IMAGINE HATING YOUR JOB THIS MUCH

Can you imagine hating your job so much that you act like a jerk all the time to almost everyone you work with, actually trying to get fired or suspended, just so you don’t have to go back the next day!  That would be a pretty miserable way to come to work every day.  Think about how stressed out you would be and how little work you would do – not a whole hell of a lot – right!

Now look at a part of our student population, isn’t that exactly what they are doing?  They come to school every day acting as if they don’t care about anything or anyone as long as peers and teachers just leave them alone and woe be the ones that don’t leave them alone.

I have worked with the so-called “at risk” youth for many years now (with all the different labels) and I have seen this behavior so often from far too many of my students.  They are in a place (school) that they associate with pain and suffering (because they do), and we wonder why they don’t want to be there.

At some point in my career (I prefer not to say when), I asked one of my students who was having a “bad” month why he was acting like such a jerk in class?  You what he told me “nobody in f-ing school really gives a rats-ass about me or anyone else this f-ing room, as long as you keep us quiet, and we don’t cause too many problems for you, no one f-ing cares.”

“You can’t f-ing teach us nuthin because we’re too f-ing dumb, hey you might be a nice guy, but once we leave this room, what to f*(& really happens – you can’t f-ing change things, so why do you even f-ing try, it never f-ing changes?”  He went on for about another 4-5 minutes laying the f-bomb every few seconds, until he just got tired of talking.

I said the only thing that I could – “If I don’t who will?”

I would like to say that those small words turned that student’s life around – it didn’t that day (this is reality not a movie and I certainly am not “Superman”) and after a little more talking, we went back into class and later that period I had to have an administrator come to have him removed from my room for his disruptive behaviors.  That incident has stayed with me since it happened and the student did not do well in school afterwards, even though whenever he has seen me, he is polite, always says hi and we talk for a bit.

I have often thought how I would feel, if I was now a student today who had to come to school involuntarily everyday (for several years) to a place where my peers verbally and sometimes physically abused me, where my teachers nit picked at all the work I did, continually finding fault with my efforts and making those cutting remarks that only a teacher in front of a classroom can make and the only time I saw school administrators was after I did something against the “rules”.

When I finally do find something I am good at, hardly anyone notices and then as a punishment for not doing well at something I am not good at, they take away the things that I am good at doing.  Forcing me to do over and over again the things that I hate and am not good at, until I say f-it.

After a while I would learn the “game” from my “friends” and “others” that if I act like a jerk, people will leave me alone and if I really get tired of coming, I can do something just bad enough to get suspended a time or two.  I learn that I can basically get extra vacation time away from a place I hate as long as I don’t do anything too serious and not have to do a lot when I deign to show up.  What are they going to do suspend me?  Cool I will just go someplace else, it sure as hell can’t get any worse – right.

We subject a bigger percentage of our students than we want to admit to this everyday.

These students are required by law to be in a place they do not want to be, compulsory education for those students is torture, it certainly is not the “good old days” of school that most of you – believe that you remember.

Yet many in education and leadership think of school as a pleasurable experience, they remember the football games, basketball games, getting rewarded for good report cards, thinking about all their friends, Mr or Mrs. Teacher that made a difference in their life and all the other good things that can happen at school.  These former students are the ones that come back as teachers, go on to become politicians, public servants, school board members or some other leadership position.

I have to ask what do these people have in common with the student that dropped all those f-bombs on me that day?

In my opinion – not too damn much.

So when most of the so-called experts start saying what they think school should be like for all students, I have to wonder if they are thinking of my “student” and so many others like him.  I really don’t believe that they are.  They are talking about students like themselves, who were fairly successful in school, went to the right college, met the right people, got into the right career and is now able to make the “right” decisions for all students.

I say “that is a crock of bullshit”?

Do you find this offensive, I find what some of the decisions that are made for the benefit of all students offensive.

I hope that I do offend someone…I am tired of seeing the all student theory, especially when it has no connection to the reality that all of our students experience – not just the ones who do school well.  Students are individuals who have individual needs, wants and skills.  To lump them into an all student lump, does not work and causes schools where ever they are to loose too many of our students either by dropping out or skating by.

