Would You Ever Want to Visit Your Old High School?

July 6, 2015

schumer-visits-school

I have no ineterest going back to visit my old classrooms or speak to my old teachers.

Follow the link to watch as comedian Amy Schumer visits her old school.

 

Click on the link to read Middle School Student Bought Teacher Thong Underwear as a Gift by Accident

Click on the link to read Even a Ladybird Prank Can Get You Arrested

Click on the link to read Why Teaching May Be For You (Video)

Click on the link to read The Worst Prank Ever (Video)

Reasons for Encouraging Our Students to Blog

July 5, 2015

student-blog-reasons

Courtesy of

 

 

Click on the link to read Tips for the Use of 3D Printers in the Classroom

Click on the link to read Why Schools Shouldn’t Block YouTube

Click on the link to read iPads are Not the Solution

Click on the link to read 7 Key Characteristics of a Digitally Competent Teacher

Teacher Allegedly Encouraged Students to Jump Off Cliffs

July 4, 2015

teacher-cliff

 

The teacher is supposed to be the adult in the room:

 

A teacher who encouraged students to jump off cliffs in Vanuatu, hosted hikes through surging creeks and took excursions that warranted the aid of emergency services has admitted he might have been “over-confident” in his outdoor education experience.

The teacher is a principal of a private school that provides primary and secondary distance education.

He came before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) in May accused of endangering students’ welfare.

He had, the Queensland College of Teachers claimed, demonstrated reckless behaviour that made him unsuitable to teach.

 

Click on the link to read How a Teacher Shouldn’t Stop a Fight (Video)
Click on the link to read 50 Shades of Stupidity

 

It’s Time to Scrap Sex Ed in Schools

July 3, 2015

 

peter-leigh-citylife

After the latest sex ed scandal, I think it’s high time we made a distinction between teaching that belongs at school and teaching that is best handled by parents at home.

I am not a prude and I understand that there are some bad parents out there who refuse to meet the basic expectations of their role, but the overcrowded school system should not be expected to take on the slack left by parents. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children about sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling and body image. By handballing these all important life lessons to the classroom, we are enabling parents to continue to act inert and unresponsive.

The comments that caused this latest furor were quite shocking and deeply inappropriate. It was also an attempt to teach girls about having self respect. But you cant teach children how to love themselves. You have to show them they are special, prove to them they are worthwhile and try to extoll their virtues whilst building on their weaknesses. It is extremely unlikely a program or classroom lesson will ever get a child who hates themselves to change the way they perceive themselves.

As I’ve argued before, these programs are essentially boring, preachy, expensive and a burden to teachers trying to cover a crowded curriculum. To students they are just an extension of everything else they dislike about school. In other words, not inspiring at all!

 

Year 7 girls have been warned not to have multiple sex partners or risk becoming like overused sticky tape, in a Christian sex education program at a public Victorian high school.

The students at Fairhills High School, in Knoxfield in Melbourne’s outer east, were also told that a chemical released in females’ brains made them more needy than boys.  

A booklet titled ‘Science & Facts’, that was given to the students, said that “girls are needier than guys in a relationship and always want to be close”.

It said that a chemical called oxytocin, is released when “two people touch”, and was produced by women more than men, making them needier. 

“If a woman becomes physically close and hugs a guy for 20 seconds it will trigger the bonding process, creating a greater desire to be near him. Then if the guy wants to take the relationship further it will become harder for her to say no,” the booklet said.

It warned that having too many relationships could break “this special chemical bond” and harm a woman’s capacity to form future relationships.

“Having multiple sex partners is almost like tape that loses its stickiness after being applied and removed multiple times. So the more you have the harder it is to bond to the next,” it said.

The booklet was given out during a weekly youth program run by Epic Youth, which is part of a Melbourne Pentecostal megachurch called CityLife, and was delivered during school hours in June.

 

 

Click on the link to read Teacher Takes Class on a Field Trip to a Sex Shop

Click on the link to read The Five Day School Trip that Resulted in 7 Students Getting Pregnant

Click on the link to read School Distributes Condoms to 6th Graders

Click on the link to read Should High Schools Install Condom Vending Machines?

The Dawn of a New Punctuation Mark

July 2, 2015

exclamation-comma

Meet the exclamation comma!

 

World, meet the exclamation comma — the punctuation mark you didn’t know existed, but that you almost certainly need in your life.

