Showing posts with label attitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label attitude. Show all posts

Friday, February 26, 2016

Could This Describe How You Operate?


Friday, December 4, 2015

A Poster Child for Success

Her first month of school was tough. She was in trouble for not doing her school work. She spent every recess in study table. Her grades were not good. She got a lecture, or had to listen to teachers talk about not getting her work done daily. I had several conversations with her myself, and none seemed to help.

Fast forward to December and she is a success. She is getting every assignment complete and never has to go to study table. She is working hard to do her best. Her teachers are proud of her.

Annie's story started with the decision that she didn't want study table any more. She was tired of the pressure to do her work. She made the decision to start doing her work. Then she talked to all of her teachers about her missing assignments and how to get caught up on her work. She spent a few days working real hard to get everything done. Then she made sure she did all of her homework every night.

So what's the message here? Success is possible. It can and did happen. It seems simple when you read about it. Annie made it look easy. And when it happened it was amazing. Everyone felt good. The teachers were so proud of her. All it took was a little hard work and a lot of determination. Great job Annie!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thanks for a Great Time!

Group 10 at Split Rock
The Sixth Grade students went to Camp Oty Okwa for Outdoor Education Camp on March 26 - 28. Last Wednesday morning, three school buses with 147 students, 14 Salt Creek staff, three pickup trucks, one pulling a large trailer loaded completely full of luggage, all headed out with high hopes for a great time. 

Although camp started out a little cool with a temperature of 20° as we loaded up to leave, it didn't affect the mood. A few raindrops fell here and there also, but again, it had little impact on the attitudes of everyone. I had a great time and couldn't imagine any way possible to enjoy camp any more.

Smiles were everywhere at Camp. Every time I looked at a student for the entire three days, a smile was just waiting to jump out. Any comment, look, or smile and a big grin was busting out. Students smiled at each other, at Camp Oty Okwa staff, and at teachers. One look at any student's face and you knew they were having fun.

Students' attitudes and cooperation was the best. Every teacher bragged on "their" group and how well they did. Students worked together in classes. They helped each other over and around obstacles on the trails. When students make a leather indian pouch during craft time, everywhere you looked someone was giving a hand to a classmate.

Salt Creek students were the best. In over twenty years of going to Outdoor Education Camp, I have never had a better time. Students' friendship, kindness, and humor made it a blast. I am very proud of all of the sixth graders and appreciate how they all cooperated to make camp so awesome. Thanks for a great time!

A Debris Hut Built in Survival Class

Monday, April 22, 2013

What do People Say About You?

What describes you? Are you courageous, kind, caring, awesome, amazing, beautiful, cool, smart, hard working, funny, winsome, cute, pretty, friendly, smiley, thoughtful, responsible, confident, quiet, honest, loving, outgoing, leader, sincere, reliable, brave, jovial, super, great singer, joyful, good student, generous, imaginative, creative, artistic, energetic, inspiring, athletic, open minded, majestic, terrific, fabulous, keeps trying, motivated, never gives up, successful, poetic, positive, great attitude, truthful, faithful, determined, kindhearted, unforgettable, outstanding, intelligent, incredible, helpful, gifted, wise, polite, mannerly, always does her best, helps classmates, does all his work . . .

Your assignment is to write a blog post that tells of seven things people at Salt Creek say about you.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

If You're Happy and You Know It . . .

Some cause happiness wherever they go, others cause happiness whenever they go. Which one are you?



What are your thoughts about happiness?  When someone looks at you, do they think of you as a happy person?  How does being happy make your life better?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Are You Bored with School?


Reading Workshop students, what do you think of school?  Are you excited each morning to come to school?  And, if not, if you think school is boring, whose fault is it? 

Do you live every day to get the most out of it?  Do you walk around thinking positive and ready to have fun?

Do you have a smile on your face?  Do people look forward to seeing you?  Do you look forward to seeing people at school?

Who is in control of you anyway?



Image from http://missrosemary.net/2010/06/

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whose Goals Are They, Anyway?

