Blog

What Inspires Me

A-ha Moments…that’s what a teacher lives for. That moment of sudden realization in a student who has finally ‘gotten it’.  When the recognition of a student’s success causes their face to light up and a smile to form across their face.   Recently, I heard from a father who said,  “you don’t know me, but I have to say how impressive your method is! My late Asperger’s son was also so frustrated with the pen/pencil, but flourished on a keyboard.  Keep up the good work”. I wanted to know more about his son and asked for a bit more information on his success story.  These are some of the comments: “My son Ryan, who with Asperger’s Syndrome and legally blind, had some real challenges in being able to keep up with mainstream class work, especially in regards to getting his … Read More

Out with the Old… In with the New!

“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” John D. Rockefeller Doesn’t that say it all!  My new mission is to get schools to throw out their ‘old school mentality’ and embrace the new ways of doing things.  Students have a different mentality towards learning because of the way they were brought up with technology.  Their brains work faster, their learning style is quicker and they expect to multitask as they are learning. As Alan Cohen says: “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” … Read More

Time to get serious about the Typing Program you are using!

I read an article in The Hartford Courant about “allowing students to bring to school any online device they had- Smartphone, tablet or laptop- for use in class as teachers saw fit.”  Educators are realizing that it makes no sense to stop students from using the digital tools they use outside of school.” I totally agree with this but I do have one concern.  Why would you hand a student a laptop and NOT teach them how to touch type beforehand?  You don’t drive a car until you take driver’s ed….you don’t jump into a pool before you learn to swim….you don’t give a child a book without teaching them how to read first.  My point is that there are steps to learning how to do something.  You don’t start at step 10 and work backwards!  You start at the … Read More

I found my Passion!

I have been a very happy educator for the past 23 years….There is nothing better than to see a student overcome an obstacle and see themselves as confident and successful. As Mickey Rooney says, “You always pass failure on the way to success.” My job is to be sure I give my students enough skills to use when fighting for success.  There will be plenty of roadblocks in their lives.  The secret is to be able to jump over the obstacles and keep yourself in a forward motion. As Sir Winston Churchill reminds us, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” So now I HAVE come upon a personal roadblock.  I have noticed that one skill is missing from their curriculum….learning how to touch-type.  Now you may think this is a … Read More

Preventing the Summer Slide

NOW is the time to think about your summertime plans!  It can be as easy as hitting the town pool everyday, going to visit the grandparents, or going hunting for pollywogs and turtles with the neighborhood kids. Whatever your plans are, there is always something waiting for many children each summer and their parents don’t even know it’s out there. It’s called the “summer slide,” and it describes what happens when young minds sit idle for three months. According to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association: “A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year…. It’s common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been … Read More

You Need to Type to Tell the Computer What You Want

There is nothing magical about Touch-Typing.  Here’s how it works. Instead of watching the keyboard as you type, you watch the screen, and you type without looking.  You simply learn the position of each key on the keyboard, and through practice your fingers develop muscle memory and NOW you will always know where the keys are …without looking! Once the process becomes automatic you only have to think of a word for it to appear on the screen. I find it a very enjoyable way to work, because it’s less tiring, and you don’t have to keep shifting your eyes from keyboard to screen. Here are some amazing benefits to typing: Because you’re watching the screen as you type, you can instantly spot any typing errors and correct them straightaway. Touch-typing helps free your mind from the mechanics of what you’re … Read More

Creativity in the Classroom

I am still focusing on the need to bring creativity to the classroom.  I have read many articles, blogs and comments from teachers, parents and students about HOW to do this. One of my favorite articles was from Sir Ken Robinson.  The point of Robinson’s talk is that the current education system is designed to squander creativity . Children are steered away from unusual instincts toward the traditional skills that will lead to secure jobs.  He said “Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth-for a particular commodity. And for the future, it won’t serve us. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we’re educating our children.  When children enter school, Robinson argues, they do so without a fear of being wrong. He tells the story of a quiet girl drawing … Read More

What Students are Thinking!

As an educator, did you ever sit back before your first class began and think “What do the STUDENTS WANT to learn today?”   http://mrpullen.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/what-do-the-kids-want-to-learn/    

This is How Children Learn!

We all know education has changed since we last sat in home room. Educators have come to realize that not all students learn the same way. Sal Khan and I agree that mastery-based learning is where students will get the most bang for their buck! Read about the students in Ms. Cadwell’s seventh-grade class. http://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative-people/2011/sal-khan-khan-academy            

How to Develop a New Skill

As the President of Keyboard Classroom for the past 6 years, my passion has been to teach students how to type successfully so they can have a skill that they will take with them from their school years into their career years. My three main reasons for teaching students to type are:  If you wouldn’t give a child a book without  teaching them ‘how’ to read then WHY would you put a computer in front of a student without teaching them ‘how’ to type? Typists are better writers because touch-typing frees the mind from mechanics, allowing students to focus on ideas. Typing is a skill they’ll use every day! My goal is to get parents and students to understand how important it is to develop typing skills when they are in elementary school. Here are some steps for “developing a … Read More