Are your students engaged? Do they really hang on every word you say and follow your directions to the last detail? Probably not so much. Student engagement is so much more than capturing their attention and holding it. Engagement is the level that they are involved.   Engagement occurs when students would rather complete the lesson than text a friend or check their email. Engagement occurs when students completely forget to count down the clock. The bell rings and they are so surprised.

Achieving engagement isn't easy. And, contrary to some evaluation models, it doesn't occur all the time. This isn't a bad thing.  I think we've been made to feel that if our students aren't engaged 100% of the class time we've failed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Solid teaching of basic facts cannot always be presented in a lesson with high-level engagement. There is a time for necessary business and a time to involve students in the process.

Many resources claim to engage your students. I use this phrase in some of my advertising. But I only use it with resources that truly involve the students in their learning process.  Resources that require a great deal of teacher facilitation are not always engaging. You may have a lesson on the most interesting topic ever written, but you can't keep attention past a certain time. It doesn't  matter how interesting you present the material or how interesting the topic is, minds begin to wander and engagement begins to die.


Here are some simple ways to bring some level of engagement into your lessons.

1. Students need to be taught good listening skills. What may look like simple recall may actually be an engaging lesson in listening. Asking students to repeat instructions or teach another student is a very basic way of engaging them.

2. Chunking up your lesson is a great way to achieve engagement.  Don't try to give all of the instructions at once.  You might even leave something out and let the students problem solve to figure out what to do next.

3. Ask a student to prepare a lesson covering material that has been taught in class.  Then give them an opportunity to teach the class.

4. Turn a lesson into a riddle or a puzzle and have the students solve it.

5. Escape rooms are the newest engagement trick. Students can't help but become involved!

6. Turn a lesson into a game. Most students love to play games. This is also a great way to practice collaboration skills.

7. Older methods, such as reading and then sharing content with a peer, can be revitalized to incorporate some student involvement in the lesson.

Think about what keeps your attention and makes you want to become involved. Chances are it will be the same for your students.


Speaking of engagement and escape rooms.... take a look at this!

Fun Variety of Engaging Lessons! 





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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 feel like I woke up in a new world where respect has disappeared. Whatever happened to courtesy or politeness?

 I like having a man hold open a door for me. Doesn't make me feel like a weak, little woman. Not one bit. Makes me feel appreciated and ...respected. And, if I smile and say thank you, it doesn't mean that I think he's cute and want a date. I'm simply being kind. Courteous. Polite. The way my parents taught me to be.

I'm not too proud to say thank you or please.  And, it doesn't hurt my pride to hear them either.  Oh, and I have a name. It isn't Hey You. Or Teacher. If you used my proper name you might get faster and more pleasant results.   If you phrased your question in the form of a request instead of a demand, I might be more willing to go the extra mile. If you let me know that all of my attention to detail and hard work was appreciated, I'd keep it up. It doesn't take much to make me happy and it doesn't take much to ensure my loyalty. It only takes a little... respect.

You may not agree with me or even like me. That's okay. You're entitled to your opinion. But. So. Am. I. That's right. I live in America too. I can have a differing opinion and that's okay. I'm not going to be kicked out of the country or sent packing in a lifeboat. You say that you are tolerant and I am not. Okay. Then give me the same courtesy and listen to what I have to say. Don't want to hear it? Who did you say is being intolerant? I don't think I heard you correctly.

You see we live in a wonderful, crazy world that has thrived on differences and diversity for well over 200 years and all of a sudden history is offensive, tolerance is the word of the century,  and respect has been thrown out with the bath water. Waving at people is a threat, smiling at people can be considered harassment, and we have personnel guides that have grown into volumes. All to make sure that no one is offended.

You know what would solve the whole problem? Respect. Give it. Show it. Expect it.
A simple fix to a world gone crazy with political correctness. A way to bridge the gap. Listen and be heard. A way to value the opinions of others, even when you disagree.

Respect.

