Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dangers of Removing Cursive from the Classroom

     I have not visited this blog in a while. The debate over cursive writing is a strong one for me. Many believe that is is unimportant but I believe it is important for everyone to know cursive.

     I wrote this article for Associated Content many years ago. It then became Yahoo Voices and is now gone. I wanted to share it on my blog since it is no longer in publication because it is something I am extremely passionate about. 

     Currently many schools have opted to drop cursive or long handwriting from their curriculum. Many educators believe that cursive is no longer useful because it is too time consuming. Students now use keyboards and cursive is not required by government standards. Cursive should not be removed from education. It provides many positive attributes to education and learning.

      Some educators believe that cursive should no longer be taught because people use keyboards in the global world today. They believe that students no longer need to know how to write in cursive because they can type their assignments at a faster pace than if they write them out.
     The standardized tests that schools use to meet the No Child Left Behind Act does not include cursive so, to meet state and national standards many schools just drop cursive. Schools see no need in teaching something that will not be tested by the standardized assessments.
     It is sad to see that everything has come down to whether or not it is meeting the government standards of testing. Cursive is important and kids need to learn it. Cursive is an art form that also helps children with their fine motor and creative thinking skills.
     Scientists even agree that cursive is an important skill that people should learn. They believe it plays a role in the visual recognition of letters. They believe that keyboarding is an important skill to learn in the global world, however it is just as important to learn to write in cursive because studies have shown that people learn information better when they write it out by hand than by using a keyboard. Information is retained better when taking notes by hand instead of typing on a keyboard. Cursive is a faster way to write so it is a more efficient way to take hand written notes.
     Studies have been done to prove that people learn new information better if they write it out verses reading in on a screen and using a key board. A group of young adults in one study were taught a new foreign alphabet. One group learned to recognize the characters by viewing them on a screen and using a keyboard. The other group learned by writing them out using cursive. The result was that the group that learned the letters by using the keyboard did not score as well as those who learned them by writing them out.
     Brain studies were also done on the participants, which showed that the part of the brain that is responsible for language comprehension, speech association, and motor skills was more active in those who learned by hand. This study showed that children learn better if they write out the information that they are receiving.
     Another downfall to dropping cursive is that kids will no longer have access to many historical documents because they are written in cursive and the kids cannot read or write in cursive.
     It is not as simple as just dropping something and moving on to a computerized society. People still need to possess manual skills. It is possible that computers someday fail. If this happens, there will be a society of lost citizens who cannot function because they do not have a screen and keyboard. It is just as important to learn cursive as it is to learn how to do math manually.
     Cursive is an important part of history and an important skill for all kids to learn. It is not just a form of art, it is an essential tool in critical thinking skills and deeper thought. It is a tool to help people's brains fire in certain areas that will no longer fire if they are not stimulated. Cursive should remain in schools for all of its positive attributes. 


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Guided Play Writing Lesson Plan - Attack of Sharktopus

I have written  about my enrichment lesson, play writing and the process in writing the play Attack of Sharktopus. This is the lesson plan I created for this project. It was creative and enriching for my students.
Teacher(s): Kim Miller                                  Subject:  Enrichment         Date: November 8, 2016
7 Days
Instructional Focus: DOK 3, DOK 4
 DOK 1- Recall/Reproduction DOK 2-Application Skills & Concepts DOK3-Strategic Thinking DOK 4-Extended Thinking
Content Standards
 New Mexico Standard W3a I can establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
NM Theatre Arts 2A(b) 4-6 - I can Develop dialogue to express character’s feelings
Instructional Model for Student Mastery Final written play.

