Call for Comprehensive Commonsense Gun Reform

American Flag

Let me begin by stating that I don’t have the answer for gun violence in America, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to understand the situation nor advocating on behalf of those who have lost their lives to it.  This blog serves as a summary of the current gaps in legislation, school environments, consumer protection, and research.  The purpose is to consider all factors causing the problem and then develop problem statements.  Only by understanding the current situation fully, can we move forward with our objectives and (non)training solutions.

This categorized list will, hopefully, help us to form a solid argument for gun control. Through revision from your feedback, and as I learn more details, I seek a plan of action based on commonsense gun laws. In my opinion, the current situation is riddled with inadequacies in regards to public safety due to lax and inconsistent laws.  Today, in honor of the #MarchForOurLives,  I advocate change for good and applaud those who are involved in making informed decisions about gun laws that aren’t based on political or financial gain.

School Safety- (A) Restricting entry to a single-point and requiring visitors to sign-in limits access to nonstudents and nonpersonnel. (B) Providing a sufficient number of resource officers and counselors in accordance with school size addresses students needs. (C) Active shooter training and drills help prepare students and staff for such situations. (D) Metal detectors placed at entryway are useful in deterring crime. (E) Arming teachers is not the solution.

Gun Restrictions- (A) Raise the age restriction to 21 to purchase a rifle or shotgun in accordance with the existing federal laws to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer.  Additionally, handguns and rifles purchased from unlicensed dealers (e.g., neighbor, gun show seller, or online store) should have the same age restrictions. (B) Require comprehensive background checks on nonlicensed buyers and enforce a centralized database to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, suspected terrorists on the no-fly list, the mentally ill, and other federally prohibited persons. (C) Reinstate the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. (D) Ban the sale of bump stocks, which modify regular guns to perform as rapid-fire assault weapons. (E) Ban online sale of ‘ghost guns’ that are sold as maker kits and bare no serial identification.

Consumer Protection (A) Congress needs to ensure unsafe guns can be recalled through an oversight agency such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Our Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have jurisdiction over firearms and ammunition. Currently, unsafe guns are only recalled by the manufacturers.  It was blocked by Rep. Dingell in 1972 and 1975 and has not been brought up for legislation since (Bloomberg). (B) Gun manufacturers should be required to test guns to ensure they work properly. For example, nine different Taurus guns may fire when bumped or dropped even with the safety on. (C) Gun sellers, as defined by the ATF,  should obtain a federal firearms license. Moreover, the ATF needs to provide sufficient oversight, as the US DOJ Report #1-2004-005 found negligence in their inspections of licensure. (D) Congress needs to allow the use of smart gun technology such as devices that scan the owner’s fingerprint before it can fire.  See President Obama’s memorandum based on DOJ review (Federal Register). Gun lobbyists kept Smith & Wesson from developing smart gun technologies through slander and a boycott of their products after President Clinton pushed the Gun Safety Agreement in 2000 with them.

Research– (A) Congress needs to lift current restrictions on federal funding for research into gun violence. For example, the CDC National Violent Death Reporting System needs support from all 50 states, U.S. territories, and D.C. (B) Gun laws need to be based on research and safe practices for society.

My K-5 Elementary School Literature Products on Sale at TPT

I’m a teacher-author on TeachersPayTeachers.com (aka #TPT). I’m having a 20% off sale for cyber Monday and Tuesday on everything (#CYBER2016)! Here are the descriptions of a few of my seasonal elementary products aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Gingerbread Man with bow tie near stack of other cookies says, "Catch me if you can, I'm the Gingerbread Man!"

K-2 Story Illustration: The Gingerbread Man

This is an 18-page document with text from  story retold by Sandra Rogers in which students are provided space to illustrate the story to match the meaning described in the text. 12 vocabulary words are boldface typed within the story with definitions provided on a glossary page. It includes a vocabulary pretest.  The end purpose is to have students read it to their parents or other students in the school.  Students will be eager to learn the new words such as plump, almonds, and hay, so that they could accurately illustrate their self-made booklet.  This activity correlates to the following #CCSS on Speaking and Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
Kinder: #5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
Grade 1: #5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Grade 2: #5. Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings. (Note: The text and drawings can serve as the storyboard for recordings.)

Other similar products include the following:

Image of Santa on sleigh pulled by reindeer

K-3 Poetry Illustration: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas #CCSS SL.K.5, SL.1.5, SL.2.5, SL.3.5

K-3 Holiday Literacy Pack Bundled product includes those mentioned in this blog post plus 2 literacy center posters (Reading and Writing), a literacy activity checklist, and a generic strategy usage form for self-evaluation. #CCSS SL.K.5, SL.1.5, SL.2.5, SL.3.5


Pine Wreath with burlap flowers from Colonial Williamsburg

Wintertime in Colonial Williamsburg 5th Grade PowerPoint Presentation

The 15 images in the presentation are photos taken of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia in the winter. The purpose of the presentation is to give students a glimpse of colonial life. The photos include children’s toys, holiday wreaths, a bedroom, chamber pot, a kitchen, a dining room, a coal-burning furnace, a cellar, a garden maze, the Governor’s Palace (The Wythe House), the Royal Capitol, a home, wallpaper, a horse-drawn carriage, and a soldier’s drum. The PowerPoint slides include brief lecture notes.


