The title says it all. HAPPY HALLOWEEN to everyone!
What is RAFT?
The RAFTs Technique (Santa, 1988) is a system to help students understand their role as a writer, the audience they will address, the varied formats for writing, and the expected content. It is an acronym that stands for:
- Role of the Writer – Who are you as the writer? Are you Sir John A. Macdonald? A warrior? A homeless person? An auto mechanic? The endangered snail darter?
- Audience – To whom are you writing? Is your audience the Canadian people? A friend? Your teacher? Readers of a newspaper? A local bank?
- Format – What form will the writing take? Is it a letter? A classified ad? A speech? A poem?
- Topic + strong Verb – What’s the subject or the point of this piece? Is it to persuade a goddess to spare your life? To plead for a re-test? To call for stricter regulations on logging?
Almost all RAFTs writing assignments are written from a viewpoint different from the student’s, to another audience rather than the teacher, and in a form different from the ordinary theme. Therefore, students are encouraged to use creative thinking and response as they connect their imagination to newly learned information.
Here’s the direct link: R.A.F.T.
This post is a little late, but here it is. I love reading & I love to get my students to love to read, so I make reading in the classroom a daily thing. I have a Book Checkout Log where the students can check out books, any book, from the classroom library or my own personal books. The only thing I require is they respect them books (I show them exactly how). So to start the year off right I read:
I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont. This book is a great self-esteem builder. Even though the title character is brown, the child you’re reading it to does not have to be.
How Full Is Your Bucket for Kids by Mary Reckmeyer and Maurie J. Manning. I read this one to introduce my students to the concept of bucket filling.
Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. We read this as a follow up to How Full Is Your Bucket. This book is the opposite of bucket filling. The title character, Alexander, is having such a bad day, that his bucket is dipped into and he is nearly empty by the end of the day. Once we read it, we discussed ways of filling up people’s buckets.
The last book that I read was The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster. I read this to introduce the students to different points of view and how important family & connections are- to let them know that I expect them to be a family.
I’ve been doing Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Body and seeing results. I’ve lost about 20 lbs. Well, I went on an emotional eating binge last week and put some of the weight back on. No bueno! I’m going to have to exercise to get this weight off again. I looked in the mirror and noticed my fat face & huge boobs. I could only get mad at myself. I had no one else to blame. I saw the weight coming off and for some reason, I got scared. HELP!!!
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Lately I’ve been raving about Coaster because he is making such great progress. Last year, he was extremely difficult. He didn’t interact with the students, he eat with the students, he didn’t complete any classwork, and he had major attitude with the teacher. He’s missing test scores from last year because he didn’t want to take the test. It’s not like he wasn’t able to perform at a high level (The year before he scored at the 98th percentile in English/Language Arts), he just didn’t want to.
The teacher last year didn’t know how to handle him, so he ran over her with a MAC truck. He ran up one side and down the other. He knew that he couldn’t treat me like he treated her. When he came into my classroom, I laid down the law. I told him that I expected more of him and that I knew he could do more work than he did last year.
He respected my expectations as is evidenced from his progress (playing with other students) and attitude this year. I simply cannot believe the progress he’s made. If you knew him last year, then you would know that he is a completely different child. In a good way. I would love to say that he doesn’t have off-days where he produces absolutely no work. I would love to say that I’m so good that he did not test me, but that would not be the truth. He did test me on several occasions, but I stood firm, stuck to my rules, and did not budge one iota on my expectations of him. However, by and large, those days are anomalies. I am so proud of him and his progress.
“Coaster did what?” I asked one of my students.
“Miss, he played with us!”
I opened my mouth in shock. If you know how children on the autistic spectrum are, then you know how awesome that is that Coaster played with the other kids. Last year, he sat in his special spot and watched everyone else interact. This year, although I didn’t push him to play with the other students, I did push him to eat with them and work with them, to get a sense of family & belonging.
I knew that he’d come along, as far as working. I didn’t, however, expect him to play with them. I was seriously shocked by that. Again, I ask, “How’s that for progress?”
