DON’T CALL ME….I’LL CALL YOU

imgres
 

GOOGLE IMAGES

 

I saw this post come across my Facebook feed this morning.

Apparently, Snap Chat has added a Maps feature. Now, anyone that is on your contact list can actually see where you are and what you are doing in real-time. The teenager was demonstrating the new feature, and Mom in the video was clearly upset and rightfully so.

This got me thinking:

How may of your kid’s friends has a phone?

How many use Snap chat?

How many are dating?

And what is to prevent any one of these kids from stalking or harassing your child via Snap Chat?

My ten-year old does not have a phone, although she tries to explain the two reasons why she should.

Her friends have one.

I can get in touch with her when she’s not home.

My response?

When you are old enough to pay for it each month, you can have one.

And if I don’t know where you are and can’t reach you, shame on me.

My job as a parent is to know whom you are with and where you are.

All.The.Time.

One parent I spoke with about this very issue said that her eight-year-old daughter’s friend has a phone. The parents are divorced, and the phone allows the Mom to contact her daughter when she’s with the father.

WHAT????

I have a message for the divorced Mom: if your ex won’t let you talk to the child on the phone, then there’s a bigger problem here. And putting your child in the middle of that mess by giving her a phone is only adding to the larger issue. Shame on you, Mom and Dad, for not addressing the communication issue between you two and instead laying that burden your child.

For some reason, since the cell phone revolution has taken place, more and more parents are treating their children like adults by giving them access and ownership to adult phones and content.

They are forgetting that these little people still need to grow up and develop rational thinking and reasoning without a phone to rewire their brains.

Didn’t Albert Einstein become a genius without technology in his hand?

What about Amelia Earhart?

Misty Copeland?

Annie Sullivan?

Martin Luther King?

Michelangelo?

Mother Theresa?

Beethoven?

Penny Patterson?

There are millions of examples of people who have somehow not only learned how to read, write, and create without a cell phone in their hand, but have also managed to transform the world the old-fashioned way: by thinking and creating in an active, passionate way.

By putting all-knowing technology in a child’s hands, his/her world has expanded a million times over, as well as those other kids’ worlds, too.

We’d never give our ten-year old child the keys to the car to go driving without the proper training and practice. She’s been in that car since birth, but I know the results will be deadly if I allowed her to drive it.

But parents think nothing of giving their kid a phone. If phones had capabilities of harming thier child immediately, parents would have more to consider before putting the newest Iphone in thier child’s hands.

I am sure we are going to hear more horror stories of kids being victimized by friends and strangers with all these apps that can track your kid’s every move.

And I’m sure the new school year will become much more difficult for teachers, counselors, coaches, students and parents.

So, what are you going to get your kid for his/her next birthday?

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

 

TWL

Advertisements

Friday Love Notes

 

imgres-2

I went back to work the August after an unexpected medical leave in January 2016.

It’s been good to be back, even with the challenges of a larger group of students with varying levels of specific needs.

One of the things I love about teaching Kindergarten is that I can literally shape how a child views anything–even the most mundane task–just by my reaction or how I present it to them.  Work they need to do becomes “a project” or “a puzzle”. Assessments or small group work  becomes “working with Mrs. T” time –-and everyone LOVES one on one time with the teacher! Even a little post-it lunch box note from Mom turns into a glorious love note. The kids BEAM when I gush, “OH LOOK!!!! Mommy wrote you a LOVE NOTE!!” We read it together and the child toddles off with a smile on his or her face, so happy they got a love note from home.

images-1
google image

Sometimes, the children bring in pictures for me—beautiful Kindergarten drawings of us together, sometimes with a drawing of my faithful puppet Red Word Fred intermingled with the hearts and shapes and colors. This year, I’ve had a few of my scholars  say, “I made you a love note,” handing their treasure over to me when we collect the mail at the start of the day. I gush and preen over each note, thanking the child and putting it up on my bulletin board behind my table. My bulletin board is already filled with these notes, and I decided it was time to give back the love to my students.

This past Friday, I sent each of them home with a love note from me. Since we do mail in the morning, I had to remind them they couldn’t open it up now, or on the bus, or at the YMCA program after school. They had to wait until they got home to share it with their families.

