Posts Tagged ‘Back To School’

Going Overboard for Your Child’s First Day of School

September 7, 2015




It’s hard enough to get the schoolbag and uniform essentials right. Please try to avoid going overboard. It just makes your child really stressed.



Click on the link to read How This Mother Celebrated Her Son’s Graduation (Photo)




The Difficulty of Going Back to School for Bullied Students

August 12, 2015



It’s time to commence with another school year. Spare a thought for the trepidation faced by students harassed for having disabilities.

The following is a great piece on this very issue written by Chester Goad courtesy of The Huffington Post:


Typically going back to school means seeing old friends and making new connections, and while most kids are nervous about going back to school, some kids are actually terrified.

Research suggests that between 150,000-200,000 students are bullied in our schools every day. Many school systems have even added hotlines and “Student Resource Officers” (SRO’s) who can help identify and prevent bullying. Still bullying happens, and statistics show that students with disabilities are more at risk. In fact, anyone who looks different, acts different, or believes something different from whatever is the local cultural norm is a target.

Not only do students with disabilities sometimes look different from non-disabled peers, but students with certain disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia also learn differently, and students who learn differently often receive additional resources or extra help which can bring unwanted attention from potential bullies.

Growing up is hard but growing up with a disability brings a different set of challenges. Social stigma, misunderstandings, or lack of awareness affect the learning environment when educators, parents, and other students aren’t paying attention. What does all this mean?

It means families should talk more. It means we must be more intentional in our efforts to address the problem without causing more trouble for the kids who are prone to be bullied, and without arming bullies with information that makes them wise enough to avoid intervention. Yes, it’s that complicated.

In 2013, the increasing number of students with disabilities being bullied prompted the U.S. Department of Education to release a “Dear Colleague Letter” reminding schools of their responsibility to provide a bully-free education, and to implement specific strategies to effectively prevent or stop bullying of all students, but especially those with disabilities.

Parents of students with disabilities or any sort of difference should be vigilant and listen to their kids when they’re discussing school. Pay attention to changes in behavior, especially aggression and meltdowns. If your instinct tells you there may be an issue with bullying, talk with teachers or other adults and ask about changes in behavior or attitude. It’s a challenge for us as parents not to want to handle things completely on our own, but parents should avoid confronting others about bullying until they have all the information, and it’s best to leave the confrontation part to the school. Discuss the issues with teachers or administration. They may be able to give you valuable insight before you talk with the other parents or take your concerns to a different level.

Some adults are inclined to let bullying go assuming that kids will just “work it out,” and some students do work out one-time incidences, but sadly, true bullying involves a pattern of inappropriate behavior and when left alone can worsen circumstances for everyone involved. In some instances, students may truly not understand that their actions are being perceived as bullying. They may simply be seeking attention. However, in other situations they know exactly what they’re doing. Parents should never just “let it go” or trust the situation to work itself out.

Talk to your kids, and listen. Listen to what they’re saying, and to what they’re not saying.

Student suicide rates are on the rise. Quick, proactive communication and education is key, and could save lives.

The best way to prevent students from becoming bullying statistics is to know your students and their disabilities, understand the law, encourage peer intervention (because intervention by peers is considered the most powerful deterrent to bullying), and to foster open positive relationships between parents and schools.

Going back to school is always going to be a little nerve wracking. Kids will always worry about classes, friendships, and keeping up with the latest fads. But they should never have to worry for their safety.




Click on the link to read my post on What This Teacher is Accused of Doing to an Autistic Boy

Click on the link to read my post on School is the Place to Make Better Connections with Our Disabled

Click on the link to read my post on Dreams Come True When People Show they Care

Click on the link to read my post on Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

Tips for Teachers Preparing for the First Day of School

August 3, 2015


A fine list written by Dean Barnes:


1. Be prepared

Make sure you’re prepared for your day, dress professionally and get to class early. There is no such thing as being too prepared for that first day. Teaching can be unpredictable, so make sure you have a plan that prepares for all contingencies. Be over prepared  rather than under-prepared. That way, if you move through your activities and lessons too quickly, you’ve got other activities to fall back on.

2. Greeting is key

Make sure that as each student enters the classroom you greet each one individually. By greeting the students one by one instead of as a group you make that first greeting more personal to the student and it sets a positive tone to the class.

3. Who am I?

[contextly_sidebar id=”9EWzkLOvT4tKVbcZGOT0Lu7YIchyh6cp”]Students want to know about their new teacher. Don’t start class without introducing yourself first. Write your name on the whiteboard, and ask students if they have any questions. Share a little about yourself and set a comfortable tone at the beginning of class. This will benefit you greatly in the long run.

4. Introductions please

Have all of your students introduce themselves on the first day. Not only does this allow other students to learn about their classmates, but it also serves you in getting to know the names of your students. Remember that some students will be new and will want to know who their classmates are.

5. Sharing is caring

Ask each student to share a few details about themselves. The class doesn’t want to hear each student’s life story, but sharing a little information can be fun and will allow you do two things, first you can asses the students’ language ability, but you will also find out information about your class which is essential when trying to build some rapport.

6. Lay down the law

By setting the rules at the very beginning and talking about consequences, you set the standard for your classroom. If you try setting the rules a month into teaching, you are going to be hit with a lot of resistance by those students whose behavior may already be out of control or in question.

