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Does a child’s inability to write clearly and legibly indicate that he or she doesn’t have the hand-eye coordination or fine motor skills necessary to do so? Is that alone reason to teach, practice, and require legible print and cursive writing? There are, of course, other reasons, but those aren’t the focus of these questions.


I want to come back to this.


I’m so bummed that I stumbled upon this article today instead of a week ago. I just had a discussion with someone about homework, but for the life of me I can’t remember who!

Anyway, this is a research summary worth checking out. Why do I like it? Because it agrees with what I think, that’s why!

Homework Research and Policy: A Review of the Literature

of sunshine.

I need to get back to this article.  It’s frustrating, but my thoughts on just why it’s so aren’t fully developed.  I’ll get back to it, maybe.

Nothing much to say here (what’s new?), but I wanted to record this date for posterity.  On August 24, 2010, I told my wife I’m ready to drop “technology” as a major part of my third-grade teaching effort.  I know that students at this age are doing incredible things with technology…but so what?  I’ve done blogging, wikis, and programming with Logo and Scratch.  We’ve beaten MS Word and PowerPoint into the ground.  Movie Maker or Photostory? Done that…big whoop.  When I tell my students we’re going to the computer lab, there’s absolutely no enthusiasm.  When I tell them we’re going outside, though, I get a totally different reaction.  Tech is out, outdoors experiential learning is in.

The source of my blasphemous thoughts: Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv.  My class and I are returning to my first love (which was established when all phones were attached to the wall and we had 4 channels to choose from).  I don’t even need parent permission to embark on this new endeavor!  See you outside…

Yesterday saw the second of two tragedies to strike Huntsville schools in just over a week: successive Fridays with school shootings.  The first was a student at Discovery Middle School, and the second was a trio of faculty members at UAHuntsville.

I don’t have any statistics or evidence to present, but it seems to me from what I’ve seen over the past 4 years that schools can be places of tremendous conflict.  Faculty, staff, students, parents: all seem to experience tension that I wouldn’t have thought possible when I was outside of the educational community.  Why is this so in an instituion that has a mission of fostering personal growth?

How can we as “insiders” reduce the tension and conflict?

Is there anybody out there?

I remember when PLT meant “platoon” to me.  It’s only been 5 years, but it seems like just yesterday…

Now, apparently, it’s going to mean “professional learning team.”  As in, “professional learning community.”

I spent some time in a meeting today (long story, that…) and we briefly discussed the idea of a professional learning community at our school.  The buzzword has been around for a while now (a little more than a year, as I recall), and I guess we’re looking at getting serious about it.  Here’s where I’m at, though: I’ve read this much (imagine two fingers held 1/2″ apart) about PLCs, and I don’t think it’s the same thing we discussed today.  What I’ve read about, I like; what we discussed, I don’t know about.  I guess I’m going to have to do a little more poking around the ol’ ‘net…

Is it just me, or do teachers have a default answer of “no?”  If you asked me, I would tell you that I’m respectful of my students, and that I’m open to a lot of different things in my classroom.  Really, that’s what I would say.

I’ve been catching myself, though, saying “no” without actually thinking things through.  Actually, it’s not a matter of me literally saying “no,” but rather that type of attitude. 

This is tough to spell out, so before I meander further let me give an example.  A student is on a 24″ stool reading. Well, his chest is on the stool, his legs are hanging down, his arms are hanging down, and his book is dangling just above the floor. I guess that counts as being on a stool.  I was about to tell him to take a seat and get comfortable (after all, I want my students to be comfortable so they’ll read), when I caught myself, actually looked at him, and realized that he was comfortable.  Um, I couldn’t be comfortable like that, but he was. Why did it bother me?

I can’t be sure, but I think it’s safe to say that if the bonehead teacher (me) put an end to that student’s reverie, more than just his posture would have been over.

Oddly enough, 8-9 year olds can sit (or whatever) differently than a 44 year old man.  Who’da thunk it?

It’s hard to believe that I’ll have students in the morning.  I’ve been thinking about the year ahead, of course, and I’m eager to see how things are going to go. 

Back in June I posted a list of goals for the upcoming year.  I suppose I still have the same goals, but I’ve been pondering a way to wrap them up into a single statement.  I haven’t figured that one out yet, but I have come up with this: Make the best use of the time I’ve been given by living, teaching, and developing my relationships deliberately. 

Deliberately: that’s a tough word for me to live up to.  Honestly, I’ve got a reputation as a putterer and a ponderer.  A daydreamer that is easily distracted, even.  That translates to a lot of time standing and thinking.  I’m certain that there’s some value in that (after all, I’ve done it for so many years), but I’d like to cut back on it. 

Puttering and pondering puts me an hour past the student departure time with no significant activity on my part since they walked out the door.  I know it’s good to relax, but I’ve got to learn to redeem that time.  If nothing else, I need to close the door and go home (a great use of the time in my mind).

I’ll leave that partial thought here for now.

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