Show this scary little resource some respect! Click on the link and check out the preview. Who doesn't like to be scared???


7 Spooky Stories!



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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









You want support? Buy a girdle.
Okay, so maybe I'm a little over the top, but haven't we all felt like the only support we have is in our undergarments???  I mean, do you feel like no one wants to accept responsibility or be held accountable?  Why is everyone running around trying to protect their own interests instead of taking care of business and doing their job?  Ugh!! So frustrating.

Take parents for example. They have a cuddly, cute little darling. They nourish and pamper their offspring for 5 years then trust them to the school system. The teacher contacts them about the behavior concerns of their little darling. "What?"they gasp, "My child would never do that!"  Oh. Yes. They. Would.  Or they are contacted about academic concerns. "My child makes A's on everything. Every year. It must be you." Well... I have a problem with parents that fail to be realistic. Parents who prefer to live in their own little fantasy world. No one is perfect. No one. We all need some assistance now and then. Does this make us a bad person? No. Does this make us stupid? No.

Why is there a growing trend toward widening the gap between schools and parents? It seems like they are pitted against each other in a struggle for what is best for the child. The level of trust has diminished. The level of respect is almost nonexistent. Parents often have an unrealistic view of their child's behavior and academic ability. Teachers are frustrated with the attitudes of parents. Administrators are caught between a rock and hard place.

Too often this results in teachers and students losing. Teachers lose respect for their administrators and parents of their students. Children lose the support they need to succeed. I don't mean that the teacher or parent gives up. I mean that the child realizes that nothing the teacher does will be supported by the parent, and they realize that the teacher has no support at the school.  It doesn't have to be stated. Kids know. All it takes is one phone call or conference or comment made at home for the child to figure out that mom or dad won't believe or support anything the teacher says. After that... the battle is lost.  The seed of entitlement is planted and the lesson on accountability becomes an antiquated notion buried in the past.

I will say that there are still some of those rare administrators that support their staff. They put their teachers and students first. They tackle the tough job of calling parents with less than stellar news. They stand up for what is right. They defend teachers who are doing what is best for children, even when parents don't agree.  If you are fortunate enough to work for one of these individuals, count yourself as truly blessed. Administrators that are strong and supportive are a dying breed.

Maybe one day those perfect children will grow up to be perfect parents raising more perfect children. One can only hope.


Prepare to be scared. Very scared!
Boo1 Scary Story Collection and Escape Room! 








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
I'm mean. I stay up way past your bedtime, and mine, just thinking of lessons that I know will bore you. Or lessons so hard that you get frustrated. It is always a plus if I can come up with a lesson that is, not only difficult and boring, but also educationally a waste of time. Why bother teaching anything? I'll just come up with bits of fluff that are nothing more than busy work.  I even call other teachers and get them involved in the conspiracy.  We like to spend our week-ends writing lesson plans. 

You know what I also do?  I find ways to blame you for things you didn't do. You're always telling me that you didn't do anything. I know that. I just find things that I can blame on you. That assignment that you didn't turn in. You know the one that everyone else did but you? You said I never discussed it in class. You said that you didn't hear me. Well, I intentionally whispered so you wouldn't hear me. I was hoping that you would miss it.  You know the pencil I saw you take off of another student's desk. The one you said really belonged to you? Well, my eyesight must be failing. Probably all those late nights. 

I think my hearing must be failing as well. I don't hear as well as I used to. That is why I'm always asking you if you know what we were talking about. It certainly wasn't because you were talking to your neighbor. No, nothing like that at all. Go ahead. Socialize. That is what school is all about. Right? Just a place to spend your days while you wait to grow up and hold down a real job. And, of course, if I say something you don't like you can ignore me. Naturally, you don't want to be upset by anything that I might be talking about. History too rough for you? Go ahead and play your tunes.  

