Monday, February 28, 2011


How young is too young?

It seems that young children are getting involved in organized sports at a younger age each and every passing year. These children are being placed on sports teams at the age of four years old and in some instances even as young as three years old. I see the justification that parents may have for placing their son/daughter on a sports team at such a young age. They provide great socialization aspect for children, gets child active while having fun, shows the importance of teamwork. I think the most import aspect of youth sports is that an emphasis is placed on enjoyment of the sport. It is crucial that children are having fun at all times during practice and competition. Unfortunately some parents lose sight of these reasons for involving their son or daughter in youth sports. Some parents will force sports upon children just because they think their child may be good at it or even worse just because they played that particular sport. In both these cases parents are pressuring children to be involved in a sport that the child may not really enjoy. I believe that if a child wants to play a sport than he/she should show noticeable interest in that sport before a parent goes and signs them up for a organized sports team. Unfortunately youth sports are a business and it isn't just about the kids in most cases it is about making money. Organizations like the AAU say they will increase your likelihood of being recruited based on exposure. A lot of people buy into this and pay ridiculous fees and entrance payments just to enter the tournaments. Yes there is a better chance to play tougher competition but when the conferences are saturated you are just being placed in skill groups equal to your teams ability. So essentially you are paying obsered amounts of money to play competition equal to what you could play in your town or the neighboring towns. In my opinion you don't need to pay for your child to be on an elite travel team have them practice and practice and when there done practicing then you can enter them in these tournaments where there is better competition. Some will argue than your player won't get the exposure. Trust me if your good enough to play at the next level when that time comes than they will find you that is their job. As for these families who are spending hours away from the home due to practice and competition, i admire their commitment but i think it is unnecessary and a waste of money. Although the family in the video was limited by competition in their surrounding areas so they had no choice but to travel. I think it is worth it because that boy truly seemed to enjoy gymnastics and he did appreciate all his family did for him even though he was only eleven years old. overall youth sports programs should be their for the enjoyment of the children not for the exploitation of parents who try to live through the sports careers of their children. Pressure should never be placed on children to play a sport but if the child chooses to play that sport than I have no problem expecting them to give there best effort. That is where I would apply pressure upon my child or player to expect optimal levels of effort not based on skill or performance that will come with time. Please take the time to fill out this quick and easy poll, or feel free to comment.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A fine line

After watching that video I was shocked that this coach struck a player to that degree. Throughout my years of being actively involved in organized sports. I have had my share of different coaches, each with there own individual styles of coaching. I have never experienced an instance like this where a coach actually charges a player challenging the player physically. I have witnessed a coach placing there hands on a player in a firmly manner during an instructional session, but never actually attacking a player. I think that is was totally uncalled for on the coach's part. It was as if the coach lost it and had no control over himself. If I was in an administration position I would definitely suspend the coach for a short period and then a meeting would occur between the players and the coach. Permanent termination of the coach would be based on his past if there were any allegations or other issues this would be the last straw. I believe in coaching their is a fine line between being aggressive to get a point across and then there is the other side where you've gone too far. This is a situation where the coach crossed that ethical line and even the criminal line. The player has filled out a police report of the assault. The school has yet to comment on the situation and is doing an investigation of their own. As a player I think I would be able to return to practice and play for the coach even though he crossed that fine line. A proper apology would be in order but I think i could return to the court. Im not sure if every one could return to play after a situation of this degree.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Bullying has been an accepted school tradition for decades. Usually in the forms of gossip by girls or physical bullying by boys. Now in the 21st century we have cyber bullying, which has spread like wild fire as technology has grown tremendously over the years. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and texting are now another avenue to bully. Cyber bullying consists of tormenting, threatening, harassing, or embarrassing another individual. It is usually not a one time communication but something that persists over and over. The effects of cyber bullying are depression, anxiety, and sometimes even death. Students seem to be doing this more often to get a reaction from their peers or because they are bored. Some cyber bullying comes from frustration or anger. More and more schools are now offering training on how to deal and prevent cyber bullying. Schools are educating students about how to think before reacting to a post on the internet and that words can and will hurt a peer. Just another issue that needs to be addressed in our educational systems.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spoon Fed America

