When was the last time your principal gave you a package of gummies for coming to school on time? Did every teacher in your building win a teacher of the year award?

"That's silly," you say. "Why would I be rewarded for doing what is expected of me? Why would every teacher win? If we all won, the award wouldn't mean anything. Winning wouldn't matter."

Yet that is exactly what we do to students when we hand out trophies to all of the teams at the end of the season or give them a Friday treasure for "being good" all week.

Be a good sport. Remember that phrase? When did we stop teaching students how to graciously lose? Learning to share and play well with others is part of life. We learned this in kindergarten. In the real world we're expected to be flexible team members. To work well with others. To listen. To show respect, even when we don't agree.  Coming to work on time and prepared is also part of the expectation of a dependable employee. Can you imagine going to school late and unprepared? Me either. Yet we condition our students to expect rewards and praise for being .... students.

Do you know why baby boomers have an admired work ethic? Because they were taught responsibility and how to be a good sport. We didn't expect a reward for doing the right thing. We did the right thing because it was... the right thing to do.

Too much of a good thing is often bad. As with all things. Moderation. Going overboard simply creates an out-of-shape system.  Time to push away from the table if we see things getting out of hand.

Yes, I'm antiquated. I was educated with the dinosaurs and we all know what they are. Extinct. But there is something to be said for the education I received and for the work ethic that is instilled in me. I think we really need to take a step back and scrutinize our "everyone-wins-feel-good" programs and evaluate if they really are building the type of character that they claim to be building. Are they preparing our students to become leaders with integrity? Or are they installing entitlement practices in future adults ?

Abe Lincoln and the Civil War




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Everyone likes to hear their name. Well... almost. I didn't like to hear it when mom used my first, middle, and last name with 'that tone' in her voice. I knew that I was in trouble.  Other than that, hearing my name gives me an identity and purpose. It lets me know that I am important to someone.  Kids like to hear their names too. It lets them know that you care enough about them to learn their name.   My back-to-school rule was to learn my student's names within the first 3 days. Not easy when you teach departmentalized middle school classes, but doable. Especially if you put forth the effort. Mondays were hard for a couple of weeks, and then things would fall into place. My students' names identified not only who they were, but also their special characteristics too.

Yes, names were used to identify the one who put a snake in someone's locker. Or the one who just couldn't stop talking. Or the one who liked being the center of attention.  But using their name was powerful. It let them know that I saw them. A person. An individual. Someone who mattered. Even if they had not made the best choice in the world.

On the flip side. I am not teacher. Or hey you. Or Ms.  A teacher is what I am. Not who I am.  I am Kim. Aunt Kim. Kimberly. Or Mrs. Frencken. It all depends on where I am and what I am doing.  If a student insists on calling me teacher, I call them kid.

"Hey, teacher", said the kid at the back desk.
"Yes, kid at the back desk. How can I help you?"
"My name isn't kid!"
"And, mine isn't teacher. "

You see, it is important to our students that we learn and use their names. They want to be seen.

Think of it like this. A child that has little interaction with adults outside of school craves for attention. A name gives them worth. Respond by learning their names and identifying them as a valuable person.  After all, you could be making all the difference in the world.


Show these February resources some love!!!

Daily Review Printables for 3rd
Daily Skill Review Printables for 2nd
   
Vocabulary Activities that aren't just for February!
The Story of Ruby Bridges
 




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This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on June 5, 2015. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly at kimberlyfrencken@gmail.com

Teachers are collectors, packrats, hoarders. Whatever you want to call it. We all have boxes of bulletin board supplies, sharpies, crayons, stickers, books cluttering up our closets. Pull open a drawer and about 20 different colors of highlighters will fall out.  File folders are full of fantastic lessons.  We even max out computer memories.

Sale! Did someone mention the word Sale? All anyone needs to do to make a quick buck is post the word Sale on a teacher site and they will come running. After all... I might need that for a lesson. Dollar stores are the best thing since sliced bread... to a teacher. We can browse for hours. Up and down the aisles. Dreaming up uses for all of those sentence strips, cute cut-outs, and colorful letters. As if our rooms are colorful enough!

And somehow all of this 'stuff' finds its way into our homes. This is when we stick the overflow, that we might need next year, onto shelves in the garage or attic. And there it sits, year after year, not doing anybody any good. But... we can't get rid of it. We might need it one day.

All of this is well and good. To a point. Then the day of reckoning comes. The stuff has to go. Time to find a new home or a dumpster. The agony is almost unbearable. Why do we find it so hard to let go of that favorite bulletin board design or set of books that our students really loved? I can't answer that. As I write this I have garage shelves full of items that have not seen the light of day since I retired from teaching full time.  I keep telling myself that these are still good teaching materials. They have merit. They might be useful to someone.

