Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Most Wanted!

Today the Most Wanted Band (a band made up of police officers) came to the school to sing songs about being drug free. It was kinda like the DARE program. They took well known songs and changed them to be about anti drugs and violence. The children got to get up and dance around it was hysterical! They had a total blast!! I got "forced" to take part in the dance contest which my students found very entertaining.
They were able to say that the point was to "not drink alcohol or do drugs and if you are in trouble tell a teacher".

I was really impressed with the program! I love giving children the opportunity to get up and move!

-Hot and Sweaty Miss. Hansen

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sounding out words sucks!

All too often we tell children to "sound it out" when they come across an unknown word. Pretend you only know the sounds of each letter and you are learning to read. Sound out the word "Star". A child would sound out "s-t-a-r"= "stare" because for them "a" has two sounds short and longs. But in reality in words like "star" the "ar" is one sound not two. So adults would say "s-t-ar" but not children!!!!

The more effective way to help them work out unknown words would be to expose them to "chunks" of words. In the example above, "st" is a blend and "ar" is a chunk. "A+r" makes the pirate noise "arrrrr", "o+r" says "or" which is why if you look at the sounds you hear in "For" you would say "f-or" not "f-o-r".

So its my new goal to not tell children to sound out a word but rather look at the structure of the word and to look for parts they already know!

-Miss Hansen


I have made "flubber" before several times. I can remember doing in preschool (Yay Mrs. Dorothy!). Flubber is corn starch, glue, and water. Today in science class we made "Oobleck" which is just corn starch and water. If you have not experienced something like this before its a must!!
 The point is to say whether or not the final project is a liquid or a solid. The Oobleck pours and flows like a liquid but you can make it hard and in a ball like a solid. It is a non newtonian fluid!
 All you have to do is mix corn starch with a little water until it is hard and you can't make an indent in the mixture. Scrape some out and see how it works.

Super easy to make, cheap, and easy clean up!!

-Fascinated Miss Hansen!

Monday, October 11, 2010

O For Subs...

I started my morning walking into the school and the receptionist said "o Allie I am so sorry" i was confused and said for what. "For your sub... good luck today!"
I get to the room and begin setting up for the day. After several students had arrived an old man (70+) comes into the room. He asked me to repeat my name several times but was unable to say it in the end. The children found this quite entertaining!
The morning went really well. Things went smoothly and I felt under control. After lunch we came back into the room and I was going to tell the sub I was going to use the restroom when I turned to the back of room to find him asleep. Seriously! The teachers next door died laughing and replied "I'm impressed he made it this far!" I was shocked to find that everyone knows this sub does nothing and is simply "a warm body in the room" yet he is still responsible for 23 children!!

I realized how important it is to have good plans and lots of extra work for subs who do nothing but pass out papers.

-Miss Hansen!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Do you REALLLLY listen??

Kids say the craziest things. From "my mom kicked a cat last night" to "my sister has a mustache" and "tomorrow is my grandma's birthday" they love to tell their teachers everything that (to them) is important in their lives.
I am assuming I am not the only person out there that is guilty of nodding and saying "o wow" as the child is trying to tell me something random in the middle of a transition or while i am doing seven things at once. I feel bad sometimes but there is just not enough time in the day as it is and the random comments just make me stressed out and off track.
So lately when it is an inappropriate time for them to tell me things, i ask them to wait until recess and then i would love to hear about whatever they have to say. But when the time comes  I have really been working on listening to them while they talk to me and making meaningful comments.

I think its a great idea to start the year by explaining that there are times during the day that are not appropriate times to share stories. But then give two or three times during the day that are good times to share. For example at recess or after lunch.

-Miss Hansen

This is not Art

In my opinion our art program is a sad example of art class. We have "Art on a cart" meaning the art teacher travels from room to room. We have art two days a week every other week for 40 minutes. They usually start with a book and then draw a picture from the book. In classes we discussed that an important aspect of art is letting the children form their own conclusions and make their own creations. Yesterday they read a book about a ghost and then the teacher taught them how to draw a cat. First I dont know how i feel about her teaching them to draw the cat rather than letting them draw their own version of a cat, and second she provided them with Halloween colored crayons. I understand that sometimes we are trying to teach about what colors things are, but i like when children get to choose their own colors! Pumpkins are most commonly orange but sure they can be purple.
 I think i have these opinions because growing up in a charter school we were free to make our own choices and were really never told we were "wrong" when using crazy colors. Art should be a time to express yourself and be creative... not fit the mold.

I remember doing wire sculptures, making clay pots, personalized masks and so much more when i was in school. I would love to find a way for these children to have similar opportunities!

-Miss Hansen

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Breaking the cycle??

My dad brought up an interesting idea to me the other day. When I talk about a lot of the issues that I see in my classroom and at our school, a lot of it can be related back to the family life and the influence of parents. So the question is... If children in poverty level families attended a boarding school, would it help break the cycle of poverty??

After spending some time really thinking about it I came to the conclusion that it would most likely have a positive impact on their education. Issues like frequent absents lack of homework help, negative views on education / authority, and basic needs like having somewhere to sleep and to eat would be avoided in a boarding school situation. These students would be living in a safe environment and would be able to focus on their education rather than "surviving".

Every educator and other fields have heard of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The basis of the theory is that there are eight stages that humans go through to achieve "self- actualization". The bottom 4 are the most important aspects of life, the bottom being the most basic things that many people never really think about (where to sleep, being warm, what to eat, etc..) The next is feeling safe at home, school or work. Then it becomes more emotional, forming positive relationships, feeling loved, having good self esteem etc. If the bottom 3-4 levels are not met then a person has difficulties paying attention and getting things done. But for many of my children the bottom 2-3 levels are often not met, so to expect them to sit in class like good little children and learn how to add and how to write their "b" and "d" correctly is just not realistic.
So the next time you think to criticize a child (who lives in unfortunate circumstances or not) and you just can’t understand why they are behind or why they can’t do multiplication think about this: what else do they have going on in their lives? Try sleeping on the floor, having fruit snacks for breakfast, or being cold all day long and see how well you do your job.
-Miss Hansen