The power of the fist bump is that is lessens the spreading of germs.
This week, students at my school participated in Field Day. Field Day is a fun time for all the students. Parents come out and cheer their kids as each class competes against each other. Yes, in several of the activities there is a First, Second and Third place!
As I was monitoring the 5th grade Field Day, one of this year’s student teachers showed up to wish the 5th graders good luck. Of course, when they saw her, they rushed to say hi. But it didn’t end there. As they swarmed her, they wanted to give her hugs. I don’t know about you, but hot, sweaty, stinky kids are not my idea of a good hug! As she was overwhelmed, she started holding up her hand to give students high-fives! This too freaked me out! I quickly gave this student teacher a lesson in germs…. “Fist bumps keep germs off your hands.” She quickly understood what I was talking about and started fist bumping students.
Teach them to wash their hands – This is a no brainer, but you can’t imagine how many students don’t wash their hands properly. When students are caught playing in the restrooms, I always stress to them, “stop playing, do your business and wash your hands.” I’m a big user of hand sanitizer too. But this is a temporary solution until you can wash your hands properly.
Make sure they have their supplies – You don’t want your student touching or borrowing supplies from other students. It is best to make sure that they have their supplies and use what they have. Yes they are going to want to use their friend’s huge box of 65 Crayons, but try to minimize this as much as possible. Buy them the cute pencils and erasers so they would want to use their own supplies.
Teach them to cough correctly – Your child can do their part of coughing and not spreading germs themselves. Teach your child to cough in the fold of their elbow. This keeps germs away from their hands which in turn will touch everything else.
Feed them healthy food – Make sure your child is getting their vitamins and eating well. You wouldn’t believe some of the junk that kids bring and parents allow for lunch. There is no way that a lot kids are eating right. But it is important to maintain healthy bodies so that their immune system is working on all levels.
The advice for students should also be followed by teachers and everyone for that matter.
One last thing, I also recommend that teachers carry their own pencil/pen and don’t share it. This seems like a simple piece of advice, but in the process of everyday teaching, it’s easy to share your pen in a meeting or pick up a student’s pencil when you are working with them. It’s easier to remember this when it’s cold and flu season, but this advice should be followed all year long.
So, protect yourself! Offer up your fist and EDC your own pencil/pen. Oh, and you don’t have to be in a school setting to follow this advice.
This article was supposed to be part of a blogtrain. But, I missed the deadline. However, links to other articles in the blogtrain are provided below.
There are many skills that children, specifically someone around the age of 12 should have.It is not really fair to try and narrow it down to a short list.Moreover, skills can be necessary in a regional sense.12 year olds in Alaska need to know what to do when confronted by a bear.That’s not the case down here in Texas.Then, depending on your own biases, this list can come from many different perspectives.The educator, prepper, homesteader, academic, etc…will all have different lists.For the sake of this blogtrain, here is my short list:
1. Read with comprehension – If you can read and comprehend what you are reading, you can pick up a book and accomplish almost anything.
2. The ability to put in a hard day’s work -Everything is so easy nowadays.If many 12 year olds had to work from dawn till dusk, they would collapse in their tracks, partially from not playing video games, partly because they don’t know work like that.But to be fair, many people would fall into this category too.
3. The ability to delay gratification – In our modern life, everything seems instant.News, entertainment, food, answers, etc… can be found with a push of a button.Because of this, we believe EVERYTHING should be instant.We charge up credit cards to buy what we want NOW, when we should save up.Learning how to balance a budget and your finances without charging up credit cards is definitely a skill.
4. Survival skills – At the very minimum, kids should know how to build a fire, find and filter water, hunt and cook small game, garden, defend themselves and use tools.All of these skills and much much more were common place and common sense not too long ago. Again, years of ease in this country has many adults in the same place; not knowing how to do some of these basic things.
5. Critical thinking and problem solving – I will devote the rest of this article to this skill.
When I was younger, my family owned an electronic distributorship here in Houston.When my uncle passed away, my dad gave up his own pursuits to come help my grandfather run the company.I spent many days there, roaming through the aisles, getting into trouble and messing with stuff, I mean experimenting with stuff. I would plug this thing in to that thing and switch out this for that.My curiosity ran wild.
