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
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.
For information on book orders, newsletters, or speaking
engagements please contact Author Kendrick S. Sterling
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
• 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
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
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
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
“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.
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 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
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.
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
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?
*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
behavior issues is
movement in the
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
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
Her generation was filled with great listeners in the classroom
because of this. I
to her talk about
in her home with
her family sur-
rounding the radio
to catch regular
demanded listening to enjoy.