If I offended anyone with my verbiage or depiction of education in this blog entry…I do not apologize, maybe it is time that more of us talked about the 20-30 percent of students (yes I think it is that high), who do not believe that school is a good thing.

What can or what will we do for them?

That brings me to why I wrote this blog entry the way that I did…If I don’t who will?

“Do the right thing for the right reason”

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THE PAST

Picture of John F. Kennedy

Image via Wikipedia

I have been following and participating in the Twitter stream today and realized how much I missed it and yet at the same time how much it can get my blood pressure up when everyone gets discussing education reform and what the reality is versus what many out there want everyone to believe.

One of the things that I missed about being not on Twitter for so long, are little nuggets like this one that I got in a link at the The School Library Journal.

While reading this blog entry, I came across this quote from John F. Kennedy that I had read before, but had forgotten.

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values.  For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.  ~John F. Kennedy”

I really think that we all need to read these words very closely and that the so-called unelected and our elected leadership needs to read them again and think about what he said, because this doesn’t seem to be the direction we are heading.

I guess I just want a more open and civil Country than it seems many of those in leadership positions believe we should have.  In today’s world of instant communication, 24/7 news, the Internet, the truth becomes blurred far too easily and when so many on both sides of the political spectrum hide behind dogma, slurs, innuendo and half-truths to ensure that a certain philosophy or agenda goes forward, it is a sad commentary on our future.

I wonder how many of those in leadership at whatever level they are at (local, state or national) whether they are conservative, liberal or somewhere in between – are afraid of the people they represent?  Is that why so many in positions of power don’t believe that the “public” should have all the information on an issue, so that we can make intelligent choices based on the truth, not on something less.

I guess that they believe that we should follow those with the best propaganda campaigns…not the truth.  Have we become a nation of special interests, who will do whatever it takes to ensure their position dominates others, not what is best for the Country as a whole.  Unfortunately, that may be the truth.

I am going to put this quote very prominently on all of my blogs – not that I expect much to change by doing so, but people will understand better where I am coming from and how I believe.  But I don’t believe that those words spoken by John F. Kennedy are listened to very much in today’s United States of America.

“Do the right thing for the right reason”

RESOURCE ROOM EXPECTATIONS PART 1

PART ONE RESOURCE ROOM EXPECTATION – PART 1

What do parents, other teachers, school administrators, DOE leadership (State and Federal), politicians, corporations (because they seem to have a very large influence on education policy today), really want us to do with the students who walk through the doors of my Special Education Resource Room?  Most Resource Room students have had difficulty being successful in school without significant academic and/or behavioral supports.  

At the same time Special Education Resource Room students are human beings who laugh, cry, have “aha” moments, “interesting” behaviors and have identified disabilities.  They are also individuals with hopes, goals, dream and needs just like everyone else.  All many of them want is a decent life with a chance at happiness once they leave school (at whatever level they get off the bus).  

Those students who walk through my Resource Room door are or become “my” students and these are children who I spend so many hours each school year attempting to reach and teach.  I seriously give a damn about each and every one of them, otherwise I would not work so hard at pushing, pulling and leading these students to realize that they can learn and continue to work to get them excited about learning (I even put up with preparing the Special Education paperwork to be able to teach them).

I get to see them at their best and I get to see them at their worst at various points throughout the school year.  I am lucky because I get to know them as individuals, not just the reputation that precedes them, which may or may not be reality.  To me, my students are not just a number, they are not just a score, and certainly not just another face walking by me.  They are real people and I want them to have a good life after they leave my Resource Room.

I get to know my students strengths and weaknesses pretty well and in my experience, most of the students in my Resource Room classes are significantly (years) behind their same-age peers abilities in most of the following areas: academics, intellectually, behavior and maturity.
I am not saying this to demean Resource Room students, it is just the way it is and I believe that most other Resource Room teachers have the same experience.  So what are we preparing these students for? What are the expectations that all the people I have listed above have for my Resource Room students?

  • College?
  • Work?
  • Life?
  • What?