My job isn't a real job? That's right. I only work a few hours a day, five days a week, with lots of paid time off. Hey, I don't even have to work in the summer. What gets better than that? Gives me plenty of time to look through my roster and decide which kids I'm going to pick on this school year.  Once that is settled, I start deciding how I'll pick on them. Will I ask them to sit by themselves just because I want to keep them guessing about what they did wrong? Could be. Having a student sit by themselves works wonders. They can't figure out why I moved them. I love to see the perplexed looks on their faces.  

Not allowing you to do extra credit was simply a genius decision on my part. I thought, "Why should I let these kids do extra credit when they don't do the assignments I gave?" Why, indeed. So, no extra credit. And, it goes without saying, no late work. After all I don't want to go soft on you.  If I allowed late work and extra credit, you might get the mistaken notion that I'm nice.  I wouldn't want that to happen. 

Oh, and don't follow my directions. They are just for your safety and to make the learning process easier for you. But, I don't want to interrupt what you are doing. Just tune me out and do what you want to do. That's okay. 

I'm sure that one day you'll have a boss that is as mean as me. He will probably expect you to show up to work on time. Unreasonable. He probably won't let you talk and text all day either. Isolating you from your friends. Unsociable. He might even expect you to work. Unthinkable. 

Your future boss might make me look a little kinder. Doubt it, though. You'll probably think that we are all in this together to ruin the lives of young people. That's it. It is a conspiracy. Teachers and future employers working together in our own secret club. The older generation just doesn't get you. We are living in the Stone Age. We don't get technology. We don't understand your lingo. We don't understand what is important to you.  We're out to get you. I'm sure that we don't desire a better education for you. It is safe for me to say that not one mean teacher wants you to succeed.  We don't want you to be successful in the real world. Nope. Not at all. We'd like to see you fail so you can blame your mean teacher. 

That's about all I can say right now. I've got some lesson-planning to do.  :) 

Don't let Halloween sneak up on you! Catch these task card sets before the spooky night gets here! 
Pumpkins and More Task CardsNon-fiction

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Black-Bats-and-Black-Cats-Halloween-Folklore-Non-Fiction-Task-Cards-2101792
Black Cats & Black Bats
Halloween Folklore







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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

There are things in the real world that are allowed, and in some cases even acceptable. But, let a teacher pull one of these stunts and suddenly everyone decides that the practice is deplorable.  Take for instance returning phone calls. Recently, I called to make a doctor's appointment. For a week. I left messages. I tried numerous times to get past the cute little message, but no one returned my call. For a week.  The receptionist thought it was funny that we had been playing "phone tag" when I finally reached a human.  They had been sooooooo busy.  I had trouble finding humor in the situation. I wonder if the receptionist would think it was funny if she called her child's teacher to see how they were progressing in school. And, the teacher took a week to respond. Not so funny any more, huh?

Or what about being late.  Seems like being late is socially acceptable.  Everyone from the lawyer to the dentist to the doctor can be running 10 -15 minutes late and, hey, it can't be helped. They had an emergency or an earlier patient was late to their appointment. Okay I get that. My conferences never seemed to run on time either. You know the parent that was supposed to be there at 8 am didn't show up until 8:15. It happens. Life. Traffic accident. Train. Flat tire. I really get it. Not trying to be sarcastic here. Just ask my husband. I don't wear a watch. I'm frequently late.  What I don't get is being over an hour late.   You sit in the waiting room. Your appointment was for 2 pm. It is now past 3 pm and you still haven't been called in. Must be a really long train. What would happen if a teacher were to be an hour or more late to school? What would happen to her classroom? I'll tell you. Chaos.


Here's one. Dress Code.  New 'protests' are made everyday about dress code.   I'm an adult, I know how to pick my own clothes. I don't need a dress code telling me how to dress. Really? Guess you are aware then that when you bent over everyone in the office knew the color of your underwear???  Stretch pants?  Didn't know you took the meaning of stretch so literally. If a teacher showed up at a school assembly dressed in inappropriate attire, she would probably be tarred and feathered. This is where I'd like to say that it wouldn't happen, but...... well.. let's just say that we need a dress code until everyone develops some common sense, as well as, fashion sense.