Summative assessment: Final written play
Activities for Knowledge and Skills Instruction: Numbers one through eight need to be included in your lesson plans.
1.      Method for accessing prior knowledge: Discuss plays that we have read as a class and how they are written.
2.      Method for achieving QCG objectives: Writing, reading
3.      Modeling (I do…) How will the unit content be introduced and modeled for students? TW read plays with students, then model how a play is written.
4.      Guided practice (We do…) How will you gradually release responsibility to students? SW write their class play in steps and put together as a group.
5.      Independent practice (You do…) What activities will students engage in to support mastery? SW create their own character, plot and setting.
6.      Methods for checking understanding: Observation, discussion
7.      How will you provide timely feedback to students: Discussion each day as the play writing progresses
8.      Modifications and accommodations for all students:

Lesson Plan Information
ACCOMMODATIONS (check all that apply/add other strategies)
Repeat/Confirm/Simplify Directions
Present instructions orally
Give directions in small steps
Provide visual aids
Provide partially completed outline or
     graphic organizer
Show a model of the end product
Provide study guides and/or study questions
Increase wait time for responses
Pair student with students modeling good
Reward positive behaviors
Use non-verbal cues to communicate
     inappropriate behavior

Section 504      SAT

Repeat/Confirm/Simplify Directions
Access to manipulatives
Increase wait time for responses
Slower speech, clear enunciation
Provide partially completed outline or
    graphic organizer
Provide sentence frames/starters

Culture Connection (check all that apply/add other cultural connections)
  Recognition and validation of all student’s culture                                        Legitimizes student’s real life experience
  Establishment of appropriate relationship between student and teacher        Encourages collaboration of students from various cultures

Each box expands for you to add lesson plan information. The above activities need to appear somewhere in your lesson plans.
Day 1
·         TW model how to write a play based on the plays students have read.
·         SW create a character, with feelings, thoughts, ideas
Day 2
·         SW create a plot on paper with problem and solution.
Day 3
·         SW create a setting
·         Entire class and TW discuss the setting, plots and problems.
Day 4
·         As a group will determine main setting and how the others will fit into the story.
Day 5
·         SW create a dialogue through guided writing for their characters with the other characters in the story.
·         Blocking, script and setting notes will be added to the play.

Day 6 and Day 7
·         Dialogue will be put together through guided writing with the settings to finalize the play.

Through this lesson students learned to work collaboratively and creatively in writing their play, rehearsing and production. Students used a higher level of thinking skills during the entire process of this project. All students were highly engaged because they were a part of their own education. The entire project was a huge success.
Review: The final play was a success.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Third Grade Student/Teacher Written Play-Attack of Sharktopus

     I recently wrote about the student/teacher written play my enrichment class completed. We took it from an idea to the stage and they did a smashing job. They created the names for their characters, their personalities and brought them to life. 
     This is the actual play. All rights belong to Kim Miller and her Third Grade Enrichment Class. 
Set by Kim Miller and Alyse Roe
Costumes by Oliver Roe
Sharktapus – the bad guy
Dragon – thought to be bad
Belissa – a happy 20 year old   
Wonder Woman – The hero
Amy – 17 year old girl 
Sam – Happy 16 year old girl 
Ashley – 19 year old girl who likes make up and doesn’t like to be happy, likes to be mean.
Stephanie – 17 year old, likes make up, is always happy, a little goofy.
Stacey – 18 year old girl, is mean and doesn’t like crying
Tiffanie – 16 years old and is nice and helpful.
Grandpa Joe - Older man
Navajo Man – Narrator

A volcano explodes. It rains and turns the ash to rock.
A girl’s brother is going to the army to help fight the dragon.
Grandpa is bitten by the 
sharktopus who is really the bad guy, not the dragon.
In the end the people learn the dragon is actually good but the people don’t know that until the end. Sharktopus is the real bad guy and in the middle of the story he has a fight with the dragon.

Scene 1
The village has been under attack from the dragon. Tiffany‘s brother is going to the army to fight the dragon.

Setting: Village on an island near a volcano.

An elderly Navajo man is narrating the story.

Navajo Man: Many many years ago on the island of Pompeii there was an evil dragon that lived behind the volcano. The dragon wanted to eat the people in the village. The people were scared. They had an army that was blocking him from the village. The dragon was usually only mad when the people bothered him.”
Tiffany “I’m so scared, my brother is going to the army to fight the dragon.”
Belissa “Oh no, are you sad too?”
Tiffany “Yes. I don’t want him to go.”
Stephanie “How old is he and why does he want to go to the army?”
Ashley “It’s gonna be ok.”
Stacey “you’re such a baby.”
Ashley “Toughen up.”
Tiffany “Stop being mean!”
Ashley “ok, ok…geez.”
Stephanie “I got new shoes.”
Ashley “We’re not talking about shoes.”
Belissa “I thought I could see the bright in you Ashley. But you’re on your dark side”
Amy runs up to the group. “Hurry, hurry, grandpa is at the hospital. A shark bit him while he was swimming at the beach.”
All “Oh no”
The girls run off the stage.
Sharktopus enters the stage and shows his teeth and makes a shark sound.

