Tuesday, 21 October 2014

What Makes a Good Teacher?

What Makes a Good Teacher?

This is not meant to be a controversial subject.  It is meant to be an open conversation on what parents perceive a 'good' teacher to be, based on a conversation I had with a group of mothers over the weekend. 

I was chatting with some friends over the weekend and one of them mentioned that she didn't particularly like her daughter's kindergarten teacher.  My friend said that this teacher was not a very good teacher, in her opinion.  

So this got me thinking... What is a 'good' teacher in the eyes of parents?   
I asked them all; "So then, what makes a 'good' teacher?"  They all agreed that; a good teacher is one that really cares about their children, not just their academics but them as a whole.  

What Makes a Good Teacher?

One mother commented that she wanted to know that her baby was being looked after.  

One of my girlfriends said that her children will come home and talk non-stop about their teacher if they like them.   They will beam with excitement as they recount the day or what the teacher said,  did or what the teacher liked. 

 One of the ladies said that a good teacher is someone that will not shut you down when you try to talk to them.  They will not seem so busy that they give you a short response and end the conversation.   A good teacher answers a parent's questions or concerns and acts on them. 

So in summary, in the opinion of a few mothers, a good teacher:

~ Genuinely cares about their students,
~ Cares about the whole child.
~ Makes a parent feel at ease knowing they will look after them 
~ Is talked about at home..... all the time. 
~ Will not shut down a parent but give them time.
~ Will answer a parents' questions and concerns and follow them up. 

You may have noticed that there are no references to academics here.  Perhaps this is because the points listed above are a higher priority in the eyes of these parents.  It's not that these parents don't hold academics as highly important, I know them, they do, I think these examples are at the core of what they need their childrens' teachers to be. 

What do you think makes a good teacher?  What makes a great or exceptional teacher? 

What perspective are you looking from? 

Are you looking at this question as a parent, community member, legislator, parliamentary member, teacher to teacher, teacher to self, principal or student? 

Perhaps you could ask your students this question or even your staff and parents? 

As teachers, I know we ask ourselves this question each day.  You probably ask the same questions I ask of myself:  Am I good enough?  Was that lesson the best I could make it?  How can I help Johnny understand this better?  Did I explain that properly?  Next time I will..... next time I won't...... the list goes on.  

Perhaps a 'good' teacher is a recipe of many things. From experience, I'm sure it is, I know it is.   For me, I know that developing relationships with children to find out who they are and how they learn is very important.   I believe each child, each person learns a certain way and once we tap into that as teachers, we can make those connections both cognitively and emotionally and induce a love of learning.  

What Makes a Good Teacher?

There is so much more to being a 'good' teacher but I'm not posting this to note what I think is a good teacher but to pose the question so we can chat about the perspective of the stakeholders of education and the education of our children. 

All I know is that teachers do their absolute BEST to be great teachers, to be exceptional teachers.  How could this not be true?  I see it all the time.  Despite the lack of funding, teaching ratios, paying for equipment out of our own pockets, spending hours before and after school, time on the weekend (away from family) planning for the week and the list goes on.  Teachers try to be all they can for one reason, for the kids.  It's all about the students, all the time. 

So this brings us to the paradox between what a parent perceives is a good teacher and what students and other stakeholders see as the definition of a good teacher.  

I value the opinion of parents and being privy to this conversation reminds me that I want to ensure their perspective is considered and layered into the day of the students I teach. 

What do you think? 

We are having a discussion over at our Facebook page, come and join in or leave a comment here.  

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Free Halloween Apps and More

Free Halloween Apps and More

Smart Apps for Kids has been busy sorting through FREE Halloween apps. 

 Top Ten Completely FREE apps for Halloween!

I love this site because they do all the hard work by researching all the free apps and posting the ones that have no in-app purchases. 

Here are some of the apps you might like (click on the images to read more):

Free Halloween Apps and More

Free Halloween Apps and More

Free Halloween Apps and More

Free Halloween Apps and More

Free Halloween Apps and More

For the full list of free apps, click here.

Here is a free Halloween themed vocabulary chart (click on the images to see more) to use with your writer's workshop and word work centers. 

FREE Halloween Vocabulary Chart

FREE Halloween Vocabulary Chart

I have collected hundreds of Halloween ideas and resources to help in the classroom.  
You can find them over on my 'Halloween' and 'Autumn/Fall' Pinterest boards

For more Halloween or Fall digital resources, check out our store

Fall and Halloween Units Combo

Fall and Halloween Units Combo  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-and-Halloween-Units-Combo-for-First-and-Second-Grade-899541

Fall and Halloween Units Combo

Fall and Halloween Units Combo

Fall and Halloween Units Combo

Fall and Halloween Units Combo

Fall and Halloween Units Combo

Happy Halloween!

Thanks for dropping by.

Clip art in top header by Whimsy Workshop and fonts by Kevin and Amanda.
Second header from Smart Apps for Kids. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Pumpkin Life Cycle on a Paper Plate, oh my!

Your pumpkin life cycle lessons are now sorted with all of these support resources! 

Paper Plate Pumpkin Life Cycle

I love the idea of using paper plates for life cycles. I was so excited about the idea, I made a whole bunch of them!

