June 28, 2017

Supercharge Your Classroom With These Famous Women in History


The Beauty in Showing Students the Contributions That Women Have Made


It is such an honor to motivate students to learn more about the contributions of women to history. Doing this will add so much dimension to your students' lives and to their learning.  Little/young girls need to see the power and potential that they have on a consistent basis. Students need to see themselves represented in their environment on a consistent basis.  This is such a powerful way to be culturally responsive and to help dissolve stereotypes.  If you need any more convincing, though, I doubt that you do, you can refer to the post that I did all about the book, Beautiful by Stacy MacAnulty.  That entire experience was life-changing for both my students and myself!


Infusing Cultural Diversity is Invaluable!


     This is one of the reasons why I was so excited to create this resource and to select the women that are featured.  I wanted girls from different backgrounds and ethnicities to be able to see that they can also be successful, be trendsetters, be intelligent, and take chances.  Cultural diversity is so near and dear to my heart.  As you may know, I grew up in sunny South Florida and was exposed to a variety of cultures and ethnicities throughout my childhood.  This is one of the greatest gifts that my childhood offered me.  I attended a school system that would likely be considered an International/Magnet School by today's standards.  I had friends and classmates from Haiti, Suriname, Puerto Rico, Germany, Columbia...all over the world.  Those experiences helped shape the person that I am today and gave me opportunities to learn so much about others.

You Don't Want to Wait Until Women's History Month to Teach Your Students About the Contributions of Women to US History 

 If we are waiting until the month of March-when it is officially "Women's History Month" to begin exposing students to the achievements that women have made to this country, we are doing them a great disservice.  Waiting until March cracks the calendar also sends the message that learning more about women is limited to a 30 day time span.  I know that I am guilty of doing this.  This past month, I stocked up on as many books that featured women as I possibly could.  Of course, my sweet students noticed and asked why I had sooo many books that had women on the cover in the front of the room.

One very brave (LOL), male student dares to ask why we need a women's history month.  You could have heard a pin drop, and I wish that you could have seen the "oooooooow" expressions on all of the other students' faces.  Of course, I did the "Linda Blair head spin" and turned to look the person that dared make that comment.  I wasn't upset, but I knew that he did not know that.  So, I seized the moment, and feigned disdain for the insult that he dared to spew.  Really, I knew that the other boys were thinking the same thing and that truly it was my fault if they were having those thoughts.  My #teacherfail!

You guessed it, of course, his next statement was that there is no men's history month.  Oh, really!  I challenged him to name all of the people that we had studied so far that year.  We turned it into a very fun, teachable moment.  The girls begin to chime in and list all of the men that we have studied. Benjamin Franklin.  George Washington Carver.  Thomas Jefferson.  Abraham Lincoln.  Theodore Roosevelt.   I smile and give him the "teacher eye".  We all laugh.  The girls are all sitting a little taller at this point.  Yeah, ladies, girl power!

Famous Women in History Task Cards with QR Codes



Women are multifaceted and lend their talents in so many areas of the world that we live in. The areas of expertise that they excel(led) in are also varied. The Arts, science, music, sports, politics, and the field of medicine are included in this set of task cards.  When I was selecting women for the Scoot/Task Card activity, I kept all of those factors in mind. I wanted to make sure that I included women from Asian, Latin, African American, and European cultures.  I wanted to share information on women that some children might not ever be exposed to on a regular basis.  Celia Cruz, Patsy Mink, Dolly Parton, and Pretty Yende are just a few of the spectacular and dynamic women that are featured!  If you are not familiar with these women in history, grab your set of task cards so that you can learn more about them, too.


With all of this in mind, I couldn't wait to hop on the blog to share my latest resource with you! I just posted Famous Women in History Scoot with QR Codes in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 1. Who doesn't love a good game of Scoot or using task cards to teach skills and standards?! and 2. students should learn about a variety of individuals throughout the course of the ENTIRE school year and not just during "designated months".  So, this was a wonderful opportunity to accomplish both!


 Each task card features a clue about a famous woman in history.  QR Codes are featured for quick and easy self-checking. 

 

I hope that your students enjoy learning about women's accomplishments and contributions throughout the course of the school year!  