 I've gone through four garage sales and many of my items have found new life, but I have yet to find that 'someone' that I can entrust with my most treasured teaching resources.  Makes no sense. Time to clean it out. And, yet somehow I keep pushing that job to the end of my agenda.

All all teachers hoarders? Maybe not. Maybe its just me. Maybe this January would be a good time to do some 'spring cleaning'. And, then again, maybe not.



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This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on June 5, 2015. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly at kimberlyfrencken@gmail.com



Call backs have swept the education world and now are being used in classrooms across the U.S., if not the world.  Walk down any hall and you will hear echoes of "Yes, Yes."  Eager little high pitched voices eagerly call back to their teacher's voice and wait in breathless anticipation for the next instruction.  If the instructions come quickly enough they actually hear them. If not. Well, the call back is used again. And, once again, the students answer their teacher and give her about 5 seconds of their time. 

Let me just say that call backs may have their merits, but, in my opinion, they do not encourage listening. In fact, they do they opposite. Students who are trained to only listen when they hear the call back initiative will only listen when they 'have' to. Students should be expected to listen anytime they hear their teacher's voice. Anytime there is instruction. Anytime that learning is taking place. 

Yes, students need to learn cooperative learning. And they need to explore and they need to solve problems. But, they can't accomplish these tasks or even begin if they do not have instruction and leadership. They need to know what the objective is. In the beginning, they need a model.  In these instances call backs may be defeating the very purpose for which they were intended. 

Call backs are considered to be an educational break-through. A revolutionary idea. The latest genius invention to bring our kids into the 21st century.  We have taken time tested teaching methods and given them a new name (usually an acronym) and held numerous conferences and professional development sessions and tell the world that we're doing something new.  Are these really improvements? Or just something new to make us feel like we're moving forward? 

I wonder what the committee-that-creates-educational-trends will come up with to move us in to the 22nd century?? 

I'll be moving into 2018. See you next year!  Have a very Merry Christmas! 





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This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on June 5, 2015. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly at kimberlyfrencken@gmail.com



I don't  know what to think about charter schools. I mean, everyone should have a choice, right? But, then don't they take away our choice. And, what about charter schools affecting my retirement? Doesn't seem fair that those newly elected into office want to rob me of something that I spent over 21 years earning. And, let me tell you teachers earn every last penny (and then some)!!!  My blood pressure is starting to rise just thinking about it.  If I am willing to agree that we need choice, fair choice, then why can't politicians. Come to think of it, why are they even interfering with education. They certainly can't agree on anything in Washington, what makes them think they can make educational decisions?  

So, getting back to charter schools.  The ideology behind charter schools sounds good. A school free from some regulations that public schools face.  A school where there is transparency and accountability from the top down. A school where everyone has a voice and the overall goal is to provide excellent education.  Then it starts to get tricky. All charter schools are not the same, nor all they all managed by the same group. Some are run by organizations. Some of the organizations may be a state or two away from the school (meaning communication is basically on-line or phone, no hands-on). Many are a 'for-profit' business.  Each state has a committee to authorize a charter school. Any group can submit a proposal to the committee. The committee is organized based on state laws.  Some charter schools receive public funding based on attendance. Not all teachers in a charter school are required to have certification to teach. This is a decision which varies from state to state.  

So charter schools in a nutshell have many similarities to public schools. But there are some glaring differences. A public school operates under regulations mandated by the state. These mandates are similar throughout the U.S. All teachers in a public school have to be certified to teach. This is a license requiring a college education with training specifically geared towards working with kids.  A public school is immediately governed by a school board which is made up of locally elected patrons wishing to volunteer their time to represent the needs and wants of the taxpayers in the district.  They are local and provide hands-on guidance.  A public school is not run like a business, by a business, or for a business. A public school provides an education for all children free from the influence of a business or organization.  

One of my pet peeves (and I think most teachers agree) is a non-educator telling an educator what is best. I am speaking for myself and making a generalized statement when I say that most teachers do not want, nor do they need someone from "outside" the world of education telling them how to 'run' their classroom.  Each classroom is unique. Its' own little world.  It functions based on the individualized needs of each child.  A teacher doesn't need a test or a bystander or a suit telling them which children need help with math or who reads below grade level. They don't need someone telling them that a child has a vision or hearing problem,  or is hungry.  They just know. Usually within the first couple of days, or even the first couple of hours.   

That should make clear what is my largest concern with charter schools.  An alternative to public school run by an organization or business.  Supporters may say that they know what is best for their kids. I would dare to argue with them. Supporters may say that charter schools are held accountable and are transparent. I say attend school board meetings and ask questions. Volunteer. Visit the school. Bring treats for your child's classroom.  If supporters of charter schools are only supporting them because of the control that they can personally have over them, they need to realistically ask themselves if they are trained in education and have the skills to teach. If they are only concerned with accountability, they should invest some time in their local public school. 

To me, a charter school is simply another way for businesses and government to control the education of our children. What seems like a privilege today could actually turn out to be tomorrow's manipulation.  