I am so proud of myself and how I am helping my students to realize their true inner selves.
The meeting went well. The Parent From Hell (PFH) that’s been causing trouble, as of late, was in the meeting (get this) rolling her eyes the whole time. She basically showed her true colors. Overall, 12/14 of the moms were with me. I was very pleased with the way the meeting went. I was able to clear the air, dispel the rumors, & build bridges. Here’s a copy of the agenda:
EMERGENCY MEETING AGENDA 10/19
Purpose of the meeting is to clear the air, dispel rumors, & build bridges
- Storytime (Have You Filled a Bucket Today?)
- About Me (The time I didn’t defend myself)
- Classroom Operations
- Daily Schedule (attached)
- Professional courtesy & Screaming
- Purpose of homework
- Parent conferences
v There is a sign-up sheet on back of the door.
v Send a note
v Call the school
- Monthly newsletter (Will begin in November)
- Blog (Under construction)
- Chain of command (child, Teacher, Principal)
- Building Bridges (How do we do that?)
|8:15-8:20||Morning announcements||Morning announcements||Morning announcements||Morning announcements||Morning announcements|
|8:20-8:40||COMPUTER LAB||Religion||Religion||Religion||COMPUTER LAB|
|10:00-10:20||Recess||Recess||Recess||P.E. (10:30- 11:30)||Recess|
|10:25-11:10||Social Studies||Social Studies||Social Studies||Centers|
|11:55-12:00||Afternoon prayer||Afternoon prayer||MUSIC||Afternoon prayer||11:25 Afternoon prayer|
|2:50-3:00||Preparation for Dismissal||Preparation for Dismissal||Preparation for Dismissal||Early Dismissal|
Monday – 8:30- 9:00 COMPUTER LAB-
Tuesday- 2:00- 2:55 ART
Wednesday- 10:15- 11:00 LIBRARY
Wednesday- 11:10- 11:55 MUSIC
Thursday.- 10: 30- 11:30 P.E.
Friday- 8:30 – 9:00 COMPUTER LAB
I am really fed up. I’ve had it up to here with all the parent complaints. Either I give the students too much homework or not enough. Or they say that I’m too strict. There is just no pleasing them. That is why I contacted my Room mom to have her call an emergency meeting to dispel all the rumors & gossiping. It will be today after school. I will post an update later. Until then.
“Did he (Coaster) tell her off yet?,” asked the former 2nd/3rd grade teacher (Who’s no longer @ the school).
She didn’t ask me, she asked the school secretary. Her response: No, he only told you off!
I was so proud as the Principal complimented me on the difference in Coaster’s behavior from last year to this year. It is a BIG difference. Last year, he pretty much did what he wanted to do. He’s missing his test scores from last year because he refused to take the test. On bi-weekly trips to the computer lab, he would refuse to leave the computer lab because he wanted to stay. He would not eat with the class. He would not line up with the class. He would not sit with the class. He did not do ANY classwork at all.
However, all that has changed this year. It was a struggle, I will not lie, but he did take the test this year (except one part), he does leave the computer lab when the rest of the class leaves, he does eat with the class, he does line up with the class, he does sit with the class. And (drum roll)…he does do classwork, even when they are working independently.
How’s that for progress?
Yesterday I had a crazy idea in my head to play hooky from work. In my head, this was how it played out: I was going to go drop my children off at school, go to breakfast, and/or lunch with my husband, then come home and take a nap. Did things work out like that? What do you think? Of course they didn’t. First of all, I realized, as I was teaching yesterday, that I really wasn’t feeling well, and that my planned hooky day wasn’t going to go as well as I planned. So, thinking ahead, I wrote out a lesson plan and left it on my desk.
This is the way the day actually went: I came home and laid on the couch. Why? I had to lie on the couch because my back was hurting. I ended up falling asleep on the couch without eating dinner. I woke up at 6:00 and b.s.’d around on the computer until 6:40-time to wake David & Phillise up. I then drove them to school. It was at this point that I realized I was dizzy and had a bit of a headache. That’s when I realize that I’m getting an ear infection. Really?