 I was sitting in the chair, getting my hair cut, having the typical casual conversation with the woman cutting my hair, when I noticed the post-it note with Nicole's weekly goals.   As I looked it over, I started wondering about these goals. 

Finally, I couldn't stand it any more.  I just had to ask, and the following conversation took place:

Me:  Did you write that?
Nicole:  Uhhh, no.
Me:  Your boss write it?
Nicole:  Yes.
Me:  So they tell you what your goals should be?
Nicole:  Yep
Me:  Hmmmm, I'll bet that motivates you.
Nicole:  Oh, I don't really pay any attention to it.

And then I started thinking about students in Reading Workshop.  I wonder how often my goals for them really don't have anything to do with their goals for themselves.  When I am pushing my agenda of positive attitude and hard work equals success, I wonder how many students have other priorities?

As the teacher, I have a responsibility to have goals and expectations for my students.  But if they are going to be meaningful, there must be some ownership on the part of the students and their parents. With this in mind, and reaching the halfway point of the school year, it seems appropriate to ask students to evaluate their year so far, and set some goals for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Are You the Annoying One?

It was almost time for Thanksgiving dinner.  We sat watching football, anxiously awaiting the turkey, mashed potatoes, and dressing.  Unfortunately we were having trouble concentrating because my 17 year old niece and 14 year old nephew were wrestling around on the couch.  Finally, their mom couldn't stand it anymore.
She yelled  Cut it out, both of you!
Luke whined: But mom
Leah whined: But mom
Luke whined:  But mom, she's so annoying.
Leah responded:  Get off of me!

Do you get the picture?  Leah had been sitting on the couch minding her own business when Luke came over and sat on top of her.  He started pestering her until it ended in the screaming match that got their mom involved.  But in his mind, she was soooo annoying.

Naturally this situation made me start to think about the students in Reading Workshop.  I know that their teacher is never annoying :) , but what about them.  Do they ever blame someone else, before looking in the mirror?

What do you think?  Are you the annoying one?

Image from http://www.vrkmphoto.com/sister/brother-and-sister-love/

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Describe Yourself Based on Your Partner

What does the person I paired you with say about you?

Students in Reading Workshop are constantly working in pairs, and small groups.  Almost every project has at least one part that requires teamwork.   Sometimes this might be a brainstorming session.  Other times partnership might be for revising and editing a piece of writing.  Frequently it is just a couple of minutes to share ideas.

Although occasionally students are paired randomly, most of the time partnerships and teams are put together in a way to ensure success.  

Reasons students are partnered might include:
  • A strong-minded uncompromising student is put with a similar student just to force both to work together to be successful.  
  • Quiet, easy going students are put together to build leadership skills.
  • Students strong in a certain area are paired with a student that is struggling.
  • Students struggling might be partnered to work through troubles together.
  • Students that don't care are partnered to force them to deal with common attitudes.
  • Natural leaders are grouped in situations that allow them to utilize their strength.
  • Creative students are placed together to stretch their limits.
  • Creative students are separated to allow leadership and growth.
  • Boys and girls are partnered so that differences in thought processes can increase chances of success.
  • Reluctant learners are joined with enthusiastic students to motivate them.
  • Enthusiastic students are partnered to allow them the chance to immerse themselves in a project.
  • Friends are put together just so they can be with each other.
  • Students that are not friends are put together to help expand their circles.

These are just some of the reasons students work together.  Regardless of the reason, working together and the cooperation this demands is an extremely important skill.  How students deal with a partner, or contribute to a group is always reflective of their attitude and work ethic.


What kind of a partner are you?  Describe yourself based on your partner.

Image from http://vik.podbean.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Please Be Nice

"Did you have fun with your partner?" she whispered with a sneer to the girl in the seat next to her.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, because the comment wasn't meant for me to hear.