"Where are we going and why are we in this hand-basket" agree with this statement that we are going along for a ride. We as educators who are traditionally in the drivers seat of education have been put in the back seat. It seams that today's classroom isn't guided by the teachers better judgement but by the recommendations and input of parents. I think she brings up valid points in regards to parent involvement and views on their student learning. Normally when a teacher has a problem with a student a parent would traditionally back the teacher, because the teacher is an authority figure that demands respect from the student. Although that is not the case the parent or guardian will immediately side with their student thinking that the teacher is in the wrong and that they need to fix what they are doing and not their child's behavior. This is not the case always but teachers everyday are being scrutinized for actions that they have taken but when it comes down to it; that parents aren't trusting the better judgment of another professional adult. I don't agree with the fact that this woman aired out her dirty laundry out for everyone to view even though she didn't reveille any names or the actual school. This was very unprofessional of her and a suspension is relevant but i don't think termination is the proper course of action that should be taken. When you step away from the issue of using real life instances from her classroom she brings up valid points that students are lazy and that their parents have their back in what ever they say or do. I think there could be a positive to come out of this to make administration fellow teachers and even parents aware that is isn't okay to spoon feed these students that they have to be accountable for their actions. We must restore the values back into educators give them back the drivers seat. Have the parents sit back and go along for the ride. Im not saying that parents shouldn't be involved in their child's education because they most certainly should. Its okay to give advice here and their but when it comes down to it your child's teacher will be with your son/daughter for a good portion of the day and as a educator they will provide the healthiest and most productive environment for that child to excel in learning. They aren't in the profession to hold back your son or daughter they are their to prosper learning. Parents of today have to except that and go with the plan of the teacher.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Emotional Baggage

It used to be that when you were going to school there were one or two students in a class that had emotional baggage, meaning they had endured a rough home life. Now you walk into a classroom and 40% of the class is coming in with emotional issues that have developed from their environment. As educators you spend seven hours a day with these students and your job is to provide them with the best education possible. What do you do though when their environment and emotional state interferes with educating these young minds? Students are coming into classrooms younger and younger with more baggage, which is causing more behaviors to arise and less instructing to occur in the classroom. As an educator it makes it very difficult to implement a lesson when you have a student screaming in the classroom while you are teaching or a boy rolling on the floor because he is looking for attention. These behaviors could arise because these students aren't getting enough sleep at night because their parents are fighting or they are expressing their frustrations because they missed a visitation with a parent. As an educator we can only do our best to get these students through the day and hope that they take something we have taught them home. It's unfortunate but we can't pack ourselves up into their backpacks to be their for them when they deal with this emotional stress at home.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Going above and beyond

It is one thing to bring the students attention to all of the various beliefs and traditions of different cultures. It is a totally another component of learning when you help to improve the understanding of their community and and school improve the quality of life for everyone involved. Meaning that you make a link between actual events occurring in the world and your most likely out dated textbooks. For example a non culturally relevant teacher would just teach inside the bubble of the text, but a culturally relevant teacher will step outside that bubble and challenge the students to incorporate modern day events or problems in their curriculum. This makes the learning in the school more valuable because it is connecting students to the actual occurrences of the present time. A culturally relevant teacher will also challenge their students to think on a higher level, this teacher would pose questions as to how to fix modern day problems such as economic, political, or social issues. This would challenge the student to really think about the situation and then come up with a best possible explanation that they think is appropriate. This way of holding students at another level will instill a sense of trust, confidence, and capability in the students. These students will say to them selves that "wow Mr. Smith really thinks I can do this I guess I really can" This will allow the students to achieve greater accomplishments than they ever thought they could.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Multicultural education

Watch along as Chris Deluca and myself discus the importance of multicultural education. Feel free to comment or bout in on any of the discussion. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Adolescents and substance abuse

