If you don’t go for what you want you’ll never have it. Plan, prepare, and pursue it with purpose in your heart and mind.
The kids are out for the summer! For some people this brings excitement and for others it brings fear. Some parents really fear facing their own children because they simply don’t know what to do with them. I don’t want that to be you so listen up!
Today’s post is going to help you keep your kids engaged in learning even if you do it do not have them in an enrichment camp. Parents are the first teachers so let me help you look like a master teacher mmmmk?
The first tip is to identify where your child struggled all year. Was it behavior? Math? Writing? This needs to be your area of focus in helping them learn to master what they missed. Some parents keep pushing in prepping for the next grade but we have to address first where the struggle was because the beginning of the school always starts with a review and assessment of learning. This still gives your child an opportunity to display mastery before moving on academically.
To help address the weaker areas help your child simply review. I’m an advocate for songs and YouTube is the bomb. Find a song for the standard. Water cycle? There’s a song for that. Division strategy? Song for that! Grammar? Songs those too! Find it, sing, dance. Your child will remember you whipping to the strategy with them all summer long.
The second tip is to teach up. Once you’ve done your review it’s time to teach up. This means make the work rigorous. Yes it’s summer but familiarize them with work they will see in the upcoming school year. The teacher showing it shouldn’t be the first time your child sees it. Even if you have them read a two page article about Ceaser Chavez because you saw him on the Social Studies standards for the next year. Your summer work doesn’t need to be elaborate but should be introductory.
If the teacher asks “Class does anyone know who or what XYZ is?” Your child should be able to raise their hand and say yes. Then let the teacher expand the learning. You’re giving your baby what we call prior knowledge and your child’s teacher will love you for it. It’s the first step on the ladder to success and mastery. This produces high levels of confidence and competence for your child because they have some sort of foundation to begin with.
The third tip is to make it fun. Remember it is still summer. It doesn’t have to be structured, make learning fun! Plan museum trips, download fun computer games, order learning board games on Amazon, create games. I’m personally using lapbooks and interactive notebooks with my kids this summer. We’re also going to be using those tablets and phones they love so much!
Let your kid make a video commercial explaining a new strategy or who a historical figure was. Let them write a poem or rap. We are project based learners in our house and my kids love it and retain information better with them. I’m sure yours will appreciate incorporating the fun as well. Google “ways to assess learning” and pick what works for your family.
My fourth tip is to track growth. Even over the summer, track how your baby is doing. Most kids have 9-12 weeks out for the summer, that’s a semester in school. Your child comes home with a progress report and report card during that time. How are you tracking growth at home? Something as simple as the first week of summer I gave you this multiplication sheet and you got 10/30 right now on week five you’re getting 25/30 correct. Our goal is 30/30 correct by the last week! Tracking growth builds your child’s confidence that yes they are still growing and meeting their goals.
Lastly give rewards. Reward the progress, the efforts, the challenges, and the change. Reward it all because your child will continue to do what they know you love, no matter how old. Even if it’s ice cream, a trip to the movies, ordering something on Amazon (yes we order a lot of Amazon 😂), or spending time together playing as a family, bring it all back to affirming your child. They need it from you because you’re the parent. The teacher may not be doing it at school and I firmly believe all children need to be affirmed and looked it the eye and told ” I knew you could do it! I’m so proud of you! I can’t wait to see what you can do next!” DAILY.
Don’t overthink this. Review the state learning standards for your child’s upcoming grade level here: http://www.corestandards.org
Make a quick checklist of what you can realistically cover over the summer, aim for five areas under each subject. Then see what your state or any city you’re traveling to offers. Can they do math at the park? Visit a museum in NY? Use math to bake cookies with grandma?
Keep them focused, keep it fresh, keep it fun! Happy Summer 😀😀.