Paper Plate Life Cycles, Frog, Pumpkin, Apple, Sunflower and more

The pumpkin life cycle is very easy to create as children can read the poster after reading a story and then fill in the life cycle printable. 



After that, they simply color, cut and paste the life cycle in the correct order on the painted paper plate. 

Paper Plate Pumpkin Life Cycle

Here are some pumpkin YouTube videos that you could show to help children learn about how a pumpkin grows.

There are also other pumpkin themed videos that include stories, craft, songs, decorating ideas and informational videos. 

Pumpkin Videos for Kids

You might also like our Informational Writing Pumpkin Themed First and Second Grade Common Core printables to explicitly teach the steps of writing informational texts.

Informational Writing Pumpkin Themed First and Second Grade Common Core

Informational Writing Pumpkin Themed First and Second Grade Common Core

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, 6 October 2014

I Finally Met my Online Friends!

I Finally Met my Online Friends!

Last weekend I was lucky enough to meet up with six of my dearest and closest friends.  Yup, they are my sweet girls who I adore.  Sorry about the gushing descriptions but I just can't help it!

My girls:
(picture above, from top left)

Brooke from Teachable Moments
Shanyn from Classroom Chit Chat and 

We have been chatting online for over two years and when I say chatting, I mean everyday and about everything!  It's funny but we probably chat the least about blogging and more about life!

These wonderful girls have been the best support system for me through life's ups and downs.  I would do anything for these girls. 

I left the quiet shores of my sleepy beach side town to drive north to busy Sydney.  After picking up Alison and meeting with Brooke and swapping cars, we drove into the city where we finally met the other girls. 

It sure is wacky meeting friends in person that you really know very well.  We are so lucky to have the internet and the joys it brings. 

Look at the view from our room!

We DID NOT stop talking as we sat in the bar of the hotel and drank our free drinks, yes free drinks! Thanks Park Royal Darling Harbour. We were so loud I'm sure we were getting strange looks! 

We talked about blogging and even played a game, headed up by Mrs. Poultney (Tania) that only fellow bloggers would get!  

Miss Tania had me in hysterics all night.  She seriously knows how to make me laugh. You know those friends you have that you could just listen to all night and you just want more, yeah well Tania is one of those friends.  I just wish she lived around the corner!  I had met Tania before down in Tassie (Tasmania), you know that little island at the bottom of Australia, that's where Tania is from!

After our drinks we headed out to dinner. We saw some spectacular fireworks on the way. 
Yay, just for us!!!

Yum, the food was scrummy!  Those two guys you see, aren't bloggers at all, they were our body guards! 

Meeting Mel was crazy.  Mel has been such a dear friend and she always has the best advice. Honestly, she has the knack of just saying the perfect thing at the perfect time.  I feel like I could ask her anything and I would get honest, respectful and thoughtful feedback.  I also can't help but admire Mel.  She is hard working, consistently amazing and extremely talented.  I just love how this girl's mind works, for real!  Mel and I can also identify with our similar journey's.  We have both taught Kindergarten, started selling our resources (laminated etc) on eBay as well as our own websites.  We have both been creating resources for years and love it.  I'm sure we found TpT at the same time as well.  However, Mel is a master blogger, full of amazing ideas and resources. 

Oh and thanks for our gift Mel, you know me so well!

I have to say that I was so thrilled to meet Brooke again.  We had met a couple of weeks earlier (read more here).  Brooke is a calm spirit who is also very thoughtful and someone who you can always rely on.  Brooke and my father-in-law live a few doors down from each other and now that we know that, we will be seeing more of each other. 

I can always count on Brooke for support.  Brooke and I chatted and chatted about all kinds of things and I am so lucky to have a friend like Brooke.  She is one of those friends that time passes so quickly because you are so busy gas-bagging (is that just an Aussie term?). 

Brooke also contacted GoNoodle who generously supplied us with lanyards for our blog tags and a carry bag. 

I was lucky enough to bunk with Stef.  Stef is a such a kind soul. She is always thinking of everyone else and always there to support whoever needs it.  I was so thrilled to share a room with Stef as I got to learn more about her family and her class.  She is so passionate about what she does and always goes that extra mile to make sure she is going beyond what her students need. 

Stef you are so sweet and I am so very lucky to be able to call you a dear friend. 

Cute Shanyn, now this little dynamite is a little cutie but don't be fooled by her smile, she is a pocket rocket!  Shanyn is bubbly and full of energy and always cracking us up with her witty replies and funny one liners. 

Thanks for letting me share your dessert Shanyn!

I can't believe that I actually got to meet you and can't wait to meet up next time.  Seriously, look how sweet this girl is. Thanks for making me laugh!

I was able to spend a bit of extra time with Alison as I picked her up on the way to Brooke's.  We chatted about so many things and loved spending time learning about her town in Victoria (a whole state away).  Alison is so thoughtful and is often the one who has such thoughtful advice.  She is always thinking about how to help everyone else.  

The following day we went for a walk along Darling Harbour and then took the ferry around the harbour, under Sydney Harbour Bridge to Circular Quay and back to Darling Harbour.  

It was so exciting to meet these girls and I cannot tell you how happy I am to call them dear, dear friends. 

Thanks for the memories girls.