What Today's Parent Must Know About Today's Classroom

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Mr. Sterling shares 6 practical ways to improve the quality of education in classrooms. The basis of this book is to help parents and schools alike to work together as well as for parents to know the inner workings of the classroom and what they should expect and demand from their education system.

Transcript of What Today's Parent Must Know About Today's Classroom

Page 1: What Today's Parent Must Know About Today's Classroom
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What Today's Parent Must Know About Today's Classroom

Meeting the Challenges Of New Age Learners

Kendrick S. Sterling

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What Today's Parent Must Know About Today’s Classroom Copyright © 2011 by Kendrick S. Sterling

Cover copyright © 2011 by One Tale Publishing

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in

any form or by electronic or mechanical means including

information storage and retrieval systems – except in the case of

brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews – without

written permission from its publisher, One Tale Publishing.

Published by: One Tale Publishing.

Houston, Texas


ISBN# 978-0-9742-7002-9

For information on book orders, newsletters, or speaking

engagements please contact Author Kendrick S. Sterling


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Dear Parents,

The information that I would like to share with you is

life changing for anyone in or around education today: par-

ents/grandparents, students, teachers, and districts. My

motivating factors include leagues of children being left out of

today’s wonderful public schools, the parent(s) that are

overcome with anger and feelings of hopelessness, and the

teacher that is truly looking to work smarter and not harder. I

credit my growth and knowledge gained towards educating

today’s children to Houston Baptist University and the Hou-

ston Independent School District. I am more than grateful.

Living in the heart of 3rd Ward Houston, TX was challenging

but my mother, father and grandmother provided me the

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opportunity to have a quality education at MacGregor E.S. I

credit all of my current success to them and that thoughtful

decision. Early in life I was provided the opportunity to experi-

ence the culture of 3rd Ward and more, and I learned that

greatness came from within. I was introduced to Shakespeare,

Tchaikovsky, Bach, and other great composers while many of

my peers were faced with gang issues, drugs and violence.

Today’s children deserve the same, and a quality start to

school life can open many doors leading them to find their

own greatness.

I will not dismiss the role of the child and the family because I know the first teachers are in the home; instructing, guiding, and providing imme-diate feedback on what is acceptable or not. However, I will highlight the role of today’s teacher and inform par-ents/caregivers of the latest tested and proven strategies on how to best educate today’s students. Since my teaching career began in 2000 I have been told “parents are a variable we cannot control” and I never believed that. Informed parents are what make quality schools because they refuse to accept anything less than the best for their children. However, parents who are not “caught up” on the latest developments in the classroom setting can do more harm than good, even though their intentions are good.

Macgregor E.S. – Houston, Texas

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A major goal I have set is to provide a bridge between

the school communities we serve as educators and par-

ents/caregivers that all want the very best for children. Our

children deserve nothing less. I intend to empower par-

ents/caregivers with the knowledge they deserve to know

about their schools and the latest information that has been

shared with teachers about the best ways to teach today’s

child. Unfortunately, many of today’s best teaching methods

are being ignored by educators and the children are suffering

because of this. Many parents are suffering because they just

don’t know how to best help the child/children.

The classroom has changed from a “teacher-centered”

area to a “student-centered” environment. We are no longer

establishing goals to pass a test, but to create lifelong learners

who understand the purpose of today’s schools and how they

will best benefit the child and family. It is more than time for

all parents to understand the change and how it affects all

children and their opportunities to learn through discovery.

The chapters will include subjects regarding technology,

cooperative workgroups, stations/centers, projects/advanced

studies, interactive notebooks, intervention, movement in the

classroom, and joy of learning.

I understand why children perform well in some class-

room settings and struggle in others, and I am ready to share

what I have learned with today’s parents. If I told you that

there are proven techniques and strategies that can ensure

your child will love school and schoolwork, while at the same

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time dramatically decrease any discipline issues/disruptions

during learning, would you want to know what they are? Of

course you do! You owe it to the student.

As educators we are constantly provided professional

development opportunities to increase our knowledge of the

children we teach and the subject matter in which we are

responsible for providing daily, weekly, and yearly. Not all

teachers have bought into these new methods and have

decided to instead teach children the way they were taught

10-20 years ago. This is not fair to the child or families that

have entrusted their child/children to our care. There is an

abundance of evidence showing the success and growth of

children who are learning from teachers who put them first.