Hop on this Train before it leaves the station!
Nonfiction Companion to Van Allsburg's Classic! 





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This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on June 5, 2015. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly at kimberlyfrencken@gmail.com

No one is taking credit for this one, are they?  In fact, the minute I say 'the entitled one' people duck their heads or turn away. No one wants to admit responsibility for creating this little whiner that insists on everything being his or her way. In all honesty no one wants to be around this little jewel either.

Awwww... the life of the misunderstood entitled child. The world is against them. No one understands them. Their boss or teacher isn't fair to them. They deserve so much more. Doesn't anyone understand who they are? Doesn't anyone get their potential?  Why can't someone just slow down long enough to realize what a diamond in the rough they are?  I mean really. It's pretty obvious. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out. I'm sure they don't see things the same way that the rest of us normal folk do. In fact, I'll bet their story goes something like this:

Over the years, my teachers perfected that roll of the eyes and blank smile when mom was explaining how I deserved to be class president. After all I will be a perfect candidate for POTUS one day.  Weren't the treats I brought to class the best? Didn't everyone love to listen to my stories of summer vacations and week-end excursions?  Of course they did.

Am I ever wrong? You've got to be kidding. Wwwwrrrrong is not in my vocabulary. It isn't possible for me to be wrong.  Ever. Didn't you hear my parents when they told you how unfair you were being by expecting me to complete assignments the same as everyone else? Don't you get that I take things to a deeper level? Hello??? I need extra time and parental assistance to pull off the project of the century.  You didn't like my outburst? Don't you know that creative people are very high-strung? That's me. I'm high-strung.  I'm wound so tight that I can't possibly begin to do any menial tasks in the classroom.  Prepares me for life you say. Well, I'll work for someone that is a little more intelligent and appreciative. I won't have to point out my unique characteristics. They will realize them right away and instantly promote me. I won't have to wait around long for that day.

People will fall over themselves when they see me in a store. They won't be able to wait to help me. Standing in line is for all of those ordinary people. The ones who aren't as special as me. Even when I shake my head in disgust or honk my horn at them, they just don't get it. How can anyone be that stupid? Oh, well, I'm glad that I'm not in that category.

I'm glad that my parents paved the way for me to be successful.  They straightened out those teachers and picked out the best friends for me.  They gave me opportunity after opportunity to prove how awesome I am. They wanted the best for me. They did things for me so that I wouldn't have to waste my time on trivial matters. Why waste someone so special on that!?

Yep ! Spoken like a true entitled one.
Thanks. From the bottom of my heart. You've created an insufferable, egotistical, spoiled, whining, brat that somehow thinks the rest of the world owes him or her something.


P.S.
Sounds harsh? Probably so, but by allowing this mindset to grab ahold we are unfairly preparing kids for a successful future, not to mention, a happy one.


A surprise Christmas resource is in the works (yes, it is late!) and will be on sale for the first few days. I will send out a FB post on my FB page, Chocolate 4 Teachers.  If you're curious, like my page and keep your eyes open ! :)


                                         ???
                  Click here to like my FB page!



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This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on June 5, 2015. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly at kimberlyfrencken@gmail.com




Veteran. Seasoned. Experienced. All synonyms for teachers who have been around a block or two. Seasoned makes me feel like a fry so I'll just stick with veteran.  We all seem to have some things in common. Or at least we can identify with similar things. Things from the good ole days.

We're thankful for parents that gave us the benefit of the doubt. We had them. They believed the teacher. Yep! That mean old teacher who picked on me was innocent in my parent's eyes. She was the hero. I was the convicted.

We're thankful that we have (or have had) administrators that support us. I've got your back has taken on a whole new meaning today. Back in the day if a principal said they would support you, they meant it. They didn't mean, "I"ll support you if......"  In many schools support has become conditional. I am thankful I teach in a place where the administration still has my back. That's called integrity, by the way.

Ask a veteran teacher how they feel about parents who volunteer. Over the years, I've been blessed with parents who have volunteered to help with difficult projects, help prepare materials for the classroom, or help decorate. Some have offered to read to students who needed some extra assistance, or became a buddy to a lonely child. Awesome. I realize that laws have changed because of those who harm children, making it more difficult to accept outside help, but it is still doable in so many ways.  If coming into the classroom isn't an option, there are always things that need to be done outside of school: preparing crafts, making bulletin board items, or picking up class treats.

So what else are we thankful for???  Week-ends, holidays, and summers off to recharge our batteries. Peers, Parents, and Principals that listen. A laminator that works. Lessons that knock it out of the ballpark. The lightbulbs that go off. And, the joy that comes with each new day.

Try this game for a knock-it-out-of-the-park lesson!
The Great Reindeer Run! 




Privacy Policy

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on June 5, 2015. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly at kimberlyfrencken@gmail.com

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