Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer Vacation Has Ended

I took a little break from this blog. Between my laptop breaking and just all the things that summer brought it was hard to sit down at the desk top computer. Our family hosted a child from NY City through the Fresh Air Fund Program for the first time. I had heard from others how awful there experience was and I heard how wonderful it was. I think it just depends on the child and how your family dynamics are it's like a game of chance. We won the chance and had a lovely girl about my daughters age stay with us. I hope she will be able to join us next summer. I really recommend especially you teachers like me who have time in the summer to try it. My daughter got just as much out of it as the girl who visited. Other summer things was horse riding camp. We have 3 horses that we keep on our property. My daughter decided to take her horse to summer riding camp. She had a wonderful experience but we did so much running back and forth to the barn that I don't know how people who board at the barn are able to do it.

As for art I have tested out all sorts of art projects, scoured art magazines and catalogs, and whittled down what I plan to do for the first 12 weeks of school. I will share a few art projects that I have found that are new for me this year that I am going to try:

Sax catalog mini self stick notebooks I wanted a book making project for my middle school classes to use as a sketchbook. I know the paper is small but that also makes them portable and I am going to incorporate that into thumbnail sketches.

Paper weaving baskets I have a limited budget this year as I have heard many schools do. My friend had her entire order canceled so no art supplies at all until October! Well mine wasn't that bad. However basket making materials is expensive so I cut it. I still wanted to do weaving so I picked a few different types of weaving one being the paper weaving basket.

Wood working wood whacking another thing that I decided to try, I want to try a little wood carving so I got a wood whacking assortment. I went with another teacher's recommendation to buy more than you think you need to get enough large pieces. I bought 4 bags and have enough nice pieces.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Don’t let the Arts programs fall through the cracks

I am glad that influential people are starting to make themselves heard that schools shouldn't drop the arts programs due to funding.

Education Secretary Receives Art Petition

The one thing I can say about private schools, at least ours is that they value the arts curriculums. It is a selling point for the school they have all of these great academic programs and strive to give additional programs drama, band, visual arts, dance and whatever else they can offer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

School Discipline

I was just reading the article Report: Discipline by teachers can turn deadly
I read and re-read this article looking at both views. I worked with special education in a lower rural income area during my masters program. It is rough, underfunded, understaffed, and many staff, aides and wrap around are undertrained. Many students which need to be in a closed special education class are mainstreamed due to budget. Many classroom teachers have little training to deal with the broad range of emotional and physical outbursts. I really feel sorry for the families and yes it is getting to be abuse, however they need to look at the broader reasons. If they have one teacher and 2 aides to a class of 15 special ed. Students with a broad range of disabilities it is trouble waiting to happen. Is the school district lowering the standards so students can be mainstreamed into classrooms? If those issues are happening than yes the teacher is in the wrong for physical restraint.

I remember one instance that I witnessed a lead teacher restrained a 4 year old student during nap time, which I considered more than needed since he was not in danger or endangering others. After that I went to the program director and complained only to be asked not to return. I was happy to comply with, another instance I helped restrain a student who was whipping chairs around the room. In that case proper restraint was appropriate for the safety of the student and others. Now I will stress proper restraint. From reading this article I really don't think these teachers or aides used or where trained on how to deal with aggressive students with proper restraint and it is a last resort and not intended for every day practice. I am so glad I am out of that internship it was very stressful, and not really a career path I was intending but I am glad I went through it and understand what patients and toleration that those teachers need to have to deal with a diverse range of issues daily. I think even higher of the parents, foster families and siblings. My neighbor runs a respite home for parents and foster parents of disabled children. They are staffed with a rotation of support staff and yes I have witnessed tantrum, which they walk off by going into the high fenced deck and letting the tantrum run its course and talk it out. Sometimes it takes hours of tantrum throwing a medicine ball repeatedly, yelling, and swearing. But eventually the child is back and usually like nothing even happened. I have never seen restraint needed due to the level of training that the support staff have. They know how to help the child work through emotions

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Finally a No Child Left Behind overhaul and I love that instead of just letting the politicians hash it out he is getting information from teachers, students, and parents.


