Classical Sports for A Spiritual Journey

The Boxer of Quirinal, the Boxer of the Baths
The Boxer of Quirinal, bronze from the 1st century BC, Courtesy of Wiki Commons & MatthiasKabel

The ancients did not, in general, go in for team sports. When we were home schooling, we kept this in thought. Our sports were two: running road races (the proverbial 5K) and riding horseback. Both these sports allowed our kids to challenge themselves, enjoy the competition experience, track their progress and measure themselves against others. Both these sports, as it happens, were also “classical sports.”

Going back to Greece and Rome, and the original Olympics, we see track and field, running races, chariot racing, and boxing and wrestling, and that’s about it. Soccer goes back only to medieval times in Europe.  Football is only a little over 100 years old.

I recently enrolled my 17-year-old daughter in riding lessons again and when she asked why, I said, “because horseback riding is a spiritual experience. You will see.” Long an aspiring artist, she had been experiencing “artist’s block,” and hadn’t been drawing for months, or a year.  She came home from riding lessons and resumed work on her drawings, produced some unusually good work, and got accepted into the studio of a working artist.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  It’s like I said, riding is spiritual.

For myself, cantering along in a circle, turning the horse in the other direction and making a lead change, there’s a moment of transcendence, when the horse and I seem to be of one mind.  When you sit on the back of a horse, you have a different perspective.  I like to think of the ancients when I ride, soldiers going to battle, or travelers, going from town to town, or noblemen like Nestor’s sons and Telemachus in the Odyssey, driving their chariots.  I feel connected to them, footfall after footfall, my horse is the descendant of their horses, and I am the descendant of the ancients as well.

I come home and I feel better, and the effect lasts for two to three days.  Work doesn’t seem so difficult, I am not tempted to say with joking exasperation, “there’s nothing on the internet!”*  As the song says, “I can see clearly now.”

Runners talk about the “runner’s high” and I there’s something spiritual about running as well.  I know team sports are The Thing in America.  But for some of us, the classical sports of the solitary athlete continue to hold sway.

So, think about yourself and your sports activities.  Do you run, swim, walk, do yoga (I do that, too) or play softball?  Isn’t it true, that you become a better version of yourself through sports?  The ancients believed that you did.  And so do I.

 

*This really means, “I checked my twitter feed and none of my friends are there on right now.”

 

Jungian archetypes of students … do you know these kids in your class?

 

image credit soulcraft.co

Why is it that every year we seem to have the same types of situations with the same types of students?  Well, no, not all of it can be blamed on your classroom management style — though that will be your chief method to form these different characters into some semblance of a working team. In fact, the tendency of human individuals to express certain groups of traits, or archetypes, has  been remarked on for centuries.  The Jungian model, posited by Carl Jung, offers, among others, these typical classroom characters.  Most of the descriptions come from Carl Golden at www.soulcraft.co, with me having added in “school desire” “Learning strategy: and “The challenge.”

The Innocent (image above)

Motto: Free to be you and me.  Core desire:  To get to heaven.  School desire:  To be your favorite student. Greatest fear: To be punished for doing something bad or wrong
Learning Strategy: to always do things “right.”  Talent:  To appear correct.  In a classroom, these are the “good kids” who always sit and listen when they are told.  They are likely to be teacher’s pets.  They are the kids everyone wants in their class and yet … The Challenge:  To get these kids to know themselves.  They may be so involved in their own perfectionism they may simply think of themselves as “ideal student.”  Can be academically stunted by refusal to take risks.

The Explorer


Motto: Don’t fence me in. Core Desire: To have the freedom to find out who they are through exploring the world. School Desire:  To avoid being bored.  To find stuff the other kids haven’t done yet.  To prove they are different.   Biggest fear: To get trapped in conformity and inner emptiness. Learning Strategy:  Surreptitious talking, writing, reading,  creative interpretations of set assignments, waiting until centers time and then hiding under something.   Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul.   These kids can surprise you with their creativity and their new ideas and yet … Challenge:  They may find it difficult to engage with the class, have a tendency to aimless wandering, or being a misfit.

The Rebel

Motto: Rules are made to be broken.  Core desire: To get revenge or start a revolution.  School Desire:  To successfully oppose local leadership (the teacher.)  Greatest fear: To be powerless or ineffectual.  Strategy:  To disrupt, destroy, or shock.  Learning Strategy: To refuse to be taken in by the commonplace that has worked in the past; demanding accommodation and change.  Weakness: To cross over to the dark side, crime. Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom. Challenge:  Convincing them that they can transcend school by succeeding academically, not by burning the school down.

