A Thought on Discipline

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1830638/images/o-PARENTS-TALKING-TO-KIDS-facebook.jpgLast week marked the end of the 2nd trimester of school. The last two days of the school week were reserved for parent conferences. I joined a few conferences to support. I was truly surprised when a parent thanked me for handling the discipline of their child at school. I was even more taken aback when it happened again.

It made me think of the times that I’ve had students in my office for breaking the rules or worse. I want to share what I do when a student enters my office because I think what I’m doing is working.

1. I smile at them as they enter.

2. I sit down at a table with them- I do not speak to them from across my desk. I ask them to tell me what’s happening.

3. I write down or type what they say, asking questions along the way.

4. I occasionally read it back to them. When they are done I read them their whole account.

5. I ask them if they are telling the whole truth then do my best to verify the student’s account of what happened.

6. I explain what I am going to do next. For example, if there were other children involved, I tell them that I’m going to talk to the other child.

7. Once everyone involved agrees with the accounts of what happened, I then issue a consequence.

8. I ask, “Do you think this is a fair consequence?”

9. I contact the teacher and the parents to explain what happened.

10. I periodically check in with the student afterwards.

I very rarely veer from this personal protocol. It is what works for me. I have gained the trust of the students, parents and teachers at my school by doing this consistently and fairly.

Death and Taxes

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I have never read so much about taxes in my life!

From what I understand Benjamin Franklin said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” After reading about California’s tax system I’m in agreement and see the value of having a better understanding of it.

As an educator it is important to gain an understanding the taxes that are best for education. There are many different criteria that economists use to evaluate tax systems. I’m going to evaluate the California tax system using five criteria that is from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Brimley, Verstegen, & Garfield and determine its value for education (2011).

  1. Broad Bases with low rates

This describes the process of collecting taxes from a broad base of citizens in order to fund public   services. The broad base paired with low rates ensures everyone pays a fair share that contributes to the public services.

  1. Economic Neutrality

Neutrality refers to when taxes used to fund public services do not impact the private sectors spending patterns.

  1. Equity

This means that all taxing devices are constructed in a way that everyone fairly pays what they have the ability to pay.

  1. Feasibility

Feasibility means the tax system is efficient and can be carried out uniformly with minimal compliance cost.

  1. Adequacy, Stability and Reliability

This refers to a system that can be consistently counted on to generate revenue by applying taxes to reliable, productive sources in order to adequately fund public services.

Personal Income tax, Sales and Use Tax, Property Tax, and Lottery are the most commonly referred to when discussing education funding. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, Personal Income Tax (PIT) is the states single largest revenue source. It is a progressive tax based on a person’s income over the course of a year. In California we have seven tax brackets based on income. The higher the income, the percent taxes increases. This tax system rates high in that it covers all five criteria. Additionally, this progressive tax ensures both equity and adequacy in that the revenue contributes to the general fund. Sales tax is not a equitable as income tax in that only those who choose to spend contribute. However, it is a critical tax for education. Property tax is another example of a tax this is not necessarily equitable. Property tax revenue stays local and therefore funds the local districts. Depending on the demographics of a community the property taxes can vary greatly. This being said, property taxes are very important to the the funding of public education. According to Jeff Camp, of Ed100, about half of all California property taxes are distributed to districts for the purpose of funding K-14 education. The lottery is what I would rank as the lowest. Lottery revenue is only collected from people that choose to participate in it. I can count on one hand the times I’ve participated in the lottery and still have fingers to spare. As someone who clearly believes in the importance and value of education, I see the lottery as a bonus and not something the state should necessarily rely on for funding public education. In fact, the lottery only contributed about two percent of the funding sources for California.

References:

Brimley, V. R., Verstegen, D. A., & Garfield, R. R. (2011). Financing Education in a Climate of Change (11 edition.). Boston: Pearson.

http://www.lao.ca.gov/2007/tax_primer/tax_primer_040907.aspx#overview

http://ed100.org/support/whopays/

California State Lottery Act, Proposition 37 (1984)

lottery

People passed the California State Lottery Act in 1984. This act made it possible for California’s residents to contribute additional money to benefit education without raising taxes or imposing new taxes. This was done by turning over 87 percent or more of the lottery’s total annual revenue back to the people by contributing to public education. This is done with the California State Lottery Education Fund, which is part of the State Treasury. Warrants are distributed from this fund and are paid to:

  • Public K-12 school districts
  • Community colleges
  • UC and CSU schools
  • Hastings College of the Law
  • Department of the Youth Authority
  • California Schools for the Deaf
  • California School for the Blind
  • Diagnostic Schools for Neurologically Handicapped Children
  • State Department of Developmental Services
  • State Department of Mental Health

The amount of money given is determined by the average daily attendance (ADA) and full-time enrollment. According to the law, any agency/school district that accepts this money but create an account solely for the lottery education monies. Anything purchased with this money needs to be clearly identifies as being from the lottery education account.

