Positive growth.

Motivation in learning is a huge component! I have high standards and expectations for all of my students. We work HARD and play HARD! I use each opportunity to motivate, encourage and excel my students. I celebrate as much as I can! I am blessed to work with a great Administration at my school! My students will work for fun treats! The Reach for the Stars Program is a gift certificate program, where if they obtain 20 stars they receive a ten dollar or less gift card of their choice. (Roblox game cards are a hit in my class).

Students receive a sticker for 80 percent or better and first attempt.

Teaching with the End in Mind

Spring break is over for us and it is time to get ready for SOL testing! My Fifth grade class will need about two days to come off of ”vacation mode” but we have no time for that! My focus will be maximizing my allotted time for each subject and giving my students that maximum time to practice the material. I have an amazing bunch of students! I have been extremely lucky to have gotten the opportunity to loop up with them from last year to this year. Covid learning took a toll on our learning trajectory and that is why it is so critical to maximize the opportunity to learn hands on. When I state I will teach with the end in mind. My first ”go to” in lesson planning besides looking at the time allotted for each standard of learning, will be what is it that I am wanting them to learn? The Learning Intention and Success Criteria is a huge component of the lesson planning piece. It is also important to review all the material that will be used for the lessons including Google slides, videos, practice material. To be honest, this is not something that I have always done before hand. I would start the lesson material and view it for the first time with my students. This often left me unprepared and scrambling for more information or practice material that aligned with it in case I had students who were more advanced and moved faster than their peers, or students who needed a little bit more practice.

If you have student notes to go along with the lesson plan, prepare them ahead of time for your students. I know that my students still need to practice taking notes, but I remain in control with the material and time allotted. If I did not control the time it would literally take them thirty minutes for one paragraph of notes, and that is not effective. What I will often do is create an Anchor chart and have them put that in their interactive composition notebook. I always have them use colored pencils during this time because ”color” brings life to the paper and to the brain for remembering.

Teaching & Time Management

There has been much debate as to whether we need to add more time onto the school day in regards to teaching students. Our school district has allotted to start school before Labor Day after many years of starting the school year the day after Labor Day. As a teacher of elementary school age students and a student enrolled in a Leadership course At Liberty University my position is that we do not need to add more time to the school day.

I have learned over the years that teaching curriculum with fidelity is a key to academic success. When my lesson is inadequately prepared, I can waste minutes or hourse of academic time allotments looking for things to cover, or researching material to go over with my students. Effective planning and preparation before the lesson leads to many valuable minutes and teaching opportunities added to my lesson time. I prepare student notes for my students, because I have learned that a lot of valuable time is spent having students copy notes that I can provide for effective study material. I do allow students to copy anchor charts and brief notes in their notebooks as we go, but the main core of note-taking is made before hand. I also share my students notes with their parents as well.

In terms of note taking, the Cornell method is an effective way for students to stay organized and the use of the bullet summary method works well for my Fifth grade students.

I do offer tutoring for my students during the school year. I offer intervention during one resource period for my tier three students and our elementary school is participating in an after school enrichment program. We also make this an opportunity to review criteria that student need help with after reviewing their data. Most of the intervention that takes place is in math and science.

Teaching is a ministry, and it is important for teachers to manage their time effectively outside of the classroom. It is imperative that our lessons are planned, but it is also important that we recognize time outside of the classroom is important for nurturing self-care to avoid teacher burnout.

New Trends in Teaching

time and talent pic

Educators are being challenged by several problems involving the method in which they are teaching children in the 21st Century.  The Information Technology era has inundated the public schools by   tasking them to develop new and improved ways to keep up with all the data and information that has been made available due to the Internet and other media sources.

This generation of students is in a time of rapid learning and exchange of Information and Data, so much faster than even one decade before them. I remember when I was in school if we were assigned a research paper, you went to the local library and used the old card catalog box to look up your books needed and then used the Encyclopedia’s at the library. Research paper writing entailed an all day trip to the library, not anymore!