7. Engage your students 

Playing ice-breaker activities instantly diffuses any uneasy feelings new students may have, and it gives you that ‘fun teacher’ persona. Students in Asia love having a teacher in class that is engaging and fun. This is because they don’t often see this style of teaching in public school. Here are some of our ideas for icebreaker activities for the ESL classroom.

8. Get Moving

If you give your students a series of written tasks or individual work to do on their own, it’s likely they’ll become bored fairly quickly. Get them off of their behinds and moving around. Have your students interact with each other by playing some fun role plays or have them participate in some team games.  This will aid in strengthening critical bonds between students, but also between you and the students.

9. Team building

Finish your class with an activity that gets them all working together. By doing this you finish your class on a high, leaving your students excited about what they’ll be doing in the next class. Creating a feeling of unity within the classroom at this stage is key to a good student to student relationship.

10. Don’t forget to have fun!

If you start your first class with boring activities, then your students are going to be bored, and this means trouble! Fun activities plus engaged students equals a successful teaching experience. Active team games which get the students moving around will benefit the experience of both you and your students.


Click on the link to read Would You Ever Want to Visit Your Old High School?

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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)

25 Ways to Approach the Dreaded ‘How was School Today?’ Question

August 30, 2014


A great list courtesy of blogger Liz Evans:


1. What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)

2. Tell me something that made you laugh today.

3. If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)

4. Where is the coolest place at the school?

5. Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)

6. If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?

7. How did you help somebody today?

8. How did somebody help you today?

9. Tell me one thing that you learned today.

10. When were you the happiest today?

11. When were you bored today?

12. If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?

13. Who would you like to play with at recess that you’ve never played with before?

14. Tell me something good that happened today.

15. What word did your teacher say most today?

16. What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?

17. What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?

18. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?

19. Where do you play the most at recess?

20. Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?

21. What was your favorite part of lunch?

22. If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?

23. Is there anyone in your class who needs a time-out?

24. If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?

25. Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.



Click on the link to read Learning to Let Go

Click on the link to read Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew Before the School Year Begins

Click on the link to read The Worst Parent in the World May be an Australian

Click on the link to read 10-Year-Old’s Marriage Advice to His Teacher

Click on the link to read The Science of Parenting

Click on the link to read Why the Call to Fine Parents for Not Reading to Their Children is Utter Stupidity

9 Characteristics of a Great Teacher According to Parents

May 12, 2014


teacher quality


This list of of characteristics that great teachers possess prove that parents are extremely perceptive when it comes to assessing teacher quality.


1. They teach self-confidence.

“My daughter has gone from being shy and lacking self-confidence to being brave enough to teach a math class to her peers. She is shining and thriving and is excited about school every morning.” — Christine Sulek-Popov

2. They’ve got it covered.

“I know that my children are well looked after at school and I don’t have to worry because you will let me know if there is a problem.” — Erin Marsee Irby

3. They make kids feel special.

“My child feels like he belongs!” — Sherri Kellock

4. They know every child is different.

“You don’t compare his skill set to the other [kids in his class]. He is an individual and he’s treated as such.” — Athena Albin

5. Their commitment is unparalleled.

“My kids’ teachers are amazing. All 3 of them. They’ve brought my son out of his shell, they’re teaching my daughter how to be a leader, and they spend countless hours outside of the school time working on homework, fundraising, organizing class outings, and continuing to upgrade their skills all so they can be even better teachers than they already are.” — Jane Brewer

6. They have parents’ backs.

“My daughter had so many opportunities to see how valuable helping her peers can be, and you’re helping reinforce my lessons to her that there is joy in service.” — Debbie Vigh

7. They’re fair.

“My son is accepted for who he is. And you make the playing field even for everyone!” — Gayle Stroud

8. They’re always raising the bar.

“My daughter has grown in ways I never could have imagined. I’ve seen her flourish in areas I struggle in.” — Shaunna Glaspey

9. They generally rock.

“My son loves going to school everyday. You make him feel safe, loved, and included. It may be hard for you to see (since he is so shy) but he loves spending his day in your care.” — Jennifer O’Donnell Snell


Click on the link to read 9 Secrets for Raising Happy Children

Click on the link to read Brilliant Prank Photos Show Parenting at its Worst

Click on the link to read Little Girl’s Delightful “Brake Up” Note

Click on the link to read 9 Truths About Children and Dinnertime

Click on the link to read The Most Original Way to Pull Out Your Child’s Tooth Out (Video)

Click on the link to read Father Carries His Disabled Son 9 Miles to School Every Day

The Perfect Way to Start off a School Year

August 15, 2012

There is nothing better than a teacher flash mob to ease the apprehensions and anxieties of a first day at school. I love it when teachers stop playing the authority card and instead invest in connecting with their students through fun and positivity:

Teachers at Hancock High School in Mississippi went into the first day of the 2012-13 school year with what can only be described as an unconventional lesson plan.

Instead of the usual icebreaker sessions and syllabus distribution, the faculty gathered students in the gymnasium, where they performed a flash mob to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

Click on the link to read Brilliant Clip of a Head Teacher Dancing

Click on the link to read Who Said Grammar Isn’t Important?

Click on the link to read Misplaced Lego is Often Found in the Strangest Places

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