By Marva Cooley. 4th Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 16th, 2020 - 09:08:50 AM.
I have just three things to teach: Acceptance, Letting Go, and Holding On. These three are your most esteemed teachers, and to reclaim your life, you must do three things: stop fighting what you cannot change, stop trying so hard to be in control, and optimize your natural talents. This is your recipe for more immediate happiness and fulfillment. When we are in the flow of life, whats unnecessary ceases to demand our attention, and who we were meant to be will begin to take center stage. Im talking in larger concepts here, so let me break it down: fear stands in the way of you getting what you want in life. Your circumstances dont control your destiny (however bleak they may seem), and neither do other people. Only your thoughts control your destiny (I know, scary, right?). If you can learn to Accept, Let Go, and Hold On to the right thoughts, you can build your own utopia. These arent just platitudes I read in some self-help book, or said in an effort to manipulate you into buying something. Im speaking from hard-won life experience when I say these are the three truths youve got to put to work for you to make your life your own.
My daughters went to two different elementary schools due to a move. One of the schools was 1st-3rd grade on one side of the property and 4th and 5th grade on the other side of the property with two completely different playgrounds. Prior to 4th grade beginning we made a point of visiting the school and exploring the "other side." Junior high school and senior high school both offer larger campuses with the changing of classrooms every hour throughout the day. Thankfully, here in my town, both schools offer the kids their schedules at least a week before school starts. We can then walk their schedule many times to make sure they are comfortable and they can remember the order of their classes. Often, the kids who had not pre-visited were late to classes the first week, couldnt find classrooms, and were generally much more stressed than the kids who made those pre-visits and were comfortable with where they were going.
We tend not to think about how we can prevent learning problems with our children. An effective prevention is a form of intervention. Prevention makes it appear there were no problems in the first place. "Good" parenting is effective prevention. When parents are involved with the childs learning and developmental and academic progress, they focus on what the child needs to learn and support the schools efforts by working with the child at home. A major contributing factor that parents can do for their children is to help them develop articulate, complex language skills with an extensive vocabulary. Those skills alone will greatly impact the childs ability to achieve at school. These are the hallmarks of homes with educated and highly skilled parents who often choose to live where their children attend highly rated schools. They are also the hallmarks of parents, concerned about their childrens future, who are involved in all aspects of their childrens lives on a daily basis. They take time out of their busy schedules to attend to their children first. Schools in crisis try to support parents but often fall short. One reason is that many adults believe it is the schools job to educate their children. Another is that the adults, struggling to afford the basics of shelter, food and clothing, are simply physically too tired to attend to their childrens needs. Although there are many more reasons, most simply come down to the fact that many parents themselves do not have the skills to develop preventative levels of school-readiness skills in their children.
Students may have ideas about their future vocation. They may want to be an astronaut or super-star in sports. As they become a bit more realistic, the choices they have will depend heavily on their education. In considering future employment, its common to overlook the importance of math competency. Almost every good job requires adequate math skills. Some demand advanced math competence. These include any branch of medicine, most managerial positions, engineers, lab technicians, pilots, construction workers, graphic designers, surveyors, accountants, bookkeepers, teachers, many retail jobs, most government jobs, and the list goes on and on. Parents and young students may not realize the importance of early mastery of math fundamentals. Mathematics is a subject that builds on prior knowledge. Once you fall behind, math becomes drudgery and requires more time to complete homework assignments. It is wrong to assume that since electronic calculators can do math computations quickly, memorization of basic facts doesnt really matter anymore. Without basic fact fluency, frustration levels will only increase.
A few minutes later I sent her an email and apologized. She responded to my email a few days later with a simple Apology Accepted, an emoji thumbs up, and a wish for a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. Just like that I had apologized, and she accepted. It was over. Something I have worried about on and off for almost 40 years was over. Im not sure what I was afraid of or what I expected to feel, its not like she would have actually called me, its not like Id bump into at the grocery store, we lived almost 1,000 miles from each other, but I was still afraid. I guess I expected to make my amends and feel great, like a huge load was lifted off my shoulders, but I didnt. I expected to see unicorns outside my window sliding down a rainbow giving me a high five, but I didnt see that either. I just thought to myself, OK check that off the list.
Intervention Intervention is usually something touted as what will help schools in crisis. The current wave of instructional approaches are called "Response to Intervention" or RTI. This approach uses programs that have been "researched" and "proven effective", a major component of the No Child Left Behind approach to education reform. Regardless of what level the instructional needs of the child are, the teachers read directly from scripts developed for the research that proved the approaches to be effective and use materials, activities and text passages designed to go along with those scripts. The point of it all is to focus attention on an instructional process that has been already been effective. The problem is that the assignments may be correctly executed, but they may still not be understood or mastered by students. The primary reason that students do not achieve under this approach is that what is being taught is developmentally too difficult for them to master. They may memorize every word, every fact, but the rote memorization cannot be applied to similar words or facts in different situations. The problem remains the same: children are not always developmentally ready for what schools narrowly presume the "average child" should master. The 4th grade student reading at 2nd grade level experiences the 4th grade materials. Is that child likely to read above 2nd grade after this type of instruction? It is highly unlikely, because the original problems concerning readiness remain. Prevention
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