I get a lot of conflicting information on those expectations.  Right now the expectation du jour is that we supposed to prepare allstudents for college or a career while adhering to their Individual Education Plan (IEP).

How can we prepare a student who is academically challenged enough to require Resource Room services academically; who has never received any score higher than partially meets standard on any Standardized test and may still be learning basic academic skills in high school, to realistically prepare them for college or a career.

Accommodations and Modifications only do so much and do not automatically make a student successful or ready for either.  I understand that high expectations go a long way towards improving academic performance, but reality can be a real bitch sometimes.  This expectation preparation of college or a career for Resource Room students is contradictory to me, when many Resource Room students are working at the third to fifth grade levels on the IEP goals while in high school.

The truth is most Resource Room students will not attend any school (college, community college or technical schools) right after high school (I worry more if they will even finish high school) and in all likelihood be performing a variety of lower paying jobs.  That is the reality and my experience, this may not be other Resource Room teachers experience, but I have a feeling it is.

I have attempted to find statistics on
(1) how many Special Education students who were Resource Room students attend college after high school and (2) then go back to college for a second year or even a second semester.
I must be looking in the wrong areas, because with all of the statistics out there I can’t find any statistics on those two questions, if anyone reading this blog knows the answer or where to look, I would appreciate the information.

What is the reality?  No number of laws or regulations, court decisions or administrative directives are going to change the actual abilities or interests of an individual.  Most Resource Room students are not prepared academically for college level work when they receive their High School Diploma.  Many of them are still working on basic skills and basic concepts academically, because their IEP properly identifies their actual level of performance – not the pie-in-the-sky view that so many seem to have today.

Yet the expectations are that they take the same Standardized Tests (what gets tested, gets taught mentality) and be pushed toward going to college irregardless of their readiness or actual ability.

I wish it was different and that all of my Resource Room students will be reading at grade level at the end of their year with me, but that is not reality.  No matter how hard I try or how well I teach the limits of what will be learned is dependent upon individual skills, attitudes or abilities and getting these students to read grade level expectations is extremely difficult at best.

The reality is that we are presently subjecting our Special Education students to two sets of educational priorities that are like a set of railroad tracks that will never meet.  One that requires individualization of the curriculum to meet the student’s individual needs and on the other side is a set of standards and assessments that emphasize the norm, not the individual.  How we reconcile these apparent disparities in the re-authorizations of NCLB, IDEA and ADA will determine the future of Special Education in relation to Regular Education.

However, in today’s educational reform climate and its focus on the “norm”, I am not optimistic about the direction that Education and in particular Special Education will go.

This end part 1 of my Resource Room Expectations:  Part 2 will be what I am actually doing in my Resource Room this year to attempt to help my students improve academically.

“Do the right thing for the right reason”

FOUR WEEK SCHOOL REFLECTION

Loch Alsh - reflection

Image via Wikipedia

Wow it is unbelievable that the 1st Quarter Progress notes are being passed out to students on Monday!  Inspite of what has been happening with me at home, school has gone on and my students continue to show up expecting to be taught.

