By Lacy Mack. 4th Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 09th, 2020 - 06:48:31 AM.
Many teachers plan their year based on the textbooks order and agenda for the school year. This isnt bad, but often it fails to take into consideration the actual skills needed for the next year, and only addresses the lessons to be covered. The lessons to be covered are critical, but from the perspective of the skills necessary to move forward. Instead of planning the year forward, if teachers would plan for backwards education, skills would be steadily increased and students would be more prepared for the upcoming year along the way. The concept is simple. As a teacher, determine what skills, or what knowledge needs to be mastered by your students before they complete your grade levels learning. In other words, if you teach 4th grade, what skills would the 5th grade teachers in your school hope and pray that your students have learned when they walk in the door for 5th grade. Talk to the teachers in the grades above you. Find out what they think are the greatest challenges at their grade level, and how skill or knowledge deficits have affected their instructional year.
English Language Arts Common Core Standards The common education standards adopted by over 45 states this year includes a robust English Language Arts component. It emphasizes utilitarian writing and reading. For example, in 4th grade, students are asked to read 50% literary texts and 50% informational texts. This changes in secondary school to 30% literary and 70% informational. The writing emphasizes expository writing, persuasive writing and narrative writing. The percentage breakdowns in 4th grade are 30% persuasion, 35% explaining, and 35% to share experiences. That changes in twelfth grade to 49% persuasion, 40% explaining and 20% to share experiences.
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.
Sometimes I really hate my ego. Ive studied spiritual teachings enough to know that what drives us to control is the ego: that over-analytic, judging and critical left brain which is always on guard, eager to squash our enthusiasm, and which doesnt give spontaneity and creativity much of a chance to blossom. Sometimes I really hate my left brain, too. Even though we need it for survival, it can sabotage our most earnest efforts to be open, spontaneous, flexible and honest. The ego is very wary of honesty. It sees it as a weakness, and would rather we respond in safer, pre-programmed sorts of ways. Honesty is risky business for the ego, because we might look foolish, stupid or weak, so the ego avoids situations that could create discomfort. The ego is what causes us to reduce, to shrink, ask for less, and to settle. It reasons: at least if I settle Im not out of my comfort zone. If the ego had its way it would tuck us into bed and keep us there forever, everyday nearly the same, nothing allowed in that would rock our boats. Sterile, yet safe. Though youve probably realized by now that playing it too safe is a recipe for failure.
Determination is like having your own private football linebacker. Linebackers are part of the defensive team, who provide extra protection to the quarterback. When we show inordinate amounts of determination, we become more resistant to set-backs. The linebacker in us refuses to let the opposition take us down. In a blitz, the linebacker sacks or hurries the opposing offenses quarterback. The linebacker in us will either pursue and demolish the obstacle, or at the very least, apply enough pressure to hurry the play. To have your dreams, youll have to weave and bob around unending obstacles, persist through waves of discouragement (even heartbreak), and charge fiercely towards your goal like a linebacker with the red of blitz in his eye. Who said you couldnt learn anything from football.
For years and years, I looked for her, Elizabeth from 4th grade and even with the advent of social media I could never find her. Every time Id hear a story about bullying I saw her face and then mine. When I saw the movie Flatliners, I couldnt get her out of my head for a month. I wanted so badly to apologize to this little 4th-grade girl, and I never thought Id get the chance. That is until the other day; there she was by complete accident on a friends Facebook feed. I was scared to befriend her, I wondered if she remembered me, I wondered if she hated me, I wondered if she even cared, I wondered if she had the same childhood memory I lugged around for almost half a century. I tucked fear into the back seat, and then I requested her as a friend on Facebook. In what seemed like an instant she accepted my request. My hands were trembling, and I was afraid. My hope was she didnt remember the incident or me.
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