The exclamation comma is, as its name suggests, a symbol that looks like an exclamation point, only with a comma instead of a period at its base. As the Grammarly blog noted this week, it’s used just like an exclamation mark “to denote excitement, add flourish, and generally lend a statement a certain degree of emotion and emphasis,” but it’s to be placed within sentences rather than at the end of them.

For example:

“That velociraptor is so scary [insert exclamation comma] but don’t worry, he’s not going to eat you.”

“I’d love to use a new punctuation mark [insert exclamation comma] yet the others might get jealous.”

 

The exclamation comma was reportedly created by American inventors Leonard Storch, Haagen Ernst Van and Sigmund Silber in 1992, who also lobbied for its widespread adoption. However, their patent for the symbol lapsed in 1995, and their effort to popularize it ultimately failed.

Interest in the exclamation comma has surged this week after the Grammarly blog’s post on it, but it’s not the only obscure punctuation mark that deserves attention.

For instance, there’s the question comma (the exclamation comma’s inquisitive cousin), the SarcMark (short for “sarcasm mark”), the irony mark and the wonderfully-named Interrobang (which looks like what would happen if an exclamation point and a question mark jumped into bed together).

 

Click on the link to read Meet the UK Classroom Where Every Student Speaks English as a Second Language

Click on the link to read Feminist Icons in Children’s and Teen Books

Click on the link to read Long Lost Dr. Seuss Book Set for Release

Click on the link to read The Oscars for Children’s Writing Has Been Announced

Tips for the Use of 3D Printers in the Classroom

July 2, 2015

 

3d-printer-classroom

Written by elementary and middle school educator Karen Winsper courtesy of  fractuslearning.com:

 

1. Designing a unique product for 3D printing can be tricky for 10 and 11 year olds.

Students had to identify a problem and then create something using SketchUp to solve their problem. Ideas ranged from pencil holders to earbud organizers to knitting needle guides. Creativity wasn’t an issue with my students. What was more challenging was using the software to actually design their products. I observed many students having to simplify their designs or make changes based on their comfort level with the program. Expert users did emerge in each of my 8 classes and they were eager to help their classmates as needed. I must explore other 3D modeling programs that may be simpler to use or more appropriate for my elementary students. Maybe just spending more time exploring within SketchUp is needed to truly grasp the tools. In the very least, I will revisit the expectations for both grade levels and determine if adjustments should be made based on the student feedback I received.

 

2. 3D Design and printing takes a long time from start to finish.

Because I only see my students biweekly, the challenge was getting each of them to complete a design and then print it within a timely manner. The first steps in the process, identifying a problem and brainstorming ideas, took one class period of 60 minutes to complete. The next step of actually designing the product using the 3D modeling software took another one or two class sessions to complete (60-120 minutes). I worked with approximately 180 students on this project and most of them didn’t actually see their own concept being printed. This is because their projects often took two to three hours to print! On a good day, I could print three or four designs. Sometimes, I was lucky if one finished before the end of the school day. Needless to say, I had to develop a system for printing (save files by student name/color choice, group colors together on SD cards, have multiple SD cards available for saving/printing) and even then I didn’t finish everyone’s prints. It didn’t help that the printer wasn’t working for several weeks. I truly felt I failed the students who didn’t leave with their tangible product. Next year, one of two things must happen: students’ creations will either have to fit a specific size criteria before printing or we start earlier in the school year to allow more time for printing.

 

3. The 3D design challenge is real-world application of skills at its best.

By combining problem solving with project based learning, students used logical, spatial, design thinking and math skills to develop their products. Students were engrossed in this project! From the moment I set up the 3D printer in the tech lab, students wanted to print something, anything. When I posed the design challenge to these fourth and fifth graders, every single one of them tried their very best to design a cool, yet useful, product. They manipulated shapes on a plane to get their design just right. They measured their designs using millimeters, centimeters, and/or inches using the virtual tape measure. They scaled their designs up or down. Some had to go back into the program and revisit the measurements if they had a “design flaw.” I was so impressed with their determination to get their designs just right and I think it was because it truly meant something to them.