The Jester

Motto: You only live once.
Core desire: To live in the moment with full enjoyment.
School Desire:  To use the class as their own personal studio audienceLearning Strategy:  Routines which involve performing drama or creating communication media; times for sharing their work with the class.  Greatest fear: To be bored or boring others  Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny  Weakness: To be frivolous, to waste time The Challenge:  Keeping them from taking over control of the room without denying them their need to entertain someone.  

The Ruler:
image credit www.soulcraft.coThe Ruler

Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.   School Desire:  To be in charge.  Learning Strategy:   To master the material fast enough so they can show they’re in front of the other students. Greatest fear: Chaos, being overthrown.  Weakness: Being authoritarian, unable to delegate. Talent: To be responsible and a leader. The Challenge:  Finding opportunities for the Ruler to be in charge of someone or something lest he, like the Jester, form the intent to take over the class or at least deny you full control of them.

Do you recognize these types?  How many?

 

Progressive vs. Traditional Teachers and Teaching

I am indebted for this post to Brian Aspinall, who started me down this road when he  wrote An educational debate:  10 progressive vs. traditional teaching ideals, touching on a question that has burdened me for some time,  “what is classical education anyway?” and its corollary, “will I be pilloried for calling myself a classical educator?”

It is possible to claim the that progressive education model is the student-centered one, while the traditional is more teacher centered.  However, it’s not quite that simple.  Another way of looking at it, that traditional education values tradition, while progressive values plans about the future, seems a little more apt; however,  one might also say, traditional education is basing our work on what has succeeded, and continuing it, while progressive education bases itself on what has failed, and seeks to change it to something better.

If you are still with me you will see that this means that, the more successful will tend to favor the traditional models, because this was how they succeeded (the past) while the frustrated will value the progressive, because they are hoping for the future, the past not quite having worked out.  That in itself, however, does not show superiority of one method/approach or the other, it simply tells you a bit about who’s in which camp.

The Hard Liners:

It is impossible, perhaps, to write this post without giving a nod to the polar opposites on this debate.  You can see the approach that traditional education is repressive and static and boring at the website of the Wingra School, and the idea from Blotting out God that progressive education was founded by an atheist communist who wanted to promote his education theories in order to bring our society to the Marxist Workers Paradise.  I acknowledge, but am not a proponent, of hard line thinking like this, but it’s out there.

John Dewey, Father of the Progressive Education Model

Which brings us to the man himself, the father of progressive education.   He is that old villian/hero, depending on who you are, the education reformer John Dewey, who brought up the question of the difference between the two in his book Experience and Education, in which this dichotomy makes up the first chapter.

Modern younger educators have varying responses to Dewey and his progressive vision.  Jovan Miles writes that Dewey did not actually advocate the clearing away of the classical impulse, but “sidesteps the wholesale rejection of all that is typified in Traditional Education and instead advocates that proponents of Progressive Education adopt an approach that encourages them to explore how rules, organizational structure, and content knowledge may be employed in a system of education that is not overly rigid or imposing.”

According to the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood, (hereafter ECC) not all parents welcomed the progressive education movement: “Critics doubted if Progressive schools were academically rigorous. Students who enjoyed school and felt good about themselves might never learn chemistry and calculus, many parents feared.”  Martin Cothran at Memoria Press continues on the opposition parents often feel to progressive methods : “the traditionalists (are) made up mostly of parents, but includ(e) teachers and private school teachers. ”

There has been the allegation that the progressive model was being created more for the needs of huge corporations owned by magnates such as Rockefeller, a friend of Dewey.   The ECC continues that in the 1930’s, “massive and unprecedented immigration from Europe filled urban schools with students who seemed to need nonacademic training more than Shakespeare or trigonometry in order to become loyal, virtuous, and productive citizens … ”

Progressives were also the original proponents of tracking by ability level .   “Grouping children by ability seemed more democratic to the progressives than holding all children to the same standards,” (ECC).  Most modern educators know that tracking is believed to be hurtful  to disadvantaged students.  So with regard to this aspect, it is the traditional model, not the progressive, that is “student-centered.”

