Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Prayers and Wishes

My son's first grade teacher was awesome. He was a young teacher, eager and willing to help the students succeed. He worked with Joey after school, on his own had many interventions, and was in constant contact via the phone and email. Absolutely a delight. When we were told he was moving up a grade for this year, we were excited and hoping Joey would have him. Well, he moved up to 3rd grade instead. I told Joey he'd have to work hard and hopefully have him again in 3rd grade.
Last week we were told that Mr. Froman had to be taken from the school. He was throwing up and violently ill. We were not sure if it was a heart attack or heat stroke. Today I heard it was a possible anneuryism and that he's in a coma. It does not look good. The school can't give us any information and no one knows where he is or what the truth is.
So Mr. Froman, here's a prayer from Joey, myself and the rest of our family. You're a rare great teacher that really has it together and the kids need you. We pray that God will let you continue here on Earth teaching our children and that you will be healthy again soon. You are much loved and respected by your students. Bless you!

I know what it's like to lose a teacher that is much loved, and it's got to be hard on the students. I wish the school could at least give us some information. My neighbor's son is in his class and he's lost without him. So anyone who is reading this, please send your prayers for a talented teacher who is very much missed by his students- Ernie Froman - for a speedy recovery.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Neccessary Technology

Today I was asked what I thought was neccessary in the means of technology in the classroom. What did I think the bare minimum should be in each classroom and what would be ideal. WOW! What a question! It's really a tough one to answer.

Of course we need at least 1 computer for the teacher and there I'd suggest a laptop, along with a projector. I would definitely suggest a SMART board, along with their response pads to really engage students. Inspiration, Internet (netTrekker), and of course unitedstreaming. If we're on a Mac, then iWorks. If we're not on a Mac (why not???), then Office or access to an "office" type program.

I would love for each student to have their own laptop (especially a Mac where they can really get creative!). If they had that, I need rollerskates. Or better yet, how about SynchronEyes. I had a simliar program that really assisted me when teaching in a lab, but I like to keep my programs running smoothly. If I'm going to get the SMART Board and response system, then let's stick with their software.

Creativity is a plus, and that's where Tech4Learning comes in. ImageBlender is my favorite, but any of their tools are great. MediaBlender and Twist would also be a great addition.

Access to blogs, wikis, and a place for students to collaborate is a major importance, especially since I'm trying to get my students ready for the 21st Century. How many will work as a "virtual employee" and will they be ready to manage their time and know how to work with others long distance?

I know I'm missing some things, so go ahead and add on. What do you think is important for today's classrooms?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Guitar Lessons

I started this post on Friday night but had to stop. Tried again on Sunday afternoon, but had to stop.
Joey had been asking for a guitar for awhile, and last Christmas I had decided to finally buy him one. Before I could, "Santa" - a good friend actually- sent him one for Christmas. We struggled to find an instructor that would work with an 8 year old, and then we struggled with an 8 year old who I wasn't so sure was ready for lessons. This week, I finally found an instructor and finally we started the lessons.
Friday afternoon, Joey and I raced to his first guitar lesson. He was so calm, I wasn't sure I had the right kid. He used his manners, really focused on his lesson, and was very good about the lesson being over. We taped the lesson using the iPod so he could review over and over when we got home. I don't think I needed to do that because instead when we got home he gave all of us a mini lesson again. There were a few times he'd say I'd have to listen to the recording to know the rest of the lesson, but boy did he practice!
And listening to the guitar being strummed over and over, him refusing to put it down until he was distracted by something else, kept me from writing the post. Saturday we spent the day together and then that night he gave a mini lesson before our movie to our neighbors. Then Sunday I sat down to do it again, but had to watch him practice instead.
My son does not want to learn to read, does not want to practice his school work, nothing. He doesn't do it well and has taken the low road and just refuses to face his weakness. The teasing and low self-esteem has won (hopefully temporarily). But with the guitar, the teacher praised him before he went into the lesson, praised him during, and praised him after. He treated him like an adult and did not talk down to him. He told him to patient and that he'll learn it piece by piece, but it would take practice. Joey accepted that. There was no fustration, except for the times I told him it was time to put it away.
I wonder if I did him harm at showing fustration and pushing him to learn to read, if his own teachers also showed any signs of strain, and forgot to keep things positive. He has a problem learning things the way other students do- some would call that a learning disability- but it's really a challenge. However I can't help thinking that maybe if we all kept things positive and didn't push him, he'd be begging me to let him read more and not to have to put the book away.
He'll want to practice again tonight. I bought him a book to help him and hoping we can read it together. I'll sneak in the reading with his new found passion.