It seems you hear that adolescents are experimenting with alcohol and drugs at younger ages than you would have ever expected. I think that this is closely related to a vicious cycle that that is occurring with our younger generations. These teenagers who are exposed to older peers and older environments are more likely to experiment at a younger age. The older peers, who are into drinking and doing drugs may influence the younger peers to feel as though they will be considered cool or more mature if they experiment. The mentality that the older peers have is "whats the difference if they have their first beer at 18 or 16 they feel it is inevitable so whats the big deal. This draws a great deal of concern because these young adolescents are still developing at a staggering rate. The hormones are flowing through them and with the addition of alcohol or drugs it can be very detrimental to the developing teenagers. I also believe that a lot of the experimentation that goes on among teens has to do with opportunities to stay productively busy. If young teens are involved with extra curricular activities than they are less likely to be involved in these destructive behaviors towards themselves. Even outside the school day if students have the availability to resources in the community such as parks or even rec centers this can keep teens living a healthy productive lifestyle. These resources will keep teens engaged in lifelong activities while keeping them off the streets where they will be bored and seek self stimulation through alcohol and drug abuse. As a educators we need to be an advocate for community resources and programs that will keep students safe and engaged in positive constructive environments.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Enough is Enough

Across the nation only about 70 percent of high school students graduate. Every 29 seconds a student decides that they've had enough and drop out of school, resulting in a staggering 1 million drop outs per year. When asked the average drop out isn't calling it a quits because the work is too difficult it is because the students are bored and academically disengaged with the classwork. Nearly 90 percent of student who drop out of high school have passing grades when they depart the school. other reasons for dropping out is pregnancy, financial reasons or family issues. All of these are issues in young teens lives, yet they don't realize the long term effects this will have on their lives. All high school dropouts will make 10,000 dollars less than students who graduate high school and these drop outs are far more likely to re-lie on government assistance or even end up in jail. At the time of their departure from high school students believe it is a good idea to drop out of school but they fail to realize of of these alarming statistics that will most likely prevail on the drop outs account. Many educators believe that the drop out rate can be reduced by early intervention through literacy programs, one on one instruction, mentoring and tutoring, more relevant curricular materials, service learning and family involvement. All of these services shows the students who are on the fence about school have a support system around them and that these people care about them very much so. As a educator you have to be resilient in trying to peak interest in these students, once they see how much you care then they might realize that they could be making a terrible mistake.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Responsive Teaching

In a interview with Chris Deluxca we discussed the importance of Responsive teaching and the best strategies used to succeed in the classroom of diverse here

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Multicultural Approach suits you?

Previously i discussed multicultural education and the importance it has on its learners. There are four different approaches that go along with Multicultural education they are as follows; level 1 Contributions Approach, level 2 the additive approach, level 3 the transformation approach, and level 4 the social action approach. All of these approaches focus on human relations with activities that promote a cultural understanding among different racial groups. Level 1 focuses on heroes , holidays and discrete cultural elements. Teachers can bring these components of the students lives into the classroom for everyone to experience. Level 2 The additive approach places content, concepts,themes, and perspectives of cultural views into the curriculum without changing the structure of the class. This simply means that teacher allow the students to learn through alternative perspectives like fellow peers who may view the world differently. For example this may take place during a multicultural week in the school where they can experience alternative perspectives. A great way this is displayed in schools is the month of February Black history month her students of all descent learn about the history of African Americans in this country and the triumphs and tribulations they've been through. Level 3 the transformers approach this is when the structure of the curriculum is changed to enable students to view concepts, issues,events, and themes from the perspectives of diverse ethnic and cultural groups. This is when student's are urged to view everything they learn in a topic area through a certain perspective. For example in a U.S History class students have to view the effect's of westward expansion; not only is their an open frontier for new settlers but it affect's the native American who already inhabit that land and to them this is an invasion of their home land. The fourth level is the social action this is when students take a stance on important social issues and then intern take action to resolve those issues. This is when the teacher is challenging the students to take a step outside the box in a higher level of thinking.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ask yourself these questions?

-In what ways are U.S schools failing culturally diverse students?

A. Hispanic, native Americans, and African American students score consistently lower on standardized test than so their Asian and white classmates. Those ethnic groups also are categorized in the under-resourced populations and almost half of them are not graduating from high school. This is a major failure for academia, how can you justify learning when the statistics show failure across the cultural population. The expectation theory comes into play here studies show that if a teacher believes a student will achieve at a high level than they will make ore academic gain where as if teacher believe the student will consistently fail then they will live up to the expectations of doing poorly. So my question is why don’t teachers stop buying into the statistics and believe in the culturally divers population.

- What are the purposes and approaches of multicultural education?