I just want to brag about my three 7th grade English Language Arts classes to the world!!! They are a mixed variety of abilities, maturity and behaviors, but they are all getting along (mostly), engaged in learning and a general pleasure to be around.
I know that it has only been four weeks of school, but this has the potential to be one of, if not the best bunch of students that I have ever had the privilege of teaching.  They have already done more than I would have thought possible and have done it with a great attitude (or as great as 12 & 13 year olds can have).
The daily routine is becoming, well more routine.  The students know what to expect and approximately when to expect it.  They understand the classroom expectations and seem to have adapted well to them.  I think that the check-in time is helping them know what is going on around school, in class and I just started this week to have everyone give a quick thumbs-up/down on how their day is going.  This gives me a quick idea of who is having a good or bad day (the students have been very honest about that), which allows me to focus on those having a bad day a little more or let them have a little extra space to get themselves together, whichever they need more.
One thing that I have noticed is that no student has had to use the Safe Haven area in my classroom yet this year (last year it was used almost daily after I established it).  I believe that they like the idea that it is available to them if they need the time or space, but have not had the need in class yet and they haven’t abused its purpose (being a safety valve).  Even when I suggested to a couple of students to use it, they chose not to and participated in the classroom activities.
The student engagement and positive behaviors with my 7th graders has been exceptional in all classes, sure they like to fool around, goof off and do silly things but the things they are doing are age appropriate and when they occur have been easily redirected to more positive behaviors.  I believe that the students do enjoy using FreeRice.com to warm-up and work on their vocabulary/grammar a bit (I just have to see how it translates over to their actual work now), most have significantly increased the amounts they are earning since the first week.  I do have to find other alternatives, so that it does not get “old hat” and boring to the students.
I am really impressed with how well the Silent Sustained Reading (SSR) is going.  Most of the students are actually reading, based on the quality of the daily reading log entries.  We increased the amount of time from 10 to 12 minutes this week and I plan to increase it to 15 minutes next week and believe that that will be about it for a while.  Getting many of these students to sit still and read for this amount of time without complaining too much or while playing a video game, is something I am very proud of them doing.
I think that letting them use headphones to listen to music while reading if they want to and having the countdown timer to let them know how much time is left helps a lot also, they don’t seem to feel as overwhelmed with how long they have to read – there is a definite end in sight. I do have a couple of students who may be picture surfing more than reading and I plan to work with them on that this week.
On Monday we learned how to upload a document created in Pages or Open Office to Google Docs using the Paper Airplane reflections as the student’s source document. There were a lot of glitches with Google Docs properly uploading these documents even after re-saving them into a .doc format, so that is something that I will have to look closer at to ensure that we can do it quickly and easily in the classroom.  All the students are using Google Docs and seem to really like it.
I know that I love gDocs and can’t imagine not being able to use it in the classroom it is such an asset to our class.  I don’t like that Google took away the ability to use it in an offline mode, because when we lost the internet for an hour a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t use it and had to use a Desktop based word processor instead, which was a pain when the upload didn’t work easily.  Plus a few of my students don’t have internet at home and have to go through the upload pain in the butt routine to get their documents to gDcos.
Starting on Tuesday we started reading the book Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix which is part of the 7th Grade General Curriculum.  I introduced the book and we discussed what it would be like to a third child when only two children were allowed by the law.  I am using the book as a Read-aloud and discuss as we go to help develop reading fluency and comprehension skills.  We got through Ch-3 on Thursday and did a daily log on each chapter of the book after reading it.  We used a single shared document in Google Docs for all students to write their log entry, while it is projected on the screen.  That way everyone is seeing what and how much the other students are writing instead of only the teacher and we are going back and publicly editing the entries (while editing one student’s I am seeing other students correcting similar mistakes before we get to them).  Comparing Ch-3 entries to Ch-1 I can see a definite improvement in their work and the amount they are writing – from my point of view it seems as though the students are taking more time/pride in their work now that everyone is seeing what they are writing.  Next week will be learning how to make an electronic poster using a slide show (gDocs or Keynote) – sorry not ready for Glogster or other ones yet with everything that has been going on.
On Friday I was only in for 1/2 of the day due to a medical appointment, but when I got in the Substitute teacher gave me nothing but great feedback on my Blocks 1 and 2 behaviors and work ethic.  I was very proud of my kids, because last year, my classes didn’t get those kind of reviews from the substitutes and I actually had subs that refused to work with those classes.  So this is a complete 180 from last year and I love being able to feel that I can go to a training or medical appointment without my student’s behaviors becoming completely negative for a sub.
During block 3 we did the weekly reading assessment with a small twist, I modified the NECAP test instructions to fit my weekly reading assessment.  I did this to get students used to the pace and expectations of those Standardized Tests.  It caused some significant anxiety for a couple of students initially because they cannot receive any assistance on reading of the text, questions or answers, they have to do it without any assistance at all, but they acclimated to it and I believe/hope it will make the NECAP testing less surprising or stressful for them when we start on October 4th.  We will do the weekly reading assessment again next Friday for all the blocks using the modified NECAP instructions to help prepare them for the assessment.
As I said the first quarter Progress Notes will be passed out Monday and everyone passed easily.  I am very impressed with my students work ethic, mostly positive behaviors, but most of all their willingness to let me help them learn.
Yes I am bragging about my three classes and the students I have in them, they are a great bunch of kids and I am really looking forward to working with them the rest of this year.  Now that it seems as though my family medical issues have reached a tolerable level, hopefully I will be able to devote more positive energy to my classes.
This could be a great year!