So, that’s the story of my day home sick. I was really home sick! Being sick on my planned hooky day sucked, but at least I got some rest!
Yesterday I attended a fantastic, out of this world math training hosted by Kim Sutton, a retired elementary school teacher from Arcata, California. It was so nice that I, and other participants, did not want to leave. It was really the best training ever. I’ll write more at a later date. Bye for now!
Since I’ve been a shopping fool at Talbots lately, I was emailed information regarding Talbots Charitable Foundation for women pursuing a scholarship later in life. I sure wish I would have seen this when I returned to school: www.talbotsscholarship.com (This is not the address of the link, I simply put this one because it’s easier on the eye than the actual link)
In keeping with our tradition of serving the community, the Talbots Charitable Foundation is proud to offer the 2012 Talbots Scholarship Program for women pursuing a college degree later in life.
Here’s information straight from the website:
Since its inception in 1997, the program has awarded more than $1 million dollars in scholarships. This year, the Talbots Scholarship Program will award $200,000 in scholarships for the 2012 academic year, including seventeen $10,000 scholarships. It will also present the $30,000 Nancy Talbot Scholarship Award, named in honor of the founder of Talbots and granted to one extraordinary finalist who demonstrates courage, conviction and an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit.
“The secret in education lies in respecting the student.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
I teach in a private school, so we don’t have to teach to the BIG test in May. My students take their test at the beginning of the year. That is the one thing that makes me really thankful about teaching in a private school. I love that I don’t have to teach to the test. This allowed me to really pleasantly surprise myself with the quality and caliber of my teaching. I didn’t have to rush through things. I was able to take my time and REALLY teach.
So, since I can have a sense of humor about testing (Since I don’t have to do it) I found this and thought it was too cute to pass up.
Is this or is this not TRUE???
I have been so busy this week. I have barely had a chance to sit down and think, let alone write. But, this is what I love to do, so I will make sure that I make time. When I don’t write, I feel like I’m holding it all in. That’s when I explode, like I did with MFH. You know what, I feel bad. She and I both said some pretty rude things to each other. I don’t know or care if she feels remorse on her part, I just know that I feel remorse on mine. But, I don’t have to worry about her anymore because she took her daughter and left. I just need to worry about myself and my response to any given situation.
At the time (that she was harassing me) I wanted to tell her everything about herself that I disliked (and I did), how she made other people feel like less than nothing, and I just plain wanted to get her off my back. Although she had a right to have mini-conferences with me regarding her daughter’s progress, they bordered on harassment. I understood that she was concerned for her only child’s welfare. But…EVERYDAY was a complaint. I felt that I couldn’t take anymore and cracked. I felt so bad afterward because I let her crack me. When I came home and had time to think about my response to her, I decided that I would get help for myself so that I wouldn’t let anyone take me there again. No matter how rude they are.
I am learning anger management techniques that I am also teaching to Phillise and my students. I think they will benefit greatly from the techniques. If they learn them now, they will not be frustrated at 41 years old trying to learn them.
So, even though you can’t read this, I would like to say, “Thank you, Mom from Hell. Even though you don’t know it, you have been instrumental in helping me become a better person.”
Thanks to her, I have decided to get help with my anger management. Thank you MFH!
The title says it all. Do I really need to repeat it? The title says it all. Yes, she is at it again. Even though she removed her daughter from the school and is now out of my life, she is still present and trying to wreak havoc. But, as I said already, I will not let her steal my peace. Not again. She has gone straight to the head person in charge. I just finished writing a 4-page response to an email she sent to the head person n charge. I tell you, this woman is not happy unless she is making someone else unhappy. But, she can play that game by herself.
I will speak to the head person in charge when she schedules an appointment. Until then, I will keep my cool. If I get fired over this, I just get fired. I feel as if my reputation should speak for itself. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. It will be a repeat of my last job all over again. I just don’t know what to say or do!!! For now, I am hopefully and prayerfully waiting. Bye for now!