Scene 2

Setting: In the hospital.

Grandpa is in bed and the girls are all there with him.

Ashley “Are you ok grandpa?”
Grandpa “No, I got bit by a shark and it hurt.”
Tiffany (gives grandpa a hug) “I’m sorry you got bit by a shark”
Belissa hugs grandpa too “Can you describe what the shark looks like?”
Sam “This shouldn’t have happened to poor grandpa”
Ashley “What kind of shark was it?”
Stephanie “Was it big?”
Stacey “Was it small?”
Amy “Did it have sharp teeth?
Grandpa “Wait! Stop! It was a sharktapus”
Amy “What is a sharktapus?
Sam “I knew it wasn’t a regular shark.”
Tiffany “Sharktapus is a legend, half of him is a shark and half is an octopus.”
Stephanie: “What kind of legend?”
Stacey “Isn’t it a shark legend?”
Ashley “Are you sure?”
Tiffany “A legend is a story from a long long time ago! Yes it is a shark legend and yes I’m sure because my brother saw him.”

Scene 3

Cut to center stage, hospital actors go dark.
Setting Center stage

Navajo Man: A long time ago everyone thought the dragon was mean but really Sharktopus was the mean one. One day in the village by Pompeii the dragon was protecting the village from Sharktopus. The two of them fought and all of the sudden Wonder Woman entered the scene.
Cut to stage right near the volcano where the dragon and Sharktopus are fighting. Wonder woman appears.
Wonder Woman: you better stop fighting or else I will tie you up!!”
A Girl “wait, wait, the dragon isn’t the bad guy, its Sharktopus”
Navajo Man: Wonder woman lassos Sharktopus and throws him into the water …until this day no one has heard about him.

Scene 4

Setting:  the hospital

Sam “Ssh Grandpa is trying to sleep.”
Tiffany “Do you want to know how Sharktopus got lose?”
Stacey “Yes”
Stephanie “Yes”
Ashley “yes”
Tiffany “One tentacle was not tied up and he cut the rest and got away.
Belissa: Cut the rest of what?
Tiffany: The rope silly.
Sam: “I saw writing on the beach and it said “I’m Back” It looked like it was written by a tentacle.”
Tiffany: “My brother told me the dragon is getting beaten up by the Sharktapus.”
Amy: “I’m scared!”
Stacey: “Me too.”
Tiffany:  “Me three.”
Ashley “where is the fight happening?”
Tiffany “By the volcano.”
Stephanie: “We should just go swimming.”
Everyone looks at her puzzled because that is such a goofy suggestion. Then they shake their heads in amazement at the suggestion.
From a distance grandpa shouts.
Grandpa: ““I’m hungry. I want toast with butter.”
Stacey, “I’ll get you some.”
Tiffany “I’ll help you”
Both exit toward the hospital.
Sam “We should set up a trap for Sharktopus that way he won’t hurt anyone else!”
Wonder Woman enters from stage left
Wonder Woman “Did you say set a trap?” Puts her hands on her hips “I can set traps!”
Stephanie “look its Wonder Woman!”
Stephanie “Can we get ice cream?”
Everyone looks at her again
All “No, what is wrong with you?”
Sharktapus comes up behind them all, they turn around, see him and all yell.
All “ Sharktopus!”
Sam “Run!”
The dragon comes up behind Sharktopus as the others run away but stay on stage.
Wonder Woman uses her powers to stop the fighting. She uses her powers to send Sharktopus back into the water.
Wonder Woman “That’s the end of Sharktopus, he can’t leave the water.” She waves her hand at the water.
Stacey runs back on the stage
Stacey: “What happened?”
Ashley (grumpily) “It’s a long story!”
Grandpa (yells) “My tummy is rumbly, I’m starving!”
Tiffanie runs on to the stage
Tiffanie: “What happened?”
Amy “Wonder Woman saved the day.”
Sam “Wonder woman tossed Sharktopus into the water so he can’t hurt anyone ever again!.”
All “Yea, Yea for Wonder Woman, our hero.”
Stephanie “Can we get ice cream now?
All “Yes!!”
Sam “Ice cream, can we have pizza too?”
Belissa “Yes we need pizza, let’s go…”
They all leave the stage.
From the water Sharktopus shows his head and grins.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Enriching Lesson for the Gifted - Guided Play Writing