Gaelle Marcel
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April 23, 2017

Create the Class Environment That You AND Your Students Can Thrive In



Creating the Class Environment That You AND Your Students Can Thrive In!


I couldn't be more excited to write this blog post!  I hope that you can feel the enthusiasm and electric current jumping off of the page.  I am working to create a course about creating a culturally responsive classroom.  I'm in the Beta Testing phase and I am in need of dedicated teachers like yourself to jump in and test the course out.  All participation is free!  In return, I am seeking your constructive criticism, full participation, and testimonials if you found the information to be helpful.

So, What Exactly is This All About?


The course is about creating a classroom that is in tune with the cultural diversity of its students, and meeting the needs of those students in a way that makes them feel like they are important and that they belong.  In essence, that's it.  When students feel like they belong, they show up.  They show out academically (raise their performance to the next level).  They will give you their hearts, their time, their attention, their support, and full buy-in to virtually any lesson that you try to impart.  They will love you because you have made them feel loved.

Cultural responsiveness and the building of relationships is key! They go hand-in-hand and can change the trajectory of your entire classroom.  Cultural responsiveness relates to the way that you respond to, take in, evaluate, and react to others based on YOUR culture.  Your culture is everything about you- your frames of reference.  Your upbringing, family dynamics, socio-economic status (growing up and today), religious beliefs, work ethic, birth order... Everything that makes you uniquely and wonderfully        y-o-u. Being in tune with the way that your culture impacts the way that you see and relate to others is a powerful level of knowledge to have.  It can be a beautiful thing!

Benefits to You:

  • Learn what a culturally responsive classroom looks and feels like
  • Learn more about being a culturally responsive teacher
  • Deepen connections with your students
  • Be excited about stepping into your classroom each day
  • Have excellent classroom management
  • Feel in control of your classroom and confident about your lessons and lesson delivery
  • Increase student and parent buy-in
  • Improve communication with and buy-in from administration and other stakeholders
  • Build the classroom that is welcoming, supportive, and has an emphasis on academic excellence
  • Show students how to communicate with understanding and compassion to improve their peer relationships
  • Decrease disruptive behavior- Students will be too busy enjoying your lessons to act as distractions!
If ANY of these points sound like areas that you would like to improve or take to the next level, click on this link.  I'm Taking My Teaching to the Next Level!  Scroll to the  bottom of the page and click on the box that says, "APPLY HERE".  Complete the application so that you can sign up to learn more!  


Beta Testing is FREE.  There is no charge to you.  In exchange, I would request your honest, constructive feedback to help me cater the direction of the course to better help more teachers and students.  

What Do You Get to Experience as a Beta Tester?

  • A FREE mini-course on creating a culturally responsive classroom.  I only need 2 weeks of your time.
  • The opportunity to have a positive impact on your peers by helping me develop a course that will be beneficial to other educators by changing the trajectory of their students' potential
  • Access to a facilitator that will support you every step of the way and be your biggest cheerleader and confidant.
  • Interaction with fellow teachers that are in the trenches with you and have similar goals for themselves and their students.
  • A private Facebook group where you will share your experiences, goals, ideas, successes, and/or "please help me" experiences.
  • Live 1:1 coaching via group calls on a video platform.  They will also be broadcast live in our Facebook group.
  • A better understanding of how to increase your cultural responsiveness to foster self-confidence and positive self-fulfilling beliefs in ALL of your students.
I am excited to have you join me!  Click here to Have the Classroom of Your Dreams!  
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Apply here".


I'll see you in our course!

Tania
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April 1, 2017

When a Blackout Kickstarts Family Time and Creativitiy


Blackout!

Blackout is a timely, conscientious, and socially aware book.  It is a an excellent way to incorporate cultural responsiveness into the learning environment and to show the importance of family.  What I love about this book is that it incorporates all of these amazing attributes in a very quiet and natural way.  You can highlight these characteristics just by reading the story and providing students with new frames of reference to add to their toolboxes.

I discovered Blackout, written and illustrated by John Rocco, in our school media center.  It was on display on the top of one of the bookshelves.  The cover drew me in right away.