Texting. Just about anywhere you go someone has their phone out scrolling or texting or both. Kids are even using phones in school. For educational purposes (notice the sarcasm here?).  I've been in check-out lines and the cashier was too busy texting to check me out. Or the clerk in a store standing in the corner talking on her cell phone. That's okay. Don't let me interrupt you. Oh, and by the way, the next time you come visit the classroom, I'll be sitting at my desk texting.  I might be too busy to talk to you. And, I might not know where your child is. I haven't had time to teach today. If you want to talk to me, you can send me a text message.

The truth is teacher standards have always been high. Teachers have always had rules to follow (it's called a handbook). Most teachers are, by nature, rule followers. But, the highest standard we follow is the one that we set for ourselves.  So... go ahead and have your double standard. I'll just continue following mine.

Just published this week! Three scary stories, printables, task cards, scavenger hunt, AND an escape room!  Too much spooky fun! What are you waiting for??? Download today!
3 Spooky stories and an escape room! 
 



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











We have all been through CCSS and state standards and learning goals and GLEs. We've been through numerous training sessions and, even more, new implementation plans. We've sat and listening to 'experts' telling us how to implement the set of learning standards we are currently using so that our students will have the best learning experience possible. Let's face it. We've been there. Done that.

One of the ones I find most amusing (in a sarcastic sort of way) is the implementation procedure using the word rigor. My colleagues and I used to have a good laugh at that one. Oh, the concept was okay. It called for lessons to be thorough and relevant to student's needs today. It checked for cohesiveness and scaffolding. Not bad. In fact, our lesson should be cohesive and build on each other and be thorough. There's nothing wrong with making lessons relevant so that students can relate to them. Make a connection. So, what drove us to fits of laughter (much to our administrators confusion and dismay)? Rigor. Where do these people get these words? Apparently, not from a dictionary. If they had bothered to look it up, they wouldn't have chosen the word rigor. But, they didn't and now the education world adopted this word in relationship to our lessons without batting an eye.

Let me ask a few clarifying questions- just to make sure I understand the word rigor correctly. **
Why are 12 year old students being asked to follow rules for collegiate discussions?  Why are 10 year olds required to produce a life-like portrait? Why is number sense no longer deemed necessary after 1st grade? All in the name of rigor. We've geared education, not towards the child, not at the recommendation of experienced educators, but at the words of so-called experts who are telling us that rigor is part of the best-practices package.

Okay, learning should be thorough. Learning should be relevant, Learning should even be challenging. But rigorous. Not unless you want it to be dead, dead, dead.  Look it up. Rigor is a state of stiffness, chills and fever, the onset of death. And, yes, I do realize that an alternative definition for rigor can also mean thoroughness and diligence. But have you looked at the list of synonyms associated with this definition? Harsh, unyielding, or rigid.  Is this really what we are trying to convey? Sure, I get it. Rigor used with relevance has a catchy ring to it. Alliteration. But, do we really want our students to compare learning with something cold, stiff, and harsh?

Just ask any experienced, seasoned, veteran educator. They know what best-practices are. They know what is best for their kids. They know how to scaffold and challenge their students. And, it will save you thousands of dollars in expert fees.  And, maybe someday, in a perfect world, someone will wake up and say, "Hey, let's ask teachers what is best for their students. Let them write their learning goals and objectives." But until then... let's just keep a sense of humor and keep doing what we know is truly best.


** Using standards from my home state.

   Thorough Resources at Teacher Friendly Prices... That will actively engage and challenge your students... not kill the lesson :)

Pumpkin/Halloween Task Cards


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

I'm a dinosaur. A relic. Born in the wrong era (just keep me in a century where there is air-conditioning and running water).  And, I've been told that my educational thoughts are often just as outdated as some of the clothing in my closet.  As I look around and see various declines in manners, behaviors, and knowledge base I can't help but compare school today to the good ole days.

