• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form

General

Voices from the BAM Radio Community sharing their thoughts, insights and teaching strategies.

Posted by on in General

a1sx2_Thumbnail1_presence.jpg

He woke up crazy-early. 5 am to be exact. That in my opinion is too early for a little kid to be awake. And it was apparent by the way he behaved. Or didn’t, to be more exact. I brought a blanket and a pillow downstairs, hoping he would lie down and maybe–just maybe–fall asleep. Or at the very least, rest.

That wasn’t going to happen. At least not yet. He fussed. He complained. He acted as any kid would that was awake an hour and half earlier than normal.

But then something happened. His sister came down. That was what who he needed. You can see the pillow at his feet and the blanket behind his back. They were warm and comfortable. They couldn’t provide the warmth and comfort that he needed. But his sister could.

And she did.

...
Last modified on
Posted by on in General

connect-without-words.jpg

Connecting with the children we teach everyday means everything. If we can’t connect we don’t connect. About 95% of our efforts to connect involve us talking and them listening. While our intentions our good, I think sometimes we talk too much. I think sometimes we need to try some of the strategies above that don’t require uttering a word. I think it’s at least worth a try.

 

With Your Eyes

Children know what we are thinking just by looking into our eyes. They have craved eye contact ever since they were infants and now they have become experts. The other day I was attempting to take a nap on the couch but my son was having none of it. What he said next was unintentionally brilliant (he is only 3). He said, “Open your eyes so I can see you.” He had it backwards, but there was a hidden meaning there. If we don’t have our eyes open, if we are not truly looking at our students, they know it. And they dismiss us right away. On the other hand, I believe it is important that when we do make eye contact, we do so with happiness in our eyes and a gentleness in our soul. Kids will know, and they will feel it.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in General

parent teacher conference

And with a broken wing
She still sings
She keeps an eye on the sky
With a broken wing
She carries her dreams
Man you ought to see her fly

Martina McBride

Confession: I have a love/hate relationship with the first parent, student, teacher conferences of the year. Ninety-nine percent of the time, these meetings come and go without incident, and I genuinely enjoy the conversations that I have with parents. It is rewarding to celebrate their child’s progress and to set new goals. However, occasionally preparing for those first conferences is a little more stressful than usual as I anticipate some difficult conversations. I've usually had several discussions with more difficult parents, but I never quite know what to expect. Even one or two upset parents can feel like a full-scale attack. It’s hard not to take criticism personally. It’s hard not to fall into the trap of “we against them.” It’s hard to listen, understand their point of view, and to learn from the feedback. Criticism hurts us deeply because we are so passionate about education and our students. After the recent conferences that I had this year, I feel like a bird with a wounded wing. I’ve cried. I’ve rationalized my thinking and played the blame game. But mostly, I’ve done a lot of reflecting.

Over the span of my career, I’ve worked with some of the most amazing parents! The last five years have been more than I could ever dream of as a teacher. Parents were in my classroom every day, and I felt like we were indeed partners with common goals. They were engaged and often empowered as we made instructional decisions together. The timing couldn’t have been better. I was trying many new things, and the parents thoroughly trusted and supported me. But, I changed schools and went to an entirely different community. Problems started to develop because I failed to build strong relationships with my new parents. I didn’t bank enough trust but continued to implement practices that were entirely new. I thought my reputation would follow me and I didn't put in the work. I failed to build from the ground up. I made assumptions. And so now, I have to back up, slow down, and hopefully, develop some credibility and move forward. I think I’ve learned some things that can help other teachers and leaders.

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in General

Personalized Learning is possible.

As you continue reading more research and hearing about the amazing things going on in education, I would bet you’re starting to see a lot of stories and info on personalized learning. The basic philosophy is pretty simple; give students what they need, when they need it, and allow them to explore curriculum in ways that personally interest and engage them.

This idea and philosophy is simple in concept, but it can become complex when introduced to the wide variety of students in your classroom.  So before you dive in, here are 3 things that should already be in place at your school, or in your classroom, to set you up for success with personalized learning!

1. Self-Paced / Mastery Learning:

I know it sounds like “another thing” at first thought, but trust me, if you build the foundations of mastery and self-paced learning in your classroom, personalization becomes a much more natural progression. More importantly, by implementing these methods you can use “time” as the first degree of intervention that all students receive. By allowing students to master content at their own pace and show mastery with multiple attempts, implementing personalized learning by adjusting to student needs and interests will be much easier.

2. Systems and Routines:

This gets said a lot, but it doesn’t ever seem to lose its importance. Creating a safe, productive learning environment is dependent on systems and routines in your classroom. In fact, I often tell teachers that it is the structure, systems, and routines that allow for the freedom and true student-centered instruction to occur. Otherwise, any student-centered initiative like personalized learning (and many others) would turn into chaos very quickly. So, as you begin to think about personalizing the learning in your classroom, start thinking about things you absolutely need to control to let that happen. This way, you can take full advantage of the benefits personalization has to offer for your learners!

...
Last modified on

Posted by on in General

a1sx2_Original1_rapper-or-mc.jpg

I owned a Grandmaster Flash record.

I bought LL Cool J’s Bigger & Deffer cassette tape when it first came out.

I’ve seen De La Soul in concert.

I thought I knew a little bit about hip hop. Well, it turns out that that is all I know. A little bit. But I am always open to learning. So, the other day, I had the opportunity to learn a bit more. A colleague and I were discussing music and the terms MC and Rapper kept coming up.

...
Last modified on