WHO INFLUENCES SPECIAL EDUCATORS?

I have been thinking for quite a while about who actually influences how successful Special Education Teachers will be during a school year and finished putting together the following chart this afternoon in attempt to help me visualize those influences.

I had lines and arrows going this way and that, added/subtracted, changed around the locations or designs of the various influences in a Special Educator’s life without liking any of the results.  While spending several hours creating the above chart, I came to the conclusion that of all the influences on this colorful chart, the one in purple is the most important and is the one that we need to focus on.

“US”

The influences in this chart may give us a reason for being there, feedback on how they think we are doing our job, direction, laws, recommendations or even conflicting information, but the person in the mirror is the major influence on whether you will be successful or not this year.  We know whether or not we are doing the best job that we can, in the school environment we are presently teaching in.  Everyone of us has a different situations, limitations, strengths and weaknesses that we bring with us when we walk through those school doors.

It is how we use our personal abilities to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in, that will determine whether or not we are successful in the classroom this year.

How we use our:

  • imagination to teach those students who would prefer to be elsewhere – especially in Special Education where so many of our students do not have a history of being successful in school.
  • courage to stand up to wrongs we see going on around us
  • adaptability to acknowledge change can be a necessary and good thing
  • intelligence to interpret laws and regulation to cause the greatest benefit for our students
  • wisdom to ensure the least harm from laws and regulations that negatively affect our students
  • enthusiasm for what you are teaching even when you want to be else where
  • willingness to learn new ideas, technology, pedagogy and use them in class
  • persistence to keep going even when you don’t want to
  • abilities and experience to know the difference between right and wrong
  • flexibility to be able to change what we are doing to meet the needs of our students
  • ability to simply suck-it-up and get what needs to be done, no matter how much a pain in the butt it is sometimes or if we agree with it or not sometimes.
  • positive attitude to put things in as good a light as possible and see the silver lining in a situation, even when it is really, really tough to find one
  • knowing which battles to fight and which ones to let go (this is the toughest one sometimes) – falling on your sword all the time is only going to hurt a lot

There are many more things that we Special Educators can do and should do, but they are dependent upon the individual’s situation and where they teach.  The person in the mirror knows them and knows whether or not you are doing them or not.

It is almost always easier to blame other influences for our own shortcoming and make excuses for why we “can’t” or why we “do” something instead of taking ownership and personal responsibility for what we do or don’t do.  Question yourself: “Are you doing what you are doing for the right reason or are you simply going through the motions”?  Sometimes we have to take the time to challenge ourselves and how we view things and others to know if what we are doing is the right thing or not.

Sure some situations we are in suck (really, really badly), but instead of whining about them and bringing people around us down too, what are we doing to make them better than they are?  Can we?  If not than maybe it is time to move on as soon as we can.  It is often better to move on to a new situation than it is to remain in one that is eating you up, no matter how familiar it is to you or the seniority you might loose.

To put it very bluntly the person in the mirror determines how successful and happy you will be this year and in the future – no one else or other influences.   That person is the only one that we have control over.

“Do the right thing for the right reason”

WEEK IN REVIEW – SEPTEMBER 25, 2010

Illustration depicting a hypothesized "en...

Image via Wikipedia

Over the course of the past 3 weeks I haven’t had the motivation or energy it takes to blog, as I explained in yesterday’s post about Family Comes First, someone in my family had a bunch of serious medical tests  to do during that time.  Now that we have the results and they are mostly positive, hopefully I can get back to a more normal life and not worry so much about their health.

