Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Respect and Character (Dorry Lopez)

Dear Dorry,
I have watched you teach several mini-lessons and no matter what the topic. strategy or activity, your students are engaged. what is the secret that you can share with all of us to make us better teachers? KK
KK and Family

When I was growing up, school was my safe haven, a place I wanted to be. In my classroom, I set up an environment that builds character, where values are taught and modeled as much as academics. All people and things are respected and cared for. Everyone is accepted and valued. the standards are high, and we are always trying to be better.

You asked how I keep my students engaged no matter what I teach. My students respect me. I have earned their trust and love by trusting and loving them. I treat them with respect. they want to hear what i have to say, because I want to hear wheat they have to say. their eyes are on me because that is respectful. When someone speaks, I ask the listeners, "Where are your eyes?" I teach them to engage, focus, and learn from what the speaker has to say.

I great my students upon entering with a smile and a greeting, and they do the same for me. At the end of the period, they exit my room in this same manner, with a smile and a closing remark. In my room, there are lots of humor and joy. Only positive "I can" attitudes are allowed. this keeps everyone upbeat with a willingness to learn. It is a happy place where it is real and genuine. Lives are shared. I share my life with them, and they share their lives with me. I get to know the whole child. We are like family. I listen. I focus. I am engaged in what they have to say. this is why they listen, focus, and become engaged in what I have to say.

It all very simple. It is modeling and teaching respect.

If I were ever told that I could not teach values and character building, I would have to turn in my keys, because that is the prerequisite for teaching academics. Minds are turned on with respect, but minds are shut off when there is no mutual respect.

I hope that you enjoyed reading my answer.
With love, Dorry

P.S.-Sorry this is so long but KK hit a passionate spot with her question.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Book Fairy (KK Cherney)

Dear KK,
Can you please explain to us how you are able to manage everything the Media Center entails, such as teaching, keeping track of books, studio, and helping with tech problems?
Kristin Sharp

The Media Center in CCE is so much like a backstage behind a successful Broadway play - the Disney underground. So to answer your question of how I am able to manage everything in the Media Center is quite difficult. Two factors seem to come to mind that covers everything!

Point 1 -
Loving my job and the people I serve makes all things possible.

Point 2 -
Surrounding myself with the most positive energetic team of talented people that the world has to offer. they could work anywhere but they "choose" to work here for a common goal. thank God!!!

Take those 2 factors and a lot of other stuff and it becomes a perfect situation allowing me to flit around as Tinkerbell sharing the "Magic" of technology, real-life applications, literature, literacy experiences, and yes - even "fixin'" stuff.

I am living a dream... KK

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Technology (Kristen Sharpe)

Dear Kristin Sharp,
A little birdie told me that you have been teaching our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students about some "high tech" computer capabillities during Media. could you share with the rest of us about it?
Love, Julie

I have been teaching the kids how to create digital stories using many of the exciting programs found on the Macbooks, such as Photobooth, I-Photo, I-Movie, and Safari. The kids are so excited when they enter the media center and see the computers set up that they can hardly contain themselves! They just can't wait to get started! I am amzed by how engaged the fchildren become in their work when they are on the Macbooks. They inspire me with their amazing creativity and ability to use a computer. In addition, using technology has eliminated almost all behavior problems because the kids want to be there.

To introduce the kids to the Macbooks, I teach them how to create a slideshow using pHotoboth and I-Photo. they have a blast taking pictures of themselves and distorting the photos. the objective is for them to create a slideshow with at least five pictures, music, and trasitions.

The second time I see a group of students, I teach them how to create an I-Movie. Currently the kids are conducting an author study and recording their research on the I-Movie program. the computers have a built in camera and microphone, so all they do is sit in front of the screen to record. Then the kids choose the clips they want and edit them. to complete their movie, they add a title page, music and transitions.

The kids have been working so hard during media! I am proud of their creations and determination to complete a project.

I am really enjoying working at chets Creek Elementary. It is a blessing to have the opportunity to be here. I have learned so much from the Chets Creek team. It is truly a dream job!
Mrs. Sharp

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tips From the Outside... (Cheryl Dillard)

Question to Cheryl: You have taught very successfully in another high performing school. As you have come to Chets Creek, what things do you notice that we do really well? Is there an idea that you think we should borrow from your previous experience? dayle

There are so many things that Chets Creek does really well, that I thought I would make a list.

1. Constant celebrating

  • The teachers are always being celebrated, from a note in the weekly memo to the the Tinkerbell book/necklace to a lunch provided by PTA. Teachers are noticed for all the hard work they do.

  • The first day back to school for both teachers and the students is amazing. My daughter has never been so excited for a first day of school and to find out our school theme (I kept it a secret from her).

  • The team building that takes place over the summer to welcome new teachers is amazing. It is like Chets Creek 101 and really helps prepare you for the school year. It is a week full of info followed by a social gathering with your mentor

2. Good use of time

  • The weekly memo fills us in on the upcoming events so that we don't have to hear it all in a faculty meeting.

  • Meetings are held in the morning which keeps them short and sweet. WOW days are well planned, organized, entertaining.

3. Amazing coaches (and I'm not just saying that because you passed the book to me!)

  • The coaches are an excellent resource. They are always available and help to lighten the work load instead of add to it.

4. Resource and planning time with your team

  • Wow! - enough said!

5. Bulletin boards

  • I can actually walk through the halls at Chets Creek and learn from them. The bulletin boards aren't cookie cutter and they give you a look at what is taking place in the classroom. thinking outside of the box is encouraged!

6. Book of the Month

  • I have thoroughly enjoyed introduction to the book of the month. It is obvious that they are well thought out and chosen for a reason. The ideas that are presented with them are a wonderful resource.

I have thought all week about what you could borrow from my previous experience and I had a hard time coming up with anything. The one thing that helped me as a teacher at my last school was the dining room management plan. I know that is the one place that many students have a hard time following the rules. Each teacher had the same sheet (called the Golden Paw) and on it was a list of the expectations and a place for the student names. Each day the whole class could earn a 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 according to the five expectations that were listed. Classes that earned a 5 each day for a week would get a golden paw sticker on a chart that was displayed in the cafeteria. If received all 5's and only one 4, you receive a silver paw. classes that received a Gold or Silver Paw for the week were announced on the morning news on Monday and Had a chance to earn a stuffed tiger in their room for a week. It was helpful to me because I could look at the sheets and see which students had problems at lunch and how my class did overall. If they did not clean up after themselves then that would be marked on the paper. I know this seems like a lot, it actually ran very smoothly and helped me to reinforce good behavior and correct inappropriate behavior in the dinning room.