By Beryl Ford. 4th Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 16th, 2020 - 21:56:16 PM.
My philosophy is that how you spend your time and resources reveals what your priorities are. This is my third year of creating a master schedule for Bladen Lakes Primary School. My efforts each year follow the process outlined in the book Elementary School Scheduling: Enhancing Instruction for Student Achievement by Robert Lynn Canady and Michael D. Rettig. This year, I am explicitly charting out the steps I took in making the schedule. My faculty and I at the school participate in shared leadership. The foundation of the schedule is laid out through multiple ongoing conversations with teachers, parents, and students.
Dorit: Youre a veteran teacher-what do you teach and how long have you been teaching? Damien: Thank you for the moniker! I currently teach 4th grade public school in Southern California. Im credentialed to teach K-6 and Ive been teaching now for 9 years. Grades I have taught in the past include: 3,4,5,9, and I have taught college courses. So I like to think Ive seen a variety of ages so I can offer help and share about more than just 4th grade. Dorit: I hear also youre a writer - what do you also like to write and how long have you been writing? Damien: I got my Masters in English hoping to be a writer and college professor. The college professor thing wasnt for me, too much academia quicksand, but the writing has panned out well in one book publishing and a variety of popular posts out in the web. I book publishing came about when I answered a simple call for stories in my school newsletter. It ended up being published in a book. You can access my published and non published web writing at my online resume I call Riley Central.
Often, the instructional year is looked at in isolation. 5th grade teachers only look at 5th grade curricula, 3rd grade teachers only look at 3rd grade, 8th grade teachers only look at 8th grade, etc. Rather than planning your academic year based on your textbooks only, consider looking at your academic year as one "leg" in a relay race. Its your job as an educator to cover the skills, strengths, "speed," and accuracy of the leg youre on, as well as the hand off to the next leg in the race. Using backwards educational goals makes this much easier, and the scope of your classroom instruction will be much more thorough.
This was one of the Ah-ha! moments of my life. If these children could not take apart and put together concrete objects as basic as simple inset puzzles, how on earth could they take apart and put together abstractions, such as letters and sounds. Our classroom changed. I kept those opened puzzles in the classroom, and I bought more simple inset puzzles for my students, as well as easy interlocking puzzles with only a few pieces. The students became adept at taking these puzzles apart, then putting them together again to create a predetermined whole. I bought blocks for the classroom, which they put together, then took apart, then put together again in different ways, creating a wide range of things, similar to what we do with letters when sounding out words.
Since the recession of 2008, there has been a new global war taking form. If you were to query the billions that live on our planet what is the #1 thing they all want from their government leaders, the answer would be an economy that provided good jobs. Everyone in the world wants a good job. Today, the war for jobs around the globe has trumped all other leadership activities. If countries fail at creating jobs, their societies fall apart. Countries, and cities will experience suffering, chaos, and eventual revolution. This is the new world that leaders confront. This can be seen as much at city level as it is at the country level. Look at post-recession Detroit, MI; or Cleveland, OH.
Ive had this, albeit small list, in my mind my whole life, a kind of master to do list and here I was crossing off another thing from the list. First the bakery, then committing to run a ½ marathon and now Ive found Elizabeth. It seems like the older I get, the more things I seem to be checking off that master list, and that got me wondering if that is what happens when we got older. What if our entire life is made up of this list and you just go through life clicking things off that list. But then I thought, what happens when you get to the end of your list? Is it Hello Pearly Gates, if youre lucky? Or if you dont check off everything off your list and make all the necessary amends is it then "Wow its hot down here, this cant be right"?
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