Thursday, August 30, 2012

Teachers and Teacher Unions Are the Same


There they go again--trying to divide teachers from their union. Do they really think teachers will choose the unfilled promises of a politician over their union? Teachers know New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is no friend of theirs and that the New Jersey Education Association and the National Education Association have been tireless advocates for their interests and the interests of their students.

Listening to Governor Christie deliver his keynote speech to the Republican National Convention was a fairy tale moment. He said, "They (Democrats) believe in teacher unions. We (Republicans) believe in teachers." As we say in the south, "That dog won't hunt."

Works for Me: Tips for Teachers by Teachers August 30, 2012

Multi-Purpose Scotch Tape
From May Ryan:
Ms. Ryan has a roll of packaging tape in her teacher tool belt. She's found an inventive way to hang her posters securely to the wall without ripping the poster when it's time to take it down. Read about her secret tape trick, and you'll keep a roll of tape in your belt too.

Read More About Scotch Tape

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Congrats to the LCEA INSIDER for its 500th Post

Thanks to all of our loyal followers and readers.  It will be exciting to see how much we will accomplish this year when our LCEA Executive Board joins the writing and posting team.  More than that, though, thanks for what you do everyday.  Now...the other part of our job--getting the right folks elected to set's time for all of us to roll up our sleeves.

The Seven Most Surprising Findings of the 2012 PDK/Gallup Poll on Public Schools

By William J. Bushaw, Ph.D., Executive Director of PDK International

As co-director of the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, I anxiously await the results each year. It never fails. I am always surprised by what Americans think about their public schools — and this year is no different. So here you are — the seven most surprising findings of the 2012 PDK/Gallup poll. (For a free copy of the full report, go to or download the free Phi Delta Kappan iPad app.)
  1. There is lukewarm support for evaluating teachers using students' test scores. Only 52% of Americans favor teacher evaluations that include how well a teacher's students perform on standardized tests. Many policy makers and teachers know that we do not have the tools necessary to create a thoughtful teacher evaluation system that relies on student test results, and it looks like the public agrees, despite the attention this has received. My prediction: Look for an increasing percentage of Americans to oppose this in the future.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Classroom Management Website Soars in Size, Popularity



By using a new website for much of the last year to help manage his middle school charges, California teacher Ricardo Higuera said, "I found myself doing a lot less yelling."
The free website ClassDojo, the brainchild of a former teacher and a computer game developer, launched quietly about a year ago, and today the education startup announced it has more than 3.5 million teacher and student users in 30 countries, most of them in the United States. It officially shed its beta label, too.
In Higuera's social studies classes at Toro Canyon Middle School in the Coachella Valley district, he used the website to create avatars of his students that are projected for the entire classroom to see. Throughout the day, Higuera uses the software to note misbehavior and good behavior, including when students ask good questions or give a good presentation to the rest of the class.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Can We Talk?
From Patricia Pason
A fifth grade teacher at Spring Creek Elementary in Spring Creek, Nevada:
Ms. Parson's students interview each other on the first day of school. She divides them up by their birthdays so friends don't pair up together. Read more about her classroom interview process and the bulletin board she creates with her mini reporters.

Read More

Education Town Hall September 13, 2012

The Governor and Lt. Governor announced yesterday they will hold 14 education town hall meetings "continuing the discussion and soliciting feedback from Iowans on education reform policies, as part of preparation for the 2013 legislative session." These meetings are part of a conversation started at the recent Teacher and Principal Leadership Symposium held August 3, 2012 in Des Moines.

The following events are open to the public and we urge you to attend and report back to your UniServ directors what you learn. We know many of the town hall meetings are scheduled during the day when teachers cannot attend. So, we especially want to encourage our ISEA Retired members to attend and report back to the ISEA Retired staff liaison Tami Kuhn at

Motivating Reluctant Writers With Journals

by Laurie Wasserman

As a former reluctant student-writer, my papers were often returned with more red pen than black. Now, as a teacher, I'm especially mindful of students who are hesitant to share their thoughts in writing.

Over the past 32 years as a teacher, I've seen many students struggle with putting words on the page—for various reasons. Co-teaching in English/language arts, math, science, and social studies classrooms, I work with students who are considered gifted, who are on the autism spectrum, and who read and write several years below grade level. For some, English isn't their first language. Some feel vulnerable and worry about being criticized. Some simply don't know where to begin.

To address these challenges in my classroom, I've found that creating structures for regular writing works well. But, above all, journaling is the foundation for all writing in my classroom. Below are some techniques and attitudes that have worked particularly well with my students:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy New Year & Thank You for the Lives You Will Change

If you have three minutes, please enjoy the power that you have to change a life. LCEA colleagues--have a wonderful year. And, remember: WHEN WE STAND TOGETHER, WE BECOME SOMETHING MIGHTY.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

NEA, ISEA & LCEA E-Dues: LC Joins Innovators to Protect Our Local Association

How many of us pay some of our bills online?  Shop online?  Our guess is lots.  There's lots of great reasons to renew your membership using E-Dues or Electronic Funds Transfer.  Most importantly to this writer is that I'll be able to pay my dues over 12 months instead of 10 months.  Less will be taken from those 10 checks.  Another important reason is to protect our local Association from political mischief should we not elect pro-public education candidates this fall.  Another reason, is for anonymity.  The district will no longer be privy to our membership rolls.  Look at the other great reasons to join.

