By Elisabeth Martinez. 4th Grade Math. Published at Wednesday, November 18th, 2020 - 13:38:49 PM.
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.
Letting Go Letting go means standing aside and allowing life to happen without my trying to control it. This has been (and some days still is) a completely foreign concept to me, because I was raised by a single-parent who was an abuse survivor. She taught us to stand up for ourselves and never be walked on. She taught us to speak up for ourselves. She also taught us to have a really good "BS meter." All important things if you want to feel in control and not be taken advantage of. What I didnt learn is how to flow with life: how to stand back, detach and be the observer, allowing others to do whatever they are going to do, and not attempt to control, manipulate or change the outcome. In short, I was programmed since childhood to defend myself really, really well. So while I have been described as a strong person, an intelligent person, and a capable person, nobody has ever described me as a particularly agreeable person, a gentle person, or a "go with the flow" kind of gal. Quite the contrary, Ive been described as a "take charge" kind of gal. This was brought to my attention again recently in a radio interview I did. I wanted so much to say what Id planned to say that the poor host literally couldnt get a word in edgewise. I battle with letting go and letting life spontaneously happen more than most folks, because I was abused as a child by one parent, and then taught to fight back by the other. There was no balance between the two extremes. When you think about it, letting go is all about trust. Its trusting that we live in an abundant and benevolent Universe. Its trusting another person to be there for us and catch us when we fall. Its trusting that I am in fact "good enough," regardless of what seems like evidence to the contrary. Its trusting that its okay to make mistakes because Im human. Its trusting that most of the time Im safe and not in danger, contrary to what my alarmist brain would have me believe. Letting go is the polar opposite of control, and its whats required if were going to reclaim our life. I am certain of this, because it wasnt until I let go of my idea of who I was (a mental health counselor) that I could finally see myself for who Id become (a suicide survivor). Seeing myself for who I really am has not been easy or comfortable, but ultimately its made my life healthier and happier. We are who weve become, not who we think we are.
The day proceeded normally. It was a rainy day, with an indoor recess, and an educational assistant came to my room to monitor the class while I took my 15-minute break. When I came back at the end of my break, the educational assistant was nowhere to be seen. The boys were all clustered near my desk, sitting on the floor, actively engaged with something. I quickly realized they had torn open the bag from the toy store, opened each of the puzzles, and had the pieces scattered all over the floor. I was upset... at the assistant who was supposed to be monitoring my class, and at the students, for getting into my personal items and opening puzzles intended for my as-yet-unborn child. I sternly demanded that the boys put the puzzles back together! And then I watched in utter amazement, as I realized that not one of these 4th grade boys was able to put the pieces of a simple inset puzzle back in place!
Moving to first grade meant moving away from the very secluded kindergarten classrooms and playgrounds. We spent a few different afternoons walking around the classrooms and visiting the new playground. When we discovered which classroom my child was in, we went there two or three times to make it comfortable to find and remember. Our school offers kindergartners the opportunity to buy hot lunch the very last two weeks of the school year so that the kids are comfortable with the cafeteria and lunch lines before they enter first grade. I made sure my daughters bought lunch several times in those two weeks so they could experience the new routine.
Once you have that information, work backwards. Assume that the skills and knowledge levels will be in place by the end of the year, and then determine when you will need to build each skill into the academic year. Depending on the subject you teach, this will take different forms, but dont feel "married" to the scope and sequence of the textbooks suggested order. Select the points that certain skills need to be mastered, and then work backwards to build in the lessons and topics that will build those skills in or that knowledge base at the right time. You may be surprised to find that in some cases, the suggested order of the textbook can be adjusted to make your lesson plans flow more smoothly in your school for your specific classroom and for the strengths and weaknesses of the specific class you teach.
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.
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