Texting Teachers

Texting Teachers Do Not Make Good Role Models
Wanda Sharing Her Book

Texting teachers are not good role models to their students. Recently, I had an experience that left me feeling unsettled during a book presentation at an elementary school. At least three out of six teachers sitting on the periphery of the multi-purpose room among a large group of first-graders were texting. I don’t mean an occasional glance at their cell phones. No. They were totally focused on their phones with their thumbs moving faster than the speed of light!

A Guest

I had been invited to present The Writing Process, a Power Point, which I developed that includes my personal journey. The presentation includes slides of my ideas, drafts, edits, rejection slips from publishers, etc.  My goal was to provide an interesting mix of slides and conversation. I wanted the children to see themselves as writers. But as I was trying to convince the children that their imagination could help them create a story, I was stunned by the texting teachers sitting in the audience. What kind of message does that send to the children?

Famous Words

According to the words of William Arthur Ward, a famous writer, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”  While the texting individuals may be good teachers, they should aim higher to become superior and great teachers that inspire their students. Our actions speak louder than words.  Children of this age are incredibly perceptive, and will see through a teacher who says one thing, but acts in another way.

Were the Texting Teachers Doing Classwork?

I know that we are all connected to our phones; which have become addictive to many of us, including myself. It is hard for me to not grab for my phone when I hear a ding letting me know I have a message. Has someone commented on my blog, Re-tweeted a Tweet, or sent me a personal message on Facebook? Also, I know that our Smartphones have become interactive teaching tools in the classroom. I applaud technology. In fact, I have taught many courses via Distance Education. I’ve included Smart Phones in my classroom activities. But, I still don’t agree with expecting one thing from a class of children and doing something opposite. Do you? What do you think of texting teachers? In a recent article from the National Education Association, Sheila Kohl wrote the following:  “Teachers are role models for their students all day, every day, so I take my actions and behavior very seriously.”  She went on to say, “Being a role model can be daunting—our students are observing us all the time.”

Long-Lasting Lessons in School

Teaching is more than just covering the curriculum. Modeling positive behavior and discussing it with their students will enable children to use those skills all their lives. Can you remember things that an elementary teacher taught you? I know that I can. Miss Mary’s actions still resonates with me as I pick up a tissue and wipe the water from around the sink after I’ve washed my hands. I still see her in action cleaning up around a sink in the classroom as she said something like this, “Always clean up your messes.” Would it have made the same difference if she said the words, but lacked the action behind it. I doubt it.

Words to Think About

I would like to say to all teachers that your students are watching you all the time. It isn’t what you say, but what you do! Eventually, the students will begin to act like you. It is a compliment! Make sure that their actions are from the best of you. I will close with the words from a school superintendent, “Being a role model is more than a side effect of our teaching: It’s the root of why we need to always be “on” in the classroom.” Brian P. Gatens.

Wanda Wyont

Wanda is a former college instructor and administrator in early childhood education and retention. After retiring, she shares her children’s books and the Writing Process with children. Her books are Sunbeam and Barkley’s Great Escape. She is a child advocate and Tweets daily about children’s issues. She is a credentialed parent educator and works with the CDC on Swim Safety for young children.

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Encore Career, a Children’s Author

Encore Career, A Children’s Author

Encore Career, A Children's Author
An Inviting Space

After retiring from the field of education, I began an encore career, a children’s author. Recently, I was the guest blogger for the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). I was asked to write about my encore career. The ALSC is a network of more than 4,200 children’s and youth librarians, children’s literature experts, publishers, education and library school faculty members, and other adults committed to improving and ensuring the future of the nation through exemplary library service to children, their families, and others who work with children.

 The Published Blog is Below:

I am a children’s author! Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I hear those words! I’ve enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember and can’t believe I have two children’s books published and a third written. Recently, I came upon some stories I wrote as a teenager. I think I’ve improved since then but that shows my journey has been a long one. For years, I focused on being a mother, wife, and daughter coupled with a demanding career. While my dream of becoming a children’s author was put on the back burner, the desire never wavered.

An encore career, a children's author.
Wanda is sharing her books.