A long and thoughtful blog post from the Objective Standard, “The False Promise of Classical Education” by Lisa Van Damme suggests that, while progressive education is not quite the answer, returning to the past will not suffice either:  ” education also needs reform more radical than harking back to a more traditional approach that mouths respect for facts, logic, and abstract thought … ”  Yet I think Van Damme, like so many others, misses the point in her critique of classical or traditional education methods.  The goal is not to return education to the state it was at in 1900 or 1800 or 500 BC, but to refuse to relinquish certain previous educational discoveries and works which are time tested and in fact superior to what we have discovered about education in, say, the last ten years.

Jovan Miles (again) noted something of the same when he wrote “(w)e will end up borrowing a great deal, at the very least schemes of organization and the identification of content and skills, from Traditional Education to create New Schools … ” and expressed concern that the progressive schools might be co-opted by corporate interests into seeking to instill “college and career readiness” and not love of learning and social justice.

The classical impulse in education, then, puts its hope in human experience, not human science.  Although I am constantly surveying for ways to improve the classroom, including modern reading research and new media literacies, I remain convinced that a  great danger in modern education is abandoning what we know from the past,.  That is why I continue to consider myself a classical educator.

Do you consider yourself a progressive educator?  Classical?  Both?  Neither?  Please comment and let me know!

My Favorite Blog Posts in January

Ryan Gosling shut the door and teach
Thanks to First Grade Fun Times for image: follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/firstgradefuntimes1/?fref=nf follow

Literary Theories:

For the bilingual among us, or for anyone who’s interested in languages and translation, there Literary Hub’s question of what it means to write in more than one language.  It seems we carry with us the memories of our experience while speaking, and then the language takes on the moods we felt.

Then, if you’re a CS Lewis fan, you could check Classical Academic Press for an opinion of whether Lewis would approve of the Christian home school movement.

Continuing on the question of technology and whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent from my “digital diet” blog post, is the post “is boredom good for you,” from of all places World Economic Forum, in which the thesis is is that boredom drives creativity.

The Teaching Trade:

Education Rickshaw writes about the CODA (Child of a Deaf Adult) perspective on Teaching and Learning.  Highlight for me?  The idea that sometimes, a quiet classroom is just what you need.  Not that my students seem to agree.

Bill Ferriter goes out on a limb and dares to ask: Is goal setting in school pointless? Well, as I replied to his post, goal setting works great for weight loss but may run into various difficulties in the world of real schools …check it out.

We are Teachers blog featured a reflection from a teacher who admitted that, since she was given students several years below grade level, it’s going to be hard to teach to the standards for the annual high stakes test.

Social Media:  

All you education twitter junkies:  can’t find just the right education chat at just the right time?  Well, visit Google Site’s Ed Chats chart and feast your eyes on the massive list … After that, if you’re on twitter for business, not pleasure,  you might want to consider this helpful article from Socedo about the 5 harsh realities of using social media for marketing.

 

Teaching Materials:

And finally, it’s … Socratic Seminar tickets from the MailBox!  Don’t know how long this one will be up, however, if you’ve been wanting to try Socratic seminar type discussions with your elementary students, or a boisterous older group, this “ticket to speak” approach may help when too many kids want the floor.  You just give them each a ticket, and they can only speak once.  I printed it out, and will give it a try, as soon as I come up with a proper “Socratic” question for first graders!

 

 

So we have the data– what’s stopping us from using it?

Big Data for Schools
The data we are given doesn’t always make instructional decisions clearer.

Those other day I was taking a running record, where you give a child a book at their independent reading level and listen to them read, taking statistics about their speed, accuracy and understanding.  This has taken up all my small group time for about two weeks now. It’s mandated for data collection at our building.

Stopping the process for the purpose of planning time,  I next became privy  to a discussion about grouping the 4th graders into intervention groups.  There were 11X18 inch sheets of paper closely printed with names of students in the 4th grade, beside their scores in the last Districtwide reading assessment.  The scores ranged from 13% correct upward.

I was asked to put in my two cents on the data analysis process.  “You could rank them by how many they got correct,” I said.  “From highest to lowest, then split them up into properly sized groups.” But there was a sense that they’d done that before and it doesn’t work that well.

“Split them by how well they did on the individual TEKS objectives?” This wouldn’t work either, because some students had  satisfied all the objectives, others none.  “Istation?” i queried?  But Istation scores weren’t that accurate, I was informed, for this group of students.  I threw up my hands.

I stopped and thought.  We had plenty of data.  Yet the process of putting the students onto groups for intervention was still a thorny one.