Shala just looked at her and shrugged her shoulders.  She really didn't know what to say.  It never occurred to her to be upset about her partner, or make fun of him.  And that is exactly why I put her with that student.  I knew that she would treat him with kindness and respect.  She would help him stay on track and both of them would successfully complete the assignment.

The students in Reading Workshop had been working on a letter writing project.  I wanted them to take a couple of minutes with a peer to discuss their letter--how they organized it, what was going well, and what parts of the project needed help.  I chose a partner for each student, forming teams that would succeed.  This is something we do frequently, and students are used to working with many different peers throughout the year.

This comment has banged around in my head ever since I heard it.  I keep thinking about the connotation behind, did you have fun with your partner.  This sneaky form of bullying, trying to get a classmate to join in ridiculing a student is what makes school so difficult for so many students.

I'm not really sure which student I feel most sorry for--the boy being laughed at, or the girl that feels the need to be so mean.  The boy is a bit of a social outcast.  Unfortunately, he irritates peers and causes them to loose patience with him.  He also tries to gain attention too often by acting out and saying things to set himself apart.  He isn't mean, but he does act that way sometimes when he gets picked on.

The big question to me is why the girl feels the need to be so mean.   She is no stranger to trouble, and I am sure teachers have talked to her about this behavior before.  Yet she continues to be hurtful, even enlisting a student like Shala who would not act this way under any circumstance.  Will she ever figure out that actions like this, and the negative attitude behind it will create problems until she finds the strength to be a stronger and kinder person?

Image from http://www.comicvine.com/forums/off-topic/5/the-creepy-thread/574156/

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Smile Spreader

Each morning Madison walks into the room, passing out smiles and hellos to everyone in her path.  She greets each student like a long lost friend, and lets them know she is glad to see them.  There are no rainy days in her world, and she wants every person she sees to join her in the sunshine.

This upbeat attitude has infected the whole class.  You cannot be around her without giving some of the smile back.  The next thing you know, even if  you are real careful, and try to prevent it, you give a smile to someone else, and on and on.  It's almost ridiculous how this epidemic spreads each morning.  

I started thinking about this as I was reading the We Teach, We Learn blog and found this link to research at Harvard and the University of California at San Diego by Dr. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler.  They found that "happiness spreads through social networks like an emotional contagion."  

I don't need research to prove it to me.  I have to watch or I get caught up in it every morning. If this kid doesn't get to seventh grade before long, I may end up smiling all the time.  Naahhhh, probably not.

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/joellecleveland/2581227771/sizes/s/

Friday, November 13, 2009

Does Sportsmanship Fit in the Classroom?

Sportsmanship, kindness, fairness--this video demonstrates all of the characteristics that we hope to teach, to model, and to see as teachers.




What would you do in a similar situation? What kind of opportunities are there in the classroom to show the same traits as the Central Washington players?

Thank you to Mrs. Stevenson for the heads up about this video.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why Do Students Give the Teacher Control?

Mrs. Scott, the principal stopped by the room as she so often does, just to see how things were going.  Up came Chomper Sue, the gum chewingest kid to hit the class in many a year.  Mrs. Scott told her to spit out the gum.  Boy, did Sue just make her teacher happy.

To this point in the year, Sue had been doing fairly well--much better than last year.  It's a shame she couldn't see that she was well on her way to wrecking her great start.  In less than a half hour, she was chomping away again, slapping her gums together and cracking her bubble gum.  That made two write-ups in one class.

After lunch, Sue came up the stairs for her afternoon class, mouth wide open, chomping on more gum.  What a day--three writeups for the same offense.  This earned her some time on the wall during recess the next day.  Sticking to her pattern of self-destruction, Sue did not stand on the wall today, so this earned her two more days.

In less than two days, Sue aggravated her favorite teacher over and over.  She showed disrespect  chewing gum, which is so trivial, but then she just kept flaunting her disregard for school rules.

In the process of all of this mess, Sue who thinks of herself as an independent young woman, gave up all control of herself at school.  She became a discipline problem, disrepecting teachers and ignoring rules.  In the process, the teachers are forced to deal with Sue's behavior, and deal with the aggravation of a student that can not do the most simple things to be successful.

