Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I don't know about yours, but my students do not watch the news. And therefore they are often oblivious to the events in our world that bring hardship and pain onto others. As adolescents they are naturally inclined to think about their own hardships--they forgot their gym shoes, they don't like what's for lunch, they missed the bus, they failed a test--but they don't spend much time thinking about what other people may struggle through.
And this will be the case this morning. As thousands of people in Joplin, Missouri wander the streets in disbelief, looking for loved ones, standing in silent tears not sure where to begin the rebuilding of their lives, my students will complain about another rainy day.
But please do not interpret their lack of interest as a lack of heart. Kids believe that if it is important, we will address it at school--they expect us to; they rely on us for this; they trust us to do so. And when we address tragedies like the one that took place in Joplin with our students, they think hard about their world and their values, and they thank us for taking the time to show them. And when we don't address these issues, we breed apathy.
This morning I will be sitting with my students and looking at pictures. We will decide how we can help. Yes, it will take time out of our precious curriculum, but frankly, don't we have an unwritten curriculum for the heart? I hope in the long run my students will leave my classroom able to read analytically and write coherently. But more than anything, I hope to see them give and care endlessly.
Posted by Angie Miller at 6:52 AM
Saturday, May 21, 2011
A busy week has swept by me once again, full of school functions, school visits, speeches, and track meets. Too much to write about and not enough time to write about it well, but in the little spare time I have had, my mind has been occupied to the point of explosion by exciting thoughts.
The one thing that has really struck me this week is the importance of teachers watching teachers. I have had the pleasure of sitting in 5 of our 8 semifinalist classes and visiting their schools, and I have walked away from each observation with ideas for either my classroom or my school. I have been thinking about the importance of mentoring programs; gotten a glimpse of integrated arts at work; watched kids come alive in a science classroom; seen how reading, writing, speaking, and supporting arguments can be so easily integrated into a social studies lesson; and witnessed technology playing a seamless role in classrooms. I have pages of art ideas, book titles, and contact names in my notebook that I have furiously gathered on the side. I have returned to school, eager to share with my peers.
This makes me think about the role professional development plays in our schools. Professional development is usually us sitting in a classroom or at a conference having a professional speak to us. And we then either put the information in a binder or privately implement a new practice into our classroom, returning to our schools where we too often teach behind closed doors. But I have found that sitting in these classrooms and walking through these hallways really makes me reflect upon my own practices. Do I give students enough time to process before they answer? Are my objectives for a lesson made clear? Do my class sizes impact how I teach writing and how could I overcome that? What is the culture we set in our school? This week has been some of the most effective professional development I have received, because sitting in other teachers’ classrooms does not only give me new ideas, but it forces me to reflect upon my own beliefs and practices.
Teachers yearn this.
Is there any reason why we can’t make it happen?
Posted by Angie Miller at 4:00 PM
Sunday, May 15, 2011
|View of the White House|
May 2, 2011
|Ford's Theatre--taken by my husband, May 2, 2011. I was sad I did not make it there, sadder that|
he didn't realize that Lincoln actually died across the street so he didn't get a picture of that.
|I love this picture--preparing to go to the White House; trying to figure out the camera.|
May 3, 2011
|For some reason, even though it was a flawlessly bright day, we still had giant spotlights shining on us.|
May 3, 2011
|Action shot of my conversation with Senator Kelly Ayotte. I need to learn to speak|
with my mouth and not so much with my hands...
May 3, 2011
|I love this picture--it makes me look all senatorial, talking outside the Senate Building,|
but really I'm talking baseball with my son!
May 3, 2011
|View of the Smithsonian Castle (to the left) and the Washington Monument|
from the Capitol.
May 3, 2011
|A late night return to The Fairfax, where we stayed. Because of my camera issues,|
I only had my phone to take pictures with, and while most of the pictures from this evening
came out poor and oddly colored, the effect on this photo was beautiful.
|The DOE presented us with a cake, tuned up some music, and showed us that all educators know how to have fun!|
Posted by Angie Miller at 12:18 PM