Some call me "Flem"

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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!

Friday, December 12, 2014

What's paper mache?

Some of my 3rd graders wanted to present their 3D insects and other critters to the class, so I let them. One girl described her butterfly and said that she used paper mache.

The same kid who asked when they would have art, asked what paper mache was? His question reignited my disdain for those who chose not to fully fund our schools so that ALL of our schools could have BOTH a full time art teacher and music teacher!

I vented with the kids for a minute or so about how I wish that they had a real art class and not just Mr. Flemming trying to infuse art into our academic program. I told them of where the art suite used to be in the building and all of the space they would/could have to do a whole lot of art projects!

John B. Kelly does have an art teacher. Once a week. On Tuesdays. Well over 600, probably near 700 students in the building. I wonder if the schools in Lower Merion or Upper Dublin have a similar arrangement?

Why am I even typing this? Why is it that a quality art program is a luxury or something that we'd have to try and fit into the budget? This is ludicrous! smh

Monday, December 8, 2014

First thougts??

Mr. Backwards Hat with a gang sign?


Young man who holds a Bachelors and Masters in Education, three teaching certificates including Secondary English and Reading Specialist, studies and speaks French with a certain degree of proficiency (since 7th grade), traveled to Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Switzerland, France, England, and Canada, loves teaching and will often get into character in a judge's robe, assume a rapper's mode, or even use street code to get his point across to his students?

Which one did you assume at first glance?

P.S. There are great educational raps out there, add a little spice to playing them by dancing, waving your hands, or throwing on a cap---backwards. Let them know you're a human, with rhythm....or not lol

Thursday, December 4, 2014

We don't get books for homework...

As I sit and await the arrival of parents for report card conferences, I'm taking a look at the similarities and differences my students found between a one-room schoolhouse they read about and our school.

One difference a child listed, "They get books/We don't get books for homework."

Hashtag Activism

My little post-script to what I just wrote re: my not being able to breathe...

I tried to read some #CrimingWhileWhite tweets and saw that #ICantBreathe was also making the hashtag activism circuit as well and I'm all for it. I have nothing against this show of solidarity, unity, and sounding of the proverbial clarion call. I couldn't get as involved as I normally would have, because I was too "done" with everything. I'm all for the outcry, I have my share of outcrying (and, to be honest, real tear drop moments...)

But what next?
Now what?

We've marched, shed light, shared stories, exposed bias, passed certain laws, reviewed policies, now what?


No, I REALLY can't breathe!!

It was sickening to learn that a grand jury, yet again, decided not to indict a white police officer on charges in the death of an unarmed black man, one, Eric Garner. Despite what was seen in the video and the medical examiner's report, no indictment....again!

Last night, as I learned of the inaction taken by the grand jury, my thoughts raced all over the place as I decided not to entrench myself in what normally would have been a twitter tirade complete with hashtag activism and the retweeting the words that were in my head but couldn't come out the way I wanted!

I just couldn't and still can't seem to....breathe!

Even this post could go on and on and on and on and on and ON!!! But I really need to sit back and catch. my. breath!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

"MY mom said..."

"Mr. Flemming, my mom said, 'Oh Mr. Flemming teaching 3rd grade now? Wish (Bob) was still at Kelly. He'd (Bob) be in Mr. Flemming's class.'"

This was part of the conversation that I had earlier today as I ran into a couple of my former students as they referred to a conversation they had with their mother about their little brother and yours truly.

Apparently a certain one, Bob, is giving teachers at a new school a bit of a run for their money and I saw it in the 10 minutes we all stood and talked. It is very encouraging to me that upon finding out that I was a 3rd grade teacher now,  mom dukes wished that a certain one, Bob, had the opportunity to have a certain no nonsense son of a...teacher...for a teacher.

Thanks for the vote of confidence and I really do hope our paths cross again, over the very vocal objections of one, Bob.

Bob's nemesis if I ever have him as a student {que the evil laugh} lol

I jest, lol, although I enjoy the challenge of working with students who may be a little more challenging than others. My saying is, "they'll be alright." I believe it and I teach and interact with them bearing in mind that end goal. Oh, they WILL be OK!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lowered standards for PA Reading Specialists? I object!

So the state of Pennsylvania has lowered the standard to become a certified reading specialist. Whereas before, (up until now), one would have to enroll in a graduate level program of study and take and pass the appropriate Praxis, now all one needs to do is take the Praxis and ((((BAM))) you're not a certified Reading SPECIALIST!!!

Here are my initial comments to this notice:
Forgive any spelling/grammatical errors, I was fuming!

As a recently certified reading specialist, who went through a very rigorous program of study, with hours upon hours of reading, studying, collaborating, field work, portfolio compilation, etc., I am vehement in my objection regarding Pennsylvania's lowering of the standard to become a certified reading specialist in this state!! This move seems to coincide with the ebb and flow of organizations like Teach for America and others who believe that anyone with a pulse is good enough for the the classroom. As an English/Language Arts teacher for years prior to enrolling in a graduate program for reading education/reading specialist, I took a great deal of pride in the fact that I registered to gain even more knowledge and would learn additional skills, strategies, and best practices under the tutorship of well-versed professors and senior reading specialists. No test can replace hours of study, collaboration, reading, field-work, mentorship, and the like.