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Table of Contents

Building Relationships.......................................................................... 1

Movement .............................................................................................. 7

Technology ..................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.

Cooperative Learning Groups ..... Error! Bookmark not defined.

Centers and Stations ...................... Error! Bookmark not defined.

Interactive Notebooking ............... Error! Bookmark not defined.

Classroom Model ........................... Error! Bookmark not defined.

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Building Relationships

• To make a connection to; involvement

• Emotional or other connection between teacher and family

I chose to begin with this topic because everything else I write

about will start here. Developing strong and positive relationships

with children is the very pur-

pose of being an educator.

Nothing I advise after this point

will matter if the teacher of

record for your child does not

choose to love whole-heartedly

every single child that is

brought to his or her room. I

will share my insight from a

short 11-year career and

knowledge gained from count-

less encounters with veterans in

education who have taught for more than 25 years. I would also like

to share the stories of a two students who I have personally wit-

nessed; both of whom showed growth and struggled because of

good relationships, or lack thereof, with teachers.

Effective teachers have an awesome understanding of their

status and consider it a privilege to spend their years educating,

loving and caring for children. It is never a burden to receive a new

child, but another opportunity to display the skills you have been

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Kendrick S. Sterling


trained to perform with and for that child. Six thousand three

hundred (6,300) hours a year is roughly the amount of time your

child spends every year with a teacher/teachers! The lack of a

quality relationship between teacher and child can be, and is often,


“Kevin” can be found in any elementary school in America.

He was what many may call “hyper” or “quite active” to say the

least. He is the type of child that teachers are informed about in

meeting after meeting and numerous professional development

courses for teachers. Unfortunately, he was the type of student that

teachers discuss in private, due to his previous record or “perfor-


Now, “Kevin” is on my class list and I began to hear the whis-

pers. I was excited to get “Kevin” in my class.

My goal immediately was to make this young man shine for all

to see, but mostly for “Kevin” to see it for himself! I took it as a

personal challenge to do everything I had been taught as an educa-

tor to ensure that “Kevin” and all the children similar to him would

have a qualified and able teacher that gave everything that every

child deserves.

To be very honest the first few weeks with “Kevin” was not

easy. He spoke out, and had to be reminded of the rules and why it

was important for him to listen at times of instruction. I assured

him that there would definitely be times for him to talk and I told

him that I will be excited to hear what he would have to say.

“Kevin” was just fine with that and agreed to “our deal.” In the

early weeks of school, he struggled with making and keeping

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What Today's Parent Must Know


friends. I shared a few topics that he could discuss with students in


I suggested the times of the day when he was allowed to talk

and he was okay with that. He took my suggestions and began to

make friends right away!

I was also making a new friend, “Kevin.” “Kevin” felt as if

he was a part of the rule making process in class because I “invited”

him to do these things instead of speaking at him and forcing him

to conform to “my class”. He knew that it was “our class” and he

was important.

“Kevin” had a great year in my class and displayed a mas-

sive amount of growth and development. Unfortunately, a year

later, I watched what a lack of relationship building could do to a

child. “Kevin” left my room displaying an awesome amount of

knowledge. So much that he was tested for the Gifted and Talented

program at the beginning of the next school year. Just weeks later,

he had been transformed to a child that spent many of his days

sitting in the hallway, frustrated, angry and not learning a thing. I

felt his pain.

“Shane” was another young man who came into my class-

room and tested every inch of my knowledge, and patience, as an

educator. He was an extremely defiant and mean-spirited child and

he was “skilled” in the art of “recruiting” other children to join him

in making very poor choices while at school. Shane’s behavior was

so poor it affected his ability to learn and severely hurt his growth

and development as an emergent reader.

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Kendrick S. Sterling


I’m human and I’m not afraid to admit that some of the things I

heard about “Shane” caused me to wonder if there was any truth to

the rumors.

The welfare of the other children in the classroom would also

be more challenging if he would require a vast amount of personal

attention and direct instruction. Through small-group workstations,

I was able to really know this student and provide a daily routine

that he loved and excelled in. We were both relieved!