I wonder if Chomper Sue knows all she lost over three sticks of gum?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/93193895@N00/3714880038/
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cheering the Success of Others

I am a lifetime Cincinnati Reds fan. I grew up rooting for Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and the rest of the Big Red Machine. The New York Yankees have always been at the top of the list of teams I despise.

Having said this though, I was struck by the accomplishment last night of Derek Jeter, when he tied Lou Gehrig's Yankee hit record. What makes it most remarkable is the class he showed and has demonstrated every game of his career.

The most amazing part of breaking the record was the response from fans and his opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays. A standing ovation went on and on, paying tribute to his success.

I started thinking about school and students.

Soooo, riddle me this students, do you root for your peers? Do you pay tribute to the success of others? Do you consider how you can help your classmates achieve success? Even if someone isn't on your "team" can you celebrate when they do well?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What Mountains Have You Climbed?

What challenges have you overcome? What challenges have you faced? As you look back on this school year, 170 days full of goods and bads, what went well? Where did you succeed?

Or, as sung by Miley Cyrus


The struggles I’m facing,
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes they might knock me down but
No I’m not breaking

And as you look ahead, what challenges still have to be faced?

There’s always going to be another mountain
I’m always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle,


And how will you handle those challenges?

Always going to be an uphill battle,
Sometimes I'm going to have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb



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Monday, March 23, 2009

What Can Be Fixed

I heard the comment the other day, "if it can't be fixed in five minutes, with what's on hand, then don't mention it." I started thinking about students in Reading Workshop and how this might apply to them, and their education.

Seventy-three missed homework assignments this year really doesn't matter as much as having the right attitude and learning today. There is no way to fix all of the hours that a student didn't read at home. There is no way to change an F from the first semester. Although sometimes people expect it, teachers are not magicians.

But, just maybe with a little work, and a discussion of today's assignment, a student can figure out that character development is how a character changes from the beginning to the end of a story. There is no way to "fix" a parent that won't follow through with checking the assignment book each night, but a student can spend some free time making up missed work. It's impossible to immediately make a student read at grade level. However, with a little effort, we could fix mistakes written in response to a passage.

Things I can fix:
1. The climate of today's class
2. A student not understanding the task at hand
3. Mistakes on an assignment
4. Today's lesson and how it's being taught

Things I can't fix include:
1. Last week, last semester, and last year
2. Parents' problems
3. Intercom interruptions
4. The war in Iraq
5. The economy
6. Peas for lunch
7. Floods, blizzards, thunderstorms, and hail
8. Dog bites, cat scratches, and bee stings
9. Broken hearts and she doesn't like me anymore
10. Missed shots, interceptions, and strike outs
11. Broken arms
12. Cavaties
13. Bad hair and bad breath
14. And on, and on, and on . . .

Looking at these lists, I realized I better get busy for the next five minutes and focus on what I can control. What about you, students? What can you fix?
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Don't Care T-shirt

I didn't notice the shirt when he walked in the room. In fact, I probably wouldn't have ever noticed it if it hadn't been pointed out to me. When I first looked at it, I didn't even know what to say. It was probably bought as a joke, by a parent or family member just trying to be funny. Or maybe they thought it was cute.

Students wear shirts all of the time with sayings on them. Sometimes almost every shirt in the room has something on it--at the least a company logo. Shirts with sayings are so common that no one really pays that much attention to them any more. But what if the saying is a badge that a student wears bragging about failure? What if the motto is one that the student lives?

I don't think I like this T-shirt. I don't like it when a student slacks, and bragging about it irks me. Hard work and a positive attitude mean a lot in this life. Living with passion means even more. You might say I am being irritable and grouchy. You might say I need to lighten up and have a sense of humor.

Well, I say, you should have cared yesterday. You should care today. And I sure hope you care tomorrow. Live life to the fullest. Work hard and play hard. Live with life with a gusto. No matter what you do, go for it.