Dedicated to Writing

Since retiring, my life is very different. Because I have been able to dedicate my time to writing and presenting my books to children’s groups, an encore career has taken shape. My professional wardrobe has definitely changed from business suits to jeans and sneakers. The stress of the long days and sometimes boring meetings are a distant memory. Although it took a little time to transition from the workforce to retiree, I think that I’ve found my niche.

I Love Doing What I Do

Recently, while reading aloud from my book to a group of children, I read that one of the characters had kissed the dog on his nose and a second grader got out of his seat and loudly announced, “I kissed my dog on the nose, too!” His spontaneity made my day! During a June visit to an elementary school, a third grader came up to me and told me that she could bark like a dog. After demonstrating a realistic bark, I recruited her to bark during the story. It added fun to my visit. I feel like I have been given a tonic after spending time with children.

I Feel the Energy of the Children

barkleyillustration3When I enter a classroom, assembly or a meeting room, I feel the energy from the attendees and it energizes me. I love talking about books and the importance of reading. I want all children to see themselves as writers.

My Presentation Includes Learning Experiences

I try to conduct an interactive presentation whereby children feel comfortable to share information. My two published books have lessons embedded within the text, and I discuss those points during my visit. For example, Barkley’s Great Escape is based on a true story. Several summers ago, Barkley, my daughter’s Lab, almost drowned in a neighbor’s swimming pool due to an open gate. As an educator, I was aware that drowning is the number one cause of accidental deaths in young children. I felt an obligation to write the story. While I wanted the book to be fun, my desire was to send a message about water-safety to the reader. Both of my books include teaching strategies.

Enjoyment of Writing

I love the solitude of working on a book with the plot unfolding in my mind. I spend hours working alone at my computer. By the time I have a finished product, I have developed an attachment to the characters in my story. While I don’t draw the illustrations, I have a picture in my mind for every page.

Blogs on My Website

I write a blog on my website on a regular basis which is dedicated to children’s issues. There are days that I don’t write, but there are no days that I don’t read. I can’t imagine life without having a good book in my hand.

(All photos courtesy guest blogger)

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About the Author

An Encore Career, A Children's Author
Wanda at Gaston College for a Book Talk

Our guest blogger today is Wanda Wyont. After retiring from over twenty five years of teaching ages birth through adulthood, Wanda was excited to published her second children’s book.  Throughout her career,  she has worked to be a champion of the library and the services available to families and children.  Her website is http://www.wandawyont.com.

 

The post An Encore Career – A Children’s Author appeared first on ALSC Blog.

Writing Process with Children’s Book

Writing Process with Children's Book
Wanda at Washington Elementary School

The Writing Process with Children’s Book held at Washington Elementary

I presented the writing process with my latest children’s book at Washington Elementary School. Hopefully, it was an educational experience about writing for the children. Prior to reading the story, I talked about how I perceived the idea of the book. After sharing some pictures, I moved on to the drafting stages of writing. Later, I shared the editing aspect of writing and admitted that this part was my least favorite. Hopefully, the morning was educational for the children. For me, it was  fun! The Writing Process is available for download.

Special Mentions

While all the teachers were attentive and very helpful, I especially want to mention a few individuals that added to the experience. Ellen Jackson contacted me and made all the arrangements for the visit. Also, she introduced me before I began the presentation. It was apparent that she had read my biography and I really appreciated the professionalism and preparedness. While waiting to begin, I met the Librarian, Susan Johnson. She had everything set-up for me per my request with a table, projector, laptop, etc. I was amazed at the beauty of the media center with books, book characters and themes everywhere! It is one of the prettiest school libraries that I have seen. A former student, Krista Smith came by to see me. I had no idea that she was at the school and I was delighted to see her. The principal, Dustin Bridges, came by and introduced himself.

Writing Process with Children's Book
The children at Washington Elementary.

Children Attentive

The children were attentive and engaged. But, they had lots of questions about dogs and pool safety. As I began telling the story about Barkley, I mentioned that he was adopted by my daughter. One child got up out of her seat and asked, “Are you adopted?” After responding that Barkley was adopted, she said, “I’m adopted!”  She identified with Barkley, immediately.

