Pottieger Learns and Networks

May 12, 2009

Something Good

Filed under: Uncategorized,Workshops — San @ 10:04 pm
The story of the lion with the thorn in his paw reminded me of my morning, except the lion was my husband and the thorn was a tooth that needs extracted. We were in the dentist office when in walks three women, one with a baby. The young woman with the baby smiles at me, says hello, and begins to hug me. I tell her “What a compliment to get a hug!“

I recognize the face as one of my former high school students (when I worked as a school counselor with Harrisburg School District) but cannot remember her name. It doesn’t matter as she proceeds to present her baby for me to admire. The baby boy has a strong sounding male name and already his left ear is pierced. The baby spits up as she balances him on her shoulder. She scurries off towards the other women for help. Luckily the waiting room had a box of tissues as she had no burping cloth, only a blanket wrapped around him.

Seeing my former student with her baby stirs my passion…of course I’m passionate about my husband and his being healthy but I am also passionate about parenting education. I want to help parents grow great, healthy families! I want to do more good.

I am in the process of finding locations to schedule Becoming a Love and Logic Parent® workshops. If you know of a location with DVD/TV access for hosting a workshop, please contact me as soon as possible. For parents willing to host a workshop series in the privacy of their own home along with four or more other paying parent friends or family, the host parents are not charged any workshop fees.

It really is a compliment to me to be hugged by a former student. As Maria in the Sound of Music sings, “I must have done something good.”




April 17, 2009

United States Application…This I believe

Filed under: This I Believe — San @ 9:44 pm
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Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.–Carl Jung

I get irritated by repeatedly having to fill out each employment place’s application.  Thank goodness for education jobs in PA where there is a standard application.  Thank goodness for the genius who invented ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ too which has made online applications go easier.

I believe in having one standard job application for America.  Just like prospective college students fill out a common application for applying to over a hundred colleges and universities, why not applying this concept for all job seekers? 

Job seekers already have a place to post their virtual resume.  It’s time now to save some time, money, ink, and sanity for the unemployed and get this USApp idea of mine going!

Now if I can figure out how to plug in a widget for readers to invest in my USApp idea…or is that another gizmo that needs to be invented?

Side Bar Post Update May 1, 2009

Today while looking over the newly posted education vacancy listings by the PA School Board Association, I noticed a link that I’ve never seen before for finding jobs in education.  It seems that PA-Educator.net  has some competition.  There’s another place for districts to post openings and have access to potential applicants NATIONWIDE!  It’s a National School Applications Network.  Each state has their own link, like PA’s is PA REAP.net, for the “Regional Education Applicant Placement (REAP) Program allows you to apply once for public school teaching positions throughout the state.”  There are some other sites that post nationwide openings and I will add them when I get a chance.  There was also a tweet today about a site that tells you what each state requires for certification…and another tweet the other day about a site that organizes your job searches….  I’ll add that info too next time.  Technology is great!

February 24, 2009

Have you ever had a TSS in your classroom?

Filed under: Special Education — San @ 9:42 pm

At the high school level, the presence of a TSS (Therapeutic Staff Support) in the classroom is rare but I have been in a classroom on a few occasions when one student had a TSS. Have you ever had a TSS in your classroom? What were your impressions?

I found one good link so far titled “The Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS) in the School” .  It lists do’s and don’t-s as well as the role of the school.  How does this list compare with your experience of TSS in the classroom?

I’d also like to know if you, the teacher, had any information/training/orientation about having a TSS in your classroom before the TSS arrived in your classroom?  Some school districts are very good about this and some are not.  If you would like information about TSS as in its history, forms, what to expect, what your school needs to inform the TSS, and other such topics, a good document which I found by Allegheny Intermediate Unit (PA) is titled “A Toolkit for Effective Collaboration between Schools and Mental Health Agencies providing Therapeutic Staff Support.”

If you’re a teacher in PA, here is the link for the PA school code Basic Education Circular about behavioral support obligations.

January 29, 2009

Parent Teacher Conferences

Just south of the Mason-Dixon line, in Maryland, Frederick County Board of Education is considering eliminating school closings for elementary parent-teacher conferences, according to an article I read today.   Apparently other counties in Maryland have already cut back on the number of parent teacher conference days on the school calendar. I’m not an elementary teacher but was curious what other educators thought of the idea and/or about parent teacher conferences, what works for you.