Below are my top 5 posts for the week:

1.  GOOGLE DOCS TEMPLATES
2.  FAMILY COMES FIRST
3.  PAPER AIRPLANE LESSON PLAN 2010
4.   WAS OVER-AMBITIOUS
5.  TEACHING TO THE BELL CURVE

Thank you to everyone who has continued to visit this blog site even though there hasn’t been a lot of new material written lately.

“Do the right thing for the right reason”

FAMILY COMES FIRST

Smiley Face
Image via Wikipedia
I have mostly ignored Blogging, Twitter and participating in my online PLN for the past three weeks, due to some medical issues in my family.  Today we got some great news from the doctor and hopefully now I can stop dwelling on those issues to the exclusion of almost everything else and get back into a more normal routine.
Due to my over-active imagination, along with the stress of waiting and wondering about what the results of multiple significant medical tests results would be, most nights I was getting 2-3 hours of sleep.  As a result of this I felt completely overwhelmed on more than a few occasions with everything that I was facing personally and with the start of the new school year.
It seemed as though I barely had the energy to do just what I had to do at school and for the most part didn’t have any motivation left over for other things such as blogging, Twitter or even maintaining my exercise regimen.
Putting it simply, I have been in survival mode. While I met my commitments, I just didn’t have the energy to do much more than that.  Many of those new and neat things I wanted to start in the classroom this year, class blogs, student blogging, more student choices, online testing, didn’t get started – I simply couldn’t do many of the things that I had planned.
Somethings had to give and I simplified my classes and made them much more structured and teacher-centered than I had originally planned or wanted.  Which in some ways may have been better fit for the students I have this year.  I can add-in the other things at a much slower pace as the year goes on.
When someone you love has possible medical issues, it is amazing how your priorities change and what you once thought was important becomes relatively unimportant so quickly.  At the same time as a teacher, I still had to come in and not let my personal life affect my classroom too much.
I guess the old saying that once you open the car door and step into the parking lot, no matter what is going on, teachers have to try to put on their best face, fake it and not let what is going on at home show through too much. For the most part I think I was pretty successful, but there were times, I wondered.
This last three weeks has really made me stop and look at what is important to me and how I want to spend my future and I am going to make some changes over the course of the next year.  It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.
Things are looking up and hopefully, I will sleep soundly for the first time in almost three weeks tonight.  While it was definitely a tough time for us…good medical test results are a good thing.  You really find out who the people are that you can rely on during times like these and I do want to thank everyone who provided support to us during this trying time.

“Do the right thing for the right reason”

WEB2.0 Doesn’t exist for Most People

REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com)

I just realized something – that my activity in the WEB2.0 community  (blogging, Twittering, using Ning,  Second Life, listening to podcasts, attending online teacher discussions (right Nellie D.) etc.), since June has decreased significantly!  Why is that?  I have a couple of theories:

1.  As a teacher I was more more focused on the future and how to prepare my students for their future.  So I was far more interested in trying new applications, discussing new ideas with other teachers online  and seeing if new software (especially free stuff) was applicable and useable as a part of my “duty” to my students.  Now I am much more grounded in the day-to-day workload, planning to prepare RFPs, work with sub-grantees, and other coordinating activities.  I have  more of an oversight type of job.  In this position those I work with are responsible for their own learning.

2.  Most of the software that I use – is chosen for me.  Working on the computer in Government is Windows based and Microcentric — so things like M/S Office, Internet Explorer, Adobe, etc are the software applications.  It takes away a lot of the need for “searching”  or “finding” new software/cloud applications and trying to figure out how integrate the new “things” into my class.  I don’t have to show others that there are a variety of different applications that do the same things.

This doesn’t mean that I will give up on trying new applications or software, it just means that it isn’t part of my job anymore.  My priorities and focus have changed a lot in the past three months.  Before I was a huge advocate of Web 2.0 technologies and couldn’t understand why more people were not using them.

Now I understand the other side much better, that Web2.0 applications simply are not part of their lives — they rely on specific applications to get their work done.

No matter – I plan to continue exploring and using Web2.0 applications and letting others know — Zoho and Google Docs are an example – I gave a presentation a couple of weeks ago on using the sharing function and 90% of the audience had never heard of Zoho.  So I have spread the Zoho love some more :).  Or the free web based meeting applications to enable us to have meetings and save travel expenses for participants (Skype or DimDim).