What is the Electronic Dues Deduction (E-dues)?

E-dues is a method to pay Local, State, and National Association dues; special funds; and PAC contributions through a process other than payroll deduction. Currently the procedure being developed for this deduction is a direct debit from a member’s checking account.

Make hundreds of Dollars in just a Few Minutes with NEA Member Benefits

Let your NEA Member Benefits not only help save you some hard-earned money; let your NEA Member Benefits help you MAKE some money.  CLICK HERE for a very quick check on what you can save.

Many of us actually use these easy tools to buy great services and make money by doing what professionals do--join three million of their colleagues in working to make public education stronger for students.

OR, paste this into your web browser.

Every Child Counts

Get ready to 'Step Up for Kids' in September

The annual Step Up for Kids week is right around the corner. From September 17 through 21, representatives from Every Child Counts and Every Child Matters will lead interactive sessions across the state on the role of advocacy in elections and the legislative process, how to reach out to legislators and how to become a more complete and effective advocate on behalf of children.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Works for Me: Tips for Teachers by Teachers August 10, 2012

Classroom Management Basics

From Kate Ortiz
A teacher from Chariton, Iowa:
There are some classroom management principles that work regardless of grade level. Ms. Ortiz suggests seven behavior basics that any teacher can use to set the stage for a successful classroom and an unforgettable year.

Read More
Quiet Story

From Diane Postman
A teacher in Yorktown, Virginia:

To help your K-2 students understand how much more they can learn when they listen, Ms. Postman suggests having them write a brief scripted story about being quiet (she offers a sample script of her own).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Register editorial: Parents a key piece in school reform


Gov. Terry Branstad has talked repeatedly about making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. To accomplish this, he wants residents to eat better, exercise and “take responsibility” for their lifestyles. He has not suggested Iowa doctors do a better job. There have been no proposals to pay physicians in a different way or require a minimum grade-point average for incoming medical students.

Why not? Because such proposals are obviously ridiculous. No one would lay the responsibility for the complicated task of improving the health of an entire state on the professionals working in health care.

So why is the governor fixated on teachers when it comes to the complicated task of improving education in Iowa? His proposals to create “world class” schools are disproportionately targeted at educators. He has pushed for a new pay structure, mentors and even personality assessments for teachers. His education reform proposal would require college students to have at least a 3.0 grade-point average to be admitted to teaching training programs.

25 Education Blogs Perfect For Parents (And Just About Anyone Else)

The following is the continuation of the ‘Perfect For Parents‘ series brought to you by our content partners at Online College. Don’t miss the 50 Education Twitter Hashtags Perfect For Parents as well!

As a parent, it’s your job to look ahead and plan for the future, whether that means packing lunch or creating a roadmap for college. Perhaps one of the most important things parents can look ahead to is education.
School reform, college, and getting involved as a parent are all important topics for parents to stay on top of, and these blogs all offer great ways to do so. We’ve discovered 25 of the best education blogs for proactive parents, and we encourage you to check them out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Five Practices for Building Positive Relationships With Students

by Kelley Clark for EDUCATION WEEK--TEACHER  
The objective is posted. The Do Now is ready to go. Your well-planned lesson is aligned with state standards, includes a variety of instructional methods, and offers opportunities for both summative and formative assessments.

What might still be missing? A strong positive relationship with your students, the kind of connection that makes them want to go above and beyond in your class.

Can you have a good lesson without having a positive relationship with your students? Yes. But can a strong relationship lead to an even higher level of academic success? Absolutely!

Friday, August 3, 2012

LCEA at the Table for Governor's Symposium on Teacher and Principal Leadershipo

The Iowa Teacher and Principal Leadership Symposium was held Friday, August 3, at Drake University in Des Moines. LCEA members Tom McLaughlin and Kim McLaughlin represented Southwest Uniserv District and the LCEA at the event.

The Symposium was an extension of the conversation that began last July at Governor Branstad's 2011 Education Summit. This summer's Symposium will focused on the idea of teacher leadership roles and new career paths and will further extend the conversation of the newly appointed Teacher Performance, Compensation, and Career Development Task Force.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NEA Home & Car Insurance

The NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program provided by California Casualty offers coverage designed to fit your needs

  • $500 Personal Property Coverage Vehicle
  • Vandalism Waived Deductible
  • $500 Fundraising Money Coverage 
  • $3,000 Personal Property at School Coverage


  • Special Rates / Generous Discounts
  • 12 Month Lock-in Rate Guarantee
  • Free ID Defense
  • 24/365 Emergency Claims Service
  • EZ Pay with Summer/Holiday Skip
  • Peer Review for Fair Settlement of Claims