September 16

Tomorrow is Constitution Day!

On September 17, 1787, The United States Constitution was signed by thirty-nine men who changed the course of history.  Constitution Day is a time for us to continue their legacy and develop habits of citizenship.

Are you planning to focus on the Constitution in your lessons tomorrow?  Here are 10 essential online resource for Constitution Day.

Can you pass a 10-question quiz about the Constitution?

Who are the Founding Fathers?

Create a Stump Speech!

Examine a debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists and then analyze the reasons given by John Jay and Elbridge Gerry.

Write persuasively!  Ask students what issues are the same now as in 1787.

Think critically!  As students, if the 1787 Constitution wee presented today, would it be ratified?  Why or why not?

These ideas and lots more can be found on the National Constitution Center website.

Teach with primary documents and relate them to the U.S. Constitution.  There are documents appropriate for students in grades 4 through 12 in this National Archives Workshop.

The U.S. Constitution impacts each subject area.  I encourage you to find a way to incorporate a focus on the U.S. Constitution into your lessons tomorrow!

September 9

One thing leads to another…

I saw this question posted today in another blog post – at Te@chThought and I was intrigued as well as inspired by the content.  Using that post as a mentor piece, I am going to write a bit reflectively…

One thing leads to another.

I have often told folks that I entered the educational field when I was barely five-years-old.  One of those milestones in life which alters the rest of the world occurred…my sister was born.  From the time we first looked into one another’s eyes, I became her teacher.  It wasn’t something that was intentional, planned, or even noticed.  Yet, teach her I did.

One thing leads to another.

Before she even became mobile and could follow me around, my sister began watching me, hearing me, and learning from me.  I helped her learn to talk and speak coherently.  I helped her learn how to get into and out of all sorts of things.  I helped her learn what belonged to me and what did not belong to her.  I helped her learn what tastes good and what should not be tasted at all.  I helped her learn who to listen to and when not to ignore others.  I helped her learn a broad range of important life skills!

One thing leads to another.

Another couple of  life-altering milestones which changed my world made me become the first teacher my own two children, Bridgette and Bryan, ever had.  Today, we are to believe that, as mothers, the teaching of our children begins before they are even born.  Again, becoming their teacher wasn’t something that was intentional, planned, or even noticed most of the time.  Yet, teach them I did with every move I made.

One thing leads to another.

Still later in life I entered the world of public education and became more intentional, planned, and noticed with my teaching.  I recognized that I was teaching even when I wasn’t using my ‘teacher voice’ and wearing my teacher clothes or using my teacher pen that was constantly tucked behind my ear when not in use.  I became acutely aware of the impact I had on helping others to learn even when I wasn’t sitting in a desk beside them.

One thing leads to another.

When I came to a crossroads in my life, I made the decision to become a professional educator.  It certainly was intentional.  I began to plan my teaching and learning.  I also realized that other folks were noticing my teaching and learning because I was sharing ideas with colleagues and a few real, enrolled students.  I became a more focused learner and a more focused teacher sharing knowledge, strategies, and encouragement for others to learn.  At the same time I was absorbing knowledge, strategies, and ideas from all those I encountered.  When I was making that plan, unlike when I was a college student learning to make my way in the world years before as a girl, I realized that I had a love for words, for reading, and wanted to share my passion for that as well as my passion for learning with others.  I realized that I had an opportunity to make an impact by simply sharing my passion and that made all the difference in my world.

One thing leads to another.

As I am considering these reflections, I am also asking myself if I have remained loyal to those first reasons I became a focused teacher and learner.  Do I still share my passion for words, for reading, and for learning?  Are the reasons I became a teacher still guiding the way I work through my day?  Am I aware of how I am teaching others even when I am not using my ‘teacher voice’ or wearing my teacher clothes or using my teacher writing instrument?  Do I keep true my standards – not just the standards set aside for teaching my students the content – but also my standards of what good teaching and learning really is?  Am I also especially aware when I am using that ‘teacher voice’ and going through the motions of a professional educator?

One thing leads to another.

Meeting with teachers yesterday and today, I find myself sharing ideas about teaching strategies and techniques which I stand behind and know are effective.  As we discuss the work we have planned out before us, I find myself wondering if the teachers sitting at my elbows are recognizing what they are teaching and how they are teaching and when they are teaching.  Is their teaching planned?  Is their teaching intentional?  Is their teaching noticed in the ways that they would like to be noticed?  I know for certain that my awareness has been heightened during the last couple of days and I have been a more conscious teacher – far more conscientious than that five-year-old who didn’t want to share was making sure my little sister understood which toys and treasures belonged to me and which ones did not belong to her.  After all…

One thing leads to another.