Middle School Language Arts

“I’m BORED”

 

My least favorite phrase (especially while teaching) is, “I’m bored.”

Why?  Because it is a red flag that as a teacher, I am not doing what I should be.  There shouldn’t be a dull moment.  Engagement is the name of the game!

As a new teacher, this is my number one focus – STUDENT ENGAGEMENT. I am always looking for anything that will help in this area. My students shouldn’t be bored! They should be on the edge of their seats inhaling knowledge. They should be so interested that they long for every word I speak and they look forward to participating every opportunity they can!

My goal is to become the best teacher ever when it comes to student engagement!

POS 221 – Final Grade B

For a second I was disappointed in myself because my grade wasn’t an ‘A’ – then I came to my senses and snapped out of it! The fact that I received a B grade for this class is a real blessing. Why?

I managed to complete this course in record time after being terribly behind on my academic schedule. It’s no secret that I would not be in this Teaching Internship if I did not have to be. I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees a long time ago. Returning to school for this purpose was not my first choice in life. I had to! To remain provisionally certified to teach in the State of Arizona, this program was mandatory. Not to mention accelerated!

I started out with the best of intentions to be on task and complete this course with an ‘A’ grade like the others. Instead, my 73 year old mother who lives alone, and I am her only offspring, had spine surgery just as I am starting this semester. I spent the night at the hospital every night she was there. I slept in the room because heaven forbid anything happen to her and I was not there.

I thought I would do my work while there, it did not happen. Each day, I grew more frustrated at my situation but wasn’t composed enough to do any work. I could not get motivated!

Not to mention, I am teaching full-time in the classroom (four periods – two 7th and two 8th grade). I am so grateful for my friend and colleague, Jackie – who is a reading interventionist, for helping to keep me sane. She has made copies for me and reminded me of “whose on first, and what’s on second” daily. I adore her!

I am so glad I made it to the end of the course. At the end of the day. I am grateful for this B!

POS221 – Arizona Constitution

Office of Governor George W. P. Hunt (Circa 1920) Photo taken at Arizona Capital Museum on March 3, 2011 

Today, I focused solely on this course.  I had no idea how much I did not know about Arizona!  I have lived here for 32 years and this course will be my enlightening period.  I see why it is important for all teachers to have the US and State Constitution on their teaching certificates.

Here is what I will know at the end of this course:

  1. the major geographic features and historical periods of AZ
  2. difference between the initiative and referendum processes
  3. the impeachment and recall processes
  4. structure of AZ’s legislative districts
  5. how a bill becomes a law
  6. the executive offices and their specific powers
  7. the courts in the AZ judicial system and the jurisdiction of each court
  8. the major components of county and municipal governments

I am READY!

A plan to keep up…

Rio-logo-reflectLast semester I cut it a bit close when it comes to delivering on my coursework.  I procrastinated and paid dearly for it in the end.  Sure, I can come up with many reasons why it happened, but none of those reasons matter in the end.  Just – get it done!

This is my 1st of the two remaining semesters and I will be finished!  Yay!!!

My goal is to stay on task and deliver assignments on time this semester.  Today is day one.  I have four different courses to maintain and a tremendous amount of work to complete to satisfy all the requirements of each.

I am blogging about this experience to hold myself accountable.  Even if no one else reads this – I will have to comply.

My courses are:

  • POS221 – Arizona Constitution
  • EDU256AE – Intern Certificate Student Teaching Lab – Secondary Education III
  • EDU270AB – Secondary Reading and Decoding Methods
  • EDU270 – Learning and the Brain

My plan is to read each syllabus tonight and review all of the assignments.  I will then calendar due dates and read text for this first week.  I am still waiting for a few textbooks.  This is going to be great!

Spring 2016 Semester

Today, I received a couple of the textbooks for my Spring, 2016 semester courses.  Tomorrow is technically the first day of the semester.  I am looking forward to the coursework.

This will be a busy time for me.  I am currently full-time in the teaching internship, supporting the Science and Robotics Clubs, along with after-school tutoring.

In addition to this blog, I also have www.davinalyons.com – currently I am focused on transforming my body into a healthier more efficient vessel.

 

P3 – Pain, Passion, and Purpose

I wrote this post in November of 2015 in another education blog.  I decided to close that blog and only use this one.  I wanted to keep this, so I transferred it.

On the first day of school (my second year teaching), I told the students that the picture on the wall of the lion roaring at the butterflies was symbolic to our classroom.   I stated, ” There will be times when I roar like a lion, but only to get you to transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly.” I could tell that some of the students really had to process what I was saying. Others got it right away!  This is when I realized how passionate I had become about being in the classroom and teaching.

