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

Posted by on in General


The social skill of the week was “Asking Permission.” My seventh graders were writing about an experience that had involved their use of this skill. The room was quiet as they filled out their index cards and as I prepared for the day’s lesson.

I looked up and scanned the room. Everybody was on task. Except Ivan. The squirrely boy was on all fours, crawling on the floor between desks.

“Ivan!” I bellowed. “What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for my pencil,” he replied with a giggle.

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Posted by on in General

Before you are permitted to make any disparaging remarks about teachers, you must first meet each of the expectations listed below:

You will be my substitute for the day. Just you. All day.

You must arrive at my classroom no later than 7:55 a.m. Children will be arriving at that time. Open the door and let them in. Make sure that they are getting their free breakfast as you also watch to make sure that they are getting ready for their first class of the day and not running around the room. At the same time, stand at the door and monitor the flow of students to other classes as they proceed through the hallway.

You may use my lesson plans if you like. Please be aware that the copier has been down for most of the week. Likewise, the Smart Board has had issues and the student laptops have been severely limited due to poor Wi-Fi. You may have to “monitor and adjust,” as we teachers like to say. At all times, however, you must adhere to the State Standards as stated and meticulously described within the three-inch binder next to my desk.

Please refrain from using your cellphone in class. Do not make doctor appointments or other arrangements during the school day. These must be scheduled for after school times.

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Posted by on in General

Seventh Grade Afternoon, Act I:

My fourth hour class is finally settled. Finally. Three phone calls for sick, hurt and suspended students, their books, and their backpacks to be sent to the office. Hormones raging, voices raising, pencils sharpened, restroom needs taken care of, and journals slowly finding their way to desk tops. I am launching into the vocabulary for the day and have just flicked from the first to the second slide of my PowerPoint presentation.

And the phone rings.

"Ramsey's Crazy House," I announce with a hint of frustration.

"Um, yeah. This is Lisa from XYZ Publishing," a young voice chirps.

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Posted by on in General


I was standing right there!

Jordan had to have known that I was going to see him. That I was going to bust him. Maybe he didn't care. Maybe he had already made up his mind. Maybe there was more to the story.

Like an Avenger or Marvel superhero, he jumped off the bus and roundhouse punched another kid all one motion. But I was right there. And he wasn't getting away with such random violence while I was in charge. Not on my watch!

I grabbed him by the wrist, probably tighter than I should have, and marched him and his victim into my office. Once we were in my office, with the door shut, I laid into him. I mean I let him have it. 

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Posted by on in General


Spring is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love when trees and flowers start to show their colors brightening the days and moods of people abound. Spring is a time of rejuvenation.  It is also the perfect time to bring some element of novelty to the classroom and to teacher training sessions.

In searching for a way to bring novelty into a recent teacher team meeting, I modified the Color Question Brainstorming described in Groups at Work: Strategies and Structures for Professional Learning by Laura Lipton and Bruce Wellman. In my version of the activity, I started off by asking the team a thought-provoking question or them to reflect on by completing a think-write-pair-share activity.  The purpose is for the participants thinking about a topic in a way that reduces judgment and opens thinking. Rather than ending the conversation at this point, the team is divided into teams of 2-4 with each team given a color: Green, Red, or Blue.

In three locations in the meeting space, a poster is hung where participants will generate questions.

Green Questions: Imagination, Ingenuity, Possibility

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