Sunday, March 29, 2015

Teacher Ninja Way #2;Move with Precision

Way # 2: Move with Precision

   Welcome back great Teacher Ninja Warriors. Last week I introduce my version of what it takes to be a teacher ninja, like a real ninja, teachers are experts in their field. Like real ninjas, we have a sense of values and beliefs that we operate under to make us great warriors in the field of education.
 This week I want to connect ninja way #2, Move with Precision. I'll keep it brief and to the point. Here it goes:
 Every move of a ninja serves a purpose. A ninja learns to study people. Figure them out, see what makes them tick. This information is valuable for leverage.
The teacher ninja must move with the same precision being a purposeful observant at all times. Pay attention to conversations among the students to understand their interests. A ninja teacher takes surveys in order to learn interests and learning styles. In my opinion the most useful information to learn what makes a student tick is frequent monitoring and note-taking on behaviors.
A had a bright student in my class one year that didn’t work to his potential. I’ll call this student Jerry. Jerry often appeared bored and drifted into “la-la land” during instruction. While meeting with his guided reading group I took notes. A book we read one day sparked conversation from him. He connected with a character who went on fishing trip with his father. Jerry was like a sleeping volcano that stirred to life. He spurted out stories of trips to the lake with his family. You better believe I used this new bit of information for all it was worth. Jerry wrote a personal narrative about one of his trips, made a map of his favorite place to fish, and researched the wild life in the area. From then on, Jerry seemed to pay attention more and noticed other things in class that he could connect with.
This is just one example of many that shows how making each move with precision and purpose can lead you to be a ninja teacher,a skilled teacher that is an expert on his/her students.

Next week......Way # 3: Choose Your Battles

*Reference: 5 Ways to Be a Ninja-wikiHow*

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What is a Teacher Ninja?


 Ninjas are specialized warriors trained to be masters of combat. A ninja works extremely hard driven by beliefs and principals of the ninja way.

A teacher ninja is a specialized warrior in the field of education. A teacher ninja works extremely hard, driven by beliefs and ideals of….well, that part is a bit muddled. At one time all teacher ninjas were driven by the belief of making a difference in the lives of young people. Excited to shape and mold minds. Using creativity to motivate and engage our students to learn.

Today the teacher ninja is expected to operate under the ideals and philosophies of law and policy makers who haven’t spent a day teaching in the classroom. It’s easy to forget what motivated us in the beginning to become teachers. We’re drowning in state mandates. We tread to keep our heads above all of the paper work and other requirements.
 Fear not great teacher ninja warriors. We’ll examine the ninja way and connect it back to our lives as educators.

Way #1
Adopt a Sense of Teaching Beliefs
Imagine you woke up tomorrow and all the mandates and tests were lifted. What would a day in your classroom look like? For me, the children would have a say in what interests them. We could spend days on a topic, read books and talk about them. Stop and research questions that arise.
My belief has and will always be that children need to be invested in their own learning. This year my teacher ninja surfaced. The standards and testing has not gone away. In fact, this is the year the new testing is to implemented. I refuse to let it control me. I made the decision to fall back on my beliefs.
My children write stories of their choice. They write every day and request publishing days frequently. They go through the writing process, publish their stories, create covers, and read their masterpieces to the class. Their stories are part of our classroom library to be checked out by other students to read.
This is just a glimpse into my day. My point? My children are excited about writing. This is not to say I don’t teach the mechanics of writing and types of writing. I do. This particular class is motivated by story writing, so that drives my planning. I carve time out of my schedule for it. Should I be doing more test practice? Maybe. The teacher ninja in me doesn’t believe so. I can live with that.
What is your teacher ninja saying to you? Listen to the ninja. After all a ninja is a specialized trained expert in the field.
Next week.....Way #2 Move with Precision
*Reference: 5 Ways to Be a Ninja-wikiHow*


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