"What No Child Left Behind did is, they were absolutely loose on the goals," Duncan told the Education Writers Association, meeting in Washington. "But they were very tight, very prescriptive on how you get there.

"I think that was fundamentally backwards," he said.

Duncan said the federal government should be "tight" on the goals, insisting on more rigorous academic standards that are uniform across the states. And he said it should be "much looser" in terms of how states meet the goals.

Exactly what most teacher also think!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ancient Schools

I just had to mention this article
Aristotle school to become open-air museum. Schools have been around a long time they are not a new thing. They have changed and modernized but kids=school

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wow! Why don’t you drop a bit of money lower down the pike!

I heard about this earlier from PA Harrisburg that they got some money from an anonymous source. But I just thought it was a local donor but I guess it was bigger than that from the most recent news article Mystery donors give over $45M to 9 universities. If I had a lot of money that I wanted to give toward education, maybe I am biased I would start at the other end. I would start with quality childcare centers maybe using the Keystones STARS system maybe $10,000 toward educational supplies. So many childcares I am in have one set of toys day in and day out or have enough to rotate a few times a week. The two year old program that my son goes to is expensive but it is bright, with great teachers and they do rotate the toys and make it weekly themes, they are going for the 4th star this summer.

Then I would move onto Elementary schools and gift money directly for classroom use that way it isn't sucked up into the administration void. Our school gives each teacher $100 cash for incidental supplies no questions asked what it goes toward. I use mine for the aluminum foil, starch, and other odd materials I cannot just order through a catalog that an art room uses. I don't know of any other school that lets teachers use money for odd supplies. Ask a teacher how much money they spend on their classroom a year, it is going to be at least $100. I would give teachers a $500 - $1,000 gift for supplies. If the school wants them to save receipts to hand in to show they didn't use it for a cruise fine. Though I think after seeing some of the teacher's classes and behavior issues they deal with every day, I would say a cruise may be the perfect thing for them. Then also I think every school needs a good play ground. I would give money to schools that need a new playground especially the inner city schools, schools that need wheel chair accessible units and I think even middle schools should have one. The inner city schools plant some trees and get some sod out and make it an oasis for these kids. My favorite group is Boundless Playgrounds I researched them in grad school and they have the research to back up playground models. They have it for ages 2-12, with term Beta, Alpha and Gama areas. Do the virtual tour.

Next High Schools I would donate money for Netbooks in the classroom. Research is holding for these small computers. I think that it would open a whole new type of educational experience and if used as an educational tool one site 10 ways to use netbooks in the classroom. I said high schools but this newer tool can move on down to the lower grades as well. But I think you need to be the right teacher for it, where as in high school students can independently master this tool.

Now I need to go buy a lottery ticket, maybe I can win Millions and put my money where my mouth is.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The voucher system

Why oh why are you ending a program that is a success? I am all for the voucher system. I would love it to be for both private and public and allow parents no matter the income or where the live decide where their child goes to school. For example I moved to a rural area I wanted the lifestyle of horses, hobby farm, fresh eggs and the country life. We found reasonable land with the right zoning, the down side the school district is only so-so. So I pay taxes to a school my daughter does not attend, that is my choice but not everyone can afford to do that, heck we sacrifice things to do that. Why can't the tax money go into a state fund where each child get X amount that is granted to the school the child attends? If each school had to work and woo families it would achieve everything that the Obama administration wants, better test scores, the brightest teachers, equal education for any income. That is what every business needs to do if they don't they well thing s happen, look at GM and the banks!! Why not do that for the education system? Private schools do this all the time they jump the hoops get the certifications the two my schools has is the blue ribbon and middle states. Which we worked our butt of to get and I am proud of it. So far (knock on wood) even in this economy we already have an increase in attendance. If our school was a failure we would dwindle in attendance and would close, but before that our diocese (head of our school) would gut it out new administration and probably faculty adjustments. If it still failed bye-bye!! I usually don't quote Wikipedia but I like this voucher system.