What was the missing piece?  Perhaps the problem was that  the data we were provided was not designed to diagnose reading dysfunction or to group kids for remediation.  A District snapshot, like the STAAR, doesn’t tell you why the child can’t find the main idea or the right definition of a word.  It just gives you lists of right and wrong answers.

Later that week, when we first grade teachers were told to analyze our own class’s District snapshot for our First Grade PLC at school, we had to spend our planning time and time after school working together as a team to figure out how to fill out the forms they gave us.  We got it done, but by the time we finished hours had gone by.  And some had the sense that the changes we would be able to make in instruction were minimal, along the line of going over alphabetization a few more times.  Not what I would call radical adjustments in instructional design.

It’s not that we don’t have any data … and no, we’re not dumb in math.  We’re all college graduates! But District benchmark tests should not really be used to drive instruction.   They’re designed to catch and punish schools with too many low achieving students (not, actually, a purpose I particularly appreciate either) not to help figure out what to do to help these struggling students learn.

And why do we use Districtwide tests instead of more-effective ones like running records?  Well, look at how long it took me to gather those running records.  And once you get them,  you can’t easily amalgamate them across teachers to formulate grade level interventions groups.  Quality data costs teacher time, and teacher time is money.  We need to be clear here:  cheap data mismatched to the task required is almost worse than no data.

Me vs. the Office Machines

I had my midyear review this afternoon.  “How is it going for you?” my supervisor asked.  “Well, just so-so,” I admitted.

“Why?”

“Well, you know, January is a tough month, certain kids are hard to handle, there’s been a lot of time-consuming data to analyze.  And then, since I’m the grade chair, I’m in charge of keeping the printer running.”

“The printer!” she was incredulous.  But the printer runs out of ink regularly, and sometimes worse things happen, and it’s my responsibility to stop what I’m doing and get more ink, fill out a work order, and while it’s not working people come by and ask about it.  Every hour or so.

But in truth, the printer is no more troublesome than the copiers, it’s just more personal.   We have three copiers in our school.  On any given day, one of them has a paper jam.  Sometimes all three do.  Now we’re not supposed to unjam the copier.  Someone from the office staff who is trained is supposed to do that.  But the office is on the other side of the building, and there you are, ten minues to the end of planning, and if you don’t get that copier unjammed you will not have your copies.

It’s probably a testament to my lawless nature that I have become a pro at unjamming the copier.  In fact, I have been known to come in, see someone struggling with it, and say, “let me see that.”  I start doing the routine by memory.  You’ve got to rotate knob 3a, flip the red knob 4c out in a certain way, pull tray 5 out, and what you’ll find is there’s often a whole sheet in there.  Once you take out the sheet, the printer gives a musical two tone beep and you’re back in business.  I generally don’t have any trouble getting printers unjammed unless some foolhardly soul reached in without undoing the knobs first and ripped the paper.  When you just most of a sheet in there, you know you’re in for it.  But generally, if you persevere, you can get the copier back running again.

Despite my facility with the copiers I will not touch the laminator.   In all honesty, I tried to load it by myself — I had been trained — but somehow the film didn’t go through to the back, instead it wrapped around the rollers and jammed itself tight so the machine came to a grinding stop, bound up in it’s own film.  What to do?  I turned the machine off.  I tiptoed out of the room.  Later on in the day, I heard my colleages complaining, “someone broke the laminator again.”  I know my limits now.  I leave the laminator alone.

 

My New Drawing-Based Sequence Book Report

Story Sequence Book Report for First GradeI’ve been thinking about making a set of comprehension objective book reports for some time.  The full set will include the various reading comprehension objectives in first grade, which include:  Draw Conclusions, Plot, Problem and Solution, Character Study, Main Idea and Details, Facts in the Text, Inference and this one, Sequence.  These are all book reports I have used in my classroom, but I have never created proper digital copies that can be easily shared or sold.  The idea behind these book reports:

Drawing Builds Comprehension and Engagement, and Differentiates the Work for your Class!

When you use these drawing-based book reports, you probably want to model a “minimum” example on the board for the students so that they will be able to conceptualize what you want.  You may leave your example up (if the class really struggles) or erase it (if the class is more independent) and just give extra help to a few students during the work time.  You know your students best.  These book reports would, depending on the students, be appropriate up to 3rd or 4th grade or so, with a great deal of support for the first graders going into a “gradual release” for second and then independence in 3rd and 4th.