As I was reading my bible today I came across this passage: “Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice” (Psalm 31:8-9
The funny thing is I was going there to read about the virtuous woman so that I can learn how to be a better steward over what God has given me in my personal life like my husband, children, and home. But what was revealed to me was what I also need to be a good steward over and that’s my gift of speaking and serving and taking it further by representing the helpless.
When I read that scripture I immediately thought of speaking and advocacy efforts. The work that I do daily. The young people that I serve can be viewed as helpless and those that cannot speak up for themselves. The urban children of color I serve don’t yet realize the disadvantages they are already being exposed to in life and will have to work twice as hard to overcome, so they are being done an injustice. We have to be their voice in the community, in the government, in our places of worship, in our schools and homes.
They can’t articulate their needs and create powerful solutions, but we can. They can’t write letters to their government officials stating what laws need to be created or defended but we can. They can’t organize community efforts to establish groups of support for them, but we can.
We have the ability to do so much to represent those who are still learning themselves, their ever changing world, and their place in it. We have to see to it that they get justice; a world where they aren’t judged by the color of their skin or defined by the neighborhoods they grew up in. A world where they don’t have to fear playing in a park or walking to the store. A world where they are free to be themselves and feel free to expresss themselves.
We are their voice and it’s through the use of ours that we help them see the void to find their own voices. When no one speaks up it signifies acceptance. We are called to a higher standard in which we can’t regress and omit the gifts we’ve been given because there are people depending on us.
Here’s how you can speak up today:
- Who doesn’t have an active voice in the community?
- What body of people do you see consistently mistreated?
- Who is doing the mistreatment?
- What is the message you want to send to the ones causing the mistreatment? (In one sentence)
- What are the needs/problems of the body of people you’re going to speak up for?
- What are three solutions to that problem?
- How are you going to articulate the problem and the solution? A Periscope video? A letter? A series of blog posts? A series of tweets including the people who can help you?
- Now that you’re clear do it! Just one step from number seven. 😀
Question: Who in your community can’t speak up for themselves and what are you going to do to speak up for them?
Have you ever noticed that it is really hard to make a decision sometimes? There might be two really good choices to chose from and you just have no idea what to do? You call a friend and ask for their opinion and then you still try to decide what’s going to be best for you.
1. Define the problem. You typically need to make a decision because you have a problem to solve.
What is the goal you hope to acheive when you reach a solution? Example: Problem: I really need an outfit for this graudation party. Solution: I will find something that looks good on me and is appropriate for the occasion.
2. Think about your other possibilities. You are stuck making a decision because you have multiple choices. Think about all the alternatives to the problem.
3. Evaluate your choices. Ask yourself is this choice in line with what I’m trying to accomplish with my life? If your answer is no, don’t do it. If your answer is yes, write it down until you’ve been able to narrow down your top choices.
4. Choose. Choose the best option that is in line with the problem. Make sure your choice makes you feel comfortable and makes sense after you’ve evaluated all of your choices.
5. Do it. Whatever your choice is, act on it!
There is nothing wrong with taking your time in making decisions. We are a result of the decisions we make so decision making is a huge part of who we are. It’s nothing to take lightly but it is something to take seriously, master, and utilize everyday.
Question: What is a big decision you had to make today?
How many excuses can you come up with before you actually get work done? Excuses help pacify the fact that you aren’t producing. It’s time to stop making excuses for yourself and get the work done.
Just think of every excuse you make for yourself as a step further down the ladder of success. Who intentionally wants to take steps in the wrong direction? I know you don’t!
As a woman you have to accept responsibility and provide accountability for the things you do and don’t accomplish. Your main purpose as woman is to reproduce! That doesn’t change when it comes to the work world either. This is your time to reproduce, that is multiply. By multiplying you can increase in all areas of your life.
You bring things into existence with your creative abilities. That means you supply your life with the things you desire by making it happen. Why deny yourself that? I challenge you to declare right now that you shall not be denied because of laziness. Declare that you will stop playing and get what needs to get done, done!
Remember F.O.C.U.S.!! Follow one course until successful.