My students mean so much to me. At the end of my first year (May, 2015), I cried during the 8th grade promotion ceremony. I couldn’t help it. The song they walked to was that sad song played at the end of the most recent Fast and Furious movie where they pay homage to Paul Walker (the actor who died in the car crash). I love the Fast and Furious franchise because my son and I watched every movie as he grew up from 5 to 18 years old. Those movies created even more of a bond between my son and I.

“…How could we not talk about family when family’s all that we got?  Everything I went through you were standing there by my side, and now you gonna be with me for the last ride.  So let the light guide your way hold every memory as you go and every road you take will always lead you home…”

Those words in the song made me tear up even more. Where will they go? How will their lives turn out? I have been their classroom ‘momma’ for a year. The other teachers laughed at me. They told me I was a newbie and there would be many more students to come. Yet, my heart ached for those students. My first students – I called them ‘my babies’.

Why was I so attached?  Well, I saw myself in them. I remember being that age and experiencing so much pain and uncertainty. I could see so much in their eyes. I wanted them to read and have experiences through literature that would expand their world, but they were simply in survival mode. We expect so much from this generation, yet life is dealing them some heavy blows.

As a teacher, all you can do is:

  • feel their pain and press through daily to create a safe environment that fosters learning
  • with passion – find ways to engage your students as they are distracted so easily
  • walk with purpose in getting them to the next level as an educator

Above all else, this is my mission as a TEACHER!

Politics and the US Constitution

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Will I ever get it?

Yesterday, I passed the final exam for my US Constitution Course with a 92%!

After 8 weeks worth of lessons and a whole lot of last minute cramming, I know a whole lot about:

  • The Founding Fathers
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • The First Continental Congress
  • The Bill of Rights
  • Federalists and Anti-Federalists
  • The Constitutions and all the Amendments
  • and so much more

Why is that so remarkable?  Well, until I had to take this course, I am certain I knew very little about the US Constitution.  For whatever reason, my interests waned over the years.  Perhaps because I grew tired of the political scene in the US.  This course helped me to realize how beneficial it is to be aware of the laws of the land that I live in. Also, I realized just how easy it is to manipulate the law to support your stance on an issue.

The Constitution reminds me of the Holy Bible.  Often times the interpretation is made to fit the sermon.  It can either protect or condemn.  There is evidence that throughout history both has occurred and people have lived with the consequences.

Initially, I was bored to tears; then, the lessons came alive as I began relating to current issues like The Affordable Healthcare Act, Same-Sex Marriage, Freedom of Religious practice and a few others.

Learning is invigorating to me.  This course was required to maintain my teaching certification; and I am glad about it.  Good stuff to know!

Procrastination – friend or foe?

The people closest to me say that I work best under pressure…

They say this because I always seem to pull off whatever I’m attempting to achieve.  Truthfully, I’m tired of that route. It isn’t working for me these days to put things off until I’m left with no choice but to complete them.  Besides, the stress on my nervous system isn’t worth it!

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As I teach middle school students, I realize how important it is to be on your game and prepared to deliver the goods – meaning delivering the best possible instruction I can.  This cannot be achieved by last minute preparations.  So if there is anything I must prioritize, its my students!

Procrastination is not my friend. Perhaps it appears as such to others, but I know the truth.


Fall Break 2015

Out for a whole week on a Fall break from teaching school.  The timing is perfect!  I have a number of projects to focus on.  This blog is a BIG priority! My goal is to blog as I work through my Secondary Methods and Curriculum Development (EDU289) and US Constitution Courses (POS222).  I believe blogging while processing the coursework will aide in my retention of the material.  We hope so! At any rate, no socializing or vacationing for me.  This week is all about grinding through lots of materials and completing assignments.

I welcome input along the way!

Why p3 Education?

I recently decided to change my career after working in Corporate America for 30 years.  It is my second year teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts at Sacaton Middle School within the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) in Sacaton, Arizona.  I am still excited and feeling positive about my career change!  This year I feel much more equipped to make a difference in the academic lives of my students.  I have set the bar higher than last year to stretch my students.  They know what is expected of them and they are showing me significant effort.

My mission is to educate, motivate and support my student’s reading growth (vocabulary and comprehension skills) significantly by the end of the school year.

Also, it is my 2nd year as a student in the Teaching Internship program at Rio Salado Community College.  Although I previously earned a Bachelors and Masters degree in Business Management, I needed specific courses to be a certified teacher.  So I did what I needed to do to become provisionally certified until I successfully complete the pedagogy curriculum at the college.  I’m in an accelerated program that requires many hours per week in addition to my classroom teaching.  I decided to start this blog to capture and share my experiences and all that I am learning.

Why is this site named p3 Education?  Well, my life story has been about pain, passion, and purpose (p3). There will be more about that in subsequent posts.  However, I will say now that the students I serve in the classroom are fulfilling my purpose.  On many levels I relate to my students and I am passionate about helping them succeed.  I understand the challenges that many of them face today; I want to positively contribute to their lives.

I hope to connect with other teachers on a similar mission along the way.

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