The employees encouraged me, all but my cousin. He was always telling me what I shouldn’t be doing, that I was going to break something, that this speaker was not the same ohm as the output, etc…I learned to avoid him in my exploits.I had ideas, questions and experiments that I had to conduct, always asking “what if” or “why does this happen?”
Fast forward many years and as a father, educator and assistant principal, I’m asking those questions of kids….getting them to think and problem solve.However, it’s not as easy as just saying, “think critically about this subject.” Kids need to learn HOW to think critically and problem solve.Some kids are naturals, but most, need guidance.I wonder what I might have been able to accomplish if someone was prodding me, guiding me to ask the right questions and giving me the tools to think at higher levels?
Being a Guide & Providing Tools
The role of ANY teacher should be that of a guide or facilitator.Teachers should guide students to ask the right questions, so that they can come up with the answers themselves.If we always provide the answers, the joy of self-discovery is lost and learning is boring and falls into the realm of “just push the easy button” again.As students embark on the learning journey, they should be provided with a set of tools that help them along the way.
Basic Knowledge – Students need a basic foundational knowledge before they move to higher learning.You can’t expect a kid to comprehend a passage when they don’t know alphabet sounds.And this fact is important to keep in mind throughout all learning.At some point, kids will be able to pick up a book and get the foundational knowledge they need to move forward, but everyone needs a foundation to start from.So in every learning situation, the guide will need to ascertain or know how much foundational knowledge the student has or at least point them in the right direction to obtain that foundational knowledge.
·The Main Idea – What is the problem asking? What are you trying to solve for?
·The Details – What are the important facts about this problem? What do you know? What is missing?
·The Strategy – This is the part where you try to work out the solution by considering the Main Idea and Details. You might be adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, measuring, etc…
·The How – It is important to verbalize/write down how you solved your answer. When you are able to verbalize your answer, you truly understand the problem and know that you didn’t just guess. The How should link back to the Main Idea.
The fact is, this is just a process with a graphic organizer.We do this all the time in many different disciplines, it just isn’t so formalized as writing it all down.But it does help us get through some of those hard questions if you apply it.
Higher Level Questioning – Asking the right questions is imperative to critical thinking and problem solving.There are basic “recall” or “knowledge” questions and then there are higher level questions – “evaluate,” “justify” or “analyze.”Basic questions can be answered with the basic foundational knowledge that was discussed above.Higher level questioning goes beyond the basic foundational information and asks you to “use” the information in some way.You can find out more information about higher level questioning or Bloom’s Taxonomy here.
Breaking It Down – Putting it Together – One of the ways to think through questions is to break them apart to their smallest piece or put it altogether to see the big picture.
Building Thinking Capacity – Regardless of age, everyone should build their ability to think and reason.In the past, it was thought that your brain was set in motion early on in your life.Scientist believed that certain synapses were formed before two years old.If you didn’t have those formed, or weren’t purposeful in helping your child form those “connections” then after two years of age, it was too late.
They don’t believe that anymore.Scientist now believe that synapses can be formed as long as you are making connections/learning.You can strengthen them by using them more frequently, or they can deteriorate if you don’t.Check out this interesting video.
So, the key is to help your child continue to learn and think and build their problem solving capacity by putting their brain to use.
1. Play Chess – you can download free apps, even on your smartphone.
2. Play Thinking Games.Stay away from Angry Birds!
3. Be purposeful and help them to learn something new and then practice it.Just don’t do it for them.
4. Challenge them – Give them a scenario and ask them what they would do.If it is possible, try out their response.
I often see parents give their child an Ipad so that they could play some worthless game or watch some worthless video. However, I have also seen the opposite.
I sat in a parent conference the other day with a parent who had two small children.The parent had her Ipad and when she sat down she immediately turned it on.“Oh, here we go – a Barney video,” I thought.But I was surprised to see this little 2-3 year old playing a game where she was putting shapes and letters in their proper place.She managed that Ipad like a pro!
In closing, let me just reiterate that learning and problem solving is a skill that needs to be fie tuned.Parents who are purposeful can make a big impact on the child to help them navigate times where they will have to solve some real problems.