4. One must not be afraid of the 3D printer.

I consider myself to be pretty tech savvy. I can figure out a program or online tool without reading directions. I’m like the kids and will search for a YouTube video to help guide me along. Inevitably, the 3D printer will have an issue and you will need to troubleshoot or take it apart to address it. The support team at MakerBot was awesome and helped me via Twitter, email and even over the phone. I can’t say enough about their patience with a newbie like me! I would absolutely recommend that you contact your 3D printer support team if/when you have an issue. These are the problems that arose during this project:

  • The filament jammed in the extruder. I had to take the extruder motor apart on several occasions and now can do it without asking for help from MakerBot Support. I know that the telltale “clicking” requires me to unload the filament and remove whatever is jammed in the motor. You can’t be leery about this task as it is very common and happened weekly during our design challenge.
  • Humidity caused havoc with filament. I work in a 100-year-old building in a lab with no air conditioning. The least bit of humidity in the air causes the filament to swell and not work through the extruder. After realizing this, I had to adjust my printing schedule around the weather. I’d get to school super early just to get a print started before the change in the tech lab environment stopped our production. Maybe winter and spring in New England is the best time for 3D printing!
  • The thermal barrier tube became blocked. This was a bit trickier to fix than the simple filament jam. After unsuccessfully trying to clear the blockage, I actually had to request a replacement part. This presented us with an unforeseen delay in printing.
  • Prints weren’t printing correctly on the build plate or were difficult to remove. Blue painters tape is a 3D printer’s best friend. The full sheets of tape are great but a roll of 2-inch tape works just fine too for covering the build plate and making prints easier to remove. I would also suggest getting a putty knife or similar tool for aiding in the removal of the prints. I learned rather quickly to set all designs to print with a raft as well.  It is super important that you take the time to level the build plate at least daily; maybe even after each print. All of these things will help with the final prints.
  • One of the plastic pulleys and belt wore out and needed to be replaced. This was very challenging to fix. Although MakerBot was great about sending me the X-axis belt, gantry bracket, idler pulley, dowel pin, and PTFE grease needed to fix the problem, it was hard to do! It turned into a two-person job with help from my building’s custodian. I can only suggest keeping up with regular maintenance in hopes of not running into this same problem. It took me several days to fix!
  • The printer made a dreadfully loud noise when the extruder went to its “home” position. This issue was apparently caused by a glitch with the stop end cable. Although not as difficult as the pulley and belt replacement, this fix scared me the most! I actually had to deal with the motherboard and feeding the cables through the machine and making sure everything was attached correctly. It doesn’t sound like much but it sure did intimidate me initially!

You may have a district computer technician who you can rely on when something needs to be fixed with your printer. I would suggest checking your district’s policy on this prior to getting a 3D printer. This way you’ll know if you’re on your own or not. If you are, like I was, don’t hesitate to reach out to the support team to help guide you through whatever issues arise.

5. The benefits of 3D printing far outweigh any potential problems!

There are so many awesome reasons to try 3D printing with your students. The levels of enthusiasm and engagement as well as the multitude of skills used by my students during the process were exciting to observe. The daily collaboration among students and the way they could view me as a learner too were results I hadn’t anticipated.

The pure joy and pride on each student’s face as I took their picture with their completed design was priceless. My students became designers and makers and were super proud of themselves!

 

Click on the link to read Why Schools Shouldn’t Block YouTube

Click on the link to read iPads are Not the Solution

Click on the link to read 7 Key Characteristics of a Digitally Competent Teacher

Click on the link to read The 10 Best Educational Apps for Children

Horrific Bullying Attack Caught on Video

June 30, 2015

 

 

 

The girl being beaten up is only 13 and is now too terrified to go to school

 

Click on the link to read Are Kids Really More Aggressive Nowadays?

Click on the link to read I Thought Sport Was Supposed to Bring People Together (Video)

Click on the link to read The Rampant New Trend of Bullying Red Headed Boys

Click on the link to read 8 Methods to Stop Your Child From Being a Bully

How This Mother Celebrated Her Son’s Graduation (Photo)

June 29, 2015

 

raising-a-gentleman

Such a beautiful and uplifting message!

 

 

 

7 Bad Money Spending Habits We Teach Our Kids

June 27, 2015

 

kids-money

Courtesy of abcnews:

 

1.

Shopping without a list.

This is an invitation to waste money — and groceries, and a lot of us don’t need an invitation. It also makes us especially vulnerable to impulse buying. After all, what’s one more item that’s not on the list? For children, especially, it blurs the line between planned purchases and impulse buys. (And lists in general help people stay organized. Teaching children to use lists can help in many areas of life.)

2.

Buying on impulse.