“Shane” had a decent year, passed all mandated assessments to

move to the next grade, and decreased dramatically in the amount

of times he needed parental or administrative assistance in the


He still made mistakes and I was there to lovingly remind him

of the rules and guidelines that we all set together. The growth that

this young man made in both academic and behavioral areas was


Once again, I saw the same young man move on to the next

classroom and experience great difficulty. “Shane,” like “Kevin,”

began to have way too many days outside the classroom, on the

bench. “Shane” told me himself he yearned to be in a classroom

environment that would allow him to “move around.” He was

losing his joy of learning and I felt his pain.

I love teachers, and appreciate the time and effort they give dai-

ly, weekly, and yearly for our children. I feel their pain. We have

been asked to change our style of educating youth from a “teacher-

centered” environment to one that is “child-centered.”

Many effective teachers have grasped new ideas and methods

of instruction in technology, interactive note-booking, cooperative

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What Today's Parent Must Know


learning groups as well as many other methods provided us. We are

seeing wonderful outcomes in the performance and grades of our


The time has come that every teacher embrace these methods

so all children can continue to move forward and advance yearly. As

a very wise person tells me often, “No one has all the answers, if

they did, we would be doing it.” There is one thing I now know as

fact. The relationship between the parent and the school has

everything to do with that of the teacher and the student. A well

informed parent/guardian can ensure a quality education for their

children through minimal efforts. Parents that are uninterested in

the daily and weekly educational lives of the children they care for

will soon witness children who are uninterested in school as well.

Teachers who fail to “negotiate” or “meet their students half-

way” display a lack of caring, necessary to deal with today’s student.

Many children will test the teacher early in the school year to see

which teacher shows up.

Great teachers know that the investment of love and patience

presented to these children are all worth it when the child begins to

bloom, seeing themselves as a part of something greater. As a

parent it is your responsibility to ensure that your child respects

his/her teacher. Equally, you have the right and duty to ensure that

the teacher respects your child.

However, as parents, we must also ensure that we are edu-

cated to the latest instructional methods that work best for our

children and be in partnership with the teacher. A simple conversa-

tion with the teacher at their assigned planning time usually does the

trick and goes a long way in the teacher’s efforts toward every child.

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Kendrick S. Sterling


The goal that effective teachers set towards children experienc-

ing difficulties in learning never changes. We get excited about

identifying “growth opportunities” in children and being the reason

they become strong in those areas.

We must, as educators, provide all kinds of instruction to in-

clude all kinds of learners in the classroom. If we ignore these new

methods, we ignore daily a percentage of every group of children we

care for.

Parents play the most important role in the educational devel-

opment of children. Working in partnership with teachers and

school administrators nearly guarantee success when all parties are

completely involved. Teachers have the unique opportunity to

provide hope through caring instruction and productive routines.

Building quality relationships between teachers and students is the

most important thing we can do to ensure a quality education for

today’s children. The daily demands asked of a teacher require that

you must maintain an abundance of love for every student. We

know the “Kevin’s” and “Shane’s” are coming.

Do we care enough to plan for them?

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*To change place/position; to advance

Movement is a must in today’s classroom. Today’s students

require movement as they learn, and the results in daily class work

efforts, as well as gains in testing scores, have proven this fact. The

decrease in

behavior issues is

another positive

outcome that

movement in the

classroom has

provided. Children

learn by doing, not

sitting, and today’s

classroom includes planned movement leading to increased student

participation and student engagement.

Teachers know this and have been giving the necessary tools

and knowledge to help children use movement as an effective way

of learning. As educators, we cannot ignore what the research has

provided us. Children who are allowed to move as they learn not

only learn more through discovery, but they maintain what they

learn for a much longer time because they are actively engaged for

longer amounts of time. Effective teachers have taken this

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knowledge and made plans for all students to learn in ways that

work best for them.

Movement is a part of today’s child and this point was brought

home to me by a very dear friend and veteran educator. She shared

how children learned many years ago, and how we all have evolved

as learners in and out of the classroom. Her early childhood educa-

tion was developed at a time when radio was the most popular form

of entertainment.

Her generation was filled with great listeners in the classroom

because of this. I


enjoyed listening

to her talk about

countless evenings

in her home with

her family sur-

rounding the radio

to catch regular

programming that

demanded listening to enjoy.