Elaboration in Writing: Four Strategies to Enhance It

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R.A.C.E.C.E.S.

This is the acronym that many ELA teachers use (at least in elementary and middle grades) to teach the constructed response. 

It stands for..

Restate (the prompt), Answer (the prompt), Cite (evidence from the text), Explain (the connection between the evidence and the answer), Cite (evidence from the text a second time), Explain (connection between the evidence and the answer), and Summarize (write a closing statement that brings it all together.)

Most students get the basic gist, but seem to miss the mark with supporting their answers with their own thinking. For example, a possible prompt might state: What is the mood of the poem, “The Raven?” Support your answer with evidence from the text. 

A rote response will be written as follows.

   The mood of the poem, “The Raven” is ominous. The text states, “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary.” This shows that the poem, “The Raven” is ominous. The text also states, “Ah, distinctly, I remember it was the bleak December.” This means it was cold outside and dark which shows an ominous tone. In conclusion, the mood of the poem, “The Raven” is dark and depressing. 

This response answers the basics and is written utilizing the formula for what should be a constructed paragraph. However, it is lacking original thought or even a true understanding of the poem itself.

So, what is the answer? How can we help students move passed this kind of dull and mundane writing?

Well, this is what I am trying to figure out, and I have been experimenting with my students with some success. 

  1. Have students write a response with no textual evidence at all for the first draft. Students must write five to seven sentences. They can still restate and answer, but then must explain and elaborate in their own words. Once they have done that, students can go back and find evidence that supports their thinking and write it in the response. This helps students do the thinking first instead of relying on the text to do the thinking for them. Evidence alone is not an explanation.
  2.  Review with the class these 9 ways to add elaboration to their writing  (A fellow colleague shared this with me and I love it!):

    9 Ways to Elaborate

    1. Use Highly Descriptive Words: vivid adjectives and adverbs, precise verbs and nouns.
    2. Give a detailed Definition of the subject or detail.
    3. Provide an Example that shows your point.
    4. Use Comparison: Similes and/or Metaphors.
    5. Use Contrast to show how your idea is different from something else.
    6. Include a Fact to support your main idea.
    7. Use a Statistic (a fact in numerical form) to support your main idea.
    8. Use Sensory Details that appeals to one or more of the 5 senses.
    9. Use Cause & Effect to explain how 1 thing causes another.
  3. Have the students highlight the elaboration or explanation parts of their answer and analyze them. Ask the students to ask themselves: 
    1. Did I only restate my answer?
    2. Did I only paraphrase the textual evidence?
    3. Did I add something fresh and new that supports my answer utilizing my own thinking?
    4. Does the elaboration strengthen my answer?
  4.   Use the ICED writing strategy. This came from Read. Write. Think. , but was also recommended to me from a colleague. My goal is to use this more in January.

Check out the lesson here: ICED Lesson Read.Write.Think.

ICED is a strategy to help you expand on your ideas to be certain that all body paragraphs are fully explained as well as connected to your thesis.

I – Idea This is the topic sentence of each body paragraph that directly and always supports the thesis/claim.

C – Citation (EVIDENCE)  This is the textual evidence that relates to your specific idea in the body paragraph. This should be a direct quote, embedded quote, or paraphrase. This evidence reflects and is relevant to the central thesis/claim of your writing.

E – Explanation This is the explanation and expansion of the citation/evidence in relation to the topic sentence. DO NOT ASSUME THE READER KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR TOPIC!!! Expand on I, the idea, and how C, the citation is a means of supporting your idea. This step deepens the connection between your idea (I), and your citation (C) as evidence to support your thesis/claim. This should be at least two sentences or even three. The more explanation, the better.

D – Defense of Thesis This last step is the most difficult and one that students most often forget. This is the last sentence that connects your whole paragraph back to your thesis/claim. How does this whole paragraph support your thesis/claim and tie back to the prompt?

