Diversity Discussion:

Video by Phil Borges—India –not knowing their basic rights, the majority not educated are girls. Rural areas believe that educating a girl is a poor investment. 1999 India made a commitment to educate all children. UDAAN a program to reach girls through educating them. In 11 months they are brought up to a fifth grade level! Wow!!! 96% complete the program and 80% go to the next level in education.

This was a very moving video and it still makes me sad that people don’t feel that girls need an education. Then once families saw the confidence it gave their girls they were excited about the process of them going to school.  I understand that they have to shift their way of thinking, but I am glad to see that they now have models to follow. I love videos like this because it allows me into a world that seems so far from mine. I would love to show this video to my AMERICAN students so they are able to somewhat see how great they have it. Then take it a step further in seeing how we can make a difference in our world.

Diane- brought up a great point about the video in that does the government support the education process of creating independent critical thinking girls???

How this may impact me in my own classroom:

I am with my students for about 6 hours a day and I have little idea of what goes on once they are home. I would like to have my students creating a video diary entry of a weeks view of how their family works and what they value. This will allow their peers along with me to see another part of them that we currently will never see. It will bring us closer together as a class. Additional it has potential to be a very powerful and humbling experience for all.

Bridgesweb.org /


Technology Greatest Hits:

Teaching the younger grades in my first few years of teaching I never really saw the power in what kids can create using technology. That is not to say that I don’t see value with technology in the younger grades, but now teaching sixth grade I am fueled by their creativity. They now are pushing me to the next level with how they can use technology. This year my students have created many movies, and narrated stories through use of movie maker and power point.   Other ideas to use: you tube to build schema, jing for screen cast, simplified power points, and EMAILS…simple but powerful.

Education Philosophy:

  • Reach all students needs through tapping into their interest.
  • Creating a democracy in my classroom.
  • Student centered, teacher facilitated.
  • High standards for all children.
  • All children are teachable, but it works best when a team is involved: parents, teacher, student, support staff, and principal.
  • My students will know me as a person and who I am and what I stand for.

Difficult Conversations: Book Discussion

People are very complex and this plays a HUGE role while we have difficult conversations.  This would be great if everyone read this book which would make difficult conversations easier. It’s important to see the others persons point of view…it goes a long way in a difficult conversation. Emotions are the hub of all conversations so they, “emotions”, must be dealt with. When delivering bad news it must be right from the get go, in other words don’t beat around the bush. Keep in mind that we all have “emotional footprints,” that will affect the conversations and it is important to be aware of it.

impacting the classroom…

When entering education, I had no idea all the aspects that would be out of my control. I love when I can do what I do best which is teach. Although that is not always happening the way I would like it to because of all the politics surrounding education today. I really feel that there is a strong disconnect between educators and administrators. The following list below is what I believe is directly impacting my classroom instruction:

  • Data driven
  • District chosen training: who is making these decisions…not people in the classroom:(
  • MSP
  • KEA vs. KSD (teachers union/district)
  • Race to the Top:

-In Washington competing for 3.4 billion dollars federal grant money.

-Each district must create a plan that includes: Develop and Adopt Common Standards, Data Systems for Increased Access and Use of           Data, Support of Effective Teachers and School Leaders, Turning around Struggling Schools.

-Education Bill Reform

-Based on meeting benchmarks=an awarded grant money

-getting testing right!, not more test.

-What is means for teachers: distinguishing good teachers from bad via data from one year to the next, making sure teachers have input on how to do this…DATA DRIVEN RESULTS

-Already falling schools in Washington State has been closed!

Overall I am very overwhelmed where education is today and where it is heading. Sometimes I have wondered if this is the right field for me. Then I have students and parents tell me that I am a wonderful teacher who has made a difference…and this is why I love what I do.

School Demographics & Diversity

School Demo.:

Enrollment at Emerald Park consists of 512 students. Ethnic minorities comprise approximately 74% of the student body, with the Hispanic population at 8.2%, African-American at 11.2%, Asian/Pacific Islander at 27.5%, and American Indian at .4%. Currently, 41 % of the student population receives free or reduced lunch. (OSPI, May 2009)

The student population includes a vast diversity of academic needs due to socio-economic status shift. Additionally Emerald Park also is a school who receives AYP students from two other elementary schools. It contains a growing percentage of children who require an enriched, challenging curriculum. To meet this challenge, school-wide programs in reading, writing, and math have been developed that include a variety of supportive and supplemental materials. Emerald Park also provides extended learning opportunities for ELL students after school hours. Emerald Park strives daily to meet the needs of all students in its school.

When comparing Emerald Park’s 6th grade scores to the district’s scores they are ten percent above the districts average in both reading and math. Because 38.2% of our students are failing standards in math, and in conjunction to our school improvement plan, we as a building have been looking over the WASL data from past years to present, in order to find where students struggle most. Through analyzing each math strand and teacher dialogue, we began to see an overall trend that most students lacked number sense; which hindered student success in all the other strands. This year we are trying to meet more regularly to discuss strategic ways to help our students improve in the area of number sense via student exploration with mental math and math dialogue. So far this has been an added value to our 6th grade team and student success is improving in our chapter assessments.

Kent currently does not pull ELL students for support. Instead we now as a general classroom teacher being asked to meet the needs of these students through integration of our daily instruction. This year Kent has trained all staff members in SIOP. “The term “sheltered instruction” is used to describe those instructional practices that help teachers make content more accessible and comprehensible for ELLs. One model of sheltered instruction is the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP). The SIOP is research-based and field-tested. Teachers who used the SIOP checklist for lesson planning became more proficient in linking language and content in their instruction, felt more in control of their professional development, and increased their ability to accommodate different levels of proficiency in their classrooms (Echevarria, Vogt, and Short).”

“The thirty components of the SIOP lesson-planning checklist can be used with any curriculum or program, for students at any age or level of English proficiency. Experienced teachers recognize the SIOP components as effective teaching strategies for all students. However, it is the systematic use of all components to scaffold content and language instruction that provides the support that ELLs, even those who have “exited” from a special program or service, need to succeed in mainstream classrooms.”(click here to see more on SIOP)  My outlook on this training is that it is great but we aren’t given any time to do anything with it, so it is just another resource that is sitting on my shelf waiting to be picked up again. I found it very intense to create lesson plans that follow their format; being that I teach seven plus subjects. However I am making a conscience effort to post objectives and process of unit plans in order to provide students with a clear understanding about what is expected of them.


Problem in KSD…very few EA’s

There are very few elementary schools in the Kent School District that have EA’s (educational assistant); which to me makes no sense at all! The school I am currently at has 500 plus students and no EA. That means when our principal is out of the building we have no one to run the ship, oh wait, teachers are asked to fill that role, and well their classroom full of students will be managed/babysat by an available staff member.(Doesn’t that make sense??) Even if he is there when he is busy with one crisis you the teacher must handle your own and the other students will have to be on their own while you manage a child. I am not seeing why they (KSD) feel that the EA role is no longer important, yet we still have certified teachers who are not in the class, but in other positions deemed worthy???