One thing that has not changed is that “reading is the window to the world.” It is the foundational skill for learning, personal growth, and enjoyment.[1]

“The degree to which students can read and understand text in all formats (e.g., pictures, video, and print) and all contexts is a key indicator of success in school and in life.  As a lifelong learning skill, reading goes beyond decoding and comprehension to interpretation and development of new understandings.”

The problem that we are facing in the education arena is that schools are behind in this learning concept. While this method of teaching is being introduced by the Educators, the individual states and Dept of Education has not changed their curriculum to embrace the needs of our students.

The art of teaching has even changed from “back in the day when teachers could really teach” to the era of standardized testing. We seem to have gotten into the method of “memorize and dump” of data to ensure the passing of the SOL testing. (Standards of Learning)

As a teacher I can tell you teaching is hard work! Due to budget cuts, reduced spending, often teachers are left to teach with restricted resources, limited staffing, and ridiculously low wages.

The positive aspect to all this is that we are aware of the trends and statistics of the changing world of education.   The change from teaching traditional research methods over to the newer Guided Inquiry methods is happening. “The ability of our students to draw on the knowledge and wisdom of the past while using the technology of the present to advance new discoveries for the future are being implanted.”[2]

In conclusion, we have students graduating everyday entering the “real world”, while we are behind for them, we are working to prepare our students to think for themselves, make good decisions, develop expertise and implement lifelong learning skills.

[1] American Association of School Librarians, Standards for the 21st Century Learner.

[2]  Ibis



Bubbles and Ducktails



I read an interesting article tonight on an education website geared towards teachers. The article spoke of the importance on teaching structure, consistency, and order in the classroom. It spoke of when children start school they must be taught what is expected of them and that expected behavior needed to be modeled. In order for a class to walk down the hall from one class to another it must be modeled for them of the teacher’s expectation of a straight line (3 S line) and “bubbles” in their mouth. (to be silent). So the saying of “Bubbles and Duck tails” teach children that when they walk down the hall they are still,  quiet and orderly.

The reason for the article below is because I was trying to find the study that coincided with what I remembered being taught long ago, that a child is pretty consistent with his behavior and mannerism’s by about the fourth grade. The FBI did a study on children years ago and established that the fourth grade was the turning point for children. I am not saying by any means that any child cannot change bad behavior, but what I am saying is naturally the fourth grade mark is pretty consistent in what I have seen in elementary school education. I will continue to look for that article on that study, and if you find it please send it to me.

Anyways, I am sharing another good article on children from the FBI website.


Keeping Jesus in Public Schools


I remember when I was a little girl going to school, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and opening up the school day with a Prayer. Times have changed so drastically since then, and not for the better. We have successfully kicked Jesus out of so many institutions, but the scariest is taking him out of the schools! If you want to be honest, school has changed so much since I was a kid, the Principal when we got in trouble had a wooden paddle, and you could expect if need be, that you would get a lick or two and your parents called. Not today, we have successfully taken discipline, and Jesus out of the Public schools, and we wonder why the kids are blowing up the schools and shooting one another. Long ago, the worst thing you had to worry about was getting beat up after school on the way home, a fight one on one.

As a Public School Teacher, we are no longer allowed to talk about Jesus in class. We must respect various religions, and gods that are worshipped other than GOD! Personally, I do not shy away from talking about Jesus with my kids. There have been numerous times that He was in our conversations. I remember one time I was sitting at the table cutting out patterns, and a little five-year old girl came up to me and asked me, “Do you believe in God?” I answered her, “Yes I do, do you?” she happily replied that she did too, and ran off.

Recently in class another student came up to me and said that she was sad because her Grandfather had passed away. Having experienced grief before, I told her that I was very sorry to hear about him not being her with her, but that He was with Jesus. She replied that she knew that, and that it made her feel better.

It may come back to me later, in some words or letter format, but I do not care. I am who I am, because of a living, loving God. He has carried me through so much, and It is with honor and happiness in my heart that I share about Him!

I look forward to my “God moments” in school, how about you?