Follow-up

Last night, I received a wonderful package of letters written by the children. I have read each note and I love it. Again, thank you Washington School and staff.

Author Visit

Telling Stories
Sharing Stories

Wanda Wyont, a local North Carolina author,  visited Washington Elementary School last week to share her latest book, Barkley’s Great Escape. Mrs. Wyont shared her brainstorming and writing process …

The Writing Process is my method of sharing how I began the process of writing my latest book, Barkley’s Great Escape.

Wanda Wyont, MA

About Author

Wanda Wyont has worked in the field of education over twenty years in many diverse backgrounds. Her teaching experiences range from preschool to college age. she holds an MA in Birth-Kindergarten and has presented multiple workshops at national venues. She has written and published numerous articles and papers on children’s issues. As an experienced storyteller, Wanda encourages children to become good readers and writers. Barkley’s Great Escape is her second children’s book. You can purchase a signed and inscribed copy from the onlinestore.

Help Children Become Writers

Help Children Become Writers
Wanda is sharing a Power Point presentation on the Writing Process.

Help Children Become Writers

One of the ways to help children become writers is by inviting published authors to the classroom. You can download some great author presentations from the website, too. As an author and educator, I enjoy visiting preschool and primary classrooms to share my books and to present the writing process. My goal is to help children become writers.

Individualize Presentations

Pre K and Kindergarten

With younger groups, I tailor my presentation by introducing my book through a picture walk, which includes some predictions like, “what do you think Barkley is going to do?”  After looking through the illustrations, it is time for some questions. “Is it cold weather or hot weather?” Afterward, I go over some of the words. For example, Sunbeam has the word equestrian as part of the text. I always try to share meanings of the more difficult words. It is important to expand children’s vocabulary. I like to hear the responses from the children and see them engaged in the story.

Primary Grades

With primary grades, it is even more important to help children to see themselves as writers. After being exposed to many great children’s books, this age sometimes develop the impression that writing stories are difficult. They get frustrated with their mistakes and their teacher’s suggestions on ways to improve their stories.

Identify With Author

It is helpful for them to hear the struggles of a published author. After seeing the shiny published book, I show the class my drafts, errors, mark-ups and more. From the look on their faces, I can see they can identify with me. It is an important step to help children become writers.

Power Point

I share a Power Point presentation that includes my personal journey as a writer. It is important for the children to see first-hand that my first try was filled with errors. With the help of hard copies, I share my own notes and scribbles. My rejection slips and editors’ suggestions are shared with the young audience.

Sharing the Stories

I usually begin my presentation by telling the class the stories of one of my books. As I begin the writing process, I then begin showing them how I put those ideas down on paper. Lastly,I share a Power Point presentation that I have titled, The Writing Process to school groups.

Great Websites

There are many great websites to provide the information about teaching children to write. Click on Teacher Scholastic for one such site. I use my own children’s books and take the classes through my writing process. I begin by telling them the basic story and then helping them to see the way the words are added to each page.

Help Children Become Writers
Barkley

Barkley

The children seemed to enjoy seeing pictures of the “real” Barkley. We talk about (1) Developing the Idea, (2) Writing the Story, (3) Editing the Book, (4) Creating the Art, (5) Proofing the Story, and (6) Printing the Story. The children are engaged and asked some great questions. I go through the writing process for Barkley’s Great Escape and Sunbeam. I  challenge the children to write me a story.  Hopefully at the conclusion of my visit, this will help children become writers. Among our discussion questions, I always include comments about water safety and taking care of pets. If anyone would like a copy of the power point, you can get it from my website or the above link.

Help Children Become Writers
Reading to Preschoolers

 

You can order a copy of Barkley’s Great Escape from this website.

Wanda Wyont, MA

Help Children Become Writers
Barkley’s Great Escape

 

 

 

Wanda has spent over twenty-five years teaching all ages. She retired as an educator from Gaston College. Recently, she spends her time visiting child care centers, schools, libraries and writing.