Closing thoughts….When we teach budding writers, learning the structure of what is required often trumps elaboration and voice. However, students need to know from the beginning that their interpretation of the text matters more than the evidence. Have the students think through their answer and explanation first and then have them support their thinking with the  appropriate evidence. Let the evidence work for them versus just repetition without original thought. 

Teaching writing is a journey and one that is difficult to master. My hope is that this post helps you in your quest to teach elaboration, as I am also striving each day to create more thoughtful readers and writers in my classroom. 

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Beyond the Reading Log: Two Ways to Assess Personal Reading

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Assessing personal reading can be one of the most difficult tasks as a middle grades ELA teacher. Reading logs do not cut it. Reading logs only promote one thing in the middle grades student– lying. So, what are the alternatives?

One excellent form of assessment that I have found is called a literacy letter, which was created by Nancie Atwell. It is more rigorous than most book review templates that I have found. Students should be able to complete this letter in typed MLA formatting in about thirty minutes.

literacy letter

Mia S.
Farmer
ELA – 1st period
August 24, 2018

Dear Mrs. Farmer,

     The “chunk of text” I chose from the novel, Forged by Fire is, “Gerald could barely breathe. All the pain of the past crowded him – Aunt Queen’s death, Monique’s accident, Jordan’s abuses. He sobbed finally with huge, burning explosions of pain. He wept for several minutes. Angel sat next to min, feeling his sorrow, understanding grief. Robbie can’t be dead! Robbie can’t be dead! Gerald repeated wordlessly to himself. Not Robbie. Not cool, silly, fun- loving Rob! Gerald felt weak and heavy. He felt like he couldn’t breathe, like a stone wall was sitting on his chest with bricks running through his veins. Nothing worked right or felt normal.” I think that this quote from the novel is important because the author really explains how much pain Gerald is in. Everybody thinks that crying and feeling pain is considered weak, but not everybody has been through pain like Gerald. Nobody really knows what pain is until you go through it yourself. Throughout the novel, Gerald goes through this pain that doesn’t ever go away, it’s stuck with him forever. He keeps all of his pain inside for a long time until he can’t take it anymore, then one day a tsunami bursts through his eyes. This makes you realize that letting go of that pain doesn’t make you weak, it makes you a stronger person because you know what that type of pain feels like.
     I would rate this novel a 10. I would rate it a 10 because the author really incorporates what these characters feel emotionally and physically. When you read this you put yourself in their shoes and realize how much you don’t know about people and you realize that are fortunate for what you have and what you don’t have to go through.
      The main character in the novel is Gerald Nickelby. I chose him because he has a little sister and is very very protective over her, the pain he has been through, and because he even though he has a tough time at home, he still is a kind loving person. I have little siblings and I am protective over them also. I haven’t gone through what Gerald has, and that makes him an emotionally strong person and I think that I couldn’t have handled what he did. Gerald and I are very different and alike at the same time because of our character and of who we are.
      If I could email Sharon M. Draper, I wouldn’t tell her to change a thing because she did an amazing job on writing the novel. She made me change my perspective in life, which is a very good thing because now I can see what people have to go through in their personal life.

ReadWriteThink also has a book review template that can be used as a quick check for personal reading. However, just filling out a worksheet can be a bit boring for students. So, this past week I tried something new. I pulled this idea together from a hallway display of a fellow teacher who had her students take selfies with their books and write a review of the book on what looked like a Google Slide. I decided to use that idea along with the questions from the book review template from ReadWriteThink. This is what I came up with…

1126-1130Ghosts By_ Raina Telgemeier

The students enjoyed this book review assessment, and had fun with it. This one also took about thirty minutes to complete in class. I prefer quick ways to assess my students instead of book report projects. Quick assessment activities follow the flow of what is happening in the classroom, and ensure that the reading is current.

To sum up, there will never be a perfect way to keep our students accountable for personal reading, while also developing and keeping an intrinsic love of reading. However, these two assessments have proven successful in my classroom and served as better alternatives to reading logs or traditional book review worksheets.

If you have any ideas on reading and assessment I would love to hear them!

