Wednesday, September 11, 2013

C4T #1

Comments for Teachers

Dr. Strange assigned EDM 310 students each a teacher's blog, then suggested we post our thoughts and summarize the content on our blogs. I was assigned Principle Julie A. Vincentsen of Helen Keller Elementary School in Franklin, MA. I found her blog to be insightful and informative; I enjoyed reading posts written from the perspective of a principle.

Hippo reads a book

Capturing Struggling Readers
Principle Vincentsen used this post to explore the possibilities of audio books as a learning tool for struggling readers. This is the first time I have been introduced to this technique, and I found it really interesting.

Audiobooks are now being used in the classroom to aid struggling readers. I love this idea for several different reasons. MP3 players and earphones are so small these days, they are perfect for students who are concerned about being judged or stigmatized in front of their peers. A child or adult who otherwise might miss out on a lifetime love of books can now gently be ushered into reading using audio books. Incorporating this technology into the classroom or at home means the student doesn't have to fall behind or miss out, whether the reading problem is due to disability or just slow learning.

These kinds of technologies are such a valuable tool for teachers and students. With all the audio book subscriptions and options out there, there is no reason a student has to fall behind.

Elephant reading a book

Report Cards: Praising Effort & Setting Goals
Principle Vincentsen touched on student anxiety relating to report cards, and posted a letter sent out to parents regarding the same. She reminds parents of the immense amount of pressure some students feel when it comes to showing their parents or guardian their report card.

What does she suggest? Vincentsen reminds parents that it's important to focus on what the student did well, not dwell on the negatives. Hang the card on the fridge and remind him or her you are proud. Vincentsen suggests parents praise and celebrate the students for the good marks they made, then a few days later have a calm and constructive conversation about areas that could use improvement.

She also suggests asking specific questions like 'what are your goals to improve in this area? How can I help you reach that goal?'. She reminds parents that these are conversations teachers have with students in school regularly. It's important for teachers and parents to work together to help students succeed.

As Vincentsen's parents' mantra puts it, "It is not the grade that counts as long as you try your best!".

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