Why is School Important?

Why is school important?Schooling is a fundamental part of all of our lives. Not only is it present in our everyday lives, but it is also viewed as one of the primary agents of socialization. From the time children enter school, until the time they leave, the socialization process continues. In addition, schooling broadens a child’s social world to include people with social backgrounds that differ from their own, while simultaneously meeting other individuals who may share similar interests, social positions, or age.

Socialization is defined as the process through which we learn to become members of a society or a community. Simply, it is the general process of acquiring a culture. Through this process we learn the language of that culture, patterns of behaviour, issues related to the community, rules and ideologies of society, forms of spirituality, as well as, other social processes as we advance. This learning process starts shortly after birth and continues throughout our lives, especially as we enter the schooling process.

As students enter and develop within the school system, they are pushed to re-analyze and sometimes disregard what they have learned in their home to be more accepting of the environment and diversity around them.  This attempt to socialize students into the mainstream means that schools must develop methods to de-socialize and re-socialize children.

What have you seen in your school, classrooms, or community to attest to this?

Next time, we will be discussing Schools as Total Institutions.

21st Century Learning: A Time of Change for Teachers and Students

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” (Eric Hoffer)

Today, all the teachers in our board participated in professional development centred around 21st century learning.  Each school sent a few representatives to the symposium, while the remaining teachers and support staff at each school logged in to a live stream and watched the presentation together.  I can honestly say that today’s symposium and speakers were amazing.  I have so much to write and think about, but I need to go over my notes to really do it justice.  So many excellent ideas were presented today and I really want to reflect on how to be a learner and a teacher, how to engage my students in innovative ways, and how to apply all this new knowledge to my teaching.

Here are a few things though:

I have so many thoughts running through my head regarding the questions raised today, but I have to try to formulate some sort of plan to address these ideas in the classroom.  One item that was mentioned today was teachers using blogs to get connected to students, parents, and other educators…on that note:

Here’s our latest TeachHUB.com article: The Importance of Teacher Bloggers! Please read our article, leave a comment, ask a question, or tell us about your blogs!

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links

Holiday Giving: Teaching about Social Activism by Example

 

 

It’s December and the holiday season is approaching quickly.  If we calculate (assuming your school closes on Dec 21), then all that is left are 15 school days!  This is a crazy time, but also a fun time.  Most of us will do many activities based on the holidays within our classroom.  But have you considered social activism?  This is a time that students can be easily drawn into the whole commercialization of the holidays.  Students are caught up with what they want to get but we need to help them understand that this is a time for giving and caring as well.  Most of the time, students and their parents are also wondering what they can purchase for you.  You have heard of those AHA moments, and this is one of them!  Students learn by example, and we could be the greatest example during this holiday season.  Have a discussion with them about how important it is for you to help others.  Why not ask them to avoid purchasing something for you (if they intended to) and utilized that money and donate it to help others.  This could be done in many ways.  Here are some suggestions:

1) As a class go to a food bank and volunteer your time.  Students who were planning to purchase something for you can use those funds as donation, or could purchase non perishable items to bring along. This is great for students who would not normally be purchasing anything due to financial constraints or just do not do teacher gifts but still would like to help others.

2)There is an organization that helps with Gifts of Hope.  There are gifts as little as $10 and if that is still too much students can pool their funds together.  Visit the website www.plancanada.ca/givehope with your students and show them how something so small can create positive change in the world.

3) Visit a local nursing home and have students prepare songs to perform.  Students can use their funds in order to subsidize transportation

4) Create a Holiday Hamper.  This is a collaborative project where people donate food, clothing and other essential needs to a family in need.  Your school Social Worker, Administration and local church can steer you in the right direction with proper information to ensure items are appropriate but still maintaining the privacy and dignity of the family.

What is important to remember is that all it takes is a small change to make a big difference!  We are including a link to a fantastic video to generate discussion with your students and see that they too can make a difference! Click on the link below for the video.  We would love to read about what you have done for others in your school, community and local areas.  Wishing you a wonderful December!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHbL-Fh9t4I 

Bullying and its Many Forms

Understanding what Bullying Looks and Sounds like is essential to helping students help themselves and others.  Dr. Michele Borba (www.micheleborba.com) writes that “Bullying is a cruel and/or aggressive act that is done on purpose.  The bully has more power (strength, status, or size) than the target, who cannot hold his own. The hurtful bullying behavior is not an accident, but done on purpose. The bully usually seems to enjoy seeing the victim in distress and rarely accepts responsibility and often says the target “deserved” the hurtful treatment.”

In a previous post (Reporting vs. Tattling), we stated that others are present when this bullying happens.  What is coming to light, according to Dr. Borba, is that these students suffer emotional distress when seeing these acts against their schoolmates occur.

As educators we need to proceed to make it safe for all in the school environment.  We need to teach them the tools to want to make a change.  But, before we teach them those tools they need to understand what to act on and how to act on the particular situation.    Dr. Borba breaks bullying down to particular situations and students should understand when it is bullying and when it is not.

We have created a poster based on Dr. Borbas information of what bullying could be.  Use it as a printable or a discussion point with your students and other colleagues.  By addressing these, students will come to truly understand the real definition of bullying.

