Posts tagged school

I don’t know if there are any young people following this blog who are being bullied —

Whether it is because of how you look, who you like, your taste in music, hobbies, or anything (like embarrassing a bully who was picking on your friend and ticking him off like I did).

I want you to know that I know the pain of being bullied.  I was horribly bullied by my entire grade in junior high.   People I had known since I was in first grade or earlier.  I felt like I had no one.  It was awful.

I’m not going to tell you that I grew up and everything became easy and perfect for me, because life isn’t just like the movies.

However, I have developed tight friendships with people who would put themselves in harms way for me if it meant protecting me.  People with just a look know how I feel and seem to have the perfect response.  People who I call immediately when bad things happen — who celebrate the smallest bits of excitement that I have.

But, I know that alone feeling.  I know that feeling of, “I just have to make it through this year and leave these jerks behind forever. ” I know the feeling of “not sure I can handle it anymore.”

I wish I had told my parents sooner.  It would have been much better for me.

But I didn’t.  I thought it would make it worse.

So, if you’re out there — I hope you have parents as wonderful as mine who would do anything for you.  And I hope you tell them.  But if you don’t tell them, if they aren’t people who would understand — I want you to know that I am here for you.   This Tumblr community is here for you.   

There is so much in the future.  So much better than this.  I don’t want you to miss it.



Best part of my day?

When one of my students came in this morning and completely unprompted did the robot while singing a song about respecting the teacher that he made up himself.

I <3 my 2nd graders.

Oh, how I love my students

  • Background: I work in a separate building than the main school. My first grade group is the group I have the most freedom with as far as what to plan. I see a small group of 6 kids, of which about 9 rotate in and out of. I also see them more than any other group. Most of the activities I plan for them are hands-on, fun, and help them build skills without even realizing it is school work.
  • J.: You just love coming and teaching the kids at this school, don't you, Miss PPT?
  • Me: Of course! You are all so fun and smart!
  • J.: Well, yeah, but I don't like school.
  • Me: But you like coming to me?
  • J.: Well yeah, but I don't like school.
  • Me: But I'm school!
  • J.: Oh... well... sort of.

The Importance of Writing Skills: Online Tools to Encourage Success

Introducing Online Writing Tools
There are several different ways to help develop students’ writing skills, but implementing online tools is one of the best choices. This is due to many students’ inherent interest in all things technological – a lot of students have a fascination with any new tool that can simplify a basic task (like writing). If you’re interested in using online tools to help your students with their writing, the following list contains some useful ideas and websites.

Blogging: Let’s start with something simple: give your students a blog. You can have each student start his or her own page, or you can assign pairs, groups, or an entire classroom to one blog. This isn’t a fancy tool that will do part of the writing legwork for your students, but it’s a huge motivator and it’s fun. You might consider assigning blog topics, or you can have students research and propose their own “blog identities” before they start to write. The more you can get them invested in the idea of blogging, the more they’ll learn from the experience. Click here to learn more about getting started with free student blogging.

ReadWriteThink’s “Student Interactives”: Head over to this page at for the handy Webbing Tool, Notetaker, Printing Press, and more. Many of the “Student Interactives” like these are useful, and they’re also indexed by grade level appropriateness. These types of tools can be a great interactive way to gain useful writing skills.

Model Bank: Introduce your students to Model Bank, a website with interactive versions of successful writing in common middle school and high school formats. For example, students can find a sample of a good poem analysis with notes in the margins and a printable “Writer’s Guide” to help implement the successful parts of the sample. The concept of “leading by example” does have merit in writing, and Model Bank is a great way to accomplish that.

Bright Hub: 1st Grade Writing (entire post)

Getting first graders to start to write about their favorite topics is usually an easy task for the teacher. Guide them to think about their favorite things, people, or hobbies, and work on that interest to build up their motivation to write about it. However, what’s more challenging is how to teach revising, editing, writing first grade outputs. Here are activities you can do with your students during writing laboratory sessions on revising and editing:

"My Special Tools"

During your mini-lesson on revising and editing, gather everyone on the reading rug and present to them, through a cartolina chart, a sample passage that you wrote. Then, tell the students that you need their help—they are to suggest more interesting words that you may want to add in your passage. If they have a suggestion, they should raise their hand and approach you. They will then be given the adding tool () made of cut-out cardboard. They are to insert this symbol where they want to add a word, after which they will then write the word/s that they want to contribute. Affirm each student as they make use of this symbol, and ensure that almost everyone is called up front.

