Welcome Manor ISD Friends!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 No comments
Here are the links to resources we used in our training today! I hope that they are useful tools for you and your students.

Star Point Story
Open-ended Sentence Combining Practice
     MC Sentence Combining Practice
Specific vs. Vague Sort
Revision Meets the Road

See you again soon!

First Things First {Part 2}

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 No comments
a little tardy to the party, Suzanne

I’m glad to see you again, friends!  If your here for the resolution of my relationship issues from last Tuesday, you’re in luck!

A while back, I went to a half-day training about Restorative Discipline (or Restorative Justice).  A seed was planted.  I had this nagging thought- “This is great! But how…?”.  I went on like that for a year.  

This year, I’m proud to say that I implemented Restorative Discipline (we refer to it as Relational Practices) on my campus!

What is Restorative Discipline?
This is a proactive approach to building relationships.  Get in there early, before there’s a problem, and have a positive encounter.  When there’s a problem, it promotes personal responsibility, restitution for those wronged, and instructional time.  Do you hear angels singing? I do!  I want that!!

See! Isn't he smart?!
Sooo…what does this look like?
For starters, this looks like teachers circled up.  At the beginning of the year, the counselor and I lead a brief overview training for our staff.  (If you’re interested in training for your campus, contact Kevin Curtis.  He’s the master and provides trainings all over the state.)  At the end of that day, we divided up, sat in a circle, and conducted a circle meeting.  It was important for my teachers to feel this experience.  I also wanted them to see that it works and would work in their classroom.
The Facts, Ma'am
Who: Teachers facilitate a circle with their class.
What:  Everyone is at an equal level (all sitting or all standing) in a circle.  The teacher facilitates by posing a question, answering first, passing on the talking piece, and staying quiet.  That last part is the hardest aspect of this whole deal!!  
When:  I presented a minimum expectation of circling once a month.  Best practice would be once a week.  Some of my lower grade teachers circle daily as their morning meeting.  (I sound fluent in that elementary lingo, but it’s still weird!)
Where:  Wherever you have enough space: classroom, outside, basketball court, stage, wherever!!
Why:  This is a powerful way to see and hear each member of your class.  Through these conversations, you can build character and resolve conflict.  There are approximately 1,092 videos of classroom circles on YouTube.  First the circles, then the carpool karaoke!
How:  This is an organic process.  As the teacher pose some good questions and watch the students make the magic.

I created a Weebly site to make overview information, resources, and lessons readily accessible to my staff.  You too are welcome to join me in Room 26!

Does your campus implement Restorative Discipline?  What has worked for you?  We are a community of passionate educators who want to create good adults by loving our kids well.  Do share what has worked for you!  Also, are there any topics you’d like to see for future lessons added to my Room 26 site?  Keep loving those kiddos!  If that’s not there, then nothing else really matters.  

First Things First

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 3 comments
getting back to the heart of the matter, Suzanne 

If you’ve followed Lori and I for any length of time, you know that we are anti- fluff, free time, and flying by the seat of your pants.  If you’re new here, WELCOME!  All of the aforementioned mentioned is true.

I think this starting point is important. I have a teacher that I work closely with who is my biggest skeptic while being my biggest supported- if that’s possible.  Because I have proven to him that manipulatives, talk time, and movement accomplish academic purposes and challenge thinking, he is willing to go with me.  

So hear me out…

If you were asked, “What’s the most important factor in student success?”, we would all chorally respond “relationships” in our singiest-songiest voice.  It’s the Sunday School answer.  

I was really good at relationships my first year of teaching.  I didn’t really know what was going on in the curriculum and instruction department (don’t we all need a recall on that first group(s) of kids?), so I decided the least I could do is not be a jerk.  Let me be clear, I was not a push over.  There was a clear line and when crossed, students knew X would happen, every time.  But I was kind.  I had kids with me all the livelong day- before school (Reader’s Cafe), during school (obviously), during lunch (reward or detention…it was a mixed bag), after school (tutoring).  Told ya…all day looooong.  You know what though…my kids rocked that year!  I pushed my kids, and they did it!

Sadly, the more I grew in my content knowledge, the more relationships took a backseat.  I wanted a writing baseline within that first week.  Notebooks were set up and running mid week 2.  And I regret it.  My kids liked me.  They would tell you I was nice, but it wasn’t the same.  For most of my kids, I wasn’t in that “I’d do anything for you Miss” place.  That’s where real magic happens, friends.  Typing this makes my heart heavy.  If I could get a do-over on anything, it would be this.

Last year, I spent a great deal of time researching- why do some students exceed expectations?  how do you deal with chronic misbehavior?  And do you know what I kept finding as an answer…relationships!  Again with the #realtalk, I was kind of disappointed.  I kept reading, listening.  Relationships.  Call me a slow learner but I kept at it.  I couldn’t escape the answer: relationships.

So what did I do with this knowledge? What does it look like/sound like in practice?  I’ll tell you…on Thursday!  

PD in Your PJs!!

Saturday, February 3, 2018 No comments
Thanks so much for joining us!!

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