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Not Your Everyday Digital Storyboard

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If you are like me… you love new ideas and even more…enhancing old ones. A few weeks ago I happened upon a video from the Ron Clark Academy of Kim Bearden offering a lesson on Greek myths. The video was amazing and I thought, “Hmmm..I can do this, too!” Now, as you may have already guessed if you are also a trier, doer, and seeker.. real life never goes quite the same as the picture perfect version. There were some stumbling blocks and frustrating moments, but overall I definitely love the end product and I would do this project again.

So, I am here to make your life a little easier and tell you the nitty gritty of this lesson.

Lesson Outline:

  1. For students to close read a Greek myth from a choice of twelve.
  2. Students must discuss and summarize the story of their choice in groups. Then, decide which one they would like to act out and rewrite as a narrative.
  3. Students will assign each other parts from the Greek myth and then dress as a Greek God, Goddess, or other supporting character.
  4. Students will pre-write six scenes with the narrative writing below each sketch together (but every student must create his own copy). This must be completed BEFORE they are allowed to act the scenes out and dress up for pictures.
  5. Students must have their pre-writing reviewed by the teacher and then put their names on the board to have their pictures taken based on the scenes they created on their paper storyboards.
  6. The teacher will take the pictures. I took one group shot and then six additional shots (one per scene). I only gave them about five minutes once they were dressed in their costumes. They had to be prepared. Then, email the pictures to the group leader who can then share the pictures with the rest of the group.
  7. Once the students have their pictures, they can download them and create their storyboards using Google Slides. We are a Google district and Google Slides is an excellent and free tool to use for this lesson.
  8. One student needs to open the Google slide presentation and then share it with the other group members (that way ALL the students can work on the storyboard at the same time.) For example, one student can work on the pictures and graphics, while another works on the narrative story.
  9. As the teacher, you must continually check on the students for their quality of writing. They can not get so carried away with the graphics that the writing fails to be excellent.
  10. The students had to include figurative elements such as onomatopoeia, alliteration, personification, similes, metaphors. I also wanted them utilizing active verbs and adjectives.
  11. Then, the students had to present their storyboards once completed. They were given feedback on the development of the story and the presentation. I call it “two stars” and a “wish”.
  12. Finally, the students had to fix areas of need for their final graded submissions.
  13. Overall, expect this to take an entire week (depending on time). My students and I took about thirty to forty minutes of class time each day on the project. This was all to support our reading of The Lightning Thief, so we were also reading the novel as well.

Materials:

Greek wardrobes: I made sure that I had enough for every member. That was usually four per group. I went to Goodwill and found curtains for $1.00 each that matched the coloring of regular Greek costumes. I washed them and then cut holes for the head to go through, and then I cut the red curtain into long strips to serve as the sash. I also cut some rope that I had to belts. I did go to Party City and I bought the Greek headpieces. Those were the most expensive at about $5.00 each. I bought two. I also bought a couple $1.00 plastic hats that were gold for the boys. All other items I had on hand from my house of three active kids or from the Dollar Tree.

Camera: I did use my Iphone for the pictures because it was easier. I tried to chromebook camera, but it is hard to navigate and the picture quality was not as good.

Paper Copies of a Storyboard Template: I just googled this and easily found one that I liked for free. I made a copy for every student. Storyboard Template

Greek Myths: Finding Greek myths that were appropriate for 12 year olds and user friendly to read and access was the most time consuming and difficult to find. It is helpful for students to have an understanding of the myths because the novel characters and conflicts are based on Greek myths. For this, I bought a set on Teacher Pay Teachers for $6.00. The stories were for sixth graders and they were no more than two pages long. In addition, they were appropriate for the students to read. Many Greek myths are pretty out there and I worried about finding the right fit for my students. This was a great purchase. Greek Mythology Stories

Chromebooks/Desktop Computers: I wanted the students to take this activity a step further and not just create a paper sketch with the story written underneath. Also, I did not want to utilize programs such as StoryboardThat which creates animated storyboards (often I’ve found that student writing is fairly shallow with this program). I decided that Google Slides would be best because the writing could be stretched and they could also add original pictures with graphics. You could also use Powerpoint as well.