Do the same procedure for deleting words that they feel are not important in the passage. Make them use the deleting tool () in accomplishing this task.

Pair Conference

Tell your students how important it is for a classmate of theirs to read their work and make suggestions on how to make their work better. Give your first graders the opportunity to conference by pairing them up, assigning who is Partner A and B in each pair, and giving them a set of “Walkie-Talkie” stringed plastic cups. Organize their arrangement such that all A’s are lined against one wall and all B’s are lined against the opposite wall. Then, they are to set up their stringed plastic cups which will act as Walkie-Talkies. First, Partner A will whisper to their Walkie-Talkie the passage that s/he wrote. Partner B listens, and when A is done, Partner B will whisper on his/her Walkie-Talkie (1) his/her favorite part of the passage and (2) his suggestion on what words to add to his passage. They will switch roles after ten minutes.

The purpose of letting students read aloud and listen to passages are:

1. Comprehension using listening is much more developed than comprehension by reading.

2. Sight decoding is enhanced in reading aloud.

3. Listening to a passage is more effective for students to identify word choice and fluency (even though at their stage, these two concepts may just translate to “Maybe you want to use the word ______. It sounds more cool.”)

Author’s Chair

Another way of conferencing is the Peer Conference via the Author’s Chair. While the Author’s Chair is used more to showcase works of students, you can also use this opportunity for the students to give praise to and suggest more revisions for the writer so that his/her writing would improve.

Gather everyone to the reading corner and call on a volunteer to sit in the Author’s Chair. After s/he reads his/her work, the teacher will model how to give feedback by telling the author what s/he liked most about the passage and what she suggests on making the passage better. Before the activity, make sure that you review to the class the write way to phrase a suggestion: It would be better if ______________________ rather than I don’t like the part where _____________________. After your turn, call on your students to also give their feedback to the author currently on the Author’s Chair.

After the Pair Conference and the Author’s Chair, you can then give time for students to improve on their work based on others’ suggestions. Remind them to use the adding and deleting symbols in their revising and editing activities.

Revising and editing writing first grade outputs is more meaningful for students when they see how their work impacts their classmates. They get to feel that writing is also a community effort and that they need each other in order to improve as writers.

Parent Teacher Conferences

Due to the type of my position, I do not have parent / teacher conferences.  I don’t see my students daily, and some of them I only see once a week.  If it were up to me, I’d have parent teacher conferences, but this is the set up my school has.   The students that struggle the most are on a support plan, and we meet regularly with the parents before school though, so I do get a chance to talk to them then.

Our parent / teacher conferences are on Friday.  Which means I get Friday off!   My co-workers do not.  

I think sometimes a lot of our parents forget that they signed permission for their child to come work with me at the beginning of the year.  So, at parent / teacher conferences I give each teacher one of the following for each of their students that I see on a regular basis:

  • letter reminding them who I am
  • how often that group of students usually comes to see me
  • the content standards we have covered so far
  • list of web resources and activities that they can do at home to reinforce what they are doing in school

I do one of those for each grade and they all get the same letter.  

Then I do a handwritten note on a “Note from the Teacher” paper that I can type up Name- Teacher - Grade- Comments - free on my free Mailbox Magazine Extras account .  On this I write about each student specifically.  I mention their behavior (I have very few behavior issues, so I usually write that they are respectful, helpful, ready to learn, etc.  whatever truly fits the child).  I note improvements they have made this quarter, and what we will still be practicing (what they are struggling with).  I like to begin with a positive, give anything they need improvement on, and then end with another positive.  It is important to me to communicate with the parents about progress and areas that we need to work on, but it is also important to me that I value their child.  I think forming it like this helps keep anyone from being defensive.   When I had my own classroom I followed with the same formula.  Open with a positive, discuss weaknesses and the plan to help the student, end with more positives.