Sunday, April 11, 2010

What a week!

The end of one long adventure - is coming to a close. One of our school buildings is 60 years old and it has been replaced by a new state of the art technology building for 3rd-5th graders. The classes begin moving into the building on Monday. Next week will be an adventure - moving, teaching, checking that classroom computers are moved and set-up - of course, our county tech department has done a fantastic job having things ready for us - the building is wireless although the computer lab is wired. We have a separate room for videoconferencing - so good for our students.

The teachers are so excited to have a new teacher "classroom solution" (our county term) for a new desktop computer, slate, voice modulator, speakers in the ceiling, 6 foot Promethean board, class set of ActivVotes, and a new, larger room, with sinks, and of course new classroom furniture.

The original building was built in the early 1900's and has been changed over the years. The current "old" wing of the building was built in 1950 and will be demolished this summer. The K-2 building was opened in 1977 or 78 and has very large classrooms with sinks and restrooms in each class. These really nice rooms still look modern. They should have the "classroom solution" in the near future.

We can stop talking about not having resources and looking for money to improve equipment, but move on to using these resources to engage our students in learning. Teaching has always been a task where you must know your subject well, but to succeed, need skills to engage students in learning tasks and activities - like being a cheerleader on the sidelines, you must direct the activities and encourage students to do their best. Many people qualify for the knowledge factor, but the human factor of making that personal connection to a student and being their personal cheerleader for success - that is the key.

Now for a little nostalgia - my boys went to this school many years ago and at that time, the PTA was raising funds for air-conditioners in each classroom in this building. Education has changed so much over the past 60 years and so many things have improved for students. But, it still comes back to the basics of the teacher in the classroom - is he or she qualified (yes if licensed by the state) and the crucial part, does the teacher connect to the students. Teachers have very little influence over differing home situations, living conditions, parents support of schools and learning, but teachers can make that connection to make a child's life at school optimal - connect in an adult way, share your knowledge, be a cheerleader for every student at their current learning level - showing students respect & students respecting teachers - all of these are so important for learning - moving forward - learning to think.

Off the soap-box of my opinions and on to learning in new ways! Follow the yellow-brick road? :-)