Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Looking for Diverse Books: Subscribe to Literacy

Our home has big books, small books, picture books, chapter books, mystery books, history books, and we even started subscribing to literacy books. 😃

Prior to ordering subscription boxes, I would purchase books online, shop at national bookstore chains, school book fairs, or check them out from the library. I love the library, but I was notoriously late at returning the books or they'd get mixed in with our collection and I couldn't find them. Whatever method I chose, I was intentional about getting my children multicultural books along with a book of their choice. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Do You See Me?: The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences in the Classroom

My children and I were leaving one of their weekly gymnastics lessons when we drove past three men sitting at a bus stop. When I approached the traffic light, I heard this loud commotion. Two of the men who had been waiting for the bus were duking it out on the sidewalk.

Yelling. Pushing. Cursing. Dropping F-bombs.

One man fell on the sidewalk near my car. As he was laying on the sidewalk, the other man began searching for large objects and rocks on the ground to throw at the man.

It was complete chaos.

As I sat staring utterly dumbfounded as these men fought adjacent to my car, I heard my 5-year old daughter whimpering in the backseat. I turned to look at her, and her legs were drawn towards her chest as she covered her eyes with her hands.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Young, Gifted, Black, and Underrepresented

Journey to Gifted and Talented

My son has always been a typical, precocious little boy. I was a first-time parent, a single parent no less, with an extremely energetic child. The thought of giftedness or lack thereof never entered my mind. I just knew that I had to find activities to keep him busy; whether it was sports, music, computer games, or Thomas and Friends. Something. Anything that would keep him occupied. He was also the kid with the late birthday, so he had a year of Pre-K4 and two years of Pre-K5. By the time he entered Kindergarten, I had tried to have him tested to enter first grade. He tested reasonably high; however, he was considered socially immature. So Kindergarten it was. 

He loved it. I was frustrated.

I was frustrated because the students were given a list of 60 sight words to know by the end of the year, he knew 52 by the end of the first six weeks, and all 60 by the end of the first semester. His teacher acknowledged that he was advanced. However, with 20+ students, it was difficult to differentiate instruction for him. Fortunately, I was a teacher and had access to specific resources to continue to challenge him. Kindergarten was over. Hello, first grade! The students had taken a beginning of the year (BOY) assessment, and his teacher met with me to inform me that according to the BOY assessment, my son read on a beginning second-grade level. Ugh! I just thought, “Here we go again.” If they had let me skip him, he would’ve been in the second grade. And his educational career continued that way until third grade. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Learning: 5 Tips to Prevent Reading and Math Summer Slide

Summer break is starting to wind down, back to school items are on store shelves, our kids haven't seen the inside of a classroom in weeks, and those of us who haven't maintained bedtime routines have to get back on schedule.  While our schedules may be off a bit, one thing that doesn't have to turn off or shut down is LEARNINGRecently, I wrote about modifying the school calendar to prevent summer learning loss, commonly known as summer slide. As a parent and former middle school teacher, the term summer slide was foreign to me until I taught elementary and learn how the summer months negatively impacted our population of students. While the summer can have a negative effect on some students' ability to retain information, the matter is not hopeless.

Good News

It's never too late to learn.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

End Learning Loss: Rethinking Summer Break and the School Calendar

School's out for summer. School's out forever. Those are the infamous lines from Alice Cooper's song "School's Out" popularized in the 90s movie "Dazed and Confused." 

For millions of children, forever is only 10-12 weeks. Then in the immortal words of the Four Tops, "You gotta go back, back, back to school again."

Somewhere between the time the last bell sounds for the school year and the alarm clock rings signaling the first day of school, the knowledge acquired over the past nine months begins to seep out of children's brains.

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