*These literature activities are also available for sale individually. Other products include Spanish language editions.

**All my products are on sale for TPT’s #CYBER2016!

Thank you for shopping Teacherrogers store!

Happy holidays,

Sandra Rogers,
Instructional Designer

Mini-lecture and Photos of Colonial Williamsburg for 5th Graders

Pine Wreath with burlap flowers from Colonial Williamsburg

The 15 images in this presentation are photos I took of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia a few winters ago.  I was amazed by the beauty of the old fashioned traditions like the image above with burlap and cotton bolls as ornamentation for the Christmas wreath.  This is one of my products on TeachersPayTeachers.

The purpose of the presentation is to give students a glimpse of colonial life. Photos include children’s toys, holiday wreaths, a bedroom, chamber pot, a kitchen, a dining room, a coal-burning furnace, a cellar, a garden maze, the Governor’s Palace (The Wythe House), the Royal Capitol, a home, wallpaper, a horse-drawn carriage, and a soldier’s drum. The PowerPoint slides include brief lecture notes.

Most school curriculum teach about the 13 colonies and the American Revolutionary  in the 5th grade, as part of history class.  Check out my store on TPT if you are interested in purchasing it.

Thanks to all of my TPT supporters for another great year!

Sandra Rogers

aka Teacherrogers

It’s important to keep retelling the history of 9-11

Ground Zero Make-shift Memorial with flags, photos, and notes.
9-11 Make-shift Memorial in New York City at Ground Zero.

Note: This anecdote was written several years ago when I was teaching school in California.

I’d just pulled up to school in East Los Angeles when I heard the radio announcement about the attack on the World Trade Center. Within seconds, I realized my nephew who worked there might have lost his life. I went to sign in and ended up crying in the office. The assistant principal pulled me into her office and explained that her daughter was at the Pentagon and that it’d been hit as well. She appeared calm and professional as always. She told me to make a decision on whether to go home or stay and teach. I don’t have a family of my own, so I decided to stay and teach my first grade students.

There was a rumor around school that more planes were headed to Los Angeles. The planes that hit the World Trade Center were outbound flights for Los Angeles International Airport. Our large inner city school was located directly below the heavy incoming flight plans for LAX. In fact, when the government cleared the skies of all planes, walking across the schoolyard became surreal.  In times of natural disasters or emergencies, teachers become the wards for the students until their parents can pick them up. I went to teach class and defend my students and school from harm.

The rumor was so strong that our principal went missing and was later reported to have locked herself in a closet. School functioned without her. A few parents came to pick up their children. I remember starting the day off by showing a map of the United States to my class. I wanted them to understand how far away the attacks were to help them feel less anxious. They had many misconceptions of what was going on fueled by the fact that they were limited English speakers. For example, they thought the continuous instant replay on television that morning of the second plane going into the tower was actually many planes not just one. Being fluent in Spanish, I was able to translate the basic information on the attacks.

Students were allowed outside for recess, and I headed to the teacher break room to make a few calls to learn about my nephew’s whereabouts. Someone had pulled a TV into the break room, and teachers were watching the latest news about the attacks. I learned that my nephew was alive because he went to work late. He was just getting out of a cab when the first plane hit.  He fled Manhattan on foot along with the mass exodus. My nephew escaped physical harm, but he bears the burden of witnessing a heinous crime against humanity.

In the classroom, we discussed what was going on in New York. Unfortunately, some of my students had seen graphic images of people jumping to their deaths on the Spanish news channel that morning. It was very hard not to cry in front of them. I had to be strong, so they could feel safe. I didn’t tell the students about the rumors nor explain what an attack of this magnitude would mean to our country and the world. East Los Angeles is a tough neighborhood. Its teachers are prepared for earthquakes, lock downs, and multiple casualties. As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I have more survival skills than the average person. However, I didn’t know how to prepare for war. Fortunately, no harm came to us.

The day after 9-11, the Los Angeles Times printed images of people jumping out of the twin towers of World Trade Center. The images on television news coverage kept me in tears for weeks, as more information was given on the attacks. It sent me into a depression for several months. The summer after 9-11, I visited my nephew in Manhattan and saw Ground Zero. The makeshift memorial wall was still up with faded images of the missing. Fresh notes were messages to those who were missed on their birthdays and anniversaries. I photographed the memorial to share with future students in the classroom.

Ground Zero Makeshift Memorial
In memory of those who lost their lives on 9-11.