By Amy Berg. 4th Grade Math. Published at Sunday, November 22nd, 2020 - 16:23:22 PM.
Have you seen that TV show, "Are you Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" The adult contestants compete to win dollars if they can answer typical 1st through 5th grade questions, and they get help from some 5th grade classmates. Rarely do the adult contestants win, and the questions include areas that most of us have long forgotten as we watch the energetic 5th grade classmates get the right answers almost every time. When the adult contestant misses a question it prompts the defensive shameful behavior that we learn along the way in life. In the rare instance that a 5th grader misses, they look reflective, perhaps disappointed, but move along to do better on the next question. My 4th grade girls have yet to learn how uncool it is to show your vulnerability or to be ashamed of how you might be different from others. They just are who they are, excited about life, and learning and full of curiosity and bright energy. I was reminded by the school counselor that just about all of that will change by the time they reach 6th grade. Im sure she is right. My hope is they will remember just a few things about being happy and staying curious to take into adulthood and for some, into meaningful leadership roles.
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.
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.
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"?
Can you answer that question? Keep reading and see if your answer changes. Ive had the pleasure and privilege to volunteer as a facilitator for a small group of 4th grade girls. Sponsored by the Girl Scouts, this program was created to help 4th grade girls craft a vision of their current and future potential. The curriculum covers 10 weeks of subjects ranging from healthy self-esteem and self-confidence, to anti-bullying and building positive friendships and family relationships. Its been a fascinating experience to watch these 9-year-olds interact with each other during these mature subject conversations and activities. Since I have no children, my frame of reference was clearly limited, and it is not hard to compare them to the leadership groups and individuals I coach.
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."
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