As far as rubrics.. I will leave that to you on how you want to assess this project. You could use a rubric or checklist. I used a checklist of what had to be in the project for the students and then a rubric to grade the presentation itself.

Tips: BE PATIENT. Make sure the students realize creativity takes discipline. It’s not all about the fun, the content and quality has to shine through. The writing must be excellent as well as the presentation. In that sense, it creates relevance for real life. One day, on the job, students will need to be creative–but also disciplined enough to create a quality product.

Here is an example that you can use and share with your students as a model. I always love a visual!

The Golden Touch: A Student Exemplar of the Greek Mythology Storyboard Project

storyboard

I hope you decide to give this project a try!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shake the Mid-Year Teacher Funk: Read The Wild Card

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There are times in the school year…especially as testing season approaches–that teachers–can get in a bit of a teaching funk.

Worry sets in..at least for me. I question, “Have I done all that I can do?” “Have my students learned–anything?” This worry can begin to stunt my abilities for creativity. It’s as if I get a bit of brain fog that I can’t shake. This is something that I take seriously because I want only the best for my students. I want to be successful and enjoy my class.

That is why I love following educators on Twitter who inform me of all the latest books that may shake me out of my occasional teaching funk and get my creativity going again.

One fantastic book just came out entitled, The Wild Card by Hope and Wade King. It truly is one of the best books I’ve read for educators and I’m not just saying this because it’s hot off the presses. This book is written for teachers. It’s real and it’s honest. That honesty helps me to know I can truly apply their suggestions in my classroom. It also reassured me that engagement is happening in my classroom. I believe the best educator materials reassure you, but also push you to be better as a teacher.

I would recommend this book for all teachers who desire a boost in engagement and energy in the classroom.

There are many pieces of wisdom and inspiration to be found in The Wild Card but I love the following:

Assess, Accept, Act (Instead of passing blame and pointing fingers: reflect on your practice, accept the reality of what is, and act to create a positive difference). That is such a great way to think about the classroom as a teacher and in all areas of life.

So if you’re looking for a good investment with that last Christmas gift card, I would suggest The Wild Card.

The Truest Measure

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kennedy

I know if you’re a teacher who reads, you’ve probably read the rhetoric before about testing and how it affects students. I will probably write nothing new today, but I’m writing to remind myself of what testing will never be able to measure.

  1. Relationships- Tests can never measure the relationships developed between teachers and students. The discussions shared, the laughter, the smiles, and the memories that last a lifetime.

2.  Student Ability- Our young people are amazing, but over testing can hinder them from risking and innovating. Many students have already, by middle school, boxed themselves in as failures if they have not performed well on standardized tests. As a teacher, it can be difficult to develop motivation within students that they are not just a score on a test. Students need teacher advocacy and supports. We, as teachers, need to find greater solutions for the sake of our students’ health, emotional wellness, and future. How could students produce more authentic products to demonstrate learning? How could we remove the restraints of failure and grow and develop innovators and problem solvers?

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We need to find ways to teach, not because we want our students to do well on an exam, but because we want a brighter future for our community and our country. We need students to read and write well because that is what leaders do, and we need leaders–not good test takers. Let’s rise above the status quo and remember the purpose behind what we do. I would also like to encourage parents. Please do not leave your child’s education completely in the hands of his teacher. Read to your child. Spend time with your child, and be present. Learn what he is learning, discover what he is discovering.

Let’s renew our sense of community. We are all apart of raising the next generation, and in that lies the truest measure of success. The results are in all of our hands.

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Teaching….❤️

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I stood in the parking lot, buses behind me, kids coming toward me excited to hop on the bus. 

Then, to my right comes Jon. 

“Hey, Mrs. Farmer.” 

“Hey Jon, how’s it going? Thank you for the kind note you wrote me.”

“Yeah, hey, you want a Kit Kat?” 

“Sure,” I replied. 