Visit my Teachers pay Teachers store to download!

My favorite Blog Posts in December

So after a long time, I am going to restart the Favorite Blog Posts feature.  In which I have linked, over the last month, my favorite blog posts and made them into a digest.  Although I knew about this style of post years ago, I thank Austin Kleon for renewing my interest in the “roundup” blog post.

 “Grading  doesn’t teach. Feedback does,” as master teacher Kelly Gallaher puts it.    You should follow Kelly.  Man of few words, and almost all of them good ones. The full article, Grading vs. Assessing” is on Education Week Teacher.

According to The Guardian UK  in this blog, “Why Time Management is Ruining our Lives,” you can experience what martial arts masters call “Mind like Water” but not through keeping your email inbox cleaned out.  If you’ve been wondering why you can’t get it all done, the answer is here.

My friend Robert Ward (yeah you should follow him too) had a blockbuster month, had his A1 article on creating engagement in the classroom featured in the US Department of Education Newsletter.   Straight to the Edutopia article here.

I link this next article for my own reference to use in developing middle school reading interventions:  a very fine powerpoint on teaching middle school reading in the content areas by Sue Z. Beers.  Includes notes on the practice of time-on-task, reading strategies, and the national average reading percentiles of students who read various minutes per day (that alone makes it worth checking.)

EducationRickshaw wrote an interesting reflection on both learning from other teacher’s practice and the value of art in the classroom in the post
Teacher Draws 180 Unique Whiteboard Illustrations: One for Every Day of the School Year.

And finally, “Boss Fight — Fighting Conspiracy Thinking” in which David Therialt does some complicated verbal gymnastics linking student-led creative assignments in high school, the rumor mill that exists in the teacher’s lounge, and Pokemon Black and White (apparently a video game).  Therialt also contributes a weird twist on the Socratic Seminar, How to Throw Socratic Seminars out of the Ring.

Will have to show that last article to our resident classicist, Dean, and see if I can get him to write a blog post on whether Socratic Seminar is a true classical education method or not, something which I have heard him talk about, but getting him to put things on the page is a little difficult.  By the way, I just googled Dean and found out he has a Facebook page as a “public figure.”  I think I better let him know about this; I’m quite sure it was done by one of his students… and you readers maybe better google yourselves again, you never know what may come up!

First Seven Days on the Digital Diet

After last week’s post, Is Tech Taking Away from Family Time, I decided my family would try to stay off all digital devices each night from 6 to 8 p.m.   The following are the daily updates on the progress of the Digital Diet:

Day One (Last Wednesday)  I tell my husband about the Digital Diet.  “Are you sure you want to do this now?” he asks, “Over Christmas break?”  Of course, I say, it will be easier this way.  He vows his complete support.  First hurdle crossed.

Next I tell the two boys about the Digital Diet.  “No technology from 6 to 8, p.m.” I say.

Smart aleck older son says “No technology?  But technology has been around for thousands of years!”

Younger son adds, “books are technology, you know!”

“No digital media technology,” I amend. No phones, TV’s or computers.  They look none too pleased but don’t argue.

At 5:30 I am forced to go out shopping.  I wonder if they will hold to the digital diet while I’m gone.  I tell myself I’ll monitor them tomorrow, but for now, the digital diet will be not to answer my own phone.   But then my dad calls.  My dad is infirm and I’ve been trying to reach him for days so I cheat on the Digital Diet and answer.  He wants to check in, tell me that he hasn’t seen my brother, who lives in the same town, for a while.  What’s more, according to him, Christmas is overblown.

I kick myself.  This couldn’t wait until 8 p.m.?

Digital Diet day one:  I left the house, dropped the surveillance, and answered the cell phone.  Okay.  Try again tomorrow.

Day Two:  Went a little better.  At 6 p.m. got younger son off World of Tanks.  Got older son off watching Arrested Development by sending him to pick up older sister at the airport.  He argued for a minute but then settled down once I gave him gas money that was more than sufficient.  Younger son moped for a while and I cooked dinner.  Then we cleaned the hamster cage, fed the horse, picked up younger sister from a friend’s house and brought her back. My husband was still in his office but I assume he was honoring the plan . Honestly I was afraid to look.  I will show more fortitude tonight.