A.Multicultural education focuses on human relations that promote cultural and racial understanding among different groups. Multicultural education can also be viewed by some educators as a way to create close links between home and school so that minority children can succeed academically. An approach called teaching the culturally different promotes different perspectives based on race class, and culture; this is another way students can view learning.

-What is culturally responsive teaching and how can teachers use these strategies to educate their students.

A.Culturally responsive teaching links the school day with life at home. these teachers who use this approach view the community as a great opportunity to learn from. By honoring the traditions and crafts in the neighborhood students become more familiar with other traditions which makes them a more well rounded student. In a study by Gloria Ladson-Billings a professor at the university of Wisconsin she monitored nine effect teachers according to parents and administration. The common factor of all of theses effect teacher was that they incorporated home life with the classroom. Teachers would bring in parents to share cultural traditional cooking with the school. Teachers even urged students to develop their native language along with English this way they can share experiences with their peers.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Melting Pot or Tossed salad

The American way of life has been referred to as a melting pot of all the unique traditions and beliefs of the different people of this country. The thought of having this one society with an overall way of life is a great idea; although it seems those beliefs and traditions never come together to make one common taste. Unfortunately it is not that way, all the same ingredients are in the melting pot but they never fuse together. This is where the tossed salad concept comes in. You have the same recipe for the tossed salad but the flavors don't ever combine together. You may get a hint here and there of other cultures but many U.S citizens have remained deeply rooted in there past cultures. With the tossed salad concept Americans honor there past cultures while honoring the nationality of the U.S. I think this newly adapted theory gives a better understanding of American way of life. Now you may ask your self how does this pertain to the classroom. Yes it certainly does, the tossed salad approach will educate students on the differences of one another and how we are all similar in some way. Just like the saying "knowledge is power" if the students have a better understanding of one another and where we all came from then this could ultimately cut down on stereo typical beliefs that often lead to bullying. Keep in mind we were all immigrants at one time or another. This could then make schools a safer and more welcoming place for everyone.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Peer groups in elementary life

Remember back to your early days of elementary school. Like most you will have memories of you and your childhood friends in the classroom. Now try and think of the dynamics of the groups you hung around with. The boys created hierarchies where there was always a ring leader with his followers. For the girls they always came in pairs, one never went anywhere without the other. And for some they did not fall in any of these groups, these students could develop adjustment problems and emotional difficulties as a result of the isolationism. Elementary students of today compared to students in the 1980's and 90's have a noticeable difference in behavior's and activities. Children of the past two decades spent more time studying, playing sports, reading, and involved in personal care. Very little time was spent watching television or playing video games because they had not evolved yet into what they are today. The children of the past had more human interaction which I think lead to less out-casting even at the elementary level. Students where more excepting of one another then; now a days if your in the third grade without an ipod you are going to be looked upon awkwardly. SO the elementary school is based on these groups and the interactions of the students determines who is involved in the "cool groups". These interactions of elementary students and their peers can have a direct impact on student learning. A child is so easily rattled that is that child is having a bad day not much learning will be accomplished, because they will not be able to get past the issue that they are experiencing. That is why as educators we must try our best to include all students and even facilitate acceptance of others.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How is class time related to student achievement?

In the next coming years an emphasis will be placed on the teachers ability to teach the material in a effective way. Not only will this be monitored through standardized test results but through annual overview of teachers effectiveness. This places a accountability on the teachers. For example a Physical education teacher can be evaluated through a SOFIT assessment this tracks the type of instruction, Activity level and practice time of the students. The same kind of evaluations are being implemented into the general education classrooms. The question of, How much time on the material is related to the student achievement. The common thought is that the more time you spend on a topic the more knowledge you will retain, yes Practice makes perfect. Although it is how the content is delivered. Now a days teachers are being urged to deliver the content thorough Intra-task variation which means that teachers teach to the different levels of learning. When you teach to the high and low students in the room at the same time. With this Intra-task variation and elongated time on material; i think it will have a direct impact on student learning and achievement. Yearly evaluations will let teachers reflect upon one's teaching style. This is great because teachers should always be refining there methods and theories that way they produce the best possible learning environment for the students. These evaluations of the teachers will go in correspondence with president Obama's educational reform, where he states that he wants to reward the good teachers and weed out the bad".