Jon reached in his pocket and handed me a piece of candy and then went on toward the buses. 

That was it. Nothing more. 

As a teacher, those moments-spontaneously kind and unexpected-mean more than anything I can think of-because in that moment he offered what he had because, well, he felt like it. 

Last year, I played UNO with him and his classmates, just a few times (after exams) but it’s been a connecting point ever since. Jon always carries UNO cards. 

Isn’t that the funniest part-we all study how to Teach Like A PIRATE or how to Teach Like a Champion but truly- it all seems to come down to the heart. “Do you care about me?” “Do I matter to you?” “Are you willing to invest time in me and what I enjoy?” 

Maybe teaching isn’t that complicated after all. 

Teaching: The Simple Comforts 

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“I walked into my son’s room last night, and he was engrossed in a book. My heart leaped out of my chest, and in that moment I just loved him so much!” I exclaimed as I looked unto thirty sixth-graders hungry for lunch. 

I smiled, and they all started laughing. 

“What! What are you saying, Mrs. Farmer? You only love your son when he’s reading?” they all exclaimed. 

I retorted,”Now, y’all are just picking on me. I always love my son!” 

We all laughed together, and then headed out down the hall to lunch. 

Now, it was probably a bit selfish of me to be telling that story to begin with. Really–who wants to hear these boring personal stories from their teacher. Sadly, the one fun part about being a teacher is you always have an audience-may not be a captive one, but an audience just the same. Despite that, aren’t those the most treasured moments in teaching. Laughing and enjoying each other’s company. 

In the world of education there is always a new initiative, procedure, or demand for higher standards. But, truly, the joy in teaching often lies in the small moments. The moments when you catch that one student working harder than ever before, the snide joke–by the “cut-up” in class who deep down really enjoys your teaching and you know it, or the student who comes in every morning with a bright smile ready to help, whatever the task. I love those moments, and that is what I love about teaching. 

So, as we await the end of grade assessment scores, wondering, “Did I really do my job? Am I a good teacher?” I hope we can also remember that those scores will never take the place of those special moments, which make teaching so worthwhile. That our worth and the worth of our students reaches far beyond a number. The heart beat, the sweet souls who show up each day-bravely-despite failed attempts at learning and through victories, too, can come together and keep going with hope for a bright future. 

Last week, I wrote about the simple comfort of drinking coffee from my mom’s teacher mug every morning. I love holding on to that tradition! We all have teaching comforts-and it’s those small comforts like our students’ laughter that make it the best job in the world. 

I’m going to end this post with a scripture, since this is a reflective post. I hope those who read this may gain something from it as well. 

Wishing all teachers a wonderful week of small, joyful moments! 

2 Peter 1:5-7 New International Version (NIV)

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

The Simple Comforts 

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I grew up as a teacher’s kid. I still remember the school my mother taught in, the musty smell of the hallways, the lockers that lined the walls of a once segregated junior high school turned elementary school. The small room my mother kept as a speech therapist tucked behind the library.  I’d pass by her room with my classmates on the way to the library. They’d exclaim, “Mrs. Respess, oh, that’s your mom! Cool!” As an elementary school student, I stood proud, happy to have my mom nearby. 

My mom, calm and quiet, went about her work in a loving and cheerful way. She enjoyed her students and her job. She also seemed composed, organized, and prepared. This created a comfortable stability in my life. One item I remember that she always kept close at hand was her coffee cup. It was white with a flower imprint on one side and a scripture written on the other. I always loved that coffee cup and would study it at times. After my first year of teaching my mom gave it to me. 

Whenever I drink from it now, walking around my classroom or greeting my students for the day ahead, I think of her and an immense comfort washes over me. Like me, she stood in the hallways, greeting students in the morning, fervently working with the same cup in her hand. That brings comfort, but more importantly strength. She did the often hard work of teaching and I can do it, too.

This may seem small or insignificant, but sometimes finding those small treasures can make all the difference in attitude and outlook for the school day ahead. 

