Saturday, September 10, 2016


I declare! I don’t know where some of these people come up with these ridiculous ideas!!! I wonder sometimes if common sense has completely disappeared!

A teacher recently sent me a message because her principal had told them no coloring. No writing sight words with crayons, markers, or colored pencils. No rainbow writing. Children are only suppose to use pencils to draw pictures. Really??? Where did that come from??? Has the principal ever read the research on using colors to help remember things? Would the principal like to go back to the days of black and white TV?

It’s basically an example of nit picking – but that kind of thing actually undermines the teacher’s autonomy. Who cares? Well, the teacher cares and the kids care because they like to make their drawings colorful.

At a workshop this summer we were making my blank books, which I LOVE because they are open-ended and can be used across the curriculum to integrate reading and writing. A teacher commented they were only suppose to use lined paper. Now, where on earth did that come from??? Yes, lined paper is good, but blank paper is just as good. Did Shakespeare use lined paper to write his plays? Was the Declaration of Independence written on lined paper? Another example of perseverating on something that won’t amount to a hill of beans at the end of the day.

How about the superintendent that said NO playdough in kindergarten? That’d be like me telling a band director how to teach a child to play the tuba. Would I ever tell a high school chemistry teacher how to teach chemistry? Give teachers credit for knowing their grade level, their students’ interests, needs, and how best to help them learn.

Let’s start focusing on children. Let’s start respecting teachers and giving them the latitude to be creative and try different approaches. Let’s stop thinking there is only ONE way. I’m right and you are wrong. Well, let me tell you, I’ve been at this rodeo a LONG time!!! There are many ways to teach children and there are many ways to be a wonderful teacher.

So, now I’ll get off my soapbox and tell you about a wonderful surprise that happened to me last week. My husband and I went to Dublin, Ireland, for the GA Tech/Boston College football game. (Yes, he’s a little fanatic!) We took a day train trip to Galway and there were several college students taking a little “holiday” (that’s what they call it) before school started. One of them started singing, “Guacamole, guac guac a mole…” I said, “Hey, that’s my song!” Of course they freaked out and said NO WAY. YES WAY! Even big kids in the UK know that singing and dancing makes life more fun!         
                      Doing the "Banana Dance" in the Galway train station.