It was dark, slightly creepy, and very mysterious! Perfect!  Right??!  The type of emotional reaction that drives you to action.  You either speed past it or stop and grab it.  I snatched it off of the shelf and sped to the check-out.

Plus, THAT title... Blackout!  We can all draw on past experiences of a blackout.  I can tell you about an experience that I am not likely to soon forget.  Around 2 years ago, we had heavy snow fall in our area.  Not that it has never snowed here before, but this winter, it snowed heavily AND it rained.  It turned a really pretty and tranquil winter into an icy nightmare.  There were frozen drops of ice accumulating on everything.

Then, of course, you know what happened next.... 

This is exactly what I felt like screaming!  LOL


Our power went out.  For hours.  Then, for more hours.  We were freezing.  There were no amount of clothes that we could layer.  There was no "warm spot" in the house to escape to.  We were turning into freezie pops and I was starting to really worry that we might actually freeze to death, and later be found in our home.  Not exactly the way I was thinking that I might depart this earth. Morbid, I know, but honest and true.  

Reading the Story to My Students

What did I decide to do?  I introduced the book to my students; telling them the title, showing the cover, and sharing the author's and illustrator's names.  Then, I turned out all of the lights and pulled out my flashlight.  Yes!!  Fun!  We read the entire book by flashlight.  Every now and then, I would shine my light on the chest of someone that was being a great listener and who was really drawn into the story.  They loved this, and I could tell that they were secretly waiting with anticipation to see if I would shine the flashlight on them.

One Sweet Lesson That the Book Shares


I love that this story speaks of a need to disconnect from our busy lives so that we can all reconnect in a time when this is an epidemic in so many homes. In the story, the main character (We couldn't quite tell if it was a boy or a girl.  I was thinking a little boy, but my students weren't so convinced.), is trying to get their family to spend time with them. Everyone is busy doing something.  Then... a blackout forces them to re-examine their actions.
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Sidebar:  As a parent-
I cannot tell you how many times I have had to "gently remind" (um hum, you know what I mean) my teen daughter to put her cell phone down.  She gets in the car texting.  She rides in the car texting.  She texts as she is falling asleep.  She texts while she is eating.  Enough, young lady!  When I am present, the phone goes away.  Or else, the phone will go away!  Are there any parents of teens out there?  Can you relate?!  : - )  
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Back to the story....

The fact that this book features a multiracial family is also very in-tune with many of the family dynamics that exist.  There is an African American mother and a Caucasian father depicted in this sweet, family-focused book.  What I loved most about my experience reading this book aloud to my students, was that not one of my students seemed to be concerned or distracted by the fact that the family wasn't all one shade of brown or tan.  They were just another family in a fun book.  

I don't think that I have ever seen any books in our library that show a multiracial family.  I'm actually pretty sure that I haven't.  But, just think of all of the bi, or multi, racial children that will see this depiction and feel a connection, deeper sense of pride, and recognition from seeing a reflection of themselves in their learning environment.  This is POWERFUL, special, and oh so very important. You are going to empower your students and have a great impact on their lives!


Tying Blackout in with the National Crayola Crayon Day Celebration

So, you may have noticed the rather large photo of a little girl coloring with a box of crayons.  LOL Well, when I originally sat down to write this post, I was going to talk to you about how I used this action-provoking book for an art activity that was inspired by this March 31st celebration.

As you can imagine, this book lends itself to great art activities.  Blackout, of course, elicits thoughts of darkness.  What did I do?  Ran to the cabinet and grabbed a handful of black construction paper. Then, I went inside of the other cabinet and pulled out 2 boxes of oil pastels. 

Look at what they created!

The Oil Pastels are so beautiful and vibrant against the black paper.





In this picture, the family decides to spend time playing a game of cards.


I am sorry that this one is upside down.  It was saved this way in my camera.
This is the part of the book when the family goes outside to gaze at the stars during the Blackout.


I love how they drew this house in darkness from when the lights went out. :-  )

Yes, they really went for it, and they loved every second of being allowed to dive into the vibrancy of the Crayola oil pastels!

Grab a copy of this book from your school media center, local library, bookstore, or online.  Tell me what impact you think that it had on your students in the comments below.


            
New-Hardcover                 New & Used-Paperback

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