Kingman Academy of Learning kids have finished their first full week of school, and from what my granddaughter tells me, it was a huge success. Kingman Unified students have now completed two weeks and a couple of days. No one's complained about anything serious from that side, either!
I had the opportunity to visit Kingman Middle School as a substitute teacher a couple of times recently. That's the reason behind the title of this week's post! I've never been a sub before, and the fact that there were no tears-especially from me-was a huge accomplishment! The school and the kids seem to have it together pretty well, and I was made to feel very welcome as a visitor. It was a lot of fun visiting and finding out how quite a few of my former students are doing. Some of them seemed glad to see me, while a few actively avoided making eye contact! Some things never change!
I'm still looking for invitations to visit classrooms to take pictures of kids doing cool stuff for this blog. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like. I can't promise to make every visit offered, but I'll sure give it a try!
Question of the Week
First off, congratulations are in order to Aumrie Becker for a correct, and well-written answer to the first Question of the Week. Aumrie, a fourth-grade student in Mr. Laulo's class at La Senita, wrote:
They identified him by DNA testing, examining Civil War records, and by the gold coin with his remainds. A anthropologist named Diane France studied Dixon's skull. Then they found him in his sweetheart Queenie Benntett picture.
Teachers and those others like me who point out errors will note a couple of spelling and grammar errors, but coming from a fourth-grader who has probably not been typing that long, I'm impressed. Mr. Laulo, how about some extra credit for this kid?
E-mail me if you'd like the rest of the story about the H.L. Hunley and Lt. George Dixon.
This week's Question of the Week:
Computer memory storage is measured in bytes. One byte represents one typed character. Kilobytes are approximately 1,000 bytes. If you type in large characters, a good mental picture of a kilobyte is pretty close to one side of one typed sheet of standard paper.
When kilobytes weren't enough, we started using megabytes-one thousand kilobytes, or about one million individual characters. So, using the one kilobyte per sheet model, we can see a megabyte as about two packages of copier paper, typed on one side of the paper.
Most computer users of today talk more about gigabytes (one thousand megabytes, or about one billion individual typed letters). In packages of copier paper, that's about twenty packages or two cases.
OK, here's the question, and it's going to take some math to solve!
I can carry five cases of paper on a handtruck to pile it into a heap by my printer. Never mind that I don't have a big enough house to store it, but how many trips at five cases per trip, would I have to make to load enough paper to print one terabyte of information?
A correct answer will have the correct calculations (Of course you can use a calculator!) and explain what problems you had to work to get the answer. Don't let whoever you ask for help give you that "I was terrible at math!" excuse! This requires very simple calculations, but you have to be able to put them in the right order! Naturally, I want a written answer in complete sentences. Have some fun with this! Submit your answer to email@example.com by Thursday of the week that this appears in the online Kingman Daily Miner.
Keeping Them Smiling, Part 2
Despite some very nice, and deeply appreciated, comments from several folks by e-mail, posted to the comments section of this blog, telephoned in, and even sent to my wife's Facebook Wall, I was hoping for some suggestions from others about how they keep their kids smiling through the school year. Please feel free to send me suggestions.
Here are a couple of more ideas to help your kid smile through the school year:
Display pride in your child's successes! I really don't know what a refrigerator looks like without a bunch of magnets stuck to it, and this can be a good place to showcase school papers, but there are so many other ways as well. How about your desk at work or on Grandma's desk? That really great picture that your kid worked on so hard might look good matted and framed and hung on a wall (under ten bucks to see your kid's pride and sense of accomplishment every time he or she walks into the room).
Take the attitude that if it's not a success, it can be an opportunity to learn and grow rather than a "failure." A low test score provides an opportunity to practice study skills and review techniques. It shouldn't be necessary to go into, "Boy, kid, you really blew that one! See what happens when you don't do your homework or study?"
It's a pretty safe bet that your child knows he could have done better, and is probably already beating himself up pretty well over it. Instead, how about, "Let's see what we can do to help you ace the next test!"
Your child needs to be absolutely certain that, no matter what happens at school, there is absolute, unfailing love and acceptance at home. You don't have to be happy that your child scored twenty percent on a spelling test, but don't let a bad grade determine whether or not your child feels that you value him or her.
Encourage your child to seek additional help from the appropriate teacher if you're not comfortable in the tutoring role. Be willing to provide transportation if after- or before-school help is offered. And, be sure to follow through! Teachers who rearrange their schedules to accommodate a half-hour or an hour of after-school help tend to be a little grumpy when no one shows up! Frequently, it's very hard for a teacher with thirty or more kids in the classroom to give in-depth individual help during class time. A good individual tutoring session can sometimes work wonders!
Also, please don't ask your child's teacher to tutor during recess! Recess is your child's teacher's break, as well. Most teachers have amazing control over normal bodily functions, but when they miss a recess, the wait to the next prep period can be excruciating!
Keep your child involved. Yes, your child is going to school to learn "readin', 'ritin', and figgerin'," but I have to admit, not too many kids are that excited about learning about reflexive pronouns! Extra-curricular activities provide the sparkle to a day at school, and don't necessarily have to take time away from academics. Don't forget the activities offered outside of school, either. Soccer, baseball, gymnastics, piano lessons, softball, RC models, or any others of a long list of activities are available locally. Many kids do better in school when they have busy schedules. I guess it has something to do with the idea that they have more energy than we do, but you do need to keep alert for signs that your child's schedule may be becoming overwhelming.
Once again, feel free to e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) me answers to the Question of the Week, comments, suggestions, or invitations to visit your classroom or school. You might notice I didn't include any pictures this week! I've got to take them to post them! Write to me!