Day Three:  I had to go to get middle son from the airport (okay this is a large family) so I couldn’t monitor the digital diet again.  I remembered what my husband said “is this a good time to try this?”  Maybe he was right.  When I got back I asked older sister how it went.  “We girls did do it,” she reported, “though we feel ‘Digital Diet’ is a dumb name.”  The boys started but did not finish … well, tonight is Christmas eve, and we’ll try again.

Day Four:  Tonight I was frantically cooking creole gumbo as the hour of 6 approached.  Older son:  “Can’t we move Digital Diet to 6 to 8 a.m.?”

“No.”

He goes off to his bedroom.  But younger son stays downstairs, starts making patterns with poker chips.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  I keep cooking.  I realize I am cheating on the diet myself because I am reading the recipe off the internet on my phone.  But then, I tell myself, things that you could do in exactly the same way on paper are not what the digital diet is about …

Day Five:  Tonight was Christmas Dinner.  We were cooking a roast beef dinner for the first half of the digital diet hours, and for the second half, we were eating.  With so much happening and the younger son learning to fly his new drone, we didn’t have any problems keeping the kids off digital media.

Though I was troubled by the idea that the drone is digital I relaxed at the thought that it’s not media.

Day Six:  Now we are hitting our stride.  When I tell younger son that 6 p.m. is approaching and to get off the internet, he complies.  After dinner, the whole family spends time cleaning up the kitchen and living room.  And talking to each other.

Day Seven:  At six, kids are told that no-tech time is here.  Younger son begins to look for board games.  “Where is the chess set?” he asks.   We can’t find it.  He wanders around complaining.  The drone is charging so he can’t play with that for about an hour.  Unable to find a game to play, younger son goes to sleep.   I catch  myself opening up the computer to check on house-for-sale listings but then, dismayed with my own inability to stay off the computer, quickly shut the lid.  Older son has his phone out, but he’s reading a magazine online, so he says this doesn’t count.  I am unsure.

In the end, though it’s clear to me that we do have something to gain by shutting off the digital media during the dinner hours, the Digital Diet experiment was somewhat inconclusive.  My observations suggested that removing access to computers and phones would increase person-to-person interactions not to mention completion of housework, but it also put a spotlight on the need for more non-tech activities in the house, not to mention the existence of numerous “blended” activities such as reading recipes and magazines on the phone and answering calls from family which mimic “analog” technology behaviors but which use digital technology.

I ask my husband if we should continue the tech-free time into the next week.  “We will need to continue the experiment,” he says.  I agree.  We determine to keep with 6 to 8 for the time being and reassess at the end of four weeks.

Is Tech Taking Away from Family Time?

We took a Districtwide test this week that had a writing prompt which asked the children to write about an activity they enjoyed with their family.  One student shocked me with his response:

“My family doesn’t do anything together.  My mom plays Candy Crush on her phone, my dad plays with his x-box, my brother plays with his toys, and I play with my tablet.  So there’s nothing we actually do together.”

From the mouths of babes.  I was … well, a little disturbed.  This is a nice kid, I should tell you.  His mother is active, emails me,  checks his folder, he comes in with hair combed neatly and spotless clothes, and he’s in no way a discipline problem.  I was thinking of showing the paper to his mother … and then decided against it.  What would she think?  I know this kid is perhaps a little dramatic … and sometimes he does’t completely listen to directions (gifted, right?) but somehow it seemed that he had spoken to ills of an entire society in his short paragraph

I was just overtired at work this week anyway, felt I could barely handle my class.  At recess, I told a colleague this.  “You should be grateful you’re not my friend over in (neighboring suburban district)” she replied.   “She had such a bad kindergarten class, they split it in half and got a new teacher for the other half of them, and she says even the half is still too much, and she still has three left that throw chairs.”

“Chair throwers” are a thing in primary these days.  They’re everywhere, and most teachers are sure this is an increasing problem.  But no one is sure why.  Now, I propose the answer:  Mom is on Candy Crush, Dad is on x-box, and junior is on his own.  The result is that junior is not learning from mom and dad appropriate behavior.  When Junior comes to school, he’s not a *bad* kid, necessarily, but he lacks self control and adequate respect.

It’s not just them, either, it’s us, my own family!  My husband watches Netflix, I work on online grad school, my daughter’s on the phone … we’ve talked about a “shut down” of all electrics for family time, but haven’t actually done it.  Now it’s winter break, and I’m going to try it.  Six to eight every night.  I’ll report back and tell you how it goes.

Ancient methods — Urban Classroom