As a school counselor, one of my favorite forms to use to help teachers prepare for parent-teacher conferences (PTC) is the “Parent-Conference Preparation Guide” by Glencoe.  In fact, I shared it with a colleague of mine who was wishing that PTCs were not always so focused on what the student does wrong.  That’s what I love about this form.  It not only has a section for student strengths, but also a place to note suggestions for improvement.

So what works for you at PTCs?

January 28, 2009

Student Business Plans

Filed under: Workshops — San @ 7:18 pm
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I had the pleasure of attending a free workshop at the Capital Area Intermediate Unit on January 27, 2009, for business or economic teachers, “Preparing for Success in Business: Entreprenaurs, Economics, and the Business Plan.”   A good sampling of districts were represented (Harrisburg School District’s Career and Technology Academy, Susquehanna Township, West Shore, Middletown, Cumberland-Perry Vo-Tech, Milton Hershey Schools, Big Springs…that I can remember). The workshop presenter was Carolyn Shirk, Vice President of Economics PA.  Each participant received numerous materials, a curriculum notebook and CD of the power point presentation.  Though I do not teach economics or business, I am hoping to bring the materials to the community and virtual world.  In fact, I have plans to network with a Twitter colleague, Angela Maiers, who is collaborating with another Twitterer about financial literacy curriculum for MS/HS students.  Twitter networking just never stops amazing me!

   Even though I was not a business or economics teacher, I was able to make a helpful contribution by sharing two internet resource links to workshop participants.  (I even shared what Twitter was with one teacher that I sat near who had never heard of Twitter!)

The one internet resource is an Hourly Rate Calculator.  A teacher had asked if there was a resource that shows students where all the money goes.  This calculator does just that.  Students can input their fictitious business monthly expenses like rent, office supplies, pensions, insurance, healthcare, savings, marketing, advertising, travel, etc.  It’s a genius tool for students and adults going into their own business!  Thanks to Katy Whitton and her book Managing Web Projects: How to Manage the full project lifecycle with minimum hassle.

Another internet link resource that I shared with participants is a link to help the students know their business market location.   This site has…

 “over 63,000 city photos not found anywhere else, graphs of latest real estate prices and sales trends, recent home sales, home value estimator, hundreds of thousands of maps, satellite photos, stats about residents (race, income, ancestries, education, employment…), geographical data, state profiles, crime data, registered sex offenders, cost of living, housing, businesses, local news links based on our exclusive technology, birthplaces of famous people, political contributions, city government finances and employment, weather, hospitals, schools, libraries, houses, airports, radio and TV stations, zip codes, area codes, air pollution, latest unemployment data, time zones, water systems and their health and monitoring violations, comparisons to averages, local poverty details, professionally written city guides, a forum and a social network with 450,000 registered members and 6,000,000 posts, 5,000+ user-submitted facts, 14,000+ exclusive local business profiles with photos, and more demographics.”

Look up your area.  It is definitely a good read!  You’ll know more about your neighbors than you really care to!

January 24, 2009

Cold Cash?

Filed under: Uncategorized — San @ 12:29 am

Suze Orman is talking about it and says we should too.  (Yes, I watch Oprah.)

Salaries.  Can we?

There’s a freeze on White House “high-paid” aide salaries over $100,000. 

Today there was a news story about Cumberland Valley School District’s salaries.  We might as well talk about them as they are public.  In fact, you can find most any PA educator’s salary for 06-07 online at one site.

It was tweeted yesterday–“How would you feel if the Teacher Union in your District offered to have their salaries frozen for a year or 2 to help through hard times?”  It would “show “belt-tightening” to the community.”

So what’s in your wallet?  Cold cash?

January 23, 2009

Leet Speak

Filed under: Professional Learning Networking (PLN),Uncategorized — San @ 10:12 pm
Tags: , ,

Using "IM" in our Daily Lives

I am reminded of the online article pasted below when I read a tweet where the woman had not written out words in a birthday greeting card but instead had used shortened versions of the words as in a tweet or text message.  For many of us, using the condensed language comes naturally.  For others, it's like learning a foreign language and has no place in their daily lives.

Do you welcome Leet in your daily life?  In the classroom?

(To learn Leet and other foreign languages, I recommend going to http://www.transparent.com/wotd/index.htm.)

Using 'IM Speak' in the Classroom

Many teachers cringe when they read students' "IM speak," the shorthand language adopted for instant messaging. One educator, though, says that schools can use instant messaging to spark an interest in writing.

