Monday, February 24, 2014

Get to Know your Neighbor

Substitute teachers face a variety of challenges each day.  Each job is a new and challenging environment:  Different personnel, students, physical plant, educational philosophy, discipline policy, lesson plans, safety procedures, driving directions…..Whether you are the new substitute teacher or the receiving school it is important to make connections straight away.

New subs need to make a point of introducing themselves to administration and staff right away, especially making connections with adjoining classroom teachers.  Wearing identification is reassuring to everyone on campus that this new face belongs.  Introducing yourself makes it clear that you are engaged and ready to receive relevant information as well as teach kids.  And don’t forget to smile.

The optimum situation is when school personnel are able to provide a new substitute with relevant safety/emergency plans and lesson plans.  That combination goes a long way in making a substitute feel welcome and prepared to confidently execute a successful and safe teaching day.   Establishing open lines of communication allows everyone a degree of confidence and comfort.

And whether at home or in school, in case an emergency response is needed, it is very important to know your neighbors, allies in the field, so get out there and make some friends! 

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day

Ah, Valentines Day: the holiday of sugary treats and construction paper hearts. In the classroom, this holiday is ripe with options for topical crafts and activities. So stocking up your “Teaching Toolbox” with colorful paper, ink pads, stickers and activities is the way to go, should you need to fill time.

For substitute teachers, valentines Day can be especially tricky.  They can't assume all schools handle this holiday the same way and they must be mindful that some school do not acknowledge it at all.

Unfortunately, it is also a day that some children can end up feeling left out or excluded and so on this holiday of love, it is important to make sure everyone is treated equally and made to feel special and loved. 

Schools may have very specific rules about what types of snacks can be distributed in the classrooms and it is very important to find out if any of the students have specific food allergies. 

If your school does celebrate Valentines Day here are a couple of activities you can try:

With younger students make an easy card using colorful construction paper or car stock, markers and an ink pad.  Even the littlest ones can ink their fingers and press their fingers in a "v" shape to make a heart!

Older students might be interested in learning about the history and different versions behind Valentine's Day.  Check out the plethora of Valentine ideas, suggestions and legend history online. 

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Report: Charter Schools produce higher percentages of college-ready graduates than traditional district schools.      

According to a report published January 29, 2014 by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), not only do Los Angeles public charter schools have higher graduation rates than traditional district schools, but students at public charter schools complete the college preparatory A-G curriculum at a rate nearly four times that of their traditional district school counterparts.

More interestingly, these findings hold true for student populations who have historically been left behind by the system – socioeconomically disadvantaged students, African-American and Latino students, and those who speak English as a second language.

Click HERE to visit the CCSA website and check out the key findings, or read the report in its entirety.