Posts tagged teacher

NY Times: With More Than Yawns, Pupils Rate Teacher’s Book

For these 15 minutes every week or two, the children have a chance to soak up Mr. Imwalle’s passion for writing. They see that creative writing requires hard work, revision and risk — a risk that their own teacher is willing to take. And they discover that contrary to the usual order of things, they have something to teach him.

“It really has gotten them excited about writing,” said Mr. Imwalle, 32, who lives in Oakland. “Seeing their teacher try to do it brings writing closer to home. It bridges the gap between published novels they see in the library and the idea that they come from a person and a process.”

You know, I’ve always been aware of the importance of letting your students see you read.  However, I never considered the importance of letting them see you write — and to share what you write with them (besides writing you do to introduce a lesson or as a class).  Interesting.

Why I teach:

  • The day J. finally came to school without things in his pocket.  Oh, how we celebrated.
  • The day M. realized a black man was running for president, and that meant HE could be president.
  • The first time G. sounded out a word, and we ran and showed every teacher in the building.
  • When I didn’t feel well and K. told me to make sure I ate broccoli and carrots.
  • The field trip, when my class collectively stopped on their own, to dance to the steel drum music.
  • Watching Obama’s inauguration with my class, and they looked to me during every period of clapping so I could explain what was being said.  That these little kiddos gave up their recess to continue watching.
  • Hugs.
  • When A. connected what we were learning in math, to fantasy football.
  • When B. stood up to a 6th grader for picking on her friend, used her words, and got a teacher.
  • The first time M. read a book to her mom.
  • The time I had to buy the groceries for L.’s family
  • The look on T.’s face when I bought him some school pants that actually fit him.
  • Counting by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s while exercising.
  • Jump Rope songs.
  • Making boats and studying why they sank or floated
  • When my students wanted to write letters to thank Rosa Parks
  • When R. said he kicked butt at math, and to “bring it on”
  • When my class beat the rest of the school in their martial arts tournament — and we were the youngest
  • Y’s face when I really showed up at his basketball game, even though his dad did not
  • Making sure H got the accommodations that were appropriate for his disabilities
  • When my students learned that yes, they did live in Ohio, even though the name of their city was different
  • Students at-risk of joining gangs, coming to my room in the morning to ask for advice, students that were never in my class
  • The pride my students feel when we celebrate their progress

and so much more.

What’s on your list?

Back, Back, Back It Up — Math Tricks

My students that come to me for math on Mondays, usually understand the material by the time they take their tests.  However, they often make simple mistakes which lowers their grades.

With multiplying double digit numbers, they had 3 common mistakes.

The first was carrying the wrong number.

PPT’s Solution:   The number in the back of the line goes on the bottom.  So if they multiply 29x32, and they start with 2x9= 18, the 8 is in the back of the line and it goes on the bottom and they carry the 1.

The second was adding a number that they carried in twice.   This would happen, for example with the above problem, when they multiplied 3x2, they would add in the 1 from the 18 they had when they multiplied the one’s place numbers.

PPT’s Solution:  After you’ve added a number that you carried, cross it out so you remember that you used it.   It will still be there for you if you check your work.

The third mistake was less common.   When moving to the 3x29, some students forgot to put their 0 before multiplying (since the 3 really represents 30).  

PPT’s Solution:  Leave some space under the equal line, and put the 0 on the second row (where you would do the 3x29 part) in before you do any multiplying.

They understood why they needed the zero, but they occasionally forgot it.

I also told them they could write “Back on the bottom” on their tests.  I’m looking forward to seeing their grades after their classroom teacher grades it.

Things I’ve learned about teaching:

  • If you surround yourself with teachers who are regularly negative, they will bring you down as well.   It will affect your teaching.   Be professional, but stay out of negative discussions when possible.
  • Always, always communicate with parents about the GOOD things.   If a problem ever arises, they aren’t so much on the defensive if they know you like and respect their kid.
  • Document, document, document.   Any important notes that go home, I make photo copies of first.  I keep e-mails I have sent to parents.  I document meetings and phone calls as well on a communication log.
  • Find a good lunch group.   They will be professional and personal support.  They will provide comic relief, and always be people you can count on.  Some of my best friends are the teachers that I eat/ate lunch with.
  • Make time for yourself.   This is very hard to do, especially in your first year.  However, if you are not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of the kids.
  • Personally, I almost always wear my hair up.   I’ve never gotten lice.   Lice like clean hair, so if there is an outbreak in your school use lots of gel and hairspray.
  • What works once, might not work twice.
  • Run things by your principal.  Keep that door of communication open. (This will also help you be less nervous during observations).
  • Ebay can be your best friend.
  • Praise.  Praise is the key to even the toughest kids.
  • Consistency. 
  • Being fair does not mean everyone gets the same things.  It means everyone gets what they need.
  • When a kid thinks he/she is dumb, use the theory of multiple intelligences to explain that they are not.
  • Incorporate their strengths into their weaknesses.
  • Be happy to see your students.  Tell them that you are.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.  Use it as a learning opportunity.  Especially for those students who think they do everything wrong.  ”See, even *I* make mistakes sometimes.”
  • Be joyful.  
  • Especially in the younger grades, the more excited YOU are about an activity, the more excited your kids will be.
  • They all become *your* kids by the end of the year.

Classroom Survival Kit


Here is a comprehensive list of things I can’t live without in my classroom:

  • Sticky Notes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Paper Towels
  • Purple Pens
  • Pictures of my cats
  • Band-Aids
  • Clipboard (this is actually number 1.  I should actually have about 12 just placed around the room)
  • Tissues
  • Dictionaries
  • Aspirin
  • Chapstick
  • Paper Clips
  • Index Cards

Reply or Reblog with answers. What do YOU need?

Dry erase boards and markers for my students


zip lock bags

anti-bacterial wipes for my table

pocket chart

pencil boxes to hold various supplies and easily use to pass out materials

nail file


high lighters