Curing the Common Core

Many, many years ago, in an all-but-forgotten world where Merlin was considered an innovative gaming device and razor blades in Halloween candy went undiscovered until you’d sliced open your esophagus, I passed second grade.  Easily, if memory serves. ...more

Supply Lists

 The supply list asks for 6 packages of sharpened #2 Ticonderoga pencils with erasers (shared) Yes, Ticonderoga is in bold print to emphasize the brand name.Supply lists send me into a panic since our financial situation shifted. Back to school season has my stomach in knots.About I week ago I dug out the lists and started taking inventory. Always on the lookout for a sale,I picked up a few things here and there over the course of the summer. I mean, who can say no to 25 cent notebooks?...more

6 years

6 years.  He has spent 6 years in elementary school.  He went in as a little boy.  Scared to go to "big school".  Shy.  Not sure about it all.  About all those rules.  And writing.  And learning.And now?He graduated 5th grade.HE GRADUATED 5TH GRADE!I didn't embarrass him by crying.  I 'might' have passed a tear, but kept it under wraps.This kid is generous, kind, witty.He's a scientist, thinker, dreamer.He complains about the things he has NO interest in.  Repeatedly....more

Returning to school after Thanksgiving Holiday

I was at work this Monday morning by 5:15 a.m. Opening my school building after a week off for Thanksgiving.  Wow! I really needed the break. My spirit was tired. I needed to get away from all of the anxiety associated with an elementary school. My friends not in the education business just don't understand what a stressful job it is...educating little ones.  Even when I'm off, my brain is still "on". I can't stop thinking about how to "make it better" for my students.  I am a principal in a severely economically disadvantaged district south of Fort Worth....more

Murphy's Laws of Elementary School

 My kids have been back at school for almost 2 months now. It seems to be that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. When kids are involved, the result can be hilarious (even thought you might not think so at the time.)...more

Life with Blinders

I'm talking to parents of young kids and my message is this:WAKE UP people and educate yourselves in all things technology related. Or at least as much as you possibly can. And then some. Else your kids are going to get away with EVERYTHING.Don't have the time? Aren't really worried about it?Go ahead and keep those blinders on. Go ahead and tell yourself that your kid would NEVER do anything like that. Really? Not even in an attempt to defend a friend? Didn't think of that, did you?...more
SueScheff BlogHer -come to me darling! hold me in your arms! tell me my magnetism melts your heart.more

Study names the 3 key literacy skills most needed for elementary school

Researchers studied 394 young children and found that the three most important factors to reading comprehension were decoding, oral comprehension and vocabulary.Decoding was measured by the speed and precision that the child could recognize written words - familiar or made up since it's about sounds. It accounted for 34% of the reading comprehension.Oral comprehension accounted for 8.9% and vocabulary accounted for 4.5%. The other factors include things like attention span, memory capacity, spoken language characteristics, etc....more

One School Bans All Hands-On Games at Recess, Even Holding Hands

Last week on my youngest son's Kindergarten field trip, I told his teacher that all Kindergarten teachers deserved a bonus. Why? "Kindergarteners are handsy!" And they are! Four different kids held my hand and pulled me to look at pumpkins and alpacas and other things. All of the kids were all up in my grill, not yet understanding the concept of personal space. I felt more touched out at the end of the field trip than when I nursed a baby through a growth spurt. I needed some time alone! All the handsy-ness is just part of a Kindergartener's learning process as they begin to learn about life and space and rules and such, right? Sure! Unless you're a Kindergartener at Coghlan Fundamental Elementary School in Langley, B.C. as they just instituted a "Zero Tolerance No Touching Rule." ...more
@Kathleen McDonald , that story is out of Canada. ;)more

100th Day of School and Counting....

Depending on when you started the academic year — and how many snow days you’ve had so far — the 100th day of school should be any day now.  For my son’s kindergarten class, that day is today....more