Their reactions were priceless as they were handed folded notes. Some said thank you, some sat there in awe, looking at their name and heart drawn on the front, reminding me of Charlie Bucket when he found the Golden Ticket, and others were literally just beaming with joy and smiles. I had enclosed both a note and a dot-to-dot page. I’m not sure what will transpire as far as an extra little goodie inside each week—I haven’t planned that far ahead– but my goal is to give them each a love note every Friday morning to read at home.fullsizerender

I hope the love gets passed around this year between home and school!

How do you show your love?imgres

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

Buddy

best_buddy_by_ivofajardo-d5zie8m

Dedicated to Kate Nolan, Milford, CT

I started teaching Kindergarten in 1999. I was a late hire; the district needed to open two more full-day classrooms, and I was one of the two fortunate teachers that was hired that September.

Just like any kid starting in a new school, I felt a little out of place, especially since I was hired after all the teachers had started and probably knew each other from previous years. I was in Room 6 at the end of my hallway, and Kate’s room was across the hall from mine.

Over the school year, we became teaching buddies. Not by necessity, but more by luck. And what great luck it was! She was a tall, curly haired blonde and very organized. I am a short curly haired brunette and not as organized. I like to say that she is Type A and I am Type X…but between the two of us, we work buddy magic like nobody could ever imagine!

Kate is a special education teacher. By law, identified children need a certain number of hours with non-disabled peers as outlined in their individual education plan. Kate and I were well above the curve on this! We would get our children together for stories and songs after lunch, we had recess and center times together, and we would plan whole team teaching units.   We would do Buddy projects on Fridays, where we would pair up the kids to create a theme based art project. We would marvel at how well the children would work together, nodding in agreement and saying to each other, “THIS is what they should be doing!” instead of the mandated reading , writing, and math work and assessing that gradually was taking over the curriculum for both regular education and special education students.

As each school year progressed, her kids became mine and mine became hers. We’d take pictures of our kids early on and keep them in our classrooms all year. Sometimes, my students would include hers to attend birthday parties, or hers would include mine. That’s when we knew we’d done our job at creating buddies! We’d share gifts around the holidays for and from each of our classrooms, and we created great memories. Our units on the Food Pyramid with Chef Mario and Chef Luigi were always great fun to teach. The Weather Girl video, when we were allowed to show videos, always put us in hysterics, but the kids really liked it! One year, we hosted our own Olympics complete with speed skating and medals, and another year, we worked with our extra active kids to race around the playground multiple times before actually going to play on the playground.

At the end of each year, I’d host a ‘show’. The kids from our classes would select their favorite songs to sing, I’d put them on a CD, and we’d make patriotic t-shirts and sing the songs for the parents. It was always a highlight of my year, and the integration of our kids always brought tears to our eyes when we’d sing songs like “It’s A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong or Celine Dion’s “God Bless America” using sign language.

We have been through many poignant life events together, too: 9/11 and the death of a dear friend of hers, my marriage and birth of my daughter, her daughter going off to college and getting her first teaching position, the death of her dad, the Newtown shootings, her nomination for Teacher of the Year in our district, and the death of my niece. All the while, we would comfort and support each other and carry on with our jobs as teachers.

When the school district was reconfigured to a K-2/3-5 model a few years ago, we were moved to a new school, and we were informed that weren’t going to be teaching together in order to integrate new staff and build a new school community. We understood, but we were devastated. We cried like little kids in front of our new principal when we heard the news. Even though we were going to be right down the hall from each other, it wasn’t going to be the same. We were buddies! How could we be separated? It was heartbreaking to us. Still, we soldiered on in our own classrooms, waiting for the year when we could work our team teaching magic again.

This year, we were finally given the “ok” from our principal to teach together again! The buddies were back! We were overjoyed!

But our new-found joy was short lived when I became ill with Lyme. I had to take a leave of absence from work that started in January 2016 and will continue to the end of this school year.

I have never had to take a leave like this. Even after the birth of my daughter, I was back to work within a few months. Kate has been a buddy to me through all of this. She’s sent me cards and emails. We’ve spoken on the phone, and I know she has been behind the scenes helping my subs (I had two because of the uncertainty of my coming back this year) with my kids.

It’s not often that you find a buddy at your job. But when you do, it’s a magic that can’t ever be replicated.  Love ya, Buddy!