Here’s to Web2.0 tools and let’s keep the fires burning, but in my case at a much lower level than before.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

GOOGLE DOCS TEMPLATES

Image representing Google Docs as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

I have been using Google Docs quite a bit over the course of the past year and have finally discovered Templates.  I have found some that I really liked and wanted to share them.  They are mainly Google Form documents, but I have started using the Reading Log daily in my room.  I have modified each of the forms a bit to meet my needs, but wanted to give credit to the original template owners and I have  included links their versions of the template:

Activity Rating Scale By Kmfaucher:

I really liked this Google Form, I used it this week to find out more information on what my students like and want to do this year.  A couple of the questions that it asks are:

What topic would you like to learn more about this year?

I would like to learn more about other Country’s and what they do and how they live. How to use the lab top morei would like to learn more about laptops and how to clean it history cause i like it.How to keep up with all my classes idk .astronimysportsI want to learn about cats with pictures.I would like to learn more about Reading I would like to learn more about spelling and word descriptions. bikes and auto mechanic. I wan’t to learn more about animals.

How do you feel about reading? Be honest! Explain why you feel that way.

I don’t like it unless i like the book and enjoy it, because i just dont like to i would rather be outside.i dont like it because it gives my a headechi dont like it that much because it takes forever to read a long bookreading is fine but i just dont like that much .Reading can be fun but when i get done some thing BORING I want to do some thing fun and well some times reading isn’t fun.i like reading.it gives me som inging to do!i think it is ok becuose it dipens on what i’m reading.I don’t like them because its boring. I hate reading because it boring like a text books, but if it short

These two questions provided me a lot of information on the attitudes towards reading, what the students might be interested in and a quick look their writing levels.

Independent Reading Log By Bsdlisahuff

I really like this Reading Log and have modified it slightly to meet my needs.  That students can add a link for any online reading they do, is an added benefit.

Student By Steves_aor  Student Information Sheet

This is actually a pretty good student information sheet to get all the info that we teachers need, especially if the school’s data base is acting wonky that day.  I went in and simplified it for my needs, but it is a good starter to get the information you will need.

Learning Style Survey By SuperTechThis is a relatively simple Learning Style Survey, but I wanted it more for the whole class information than the individual results.   The overall class Learning Style came out as follows:

A.  108 – Visual learner. You remember best by using your eyes.
B.  102 – Auditory learner. You remember best by using your ears.
C.  150 – Doing learner. You need movement or activity while you study to remember best

The students in my ELA RR classroom are predominantly learners who need to be doing an activity, not just sitting there listening or watching what is going on.  I am not surprised by these results after watching the classes for a few weeks, but at the same time it was nice to see my impression validated to a certain extent.

WHS IEP Feedback Form By Marychhs

This is a Form that I have modified a little bit to meet the needs of my school system and I am going to try it out for the first time this week.  I think it will provide me a lot of good information for preparing for a Pupil Evaluation Team (PET) and the Individual Education Plan (IEP).  I am really interested in how the other teachers will react to this form once I start using it?

These are the Google Docs Templates that I have found that I like and use right now.  Does anyone else have good gDocs Forms, Docs, etc. that they would like to share?  As I start creating more gDocs templates I plan to share them as gDocs Templates.

The gDocs community is growing and providing each other with great resources.
“Do the right thing for the right reason and make a difference!”

WEEK IN REVIEW – SEPTEMBER 18, 2010

This week was one of those weeks that just overwhelm you.  Between school and some other issues going on I haven’t been posting or even participating in Twitter.  Hopefully, over the next couple weeks things will sort themselves out and I can get back to blogging and tweeting.
Below are my top 5 posts for this past week:

1.  I WAS OVER-AMBITIOUS

2.  TEACHING TO THE BELL CURVE
3.  SPECIAL EDUCATORS-DO WE DO TOO MUCH?
4.  THE WEEK IN REVIEW SEPTEMBER 11, 2010

5.  PAPER AIRPLANE LESSON PLAN 2010

“Do the right thing for the right reason”