Back in my day a student who talked back to the teacher didn't have the privilege to get off because they were having a bad day or the teacher just got on their nerves. Nope! You showed disrespect to an elder, you were punished. Period. No hand-holding, candy to soothe your hurt feelings, or chance to bash the teacher. You had a consequence. And, your parents were contacted. And... your parents didn't blame the school. Blame was laid squarely at your feet.  You were given the opportunity to show responsibility for your actions and to accept the consequence.  You grew and you learned and you turned out to be a pretty good adult.

Okay, so that wasn't always the case. I know. I went to school with some repeat offenders. With some kids that made some bad choices as adults. But for the most part, my former school mates turned out to be responsible adults.  People that I can say I am proud to know. People that contribute to society.

I can't say the same about some of my former students. I think the system cheated some of them out of becoming think-for-yourself-stand-on-your-own-two-feet kind of people. I think the education system bowed down to demanding parents who wanted their perfect child to have a perfect childhood. A childhood free of responsibilities, discipline, and expectations. We may not want to utter the words, but we think them.  We can all tell 'battle stories' of a kid and their parents that has bullied a school and /or teacher.  And, we all know an administrator that has backed down, rather than take a stand.

Politics starting pushing for higher results and searching for answers, and, in some cases, they made teachers and students the guinea pigs. Education has used just about every acronym you can think of and still they keep coming.  Everything that happens has a label slapped on it.  And still we keep looking for higher test scores and higher reading levels of graduating seniors. And we keep hiring specialist and people to conduct surveys and presenters telling teachers how to teach.  But we never step back into the Stone Age because kids are different today than they were back then.

I beg to disagree. Yes, there is technology. Yes, we have more single parent homes. Yes, more moms work outside the home. But, kids are still kids. Even though they may not realize it,  they don't want to have a tablet turned on and shoved in their hand. They want people to listen to them and watch them. They want to run and play and scream. They want someone to read them a story and tuck them in. A fairytale? Maybe so, but it shouldn't be. Kids shouldn't be given substitutes for the adults in their lives. And, their parents shouldn't feel guilty about the quantity of time they spend with them, but focus on the quality. Adults shouldn't translate that guilt into giving them everything they think they want. All they really want is a little quality time and some structure and guidelines (called rules back in the day) and someone they know they can trust when the siren sounds or they have a fight with their best friend. That's it.

You know the good ole days weren't too bad. The lack of technology didn't hurt me any. My mom gave me a cardboard box, some glue, scissors, and material scraps. I created a fantastic doll house. Now, I have an imagination. We didn't watch a lot of TV. With only three stations there wasn't that much to watch (still isn't).  I had books to read and my parents read to me. Now, I have a good job. My parents supported the teacher and reinforced the discipline I earned at school. Now,  I open doors for the elderly, and my husband isn't embarrassed to take me to a restaurant because I have manners. I don't think of my parents as the bad guys either. I love spending time with them.  They taught me how to follow rules. Now, I can play games with friends and not throw a temper tantrum when I lose.  My teachers were people that I respected. Not because they gave me a chocolate for standing quietly in line. Back in the day we weren't rewarded for doing what was expected of us.  I wanted to meet those expectations.  I was disappointed in myself when I disobeyed them. I wanted to do better. I wasn't angry at the teacher when she called my parents and I was spanked. I was angry at myself for being so disrespectful.  I promised myself that I would do better next time (It took a few times).  I didn't blame my teacher and neither did my parents. They took time to be parents because my teacher was taking time to be my teacher. All of them invested in my future.  I appreciate that.

My friends and myself may be dinosaurs, but since we didn't turn out so bad maybe we could learn some 'new' tricks from the old days.


My featured items on TpT- 6th grade today!


Everything you need to make a nonfiction literacy center!

AND
The Complete Book of Figurative Language




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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