By Kendra Torres. 4th Grade Math. Published at Sunday, November 22nd, 2020 - 05:48:21 AM.
Damien Riley from Dynamite Lesson Plan offers classroom tested tips and advice on how to engage students more successfully. Dorit: Thank you Damien for this interview. First off, I just love the name of your blog. How did you first come to name your blog? Damien: You are welcome Dorit, it is great to share among colleagues and others interested in Education. I named my blog after something my master teacher in teacher college told me back in 1997. As many new teachers do, I was struggling with behavior problems in my class. He told me something I will never forget: "The best way to control kids is through a dynamite lesson plan." I believe it so much, I named my teaching blog after it: "Dynamite Lesson Plan."
Suddenly the weaker part of me that had wanted to downplay and make excuses for her behavior had to face a very harsh reality. I was horrifyingly thrust into the truth, because theres no way to downplay a tragedy of this magnitude. My denial was instantaneously "outed." Once you see that youve been denying whats true, or in my case, pretending it "wasnt as bad" as it seemed, youre swamped with guilt. Regret, blame, disgrace, self-condemnation and failure pull up a chair and take root in your psyche, becoming your unwanted constant companions. Once youve been "outed" in such a big way, its time to admit to yourself (and others) what you did well, but also where you dropped the ball and retreated. Whether its a failed friendship, a failed relationship or marriage, or having failed as a parent, life always gives you the opportunity (yes, I said opportunity) to step out of pretense and back into reality.
Consider the recent Occupy Protest movements that sprung up in New York and major cities across America and the globe. Basically these protests came down to jobs and the ability for folks to provide for their families, it came down to hope for the future. The fact is the majority of people around the world want jobs. This is a change from the past century, where the number one thing citizens expected from their leadership was food, shelter and security. Today that number one desire is simply good jobs. These protest movements, which were for the most part peaceful, are just a sliver of what is to come for countries and cities whose leadership fails to understand this new economic reality and this new global war for jobs. Folks around the world want and expect their leadership to make the right decisions, which allow for economic growth, job creation and stability in their countries, cities and communities. Take that away to a high degree and the recent "Occupy" protest movements will seem like a walk in the park and instead government leaders may experience widespread havoc, violent protests and even attempts at overthrowing their entire government leadership. Similar to what we have witnessed recently in many of the Arab countries, like Egypt, Syria, Libya, where entire government leadership was forcibly thrown out. Or Spain, where youth unemployment is also rampant.
In elementary school, classroom teachers are responsible for teaching the many ELA standards. In middle and senior high school, the English teachers share responsibility with content areas of science, history, social studies and technology. To put it differently, all teachers will have to be knowledgable about these standards and just how they refer to their unique subject of study. The reading standards are classified into four areas: handling key ideas and details, craft and structure, integration expertise and concepts, plus the choice of reading and level of text complexity. Basically, students must understand content, distinguish among important and less important ideas and analyze the information. While doing this, students should comprehend the vocabulary, the language and evaluate how perspective and purpose affects craft issues. While reading widely from print and digital media, students should be able to evaluate, analyze and synthesize information. Particularly crucial, in line with the standards is the fact that students are comfortable using a range of text complexities.
The "rules" and "guidelines" for schools are complex and dictated to them by the prevailing winds of politics, either state, federal or both. How they approach instruction depends on many factors, the most telling being that they have been identified as a "school in crisis". Remediation Remediation has been used consistently in the past but generally is not approved for schools in crisis. The purpose was to work with students at their reading/math level until they mastered the skills allowing them to achieve at the level and pace of their peers. This approach may be appropriate for the child who is slightly behind his class, either because he had a long-term absence or other factors interfered with his learning at the time the skills were taught. The problem with remediation has always been that teachers taught the students the skills for which they assumed the students were now ready. They have not addressed the missing skills (possibly skills that should have been in place years before that teacher ever met the child) that caused the reading/math skills to be low in the first place.
Acceptance of Reality Accepting our own, and others limitations is pre-requisite, fundamental, and paramount to achieving more happiness and success in life. It stands to reason: you cant change reality if youre not living in it. Yet we live in denial a lot- more than we realize, more than wed like to admit (we live in denial about living in denial). For a long time I lived in denial about how depressed my teenaged daughter had become. Yes, I took her to counseling, and got her on anti-depressants. But there was a part of me, the parent part of me, that didnt want to admit the steady decline I was seeing in her. The mother in me kept hoping things would change, that she was just being a moody teenager. But the realistic me, the mental health professional in me, was far more worried and skeptical. Everyday these two parts battled for control until the morning I woke up to find my daughter had secretly gone off her anti-depressant, and had taken her own life.
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