Things I never knew . . .

Installment #9:

Five things I never knew . . . until I became a teacher:

  • teachers are more excited for the end of the year than you can ever imagine
  • schools have a lot of trash, between cabinets, classrooms, desks, and lockers the amount of trash is startling
  • the end of the year is crazier than the beginning of the year
  • schools have an obscene amount of paperwork
  • schools have a ton of parties and celebrations–in and out of the classroom


Monthly Advice–May 1

I know it’s the first week of May, but I need everyone to start planning for summer now.

Write a list of things for families to do over the summer, local and easy recommendations, to inspire and ignite creativity and learning over the summer.

Recommend free options as much as possible so that all students can participate and see themselves as active participants in their own learning. Start now, ask around for more ideas, build a nice long list.

Need inspiration? Here are some ideas:

  • Go on a walk every day, talk the entire time (talking is learning, talk about anything your child desires)
  • Bake/cook with your child–conversations around food are filled with vocabulary, reasoning, and mathematical computation
  • Visit the zoo
  • Help around the house–sorting clothing, setting the table, sweeping, etc. help children learn responsibility, practice academic learning, and acquire life skills
  • Take kids to the grocery store–have your child find ingredients, discuss possible recipes, weigh food, etc.
  • Visit a museum, visit many museums
  • Sign-up for a summer reading challenge at the local library
  • Get some art & craft materials from the Dollar store and make something beautiful
  • Learn a new skill: embroidery, sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc. (find a YouTube video and go for it!)
  • Watch TedTalks, documentaries, and other programs that are age-appropriate and educational/spark discussion
  • Do something athletic: basketball, running, walking, skateboarding, baseball, etc.
    • Gross motor skills, fine motor skills, interpersonal & intrapersonal abilities are developed during these experiences
  • Join a summer program–swim class, recreation class, summer camp, etc.

This list is not complete. It includes items that span the K-12 spectrum. Some ideas require parental approval, supervision, and added effort. Some ideas are easily left to the child. This list is meant to be a springboard for a personalized list for your students as they embark on their summer journey–remember even though classroom learning has ended, their life is filled with learning opportunities and they should seize each moment to grow and learn.

Things I never knew . . .

Installment #8:

Five things I never knew . . . until I became a teacher:

  • spring makes the end of recess hard, really hard
  • spring fever is real
  • spring cleaning is necessary
  • spring break cannot come soon enough
  • spring break is very late in the year . . . whenever it is–it’s late in the year, trust me

Special Education: Part 1

Special education has been in the news recently; so, I wanted to take this opportunity to push the conversation further . . .

Special education services are multi-faceted and multi-fold, they depend on the individual child and each individual child has individual needs. So, it doesn’t look the same for anyone in any given context.

When discussing special education, consider and remember the following:

Special education can begin in the very early ages and continue onto the university level, or it can be a portion of a person’s educational career.

Special education services can be:

  • pull-out; or,
  • push-in

Special education can require:

  • occupational therapy
  • physical therapy
  • speech therapy
  • educational therapy

Special education can take place in:

  • a traditional classroom
  • a special education classroom
  • a specialty school
  • a special program and classroom within a school

At the school level, special education is the responsibility of:

  • students
  • parents/families
  • educators
  • specialists
  • administrators

Often, in general discussions or in short segments on television, special education is not illustrated, defined, or understood to be a complex and elaborate system that benefits a wide-range of students.

When I listen, when I watch, when I converse with non-educators in particular, the vastness of special education is not comprehended, and if that is not understood then meaningful dialogue and solutions are not attainable.

Therefore, in our quest to see it funded, funded well, and funded in the future, we must augment the conversation to demonstrate that all students, even those not in special education, benefit and rise in a system that understands that all students deserve an education that offers them the chance to learn, and the opportunity to demonstrate that learning.

If you have questions, if you have concerns, I encourage you to ask and research. If you want to know more, I encourage you to take an in-depth look at your school, the schools in your neighborhood, and the schools in your district.

Special education is an important and integral component of our education system; it deserves more understanding, more research, and certainly more resources.


Things I never knew . . .

Installment #7:

Five things I never knew . . . until I became a teacher:

  • the importance of portable food — bananas, apples, granola bars, etc.
  • the importance of eating quickly
  • the importance of snacking throughout the day
  • the importance of a food stash in the classroom — a candy drawer, a case of water, a box of granola bars, etc.
  • the critical need for calories in order to stay energized, on your feet, and animated for students each and every day