in the 1940s, and even now, some schools, colleges and universities use other means of assessing students. But the practice of grading, and ranking, students is so widespread as to seem necessary, even though many researchers say it is highly inequitable. For example, students who come into a course with little prior knowledge earn lower grades at the start, which means they get a lower final average, even if they ultimately master the material. Grades have other problems: They are demotivating, they don’t actually measure learning and they increase students’ stress.
During the pandemic, many instructors and even whole institutions offered pass/fail options or mandated pass/fail grading. They did so both to reduce the stress of remote education and because they saw that the emergency, disruptive to everyone, was disproportionately challenging for students of color. Many, however, later resumed grading, not acknowledging the ways that traditional assessments can both perpetuate inequity and impede learning.
I started my journey toward what’s called “ungrading” before the pandemic. In continuing it throughout, I have seen the effects, which are like those observed by other researchers in the field.
First, I wanted my students to focus on the feedback I provided on their writing. I had a sense, since backed up by research, that when I put a grade on a piece of writing, students focused solely on that. Removing the grade forced students to pay attention to my comments.
Second, I was concerned with equity. For almost 10 years I have been studying inclusive pedagogy, which focuses on ensuring that all students have the resources they need to learn. My studies confirmed my sense that sometimes what I was really grading was a student’s background. Students with educational privilege came into my classroom already prepared to write A or B papers, while others often had not had the instruction that would enable them to do so. The 14 weeks they spent in my class could not make up for the years of educational privilege their peers had enjoyed.
Third, and I admit this is selfish: I hate grading. I love teaching, though, and giving students feedback is teaching. I am happy to do it. Freed from the tyranny of determining a grade, I wrote meaningful comments, suggested improvements, asked questions and entered into a dialogue with my students that felt more productive – that felt, in short, more like an extension of the classroom.
It’s called ‘ungrading’
The practice that I adopted is not new, and it’s not my own. It’s called “ungrading,” though that’s not entirely accurate. At the end of the semester, I do have to give students grades, as required by the university.
But I do not grade individual assignments. Instead, I give students extensive feedback and ample opportunity to revise.
At the end of the semester they submit a portfolio of revised work, along with an essay reflecting on and evaluating their learning. Like most people who ungrade, I reserve the right to change the grade that students assign themselves in that evaluation. But I rarely do, and when I do, I raise grades almost as often as I lower them.
The first class I ungraded was incredulous. After I explained the theory and the method, they peppered me with many of the questions that other ungraders have also faced. “If we ask you, will you tell us what grade we have on a paper?” No, I answered, because I really won’t have put a grade on it. “If we decide halfway through the semester that we’re done revising something, will you grade it then?” No again, because I’m grading an entire portfolio, not individual pieces. “Will you tell me where I stand?” My comments on your work, and our conferences, should give you a good sense of how you’re progressing in the class.
As for motivation, I asked them, What do you want to learn? Why are you here? Like most college professors, I teach classes across the curriculum, but I started my ungrading journey in classes that students were taking to fulfill basic graduation requirements. They were stopped short by the question. They wanted a good grade, and fair enough: That is the currency of the institution.
As we talked, though, we uncovered other motivations. Some took my children’s literature class because they thought it would be a fun or easy way to fulfill the requirement. They confessed, sometimes reluctantly, to anxieties about reading, about writing. They weren’t confident in their skills, didn’t think they could improve. These were exactly the students I was hoping to reach. Without putting grades on their work, I hoped – like my fellow ungrader Heather Miceli, who teaches general science courses to college students – that these less confident students would see that they could improve, could develop their skills and meet their own goals.
In my more advanced courses, students had an easier time identifying content-related goals, but I have also found surprisingly similar results in their reflections: They, too, want to overcome anxieties about speaking in class, concerns that they aren’t as prepared as their classmates, fears that they can’t keep up.
How did it go?
That first semester, students participated in class, did the readings and wrote their papers. I read and commented on them, and if they chose to, they revised – as often as they wanted.
At the end of the semester, when they submitted portfolios of revised work, their reflections on the process and assessments of their learning tracked closely with my own. Most recognized their growth, and I concurred. One student, a senior, thanked me for treating them like adults. As for my interest in equity, I found that students who were less well prepared did indeed develop their skills; their growth was substantial, and both they and I recognized it.
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The system takes time to implement, and I’ve revised it over the years. When I began, I was inexperienced at coaching students to develop their own goals for the course, at helping them to reflect, and at guiding them to think about assessment in terms of their own development rather than following a rubric. And I’ve found that students need time to reflect on their own goals for the class at the outset, at a midpoint, and again at the end of the semester, so they can actually see how they’ve developed. They need encouragement to revise their work as well – my comments help, but so do pointed reminders that the process of learning involves revision, and the course is set up to enable it.
Students in introductory classes require a bit more direction in this work than advanced students, but most eventually take the opportunity to revise and reflect. Now, I see students from all backgrounds recognizing their own growth, whatever their starting point. They benefit from my coaching, but perhaps even more from the freedom to decide for themselves what really matters in their reading and writing. And I benefit too, from the opportunity to help them learn and grow without the tyranny of the grade.