Education funding from the lottery is not an end all solution to the California’s budget issues with education funding. I think its clear that there’s a problem when at the end of every school year, teachers are laid off only to be hired again within a few months. I was told by a teacher that she was once handed her pink slip, laying her off and then given her rehire notice within hours of each other. When Governor Schwarzenegger was in office he claimed the California Lottery was “an underperforming asset and is not run in the most efficient way” (Cosgrove, 2011). This money does provide funding in an equitable manner but doesn’t yield enough money to provide an adequate, consistent amount.

References:

Cosgrove, M. (2011). Chapter 13: More Money to Players, Brighter Future for Schools. McGeorge Law Review, 42(3), 583–619.

http://www.calottery.com/~/media/Publications/Lottery_Act/lottery-act-update-july-2012.pdf

PKM

When reflecting on my PKM, I can see that there are tools that I favor over the others.

To begin with, I use feedly for most of my capturing. I have found that my subscriptions lead me several interesting articles everyday. I often find links to other interesting topics through the articles as well. The other tools I intended to use are still helpful, I just use them less frequently than feedly.

I have completely abandoned delicious. I couldn’t get used to it. I use Evernote and zotero for all my curating.

For sharing, I use blogging as my primary tool. I have been using twitter to share some of my blog posts.

Overall, using these tools have helped me find and link with others in the field of education.

Gossip

This video clip is from a movie called, Doubt. I have never seen this movie in its entirety but I plan on it. In this clip the character is talking about gossip. His description of gossip is really powerful. It sends a strong message.

I’d love for anyone reading this to take two minutes and fifty seconds to watch this video, then read the rest of this post.

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Now let’s think about gossiping online. In a couple of clicks or taps a text, image, or screenshot can spread so fast and so far. Once it’s “out there” it’s impossible to get back.  The image below is from an article called: Going viral: How ‘social contagion’ begins and escalates. It visualizes the connections we have online.

friend-as-sensors

Gossip online can be a form of cyber bullying. Here are three rules regarding privacy that are not often mentioned in etiquette lists. Remember to cover these topics when you talk to your children about digital citizenship and/or cyber bullying.

1. Screenshots: Always respect the privacy of others. If some sends you an email, message, or image, don’t take screenshots and share.  Whatever it is or says was directed at you, not the world at large.

2. Photos: Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with the world at large.  Yes, you may have privacy settings with who you share with.  However, screenshots are easy to take and share.

3. Forward/BCC: These functions are for productivity in the workplace.  They are not intended for spreading gossip.  To forward or BCC someone on an email is an invasion of privacy.

What’s your favorite color scheme?

Today I was chatting with one of my teacher friends about the way we set up our classrooms.  She asked me if there was a particular color scheme that I liked. Here is my response.

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My response made me think about why I choose these colors.  I “decorate” my room with colors I like.  I think it makes my classroom fun and inviting.  I’ve been commended for the my classroom environment and I think the colors I choose adds to it.

So after running through these thoughts today, how funny is  it that I stumble across this article before bed?!

Jan Hoffman wrote the article, Rethinking the Colorful Kindergarten Classroom. In it she references a study by Fisher, Godwin & Seltman: Visual Environment, Attention Allocation, and Learning in Young Children, When Too Much of a Good Thing May Be Bad. 

This study examined the affects of decorations on classroom walls. Research showed that student in classrooms with many decorations were distracted more often.  Click on the link to read the article. It had a lot of good points. It definitely made me further reflect on the way I set up my classroom.

Earlier in this post I put decorate in quotation marks.  I did this because I really dislike saying that I decorate my room.  It sounds unprofessional to me.  I also don’t think the word speaks to the amount of time and energy I put into the presentation of my classroom.  The items I chose to put up may seem decorate in nature but I assure you that everything on the walls of my classroom serves a purpose.

  • The work on the walls reflect student progress.
  • The charts on the board are reminders of learning objectives.
  • The number line and alphabet above my board is for reference.
  • The word wall is for reading and spelling.

When I see my students looking around while they are working, it makes me happy.  It tells me they are engaged in the room itself.  I tell my kids, “Use the information around you to help you.”  Sometimes it’s a spelling word, reading word, math pattern, a step, or a definition that they are looking for.  I’m glad I know they can find it.

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Look behind these cuties to see two charts hanging on the wall. One is for the spelling sound of the week and the other has the reading words for the week.

Click here for my infographic!

First, thank you to everyone that gave me feedback on my first draft.  I took everyone’s advice & made some changes. This assignment was a sneaky one! I had no idea the amount of time it would take me to complete this.  Thankfully there were templates!  I can see how infographics can have a big impact when you are trying to share facts with the world.

On the venngage site there were templates for resumes! I don’t think the world is ready for infographic resumes…unless you’re applying for a tech job 😉