Saturday, May 4, 2013
Thursday, May 2, 2013
"Mr. Flemming, I ate the school breakfast and now my stomach hurts. Can I go see the nurse?"
"Sweetheart, it's Thursday. So your stomach is going to have to hurt tomorrow if you wanna see the nurse. I told y'all, you can't get sick on Tuesdays and Thursdays."
Saturday, April 27, 2013
I was recently asked this question by a clergyman. "Do you like what you do at work?" I responded emphatically, "I love it! It has its tests and trials, especially this year, but yes, I love it!"
Like anything in life, it won't be peaches and cream 24/7, but I love teaching. I love working with children and youth and have been doing so since I was a younger lad myself.
Do you love what YOU do at work?
By the way, I teach in a real PUBLIC school in Philly!
Monday, April 15, 2013
A child reads fluently. This means they can read right? NOT!!! Ask that child some questions!
Fluency + comprehension = reading (some would throw in intonation/prosidy)
Don't be deceived by fluency! Some children word-call as well as any adult, but without comprehension, word-calling is just that!
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I am currently reading a book titled, "6 + 1 Traits of Writing: The Complete Guide Grades 3 and Up" by Ruth Culham. This is not for grad school, nor was it given out by my principal as a gift.
I want to become a better writing teacher, so I have taken it upon myself to engage in activities that aid me in reaching that goal.
Here are a few sentences from page 72 that really hit home, especially in this testing era:
"We are all under so much pressure to get those scores up, we often forget that it isn't scores that really matter, but the writing. And even if we don't forget, we tend to make compromises that cater to the tests. It takes courage to decide to stick to your principles, but your students will be so much the better for it."
A colleague encouraged us to tweet our crazy high stakes testing stories using the hashtag #PSSACraziness.
I blogged earlier about some of us having to cover students' spring collages. Surely a butterfly collage in the hallway would give some clue about what the answer is to a passage question on chemistry. I digress...
When a student asks, "Mr. Flemming, if I erase an answer, are they going to think I cheated?" then we know this whole testing thing has gotten out of hand!
I was in the 6th grade the first time I read Lois Lowry's "The Giver." My mother and I read it together. We were both thoroughly confused.
The next time I read it, I was a graduate student at Temple University in their M.S.Ed in Reading Education program and was only a little more sure of the book's themes and concepts.
The third time I read it, I was preparing to discuss the book with a small group of students a couple of years ago. I had a much better understanding, but was unsure of just how I would go about "teaching" the book. So I didn't.
This time, I have a better understanding of themes, concepts, inferences, ideologies, etc. This time I have a better sense of how I'll go about teaching it, experimenting on a small, select group of students.
Here's my pedagogical approach, talking!
I'll simply gather this small group of students during some lunch periods or during "guided reading" and we'll just talk.
So far, so good!
(I don't do guided reading in 6th grade)