Month: May 2015

3rd grade reading results are in

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While there is a slight improvement from last year’s test scores, over 7,000 3rd grade students face will retention after 3rd grade reading test results.

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3rd grade reading test results
3rd grade reading test results

Have Fun Teaching

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This past semester I was placed at a preschool classroom in Oklahoma City. While I was there, the teacher I was paired with used a lot of these YouTube videos published by Have Fun Teaching and the kids LOVE it. (I attached the ABC song that the kids sang every morning, but the channel has other videos for every letter and some videos for sight words).

I love these videos for three reasons:

FIRST- it integrates music and movement in with language development. Music is SO important in early childhood grades and learning through it is essential. Since a lot of fine arts classes are the first to be taken away in “failing” schools, it is more important than ever for teachers to integrate art and music in the classroom. And plus, listening to 4 year olds yell/sing is pretty entertaining. (I’ll talk more about this topic later on)

SECOND- the kids go crazy for these videos. Seriously, just listen to that hip hop beat and you can’t stop yourself from dancing. This was seriously one of my favorite parts of the day because the kids love it!

THIRD- not only does the video introduce upper and lower case letters, but it also goes through each letter’s sounds and separates consonants and vowels as well. Not many ABC videos I’ve found have done that so that’s why I really like this one.

Listen to the video and let me know what you think!

Teach For America is not a solution to the problem in American education

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About two years ago, I attended a Teach For America informational meeting. I was excited about the meeting and a little unsure what the program was about but thought it would be a great opportunity to travel throughout the United States. However, as I moved further into the early childhood education program in the College of Education, I realized that Teach For America actually degrades the professionalism of teachers.

According to its website, Teach For America is “growing the movement of leaders who work to ensure that kids growing up in poverty get an excellent education.” While the program does a good job of placing Teach For America teachers in lower socioeconomic school districts, they usually do not place qualified elementary or early childhood teachers in these classrooms.

Elementary and early education are specialized fields that most take for granted. We do not learn how to color or to babysit; rather, we learn how to teach children how to read, how to think critically and how learn to live together and prepare for life beyond the classroom. This is not an easy task, and without proper training, the learning development of our children can be irrevocably altered for the worse. Elementary school is where children get their foundations for all subsequent education.

Teach For America’s fundamental flaw is that they try to make teaching look like anyone could do it, but it’s not for everyone, especially those who are not qualified or educated. Why not have Health For America to teach unqualified individuals to become nurses in a few weeks? I’m sure it’s not too hard to give a shot, read blood pressure results or fill out paperwork about a patient’s progress — please note my sarcasm. My cousins, who are nurses, went through college to learn how to be professional registered nurses. They don’t have to compete against unqualified, uneducated individuals for their jobs, so why do teachers?

Teach For America not only denigrates the professionalism of teaching but it also peddles a flawed vision of how we can fix America’s educational system. If we have more teachers, then we can teach more kids. This is wrong. The formation of our children’s basic social skills and learning processes is not simply a numbers game. Our education system needs qualified, professional individuals in the classrooms who are trained and knowledgeable about best practices with children. Teach For America is not fixing the problem, rather it’s adding to it by taking away the professionalism of teachers.