Some call me "Flem"
- Stephen R. Flemming
- I'm a passionate, purpose-driven, public school teacher! Period! I hold both a Bachelors and Masters in Education and am a certified Elementary K-6 and English 7-12 teacher as well as a certified Reading Specialist! I love teaching! I love learning! I love what I do and will defend it at all costs!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
We read an interesting Chinese folk tale on a kid's lucky walk home from school. After the traditional questioning, conversing, etc. I decided to hold an impromptu debate on the idea of "luck". I thought this would be interesting since I came from middle grades ELA classes, where "deep"debates and discussions (of the NON-Common Core variety, since I could care less what governors want) were the order of many days!
First I asked them whether "luck" was real. They were to discuss their positions with whomever they wished in the classroom. I allowed the discussions to go for about 5 minutes as I sat on my perch (or book case), listening to each conversation, reading lips, honing in, zoning out others, and the such.
Once the conversations ended I asked the class to first put their thumbs up if they believed luck was real. Many of them held that position. I then asked for a show of thumbs from those who didn't believe luck was real. Two bold students!
The reasons for believing in luck were based on their individual experiences. I don't know why I didn't see it coming, but I guess that should be expected from 3rd graders. None of their reasons was general enough to explain this abstract (and debatable) concept of "luck". That's perfectly fine and I wasn't disappointed. It's 3rd grade! (Can you hear me you Common Core folks, IT'S 3RD GRADE! SHEESH!) I did value each of their responses and indicated so as they shared!
The two who were bold enough to go against the grain, *did* offer more "concrete" support for their argument. "Somebody was probably running and dropped the dollar" "Mr. Flemming, the dog was already sleep. That wasn't luck."
The discussion continued with more follow up questions and to gauge how they would respond if someone attempted to counter their arguments! It was very interesting and different being on the primary grades side of such debates and discussions!
Robert Meehan, whose educational, teacher, and student quotes of inspiration, often calm me down when I need calming after a twitter war of words, tweets out a quote about student questions! The quote in essence speaks of the measure of teaching and learning not being found in the questions that a teacher can spew out, the answers to which a student may regurgitate, but in the types of questions the KIDS ask!
When that 3rd grader asked me whether or not there was "anything" on the other side of the ones, my inner teacher leaped with excitement at the brain action that was going on!
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Well, I was wrong. Or was I? This past week money was forwarded to Philly schools to the tune of $15 million. They say it was from the savings to health care thanks to the teachers (or nah?).
Not one dime has been taken from us. Soooo, where did the money come from and so quickly?
I've tweeted the district and Dr. Hite a number of times. I'll resort to email when I get home from the barbershop!
Hmmm, something rotten on the state of Denmark!
I smell big money that stipulated that the union contract needed cancellation and teachers need to come out of pocket...again, for something!
WHEN we win in court, here's how I see it playing out:
1. Money taken back out of school budgets
2. Teachers and PAT overall will be blamed in commercials and commentaries
3. Fodder for reformy folks
But we CANNOT be deterred!! We already sacrifice. We know it. Parents know it. The community knows it. Five and Dime, Target, Dollar Tree, they ALL know it! Even reformies know it, but don't want to tell the truth and the whole truth!
The courts need to rule in our favor, AGAIN!!
Friday, October 17, 2014
Today I had my students clean out their desks. As thy cleaned, I played some Disney tunes among other types of music. As High School Musical 2's "Summertime" was playing, they were just a hip hopping, as only 3rd graders can do. I just sat and watched them enjoy a Friday afternoon after a week of hard work Mr. Flemming-style. After this I played, Aladdin's, "A Whole New World". From hip-hopping, it was intriguing to see the girls grabbing hands and attempt waltzing. They were moving and swinging and from where I sat, it looked OK to me!
THIS is why we need music in schools along with other expressive arts forms!! The arts make for quality learning and positive overall educational experiences!!! Music and art in schools everyday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As a classroom teacher, I do my level best to infuse these and other artistic forms into the reading, math, and content area teaching and learning experiences!!
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
They say that by canceling the contract between the School Reform Commission and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers that more money and resources will go back to the kids, back into the classroom.
Here are just two quick reasons I don't trust them! One, when more than 30 schools closed and more than 5000 employees were laid off, we thought we'd be getting more resources poured back into our classrooms then! We haven't seen it!! Even worse, those charged with cleaning out closed buildings reported to some of their teacher-colleagues that tons of books, paper, supplies, etc were being tossed! They called teachers up. Teachers reportedly went up and through dumpsters to salvage what we could! So, no I don't trust them!
Here's another reason why I don't think we'll see the resources:
Uhh, this isn't what we *get* from them, that's for sure!!