1. Define your own success.
When it comes to success I find it interesting that people are always Googling how to make it big or how to makes loads of money. The only way to be successful under your own terms is to define success for yourself. What does it means to be successful? Does it mean a new position? A new salary? A nice car or a house is a fancy neighborhood? You cannot allow others to define success for you.
I miss Michelle Obama. Every time she spoke she dropped knowledge to help us reflect our own way of thinking and actions! Here’s a look back to a few great tips from Michelle Obama.
“He believes when you work hard and you cross the door of opportunity, don’t slam it! Don’t close the door behind you! You REACH BACK and bring others up! @MichelleObama
1. Leadership is 100% about creating new leaders. If you are at the top and love the feeling of being above your subordinates then your motives for leadership are off. Effective leaders lead because they want to create change, influence others to take action, and work their way to a position to challenge the same in others.
”Being President doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.” @MichelleObama
2. Leadership is an internal expression of an inward ability. Leaders shouldn’t become someone “new” once they get into their position because leadership is not about position. Leadership is about the ability to influence change on any level. It reveals who you are because it should be who you are.
- You only have a year. And it’s really not even that, you have about 9-10 months to impart knowledge between breaks, inclement weather days, and other school holidays. It’s really going to go by quickly. Make sure you capture moments via photos and videos and focus on the little things because as the saying goes, you’ll realize that they were the big things.
- You’re imprinting in a life for all their life. The way you greet the children in the mornings and send them on their way in the evening to the way you present yourself in speech and style will all imprint on their hearts and minds forever. Whatever grade you teach when these kids are adults and they speak about that grade level, your name is going to come up as having been responsible for them. Think now on what you want them to say and remember because they will.
- You’re stronger than you think. I remember days I just wanted to run in the bathroom and cry and there were for sure moments when I did. This work is tough, kids will disappoint you, admin will tell you to figure it out and you’ll feel like you don’t have adequate support. Kids will get into fights, you won’t have time to finish your lunch, a parent will fuss at you for no reason, and then you’ll look at your paycheck and say “THIS is all I took home this pay period?! I QUIT” but you won’t because you love what you do. You are stronger than you think and braver than you know. Some aspects of Education can’t be explained but only experienced. Trust that you have the courage to see it through.
- You are not your title. Yes your badge may say teacher but you are nurse, counselor, school mama, psychologist, referee, chef, party planner, event manager, and webmaster if you keep a teaching blog. Your job extends far past a title.
- Your position is a privilege. You spend more time with these children than their parents. You should not take that for granted. You have so much opportunity for influence and impact, lead well.
The last piece of advice is : You have a life outside of work, don’t live at your school. Dedication is a beautiful quality to have but there is such a thing as living at school. I’ve seen teachers who come to work at 6:00 am leave the building daily at 8:00 or 9:00 pm. I know Pinterest can suck you into all it’s cute little activities/centers/projects and décor and you’ll want to stay and hash it out, but go home! Don’t come back on Saturday or Sunday, enjoy your spouse or family if you have them. Precious time cannot be given back. Work is a reward but living is where your true riches are.
Question: What advice would you give to new Educators?
Tonight the Grammy’s was everything I LOVE. Music, dancing, laughter, makeup, and fashion. But as I was watching I felt this year was different. The tone was different. SO MANY MISTAKES WERE MADE. SO MANY FEELS. So many lessons in the little moments. Here are a few, maybe you caught them too.
I missed the beginning of the awards show but when I turned on my TV I see two guys start to unzip their pants and take them off! (Thanks while I’m sitting there with my kids…) As I was trying to figure out what was going on Twenty One Pilots begins to describe that years ago when they were watching the Grammy’s with their friends they realized they were sitting there in their underwear. They said to themselves that if they ever won a Grammy they would accept it in their underwear. Lesson: Anyone from anywhere can do anything. We are all becoming. Don’t forget all that you’ve gone through to get to your next level.