We don’t do well at teaching delayed gratification. Advertisers make it even harder. Ever seen an Internet “flash sale” that lasts only a few hours? Or notice the price changes on an item you HAVE been watching. It’s frustrating to see that deliberating a bit might mean paying more. Of course, long term, these “flash sales” will tempt you to buy things you probably don’t need and likely didn’t plan for because you couldn’t stand to miss the killer deal. The Internet and TV work hard to tempt us to buy on impulse. Show your child how advertisers try to manipulate us to make decisions that might not be in our best interests long-term. “Sleep on it” is a great habit to encourage.

3.

Teaching entitlement.

Why are we going out to dinner and letting you order anything you want? Because you are a great kid! You… told the truth, got a good grade or got a soccer-participation certificate. Or you didn’t, and now you’re disappointed. Either way, a treat is in order. (Treats are not wrong, by the way. You can explain to your child that treats are in your budget. But the people who are most experienced handling the money and who have the most knowledge of the family’s finances will make the major decisions. Translated, this means the adults pick the restaurant and tell the children which entrees they may choose from or what the price limit is.)

4.

Focusing exclusively on the now.

Even if you are putting away money for vacations, if that is invisible to kids, they are not learning about it. “Let’s eat at home and save the difference in what it would cost for vacation,” can help make your intentions clear. You can even save the money in a jar so they can see it. It’s easier to say “we can’t afford it,” because YOU know that you can’t afford both lots of dinners out and a trip to Disney, but your kid may understand only that you can’t afford to go through the drive-thru, rather than that you are consciously choosing to direct your money toward something else — that you are delaying gratification.

5.

Speaking in terms of dollars, not percentages.

Renick says it’s important for kids to learn that not only is a nickel worth more than four pennies, it’s worth 20 percent more. It’s easy not to care about a penny, but 20 percent seems worth worrying about. And it is. Would they prefer to earn $20 for a chore or just $16? It’s still 20 percent, and it’s worth saving. “The concept is if you get in the habit of taking care of small details (financial choices) the habit and behavior will carry through to larger financial choices,” Renick said. Go ahead and save where you can — and show your kids that little things add up. (And hopefully, when they are in the workforce, that 401(k) match offered by your kid’s employer will seem too big to pass up.)

6.

Giving them “spending money.”

The idea behind this can be smart — hoping they will learn to prioritize. That’s a good goal, certainly. But Renick would suggest giving them money to manage… and rewarding saving if they show some restraint. He gives as an example a child with $100 to spend (or save) at Disneyland. What if you told a child that he or she could KEEP any money not spent at the park? Do you think he or she would care more about getting the most value for the money and would check carefully to see what concessions cost before ordering?

Routinely giving them the money may be a problem as well. Kids can earn money. Renick said his father used to tell him that he could have anything he wanted — as long as he was willing to work for it. Having to work can also help teach the value of money, when you begin to think about whether thing you need or want is really worth the time you’ll spend earning the money to buy it.

7.

Indulging in spendy habits, like a daily Starbucks or cigarettes.

Despite what we say, we show them that the gratification today is more valuable to us than the sacrifice involved in putting some of that money in a 401(k) or saving it for a family vacation.

 

Click on the link to read Teachers Spend Their Own Money for Classroom Resources

Click on the link to read Cash-Strapped School Auctions Itself on eBay
Click on the link to read Schools Enlisting Debt Collectors to Make Parents Pay “Voluntary” Donations
Click on the link to read What’s More Important for Education – Smart Boards or Breakfast?

Are the Teachers Union Backing Rafe Esquith?

June 24, 2015

 

rafe-esquith-banned

 

Rafe Esquith is the worlds most decorated teacher. You would think that in a situation where the the most acclaimed teacher, and longstanding union member, is suspended from the classroom for nothing more than a joke, that the union would go public in support of him.

But where are they?

No representative from the union has gone on record as far as I’ve seen. No union protests. Nothing.

I hear crickets, but no union outrage.

Why?

Surely this is just the sort of high profile case the union longs for. It would provide an opportunity to make telling points about the difficulties and stresses teachers face on a daily basis.

But where are they?

My message to the union is to get on the front foot and give Mr. Esquith the vocal support he needs and deserves.

 

Click on the link to read Rafe Esquith Fights Back!

Click on the link to read #StandByRafe

Click on the link to read The Teacher I Most Look Up To, Removed from the Classroom

Click on the link to read This is the Way a Teacher Should Retire (Video)

 


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