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Posted by on in General

2:55 p.m. 

Kids moving out of the room at one door, homeroom kids entering at the other door.  Everyone talking at the same time.  Everyone moving at the same time. 

“Can I go to the restroom?”

“Can I go see the counselor?”

“Can I go to the library?”

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Posted by on in General

kid not listening

There is something seriously wrong with the ability for our children to retain information.  The decline has been swift and severe in just the past decade.

Perhaps they are not listening.  Perhaps they don’t see any reason for listening…or remembering.  Perhaps they are surrounded by distractions – peers, technology, drama.  Perhaps there is something in their diet that is bringing about an organic change in their brains.

Perhaps it is just not cool to think any longer.

I have been teaching a great deal of history in my writing class in order to bring forth some thoughtful essays.  In December, we discussed and wrote about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  After the holidays, we studied the Japanese internment camps.  This past week we began learning about the bombing of Hiroshima. 

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Tagged in: knowledge Learning

Posted by on in General

Sergio seemed a bit out of it yesterday and today. He looked tired, sad...just out of it. I think I asked him about twenty times if he was okay. About twenty times he said he was fine.

Today he showed up the same way. "I'm just tired”, he said.

Sergio is one of my favorite kids. He is usually well-behaved, but he is a 13-year-old boy, so you can't expect perfection. He seems to be sort of an enigma...he's not one of the top students, he's not one of the bottom. He simply doesn't fit in any of the boxes we put kids into. He doesn't seem to fit in any of the cliques. He's not shunned by anyone...he just doesn't seem to be closely connected to anyone either.

One thing that sets him apart is his wonderful vocabulary. He loves words and loves learning new ones, the bigger the better. I love watching him play with the words that roll from his tongue. I love tossing new ones his way to see what he will do with them.

Seeing his head on his desk in homeroom, I asked him if he was okay. Of course, he denied having any problems. I let him be and continued with my teaching.

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Posted by on in General

The Soviet Union’s jump-start to space exploration, with the launching of Sputnik in 1957, left egg on America’s face and galvanized the Space Race that would last between the two nations well into the next decade. 

I was just two years old in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy announced, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”  A few years later, I was beginning my elementary school days, and, at the same time, the nation was ramping up its efforts to improve science education in order to produce the best science minds for taking on the president’s goal.

As the Apollo mission reached a fevered pitch in the late sixties, I was finally having science added to my daily lessons.  Truthfully, most of the lessons simply involved reading a text and filling out worksheets, but I was in heaven!  I loved science!  I loved learning about atoms and cells and pulleys and levers and electricity and biology.  I ran to the library and checked out all the books I could find about rocket ships and future plans for inhabiting the moon.  I begged my mother for money (from an already overstretched bank account) and bought my own books about the moon from Scholastic. 

I followed the race to the moon in the newspaper and clipped articles for a scrapbook that now, fifty years later, is yellowed and faded.  I wanted to be an astronaut, despite the fact that I could barely make it through a ride in the family station wagon without getting carsick.

Along with other boys and girls my age, I stayed up late on July 20, 1969 and rejoiced as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped foot on the moon’s surface. A few years later, we held our breath and prayed in the middle of class as the astronauts of Apollo 13 had to abort their mission and figure out a way to stay alive in order to return safely to Earth. Throughout junior high school and high school, we watched four more Apollo lunar modules land on the moon.  The country moved on to Skylab and space shuttles which still had the power of stopping science fanatics like me in our tracks to watch launchings and landings and, sadly, a few disastrous mishaps.

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Posted by on in General

After more than three decades of working with kids from kindergarten to high school age,  I have witnessed many a behavioral outburst.  Occasionally, these incidents have been explosive, with a student striking out vocally and/or physically at his teacher or one of his peers in some attempt to openly rebel and assert his individual power.  These types of outbursts can potentially cause more harm to the well-being of others than to the angry child himself.    

A second type of meltdown is implosive in nature.  The most vulnerable in these situations is the child himself.  Feelings of depression, rejection, humiliation and hopelessness can lead a child to retreat into his own mind and melt from within.   

Sometimes you face kids who are imploding and exploding at the same time.

I was just about to get in my car and head to my weekly administrator's meeting, when my cell phone started ringing.  I balanced my pile of data in one arm and clicked the phone's green "accept" button with my free hand.  "Yes?" I hollered. 

"Mr. Ramsey," our school secretary, Valerie, began, "Mrs. Larrabee needs you by the eighth grade boys' restroom.  She says Louie is pounding his head on the sidewalk and screaming." 

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