California Educator

February 2013

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OPINIONS < & LETTERS COMMENTS Your opinions and letters are welcome. So, too, are your photos of teaching, learning and association activities. There is a 250-word limit on letters and all letters will be edited. Photo identi���cations and permissions are required. All materials submitted must include your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address. E-mail to THANK YOU, CTA I would like to thank CTA for giving me HOPE for my profession! In the last few years I have seen my small necessary high school closed... then my small elementary school close. I have felt the intense scrutiny that teachers are under. As a result of school closures, I had to move in order to keep teaching in the district. I also fought off stage IV melanoma cancer MANY times. I have thought there must be an easier profession. Then I get a copy of the December/ January Educator and read ���Be of good cheer: Glorious success stories.��� This is my 12th year and I cannot give up! I love teaching! I love watching children learn something new. Keep up the good work! Stephanie Bowen Alpine County School Employees Association CYNICAL CHILDREN? In response to whether holidays should or shouldn���t be celebrated in the classroom [December/January Educator], I think they should be celebrated. Though I agree with Ms. Gooch, I think she���s too focused on academics. We must have social-community building opportunities. Research shows that when students have fun in school and get to know each other, they do much better academically. In fact, I would say that the majority of the population learns more when things are relevant, engaging and thoughtful. Remember what it���s like to be a kid? The last thing we need are cynical children who will resent not participating in or learning about holidays in the eighth grade. Just ask your students how they like not celebrating any of the holidays. with Santa, elves and candy canes. And don���t get me started about the Easter Bunny! Loreta Torres Dave Brodkey United Educators of San Francisco Soquel Educators Association NOT A VALID EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY I am writing in response to Janet Brunetti���s column extolling the virtues of celebrating holidays in the classroom. She explains that her students write ���friendly letters��� to Santa at Christmastime, using a Polar Express mailbox that says ���ho, ho, ho��� encouraging the kids to believe that Santa���s elves are collecting the mail. I don���t believe this is a valid educational activity in a public school. Christmas is a Christian holiday, whether the emphasis is on Jesus or Santa. It is not celebrated by Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or other religious minorities. For children of religious minorities, this can create confusion and conflict for them and their families. Even if there is a choice to opt out, it forces children to hide or minimize their own identities in order to fulfill a classroom assignment and please the teacher. I am a public school teacher and the parent of two children who attended public schools. As members of a religious minority, we do not celebrate Christmas and have to navigate this issue every year. I urge my colleagues not to put kids in a position that puts them in this awkward spot. There are many ways to have engaging seasonal lessons without infusing the classroom FLIPPING RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES? I ���nd the ���ipping concept intriguing [December/January Educator]. My situation: A magnet school where students are bused in from up to 90 minutes away in our rural county. Buses arrive immediately before school starts and leave immediately after. I have many Title I students with no access to Internet at home. 50 minute class periods on unblocked days, 1 hour 45 minute blocks every other day on blocked days. Many students can���t afford cellphones or other electronic devices. Only about 50 percent of my parents even have e-mail. Does anyone have any suggestions about how I can implement ���ipping while providing a fair and equitable education for all my students? If so, please email me at Eager to get started, but not sure how to overcome these obstacles. Kristy Noble Porterville Education Association FUN AND PUN OF FLIPPING Flipping is a brilliant idea, but there are some challenges. First, theory acquisition must be a fresh look at a new concept, or the extension of a previously encountered concept. Call it Finding Usable Nuggets, February 2013 7

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