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Do you accept LATE WORK?

Do you accept late work?

I have had so many students that do not pay attention to deadlines. More importantly, they are not even concerned about being responsible or passing their classes with acceptable grades. They are more than willing to accept zeros, and many live under the assumption that they will have a chance at the end of the quarter to "make it all up" before the grades are official. Yet, I need them to complete the assignments NOW to help them learn and practice the content and skills I am teaching NOW. I need them to do the work NOW so they are prepared for the test we will take NOW. What good is the later?

My policy has always been (15+ years of teaching) to NOT accept late work, and I strongly believe that students learn irresponsibility through teachers bending rules and policies to adapt to irresponsibility. Also, having worked in the "civilian" world before teaching, I learned quickly that employers do not have late policies. If you are late with your work, you are fired. If you are late to work, you are fired. Why should it be different for students who need to learn these valuable lessons before the penalty is more than an assignment grade?

But now there are many trends in late policies, and even some districts have mandated the acceptance of late work for their schools.  There is even research supporting varying sides of the dilemma.   And there are valid arguments, some suggesting that it's better to have students turn in the work late than not at all.  Still, I question the lesson.

So, back to my question.  
Do you accept late work? Why or why not?

Happy Teaching!

How Is Your Year So Far?

How is your year so far? Are your lessons successful and your classes learning at the pace you planned? Do you feel like you are reaching all of your students? Do you have any questions or concerns?

Share your thoughts, questions, and concerns!

Do not think that your failures are yours alone!

Do not think you are the only one out there with problems in the classroom!

Teaching is a tough job. It is not something we all do seemlessly, without any hesitations or regrets. We each go into our classrooms and try our best, but sometimes we see failure as well as success.

And despite what some seem to think about a teacher's role, it is not your burden to bear alone. Teaching students, and bringing success for that child, is a collaboration. It REQUIRES the help of the parents, the core teachers, the elective teachers, the bus drivers, the cafeteria workers, and so many others. It is true that "It takes a village."

So, when you find yourself questioning your place in the classroom, or just your latest lesson, look for input and advice from others who walk in your shoes!

Follow my blog and my facebook for a variety of topics that help you feel real in the classroom! You are not a robot. You think, you feel, you question. That is what makes you a good teacher! Just don't give up! There will always be another day.

Link to my Facebook page for tips and great resource links: My Facebook Page

Check out other great blogs for advice and support. At The Lesson Plan Diva, there is currently a linky party introducing a variety of blogs for each and every grade level and subject area.

Visit My Tpt Store for great resources for Social Studies, English, and Organizing the Classroom!

And, check back often for new topics and pieces of wisdom from my battled brain! :)

Time to Read!!!!



Today is International Literacy Day and I want to celebrate with Dr. Seuss! Wouldn't we all want to celebrate with the great literacy leader?

Across the nation, student literacy levels is a great concern. We test and test and test their reading skills, but in our literacy-dependent world, our students are not improving. Why is this? It's simple... Our kids no longer learn to LOVE reading.

Before the Internet and the advancement of our technology savvy world, we loved to read. Reading took us places we could never imagine on our own. The books swept us away to the past, soured us into the future, and encouraged us for our futures. In our favorite characters, we saw ourselves and we planned our lives based on their adventures. Whether we were a Hardy Boy or a Nancy Drew, we were engaged in our books, and reading fueled our curiosity and our desire to read and learn more.

Times have changed. So, how do we get kids to love books again? I have a few ideas...

Start Young. Teach students to LOVE reading as soon as we get them in the schools. Bring them books and read to them until they have the skills to read for themselves.

Read with Excitement. Make every book and every page an amazing event. Read with enthusiasm and enjoyment. Yell when the characters yell and cry when the characters cry. Make it the great adventure you know it should be.

Share Your Love. Tell your students how much you LOVE to read. Encourage them to read for enjoyment, not just as an assignment. Set an example by talking about your favorite books or your current reading list.

Allow Time for FUN Reading. Provide students choices in their reading and encourage reading for fun. Even high school students love to have fun with reading and will jump from their seats when you announce it's "Carpet Time!"

Make It An Adventure. Travel through time or into space with the reading you do in class. Read to the most climactic point, and STOP for the day, creating anticipation and curiosity. Role play the scenes from the book to make it real for your students.

Encourage Encouragement! Organize service-learning projects to allow older children to encourage younger children to read. There is no greater influence than that of a peer or an older student, and one that loves reading can encourage a classroom of others to take on that love of reading for themselves.

Think about it. Do you remember your favorite childhood book? Or maybe it was a series? I remember mine. I read them still! :)

To get a jump start on your literacy lessons in your classes, try this Service Learning Unit with Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat and The Lorax. This unit could be used with any upper-elementary, or even middle school aged, students who have the opportunity to work with younger grades or lower reading level students. And don't think that Dr. Seuss books are too "low" to read to the upper grades. The lesson is not on the CONTENT this time... The lesson is the LOVE OF READING!


And as for my favorites...
Charlotte's Web (still makes me cry)
Nancy Drew
Encyclopedia Brown
Little House Series
The Pigman (once I was older)
Anything Dr. Seuss

And, of course, my own series, Souper Sales, written as a 4th grader for the kindergartners in my school. Where are my royalties for those books?


What were your favorites?

The Technology Initiative

Back in the spring, the teachers of my district were notified that our district planned to roll out a technology initiative that would be one of few in the United States. As part of that program, all teachers were provided new Macbooks and trained in technology use for our classrooms.

Being a teacher who has used technology in my classroom for over a decade, I was so excited at the great move toward modernizing our district and preparing our students for the real world. I was so excited that our students would each be receiving macbooks (all students grades 5-12), and that we would have all the access we needed to make our lessons 21st Century. I was so excited that my district would take the lead in incorporating technology, and that we would be ahead of the race against all other districts across the United States. I was so excited!

As the school year started, and the rollout began, I maintained my excitement. I have created lessons for the technology to be utilized in my classroom, and I have researched the latest and greatest in student technology products for my Social Studies classes. And as our students began getting their computers, I have been pumping up the enthusiasm for this incredible learning tool.

So, what is the lesson of this blog entry? Where is the punchline?
There isn't one!

The lessons from this great technology is ahead of us. What we will learn from this rollout is yet to be seen, but I am completely optimistic that great things will come from this great leap of faith taken by my district and our superintendent.

We have taken a great step forward in preparing our students for the world they will be facing in the next few years. With these macbooks, our students will learn to navigate the internet and will adapt to the ways of communication in our modern world. And more importantly, from this great experiment, our students will learn another valuable lesson. They will learn that we entrusted them with a wonderful gift, and we have placed the greatest tool for learning in our modern world in their hands. With our guidance and support, the rest will be up to them.

Another great step for man, and a giant leap for mankind! :)

See my newest unit with technology lessons for the high school classroom here!