The Tuesday 12: 12 Fantastic Books to Discuss Bullying with your Students

With Bully Awareness Week on hand, todays Tuesday 12 is a list of books that can be used in the classroom to open discussions and develop conversations as a community. Through discussions students can develop an understanding of what bullying is and what it looks like.  Through their discussions, students will develop an understanding for methods of preventions.  Remember, students can be great agents of change.

1) Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, Rebecca Bender

 

A lovely story from the perspective of a giraffe and a bird who like to rile each other up.  But one day it goes a little too far and bird needs to rectify the situation.  

 

2) Have you filled a Bucket Today, Carol Macloud

 

This lovely book focusses on the effects of our actions and words on others.  Through positive behaviours, daily acts of kindness students understand how they can be agents of change.

 

3) How full is your bucket today? For Kids, Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer

This story geared towards a younger audience helps children understand that acts of kindness are for the good of others and for themselves too.  The metaphor of a bucket is a great way for young people to visualize the meaning.

 

4) Confessions of a Former Bully, Trudy Ludwig   

A great story written in a very matter of fact way!  The perspective of a former bully is a different view that most students have never experienced.  With this perspective, students can identify and relate to relationships that are hurtful and how to change that behaviour.

 

5) The Bully Blockers Club, Teresa Bateman

How about eliciting the help of your students?  Here is a great book to discuss how students can help rid bullying in the school yard!  Students are our greatest asset and challenging them to be the leaders will help the whole school.

 

6) Say Something, Peggy Moss

Another great book that takes a different perspective!  Not the bully, not the victim but the bystander.  This story helps students understand that just watching also helps the bullying.  There are some suggested activities at the back of the book in order to help your classroom discussions.

       

7) Each Kindness, Jacqueline Woodson

A great young child book where learning about making others feel welcome is the central message.  The development of the story is based on the belief that each kindness makes the world a little better.

 

 

8)Teammates, Peter Golenbock

 

A fantastic story about Jackie Robinson becoming the first coloured man to play baseball and the strength of friendship superseding fear and ridicule.

 

9)The Bully Goat Grim, A Maynard Moose Tale, Willy Claflin

The story of a Bully Goat and a Baby Troll.  It is a high flying story with lots of characters and a funny story.  At the heart of the story is the essence of being strong willed and loving yourself enough to stand up for yourself.

 

10) Way to Be!  How to be Brave, Responsible, Honest and an                   All Around Great Kid, Mary Small

A wonderful book showing how one’s character counts.  There are many examples on choosing right from wrong with a text that is easy to understand.

 

 

11) Colours of Me,  Brynne Barnes

A child’s interest in the colors of the world around her, help her develop an understanding that it is great to be anyone of them.  An inspiring perspective in acceptance of differences.

 

 

12) Don’t Laugh at Me, Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin

                          

A sweet book for young children helping them understand diversity is acceptable.    Furthermore, it builds on language skills for students to use in order to stop teasing.

 

We hope you find our list useful in your classroom.

Bullying: Reporting vs. Telling

With all eyes and ears on bullying and anti bullying initiatives, we are also facing the same challenges in keeping our ears to the ground so to speak.  We cannot be in every place for every situation but yet we need to address them.  What we need to understand is that every time someone is being bullied there is always someone else that is present.  We do not want to imply that they are culpable, but when they just stand around and observe or watch, they help perpetuate the bullying behavior.  One of our greatest assets in diminishing and preventing bullying is the help of other students.  But, what I have found is that other students do not understand they have the power to be or to make that difference.  They believe they cannot make a difference and sometimes do not possess the strategies necessary to make that difference.  We have to help them identify these strategies and understand that the safety of others is of essence and they are responsible for their own and others well being.  One key factor is having students understand the difference between telling and reporting.

Telling: When a student is telling a person of authority about an action or situation, in order to get the other student(s) in trouble when there is no safety concern for self or for others.

Reporting: When a student tells a person of authority about an action or situation in order to prevent the emotional and/or physical safety of others.

Students need practice through demonstrations to be able to understand the difference.  They need to be able to identify situations and how to address them.  That is, if they speak to a person of authority about that situation, would it be telling or reporting?

Below you will find a link to a presentation (5 slides) that can be used as a short handout, or worked through as a group.   Don’t get fooled though, a lot of discussion will be generated!

To begin students will be able to identify who the trusted adults in their surroundings are and who will be able to help.  The presentation stresses personal safety and the safety of others as paramount.  After identifying the adults who could help, students will brainstorm the difference between telling and reporting.  Lastly, 3 different scenarios are provided for group discussion.  At the end of the presentation, it is time to proceed to different teaching strategies.

Some strategies to help students further understand that they cannot just stand by and watch unsafe situations happen are as follows:

1)   Have students role – play different scenarios (student developed) as a great way to recognize their actions and how to act appropriately.

2)   Another way is to build understanding through visuals. Students can create posters for a variety of audiences.

3)   Get technology involved! Students can create digital presentations (Powerpoint or Prezi are fantastic tools)

4)   Students can get even more creative by developing songs, videos, news/podcasts, or commercial.

Reporting vs Telling Presentation

We hope that starting off with small steps will begin to make a difference in your schools.