Todd’s Note – If you haven’t been in a Kindergarten classroom in a while, you might have the wrong impression about what they actually do! If you are going on memory, you are probably thinking about extended play time, naps and learning how to share. That is all done, well not the naps, but that doesn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg! Students in Kindergarten are reading books by mid-semester! Yes…you read that correctly!
I know at my school, the Kindergarten teachers work miracles. They start off the year looking like they are herding cats to turning out students who are sounding out words, spelling words and reading books. Now like I said, these teachers work miracles, but things go a lot smoother if parents do a little bit of work with their children before they start their first day. This article provides a little insight for parents who will be sending their child to Kindergarten in the Fall. Start now!
When it’s time to get your child ready for kindergarten, there are some basic things you’ll need to work on in order to ensure that she’s ready for the transition. Most preschools will get your child well prepared in advance, but you may still want to ensure that she’s mastered these skills before enrolling her in kindergarten just so that all of the requisite bases are covered and that your child is well equipped for a great start.
I had some bad heartburn this week.The kind of heartburn that makes you think “this just can’t be gas.”It was so bad that the smell of strong garlicy spaghetti sauce in the teacher’s lounge made me feel like I might have to double over in pain.Maybe that was psychological…maybe I’m just psycho, but I’m telling you it happened.Nothing worked! And I tried everything!
I found relief one evening in a strawberry milkshake.Yeah, yeah…all the bad stuff.I don’t care, I was dying.
But then, the milkshake was so tasty that I decided to stop and pick another one up this Saturday afternoon.I drove thru at 10:50.Guess what, they were still serving breakfast!10 minutes to go!WOW!
It reminded me of this movie.
I think a lot of people nowadays can identify with the Falling Down character.It seems like the guy just wants to be treated fair, with respect and able to operate within his “rights” as a US citizen.
Now, I’m not condoning violence and I don’t agree with “snapping,” but I bet there are more people like that out there than most realize.The economy, politics, stress, finances, the assault on our rights, freedom, etc… is enough to cause people to pause and wonder “what the heck is going on in this jacked up world!”
Are you falling down?Is someone you know about to “Fall Down?”
I wonder if it is a lack of hope or the inability to see hope where we are headed?
So my mind drifts, like always…and I ended up thinking about Blind Bartimaeus.It’s a story in the Bible that I have known for a long time.If you are not familiar with it, you can read it here – Blind Bartimaeus.
So I picture this blind guy on the road.Maybe he is placed there by his family, maybe he just struggles to get there sometime in the morning by touch and feel.Every day it is the same, same, same.He begs for some money, then he struggles to make it home.Although he desires to see, although he desires to work for a living, there is no hope.He’s blind and no surgery, no glasses, no nothing is going to help this guy out! (yes, negative on negative is intended here)
Then comes Jesus.This isn’t an ordinary guy or teacher or rabbi.Blind Bartimaues has picked up little bits and pieces about this guy as he sat on the road.He’s heard about miracles!He’s heard about people being healed and all kinds of crazy things that don’t usually happen.
[Commotion coming out of Jericho]
Bartimaues: Hey, what’s all the noise?What is going on?
Bystander: It is Jesus of Nazareth.He’s leaving the city.
Bartimaues: [Thinking to himself] – This is my chance, I’ve heard about this guy.He does miracles.He could heal me.I’ll never get a chance like this again in my life.
Bartimaues: [Yelling out loud] – Jesus heal me!Jesus!Jesus! Have mercy on me!I’m blind!
Bystander: Shut up Bartimaues, you are causing a scene.
Bartimaues: No, I need Jesus!I need to see![yelling again] Jesus!Jesus heal me!
Bystander: Shut up Bartimaues, you are being too loud.Stay quiet!
Bartimaues: No!You shut up!This is my only chance![yelling] Jesus! Jesus! Over here!Have mercy on me!
Jesus: Who’s that guy over there? Ask him to come here.
Bystander: Hey Bartimaues, Jesus is calling for you….
Bartimaues gets healed….he sees….he has new hope now…
You might be reading this and you are on the verge of “Falling Down.”That is ok, because there is hope.If you want it.
But more than likely, you are reading this an you are hopeful, prepared, you have things in your life in some sort of “order” and you are ready for what’s coming around the corner…
The thing I would like you to think about is, there are many others around you on the verge of “Falling Down” and you are the bystander.