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General

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

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Moving Day, Saturday June 8, 2019. Boxes and Teachers wearing Jeans, what a combo. 

Let me say this, about that.

Should Teachers wear jeans every day? Hmmm. Hot topic. Never thought much about it.

I never knew this is such a big topic for teachers. I read a great We Are Teachers article by Kristy Louden on June 6, 2019, posted by 'We Are Teachers' on Twitter. "Teachers Should Be Allowed to Wear Jeans Every Day & Here's Why". I thought it was an interesting read, so I shared it. That tweet now, as I conclude my thoughts, has nearly 65,000 impressions (hits), (update, Sunday morning, 84,000 impressions) so I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to write for us.

The common thread for me, my takeaway goes right back to school culture, and likely, Maslow, basic needs, personal self-care needs being met. Perhaps we can go no further than to recognize a whole lot of teachers want to self-determine what they wear to school every day to perform at their best. Perhaps this whole discussion is really all about teacher autonomy and need for trust in our professionalism and decision making, I'm really not sure.

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Posted by on in General

The final day of another school year has quickly come and gone, and summer vacation is but a few hours old.  The desks have been cleaned and stacked.  The books have been packed away in cupboards.  Student work has been taken down and handed back to kids to either take home or add to the recycling bin already bulging outside our classroom door.

And the kids have all left the building in search of many exciting adventures far removed from school.

This final day of school lasted just four hours.  Some of the kids did not even attend.  I anticipated a morning filled with noise and unruly, reckless behavior.  But, for the most part, there was no commotion.  Our students sat on the floor and played Uno and Connect Four.  Others listened to music on their phones.  Some signed yearbooks.  Some simply talked and laughed.

I have learned to sit back and observe, to listen, to learn.

All of my check-out items had been completed earlier in the week.  There really was not much else for me to do.  So I listened. 

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Posted by on in General

Hopefully touching your hearts on Teacher Appreciation Week 2019! 

Just a lot of teaching stuff! I give up. SOS. Worst organizer, ever, and I'm moving again. Oh boy.

Dearie me, I am a late bloomer as usual. I said feh until now about the crazy deal about organizing and tidying up. Morgan told me about Marie Kondo. She and her mama have been watching "YouTube" videos and all of a sudden, Barbie Town is shut down, stuffies and bags of baby toys donated to preschool, that sort of thing. But when Rebecca told me Morgan was organizing her drawers and folding everything, I really was pretty darn impressed. 

I kept hearing snippets about it, but I was too busy hunting through stacks of teaching stuff in several remaining closets. Long gone are class sets of jump ropes, xylophones etc. Remaining? Favorite children's classics, reading manipulatives, treasure box junk, art materials, you know what I mean.

Added to that, teaching antiques besides me, including bells, slates, ink wells, readers and a couple things I never saw before or since, like a first Big Book. Standing manipulative chalk board, and my McGuffey's, dreamy.

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Posted by on in General

Today, the first day after the state writing test, was a day of decompressing, reflecting, and celebrating.  I began each class with my assessment of how I thought the day had gone.

“I’m not allowed to read your work,” I explained.  “None of us are.  But all of your teachers spent the entire day circulating through our classrooms and making sure that all of you were on task.  Let me tell you, our feet are tired.”

I paused for a moment and then continued, “I was so impressed that you listened to me and that you all filled those giant four-squares to the max!  Hallelujah!  We all were impressed.  Truthfully, none of us have ever seen kids spend so much time planning, writing, and revising a rough draft!  There is simply no way your scores can be low!  I am so proud of you!”

Marni raised her hand.  “Mr. Ramsey, you turned some really awful writers into great writers!”

“Thank you,” I replied.  “But you all were already good writers.  That little seed of creativity was buried inside of you.  It just needed a little attention and time.”

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Posted by on in General

 26 standardized full

The first day of this year's state testing is tomorrow. I know I shouldn't be nervous, especially after being a teacher all these years, but I am. Our first test is writing and, of course, the weight of the first assessment is on my shoulders since I am the writing teacher. 

I've worked hard to teach my seventh graders, and I know they have worked hard also (well, most of them). I love reading their work and really can see a big difference from when they were with me in fifth grade. Two years with me - I hope I've done them justice.

Today was my last day to practice with them, and I tried to review every possible thing I could. I reviewed the state writing rubric (for the 100th time), and I reminded the kids that I've been using it all year long to grade their work. I talked about playing the game right and how to get the most points possible. 

Sal sighed and said, "Mr. Ramsey, I'm really nervous. I'll try to do my best."

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