Friday, February 27, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Charter School Teacher- YOUTUBE VIDEO



When I was teaching kindergarten, my students would ask me the silliest things. Did I have a family? Did I drink water? Did I sleep in the classroom? To them, and maybe to many more students, teachers might not seem to have lives outside of the classroom.  Well, I wanted to create a video to show what exactly happened in an ordinary day of a charter school teacher. It certainly isn't the easiest job, but I absolutely love my job. My students  make my day that much easier.

Please enjoy!

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If you are interested in seeing any of my other videos on youtube, please click on this link or click down below.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Teaching Philosophy


Teacher Integrity 

According to literature, it is a common misconception that children of certain SES communities, ethnic backgrounds, gender, and handicaps are not capable of learning a whole year's worth of standards in the short time they are in the classroom (Valencia, 2002). On the contrary, all children are capable to progress a year's worth of knowledge every year they are in school. Some can even make greater leaps forward.  The students' success in the classroom is greatly based on the teacher input in every child's experience in the classroom. I believe that the greatest tool for students' success is the teacher.

Deficit Thinking: Not Welcome Here

Instead of blaming the students' circumstances, where they were raised, how many parents they had, what types of foods they have growing up, teachers need to assess their students and give proper innovative instruction that is stemmed from many educational theories and strategies.  Radical change is necessary to create a learning environment where every student feels comfortable and loved to be able to grow and develop as an academic.

Problem Solvers

As adults live in a society together, students also live in a community with their peers.  They should be taught to work, learn, and solve problems with their peers in a community based learning style. Also, according to Perrera (2008), there is a mismatch between faculty and expectations for students, and students' perceptions of the expectations teachers have for them. This means that it is crucial for the students' success that a detailed, continuous dialogue between teachers and students exist.

During these dialogues, students should be challenged to think about how the work they do in the classroom will help them in solving real-life problems such as hunger, managing scarce resources, inflation, and social equality.  The ability to developing awareness and critically thinking on how to solve problems such as problems we are face with today requires great skills from all subjects introduced in school. Overall, students are learning not only for their own good, but for the good of the others in the world.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Time Saving Tips for Teachers



Looking back at my first couple of years of teaching, I can remember one thing very vividly. I remember the long hours, late nights of working to stay above the mounting piles of paperwork, lessons, and emails to respond to.  I wondered when it would all end? Was teaching always like this? I knew  I couldn't pull 80 hours work weeks for the rest of my life.

Because of similar circumstances mentioned above, many teachers leave the profession within 5 years of teaching.  Although it is only my 3rd year teaching, I can honestly say that it doesn't stay that way forever. Teaching and staying above the paperwork becomes a lot easier. Eventually, as teachers stay continue what they do, they learn of more effective ways of doing things. 

In this post, I will be discussing tips on working more effectively during your first few years of teaching. Enjoy, and please comment, and let me know how your first year of teaching is going. 

1.  Have a personal 'daily 3' to-do list: Every morning, during my 10 minutes of enjoying my coffee, I center myself and think of the 3 most absolute important tasks I need to complete before I leave my classroom. These top three items are also written down in my reminders so I can check them off as soon as I complete a task. 



2.  Work before school, as opposed to after school: There is a sense of peace on a campus an hour before school starts. The same cannot be said about after school time. There are always people dropping in after, so change your habits to getting to school in the morning. 



3. Have the students clean up their classroom before they leave. This is as simple as it sounds. Before the students leave, get them in the habit of pushing in their chairs, pick up trash, pick up a rag, clean tabletops, wipe the white board, put crayons in order, and everything else. You will be surprised by how they will take to getting that work completed. It is also a signal to them that they are about to leave. 

4. Have all students turn in work in a notebook. If all the assignments, homework, and projects are completed in one place, you don't have to worry about filing papers. It makes grading easier too.  If you really want to get super spiffy, have the students create a table of contents and number their pages. :)



5. Use an app or online grading system such as Engrade to complete grades.  It does all the work for you.  This is also just one of many online grading tools. Do your research and see which one works for you. Make sure that the grading system is compatible with your iPad, phone, or tablet. 

6. While the students are doing bell work/morning war-ups, take that time to complete a task such as attendance and check-ins with students.  Sometimes, you can even have mini-conferences with students. 

7. Create bulletin boards that are great year-round. You can switch the content, but the main colors and borders will stay the same. The following pictures are from my own classroom:








8.  Keep a Daily lesson planner, and continuously update it. I love technology, but from many years of experience in the classroom, I've noticed that technology fails teachers almost on a daily basis. Teachers don't have a lot of time before students realize something is wrong and misbehave, so it is usually better to write down your lesson plans in a planner. The planner can stay open on your desk all day, every day, so you always have an idea of what's to come. 


9. Keep in mind 5-7 strategies (formative assessment) that you can use instead of worksheets.  Worksheets are not the end all of checking for understanding. Some great checks for understanding are mini white boards, using index cards, group projects, artwork creations (posters), call and response, and many more. These are great because you don't have to grade them, pass them out, collect them, or file them away! This is by far one of my greatest teaching time-saving strategies. 


10. Create a classroom structure that is not spontaneous. The students know and look forward to what is next.  In a high school classroom, it can be a simple agenda of the day. In an elementary class it can be the same subjects after one another. This is probably one of the most important ones. Have a schedule and stick with it. Have times with periods written down next to it. If you have students turn in work after lesson, then have them turn it in their file. That is one of the best tips because every day filing goes out the there when the students do it for you.

terrificthird.blogspot.com has the perfect example down below: 



11. Respond to emails as soon as you read them. Set aside 15 minutes 3-4 times a day where you just sit down and read/respond to emails. A teacher can get as many as 100 a day, and it is important to be up to date.  The parents, students, and administrators will appreciate it greatly. The best times are before you teach, during your prep period or lunch, and at the end of the school day. It is important to not put an email aside to respond to it later, because most likely you will either forget about it, or it will be attended to much later than it should have.