What small comforts do you treasure as a teacher? I would love to hear your story, too. 

Wishing all teachers a wonderful Monday morning, one in which you can treasure the simple comforts.  

Never Too Old: 10 Things that Middle School Students will Always Love

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  1. Smiles.
  2. Verbal Encouragement.
  3. Written Encouragement.
  4.  High Fives.
  5. Hands on learning.
  6. Make Believe.
  7. Fun.
  8. Mystery.
  9. Collaborative Group Work.
  10. Support and belief in their life dreams.

 

Middle grades teachers can often speak about the importance of “growing up”.

“You’re in middle school, now. It’s time to grow up.”

The problem lies in that they aren’t grown, and they aren’t looking to be a grown up any time soon. In fact, many students express sadness in the loneliness they feel in this high-tech generation. That it’s all a bit fake, really. They want to feel more important than a smartphone.

“Be present, adults, for real,” they say.

The quest lies then, in returning to the good ol’ days, in a sense. Utilize technology, but be conscious of its use.

How can tech be integrated, while also weaving in smiles, verbal encouragement, high fives, hands on learning, make believe, fun, mystery, collaboration, and support?

Can class work be engaging, challenging, tech-integrated, and supportive of the whole child, no matter the content?

It’s a goal worth striving for…

One of the best Twitter follows who seems to always hit the mark on this is the author of Ditch That Textbook, Mr. Matt Miller. Follow him on Twitter @jmattmiller. I always seem to find great lessons and ideas from his website, and his lessons are so easy to implement.

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7 Essential Attitudes for the Classroom Teacher

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A few weeks go I was standing awkwardly in the commons area of my church. Teenagers surrounded me all of which were avoiding eye contact, absorbed into their phones. “No worries,” I thought, “It’s all good.” Then, I heard a scream, “Mrs. Farmer!” One sweet young lady grabbed a hold of me so tight I could hardly breathe, but I was so grateful. Then, I realized it was one of my students from the first full year of teaching. This young lady came from the most difficult home life, and I could hardly imagine what she went through, but no matter what–every day she came to school with a bright smile on her face. She inspired me every day as a teacher that year, and seeing her again just brightened my day. What struck me the most about our conversation was that she remembered dancing in my class and how much she loved it, and it meant so much to her. It’s truly moments like that, moments we’ve all had, that remind us why we became teachers–why it’s such a gift.

With that thought in mind I’d like to reflect and propose seven essential attitudes all classroom teachers need (starting with me) to maintain a positive and impactful year for 2016-17.