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

A School Climate that Thaws Snow Storms

Over half of the teachers in the building were at school on Friday. It seemed like they had a variety of tasks. Some were getting caught up, while others were planning ahead. Two were already considering plans for IEP students taking the Achievement Tests in April. It seemed like one might have shown up just to argue politics (See the State of the State post to see the right/optimistic side of the discussion).

So, what's the big deal, you ask? It was a snow day. School was canceled. The roads were nasty, and it was cold and windy. The teachers did not have to be there. The fact that so many 4 - 6 grade teachers battled the snow and ice to come to school is reflective of the attitude at Laurelville. Teachers want to be there, and want to do well. There is an interest in seeing the students succeed.

There's more to it than that though. There is a certain hominess to the building. In a day when schools are facing so many challenges, this building is different. There is a distinct feel to the building. Teachers feel a part of the school and want to be there.

School climate was a hot topic a few years ago. School climate is the learning environment of the school and how it makes students feel. Lately that has been forgotten with NCLB and all the emphasis on testing. The focus in education is on scores and achievement, and intervention, and the School Report Card.

When you are in a building where there is a warm climate, where people feel a part of the school, you know you are part of something special. There is an attitude that you can feel. It is hard to describe, but when you are lucky enough to be a part of it, you know it's there.

The road conditions were way too bad to have school. I can't help but wonder though, if we had told students, come on in if you can, how many would have showed up. Maybe a few would want to do some research for their persuasive essay. One or two might want to work on their online journal. Some might have wanted to come in and trade books, and just read for a while.

How about it students? Would you have stopped in for a while? Would you have spent a little time just hanging around and catching up? It seems to me like some days it's sunny enough on the inside to thaw out even the worst of the snow storms.

Image from http://flickr.com/photos/28603429@N06/2667617304/

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stop the Bus, I Want to Go to School!

I saw the flashing lights ahead, and eased to a stop. The bus stopped but no one was there. Then it took off. As I passed by, I looked over and saw a student chasing after it, waving her hands wildly.

I traveled on down the road towards my school and watched in my rear-view mirror as the bus was chased out of sight by a student who wanted to go to school.

As we return to school, after a five day break for Thanksgiving, I thought, "what a sight." I felt sorry for the student, and I was sure glad to see how badly she wanted to get on the bus and get back to school. Any kid that tried that hard to get on the bus after a break is bound to be a hard worker.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Why Student Success in Reading Workshop is So Important

Students that have characteristics that help them succeed in Reading Workshop, will most likely achieve throughout their life. The more relaxed and student-driven workshop environment forces students to make choices. This decision making can serve as a learning model that will have life-long affects. Knowing this places a significant responsibility on teachers, if we choose to run our class in the workshop style.

If a student works hard in reading and writing workshop, they will have a work ethic that will most likely lead to success in other places. Conversely, if student needs constant supervision and prodding to work, they will most likely struggle in other classes, and later in life. Similarly, the attitude they approach tasks at hand, can provide the impetus for overall academic success.

Last week after the Awards Assembly, I heard a boy say, "I haven't got an award for the last 3 years. It's been since 2nd grade."

I thought to myself, "what a terrible thing. This boy has been to at least 9 awards assemblies in a row, and hasn't been recognized."

So I asked him:
Me: What did you do in 2nd grade to get an award?
Student: I don't know.
Me: You must have done something.
Student: It was at my old school.
Me: So what did you do at your old school to get an award?
Student: I don't know.
Me: You must have done something right.
Student: Yeah
Me: Do you work hard in class?
Student: Wellllllllll

I wondered:
1. Do his parents ever talk to him about success? Or lack of?
2. Will he think about our conversation and decide how he succeeded before?
3. Will it have any affect on his work ethic?
4. Next year, when he is in my class, will he get an award?
5. When I see him in 8 - 10 years, will he have found the means for success?

Hopefully next year he will learn the work part of reading workshop.