     I teach gifted and talented but I also teach enrichment. One of my 3rd grade  enrichment groups had been asking if they could perform a play. We had been reading several plays and they thought it would be fun to actually perform one. So, I decided "what the heck" it would be a fun adventure. We read several plays so that we could choose one. A wrench was placed into my plans when my group grew. I looked over many of the plays we had read, searched my inventory of plays only to discover none of them had enough characters giving each student equal or at least desired stage time.

      After giving it some thought I decided we needed to write our own play. This way my students could choose the amount of stage time each would receive and create their own story line. So now to the beginning of the project...

     The first step was to come up with characters. I had each student create the character they wanted to be in the play. This step was easy because they all have very strong ideas.

     Step 2 was to create some plots. I had each student create a beginning, middle and end. Once this was complete we went over their ideas and voted on their favorite beginning, middle and end. The kids had a lot of fun with this part.

     The third step was the most detailed and took the longest but was a lot of fun. We began writing the script. I summarized the plot, then each student began talking as I wrote. It took several days to complete this process. After each draft writing was complete I would type it up, we would read it and the kids would add more lines to their story to make it more interesting. I did make suggestions as we wrote the play, edited so the story line was organized in some areas. It was a collaborative effort between teacher and students. One I will cherish and gladly do again.

     Finally the play was complete, Attack of the Sharktopus was born.

     Attack of Sharktopus play

+Attack of Sharktopus
+Guided play writing

Sunday, April 9, 2017

My Gifted Education Personal Learning Network

     For this weeks assignment in my gifted college class I have to build my personal learning network on gifted education through a twitter chat. I must say that twitter chat is very busy and too confusing. I decided I would start here and use this on my twitter. Personally I do not like all of the social chat rooms but would love to learn what others are doing for their gifted students.

     I try to find enriching and fun activities and projects for my kids. However sometimes that is hard becuase there are times the kids just seem to want to tune out no matter what you try. However sometimes they just need to let their minds rest.

     I teach in a pull-out situation so my kids are in the regular ed class most of the day. Their time with me is when we focus on their areas of giftedness and when we focus on things that are challenging and fun. I have thought they are bored sometimes when they just chill but have learned that is a time they need to let their minds rest and do something that requires little or no thiking time.

     Currently our project is creating an Escape Room.The kids are having a blast with this project.

     Once I have a network here I will share more of the projects my students have and plan to do.

     Please share with me your projects and ideas.

     +gifted education
ifted and Talented

Monday, February 20, 2017

Changes to this Blog

     This blog began as a journey though my student teaching experiences in hopes that others who might have been student teaching could benefit from my experiences.

     I am now teaching and hope to change this into a site to help other teachers with lesson ideas, classroom management ideas and well any other teaching ideas I might have. No I am not an expert, as it were, but I think I provide some very interesting and enriching lessons and activities for my students. I have also undergone some interesting experiences that I will share...

     So kick back and enjoy what is to come...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Back to Work, Back to School

    The last couple of weeks have been quite the journey. I went back to work on August 10 and started college on August 18. Both are keeping me very busy.

     I began my gifted and talented master degree. I am taking this degree at Grand Canyon University. The course work is challenging but the new knowledge is inspiring.

     My first class is in brain based learning. I absolutely love this topic. I wish that all teachers and educators had to take it. Brain Based is the best way to learn about the mind of a human and reach the entire child. But that for a later blog.

     Juggling college and full time work is a trial especially when  my job is located 70 miles away. I think the drive is the hardest part of my job this year. For some reason it is really getting to me.

     But all of this aside I still love my job and enjoy college...