Read the Globe and Mail article:

She's all 4 IM in skul. RU 2?

Globe and Mail Update

Do u think text-speak haz a place in skul?

English teacher Julia Spatafora does, and she makes the case for incorporating instant-messaging into literacy curriculums in her recently completed master's thesis for Queen's University.

Rather than ignore or forbid instant messaging, and the sometimes ugly Net-speak it spawns (LOL), Ms. Spatafora argues that teachers should use teenagers' love of instant messaging as a tool to spark their interest in writing. Her thesis is based in part on her own experience leading a writing group for teenagers who completed assignments that incorporated instant messaging.

She talked to The Globe and Mail about why schools should spend time on IM.

In your experience, how do most teachers look upon instant messaging?

I think most teachers are kind of scared of the technology. Instant messaging is something that's seen as a distraction and something that's degrading [students'] language skills. I think that can be called the general view among teachers.

What do you think the benefits of instant messaging could be, in the classroom?

There seems to be this increasing view that the literacy being taught in schools isn't really pertinent or relevant to students' lives. And the students in my studies and some that I've read about in other research studies seem to say, well, it's not important to me, it's nothing I really need to use. They especially talk about the literacy test, the EQAO [Education Quality and Accountability Office standardized test] - they think it's really irrelevant to their lives, and that it's not building on skills that they need. One thing about instant messaging is that they do use it every day, and it may be a tool that they will be using in the work force in the future. A lot of jobs are adopting their own instant messaging systems in the workplace. So it's something they really can relate to.

What about spelling and grammar? They tend to be atrocious.

It is, and that's why I'd call it maybe a starting point into further developing their literacy skills. When you start writing, if you are all caught up in spelling and grammar, sometimes it's difficult to get the words on the page. ... What I'm thinking is using instant messaging and just throwing away that concern about spelling and grammar in the beginning stages of the writing process, to just kind of get the words flowing and the ideas out. And then going back and really polishing your work - that would be another step in the process.

How do you teach the need to polish?

I think really just talking about it in the classroom. That's one problem; they go into the English classroom and they don't talk about when they're sending e-mails, who they're sending to, and when [text-speak] might be appropriate and when they should try to be more formal. ...We really talk about literacy as something singular in schools; like you're literate, or you're not. ... We really need to think of literacy as something plural, attach an S on there, and then we can start understanding where and when things are appropriate.

But my inner Old Fogey is saying there's no S on literacy - there's one proper way to write, and you've got to teach children that way. What do you say to that?

Language is always changing, and the things that influence it are ... the people that use it. We're always going to have different rules. I wonder, because sometimes I have professors that are a little bit older who think that the terms I use might be colloquial, or the words I've written might be too slang, or a little too common for my thesis, let's say. As we move through generations I think we have a different idea of what's formal. And I think that idea of what's formal will slightly change. ... We'll have new words and new ways of saying things. ... It's really just a matter of understanding each other, and being as consistent as we can. I think that's what's important. And I think students need to realize consistency is important. Instant messaging might seem like a threat, because it is so inconsistent, but I think teachers can use it to their advantage to teach things that are important.


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January 22, 2009


WT?  What are student’s learning??
At an urban city school one Friday, I observed one female student taking a picture of two female students aiming their middle finger at the camera. Is this what our students are learning to do in our school? Something has got to change! That's why I'm blogging here and why I am inviting you to this informal professional learning networking.
Here's one quote that I like as it works toward an answer, the change needed:

“From Recognizing the Elite to Creating Opportunity for Many Winners

Schools have always had ways to recognize individual students. It is not unusual for a school to have honor rolls, valedictorians, captains of athletic teams, or National Honor Societies. And in most schools, the overwhelming majority of students recognize from the very day they enter the school that they have no chance of ever receiving that recognition. When Peters and Waterman (1982) examined the characteristics of excellent organizations, they found these high performers shaped their culture by consciously developing systems to generate lots of winners and then celebrating individual and collective achievements. Schools should follow suit. It will be difficult to create a culture of success in a school that limits recognition of success to an elite few. When schools develop systems to honor not only the highest academic achievement, but also improvement, character, service, and persistence virtually all students can come to believe that school can be a place where they have the chance to be recognized and celebrated.”

(From Whatever It Takes: How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn by Dufour, Dufour, Eaker and Karhanek, page 179.)









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