  1. Be Intentional: Summer is an awesome time to rest and reflect. It serves as a time to research and work to stay ahead of the curve in our practice. My goal is to be intentional with home life and work life. Keep each in their place and give each a sacred space of time. With a full first half of the school year ahead of me, like most busy moms who love both their jobs, being intentional with each lesson plan, each student interaction, each family outing, and each good night story will be essential for success at work and at home. How do you plan on being intentional this year?f38174ac7a690838bde395b6b95335f0
  2. Be Present: Dave Burgess discusses this as immersion, which is vital to the classroom and needed more now than ever. This past week, I visited the Gulf with my family. The waves crashing on the sand, the bright sun overhead, making sandcastles and dinosaurs out of sand, and yet…most families sat on the side staring at their phones. Stare….stare….stare. Ignore…ignore…ignore. Silence. If the ocean doesn’t engage a person, I’m not sure that anything I do in the classroom stands a chance. So, here’s the deal. I’m leaving my phone in my car. I’ve pulled out my digital camera, and I’m going to assign a student to take a few shots when the opportunity arises. I do love pictures of the kids and looking back over the year. It truly tells a wonderful story. The vibe of a phone in the classroom kills it, though. Students just change. I don’t want that in my classroom this year. No phones. Just be present. How is being present vital to your classroom?zen-present-moment-eckart-tolle-V1u7Ve-quote
  3. Be Patient: Patience is a virtue, and I believe this happens more easily with less technology, and more of a balance between handwriting, keyboarding, readers theatre, and presenting. Creativity and use of the imagination does so much for our students’ development of life long learning. There is a large emphasis on constructed responses and non-fiction texts, which hinders their love of literature. As a side note-if the state needs help rewriting the ELA standards, I would be happy to help. In the meantime, I will be patient and teach the best for students to promote a love for literature and writing as well work to be successful on the Milestones exam. Also, we must be patient with our students, knowing someone was once patient with us. Grace is an amazing gift, and we often take it for granted until someone offers it to us. All great things happen with a patient heart. What does patience look like in your classroom?When-youre-tempted-to1
  4. Be Content: Many times, as humans, we are always pushing toward the next, great thing or we are always pushing to press past the present moment. In the summer, we can’t wait until the cold, wintry months. In the winter months, we’re begging for the blistery heat of summer. Are we ever just content? As they say, don’t count the days…make the days count. My plan is to take John Wooden’s advice– make each day your masterpiece. Be thankful enough in that. How will you be more content this school year?quote-Benjamin-Franklin-content-makes-poor-men-rich-discontent-makes-102938
  5. Be Respectful: Many times, as teachers, we demand respect from our students. We become frustrated when they don’t seem to respect us. There are times when students are disrespectful for whatever reason, but often there is a reason, and we can’t just sit back and blame the parents for a poor upbringing. Classroom design is one key–the teacher must plan out how the students will react to the lessons that are planned. One college writing professor I met this summer from Emory University stated that she does not have her students write heavily on a daily basis. The students rebel. She integrates technology, where students dissect their heavier writing papers into infographics as part of the assignment. The design of the lessons reduces disrespect in the classroom, because the students are engaged in the work. In addition, I believe being present is the other component. If the teacher is circulating and working hands on with students in a lesson that matters, then less problems will occur. Therefore, multitasking shouldn’t exist in the classroom, although there is great pressure to answer e-mails, grade papers, and just juggle everything at the same time. However, this will only provide a disservice to students. Thankfully, with all the new Google technologies and digital rubrics, grading and feedback can be offered faster than ever, we must just remember kids know when we’re not present. They will resent not having all of us present with them. How do you believe respect is essential to the classroom environment? Life-Love-Quotes-Respect-Give-It
  6. Be Engaging: As Dave Burgess exclaims, “Don’t throw that cold piece of raw steak at students and expect them just to grab it up, eat it, and be thankful afterwards.” It’s not going to happen. The older I get, with pre-teens and soon to be teen (in one month) of my own, I start feeling that I’m losing touch with the pre-teen mentality. Sometimes, I want to exclaim–like with my own kids–“So sorry, you don’t like this lesson?–Well–get over it, kid.” But, then, I remember these aren’t my kids. So….it’s a great idea to volunteer in areas with students outside of the school. For me, it’s working with the youth of my church, but it may also be working for the Boys and Girls Club, local drama club, the library, coaching a team..whatever it may be. Sometimes, we need to work outside of the realms of the classroom to view students from a different perspective so that we know how to be more effective in the classroom. Engagement in reality is heavily based on relationships. When teachers know their students, they know how to adapt their lessons for maximum engagement and ultimate success as learners. How does engagement play a role in your lesson design?art of teaching
  7. Be Consistent: One of the greatest habits that I strive for in the classroom is consistency. Students should not have to worry about what teacher they will have that day, teachers aren’t allowed to have moods. That may seem like a lot to ask, but it comes back to putting ourselves in their shoes. How can students trust a teacher who is not consistent in their moods, appearance, or classroom expectations? Consistency creates security, which is essential to a positive learning environment. How has consistency played a role in your teaching?f7f8eb12e0f61a9321597157c0d61791

I’ve mentioned seven attitudes which I believe are essential to the classroom. These are attitudes that I am always working on and striving to maintain. What would you add to this list? I know there are many more, and I’d love to learn from you. Thank you for reading and I wish you all the best as an educator as we all strive to be our best in the classroom and in our daily lives. inspirational-quotes-for-teachers1